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    U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she had “a spirited debate” after a confrontation with a group of students, who wanted her to support the climate change plan backed by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The New York Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Feinstein, D-California, met the students at her San Francisco office. The students wanted to know why she would not support the Green New Deal, which calls for a dramatic change in U.S. energy policy. In a video posted by the Sunrise Movement, the meeting became contentious when Feinstein began explaining her opposition to the Green New Deal, the Times reported. “There’s no way to pay for it,” Feinstein said. “We have tons of money going to the military,” one girl responded, but Feinstein countered by saying such a measure would not pass in a Republican-controlled Senate. “That resolution will not pass the Senate, and you can take that back to whoever sent you here and tell them,” Feinstein told the students. “I’ve been in the Senate for over a quarter of a century and I know what can pass and I know what can’t pass.” Pressed further, Feinstein, 85, told the students, “You come in here and say: ‘It has to be my way or the highway.’ I don’t respond to that.”  When one student persisted, Feinstein asked her age, the Los Angeles Times reported. When the girl said she was 16, Feinstein said, “Well, you didn’t vote for me,” the newspaper reported. In a statement after the exchange, Feinstein said climate change remained one of her top priorities. “Unfortunately, it was a brief meeting, but I want the children to know they were heard loud and clear,” Feinstein said. “I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation.”
  • Owasso police arrested Cory Childers for indecent exposure Friday around noon. Officers released surveillance pictures earlier this week after a woman says a man exposed himself outside of a grocery store in Owasso last Friday. Childers contacted the Owasso Police Department after seeing the pictures. He was booked into the Owasso City Jail pending transport to the Tulsa County Jail on the felony charge of indecent exposure. 
  • City Council members voted this week to unanimously approve a resolution allowing the city to file lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.  A lawsuit is in the works and if the city wins, or gets a settlement, that money would go towards prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. The City of Owasso joined 14 cities statewide in committing to the litigation process , including Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon and Midwest City.
  • Police are sure the driver had not been drinking before crashing into a tree on the Tulsa side of the Broken Arrow border. That's 145 East Avenue. TPD Cpl. Shawn McGeough says the man had been southbound near East 43 Street around 11:45 p.m. Thursday when he drove off of the roadway. The point of contact with the tree was on the passenger side of the car, but the driver was alone.  “He was transported to Saint John’s by EMSA with very minor non life-threatening injuries,” Cpl. McGeough said. But why did he wreck?  “It is being worked.” FYI: If the crash had happened northbound on 145 East Avenue, BAPD would have investigated.
  • A man is in jail accused of a violent home invasion in Bixby this week. Deputies arrested Brantrell Hurt Thursday. We're told Hurt and another man held a couple at gunpoint in their home near 181st and Memorial. Deputies say the suspects demanded money and pistol-whipped the husband. Documents tell us the victims were able to escape after the suspects stole the husband's wallet. Hurt is in jail on a $60,000 dollar bond.
  • A federal indictment in Tulsa charges 18 members of a white supremacist prison gang with racketeering, drug conspiracy and kidnapping that resulted in at least six homicides since 2005. The indictment unsealed Wednesday says the 18 are members of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, which is described as a violent 'whites only' gang based primarily in Oklahoma prisons. Defendants Randy Seaton, Richard Young, Michael Clinton and Brandy Simmons were arraigned Wednesday and each pleaded not guilty.
