White House Asked Japan for Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

Makes perfect sense.
Photo: Pool/The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

One of the many random boasts President Trump made during his unfocused national emergency declaration and press conference on Friday was that he had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Asked by a reporter about his administration’s ongoing negotiations with North Korea — which have thus far produced next to no substantive progress toward the country’s denuclearization — Trump heaped praise on himself. In fact, he emphasized at length, he had done such a good job making peace in East Asia that Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, had nominated him for one of the world’s highest honors:

I have a very good relationship with [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-un. And I’ve done a job. In fact, I think I can say this: Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize. He said, “I have nominated you, or, respectfully, on behalf of Japan, I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.” I said, “Thank you.”

Many other people feel that way, too. I’ll probably never get it. But that’s OK. They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize. He said, “Oh, what did I get it for?” With me, I probably will never get it. …

I mean, it was the most beautiful [five-page letter.] Nobel Prize. He sent it to them. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. And they had alarms going off – you know that. Now, all of a sudden, they feel good. They feel safe. I did that.

This claim was a bit of a surprise, since Abe and Trump have not seen eye-to-eye over the president’s approach to North Korea; most Japanese citizens don’t think Pyongyang will ever surrender its nukes; Trump reportedly said to Abe, “I remember Pearl Harbor,” during a conversation at the White House last June; and no one with an honest understanding of the North Korea crisis, nuclear nonproliferation, diplomacy, foreign policy, signed agreements, or the president’s ability to learn things could possibly believe Trump deserved a Nobel Peace Prize for his fake-deal photo-op with Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year. Some had even speculated — because Trump so regularly doesn’t know what he’s talking about — that he may have meant to name-drop South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who did once say, out of modesty, that Trump deserved the award more than he did.

Then on Sunday, the Asahi Shimbun confirmed that Abe had indeed submitted the nomination — only not of his own accord. The prime minister did the deed because the White House had “informally” asked Japan to do so — meaning President Trump’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize was apparently Trump or the White House’s idea, and one they successfully convinced a foreign government to go along with. Per the report:

Acceding to a request from Washington, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize around autumn for engaging with North Korea, Japanese government sources said Feb. 16. According to the sources, the U.S. government “informally” asked Tokyo to nominate Trump after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, the first-ever summit between the two countries.

When asked about this explanation, Japan’s foreign ministry later told Reuters that the government was aware of what Trump had claimed on Friday, but “would refrain from commenting on the interaction between the two leaders.”

In addition, Nobel Peace Prize nominations are supposed to remain anonymous for a period of 50 years, which is something Japan clearly knew because both Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga cited that fact when refusing to comment about the report on Monday.

“The Nobel Committee doesn’t reveal the identity of those recommending or those recommended for the award for 50 years,” Suga responded. “And so based on this,” he continued, “I would like to refrain from making comments on this.”

Prime Minister Abe had replied with something similar, but added, “I’m not saying it’s not true.”

So when Abe agreed to nominate Trump at the White House’s request, he may have assumed that he, Trump, and a lot of other people would be long dead by the time anyone else found out. But if he hoped the nomination would remain a secret, it probably wasn’t a good idea to write the world’s biggest narcissist a “beautiful” five-page letter acknowledging it — unless he was expecting something in return.

The White House has yet to comment on the matter, so it’s not clear if Trump was aware of the White House’s request or if he effectively made it himself. It would hardly be the first — or even the thousandth — time Trump has sought to invent his own accolades over the past few decades. And the president was already promoting the idea of him winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his summit with Kim before it had even happened.

Going further back, the Washington Post reported in 2017 that at least five of President Trump’s clubs and resorts had hung up a fake Time cover celebrating Trump over his Apprentice success and announcing that “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS … EVEN TV!”

The magazine even had a random 2009 date and realistic-looking barcode on the cover — albeit the same one used in a Peruvian graphic designer’s 2010 tutorial on how to make a realistic-looking Time cover, per the Post. (Trump also performs an annual ritual of complaining when he is not named the magazine’s “Man of the Year.”)

But while we already know Trump covets awards which celebrate him at least as much as he loves celebrating himself, what we don’t know is what a foreign head of state like the prime minister of Japan may have received or been offered in exchange for a Nobel Ego Boost like the one Trump reportedly got. And we also don’t know if any other world leaders received a similar “informal” request. Kim Jong-un is undoubtedly not the only one who understands that the biggest button Trump likes to push is the one that turns on his spotlight.

White House Asked Japan for Trump’s Peace Prize Nomination

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eyes on the prize

eyes on the prize

White House Asked Japan for Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

By Chas Danner

But what did Japan get in return for the typically anonymous honor, and was it the only country to receive the request?

