Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report

By Mark Mazzetti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

April 18, 2019

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, issued his highly anticipated report on Thursday.

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WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed the scope of a historic Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential election in a much-anticipated report made public on Thursday, and he detailed a frantic monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart a federal investigation that imperiled his presidency from the start.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, laid out how his team of prosecutors wrestled with whether Mr. Trump’s actions added up to a criminal obstruction-of-justice offense. They ultimately chose not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him and suggested that it might be the role of Congress to settle the matter.

The report laid bare that Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power, and cataloged numerous meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians seeking to influence the campaign and the presidential transition team — encounters set up in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president.

The special counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to determine that the president or his aides had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians, even though the Trump campaign welcomed the Kremlin sabotage effort and “expected it would benefit electorally” from the hacks and leaks of Democratic emails.

Then, after federal investigators opened an inquiry into the extraordinary Russian campaign, the president repeatedly tried to undermine it.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

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You’re fired, governor says to Christie appointees. Board members at beleaguered agency mostly ignore him.

Updated Apr 17, 2019

It could be a long goodbye.

A day after Gov. Phil Murphy called for the resignations of five members of the Economic Development Authority board appointed by his predecessor, only the chairman has stepped down — his photo and bio quickly scrubbed from the agency’s website.

Four others have been silent, and have given no indication that they are going anywhere. The governor’s office said none had resigned. None returned calls for comment.

Meanwhile, former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, lashed out Wednesday at Murphy, calling the move by the Democratic governor to oust those he had appointed to the board a “partisan political assassination.”

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Newark Leaders Want Marijuana Records Expunged Without Recreational Legalization

State Sen. Ron Rice speaks at Paradise Baptist Church.
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NEWARK, NJ - Local lawmakers and clergy today called for marijuana expungement legislation or pardons, even if it means leaving recreational legalization in the dust.

While a separate expungement bill was initially introduced, it was added into the legalization bill. The vote for the legalization bill with the expungement provisions was ultimately canceled last month since it was not expected to garner enough votes in the state legislature.

Bishop Jethro James, who ministers at Paradise Baptist Church, called on Gov. Phil Murphy to pardon those with marijuana convictions, which would circumvent the legislative process.

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Congestion Pricing Is Coming to New York. New Jersey Wants Revenge.

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons

THE NEW YORK TIMES

April 16, 2019

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said he would fight any effort to double toll drivers who use the George Washington Bridge and then travel into Manhattan’s congestion pricing zone.

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New York and New Jersey are neighbors, but they have not always treated each other in a neighborly way. Their proximity and pride have led to plenty of fights — over who can lay claim to Ellis Island (both actually), which state has the best pizza (still raging) and the proper way to get gasoline (solo vs. full service).

But the latest chapter in this rivalry might be among the nastiest.

New York recently approved congestion pricing, a plan to make it more expensive to drive into the heart of Manhattan. Officials in New Jersey are enraged and have griped, half-jokingly, that it will cost less to travel to California than to cross the Hudson River.

And they are vowing revenge.

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Murphy looks to oust Christie appointees to EDA board, amid mounting criticism over misspent billions

Posted Apr 16, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy has requested the resignations of all the gubernatorial appointees to the troubled New Jersey Economic Development Authority, effective immediately, NJ Advance Media has learned.

In a late day series of calls, at least five board members were asked to step down, two sources with knowledge of the moves confirmed. All were put on the board by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican.

The Trenton-based authority has been under siege in recent months, since a scathing audit by the state comptroller was publicly released in January. The report criticized the EDA’s oversight of a program it said had handed out billions in tax credit incentives with scant oversight.

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N.J. ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for kids won’t be overturned as U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge

Updated Apr 15, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take a case that sought to overturn a New Jersey law banning conversion therapy — a medically discredited practice of attempting to change a child’s sexual orientation from gay to straight.

That means the New Jersey ban will remain.

Licensed therapists in New Jersey have been prohibited since 2013 from engaging in reparative or conversion therapy for minors.

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NEWARK NIMBY ON STATE PLAN TO BUILD JUVENILE JUSTICE FACILITY IN BRICK CITY

The closing of New Jersey’s main youth detention facility is still years away, but social justice advocates are pushing back on a proposal to build a new juvenile justice facility in the state’s largest city.

In one of his last acts as governor, Chris Christie announced in January 2018 that the state would close the New Jersey Training School at Jamesburg, along with a smaller women’s facility. The plan was to replace them with smaller centers in the north, central, and southern parts of the state. Gov. Phil Murphy last October issued an executive order creating a task force to recommend reforms to the state’s juvenile justice system, including plans for shutting down and establishing new youth rehabilitation centers.

The Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey held its first meeting, which was not open to the public, seven weeks ago. Just days later, on March 1, the task force held a conference call during which a representative of the state attorney general’s office announced a Newark site as the location for one new youth facility, according to a written summary of the call. While not including specifics of the proposed Newark site, the summary indicates the state wants sites to be between five and seven acres, with the new facilities to accommodate about 48 beds.

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Murphy must own the SDA fiasco | Editorial

Posted Apr 14, 2019

Currently, there is an internal inquiry of the hiring practices and payroll management at the Schools Development Authority, the agency still tasked with upgrading schools in our poorest communities despite its legacy of Jersey-caliber depravity.

There is also a “review” of hiring protocols at the SDA and other state authorities, by order of Governor Murphy.

Plus, various legislative panels are looking into the SDA’s eight-month makeover under the merry murderess of meritocracy, CEO Lizette Delgado-Polanco.

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N.J. mental health patients will get help when they need it under new law signed by Murphy

Updated Apr 11, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday signed a bill into law that’s expected to eliminate some of the obstacles in New Jersey that force many people to forgo mental health care or go broke paying the bills.

The new law is intended to close the loopholes that have allowed managed care companies to limit mental health treatment and violate the intent of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

The landmark, bipartisan law required insurance companies to provide equal coverage for mental illnesses in the same way they cover physical ailments and diseases.

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When innocent people are locked up, guilty people go free. Now N.J. vows to put the true culprits in jail.

Updated Apr 11, 2019

Former Superior Court Judge Carolyn Murray speaks to reporters at a Trenton press conference where Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Murray would lead a new unit devoted to reviewing wrongful conviction claims.

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When prosecutors dropped charges against Eric Kelley and Ralph Lee last year, it had been nearly a quarter-century since the murder of a Paterson video store clerk for which the pair were wrongly convicted.

Two men who professed innocence were now free — but the case had long gone cold, leaving the victim’s family without answers.

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