News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
From The Hill
Assistant Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said Saturday that the idea the president can’t be charged with obstruction of justice was reminiscent of King George’s rule over the American colonies.
“First of all, the whole idea that he can’t be charged with obstruction of justice — the last time that ever happened in this country is when we were ruled by King George,” Akerman told MSNBC. “That’s what the whole rule of law is about. The president has to faithfully execute the laws.”
“If it he winds up having the corrupt intent to put the kibosh to an investigation, that’s obstruction of justice … If I advise someone to take the fifth amendment … that’s fine. But if I advise them with the corrupt intent to do it to cover up crimes I committed, that’s obstruction of justice. That applies to the president,” Akerman added.
Former US attorney Preet Bharara said Sunday that it “would be outrageous” for a sitting president to pardon himself, which President Donald Trump’s lawyers appear to argue in a letter sent to special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I think (if) the President decided he was going to pardon himself, I think that’s almost self-executing impeachment,” Bharara, a CNN legal analyst, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Whether or not there is a minor legal argument that some law professor somewhere in a legal journal can make that the President can pardon, that’s not what the framers could have intended. That’s not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to make a state visit to Pyongyang, reports Reuters, citing a Sunday report by the North Korea’s state news agency. The report didn’t offer a timeline when he will do so.
Why it matters: It would be the first time North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would host a head of state since he assumed power in 2011, and comes amid several other meetings with world leaders.
Rep. Trey Gowdy has been a pitbull investigator for Republicans for years. Now, he’s in President Donald Trump’s doghouse for daring to challenge the president’s unsupported claim that Democrats and their sympathizers in the FBI embedded a spy in his 2016 campaign.
Trump allies have been pummeling Gowdy in recent days, branding him a gullible or clueless backer of the intelligence community. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, labeled him “uninformed.” Another Trump-tied attorney, Victoria Toensing, said Gowdy “doesn’t know diddly-squat” about the particulars of federal investigations. And Fox News host Lou Dobbs tagged him a “RINO” — a term for a fake Republican.
From The Hill
An off-duty FBI agent shot a man accidentally at a Denver nightclub on Saturday when his gun fell out of his waistband holster as he was doing a backflip while dancing.
The incident, which was caught on video and shared on Twitter by a local news reporter from 9 News, shows the man’s gun fall to the ground after he does a backflip. As the man reaches for the gun it discharges, hitting another person in the leg.
A Sunday Bonus Note from the “Honestly, Practically Everything on the Note Today Could Have Been A Bonus Note But This One Made the Final Cut” File
In 1985, Tony Schwartz, a writer for New York magazine, was sitting in Donald Trump’s office in Trump Tower interviewing him for a story. Trump told him he had agreed to write a book for Random House. “Well, if you’re going to write a book,” Schwartz said, recalling this interaction in a speech he gave last fall at the University of Michigan, “you ought to call it The Art of the Deal.”
“I like that,” Trump said. “Do you want to write it?”
These sorts of arrangements typically are not that generous for the writer. “Most writers for hire receive a flat fee, or a relatively modest percentage of any money the book earns,” Schwartz said in the speech. Schwartz, by contrast, got from Trump an almost unheard-of half of the $500,000 advance from Random House and also half of the royalties. And it didn’t even take a lot of haggling.
“He basically just agreed,” Schwartz told me in an email, meaning Schwartz ever since has brought in millions of dollars more of royalties and Trump has brought in millions of dollars less.
A Bonus BONUS Note from the “Somebody Get That” File
The rise and fall of the phone conversation — from the normalizing of “hello” to all of the other formalities taught to kids who grew up with landline telephones — is revisited in a new piece from The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal.
The big picture: Picking up was once commonplace in a home for a ringing telephone. Now, people avoid phone calls and conversations at all costs, for reasons that include alternative options and the rise of telemarketer spam.