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Happening Today: Robert Mueller, Rosenstein, DNA, Liquid Nicotine, Kanye West, Weinstein Co.

What to Know

  • The special counsel leading the Russia probe raised the prospect of issuing a grand jury subpoena for Trump, his former attorney says
  • Liquid nicotine products that look like juice boxes and candy came under scrutiny as health officials warned they could pose danger to kids
  • Kanye West was blasted by a TMZ staffer when the rapper stopped by for a live interview to discuss his recent behavior

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Special Counsel Team Has Floated Idea of Subpoena for Trump

The special counsel leading the Russia investigation raised the prospect in March of issuing a grand jury subpoena for President Trump, his former attorney said, confirming that investigators have floated the extraordinary idea of forcing a sitting president to testify under oath. Attorney John Dowd told The Associated Press that special counsel Robert Mueller's team broached the subject during a meeting with Trump's legal team while they were negotiating the terms of a possible interview with the president. It was not immediately clear in what context the possibility of a subpoena was raised or how serious Mueller's prosecutors were about the move. Mueller is probing not only Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates but possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Even if Mueller's team decided to subpoena Trump as part of the investigation, he could still fight it in court or refuse to answer questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination. Dowd's comments come more than a month after he resigned from the legal team.

Trump Doc Says Trump Bodyguard, Lawyer “Raided” Office, Took Med Files

President Trump's New York doctor tells NBC News the president's medical records were taken from his office in a February 2017 "raid" by Trump's longtime bodyguard, the Trump Organization's top lawyer and a third, large man. Dr. Harold Bornstein said his office was raided two days after he told The New York Times he had for years prescribed Trump the hair growth medicine Propecia. The 25- to 30-minute incident left Bornstein feeling "raped, frightened and sad," he said. He added that he was not given a form authorizing that the records be released signed by Trump, which would be a violation of patient privacy law. Keith Schiller, the bodyguard who was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the time, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Schiller left the White House in September. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the taking of Trump's records "standard operating procedure" by the White House medical unit for a new president. She said she would not characterize what happened as a "raid."

Rosenstein Blasts GOP Impeachment Threat Against Him as Extortion

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the Justice Department "is not going to be extorted" as some House Republicans raise the prospect of seeking his impeachment, NBC News reported. During an appearance at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., marking Law Day, Rosenstein was asked about a draft of articles of impeachment prepared by Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, and other members of the House Freedom Caucus. They have pushed for the release of internal Justice Department documents concerning some aspects of the Russian meddling investigation and the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. "There are people who have been making threats, privately and publicly, against me for quite some time," Rosenstein said. "And I think they should understand by now, the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted."

U.S. Wants 1 Million to Share DNA, Health Habits for Science

Wanted: A million people willing to share their DNA and 10 years of health habits, big and small, for science. The U.S. government will open nationwide enrollment for an ambitious experiment: If they can build a large enough database comparing the genetics, lifestyles and environments of people from all walks of life, researchers hope to learn why some escape illness and others don't, and better customize ways to prevent and treat disease. Congress has authorized $1.45 billion over 10 years for the project. It all hinges on whether enough people around the country will sign up, either online or through participating health centers. More than 25,000 people got early entry to the project over the past year through an invitation-only pilot test run by participating universities and health providers.

U.S. Warns Liquid Nicotine Packets Resemble Juice Boxes, Candy

Liquid nicotine products that look like juice boxes, candies and other kids' snacks came under government scrutiny, as health authorities warned they could pose a danger to children. The Food and Drug Administration issued more than a dozen warnings over the illegal packaging practice, saying it can lead to poisoning if children mistakenly drink the liquids, which are intended for use with e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Exposure to nicotine, even in small amounts, can cause seizures, coma and fatal heart problems in children. Some of the packages targeted by regulators look like fruit juices, Warhead candies and Nilla Wafers. The FDA collaborated on the action with the Federal Trade Commission, which polices deceptive advertising. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that vaporize flavored liquid, which typically contains nicotine. Calls to poison control centers about nicotine formulas have increased in recent years, according to the FDA, with more than 8,000 cases involving children between 2012 and 2017. No deaths have been reported with the products, regulators said.

TMZ Staffer Blasts Kanye West After Rapper Calls Slavery a Choice

Kanye West was blasted by a TMZ staffer when the rapper stopped by for a live interview to discuss his recent behavior, which includes a very public bromance with President Trump. During the interview, while explaining his recent actions and defending his friendship with Trump, West said "When you hear about slavery for 400 years....for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice." As he was apparently on his way out, West addressed the office asking, "Do you feel that I'm being free and thinking free?" "I actually don't think that you're thinking anything," snapped back a TMZ staffer identified only as Van. The staffer continued, "I'm disappointed. I'm appalled. And brother I am unbelievably hurt by the fact you have morphed into something that to me is not real." The TMZ incident was the continuation of a long day for West.

Private Equity Firm Is Winning Bidder for Weinstein Co.

A private equity firm emerged as the winning bidder for the Weinstein Co., the studio forced into bankruptcy by the sexual misconduct scandal that brought down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein Co. announced in a statement that no other bidder made a better offer than Dallas-based Lantern Capital, which made a "stalking-horse" bid last month to pay $310 million in cash for the Weinstein Co.'s assets. The emergence of another qualified bidder would have triggered an auction leading to higher sale price. The sale is subject to approval by a Delaware bankruptcy court, which has set a sale hearing for next week. The sale faces numerous objections that must be resolved, some from actors including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt, who claim they are owed profit participation from projects. The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy in March, succumbing to a fate it had tried to avoid since the scandal that forced Harvey Weinstein's ouster as CEO in October. Some 80 women, including prominent actresses, have accused Harvey Weinstein of misconduct ranging from rape to harassment.

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