Trump Administration, Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)

 

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 11 October 2019, Day 995:

 

Appeals Court Rules Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s accounting firm must comply with a House committee’s demands for eight years of his financial records, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday in a major victory for House Democrats in their struggle against his vow to stonewall ‘all’ of their oversight subpoenas. In a 66-page ruling, the panel rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that Congress had no legitimate legislative authority to seek his business records from the firm, Mazars USA, because the committee was trying to determine whether he broke existing laws — not weighing whether to enact a new one. ‘Having considered the weighty issues at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,’ wrote Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mr. Trump is virtually certain to appeal the ruling, either to the full Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court. But the decision — affirming an earlier ruling by a Federal District Court judge — was the first test at the appeals court level of the Trump legal team’s sweeping challenges to the constitutional authority of Congress to conduct oversight of his activities.” See also, Appeals court rules against Trump in fight with Congress over president’s accounting firm records, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Spencer S. Hsu, and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Congress can seek eight years of President Trump’s business records from his accounting firm, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday in one of several legal battles over access to the president’s financial data. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Congress’s broad investigative powers and rejected the president’s bid to block lawmakers from subpoenaing the documents. That three-judge panel’s ruling is a significant victory for the Democratic-led House, but it will not result in the House obtaining Trump’s tax returns — at least, not immediately. The House agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoenas while Trump’s appeal is pending. Trump could keep it pending for weeks or months by appealing the case to the full D.C. Circuit.” See also, Trump loses appeal to withhold financial records from Democrats, Politico, Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein, Friday, 11 October 2019.

Judges Strike Several Blows to Trump Immigration Policies. Judges in three states ruled against a policy that would withhold green cards to immigrants who receive public assistance such as Medicaid. Another judge rejected Trump’s plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s immigration agenda ran into legal blockades in courts around the country on Friday as judges in four states barred his administration from trying to withhold green cards from people who use public benefits and rejected his plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. In three rulings, federal judges in New York, California and Washington State issued injunctions temporarily blocking the ‘public charge’ rule, which would impose serious impediments to legal residency for those who use benefits such as Medicaid or those deemed likely to use them in the future. The rule, widely seen as an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help, was one of the Trump administration’s signature immigration policies — and it ran into a legal brick wall in three corners of the country on a single day…. Trump faced yet another legal setback in Texas, where a senior federal judge in El Paso ruled on Friday that he had acted unlawfully in announcing he would tap $3.6 billion in Pentagon money intended for military construction to build a barrier along the nation’s southwestern border.” See also, Federal Judges in 3 States Block Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule for Green Cards, NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Pam Fessler, and Richard Gonzales, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15. The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled ‘Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,’ the rule sparked several legal challenges. See also, Judge rules Trump violated the law on wall funding with national emergency. In February 2019 Trump ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects be used instead for the barrier on Mexico’s border. NBC News, Pete Williams, Friday, 11 October 2019: “A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his declaration of a national emergency to get millions for building a wall on the southern border. The ruling is a victory for El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, which sued to stop border construction in their community. They argued that Trump had no legal authority to spend more than what Congress appropriated for the wall project. In January the president asked for $5.7 billion to build ‘a steel barrier for the Southwest border,’ but Congress approved only $1.375 billion. In February, Trump declared a national emergency and ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects would be used instead for the wall.”

Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Our Over Lack of Trust. Her Boss Told Her She Had ‘Done Nothing Wrong.’ The New York Times, Sharon La Franiere, Nicholas Fandos, and Andrew E. Kramer, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The State Department’s request went in early March to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who had served six presidents: Would she extend her term as ambassador to Ukraine, scheduled to end in August, into 2020? Less than two months later came another departmental communiqué: Get ‘on the next plane’ to Washington. Her ambassadorship was over. How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. And in nearly nine hours of testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was told after her recall that President Trump had lost trust in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018 — even though, one of her bosses told her, she had ‘done nothing wrong.’ Her version of events added a new dimension to the tale of the campaign against her. It apparently began with a business proposition being pursued in Ukraine by two Americans who, according to an indictment against them unsealed on Thursday, wanted her gone, and who would later become partners with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in digging up political dirt in Ukraine for Mr. Trump…. DOCUMENT: Read Ms. Yovanovitch’s opening statement.” See also, Marie Yovanovitch, ousted ambassador to Ukraine, tells Congress Trump pressured the State Department to remove her, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, and Paul Sonne, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine whose abrupt ouster in May has become a focus of House impeachment investigators said Friday in remarks before Congress that her departure came as a direct result of pressure President Trump placed on the State Department to remove her. The account by Marie Yovanovitch depicts a career Foreign Service officer caught in a storm of unsubstantiated allegations pushed by the president’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and a cast of former Ukrainian officials who viewed her as a threat to their financial and political interests. She told lawmakers that she was forced to leave Kiev on ‘the next plane’ this spring and subsequently removed from her post, with the State Department’s No. 2 official telling her that, although she had done nothing wrong, the president had lost confidence in her and the agency had been under significant pressure to remove her since the summer of 2018.”