Japan’s prime minister nominated Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize at White House’s request

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after receiving a request from the U.S. government to do so, the Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

The report follows Trump’s claim on Friday that Abe had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening talks and easing tensions with North Korea. The Japanese leader had given him “the most beautiful copy” of a five-page nomination letter, Trump said at a White House news conference.

The U.S. government had sounded Abe out over the Noble Peace Prize nomination after Trump’s summit in June last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president, the Asahi said, citing an unnamed Japanese government source.


Unauthorized Nanny Grounds Nauert’s U.N. Ambassadorship

By Chas Danner

Maybe ICE should raid the White House.

Anthony Weiner is no longer in prison, but will need to register as a sex offender

Convicted ex-congressman Anthony Weiner has been sprung from prison — and is now part of a federal re-entry program in New York, records show. Weiner has been transferred from Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass. where he served a bulk of his 21-month sentence for sexting a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records.

The 54-year-old is now being supervised by the federal Residential Reentry Management, which has a field office in Sunset Park and operates multiples facilities, the records say. He is either in a halfway house or in home confinement, TMZ reported. It’s not clear when the transfer took place. Weiner is set to be released from federal custody on May 14, thanks to good conduct behind bars that shaved about three months off his sentence.

Vetting a new contender in Mason City

Photo: Guests listen as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks during a campaign stop at Lorados on Saturday in Mason City, Iowa. The stop was her first in the state as a presidential candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, in real national emergencies…

Student-loan delinquencies surged last year, hitting consecutive records of $166.3 billion in the third quarter and $166.4 billion in the fourth. Bloomberg calculated the dollar amounts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly household-debt report, which includes only the total owed and the percentage delinquent at least 90 days or in default.

That percentage has remained around 11 percent since mid-2012, but the total increased to a record $1.46 trillion by December 2018, and unpaid student debt also rose to the highest ever.

Delinquencies continued to climb even as the unemployment rate fell below 4 percent, suggesting the strong U.S. job market hasn’t generated enough wage growth to help some people manage their outstanding obligations.

And if that’s not enough, maybe Mitch McConnell can find some wall money at all those overfunded schools at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina

Face the Nation anchor Margaret Brennan, on Sunday: The president just declared a national emergency in regard to getting the funds for his border wall. In terms of getting those funds though through this emergency action and there’s about three point six billion of it that could come from military construction efforts, including construction of a middle school in Kentucky, housing for military families, improvements for bases like Camp Pendleton and Hanscom Air Force Base. Aren’t you concerned that some of these projects that were part of legislation that you helped approve and Congress are now going to possibly be cut out?

Senator Lindsey Graham: Well the president will have to make a decision where to get the money. Let’s just say for a moment that he took some money out of the military construction budget. I would say it’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We’ll get them the school they need. But right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands.

A record number of women running for president will provide a record number of chances to avoid sexism in how they and their campaigns are covered

“There is a narrow universe of acceptable behavior for women,” explained [media consultant] Heidi Moore[.]

In politics — as in so many other spheres — women get bashed far more than their male counterparts for personality quirks, vulnerabilities and actions of all sorts. Not to mention their appearance and speaking voices. Think of how far a female candidate would get if she came off like the rumpled and ranting Bernie Sanders.

“We see in coverage of women lawmakers that even minor flaws are treated as disqualifying,” Moore told me, “while men’s flaws get brief attention but are glossed over as a case of ‘nobody’s perfect.’ ” …

Society and journalism conspire, Moore noted, creating an unfair standard: “While men get to be flawed and human and complex, women are mostly allowed to audition only for pedestals, for sainthood, for absolute purity.”

So far, no one in this field looks like a candidate for sainthood. And if such a woman could be found, surely her unbearable piety would disqualify her immediately.

Margaret Sullivan

Washington Post media columnist

Be it business or politics, this emperor has never been wearing clothes

It was inevitable that Trump would refuse to be stymied by Congress, and that he would take a victory lap regardless of what happened in the real world. In that context, his border-wall machinations are only partially about appeasing conservative pundits or his political base; for the most part, they’re about appeasing his sense of himself. He’s been doing this sort of thing his entire life: Spinning victory yarns from incontrovertible losses was a hallmark of his troubled business career.

Timothy L. O’Brien

Trump biographer, at Bloomberg, on the president’s fake national emergency

Trump’s DC hotel continues to be a monument to emolument

Former [Maine] Gov. Paul LePage and his staff members paid for more than 40 rooms at Washington, D.C.’s Trump International Hotel during a two-year period, spending at least $22,000 in Maine taxpayer money at a business owned by the president’s family.

