Politico

A federal judge on Thursday rejected four motions from former Trump associate Roger Stone contesting his indictment on obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and other charges, adding that Stone has “no one but himself to blame” for having to stand trial in November. Jackson concluded Stone was not targeted for political reasons, noting that 11 other individuals were indicted by Mueller’s request for making false statements to Congress. In order to prepare for trial, Jackson also ruled Thursday that Stone’s lawyers would be allowed the see the “bulk” of the redacted material in Mueller’s report, CBS News reported. That information was previously withheld as not to affect ongoing prosecution of the case, Jackson said. The redacted statements will not be made public.

In a 56-page ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote Stone had

“no one but himself to blame”

for his indictment, clearing the way for his trial to begin as scheduled Nov. 5. Stone filed four motions to have his indictment scrapped, arguing that he was unfairly singled out during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election due to his outspoken support for President Trump.

The judge also noted other Trump associates and family members who were not indicted after Mueller’s investigation despite their very public conservative views and open support for President Trump, Politico reported.

Stone was accused of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to Congress under oath in an effort to mislead the House Intelligence Committee and the FBI about alleged dealings with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, Politico reported.

“When he chose to take credit for the WikiLeaks release and to tantalize the public with hints that he had inside information about more to come, he chose to place himself directly in the vortex of the issues that became the focus of multiple law enforcement, counterintelligence, and congressional investigations,”

Jackson wrote.

A federal judge in D.C. wants President Donald Trump, New York state officials, and the U.S. House of Representatives to come up with a solution that would give the president “very modest relief” in the dispute over a law that allows the release of his tax returns, Politico reports. The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee at the beginning of this month filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the IRS in an effort to obtain Trump’s returns. Trump filed a lawsuit against the Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt to prevent the committee from doing so, arguing the committee lacks a legislative purpose for using the New York law to acquire the taxes. A New York law enacted in early July allows Congress’ tax committees to request public officials’ state tax returns from the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia acknowledged Trump’s concerns that his New York state tax returns could be turned over before the courts have a sufficient amount of time to consider constitutional and legal issues with the request. He gave the parties until 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday to use their “creativity” to reach an agreement. The separate cases were filed in federal court in D.C. this month.

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Trump saluted America in A #MAGA July 4 event, despite critics, What Do you Think About His Speech?

Trump salutes America in elaborate July 4 event, despite critics — and a downpour of rain
Despite concerns that he would use the Fourth of July event as a glorified campaign rally, President Trump used his “Salute to America” speech Thursday evening to praise the men and women of the armed forces and American exceptionalism. With the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop and flanked by camouflaged See More Bradley fighting vehicles, Trump stuck mainly to the script during his speech – praising the spirit that “runs through the veins of every American patriot” and attempting to strike a more unifying and conciliatory tone than he is generally known to take.

While Trump’s speech set a unifying tone, the lead-up to the event was far from harmonious – with Trump’s opponents,especially 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, slamming him on everything from the cost of the event to the perceived exploitation of the holiday for a political purpose. Two outside groups, the National Parks Conservation Foundation and Democracy Forward, want the Interior Department’s internal watchdog to investigate what they say may be a “potentially unlawful decision to divert” national parks money to Trump’s “spectacle.”

White House seeking all options on citizenship question for 2020 census
President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his push for a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, promising that his administration is “working very hard” on the controversial issue — as reports say he is mulling using an executive order to get the question on the census. “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census,” he tweeted. He added that the Commerce and Justice departments were “working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!” Earlier this week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that his department was going ahead with the printing of the census without the citizenship question, apparently indicating that the administration had dropped the controversial issue. That decision came after a Supreme Court ruling last week that blocked the citizenship question for the time being until more reasoning from the administration was provided.

Ocasio-Cortez calls border officials liars after new report on offensive Facebook posts
In a Twitter message Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., branded the leadership of U.S. Customs and Border Protection as liars after a news site reported that CBP officials knew much longer than they claimed about a Facebook group on which some past and current CBP employees had posted offensive material. Ocasio-Cortez was the subject of some of this material. ProPublica, a self-described non-profit news group, reportedly has obtained screenshots of doctored images of Ocasio-Cortez, including one that shows a smiling PresidentTrump forcing her head toward his crotch.

According to Politico, top CBP officials had known about offensive posts “for up to three years” – even though officials claimed this week that they had only recently learned about them. “Looks like CBP lied,” Ocasio-Cortez charged Thursday, one day after the Politico story appeared. “Reporting shows they knew about it for *years.* This is a big deal.”

Ted Cruz schools Kaepernick, adds ‘context’ after ex-NFL star quotes Frederick Douglass ‘Fourth of July’ speech
Sen. Ted Cruz responded Thursday night after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernickposted a passage earlier on the Fourth of July from a famous speech by Civil War-era abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The passage Kaepernick cites is from Douglass’ speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass delivered to the speech at a meeting of the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852 – nearly nine years before the Civil War began.

