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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.

“(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.”

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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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Melania Trump scorched by columnist for standing by president’s Thunberg bullying: ‘Indefensible’

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In a piece for the Washington Post, columnist Karen Tumulty called out first lady Melania Trump for her statement defending her husband's bullying of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a fit of jealousy after she was selected Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Responding to a statement from the White House that stated, “BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy,” Tumulty wasn't having it.

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BUSTED: Devin Nunes is hiding how he’s paying for all his frivolous lawsuits — which could land him in more trouble

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On Saturday, the Fresno Bee dived into a lingering question: How does Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pay for all the lawsuits he is filing against journalists, satirists, and political critics?

"Nunes, R-Tulare, has filed lawsuits against Twitter, anonymous social media users known as Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom, a Republican political strategist, media companies, journalists, progressive watchdog groups, a political research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and a retired farmer in Nunes’ own district," noted the Bee.

These lawsuits were mainly filed in Virginia — a state with very loose laws against so-called "SLAPP suits," or meritless lawsuits intended to drown people in legal expenses in retaliation for expressing political opinions. Nunes was assisted in these suits by Steven Biss, a Virginia attorney, and yet except for the suit against the retired farmer, there is no clear record in Nunes' FEC reports of how he paid for the suits.

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Trump brings up Brett Kavanaugh in rage tweet at Democrats about coming impeachment trial

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On Saturday, President Donald Trump brought up Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a bizarre rant against the "Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems" and his anger over the direction of the impeachment process:

After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated by the Democrats, and now seeing first hand how these same Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems are treating the whole Impeachment Hoax, I understand why so many Dems are voting Republican!

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