Trump chooses Jeffrey Rosen for deputy attorney general
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he intends to nominate Jeffrey Rosen, a longtime litigator and deputy transportation secretary, to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.
In his current post, the 60-year-old Rosen serves as the Transportation Department’s chief operating officer and is in charge of implementing the department’s safety and technological priorities. He rejoined DOT in 2017 after previously serving as general counsel from 2003 to 2006.
From 2006 until 2009, Rosen was the general counsel and a senior policy adviser at the White House Office of Management and Budget. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
Rosen held a variety of positions, including senior partner, at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the same law firm as the new attorney general, William Barr. Rosen spent nearly 30 years at Kirkland & Ellis in a variety of management roles, including acting as the co-head of the firm’s Washington office, he told senators at his confirmation hearing in March 2017.
“His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction,” Barr said in a statement.
APNewsBreak: Feds share watchlist with 1,400 private groups
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — The federal government has acknowledged that it shares its terrorist watchlist with more than 1,400 private entities, including hospitals and universities, prompting concerns from civil libertarians that those mistakenly placed on the list could face a wide variety of hassles in their daily lives.
The government’s admission that it shares the list so broadly comes after years of insistence that the list is generally not shared with the private sector.
Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has filed a constitutional challenge to the government’s use of the watchlist, called the government’s admission shocking.
“We’ve always suspected there was private-sector dissemination of the terror watchlist, but we had no idea the breadth of the dissemination would be so large,” Abbas said.
The watchlist is supposed to include only those who are known or suspected terrorists but contains hundreds of thousands of names. The government’s no-fly list is culled from a small subset of the watchlist.
Trump wants California to pay back billions for bullet train
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Trump administration said Tuesday that it plans to cancel $929 million awarded to California’s high-speed rail project and wants the state to return an additional $2.5 billion that it has already spent.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announcement follows through on President Donald Trump’s threats to claw back $3.5 billion that the federal government gave to California to build a bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed a fight to keep the money and said the move was in response to California again suing the administration , this time over Trump’s emergency declaration to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it.”
It’s the latest spat between the White House and California. Trump earlier in the day linked the emergency declaration lawsuit to the train, noting that California filed the challenge on behalf of 16 states.
Police dismiss tip Smollett, 2 brothers together in elevator
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police investigated but dismissed a tip that on the night “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men he was in an elevator of his apartment building with two brothers later arrested and released from custody in the probe, a department spokesman said Tuesday.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a person who lives in the building or was visiting someone there reported seeing the three together the night in question last month. However, he said video evidence allowed investigators to determine the report wasn’t credible.
Guglielmi said the two brothers did meet with prosecutors and police Tuesday in a Chicago courthouse. There was no immediate information about what they discussed.
Smollett said two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. But last week, police announced that the “investigation had shifted” following interviews with the brothers and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. They have declined to comment on reports that the attack was a hoax.
Smollett’s lawyers have said the actor was angered and “victimized” by reports he may have played a role in staging the attack.
Flynn pushed to share nuclear tech with Saudis, report says
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior White House officials pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia despite the objections of ethics and national security officials, according to a new congressional report citing whistleblowers within the Trump administration.
Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if the U.S. technology were transferred without proper safeguards.
The Democratic-led House oversight committee opened an investigation Tuesday into the claims by several unnamed whistleblowers who said they witnessed “abnormal acts” in the White House regarding the proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle Eastern kingdom.
The report raises concerns about whether some in a White House marked by “chaos, dysfunction and backbiting” sought to circumvent national security procedures to push a Saudi deal that could financially benefit close supporters of the president.
The report comes at a time when lawmakers are increasingly uneasy with the close relationship between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia, which has raised alarms even among members of the president’s party in Congress. Trump has made the kingdom a centerpiece of his foreign policy in the Middle East as he tries to further isolate Iran. In the process, he has brushed off criticism over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudis’ role in the war in Yemen.
Mexico closes temporary migrant shelter near US border
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Officials in the northern Mexico border state of Coahuila said Tuesday they have closed a shelter in the border city of Piedras Negras where about 1,600 Central American migrants had been confined during the past two weeks.
Many of the migrants have been bused to neighboring states, leading to complaints that Coahuila was dumping migrants on other cities to clear out the camp at an empty factory building.
