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Former Defense Dept. special counsel: Trump authorizing Suleimani killing months ago makes justification a ‘lie’

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President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani seven months ago, according to a Monday morning bombshell report from NBC News. That makes the president’s claim the Iranian general had to be killed to avoid “imminent” threat of attacks on U.S. personnel and troops a “lie,” says former Defense Dept. Special Counsel Ryan Goodman.

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Goodman, a professor of law at NYU School of Law and a founding editor at the national security law and policy website Just Security, also says the justification could be illegal.

“Revenge (and disproportionate) strikes are illegal,” Goodman said on Twitter, where he also noted that Trump’s imminent threat argument “is a lie.”

When pressed, Trump told Fox News, “I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies” that Soleimani would have targeted had the U.S. not killed him January 3. The Secretary of Defense later said he had not seen any reports supporting that claim.

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Goodman formerly served as Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Director of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School.


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Maddow reports Florida governor is letting ‘coronavirus-denialist megachurch guy’ hold huge services

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On Sunday, the River Church in Tampa was packed with parishioners despite the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.

The following day, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for violating the county's social distancing rules.

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Here’s how Christian Nationalists have shaped the federal government’s response to coronavirus

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On Thursday, appearing on the Slate radio show "The Gist" with Mike Pesca, journalist Catherine Stewart outlined some of the ways the Christian Right is responsible for the federal government's disastrous response to coronavirus.

"The coronavirus pandemic is real wrath-of-God type stuff, isn't it?" said Pesca. "Well, there are some people who are waiting for this, who are ready for this, and who, quite scarily, have been tasked with the response."

"It's a complex question, and I think that Christian Nationalism, which is what we're dealing with here, is not a religion," said Stewart. "Many evangelicals are doing very positive things, many religious people are doing a lot of positive things in this situation with the coronavirus. But Christian Nationalism is not a religion, it's a political ideology that cloaks itself in religious rhetoric. And it's a movement that put Trump in power."

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Jared Kushner ripped by NYT columnist: He will ‘get us all killed’ with his incompetence

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On Thursday, writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg laid into President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who appeared at the day's coronavirus press conference to blame states for the federal government's slow response.

"Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror," wrote Goldberg. "According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. 'I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,' Kushner reportedly said. 'I'm doing my own projections, and I've gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.'"

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