Trump, Week 74: Friday, 15 June – Thursday, 21 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Williamstown, MA, Thursday, 31 May 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 15 June 2018, Day 512:

 

The Trump Administration Separated 1,995 Children From Their Parents at the Border in the Six Weeks Between April 19th and May 31st, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Friday, 15 June 2018: “The Trump administration said on Friday that it had separated 1,995 children from parents facing criminal prosecution for unlawfully crossing the border over a six-week period that ended last month, as President Trump sought to shift blame for the widely criticized practice that has become the signature policy of his aggressive immigration agenda. From April 19 to May 31, the children were separated from 1,940 adults, according to a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke during a conference call with reporters that had been described as an effort to correct the record about immigrant families being split up at the border. Administration officials insisted on anonymity to explain the president’s policy and deny many of the damaging stories that have appeared about it in recent days…. ‘I hate the children being taken away,’ Mr. Trump told reporters on Friday morning in front of the White House. ‘The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.’… But Mr. Trump was misrepresenting his own policy. There is no law that says children must be taken from their parents if they cross the border unlawfully, and previous administrations have made exceptions for those traveling with minor children when prosecuting immigrants for illegal entry. A ‘zero tolerance’ policy created by the president in April and put into effect last month by the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, allows no such exceptions, Mr. Trump’s advisers say.” See also, Trump cites his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as a negotiating tool to give him leverage in immigration talks with Congress, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 15 June 2018: “President Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — separating immigrant parents from their young children at the southern border, according to White House officials. On Friday, Trump suggested he would not change the policy unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands, which include funding a border wall, tightening the rules for border enforcement and curbing legal entry. He also is intent on pushing members of his party to vote for a compromise measure that would achieve those long-standing priorities. Trump’s public acknowledgment that he was willing to let the policy continue as he pursued his political goals came as the president once again blamed Democrats for a policy enacted and touted by his own administration…. The attempt to gain advantage from a practice the American Academy of Pediatrics describes as causing children ‘irreparable harm’ sets up a high-stakes gambit for Trump, whose political career has long benefited from harsh rhetoric on immigration.” See also, Why the Trump administration bears the blame for separating children from their families at the border, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 15 June 2018: “President Trump seems to recognize that news reports about children being separated from their parents at the border don’t reflect well on his administration. He has called the separations ‘horrible’ on Twitter and, as recently as Friday morning during an interview with ‘Fox and Friends,’ blamed the political opposition…. This has been debunked repeatedly, including by The Washington Post. There is no ‘Democrats’ law’ that necessitates separating children from their parents. As people familiar with the rules regarding the handling of young people at the border made clear in interviews on Friday, the separation policy is a function of decisions made by Trump and his team. What’s more, the administration specifically implemented the policy to serve as a deterrent for those thinking about seeking entry to the United States.” See also, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Use of Bible Passage to Defend Immigration Policy Draws Fire. The Passage Has Been Commonly Used to Defend Slavery and to Oppose the American Revolution. The New York Times, Julia Jacobs, Friday, 15 June 2018: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions turned to the Bible this week to defend the Trump administration’s immigration policy. His use of religious text to justify a federal policy drew some fire; the text itself drew more. Many were concerned that Mr. Sessions’s chosen chapter, Romans 13, had been commonly used to defend slavery and oppose the American Revolution. Speaking to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind., Mr. Sessions used a passage on Thursday to defend the right of the federal government to enforce a directive to prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally. The directive has led to the fracturing of hundreds of migrant families, funneling children into shelters and foster homes.”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia Orders Trump’s Former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Jailed Before Trial, Citing New Obstruction of Justice Charges, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Friday, 15 June 2018: “A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail on Friday to await trial, citing new charges that Mr. Manafort had tried to influence the testimony of two government witnesses after he had been granted a temporary release. Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, had posted a $10 million bond and was under house arrest while awaiting his September trial on a host of charges, including money laundering and making false statements. But Mr. Manafort cannot remain free, even under stricter conditions, in the face of new felony charges that he had engaged in witness tampering while out on bail, said Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ‘This is not middle school,’ she said during a 90-minute court hearing. ‘I can’t take away his cellphone.’ The judge’s order was the latest in eight months of legal setbacks for Mr. Manafort, as prosecutors have steadily added new charges since he was first indicted in October. Mr. Trump and members of his team lashed out against the judge’s move, an attack that renewed talk about whether the president might issue pardons to curb a prosecutorial process in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry that he describes as stacked against him.” See also, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, is ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Ellen Nakashima, and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 15 June 2018: “A federal judge ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday over charges he tampered with witnesses while out on bail — a major blow for President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges next month. ‘You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,’ U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. ‘The government motion will be granted, and the defendant will be detained.'”

