Trump Administration, Week 138: Friday, 6 September – Thursday, 12 September 2019 (Days 960-966)

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.

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Friday, 6 September 2019, Day 960:

 

Pence’s Stay at Trump Resort in Ireland and Trump’s G7 Plans Draw Democrats’ Scrutiny, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 6 September 2019: “House Democrats, furious over President Trump’s continued promotion of his branded properties for government business, said on Friday that they would scrutinize whether two recent cases would violate the Constitution’s ban on presidents profiting from domestic or foreign governments. Two chairmen acting in tandem sent letters to the White House, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization asking for documents and communications related to Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to stay this week at Mr. Trump’s resort in Ireland during an official visit, as well as Mr. Trump’s recent statements promoting Trump National Doral, near Miami, as a possible site for the Group of 7 summit of world leaders next year. In both cases, the Democrats argued, Mr. Trump stands to benefit financially from American taxpayer dollars, and in the case of the potential summit in Doral, from foreign funds as well. The Constitution’s emoluments clauses prohibit presidents from accepting any payment from federal, state or foreign governments beyond their official salary.” See also, House panel is probing whether Pence’s stay at Trump resort in Ireland improperly ‘enriched’ Trump, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into whether President Trump improperly benefited financially from Vice President Pence’s stay this week at a Trump golf resort while on a taxpayer-funded, official trip to Ireland. Pence and his entourage spent two nights at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, a small town on Ireland’s southwest coast, and traveled in between to meetings with Irish leaders in Dublin, on the opposite side of the country.” See also, Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish golf resort, Politico, Natasha Bertrand and Bryan Bender, Friday, 6 September 2019: “In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.”

Maine Voters Will Rank Their Top Presidential Candidates in 2020, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Friday, 6 September 2019: “Maine will soon become the first state to adopt ranked-choice voting in presidential elections. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, announced on Friday that she would allow a bill recently passed by the Maine Legislature to become law without her signature. The first vote conducted under the new law will be the general election in November 2020. Under the new system, voters will be able to rank as many candidates as they like in order of preference. The initial count will look only at their first choices, and if one candidate receives a majority, that candidate would win. If no one receives a majority, however, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes will be eliminated, and his or her votes will be redistributed to those voters’ second-choice candidates. This process will repeat until one candidate breaks 50 percent. Proponents say the system ensures that the candidate with the broadest appeal wins. Effectively, it prevents third-party candidates from becoming “spoilers” by siphoning a decisive number of votes from one of the major-party contenders, resulting in a winner that a majority of voters oppose.”

The Secret Files of Thomas Hofeller, the Master of Modern Republican Gerrymandering, The New Yorker, David Daley, Friday, 6 September 2019: “Thomas Hofeller preached secrecy as he remapped American politics from the shadows. The Republican Party operative, known as the master of the modern gerrymander, trained other G.O.P. operatives and legislators nationwide to secure their computer networks, guard access to their maps, and never send e-mails that they didn’t want to see published by the news media. In training sessions for state legislators and junior line drawers, he used a PowerPoint presentation that urged them to ‘avoid recklessness’ and ‘always be discreet,’ and warned that emails are the tool of the devil. Hofeller did not follow his own advice. Before his death, in August, 2018, he saved at least seventy thousand files and several years of e-mails. A review of those records and e-mails—which were recently obtained first by The New Yorker—raises new questions about whether Hofeller unconstitutionally used race data to draw North Carolina’s congressional districts, in 2016. They also suggest that Hofeller was deeply involved in G.O.P. mapmaking nationwide, and include new trails for more potential lawsuits challenging Hofeller’s work, similar to the one on Wednesday which led to the overturning of his state legislative maps in North Carolina.”

Continue reading Week 138, Friday, 6 September – Thursday, 12 September 2019 (Days 953-959)

Justice Department Launches Antitrust Investigation Into Four Auto Makers, The Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko and Ben Foldy, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into four auto makers that forged a deal with California on vehicle-emissions standards, escalating the conflict between the Trump administration and Sacramento over environmental regulations. Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine whether Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. , BMW AG and Volkswagen AG broke federal competition law by agreeing with California to follow tailpipe-emissions standards beyond those proposed by the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the probe. California officials, joined by Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, branded the probe a political hit orchestrated by a White House angry over any attempt to subvert its authority.” See also, Justice Department Investigates California Emissions Pact That Embarrassed Trump, The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi and Coral Davenport, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The Justice Department has opened an antitrust inquiry into the four major automakers that struck a deal with California this year to reduce automobile emissions, according to people familiar with the matter, escalating a standoff over one of the president’s most significant rollbacks of climate regulations.” See also, Justice Department launches antitrust investigation of automakers over their fuel efficiency deal with California, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation of four leading automakers over an agreement they forged with the state of California to maintain higher fuel efficiency standards than those sought by the Trump administration, escalating the stakes in the long-running battle between the White House and California.” See also, Four automakers bucked Trump policy on emissions. Now they are under antitrust investigation. CNN, Chris Isidore, Friday, 6 September 2019.

Democrats widen impeachment probe as they confront roadblocks, CNN, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 6 September 2019: “Faced with a time crunch ahead of the 2020 election season, the House Judiciary Committee is broadening its investigation beyond special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings as lawmakers confront lingering hurdles over impeaching President Donald Trump. With Congress reconvening next week after its summer recess, the committee is expanding its focus beyond Mueller’s findings that Trump may have obstructed justice by seeking to undercut the investigation into his campaign and actions as President, an area that has dominated the panel’s focus up until now. As they head into a critical fall session, Democrats say they will also focus heavily on questions of whether the President is enriching himself while violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution, reports Trump dangled pardons to officials who were at risk of breaking immigration laws, and his involvement in hush-money payments to cover over his alleged extramarital affairs — all of which could form articles of impeachment against the President, according to lawmakers and aides involved in the effort.”

