Trump Administration, Week 125: Friday, 7 June – Thursday, 13 June 2019 (Days 869-875)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for 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.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories. 

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Friday, 7 June 2019, Day 869:

 

Trump announces migration deal with Mexico, averting threatened tariffsThe Washington Post, David Nakamura, John Wagner, and Nick Miroff, Friday, 7 June 2019: “President Trump announced Friday night that a deal was in place that would avert threatened tariffs on imports from Mexico in exchange for that country’s taking ‘strong measures’ to curb the influx of Central American migrants at the U.S. southern border. The agreement, which came just two days before Trump had vowed to impose a 5 percent, across-the-board tariff on one of the United States’ top trading partners, called for the Mexican government to widely dispatch its national guard forces to help with immigration enforcement, with priority in the south, on its border with Guatemala, according to a joint statement. In addition, the two countries would expand a program known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), created this year, that allows the United States to return Central American migrants to Mexico while they await the adjudication of their asylum hearings in U.S. immigration court, a process that can take months. The expansion of the program could result in tens of thousands of migrants waiting in limbo in potentially unsafe conditions in Mexico. MPP already has faced legal challenges, and while a federal appeals court panel in San Francisco has allowed it to temporarily continue while it reviews the policy, some judges have indicated that the MPP program might not be constitutional.” See also, Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on MexicoThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Ana Swanson, and Azam Ahmed, Friday, 7 June 2019: “President Trump backed off his plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods and announced via Twitter on Friday night that the United States had reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. Mr. Trump tweeted the announcement only hours after returning from Europe and following several days of intense and sometimes difficult negotiations between American and Mexican officials in Washington.” See also, U.S. and Mexico Issue Joint Declaration on Migration and TariffsThe New York Times, Liam Stack, Friday, 7 June 2019.

Senate Democrats apply new pressure to Deutsche Bank and Trump organizationThe Washington Post, Tory Newmyer, Friday, 7 June 2019: “Senate Democrats are moving to tighten the screws on Deutsche Bank over the firm’s dealings with the Trump and Kushner organizations. Seven Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee wrote to the Federal Reserve on Thursday, requesting it probe whistleblower allegations, first reported by the New York Times last month, that Deutsche Bank buried suspicious activity from accounts associated with President Trump and his son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.”

Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, declines to answer questions about conversations with Trump about the censusThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Friday, 7 June 2019: “Kris Kobach refused to answer several questions from a congressional panel investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, after the White House told him not to discuss his conversations with the president. The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday disclosed the interview with Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who once headed President Trump’s short-lived voter integrity panel. Kobach answered some questions from staffers in a closed-door interview Monday, telling them that he met with Trump and top aides to discuss the census. But Kobach ultimately refused to answer 15 questions about those communications or about whether more meetings took place, citing White House instructions, the panel said.”

Continue reading Week 125, Friday, 7 June – Thursday, 13 June 2019 (Days 869-875)

Trump Allows High-Tech U.S. Bomb Parts to Be Built in Saudi ArabiaThe New York Times, Michael LaForgia and Walt Bogdanich, Friday, 7 June 2019: “When the Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia, it did more than anger members of Congress who opposed the sale on humanitarian grounds. It also raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs — weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago. The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which has not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.” See also, Under Trump arms deal, high-tech U.S. bombs to be built in Saudi ArabiaNBC News, Dan De Luce and Robert Windrem, Friday, 7 June 2019.

Trump administration tells U.S. embassies they can’t fly pride flag on flagpolesNBC News, Josh Lederman, Friday, 7 June 2019: “The Trump administration is rejecting requests from U.S. embassies to fly the rainbow pride flag on embassy flagpoles during June, LGBTQ Pride Month, three American diplomats told NBC News. The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia are among those that have requested permission from Trump’s State Department to fly the pride flag on their flagpoles and have been denied, diplomats said.”

Why is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) downplaying good news about this Obama-era school nutrition program? The Washington Post, Laura Reiley, Friday, 7 June 2019: “The U.S. Agriculture Department has good news it seemingly wants nobody to know about. On April 23, the USDA released its ‘School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study,’ with no news release, no fanfare. The link on the USDA website disappeared for several days after that and was altogether inaccessible before reappearing under a different URL. The USDA says the study was ‘the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment’ of school meals after the implementation of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a key initiative of the Obama administration that mandated healthy changes in food at schools. The best news was that the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010), a multicomponent measure of diet quality, shot up dramatically for both school-provided breakfasts and lunches.”

New Election Security Bills Face a One-Man Roadblock: Mitch McConnellThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 7 June 2019: “A raft of legislation intended to better secure United States election systems after what the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, called a ‘sweeping and systematic’ Russian attack in 2016 is running into a one-man roadblock in the form of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.”

Trump calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a ‘nasty, vindictive, horrible person,’ Politico, Matthew Choi, Friday, 7 June 2019: “President Donald Trump on Thursday called Nancy Pelosi a ‘nasty, vindictive, horrible person’ in response to the House speaker telling lawmakers she wanted Trump to go to prison. ‘I think she’s a disgrace. I don’t think she’s a talented person,’ Trump said of Pelosi. ‘I’ve tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She’s incapable of doing deals. She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.'”

 

Saturday, 8 June 2019, Day 870:

 

White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony calling climate change ‘possibly catastrophic,’ The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Brady Dennis, Saturday, 8 June 2019: “White House officials barred a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony this week to the House Intelligence Committee warning that human-caused climate change is ‘possibly catastrophic.’ The move came after State officials refused to excise the document’s references to federal scientific findings on climate change. The effort to edit, and ultimately suppress, the prepared testimony by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research comes as the Trump administration is debating how best to challenge the fact that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet and could pose serious risks unless the world makes deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Senior military and intelligence officials have continued to warn climate change could undermine America’s national security — a position President Trump rejects.” See also, White House Tried to Stop Climate Science Testimony, Documents ShowThe New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Saturday, 8 June 2019: “The White House tried to stop a State Department senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony this week, internal emails and documents show. The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research declined to make changes to the proposed testimony and the analyst, Rod Schoonover, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday. But in a highly unusual move, the White House refused to approve Dr. Schoonover’s written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. The reasoning, according to a June 4 email seen by The New York Times, was that the science did not match the Trump administration’s views.”

Death on the Rio Grande: A Look at a Perilous Migrant RouteThe New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Saturday, 8 June 2019: “Migrants have for years traversed the Rio Grande on makeshift rafts to cross illegally into the United States. But facing a surge of families from Central America, Border Patrol agents say they are now pulling dozens of migrants, including young children, from the harsh current of the river almost every day. President Trump’s repeated threats and attempts to limit immigration have not deterred migrants. Customs and Border Protection took more than 144,200 into custody in May, the highest monthly total in 13 years. Policies that separated migrant children from their parents, forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in court and detained teenagers in camps likened to juvenile prisons have done little to stem the immigration flow.”

Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff DealThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 8 June 2019: “The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the ‘deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.’ But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said. The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas. And over the past week, negotiators failed to persuade Mexico to accept a ‘safe third country’ treaty that would have given the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.”

Some U.S. embassies are still hoisting rainbow flags, despite advisory from WashingtonThe Washington Post, Carol Morello, Saturday, 8 June 2019: “Since the State Department began rejecting all embassy requests to hoist rainbow flags outside the mission buildings during LGBTQ Pride Month this year, some U.S. diplomats have been finding ways to defy, or at least get around, the new policy…. ‘This is a category one insurrection,’ said one diplomat, who like others interviewed about the sentiment over the rejections, which were not made in writing, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired. A practice routinely approved for most of the decade at many embassies now requires top-level approval from the State Department. But this year, as first reported by NBC News, all requests were nixed.”