Rudy Giuliani says special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe ‘might get cleaned up’ with ‘presidential pardons’ in light of Paul Manafort going to jail, New York Daily News, Chris Sommerfeldt, Friday, 15 June 2018: “Rudy Giuliani wants to mop the floor with Robert Mueller. In one of his most forceful attacks on the special counsel yet, Giuliani on Friday said the Russia investigation could get ‘cleaned up’ with pardons from President Trump in light of Paul Manafort being sent to jail. ‘When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,’ the former New York mayor told the Daily News. Giuliani’s stunning remark came hours after a Washington, D.C., judge revoked Manafort’s bail and ordered him to remain behind bars while awaiting his September trial on charges relating to his shady pro-Russian business dealings in Ukraine. The ruling came after Mueller’s investigators alleged the ex-Trump campaign chairman had attempted to secure false testimony from potential witnesses in the Russia probe.” See also, Giuliani’s Call for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Be Suspended Is a Moment of Truth for the Republican Party, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 15 June 2018: “During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Thursday night, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s legal adviser and cable-news frontman, called on the Justice Department to suspend the special counsel, Robert Mueller, as early as Friday. Giuliani didn’t say whether he had cleared this demand with Trump, but it seems unlikely that he would say such a thing without getting at least some direction, or encouragement, from the President. In any case, Giuliani’s statement indicates that a moment of crisis may be at hand. For months now, Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill and in the news media have been preparing to use a report by Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department, about the F.B.I.’s handling of the 2016 Hillary Clinton e-mail inquiry, as a pretext to go after, and, if possible, derail the Mueller investigation. Just hours after the report was released, Giuliani went on the attack. ‘I believe Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein have a chance to redeem themselves, and that chance comes about tomorrow,’ he told Hannity. ‘Tomorrow, Mueller should be suspended and honest people should be brought in, impartial people, to investigate these people like Strzok. Strzok should be in jail by the end of next week.'”

Continue reading Week 74, Friday, 15 June – Thursday, 21 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

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Trump, Week 73: Friday, 8 June – Thursday, 14 June 2018 (Days 505-511)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Williamstown, MA, Thursday, 31 May 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 8 June 2018, Day 505:

 

1,358 Children and Counting–Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Border Policy Is Separating Families at Staggering Rates, The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, Friday, 8 June 2018: “The Trump administration’s intensifying border crackdown has seen as many as 2,000 cases involving children separated from their parents, according to an estimate by a lead attorney litigating a high-profile class-action lawsuit challenging the practice. Hundreds of new incidents of children being separated from their parents have emerged in the last month alone. ‘I think it’s between 1,500 and 2,000,’ Lee Gelernt, a veteran attorney with American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept on Thursday, referring to the ballooning total of separation cases. Gelernt based the figure on recent testimony from U.S. officials and government disclosures, arguing that the total reflects the emerging scale of a practice that will have lasting impacts on a generation of kids who happened to arrive in the U.S. at this particular moment…. A senior Department of Homeland Security immigration official, speaking to The Intercept on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press, said that the rising total of family separations sounded accurate…. The official added, ‘Family separation is not only a cruel and barbaric practice meant to deter asylum-seekers from exercising their legal right to seek protection in the United States, but it is also an abrogation of our responsibilities under international law.’ Noting that the U.S. has signed on to both the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children, which expressly stipulate that ‘the best interests of the child should be paramount in any consideration of policy or law affecting children or families,’ the official said, ‘In no way can anyone argue that tearing a screaming child from the arms of their parent is in that child’s best interests.'”

Special counsel Robert Mueller indicts former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Konstantin Kilimnik on obstruction of justice charges, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate were indicted Friday on new charges that they conspired to obstruct justice — ratcheting up the pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he tries to stay out of jail while awaiting trial. The indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington marked the first such charges for Manafort’s associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow — and therefore probably safe from arrest because Russia does not extradite its citizens. Prosecutors have previously said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies.” See also, Special Counsel Robert Mueller Adds Obstruction of Justice Charge on Paul Manafort and Indicts His Right-Hand Man, Konstantin Kilimnik, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 8 June 2018. See also, Who has been charged in the Russia probe and why, The Washington Post, Julie Vitkovskaya, Samuel Granados, and Aaron Williams, updated on Friday, 8 June 2018.

Donald Trump’s Surveillance of New York Times Reporter Ali Watkins Is a True Declaration of War Against the Press, The Intercept, James Risen, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Donald Trump’s Real War on the press has finally begun. Ever since he began his campaign for president, Trump has engaged in a largely rhetorical battle against the press, casting the reporters who cover him as the enemy of the average American and as disseminators of what he calls ‘fake news.’ But for the most part, Trump’s bark has been worse than his bite. Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump was not known to have spied on journalists or tried to jail them – as Obama did with me – for refusing to reveal their sources. Until now. Now we know that the Justice Department secretly seized the phone and email records of Ali Watkins, a New York Times reporter, in a leak investigation involving a former Senate staffer. It is the first time the Trump administration is known to have engaged in such an aggressive tactic against a reporter, and it is exactly the kind of press surveillance at which the Obama administration excelled. For years, conservatives attacked Obama for using such tactics to spy on reporters. Of course, there was no outcry from the right on Friday over Trump’s willingness to do the same thing. To be sure, Trump has previously gone after the alleged sources of stories in the press, including former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner and FBI agent Terry Albury, both of whom have been accused of providing classified information to The Intercept. The Intercept does not comment on its sources. But the targeting of Watkins shows that the Trump administration is willing to attack the press directly.”

