An accused murderer received a summons to serve as a juror in his own trial. Derrick Smith, on trial for a barroom murder in Schenectady, N.Y., told the judge that he'd be glad to answer the summons and sit on the jury, arguing — unsuccessfully — that he could be fair and impartial. "I have never had this happen," said the commissioner of jurors.
Shaken over President Trump's failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street is now raising questions about his ability to keep financial promises like reforming the tax code and slashing regulations on banks.
The cooling "Trump bump" has left the Dow at risk of suffering a ninth-straight day of decline Tuesday, which would mark the longest losing streak for the Dow since Jimmy Carter was in the White House in 1978. While the index is still up 11 percent since the election and the Nasdaq has actually closed higher in three of the past four days, CNN Money observes "a notable shift in terms of sentiment." Jeva Lange
The Trump administration reportedly tried to restrict fired Attorney General Sally Yates' Russia testimony
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that President Trump's administration apparently attempted to greatly limit the scope of former Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Letters obtained by The Washington Post revealed Yates, who Trump fired in January after she would not back his immigration executive order, "was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege." Yates served as deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama and was the acting attorney general at the start of Trump's term, playing a role in the investigation of ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications about sanctions with a Russian ambassador.
In response, Yates' lawyer David O'Neill acknowledged the restrictions on Yates' testimony and assured the Justice Department that Yates would not disclose information protected by "client confidences" unless she were granted explicit permission by the department. However, O'Neill took issue with how "overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department's historical approach" its orders to Yates were. "In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department's notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official," O'Neill wrote.
A Justice Department official responded, saying that Yates would need to consult with the White House before disclosing information covered by the presidential communications privilege, but that she did not need "separate consent from the department."
On Friday, Yates' lawyer sent a letter notifying White House Counsel Don McGahn that "any claim of privilege 'has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications,'" The Washington Post reported. "Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information," O'Neill wrote.
Update 11:16 a.m. ET: The White House has since released a statement denying The Washington Post's report.
Statement from White House on Washington Post story concerning Sally Yates: pic.twitter.com/tur7D06vLS
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 28, 2017
Eric Trump couldn't say enough good things about Fox News host Sean Hannity during his appearance Tuesday on Fox & Friends. For 30 seconds, President Trump's son sang Hannity's praises, calling him a "fantastic person" and a "great, great man" with "strong beliefs." "By the way," Trump said, "there is no better patriot in the world than Sean Hannity."
In a rebuttal to former anchor Ted Koppel's remark over the weekend that Hannity and his show are "bad for America," Trump argued that Hannity is actually great for the nation. While Koppel contended Hannity's show has "attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts," Trump said that strong beliefs are crucial to American progress. "You know, beliefs are what get America to a great place," Trump said.
Watch Trump declare Hannity the best patriot in the world below. Becca Stanek
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 28, 2017
Legislators in Maine, Virginia, Georgia, and Kansas are exploring the possibility of expanding Medicaid after the Affordable Care Act survived last week following the failure of a Republican-backed health-care bill, Vox reports.
"I'm not an activist or supporter [of ObamaCare] now, but I can see when things are working," explained Kansas state legislator Susan Concannon, a Republican. Maine Sen. Tom Saviello (R) added, "My own party is mad at me because I continue to pursue [Medicaid expansion], but we have to do something. I look at Franklin County, which I represent, and roughly 1,000 people would gain coverage there."
Nineteen states have yet to expand the program, and in Kansas, where the state Senate passed an expansion bill late Monday, there is still heavy pushback from many conservatives. "To expand ObamaCare when the program is in a death spiral is not responsible policy," a spokesperson for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said. Jeva Lange
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to pull funding from "sanctuary" jurisdictions unless those cities, counties, and states comply with a 1996 law that prohibits blocking communications between local police or sheriffs and federal immigration authorities about the immigration status of suspects in custody. Sessions also said the Justice Department will take steps to "claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction" that violates federal law, noting the DOJ will dole out more than $4.1 billion in such grants this year.
Sessions was acting under an executive order President Trump signed in January, but he didn't actually announce any new policy. Instead, The New York Times says, he was mostly restating aggressively grant eligibility rules former President Barack Obama issued last July. The law doesn't require local jurisdictions to honor "detainer" notices from federal immigration officials — requests to hold undocumented immigrants for up to 48 hours, without a warrant.
"Despite what Attorney General Sessions implied this afternoon, state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, nevertheless calling Trump's tactics "draconian." Tom Jawetz at the liberal Center for American Progress said Sessions' threat might not actually affect any U.S. city or county. "This is not really about enforcing the law, this is about driving policy through bullying and fear mongering," he said.
From Austin to Seattle, sanctuary jurisdictions said the Trump crackdown wouldn't affect their policies, most of which specifically state that law enforcement must comply with the law, U.S. Code 1373. There is no set definition of what a "sanctuary" jurisdiction is, and each city or county that refuses to comply with some aspect of Trump's immigration policy does so differently. CNN has a pretty good primer on what sanctuary cities actually do (and don't do):
The larger issue is how much the federal government can compel state and local law enforcement to carry out federal immigration policy. The 10th Amendment offers some protection to local jurisdictions, but the ACLU cautions that cities that do sign on to become part of Trump's "deportation force" face legal risks, too. "Because ICE does not seek a judicial determination of probable cause, these requests put local police in the position of holding people in jail without the legal authority to do so, which violates their constitutional rights," says the ACLU's Domenic Powell. Peter Weber
Democratic congressman doubts Nunes' explanation for White House visit: 'This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like'
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) isn't buying House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' (R-Calif.) explanation for his trip to the White House grounds last week, the day before he announced communications involving President Trump and his team may have been unintentionally swept up in routine surveillance by intelligence officials. Nunes claimed he was on White House grounds because he needed a secure location to receive the classified information from his source, who remains anonymous. He denied having traveled to the White House to coordinate with Trump ahead of his surveillance announcement.
But Swalwell, also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, made his skepticism clear during his appearance Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "It's not an internet cafe," Swalwell said, referring to the White House. "You can't just walk in and receive classified information."
While Nunes has suggested "people in the West Wing" may have "had no idea" he was there, Swalwell noted that typically whenever a member of Congress comes to the White House "everyone in the building knows that you're there in the building." Swalwell also pointed out that there is a "secure facility" at the Capitol for exchanging classified information.
"This was done because the White House wanted it to be done," Swalwell said. "And this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now."
Watch the interview below. Becca Stanek
The State Department has abruptly stopped holding on-camera press briefings, The Wall Street Journal reports. It took the department an entire six weeks to get the briefings up and running after Trump's inauguration, and the briefings only lasted for three weeks. Officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will resume the briefings when he hires a permanent spokesperson. As a result, briefings aren't expected to resume for at least another two weeks.
Tillerson has faced criticism for his inaccessibility; earlier this month, he traveled to Asia with just one reporter from a conservative-friendly outlet in tow. Daily press briefings have long been a fixture for U.S. secretaries of state, dating back to when John Foster Dulles held the role in the 1950s. But when Tillerson's State Department briefly resumed the briefings, they occurred just twice a week with alternating phone briefings.
In the period before the spokesperson is put in place, the State Department will "hold background briefings, in which unnamed officials will brief intermittently on specific topics," The Wall Street Journal writes. Fox News' Heather Nauert is expected to fill the role as the permanent spokesperson, but she has not yet been officially named and her security clearance has not yet been approved. Jeva Lange