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WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr drew some fire on Wednesday for saying that if the nation’s communities don’t show police the kind of support and respect the military gets, they might find themselves without the protection they need.

The ACLU said Barr was telling communities to bow their heads to the police, and a former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division called the remarks dangerous.

But a Justice Department official said the attorney general was not suggesting that police would abandon their duties without public support and was instead referring to its importance in maintaining the ability to recruit and retain qualified officers.

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During a ceremony to honor police officers, Barr said crowds applaud departing troops and show their approval for individual service members in airports, but police get no cheers when they roll out of the precinct and get no ticker-tape parades when they come home.

In the Vietnam era, he said, the troops who served in that conflict bore the brunt of people opposed to the war.

“The respect and gratitude owed them was not given, and it took decades for the American people to realize that,” Barr said. It’s good to see troops today getting the proper recognition, he added.

“But I think today the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves. And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

Civil rights groups were quick to respond.

“Support and respect are earned, not given as the result of a demand from those who carry badges and guns,” said Jeffrey Robinson of the ACLU. “Attorney General Barr is telling communities across the country to bow their heads in respect to police even if those same police are violating their rights and killing people without justification.”

Vanita Gupta, who headed the Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama, said, “The idea that the attorney general of the United States, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is recommending abandoning communities as retribution for pushing for police reform or criticizing policing practices, is profoundly dangerous and irresponsible.”



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Lofgren: 'A trial without all the relevant evidence is not a fair trial'

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House impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., argued that evidence should be introduced into the impeachment of President Donald Trump so that the Senate could conduct a “fair trial.”

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Schiff: 'We're not here to make this easy'

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Rep. Adam Schiff defended the Democrats’ push for additional witnesses and documents, after Trump’s defense team argued that Democrats were jumping the gun by pushing for additional documents and witnesses now.

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Senate passes McConnell impeachment rules after nearly 13 hours of debate

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The Senate passed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution laying out a blueprint for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial along party lines early Wednesday after a day of back and forth between House prosecutors and attorneys for the White House.

The Republican majority had voted down several amendments proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to subpoena documents and call witnesses.

The vote came just before 2 a.m. Wednesday after Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., one of the House impeachment managers, suggested that senators were voting for a “cover-up,” which drew sharp responses from the president’s legal counsel.

Chief Justice John Roberts admonished House managers and Trump’s counsel “in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

“I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,” Roberts said.

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Under the terms of the organizing resolution, the House case managers will have 24 hours over three days to make their arguments to remove the president from office on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Attorneys for the White House likewise will have 24 hours over three days to state their case for acquittal.

Senators will then have 16 hours to submit questions to both sides before they decide whether to call witnesses or subpoena documents.

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The resolution also allows both sides to file motions not related to witnesses or documents by 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The plan proposed by McConnell, R-Ky., had been opposed by Democrats, who wanted a guarantee that they would be able to call witnesses and demand documents that the administration withheld during the House impeachment inquiry.

The vote wasn’t a total loss for Democrats, however. McConnell changed two contested provisions at the last minute: one that would have required both sides to make their 24 hours of arguments in just two days and another that could have barred evidence gathered by the House.

Democrats complained that the two-day limit would have meant that they would be making arguments until 1 a.m. or later, depriving much of the public of the chance to watch the proceedings.

The other provision could have barred entering all of the evidence House Democrats gathered against Trump into the Senate record. The evidence now will be admitted automatically unless there’s an objection, rather than depend on a proactive vote to admit it.

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The House case managers are expected to begin their opening arguments Wednesday afternoon.

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