Judge bars citizenship question from 2020 census
This is NPR. And you're listening to WNYC in New York at five oh four. I'm Jamie Floyd legalizing, recreational marijuana, passing congestion pricing and rapidly increasing renewable energy usage. These are just some of the items on New York governor Andrew Cuomo to do list for this legislative session at the state of the union address this afternoon governor Cuomo conceded, the laundry list may seem ambitious. It's a lot no doubt about it. But there's been a lot that has been bottled up for many many years that we couldn't get done. And in many ways, I feel the state is now liberated with the Senate Democratic caucus. And of course, it's the state of the state the governor called on lawmakers to continue passing progressive legislation in the coming weeks among his top budget priorities. Cuomo said our public transportation and infrastructure, healthcare and cutting taxes for the middle class. For years, the NYPD's response to questions about its use of surveillance technology has been to neither confirm nor deny whether records bowed. It exists. It's called the glow more response. But now in New York state court judge has ruled in a case over whether NYPD spied on the cell phones of people attending black lives matter protests that the police can no longer keep that claim of confidentiality. It's a win for civil libertarians. And state supreme court Justice, Arlene, blue shot down, the NYPD argument that responding to complaints would compromise counterterrorism or criminal efforts because the police in question, we're not the people in question rather were not breaking the law at the time New York Times reporter, Ali Watson covered the case. Judge's ruling right now, depending on whether or not the NYPD appeals actually puts a very firm boot the neck of his response. They can't really use it in the future. The NYPD does have thirty days to appeal. The ruling. A statement a spokeswoman said that it uses the global response exceedingly sparingly and only after careful consideration of the interests involved tonight, mostly clear, a low around twenty seven degrees. Currently, it's thirty four degrees. The time is five oh six support for NPR comes from C three providing a software platform that enables organizations to deploy artificial intelligence in IOT solutions at industrial scale. Learn more at C three dot AI. From NPR news. This is all things considered. I'm Mary Louise Kelley, and I'm Ari Shapiro in a Senate hearing room today attorney general nominee William bar has been walking a fine line bar is pledging to protect the Justice department. But he also says the president has sweeping constitutional authority NPR national Justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has been following these confirmation hearings and joins us now to talk about them. Hi, hey, okay. He has been nominated to lead the Justice department at a time when the president is attacking it. So how did bar address that tension today? Well, Bill Maher said he has a very high opinion of deputy attorney general rod Rosenstein, he says he has no reason to doubt that the Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. And he says he doesn't believe that special counsel. Robert Muller would be conducting a witch hunt in fact, Barr says he would quit rather than fire Muller. If there were no good cause to get rid of him. And as one of Muller's friends for thirty years Barr says it's unimaginable that. Muller would do anything to prompt? A firing Senate Democrats went into this hearing wanting bar firmly committed to protecting the Russia investigation. Did they get that commitment? Not affirm one Ari Dianne Feinstein, the top democrat on the committee was pressing Bill bar a lot about what people will learn in the end about the Russia probe. Will you commit to making any report Muller produces at the conclusion of his investigation available to congress and to the public as as I said, my statement, I am going to make as much information available as I can consistent with the rules and regulations now Bill bar talked about wanting transparency, but he also said that he s the attorney general make the ultimate call about what becomes public and later on Senator amazing. Geraldo, Hawaii said just asking us to trust. You is not enough. She said this president will do anything to protect himself, and Mr. bar was kind of tough in his response. He said, I'm not going to surrender the responsibility of the attorney general. To get this title. We know that bar has had some contact with lawyers involved in the investigation. Did we learn anything new today about his interactions with the White House? We did bar told lawmakers he actually met with President Trump awhile ago, and the president seemed to want bar to join his legal defence team bar politely declined. He said he didn't want to stick his head in a meat grinder bar. Also said he discussed some legal theories with attorneys for the president the vice president and with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but bar said he didn't recall learning anything of substance. Anything confidential about the pro from the beginning of this investigation. The issue of recusals has been a very big deal. What had bar say about recusals today? He said he thinks Jeff Sessions. The former attorney general probably did the right thing to recuse himself in Democrats pressed bar to step aside to given