Continue reading Week 73, Friday, 8 June – Thursday, 14 June 2018 (Days 505-511)

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Trump, Week 72: Friday, 1 June – Thursday, 7 June 2018 (Days 498-504)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Thursday, 31 May 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 1 June 2018, Day 498:

 

Trump Announces Summit Meeting with North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong-un Is Back On, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 1 June 2018: “President Trump will fly to Singapore this month after all for a landmark summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, but he now anticipates a more drawn-out negotiation than once envisioned and indicated that he will stop increasing pressure on the regime while talks proceed. Eight days after abruptly canceling the June 12 meeting citing North Korea’s ‘open hostility,’ Mr. Trump just as abruptly announced on Friday that it was back on, the latest head-spinning twist in a diplomatic drama that has captivated and confused much of the world. After complaining of North Korean bad faith, he said, in effect, never mind.” See also, Trump reinstates summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un for June 12 in Singapore, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Friday, 1 June 2018. See also, The North Korea Summit Is Back On–But Don’t Expect Miracles, The New Yorker, Robin Wright, Friday, 1 June 2018: “Trump appears to have finally recognized that the art of diplomacy is more complex, more nuanced, and potentially takes much longer than the art of the business deal. As he has been hinting over the past week, the President acknowledged on Friday that Singapore will be only ‘a beginning’ after decades of hostility.”

The United States Vetoes a U. N. Resolution to Protect Palestinians and Condemn Israel, The New York Times, Rick Gladstone, Friday, 1 June 2018: “A bitter divide over who is to blame for scores of Palestinian deaths from Israeli fire at protests near Gaza’s border shifted Friday to the United Nations, where the United States vetoed a measure backed by Arab countries to protect Palestinians and condemn Israel. Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, described the measure, a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by Kuwait, as one-sided. She accused the measure’s authors of inexplicably absolving Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and organized the protests. The United States, a permanent Security Council member with veto power, was the sole no vote on the measure, which was enough to defeat it. Ten members voted in favor and four abstained. A separate American resolution proposed by Ms. Haley, which would have condemned Hamas for the Gaza violence, failed to gain any support from fellow Council members…. Kuwait’s draft resolution condemned the use of ‘excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians’ and demanded a halt to such actions.”

Fred Fleitz, John Bolton’s Deputy, Draws Ire of Jewish and Muslim Groups, The Wall Street Journal, Dion Nissenbaum, Friday, 1 June 2018: “Jewish and Muslim groups are objecting to the appointment of a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst to a top White House post because of his controversial views of Islam. The Anti-Defamation League, Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups said Fred Fleitz shouldn’t serve as chief of staff to national security adviser John Bolton because he has advanced what they call Islamophobic views. As a conservative analyst, Mr. Fleitz has called for the U.S. to formally declare war on a broadly defined Global Jihad Movement; suggested that most mosques in America are incubators for subversion or violence; and denounced some interfaith dialogue efforts in America as a move by “stealth jihadists” to undermine the country’s democratic values. Mr. Bolton’s decision to bring Mr. Fleitz into the key White House role suggests that the new national security adviser might be moving back toward a more confrontational approach to Islam such as that favored by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, critics said. ‘The appointment of Fred Fleitz speaks volumes about the administration’s prioritization of fearmongering and racism over actual national security issues,’ said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, a Washington-based group.”

Continue reading Week 72, Friday, 1 June – Thursday, 7 June 2018 (Days 498-504)

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Trump, Week 71: Friday, 25 May – Thursday, 31 May 2018 (Days 491-497)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 25 May 2018, Day 491:

 

At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Russian Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg Discussed Russian Relations With the U.S., The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Mike McIntire, Friday, 25 May 2018: “Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg. The men also arranged to see one another during the inauguration festivities, the second of their three meetings, Mr. Intrater said. Days after the inauguration, Mr. Intrater’s private equity firm, Columbus Nova, awarded Mr. Cohen a $1 million consulting contract, a deal that has drawn the attention of federal authorities investigating Mr. Cohen, according to people briefed on the inquiry.” See also, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg met with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen days before the inauguration, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 25 May 2018.

