Graphic via Shutterstock / Courier Graphic via Shutterstock / Courier

Although their annual gathering is only a couple of months away, the bipartisan group of federal judges is holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday to talk about growing concerns of political interference.

Federal judges call urgent meeting over Attorney General’s Stone intervention

The Federal Judges Association is holding an emergency meeting Wednesday over concerns that Attorney General William Barr overrode the sentencing recommendation of Roger Stone, a close associate of Donald Trump’s. The judges are taking action following the petition by over 1,100 former Department of Justice officials seeking Barr’s resignation. The bipartisan judges group has an annual meeting in April but “could not wait until April to discuss matters of this importance,” said Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, the association’s president.

Tonight’s debate features new dynamics

With the addition of Mike Bloomberg to the ninth Democratic primary debate, new dynamics between candidates are in play. Clashes are expected: Bloomberg’s record on racist policy and sexist commentary make him a target, especially for Joe Biden, whose decline in the polls and sorry losses in Iowa and New Hampshire make Nevada a high-stakes contest. Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes to hold onto his solid lead as Sen. Elizabeth Warren fights to recapture her former frontrunner standing, and Pete Buttigieg will try to show he can connect with a racially diverse electorate. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has momentum from a surprise surge, but is still playing catch-up for name recognition on the ground. The debate airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

Trump aid to farmers under investigation

The Government Accountability Office is scrutinizing the Market Facilitation Program, an aid program to provide relief to farmers as the White House’s trade war with China escalated in 2018. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, raised concerns that politics were dictating the payouts, as a study revealed red states in the South received larger payouts. 

Nearly 80 new cases of coronavirus found as cruise ship passengers prepare to disembark 

More passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, just as those deemed uninfected are disembarking today. According to the New York Post, 79 new cases were confirmed aboard the ship, which has been quarantined in Japan for weeks. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases aboard the ship is now 621. A member of the disaster medical assistance team called efforts to contain the virus on the ship “completely chaotic” and said it was the first time in his 20-year career that he’d been afraid of being infected himself. Kentaro Iwata, who studied the SARS and Ebola outbreaks, said there was insufficient separation between infected and noninfected zones, and the opportunities for cross-contamination was high.