How the M.I.T. Media Lab, an Élite University Research Center, Concealed Its Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein, The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The M.I.T. Media Lab, which has been embroiled in a scandal over accepting donations from the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, had a deeper fund-raising relationship with Epstein than it has previously acknowledged, and it attempted to conceal the extent of its contacts with him. Dozens of pages of e-mails and other documents obtained by The New Yorker reveal that, although Epstein was listed as ‘disqualified’ in M.I.T.’s official donor database, the Media Lab continued to accept gifts from him, consulted him about the use of the funds, and, by marking his contributions as anonymous, avoided disclosing their full extent, both publicly and within the university. Perhaps most notably, Epstein appeared to serve as an intermediary between the lab and other wealthy donors, soliciting millions of dollars in donations from individuals and organizations, including the technologist and philanthropist Bill Gates and the investor Leon Black. According to the records obtained by The New Yorker and accounts from current and former faculty and staff of the media lab, Epstein was credited with securing at least $7.5 million in donations for the lab, including two million dollars from Gates and $5.5 million from Black, gifts the e-mails describe as ‘directed’ by Epstein or made at his behest. The effort to conceal the lab’s contact with Epstein was so widely known that some staff in the office of the lab’s director, Joi Ito, referred to Epstein as Voldemort or ‘he who must not be named.'”

Trump drags his Alabama hurricane claims into the 6th day, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 6 September 2019: “The president on Friday continued to defend his misleading prognostication for the path of Hurricane Dorian, assailing the news media and in the process, digging in and reviving the controversy for a sixth day.”

 

Saturday, 7 September 2019, Day 961:

 

Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway), The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Annie Karni, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “To ethics lawyers, the most extraordinary aspect of the daily merging of Mr. Trump’s official duties and his commercial interests both in Washington and around the world is that it has now become almost routine. Since Mr. Trump became president, there have been thousands of visits to his properties, not only by Mr. Trump himself, but by foreign leaders, lobbyists, Republican candidates, members of Congress, cabinet members and others with ties to the president. At least 90 members of Congress, 250 Trump administration officials and more than 110 foreign officials have been spotted at Trump properties since 2017, according to social media posts and counts by various watchdog groups.” See also, Military Stopover at Scottish Airport Includes a Stay at a Trump Resort, The New York Times, Eric Lipton, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “United States military personnel stayed at the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March when an Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel on the way to Kuwait from the United States, an Air Force spokesman and a Trump Organization representative confirmed Saturday, while defending the decision as a routine matter. Questions about the overnight stays at the Trump golf resort emerged after House investigators wrote to the department in June to ask about the surge in military stopovers at the obscure Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is 23 miles from the Trump property.” See also, The House Oversight Committee is investigating U.S. military use of Trump-owned property in Scotland, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Missy Ryan, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “The House Oversight Committee is investigating why a financially struggling airport near a Trump-owned golf course in Scotland has seen an uptick in expenditures by the U.S. military since President Trump took office.” See also, The House Oversight Committee is investigating military spending at the Trump Turnberry golf course and resort in Scotland, CNN, Caroline Kelly and Jeremy Herb, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “The House Oversight Committee has been investigating for several months whether increased military expenditures benefiting the Trump Turnberry golf course and resort in Scotland represent a conflict of interest for the President, according to committee documents. But the Defense Department has refused to comply with investigators’ requests to date, a senior Democratic committee aide told CNN on Friday. The newly revealed investigation, which was first reported on Friday by Politico, represents yet another front at which House Democrats are probing President Donald Trump’s finances and businesses, with various Democrat-led panels pushing new or existing probes going into the 2020 election season.”

House Judiciary Committee to activate rare impeachment-time authorities, highlighting divide in chamber’s endgame, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “A House panel eager to impeach President Trump will adopt rare investigative procedures next week to bolster its probe, tools used in previous impeachments of American presidents. But rather than signal a stronger focus on ousting Trump, the news highlights a division within the Democrats’ oversight strategy and endgame, as well as the party’s messaging to voters. House Judiciary Committee members discussed the resolution — which would, among other things, allow panel counsel to question witnesses — during a Friday call, first reported by Politico. Sources familiar with the vote have framed it as the first formal step on the road to possibly impeaching Trump. But senior Democratic sources cautioned that such phrasing was overblown, downplaying the vote as a tool to help the committee investigate, rather than a move toward impeachment. And some in House Democratic leadership circles have expressed frustration that Judiciary panel members are saying they’re an official impeachment proceeding when they are not; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has yet to back impeachment proceedings.” See also, House Judiciary Committee Plans Vote to Formalize Procedures for Impeachment Investigation, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, published on Sunday, 8 September 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote this week to formalize procedures for a growing impeachment inquiry, clarifying its investigative authorities and granting President Trump new due process, a draft resolution shows. The Judiciary Committee took similar steps in the 1970s and 1990s when it conducted impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. Now, as then, Democrats believe the resolution, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, will allow the panel to speed up its work and potentially elicit more information than it otherwise could about instances of possible obstruction of justice and abuses of power by Mr. Trump. The development carries significant symbolic weight, as well.” See also, House Judiciary Committee is preparing vote to define Trump impeachment investigation, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Heather Caygle, and John Bresnahan, published on 6 September 2019.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) staff warned in Sept. 1 directive against contradicting Trump, The Washington Post, Andrew Freedman, Colby Itkowitz, and Jason Samenow, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “Nearly a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly backed President Trump over its own scientists, a top NOAA official warned its staff against contradicting the president. In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama ‘would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,’ staff was told to ‘only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.’ They were also told not to ‘provide any opinion,’ according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.”

