Houston police chief Art Acevedo on Tuesday ripped President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric on the protests that have erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd.

“Let me just say this to the president of the United States on behalf of the police chiefs in this country. Please, if you don’t have anything constructive to say, keep your mouth shut. Because you’re putting men and women in their early 20s at risk,” Acevedo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“It’s not about dominating, it’s about winning hearts and minds,” the police chief continued, referencing Trump’s order earlier this week that governors should “dominate” anti-racism protesters.

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“And it hurts me to no end because whether we vote for someone or we don’t vote for someone, he’s still our president, but it’s time to be presidential and not try to be like you’re on ‘The Apprentice,’” he added.

An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the family’s attorneys said Monday.

The autopsy by a doctor who also examined Eric Garner’s body found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe, attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference.

The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer. That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd's cries that he couldn't breathe. His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around America.

The official autopsy last week provided no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”

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The family's autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson. Baden is the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to conduct an autopsy of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.

Baden also conducted an independent autopsy of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. He said Brown's autopsy, requested by the teen's family, didn’t reveal signs of a struggle, casting doubt on a claim by police that a struggle between Brown and the officer led to the shooting.

The officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and is in custody in a state prison. The other three officers on scene, like Chauvin, were fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.

Crump on Monday called for the remaining three officers to be arrested and for the charge against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder.

The head of the Minneapolis police union said in a letter to members that the officers were fired without due process and labor attorneys are fighting for their jobs. Lt. Bob Kroll, the union president, also criticized city leadership, saying a lack of support is to blame for the days of sometimes violent protests.

When asked to respond, Mayor Jacob Frey said: “For a man who complains so frequently about a lack of community trust and support for the police department, Bob Kroll remains shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support." Frey said Kroll's opposition to reform and lack of empathy for the community has undermined trust in the police.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that Attorney General Keith Ellison would take the lead in any prosecutions in Floyd's death. Local civil rights activists have said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman doesn't have the trust of the black community. They have protested outside his house, and pressed him to charge the other three officers.

Freeman remains on the case.

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We Should Take Women's Accusations Seriously. But Tara Reade's ...

A lawyer who represented Tara Reade, the woman who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, announced Friday that Reade is no longer his firm's client.

The news came as California defense attorneys and a district attorney's office said they are reviewing past criminal cases in which Reade testified as an expert witness, following a CNN report that questioned her education credentials.
Doug Wigdor said the decision to no longer represent Reade was made on Wednesday, the day after CNN published an extensive investigation about Reade's background and past statements. In the report, CNN first revealed problems with Reade's claim that she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle; the school denied to CNN that she ever graduated from the university.
Wigdor had sent CNN a lengthy statement on Monday responding to numerous questions related to the story. However, Reade directly contacted CNN on Monday night to discuss the issue of her degree from Antioch, telling a CNN reporter that she had asked for and received permission from Wigdor to reach out directly.
 
"Our decision, made on May 20, is by no means a reflection on whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms. Reade," Wigdor said in a statement. "We also believe that to a large extent Ms. Reade has been subjected to a double standard in terms of the media coverage she has received. Much of what has been written about Ms. Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters."
Wigdor said his firm wishes Reade well and hopes that she will be treated fairly.
On behalf of Reade, Maria Villena, a friend who handled media inquiries on Friday, told CNN Reade is "seeking new counsel with PR support," and that she does not wish to make a public statement at this time.
Reade "stands by her interview with Meghan (sic) Kelly," Villena said in an emailed statement.
The New York Times first reported news of Wigdor's decision.
Reade alleges that in 1993 when she was working as an aide in Biden's Senate office, the then-senator sexually assaulted her. Biden himself has vehemently denied Reade's allegation.
Wigdor, a prominent sexual harassment and assault lawyer, announced that his firm was representing Reade earlier this month. He has represented accusers of Harvey Weinstein, and was a vocal supporter of Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Wigdor supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Wigdor previously told CNN that Reade wasn't paying his law firm and that he didn't "anticipate ever getting paid for anything."
Wigdor is parting ways with Reade as many aspects of her background have come under scrutiny in light of her allegation against Biden.
On Monday, Reade had told CNN that she received a bachelor of arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle under the auspices of a "protected program," personally working with the former president of the school to ensure her identity was protected while she obtained credits for her degree. She also said that she was a visiting professor at the school, on and off for five years.
But a spokesperson for the university told CNN that Reade "attended but did not graduate from Antioch University" and that she was never a faculty member, but she did provide several hours of administrative work.
University officials confirmed with former university president Toni Murdoch that no special arrangements existed, university spokeswoman Karen Hamilton said.
An Antioch University official also told CNN that such a "protected program" does not exist and never has.
Reade graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2004, gaining admission to the school through its Alternative Admission Program.
Two California lawyers said they are concerned over inconsistencies in her education credentials and that her testimony may have improperly influenced the outcomes of their trials.
"This could affect innocent people that got convicted," defense attorney William Pernik, law partner of Roland Soltesz who represented a defendant in a case where Reade testified as an expert witness, told CNN.
Reade participated in cases in Monterey County courts for "probably a decade or more" as a government witness on domestic violence, according to Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon. Reade had testified in a 2018 trial that she received a liberal arts degree with a focus on political science when she was asked questions about credentials presented on her resume, according to court documents.
Brannon said the district attorney's office is going through cases to determine when Reade testified as a domestic violence expert. Brannon said their office is also trying to determine whether Reade graduated from Antioch University.
"The first thing we need to do is we need to figure out whether she lied under oath in any of our cases, and so in order to know whether she lied under oath, we need to know whether she has that degree," Brannon told CNN.
Defense attorneys William Pernik and Roland Soltesz became concerned after CNN first reported about discrepancies in Reade's education background. CNN's report combined with a local profile of Reade as a domestic violence expert witness in Monterey County under the name Alexandra McCabe caused Soltesz and Pernik to realize that Reade may have misstated her credentials under oath, the attorneys told CNN.
Reade also told the court that she worked in domestic violence prevention for decades, starting off as a legislative assistant in Biden's office when he worked on the Violence Against Women Act, according to a trial transcript. Reade was a staff assistant in Biden's office, according to a congressional staff list at the time, which is a different position.
Reade told CNN that she did not misrepresent her credentials and that she does have a bachelor's degree.
    Soltesz told CNN he believes Reade's testimony significantly swayed the outcome of that 2018 trial in which his client received a life sentence for attempted murder, arson and armed robbery. He is now looking to reopen the case and considering additional action he can take to learn the true nature of Reade's credentials.
      