Trump Moves to Make It Easier to Fire Federal Workers, The New York Times, Noam Scheiber, Friday, 25 May 2018: “President Trump on Friday signed a series of executive orders making it easier to fire federal government workers and to curb the workplace role of unions that represent them. Andrew Bremberg, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the president was ‘fulfilling his promise to promote more efficient government by reforming our Civil Service rules.’ But the push also reflects conservatives’ long-running suspicion of the federal bureaucracy, one reflected in pronouncements by the president’s advisers. Shortly after Mr. Trump took office, Stephen K. Bannon, then his chief strategist, called for ‘the deconstruction of the administrative state.’ Unions representing government workers were quick to denounce the actions, calling them an ‘assault on democracy,’ in the words of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, which represents 700,000 workers. Experts on the Civil Service said the moves represented the next stage of an effort that Republican politicians and conservative activists had led in states like Wisconsin and Michigan throughout this decade.” See also, Trump takes aim at federal bureaucracy with new executive orders altering civil service protections, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Friday, 25b May 2018.

The Unbearable Whiteness of National Football League Ownership, The Intercept, Shaun King, Friday, 25 May 2018: “On Wednesday, 31 out of 32 NFL team owners voted to appease President Donald Trump by banning any form of on-field protest or demonstration during the pregame singing of the national anthem. One team owner abstained: Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers, the former home of Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two players who’ve effectively accused the league of banning them in part because of their involvement in on-field protests. At the root of all this is race and culture. At least 70 percent of NFL players are black, according to the latest information available from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES, at University of Central Florida. Yet ownership of the league is much less diverse, according to TIDES: Only two teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills, have people of color in majority ownership — a Pakistani-born American and an Asian-American, respectively. What’s more, the entire league doesn’t have a single African-American team owner — not one. And it is the team owners who are making the executive decisions in this case. The NFL players union announced that they weren’t even consulted before the team owners voted and made their announcement about the ban of any on-field demonstrations during the national anthem.” See also, ‘You can’t win this one,’ Trump told NFL owners about national anthem protests. They believed him. The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, published on Thursday, 31 May 2018.

Continue reading Week 71, Friday, 25 May – Thursday, 31 May 2018 (Days 491-497)

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Trump, Week 70: Friday, 18 May – Thursday, 24 May 2018 (Days 484-490)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 18 May 2018, Day 484:

 

In Texas School Shooting, 10 Dead, 10 Hurt, and Many Unsurprised, The New York Times, Manny Fernandez, Richard Fausset, and Jess Bidgood, Friday, 18 May 2018: “A nation plagued by a wrenching loop of mass school shootings watched the latest horror play out in this small Southeast Texas town Friday morning, as a young man armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver smuggled under his coat opened fire on his high school campus, killing 10 people, many of them his fellow students, and wounding 10 more, the authorities said. By the end of the day, a 17-year-old suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis — an introvert who had given off few warning signs — had surrendered and been taken into custody. Law enforcement officials said they found two homemade explosive devices left at the school during the rampage. It was the worst school shooting since the February assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a young man with an AR-15 rifle left 17 people dead and prompted a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling on lawmakers to tighten gun laws. It was barely after 7:30 a.m. at Santa Fe High School, about 35 miles southeast of Houston, when gunfire first resounded through the halls, the opening volley of yet another massacre at an American high school that would leave students, teachers and staff members shocked, and in some cases bloodied. But they were not necessarily surprised.” See also, 2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than for military service members, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 18 May 2018: “The school shooting near Houston on Friday bolstered a stunning statistic: More people have been killed at schools this year than have been killed while serving in the military.” See also, Ten Killed in Texas high school shooting include 8 students and 2 teachers; police say suspect confessed, The Washington Post, Brittney Martin, Mark Berman, Joel Achenbach, and Amy B. Wang, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018. See also, Who Is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Texas Shooting Suspect? The New York Times, Julie Turkewitz and Jess Bidgood, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, Everything About the Texas School Shooting Seems Horribly Familiar, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018: “The United States has eight times more gun deaths, relative to its population, than Canada, twenty-seven times more than Denmark, and is almost on a par with Iraq.”

