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Judge Andrew Napolitano: Barr can’t legally release the full Mueller report, and here’s why

Judge Andrew Napolitano has weighed in on the forthcoming release of the Mueller report, providing a legal explanation for why it's paramount that Attorney General William Barr keep some elements of the investigation private. The Fox News senior judicial analyst made the case as Democrats are planning to subpoena the unredacted Mueller report, which will put the Attorney General in a position with several options. Knowing him, I don't think he will," Judge Nap said Tuesday morning on "Fox & Friends." "He can't release materials about ongoing investigations, classified materials, disputes among prosecutors as to the meaning of the law," Napolitano continued. "So there's 400 pages in there, expect nearly half of them. Remember, Bob Mueller indicted 37 people and probably investigated more than that and many of them were not indicted, and material about them can't be released." Judge Nap went on to discuss how James Comey violated the section of federal rules of criminal procedure which prohibits the release of information on those not being charged when he went public about then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account when she was secretary of state. He added the Democratic push for the full release of the Mueller report is not a legal argument at this point, but a political one. They don't need to know it, they want to know it for political reasons." Should the subpoena for the unredacted report move on to a federal judge, the judge will have to decide whether or not the public's right to know the full results of the Mueller investigation outweights President Trump's right to privacy.

Stephen Moore: legal file on Trump Fed pick sealed after contempt revelations

Legal filings detailing how Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s pick for a Federal Reserve board seat, was found in contempt of court have been hidden from the public following a report by the Guardian. The entire file on Moore’s divorce was sealed by a court order on Monday in response to a request from Moore’s ex-wife, according to a clerk at Fairfax county circuit court in Virginia. CNBC first reported the file had been sealed. Documents from the file were copied by a Guardian reporter last week at the courthouse before the request to seal was made. If Moore is formally nominated he must be confirmed by the US Senate. This prompted the judge to order the sale of his house to satisfy the debt in 2013. In a signed response from April 2011, Moore said that he “admits all allegations” in his ex-wife’s divorce complaint. Moore said: “Allison Moore and I were married for 19 years and have three wonderful sons whom we have co-parented. Our divorce was settled amicably many years ago and we remain on friendly terms to this day. I am happy to speak to the media on any matters related to the economy or my views on the Fed.” Allison Moore said: “Steve Moore and I reconciled through our divorce many years ago and we would hope the media would respect our privacy.

Support for US Cannabis Legalization Reaches New High, Poll Finds

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, underscoring a national shift as more states embrace cannabis for medical or adult use. Support for legal marijuana hit 61 percent in 2018, up from 57 percent two years ago, according to the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring support for legal marijuana since the 1970s. Among Democrats, 76 percent now favor legalization. Legalization advocates say the increasing public support should prompt the U.S. government to reverse course. At the federal level, marijuana is categorized as a dangerous illegal drug, similar to LSD or heroin. “Our time has come,” said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition.” Support for legalization is strongest among 18-to-34-year-olds, with nearly 75 percent favoring it. Views on marijuana legalization have shifted dramatically: In the 1973 GSS, just 19 percent supported legalization. Support for legalization has been gradually growing for years, but it has increased sharply since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Sample sizes for each year’s survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Census question on citizenship ruled illegal by 2nd judge

A San Francisco-based district court judge in the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday ruled that the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census "threatens the very foundation of our democratic system" because it would cause a significant undercount of immigrants and Latinos that could distort the distribution of congressional seats. The ruling by Judge Richard Seeborg, which will head to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if challenged by the government, said the Commerce secretary's decision to add the question was arbitrary and capricious and would violate a constitutional requirement that the census accurately count the U.S. population. "Indeed, I have argued in a brief filed in the Supreme Court that the 'excluding Indians not taxed' language in the [Constitution's] apportionment clause requires that only citizens be counted. Furman also found the question violated administrative requirements, but he rejected an argument that it violated the Constitution. The clause states, "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons." Seeborg ruled in lawsuits by California and several cities in the state that asserted the citizenship question was politically motivated and should be kept off the census. Census numbers are used to determine states' distribution of congressional seats and billions of dollars in federal funding. The Justice Department had argued that census officials take steps such as making in-person follow-up visits to get an accurate count. The Trump administration announced last March it would include a citizenship question on the 2020 count, saying the Justice Department requested its inclusion to help with enforcement of voting rights laws. Seeborg rejected the claim that the citizenship question stemmed from a request by the Justice Department, calling that a "pretext" for the real reason to add it.

Washington state: at least 20 county sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws

At least 20 county sheriffs in Washington state – more than half of the state’s total – are now publicly refusing to police new gun laws. Several county governments have also passed local resolutions officially opposing enforcement of the laws. But all of these positions add up to a refusal to enforce I1639 in the form in which it was passed by Washington voters. Only four county sheriffs so far have publicly committed to enforcing the laws. Sheriffs in 21 of Washinton State’s 39 counties so far, have said that they will not enforce new laws restricting the use of assault weapons Counties that will enforce I1639 Counties that will not Seattle Sheriff Brad Thurman of Cowlitz County has cited a legal challenge by the NRA Klickitat County Sheriff, Bob Songer, has stated that he would consider preventing agencies in other counties from enforcing I1639 Counties that will enforce I1639 Counties that will not Whatcom Jefferson Okanogan Snohomish Chelan Seattle King Sheriff Brad Thurman of Cowlitz County has cited a legal challenge by the NRA Pierce Lincoln Spokane Grant Lewis Adams Yakima Klickitat County Sheriff, Bob Songer, has stated that he would consider preventing agencies in other counties from enforcing I1639 Clark Walla Walla Guardian graphic Meanwhile, several rural county governments – including Cowlitz, Franklin and Stevens Counties – have now passed resolutions opposing enforcement of I1639. County commissioners passing resolutions in opposition to the laws have electoral incentives for doing so in parts of the state where gun reform is not popular with voters, but they have also been subject to intense lobbying efforts by rightwing second amendment activists. In a video of a speech in Island county, Gibson urged locals “to bring the power back to a local level” by refusing laws which he described as unconstitutional. Gibson did not respond to questions seeking to clarify his views on the constitution. The rally will be addressed by Spokane Valley-based representative, Matt Shea. Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson has admonished law enforcement officers in an open letter.

