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‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

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MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America’s federal government is broken.

“This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening,” Williams reported.

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“Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99,” he said.

“We’ll have more on his extraordinary life and legacy later on in this broadcast. But first, to the news of this day. And tonight that includes a rebuke of the president of the United States, a vote of Congress to condemn him for telling four members of Congress — all U.S. Citizens — to go back to their home countries,” he noted.

The host read a quote from The Washington Post describing the optics of the vote.

“The imagery of the 240-to-187 vote was stark: A diverse Democratic caucus cast the president’s words as an affront to millions of Americans and descendants of immigrants,” The Post reported. “While Republican lawmakers — the vast majority of them white men — stood with Trump against a resolution that rejected his “racist comments that have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

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World of slime: Here’s why President Trump likes to hang out with bottom-feeders and crooked lawyers

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Donald Trump has been a real estate developer, a TV show host, a casino owner, a politician and more. But through it all, there has been one constant: Trump has surrounded himself with sleazy characters. Oddly enough, those are exactly the people who helped propel him to becoming the 45th president of the United States.

That's the thesis of the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, titled aptly enough, "The Fixers: The Bottom-Feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President." I spoke with Rothfeld during a recent edition of Salon Talks about the book, a veritable encyclopedia of the unsavory characters that have made Trump who he is, alongside some new reporting.

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How corporate lawyers made it harder to punish companies that destroy electronic evidence

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In the early 2000s, a series of civil lawsuits against giant corporations illustrated the disastrous consequences that could ensue if a defendant failed to provide electronic evidence such as company emails or records. In one suit against tobacco giant Philip Morris in 2004, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler concluded that the company deliberately deleted troves of emails that contained incriminating information. She fined the company $2.7 million for the breach, levied $250,000 fines against each of the company supervisors found culpable and barred them from testifying at the trial.

Big corporations rallied for changes and got them. In 2006, the rules that govern federal litigation were changed to create a “safe harbor” that would protect companies from consequences for failing to save electronic evidence as long as they followed a consistent policy and, when put on notice of imminent litigation, preserved all relevant materials.

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John Bolton had concerns about Donald Trump’s favors to autocrats: report

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Former national security advisor John Bolton privately told the US attorney general last year about concerns that President Donald Trump was essentially granting favors to autocrats, The New York Times reported Monday.

It said the revelations, concerning the leaders of China and Turkey, come in an unpublished book manuscript by Bolton.

The same manuscript says Trump told Bolton that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until officials there helped to investigate his political rivals, the Times previously reported.

Those allegations have roiled Trump's impeachment trial that is ongoing in the US Senate.

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