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Reuters PoliticsJan 16, 2019
Trump's new EPA pick defends rollbacks as Democrats call him 'extreme'
Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's new pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency as a pro-business extremist, but harbored little hope of blocking his confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Democracy NowJan 16, 2019
Could Trump's Attorney General Pick William Barr Be "Worse Than Jeff Sessions" on Civil Rights?
Senate confirmation hearings began Tuesday for William Barr, President Trump's nominee for attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions. Barr served as attorney general for George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. During that time, he was involved in the pardon of six Reagan officials for the Iran-Contra scandal and oversaw the opening of the Guantánamo Bay military prison, which was initially used to indefinitely detain Haitian asylum seekers. Barr also openly backed mass incarceration at home and helped develop a secret Drug Enforcement Administration program which became a "blueprint" for the National Security Agency's mass phone surveillance effort. But on Tuesday, senators asked few questions about Barr's past record while focusing heavily on his views about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We look at Barr's history with David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. His recent article for the ACLU is titled "No Relief: William Barr Is as Bad as Jeff Sessions—if Not Worse." We also speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

CNN PoliticsJan 16, 2019
Andrew Wheeler returns to the Senate for EPA administrator confirmation hearing
Two very different views of the Environmental Protection Agency are set to clash on Wednesday, when acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies at his confirmation hearing.

The Daily BeastJan 16, 2019
Would an Attorney General William Barr Put Justice Before Trump? Don't Count on It.
Kevin Lamarque/ReutersWilliam Barr is a very good lawyer. But at a time when the justice system is under attack every day by the president, the Department of Justice needs a leader who is not only a skilled attorney but also an exceptional public servant, and who will place principles of justice above the interests and demands of Donald Trump. After the first day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, it is unclear if William Barr will meet that standard.

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham opened the hearing with a recitation of Donald Trump's favorite conspiracy theory: that a cabal of FBI agents set out to manufacture a case against Trump to deny him the presidency (but somehow bungled the scheme by keeping the case secret until after the election). As Barr well knew, despite the assiduous efforts of Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy and Graham himself, virtually no evidence has emerged to support this claim.

Nonetheless, Barr suggested that he agreed with Graham's call to use the DOJ's resources to further pursue this conspiracy theory. This commitment, of a piece with Barr's prior endorsement of the president's demand that the DOJ pursue baseless allegations of wrongdoing against Hillary Clinton, raises serious questions about whether Barr will further Trump's goal of employing the DOJ as a mechanism for pursuing political vendettas.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

New York Times PoliticsJan 15, 2019
Republicans Break Ranks Over Move to Lift Sanctions on Russian Oligarch's Firms
Eleven Senate Republicans defied their leadership and the Trump administration in a clash over removing sanctions on companies controlled by a Kremlin ally.
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