 

Sunday, 9 June 2019, Day 871:

 

Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It AsideThe New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Charlie Savage, Sunday, 9 June 2019: “As the special counsel’s investigators pursued the question of whether President Trump tried to impede their work, they uncovered compelling evidence — a voice mail recording and statements from a trusted witness — that might have led to him. A lawyer for Mr. Trump, John M. Dowd, reached out to a lawyer for a key witness who had just decided to cooperate with the government, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Dowd fished in his message for a heads-up if Mr. Flynn was telling investigators negative information about Mr. Trump — while also appearing to say that if Mr. Flynn was just cutting a deal without also flipping on the president, then he should know Mr. Trump still liked him. But the president’s role, if any, remains a mystery. Mr. Dowd never said whether Mr. Trump directed him to make the overture. And investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, declined to question Mr. Dowd about his message, citing ‘attorney-client-privilege issues.’ The release of the recording last week served as a reminder that despite the considerable evidence laid out in the 448-page Mueller report, some tantalizing questions about the president’s conduct went unanswered because investigators encountered obstacles or backed off on pursuing leads.”

Elizabeth Warren’s nonstop ideas reshape the Democratic presidential race–and give her new momentumThe Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Sunday, 9 June 2019: “Midway through Elizabeth Warren’s stump speech these days, her fans start jumping from their seats like pistons, firing with cheers and applause each time she rattles off another new policy punchline. ‘Here’s a good one,’ the senator (D-Mass.) said last week at a community-college gym filled with about 1,700 people. It was a plan to impose new ethics rules on Supreme Court justices. ‘I really could do this all night long. But let me do — let me do just one more.’ She did a dozen more, each greeted with an ovation: A law to force the release of politicians’ tax returns. A wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million. New rules to limit company size. And on and on. Six months after launching her candidacy amid blundering apologies for her longtime claims of Native American ancestry and nagging questions about whether she could compete on a national stage, Warren is experiencing something unusual in the crowded Democratic field: momentum.”

California lawmakers agree to health benefits for some immigrantsAssociated Press, Adam Beam, Sunday, 9 June 2019: “California will become the first state to pay for some adults living in the country illegally to have full health benefits as the solidly liberal bastion continues to resist the policies of Republican President Donald Trump’s administration. Democrats in the state Legislature reached an agreement Sunday afternoon as part of a broader plan to spend $213 billion of state and federal tax money over the next year. The legislature is expected to approve the deal this week. The agreement means low-income adults between the ages of 19 and 25 living in California illegally would be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Only those in that age group whose incomes are low enough to qualify for the program would get the health benefits. State officials estimate that group will be about 90,000 people at a cost of $98 million per year. The state Senate had wanted to expand the proposal to include adults 65 and older, but the Newsom administration argued it would cost too much.”

Kamala Harris, Seeking a Campaign Jolt, Defends Her Record as ProsecutorThe New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Sunday, 9 June 2019: “Senator Kamala Harris of California has, for months, faced criticism from activist Democrats who have said her record as California attorney general was at odds with her progressive reputation. But on Saturday, as Ms. Harris seeks to reinvigorate her presidential campaign, she went on the offensive, laying out a robust defense of her record as prosecutor and decrying what she called ‘self-appointed political commentators’ who fail to understand the complexities of criminal justice.”

Senators make bipartisan push to halt arms sales to Saudi ArabiaPolitico, Burgess Everett, Sunday, 9 June 2019: “Senators are making a new bipartisan effort to block the Trump administration’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a sign that Congress remains unsatisfied with the United States’ relationship with the kingdom amid a civil war in neighboring Yemen and the killing of a Saudi journalist last year. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) are using a provision in the Foreign Assistance Act to request a report from the administration on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, which could eventually trigger a vote to halt billions in arms sales which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is moving forward despite congressional opposition.”

 

Monday, 10 June 2019, Day 872:

 

Justice Department Agrees to Turn Over Key Mueller Evidence to the HouseThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The Justice Department, after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to provide Congress with key evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III that Democrats believe could shed light on possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump. The precise scope, volume or usefulness of the material was not immediately clear, but the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, said it would include “interview notes, firsthand accounts of misconduct and other critical evidence” collected by Mr. Mueller from the White House and former officials.” See also, House Democrats reach deal with the Justice Department to review Mueller materialsThe Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Monday that he has reached a deal with the Justice Department to obtain ‘key evidence’ related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice. The deal, announced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), appears to forestall possible criminal contempt proceedings against Attorney General William P. Barr, who has been locked in a standoff with Nadler and House Democratic leaders over access to redacted parts of Mueller’s report as well as evidence gathered during his two-year investigation.”

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Says No Secret Immigration Deal Exists With the U.S.The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The Mexican foreign minister said Monday that no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the United States, directly contradicting President Trump’s claim on Twitter that a ‘fully signed and documented’ agreement would soon be revealed. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s top diplomat, said at a news conference in Mexico City that there was an understanding that both sides would evaluate the flow of migrants in the coming months. If the number of migrants crossing the United States border is not significantly reduced, he said, both sides have agreed to renew discussions about more aggressive changes to regional asylum rules that could have a bigger effect.” See also, Mexico denies Trump’s claim of secret concessions in dealAssociated Press, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, and Maria Verza, Monday, 10 June 2019: “Three days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border, the two countries appear unable to agree on exactly what’s in it. Stung by criticism that the agreement mostly ramps up border protection efforts already underway, Trump on Monday hinted at other, secret agreements he says will soon be revealed. ‘We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,’ Trump wrote Monday, saying it would ‘be revealed in the not too distant future.’ Not so, said Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, holding up a paper and pointing to the previously announced details. He told reporters the two countries agreed on two actions made public Friday and said if those measures didn’t work to slow migration, they would discuss further options. ‘There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained,’ he said.”

Cadre, a company part-owned by Jared Kushner, got $90m from unknown offshore investors since 2017The Guardian, Jon Swaine, Monday, 10 June 2019: “A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump. Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy. Kushner, who is married to Trump’s elder daughter Ivanka, kept a stake in Cadre after joining the administration, while selling other assets. His holding is now valued at up to $50m, according to his financial disclosure documents. Cadre’s foreign funding could create hidden conflicts of interest for Kushner as he performs his work for the US government, according to some ethics experts, who raised concerns over the lack of transparency around the investments.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao created a special path for projects favored by her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellPolitico, Tucker Doherty and Tanya Snyder, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection. Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications.” See also, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Has a ‘Bridge’ to China, and Her Family’s Business, in the Trump CabinetThe New York Times, Michael Forsythe, Eric Lipton, Keith Bradsher, and Sui-Lee Wee, published on Sunday, 2 June 2019.

Missouri’s Last Abortion Clinic Wins Temporary Reprieve in the CourtsThe New York Times, John Eligon, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The last clinic in Missouri that provides abortions will be able to continue providing the service, at least temporarily, after a circuit court judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction preventing state officials from closing it down. State officials had said that an audit of the clinic, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, had raised a number of serious health concerns that needed to be addressed. With the audit still pending, the state said, the clinic’s license could not be renewed. Judge Michael F. Stelzer of Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis said the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services had until June 21 to make a decision on the license, but the injunction would remain in place until he issued another ruling.”

Maine allows medical professionals who are not doctors to perform abortionsAssociated Press, Monday, 10 June 2019: “Maine is making it easier to get an abortion with the governor’s signing of a bill Monday to allow medical professionals who are not doctors to perform the procedure. The bill, which Democratic Gov. Janet Mills introduced herself, will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which is expected in mid-June. Maine is now set to allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives to provide abortion medication and perform in-clinic abortions, which typically involve suction. Maine joins other Democrat-led states moving to protect and in some cases expand abortion rights as GOP-led states push tighter restrictions.”

