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By Robert A. Vella

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that civil forfeitures imposed by state and local governments can violate the 8th Amendment’s Excessive Fines clause which have been accused by civil liberties groups as being an unconstitutional revenue source and as a potential weapon for political retribution.  See:  Supreme Court, in unanimous ruling, moves to limit state and local governments’ power to impose fines and seize property

Another revelation from yesterday’s bombshell New York Times story reported that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had not been asked to resign by President Trump in February 2017, but that Trump had told White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to say so publicly because it sounded better to him.  Apparently, Trump got the idea of explaining Flynn’s departure from hearing about then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan telling reporters that the president had requested Flynn’s resignation after the Department of Justice had uncovered his illegal dealings with Russia and Turkey.  In other words, Trump had no intention of firing Flynn yet wanted to take credit for doing so after the fact.  See:  What Is the NYT Implying When It Suggests Donald Trump Lied About Michael Flynn’s Resignation?

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller investigation, will leave his post next month.  President Trump has nominated Jeffrey Rosen to replace him which requires Senate confirmation.  Rosen was a partner with new Attorney General William Barr at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.  See:  Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ

A new public opinion poll confirms a previous poll showing strong disapproval of President Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall as well as his abuse of power.  See:  Poll: Majority opposes Trump emergency declaration for building border wall

One day after California led a lawsuit filed against President Trump’s national emergency declaration, his administration is cancelling nearly $1 billion of federal funds allocated to help build a high-speed rail project in that state.  The so-called “bullet train,” originally intended to link San Francisco and Los Angeles, has been plagued by administrative problems and cost overruns.  However, this move by Trump reeks of political retribution.  See:  Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has had his prison start date delayed two months.  See:  Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen gets prison surrender date delayed two months to May 6

Journalists at CNN are reportedly upset by the news organization’s hiring of a Republican operative to head its 2020 election coverage because they fear partisan editorial control over their reporting.  See:  CNN Staffers ‘Demoralized’ by Hiring of GOP Operative Sarah Isgur to Oversee 2020 Coverage

Scientists are closely monitoring the massive Thwaites Glacier which is melting at an alarming rate.  If it collapses, a large portion of the unstable ice sheets of West Antarctica would be free to flow into the ocean and significantly raise sea levels.  See:  What would happen if one of Antarctica’s biggest glaciers collapses?

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