California State Appeals Court Justice Allegedly Groped A Colleague’s Body Says It Was An Affair

 LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California state appeals court justice was accused Monday of repeatedly groping a colleague's breasts, suggesting they have an affair and telling a police officer who served as his driver that he wanted to have sex with her in his chambers.

The Commission on Judicial Performance charged Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles with nine counts of misconduct for allegations that date back 15 years to his time as a federal magistrate judge, when he allegedly asked a court clerk if she had a breast enlargement and whether he could touch them.

An attorney for Johnson said he denies the allegations, passed a lie detector test about the most serious accusations and plans to present evidence from other colleagues and court employees in his defense.  Read entire story.

Statement from President Donald J. Trump Recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela

Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.
Read the entire statement.

Federal Judge Reconsiders The NTEU's Lawsuit Filed Against Trump Due To The Government's Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Federal News Network)---A federal district judge has decided to hear the government’s proposed motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s handling of the recent government shutdown brought to the D.C. district court by the National Treasury Employees Union.

Judge Richard Leon met with both parties Friday afternoon to discuss the path forward for NTEU’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, now that the recent 35-day government shutdown has ended.

Justice Department attorneys representing the federal government said Friday they preferred to dismiss the case altogether, arguing that NTEU’s challenges were “moot” now that the most recent government shutdown had ended and the threat of another one — at least for the time being — is over.

But NTEU, along with the attorneys who are representing four anonymous federal employees in a similar but separate lawsuit against the Trump administration and its actions during the recent government shutdown, said they’ve raised constitutional arguments that should be resolved.

“It’s over until the next one,” said Michael Kator, an attorney with Kator, Parks, Weiser and Harris, the law firm representing the four anonymous employees.

Leon said he wants both parties to agree to a timeline where they could both do oral arguments some time in early May, noting that if he denies the motion to dismiss, he may be in a position where he’s forced to consider summary judgment on the case much closer to the next government shutdown deadline.

“I don’t want that to drag too close … to the end of the fiscal year,” Leon said.

If he does deny the motion to dismiss the case, he envisioned a scenario where both parties appeared again before the court over the summer to deliver oral arguments. His opinion could come in early September, just shy of the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

“It’s a case that has great potential to concern and impact the country,” Leon said, noting that it could, if it moves to this stage, hold precedent.

NTEU’s legal arguments are nuanced, but they essentially challenge the heart of the very mechanism that ultimately prompts agencies to shut down, furlough some and force other federal employees to work without pay for the duration of a lapse of appropriations.  Read more.

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Staff Sgt. Albert J. Miller, 24, of Richmond, New Hampshire, died April 19 at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a non-combat-related incident. The incident is under investigation.

He was assigned to the 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

The Pentagon contributed to this article in a Press Release.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan hosted Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya at the Pentagon

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan hosted Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya at the Pentagon to discuss the defense relationship between their countries.   Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo — participated in a "2-plus-2" meeting at the State Department.

"The strength of the U.S. and Japan relationship gives us the ability to solve difficult problems and create opportunities," said Acting Defense Secretary Shananhan.  Today's meeting is yet another testament  to our commitment to a free and open. Indo-Pacific, the Secretary added.

IWe confirmed that the U.S./Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of the regions peace and stability and prosperity.   We also confirmed that we will make efforts  to realize free and open Into-Pacific, said Minister Takeshi Iwaya. 

"The United States and Japan have shared goals in the Indo-Pacific region and are allies.   As an important partner, Japan participates with the United States and other partners in a number of bilateral and multilateral exercises including: Keen Sword, a biennial exercise, the most recent being last year. The exercise includes fleets and air wings from both nations.  Yama Sakura, an annual exercise that also included the Australian army last year.  And the  Japan Self Defense Force, as Japan's military is called, also participates in a number of other exercises, such as Balikatan, an annual U.S.-Philippine exercise."

"The U.S.-Japan alliance was strengthened in 2015 through the release of the revised U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines, which provide for new and expanded forms of security-oriented cooperation. Japan provides bases as well as financial and material support to U.S. forward-deployed forces, which are essential for maintaining  stability in the region. "

David  Vergun and the Pentagon contributed to this article.



President Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Abe Holds Joint Press Conference in Japan


JAPAN--President Donald J. Trump holds press conference with Japan/s Prime Minister Abe Shino.  Trump breaks with Abe regarding North Korea.  ""My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently," Trump said. "I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn't matter."

The President said he was willing to give Kim more opportunities to strike an agreement on abandoning his country's nuclear program. And he did not back away from his assessment, made earlier on Twitter, that North Korea was correct in questioning former vice president Joe Biden's intelligence.

Earlier Monday, Trump said he backed Abe’s interest in leveraging his country’s good relations with Iran to help broker a possible dialogue between the U.S. and its nemesis in the Middle East. Abe said he is willing to do whatever he can to help to reduce escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

“Peace and stability of (the) Middle East is very important for Japan and the United States and also for the international community as a whole,” Abe said.  Read more..


GALLUP---Americans’ confidence in the U.S. job market is the highest in Gallup’s trend originating in 2001, with 71% in May saying now is a good time to find a quality job. This represents a significant improvement from March and April, when 65% each month rated the job market favorably. Today’s level is similar to February’s 69% reading.

The latest survey was conducted May 1-12, with most of the interviews collected after the May 3 Labor Department report announcing that unemployment in April had fallen to 3.6%, the lowest in nearly 50 years.

Americans’ broader perceptions of the U.S. economy in May are similar to what Gallup has found over much of the past year, including in March and April. 51% of Americans rate current economic conditions as excellent or good, essentially unchanged from last month’s 50%. Just over half of U.S. adults, 54%, say economic conditions are getting better. This is up from 49% in April, but nearly identical to February and March.

Read full article.