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean stars as Democrats launch Trump offensive with Watergate comparisonNBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Monday, 10 June 2019: “Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, who played a key role in the Watergate hearings in the 1970s, compared the findings in the Mueller report to Watergate on Monday as Democrats launched an ambitious wave of hearings and votes targeting President Donald Trump and his administration. Dean, who has been critical of Trump’s actions in office, said the decision by former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn to turn down a subpoena to testify before the committee amounted to ‘perpetuating a cover-up,’ adding that the report by Robert Mueller documenting Trump’s actions had highlighted several key areas calling for congressional intervention. ‘Special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a road map,’ Dean said in his opening statement at the Monday afternoon hearing.”

Elizabeth Warren Has Lots of Plans. Together, They Would Remake the Economy. The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan and Jim Tankersley, Monday, 10 June 2019: “As the 23 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination struggle to distinguish themselves, Senator Elizabeth Warren has set herself apart with a series of proposals that would significantly remake the American economy, offering a detailed portrait of what her presidency might look like. Many of the proposals from Ms. Warren, a former Harvard law professor and hawk on financial regulation, could face a difficult path to winning over moderates in a general election, and to gaining approval in Congress if she did take the White House. But the sheer volume of her plans, and their detail and variety, is forcing her rivals to play catch-up and stake out their own positions. Her proposals would tip power from executives and investors to workers and allow the federal government to more aggressively steer the development of industries. She has called for splintering technology companies, like Amazon, that millions of consumers rely on in their daily lives. She would reduce the rewards for entrepreneurs to build billionaire fortunes and for companies to create global supply chains, scrambling the incentives for work, investment and economic growth. Ms. Warren would seek big tax increases on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, creating a new tax on household assets that exceed $50 million as well as a new tax on corporate profits. From those two steps alone, she says she would raise at least $3.8 trillion over a decade — money that would go toward her plans on student debt cancellation, free college, child care, the opioid crisis and green manufacturing.”

John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, retires early after his office was forced to retract ‘feel-good’ audits of disaster responseThe Washington Post, Lisa Rein and Kimberly Kindy, Monday, 10 June 2019: “John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday following revelations that he directed his staff to whitewash audits of the agency’s performance after federal disasters.”

Doctors Say Migrants in Custody at Hospitals Are Treated Like FelonsThe New York Times, Sheri Fink, Monday, 10 June 2019: “As apprehensions of migrants climb at the southwest border, and dozens a day are taken to community hospitals, medical providers are challenging practices — by both government agencies and their own hospitals — that they say are endangering patients and undermining recent pledges to improve health care for migrants. The problems range from shackling patients to beds and not permitting them to use restrooms to pressuring doctors to discharge patients quickly and certify that they can be held in crowded detention facilities that immigration officials themselves say are unsafe. Physicians say that needed follow-up care for long-term detainees is often neglected, and that they have been prevented from informing family members about the status of critically ill patients. Agency vehicles parked conspicuously near hospital entrances, health providers say, are also stoking fear and interfering with broader immigrant care. Doctors typically do not know what rights they might have to challenge these practices. ”

House Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard Neal Mulls a Medigap Long-Term Care BenefitForbes, Howard Gleckman, Monday, 10 June 2019: “House Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) is mulling a plan to add a limited long-term care benefit to Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance. Minnesota proposed a similar plan last year. And the idea would expand to traditional Medicare a recent innovation that added limited supports and services to Medicare Advantage managed care plans. Neal is the second key House committee chairman to express interest in a new long-term care insurance benefit. Last year, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who now chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee, proposed a public catastrophic long-term care insurance program. The two panels share jurisdiction over long-term care. Though their ideas are very different, the take-away is that two powerful House committee chairs are interested in creating a federal long-term care benefit of some kind.”

House appeals ruling rejecting lawsuit to block spending on Trump border wallThe Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The House will appeal a federal judge’s decision rejecting its lawsuit to block spending on President Trump’s plan to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, joining a legal battle over constitutional powers that may be headed to the Supreme Court. The House on Monday gave notice of its plans to U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden of Washington, six days after the judge said he would toss out the House case, finding that one chamber of Congress lacks legal standing to sue the president. McFadden’s decision was at odds with a May 24 ruling by a federal judge in California who temporarily blocked part of the Trump administration’s plan in response to lawsuits brought by border communities and environmentalists alleging it was using money Congress never appropriated for that purpose.”

Justice Stephen Breyer Raises Specter of Perpetual Detention Without Trial at GuantánamoThe New York Times, Charlie Savage and Carol Rosenberg, Monday, 10 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a lawsuit by a Yemeni man who has been held in wartime detention for more than 17 years at the military’s Guantánamo Bay prison, prompting Justice Stephen G. Breyer to warn that the American legal system is on autopilot toward permitting life imprisonment without trial. ‘It is past time to confront the difficult question left open by’ a 2004 ruling allowing the indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees captured after the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan, Justice Breyer wrote in a statement about the denial of the request to hear the man’s appeal. That difficult question: In a war that effectively has no end, is it lawful to hold a person in perpetual detention, until he dies of natural causes decades after his capture, because he was once part of an enemy force — though never charged with committing a crime?”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Has a Sweeping Plan to Eliminate Lead PoisoningBuzzFeed News, Nidhi Prakash, Monday, 10 June 2019: “Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary now running for president, wants to eliminate lead poisoning. He laid out the first dedicated plan on the issue of any 2020 candidate after a visit to Flint, Michigan, over the weekend. Castro is proposing to set up a presidential task force on lead, which would be ‘charged with eliminating lead poisoning as a major public health threat,’ and the plan would include a national assessment of communities at risk of lead poisoning.”

Ken Cuccinelli is named acting head of Citizenship and Immigration ServicesPBS, Colleen Long and Lisa Mascaro of Associated Press, Monday, 10 June 2019: “An outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies has been named acting director of the agency that manages legal immigration, despite deep opposition from key Senate Republicans. Ken Cuccinelli will oversee U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services starting on Monday, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced. But it’s unclear if Trump will nominate Cuccinelli for the permanent position. That would require Senate confirmation, which could be difficult. It’s not just Cuccinelli’s views on immigration that would generate unease among senators. As the former head of the Senate Conservatives Fund, Cuccinelli has been highly critical of Senate GOP leadership, including once advocating for the removal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his entire leadership team.”

Trump has made 10,796 false or misleading claims over 869 daysThe Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Monday, 10 June 2019: “President Trump’s pitter-patter of exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasting and outright falsehoods has continued at a remarkable pace. As of June 7, his 869th day in office, the president has made 10,796 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement the president has uttered. The president crossed the 10,000 threshold on April 26, and he has been averaging about 16 fishy claims a day since then. From the start of his presidency, he has averaged about 12 such claims a day.”

 

Tuesday, 11 June 2019, Day 873:

 

Scott Warren, an Arizona Teacher, Helped Migrants. Jurors Couldn’t Decide if It Was a Crime. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “For 15 years, volunteers have trekked into the Arizona desert to place jugs of water, canned beans and blankets in spots where migrants traverse the most treacherous reaches of the borderlands. When those provisions have been unable to help, the volunteers have searched for migrants who are missing, and for the remains of those who have died. Increasingly, these kinds of efforts have landed people in jail. In 2017, a summer that saw a brutal heat wave, several volunteers with the group No More Deaths were arrested on federal misdemeanor charges for placing water in a federally protected wilderness area. The stakes were raised significantly in 2018, when Border Patrol agents set up surveillance near one of the humanitarian bases and filed three felony charges against Scott Warren, a 36-year-old geography teacher who helped a pair of migrants from Central America who had arrived there hungry, dehydrated and with blistered feet. Mr. Warren’s case resulted in a mistrial Tuesday, after jurors said for a second day that they were unable to reach a verdict. Judge Raner C. Collins of the Federal District Court in Tucson set a conference for July 2 to discuss how to proceed.” See also, Felony Trial of No More Deaths Volunteer Scott Warren Ends in MistrialThe Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, published on Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Twelve jurors walked into the federal courthouse in Tucson Tuesday afternoon with a problem. Two weeks after the U.S. government began to argue its case in the prosecution of Scott Warren, a border-based humanitarian aid volunteer accused of two counts of felony harboring and one count of conspiracy, the jurors could not come to a unanimous decision as to whether he was innocent or guilty. The previous afternoon, the jurors had sent a letter to District Judge Raner Collins, informing him that they were deadlocked. Collins ordered them to go back and try again. By Tuesday, they were still stuck. Eight jurors believed Warren was innocent on all counts. Four believed he was guilty. They sent Collins another note, and, at 1:33 p.m., they re-entered his courtroom. The judge asked the jurors if they all believed that further deliberation would fail to yield a unanimous decision. On that point, they were all in agreement: The jury was hung.” See also, Activist Scott Warren faced 20 years in prison for helping migrants. But jurors wouldn’t convict him. The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, published on Wednesday, 12 June 2019.