Documents recently obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram show that the LePage administration paid anywhere from $362 to more than $1,100 a night for rooms at the luxury hotel during trips to meet with President Trump or his inner circle, attend White House events or talk to members of Congress. Receipts from those dozen trips also show the Republican governor or his administration spending hundreds of dollars on filet mignon or other expensive menu items at the restaurant in the Trump hotel. Those expenditures are likely to draw additional scrutiny from attorneys who have cited LePage’s previously disclosed stays at the D.C. hotel in a federal lawsuit alleging the president is improperly profiting from the business.

The spending levels at the Trump hotel were so high that they were flagged by a worker in the state controller’s office, who sought guidance on state regulations for reimbursing such expenditures. …

While LePage stayed at multiple D.C.-area hotels during the two-year period, receipts and out-of-state travel authorization forms show the governor and senior staffers returned to Trump International again and again. And during most trips where they stayed at the Trump hotel, LePage or administration members expected to have some interaction with the president or his Cabinet.

Stephen Miller had a little trouble faking the national emergency on Fox News Sunday (thanks to some aggressive disbelief from a well-prepared Chris Wallace)

On this week’s Fox News Sunday, Wallace was all over Miller, challenging him to provide some explanation for how Trump’s national emergency is a national emergency, when Trump himself essentially admitted it wasn’t a national emergency. And when Miller tried to fend off the questions with talking points, Wallace peppered him with followups. But Miller had an especially tough time getting around one line of questioning.

Wallace began by schooling Miller on the U.S. Constitution, telling him “I know that you are a constitutional conservative, and you believe that the constitution should be interpreted as written,” then proceeding to read to him from the Constitution. “Article 1 section 9 clause 7 of The Constitution, as written, ‘No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,’” he read.

“Isn’t what President Trump want to do a clear violation of what the founders, what James Madison talked about, was giving Congress the power of the purse?” Wallace asked.

Miller countered by citing the National Emergencies Act, which actually doesn’t overrule the constitution. Wallace interrupted him. “But let’s talk about national emergency, national emergencies have been declared 59 times since 1976 when the law was passed, the National Emergencies Act,” Wallace said. “Can you point to a single instance, even one, where the president asked Congress for money, Congress refused to give him that money, and the president then invoked national emergency powers to get the money?”

He couldn’t. Full video here.


(coverage of Fox News Sunday)

Mueller subpoenaed Cambridge Analytica director

A director of the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica, who appeared with Arron Banks at the launch of the Leave.EU campaign, has been subpoenaed by the US investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

A spokesman for Brittany Kaiser, former business development director for Cambridge Analytica – which collapsed after the Observer revealed details of its misuse of Facebook data – confirmed that she had been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller, and was cooperating fully with his investigation. He added that she was assisting other US congressional and legal investigations into the company’s activities and had voluntarily turned over documents and data.

Kaiser, who gave evidence to the UK parliament last April in which she claimed Cambridge Analytica had carried out in-depth work for Leave.EU, is the second individual connected to the firm subpoenaed by the special counsel. The Electoral Commission has said its investigation into Leave.EU found no evidence that the campaign “received donations or paid for services from Cambridge Analytica …beyond initial scoping work”.

meet the neets

When ‘Going Outside Is Prison’: The World of American Hikikomori

By Allie Conti

The infamous shut-in syndrome, first identified in Japan, may be catching on in the U.S.


Jussie Smollett Being Investigated As ‘Active Participant’ in His Own Attack

By Bethy Squires

Police confirm the focus of the investigation has shifted.

Heather Nauert won’t be Trump’s new UN ambassador

BREAKING scoop: Heather Nauert withdrawn from consideration for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Heather Nauert’s nomination began to falter after the White House was alerted that a problem had cropped up in her background check —Trump’s pick for UN ambassador had employed a nanny who was in US legally but didn’t have a US work permit, sources tell me and Nicholas Wadhams.

Jennifer Jacobs


Now CNN is reporting that Empire actor Jussie Smollett may have faked his own attack, according to new evidence

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault.

The brothers, who were arrested Wednesday, were released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.” The sources told CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.


The story is developing

The women using Facebook groups to expose government goons in Sudan

Women in Sudan are using private Facebook groups created to creep on crushes to dox state security officers brutalizing demonstrators during huge anti-government protests sweeping the country. When security agents and police abusing their power have had their identities exposed, they have been hounded by people in their own neighborhoods, beaten up, and sometimes even chased out of town.

