The DC: 📱 NSA considers ending mass collection of phone data, and... Should Congress impeach William Barr?
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by Countable | 4.26.19
Welcome to Friday, April 26, cat and dog people...
Pundits from both sides of the aisle are calling on Congress to impeach Attorney General William Barr for his handling of the Mueller report.
Barr provided Congress and the public with a four-page summary of the "principal conclusions" from Mueller's report in late March, which some have claimed minimized the president’s culpability.
Then, on the morning of the redacted report’s release, Barr held a pre-emptive press conference in which “Barr acted like Trump’s defense lawyer, the job he had initially sought, rather than as an attorney general," Jonathan Chait wrote in New York Magazine.
"His aggressive spin seemed designed to work in the maximal number of repetitions of the ‘no collusion’ mantra, in accordance with his boss’s talking points, at the expense of any faithful transmission of the special counsel’s report," Chait wrote, adding:
“Barr has so thoroughly betrayed the values of his office that voting to impeach and remove him is almost obvious."
Not everyone agrees. The Pittsburgh-Gazette ran an op-ed titled “Taking the high road: William Barr handled the Mueller report with class” with the subhead “The attorney general deserves praise for trying to provide transparency to his role in this toxic drama.”
Here's a "Barr graph" of the responses:
On the Radar
The National Security Agency (NSA) has recommended that the Trump administration end the agency’s mass collection of metadata from domestic text messages and phone calls, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Known as the Call Details Records Program, the mass collection of phone records was first authorized under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act in 2001. It was subsequently reformed by the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015, and the current authorization is set to expire on December 15, 2019.
The Journal reports that NSA is recommending the program be concluded because it has become too difficult to maintain and raises legal concerns that outweigh its benefits. That follows a revelation by a national security aide to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that the NSA stopped using the program in late 2018, who also predicted that the White House won’t seek its reauthorization.
Under the Radar
Is "Chalking" Unconstitutional?
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that parking officers who use chalk to mark tires as a way to keep track of how long someone has been parked constitutes an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.
“The City commences its search on vehicles that are parked legally, without probable cause or even so much as ‘individualized suspicious of wrongdoing’ – the touchstone of the reasonableness standard,” Circuit Judge Bernice Bouie Donald wrote in the decision.
Orin Kerr, a law professor at University of Southern California, devoted a twitter thread to the ruling and offered a suggestion to parking enforcement: “seems easy enough these days for parking enforcers to just take a photo of the car, or even just a close-up photo of the tire, rather than chalk it. That way parking enforcement can learn the placement of the car w/o physically marking it. No 4A issues then.”
The Trump administration is defending the male-only draft, appealing a federal court ruling from earlier this year that found the Selective Service registration is unconstitutional as it discriminates based on sex.
The Justice Department argues that requiring women to register for the draft is “particularly problematic” as it would “impose draft registration on all eligible American women by judicial fiat before Congress has considered how to address the matter."
"If the Court's declaratory judgment is upheld, it should be left to Congress, in consultation with the Executive Branch and military officials, to determine how to revise the registration system in response," wrote DOJ lawyer Michael Gerardi.
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in D.C. & IN
- At 11:35am EDT, the president will deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- At 4:45pm EDT, the president will participate in a restricted bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Japan at the White House.
- At 7:15pm EDT, the president and first lady will have dinner with the prime minister of Japan.
The House of Representatives: Out
- The House will return Monday, April 29th.
The Senate: Out
- The Senate will return Monday, April 29th.
What You're Saying
Here's how you're answering Should the U.S. Intelligence Community Help States Combat Election Interference?
(Follow Denise's comment here.)
(Follow Constance's comment here.)
But wait, there's more!
- Report: North Korea Issued U.S. a $2 Million Bill Before Returning Comatose Otto Warmbier
- Joe Biden: Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Candidate
- Americans Overwhelmingly Want Federal Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills
And, in the End…
The Truth Is Out There - And Now It's Easier To Report
The U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for reporting encounters with “unexplained aerial phenomena” in response to a series of sightings of unknown, highly advanced aircraft.
"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," the Navy said in a statement to POLITICO.
"For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.”
The Navy added that as part of this effort, they will be “updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft."
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