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Judge dismisses case against Michael Flynn after Trump pardon

District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the case against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday, declaring it moot after President Trump's pardon last week."

Why it matters: The move by Sullivan, who had been targeted by Trump allies for his refusal to immediately dismiss the case after the Justice Department requested that he do so, brings an end to a three-year prosecution in which Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.


What they're saying: "President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one. Because the law recognizes the President’s political power to pardon, the appropriate course is to dismiss this case as moot," Sullivan wrote in his opinion.

  • "[A] pardon does not necessarily render “innocent” a defendant of any alleged violation of the law. Indeed, the Supreme Court has recognized that the acceptance of a pardon implies a “confession” of guilt."
  • On the question of whether he would have dismissed the case had Trump not issued a pardon, Sullivan wrote that the Justice Department's stated rationales for dropping the charges are "dubious to say the least, arguably overcoming the strong presumption of regularity that usually attaches to prosecutorial decisions."

The big picture: Trump's pardon of Flynn was the first of several expected in the coming weeks, as Axios first reported. Trump is blindly discussing giving pardons "like Christmas gifts" to people who haven't even asked, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations told Axios.

Read the opinion.

Top Chinese diplomat warns Biden against meddling in country's affairs

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a speech on Sunday warned the U.S. against getting involved in China's "internal affairs," saying that "both sides need to abide by the principle of non-interference," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a hardline approach with China. Tensions between the U.S. and China had heightened for years under the Trump administration.

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America is learning to rebalance its news diet post-Trump

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

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Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

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Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

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Biden to sign voting rights executive order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.

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New York Gov. Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male aides who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

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In photos: Minnesota protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old Black man's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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