The groups — only accessible via a virtual private network (VPN) after the government blocked social media — are part of the response to a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests that have swept the country since December. They are the largest ever against the regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who took office in 1989 and whom protesters accuse of enforcing oppressive laws and wrecking the economy. At least 57 people have been killed in the protests, and countless others have been shot at, teargassedhad their hair cut off by officers, and tortured.

Sudan’s morality laws prevent women from gathering in public; dictate the clothes they wear; and authorize the use of corporal punishment, like lashing and stoning, if they violate or criticize the rules. As a result, private Facebook groups have become a popular way for millions of Sudanese women to safely communicate with one another.

Bernie 2020 nears

Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot. It’s the latest sign the independent senator, the runner-up in the 2016 contest for the Democratic nomination, is nearing a presidential announcement.

Another hint that Sanders is getting closer to a launch: As POLITICO reported this week, the Sanders team has been interviewing people for top staff positions. Chuck Rocha, a political consultant who advised Sanders’ 2016 campaign, is expected to join him again if a second bid materializes.

It is unclear when, or even whether, the Sanders video will be released. It’s possible that Sanders could launch a 2020 campaign with an exploratory committee and then formally declare his candidacy later, a route other presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have taken.

A swing-state swing toward renewables

Ohio’s political conservatives strongly favor renewable energy over coal and especially over nuclear power, a new poll commissioned by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has found.

“Conservatives in Ohio are strong supporters of renewable energy, with a clear majority, 70 percent, wanting 50 percent or more of their energy to come from renewable sources,” concluded Jim Hobart, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, a national polling firm which does research for Republican candidates. The poll was the third such survey Public Opinion Strategies had done for the the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum. It found growing support for clean energy. And a willingness to pay extra for it.

Conservative Ohio voters “also view renewable energy as a job creator in the state, with low-income conservatives and conservative men being especially likely to say that the increased use of renewables would create jobs in Ohio,” Hobart’s summary of findings points out.

Too black, or not black enough — Kamala Harris is facing the same impossible standard that Obama did

Harris should be questioned about her record as a senator and an attorney general, and her tenure as San Francisco’s district attorney, but too much of the conversation about her is instead dominated by insecurities that have nothing to do with determining whether she would be a good president.

The economist and author Boyce Watkins, who is black, tweeted, “If #KamalaHarris went to an #HBCU, what do you think led her to marry a white man?” Harris had to address this in her [recent] Breakfast Club interview. She said she’s married to her white husband because she loves him. Imagine that.

In a nod to the racist birther conspiracy that enveloped President Barack Obama, a tweet claiming that Harris wasn’t eligible to run for president because of her immigrant parents went viral. It has been repeated as fact so often that Harris is now forced to explain her ethnic background.

Was nothing learned from Obama’s run for president? He faced the same inane, pointless questions about his mixed-race identity as Harris. Just like Obama, Harris has exposed narrow-minded views of blackness with her presidential run. Harris is a multiracial woman who was born in Oakland, went to high school in Montreal, and worshipped with both Hindus and Baptists. She’s a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and yet, by her account, knows how to make an incredible Bolognese and a mean pot of collard greens. If the criterion for running for president is being authentically American, people have to accept that this is what that looks like.

Jemele Hill

The Atlantic

And even when existing gun control laws should help prevent a tragedy…

Aurora shooter Gary Martin had his gun license strip after a felony conviction was discovered when he applied for a concealed carry card. He lost his card but still kept his gun. And that gun was used to kill 5 people and wound 5 police officers Friday. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said authorities are now investigating which law-enforcement agency was responsible for following up with Martin after he lost his license and why he still had a gun five years later. The criminal background check done when Martin applied for his gun license did not find his felony conviction. It wasn’t until he was fingerprinted for the concealed carry card that it popped up in his background.

Stacy St. Clair

Chicago Tribune reporter, via Twitter

President Trump will spend Saturday monitoring the national emergency from his golf club

Photo: President Donald Trump seen departing his Mar-a-lago vacation resort in Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday to travel to the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Inmates reportedly faced reprisals at federal prison in Brooklyn after protesting against lack of heat

Jordan remembers jolting awake in his cell at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, in the early-morning hours of Saturday, February 2. He had been hit with pepper spray to the face. Jordan, who The Intercept is identifying by a pseudonym, said guards sprayed and shackled him and his cellmate, then led them, partially blinded, to a shower area to rinse off. Next, he spent several hours in a “freezing” unit wearing only boxers and a T-shirt, before being transferred to solitary confinement. …

Accounts from incarcerated people, their family members, and lawyers sketch a picture of widespread protests at the Sunset Park detention facility. People across multiple housing units undertook coordinated acts of nonviolent disobedience and at least three hunger strikes. Retaliation by Metropolitan Detention Center staff ranged from pepper spray and solitary confinement to shutting off toilets across entire units. All told, men on at least four housing units inside the jail say they took part in some sort of collective protest of their conditions. In each instance, they say their actions were met with official retaliation.

