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News Scan

No Trump Obstruction of Justice:  ..."under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual...Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to `get' President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities.  In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights,"  writes Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz in this OpEd.   "I think that it is important to put to rest the notion that there was anything criminal about the president exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and  to request -`hope'- that he let go the investigation of General Flynn," he added.  Included in his testimony yesterday is the news that the former head of the FBI leaked a private conversation with the president as reported by ABC News, and that Trump, according to Comey, encouraged investigations that might identify questionable contacts with the Russians by his staff, and the revelation that the New York Times falsely reported that the new president had colluded with the Russians, and you end up with this headline in this morning's Sacramento Bee: "Comey says Trump lied about why he was fired."

NSA Leak Suspect Denied Bail:  A federal magistrate judge yesterday denied bail to Reality Winner, a former NSA contractor employee accused of leaking classified information in violation of the Espionage Act, Katie Mettler reports in the WaPo.  The AUSA told the magistrate that Ms. Winner was both a flight risk and a danger to the public if released due to the valuable information she has.

Alabama Execution:  Alabama executed murderer Robert Melson last night for the 1994 killings of three employees of a Popeye's restaurant.  One Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court, 6-3, lifted a stay issued by a panel of the Eleventh Circuit.  Justice Thomas issued a temporary stay yesterday to allow the full court to consider a new petition.  The court denied the stay and vacated the temporary stay at 9:10 Alabama time, and the execution proceeded.  The challenge related to Alabama's use of midazolam, a problem caused by the anti-death-penalty movement's pressuring of pharmaceutical companies to cut off the supply of the better-suited barbiturate drugs.  Ivana Hrynkiw has this story with updates at AL.com.

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