Aftermath of the Trump Administration, May 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Sunday, 1 May 2022:

 

Mariupol evacuation push resumes; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Bryan Pietsch, Jennifer Hassan, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Paulina Villegas, Lateshia Beachum, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “The long-awaited evacuation of civilians from a besieged steel plant in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters have staged a desperate last stand, continued Sunday, the United Nations said. About 100 people were being transferred from the surrounded southeastern port city to Ukrainian-controlled territory, but officials said hundreds more — including dozens of children — are stuck there. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise trip to Kyiv with a congressional delegation, telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that ‘our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.’ The meeting with Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, was disclosed by Zelensky on Sunday. The evacuation of civilians from the steel plant in Mariupol has been a contentious issue as Russia seeks control of the city, a strategic prize for President Vladimir Putin. For weeks, civilians who sought shelter at the sprawling facility have remained underground with dwindling supplies of food and medicine. A small group of women and children was allowed to leave the plant on Saturday.

  • Fighting continues in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where local officials reported that shelling killed three, just hours after suggesting that Russian airstrikes and artillery attacks may be slowing after a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Moscow’s recent actions in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson — where civilians are facing an Internet blackout and the implementation of a plan to use Russian currency — are an attempt to ‘exert strong political and economic influence in Kherson over the long term,’ according to a British intelligence update.
  • Europe is scrambling to respond to the energy crisis prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after Putin cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for refusing to pay in rubles.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 67 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in Kyiv, making her the most senior American official to visit Kyiv. Her visit signals a deepening U.S. commitment to Ukraine as Russia has struggled to make much progress in its offensive in the separatist east and sent its highest ranking uniformed officer, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, to the front line there late last week, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said. The rare front-line visit of such a high-ranking military official comes as analysts say the Russian forces remain beset with logistical problems and disarray among its troops, despite concentrating its efforts in the east after its campaign to take the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, ended in an embarrassing withdrawal. General Gerasimov’s visit was an effort to change the eastern offensive’s direction, a Ukrainian official said, as Russian forces have been able to make only incremental gains there so far. Ms. Pelosi announced on Sunday that she had met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and had pledged ‘to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world.’ The visit on Saturday by Ms. Pelosi and a few fellow Democratic lawmakers was kept secret until they returned to Poland, where they held a news conference on Sunday morning and vowed to back Ukraine ‘until victory is won.’

Here are some other developments:

  • An evacuation of civilians from Mariupol was underway as women and children confined to bunkers beneath a sprawling steel plant started to make their way to safety, according to Ukrainian officials and the United Nations.

  • Ukrainian officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions reported fierce battles as Russian tank columns tried to push into areas that Moscow’s forces have pounded with artillery fire. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it had struck 800 targets across Ukraine over the past day, including a hangar in the port city of Odesa that it said was storing weapons and ammunition delivered to Ukraine by the United States and Europe.

  • In territory controlled by Russia, including the southern region of Kherson, the occupying forces were trying to solidify control and taking steps to erase Ukrainian identity.

  • Russian attacks on fuel depots and other infrastructure in Ukraine have led to shortages of gasoline, with drivers lining up outside gas stations.

  • Russia’s foreign minister claimed that nearly a million people had been moved to Russia from Ukraine in voluntary ‘evacuations.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Congressional Democrats met Ukrainian leaders in the capital, they announced on Sunday. The Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials on Saturday for three hours to discuss American support for the war. Pelosi, the most senior American official to visit Ukraine since the war began in February, said the topics of discussion included ‘security, humanitarian assistance, economic assistance and eventually rebuilding when victory is won.’ About 100 civilians were evacuated from a Mariupol steel plant. Of the thousands of civilians still trapped in the besieged port city, about a thousand are believed to be sheltering in bunkers beneath the plant. Previous attempts to evacuate the civilians have been thwarted by repeated Russian shelling. Officials in Odesa imposed a curfew. Officials in the southern port city say the enforced curfew will extend from Sunday night through Tuesday morning after warning of possible sabotage in the city. In the past, pro-Russian activists have mobilized for protests and unrest in the city on May 2 each year. Russian ground forces are now fighting just a few hours away and Russian naval vessels are blockading Odesa’s port. Germany said it was making progress in cutting its use of Russian fossil fuels. European countries are under pressure to stop importing Russian gas, while Russia flexed its economic power by cutting off gas to Poland and Bulgaria.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 1 April 2022:

 

Thousands trapped in Mariupol after evacuation effort stalls, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Hannah Knowles, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, and Andrew Jeong, Friday, 1 April 2022: “A major evacuation effort stalled Friday after the Red Cross said it was unable to reach the port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian authorities said thousands escaped but have estimated as many as 100,000 people remained trapped in grim conditions. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it would try to reach Mariupol again this weekend after conditions Friday ‘made it impossible to proceed’ with a major humanitarian mission. The ICRC had readied a nine-person team to help evacuate civilians as the Kremlin declared a cease-fire in the city. Shelling destroyed much of Mariupol as a weeks-long Russian blockade severed the city from the outside world, raising alarms about dwindling resources.

