CSI DC: Forensics Becomes The Latest Battleground In Trump’s War On Science

[DIGEST: Washington Post (a, b, c), PBS, Justice.gov, Common Dreams, NY Times]

In U.S. history, it would be hard to find a presidential administration that displayed more contempt for science than the Trump administration has in just its first three months.

A few of the lowlights include:

  • President Trump's pick to head up the Environmental Protection Agency had sued the agency 13 times and denies the reality of human-caused climate change.
  • Trump proposed a devastating 19% cut to the National Institutes of Health, which funds cutting edge medical research at hospitals and universities around the world. 
  • As of a month ago, the administration had moved to fill just 1 of 46 science and technology roles in the government.
  • In filling the role of Energy Secretary, President Trump replaced a nuclear physicist with a former governor who supported eliminating the Energy Department altogether.

And more recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science when it expired on April 23rd. 

The commission is an independent panel of scientists, attorneys, and members of law enforcement who advise the justice department on the use of scientific evidence in the criminal justice process. It was created by the Obama administration in 2013 to help ensure the highest standards for the use of forensic evidence in criminal justice proceedings. 

The Justice Department's decision comes just days after the commissioners sent AG Sessions a letter urging him to renew the commission's charter. 

Attorney General's proposed alternatives to an independent commission include the appointment of "a Senior Forensic Advisor to interface with forensic science stakeholders and advise Department leadership."

In other words, not independent at all.

As U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of New York said: "It is unrealistic to expect that truly objective, scientifically sound standards for the use of forensic science...can be arrived at by entities centered solely within the Department of Justice."

Sessions has also suspended an expanded review of several evidence gathering techniques the FBI has relied on when offering expert testimony in criminal cases. The accuracy of these techniques had been called into question by Obama administration experts and a review had been ordered late last year.

In addition, the Obama administration initiated agreements between the civil rights division of the Justice Department and troubled police departments around the country to implement reforms to ensure the civil rights of citizens are protected. In January, the Obama DOJ came to an agreement with the Baltimore Police Department in response to the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured while in police custody in 2015. Jeff Sessions has already asked for a 90 day delay on implementation of this agreement and intends to review all of the others currently in effect.

Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu via Getty Images // Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Amendment 4—a Florida referendum restoring voting rights to former felons—passed in 2018 with 65% of the vote, paving the way for an additional 1.4 million voters in the swing state.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis immediately took steps to undermine the public will by signing into law a bill that would only restore voting rights to felons who fully pay all fees and fines imposed after leaving prison.

Under Florida law, court debts left unpaid after three months are referred to private debt collectors, who can then tack on a surcharge of up to 40%.

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A day after Senators took an oath of impartiality in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, the President eagerly announced the team of lawyers who will be defending him.

Two names on the list stood out.

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Now that the impeachment articles have been transferred to the U.S. Senate and Senators have been sworn in as jurors, Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial is officially underway.

And while it's adjourned for the long weekend, the White House just announced their legal team, and it's a doozy.

In addition to lead attorneys Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, Trump's legal team will consist of five additional lawyers who are expected to have speaking roles on the Senate floor throughout the trial:

  • Robert Ray
  • Alan Dershowitz
  • Ken Starr
  • Jane Raskin
  • Pam Bondi
Yep, you read that right, Ken Starr, of Clinton impeachment infamy.

And none other than Monica Lewinsky herself weighed in with a reaction that was relatable AF:

Many were here for it and had Lewinsky's back.

But doesn't that sentiment pretty much define every day?

And how is that going to. go for Starr?


Can we make this happen, please?

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"Promises made, promises kept" is one of President Donald Trump's most repeated campaign slogans, but according to the Washington Post, those might just be empty words.

In 2016, the Post launched the Trump Promise Tracker, which kept a record of the 280+ promises Trump made during the campaign. As the end of his first term draws nearer and nearer, the Post has been updating the tracker of which promises Trump has kept since his election.

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Fox News

Far-right television personality Sean Hannity is a crucial part of Fox News' evening efforts to spin reality in favor of President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday night, that required Hannity to dismiss Lev Parnas, the right hand man of the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

Maine's senior Senator, Republican Susan Collins, trended on Twitter Wednesday.

But with the reason why, Collins' 2020 senatorial campaign probably wished she hadn't.

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