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims, The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Mark Mazzetti, and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 18 May 2018: “President Trump accused the F.B.I. on Friday, without evidence, of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign ‘for political purposes’ even before the bureau had any inkling of the ‘phony Russia hoax.’ In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia. The role of the informant is at the heart of the newest battle between top law enforcement officials and Mr. Trump’s congressional allies over the F.B.I.’s most politically charged investigations in decades. The lawmakers, who say they are concerned that federal investigators are abusing their authority, have demanded documents from the Justice Department about the informant. Law enforcement officials have refused, saying that handing over the documents would imperil both the source’s anonymity and safety. The New York Times has learned the source’s identity but typically does not name informants to preserve their safety. Democrats say the Republicans’ real aim is to undermine the special counsel investigation. Senior law enforcement officials have also privately expressed concern that the Republicans are digging into F.B.I. files for information they can weaponize against the Russia inquiry. Over the past two days, Mr. Trump has used speculative news reports about the informant, mostly from conservative media, to repeatedly assail the Russia investigation.” See also, Secret FBI source for Russia investigation met with three Trump advisers during 2016 presidential campaign, The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018. See also, Giuliani says Trump doesn’t know ‘for sure’ that there was an FBI informant in his campaign, The Washington Post, Jenna Johnson, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, Rudy Giuliani makes a big, new concession: A president can commit obstruction of justice, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 18 May 2018.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Leadership Summit’ on PFOA Pollution Will Exclude Victims and Community Groups, but the Manufacturers of the Chemicals Will Be Well Represented, The Intercept, Sharon Lerner, Friday, 18 May 2018: “Kristen Mello wasn’t invited to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming ‘National Leadership Summit’ on PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS chemicals. For most of her life, Mello, a member of Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves, drank water contaminated with the chemicals that are going to be discussed at the meeting. At least six compounds in this class seeped into local drinking water from firefighting foam used at the Air National Guard base in her hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts. Mello and several of her immediate family members have developed some of the health problems associated with the chemicals, including thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and liver problems. While most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS, Westfield is one of the growing number of communities to learn they’ve had an especially high dose of the chemicals as the result of living near a military installation or manufacturing site that used them. But when Mello sent the EPA a request to attend the PFAS summit, which will be held May 22-23 at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., the agency said she wasn’t welcome…. Although the summit is intended to identify actions ‘needed to address challenges currently facing states and local communities,’ according to the agency’s website, the people in these communities who are directly affected by the chemicals will be strikingly absent from the meeting…. While the people suffering from this contamination will not be at the meeting, the manufacturers of the chemicals used in the production of Teflon and other nonstick, water-resistant, and stain-resistant products will be well represented.”

Continue reading Week 70, Friday, 18 May – Thursday, 24 May 2018 (Days 484-490)

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Trump, Week 69: Friday, 11 May – Thursday, 17 May 2018 (Days 477-483)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 11 May 2018, Day 477:

 

Trump’s plan to Lower Drug Prices Diverges From Campaign PromiseThe New York Times, Robert Pear, Friday, 11 May 2018: “President Trump vowed on Friday to ‘bring soaring drug prices back down to earth’ by promoting competition among pharmaceutical companies, and he suggested that the government could require drugmakers to disclose prices in their ubiquitous television advertising. But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. And he chose not to allow American consumers to import low-cost medicines from abroad. He would instead give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.” See also, 6 Takeaways From Trump’s Plans to Try to Lower Drug PricesThe New York Times, Katie Thomas, Friday, 11 May 2018.

The Trump Administration Just Rolled Back Rules That Protect Transgender PrisonersBuzzFeed News, Dominic Holden, Friday, 11 May 2018: “The Trump administration on Friday rolled back rules that allowed transgender inmates to use facilities that match their gender identity, including cell blocks and bathrooms, thereby reversing course on an Obama administration effort to protect transgender prisoners from sexual abuse and assault. The Bureau of Prisons now ‘will use biological sex’ to make initial determinations in the type of housing transgender inmates are assigned, according to a notice posted Friday evening that modifies the previous policy.”

Trump, Softening His Tone, Calls for More Talks on Car EmissionsThe New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Friday, 11 May 2018: “President Trump on Friday directed his administration to negotiate with California over a proposed rollback of fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards, a move that could avert a damaging court battle with the potential to sow chaos in the auto industry. California has vowed to disregard any rollbacks and stick to its own stricter emissions standards. Nonetheless, the state must be invited to the negotiating table as the administration moves forward with its plan to relax the fuel economy rules, Mr. Trump said at a White House meeting between top administration officials and major auto executives, according to three people briefed on the closed-door discussions. Mr. Trump’s directive at the meeting grants a reprieve to automakers, who lobbied for a relaxation of rules aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide — a major contributor to global warming — but in recent weeks became increasingly nervous that the zealousness of the proposed rollbacks would provoke a battle with California. It remains unclear whether administration officials and California can hope to reach a compromise.”

Continue reading Week 69, Friday, 11 May – Thursday, 17 May 2018 (Days 477-483)

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Trump, Week 68: Friday, 4 May – Thursday, 10 May 2018 (Days 470-476)

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 4 May 2018, Day 470:

 

Trump Is Said to Know of Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels Months Before He Denied Any Knowledge of It to Reporters in April 2018, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Jim Rutenberg, and Matt Apuzzo, Friday, 4 May 2018: “President Trump knew about a six-figure payment that Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, made to a pornographic film actress several months before he denied any knowledge of it to reporters aboard Air Force One in April [2018], according to two people familiar with the arrangement. How much Mr. Trump knew about the payment to Stephanie Clifford, the actress, and who else was aware of it have been at the center of a swirling controversy for the past 48 hours touched off by a television interview with Rudolph W. Giuliani, a new addition to the president’s legal team. The interview was the first time a lawyer for the president had acknowledged that Mr. Trump had reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payments to Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels.”

