The Week MHI dailybriefing ; – MEDIA HUKUM INDONESIA

10 things you need to know today !

1. DOJ drops its case against Michael Flynn

The Justice Department on Thursday moved to drop its criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia’s ambassador before Trump’s inauguration. Flynn later tried to withdraw the plea, saying he was pressured into giving it. The DOJ investigated, and concluded the FBI’s interview of Flynn was “unjustified,” so his statements weren’t “material even if untrue.”

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan now must decide whether to dismiss the case. Trump said the reversal showed Flynn was an “innocent man.” Critics said the move was the latest in a series of efforts by Attorney General William Barr to chip away at the results of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But the Justice Department now says there was no basis to question Flynn, especially since agents were prepared to close their investigation into him weeks earlier after finding nothing to suggest he had committed a crime.

The department also suggests the FBI erred by not advising Flynn that it was a crime to lie, even though the agency said less than two years ago it wasn’t required.

Some current and former officials say there are less extreme remedies for issues like the ones the department identified. The department, for instance, could have supported Flynn’s bid to withdraw his guilty plea.

But a senior Justice Department official said the department believes concerns about the FBI’s conduct — one of the agents who interviewed Flynn was later fired for derogatory text messages about Trump during the investigation — would have made it difficult to win at trial had a judge agreed to withdraw the plea. That official was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

One Justice Department prosecutor not involved in the case expressed bewilderment about the decision, especially since it involved walking away from a guilty plea and conviction.

The prosecutor, who also spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the persistent attacks on the FBI have given defense lawyers ammunition to attack federal investigators as corrupt, and have exposed political divisions inside Justice Department offices that are meant to be apolitical.

As for Flynn, he responded to the news by posting a video of his grandson holding an American flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Longtime friend Tom Heaney said Flynn felt vindicated and was relieved by the decision.

“He feels like a huge weight has been lifted off him,” Heaney said. “For all of us, we were never doubting the fact that he was innocent.”

[ The Associated Press]

2. Trump’s personal valet tests positive for coronavirus

Trump, Personal Valet, Positive | Baaz

One of President Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus. The valet, who was not identified publicly, is a member of the Navy and part of an elite military unit that works closely with the president and his family, so the test result raised concerns that Trump could have been exposed to the virus. Trump was very upset when he learned of the valet’s test result, and was subsequently retested by the White House physician, CNN reported.

“The president and the vice president have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Trump will now be tested daily for COVID-19, he said. [CNN]

3. Father and son charged with murder in Ahmaud Arbery shooting

Gregory and Travis McMichael face murder charges in connection ...

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, have been arrested for the fatal February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations announced Thursday. Both were charged with murder and aggravated assault. Arbery, who was black, was jogging through a Glynn County neighborhood on Feb. 23 when the McMichaels, who are white, began chasing him in a pickup truck. They told police they thought he was responsible for recent burglaries in the neighborhood, although no such crimes were reported in the weeks before the shooting.

The arrests came two days after a video emerged showing Travis McMichael holding a shotgun as he confronted the unarmed Arbery in the street. There is a scuffle, three shots are fired, and Arbery stumbles and falls to the ground.

Arbery family attorney S. Lee Merritt has said that the McMichaels saw a black man jogging through their neighborhood, assumed the worst and tracked him down and killed him.

CNN’s attempts to reach Travis McMichael this week have been unsuccessful. Gregory McMichael has declined to comment because he’s under investigation.

Two district attorneys had recused themselves from the case, though one said he thought the McMichaels had used their citizen’s arrest rights.

A third DA, Tom Durden of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, said this week he would present the evidence to a grand jury, once the coronavirus pandemic restrictions against them were lifted.

The GBI got the case Tuesday night when Durden requested the agency take over.

On Tuesday, demonstrators converged on the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Arbery was killed.”You want to chase somebody down? We got over 100 bodies out here. Chase us down,” said a man leading the demonstration. “We’re a community. We’re not going to keep allowing this to go on in Glynn County.”

[CNN,MHI]

4. Supreme Court throws out convictions in Bridgegate scandal

Unanimous Supreme Court Throws Out 'Bridgegate' Convictions | Time

The Supreme Court unanimously threw out the convictions of two former New Jersey officials involved in the state’s “Bridgegate” scandal on Thursday. Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the aides — Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, allies of former Gov. Chris Christie (R) — “used deception” to cut access lanes from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the bridge “for no reason” other than “political payback” against Fort Lee’s mayor, who had refused to endorse Christie’s re-election.

Evidence clearly shows corruption and power abuse, but Kelly and Baroni “could not have violated the federal-program fraud or wire fraud laws” because they didn’t “aim to obtain money or property,” Kagan wrote. Baroni began his 18-month prison sentence last year; Kelly was scheduled to begin her 13-month sentence two weeks before the Supreme Court agreed to hear her case.

But lawyers for Kelly and Baroni say the government went too far. They argued that while the aides were convicted for property fraud, they never took bribes or kickbacks, but instead were pursuing political motives.

