It's Friday, so that means it's panel time.
Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, entitled "Report on The Investigation Into Russian interference in the 2016 election," to Congress and the public. Before the report was released, Barr held a press conference or what appeared to be more of a spin session with reporters. "The report did not exonerate the president" — here I think it's important for people to understand the difference between the criminal side of this investigation and the impeachment side of this investigation. Mueller whiffed on a crucial legal question. The special counsel's report spans more than 400 pages. However, only 12 pages are dedicated to a critical question: Can the federal obstruction of justice statute apply to the president? Mueller treated this question-which is separate from whether a sitting president can be indicted-in an underwhelming fashion. He had simply concluded that the obstruction statute does not apply to the president. There is no reason to detail whether the president violated federal law, if the federal law does not apply to the president.
The rector for Notre Dame Cathedral says a "computer glitch" may have been the cause of the massive fire on Monday. Rector Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate on the glitch but added that investigators may find out what happened in two or three months. On Thursday, investigators said they think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire. French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to set out reconstruction ideas Friday while meeting with officials from the United Nations' cultural agency.
The man accused of burning down three churches in Louisiana has been charged with hate crimes. St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor filed the charges against Holden Matthews on Monday. Last week, Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a local sheriff's deputy, was arrested and charged with three counts of arson for setting fires at St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26, Greater Union Baptist Church on April 2 and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4.
US President Donald Trump does not support a bipartisan effort to halt US support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. For the second time, Trump has issued a veto of a congressional invocation of the War Powers Resolution. In a statement, Trump called the measure "unnecessary" because the US military hasn't engaged in the Yemen war apart from some counterterrorism missions. However, Saudi Arabia gets support from the American military in the conflict. Trump wrote in the statement that the resolution would interfere with his ability to act as commander in chief. He also said it would impair the military's ability to conduct effective and efficient engagements.
In Alex Rubinstein's MintPress News article "The Assange Poop Smear Was Concocted to Cover Ecuador's $4.2 B IMF Loan," he states, "Now that journalist Julian Assange is in the hands of Western authorities thanks to Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, their media lapdogs are scraping from the bottom of the barrel to smear the WikiLeaks editor with increasingly absurd claims. While Assange is no stranger to smears, this set is particularly distasteful. It started with Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, who told reporters on the day of Assange's arrest that he was 'putting feces on the walls of the embassy and other behaviors of that nature'… The poop smear serves an effective propaganda purpose: it deflects from the real scandal." We'll discuss the real scandal.
Jim Kavanagh — political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.
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