At the moment, Trump is addressing the National Border Security Council. He just said that he wanted to build his wall the “old-fashioned way”.
“Let’s throw up concrete. Plank!” he said, explaining that he was persuaded that the wall needed to be transparent by stories about drug dealers catapulting 150lbs-200lbs-bags of drugs over the border wall.
“Sometimes it would actually hit Border Patrol agents and other people on the other side because you couldn’t see through,” he said. “And as soon as they said that, that’s what got me, I was like, you’re right. You’ve got to be able to see what’s on the other side.”
He also said the wall will be too hot to touch in the baking desert sun and suggested that those trying to climb it would need serious athleticism and access to a hose.
In other news, Michael Avenatti, a fallen hero of the anti-Trump resistance, was found guilty on all charges related to an attempt to extort Nike.
He was convicted by a jury in federal court in New York on Friday afternoon.
The revelation that Barr privately ordered an outside prosecutor to examine several high-profile cases, including one involving Flynn, comes days after Barr faced public outcry for intervening in the case of Roger Stone, a Trump confidante.
That decision led four career prosecutors to quit the case and raised fears about the impartiality of the Justice Department and Trump’s attorney general.
“This is a crisis of credibility,” Sasha Samberg-Champion, a former federal appellate attorney now with Relman Colfax told The Guardian recently. “Nobody knows whether decisions are being made based on the facts and the law, or whether they are based on a political whim.”
Read more by Ed Pilkington here:
The New York Times is reporting that attorney general Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to “scrutinize the criminal case” against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.
The review is highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors.
Mr. Barr has also installed a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review the handling of other politically sensitive national-security cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, the people said. The team includes at least one prosecutor from the office of the United States attorney in St. Louis, Jeff Jensen, who is handling the Flynn matter, as well as prosecutors from the office of the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.
This comes less than an hour after news broke that the DOJ would not pursue criminal charges against McCabe.
The Guardian has not independently confirmed this report.
A bipartisan trio of US senators traveled to Ukraine with a message: let’s move on from impeachment, according to Reuters.
“I think we all are confident that President Zelenskiy does not want to be involved in U.S. politics, and we hope that any pressure (that) existed in the past to do so is over,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said after meeting the Ukrainian leader, Reuters reported from Kiev.
“Our message is we want to put this impeachment question behind us, and we want to be moving together, Republicans and Democrats, in supporting Ukraine.”
Murphy was accompanied to Kiev by Republican Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John Barrasso of Wyoming.
A July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy was at the heart of the impeachment charges against the US president, who was accused of withholding aid to Ukraine until the country agreed to investigate his political rivals.
Speaking of the Nevada caucuses, a new survey out of the famously hard to poll Silver State contains some good news for Bernie Sanders, who is now the Democratic frontrunner.
Sanders is betting big on support from young Latinx primary voters. Nevada will provide an early test ahead of Super Tuesday, where Sanders has invested heavily in courting California’s Latinx voters.
As in Iowa, a minimum threshold of 15% is required in each precinct in order to achieve viability. But unlike the Iowa caucuses, Nevada residents can vote early. Starting on Saturday and continuing through Tuesday, residents can cast their ballot in more than 80 polling locations, many of them on the Las Vegas strip.
Surprise! Trump will extend his stay in Las Vegas so that it backs up fairly closely to the Nevada caucuses on 22 February.
Trump has enjoyed counter-programming critical primary events in Iowa and New Hampshire to steal the attention from Democrats and gin up support from his base.
Melania Trump is spending Valentine’s Day decorating cookies and making heart-shaped wreaths with children at the National Institutes of Health.
Here’s a sampling of how other politicians are celebrating the day and some are much better at it than others.
The Department of Justice announced on Friday that it would not pursue criminal charges against Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI and a frequent target of Trump’s wrath.
Trump had publicly called on the department to take action against McCabe, who became acting head of the agency after the president fired FBI director James Comey in 2017.
A lawyer for McCabe says that “justice has been done”.
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Trump administration violated the law by allowing Arkansas to impose work requirements on their Medicaid programs for lower-income residents.
Arkansas moved forward the first ever work requirements in Medicaid in 2018. Kentucky has also imposed restrictions though its plans were blocked by a trial judge and the state’s new Democratic governor rescinded the plan.
The issue has long divided Republicans and Friday’s ruling comes as other conservative states consider e requirements.
The ruling is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted on Friday: “Our democracy is in crisis.”
Congressman Adam Schiff, who led the prosecution team in Trump’s impeachment trial, has called attorney general Barr an “accomplice to trump’s attack on the rule of law.”