Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, told a Senate panel Tuesday that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law “certainly did not work in my case.”
“The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today,” Fulton said. At one point, she choked back tears when talking about how her son was fatally shot as he walked to the store for snacks. In her prepared testimony, she asked that Stand Your Ground laws be clarified “so that they are applied logically and most importantly, consistently.”
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing convened by Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had originally been slated for September but was postponed because of the proximity in time to the Navy Yard shooting.
Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, didn’t cite Stand Your Ground laws in their defense, but many point to jury instructions in the case that state Zimmerman “had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he believed it was needed to prevent death or “great bodily harm.”
Tuesday’s hearing represented a now rare moment for gun laws to come into congressional focus, even as no legislation is pending before the House or Senate. Durbin said that such laws disproportionately harm African-Americans.
But subcommittee ranking member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, bristled at that, saying black defendants commonly use Stand Your Ground laws in their defense and charged that the death of Martin was being exploited for political purposes.
Cruz told Fulton that he recognizes she is “simply mourning the loss of your son, but there are other players who are seeking to do a great deal more.”
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."