Trump Says He Has Called Off Negotiations With Taliban After Afghanistan Bombing, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Lara Jakes, and Mujib Mashal, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “President Trump said on Saturday that he had canceled a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the president of Afghanistan and was calling off monthslong negotiations that had appeared to be nearing a peace agreement.” See also, Trump says he canceled secret meeting with Afghan president and Taliban leadership at Camp David, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Anne Gearan, published on Sunday, 8 September 2019.

Iran Breaks With More Limits in Nuclear Deal as It Pushes for European Aid, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Saturday, 7 September 2019: “Iran’s atomic energy agency said Saturday that it was deliberately violating another set of limits on its nuclear research and production that were imposed under the 2015 agreement renounced by President Trump last year. But the details suggested that Iran was more interested in increasing pressure on European nations to find a way around American-imposed sanctions than in carrying out a full-scale effort to restore the capabilities it gave up when it struck the deal with the West.”

Arizona Republican Leader Kelli Ward Said the Republican Party Would Stop Mark Kelly ‘Dead in His Tracks.’ Mr. Kelly, a Democrat running for the Senate, is married to Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who survived  a gunshot to the head in a 2011 attack. The New York Times, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Saturday, 7 Saturday 2019: “The chairwoman of the Republican Party of Arizona defended an email on Friday in which she had said the party would stop Mark Kelly, a Democrat running for United States Senate, ‘dead in his tracks.’ Mr. Kelly is the husband of the former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whom a gunman shot in the head in 2011 during a meeting she was hosting for constituents. Ms. Giffords, then a member of the House of Representatives, survived the attack, which killed six people and wounded a dozen others.”

 

Sunday, 8 September 2019, Day 962:

 

Democrats to Broaden Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump to Corruption Accusations, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “House Democrats return to Washington this week poised to significantly broaden their nascent impeachment inquiry into President Trump beyond the findings of the Russia investigation, but they will confront a fast-dwindling political clock. Undeterred by lackluster public support for impeachment, Democratic lawmakers and aides have sketched out a robust four-month itinerary of hearings and court arguments that they hope will provide the evidence they need to credibly portray Mr. Trump as corrupt and abusing his power. Beyond the president’s efforts to impede the special counsel’s investigation, Democrats also plan to scrutinize his role in hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with him and reports that he dangled pardons to officials willing to break the law to implement his immigration policies. Democrats also demanded documents last week related to whether his resort properties illegally profited from government business.” See also, Democrats Plan Vote to Formalize Procedures for Impeachment Investigation, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote this week to formalize procedures for a growing impeachment inquiry, clarifying its investigative authorities and granting President Trump new due process, a draft resolution shows. The Judiciary Committee took similar steps in the 1970s and 1990s when it conducted impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. Now, as then, Democrats believe the resolution, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, will allow the panel to speed up its work and potentially elicit more information than it otherwise could about instances of possible obstruction of justice and abuses of power by Mr. Trump. The development carries significant symbolic weight, as well.”

Officials Say Talks With the Taliban Hit a Wall Over Deep Disagreements, The New York Times, Mujib Mashal, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “Even as President Trump blamed a recent Taliban attack for his decision to call off nearly yearlong negotiations with the insurgents, officials suggested on Sunday it had more to do with the Taliban’s resistance to the American terms for a peace deal, and a rushed plan for a Camp David summit meeting. Talks that once seemed on the verge of a breakthrough had hit a wall over how the deal should be finalized and announced, they said.” See also, How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal, and Michael Crowley, Sunday, 8 September 2019.

Mark Sanford Will Challenge Trump in Republican Primary, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “Former Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said on Sunday that he would challenge President Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, criticizing Mr. Trump’s stewardship of government spending and the global economy and questioning the financial ethics of his administration.” See also, Former South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford announces Republican primary challenge against Trump, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 8 September 2019.

Air Force leaders order investigation of stays at Trump’s golf resort in Scotland, Politico, Ryan Bender and Natasha Bertrand, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “The U.S. Air Force has ordered a world-wide review of how it chooses overnight accommodations on long flights following revelations that air crews had occasionally stayed at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort while refueling at a small commercial airport nearby. The review comes as additional instances of military personnel staying at Trump properties have been uncovered. The C-17 crew’s overnight stay at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland earlier this year, first reported by POLITICO on Friday, was not an isolated incident.” See also, Air Force to Review Layover Procedures After Stopover at Trump Resort in Scotland, The New York Times, Eric Lipton, published on Monday, 9 September 2019: “The Air Force has ordered a review of its procedures used to decide where personnel are put up during overnight layovers, after conceding on Sunday that the decision to place a crew at the luxury resort owned by the Trump family in Scotland this year ‘might be allowable but not advisable.’ The internal inquiry is being conducted at the request of Air Force leadership, which has directed the Air Mobility Command ‘to review all guidance pertaining to selection of airports and lodging accommodations during international travels.'” See also, Air Force reviewing layover guidelines amid scrutiny of stop at Trump property in Scotland, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Missy Ryan, published on Monday, 9 September 2019. See also, Air Force crews have lodged at Trump’s Scottish resort at least 4 times, Politico, Natasha Bertrand and Connor O’Brien, Monday, 9 September 2019: “Air Force crews have stayed overnight at President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland on at least four occasions, two more than previously reported. The four trips — uncovered through interviews with people present, records of expenditures and social media postings — date back to at least September 2018 and continued through at least this past June. They include at least one instance in which a crew member said a nearby airport arranged for rides and lunches to and from the luxury waterside retreat. All the flights were shuttling crews between the United States and the Middle East, and at least three of them were divisions of the Air National Guard. In total, over 60 service members stayed at the posh property on these stopovers.”