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer on Trump’s legal team, tries to clarify his comments on Trump’s reimbursement of hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and John Wagner, Friday, 4 May 2018: “President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani sought Friday to clean up a series of comments he had made about a settlement with an adult-film actress who allegedly had a relationship with Trump, backtracking on his previous assertions about what the president knew and why the payment was made. The cautious wording of the written statement released by Giuliani stood in sharp contrast to his previous two days of wide-ranging television and print interviews in which, according to legal experts, he exposed his client to greater legal risks and might have compromised his own attorney-client privilege with the president.” See also, Giuliani’s statement tells us a lot about what’s worrying Team Trump, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 4 May 2018.

At the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas, Trump embraced the NRA’s agenda in a campaign-style speech, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Friday, 4 May 2018: “President Trump on Friday addressed the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting here in a speech that served as a rallying cry to his base, an attack on his detractors and a signal of his strong support for the gun rights group after suggesting months earlier he was open to some firearm restrictions. His message in front of the adoring crowd was a stark departure from the defiant tone he took toward the NRA in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., when he embraced tougher gun restrictions and proudly boasted that the powerful gun lobby has ‘less power over me’ than over Republican lawmakers. But any streak of independence from the NRA was gone Friday, as Trump allied himself with some of the gun group’s biggest priorities in a rambling 45-minute speech that focused as much on his foreign policy agenda, approval ratings and the latest in the Russia investigation as it did on gun policy.” See also, Renewing His Bond With the National Rifle Association, Trump Appeals for Help in the Midterm Elections, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Friday, 4 May 2018.

Continue reading Week 68, Friday, 4 May – Thursday, 10 May 2018 (Days 470-476)

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Trump, Week 67: Friday, 27 April – Thursday, 3 May 2018 (Days 463-469)

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 27 April 2018, Day 463:

 

North and South Korea Set Bold Goals: A Final Peace and No Nuclear ArmsThe New York Times, Choe Sang-Hun, Friday, 27 April 2018: “The leaders of North and South Korea agreed on Friday to work to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and, within the year, pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ravaged the peninsula from 1950 to 1953. At a historic summit meeting, the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South, the leaders vowed to negotiate a treaty to replace a truce that has kept an uneasy peace on the divided Korean Peninsula for more than six decades. A peace treaty has been one of the incentives North Korea has demanded in return for dismantling its nuclear program.” See also, Trump Renews Attacks on James Comey Before Turning to Praise of Korean TalksThe New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 27 April 2018: “President Trump on Friday renewed his attacks on the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, kicking off a morning Twitter barrage by once again accusing Mr. Comey of leaking classified information and lying to cover it up, even as the leaders of North and South Korea held a historic meeting hours earlier. In a tweet, Mr. Trump called Mr. Comey ‘either very sick or very dumb,’ saying his fired F.B.I. chief did not understand the severity of his actions in having details about his interactions with the president provided to a reporter.” See also, The historic Kim-Moon meeting as it unfoldedThe Washington Post, Rick Noack and Joyce Lee, Friday, 27 April 2018: “In 2016, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to strike the residence of South Korea’s president with missiles, foreshadowing mounting tensions that have kept the world on alert ever since. So, when Kim stretched out his hand and smiled at South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, the scene could hardly have been more surreal. The historic moment was the result of months of negotiations and pressure by both China and the United States, even though it remains unclear how far North Korea is willing to give in. North Korea is also still responsible for horrifying crimes against its own population, including labor camps and torture — something that wasn’t addressed in a statement the two leaders released Friday. In their release, Kim and Moon announced their ‘common goal’ of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, which was the clearest such commitment ever agreed to by the two nations. Curiously, North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize comes after a year in which Kim made major advances in developing and testing nuclear weapons.”

Environmental Protection Agency Readies Plan to Weaken Rules That Require Cars to Be CleanerThe New York Times, Niroko Tabuchi, Brad Plumer, and Coral Davenport, Friday, 27 April 2018: “The Trump administration has drafted a new set of regulations on planet-warming emissions from cars and light trucks that would dramatically weaken Obama-era standards. The proposal, if implemented, would also set up a legal clash between the federal government and California by challenging the state’s authority to set its own, stricter, air pollution rules. Details of the proposal, which is being jointly drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department and is expected to be sent to the White House for approval in coming days, were described to The New York Times by a federal official who had seen them but was not authorized to discuss the matter. The proposal follows an announcement this month by the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, that the Trump administration intended to weaken the stringent vehicle fuel economy standards set by the Obama administration that aimed to roughly double the average fuel economy of new cars, S.U.V.s and light trucks by 2025.” See also, Trump administration drafts plan to unravel Obama-era fuel-efficiency rules and to challenge California’s ability to set its own fuel-efficiency rulesThe Washington Post, Chris Mooney, Dino Grandoni, and Juliet Eilperin, Friday, 27 April 2018: “The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would freeze fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles starting in 2021 and challenge California’s ability to set its own fuel-efficiency rules, changes that would hobble one of the Obama administration’s most significant initiatives to curb climate change. The draft document, while not final, suggests the Trump administration is poised to make significant changes to planned auto standards over the next decade. A federal official who has reviewed the document described it in detail to The Washington Post.”