  • A California high school senior is fighting a ruling that banned her from wearing her “Make America Great” hat on campus, KGPE reported. >> Read more trending news  Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, belongs to Valley Patriots, a conservative activist group, KOVR reported. The group asked members to wear their MAGA hats Wednesday, but Mueller said school officials denied her permission, citing school dress code rules, the television station reported. Mueller said her First Amendment rights were being violated. “How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?' Mueller told KGPE. 'To my knowledge (President Donald) Trump is not a logo it's a last name, it's just our president. You can't claim the president is a logo, sports team or affiliated with any gang.' Kelly Avants, spokeswoman for the Clovis Unified School District, said the ruling was a matter of safety. 'Bottom line for us is the dress code is for kids to feel safe at school and free of distractions so they can focus on learning.' Avants told KGPE. 'Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater.' According to former federal district judge Oliver Wanger, while Mueller’s First Amendment right is being infringed, the school may have the right to do it. 'If the hat is something that could invoke violence or invoke controversy, then for the sake of the safety for students the school is in their legal right,” KGPE reported Mueller said she will continue to fight the ruling. 'I don't care if I offend anybody, I'm just showing support for the President and what I believe,' Mueller told the television station.
  • Some new regulations are planned to manage drones in Broken Arrow. 14 new rules are planned to protect citizens from harassment and intimidation by drone usage. The rules would be in addition to existing federal regulations. We're told the city has had no complaints on drones. The regulations will be reviewed at the next city council meeting on March 5th. A. This ordinanceprovides for the safe and reasonable usage of drones within City boundaries. It shall be unlawful and a Class A offense to operate a drone: 1. For audio and/or visual recording (including video-recording, live-streaming and photos) where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy; 2. To harass, intimidate, disturb, annoy, threaten, frighten, vex, injure, or victimize a person; 3. Outside of daylight hours (between official local times from sunrise to sunset); 4. More than 400 feet above ground level; 5. Faster than 20 mph; 6. Beyond the visual line of sight of the person operating the drone; 7. Closer than 25 feet to any human being; 8. While under the influence of alcohol or drugs; 9. In a careless or reckless manner that would jeopardize the public; 10. Equipped with hazardous materials or any weapons or items that may be considered to be weapons; 11.In a manner that is prohibited by any federal statute or regulation; 12. In violation of any temporary flight restrictions or “Notice to Airmen” issued by the FAA; 13.In the path of any manned aircraft; 14. In a manner that directly interferes with police, firefighting, or emergency response activities that would jeopardize the integrity of such public safety activities. B. This Ordinance does not prohibit the use of any model aircraft as described in Section 336 of the FAS Modernization and Reform Act of 2002 which does not transmit or record visual images or audio recordings of any person or real property located in the City. C. This ordinance does not apply to the use of drones by law enforcement or public safety agencies. SECTION II. Any ordinance or parts of ordinances found to be in conflict herewith are hereby repealed. PASSED and APPROVED and the emergency clause ruled upon separately this 15th day of January, 2019.
  • The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a car accident is fatal for the Pawnee County Undersheriff.  A swerving driver hit Undersheriff Monty Johnson's car on Highway 18 while he was on duty early Thursday.  We're told the other injured driver should recover.  No charges have been filed.
  • U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced at a news conference in Tulsa on Thursday that he has charged 18 members and associates of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood. “The Universal Aryan Brotherhood operated a lucrative criminal organization from within Oklahoma’s prison walls using contraband cell phones,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. The indictment alleges that the UAB gang members trafficked meth and killed rivals. “The tools of their trade were hate, fear, affliction, and violence. Prosecutors say nine people were murdered as part of the UAB’s racketeering operations  Four suspects were apprehended Monday and Tuesday in Tulsa, while seven others have been transferred from Oklahoma Department of Corrections at McAlester.  The remainder have been arrested or are in the custody of Department of Corrections or Bureau of Prisons facilities.  
  • A Great Dane that died in 1990 helped conceive a litter of puppies born on Valentine’s Day, KHOU reported. >> Read more trending news  Topper was a Great Dane born in 1980. His owner, Marilyn Herdejurgen, had the dog’s semen frozen 34 years ago, the television station reported. Topper died in 1990. It was used to impregnate Herdejurgen’s latest Great Dane, 3-year-old Rubix, KHOU reported. The procedure is not new, but the long gap between the father’s death and the conception is unusual. “I’m not sure, but that’s what they’re saying that these are the oldest puppies that have been produced from the frozen semen,” Herdejurgen told the television station. “It’s strange … that it’s been so long ago, and here these puppies are from him (Topper). It’s pretty exciting. This is, like I said, I think a little miracle.”
