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Laurence Tribe predicts how John Roberts — his former student — will rule on impeachment witnesses

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The man who taught Constitutional Law to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts expects him to vote to allow witnesses if he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote while presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Prof. Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Thursday. In addition to having argued three-dozen cases before the highest court, Tribe has taught at Harvard Law for 50 years and even taught the chief justice.

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“What do you expect and what are you hoping to see in your former student presiding over this trial, Chief Justice Roberts?” O’Donnell asked.

“Well, he was very smart,” Tribe replied. “He’s very thoughtful, he cares about the institution.”

Tribe, who has reportedly advised House Democrats on impeachment, then offered a major prediction.

“If he is asked to issue a subpoena, I think he will use his power to do it,” Tribe said.

“He will at least rule, if the evidence is relevant, that it ought to be heard, but he knows he can be overruled by a majority of the Senate,” he explained.

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Tribe gamed-out how it could break down.

“What I’m wondering is what will happen — and I don’t think I had this hypothetical in class when he was my student — what will happen if 50 senators vote to hear [Lev] Parnas and 50 vote not to hear him? Or 50 vote to hear [John] Bolton and 50 vote to treat him as completely irrelevant and everything he has to say as privileged?” he wondered. “At that point, if Chief Justice Roberts follows the precedent of Justice [Salmon] Chase, the chief justice in the Andrew Johnson trial, he will break the tie. In fact, he will have no choice because the vice president — who ordinarily breaks ties — is not allowed to take part in an impeachment trial of the president.”

“What I would hope that this chief justice will do is indicate when a motion is made to hear a witness that his inclination is to search for the truth,” he added.

“And I may be an eternal optimist, but I want to believe that even some of these senators who think they’ve made up their mind, who think they have to vote a certain way if they want to get re-elected, will realize that there are sometimes more important things than their immediate political future,” Tribe said.

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“They have a future in history to worry about,” he added.

Watch:

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Strong signs that judges will increasingly decide how 2020 elections are run during the coronavirus pandemic

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The jaw-dropping conclusion of a federal court hearing on April 1 about Wisconsin’s statewide elections on April 7 was no April Fools’ joke. U.S. District Judge William Conley said the state’s Democratic governor and Republican-led legislature had failed to put their citizenry’s health first by not postponing the statewide election in a pandemic.

“There’s a hurricane coming!” Conley fumed from the bench, interrupting Douglas M. Poland, a lawyer representing the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and four citizens who sued the state. “You can’t even give me a case where a federal judge stopped a state from stupidly holding an election when most of the voters were not going to go to the polls because there’s a hurricane coming!”

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Top South Dakota Republicans face investigation for appearing to be drunk during crucial coronavirus session

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Lawmakers in South Dakota are investigating whether or not Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer (R) was drunk during a meeting earlier this week -- a meeting that dealt with new legislation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Another South Dakota Republican, Brock Greenfield, is also under investigation for his conduct during the meeting.

"Langer and Greenfield oversaw the Senate proceedings from a conference room in the Capitol as lawmakers convened through teleconference to decide on a series of emergency bills for the coronavirus outbreak," the Journal reports. "As the Senate prepared to adjourn Tuesday morning, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, said he had heard Langer was intoxicated and had interrupted meetings in the House and Senate. He then attempted to move to create a disciplinary committee."

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‘Modern piracy’: Germany accuses Trump of stealing N95 masks it ordered from factory in China

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The German government is accusing the U.S. government of stealing N95 masks that it had ordered from a factory based in China that's run by American company 3M.

The Guardian reports that the German government claims that "200,000 N95 masks made by the manufacturer 3M were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand."

Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, said that the American seizure of masks that were set to go to Germany was "an act of modern piracy" and warned that continuing to take such actions could create chaos across the globe.

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