Trump reshapes American justice as Democrats fracture

CNN's Boris Sanchez reports on President Donald Trump's latest tweet attacking the four federal prosecutors that quit the Roger Stone case after top Justice Department officials undercut them and disavowed the government's recommended sentence against Stone.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 10:10 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 10:10 AM

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the prison sentence that career prosecutors were seeking against his old friend Roger Stone was too rough.

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice went against its own line prosecutors and sought a lighter sentence for Trump's longtime friend and informal political adviser, who had lied to the Mueller investigation and who had been in contact with WikiLeaks in 2016.

All four prosecutors withdrew from the case. Read the story here.

Trump told reporters he didn't ask the DOJ to seek a lighter sentence. Arguably, he didn't have to after he called it a "horrible and very unfair situation" on social media. Ultimately, the presiding judge in the case will have the final say on Stone's sentence.

But Trump did put the skids on the nomination of Jessie Liu, who oversaw the Stone prosecution as the former US attorney for the District of Columbia and was up for a top job at the Treasury Department.

The timing -- Appearing on CNN, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal compared it to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre and said it appeared the administration timed the announcement so that it would be overshadowed by the New Hampshire primary.

Note: This is not Trump's first Saturday Night Massacre. It's his third or fourth -- He's fired people for not putting unconstitutional orders in place (Sally Yates). He's fired people, ultimately, for defying him on special counsel Robert Mueller (Jeff Sessions). He's fired people for investigating him (James Comey). Now prosecutors are quitting because his DOJ wants to go easier on his friend.

The pattern -- This is the Trump administration post-impeachment. Trump's will goes. And they're not even trying to hide it. Here's what I wrote last week on that, which still applies.

Trump isn't done with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman -- The former National Security Council official who testified at impeachment hearings was marched out of the White House on Friday. On Tuesday, Trump said it would be up to the military whether to pursue disciplinary action against Vindman. The military has promised Vindman would not suffer any retribution.

The race to face Trump in November

Here are some takeaways from New Hampshire. Full updates here.

Bernie Sanders is the front-runner! The democratic socialist senator from Vermont won New Hampshire, CNN projects. He sits atop national polls. He pulled off a virtual tie in Iowa, where the caucus results are still being contested.

But Sanders way underperformed 2016. It's a bigger field of candidates this year, so it may not be surprising, but Sanders isn't coming anywhere near the 60% of the primary vote he enjoyed against Hillary Clinton. He's about half as strong in New Hampshire this year.

Elizabeth Warren needs to think very hard. She once led Democratic polls. She fell to a distant fourth in New Hampshire, a portion of which is in the metro area of the state she represents. She had plans for so many policy proposals. Her plan for delegate acquisition is not working. If she can't win in New Hampshire, which was won by a fellow liberal, where can she win?

Amy Klobuchar is now in the picture. The Minnesota senator is moving fast and jumped into the increasingly crowded middle lane with Pete Buttigieg. She's getting support from college-educated voters, and from voters over 65.

Buttigieg is for real. A week after winning Iowa, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and full-on millennial showed his performance closer to home wasn't an exception.

This race is far from over. Joe Biden, the former front-runner, pulled out of New Hampshire early and left for South Carolina. He's banking on support from African American voters there, and is not even focusing on Nevada, which comes first.

The middle lane is a crowded place. If you add up the support for Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Biden, you've got more than half the primary voters in New Hampshire. You could argue there was more support for moderates than liberals like Sanders and Warren. It's notable that Sanders won even though more than half of Democratic primary voters said in exit polls that his policies are too liberal.

Not every contender was on the ballot in New Hampshire. Mike Bloomberg, who is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars (chump change for someone worth tens of billions) was not on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Health care is Democrats' top issue, but they disagree on it. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed that health care was the top single issue for Democratic primary voters, confirming what entrance polls in Iowa showed. However, in New Hampshire, while a majority of Democratic voters support the idea of dong away with private insurance, a third did not. If Democrats are not unanimously for "Medicare for All," it will be impossible to pass in Washington.

Age matters. Half of Democratic primary voters said in entrance polls that age was a factor. Those voters sided with Klobuchar, not the youngster Buttigieg or the much older Sanders, suggesting there's something of a Goldilocks test among certain voters.

Andrew Yang dropped out. The businessman, who pushed a universal basic income proposal and raised the alarm about robots taking American jobs, has dropped out. He was a welcome and interesting voice on the debate stage, but it didn't turn into support on primary day. (Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also left the race.)

And one key question: Can any of these white politicians mobilize the Obama coalition?

More of the party backs moderate candidates, but Sanders, with his base, is winning. Among the Democrats remaining in the race and doing well are a Jewish democratic socialist from New York, a gay Christian from South Bend and a woman from the Midwest. We haven't yet gotten to the primaries with diverse voters. What's going to happen with them? We'll see.

Bloomberg will have to Xerox this apology

It was only a matter of time before Bloomberg was forced to face his past policies and how he is perceived by African American voters because of them.

Specifically, his embrace of "stop and frisk" policies in New York has not aged well. Even worse are comments he made behind closed doors to an elite audience in Aspen a few years back.

He's now apologized twice. He'll have to do it again and again.

Here are the comments, which aren't new, but are jarring:

"Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims" fit the same profile, Bloomberg says. "You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 16 to 25."

He continues: "One of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that is true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that is true. Why did we do it? Because that's where all the crime is."

In a statement Tuesday, he apologized again after he first did so in November. He argued he had inherited "stop and frisk" and explained he had cut the policy back.

"By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized -- and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."

Will that be enough to satisfy a party that depends on minority voters?

Sanders vs. Buttigieg

Buttigieg won a national essay contest in high school lionizing Sanders. Seriously. Now Sanders is attacking Buttigieg for taking money from billionaires. And Buttigieg has said that in his effort to take down Trump he doesn't mind if billionaires want to chip in. Read this.

What are we doing here?

The American system of government has been challenged to deal with a singular President and a divided country that will decide whether he should get another four years in the White House.

Stay tuned to this newsletter as we continue to track developments and keep watch over the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and other issues of critical interest.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
22° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 22°
Mason City
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 17°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 25°
Austin
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 18°
Charles City
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 14°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

John Marshall ready for 2021

Image

Is the City of Rochester paying men and women equally?

Image

LWVMN asks for "truth and consequences" for state lawmakers

Image

Sports Overtime Part 2

Image

Sports Overtime Part 1

Image

Plans for polar plunge

Image

Equal work and equal pay.

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Image

Increase in 2021 travel plans

Community Events