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‘The president committed crimes’: Comey ally says Mueller report leaves no doubt Trump is a crook

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Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes, who is also a longtime friend of former FBI Director James Comey, has written a lengthy analysis of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — and he says it leaves no doubt that Trump is a crook.

“The president committed crimes,” Wittes argues. “There is no way around it. The attorney general’s efforts to clear the president, both in his original letter and in his press conference the morning of the report’s release, are wholly unpersuasive when you actually spend time with the document itself.”

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He then dives into two specific examples of Trump’s criminality documented in the report: Trump ordering ally Corey Lewandowski to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe and pressuring former White House counsel Don McGahn to deny that he’d been ordered by Trump to fire Mueller.

After thoroughly dissecting both incidents, Wittes concludes that it’s very hard to see how Trump would not face criminal charges if Department of Justice policy did not allow for the indictment of a sitting president.

“As a criminal matter, this fact pattern seems to me uncomplicated: If true and provable beyond a reasonable doubt, it is unlawful obstruction of justice,” he writes. “Full stop.”

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Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public

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Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.

It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."

In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."

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Unemployment may not return to pre-COVID levels for a decade: Congressional Budget Office

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On Thursday, Politico reported that it could take a decade for unemployment levels to return to where they were before the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"The economic outlook for the next 10 years has 'deteriorated significantly' since the independent budget agency issued its last complete set of projections in January, CBO noted," reported Caitlan Emma. "That illustrates the devastating effects of the pandemic and underscores the reality of a slower economic recovery than the 'rocket ship' rebound predicted by President Donald Trump."

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Fired SDNY prosecutor to testify before House Judiciary Committee — behind closed doors: report

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The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Geoffrey Berman will testify after the bizarre sequence of events that preceded his ouster from the office. AG Bill Barr announced that Berman was resigning, with the SDNY denied. He was then fired by President Donald Trump.

NEW: Fired US Attorney for SDNY Geoffrey Berman will appear next week before House Judiciary behind closed doors next Thursday, according to a congressional aide

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