  • U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced at a news conference in Tulsa on Thursday that he has charged 18 members and associates of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood. “The Universal Aryan Brotherhood operated a lucrative criminal organization from within Oklahoma’s prison walls using contraband cell phones,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. The indictment alleges that the UAB gang members trafficked meth and killed rivals. “The tools of their trade were hate, fear, affliction, and violence. Prosecutors say nine people were murdered as part of the UAB’s racketeering operations  Four suspects were apprehended Monday and Tuesday in Tulsa, while seven others have been transferred from Oklahoma Department of Corrections at McAlester.  The remainder have been arrested or are in the custody of Department of Corrections or Bureau of Prisons facilities.  
  • Police in Chicago arrested “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett early Thursday on suspicion of lying to authorities when he reported last month that he had been assaulted early on Jan. 29 by a pair of men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. At a news conference Thursday, police said Smollett sent himself a threatening letter and later paid two brothers to attack him in an effort to further his career. “This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. President Donald Trump responded on Twitter Thursday morning to reports that police had arrested Smollett on suspicion of filing a false police report. “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” the president wrote. Smollett told police he was attacked early on Jan. 29 by a pair of white men who yelled that he was in “MAGA country” -- an apparent reference to Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again” -- and that they hit him in the face, poured an “unknown substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, The Associated Press reported. Police arrested Smollett early Thursday on a charge of disorderly conduct after officers said they uncovered evidence he orchestrated the attack to boost his career. Police said Thursday that a pair of brothers who were arrested and later released in connection to the Jan. 29 incident confessed to authorities that they had been paid by Smollett to fake an attack on him. “They punched him a little bit, but as far as we can tell, the scratches and bruises that he had on his  face were self-inflicted,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference. According to officials, Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack, with another $500 promised later. Johnson said officers had by Thursday obtained a copy of the check Smollett paid to the men. “One of the brothers worked on ‘Empire,’ so they had a relationship, an association,” Johnson said. “He probably knew that he needed somebody with bulk. ... (The brothers) did it because of the financial aspect of it.” Police said the brothers confessed to their roles in the attack in the 47th hour of their 48-hour holds after police arrested them last week. On Thursday, officers called them “victims,” and not offenders in the attack. Johnson said the brothers are cooperating witnesses and that, “Mr. Smollett is the one who orchestrated this crime.” “I think the fact that this was staged and that Jussie hired these two guys to stage this ... put them in a really tough party as well, to the point where now they were arrested for a hate crime,” Detective Commander Edward Wodnicki said Thursday. “Only because of just the incredible work by the entire team did we get to the point where we were able to get the truth from them.” Police said Thursday that Smollett sent himself a threatening, homophobic letter in the days before he reported he was attacked by a pair of assailants in downtown Chicago. “This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism” to boost his career, Johnson said. “We do not, nor will we ever tolerate hate in this city.” Police are expected to provide more information in the case at a news conference scheduled for 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. EST) Thursday. Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police on a charge of felony disorderly conduct in falsifying a police report, The Associated Press is reporting. Smollett’s Chicago attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, released a statement following the indictment: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.” The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Jussie Smollett has been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report on Jan.29. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation. The bond hearing has been set for 1:30pm Thursday according to WLS-TV. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that detectives will make contact with his attorneys and negotiate a surrender for his arrest. “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect and detectives are presenting case to grand jury according to the Chief Communications Officer for Chicago Police Department. