News Domestic and International

'Smallville' actress granted bail in NXIVM case

TownHall - 2 hours 32 min ago
NEW YORK (AP) — An actress best known for playing a young Superman's friend has been granted bail while fighting charges that she helped recruit women into a cult-like group.A federal judge in Brooklyn agreed Tuesday to release Allison Mack on $

Hmmm: Sessions won’t recuse himself from Michael Cohen investigation

Hot Air - 2 hours 33 min ago

It’s fun watching the insta-interpretations of this move, some diametrically opposed, pour in on Twitter. Apparently it’s proof that either (a) Sessions is in the tank for Trump, insisting on remaining part of the Cohen probe so that he can spy on prosecutors for POTUS and tie their hands if an opportunity arises, or (b) Sessions is out to get Trump, conspiring with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney to bring down POTUS after giving Rosenstein and Mueller a free hand by recusing himself from Russiagate.

Sessions is finally taking revenge on Trump! Or, Sessions is finally going to bat for Trump!

One theory must be correct. Stay tuned.

NEW: AG Jeff Sessions has decided against recusing himself from the investigation into Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, @cstrohm reports.

By staying involved, Sessions is entitled to briefings on the Cohen investigation, conducted by US Attorney’s Office of Southern District of NY.

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 24, 2018

Literally the first two replies to Jacobs’s tweet as I write this at 1 p.m. ET:

Bloomberg’s story has more details. The case for Sessions to recuse himself from Russiagate is straightforward: He worked on the campaign, he met with Russian officials, he landed in hot water for not remembering all of those meetings in testimony before Congress. Because he could be a witness, he has to step back. The case for recusing himself from the Cohen investigation is weaker. If it’s true that Cohen is being investigated for business activities, that should have no bearing on Sessions. The payment to Stormy Daniels might end up being classified a campaign contribution but there’s no reason to think Sessions knew about it or had anything to do with it. The case for recusal, I guess, would be that he and Cohen both worked on the campaign and that’s enough. Sessions disagrees — for now:

By staying involved in the Cohen probe, Sessions is entitled to briefings on the status of the investigation, which is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York. That could put Sessions in the position of being asked by Trump, who strongly condemned the FBI raid on his longtime lawyer, to divulge information about the Cohen investigation.

Sessions could also weigh in on specific decisions by prosecutors, including whether to pursue subpoenas and indictments. The attorney general may be asked about his role in the Cohen investigation when he testifies before congressional panels on Wednesday and Thursday…

“The attorney general considers his potential recusal on a matter-by-matter basis as may be needed,” the department said in a statement. “To the extent a matter comes to the attention of his office that may warrant consideration of recusal, the attorney general would review the issue and consult with the appropriate Department ethics experts.”

It’s inevitable that Trump is going to lean on Sessions for updates on what’s going on with the Cohen probe. He’s reportedly asked Russiagate witnesses around him what they discussed during their interviews with Mueller. It’s unfathomable that he’d find the self-restraint to avoid pressing Sessions, particularly now that he’s decided (probably correctly) that the Cohen investigation is more of a threat to him than Russiagate is. What’s Sessions going to do then? If Trump tells him to disrupt the probe, it’d be as flagrant a violation of the DOJ’s ethic of maintaining independence from the White House in prosecutions as you could imagine. It might also be criminal; certainly Trump and Sessions would be accused of obstruction of justice. Which means Sessions is in a no-win situation. If he refuses to tell Trump what’s happening in the investigation, he might be fired. If he agrees to update Trump on what prosecutors are doing in an investigation in which Trump himself might be implicated, it’d be an ethical disaster.

Relatedly, Politico published a useful reminder this morning that the feds may have trouble flipping Michael Cohen even if he’s amenable. It goes back to attorney-client privilege. Conversations between Trump and Cohen that didn’t involve legal advice aren’t privileged. Neither are conversations that did involve legal advice but also involved Cohen’s participation in a crime or fraud. Any conversation involving legal advice in which Trump alone admitted to wrongdoing, without any crime or fraud on Cohen’s part, would be privileged, though. That’s at the heart of the concept: You need to be able to admit things to your attorney in confidence so that he can help you mount an effective defense, if necessary. If the Manhattan U.S. Attorney tries to squeeze Cohen on incriminating things that Trump said to him in the course of legal strategizing, that’s a big problem:

Even if Cohen is determined to break his confidences with Trump, legal ethics might deter federal prosecutors from coaxing him to betray his professional confidences with Trump, legal veterans and experts say.

“This idea of ‘flipping’ Cohen — they can’t just flip a lawyer to testify against a client,” longtime defense attorney Harvey Silverglate said. “Even if Cohen doesn’t know better, one would think the FBI and the prosecutors would know better.”…

“It is absolutely the case that, even if he is criminally liable himself, Michael Cohen is not allowed to disclose client confidences learned through the attorney-client relationship about any client without their permission,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a former legal adviser to Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Imagine Michael Cohen getting charged with offenses adding up to, say, 50 years in federal prison, begging the U.S. Attorney to make a deal, and being told that they can’t do it because … he’s a lawyer. Out: The attorney/client privilege as shield. In: The attorney/client privilege as sword!

