After taking the weekend to pore over the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr has sent Congress his four-page summary of the "principal conclusions" from special counsel Robert Mueller's 675-day investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia. The bottom line, according to AG Barr:
"The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
On the question of obstruction of justice, Barr writes that while Mueller's report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence "is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense," noting that the government would have to prove such a case "beyond a reasonable doubt." Does this tell us anything new?
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Los Angeles charged attorney Michael Avenatti nearly simultaneously in two criminal cases Monday, unsealing complaints that alleged he attempted to extort more than $20 million from Nike and that he committed wire and bank fraud. Avenatti was arrested Monday afternoon in Manhattan, law enforcement officials told CNN. He was released on a $300,000 bond Monday night and said outside federal court that he is "highly confident" that he will be "fully exonerated." And according to the LA Times and other sources, Mark Geragos has gone from celebrity lawyer to alleged "un-indicted co-conspirator" in the Avenatti case. Whom can we trust, and whom can we believe? This sounds a lot like "A Tale of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
According to MintPress News, Venezuelan authorities have alleged that self-proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido and other opposition leaders were involved in a plot to carry out acts of terrorism employing foreign paramilitaries trained in Colombia. Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented what he claimed to be evidence of "ultra-right plans to promote regime change." According to Rodriguez, Venezuelan intelligence services uncovered plans to contract mercenaries from Colombia and Central America and bring them into Venezuela to execute targeted killings and acts of sabotage, adding that "at least half" of the armed groups managed to make their way into Venezuelan territory and are currently being sought by authorities. What are we to make of these latest accusations?
Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that it is siding with a district court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The DOJ previously argued in court that the law's pre-existing condition protections should be struck down. Now, the administration argues the entire law should be invalidated. How will this play politically, and what does it mean for the future of the ACA?
Dr. Lenneal Henderson — Adjunct professor of government at the College of William and Mary and Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore.
Jackie Luqman — Co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook live-stream "Coffee, Current Events & Politics."
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."
Eugene Craig III — Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.
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