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John Bercow shock: Speaker's 'how to pull a drunk girl' guide revealed

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Jessie Liu, ex-U.S. attorney who oversaw Roger Stone case, resigns from Trump administration

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The former U.S. attorney whose office oversaw the Roger Stone prosecution resigned from the Trump administration Wednesday, two days after President Donald Trump abruptly withdrew her nomination for a top job at the Treasury Department.

Jessie Liu had headed the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., which oversaw several cases that originated with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including prosecutions of longtime Trump associate Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Liu was moved from the U.S. attorney’s office after Trump nominated her to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, a top position overseeing economic sanctions.

A source told NBC News earlier this week that after Liu was nominated, she told the lawyers in her office that she would stay put until she was confirmed. However, Attorney General William Barr asked her to leave around Feb. 1 to ensure continuity in the office, and she agreed.

On the day Liu left, the Justice Department submitted a softer sentencing recommendation for Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The new filing said prosecutors believed probation would be an appropriate sentence for Flynn. They had previously asked that he spend up to six months behind bars.

A similar scenario played out in a more spectacular way in Stone’s this case week. After prosecutors on the case recommended a 7 to 9 year sentence for Stone on Monday, the U.S. attorney’s office abruptly changed course the next day, saying that amount of time would be “excessive” and that Stone should get a lesser sentence.

Stone’s entire prosecution team resigned from the case in protest.

The 180-degree turn came after Trump had tweeted overnight that the proposed sentence was “disgraceful!”

“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” the president wrote in a follow-up post on Twitter. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

Top Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec told NBC News that the decision to reverse course on the sentencing recommendation was made prior to Trump’s almost 2 a.m. tweet.

Liu was not involved in the sentencing debacle, but the president apparently hasn’t been happy with how her office handled the case initially, telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that “I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous.”

Liu’s office also handled the criminal investigation into former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was accused by the Justice Department’s inspector general of lying to investigators. McCabe has not been charged, despite calls by Trump for him to go to prison.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate what pressure Trump and Barr might have exerted behind the scenes. He said the rule of law “is just being totally perverted to Donald Trump’s own personal desires and needs and it’s a disgrace.”

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SNP FARCE: Sturgeon won't end poverty for thousands of Scots for fear of English 'RAIDS'

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NICOLA STURGEON has been accused of not “ending poverty” for thousands of Scots amid fears England will raid their stock, Ian Murray Labour MP has suggested.

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Trump says John Kelly must ‘keep his mouth shut’ after ex-chief of staff said Vindman did the right thing

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President Donald Trump blasted his former chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday after the ex-top aide said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman did the right thing in reporting his concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”

“His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you,” Trump continued. “Wrong!”

Trump was responding to comments Kelly made during a 75-minute speech and question-and-answer session at a Wednesday night event before students and guests at Drew University in New Jersey, which The Atlantic reported.

The retired Marine Corps general, who also served as Trump’s Homeland Security secretary prior to taking on his job as chief of staff, said Vindman was simply following his military training in reporting concerns about Trump’s call.

That phone call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats, led to Trump’s impeachment. Last week, the Senate acquitted the president on two charges, although it was the first time in history a member of a president’s own party— Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah— voted to convict.

Vindman “did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Vindman, who was the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and testified in the House impeachment inquiry, was escorted out of the White House last week. Trump later attributed Vindman’s removal to the impeachment.

Kelly said Vindman was right to flag the call because it marked a huge change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine and suggested the content of that call was akin to hearing “an illegal order.”

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said, according to The Atlantic. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”

“We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss,'” Kelly added.

Kelly, who departed the administration in late 2018, was also critical of other areas of the Trump presidency. He said Trump “tried” to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons “but it didn’t work.”

“I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively,” Kelly said.

In announcing Kelly’s impending departure in 2018, Trump told reporters: “John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.”’

“But, he’s a great guy,” Trump continued.



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