Three Louisiana State Police commissioners under probe for possible unlawful political donations

State Police Commission Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr., and commissioners Jared J. Caruso-Riecke and Chief Harold Pierite, Sr., were accused at the board's monthly meeting on Thursday of making donations that violate the same rules the board is tasked with investigating and reviewing for troopers. In an interview on Friday, Pierite said his campaign contributions don't violate commission rules or state law. +3 Former State Police trooper Leon "Bucky" Millet raised concerns about the campaign contributions made by the three commissioners at the board's meeting Thursday. While Simien and Caruso-Riecke have not personally made campaign contributions during their terms, contributions were made by their companies, according to Louisiana Ethics Administration records. Simien asked that each of the members implicated, including himself, do the same. Pierite's donations are in his name and show donations totaling $120 to the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Political Action Committee in 2017, according to Louisiana Ethics Administration records. Simien tasked the commission's Executive Director Jason Hannaman to conduct an investigation into the allegations and report back with the findings. Millet also filed a complaint with the board over an $800 check that the Louisiana Ethics Administration reported came from Louisiana Troopers Charities to the Acadiana Strong Political Action Committee. He said they are looking into the check, but haven't been able to find its origin as of Friday. The commission plans to address that allegation at February's meeting.

Number of legal challenges to Wisconsin lame-duck laws grows

The newest lawsuit, filed by the League of Women Voters, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities and three Wisconsin voters, alleges the method by which the Legislature passed the bills — an extraordinary session — is unconstitutional, therefore rendering anything passed during the session invalid. The Legislature adopted a joint rule in 1977 allowing an extraordinary session to be called during a committee work period or after the expiration of the last scheduled floor period. Lawyers for the challengers argue there is no provision in the state constitution or in state law allowing the Legislature to convene in extraordinary session. "The text of the Wisconsin Constitution is unambiguous. The Legislature does not have the authority to convene itself in an ‘extraordinary session.’ Because the session was unconstitutional, all business conducted during the ‘extraordinary session’ is illegal and, therefore, void. Votes on the bills came after hours of delays that kept lawmakers in the Capitol overnight as Republicans worked behind closed doors to strike agreements on the proposals. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said Assembly leaders and staff have made accommodations for Anderson every time he's asked. Modifications were also made to Anderson's microphone and voting buttons so he can participate in debates and votes, Steineke said. Steineke said Anderson never made it clear what he needed during the extraordinary session. Asked about Steineke's response, Anderson said he sat down with Republican leadership at the start of his first session to let them know what he would need in order to fully participate as a legislator, including his wheelchair time constraints.

Teachers who talk politics in class could be fired if state lawmaker’s bill passes

House Bill 2002 would direct the State Board of Education to devise a code of ethics for educators that would include provisions forbidding the spread of political and religious messages in public district and charter schools. The ethics code would explicitly ban teachers from endorsing political candidates, legislation or judicial action in the classroom. It could also increase law enforcement and military recruiter access to students, and it would restrict teachers from teaching "controversial issues" or blaming one racial group of students for the "suffering or inequities" of another racial group. Introducing "controversial issues" in class not related to the course being taught. Advocating for one side of a controversial issue. The bill states that the ethics code would apply to all "certificated" teachers in the state. Not all public school teachers in Arizona are certified: State law doesn't require charter school teachers to be certified. A ban on politics in the classroom is hardly unprecedented. Earlier this year, some Arizona districts, with that law in mind, warned teachers about wearing #RedForEd shirts in the classroom. This part of the bill seems to be a callback to the state's so-called ethnic studies ban, a controversial law banning classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government; promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Facebook, Google to pay Washington $450,000 to settle lawsuits over political-ad transparency

Tech giants Facebook and Google will pay Washington state more than $450,000 to settle twin lawsuits filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson accusing the companies of failure to abide by state laws on political advertising transparency. In the settlements, filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court, the companies did not admit any violations of state law, but agreed to pay $200,000 each to end the legal disputes. Ferguson’s office filed the lawsuits in June, citing longstanding state law that requires media companies to collect and make public detailed information about political ads. I am pretty shocked by that, honestly,” Edwards said, questioning whether the state gained any assurances of compliance by the companies. He said he takes Edwards’ criticisms “with a grain of salt” and that the size of the settlements was proper given the allegations. Ferguson added: “If there is not full and complete disclosure going forward, Facebook and Google will hear from my office again.” The lawsuits have already had some effect, as Google stopped accepting political ads for state and local races in Washington days after the complaint was filed in June. In stopping those ads, the company cited emergency rules issued by the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that clarified that the state law applies to digital firms, which must make information about political ads available as soon as they are published, including viewership data and the geographic areas targeted. “At that point, we paused accepting election advertising in Washington because our systems weren’t built to comply with these new requirements. Meanwhile, Facebook has continued to accept political ads in Washington, with the company pointing to its voluntary efforts to disclose more information even while its attorneys argued the state regulations were pre-empted by federal law. But Ferguson said the information provided by the archive has not been adequate to comply with Washington’s rules — failing, for example, to provide enough information on who bought ads and the precise amount of payments.