Step one: cleanse the skin?
On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes operated by American companies or flying in U.S. territory, after a deadly crash involving a 737 Max aircraft in Ethiopia.
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 13, 2019
Why did the FAA wait so long to ground these jets?
“I think that these two accidents will become incredibly important in the history of aviation safety. The reputation of the FAA has certainly been blemished for the short term,” Wall Street Journal reporter Andy Pasztor told us earlier this week. “I think the FAA has not fully understood that the world and the reaction to crashes around the globe has changed. They failed to understand that out of an abundance of caution, so many countries took the unilateral step of putting these planes on the ground.”
Now, an international investigation is underway in France. If investigators are able to extract data from the aircraft, they’ll gain insight into “what the pilots were doing, saying and what commands they were putting into the system and how the plane was reacting to that,” Pasztor said.
That’s only one of several investigations we’ve been following this week. On Wednesday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison — an additional 43 months on top of his original sentence for charges of federal conspiracy and obstruction.
“I am sorry for what I’ve done,” Manafort told the courtroom, changing his tack from the last hearing. “Let me be very clear, I accept the responsibility for the acts that caused me to be here today.”
But Manafort’s legal troubles might not stop there. From CNN:
The biggest surprise came moments after the hearing adjourned, when the Manhattan district attorney revealed a new case against Manafort involving alleged business and mortgage fraud offenses in violation of New York state law — a set of 16 charges for which, if he is found guilty, could not be pardoned by President Donald Trump, who only has power over federal cases. Manafort has not yet appeared in court for that case.
Meanwhile, Andrew Weissmann, a prominent member of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into the 2016 election, will leave the team and the Justice Department, according to two sources who spoke to NPR’s Carrie Johnson.
Does this mean the Mueller investigation is wrapping up? And if so, will the report be made available to the public?
In the midst of increasing calls for President Trump’s impeachment, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi elaborated on her position this week. “I’m not for impeachment,” she told The Washington Post. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
And in 2020 campaign news, Beto O’Rourke — former Texas congressman and senatorial candidate — has thrown his hat in the presidential ring.
We’re wrapping the week in domestic news.
Text by Kathryn Fink.
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Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.