Day 106: "Disingenuous."
1/ A federal judge accused the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr of misleading the court about how they decided that Trump should not be charged with obstructing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In a 35-page opinion ordering the release of a March 2019 Office of Legal Counsel memo, Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Barr and department lawyers “disingenuous” for withholding the document, saying the department tried to “obfuscate” the purpose of the memo because Barr and his advisers had already decided they wouldn’t charge Trump with a crime before getting the written advice. “The review of the document reveals that the Attorney General was not then engaged in making a decision about whether the President should be charged with obstruction of justice,” Jackson wrote. “The fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given.” Barr and Justice Department attorneys had argued that the memo was part of the department’s decision-making process that helped Barr decide not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice. Jackson said because Barr had already decided against charging Trump before he got the written advice, the memo could be made public. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNN)
2/ A federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium, ruling that the CDC exceeded it’s authority and should be vacated. The moratorium was due to expire at the end of January, but Biden extended it – first until April and later through June. Federal Judge Dabney Friedrich noted that while Congress had ratified earlier extensions of the moratorium order – aimed at helping victims of the pandemic hold onto their homes – it had not done so for the latest extension, potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. (NBC News / CNBC)
3/ The Biden administration said it supports waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement. “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.” Pharmaceutical companies, however, have opposed the move, saying it won’t solve supply-production problems in the short term, and, until now, the U.S., other wealthy nations, and the European Union have opposed the waiver, saying IP protection creates incentives to innovate. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)
4/ ICE deportations fell to the lowest monthly level on record. In April, ICE deported 2,962 immigrants – a 20% decline from March. Illegal border crossings, however, remain at a 20-year high. (Washington Post)
5/ Trump’s Facebook account will remain suspended for the time being. The company-funded tribunal of outside experts, however, ruled that it was not appropriate to indefinitely suspend Trump, saying “Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty.” In a statement, Trump called the decision “a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our country […] these corrupt social media companies must pay a political price.” Trump also began fundraising off of the Facebook announcement, texting supporters with a link to donate to his fundraising committee. (Politico / USA Today / Washington Post / NBC News)
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