Jacob Roth, a lawyer for Kelly, told the justices that he wasn’t suggesting the scheme was “OK” but that the remedy was not a federal property fraud conviction. He said the actions could be subject to political repercussions or New Jersey state laws, but not the federal statute that was used against his client. He said the lower court opinions against his client would produce a “sweeping expansion of federal jurisdiction.”

“In an ideal world, public officials would always act solely in the best interest of the public,” Roth argued. “But our world is decidedly not ideal, and politics is one of its inherent features, accepted as the cost of democratic accountability.”

[CNN/MHI]

5. Report: Trump administration shelved CDC guidelines for reopening economy

The Trump administration sent back the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proposed guidance for restarting businesses, houses of worship, schools, and local government offices during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, requesting revisions, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The 17-page report, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was intended for release last Friday, but an anonymous CDC official said agency scientists were told it “would never see the light of day.”

Normally, the CDC provides regular guidance and science-based updates on public health crises, but the White House has handled regular briefings during the coronavirus pandemic. The White House’s broad guidelines on reopening leave most decisions to governors.

At a briefing Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany echoed the administration’s stance that states are most responsible for their own COVID-19 response: “We’ve consulted individually with states, but as I said, it’s (a) governor-led effort. It’s a state-led effort on … which the federal government will consult. And we do so each and every day.”

The CDC is hearing daily from state and county health departments looking for scientifically valid information with which to make informed decisions.

Still, behind the scenes, CDC scientists like those who produced the guidance for “Opening Up America Again″ are working to get information to local governments. The agency still employs hundreds of the world’s most respected epidemiologists and doctors, who in times of crisis are looked to for their expertise, said former CDC director Tom Frieden. People have clicked on the CDC’s coronavirus website more than 1.2 billion times.

States that directly reach out to the CDC can tap guidance that’s been prepared but that the White House has not released.

“I don’t think that any state feels that the CDC is deficient. It’s just the process of getting stuff out,” Plescia said.

[The Associated Press]

6. Report: Burr’s brother-in-law sold stocks on same day he did

Sen. Richard Burr’s brother-in-law Gerald Fauth sold off significant stock holdings on the same day Burr did in February, just before fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic triggered a market crash, ProPublica reported Thursday.

Fauth, who was appointed by President Trump to the National Mediation Board in 2017, reportedly sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies, some of which dropped more sharply than the broader market in the panicked selling, which dragged down the main U.S. indexes by more than 30 percent in the month that followed. Burr had received intelligence briefings about the potential fallout from the pandemic, but he said he based his investment decisions on publicly available news. [ProPublica, Fox News]

7. Tara Reade says she wishes Biden would drop out

Tara Reade says Joe Biden should drop out of the 2020 election ...

Tara Reade, who has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, told Megyn Kelly in a piece of an interview aired Thursday that she thought Biden should withdraw from the 2020 presidential race.

Reade says Biden sexually assaulted her in the Capitol building when she worked for him in the Senate. “You and I were there, Joe Biden,” she said. “You should not be running on character for the president of the United States.” Reade, whose lawyers include a Trump donor and a former editor of the Russia-linked Sputnik news agency, said she wished Biden would drop out of the presidential race, “but he won’t.” Biden has denied Reade’s allegation “unequivocally,” saying “it never happened.” [Megyn Kelly]

8. Small-business disaster loan limit slashed

The Small Business Administration has slashed its limit on loans under an emergency disaster lending program from $2 million to $150,000 due to overwhelming demand. The agency also is blocking all new applications from small businesses under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The longstanding program is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program created in response to the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to help small businesses continue paying employees through the crisis. The disaster loan program did get more than $50 billion in new funding under coronavirus relief bills Congress has passed since the outbreak began. The SBA now has a backlog of applications. [The Washington Post]

9. Jobs report expected to show 21.5 million jobs lost in April

Luis Mora stands in front of the closed offices of the New York State Department of Labor on May 7, 2020 in Brooklyn New York City.

Economists expect the Labor Department’s April employment report to show the U.S. economy lost a record 21.5 million jobs last month as the coronavirus crisis shut down businesses across the country. The losses likely pushed up the unemployment rate from 4.4 percent to 16 percent, although it could fall anywhere between 11 percent and 20 percent, according to Dow Jones.

Sixteen percent unemployment would be the highest rate since 1939, late in the Great Depression. “This is the biggest and most acute shock that we’ve seen in post-war history,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. The government reported Thursday that 3.2 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to 33.5 million in the last seven weeks. [CNBC]

10. India expands evacuations after deadly gas leak at chemical factory

Indian authorities on Friday widened evacuations near a South Korean-owned chemical factory where a gas leak has killed at least 12 people. Another 1,000 people reportedly were left struggling to breathe after the leak.

Authorities tried to ease a panic caused by the evacuations, assuring the public that there hadn’t been a new leak. But the factory’s owner, LG Chem, said it had requested the new evacuations due to concerns that rising temperatures at the plant’s gas tank could result in further leaks. Authorities said they were flying in chemicals to neutralize the gas before letting evacuees return to their homes. The first evacuations, on Thursday, affected about 3,000 people. [The Associated Press]

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