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DOJ policy blocking Trump from being indicted ‘factored into’ the end of the Stormy Daniels case: report

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Federal prosecutors decided to close the investigation into the 2016 criminal hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that benefitted the Trump campaign because, in part, of the policy that prevents the indictment of a sitting president, according to a new report from USA Today citing an anonymous source.

Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to the violation of campaign finance law. He said that he carried out the effort in coordination with and at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump in order to increase his chances of victory in the 2016 presidential election.

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But just as Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded he could not charge Trump with a crime due to standing Justice Department policy, it seems prosecutors in the Southern District of New York regarded the same rules as binding on them. And according to “a person familiar with the matter” cited by USA Today, “the Justice Department’s opinion that a president cannot be indicted factored into the decision to end the probe.”

The source, however, said, “it was unclear whether prosecutors made a determination that they had sufficient evidence to bring a case against Trump or anyone other than.” Given this caveat, it’s not clear how deeply involved this source was in the case and decision-making itself. And as with any story based on a single source — and not yet confirmed by any other outlet — ample skepticism is warranted. The detail also suggests that it’s possible that even were Trump not president, he might not have been indicted in the case.

The report is plausible on its face. Cohen’s testimony, public recordings, newly released court filings, and the facts of the case all strongly suggest Trump was involved directly in the criminal payments. But we know that DOJ policy would prevent Trump from being indicted even if prosecutors had rock-solid evidence against him.

“DOJ had tied Trump pretty closely to the illegal hush-payments,” noted USA Today editor Brad Heath. “It alleged that they were made at his direction. And earlier today, it revealed that the FBI knew he participated in phone calls with aides when the scheme was hatched.”

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Trump’s claim impeachment ‘nullifies’ 2016 election blown up in new House Judiciary Committee report

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On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released their report outlining the offenses committed by President Donald Trump, and the legal framework for impeachment — which clears the way for Congress to write and approve articles of impeachment against him.

One of the key issues examined by the report is the claim, repeatedly made by the president and his supporters, that impeachment would "nullify" the 2016 presidential election and the popular will — which is already a weak claim given that Trump never won the popular vote, and that impeaching Trump would still install Mike Pence as president. But the report more broadly rejects the entire claim that an election result immunizes a president from punishment for official misconduct.

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READ IT: House Judiciary Committee releases report defining Trump impeachable offenses

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On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the impeachable acts committed by President Donald Trump.

"Our President holds the ultimate public trust," said the report, titled "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment," in its introduction. "A President faithful only to himself—who will sell out democracy and national security for his own personal advantage—is a danger to every American. Indeed, he threatens America itself."

The report clarifies the procedures for impeachment, analyzes whether president can be "impeached for abuse of executive powers," and "whether it is preferable to await the next election when a President has sought to corrupt that very same election."

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Trump hammered by ex-intel officials for sucking up to the Saudis after Florida naval base shooting

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President Donald Trump is taking heat from former U.S. intelligence officials for taking a very soft tone with the Saudi government after Friday’s shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

Not long after the shooter was identified as a second lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian military, the president tweeted out words of sympathy from the Saudi king after a phonecall, writing, "The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people."

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