Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
Marquette firing of conservative professor gains national spotlight as it hits high court: Karen Herzog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "If he hadn't criticized a graduate student instructor by name on his politically conservative blog and opened her up to threats, John McAdams wouldn't be arguing for his job back before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday. That's the position of Marquette University as it heads to court with the embattled political science professor, who is in his seventh unpaid semester outside the classroom. Marquette University President Michael Lovell said the university did the right thing, regardless of the outcome. But McAdams said his rights were assaulted when he was indefinitely suspended and banned from campus. The case has become something of a cause celebre for conservatives, who generally argue for giving universities more latitude to fire faculty and mock tenure. This case swings in favor of job protections because conservatives believe their viewpoints are being stifled on college campuses. Among the key questions for the court: Did Marquette justifiably enforce an employment contract? Or did the university deny a tenured professor a treasured tenet of academia — academic freedom — in violation of the same contract?" Read more.
James Comey strikes back against 'morally unfit' Donald Trump in scathing interview: Susan Page and Kevin Johnson of USA TODAY write: "In an extraordinary interview, former FBI director James Comey called Donald Trump 'morally unfit to be president' and said he believed it was possible the Russians were holding compromising personal information over the head of the commander in chief. Comey's comments and his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, are fueling a combustible moment in Washington that could become a constitutional crisis. At the White House, Trump has unleashed a barrage of angry tweets against Comey — calling him an 'untruthful slime ball,' among other insults — amid reports he was poised to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his role in the Russia investigation that Comey once headed. Never before in American history has a current or former director of the FBI, the nation's principal law-enforcement agency, publicly described a president in such a scathing manner. 'I actually believe he's morally unfit to be president,' Comey told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview Friday at his home in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington. He called that characterization appropriate for 'someone who is able to see moral equivalence in (white nationalist protests in) Charlottesville or to speak and treat women like they're pieces of meat and to lie constantly and who appears to lack an external moral framework' of religion or philosophy or history." Read more.
Trump’s trade moves could send Germany into a recession, report warns: Rick Noack of the Washington Post writes: "The risk of a recession in Europe’s biggest economy rose significantly between March and April amid the fallout over President Trump’s increasingly restrictive stance on global trade, researchers said Monday. While economists with the German Institute for Macroeconomics and Economic Research (IMK) only saw a 6.8 percent likelihood of a recession within the next three months back in March, they now believe that a imminent economic downturn is 32.4 percent likely. 'President Trump’s flirtation with protectionism is sending out shock waves that are not only affecting financial markets, but also the German economy,' said Gustav Horn, the research director of IMK, which is part of a foundation with ties to a number of unions. Germany is considered to be Europe’s economic powerhouse and its current economic boom has lasted for five years, even as the rest of the continent has struggled. Unemployment is now so low that companies have to routinely turn down orders due to a lack of workers and the German government recently celebrated a record tax revenue. But with its export-driven economy and large trade surplus, the country has repeatedly drawn the ire of Trump who has lashed out at the European ally for allegedly exploiting the U.S. economy." Read more.
Retiring Paul Ryan could be more 'liberated' in dealing with Trump, Democrat says: Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune writes: "Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said the exiting Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan might be more 'liberated' in dealing with President Donald Trump. 'Dealing with President Trump is no walk in the park. I don’t think it’s any secret he and the president don’t necessarily see eye to eye on a variety of issues,' said Krishnamoorthi, who represents the northwest and west suburban 8th Congressional District, said on WGN AM-720. 'That being said, I was a little disappointed that he hasn’t been more forceful in pushing back on the president with regard to a variety of issues, and he’s kind of ceded some of our legislative prerogative in Congress to the president,' the Schaumburg congressman said. 'I’m hoping that maybe now that he’s somewhat liberated, he’ll do that in the remaining months.' Krishnamoorthi said he thought Ryan was 'sincere' in saying he was retiring to spend more time with his family, since his father died when Ryan was 15. But he also said Ryan 'probably sees the likelihood of him serving as the next speaker going down with each passing day.'” Read more.
U.S. to announce new economic sanctions on Russia: Scott Neuman of NPR writes: "The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is expected to announce a new round of economic sanctions against Russia for its backing of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. The sanctions follow U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria's chemical weapons capability and President Trump's promise that Assad and his allies, namely Moscow, would pay a 'big price' for enabling the use of chemical weapons. 'They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,' Ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday. Referring to the airstrikes, Haley said: 'I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message.' 'The international community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life,' she said in an interview aired Sunday. 'The fact he was making this more normal and that Russia was covering this up, all that has got to stop.'" Read more.
Partisan tensions rise as Mueller bill delayed: Jordain Carney of The Hill writes: "Legislation protecting special counsel Robert Mueller is running into steep political headwinds even as President Trump is weighing cracking down on the Russia investigation. The bill got a boost of momentum when GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) said it would get a committee vote, but the legislation almost immediately got bogged down in partisan finger-pointing and entrenched skepticism among most Republicans. A blame game has broken out among Senate Judiciary Committee members about why the bill is being punted until days before the next recess. Grassley, in a whirlwind move, tried to get the panel to take up the bill late last week; instead, a vote isn’t expected until April 26. The legislation would limit Trump’s ability to fire Mueller and let him be reinstated if a court determines he wasn’t fired for 'good cause.' In a sign of Republicans’ anxiety that Trump could try to interfere with the Russia probe months before the midterm elections, a small but growing number of Republicans are signaling they are open to the idea of the bill. But Democrats are deeply worried that Republicans will try to weaken the bill or attach 'poison pill' amendments." Read more.