Despite making $11.2 billion in profits last year, Amazon once again paid no federal taxes — because this is America

Amazon, the e-commerce giant helmed by the world’s richest man, paid no federal taxes on profit of $11.2 billion last year, according to an analysis of the company’s corporate filings by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a progressive think tank. Thanks to a variety of tax credits and a significant tax break available on pay handed out in the form of company stock, Amazon actually received a federal tax rebate of $129 million last year, giving it an effective federal tax rate of roughly -1 percent.

It is the second year in a row the company has enjoyed a negative federal tax rate on a multibillion dollar profit. That would place the company’s effective federal tax rate below the rate paid by the poorest 20 percent of American households, which had an effective federal tax rate of 1.5 percent in 2015, according to the Tax Policy Center. …

Like many other large companies, Amazon reduces its effective tax rate each year using a variety of credits, rebates and loopholes. For Amazon, the most lucrative of those was a tax break for pay given out in the form of stock options, which allowed the company to shave roughly $1 billion off its 2018 tax bill, [ITEP senior fellow Matthew Gardner] said. That would represent nearly half of the total federal tax bill levied on the company’s profit of $11.2 billion, he said.

Previous ITEP analysis has shown that between 2008 and 2015, profitable Fortune 500 companies paid an average effective federal tax rate of 21.2 percent, well under the statutory 35 percent rate in effect in that period. One hundred of the companies had paid zero or negative tax in at least one profitable year, and 58 of them had multiple zero-tax years while being profitable.

As expected, House Democrats are pursuing details about Trump’s private Putin meetings

House Democrats are taking their first real steps to force President Donald Trump to divulge information about his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up an extraordinary clash with the White House over Congress’ oversight authority.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and Rep. Eliot Engel, the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, told POLITICO they are actively consulting with House General Counsel Douglas Letter about the best way to legally compel the Trump administration to turn over documents or other information related to the president’s one-on-one discussions with the Russian leader.

“I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means,” Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a brief interview.It’s a development that indicates Schiff and Engel are close to taking action on the matter; key members of the majority party often consult with the chamber’s general counsel on issues that could end up playing out in court. Democrats want to ensure that they are on the strongest possible legal ground because they anticipate the Trump administration will mount spirited challenges.

More details on the deadly mass shooting at an Aurora, Illinois workplace on Friday

A 15-year veteran of a manufacturing business who was being terminated opened fire inside the company’s Aurora plant Friday afternoon, killing five people and wounding five police officers who responded to the scene, police said.

Authorities said the gunman, 45-year-old Gary Martin, of Aurora, was also killed in the shootout at Henry Pratt Co., a manufacturer of industrial valves. The names of the victims were not released Friday evening. A sixth officer suffered a knee injury. It wasn’t clear how he was injured, but he wasn’t shot.

On Saturday morning, authorities announced that the shooter had numerous prior arrests for traffic violations and domestic violence. They also released the names of the victims:

Clayton Parks, of Elgin Illinois. Mr. Parks was the Human Resources Manager at Henry Pratt.

Trevor Wehner, of Dekalb, Illinois. Mr. Wehner was a Human Resources Intern at Henry Pratt and a student at Northern Illinois University.

Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, Illinois. Mr. Beyer was a Mold Operator at Henry Pratt.

Vicente Juarez of Oswego, Illinois. Mr. Juarez was a Stock Room Attendant and Fork Lift Operator at Henry Pratt.

Josh Pinkard, of Oswego, Illinois. Mr. Pinkard was the Plant Manager for Henry Pratt.

Another shooting victim, a male employee of Henry Pratt, was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds sustained during the shooting incident.

A big step closer to legal weed in New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislative leaders have reached a deal in principle on how to tax and regulate marijuana in New Jersey after months of negotiations, paving the way to bringing legal weed to the Garden State.

Multiple legislative and industry sources confirmed an agreement was in place on a bill that would tax marijuana by the ounce, rather than the contentious sales tax that had divided Murphy and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Those sources requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the deal.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the prime sponsor of the legalization bill, refused to reveal any of the details of the negotiation. But he said they were as close as they had ever been in reaching an agreement. … The final bill would also address clearing marijuana convictions from criminal records — expungements. That’s a key component to the effort to legalize marijuana. Legislators have been crafting a new expungement bill that could be introduced as early as next week.

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