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  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain has used the press to take aim at President Donald Trump's attacks on the media.The Republican senator from Arizona penned an op-ed for The Washington Post, condemning what he views as Trump's attempts to discredit the free press.The piece, which was published Tuesday night, was timed to coincide with the president's previously disclosed plans to hold his "Fake News Awards" on Wednesday, though it is unclear if those alleged awards will take place Wednesday or ever.McCain specifically mentioned Trump's use of the term "fake news" and the mock awards he has touted."Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy," McCain wrote.McCain cited statistics about violence against journalists and the 262 cases of reporters being imprisoned worldwide, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists."While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit," he wrote.McCain also noted that by using and legitimizing the term "fake news," it allows repressive governments in other countries to do the same, making the work for activists in those countries more difficult."Without strong leadership in the White House, Congress must commit to protecting independent journalism, preserving an open and free media environment, and defending the fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression," McCain wrote.He argued that journalists must be able to do their jobs freely. "Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom," he said.On Jan. 7, Trump tweeted that "The Fake News Awards" would be "presented to the losers" Wednesday.When asked about the timing of the alleged awards during the daily press briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she would keep the media "posted on any details around that potential event and what that would look like."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court justices will consider Wednesday if a defendant’s attorney can admit a client’s guilt to a jury – as a concession defense - against the client’s expressed objection.Robert McCoy, in 2011, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the 2008, shooting and killing of his estranged wife’s mother, step-father, and son.McCoy was initially assigned a public defender but asked the court to dismiss his lawyer saying his relationship with his attorney had broken down.McCoy's family hired, Larry English, to represent their son Robert. English, after reviewing the case, told McCoy the case was not winnable and a plea deal would be best but McCoy, “adamantly refused to take a plea” according to court documents.McCoy maintained his innocence and claimed to have an alibi, but English felt he had to do what was best for his client.In a sworn affidivde, English explains his reasoning “As time passed I became convinced that the evidence against Robert McCoy was overwhelming. I negotiated with the Distinct Attomey's Office to open up the possibility of a plea of guilty in return for a sentence of life imprisonment”English told McCoy he, “intended to concede to the jury” that McCoy was the killer. English admits, in sworn documents, that “Robert told me not to make that concession but I told him that I was going to do so. I explained that I felt I had an ethical duty to save his life, regardless of what he wanted to do.”English told ABC News in an interview that "In every trial a lawyer has options presented to him under the law and you use every tool to advance your clients cause."He added, “ this was the best lawyering I did in my life”.McCoy's representation will argue before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated.ABC News asked Steven Schwinn, a constitutional expert and law professor at the John Marshall Law School to discuss the case.How did the case get to the Supreme Court?McCoy was sentenced to death (three times) in the trial court. After he retained new counsel, he moved for a new trial; this was denied. He then appealed, but the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence. He petitioned the Supreme Court for review, and the Court agreed to hear the case.What question(s) are the Justices being asked to decide?Does a criminal defense attorney have to consult with the defendant and get the defendant’s permission before conceding guilt at trial? In death cases, a criminal defense attorney might use this strategy in order to avoid a death sentence. The reasoning goes like this: If we fess up to the crime at trial, the judge or jury might be more sympathetic at sentencing. This is called a “concession defense.” So the real question in the case is this: Can a criminal defense attorney use a concession defense against the expressed wishes of the criminal defendant in a death case?What does the Sixth Amendment say?As relevant to this case, it only says that a criminal defendant has the right to “the assistance of counsel for his defence [sic].” The parties wrangle over whether this requires a defense attorney to get the defendant’s permission before employing a concession defense in a death case. Parsing the language, the government focuses on “the assistance of counsel” (emphasizing that defense attorneys have a great deal of latitude in setting legal strategy), while McCoy focuses on “his defence [sic]” (emphasizing that ultimately the defense attorney is simply “assisting” the defendant in presenting the defendant’s defense).What is the national impact of this case?The ruling will likely be quite narrow, addressing an attorney’s use of a concession defense against his or her client’s wishes in a death case. (That’s because the Court will want to avoid
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  • Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former congressman, senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole was one of the few prominent GOP names to support President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Trump will repay that support on Wednesday as he appears at an award ceremony granting Dole the Congressional Gold Medal.Dole served as a congressman and then senator from 1961 to 1996 in his home state of Kansas. He spent the first eight years in Washington as a member of the House of Representatives before graduating to the Senate in 1969 and serving through 1996.Dole's involvement in presidential politics is as lengthy as anyone to never hold the office. He ran for president once, vice president once and twice came up short for the GOP nomination for president.Dole was the only former presidential candidate to support Trump in the 2016 election, though.Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush all all either said they were not going to vote for him or said after the election that they didn’t vote for him. Dole was the only one to show up to support Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention, as well.The 94-year-old politician ran for vice president in 1976 along with Gerald Ford in a losing effort to Jimmy Carter. Dole ran for the Republican nomination for president four years later, but lost to eventual President Ronald Reagan. Eight years later, he again ran for the top of the ticket and again lost -- this time to George H.W. Bush.Dole finally had his chance atop the GOP ticket in 1996, but he lost in a landslide to incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton.The loss, and his exit from Congress, essentially put an end to Dole's career in politics.Dole was previously honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom a full 21 years ago by Clinton, just months after losing the presidential election to him.