House Intelligence Committee Republicans release final Russia reportThe Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian, and Greg Miller, Friday, 27 April 2018: “House Intelligence Committee Republicans on Friday released a redacted version of their final report from a year-long probe of Russia’s ‘multifaceted’ influence operation, generally clearing President Trump and his associates of wrongdoing while accusing the intelligence community and the FBI of failures in how they assessed and responded to the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election. The report charges the intelligence community with ‘significant intelligence tradecraft failings,’ suggesting, without saying explicitly, that Russia’s main goal was to sow discord in the United States and not to help Trump win the election. It says investigators found ‘no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government,’ even as it details contacts between campaign officials and Russians or Russian intermediaries. Though the report — and a rebuttal from Democrats — offers little in the way of new information, the dueling documents give each side of the aisle ammunition to support its long-held arguments about how and why Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They come at a moment when the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who has already secured guilty pleas from a number of Trump associates, has largely overtaken the probes in Congress. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also pursuing its own investigation.” See also, Republicans on House Intelligence Committee Absolve Trump Campaign in Russian Meddling, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sharon LaFraniere, Friday, 27 April 2018: “In a nearly 100-page dissenting document, Democrats on the Intelligence Committee described the Republicans’ report as little more than a whitewash. The eagerness of Trump campaign aides to accept offers of Russian assistance, they said, suggests ‘a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality.’ The Democrats complained that the committee failed to pursue obvious leads, interview important witnesses or investigate crucial lines of inquiry.” See also, The House Intelligence Committee report released by the Republican majority on the committee is full of bizarre redactions, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 27 April 2018. See also, 5 Takeaways From the House Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Election Meddling, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 27 April 2018.

Continue reading Week 67, Friday, 27 April – Thursday, 3 May 2018 (Days 463-469)

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Trump, Week 66: Friday, 20 April – Thursday, 26 April 2018 (Days 456-462)

March For Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 20 April 2018, Day 456:

 

North Korea says it will suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down test siteThe New York Times, Anna Fifield, Friday, 20 April 2018: “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared that he will suspend nuclear and missile tests starting Saturday and that he will shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted. The surprising announcement comes just six days before Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a precursor to a historic summit between Kim and President Trump. The U.S. president is set to meet Kim at the end of May or beginning of June, although a location has not yet been set. Both Moon and Trump have been saying that North Korea is now willing to ‘denuclearize,’ a term that means different things to the two sides.”

How the C.I.A. Is Waging an Influence Campaign to Get Its Next Director, Gina Haspel, ConfirmedThe New York Times, Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 20 April 2018: “Central Intelligence Agency operatives have long run covert influence campaigns overseas. Now, the agency is mounting an unusually active, not very secret campaign in Washington. The C.I.A. is trying to ensure its deputy director, Gina Haspel, a career spy, is confirmed as its next director. Almost every detail of her life and work is classified; what little is known stems from her role overseeing the brutal interrogation of a terrorism suspect at a secret prison in Thailand and conveying orders to destroy videos documenting torture. To promote a more positive view of Ms. Haspel, the agency has declassified secrets about her life as a globe-trotting spy and encouraged former clandestine officers — typically expected to remain quiet even in retirement — to grant interviews. It sought to generate favorable news coverage by providing selective biographical details about Ms. Haspel to reporters, then sent a news release to highlight the resulting stories. The campaign to secure Ms. Haspel’s confirmation reflects the view of many officials inside the C.I.A., who see her as the agency’s best chance to keep a political partisan from being installed as director. But C.I.A. officials have failed to declassify any meaningful information about Ms. Haspel’s career, according to Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who complained to the agency that they have asked five times for more details but have yet to receive a response.” See also, CIA declassifies memo clearing Haspel of responsibility for destroying evidenceThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 20 April 2018: “The Central Intelligence Agency took the unusual step Friday of declassifying and releasing a memo clearing Gina Haspel of any wrongdoing in drafting an order to destroy videotaped evidence of brutal interrogation techniques, a move that comes as part of a greater campaign to rehabilitate her image and shore up congressional support for her bid to become the agency’s director. The memo, which former CIA deputy director Michael Morell wrote in 2011, is the result of a disciplinary review in which he ‘found no fault with the performance of Ms. Haspel’ — primarily because she drafted the cable ‘on the direct orders’ of her superior and did not release it herself. ‘It was not her decision to destroy the tapes,’ Morell wrote in the declassified document, which the CIA released Friday in response to requests from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. But senators clamoring for the CIA to declassify documents related to Haspel’s record on techniques often referred to as torture and the order to destroy evidence were angered by what they saw as a ‘selective’ response to their demands.”