House Approves Court Action to Enforce Democrats’ SubpoenasThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “The House voted on Tuesday to authorize the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce two subpoenas related to Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry — threatening to open a new legal front in the Democrats’ efforts to investigate President Trump and his administration. The resolution, which passed along party lines, 229 to 191, grants the Judiciary Committee the power to petition a federal judge to force Attorney General William P. Barr and the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II to comply with congressional subpoenas that they have either completely or partly defied. But it also empowers other House committees to move more quickly to court in future disputes — authorities that could quickly be put to the test. The House Oversight and Reform Committee, for instance, is expected to vote Wednesday to recommend separate contempt of Congress citations against Mr. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over that panel’s investigation into the administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.” See also, Stepping up clash with Trump, the House votes to seek court enforcement of subpoenas for Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahnThe Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “The House took its strongest step yet in the standoff with President Trump over congressional oversight, voting Tuesday to seek court enforcement of subpoenas for Attorney General William P. Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn. On a party-line vote of 229 to 191, the House passed a resolution that would empower the House Judiciary Committee to go to court against Barr and McGahn over noncompliance with requests for documents and testimony. The vote keeps Democrats squarely on a meticulous investigative track favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top leaders — and away from the formal impeachment inquiry that some 60 rank-and-file Democrats and several 2020 presidential candidates have been seeking.”  See also, House Authorizes the Judiciary Committee to Seek Court Enforcement of Subpoenas of Attorney General William Barr and Ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn Over Mueller InvestigationThe Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “The Democratic-led House authorized Congress to go to court to enforce subpoenas of current and former Trump administration officials over the Mueller probe, a gambit designed to keep pressure on the White House without opening a full-blown impeachment inquiry. The chamber, by a 229-191 vote Tuesday afternoon, allowed the House Judiciary Committee to ask a federal court to enforce subpoenas to Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn. The move also empowers other committee chairmen to seek enforcement of their own subpoenas for testimony and documents, such as President Trump’s tax returns, putting the full weight of the House behind the civil actions without having to go through another House vote.” See also, House green-lights lawsuits against William Barr and Don McGahn over ignored subpoenasPolitico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Tuesday, 11 June 2019.

Justice Department tells Congress to back off the contempt process, or Attorney General William Barr will ask Trump to assert executive privilege to shield census documentsThe Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr will ask President Trump to assert executive privilege to shield documents from the administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census if Democratic lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee proceed toward holding Barr in contempt, the Justice Department revealed in a letter Tuesday.”

Clash over impeachment between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler intensifiesPolitico, Andres Desiderio, Heather Caygle, and John Bresnahan, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, two longtime allies, are clashing over whether to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump — a sign of how toxic the split over Trump has become for House Democrats. Nadler has twice urged Pelosi in private to open a formal impeachment inquiry, but the speaker, backed by the majority of her leadership team and her caucus, has maintained that impeaching the president would backfire on Democrats without meaningful Republican support. And there is no sign that Trump’s GOP firewall is cracking.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal Doesn’t Want Medicare-For-All Hearing to Mention ‘Medicare For All,’ The Intercept, Ryan Grim and Akela Lacy, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “In preparation for Wednesday’s hearing on Medicare for All before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the panel’s chair met privately with Democrats to lay out how he wants it to unfold. Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who has been in office since 1989, told the Democrats on the panel that he didn’t want the phrase ‘Medicare for All’ to be used. Instead, he said, the hearing should focus on all the different ways to achieve ‘universal health care’ or ‘universal health coverage,’ which he said was a better term to deploy. Medicare for All, he argued, was wrong on policy and is a political loser, sources present for the meeting, held last Wednesday, told The Intercept. Neal confirmed that he recommended a shift in emphasis. Asked whether he encouraged members in private to focus tomorrow’s hearing more on ‘universal health care’ than Medicare for All, Neal said the conversation would be more about ‘universal health care and access,’ pointing to his continued support for the Affordable Care Act.”

Tears and anger at congressional hearing seeking extension of victim fund for 9/11 respondersThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Sick first responders to the 9/11 attacks gave emotional testimony to Congress on Tuesday, demanding lawmakers extend a compensation fund for those ailing and dying of diseases linked to toxic debris at the disaster sites…. The special master who oversees the fund, Rupa Bhattacharyya, announced in February that future payouts would be cut by as much as 70 percent to offset surging claims from those who are sick or dying. Luis Alvarez, a former New York Police Department detective, was one of several seriously ill Ground Zero workers who gave searing testimony about their longtime battles with illnesses, loved ones who have died and frustration with having to beg Congress to help…. When he finished speaking, the hearing room erupted in applause, giving Alvarez a standing ovation, as some in the room wiped away tears. Alvarez’s testimony was followed by a furious denunciation of lawmakers from Jon Stewart, the former ‘Daily Show’ host who has championed Ground Zero workers. Stewart said the small number of lawmakers who appeared at the hearing shows how little respect Congress has for those who responded to the attacks. ‘Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak . . . to no one,’ said Stewart, who fought back tears at times during his remarks. ‘It’s shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country.'” See also, Watch Jon Stewart tear into Congress over 9/11 victims fund: ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves,’ The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Tuesday, 11 June 2019. See also, After emotional testimony from 9/11 responders, the House Judiciary Committee votes to replenish victims fundThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, published on Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously in support of a bill that would give fresh money to a compensation fund for those who are sick or dying from illnesses linked to their work amid the toxic debris at 9/11 attack sites. The vote comes a day after an emotional hearing in which ailing first responders and former ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart lambasted lawmakers’ inaction on the issue. Anger and frustration over the fund have been growing since February, when it was announced that future payouts would be cut as much as 70 percent to offset surging claims from those who are ill and the families of those who have died. Lawmakers said they expect a full House vote next month. The bill is expected to pass easily in the House, but its prospects are less certain in the Senate.”

Donald Trump Jr. to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on WednesdayCNN, Pamela Brown, Jeremy Herb, and Manu Raju, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Donald Trump Jr. is returning to the Senate Intelligence Committee to be interviewed behind closed doors on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. The appearance of the President’s eldest son Wednesday comes after a lengthy and contentious fight that spilled into public view after the committee issued a subpoena to Trump Jr. and he initially balked at testifying for a second time.”

Three Republican former Environmental Protection Agency chiefs accuse Trump of the ‘undermining of science,’ ABC News, Devin Dwyer and Jon Schlosberg, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Three Republican former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency accuse the agency’s current leadership of supporting the ‘undermining of science’ and a potentially ‘catastrophic’ approach to climate change. In an exclusive interview with ABC News Live, before a rare joint appearance on Capitol Hill, former EPA administrators William Reilly, Lee Thomas and Christine Whitman warned that recent gains in cleaner air and water in the U.S. are beginning to ‘backslide.'” See also, Former Environmental Protection Agency leaders question the agency’s direction under TrumpThe Washington Post, Dino Grandoni and Brady Dennis, Tuesday, 11 June 2019.

Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Financial Regulator Rostin Behnam WarnsThe New York Times, Coral Davenport, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “A top financial regulator is opening a public effort to highlight the risk that climate change poses to the nation’s financial markets, setting up a clash with a president who has mocked global warming and whose administration has sought to suppress climate science. Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis. ‘If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,’ he said. ‘It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.'”

Bernie Sanders Calls for Brazil’s Judiciary to Release Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva in Wake of Corruption ExposureThe Intercept, Aida Chávez and Akela Lacy, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should be released from prison and his conviction should be annulled, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, on Tuesday. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., meanwhile, is calling on the Trump administration to investigate the case that imprisoned the former president on corruption charges, following The Intercept’s exposé that showed Judge Sérgio Moro plotted with prosecutors to convict Lula and prevent the Workers’ Party from returning to power.”

Democrats to Scrutinize Ex-Lobbyist Charles Faulkner’s Role in Trump’s Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Without Seeking Legislative ApprovalThe New York Times, Edward Wong and Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “Congressional Democrats are examining whether a former arms-industry lobbyist serving as a midlevel State Department official played a role in the Trump administration’s decision last month to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without seeking legislative approval, lawmakers and current and former government officials said. A House committee plans to question a senior State Department official on Wednesday over the sales, and in particular over the role of Charles Faulkner, who worked until recently in the department’s legislative affairs bureau, congressional aides said. Before joining the State Department, Mr. Faulkner worked for four years for a firm in Washington that lobbied for Raytheon Company, whose precision-guided bombs are a significant part of the arms packages to the gulf and had been blocked by Democratic lawmakers.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff demands intelligence agencies provide documents on White House’s suppression of climate testimonyThe Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) demanded Tuesday that the heads of two federal intelligence agencies provide documents detailing how White House officials sought to edit — and then suppress — written testimony saying that human activities are warming the planet and that the climate changes underway pose a grave national security threat. Schiff’s move came in response to the news, first reported Friday by The Washington Post, that White House officials barred the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from submitting written testimony last week to his panel warning that human-caused climate change is ‘possibly catastrophic.'”

Trump and Biden Get Personal in Iowa SkirmishThe New York Times, Katie Blueck and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 11 June 2019: “President Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. repeatedly ripped into each other on Tuesday as unfit to lead the country as they both traveled to the battleground state of Iowa, giving voters a preview of what a general election matchup between the two men might look like. In the most ferocious day of attacks in the six-month-old presidential campaign, Mr. Trump resorted to taunts and name-calling over several hours, saying Mr. Biden was ‘a loser,’ ‘a sleepy guy’ and ‘the weakest mentally,’ and claiming that ‘people don’t respect him.’ Mr. Biden took a different tack, laying out ways Mr. Trump was ‘an existential threat’ to the country, its international standing and its values.” See also, Biden and Trump exchange fire in Iowa, ignoring others in the fieldThe Washington Post, Matt Viser, John Wagner, and Jenna Johnson, Tuesday, 11 June 2019.

 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019, Day 874:

 

House Oversight and Reform Committee Recommends That Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Be Held in Contempt of CongressThe New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “A House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that two cabinet secretaries be held in contempt of Congress, hours after President Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of crucial documents on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The House Oversight and Reform Committee’s action against Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sets up a possible vote on the House floor in the coming weeks. It was the culmination of a monthslong dispute over the panel’s efforts to compel testimony from top administration officials and secure documents related to the census question. The vote was mostly along party lines, with only one Republican supporting it: Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, the sole member of his party in Congress to call for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.” See also, House panel votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt over 2020 census citizenship questionLos Angeles Times, Jennifer Haberkorn, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “A House panel on Wednesday voted to hold Atty. Gen. William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas seeking information about the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. It came hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the materials House Democrats are seeking…. Democrats worry the question will intimidate noncitizens into not responding to the constitutionally mandated query of residents, pointing to documents that appear to prove their suspicions. Some estimates predict that the citizenship question could have a chilling effect on the census response rate by as much as 5.8 percentage points.” See also, House Panel Votes to Hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Contempt of Congress for Defying a Subpoena Over CensusThe Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “A Democratic-controlled House committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for ignoring its subpoena seeking information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The vote, mostly along party lines, recommended that Congress hold Messrs. Barr and Ross in contempt and came hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege over documents demanded by the House Oversight Committee. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the census question soon.”

Trump Says ‘I’d Take It’ if Russia Again Offered Dirt on an OpponentThe New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “President Trump said on Wednesday that there would be nothing wrong with accepting incriminating information about an election opponent from Russia or other foreign governments and that he saw no reason to call the F.B.I. if it were to happen again. ‘It’s not an interference,’ he said in an interview with ABC News, describing it as opposition research. They have information — I think I’d take it.’ He would call the F.B.I. only ‘if I thought there was something wrong.'” See also, In exclusive interview, Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents: ‘I think I’d take it,’ ABC News, Lucien Bruggeman, published on Thursday, 13 June 2019. See also, Trump says he’d consider accepting information from foreign governments on his opponentsThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Tom Hamburger, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “President Trump on Wednesday said he would consider accepting information on his political opponents from a foreign government, despite the concerns raised by the intelligence community and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In an Oval Office interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump also said he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI if a foreign country approached his campaign with ‘oppo research’ about his Democratic challenger.”

Donald Trump Jr. says he’s ‘not at all’ worried about perjury charges despite Democrats’ suspicionsThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Tom Hamburger, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Donald Trump Jr. said Wednesday that he is “not at all” worried that he will face perjury charges over Democrats’ suspicions he previously lied to Congress, after a second closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee that he called consistent with his first, as there was ‘nothing to change’ about his testimony. Trump Jr. spent about three hours with the committee Wednesday as part of its ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The president’s eldest son has been a focus of several investigations — including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s — over his involvement in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer promising incriminating information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” See also, Donald Trump Jr. Tells Senate Intelligence Committee He Hasn’t LiedThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Donald Trump Jr. told Senate investigators on Wednesday that he did not inform his father at the time about a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer promising ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton and that he was not kept abreast of negotiations over a proposed real estate project in Moscow, a person familiar with his testimony said. The younger Mr. Trump, in roughly three hours of closed-door questioning in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that he had nothing to correct from past statements that he had given that panel and other congressional bodies — despite claims by former Trump aides to the contrary. Questioning appeared to focus on two of the most scrutinized issues of the 2016 presidential campaign: a meeting in Trump Tower in Manhattan between top Trump campaign officials and a Russian emissary, and the extensive efforts of the Trump Organization to secure a major development in Moscow even as Donald J. Trump was running for president.” See also, Donald Trump Jr. says he is ‘not at all’ worried about perjury chargesPolitico, Marianne Levine, Wednesday, 12 June 2019.

Trump Embraces Poland’s President and Promises Him More U.S. TroopsThe New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “President Trump welcomed Poland’s nationalist president to the White House on Wednesday with an elaborate show of support, promising more American troops, defending Warsaw’s record on democracy and staging a rare and showy F-35 jet flyover to mark their friendship…. A jet flyover above the White House is highly unusual, but Mr. Trump has agitated without success to hold a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and clearly relished showing off the state-of-the-art aircraft that Poland has agreed to buy. The flyover, however, startled many in the streets of Washington who did not know it was coming and, in some cases, pointed to the sky with worried looks or even started running…. The flyover was part of a flourish of support for Mr. Duda, who has been ostracized by some other European leaders for actions considered anti-democratic. Mr. Trump made a point of signing an agreement to send an additional 1,000 American troops to Poland as a hedge against Russian adventurism in the eastern stretches of Europe, bolstering about 4,500 already there on a rotating basis.”