Armando Cabada, the mayor of Ciudad Juarez, to the west, said Monday that he might file a complaint against Coahuila officials. “They are offering them free transportation to bring them here. That kind of thing is not fair,” Cabada said.
Jose Borrego, a Coahuila state spokesman, confirmed that the shelter in Piedras Negras, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, was closed Tuesday, a day earlier than scheduled.
The shelter’s population had been steadily falling since last week as migrants who had obtained humanitarian visas were given bus rides to other cities where they would have a better chance of finding work.
Man pleads guilty in rape, murder of Pennsylvania teen
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the rape, murder and dismemberment of a 14-year-old girl, and the victim’s adoptive mother has agreed to plead guilty and serve a life sentence.
Jacob Sullivan, 46, pleaded guilty to all charges in the 2016 death of Grace Packer. A jury outside Philadelphia will determine a sentence of either life in prison or death.
Grace’s adoptive mother, Sara Packer, 44, is expected to testify against Sullivan during the penalty phase of his trial. Packer has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, according to her attorney, Keith Williams.
Sullivan was Sara’s boyfriend.
Prosecutors have said that Sara Packer, a former foster parent and county adoptions supervisor, watched Sullivan act out a rape-murder fantasy they shared.
Legal hurdles would look familiar in any new R. Kelly case
CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors will have to clear a series of high legal hurdles if they intend to charge R. Kelly and convict him, even if there’s video evidence.
One case illustrates the difficulties: The R&B star’s own 2008 trial at which he was acquitted. At the heart of that child pornography trial was a VHS recording that prosecutors said showed Kelly, in his 30s at the time, having sex with a girl as young as 13 sometime between 1998 and 2000.
Speculation that Kelly, now 52, could face new charges arose after attorney Michael Avenatti said he recently gave prosecutors a VHS tape of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, although it’s not clear when it allegedly was recorded.
The office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx hasn’t commented about whether a grand jury has convened to consider charges against Kelly. But Foxx may feel emboldened to bring new charges in the #MeToo era, said one legal scholar.
“Because they couldn’t get the conviction in 2008, the state’s attorney’s office may feel justice wasn’t done and they may want to take another stab at it,” said DePaul University College of Law professor Monu Bedi, who teaches criminal law and procedure and has followed the Kelly case closely.
Judge OKs suit aimed at halting Obama library in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge gave the green light Tuesday to a parks-advocacy group’s lawsuit that aims to stop for good the delayed construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million presidential center in a Chicago park beside Lake Michigan.
Supporters of the project had hoped the court would grant a city motion to throw out the lawsuit by Protect Our Parks, some fearing any drawn out litigation might lead Obama to decide to build the Obama Presidential Center somewhere other than his hometown.
A lawsuit brought by another group in 2016 helped to scuttle a $400 million plan by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to build a museum on public land on Chicago’s lakefront. That museum is now under construction in Los Angeles .
Judge John Robert Blakey heard arguments last week on the city’s motion to dismiss. Blakey did toss parts of the suit in his Tuesday ruling, but concluded the group has standing to sue because it represent taxpayers with concerns that providing parkland in the public trust to the Obama center violates their due-process rights.
Blakey’s ruling doesn’t mean the group will necessarily prevail in the end, but confirms that the suit poses a formidable threat to the project. The judge indicated that he doesn’t want the litigation to drag out, and that he would strictly limit any fact gathering leading up to trial to 45 days.
Burberry apologizes for hoodie with noose knot
NEW YORK (AP) — The chief executive and chief creative officer of luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry have apologized for putting a hoodie with strings tied in the shape of a noose on their London Fashion Week runway.
The knotted strings surfaced after Sunday’s show when a model hired to walk (but not wear the outfit) complained both before the show and on Instagram, saying the noose not only evoked lynchings but also suicide.
Marco Gobbetti, the brand’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday that Burberry is “deeply sorry for the distress” the top has caused and has removed it from the autumn-winter collection, along with all images featuring the look.
Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s creative director, also apologized, saying “while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive.”
Model Liz Kennedy took to Instagram the day of the show, posting a photo of the hoodie with a long message directed at Burberry and Tisci.
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