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the news on Wednesday after Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and detectives. A police official said lawyers for Jussie Smollett are meeting with prosecutors and police investigators about the reported attack on the “Empire” actor.  Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Associated Press the meeting was taking place Wednesday afternoon. He declined to confirm reports that subpoenas had been issued for Smollett’s phone and bank records. Officials with 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment on Wednesday denied reports Smollett was being written out of “Empire” in a statement released to WBBM-TV. “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” the statement said. The comment followed reports that Smollett's role on the show was being slashed amid investigations into the actor's report that he was attacked in Chicago last month. Authorities continue to investigate. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself Monday from the investigation into the reported attack against Smollett, according to WMAQ-TV. In a statement emailed to the station, a spokesperson for Foxx’s office said First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats would instead serve as acting state’s attorney in the case. “Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” the statement said, according to WMAQ-TV. No further information was provided on the reason behind for the recusal. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that authorities determined a tip they were investigating about a possible sighting of Smollett and the brothers who were previously suspected in the attack were unfounded. “It was not supported by video evidence obtained by detectives,” Guglielmi said. Original report: Authorities are investigating a tip that Smollett was seen in an elevator in his apartment building with two men who have since been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack in downtown Chicago, and were subsequently released without charges, police told The Associated Press. The men, who were identified by attorney Gloria Schmidt as brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were released without charges Friday after police said new evidence surfaced in the case, according to CNN and police.  >> 'I will only stand for love': 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett performs in California after attack Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press a person who lives in the building or who was visiting someone there reported seeing the Osundairo brothers with Smollett on the night he was attacked. Guglielmi told the AP that as of Tuesday, officers had yet to confirm the account. Smollett told officers he was attacked around 2 a.m. Jan. 29, as he was walking downtown near the Chicago River. He said two men yelled that he was in “MAGA country” -- an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again” -- and that they hit him in the face, poured an “unknown substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, The Associated Press reported. >> Jussie Smollett's attorneys say he will not meet with investigators, despite reports Guglielmi told the AP that Smollett still had a rope around his neck when officers first made contact with him after the alleged attack. Last week, police announced that the 'investigation had shifted' following interviews with the brothers and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. They have declined to comment on reports that the attack was a hoax, a claim Smollett’s attorneys have denied. 'Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,' Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement late Saturday. Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A soldier from Mississippi had a heartwarming and memorable homecoming Wednesday.  Sgt. Joshua Stokes, of the Mississippi National Guard, surprised his 8-year-old daughter in her classroom after a yearlong tour overseas. Shelby Stokes had no idea what was coming. As far as she knew, her dad had five more weeks of deployment in Kuwait.  The separation was tough for the whole family, but WHBQ-TV was there as Stokes gave his daughter the surprise of a lifetime at DeSoto Central Primary School in Mississippi.  Classmates, teachers and reporters looked on as Stokes approached Shelby from behind and tapped her on the shoulder. She thought she was getting in trouble, but then she quickly realized her father had come home. “I thought it was a teacher. But it wasn’t. It was Daddy,” Shelby said. Shelby jumped into her father’s arms, and the two embraced.  “I’m just happy to see my girl,” Stokes said.  The soldier and his family are heading for some long-overdue time at home. 
  • Tulsa County deputies were serving a warrant near Apache and M.L.K Jr. Blvd. when the suspect took off Wednesday morning. Investigators say the suspect, John McIntosh, was at work when he assaulted a deputy and drove to his home near Hamilton Elementary School. McIntosh then took off again and climbed the roof of the school near Virgin and Sheridan. Hamilton Elementary and Tulsa MET Junior & Senior High School were put on lockdown. Deputies were eventually able to get McIntosh off the roof and place him under arrest.