Kaepernick posted the following portion, without adding any comments: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking andbloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.” “You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass,” Sen. Cruz writes in response, “but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand.”

Closely watched June jobs report to be released Friday
Wall Street will be closely watching Friday’s release of the June jobs report, which could provide insight into whether the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its July meeting. As the U.S. enters the longest economic expansion on record, investors are looking at the Department of Labor’s monthly payroll and unemployment data for signs that the rapid job growth over the past two years is softening and lending way to an overall growth slowdown.

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.@AOC ain’t nothing but s Hounddog just crying/lying all the time.. do you think the news covers her way too much?

Ocasio-Cortez continues to compare border conditions to ‘concentration camps,’ critics accuse her of misinformation campaign
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has sparked controversy in recent weeks with arguably increasingly inflammatory rhetoric in her conversations about the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite coming under fire last month for See More saying the U.S.government is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” Ocasio-Cortez once again made the same comparison on Twitter on Tuesday. On Monday, after traveling to a border detention center in El Paso, Texas, with almost a dozen members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she blasted border officials as “violent” and “inhumane” while claiming agents forced detained migrant women and children to drink toilet water.

Current and former immigration officials rejected the congresswoman’s allegations and accused her of pulling a political stunt. Hispanic pastors who toured the same facility Ocasio-Cortez visited said the conditions at the detention center were “drastically different” than what she described. They said they were “shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.” The controversy over AOC’s latest comments come as afederal judge ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration cannot categorically detain asylum seekers while they pursue their cases.

Navy SEAL rejoices in not guilty verdict
Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher said he feels thankful and vindicatedafter a jury on Tuesday found him not guilty on almost all charges he was facing, including murder and attempted murder, in the 2017 killing of a teenage ISIS war prisoner in Iraq. “I’m happy and I’m thankful,” Gallagher told reporters after the verdict, as he joked with his legal team that “it’s Independence Day,” his freedom coming days before the Fourth of July. Jurors did find him guilty of the seventh charge, posing for a photo with a corpse, considered the least egregious of the crimes, which carries a maximum prison sentence of four months. Having already served seven months in confinement ahead of the trial, Gallagher, a Bronze Star recipient, is expected to go home a free man after his sentencing, his defense lawyers said.

Trump detractors sound the alarm as military vehicles roll in for July 4 celebrations
Appearing on “Deadline: White House,” MSNBC’s Joy Reid insisted on Tuesday that President Trump is using the upcoming Fourth of July “Salute to America” celebration as a “threat” to Americans who oppose him. Trump has longed talked about showing off America’s military capabilities in celebration of Independence Day, and now his vision is coming to fruition as tanks arrive in Washington, D.C., ahead of Thursday’s festivities. Reid claimed that Trump aspires to be a “mini” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, these kind of complaints are the ramblings of Trump haters.

Still, as preparations were underway Trump’s July 4 celebration, a few problems emerged along the way as military vehicles were hauled into the capital city. On Tuesday, a flatbed carrying the tanks was apparently unable to clear an underpass, according to photos tweeted by a Politico reporter. A crane was later employed to resolve the issue. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, told the Daily Reporter that some local roads are ill-equipped to handle the weight of the tanks.

Missing Connecticut woman’s estranged husband maintains innocence
Fotis Dulos, a Connecticut real-estate developer charged in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife Jennifer Dulos, maintained his innocence Tuesday during his first sit-down interview about the case, claiming he’s “worried” about his wife and never wished her “ill in any way.” “I know what I’ve done, I know what I haven’t done,” the 51-year-old Greek immigrant told New York City’s WNBC-TV. “I have to stand and fight and hope that the truth is going to come out.” Jennifer Dulos, 50, hasn’t been seen since dropping her children off at school in New Canaan, Conn., on May 24.

Remembering Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca, the father of the Ford Mustang and former chairman of Chrysler, has died of natural causes at his home in Bel Air, Calif., his family said Tuesday. He was 94. Iacocca, born in Allentown, Pa., on Oct. 15, 1924 as the child of Italian immigrants, started working at Ford Motor Co. in 1946 and is heralded as the leader of the team that created the first Mustang in 1964. He ascended to CEO of the company in 1970 but was fired by Henry Ford Jr. in 1978. He moved on to Chrysler Corp. in 1978 and became the CEO a year later, pulling the company out of bankruptcy after taking it over. Iacocca successfully persuaded the federal government to provide the company a $1.2 billion loan in 1979 and made major cuts to the workforce, slashing wages — including his own, which he shrunk to $1 a year — and closing plants. He also introduced fuel-efficient cars and the minivan. His effortswere successful and Chrysler made a comeback, profiting $20 million. The turnaround made Iacocca a media star. Later, he was a key figure in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and creation of the Ellis Island museum.

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DOJ says citizenship question being dropped from 2020 Census.
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