Trump Campaign Manager Sees Trump’s Family as Political ‘Dynasty,’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 8 September 2019: “President Trump may be the only member of his family to win major elected office, but his campaign manager for the 2020 re-election effort is already envisioning a family political dynasty that will outlast his time in the White House. The comments by Brad Parscale, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, on Saturday were instantly scrutinized for clues as to whether the president’s children, some of whom have been seen by friends and supporters as potential candidates for office, were planning their own political futures.”

 

Monday, 9 September 2019, Day 963:

 

Federal Judge Reinstates Nationwide Injunction on Trump Asylum Rule. The Supreme Court Is Expected to Weigh in Soon. The New York Times, Sarah Mervosh, Monday, 9 September 2019: “A federal judge on Monday issued a nationwide order barring a Trump administration policy that denies asylum to migrants crossing the border unless they have already tried and failed to obtain asylum in another country along the way, a rule that effectively bans claims for most Central Americans fleeing persecution and poverty. Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California reinstated a nationwide injunction preventing implementation of the new asylum policy in response to a federal appeals court ruling that had limited his original ruling’s scope to border states in the West. Judge Tigar made findings, as outlined by the appellate judges, that applying the injunction across the country was necessary to maintain a ‘uniform immigration policy’ and prevent ‘uneven enforcement.’ Under the previous ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the administration had been prohibited from applying the new asylum limitations in California and Arizona, but not in New Mexico and Texas.” See also, Federal judge reimposes nationwide injunction against Trump’s asylum rules, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 9 September 2019: “A federal judge in California on Monday reimposed a nationwide injunction against President Trump’s policy denying asylum to almost all who enter the country after passing through Mexico or a third country. U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of Oakland said the policy could not be implemented anywhere along the southern border while a legal battle over it proceeds. The Trump administration announced on July 16 a change that denies asylum in the United States to those who pass through other countries without seeking asylum there. The Supreme Court is considering a request by the administration to allow the new restriction.”

Trump dismisses idea of allowing Bahamians into the U.S. after Hurricane Dorian, NBC News, Elizabeth Chuck and Julia Ainsley, Monday, 9 September 2019: “President Donald Trump on Monday downplayed the idea of allowing Bahamians fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Dorian into the United States on humanitarian grounds, hours after his acting Customs and Border Protection chief said it was worth considering…. ‘I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.'” See also, Trump contradicts the acting head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Bahamian refugees. Trump says they might have been infiltrated by ‘very bad people.’ The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 9 September 2019: “Early Monday afternoon, acting Customs and Border Protection head Mark Morgan offered some peace of mind to Bahamians seeking humanitarian relief in the United States in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, following the news that some were turned away for not having visas. ‘This is a humanitarian mission,’ Morgan assured. ‘If your life is in jeopardy and you’re in the Bahamas … you’re going to be allowed to come to the United States, whether you have travel documents or not.’ He said the processing would be handled expeditiously. Then President Trump offered a very different message. In a later Q&A with reporters, Trump emphasized that ‘very bad people’ could exploit the process and warned against welcoming Bahamians.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in Push for Gun Safety Legislation, Urge Trump to Defy the National Rifle Association, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Monday, 9 September 2019: “The top two Democrats in Congress called on Sunday for President Trump to defy the National Rifle Association and get behind legislation, already passed by the House but blocked in the Senate, to expand background checks to nearly all gun buyers. With gun control high on Congress’s agenda as lawmakers return to Washington this week after their August recess, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, sent a joint letter to the president, telling him that his ‘urgent, personal intervention is needed to stem the endless massacres of our fellow Americans by gunfire’ and that he had a ‘historic opportunity to save lives.'” See also, Back in Washington, Democrats press Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for action on gun safety, The Washington Post, Charlie Savage, published on Tuesday, 10 September 2019.

Trump Had Deal With Scotland Airport That Sent Flight Crews to His Resort, The New York Times, Eric Lipton, Monday, 9 September 2019: “Back in 2014, soon after acquiring a golf resort in Scotland, Donald J. Trump entered a partnership with a struggling local airport there to increase air traffic and boost tourism in the region. The next year, as Mr. Trump began running for president, the Pentagon decided to ramp up its use of that same airport to refuel Air Force flights and gave the local airport authority the job of helping to find accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight. Those two separate arrangements have now intersected in ways that provide the latest evidence of how Mr. Trump’s continued ownership of his business produces regular ethical questions. On Monday, President Trump sought to tamp down a growing controversy over a stay at the resort by United States military personnel who were traveling through the airport in Scotland in March. First on Twitter and later speaking to reporters at the White House, he said he was not involved in any decision to put an Air Force flight crew at the resort, known as Trump Turnberry.”

Exclusive: US extracted a top spy from inside Russia in 2017, CNN, Jim Sciutto, Monday, 9 September 2019: “In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN. A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy. The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.” See also, C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Russian Secrets to U.S. for Decades, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman, and David E. Sanger, Monday, 9 September 2019.

