Thursday morning news: May 2, 2019

Attorney general testifies on handling of Mueller report » Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee fired questions and accusations at Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday. Barr testified about his response to the Mueller report.

Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono accused Barr of misleading the public in his March summary of the report to help the White House.

HIRONO: You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct. You selectively quoted fragments from the special counsel’s report, taking some of the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest. 

Democrats noted that Mueller himself wrote a letter to the attorney general to say he felt Barr’s summary of the report lacked context. Barr said he was perturbed by the letter.

BARR: The letter’s a bit snitty, and I think was probably written by one of his staff people. 

Pressed on whether President Trump obstructed justice, Barr said if a proceeding “is based on false allegations,” he doesn’t have to sit back and take it.

BARR: The president could terminate that proceeding, and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused, and he would be worried about the impact on his administration. 

He said most of the obstruction accusations “involve the exercise of the president’s constitutional authority.” And he added that “we now know that he was being falsely accused.”

Barr was scheduled to testify again today, this time before the House Judiciary Committee. But the attorney general said Wednesday, he will not keep that appointment citing objections over the terms of his testimony. In an unusual move, Democrats had planned to subject Barr to additional questioning by committee counsels after testifying to lawmakers.


Students, families mourn victims in UNC shooting » Classmates and family members are mourning the loss of two students killed in Wednesday’s shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Students had gathered Wednesday for end-of-year presentations in an anthropology class when a young man walked in. He opened fire with a handgun, shooting six students. 21-year-old Riley Howell and 19-year-old Ellis Parlier died in the attack.

Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said officers quickly stormed the room and disarmed the 22-year-old suspect.

BAKER: I think that all of it happened quickly. Obviously, for us to get in the room and take him into custody, it occurred fast. He never had time to even get out of the room.

A UNC official said the suspect had been enrolled at the school but withdrew during the current semester. Police said Wednesday that the gunman had not appeared on their radar as a potential threat and his motive was not yet clear.  

N.C. Senate votes to override veto of Born-Alive Protection Act » The North Carolina Senate has voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill to protect babies who survive abortions. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act last month. The bill creates civil and criminal penalties for abortionists who fail to offer the same care to babies born alive after botched abortions as they would to other patients. Cooper called it “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”

But the state’s GOP-controlled Senate voted this week to override the governor’s decision. Democratic state Senator Don Davis joined with Republicans to reverse the veto in that chamber by a vote of 30 to 20.

The measure now moves to the state House. Republican lawmakers will need to swing Democratic votes to get the needed supermajority to enact the law.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

British judge sentences Julian Assange to nearly a year in prison » A British judge on Wednesday sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail and hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years.

Judge Deborah Taylor said Assange’s stay at the embassy cost British taxpayers $21 million. It was—in her words—a “deliberate attempt to delay justice.”

Assange originally claimed asylum at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations. The United States has also charged him for publishing classified government documents.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said today begins Assange’s most important challenge, fighting extradition to the U.S.

HRAFNSSON: What is at stake there could be a question of life and death for Mr. Assange. It is also a question of life and death for a major journalistic principle. 

WikiLeaks maintains Assange acted as a journalist, not a criminal, when he published U.S. government secrets.

(AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek) Police secure the main entrance to UNC Charlotte after a shooting at the school that left at least two people dead, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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