  • Russia accused Ukraine on Friday of attacking a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod in what appeared to be Ukraine’s first airstrike on Russian soil since the invasion.
  • Oil prices fell Friday after member nations of the International Energy Agency authorized the release of emergency oil reserves, joining with the United States.
  • The U.S. Air Force canceled a scheduled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month to avoid the potential for escalated tensions with Russia, the service said.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 37 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. The New York Times, Friday, 1 April 2022: “The most ambitious effort yet to evacuate desperate civilians from Ukraine’s devastated port of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces for weeks, was upended by disruptions Friday, with thousands of residents managing to flee but many more still stuck after the Red Cross judged the exodus too dangerous. The suspended Red Cross evacuation in Mariupol, a city that has come to symbolize the horrors of the war in Ukraine, was among several developments painting a mixed picture on Friday as one of the biggest armed conflicts to convulse Europe in decades rumbled into its sixth week. New signs emerged that Russian forces, stymied by their own botched planning and fierce Ukrainian resistance, were retreating from areas outside of Kyiv, the capital, and moving north. Ukrainians asserted that they had retaken control of more than two dozen suburban towns and hamlets. Ukrainian helicopter gunships struck an oil terminal inside Russia, Russian officials said — which, if confirmed, would be the first known Ukrainian airstrike in Russian territory since the Feb. 24 invasion. Such an attack would be both embarrassing and potentially provocative to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in his troubled military campaign to subjugate Ukraine. Ukrainian officials gave conflicting accounts on whether Ukraine was responsible.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 1 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian officials said that Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, about 20 miles from the border with Ukraine. Ukraine refused to confirm or deny the report. It is the first time Russia has reported a Ukrainian airstrike on Russian soil. Russian troops leaving Chernobyl likely suffered radiation exposure, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry said Russian forces have fully withdrawn from the area of the former nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has not yet been able to confirm reports of Russian forces receiving high doses of radiation. A humanitarian relief team that was planning to evacuate civilians Friday from Mariupol was unable to reach the besieged Ukrainian city. They will try again Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Officials from Russia and Ukraine met for another day of talks about a potential cease-fireas fighting continued in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president’s office said 86 of the country’s service members were freed in the Zaporizhzhia region as part of a prisoner swap with Russia, although the number of Russians released was not disclosed, The Associated Press reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stripped two generals of their military rankcalling them ‘traitors’ and ‘antiheroes.’ Both were intelligence officers in the Security Service of Ukraine. One was the former chief of the agency’s main department of internal security. The other was the former head of the agency’s office in the Kherson region — Kherson being one of the few big Ukrainian cities that has fallen to Russian forces.

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, March 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Tuesday, 1 March 2022:

 

Putin steps up assault on residential areas, and Biden closes U.S. airspace to Russian planes, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Dan Lamothe, Brittany Shammas, Reis Thebault, and Hannah Knowles, Monday, 1 March 2022: “With a massive convoy of Russian troops idling just 20 miles north of central Kyiv and shelling intensifying from the capital to cities across Ukraine, Moscow appeared to escalate its attacks on residential areas Tuesday, with videos and social media posts documenting the devastation and fierce fighting. The most visible assault came when a missile strike hit Kyiv’s main TV tower and a nearby Holocaust memorial, killing at least five people, officials said. Footage of the aftermath, obtained by The Washington Post, showed a gruesome scene of blown-out cars and buildings and several bodies on fire. Kyiv was bracing for an all-out assault amid fears that Russian troops would encircle the capital, as they’ve apparently done in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, its mayor told The PostIn his State of the Union address, President Biden applauded the bravery of Ukrainians fighting the invasion and called for the United States and its allies to continue to support the resistance to Russian forces. But, Biden acknowledged, ‘the next few days, weeks and months will be hard’ for Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to continue escalating his offensive. Biden also announced that the United States would close its airspace to Russian airlines, ‘further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,’ he said.

  • Nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have left the country since the start of the invasion, the United Nations reported, marking the largest exodus in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
  • Congressional Democrats and Republicans are rallying around a new push to provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
  • European Union nations are probably not going to send fighter jets to Ukraine, despite a senior E.U. official’s vow that aircraft would be among the military aid the bloc promised, officials said. Zelensky repeated his plea with the E.U. to admit his country on an emergency basis.
  • The United States and other world powers decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, a move intended to reduce gasoline prices that have climbed rapidly in recent weeks, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Apple said it is pausing product sales in Russia and has limited other services within the country.