Sources Say Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Threatened Firings at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle, Lisa Friedman, and Peter Baker, Monday, 9 September 2019: “The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion. That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, disavowing the National Weather Service’s position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew accusations from the scientific community that the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, had been bent to political purposes. NOAA’s statement on Friday is now being examined by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times, and employees have been asked to preserve their files. NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department. The National Weather Service ‘must maintain standards of scientific integrity,’ the inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, wrote in a message to NOAA staff members in which she requested documents related to Friday’s statement. The circumstances, she wrote, ‘call into question the NWS’s processes, scientific independence, and ability to communicate accurate and timely weather warnings and data to the nation in times of national emergency.'”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s chief scientist will investigate why the agency backed Trump over its experts on Dorian, email shows, The Washington Post, Kayla Epstein, Andrew Freedman, Jason Samenow, and Kate Harrison Belz, Monday, 9 September 2019: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. Also on Monday, the director of the National Weather Service broke with NOAA leadership over its handling of Trump’s Dorian tweets and statements. In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, NOAA’s Craig McLean, called the agency’s response ‘political’ and a ‘danger to public health and safety.’ Trump’s incorrect assertion on Sept. 1 that Alabama ‘would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated’ set off a chain of confusion and outrage among the public and within NOAA. At the time, the NWS’s forecast guidance showed only a very small risk (about 5 percent) of tropical-storm-force winds for a small portion of Alabama. However, Alabama was not in the storm forecast track or ‘cone of uncertainty’ from the National Hurricane Center, which showed Hurricane Dorian skirting the East Coast far away from Alabama.”

House Democrats to investigate Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump opponents, NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Monday, 9 September 2019: “House Democrats announced Monday that they will investigate the role of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in what they characterized as efforts to influence the government of Ukraine to help the Trump re-election campaign. The chairmen of the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees sent letters to the White House and State Department seeking documents in connection to what they called a scheme by Giuliani ‘to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity.'”

Amid Diplomatic Strain, House Opens Inquiry Into Trump’s Dealings With Ukraine, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Monday, 9 September 2019: “The White House delayed a package of military assistance to the new government in Ukraine, and has yet to schedule a White House meeting for its new president. After abruptly pulling the previous American ambassador out of Kiev when conservatives questioned her political loyalty, President Trump has yet to nominate a successor. Behind the scenes, Mr. Trump has told aides that he sees Ukraine as corrupt and suggested that he harbored a grudge from what he saw as that nation’s support for Hillary Clinton in 2016. At a time when foreign policy experts and Mr. Trump’s aides say strong support from the United States is especially important to Ukraine in its effort to fight corruption and stop further encroachment by Russia, Mr. Trump has left Ukrainians and some of his own allies uncertain about the degree of his commitment to the government of the newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, according to interviews with people in both countries.”

National Rifle Association Files Suit Against San Francisco Days After the City Declared It a Terrorist Organization, The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Monday, 9 September 2019: “The National Rifle Association sued San Francisco on Monday, less than a week after the city’s board of supervisors declared the group a terrorist organization and moved to limit relationships with companies that do business with the N.R.A.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff lashes out at former national security adviser Michael Flynn for refusing to cooperate, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Monday, 9 September 2019: “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee’s demand for testimony and documents, Chairman Adam Schiff wrote in a letter released Monday. ‘Notwithstanding repeated efforts by committee staff to engage with your counsel and accommodate your adjournment requests, you have, to date, failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena or cooperate with the committee’s efforts to secure your compliance,’ Schiff wrote in the letter to Flynn, which demands that the retired Army lieutenant general appear for testimony on Sept. 25.”

Bernie Sanders Went to Canada, and a Dream of ‘Medicare for All’ Flourished, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Monday, 9 September 2019: “In July 1987, Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vt., arrived in Ottawa convinced he was about to see the future of health care. Years earlier, as his mother’s health declined and his family struggled to pay for medical treatment, he was spending more time attending to her than in classes at Brooklyn College, suffering through what his brother called ‘a wrecked year’ leading to her death. Over time, he had come to believe that the American health care system was flawed and inherently unfair. In Canada, he wanted to observe firsthand the government-backed, universal model that he strongly suspected was better. Amid tours of community centers and meetings with health care providers, Mr. Sanders more than liked what he saw.”

 

Tuesday, 10 September 2019, Day 964:

 

Trump Ousts John Bolton as National Security Adviser, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday pushed out John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, amid fundamental disputes over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and most recently Afghanistan. The departure ended a 17-month partnership that had grown so tense that the two men even disagreed over how they parted ways, as Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had fired the adviser only to be rebutted by Mr. Bolton, who insisted he had resigned of his own accord. A longtime Republican hawk known for a combative style, Mr. Bolton spent much of his tenure trying to restrain the president from making what he considered unwise agreements with America’s enemies. Mr. Trump bristled at what he viewed as Mr. Bolton’s militant approach, to the point that he made barbed jokes in meetings about his adviser’s desire to get the United States into more wars.” See also, John Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Trump announced Tuesday that John Bolton was no longer his national security adviser, ending a stormy tenure marked by widening rifts between an unorthodox president seeking a foreign policy victory and an irascible foreign policy hawk who had been deeply skeptical of much of the president’s agenda.” See also, John Bolton Ousted by Trump as National Security Adviser, The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender and Vivian Salama, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Trump dismissed John Bolton, his national security adviser, after a contentious debate about Afghan peace talks became the latest of many disputes over foreign policy that exposed differences so severe that the two men couldn’t even agree on how the ouster happened. Mr. Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser, had exerted a hawkish influence in the White House, at times advocating for military action while Mr. Trump has shied away from overseas interventions. He also disagreed with the president and other advisers on policies toward North Korea, Iran and Russia.”

Share of Americans With Health Insurance Declined in 2018, The New York Times, Ben Casselman, Margot Sanger-Katz, and Jeanna Smialek, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “Fewer Americans are living in poverty, but for the first time in years, more of them lack health insurance. About 27.5 million people, or 8.5 percent of the population, lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9 percent the year before, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was the first increase since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, and experts said it was at least partly the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine that law.”

