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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Barr Blasts Social Media’s ‘Bait and Switch’ and ‘Censorship’ as Trump Suggests He’d Shut Down Twitter

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Attorney General Bill Barr Thursday afternoon blasted tech giants and social media companies for engaging in a “bait and switch” and “censorship” as President Donald Trump signed his anti-social media executive order. The executive order comes just days after Twitter appended a “get the facts” label on two of the President’s tweets. Those tweets were part of his ongoing voter suppression campaign and were mostly if not totally false.

The executive order is likely to come under tremendous scrutiny and may see a lawsuit, as the President even suggested.

“I have so much influence over Twitter,” Trump declared, saying, “if Twitter were not honorable I think you shut it down as far as I’m concerned.”

Related: Draft of Trump Executive Order Would Have Barr and White House Collect Information on Social Media Users: Reports

Trump said he would consult with attorneys before taking such action, but he also said hem was contemplating setting up another social media platform.

Twitter is a private company and the President does not have the power to shut it down.

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This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

GOP Launches Witch Hunt Demanding Investigation Into Highly-Respected University Professor’s Tweets

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Republicans in Virginia are demanding that University of Virginia President James E. Ryan open an investigation into tweets by Center for Politics founder Dr. Larry Sabato.

“A reasonable taxpaying citizen can readily conclude that Dr. Sabato is demonstrating the rankest form of bitter partisanship,” Virginia GOP Chair Rich Anderson wrote in a letter printed on Republican Party of Virginia letterhead.

“In order to have faith in our institutions, it is essential that Virginians hold accountable those public employees and officials who violate institutional values, codes of conduct, and other guidelines of professional behavior.”

A spokesperson for the university said Sabato has done nothing wrong.

“There is nothing in our Code of Conduct that limits University employees from engaging in expression that is protected under the First Amendment,” the spokesman said.

Anderson complained about eight tweets by Sabato. The first noted Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

The second tweet concerned Trump’s fact-free approach to presidential debates.

The third tweet was in the context of Trump hoping to bring back executions by firing squad while facing accusations of extreme tax fraud. It was in the comments of a Daily Beast story.

The fourth tweet questioned Trump’s sanity after he released a 46-minute video pushing his “Big Lie” of voter fraud.

The fifth tweet praised a return to normalcy “after 4 years of the bizarre and disturbing.”

The sixth tweet returned to the question of Trump’s mental health in the context of the delusional conspiracy theory that he will be “reinstated” as president in August in violation of the Constitution.

The seventh tweet concerned Glenn Youngkin, who is worth hundreds of millions after working as the co-CEO of the private-equity firm The Carlyle Group. Youngkin is now running for governor of Virginia.

The final tweet the GOP believes should result in an investigation concerned Trump’s choice of music at his campaign-style rallies.

 

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

‘Highly Unusual and Unrelenting’: Bill Barr Waged a Secret Court Battle With CNN to Obtain Reporter’s Email Logs

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CNN’s lead attorney revealed this Wednesday that the Trump administration battled with the network for half a year to obtain the email record of a reporter, and demanded that it all be done in secret.

In July of 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr demanded two months’ of CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s 2017 email logs. According to CNN, the pursuit represented “a highly unusual and unrelenting push for journalists’ records,” which included “putting CNN general counsel David Vigilante under a gag order prohibiting him from sharing any details about the government’s efforts with anyone beyond the network’s president, top attorneys at CNN’s corporate parent and attorneys at an outside law firm.”

While CNN acknowledges that it’s not uncommon for a media organization to be subpoenaed for a reporter’s records, what stands apart “is the total secrecy that surrounded the order, the months-long court proceeding and the Trump administration’s unwillingness to negotiate.”

Read the full report over at CNN.

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Trump’s DOJ Covertly Collected Award Winning CNN Reporter’s Email and Phone Records: Report

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On Thursday, CNN reported that the Justice Department, under former President Donald Trump, secretly collected email and phone records from a CNN reporter, without notifying either the reporter or the news organization.

“The Justice Department informed CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a May 13 letter, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017,” reported Jeremy Herb and Jessica Schneider. “The letter listed phone numbers for Starr’s Pentagon extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cell phones, as well as Starr’s work and personal email accounts.”

“The seizure of Starr’s records is the third disclosure in as many weeks where the Trump administration used its Justice Department to secretly obtain communications of journalists or to expose the identity of critics of former President Donald Trump’s allies,” continued the report.

Starr reportedly was not the target of a criminal investigation.

“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a statement. “We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.”

Under Trump, the Justice Department was frequently controversial for its attitude towards the press. At his confirmation hearing, Attorney General William Barr stumbled over a question about whether he would use the DOJ to imprison journalists.

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