What Happened on Day 6 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Explosions struck the capital, Kyiv, and an apparent rocket strike destroyed an administration building in Kharkiv, the second largest city, killing civilians.” See also, U.S. official says Russia’s 40-mile convoy has stalled on its way to Kyiv,  NPR, Bill Chappell, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Logistics problems are stalling a massive Russian convoy that’s pushing its way toward Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The convoy, which has been measured as stretching for 40 miles, is apparently being hampered by fuel and food shortages. The news comes as Russia continues to concentrate attacks on the large Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. As night fell on Ukraine on Tuesday, Russia’s large convoy was still about 18 miles north of Kyiv — representing little or no change from Monday, the official said. The official added that some elements within the military column are ‘literally out of gas’ and having difficulty feeding their troops. ‘The U.S. says about 80% of the estimated 190,000 Russian troops that rimmed Ukraine are now in the country,’ NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reports. ‘About 400 missiles have been fired by the Russians since the invasion began last week.'” See also, Russia bombards a Kyiv TV tower and the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site, NPR, Rachel Treisman, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Apparent Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed the attack in a tweet, in which it equated Russia with barbarism. The State Emergency Service said five people were killed and another five injured in the attack on the Kyiv TV tower, according to Interfax. Citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it also reported that the broadcaster’s control room was hit and TV channels will not work ‘for some time.’ The ministry said backup broadcasting of some channels will be switched on in the near future, and the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection is asking Kyiv residents to rely on regional TV channels until then.”

State of the Union Highlights: Biden Gets Tough on Russia and Promotes Plan for Economy. Mr Biden said Valdimir Putin would ‘pay a price’ for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of his economic plans, he said, ‘I have another way to fight inflation: Lower your costs, not your wages.’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden used his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to condemn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, rally global support for the besieged country of Ukraine and convince Americans that his administration has made progress toward a Covid-free time of economic and social prosperity. The hourlong address, delivered to a mostly maskless audience of lawmakers and others in the House chamber, was in some ways two separate speeches: The first half focused on the war unfolding in Europe, followed by a second half aimed at reviving his stalled domestic policy agenda in Washington.” See also, Biden’s State of the Union applauds unity against Russia and seeks more unity at home. At a moment of global chaos, Biden cites Americans’ broad agreement on the Russia-Ukraine war to urge similar unity on domestic issues. The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden sought to rally the country against war, inflation and the pandemic during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, using one of the biggest moments of his presidency to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pitching a diminished agenda he hopes can win bipartisan support. The speech unfolded against a brutal backdrop as fighting intensified in what has become the biggest European land war since World War II. In the opening moments of his address, Biden noted the rejection of Russia and embrace of Ukraine by Americans of all stripes as evidence of the country’s underlying commonality. ‘We fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known,’ Biden said toward the end of his address. ‘Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself,’ he said, adding ‘I know this nation will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy.’ The lawmakers in the chamber displayed unity as Biden spoke about Ukraine, as some waved small Ukrainian flags and Republicans joined Democrats in applauding his condemnations of Russia. But that unity evaporated the moment Biden turned to domestic policy.” See also, 5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, published on Wednesday, 2 March 2002: “President Biden’s first formal State of the Union address focused on Ukraine, inflation, the coronavirus pandemic and a four-point ‘Unity Agenda.’ He urged world unity in standing up to Russia, listed ways he’s trying to address rising prices (even if they will likely have limited to no effect in the short term) and offered an optimistic outlook about the end of the pandemic. Biden made mention of some progressive policy items, such as the need for robust voting-rights legislation and stood up for transgender and abortion rights (while leaving out some other topics such as climate change). And he also touted some of the accomplishments of his first year, such as the COVID-19 relief bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But the speech’s emphasis on many of Biden’s centrist policy positions, like not defunding the police, was a clear choice in an election year. It was reminiscent, in some ways, of Bill Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union address made after Republicans’ historic gains in the 1994 midterm elections.”

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The Long Crusade of Clarence and Ginni Thomas

Danny Hakim and Jo Becker, The New York Times, The Long Crusade of Clarence and Ginni Thomas. The Supreme Court justice and his wife battled for years for a more conservative America. New reporting shows how far she was willing to go after Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. Tuesday, 22 February 2022:  “The call to action was titled ‘Election Results and Legal Battles: What Now?’ Shared in the days after the 2020 presidential election, it urged the members of an influential if secretive right-wing group to contact legislators in three of the swing states that tipped the balance for Joe Biden — Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The aim was audacious: Keep President Donald J. Trump in power. The group, the Council for National Policy, brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council. Founded in 1981 as a counterweight to liberalism, the group was hailed by President Ronald Reagan as seeking the ‘return of righteousness, justice and truth’ to America. As Trump insisted, without evidence, that fraud had cheated him of victory, conservative groups rushed to rally behind him. The council stood out, however, not only because of its pedigree but also because one of its newest leaders was Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a longtime activist in right-wing circles. She had taken on a prominent role at the council during the Trump years and by 2019 had joined the nine-member board of C.N.P. Action, an arm of the council organized as a 501(c)4 under a provision of the tax code that allows for direct political advocacy. It was C.N.P. Action that circulated the November ‘action steps’ document, the existence of which has not been previously reported. It instructed members to pressure Republican lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors: ‘Demand that they not abandon their Constitutional responsibilities during a time such as this.’ Such a plan, if carried out successfully, would have almost certainly landed before the Supreme Court — and Ginni Thomas’s husband. In fact, Trump was already calling for that to happen. In a Dec. 2 speech at the White House, the president falsely claimed that ‘millions of votes were cast illegally in swing states alone’ and said he hoped ‘the Supreme Court of the United States will see it’ and ‘will do what’s right for our country, because our country cannot live with this kind of an election.’ The Thomases have long posed a unique quandary in Washington. Because Supreme Court justices do not want to be perceived as partisan, they tend to avoid political events and entanglements, and their spouses often keep low profiles. But the Thomases have defied such norms. Since the founding of the nation, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice has been as overt a political activist as Ginni Thomas. In addition to her perch at the Council for National Policy, she founded a group called Groundswell with the support of Stephen K. Bannon, the hard-line nationalist and former Trump adviser. It holds a weekly meeting of influential conservatives, many of whom work directly on issues that have come before the court.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, February 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Tuesday, 1 February 2022:

