Friday morning news – May 8, 2020


Justice Department drops criminal case against Michael Flynn » The Department of Justice is dropping its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser. 

The DOJ cited newly “discovered information” revealing wrongdoing within the FBI. Officials filed a motion to dismiss the case on Thursday stating Flynn’s interview with the FBI in January 2017 was—quote—“conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.” 

President Trump reacted hours later, saying Flynn was an “innocent man” and blasting those behind the investigation. 

TRUMP: And I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price because they’re dishonest, crooked people. They’re scum.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of lying to federal agents about his contact with Russian officials. He later moved to withdraw his guilty plea. 

Newly uncovered documents that suggest FBI agents on the case may have planned ahead of the interview to entrap Flynn. Documents also showed that the bureau’s former counterespionage chief, Peter Strzok, pushed to keep the Flynn probe open after the investigating agent planned to close it because he found no wrongdoing. 

Documents also suggest Strzok heavily edited notes from Flynn’s FBI interview. Strzok was later removed from the Russia probe after anti-Trump messages came to light, which he exchanged with his mistress, who was then an FBI lawyer.

On Thursday, the U.S. attorney reviewing the Flynn case, Jeff Jensen, said after reviewing the case, he recommended dropping charges and Attorney General William Bar agreed. 

Trump vetoes Iran war powers resolution » President Trump this week vetoed a resolution that stated he must get the nod from Congress before taking any further military action against Iran. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.  

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Lawmakers in the House introduced the resolution after the U.S. airstrike that killed the leader of Iran’s proxy wars, General Qassem Soleimani. Some on Capitol Hill worried that an all-out conflict might follow … and a handful of Republicans in both chambers backed the resolution.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.  But President Trump said that doesn’t mean the president has to get permission from Congress to greenlight all military operations. 

Trump said—quote—“We live in a hostile world of evolving threats and the Constitution recognizes that the president must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Unemployment claims high but slowing » The number of U.S. workers filing jobless claims is slowly dropping. Last week, 3.2 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. That number, while still extremely high, could suggest the grimmest period of coronavirus layoffs has passed.

And on Wall Street, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all closed higher on Thursday. 

Johns Hopkins researcher warns states aren’t ready to reopen » As states begin their push to slowly reopen for business, one expert is warning they simply aren’t ready. 

Last month, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security crafted guidelines for governors on reopening. It includes a four part criteria: A decline in new cases for 14 days, enough testing capacity, sufficient healthcare capacity, and the ability to conduct thorough contact tracing. 

A researcher at the Center for Health Security, Dr. Caitlin Rivers, testified on Capitol Hill this week that not a single state meets all four criteria. 

Rivers’ colleague, Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist, said as states reopen Americans must take responsibility for their own safety.

ADALJA: Especially if you’re a vulnerable population, because the virus has not dissipated. It’s still going to pose a risk. And now this has to be something that you incorporate into your daily life routine, trying to minimize your risk of becoming infected. 

But not all states have adopted the Johns Hopkins criteria. And governors beginning the process of jumpstarting their economies say they’re doing so slowly and responsibly, incorporating the advice of medical experts.

Michigan Legislature sues governor over stay-home order » Michigan is not among the states taking steps to reopen and that has set up a clash between Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Republican-led legislature. 

House Speaker Lee Chatfield called the governor’s approach heavy handed.

CHATFIELD: Now, we believe you can prioritize public health, yet be reasonable in your approach to fighting COVID. 

And this week, the legislature sued the governor after she extended emergency stay-at-home orders by executive order until May 28th. 

Chatfield said by state law, only the legislature can extend a state of emergency and Whitmer’s order was unconstitutional.  

Justice Ginsburg discharged from hospital » Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back at home today after being discharged from a Baltimore hospital.

The 87-year-old received nonsurgical treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital for an infection caused by a gallstone. She participated in oral arguments by telephone from her hospital room Wednesday.

Father, son arrested in fatal shooting of Georgia man » The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced last night agents have arrested a father and son in the fatal shooting of an African-American man in February. 

The GBI said Gregory and Travis McMichael have been arrested for the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in the coastal town of Brunswick. 

A video released this week showed two white males in a truck pursuing Arbery before shooting him. The men told police said they believed Arbery matched the description of a burglary suspect. And Travis McMichael claimed he fired in self defense. 

A grand jury is expected to hear evidence in the case next month.


(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse following a status hearing in Washington. 

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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