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The Story: Jill Abramson has written a book, Merchants of Truth, about the changes in the news business in...
Donald Trump will deny having ever discussed former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn with former FBI director James Comey, if he is questioned about it in a sit down interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Comey testified to senators in last year that Trump told him during an Oval Office meeting that he wished Comey would drop a probe into Flynn’s contact with Russian diplomats before Trump was sworn in as president. The conversation underpins any potential obstruction of justice claim that Mueller may bring as part of the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Giuliani’s comments on Sunday appear to contradict a previous appearanceon ABC last month, in which he said Trump did not directly ask Comey to drop the investigation but offered a more nuanced, ‘Can you give him a break?’ that in his experience as a prosecutor “doesn’t determine not going forward”. “There was no conversation about Michael Flynn. The President didn’t find out that Comey believed there was until about, I think, it was February when it supposedly took place. Memo came out in May. “Then all of the sudden in May he says he felt obstructed. “The president says he never told Comey he should go easy on Flynn. “So if he goes in and testifies to that under oath, instead of this being a dispute, they can say it’s perjury.” Giuliani gave further insight into the Trump team’s thinking, softening claims that a sitting president can never be subjected to obstruction of justice complaints.
Donald Trump is considering which of his conservative picks for the supreme court he will to nominate to take the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy this week. During a pivotal reconsideration of the rights secured by Roe v Wade in 1992, Kennedy upset the anti-abortion movement by casting the crucial vote to uphold a woman’s right to choose. He defended it again 2006. Trump’s shortlist has more conservative legal minds, many of whom have been open about their anti-choice views. In 2016, however, Kennedy’s vote proved pivotal when the court upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action programs, which used race as one of its admissions factors. LGBT rights Kennedy might be best known for penning the majority opinion in Lawrence v Texas in 2003, which argued for respect for the private lives of a gay couple and subsequently all couples, same-sex or not. He followed that up with writing the majority opinion of the court in Obergefell v Hodges providing the legal basis for same-sex marriage. The current fifth circuit court judge and former Texas supreme court judge Don Willett, who is on the shortlist, mocked same-sex marriage in a tweet that said: “I could support recognizing a constitutional right to marry bacon.” Civil rights and national security On two separate occasions, Kennedy demonstrated his penchant for retaining the writ of habeas corpus, the right for a person in detention to challenge that detention if they deem it to be unlawful. In the case of Rasul v Bush he concurred with the majority that Congress should ensure that Guantánamo prisoners can petition for habeas corpus. America has Justice Kennedy to thank for penning that decision.