 

New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the General Services Administration for information about how the agency selected former president Donald Trump’s business to lease the historic post office where he developed his D.C. hotel. The request sought information about whether Trump used false information to secure the hotel lease, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Josh Dawsey, and Shayna Jacobs, Tuesday, 1 February 2022: “The inquiry, part of a civil investigation into Trump’s business, sought information about whether Trump inflated his net worth to secure the lease, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing legal inquiry. The documents James sought included a scorecard GSA used to rank Trump’s bid against those of other developers who proposed leasing and redeveloping the federally owned Old Post Office Pavilion downtown. That information could fit into James’s broader effort to show a pattern of Trump giving false information to business partners, banks and insurers to secure loans and other deals. James’s request appears to differ from previous inquiries into Trump’s hotel, which largely focused on whether he should have been allowed to retain the deal while in office. After Trump was elected, he ignored calls from Democrats to sell his stake in the lease to avoid conflicts of interest. Trump is now working to sell that lease, in a deal that could net his company $100 million in profits, and the negotiations have coincided with renewed scrutiny from lawmakers and prosecutors.”

Trump’s Words, and Deeds, Reveal Depths of His Drive to Retain Power. Donald Trump said he wanted Mike Pence to overturn the election, dangled pardons for January 6 rioters, and called for protests against prosecutors. Now, it turns out, he had discussed having national security agencies seize voting machines. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Tuesday, 1 February 2022: “A series of new remarks by Donald J. Trump about the aftermath of the 2020 election and new disclosures about his actions in trying to forestall its result — including discussing the use of the national security apparatus to seize voting machines — have stripped away any pretense that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, were anything but the culmination of the former president’s single-minded pursuit of retaining power. Mr. Trump said on Sunday that Mike Pence ‘could have overturned the election,’ acknowledging for the first time that the aim of the pressure campaign he focused on his vice president had simply been to change the election’s result, not just to buy time to root out supposed fraud, as he had long insisted. Those efforts ended at the Capitol with a violent riot of Trump supporters demanding that Mr. Pence block the Electoral College vote. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump also dangled, for the first time, that he could issue pardons to anyone facing charges for participating in the Jan. 6 attack if he is elected president again — the latest example of a yearslong flirtation with political violence. And, ignoring what happened the last time he encouraged a mass demonstration, Mr. Trump urged his supporters to gather ‘in the biggest protests we have ever had’ if prosecutors in New York and Atlanta moved further against him. The prosecutor examining Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in Georgia immediately asked the F.B.I. to conduct a ‘risk assessment’ of her building’s security. The events of Jan. 6 played out so publicly and so brutally — the instigating speech by Mr. Trump, the flag-waving march to the Capitol, the violent clashes with the police, the defiling of the seat of democracy — and have since been so extensively re-examined that at times it can seem as if there were little more to be discovered about what led up to that day. Then, The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Trump himself had directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to ask the Department of Homeland Security whether it could legally seize voting machines in three key swing states. Mr. Trump also raised, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, the possibility of the Justice Department’s seizing the machines. Both ideas quickly fizzled. But historians say the episodes and Mr. Trump’s new comments acknowledging his determination to stay in power — and his effective embrace of the Jan. 6 rioters at the Capitol, who he said must be treated ‘fairly’ — have newly underscored the fragility of the nation’s democratic systems.”

 

Wednesday, 2 February 2022:

 