Watch below as Alan Dershowitz and Jeffrey Toobin agreed on CNN last night that a bald-faced offer by Trump to pardon Michael Cohen if he keeps his mouth shut could plausibly amount to obstruction of justice and might well represent an impeachable offense. It’s not surprising to hear Toobin say that; it is surprising to hear it from Dershowitz, who sometimes seems to operate on TV as though he’s on Trump’s legal team. So long as Trump dangles any such offer obliquely, like, say, by pardoning Scooter Libby out of nowhere and with no formal review process to remind his cronies that he’s willing and able to do such things for them, it’s difficult to prove that that amounted to an offer to Cohen. But, Trump being Trump, there’s a nonzero chance that he’ll just dial Cohen up at some point and say, on a wiretapped call, “Don’t say anything. You’ll be pardoned.” Stay tuned.

By the way, WaPo reported a few days ago that Michael Cohen, who’s had rings around him legally lately by a porn star, was at one point the frontrunner to be White House counsel, one of the most important and powerful legal positions in America. Just the thought makes me want to sniff glue.

The post Hmmm: Sessions won’t recuse himself from Michael Cohen investigation appeared first on Hot Air.

Trump gives Dr. Ronny Jackson his blessing to pull out

Daily Mail - 2 hours 34 min ago
'He's a fine man. I'll always stand behind him,' the president declared, while insisting: 'I'd let it be his choice.' The move will likely shove Jackson out of contention while providing him public justification.

Five-day ICE operation in New Jersey leads to 60 arrest of undocumented immigrants

Daily Mail - 2 hours 36 min ago
Approximately 60 immigrants were detained during a five day period that ended on April 20. ICE claims that those arrested had serious offenses and convictions that ranged.

Uber to test design that will hide passenger's addresses after ride

Daily Mail - 2 hours 37 min ago
Uber has long been criticized for providing drivers with riders’ detailed trip histories, including exact drop-off and pickup addresses. Now, the firm is testing a program to limit the info drivers see.

Melania Trump's white hat inspires hilarious memes

Daily Mail - 2 hours 37 min ago
Melania, 47, wore a white wide-brimmed hat designed by Hervé Pierre at the White House on Tuesday, and people have been comparing her to Beyoncé and Scandal's Olivia Pope.

The moment cops assemble 13 semi-trucks under highway overpass to stop a man from committing suicide

Daily Mail - 2 hours 37 min ago
Police in Michigan had 13 semi-trucks park side-by-side underneath an overpass as an unidentified man threatened to commit suicide around 1am on Tuesday.

Pop Fix sells is selling BOYFRIEND-shaped pool floats

Daily Mail - 2 hours 39 min ago
Pop Fix, a brand of novelty pool inflatables, has debuted a range of 'hunk' pool floats. One has a 'hunk' attached to a ring, making it look like he is cradling the user.

Comey book sells more than 600,000 copies in first week

Daily Mail - 2 hours 42 min ago
Comey signed a $2million deal for the memoir with Flatiron after being fired by President Trump in 2017. Since being published last week, his book, A Higher Loyalty, has sold 600,000 copies.

Toronto van driver's father apologizes for his son's rampage

Daily Mail - 2 hours 47 min ago
Alek Minassian, 25, made his first court appearance today charged with ten counts of first degree murder and 13 of attempted murder. Sitting was his father Vahe Minassian.

MSNBC's Joy Reid Claims Her Website Was Hacked and Bigoted Anti-LGBT Content Added ... (Glenn Greenwald/The Intercept)

Memeorandum - 2 hours 50 min ago

Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept:
MSNBC's Joy Reid Claims Her Website Was Hacked and Bigoted Anti-LGBT Content Added, a Bizarre Story Liberal Outlets Ignore  —  MSNBC weekend host Joy-Ann Reid apologized last December for a series of homophobic blog posts she wrote from 2007 to 2009 about then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist …

Woman tries to zip-line across pool but immediately falls

Daily Mail - 2 hours 50 min ago
A woman was vacationing in Tulum, Mexico when she decided to try the zip-line at a swimming hole. She walked to the edge of the platform and jumped off to begin her ride but her hand quickly slipped.

Today’s hot topics: Macron visit, NYT corrects, confirmation follies, Armenia unrest, and more!

Hot Air - 2 hours 54 min ago

Today on The Ed Morrissey Show (4 pm ET), we have another great lineup for the news of the day! The show will be streamed on Hot Air’s Facebook page and embedded here and on the show page for those who are not on Facebook. (If it’s muted, right-click the video and choose Unmute.)

Join us as we welcome:

  • Andrew Malcolm joins us for Tuesdays with Andrew! The Prince of Twitter and I will discuss all of the hot political stories of the day.
  • A wave of popular unrest has upended Serzh Sarkisian’s ten-year grip on power in the Armenian government. What does that portend for geopolitics in the Caucasus and between Russia and the West? King Banaian joins us to discuss that, the gubernatorial race in Minnesota, and our upcoming event with AM 1280 the Patriot!

