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May 14, 2020

FBI Seizes GOP Senator’s Cell Phone In Stock Probe

This Day in History | 1999

President Bill Clinton apologizes directly to Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the phone for the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, that had taken place six days earlier.

Good morning Middle Americans, 

We just saw North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, with his coronavirus beard, during the Senate’s questioning of the country’s top health officials. He seemed to be acting pretty normal. We wonder if he knew that he would have his cell phone seized by federal investigators. 

If you thought Obamagate was taking over for Ukraine Gate, think again. A federal judge in Washington D.C. is asking the White House for specific emails relating to the Trump administration’s decision to withhold aid from Ukraine. The judge – just so happens to be the same judge who presided over Roger Stone’s trial. 

Meanwhile in Florida, a teacher is facing criminal charges for secretly recording video of his students. The students were at the teacher’s house for a pool party. Our question – who lets their kids go to their teacher’s school for a pool party these days? 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon.

FBI Serves Warrant on Senator in Stock Investigation

(LA Times) – Federal agents seized a cellphone belonging to a prominent Republican senator on Wednesday night as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into controversial stock trades he made as the novel coronavirus first struck the U.S., a law enforcement official said.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone to agents after they served a search warrant on the lawmaker at his residence in the Washington area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.

The seizure represents a significant escalation in the investigation into whether Burr violated a law preventing members of Congress from trading on insider information they have gleaned from their official work.

To obtain a search warrant, federal agents and prosecutors must persuade a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The law enforcement official said the Justice Department is examining Burr’s communications with his broker.

Read more here

Roger Stone Judge Orders White House to Turn Over Ukraine Emails Being Withheld from the Public

(Law and Crime) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has ordered the White House to turn over 20 emails directly relating to President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally appropriated military aid from Ukraine. The administration has refused to produce the communications thus far, claiming the documents are protected from public release by executive privilege.

The order, issued by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, stems from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the New York Times which sought communications between Michael Duffey, Principal Associate Director for National Security Programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Robert Blair, a senior advisor to then-Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.

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Florida High School Teacher Charged with Secretly Recording Students at Pool Party

(NBC News) – A Florida teacher was arrested on charges of video voyeurism on Tuesday for allegedly setting up a camera in his bathroom after inviting students over for a 2011 pool party. The same teacher is facing a charge for a separate incident in 2018 where he allegedly secretly recorded a student while she was changing for yearbook photos.

Thomas John Kovack, 41, told detectives he filmed several of his students at the time in his bathroom during a party in June 2011, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Kovack allegedly invited a number of his journalism students to his Palm Harbor residence for a pool party while he was a teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School.

Read more here

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