Democratic National Committee Alleges Trump-Russia Conspiracy in New LawsuitThe New York Times, Alexander Burns and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 20 April 2018: “The Democratic National Committee opened a surprise legal assault on President Trump on Friday, filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the organization was the victim of a conspiracy by Russian officials, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. The 66-page complaint, filed in federal court in New York, uses the publicly known facts of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling to accuse Mr. Trump’s associates of illegally working with Russian intelligence agents to interfere with the outcome of the election. In the document, the committee accuses Republicans and the Russians of ‘an act of previously unimaginable treachery.’ The sweeping lawsuit startled Republicans in Washington as well as Democratic leaders, who were only briefed at the last minute about the D.N.C.’s plans to pursue civil litigation. Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic Party, said the committee had alerted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrats in Congress, ‘when we were about to file.’ Mr. Trump, in a tweet Friday evening, chided ‘obstructionist Democrats’ for filing the complaint and suggested it could backfire if Republicans got access in court to the D.N.C.’s hacked email servers.” See also, Democratic Party sues Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks alleging 2016 campaign conspiracyThe Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 20 April 2018.

Continue reading Week 66, Friday, 20 April – Thursday, 26 April 2018 (Days 456-462)

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Trump, Week 65: Friday, 13 April – Thursday, 19 April 2018 (Days 449-454)

March For Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 13 April 2018, Day 449:

 

U.S., Britain, and France Strike Syria Over Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, and Ben Hubbard, Friday, 13 April 2018: “The United States and European allies launched airstrikes on Friday night against Syrian research, storage and military targets as President Trump sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people. Britain and France joined the United States in the strikes in a coordinated operation that was intended to show Western resolve in the face of what the leaders of the three nations called persistent violations of international law. Mr. Trump characterized it as the beginning of a sustained effort to force Mr. Assad to stop using banned weapons, but only ordered a limited, one-night operation that hit three targets.” See also, How Syria’s Death Toll Is Lost in the Fog of War, The New York Times, Megan Specia, Friday, 13 April 2018. See also, Was Trump’s Syria Strike Illegal? Explaining Presidential War Powers. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, published on 7 April 2017: “The strike raises two sets of legal issues. One involves international law and when it is lawful for any nation to attack another. The other involves domestic law and who gets to decide — the president or Congress — whether the United States should attack another country. Did Trump have clear authority under international law to attack Syria? No. The United Nations Charter, a treaty the United States has ratified, recognizes two justifications for using force on another country’s soil without its consent: the permission of the Security Council or a self-defense claim. In the case of Syria, the United Nations did not approve the strike, and the Defense Department justified it as ‘intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,’ which is not self-defense.”

Trump issues pardon to ‘Scooter’ Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Matt Zapotosky, and Joshua Dawsey, Friday, 13 April 2018: “President Trump issued a pardon Friday to Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, offering forgiveness to a former chief of staff to Vice President Richard B. Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the leak of a CIA officer’s identity…. Given the nature of Libby’s crimes, Trump came under fire from critics Friday after he took to Twitter to accuse former FBI director James B. Comey of leaking classified information and lying to Congress. ‘On the day the President wrongly attacks Comey for being a “leaker and liar” he [pardons] a convicted leaker and liar, Scooter Libby,’ Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter. ‘This is the President’s way of sending a message to those implicated in the Russia investigation: You have my back and I‘ll have yours.'” See also, Trump Pardons Scooter Libby in a Case That Mirrors His Own, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 13 April 2018. See also, Trump ‘Scooter’ Libby pardon sends a message to witnesses in Mueller probe, The Washington Post, James Hohmann, Friday, 13 April 2018.

Criminal investigation into Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s business dealings began months ago, The Washington Post, Philip Bump and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 13 April 2018: “President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months by federal prosecutors who empaneled a grand jury to probe his business dealings beyond his law practice, according to a new court filing. Prosecutors revealed the new details about the Cohen investigation after his lawyer appeared in court seeking to temporarily bar prosecutors from reviewing materials that FBI agents seized in a search this week of Cohen’s office, home and hotel room. After three separate hearings on the matter Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood indicated that she did not have enough information to issue any ruling on that request. She ordered the lawyers — including Cohen personally — to return to court Monday afternoon with more details, including a list of Cohen’s clients.” See also, Trump hires attorney Joanna Hendon to shield items seized in FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s offices, NBC News, Hannah Rappleye, Tom Winter, and Daniel Arkin, Friday, 13 April 2018: “Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, argued before a federal judge in New York on Friday that they believe some of the materials seized from Cohen during an FBI raid this week are protected by attorney-client privilege. A new attorney for Trump, Joanna Hendon, who said she was retained on Wednesday evening, told the judge that the president has ‘an acute interest in this matter.’ U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood did not issue a ruling on Friday and instructed Cohen’s attorney to make sure his client is present for a hearing on Monday.”

Continue reading Week 65, Friday, 13 April – Thursday, 19 April 2018 (Days 449-455)

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