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Here’s What Legal Experts and Former Gov’t. Officials Say Mueller’s Statement on the Buzzfeed Story Means

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Many were stunned to learn that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Friday night issued an extremely rare statement disputing aspects of Buzzfeed’s Thursday bombshell. That bombshell, as you know, says that President Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

First, it’s important to read the statement issued by Mueller’s spokesperson, Peter Carr.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”

So, to be clear, Mueller is not stating the story itself, that the President told Cohen to lie to Congress, is false. He’s saying the way Buzzfeed described “specific statements,” documents, and testimony “are not accurate.”

Here’s what Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith, told Rachel Maddow Friday night:

Also on Maddow, former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who served as the the acting head of the DEA says point blank: “the core of the Buzzfeed story is accurate.”

And here’s what some other legal and experts and former government officials are saying.

Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor and currently a CNN Legal Analyst:

Former Chief Spokesperson for the U.S. Dept. of Defense:

Former National Security Council Spokesperson:

National security journalist Marcy Wheeler:

 

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$15 Minimum Wage Dealt a Blow – Not Allowed in COVID Relief Bill, Senate Parliamentarian Rules

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The Democrats’ plan, engineered by Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to pass a nationwide $15 minimum wage cannot be achieved by including the legislation in the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday evening, CNBC reports.

Democrats intend to pass the relief bill via reconciliation, a method that would require just a simple majority.

Politico reported late last week Sen. Sanders was “confident” the $15 minimum wage could be achieved through the reconciliation process, adding that “President Joe Biden has not been as optimistic as the Vermont independent about the prospects of minimum wage working via reconciliation, though he supports a $15 minimum wage.”

“President Biden has promised to support a standalone bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, but it’s unlikely to get any Republican support,” Axios has also reported.

A $15 minimum wage would life 900,000 people out of poverty.

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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Democrats Pass LGBTQ Equality Act With Support of Just Three Republicans

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House Democrats have passed the historic LGBTQ Equality Act, legislation that expands the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The vote was 224-206. Just three Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to sign the legislation into law during his first 100 days. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be in a position to make that possible, should all Democratic Senators support the bill. 60 votes will be needed under current filibuster rules.

The House also passed similar legislation in May of 2019, but then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Some news outlets are characterizing the bill as offering “sweeping” protections, but contrary to what most Americans believe, LGBTQ people have no federal law offering them specific protections. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers appropriate, not “sweeping” protections.

Recent court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision, have ruled the Civil Right Act applies to LGBTQ people, but the Equality Act will ensure these protections are realized.

In a sign of the further extremism of the Republican Party, the 2019 Equality Act passed with five more GOP votes than it did today.

Two Republicans who voted to pass the bill in 2019 voted against passing today’s bill.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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Right Wingers Outraged Biden Hasn’t Delivered SOTU – Claim It Was Required by Feb. 20 – Capitol Police Issue Warning

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Right wingers on social media are spreading misinformation, falsely claiming President Joe Biden was required to deliver the State of the Union Address, with some claiming a February 20 deadline. Their false claims and the fact-checking responses caused “SOTU” to trend on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

The outrage comes on the same day acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told the House Appropriations Committee right wing extremists, which she called “militia” members, “have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members” of the House and Senate “as possible.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not yet set a date for what would be a joint session of Congress. The President does not deliver a State of the Union address during his first year in office.

The February 20 claim, which is false, apparently originated or was made popular by this Facebook post, which initiated a USA Today fact check stating it is “false information.”

Despite the ignorance of the MAGA crowd and right wingers, the U.S. Constitution is clear, offering little in the way of expectations for an address to Congress.

Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 states the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

No date, mode, or even frequency is mandated. Earlier in U.S. history the President wrote Congress a letter.

Here’s a failed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey suggesting the Constitution requires a State of the Union Address. She claims she is “Asking on behalf of the Constitution.”

This MAGAite suggests President Biden is a “fraud,” and “unelected, illegitimate & totally unfit” because he hasn’t delivered a State of the Union address.

A Washington Times columnist falsely claiming President Biden can’t stand up long enough to deliver an address:

Former NRA spokesperson and pro-gun extremist thinks it was supposed to have been delivered “yesterday.”

“Conservative Christian”:

 

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