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  • President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would turn to the Supreme Court if Democrats decided to pursue impeachment proceedings against him. >> Read more trending news “I DID NOTHING WRONG,” the president wrote in a series of tweets posted Wednesday. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.” It was not clear how the Supreme Court could legally intervene if Congress moved to impeach Trump. The court ruled unanimously in 1993 that authority over impeachment trials “is reposed in the Senate and nowhere else,” according to government records and Politico. >> How does impeachment work? Here is the step-by-step process Joshua Matz, a lawyer specializing in constitutional law, told The Washington Post that Trump’s tweets reflected “a profound misunderstanding,” as the court has “no constitutional warrant to second-guess the substance of an impeachment judgment.” Calls for Trump's impeachment have grown following the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election meddling. The special counsel said he found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election, though he couldn't rule out the possibility that the president might have obstructed justice. >> What are the 10 times Mueller said Trump may have obstructed justice? “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,” Mueller said in his report. “At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.” The report spelled out 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump.  U.S. Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided after reading Mueller’s report that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the president.
  • It’s a concept he’s seen in Europe for years, but one that hasn’t quite taken hold stateside, at least in the area. It’s one of the reasons JWB Real Estate Capital President Alexander Sifakis is putting forward a plan to build 18 studio apartments made of shipping containers in Downtown Jacksonville. “There’s a lot of other projects going on Downtown that have already changed the landscape of Downtown over the last two years, and there’s been so much momentum over the last five years, and a lot of great things going on. And I think the next two or three years are going to be pretty transformational, so it’s just... hoping to be a small part of that,” Sifakis says. Sifakis says he has a passion and interest in the revitalization of Downtown. While his company has worked in Brooklyn and Springfield, this is the first project in the core.  “Hoping to get some interest in Downtown Jax, and for other people to think outside the box,” he says. GALLERY: Shipping container apartment complex proposed for Downtown Jacksonville The proposal going in front of the Downtown Development Review Board next month is for an apartment community on Ashley Street, in an area known as the Cathedral District. Sifakis says they wanted to be in Downtown, and that area seemed to be a good fit. “They’re really pushing more residential in the District, and this is a way to get some great density on a really small lot,” he says. The plan is for each shipping container unit to be assembled off site, then stacked up on the property. The units would be 320 square feet- eight feet wide and 40 feet long- with a kitchen, washer/dryer, bathroom, walk-in closet and more. There is not any included parking. The development is expected to cost around $1.2 million to $1.3 million, but Sifakis says they want to start rent around $550/month.  If given approval from the DDRB, Sifakis says they will seek a REV grant from the Downtown Investment Authority, which is essentially a rebate on future property tax payouts, relating to the impact a project has on the community. He hopes they can get all the needed approvals in 3-5 months, with construction taking another 1-3 months. That could mean project completion within eight months. “Might be a little optimistic,” Sifakis says. If this project goes well, Sifakis says he would look at bringing the concept to other plots in the City in the future.
  • The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says a recent child sex sting operation led by their Internet Crimes Against Children detectives has netted 9 arrests, including a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer.  According to the sheriff's office, the suspects arrested during the two-week 'Operation Downpour' range in age from 18 to 34-years-old and come from all over the country.  Locally, of the 9 arrested, three are from Duval County, one is from St. Johns County, and one is from Clay County. There were also one each from Alachua and Flagler counties. But deputies say one of the suspects is from McChord, Washington; another suspect is from South Gate, California.  The sheriff's office says this operation involved undercover detectives posing as children online to arrange for suspects to meet with them in St. Johns County. The arrest reports show the detectives posed as children between the ages of 11-14 during this operation, though in a couple of instances the detectives posed as the guardian of a child. Deputies say all the suspects arrested made plans to meet and traveled to the location in an attempt to solicit children.  The arrest report for one of the suspects, Raymond Wygant, reveals he was suspicious about the conversation he was having online. According to detectives, the following conversation ensued, with the suspect identified as Wygant and UC standing for undercover detective: Regardless of this conversation, deputies say he still showed up to try to meet who he thought was a minor. FULL ARREST DETAILS: Clarence Thomas, 28, Jacksonville  Ct. 1: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Behavior  Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 4: Solicit a child for sex  Bonds totaled $12,500   The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office says Thomas does not have a booking photo to release, due to Florida’s 119 exemption. WOKV has learned Thomas is exempt because he is a former corrections officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Orion Healy, 19, Palm Coast  Ct. 1: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 3: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Ct. 5: Tampering with Evidence  Bonds totaled $45,000  Michael Beck II, 21, Jacksonville  Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Ct. 5: Transmission of Harmful Material to Mino  Ct. 6: Possession of Marijuana  Bonds Totaled $33,000  Raymond Wygant, 25, McChord, Washington  Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Bonds Totaling $32,500  Ethan Persson, 18, St. Augustine  Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Bonds