Lock him up: Trump’s Air Force One video may have violated law


President Trump tried to give his latest attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio — a video filmed aboard Air Force One — an aura of authority, but he may have broken the law in the process. In the background was the presidential seal, which is a big no-no, according to Virginia Canter, an ethics lawyer with the non-partisan Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Misusing the seal is a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of six months behind bars, Canter said.

Ohio State officials knew about sexual abuse, took no action


An investigation reveals that from 1978 to 1998, Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused nearly 180 men at Ohio State University. The investigation also reveals that officials knew of abuse as early as 1979. The investigation does not suggest that Rep. Jim Jordan, who was a wrestling coach during some of the 20 years of abuse, knew about the abuse. The investigation fails to even mention Jordan at all.

Mueller testimony: The waiting is the hardest part


While Attorney General William Barr has indicated that he has no objection to Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifying before a House panel, Mueller’s appearance is in limbo due to discussions on whether the White House’s assertion of executive privilege would limit his testimony. The privilege claim could prevent him from discussing details involving President Trump and his advisers beyond what is in the redacted report. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is weighing the issues.

Barr to Pelosi: ‘Did you bring your handcuffs?’


A week after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold him in contempt over subpoenas related to the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr took an opportunity to joke about it. He approached House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an event, shook her hand, and said loudly, “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” Pelosi smiled and said the House sergeant-at-arms was present at the ceremony should an arrest be necessary. The attorney general chuckled and walked away.

Barbara McQuade: Barr delivers chilling message to the FBI


“In addition to harming the effectiveness of the FBI, Barr’s complicity in Trump’s tactics may also have a chilling effect. By advancing the ‘investigate the investigators’ mantra, Barr may cause the FBI to flinch next time it perceives a threat from powerful people within the government. He is incentivizing the FBI to sit idly by in the face of national security threats. The risk is that under Barr’s leadership, the FBI’s new motto might become ‘he who does nothing does nothing wrong.'”

Trump vs. Congress in federal court on Tuesday


Lawyers for Donald Trump and the House clashed Tuesday in federal court over the extent of Congress’ power to investigate his finances and private business. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta cited three possible reasons to revoke a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Though he didn’t indicate whether he found them sufficient for blocking the subpoena, he said history isn’t on Trump’s side, as courts haven’t found that Congress overstepped its subpoena power since 1880.

Judge in Stone case demands unredacted Mueller report


The unredacted Mueller report has become quite the hot commodity. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has given the U.S. attorneys handling the Roger Stone case until Monday to provide her with portions of the Mueller report that deal with Stone “and/or ‘the dissemination of hacked materials'” that were leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign to the detriment of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Mueller Time: Special counsel may testify after all


On Thursday, Donald Trump appeared to change his mind…again. In a surprise 45-minute news conference, he said he would leave it to Attorney General William Barr to decide whether Robert Mueller should testify before Congress. He also expressed surprise and dismay over his son’s subpoena, saying, “My son was totally exonerated by Mueller.” Well, not exactly. But when questioned whether Donald Trump Jr. would appear, the president said, “We’ll see what happens.”

LAPD and ATF find massive stockpile of weapons


An anonymous tip led the LAPD and ATF agents to a Los Angeles mansion where they found a stockpile of more than 1,000 guns. Police arrested Gerard Sands on the charge of unlawful selling and transportation of an assault weapon. Sands will likely face additional federal charges.

Jennifer Rubin: ‘Self-impeachable’ is exactly right


“For a report that is supposed to entirely exonerate Trump, he and his minions are going to extreme lengths to conceal its complete contents, to prevent the attorney general from testifying, and even to try to keep Mueller from testifying. If he did not obstruct justice before, he certainly is obstructing Congress now. The House should exercise all of its powers to end Trump’s autocratic spasm. Our democracy is at stake.”

Investigation of Rep Gaetz continues


The Florida Bar has said that an investigation into the conduct of Rep. Matt Gaetz will continue. This move is significant and means that the Florida Bar found sufficient reason to believe that Gaetz violated Florida’s rules for lawyers. Gaetz is at risk of losing his law license in Florida for issuing a threatening tweet against Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.

Mueller didn’t want Comey memos released


Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors didn’t want former FBI Director James Comey’s memos released because they feared that Donald Trump and other witnesses could change their stories after reading Comey’s version of events, according to an argument they made in a January 2018 sealed court hearing. The transcript says that Mueller’s office was primarily concerned with Trump’s behavior in the obstruction of justice investigation.

Roger Stone ally wants Supreme Court to take up his case


Andrew Miller, a Roger Stone associate who is refusing to comply with a subpoena which requires him to appear before Special Counsel Mueller’s grand jury, wants the Supreme Court to look at his case. He is currently being held in “civil contempt”, but would like the Supreme Court to look at the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment so that he can avoid consequences for his refusal to appear before the grand jury.

NY attorney general sues Treasury Dept & IRS


New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Dept. and the IRS for failing to comply with her office’s requests for records about a recent rule change by which donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups were eliminated. The Trump administration argues that the rule change protects taxpayers’ privacy, preventing them from being targeted for their political beliefs. Critics contend that it allows space for foreign governments to influence U.S. politics.