More than 1600 Polling Places Have Closed Since the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act, Mother Jones, Matt Cohen, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a core provision of the Voting Rights Act: The requirement for certain states with a history of voter discrimination to ‘preclear’ changes in their election rules with the federal government. For decades, the 1965 law helped secure the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of people in nine states, as well as certain jurisdictions in six other states, which had such a history of discrimination against minority voters. But in the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the court ruled that the coverage formula for determining those jurisdictions subject to preclearance was outdated and therefore unconstitutional. The consequences of the Shelby County decision were immediate: States that had previously fallen under the jurisdiction of the VRA immediately passed tough voter restriction laws and restructured election systems. But a new report released today by the civil rights coalition The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights adds another dimension to the picture of how this 2013 ruling has undermined voter access by analyzing the number of polling places that have been closed since the ruling. According to the report, entitled ‘Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and the Right to Vote,’ 1,688 polling places are now shuttered in those areas. The report, which is a follow-up to a 2016 analysis, looked at 757 counties and found that 298 of them, or 39 percent, reduced their number of polling places between 2012 and 2018.”

Trump Eyes Crackdown on Homelessness as Aides Visit California, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Jose A. Del Real, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Trump is pushing aides to find ways to curtail the growing number of homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles, part of broader discussions his aides have held for weeks about urban problems in liberal locales, according to his personal lawyer and administration officials. A team of administration officials is in California on what was described as a “fact-finding” mission as they weigh proposals to address the burgeoning crisis. But it is not clear what steps the administration could legally take on an issue that has traditionally been handled at the local level.” See also, Trump pushing for major crackdown on homeless camps in California, with aides discussing moving residents to government-backed facilities, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Tracy Jan, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Trump has ordered White House officials to launch a sweeping effort to address homelessness in California, citing the state’s growing crisis, according to four government officials aware of the effort. The planning has intensified in recent weeks. Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning. But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use. It is also unclear whether the state’s Democratic politicians would cooperate with Trump, who has sought to embarrass them over the homelessness crisis with repeated attacks on their competency.”

Fact check: Trump makes at least 22 false claims at North Carolina rally, CNN, Daniel Dale, Holmes Lybrand, and Tara Subramaniam, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on Monday in a North Carolina congressional district that is having a special election on Tuesday because of credible allegations of Republican election fraud. Trump did not mention those allegations. Instead, he repeated his baseless allegation of voter fraud in Democratic-dominated California.”

With Trump Hungry for Credit, His Advisers Brag About Dan Bishop’s Narrow Victory in Special House Election in North Carolina, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, published on Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “President Trump’s top advisers claimed credit Wednesday for a Republican’s narrow victory in a special House election in North Carolina the night before, even as Democratic and Republican officials alike said Dan Bishop’s two-point win in a district Mr. Trump easily carried only underscored how the widening urban-rural divide is complicating 2020 for both parties. Brad Parscale, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, told reporters on a conference call that the president’s Monday night rally in Fayetteville, N.C., was pivotal to Mr. Bishop’s success in energizing Election Day voters after the Democrats mobilized many of their supporters to cast early ballots.” See also, Republican Dan Bishop pulls out narrow win in North Carolina House race, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Laura Hughes, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “Republican Dan Bishop pulled out a narrow win in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District on Tuesday, giving the GOP a victory in a district that President Trump won easily in 2016 but which proved to be a fierce battleground in unusual back-to-back House campaigns. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bishop led Democrat Dan McCready by more than two percentage points in a special election called after allegations of fraud against McCready’s initial GOP opponent upended a razor-thin election last November.”

Republican Gerrymander Whiz Thomas Hofeller Had Wider Influence Than Was Known, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “Thomas B. Hofeller was known in political circles as a master of drawing political districts and using demographic data to further the aims of Republicans. But before his death a year ago, the public record of his work was limited to gerrymandered political maps in North Carolina and a handful of other states, and a sheaf of expert-witness depositions in lawsuits. That only skims the surface of his political work over the last decade. Tens of thousands of maps and documents, kept on computer backups that were uncovered after Mr. Hofeller’s death in August 2018, show his work on a broad range of projects nationwide, from drawing political maps that maximized Republican representation during the 2011 redistricting cycle to a host of smaller projects to advance the party’s fortunes.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus backs impeachment inquiry into Trump, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Tuesday voted to back an impeachment investigation into President Trump, adding to the momentum for an inquiry even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opposes one. In a statement, the group of liberal lawmakers said it was ‘impossible to ignore the mounting evidence’ that Trump ‘has repeatedly broken the law, committed impeachable offenses, and continues to obstruct justice.'”

House Oversight Committee urges the Defense Department to stop spending money at Trump properties and threatens subpoenas, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee urged the Defense Department on Tuesday to stop spending taxpayer funds at properties owned by President Trump, as the panel threatened to subpoena documents related to a Trump resort in Scotland where Air Force crews have stayed. In a letter, committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a subcommittee chairman, renewed a request from June for documents related to the Trump Turnberry resort, about 30 miles from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, a stopover site that the Air Force has used with increased frequency during Trump’s tenure. The new request came after the Air Force announced Sunday night that it is conducting a review of its selection of lodging accommodations amid heightened scrutiny of the placement of service members at the Scotland property owned by Trump’s family.”

Trump administration won’t grant temporary protected status to Bahamians, CNN, Priscilla Alvarez, Tuesday, 10 September 2019: “The Trump administration will not grant temporary protected status, a form of humanitarian relief, to Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian, according to an administration official. The source did not say when the decision was made, but President Donald Trump appeared to be at odds with one of his senior administration officials Monday over whether the temporary protections would be granted in the aftermath of Dorian.”