Bernie Sanders Calls His Brand of Socialism a Pathway to Beating TrumpThe New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Wydney Ember, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont offered a vigorous defense of the democratic socialism that has defined his five decades in political life on Wednesday, while tying his presidential campaign to the legacies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. Sliding in public polling and seeking to seize attention in a sprawling Democratic primary field, Mr. Sanders cast himself at times in direct competition with President Trump, contrasting his own collectivist views against what he called the ‘corporate socialism’ practiced by the president and the Republican Party.” See also, Bernie Sanders Says Democratic Socialism Is Needed to Defeat ‘Corporate Socialism for the Rich,’ Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, published on Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Vermont senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders offered a vigorous defense of democratic socialism in a major address Wednesday at George Washington University, vowing to complete the ‘unfinished promise’ of FDR’s New Deal and to work toward ‘economic rights’ for all. Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘When Trump attacks socialism, I am reminded again of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, and I quote: “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor,” end-quote. And that is the difference between Donald Trump and me. He believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful. I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country.'” See also, Bernie Sanders goes full FDR in defense of democratic socialismPolitico, Holly Otterbein, Wednesday, 12 June 2019.

Clarke Cooper, a Senior State Department Official, Defends Saudi Arms Sales Before a Hostile House Foreign Affairs CommitteeThe New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Edward Wong, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “A senior State Department official on Wednesday defended the Trump administration’s use of an emergency declaration to push through arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, telling a hostile House committee that holding back the weapons would have offered an opening to commercial rivals in China and Russia. In a contentious hearing, lawmakers from both parties pressed R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state in the bureau of political-military affairs, to detail when the administration first developed the plan to declare an emergency and sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Congress’s will. Lawmakers are outraged by the decision by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late May to use a loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to push through more than $8 billion worth of weapons sales, almost all to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The two countries are leading an air war against rebels in Yemen that has resulted in a humanitarian disaster and thousands of civilian deaths, many of them children. In both chambers, bipartisan groups of lawmakers are already moving to block the sales, many of which Democrats had informally held up since last year.”

Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham is ready to revoke the president’s emergency power on arms salesThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “One of President Trump’s closest congressional allies is ready to strip him of certain emergency powers in response to the administration sidestepping lawmakers to secure 22 arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. ‘Do away with the emergency exception,’ Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday. Doing so, he added, would prevent the executive branch from repeating such a move in the future. ‘I would not have agreed to that before, but after this maneuver by the administration, count me in.’ Graham is one of several leading lawmakers conferring over how to change the rules governing congressional oversight of arms sales to prevent end runs around Congress, after Democrats and Republicans objected to the administration citing an unspecific threat from Iran to expedite more than $8 billion worth of weapons sales.”

Hope Hicks, One of Trump’s Closest Former Campaign and White House Aides, Agrees to Interview With the House Judiciary CommitteeThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s closest former campaign and White House aides, has agreed to participate next week in a transcribed interview with the House Judiciary Committee on topics stemming from the special counsel’s investigation, the panel’s chairman said on Wednesday. The hearing will be the first time that an aide to Mr. Trump has taken the witness stand in the committee’s investigation into whether the president obstructed justice by trying to curtail inquiries into his campaign’s ties to Russia. It could theoretically kick-start Democrats’ efforts to build a case against Mr. Trump. But there is no guarantee that Ms. Hicks will be forthcoming.” See also, Former White House aide Hope Hicks agrees to testify before the House Judiciary Committee investigating TrumpThe Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman, Wednesday, 12 June 2019. See also, Hope Hicks Agrees to Give Closed-Door Testimony to the House Judiciary CommitteeThe Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz and Siobhan Hughes, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Former Trump aide Hope Hicks has agreed to provide closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, the panel’s chairman said, a small breakthrough for congressional Democrats frustrated by the White House’s resistance to their efforts to investigate President Trump. Ms. Hicks, the former White House communications director, is scheduled to meet with the panel next Wednesday and a transcript of her testimony will be released publicly, the panel said.”

Justice Department Seeks to Question C.I.A. in Its Own Russia InvestigationThe New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Katie Benner, Adam Goldman, and Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Justice Department officials intend to interview senior C.I.A. officers as they review the Russia investigation, according to people briefed on the matter, indicating they are focused partly on the intelligence agencies’ most explosive conclusion about the 2016 election: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia intervened to benefit Donald J. Trump. The interview plans are the latest sign the Justice Department will take a critical look at the C.I.A.’s work on Russia’s election interference. Investigators want to talk with at least one senior counterintelligence official and a senior C.I.A. analyst, the people said. Both officials were involved in the agency’s work on understanding the Russian campaign to sabotage the election in 2016.”

U.S. Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than industrialized countries such as Sweden and Portugal, a study by Brown University findsReuters, Sebastien Malo, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “The United States creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions through its defense operations alone than industrialized countries such as Sweden and Portugal, researchers said on Wednesday. The Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, released about 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017, according to the first study to compile such comprehensive data, published by Brown University. The Pentagon’s emissions were ‘in any one year … greater than many smaller countries’ greenhouse gas emissions,’ the study said. If it were a country, its emissions would make it the world’s 55th largest contributor, said Neta Crawford, the study’s author and a political scientist at Boston University.”

Blue states move to expand abortion access in rebuttal to bans in Republican-led statesThe Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Democratic-led states are pushing forward a flurry of bills to expand access to abortions in a rebuttal to Republican states that pushed to severely restrict the procedure this spring. Two of the most recent examples are in Nevada and Illinois, which recently approved bills repealing criminal penalties around abortion and easing some restrictions to make it easier for women to get the procedure. Maine this week also enacted a measure that would allow medical professionals other than doctors to perform abortions. In all, there are 25 state legislatures that introduced dozens of bills just this year that would expand abortion access as other states looked to limit it, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.”

Planned Parenthood to Host Women’s Health Forum for 2020 DemocratsThe New York Times, Lisa Lerer, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Planned Parenthood Action Fund is set to host a forum on reproductive rights for the Democratic primary field this month, as the issue of abortion emerges as a central topic in the 2020 presidential race. The forum, hosted by Planned Parenthood’s political arm, is the first event in recent presidential campaigns singularly focused on women’s health. The candidates will be individually questioned for 15 minutes about their positions and records on issues like abortion rights, access to health care and contraception.”

Fight Over Census Documents Centers on Motive for a Citizenship QuestionThe New York Times, Michael Wines, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “The fight between Congress and President Trump over census documents revolves around one crucial issue: discerning the true motive of the Trump administration when it made a historic decision to ask all residents in the country if they were an American citizen. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has long claimed that the government needs more accurate data on citizenship to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But a growing body of evidence — unearthed in lawsuits seeking to block the question — suggests that the administration added the question to entrench Republicans in power. Federal judges in three lawsuits have concluded that the Trump administration’s rationale for adding the question was contrived.” See also, Challengers of census citizenship question ask the Supreme Court to put off rulingThe Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Organizations challenging the decision to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday night to put off a ruling on whether the Trump administration may do so. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union said that if justices are not prepared to affirm lower court rulings keeping the question off the census form, they should send the issue back to a lower court to consider new allegations that the question was added at the behest of a Republican operative to benefit the party and white voters in general.”

Asylum seekers returned to Mexico rarely win bids to wait in the U.S.Reuters, Reade Levinson, Mica Rosenberg, and Kristina Cooke, Wednesday, 12 June, 2019: “Once asylum seekers are ordered to wait in Mexico, their chances of getting that decision reversed on safety grounds – allowing them to wait out their proceedings in the United States – are exceedingly small, a Reuters analysis of U.S. immigration court data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) shows. Many migrants and their advocates say they are vulnerable to violence in Mexican border cities, which have some of the highest homicide rates in the world – facing dangers similar to those they fled in their home countries. Of the 8,718 migrants in the program Reuters identified in the EOIR data, only 106 – about 1% – had their cases transferred off the MPP court docket, allowing them to wait in the United States while their asylum claims are adjudicated.”

