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Trump ‘fixer’ Barr has ‘devastated’ the Justice Department and it will take years to repair the damage: report

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On Saturday, writing for Politico, Brennan Center for Justice fellow Victoria Bassetti and former House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen laid out the necessary steps to fix the problems at the Justice Department in the wake of Attorney General William Barr’s political rampages.

“Barr’s testimony demonstrated a singular blend of real pugnacity and feigned world-weariness as he defended his 18 months in office,” wrote Bassetti and Eisen. “Barr has tried to muzzle Trump’s critics, protect his friends, hide information from Congress and investigate those who investigated the president. He has also — much like [Roy] Cohn and [Michael] Cohen — worked as a PR agent, spinning negative information in Trump’s favor, and even using federal agents to violently clear a path through protesters before a presidential photo op.”

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As a consequence of this, they wrote, “the Department of Justice is going to have to come to a larger reckoning at some point, instituting or welcoming stronger safeguards against manipulation and misuse and shoring up ethical standards.”

One step, they wrote, is to make the Office of Legal Counsel — which has spent the Trump years writing partisan memos to bolster the president’s legal position — truly independent. Another is to give more authority to the DOJ inspector general to investigate misconduct by the attorney general, which they note is “backed by several Republican senators,” and to make the department’s ethics recommendations — like their basis for recommending various officials recuse from certain cases — more transparent. Yet another is to increase congressional oversight and improve the process for confirming departmental nominees.

“In the case of Barr, Trump’s instinct for finding fixers has served his agenda well,” concluded Bassetti and Eisen. “But it has devastated the once-proud Department of Justice. Restoring the department’s reputation will take sustained work long after Barr departs and Trump is once more cruising the back streets of the Tri-State area for representation.”

You can read more here.


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2020 Election

If Trump loses two more states it’s ‘ballgame over’: AP reporter

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Appearing on MSNBC's " Morning Joe," Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire explained Donald Trump's chances of being re-elected have reached the point where, if he loses the electoral votes of one more, he will be out of luck and out of office.

Speaking with co-host Joe Scarborough, Lemire was asked where Trump stands in the battleground states he so desperately needs.

"Both campaigns agree that there are six battleground states to decide this election: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida," he began. "Now the president has to play defense and has had to spend resources and had to go the past week to places like Ohio, Texas -- Georgia is another one where he has to play defense. We don't see, outside of perhaps New Hampshire, a place where Democrats have to do the same now that the Trump campaign has ceded Michigan."

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Trump’s executive orders are confusing and unconstitutional — and likely to hurt his own voters. He doesn’t care.

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As we went into the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had washed his hands of the negotiations over the vitally necessary COVID-19 relief package, leaving Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Tea Party zealot turned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to hash out a deal. Word was that the Democrats had come down from their demand for $3 trillion in various relief programs to $2 trillion, while the White House stuck to its offer of $1 trillion and not a penny more. By Friday, the Senate was going home and the talks had irretrievably stalled.
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Trump administration says US would share COVID vaccine with world after America’s needs are met

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On Monday, Fox News reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is offering to share any potential COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, after it stabilizes public health in the United States.

"The U.S. will share any coronavirus vaccine it develops with the globe after American needs are met, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday during a visit to Taiwan," reported Evie Fordham.

"Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," said Azar. "But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on ... After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past."

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