Washington Insider

  • Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled their one page plan on Friday to overturn President Donald Trump's bid to funnel more money to a border wall by declaring a national emergency, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters said the House would vote next Tuesday to block the President's executive actions on funding for the wall. 'Members of Congress all swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution,' the Speaker said. 'The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,' Pelosi wrote earlier this week in a letter to fellow Democrats. Democrats said they already have more than a majority of members signed on to the one page resolution to reject the Trump national emergency. 'We hope that enough of our normal Republican enablers will join us to stand up for the Constitution,' said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). 'If not, we’re ready to turn to the courthouse.' As of Friday, only one Republican in the House had signed on to the plan to reject the President’s national emergency, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). “Trump’s absurd declaration of a “national emergency” undercuts the Constitution,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), as approval in the House would send the plan to the Senate. Under special rules governing this process, GOP leaders would not be able to ignore the House action, as a vote must take place on the resolution. But even if it passes in the Senate, a veto is likely by President Trump, and at this point - it seems unlikely that Democrats could muster enough GOP votes for a two-thirds supermajority to override a veto.
  • Federal prosecutors in California unveiled criminal charges on Thursday against an IRS investigator for leaking suspicious financial reports associated with President Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, allegedly giving banking information on Cohen to lawyer Michael Avenatti, who was then locked in a legal fight with the President over hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. An investigative analyst for the IRS Criminal Investigative Division in San Francisco, John Fry is alleged to have searched files for 'Suspicious Activity Reports' about Cohen, giving the information to Avenatti, who then tweeted out the material on May 8, 2018. The criminal complaint charges that the information Fry released was later published by the Washington Post on May 8, and then by the New Yorker on May 16. It was not immediately clear how Fry and Avenatti knew each other. The information which was released centered on a series of banking transactions involving Cohen - which had been flagged by federal officials - totaling over $6 million, and included questions about possible 'fraudulent and illegal financial transactions' by Cohen in 'Singapore, Hungary, Malaysia, Canada, Taiwan, Kenya, and Israel.' The feds allege that Avenatti then funneled the information to the Washington Post; a few days later, Fry and 'Reporter-1' - Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker - exchanged a series of WhatsApp messages about the same banking information. In the days that followed, Avenatti tried to create more media interest in the story by tweeting about the information. 'Why is no media outlet doing a story on the refusal of the Treasury Department to release to the public the 3 Suspicious Activity Reports that were filed concerning Essential Consultants, LLC's bank account?' Avenatti tweeted on May 9, 2018. After the release of the Fry charges on Thursday, Avenatti denied wrongdoing. 'Neither I nor R. Farrow (Reporter-1) did anything wrong or illegal with the financial info relating to Cohen’s crimes,' Avenatti said on Twitter in a post on Thursday evening, as he claimed that Fry had not violated the Bank Secrecy Act by disclosing the SAR information. Prosecutors said if Fry was convicted, he could face a maximum of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000. This is the second time charges have been brought in the past year over leaks of bank transaction information about people with links to President Trump. In October of 2018, charges were filed against an official in the Treasury Department for illegally leaking financial information about bank transactions by certain people involved in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Those disclosures by Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior official in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, pertained to 'suspicious transactions' related to Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, Russian diplomatic accounts, and other matters. 'At the time of EDWARDS’s arrest, she was in possession of a flash drive appearing to be the flash drive on which she saved the unlawfully disclosed SARs, and a cellphone containing numerous communications over an encrypted application in which she transmitted SARs and other sensitive government information to Reporter-1,' the Justice Department said at the time. That 'Reporter-1' was also Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker.