 

 

Wednesday, 11 September 2019, Day 965:

 

Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States, while the legal fight plays out in the courts. The Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned order, said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from migrants who have traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country. The court’s order was a major victory for the administration, allowing it to enforce a policy that will achieve one of its central goals: effectively barring most migration across the nation’s southwestern border by Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and others. Mexican migrants, who need not travel through another country to reach the United States, are not affected by the new policy. It was the second time in recent months that the Supreme Court has allowed a major Trump administration immigration initiative to go forward. In July, the court allowed the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for the construction of a barrier along the Mexican border. Last year, the court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, saying the court’s action will ‘upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution.'” See also, Supreme Court says Trump administration can begin denying asylum to migrants while legal fight continues, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “The Trump administration can begin denying asylum requests from migrants at the southern border who have traveled through Mexico or another country without seeking protection there, after the Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted a lower court’s block on the new restriction. The justices put on hold an injunction from lower courts in California that halted the new rule pending additional legal action; there, a district judge had said it probably ran afoul of a federal statute and administrative law requirements. President Trump’s policy is a dramatic change in the way the federal government treats those seeking safe haven in the United States , and is one of the administration’s most significant efforts to deter migrants at the southern border. It is one of multiple tools immigration officials have deployed to prevent entry by families and others fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.” See also, Supreme Court Authorizes Trump to Deny Asylum to Central Americans, The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “The Trump administration can deny asylum to Central Americans who cross through to the U.S., the Supreme Court said Wednesday, giving new life to White House efforts to deter a flood of immigrants seeking refuge at the southern border. The court’s action, which came in a brief written order, effectively set interim rules that allow the administration to enforce its asylum restrictions while legal challenges to the policy continue, a process that could last many months. The high court’s order stayed the effect of lower-court injunctions that barred the administration’s plans. One of those injunctions was issued just this week by a federal judge in California.”

Trump pushed staff to deal with NOAA tweet that contradicted his inaccurate Alabama hurricane claim, officials say, The Washington Post, Andrew Freedman, Josh Dawsey, Juliet Eilperin, and Jason Samenow, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “President Trump told his staff that the nation’s leading weather forecasting agency needed to correct a statement that contradicted a tweet the president had sent wrongly claiming that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama, senior administration officials said. That led White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to call Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to tell him to fix the issue, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the issue. Trump had complained for several days that forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contradicted his Sept. 1 Alabama tweet, the officials said.” See also, Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Lisa Friedman, and Christopher Flavelle, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.”

House Panel to Investigate Report That Cabinet Official Coerced the Head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Christopher Flavelle, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “A congressional committee opened an inquiry on Wednesday into a report that the secretary of commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., coerced the head of a federal science agency into supporting President Trump’s erroneous statements about Hurricane Dorian. In a letter to Mr. Ross, top officials of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology demanded documents and information related to an unusual, unsigned statement that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued on Friday that was perceived as rebuking its own scientists for contradicting President Trump’s claim that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian.”

Climate Denialist William Happer to Depart White House National Security Council, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “William Happer, the White House architect of a stalled plan to attack the established science of climate change, is leaving the Trump administration on Friday, according to three people familiar with his plans. Dr. Happer, a physicist who gained notoriety by claiming that the greenhouse gases ontributing to warming the planet are beneficial to humanity, and for likening attacks on fossil fuels to “the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler” in a 2014 interview, serves on the National Security Council as President Trump’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies. His signature effort at the White House was a plan to establish a panel to question the scientific consensus that climate change is overwhelmingly caused by humans and is a growing threat to national security. The effort was blocked by other senior White House and administration officials, including members of the military and intelligence communities.”

 

Thursday, 12 September 2019, Day 966:

 

Trump Administration Rolls Back Clean Water Protections, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation that had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and other bodies of water. The rollback of the 2015 measure, known as the Waters of the United States rule, adds to a lengthy list of environmental rules that the administration has worked to weaken or undo over the past two and a half years.Those efforts have focused heavily on eliminating restrictions on fossil fuel pollution, including coal-fired power plantsautomobile tailpipes and methane emissions, but have also touched on asbestos and chemical hazards like pesticides. An immediate effect of the clean water repeal is that polluters will no longer need a permit to discharge potentially harmful substances into many streams and wetlands. But the measure, which is expected to take effect in a matter of weeks, has implications far beyond the pollution that will now be allowed to flow freely into waterways.” See also, Administration finalizes repeal of 2015 water rule Trump called ‘destructive and horrible,’ The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, published on Wednesday, 11 September 2019: “For years, the fight over how much power the federal government should have to regulate the wetlands and tributaries that feed into the nation’s largest rivers has played out across the country. In the halls of Washington and on sprawling farms and ranches, in courtrooms and corporate boardrooms, a legal tug of war has unfolded over a 2015 rule that gave the Environmental Protection Agency much broader authority over the nation’s waterways. Critics say the Obama-era rule gave the federal government far too much power; supporters countered it would prevent the loss of vast swaths of wetlands. Court rulings have temporarily blocked the regulation in 28 states, while keeping it in effect in 22 others. On Thursday, the Trump administration plans to scrap the Obama-era definition of what qualifies as ‘waters of the United States’ under the Clean Water Act, returning the country to standards put in place in 1986.” See also, Trump administration rolls back landmark water protections, Politico, Annie Snider, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal of one of the Obama era’s most sweeping environmental rules — a set of pollution protections for small streams and wetlands that had riled up opposition from coal miners, home developers, farmers and oil and gas drillers. The action creates instant doubts about the legal status of myriad seasonal or isolated wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways, including vast swaths of the arid West. And it clears the way for the Environmental Protection Agency to finish a follow-up regulation in the coming months that could leave most of the nation’s wetlands without any federal safeguards.”

