Year 4, Week 8 (March 8-14)

After weeks of deflection from leadership, we’re officially experiencing a national emergency and (global) pandemic as I write this–and the resulting week was so rough and fast-paced that somebody wrote a We Didn’t Start the Fire verse by Wednesday evening.  There’s a lot to track, but we’ll get through it, and I’m here if anybody needs anything.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m mostly summarizing the news within my area of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a public gathering!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers.  Onward to the news!   

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We somehow still have Attorney General Overreach this week, despite our continuing state of emergency in most states, which really tells you a lot about this administration’s priorities.  Here’s what I have for you this week:    

  • Attorney General Overreach (Again). Technically William Barr is allowed to do this one, but I’m mad about it anyway: He pulled Jeff Sessions and decided to override immigration court precedent to make judges narrow their definition of ‘torture‘ in immigration cases. As the Washington Post article notes, this particular power is supposed to be a sometimes food, and the Trump administration keep using it over and over to bias precedent against immigrants–especially against immigrants seeking asylum or other forms of humanitarian aid. It’s a concerning pattern, especially against the backdrop of everything else the Department of Justice has been doing.

We also saw a bit of Disregard of Governing Norms, though less than might be expected given the everything going on.  Here’s what has happened so far:

  • Tax on Guarding Trump. Trump’s bills to Secret Service officials who stayed in his properties made a resurgence in the news this week. Apparently, the bills were even $157,000 higher than previously reported, totaling more than $628,000 since he took office–much higher rates than other entities were paying for the same rooms, and definitely not the gratis amount the Secret Service is traditionally charged. In other words, Trump dramatically overcharged his own bodyguards for room rentals–people who were only staying at his property in the first place so that they could potentially take a bullet for him–which brings new meaning to the phrase “job dissatisfaction.”

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Harvey Weinstein Sentenced. The Harvey Weinstein trial came to a close this week, with a judge sentencing him to 23 years in prison for multiple counts of forcible rape.  The sentence was issued despite his apparent attempt to leverage connections to mitigate his exposure, which is a striking statement about the momentum the #MeToo movement has gained since its inception. 

So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this modern (cat-based) take on famous paintings and an eventual better government.  I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments.  Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me less confusing national news!

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