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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Report: Trump asked Whitaker to install ally to lead Cohen probe

  • Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen as deputy attorney general

  • Democrats fiercely debate location for 2020 convention

  • Trump administration reportedly tried to sell nuclear power plants to Saudis

  • Study: Thousands of patients were improperly prescribed fentanyl

Last year, President Trump reportedly asked Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker if he could get Southern District of New York attorney Geoffrey Berman put in charge of the district's investigation into former attorney Michael Cohen. Berman had recused himself from the investigation. This probe is what led to charges against Cohen, and after Whitaker declined to appoint an ally to lead the investigation, Trump reportedly "soured on" him and "complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president's many legal problems go away," The New York Times writes. Asked on Tuesday about whether he made the request of Whitaker, Trump said, "No, not at all."

Source: The New York Times

President Trump is nominating Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general, the White House announced Tuesday night. Rosen is the deputy transportation secretary, and served in the George W. Bush administration. Last week, William Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as attorney general, and people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News Barr picked Rosen; both worked at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Rosenstein is reportedly expected to leave the Department of Justice in mid-March. After Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.

Source: Bloomberg News

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez has reportedly narrowed down potential Democratic National Convention locations to Houston, Miami, and Milwaukee, with party members saying Milwaukee is in the lead. Yet "a fierce debate has unfolded behind the scenes" as the decision is finalized. The convention is bound to infuse the local economy with millions of dollars, but organizers are reportedly concerned that Milwaukee doesn't have enough high-end hotels or large enough facilities for top-dollar donors who will travel to the city of choice. Houston and Miami would have no problem providing luxury accommodations, but local politics and the prevalence of oil-industry money in Houston and hurricane season in Miami are deterrents. Republicans set their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, eight months ago.

Source: The Associated Press

A 24-page report released by the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday says several current and former members of President Trump's administration, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, pushed for the sale of nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia despite objections from the National Security Council and other White House officials. The report indicates that the sales were discussed in the early days of the Trump presidency but "efforts may be ongoing." The export of American nuclear technology that could be used to create weapons is controlled under 1954's Atomic Energy Act and must be approved by Congress.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

Thousands of patients were improperly prescribed a highly potent and restricted class of fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine, between 2012 and 2017, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Anywhere from 34.6 to 55.4 percent of patients, or about 12,900 people who received prescriptions for the drug were "opioid-nontolerant" or were not suffering the "breakthrough pain" that the drug is mean to treat. The FDA created a program to monitor prescription of the drug in 2011, but drug companies, doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals failed to minimize the use of the drug, the study found. Fentanyl was involved in about 28 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2016, more than any other drug.

Source: CNN
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