Is Trump ‘Disrupting’ His Own Foreign-Policy Team?

“What’s unusual here is that the Trump team is facing this significant diplomatic challenge before they’ve got their roster on board,” says political scientist Peter Feaver. “It’s like attempting to do a difficult synchronized swimming maneuver, with half the team not yet in their bathing suits and others not even named to the team yet.”

Read More in The Christian Science Monitor

Can Sessions Discuss Conversations With President Trump?

“In terms of the law of executive privilege, it belongs to the president, and he has not asserted it. General Sessions sought to preserve the president’s ability to assert it, but that is not how it works,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “… The president could have instructed him not to answer any questions about their conversations because of executive privilege. That, apparently, did not happen, and no privilege was asserted.”

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Russia Probe: Possible Explosive Moments

Investigators looking into whether Trump’s team worked with Russia to win the White House could go down a path defined by other showdowns, where there’s little history beyond Watergate or Monica Lewinsky to guide them. “A set of two precedents is not a big set of precedents,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “You also have to say whatever the Trump story ends up being, it’s probably going to be something else.”

Read More in Politico

GOP’s American Health Care Act Will Cost Lives

“With Senate Republicans gearing up to pass a healthcare reform bill that will likely maintain the deep cuts to Medicaid, low-income households and minorities are most likely to lose insurance and their lives will be more endangered,” writes Mark Paul, an economist and a postdoctoral associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

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Time to Hold Legislators Accountable in Redistricting Process

“People have to pay attention to redistricting and to line drawing and to the way that districts are constructed, and they ought to demand fairness from their legislators,” says law professor Guy-Uriel Charles, founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics.

Read More in The Progressive Pulse

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.”

Read More in The New York Times

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.

Read More in The New York Times

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.

Read More in Politico

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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