March 24, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn't conclude in his report that President Trump committed a crime or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Sunday.

Barr on Sunday delivered his memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions from Mueller's 22-month investigation into Russian election interference. It says that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," CNN reports.

Barr's report also says that Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice, which "leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." Therefore, Mueller writes that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr says that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there is no sufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice.

Barr's memo to Congress was four pages long and contained his own summary of what Mueller concluded along with quotes from the report. Democrats and Republicans have both called for the full report to be released. Brendan Morrow

11:24 a.m.

Carole Baskin appears to have won the great tiger war, but Joe Exotic's camp is already preparing for a new battle.

Baskin, the antagonist of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King, was awarded the wild animal park once owned by Exotic on Monday. The GW Zoo, which Exotic owned before he was convicted of a murder-for-hire scheme against Baskin, will have to be vacated in 120 days and will enter under Baskin's control, an Oklahoma judge decided.

Tiger King centered around Exotic's perpetual fight with Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue in Florida and was constantly trying to get Exotic's zoo shut down. The lawsuit that was decided Monday started back in 2016, with Baskin suing Exotic's business, Greater Wynnewood Development Group, and Exotic's mother for control of the zoo, including its buildings and vehicles. The judge's order does call for "the removal of all zoo animals for the Zoo Land."

Still, Jeff Lowe, who bought the zoo from Exotic, wasn't surprised with Monday's outcome. "We anticipated Carole Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so," Lowe's attorney told CNN. Lowe's "focus" is now on opening a new "Tiger King Park" elsewhere in Oklahoma, supposedly within the next 120 days. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:18 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the ongoing protests against police brutality in a Philadelphia address on Tuesday morning, blasting President Trump for his response and his Monday photo op in Washington.

Biden spoke from Philadelphia City Hall after another night of protests following George Floyd's death in police custody last week, with the presumptive Democratic nominee calling the death a "wake-up call" and saying Floyd's words of "I can't breathe" are "echoing all across this nation."

"It's time to listen to those words, to try to understand them, to respond to them, respond with action," Biden said. "The country is crying out for leadership."

On Monday, law enforcement used tear gas on protesters to clear out Lafayette Square so Trump could walk to St. John's Episcopal Church for a photo op in which he held up the Bible, and Biden said the stunt suggests he's "more interested in power than in principle."

"The president held up the Bible at St. John's church yesterday," Biden said. "I just wish he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he opened it, he could have learned something."

Biden also went after Trump for his tweet saying that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," calling him "part of the problem." Biden added, though, "I wish I could say that hate began with Donald Trump and will end with him. It didn't, and it won't." Brendan Morrow

11:06 a.m.

Wes Unseld, who starred for the NBA's Baltimore and Washington Bullets (now called the Wizards) between 1968 and 1981, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 74. The family's statement said Unseld died peacefully following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia.

Unseld, who played center despite standing 6-foot-7, wasn't a prolific scorer, but he's widely regarded as one of the best defenders and passers ever to play his position and was a dominant rebounder, as well. He won the league MVP in 1969 when he was just a rookie, and helped the Bullets win the franchise's first and only championship in 1978, alongside fellow all-time great Elvin Hayes.

Unseld, who also enjoyed a standout career at the University of Louisville before entering the NBA and both coached and served as the general manager for the Bullets/Wizards for several season after he retired, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. Tim O'Donnell

10:29 a.m.

Tensions between the United States and China continue to run high, and they likely won't simmer when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre Tuesday afternoon.

In 1989, student-led demonstrations aiming for democratic reforms in China were held in Beijing before the government forcibly suppressed the movement. Pompeo extending a hand to the surviving participants certainly seems like a shot at the Chinese Communist Party, especially as it cracks down on a contemporary pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Earlier Tuesday, Pompeo blasted pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong for denying permission to hold a vigil in remembrance of the massacre for the first time in 30 years.

But some critics of the Trump administration think the secretary's gesture is hypocritical, since just a day earlier federal police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a peaceful protest against police brutality at Lafayette Square across from the White House so President Trump could pose for a photo-op in front of the historic St. John's Church, and police have clashed violently with demonstrators across the country over the last several days. Tim O'Donnell

10:24 a.m.

President Trump has issued a very contradictory assessment of how protests in Washington, D.C., went down Monday night.

Protests against police brutality continued peacefully on Monday until the evening, when law enforcement began clearing the streets outside the White House so Trump could walk to St. John's Church across the street for a photo. Law enforcement fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, creating a surreal side-by-side as Trump spoke in the Rose Garden, but the president still maintained that there were "no problems in D.C. last night."

Trump's evaluation of Monday night's protest came in a Tuesday morning tweet, though he immediately reversed that "no problems" sentiment by bluntly stating there were "many arrests" in D.C. due to "overwhelming force" and "domination." Trump then thanked himself for what happened.

After a week of protests, Trump declared Monday evening that he was Americans' "president of law and order" and announced he would "deploy the United States military" to end violent protests in any city. Trump also announced he was "dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers" to halt protests in D.C. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

A group of civil rights leaders say they're "disappointed" and "stunned" following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his recent decisions on posts by President Trump.

Zuckerberg hosted a call with civil rights leaders on Monday as the company faces growing controversy and an employee walkout over its a hands-off approach to Trump's posts, including one in which he wrote "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in reference to the Minneapolis protests over George Floyd's death. Facebook also didn't touch a post by Trump about mail-in voting that Twitter fact-checked.

After the meeting, leaders from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Color of Change released a statement blasting Zuckerberg, per Axios, saying they're "disappointed and stunned by Mark's incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up."

The civil rights leaders go on to say Zuckerberg "did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump's call for violence against protesters," adding his inaction on Trump's posts sets a "very dangerous precedent."

Color of Change President Rashad Robinson also spoke in an interview with Bloomberg News about the meeting, saying that "I spent a lot of time, and my colleagues spent a lot of time, explaining to him why these things are a problem, and I think he just very much lacks the ability to understand it."

Amid the controversy, Zuckerberg this week said he would donate $10 million to groups fighting for racial justice. But Robinson told Bloomberg, "saying Black Lives Matter, saying I'm going to give money, but having your policies actually hurt black people, people will know the difference." Brendan Morrow

9:30 a.m.

People in China, where reporting on even small anti-government protests is censored, are getting full coverage of U.S. protesters and journalists being beaten and gassed by U.S. police, blinded by rubber bullets, and arrested in what looks like war zones. "Freedom is dead" in the U.S., Chinese wrote on social media, BBC News reports. "The U.S. police has lost all humanity." European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said "like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd," adding that Europeans "support the right to peaceful protest" and "call for a de-escalation of tensions."

Australians, meanwhile, watched a widely broadcast clip of 7NEWS reporter Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers being clubbed, punched in the face, and battered by federal police clearing Lafayette Square of protesters so President Trump could walk to a church and hold up a Bible for the cameras. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne expressed "strong concerns" about the assault on the Australian journalists.

"We have asked the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C., to investigate this incident," Payne said Tuesday. "I want to get further advice on how we would go about registering Australia's strong concerns with the responsible local authorities in Washington," suggesting a formal complaint will follow. U.S. Ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. tweeted in response: "We take mistreatment of journalists seriously, as do all who take democracy seriously." Peter Weber

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