Justice Department sides with Maine families suing for right to use public funds for religious schoolThe Washington Post, Valerie Strauss, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “The Justice Department is throwing its support to three families suing Maine’s education commissioner, alleging he discriminated against them by not allowing public funds to be used for their children’s tuition at religious schools. It was the Trump administration’s latest move in an effort to overturn state laws that prevent public money from being used for religious schooling, a stated goal of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Most states have similar laws, which are increasingly coming under legal attack in part because of President Trump’s 2017 executive order promoting ‘Free Speech and Religious Liberty.'”

Art installations blast audio of sobbing, detained children across New York CityThe Washington Post, Alex Horton, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “It is a pop-up art installation of the most dystopian kind: Small kids curled up underneath foil survival blankets in chain-link cages, with audio of crying detained children wailing through speakers, dropped onto sidewalks throughout New York City. The guerrilla art installations, 24 in all, were plopped in front of the offices of news organizations, Google and highly trafficked areas of the city on Wednesday, depicting the most vivid sounds and migrant children detained by federal authorities at the U.S. southern border. ‘Papa,’ a detained child wept in one recording at an installation, a real moment captured inside a holding facility and published by ProPublica last year. Border Patrol agents joked with each other in that recording, as children cried out for their parents. The audio drew immense public outrage and demands that the Department of Homeland Security change its policies.” See also, Geronimo and the Japanese were imprisoned there. Now Fort Sill will hold migrant children–againThe Washington Post, Gillian Brockell, Wednesday, 12 June 2019: “Record numbers of unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed the border in recent months. So many that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has been scrambling to find housing for them. On Tuesday, the agency announced it has chosen a military base as a temporary shelter: Fort Sill in Oklahoma, which was used during World War II as an internment camp for Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants. Before that, it was the longtime prison for Apache leader Geronimo.”

 

Thursday, 13 June 2019, Day 875:

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Says Intelligence Points to Iran in Tanker Attack in Gulf of OmanThe New York Times, Edward Wong, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that intelligence reviewed by American officials showed that Iran was responsible for attacks earlier in the day on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a critical waterway for the transit of much of the world’s oil. Mr. Pompeo did not present any evidence to back up the assessment of Iran’s involvement. The assertion is certain to further fuel tensions between the Trump administration and Iranian leaders, which have been at heightened levels since early May, when the White House announced military movements in response to what American officials have said is an increased threat from Iran.”

Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ellen Weintraub warns candidates not to accept help from foreign governmentsThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub released a statement Thursday making clear that candidates for public office may not receive help from a foreign government, in what appeared to be a warning to President Trump, who said he would consider taking information about an opponent from another country. Tweeting her statement, Weintraub wrote, ‘I would not have thought that I needed to say this.’ The head of the agency responsible for campaign finance laws clarified that any campaign that accepts help from a foreign government ‘risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation.’ ‘Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office,’ Weintraub wrote. ‘It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept.’ Weintraub put out the statement 24 hours after Trump told ABC News on Wednesday night that he would not necessarily report to law enforcement if a foreign national offered him political information.” See also, ‘Let me make something 100% clear’: FEC chair Ellen Weintraub lays down the law on accepting help from a foreign national to win electionsPolitico, Matthew Choi, Thursday, 13 June 2019.

Trump Is Assailed for Saying He Would Take Campaign Help From RussiaThe New York Times, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “For President Trump, the special counsel report was supposed to put Russia in his rearview mirror. But with some off-the-cuff remarks in the Oval Office, he has thrust his relationship with Moscow back into the debate over the future of his presidency. Mr. Trump’s defiant declaration that ‘I’d take it’ if Russia again offered campaign help and his assertion that he would not necessarily tell the F.B.I. about it drew bipartisan condemnation on Thursday, fueling calls for legislation requiring candidates to report such offers to the authorities and emboldening Democrats seeking his impeachment. The furor shifted the discussion in Washington away from obstruction of justice and back to the original issue that had dogged Mr. Trump since his election in 2016. Although the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, found no illegal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president’s comments renewed questions about his willingness to profit from the aid of a hostile foreign power. ‘The president has either learned nothing from the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.” See also, Trump’s willingness to take foreign opposition research from a foreign government draws Democratic condemnationThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, published on Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Trump on Thursday tried to contain an uproar he sparked by expressing his openness to accepting opposition research from a foreign government — a furor that Democrats said invited further interference in U.S. elections and one that Republicans declined to defend. In a string of tweets, Trump stood by his comments, saying he communicates with ‘foreign governments’ every day to rationalize his contention during an ABC News interview that it wasn’t always necessary to notify the FBI if a foreign government offers dirt about political opponents…. [T]op Democrats accused Trump of having learned nothing from the nearly two-year investigation by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Some Democratic lawmakers suggested his comments were fresh grounds for impeachment, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stopped far short of that view. ‘The president gave us evidence once again he does not know right from wrong,’ Pelosi said. ‘It’s a very sad thing.’ She said that ‘everybody in the country should be totally appalled’ and characterized Trump’s remarks during the interview as ‘so against any sense of decency.’ Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed Pelosi, calling Trump’s comments ‘disgraceful’ and ‘shocking.'” See also, Republican reaction to Trump’s dirt comments: Slam, dodge, or accuse Democrats of doing the same thingCNN, Alex Rogers and Ted Barrett, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “While some Republicans have joined Democrats in blasting President Donald Trump for saying that he would accept damaging information about a political opponent from a foreign government, there are many high-profile GOP lawmakers refusing to comment or accusing Hillary Clinton’s campaign of doing the same thing.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Trump Is Giving ‘Green Light’ to Foreign Election-Meddling AgainThe Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Siobhan Hughes, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s stated openness to accepting damaging information about his rivals from foreign governments showed he didn’t know right from wrong.” See also, Trump rushes into damage control after saying he’d accept foreign help in 2020Politico, Andrew Restuccia, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “President Donald Trump and his senior advisers moved quickly on Thursday to downplay and muddle his explosive assertion that he might not report to the FBI offers of election help from a foreign entity. As Trump’s Democratic opponents eviscerated him and one of his leading Republican supporters called his comments a ‘mistake,’ the president tried to recast his remarks, drawing a misleading comparison between accepting dirt from a foreign agent and his recent conversations with Queen Elizabeth and other world leaders.” See also, ‘Disgraceful’: 2020 Democratic candidates rip Trump for saying he’d take information on his political rivals from a foreign governmentThe Washington Post, Allyson Chiu, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “More than a dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates rebuked President Trump on Wednesday night after he said he would consider taking information on his political challengers from a foreign government. Many renewed calls for impeachment, further raising the profile of a highly charged and divisive cause, while also voicing new concerns about the security of American elections.” See also, What a presidential president would say about campaign dirt from a foreign government, The Washington Post, Editorial Board, Thursday, 13 June 2019:“’I THINK you might want to listen; there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, “We have information on your opponent,” oh, I think I’d want to hear it,’ President Trump said during a Wednesday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. ‘You don’t call the FBI. . . . Give me a break — life doesn’t work that way.’ When Mr. Trump made objectionable remarks in the past, we wrote editorials imagining what a decent president would have said. We haven’t done that in a while; it is pointless to expect him to act presidential. But this instance is so disturbing that we think it is worth reminding ourselves once again of how a normal, law-respecting president would speak. Here is what a presidential president might have said: If there is one thing the past three years have shown, the only good answer to a foreign country offering dirt on your political opponent is to decline and immediately report the offer to the FBI. Our country is still enduring the fallout from Russian interference in 2016. It has cast a pall on my presidency and led to the indictment of former senior government and campaign officials. The last thing any president should do is encourage foreign meddling in our next presidential election. That is why I denounce and renounce any foreign government seeking to aid my campaign, and I will not use any material they dig up, even if it might benefit me.” See also, ‘Absolutely unprecedented’: Trump upends long-held views with willingness to accept help from a foreign government in an electionThe Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “With his declared willingness to accept help from a foreign government in an election, President Trump upended long-held views that such outside assistance is anathema in American campaigns, both because of laws prohibiting foreign contributions and widely embraced norms of fair play. Trump blew through those notions this week, telling ABC News that if a foreign government offered him information on a political opponent, ‘I think I’d want to hear it.’… He added that his own FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, was ‘wrong’ when he said during congressional testimony that campaign aides should always report offers of assistance from foreign entities to the bureau.”

