by Countable | 4.18.19
Welcome to Thursday, April 18, introverts and extroverts...
It's (finally) Mueller Time!
The Justice Department will release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report this morning.
The report - which looked at possible interference between the Trump campaign and Russia, and potential obstruction of justice by the president - will have blacked-out sections regarding grand jury testimony, classified information, and material involved in ongoing investigations.
Here are some things to look for in the full report:
Barr said in his summary that Mueller didn't establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow—but was Trump briefed about Russian offers to help his campaign, including those extended to Donald Trump, Jr.?
Mueller’s report found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but reached no conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice. However, Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice.
Will others reach a similar conclusion? Was “no obstruction” an easy call for Barr and Rosenstein to make?
In a letter to Congress, Barr said the full report "sets forth the special counsel's findings, his analysis, and the reasons for his conclusions.”
Seems, as of now, most of you do:
In an effort to discourage migrants from crossing the southern border, the Trump administration has issued an order directing immigration judges to deny bail to some migrants claiming asylum—keeping thousands in jail while their cases are resolved.
Under previous policy, those seeking asylum were granted a bail hearing if they claimed “credible fear” threats.
The new order, issued by Attorney General Barr, is part of President Trump’s vow to clamp down on “catch and release” policies. The decision will go into effect in 90 days, so the Department of Homeland Security "may conduct the necessary operational planning," Barr wrote.
Immigration advocates have promised to challenge Barr’s order in court.
Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would require the withdrawal of U.S. military support for the coalition led by Saudi Arabia that’s fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen using authority granted to Congress under the War Powers Resolution.
In his veto message, President Trump called the bill “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities”, and explained:
“Since 2015, the United States has provided limited support to member countries of the Saudi-led coalition, including intelligence sharing, logistical support, and, until recently, in-flight refueling of non-United States aircraft… None of this support has introduced United States military personnel into hostilities.”
The bill now goes back to the Senate, which may vote on an effort to override the veto after it returns from its spring recess on April 29th.
Five unnamed mothers are suing the city of New York seeking to block an order requiring people who live, work, or reside in four Brooklyn zip codes to be vaccinated with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
In the lawsuit, the mothers claim “there is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or dangerous outbreak” and the city's orders are "arbitrary and capricious."
However, just as the parents filed their lawsuit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated this year's nationwide measles count, reporting 555 confirmed cases confirmed in 20 states. New York City has seen 285 confirmed cases since September, when the current measles outbreak began.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vaccination order earlier this month, saying the city would issue violations and possible fines of $1,000 for people who don’t comply.
“This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately. The measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested,” de Blasio said.
The Department of Homeland Security is considering classifying fentanyl - a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine – as a weapon of mass destruction, or WMD.
According to an internal memo obtained by military news outlet Task & Purpose, DHS said the painkiller would be labeled a WMD “when certain criteria are met,” and that federal officials have “long regarded fentanyl as a chemical weapons threat.”
Dan Kaszeta, a defense expert, told Task & Purpose that the threat of fentanyl being used as a WMD is a “fringe scenario” since there are "literally dozens" of toxic chemicals that could easily be weaponized.
The Sacramento City Council has voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, which have become popular in vapes and e-cigarettes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 70% of middle and high schoolers who use tobacco have used a flavored product.
Noor Kachhi, owner of Cloud 9 vape shop in Sacramento, told the council that the flavor ban will cause his shop to lose 85% of its business and lead to bankruptcy.
“I stand in front of you today begging for mercy. We cannot survive the flavor ban. I humbly urge you all to exempt vape shops from this ban.”
Supporters of the ban said flavored tobacco products are popular with – and marketed to - teens.
"We’re not banning cigarettes and we’re not banning vaping products," said Vice Mayor Eric Guerra. "What we are banning is the thing that we know addicts youth, which is the flavors. It's the mangoes, the juicy fruits."
Here's how you're answering Should Gun Silencer Regulations (Except Background Checks) Be Left Up to States?
(Follow Taurus' comment here.)
(Follow Marylynn's comment here.)
Today is National Velociraptor Awareness Day and Piñata Day. Here's how I imagine combining the two holidays would go:
May your piñatas only be full of treats and not vicious dinosaurs,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.
Written by Countable