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  • @colbertlateshow/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Comedians took aim at President Donald Trump’s doctor on Tuesday after he said the president’s "overall health is excellent," according to his recent physical assessment.Dr. Ronny Jackson shared the outcome of Trump's exam at a White House press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, including his 6-foot-3 height and 239-pound weight, which puts him right on the brink of obesity.“That’s awfully convenient,” Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, said Thursday in his opening monologue, before going on to insinuate that Trump may have bribed the doctor with cash."Listen, Doc, I don’t want to be obese, but I feel like this wad of cash is about one pound. Why don't you take this off my hands and weigh me again, OK," Colbert said in his best Trump impersonation.Jimmy Kimmel also opened Live with a few jokes on the president’s weight.“Despite the fact that he is borderline obese, Trump is in excellent health. How could he be in excellent health? When he sneezes gravy comes out. Look at him,” Kimmel joked.“The doctor said the is examination went exceptionally well, which means he stopped eating chicken long enough to get a reading,” Kimmel added, referring to Trump’s reported love of junk food.Over on The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah said he still had a few questions about the health report.“So it turns out, according to the official White House doctor, Trump is completely sane, which makes me more worried because that means he's doing all of this s--t on purpose,” Noah said. “You covfefe in your normal mind?“No heart problems, no dementia, no dentures? But did you test for racism,” he asked sarcastically.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen faced intense questioning about her memory of the Oval Office immigration reform meeting last week in which President Donald Trump referred to several nations as "s---hole countries," including by one of the senators also present for the meeting.Nielsen, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, said she "did not hear" the word "s---hole," or one similar, as she was asked about her recollection of the bipartisan White House meeting, but did say she remembered "rough talk" and "tough language."Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who was singled out by Trump Monday for "misrepresenting what was said" during the conversation after he confirmed reports last week about the president's description of Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries pressed Nielsen for specific detail, but the secretary did not specifically assign attribution to Trump.The president previously acknowledged "tough" language was used during the meeting but denied making "derogatory" remarks about Haiti in particular. A pair of senators also present last week — Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., — claimed over the weekend that the media and Durbin misrepresented the president's comments."Apologies. I don't remember [a] specific word," Nielsen said. "What I was struck with, frankly, I'm sure you were as well, the general profanity used in the room by almost everyone."Earlier during Tuesday's hearing, Nielsen was asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. about Trump's reported preference for European immigrants, including those from Norway. The president previously met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg the day before the Oval Office meeting."Being from Norway is not a skill," Leahy said. "And with the standard of living in Norway better than ours, what does he mean when he says he wants more immigrants from Norway?""I don't believe he said that specifically," responded Nielsen, adding, "What he was specifically referring to is the prime minister telling him that the people of Norway work very hard. And so what he was referencing is from a merit-based perspective, we like to have those with skills who can assimilate to the United States.""Norway is a predominantly white country, isn't it?" followed Leahy."I actually do not know that, sir," Nielsen said. "But I imagine that is the case."Nielsen's answers faced criticism later during the hearing from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who called it "unacceptable" that she could not "remember the words of your commander-in-chief.""Your silence and your amnesia is complicity," Booker said.The reports of the meeting, which came amid continued debate over the country's immigration policies, renewed accusations by critics of the president on issues of race. In response, Trump told reporters Sunday he is "not racist.""I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed," he said. "That I can tell you."The meeting, held last Thursday, was part of ongoing talks between the White House and members of Congress to pass a permanent solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients -- a priority for Democrats since the president announced an end to the program in September.The program, which began under President Obama, was scheduled to come a complete stop over the next couple of years, but the wind down is facing challenges in court.Nielsen acknowledged to Sen. Booker that she has not met with DACA recipients or Dreamers either as Homeland Security secretary or prior.“I personally, have not to my knowledge, met with a Dreamer," she later said.A visibly frustrated Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was also in Thursday's meeting, implored the president to "close this deal" during the DHS hearing.Graham, who has been a key negotiator, tried to get to the bottom of what changed between last Tuesday, when the president seemed to support a bipartisan bill of "love," and the Oval Office meeting on Thursday."Tue
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