Dick Polman: The hardball constitutional crisis is here


“If you don’t speak the Barrwellian language, permit me to translate: A president can summarily shut down any investigation that he doesn’t like. A president needs merely to believe that a probe is unfair (every president thinks he’s innocent) and that a probe is politically motivated (every president can easily convince himself that partisan opponents are out to get him), then presto! – end of probe. Barr’s servility jibes with his longstanding belief in unchecked presidential power. As Michael Gerson, one of our sane conservative commentators, remarked the other day, ‘Trump has finally found someone who licks his boots on principle.'”

Greg Sargent: If Mueller ‘exonerated’ Trump, why doesn’t he want him to testify?


Surely it would be a great opportunity for the special counsel to vindicate the president and expose the sinister “deep state,” right? “The reality is that if and when Mueller does testify, it will all but certainly fortify the investigation’s legitimacy in the public mind, not undermine it. And it will likely deal another massive blow to Trumpworld’s alt-narrative. … Trump’s very opposition itself gives away the game.”

Police officer shot and killed in MS


Officer Robert McKeithen, who was scheduled to retire at the end of this year, was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday in Biloxi, Miss. His death brings the total number of police officers shot and killed in the U.S. in 2019 to 17.

Trump’s presidential protection


More than four-hundred former federal prosecutors have signed on to a statement which argues that Trump would have been charged by Mueller for the crimes he committed if it was not for the office that Trump holds. The prosecutors worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations and their statement is meant to be rebuke Trump’s claims that because he was not charged by Mueller, he did nothing wrong.

Annie Donaldson’s notes are the new Nixon tapes


The scribe who kept track of the president’s words and actions, as detailed in the Mueller report, was Annie Donaldson, former White House counsel McGahn’s chief of staff, a loyal and low-profile conservative lawyer who became one of the most important narrators of internal White House turmoil. Her daily habit of documenting conversations and meetings provided the special counsel’s office with its version of the Nixon White House tapes.

Nadler delivers ultimatum


House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler is making what he calls a final “counter offer” to Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to grant immediate access to the underlying evidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. In a letter to Barr on Friday, Nadler gave the DOJ until 9 a.m. Monday to comply with his request before moving forward with holding Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a committee subpoena demanding Mueller’s full unredacted report and underlying documents by May 1.

The new ‘lock her up’?


Team Trump is mobilizing to cast a legal cloud over a potential opponent, as it did in 2016, but this time, fears abound that he could weaponize the federal government against them. The opponent in question is Joe Biden, whose son Hunter worked on the board of a Ukrainian energy company during the Obama administration. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani tweeted, “Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously.”

Sen Harris calls for investigation of Barr


Following up on her questioning at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris sent a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general on Friday, requesting an investigation into whether Attorney General William Barr has acted upon requests or suggestions from President Trump or other White House officials to investigate the president’s “perceived enemies.”

Is McGahn already McGone?


In a Fox News interview on Thursday, President Trump indicated that he is not willing to allow former White House counsel Don McGahn — whom Robert Mueller said Trump specifically directed to remove the special counsel — to testify before Congress. He said he will make a final decision in a few days. Most ‘transparent’ administration indeed.

Slain NC student remembered as a hero


Riley Howell, one of the two students killed in this week’s shooting at UNC-Charlotte, is being remembered as a hero for his actions. Howell charged the gunman, knocking the gunman off his feet, and allowing a responding police officer to detain the shooter. Howell gave his life to save others.

Assange vows to fight extradition


In court in London on Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to fight extradition to the U.S., in what could become a long, complicated legal battle. Assange told Judge Michael Snow via video link, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.” Two more hearings were scheduled for May 30 and June 12, after Assange’s lawyers receive the full contents of the U.S. extradition request.

Quinta Jurecic: All of the impeachable offenses


“Like Trump’s cowed performance beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and his initial comments in defense of white supremacists after Charlottesville, the Mueller report — as a chronicle of presidential misconduct — adds useful information, but also clarifies and distills what was already known to be true. Reading the report, I was unable to shake a sense of naive amazement that this person really is the president of the United States. Part of the impeachment process — advocating for an inquiry as citizens, and conducting one on Congress’s part — is the work of maintaining this amazement and horror. It is a project of refusing to accept what has already, somehow, become acceptable.”

WH sent its own snitty letter to Barr


Not to be outdone, the White House revealed today that counsel Emmet Flood penned a five-page letter to Attorney General William Barr a day after the redacted Mueller report was released. Flood criticized the report, saying the special counsel’s “inverted-proof standard and exoneration statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties.”

Opioid exec found guilty in bribery case


A jury in Boston has found one-time billionaire and drug company executive John Kapoor and his four co-defendants guilty of a racketeering conspiracy. The federal government accused Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, of paying doctors to prescribe its potent opioid medication and then lying to insurance companies to ensure that the expensive Fentanyl-based painkiller would be covered.