Just Over Two Weeks After Election Day 2020, Lawyers Working With the Trump Campaign Set Out a Rationale for Creating Alternate Slates of Electors as Part of an Effort to Buy Time to Overturn the Election Results. Memos show the roots of Trump’s focus on January 6 and alternate electors. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 2 February 2022: “Fifteen days after Election Day in 2020, James R. Troupis, a lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, received a memo setting out what became the rationale for an audacious strategy: to put in place alternate slates of electors in states where President Donald J. Trump was trying to overturn his loss. The memo, from another lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro, may not have been the first time that lawyers and allies of Mr. Trump had weighed the possibility of naming their own electors in the hopes that they might eventually succeed in flipping the outcome in battleground states through recounts and lawsuits baselessly asserting widespread fraud. But the Nov. 18 memo and another three weeks later are among the earliest known efforts to put on paper proposals for preparing alternate electors. They helped to shape a crucial strategy that Mr. Trump would embrace with profound consequences for himself and the nation. The memos show how just over two weeks after Election Day, Mr. Trump’s campaign was seeking to buy itself more time to undo the results. At the heart of the strategy was the idea that their real deadline was not Dec. 14, when official electors would be chosen to reflect the outcome in each state, but Jan. 6, when Congress would meet to certify the results. And in that focus on Jan. 6 lay the seeds of what became a pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence to accept the validity of a challenge to the outcome and to block Congress from finalizing Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory — a campaign that would also lead to a violent assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters and an extraordinary rupture in American politics.” See also, Read the November 18 Memo on Alternate Trump Electors, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 February 2022: “This memo is among the earliest known efforts to put on paper proposals for preparing alternate slates of Trump electors in Biden-won states and helped to shape a crucial strategy President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers embraced in his efforts to overturn his election loss.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, January 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Saturday, 1 January 2022:

 

Every Day Is January 6 Now, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Saturday, 1 January 2022: “One year after the smoke and broken glass, the mock gallows and the very real bloodshed of that awful day, it is tempting to look back and imagine that we can, in fact, simply look back. To imagine that what happened on Jan. 6, 2021 — a deadly riot at the seat of American government, incited by a defeated president amid a last-ditch effort to thwart the transfer of power to his successor — was horrifying but that it is in the past and that we as a nation have moved on. This is an understandable impulse. After four years of chaos, cruelty and incompetence, culminating in a pandemic and the once-unthinkable trauma of Jan. 6, most Americans were desperate for some peace and quiet. On the surface, we have achieved that. Our political life seems more or less normal these days, as the president pardons turkeys and Congress quarrels over spending bills. But peel back a layer, and things are far from normal. Jan. 6 is not in the past; it is every day. It is regular citizens who threaten election officials and other public servants, who ask, “When can we use the guns?” and who vow to murder politicians who dare to vote their conscience. It is Republican lawmakers scrambling to make it harder for people to vote and easier to subvert their will if they do. It is Donald Trump who continues to stoke the flames of conflict with his rampant lies and limitless resentments and whose twisted version of reality still dominates one of the nation’s two major political parties. In short, the Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying that it exists. Rather, survival depends on looking back and forward at the same time. Truly grappling with the threat ahead means taking full account of the terror of that day a year ago. Thanks largely to the dogged work of a bipartisan committee in the House of Representatives, this reckoning is underway. We know now that the violence and mayhem broadcast live around the world was only the most visible and visceral part of the effort to overturn the election. The effort extended all the way into the Oval Office, where Mr. Trump and his allies plotted a constitutional self-coup.”

 

Sunday, 2 January 2022:

 

Republican Liz Cheney calls Trump ‘clearly unfit for future office,’ ABC News, Lucien Bruggeman, Sunday, 2 January 2022: “Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., the top Republican on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, said former President Donald Trump is ‘clearly unfit for future office [and] clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again. He crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before,’ she said in an interview with ‘This Week’ anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. ‘When a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted.’ The Wyoming Republican said her party has a ‘particular duty’ to not only reject the events of Jan. 6, but ‘to make sure that Donald Trump is not our nominee, and that he’s never anywhere close to the reins of power ever again.’… As the one-year anniversary of the Capitol siege nears, the House select committee’s sprawling probe is in full swing. In the past six months, the panel has interviewed more than 300 people, issued more than 50 subpoenas and obtained tens of thousands of records. Cheney said the panel’s substantial efforts have already garnered important findings regarding Trump’s actions that day. ‘The committee has firsthand testimony now that [Trump] was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television,’ she said. She went on to add, ‘We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence. He could have told them to stand down. He could have told them to go home – and he failed to do so,’ Cheney continued. ‘It’s hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that.’ ‘Is his failure to make that statement criminal negligence?’ Stephanopoulos asked. Cheney replied that there are several ‘potential criminal statutes at issue here.'” See also, Liz Cheney says the House committee investigating the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters has ‘firsthand testimony that Ivanka asked Trump to intervene during the insurrection, CNN Politics, Daniella Diaz and Devan Cole, Dunday, 2 January 2022: “Members of the House select committee investigating January 6 said Sunday that they have critical testimony about communications to former President Donald Trump on the day of the deadly attack. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee and one of its two Republican members, told ABC News that the panel has ‘firsthand testimony’ that during the attack, Trump’s daughter and then-senior adviser Ivanka Trump asked him to intervene. And Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, told CNN the panel has ‘significant testimony’ that the White House ‘had been told to do something.'”

