Dec 20, 2018

Trump's AG nominee called Mueller investigation into question

Robert Mueller. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

William Barr, President Trump's latest nominee for attorney general, wrote a June memo to top Justice Department officials criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference into the 2016 election, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Barr's views on the investigation, as well as Trump's authority, will come into question when he sits down at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

Details: In the 19-page memo, Barr argued that the Justice Department must not accept the notion that a president can obstruct justice by exercising his constitutional authority in a manner such as firing a subordinate.

  • "Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the president submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction."
  • "Mueller's obstruction theory is fatally misconceived. As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law. Moreover, in my view, if credited by the department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the presidency and to the administration of law within the executive branch."

Go deeper: Everyone caught up in the Trump investigations

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First look: Trump courts Asian-American vote amid coronavirus

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The president's re-election campaign debuts its "Asian Americans for Trump" initiative in a virtual event tonight, courting a slice of the nation's electorate that has experienced a surge in racism and harassment since the pandemic began.

The big question: How receptive will Asian-American voters be in this moment? Trump has stoked xenophobia by labeling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" and the "Wuhan virus" and equating Chinatowns in American cities to China itself.

How the U.S. might distribute a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Now that there are glimmers of hope for a coronavirus vaccine, governments, NGOs and others are hashing out plans for how vaccines could be distributed once they are available — and deciding who will get them first.

Why it matters: Potential game-changer vaccines will be sought after by everyone from global powers to local providers. After securing supplies, part of America's plan is to tap into its military know-how to distribute those COVID-19 vaccines.

Amazon is gaining on shipping giants

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon is emerging as a transportation juggernaut that could threaten carmakers, package delivery firms and even ride-hailing companies.

Why it matters: By building its own logistics ecosystem and investing in promising electric and autonomous vehicle startups, Amazon could lower its shipping costs to the point that partners like UPS become competitors instead.