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Trump’s attorney general must indict the president if Mueller recommends action: Watergate-era DOJ official

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Attorney General William Barr should reconsider the Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president, according to a former official who helped craft that directive.

The current legal position was reached in 2000, but the directive against indicting a sitting president was first delivered in 1973, during the Watergate scandal, with a very narrow purpose, according to J.T. Smith II, executive assistant to Attorney General Elliot Richardson at the time.

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Smith, writing for the New York Times, said the 1973 memo was intended to aid in removal of the criminally tainted Vice President Spiro Agnew, and not to set an “ironclad precedent” shielding presidents from indictment.

The Justice Department has revised its position five times since then, and reached different conclusions, and Smith said the current position — in place for nearly 20 years — should not be taken for granted.

“The durability of the Office of Legal Counsel’s 1973 opinion is curious,” Smith wrote. “It was prepared under extraordinarily stressful and unique circumstances — borne from the investigations that led to the resignations of Vice President Spiro Agnew that year and President Nixon in 1974.”

Agnew faced a grand jury investigation into alleged bribery, extortion and tax evasion, mostly coming from his time as governor of Maryland, and Richardson sought guidance on putting legal pressure on the vice president, who pleaded no contest after he was indicted and then resigned.

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“(Special counsel Robert) Mueller’s investigation has brought us to face similar questions of institutional integrity and transparency for the American public,” Smith said. “If Mr. Barr determines that Mr. Mueller’s findings compel legal action, he should reconsider the policy against indictment of a sitting president.”

If the attorney general believes the president’s conduct should be held accountable by the political process and not criminal prosecution, Smith said Barr must share the Mueller report with Congress — and the public.

“In light of the gravity of our circumstances,” Smith said, “it would be timely and appropriate for the Justice Department to reconsider the shaky policy regarding indictability of a sitting president and provide Congress and the public with the Mr. Mueller’s full findings and conclusions. Only through sunlight and transparency can we preserve confidence in our national institutions and leadership.”

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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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