The Ed Morrissey Show and its dynamic chatroom can be seen on the permanent TEMS page. Be sure to join us, and don’t forget to keep up with the debate on my Facebook page, too!

How can Republicans and conservatives keep the momentum going? Find out in GOING REDpublished in April from Crown Forum!

The post Today’s hot topics: Macron visit, NYT corrects, confirmation follies, Armenia unrest, and more! appeared first on Hot Air.

Prince said his 'soul left his body' during previous overdose and complained that life was 'boring'

Daily Mail - 2 hours 57 min ago
The singer who was in a relationship with Prince when he passed away told investigators that the singer had been 'depressed' in the days before his death, and told her his soul left his body.

Boy, 14, arrested and charged with aggravated murder 'after shooting dead 11-year-old brother'

Daily Mail - 2 hours 57 min ago
A 14-year-old Ohio boy is locked up at a juvenile detention center after 'purposely' shooting and killing his 11-year-old younger brother.

Bombshell: FEC Records Indicate Hillary Campaign Illegally Laundered $84 Million (Margot Cleveland/The Federalist)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 49 sec ago

Margot Cleveland / The Federalist:
Bombshell: FEC Records Indicate Hillary Campaign Illegally Laundered $84 Million  —  The press continues to feed the dying Russia collusion conspiracy theory, spending Friday's news cycle regurgitating Democrat talking points from the just-filed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit …

We Don't Need No Education - Matt Bevin, the conservative ... (Paul Krugman/New York Times)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 49 sec ago

Paul Krugman / New York Times:
We Don't Need No Education  —  Matt Bevin, the conservative Republican governor of Kentucky, lost it a few days ago.  Thousands of his state's teachers had walked off their jobs, forcing many schools to close for a day, to protest his opposition to increased education funding.

Cannabis users can now test how high they are with a new app designed by scientists 

Daily Mail - 3 hours 2 min ago
Researchers from Chicago developed a prototype called Am I Stoned which helps cannabis users understand how the drug is affecting them through a series of tasks.

Breaking: UK judge denies parents request to take son to Italy for medical treatment

Hot Air - 3 hours 2 min ago

Remember the Charlie Gard case? Parents of the young child had to watch the National Health Service in the United Kingdom allow him to die after refusing to allow the child to leave the country for experimental treatment. The diagnosis was too dire and the case considered too terminal for parental wishes to be considered.

A ghastly rerun is taking place, this time with Alfie Evans, only this time the diagnosis is unclear — and he’s surviving on his own after a court ordered him removed from a ventilator:

Mr Justice Hayden also appeared to rule out his family’s wishes to take the 23-month-old to Italy for treatment.

Alfie has been at the centre of a life-or-death treatment battle, with his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, trying to stop his doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool from withdrawing life support in a sometimes acrimonious six-month dispute which has seen a series of court battles.

Last night life-support was withdrawn but Alfie, who has a degenerative neurological condition destroying his brain, has shocked medics by continuing to breathe unaided for nearly 24 hours with an air ambulance on stand by to fly the child to Italy.

But in a blow to Alfie’s parents and their supporters dubbed Alfie’s Army, Mr Justice Hayden, speaking to lawyers representing Alfie’s parents and Alder Hey Hospital, suggested he has ruled out further treatment in Italy or Germany.

The Associated Press reported earlier today that the Vatican had offered to provide Alfie with medical care. Italy granted Alfie citizenship to try to smooth the process, but the UK has dug in its heels:

The head of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital said the Italian defense ministry had a plane ready to transport Alfie to Italy if he were allowed. In an interview with Italian Radio 24, Mariella Enoc, who travelled to Liverpool to personally try to intervene on behalf of the parents, said she spoke to the Italian ambassador in London who said the plane could leave with him in a matter of minutes.

On Monday, the Italian foreign ministry announced it had granted Alfie Italian citizenship to facilitate his arrival and transport. …

Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” as a result of a degenerative neurological condition doctors have been unable to identify. He was taken off life support after a series of court rulings backed doctors who said further treatment was futile.

Alfie’s parents, Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, want to take him to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital. Doctors at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital believe that would not be in the toddler’s best interests, and British courts have agreed.

And here we have the crux of the issue. One might understand if a state-controlled health care system decided that further treatment would take valuable resources from patients who would benefit more, but that’s not what is happening with Alfie. In this case as with Charlie Gard, the government has not only decided to stop providing any medical assistance to Alfie but to actively prevent his parents from seeking care elsewhere. And all this without a firm diagnosis, and with the curious description of semi-vegetative state, which appears to indicate brain activity is still taking place.

Why is it the court’s business if the parents seek treatment elsewhere, especially from qualified medical facilities like Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital? What does the UK lose if Alfie Evans gets on a plane? Nothing, except the power of life and death over its subjects and the potential for embarrassment if they are proven wrong. That’s already happened, as Alfie unexpectedly survived the withdrawal of the ventilator.

This is an evil decision. It should shame everyone connected to the system which allows such a decision to stand.

The post Breaking: UK judge denies parents request to take son to Italy for medical treatment appeared first on Hot Air.

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