Twitter ‘permanently suspends Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account. Greene’s account was suspended over ‘repeated violations’ of Twitter’s Covid-19 misinformation policy, the company said. NBC News, Doha Madani, Sunday, 2 January 2022: “Twitter suspended a personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for ‘repeated violations’ of its Covid misinformation policy, the company said Sunday. ‘We permanently suspended the account you referenced (@mtgreenee) for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,’ Twitter said in a statement.We’ve been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy.’ Greene appears to still have access to her professional account, @RepMTG. Twitter did not say what was tweeted to earn what it calls a permanent suspension…. ‘Twitter implemented a strike system for violations in March. A single strike might not incur an action, but the company will place locks on accounts that repeatedly violate the policy. Five or more strikes result in a ‘permanent suspension,’ according to the company’s website. Greene was suspended multiple times last year for violations of the policies.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, December 2021

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Wednesday, 1 December 2021:

 

Supreme Court Appears Open to Upholding Mississippi Abortion Restriction. After two hours of sometimes tense exchanges in one of the most significant abortion cases in years, the court appeared poised to uphold the state law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, based on sometimes tense and heated questioning at a momentous argument in the most important abortion case in decades. Such a ruling would be flatly at odds with what the court has said was the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks. But the court’s six-member conservative majority seemed divided about whether to stop at 15 weeks, for now at least, or whether to overrule Roe entirely, allowing states to ban abortions at any time or entirely…. Assuming the three most conservative members of the court — Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch — are prepared to overrule Roe entirely, Chief Justice Roberts would need to attract at least two votes for a narrower opinion, one upholding the Mississippi law but not overruling Roe in so many words, to be controlling. But the most likely candidates, Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, said little to suggest that they were inclined toward that narrower approach. The court’s three liberal members — Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — were adamant that Roe should stand. Should Roe be overturned, at least 20 states will immediately or in short order make almost all abortions unlawful, forcing women who can afford it to travel long distances to obtain the procedure. Chief Justice Roberts expressed frustration with Mississippi’s litigation strategy. In the state’s petition seeking Supreme Court review, officials told the justices that ‘the questions presented in this petition do not require the court to overturn Roe or Casey,’ though lawyers for the state did raise the possibility in a footnote. Once the court agreed to hear the case, the state shifted its emphasis and began a sustained assault on those precedents. That amounted to a bait-and-switch, Chief Justice Roberts suggested. The more liberal justices pressed Scott G. Stewart, Mississippi’s solicitor general, on the dangers of overruling a longstanding precedent after changes in the membership of the court…. Justice Sotomayor asked whether the court would ‘survive the stench’ of being considered a political institution, a point echoed by Justice Kagan.” See also, Supreme Court signals willingness to uphold abortion limits in Mississippi case. The Mississippi law bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing them only in medical emergencies or cases of severe fetal abnormality. NBC News, Pete Williams and Teaganne Finn, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court appeared prepared Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which would be a dramatic break from 50 years of rulings. The justices heard 90 minutes of oral arguments in the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in nearly three decades. A majority of the court’s conservative justices suggested they were prepared to discard the court’s previous standard that prevented states from banning abortion before a fetus becomes viable, which is generally considered to be at about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. It was unclear after Wednesday’s argument whether the court would take the additional step of explicitly overturning its abortion precedents, including Roe v. Wade. The three more liberal justices warned that the court would appear to be a political body if it tossed out abortion rulings that the country has relied on for decades. ‘It is particularly important to show that what we do in overturning a case is grounded in principle and not social pressure,’ Justice Stephen Breyer warned. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked, ‘Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it’s possible.’ And Justice Elena Kagan said the court must not act in a way that would cause people to think it is ‘a political institution that will go back and forth, depending on what part of the public yells the loudest or changes to the court’s membership.'” See also, Roe v. Wade’s future is in doubt after historic arguments at the Supreme Court, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The right to an abortion in the United States appeared to be on shaky ground as a divided Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on the fate of Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States. At issue in Wednesday’s case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — was a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Until now, all the court’s abortion decisions have upheld Roe‘s central framework — that women have a constitutional right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb, roughly 24 weeks. But Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to reverse all its prior abortion decisions and return the abortion question to the states. The court’s three newest justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all Trump appointees — appeared to signal they are ready to side with Mississippi — but it wasn’t immediately clear if all of them would strike down Roe, as the state of Mississippi has asked.” See also, Supreme Court seems inclined to uphold Mississippi abortion law that would undermine Roe v. Wade, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled it is on the verge of a major curtailment of abortion rights in the United States, and appeared likely to uphold a Mississippi law that violates one of the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade established nearly 50 years ago. Whether the court would eventually overrule Roe and its finding that women have a fundamental right to end their pregnancies was unclear. But none of the six conservatives who make up the court’s majority expressed support for maintaining its rule that states may not prohibit abortion before the point of fetal viability, which is generally estimated to be between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., often the most moderate of the conservatives, said Mississippi’s law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks was not a ‘dramatic departure’ from viability, and gave women enough time to make the choice to end their pregnancies. He added: ‘Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?’ But the other conservatives did not express much interest in rewriting Roe, decided in 1973, or 1992’s affirming decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Rather, they indicated they were open to simply getting rid of both. The court’s liberal justices said the institution’s reputation would be irreparably damaged if nearly a half-century of its abortion jurisprudence were dismantled because of a change in membership.” See also, Supreme Court’s conservatives lean toward limiting abortion rights after dramatic oral arguments on Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks, but it is less clear if there is a clear majority to end the right to abortion nationwide, although conservative justices expressed skepticism about the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The dispute represents the culmination of a decades-long effort on the part of critics of the landmark opinion that legalized abortion nationwide to return the issue to the states, a move that would almost immediately eviscerate abortion rights in large swaths of the South and the Midwest. Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be looking for a middle ground to allow states to ban abortion earlier — moving up the viability line from the current 22 to 23 weeks — but leaving in place some remnants of a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. He said 15 weeks was not a ‘dramatic departure’ from viability.”

