Can Jeff Sessions Avoid Some Questions By Citing Executive Privilege?

If Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites executive privilege to avoid answering certain questions Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, there are other options. “The committee can negotiate with the administration to get answers to narrower or different questions or to get answers in a closed session,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “If they do not come to any agreement, of course the matter could be litigated. The Supreme Court case that describes the scope of executive privilege arose from a similar dispute concerning the Nixon tapes.”

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Religious Liberals Want Back In Political Game

Liberal religious leaders who used to shun the political arena are getting involved to fight back against President Trump’s policies on immigration, health care, poverty and the environment. Imam Abdullah Antepli says he had hesitated to march alongside gay pastors until he realized their struggles were linked. “We can’t have only Jews cry for anti-Semitism, and Muslims cry for Islamophobia,” Imam Antepli says. “We can only win this if we see it as one big fight.”

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The Three Components Of An Obstruction Charge

Law professor Samuel Buell says testimony last week from former FBI Director James Comey provided enough information to  lead the special investigator in the Russia election meddling probe to “take a very hard look” at possible obstruction of justice committed by President Trump.

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Comey’s Testimony Sharpens Focus on Questions of Obstruction

 If one believes James B. Comey’s account of his encounters with President Trump, it could present a prosecutable case of obstruction of justice, several former prosecutors said Thursday. But they also cautioned that little is normal about this situation. “We have examples all the time in criminal law of people saying things only slightly subtly, where everyone understands what is meant — ‘Nice pair of legs you got there; shame if something happened to them,’” says law professor Samuel Buell.

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Comey Handed Mueller A Fat Case File On Trump

Law professor Samuel Buell says Comey’s testimony “greatly sharpened the focus” on questions surrounding the obstruction of justice controversy that now sits on President Trump’s doorstep. “All the other events lend emphasis, meaning and context to that event but that event is the real issue,” he says of Trump’s Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting during which the president allegedly pulled Comey aside and suggested the FBI director should “let this go” concerning the Flynn probe.

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How Scientists Reacted To The US Leaving The Paris Climate Agreement

“Trump’s decision is as short-sighted as it is disheartening. The oceans already hold about 35 percent of the carbon dioxide that has been released to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution,” says oceanographer Susan Lozier. “Nothing good for the ocean and the life it contains comes from this storage. Whether you simply admire marine life or count on it for your livelihood, this decision shouldn’t sit well. An already fragile ocean is further imperilled.”

Read More in Nature

Fact-Checking President Trump’s Attorney After Comey’s Testimony

President Trump’s attorney claims fired FBI Director James Comey “made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president.” Law professor Lisa Kern Griffin says Trump put that protection at risk. “Where the president has already described conversations he had with Director Comey in his tweets or other public statements, then with respect to what has been disclosed, there is no longer any privilege,” she says.
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Was Trump’s Request Of Comey To ‘Lift The Cloud’ Evidence Of Obstruction?

An assertion that the president fired the FBI director to obstruct an investigation “makes more sense if he was trying to protect himself,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “In the context of the improper private meeting, (Trump’s) previous requests for loyalty, and then the subsequent termination of Director Comey, this conversation looks closer to obstruction than it did before (Thursday’s) testimony.”


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Obstruction Of Justice Investigation More Plausible

Fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday before a Senate panel offered near certainty that President Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, says a Duke law professor. “The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper purpose,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

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Apple, Google, California Rebuffing Trump Over Climate Deal

Some companies and states are working to uphold the Paris climate accord, from which President Trump announced a U.S. departure last week. But, as is often the case, conservative state legislatures can easily undo measures taken at the city and county level, says Megan Mullin, a professor of environmental politics and policy. “Depending on the type of activity, a conservative state that is hostile to the idea of climate change action could clamp down on a city’s flexibility to engage in these activities,” says Mullin.

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Danger for Trump from Comey Hearing: Obstruction of Justice

The question is whether Trump sought to use the weight of his office to stifle a criminal investigation to protect a friend, or to protect himself, over and above the national interest. “I think the most important thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to get a sense of the feel and flavor of the conversations that took place, at least some of them, between the president and Comey,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

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The Paris Agreement, Climate Change, NC Coast

“President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may have serious consequences for North Carolina and our precious coast. In his withdrawal speech, he made no reference to the fact that the Paris Agreement is the first global step in the direction of slowing down the sea-level rise,” writes
Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus at the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Read More in The News & Observer