House Judiciary Committee Inches Toward Impeachment, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday took its first recorded vote to press forward with a possible impeachment of President Trump, putting aside Democrats’ internal divisions for the time being in a bid to strengthen its hand in investigating whether he committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Voting along party lines, the panel approved rules for a continuing ‘investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with regard to President Donald J. Trump,’ which clarified new authorities for lawmakers and laid out a process, albeit limited, for the president to respond.” See also, House committee votes to take steps toward impeachment as Democrats mull potential charges against Trump, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “A group of Judiciary Committee Democrats has begun privately mapping a list of possible charges against President Trump, sketching out the contours of potential articles of impeachment even as House leaders publicly resist taking such action, according to a half-dozen lawmakers and congressional aides.” See also, Judiciary panel advances impeachment drive as Pelosi changes the subject, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the parameters for its impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump — Democrats’ most significant step to date on the issue, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly sidestepped the i-word at a news conference.”

Attacks on Biden in Democratic Debate Highlight the Divide Over the Obama Legacy, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. clung tightly to the legacy of the Obama administration in a Democratic primary debate on Thursday, asking voters to view him as a stand-in for the former president as an array of progressive challengers, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, brandished more daring policy promises and questioned Mr. Biden’s political strength.” See also, Fact-Checking the Democratic Debate, The New York Times, Thursday, 12 September 2019. See also, 6 Takeaways From the September Democratic Debate, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Reid J. Epstein, Thursday, 12 September 2019. See also, Democrats argue over health care and other core issues–and the direction of the party, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., and Matt Viser, published on Friday, 13 September 2019: “The candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination clashed for just under three hours Thursday night, a gathering that laid bare the generational and ideological splits facing the party that have formed the undercurrent of months of campaigning. On issues from health care and race to guns and immigration, the candidates demonstrated how the party has lurched to the left, and how some continue to resist that pull. Former vice president Joe Biden came in for criticism of Obama administration policies, including its foreign policy and deportation moves — although the candidates were careful to reverse their strategies from the July debate and praise Obama himself.” See also, Transcript: The third Democratic debate, The Washington Post, The Fix team, Thursday, 12 September 2019. See also, Fact-checking the third Democratic presidential debate, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Thursday, 12 September 2019.

House rebukes Trump with bills banning drilling off coasts, The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “House Democrats — and a small group of Republicans — just issued one of the starkest rebukes yet to the Trump administration’s efforts to expand U.S. oil and natural gas production. The House’s passage of a pair of bills Wednesday banning oil and gas drilling in most federally-controlled waters solidifies Democrats’ decade-long shift against offshore drilling amid growing concerns about oil spills and global warming. Democrats also pushed through a bill on Thursday banning drilling in an ecologically sensitive but oil-rich section of northeast Alaska.  The trio of legislation stands little chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate or being signed by President Trump, whose administration has sought to aggressively expand energy development. But it’s politically significant for a party that has been slowly inching toward this moment ever since the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 endured the world’s largest marine oil spill — and ammunition for the many Democrats running for president who have promised to end federal oil and gas leasing both on- and offshore.”

‘Simply Unacceptable’: Executives Demand Senate Action on Gun Violence, The New York Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “In a direct and urgent call to address gun violence in America, the chief executives of some of the nation’s best-known companies sent a letter to Senate leaders on Thursday, urging an expansion of background checks to all firearms sales and stronger ‘red flag’ laws. ‘Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,’ the heads of nearly 150 companies, including Levi Strauss, Twitter and Uber, say in the letter, which was shared with The New York Times.”

With Trump in Office, Newspapers Increasingly Quoted Anti-Immigrant Groups Without Explaining Who They Were, The Intercept, Maryam Saleh, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The Center for Immigration Studies, a far-right, anti-immigrant group, was frequently cited by major U.S. newspapers in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency — without mention of the group’s deep ties to the Trump administration, according to a report released Thursday. Ninety percent of news articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today that cited the Center for Immigration Studies from 2014 to 2017 did not mention ‘the extremist nature of the group or its ties with the Trump administration,’ according to ‘The Language of Immigration Reporting: Normalizing vs. Watchdogging in a Nativist Age.’ The report, which was produced by researchers at Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization, and Media Cloud, a project of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, focuses on immigration reporting in those outlets over a four-year period starting in 2014. The researchers found that the Center for Immigration Studies — which was founded by the late John Tanton, a white nationalist considered to be the father of the modern anti-immigrant movement — was often cited as a neutral authority in providing expert opinion or data. In 2018, the news outlets did a slightly better job of identifying the group, with context missing only 82 percent of the time, and negative sentiment expressed in 13 percent of references.”

Amid Bipartisan Outcry, White House Agrees to Release Ukraine Aid, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The White House on Thursday dropped its resistance to releasing a package of military assistance to Ukraine, amid a bipartisan outcry from lawmakers and an open investigation into whether President Trump and his allies were distorting the United States foreign aid program for their own political benefit.”

Air Force says it sent crews to Trump’s Scottish resort up to 40 times, Politico, Bryan Bender and Natasha Bertrand, Thursday, 12 September 2019: “The U.S. Air Force has lodged crews at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort up to 40 times since 2015, a figure that is far higher than previously known. The tally represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched after POLITICO reported last week that an Air National Guard crew stayed at Turnberry in March. Congressional Democrats have also been investigating military stays at the property, but have yet to receive any information from the Pentagon.”