Danny Glover and Ta-Nehisi Coates are to testify about reparations for slavery before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil LibertiesAssociated Press, Errin Haines Whack, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The topic of reparations for slavery is headed to Capitol Hill for its first hearing in more than a decade with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover set to testify before a House panel. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is scheduled to hold the hearing next Wednesday, its stated purpose ‘to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.’ The date of the hearing, June 19, coincides with Juneteenth, a cultural holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black people in America. Former Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the longtime sponsor of House Resolution 40, first proposed the measure calling for a study of reparations in 1989. Conyers reintroduced the bill every session until his resignation in 2017 ”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is Leaving the White House at the End of the MonthThe New York Times, Katie Rogers and Peter Baker, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary who fiercely defended President Trump through one of the most tumultuous periods in American politics while presiding over the end of the iconic daily news briefing, will step down at the end of the month…. Ms. Sanders’s confrontations with reporters escalated even beyond the norm. At one point, she suspended the White House pass of a CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, who angered the president, only to have a judge order it reinstated. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, wrote in his report that Ms. Sanders had admitted it was untrue when she claimed the White House had heard from ‘countless’ agents who complained about James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump…. Breaking with decades of tradition, Ms. Sanders effectively killed the daily briefing from the White House lectern that had been one of the most visible symbols of the American presidency. It has been 94 days since she held a formal briefing. Instead, she left the daily feeding of the media to Mr. Trump, who prefers to speak for himself and takes questions from reporters on a far more regular basis than most of his recent predecessors. The move was widely criticized.” See also, Sarah Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of the month, Trump saysThe Washington Post, Paul Farhi and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Sarah Sanders, the combative White House press secretary whose tenure was marked by controversy and questions about her credibility, will be leaving at the end of the month after 23 months on the job, President Trump announced Thursday…. Sanders, 36, has been among the longest-serving senior officials in Trump’s administration. During her rocky stint as the president’s official spokeswoman and top adviser, Sanders endeared herself to her boss and to his supporters by her staunch defense of him and his remarks. She often amplified Trump’s criticism of the news media, pushing back on reporters’ questions, sometimes sarcastically…. But her truthfulness was often called into question, including in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s nearly two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The special counsel’s report cites two occasions when Sanders told reporters that ‘countless’ rank-and-file members of the FBI supported Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James B. Comey in May 2017 and that they had lost confidence in him. But when asked about this description by investigators, Sanders didn’t stand behind her remarks. She told Mueller’s team that the first time she made the statement, it was a ‘slip of the tongue’ and that when she repeated it later in a press interview, it ‘was a comment she made “in the heat of the moment” that was not founded on anything,’ according to the report.” See also, Sarah Sanders was the disdainful Queen of GaslightingThe Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, published on Friday, 14 June 2019: “When Sarah Sanders said Thursday that she hopes to be remembered for her transparency and honesty, the first impulse was to laugh. But lying to citizens while being paid by them really isn’t all that funny…. She would claim to represent the truth on behalf of a president who lies. She did it disrespectfully, and apparently without shame or an understanding of what the role of White House press secretary should be. She misled reporters or tried to, and through them, misled the American people. And all with her distinctive curled-lip disdain.” See also, Sarah Sanders to leave the White House after a turbulent ridePolitico, Andrew Restuccia, Thursday, 13 June 2019. See also, Sarah Sanders, Trump’s Spokeswoman, to Leave White HouseThe Wall Street Journal, Vivian Salama, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Press secretary hasn’t held a formal briefing in months as much news now comes from Trump’s Twitter feed.”

Trump Is Urged to Fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act Violations, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “An independent government agency recommended on Thursday that President Trump fire Kellyanne Conway, his White House counselor, for repeated violations of an ethics law barring partisan politics from the federal workplace. In a letter accompanying a report to Mr. Trump, the agency called Ms. Conway a ‘repeat offender’ of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in campaign politics at work, saying that her flagrant defiance of the law justified her dismissal from the White House. ‘As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,’ said the letter to the president, signed by Henry J. Kerner, the head of the agency. ‘Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.'” See also, What Is the Hatch Act? Explaining Why Trump Was Urged to Fire Kellyanne ConwayThe New York Times, Neil Vigdor and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The United States Office of Special Counsel issued a report on Thursday recommending that Kellyanne Conway, an aide to President Trump who frequently defends him on television, be fired for ‘persistent, notorious and deliberate Hatch Act violations.’ President Trump said on Friday that he would not comply. ‘No, I’m not going to fire her,’ he told Fox News. On Thursday, the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, had shot back in a letter that the Office of Special Counsel’s conclusions about Ms. Conway were based on ‘numerous grave, legal, factual and procedural errors.’ Here is what you need to know to make sense of the dispute.” See also, The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that oversees compliance with the Hatch Act, recommends that Kellyanne Conway be removed from servicePolitico, Anita Kumar, Thursday, 13 June 2019. See also, Kellyanne Conway violated US law and should be fired, federal watchdog saysThe Guardian, Sabrina Siddiqui, Thursday, 13 June 2019. See also, Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch ActThe Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Lisa Rein, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 13 June 2019.

Michael Flynn and Rick Gates Are Subpoenaed to Testify by the House Intelligence CommitteeThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee said on Thursday that it had issued two new subpoenas demanding that Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and Rick Gates, a former top Trump campaign aide, provide testimony and documents related to their interactions with Russians and other foreign powers. The subpoenas, dated Wednesday, are tied to the Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russia’s attempts to influence the American political system and whether Russia or other foreign interests could have influence over Mr. Trump, his family or associates.” See also, House Intelligence Committee subpoenas Rick Gates and Michael Flynn, two key witnesses in Robert Mueller’s investigationThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed two former Trump officials who were key witnesses in Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, part of the panel’s ongoing counterintelligence investigation into election interference and the president’s alleged foreign ties. The summons for Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn require them to furnish documents to the panel by June 26 and appear for testimony on July 10.” See also, House Intelligence Committee subpoenas Michael Flynn and Rick GatesPolitico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 13 June 2019.

House votes to block the Trump administration’s ban on fetal tissue researchThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The House voted Thursday to block the Trump administration’s move to end human fetal tissue research by government scientists, a direct challenge to the White House that will be tested in the Republican-led Senate.”

Who’s In and Who’s Out of the First Democratic DebatesThe New York Times, Matt Stevens and Maggie Astor, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “The Democratic National Committee announced the candidates who qualified for the first debates of the 2020 presidential campaign on Thursday, chopping the historically large field of 23 contenders down to the 20 available slots. Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., did not qualify, and will be left out of the debates on June 26 and 27 in Miami, according to a news release sent out Thursday night. The candidates who made the cut — a full list appears at the end of this article — did so by registering 1 percent support in three polls, receiving donations from 65,000 people, or both.”

Where do the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on the key issues? The Guardian, Sam Morris, Enjoli Liston, and Hubert Adjei-Kontoh, Thursday, 13 June 2019: “Almost two dozen Democratic candidates are vying for the party’s nomination to be the one to take on Donald Trump in the 2020 race for the White House, setting the stage for the most crowded and fiercely competitive Democratic primaries in decades. Insurgent progressives, established moderates and everyone in between will be presenting their visions for America’s post-Trump future. [This article covers] where they stand on some of the most pressing issues of the era.”