BREAKING: In Gift to Religious Right Trump Institutes Sweeping Rollback of ObamaCare Contraception Mandate
In a tremendous gift to the religious right, PresidentÂ Donald Trump has just instituted a sweeping rollback of an ObamaCare mandate requiring most employers to provide contraception as part of their health insurance programs, at no cost to the employee. Religious right groups have long opposed the mandate, insisting it violates their religious beliefs. That opposition has extended to the absurd claim that even filing a form requesting an exemption was religious oppression.
Now, nearly any employer â€“Â not just faith-based organizations or companies â€“Â can claim a religious or moral objection, based on this new guidance, and refuse to cover contraception. Many women require contraception services not to prevent pregnancy but to treat other health issues.Â
“Senior Justice Department officials said the guidance was merely meant to offer interpretation and clarification of existing law. But the interpretation seemed to be particularly favorable to religious entities, possibly at the expense of women, LGBT people and others,” TheÂ Washington Post reports.
The impact will be extensive.
“Now any womanâ€™s boss can object to covering contraception on moral grounds,” HuffPost’s Laura Bassett reports, notingÂ 62 million women are affected.Â
InÂ explaining the move the White House falsely claims that making contraceptionÂ accessible “could promote ‘risky sexual behavior’ among adolescents.”
HuffPost notes that mandating no-cost contraception “saved women $1.4 billion on birth control in the first year it went into effect, which has contributed to an all-time low in unintended pregnancy andÂ the lowest U.S. abortion rateÂ since the procedure became legal in 1973.”
“Women’s health advocates have already promised lawsuits to block the new rules, which take effect immediately,”Â Politico adds.
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Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
RELATED: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
A former top Dept. of Justice official says a federal judge’s expedited ruling ordering an attorney for Donald Trump to testify against his client before a grand jury and hand over documents very well may be related to “national security.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case Donald Trump may have committed a crime, via his attorneys, in his classified documents case. That finding allowed her to invoke the crime-fraud exception, and order Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents.
Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and headed the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC said it’s possible Judge Howell’s expedited decisions were related to national security.
Tuesday night Judge Howell ordered DOJ to provide information by 6:00 AM Wednesday.
READ MORE: Jim Jordan’s Attack on Manhattan DA Will ‘Backfire’ and Allow Democrats to Expose Coordination With Trump: Columnist
Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, and Wednesday afternoon the Appeals Court denied his appeal related to the documents, Politico reports.
“I’ve never seen anything that quick. It’s very hard to know why. I have to say, to me, when I think about what can be a plausible reason– and this is pure speculation – is that there must be something in the papers that gave the judges concern about national security implications, because it’s such a short timeframe.”
“The reason this is a bombshell is you could end up with Evan Corcoran as a key, fundamental witness against Donald Trump in an obstruction of justice case and a false statements case,” Weissmann adds.
According to Politico, Wednesday’s appeals court ruling “effectively permits the Justice Department to circumvent Trump’s attorney-client privilege after a lower-court judge found that the documents likely contain evidence of a crime.”
NEW: Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
This article was updated to correctly spell Andrew Weissmann’s last name.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Appeals After Judge Agrees With Special Counsel on Crime-Fraud Exception and Requires His Attorney to Testify
Donald Trump’s attorneys have appealed a ruling that requires one of his lawyers to testify before a grand jury investigating his unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents from the White House.
Attorneys for the Special Counsel “said there is evidence of a deliberate effort not to turn over all the material covered by the subpoena,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had reportedly agreed with Special Counsel Smith that there is sufficient evidence proving Donald Trump may have committed a crime via his attorneys, and ruled his attorney must testify before a grand jury. The ruling, which was not made public, was handed down Friday night, NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Howell “ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception to Trump’s attorney-client privilege and ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.”
READ MORE: ‘On Standby’: Experts Say Manhattan Hush Money Grand Jury Delay ‘Not All That Surprising’
Trump’s attorneys have already appealed the ruling.
“People familiar with the matter said an appeals panel has already begun reviewing the decision, after Trump’s lawyers appealed,” The Washington Post adds. “The extraordinarily quick timeline suggests that the judges — all nominated by Democratic presidents — intend to rule swiftly.”
Trump could take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but The Post says it’s “not clear he would have a much better chance of success there.”
According to an NBC News report from October, Corcoran directed another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, to sign the letter claiming a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been made and all classified or “sensitive” documents had been returned. That was proven untrue after federal agents, executing a search warrant, recovered hundreds of documents with classified markings.
NEW: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
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