Trump tested positive for Covid a few days before Biden debate, chief of staff Mark Meadows says in new book. Meadows makes stunning admission in new memoir obtained by The Guardian, saying a second test returned negative. The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, the former president’s fourth and last chief of staff has revealed in a new book. Mark Meadows also writes that though he knew each candidate was required ‘to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.’ Trump, Meadows says in the book, returned a negative result from a different test shortly after the positive. Nonetheless, the stunning revelation of an unreported positive test follows a year of speculation about whether Trump, then 74 years old, had the potentially deadly virus when he faced Biden, 77, in Cleveland on 29 September – and what danger that might have presented. Trump announced he had Covid on 2 October. The White House said he announced that result within an hour of receiving it. He went to hospital later that day. Meadows’ memoir, The Chief’s Chief, will be published next week by All Seasons Press, a conservative outlet. The Guardian obtained a copy on Tuesday – the day Meadows reversed course and said he would cooperate with the House committee investigating the deadly Capitol attack of 6 January. In a statement on Wednesday, Trump called Meadows’ claims ‘Fake News.'” See also, Three former aides say Trump tested positive for coronavirus before first debate with Biden, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Annie Linskey, and Dan Diamond, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus days before he shared the debate stage with then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in late September 2020, according to his former chief of staff and two others familiar with the former president’s test — a stunning revelation that illustrates the dismissive approach to the dangers posed by the virus in Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s positive test for the virus was Sept. 26, 2020, according to an account by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in a new book obtained by the Guardian newspaper. The Meadows account of the positive result was confirmed Wednesday by two former aides who requested anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the former president’s health. The timing means Trump would have had reason to believe he was infected with the coronavirus three days before the Sept. 29 presidential debate and six days before he was hospitalized for covid-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The disclosure also provides new evidence of Trump’s often reckless and cavalier approach to his health and the health of those around him as he struggled through a chaotic response to the pandemic.” See also, Two Ex-Officials Say Trump Tested Positive for Coronavirus Days Before First Debate With Biden, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “President Donald J. Trump tested positive for coronavirus three days before his first debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020, two former administration officials said Wednesday. The White House did not announce the positive test at the time, and the president received a negative result shortly afterward and carried on with a campaign rally and the debate, the officials said. The account was first reported by The Guardian, which cited a forthcoming book by Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows…. The revelation came more than a year after widespread speculation that Mr. Trump was sick when he first shared a stage with Mr. Biden for their first presidential debate on Sept. 29, months into the pandemic.” See also, Former President Donald Trump showed ‘a flagrant lack of regard for public health’ and endangered White House staff by not disclosing a positive Covid-19 test he received last year, his former communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin said, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “‘Full stop, this demonstrates a flagrant lack of regard for public health and for the well-being of others,’ Alyssa Farah Griffin, who served for a time as the director of strategic communications and assistant to the president in the Trump White House, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘The Lead.’ She added: ‘At this time in the White House, I had staffers who were pregnant. I had one who is a multi-time cancer survivor. We had plenty of people in the West Wing who are over 65. We could have killed one of our colleagues and instead they decided to not tell anyone, putting every single one of us at risk.'”

Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson says people who spoke at the January 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally ‘stoked’ the crowd and should be held accountable, CNN Politics, Hannah Rabinowitz, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “A federal judge suggested Wednesday that Donald Trump and others who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 should be held accountable for the US Capitol riot that followed, saying the then-President ‘stoked’ the crowd and ‘might’ve inspired what happened.’ Though she did not refer to Trump by name, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said during a sentencing for riot defendant Russell Peterson that the former President and other speakers at the Ellipse riled the crowd and ‘explicitly encouraged them to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only — to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen. There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable,’ Jackson said to Peterson. ‘But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.’  Jackson joins the ranks of several federal judges in Washington who have sharply criticized Trump for his inflammatory speech at the January 6 rally, with one judge saying last month that rioters were ‘pawns’ provoked into action. While Jackson stopped short of laying full responsibility at the feet of those who spoke at the January 6 rally, she and other judges have lambasted Trump and even suggested he may face legal consequences. Jackson has handled many politically significant court cases from the Trump era and its aftermath, and she’s known for her sharp criticism of his administration. She handles a number of the more than 670 Capitol riot cases, and has repeatedly disavowed attempts to frame rioters as political prisoners and called attention to what she considers dangerous lies about the 2020 election. Jackson also said Peterson should be held accountable, noting that he is an adult and responsible for his own actions on January 6. ‘You did receive a lot of overwhelming inaccurate information on social media,’ Jackson said to Peterson, ‘but you had a choice to reject the lies and not to join the antidemocratic call for martial law.'”