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    Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (63 percent) agree with Democrats that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Only 26 percent of voters disagree.

    Conducted on Jan. 21 and 22 as the Senate trial was getting underway, the poll suggests that broad majorities of Americans side with Democrats in the pitched partisan battle over whether new witnesses should be allowed to testify or whether they should be blocked, as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has maintained.

    In the survey, 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents said the Senate should call new witnesses. Among Republicans surveyed, 43 percent said the Senate should not call new witnesses, while 35 percent said witnesses should be called and 22 percent indicated they were unsure on the question.

    When asked about specific possible witnesses, majorities of voters said they wanted to hear from each of the four Trump allies Democrats have formally identified. Sixty percent of voters said they wanted to hear from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; 57 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo; 53 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton; and 50 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. In each case, only about a quarter of voters said they did not want to hear from these figures. Both Giuliani and Bolton have said they would testify if summoned or subpoenaed.

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    Registered voters were slightly less interested in Giuliani’s Ukraine fixer Lev Parnas, but a plurality (47 percent) still said they wanted to hear from him. Lest Democrats get too excited about those numbers, registered voters also support summoning both Joe Biden (52 percent in favor vs. 36 percent against) and Hunter Biden (50 percent in favor vs. 34 percent against) to testify.

    Either way, the Americans surveyed expressed a lack of confidence in the Senate trial, with a plurality (42 percent) saying it will not be conducted fairly — 10 points higher than the percentage who say the trial will be fair. Among Democrats, the “unfair” response number rises to 63 percent, and a plurality of independents (40 percent) agree. Only Republicans (57 percent) believe the Senate will conduct a fair trial. A December Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that a plurality of Americans (49 percent) believed that House impeachment hearings had been fair to Trump.

    Overall, registered voters remained divided over whether the president should be removed from office, with 46 percent saying he should, 45 percent saying he shouldn’t and nine percent saying they’re not sure. Three-quarters of registered voters, however, predict that the Republican-controlled Senate will decline to convict and remove Trump.

    That said, a full 64 percent of registered voters in states holding an election for a Senate seat this November say that their senator’s vote on impeachment will be a “very important” factor in how they vote on Election Day, and 67 percent of voters nationwide say they are either following the trial “very closely” (35 percent) or “somewhat closely” (32 percent). Even if the outcome of Trump’s trial seems preordained, the stakes remain high.

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    The filing says the two articles of impeachment brought against the president don’t amount to impeachment offenses.

    President Donald Trump’s legal team asserted Monday that he did “absolutely nothing wrong,” calling the impeachment case against him flimsy and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution.”

    The brief from Trump’s lawyers, filed ahead of arguments expected later this week in the Senate impeachment trial, offered the most detailed glimpse of the lines of defense they intend to use against Democratic efforts to convict the president and oust him from office over his dealings with Ukraine. It is meant as a counter to a brief filed two days ago by House Democrats that summarized weeks of testimony from more than a dozen witnesses in laying out the impeachment case.

    The 110-page filing from the White House shifted the tone toward a more legal response but still hinged on Trump’s assertion he did nothing wrong and did not commit a crime — even though impeachment does not depend on a material violation of law but rather on the more vague definition of “other high crimes and misdemeanors” as established in the Constitution.

    It says the two articles of impeachment brought against the president — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — don’t amount to impeachment offenses. It asserts that the impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s request that Ukraine’s president open an investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden was never about finding the truth.

    “Instead, House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “All of that is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.”

    The prosecution team of House managers was expected to spend another day on Capitol Hill preparing for the trial, which will be under heavy security. Ahead of the filing, House prosecutors arrived on Capitol Hill to tour the Senate chamber. Opening arguments are expected within days following a debate over rules.

    The White House brief argues that the articles of impeachment passed by the House are “structurally deficient” because they charge multiple acts, creating “a menu of options” as possible grounds for conviction.

    The Trump team claims that the Constitution requires that senators agree “on the specific basis for conviction” and that there is no way to ensure that the senators agree on which acts are worthy of removal. Senior administration officials argued that similar imprecision in the articles applied to the multi-part article of impeachment for perjury in the Bill Clinton impeachment trial.

    They accused Democrats of diluting the standards for impeachment, an argument that echoed the case made Sunday by one of Trump’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, who contended on a series of talk shows that impeachable offenses must be “criminal-like conduct.” That assertion has been rejected by scholars, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called it an “absurdist position.”.

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