Totaling $35,000  Ernie Aleman, 31, South Gate, California  Ct. 1: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 2: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 3: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Ct. 4: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Bonds Totaling $50,000  Matthew Browne, 28, Gainesville  Ct. 1: Traveling to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 2: Solicit a child for sex  Ct. 3: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Ct. 4: Unlawful use of a two-way communication device  Bonds Totaling $35,000  Jhony Chacon-Montiel, 34, Jacksonville  Ct. 1: Travel to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two way communications deice  Ct. 3: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Ct. 4: Use a computer to solicit a child for sex  No Bond  Joshua Blankenship, 28, Green Cove Springs  Ct. 1: Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery  Ct. 2: Unlawful use of a two way communications deice  Ct.3: Travel to meet a minor for sex  Ct. 4: Use a computer to solicit a child for sex  Ct. 5: Possession of a Controlled substance w/o prescription  Ct. 6: Possession of Methamphetamine  No Bond
  • Authorities in Illinois found a body Wednesday believed to be Andrew “AJ” Freund, a 5-year-old boy who was reported missing last week by family members. >> Read more trending news Police said Freund’s parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr., were being charged in the boy’s death. Officials on Wednesday focused the search for Andrew on a field just south of Woodstock in unincorporated McHenry County, WBBM-TV reported. Update 3:15 p.m. EDT April 24: Police said they confronted Andrew’s parents Tuesday night with evidence gathered through a forensic analysis of cell phone data. Afterward, authorities said they both gave officers the information needed to find their son’s body. A body believed to be Andrew’s was found Wednesday morning, wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave in rural McHenry County. Crystal Lake police Chief Jim Black said it was not immediately clear what caused Andrew’s death. An autopsy is expected to be performed by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Authorities charged Andrew’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, with five counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a child death. Andrew’s father, Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr., was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of homicidal death and one count of failure to report a child death. The pair were in custody Wednesday, Black said. “To AJ’s family, it is our hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice,” Black said Wednesday at a news conference. “We would also like to thank the community for their support and assistance during this difficult time.” Update 2 p.m. EDT April 24: Authorities are expected to update the public Wednesday afternoon at a news conference. Original report: Authorities are expected to provide more information at a news conference scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT. Earlier Wednesday, officials pulled several items from Andrew’s family’s home, including a large tub, paper bags, a shovel and a small mattress, The Chicago Tribune reported. A dog, identified by a neighbor as the family’s boxer Lucy, was also taken from the home, according to the newspaper. Crystal Lake police said they have interviewed Andrew’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, and his father, Andrew Freund Sr. However, police said Monday that Cunningham was no longer cooperating with investigators, WFLD reported. Officials previously said search crews were unable to find evidence Andrew left his home after his family reported him missing April 18. “The canine teams only picked up Andrew’s scent within the residence, indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot,” police officials said.  >> Search for missing Illinois 5-year-old focused on boy’s own home, police say Family members told authorities they last saw Andrew around 9 p.m. April 17. “After waking up this morning and being unable to locate him in the home, Andrew’s parents contacted police and reported him missing,” Crystal Lake police said April 18 in a news release. CNN reported Andrew has not always lived with his parents and that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been part of the boy’s life since his birth. Jassen Strokosch, a spokesman for DCFS, told the news network Andrew became a ward of the state as a newborn following allegations of neglect by his mother. Andrew was in someone else’s care for about two years before being returned to his parents. CNN reported that DCFS was called twice in 2018 based on allegations of neglect and abuse, but both incidents were determined to be unfounded claims. 
  • President Donald Trump plans to fight subpoenas issued by Democrats investigating him and his administration, framing them as politically motivated attacks aimed at winning his rivals the 2020 election. >> Read more trending news Speaking Wednesday with reporters, Trump called a subpoena issued this week by the House Judiciary Committee to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify “ridiculous.” >> Former White House counsel Don McGahn subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee “We have been – I have been – the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far,” Trump said. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas. These aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.” Trump’s comments came one day after Carl Kline, a former White House personnel security director who was subpoenaed by Democrats, failed to appear for a scheduled deposition before the House Oversight Committee. The committee subpoenaed Kline after one of his former subordinates told the panel that dozens of people in Trump's administration were granted security clearances despite 'disqualifying issues' in their backgrounds. >> Whistleblower says White House overruled 25 security clearance denials Administration officials also defied a demand Tuesday from the House Ways and Means Committee for six years’ worth of the president’s tax returns. In a letter to Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asked for more time to comply with the request and said he’d give the panel a final decision by May 6. >> Trump Administration and IRS miss deadline for tax returns Trump previously said he doesn't want former or current aides testifying in Congress, 'where it's very partisan — obviously very partisan.' The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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