this context with lawyers involved in this investigation and a memo he wrote criticizing the investigation, but here again, far would not commit. He says he will ask career. Ethics officials at Justice to evaluate the question, but he won't necessarily do what they advise. He also said the president is not above the law. The president can't for example, offer pardons to people who promise now to incriminate him taking a step back. There is one question about Bill bar that people on both sides of the aisle have which is why would he come back to lead the Justice department after twenty seven years to be attorney general again in excellent question bar, basically says because he loves the Justice department as an institution he says, he's sixty eight years old, and he has nothing to lose. If you take this job, you have to be ready to make decisions and spend all your political capital and have no future because you have to have that freedom of action, and I feel I'm gonna position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences and Ari so far nothing has emerged to block Boris path confirmation. NPR national. Justice. Correspondent Carrie Johnson. Thank you. My pleasure for analysis of the hearing and of what Bill bar may do if he's confirmed. Let's bring in Jennifer dascomb. She's an associate professor of law at American University. She used to work at the Justice department. Professor Daska welcome. Thank you. So to the central question today, which is whether bar will protect the Muller investigation based on what you heard from his testimony. Are you persuaded that he will? So he he answered that pretty clearly he said that he he likely I mean, he had he would protect mother and the absence. Something extraordinary that mother would be allowed to continue. I think the key question and the one that several senators pushed on the a question of what is going to be made public, and what's going to be made available congress. We heard Bill bars say repeatedly that he was committed to transparency, but transparency considered students consistent with the law transparency consistent with rules and regulations and bar. Has a very broad view of executive privilege and a very broad view of executive power including power over criminal investigation. So when he says he needs to be consistent with rules and regulations on the question of whether whatever final report Muller producers should be made public. That's what he would be referring to executive privilege that the president might say, no, exactly executive privilege abroad claims our national security, our range of different reasons. Why transparency would be limited according to his his views and the president's articulation of of what's necessary to keep private secret. He also as we just heard there from Carrie Johnson did not seem to suggest that he's likely to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. Did that surprise you in any way? It comprises me only because it seems like a clear case where recusals would be appropriate, but he has been consistent on along in suggesting that he would not recuse himself. And I wasn't surprised that he didn't change his mind today. But giving his engagement given the nemo that was that he chose to write and to send to the president about concerned about obstruction of Justice charges targeting the president and given what he acknowledged today about conversations, it seems like this would be a clear case for recusal has been consistent about that. Well, that prompts my next question, and it's one that he was asked today by senators in in one way or the other a number of times, which is would he protect the independence of the Justice department against executive overreach. Do you think when push comes to shove Bill would tell the president? No, no, sir. You can't do that. So again, I think it depends on what's being asked. And he did get today that there were certain red lines that he went cross, but that being said he has an expressed repeatedly previously very broad views of executive power and executive privilege, and there are certainly in a whole range of areas in which the president could assert executive privilege in my assumption is and based on bars previous, writings and statements. That bar would agree. Did you learn anything about Bill today that you didn't already know? Some of the contacts that he's had were interesting to hear about you know, he is as as expected he was incredibly articulate and and respectful. I think that the key is is reading the testimony in light of what he started written in the past. Did you hear anything today that might derail this confirmation that poses a serious threat to his chances of being confirmed? I'm just given given the politics and given the makeup of the Senate unlikely at this point is there a question to you to you would have asked him that the senators did not. Again, I think that really pushing him on this question of transparency what happens when the president asserts a claim of national security what happens when the president says, you know, we just want a very brief cursory summary of this report sent up to congress. What do you do? Then you would have liked to have heard an iron clad, whatever Muller wants to be made public. I'll back. Exactly, that's Jennifer Gasco. She she choose constitutional and national security law at American University Jennifer desk, thanks so much for taking the time. Thank you.