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Trump’s DOJ has never asked for a shorter prison sentence for someone who wasn’t an ally: op-ed

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In an op-ed for the Washington Post this Thursday, the executive director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), writes that Attorney General Bill Barr’s meddling in the Roger Stone case is like nothing he’s ever seen before. According to Noah Bookbinder, Barr’s actions in the days leading up to Stone’s sentencing “appropriately sent a chill down the spines of prosecutors across the country.”

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“Federal prosecutors submitted their sentencing recommendation regarding Mr. Stone on Feb. 10; the following day, the Justice Department called that recommendation excessive and replaced it with a recommendation calling for “far less” imprisonment — and just after President Trump tweeted his own disapproval of the original sentencing recommendation,” Bookbinder recounts. “All four career prosecutors on the case withdrew from the matter, with one of them resigning from the department altogether — a sign of how extraordinary and unwelcome the intervention was.”

Barr’s claim that his decision was made before Trump’s tweets doesn’t matter, Bookbinder contends, because he and others in the Justice Department already knew that Trump felt Stone’s prosecution was unfair. While Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s sentencing Stone to 3.5 years was not unusual, Barr’s successful push to lower the prosecutions sentencing recommendation was.

“As a former federal corruption prosecutor and senior staffer at the United States Sentencing Commission, I can say unequivocally that what Mr. Barr and his team did was something I have never seen before,” Bookbinder writes. “It calls into question his fitness to play a leading role in our nation’s justice system. The top prosecutor in the land must demonstrate a commitment to protecting the rule of law, not the president and his allies.”

According to Bookbinder, there’s one crucial question no one at the DOJ can answer: Is there a single case where the department overruled career prosecutors which the defendant was not an ally of President Trump, or someone who could testify against him?

Read his full op-ed over at The Washington Post.

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Why the novel coronavirus became a social media nightmare

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The biggest reputational risk Facebook and other social media companies had expected in 2020 was fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Be it foreign or domestic in origin, the misinformation threat seemed familiar, perhaps even manageable.

The novel coronavirus, however, has opened up an entirely different problem: the life-endangering consequences of supposed cures, misleading claims, snake-oil sales pitches and conspiracy theories about the outbreak.

So far, AFP has debunked almost 200 rumors and myths about the virus, but experts say stronger action from tech companies is needed to stop misinformation and the scale at which it can be spread online.

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Europe, US virus deaths surge as Trump reverses New York lockdown threat

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The global coronavirus death toll surged past 30,000 over the weekend as Europe and the United States endured their darkest days of the crisis.

A back-flip from US President Donald Trump on quarantining New York highlighted the panic and confusion across many parts of the world in trying to contain the pandemic, which has seen more than a third of humanity placed under unprecedented lockdowns.

More than 30,800 deaths had been reported worldwide by Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, as the virus continued to leave a devastating imprint on nearly every aspect of society: wiping out millions of jobs, overwhelming healthcare services and draining national treasuries.

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The internet is wondering if Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro was drinking before her Saturday night show

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Moments after clips if the opening of Jeanine Pirro's regular Saturday night show on Fox News were posted online, Twitter commenters were speculating that the former prosecutor may have been drinking, likely due to her demeanor and slightly disheveled look.

After her "Justice with Judge Jeanine" show was delayed due to "technical difficulties" for 15 minutes, the host appeared and apologized for the delay before she began to discuss Donald Trump's plan to take the U.S. out of quarantine by Easter, telling viewers, "Just the other … day the president talked, or was hoping, about the possibility of reopening everything on Easter Sunday, uh, in a way where we could kind of come out of this quarantine, as loose as it may be, that we’re involved in."

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