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A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution

Dionne Searcey, Michael Forsythe, and Eric Lipton, The New York Times, A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution. The quest for Congo’s cobalt, which is vital for electric vehicles and the worldwide push against climate change, is caught in an international cycle of exploitation, greed, and gamesmanship. Saturday, 20 November 2021: “[T]he quest for Congo’s cobalt has demonstrated how the clean energy revolution, meant to save the planet from perilously warming temperatures in an age of enlightened self-interest, is caught in a familiar cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship that often puts narrow national aspirations above all else, an investigation by The New York Times found. The Times dispatched reporters across three continents drawn into the competition for cobalt, a relatively obscure raw material that along with lithium, nickel and graphite has gained exceptional value in a world trying to set fossil fuels aside. More than 100 interviews and thousands of pages of documents show that the race for cobalt has set off a power struggle in Congo, a storehouse of these increasingly prized resources, and lured foreigners intent on dominating the next epoch in global energy. In particular, a rivalry between China and the United States could have far-reaching implications for the shared goal of safeguarding the earth. At least here in Congo, China is so far winning that contest, with both the Obama and Trump administrations having stood idly by as a company backed by the Chinese government bought two of the country’s largest cobalt deposits over the past five years.” See also, Eric Lipton and Dionne Searcey, The New York Times, How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy. Americans failed to safeguard decades of diplomatic and financial investments in Congo, where the world’s largest supply of cobalt is controlled by Chinese companies backed by Beijing. Sunday, 21 November 2021: “China’s pursuit of Congo’s cobalt wealth is part of a disciplined playbook that has given it an enormous head start over the United States in the race to dominate the electrification of the auto industry, long a key driver of the global economy. But an investigation by The New York Times revealed a hidden history of the cobalt acquisitions in which the United States essentially surrendered the resources to China, failing to safeguard decades of diplomatic and financial investments in Congo. The sale of … two mines, also flush with copper, highlights the shifting geography and politics of the clean energy revolution, with countries rich in cobalt, lithium and other raw materials needed for batteries suddenly playing the role of oil giants. The loss of the mines happened under the watch of President Barack Obama, consumed with Afghanistan and the Islamic State, and President Donald J. Trump, a climate-change skeptic committed to fossil fuels and the electoral forces behind them. More broadly, it had roots in the end of the Cold War, according to previously classified documents and interviews with senior officials in the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations.”

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How Americans’ Appetite for Leather in Luxury SUVs Worsens Amazon Deforestation

Manuela Andreoni, Hiroko Tabuchi, and Albert Sun, The New York Times, How Americans’ Appetite for Leather in Luxury SUVs Worsens Amazon Deforestation. An examination of Brazil’s immense tannery industry shows how hides from illegally deforested ranches can easily reach the global marketplace. In the United States, much of the demand for Brazilian leather comes from automakers. Wednesday, 17 November 2021: “A New York Times investigation into Brazil’s rapidly expanding slaughterhouse industry — a business that sells not only beef to the world, but tons of leather annually to major companies in the United States and elsewhere — has identified loopholes in its monitoring systems that allow hides from cattle kept on illegally deforested Amazon land to flow undetected through Brazil’s tanneries and on to buyers worldwide…. A luxury vehicle can require a dozen or more hides, and suppliers in the United States increasingly buy their leather from Brazil. While the Amazon region is one of the world’s major providers of beef, increasingly to Asian nations, the global appetite for affordable leather also means that the hides of these millions of cattle supply a lucrative international leather market valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.”

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Washington Post investigation finds many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations

Chris Mooney, Juliet Eilperin, Desmond Butler, John Muyskens, Anu Narayanswamy, and Naema Ahmed, The Washington Post Investigations, Washington Post investigation finds many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations, Sunday, 7 November 2021: “Across the world, many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations, a Washington Post investigation has found. An examination of 196 country reports reveals a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be versus the greenhouse gases they are sending into the atmosphere. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion to as high as 13.3 billion tons a year of underreported emissions — big enough to move the needle on how much the Earth will warm. The plan to save the world from the worst of climate change is built on data. But the data the world is relying on is inaccurate. ‘If we don’t know the state of emissions today, we don’t know whether we’re cutting emissions meaningfully and substantially,’ said Rob Jackson, a professor at Stanford University and chair of the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration of hundreds of researchers. ‘The atmosphere ultimately is the truth. The atmosphere is what we care about. The concentration of methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is what’s affecting climate.’ At the low end, the gap is larger than the yearly emissions of the United States. At the high end, it approaches the emissions of China and comprises 23 percent of humanity’s total contribution to the planet’s warming, The Post found.”

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