  • After arguing for months that allegations of election fraud had nothing to do with his disputed victory in a race for Congress in North Carolina, Republican Mark Harris on Thursday called for a new election, a day after his son had testified that he had warned his father not to employ a local political operative because of concerns about possible illegal voting activities. An hour later, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously to do exactly that, ordering a new election for the Ninth Congressional District. The developments came on  the fourth day of a hearing before the board -  Harris testified in the morning, but instead of resuming that testimony in the afternoon, he told board members a new election was needed in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. 'I believe a new election should be called,' Harris said. 'It has become clear to me that the public's confidence in the Ninth District seat general election has been undermined.' Harris refused to answer questions from reporters as he left the hearing room. The call for a new election came after board members said the Harris campaign had withheld documents from investigators, and in the wake of damning testimony from Harris' own son - a federal prosecutor - who said Wednesday that he had specifically warned his father not to employ Leslie McCrae Dowless to run an absentee ballot operation for his election. 'We support our candidates decision in this matter,' said Dallas Woodhouse, the head of the North Carolina Republican Party.  It was an about face for Woodhouse, who had sternly defended Harris for months, as Republicans said Harris should have been declared the winner, and sent to Congress. 'We are dealing with a limited number of ballots that are nowhere close to bringing the election result into question,' Woodhouse said just two days ago. 'Perhaps we should let @MarkHarrisNC9‘s team present their side of the case first,' Woodhouse tweeted just an hour before Harris called for a new election. It wasn't immediately clear if Harris would try to run in any new election. Harris won by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but in the days after the election, questions were raised about odd absentee ballot results in Bladen County, North Carolina, which favored Harris in a variety of abnormal ways. Evidence surfaced of a questionable absentee ballot operation run by Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was employed by a political firm allied with Harris. Dowless refused to testify at the state elections board hearing.
  • Recovering from recent shoulder surgery, and with plans to testify before at least three Congressional committees, Michael Cohen was granted an extra sixty days by a federal judge to report to prison to serve his three year sentence for campaign finance violations and lying to Congress in a case that has drawn the personal ire of President Donald Trump. 'Given Mr. Cohen's recent surgery and his health and recovery needs, at this time Defendant requests an extension of his reporting date for sixty (60) days,' lawyers for Cohen wrote in a request to Judge William H. Pauley, III, who approved it on Wednesday morning. 'Mr. Cohen also anticipates being called to testify before three (3) Congressional committees at the end of the month,' the letter continued - no dates have yet been set for that testimony, which is expected to occur before the House and Senate intelligence committees, along with the House Oversight Committee. On Wednesday night, Democrats set the first public hearing for Cohen next Wednesday, before the House Oversight Committee. Cohen plead guilty last year to charges in two different criminal matters - first, lying to Congress about the extent of contacts during 2016 between the Trump Organization and developers in Russia looking to build a Trump Tower Moscow, and second, over campaign finance violations surrounding hush money payments made to two women before the elections, to keep them quiet about their affairs with Mr. Trump. Cohen told a federal judge that he paid money to two women at the direction of a specific candidate for federal office, and coordinated “with one or more members of the campaign.” That person was referred to only as 'Individual-1,' which from the court documents was obviously President Trump. With testimony still ahead in Congress by Cohen - GOP lawmakers who have steadfastly defended the President in the Russia investigation - have already started to attack Cohen. “When Cohen appears before our Committee, we can only assume that he will continue his pattern of deceit and perjury,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), in a letter to the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. A day after his Oversight testimony, Cohen will appear before the House Intelligence Committee for a closed door session. President Trump has alternately denied wrongdoing in his work with Cohen, and attacked his former lawyer as a ‘rat.’ “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” the President tweeted last year.
  • In a historic first from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justices ruled unanimously on Wednesday that the Eighth Amendment ban on excessive fines does apply to state and local governments, ruling in favor of an Indiana man who had his expensive car seized by police after he was arrested for a small amount illegal drugs. Writing for the High Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said 'the protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority' found in the Eighth Amendment. Originally, the Bill of Rights was intended only to be applied to the federal government - but over time, the courts have ruled that it also applies to the states, and this was the first time the U.S. Supreme Court took that step when it comes to the issue of police and civil seizures. “For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history,' Ginsburg wrote. 'Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties.' At issue was a Land Rover SUV that Tyson Timbs had purchased before his arrest, with money from an insurance policy after the death of his father. Under Indiana guidelines, the maximum monetary fine which could be levied against Timbs for his crime of dealing in a controlled substance was $10,000 - but the car was worth more than four times that amount. Reaction was swift in favor of the ruling, as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund labeled it, “A huge victory for criminal justice reform.”