Continue reading Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)

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Trump Administration, Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)

 

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 4 October 2019, Day 988:

 

Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Text Messages and Testimony Collected by Congressional Investigators Indicated That His Own Representatives Saw It Differently, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “President Trump denied again on Friday that there was any quid pro quo attached to his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political enemies, but text messages and testimony collected by congressional investigators indicated that his own representatives saw it differently. Envoys representing Mr. Trump sought to leverage the power of his office to prod Ukraine into opening investigations that would damage his Democratic opponents at home. They made clear to Ukrainian officials that the White House invitation their newly inaugurated president coveted depended on his commitment to the investigations. And the senior American diplomat posted in Ukraine suspected it went even further than a trade of an Oval Office visit. He told colleagues that it appeared that unfreezing $391 million in American aid that Mr. Trump had blocked was contingent on the former Soviet republic following through on the politically charged investigations sought by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a conclusion sharply denied by another diplomat who said there were ‘no quid pro quo’s.’ The text messages, provided to three Democrat-led House committees by the former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt D. Volker, may shape the impeachment inquiry now threatening the future of Mr. Trump’s presidency. They provided new pieces of a timeline of events in recent months and a road map for further investigation by House Democrats.” See also, Read the Text Messages Between U.S. and Ukrainian Officials, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Josh Williams, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, Texts of senior State Department officials reveal belief that Trump wanted investigations as condition of meeting with Ukraine’s president, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and John Hudson, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House investigators released numerous text messages late Thursday night illustrating how senior State Department officials coordinated with the Ukrainian president’s top aide and President Trump’s personal lawyer to leverage a potential summit between the heads of state on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The texts, which former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker provided investigators during a nearly 10-hour deposition Thursday, reveal that officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless Zelensky promised to launch the investigations — and did so publicly. Although the texts do not mention Biden by name, congressional Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry are pointing to them as clear evidence that Trump conditioned normal bilateral relations with Ukraine on that country first agreeing ‘to launch politically motivated investigations,’ top Democrats said in a statement Thursday night.” See also, Former State Department Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker Gives New Details on Rudy Giuliani’s Role in Ukraine Policy, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The former State Department special envoy for Ukraine told congressional investigators that Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, demanded that Ukraine specifically commit to investigate involvement in the 2016 election and a firm tied to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. During testimony behind closed doors on Thursday, the special envoy, Kurt D. Volker, said Mr. Giuliani rejected a generic draft statement that Ukraine’s government had agreed to issue committing to fighting corruption generally. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said the Ukrainians had to promise to pursue two specific investigations that could damage the president’s political domestic adversaries.” See also, Texts Indicate the Trump Administration Used Potential Meeting to Pressure Ukraine on Biden, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hughes, and Dustin Volz, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, newly released text messages indicated, as President Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival. The president’s efforts to persuade Ukraine in a July phone call to investigate Mr. Biden have already set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, who are looking at whether the president abused the power of his office for political gain. Text messages released by House committees late Thursday revealed that Trump administration officials sought to use a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation into Mr. Biden and other matters. The messages indicate that U.S. officials coordinated with aides to the Ukrainian president and Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, on a draft statement in which Kyiv would announce an investigation into Mr. Biden and the 2016 U.S. election—at the same time as announcing a visit by the Ukrainian president to the White House.” See also, Damning text messages detail Trump pressure on Ukraine, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Text messages released on Thursday between US diplomats and a senior Ukrainian aide show how a potential Ukrainian investigation into the 2016 election was linked to a desired meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Donald Trump.” See also, Trump, in August Phone Call With Republican Senator Ron Johnson, Denied Official’s Claim on Ukraine Aid, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A Republican senator said he was told by an American diplomat in August that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by President Trump and his allies, but Mr. Trump denied pursuing any such proposal when the lawmaker pressed him on it. Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.” See also, Kurt Volker, Former Special Envoy to Ukraine, Told Congress That Trump’s Biden Conspiracy ‘Has No Credibility to Me,’ BuzzFeed News, Christopher Miller, Sarah Mimms, and Zoe Tillman, Friday, 4 October 2019.

2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings, New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter. The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday  about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official was considering filing a complaint.”

Impeachment Investigators Subpoena White House and Ask Vice President Mike Pence for Documents on Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators widened the reach of their inquiry on Friday, subpoenaing the White House for a vast trove of documents and requesting more from Vice President Mike Pence to better understand President Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. The subpoena, addressed to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, calls for documents and communications that are highly delicate and would typically be subject in almost any White House to claims of executive privilege. If handed over by the Oct. 18 deadline, the records could provide keys to understanding what transpired between the two countries and what steps, if any, the White House has taken to cover it up.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents. They also demanded Ukraine documents from Vice President Mike Pence. Politico, Andrew Desiderio, John Bresnahan, and Heather Caygle, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Three top House Democrats subpoenaed the White House on Friday night seeking documents related to President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to target his political rivals, a dramatic escalation of the impeachment fight with the president. The subpoena was sent to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney by three Democratic committee chairmen — Reps. Adam Schiff of Intelligence, Eliot Engel of Foreign Affairs and Elijah Cummings of Oversight…. Democrats gave the White House a two-week deadline of Oct. 18 to comply with their demand, and they warned Mulvaney — a former House member himself — that his ‘failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the behest of the President or others at the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstructing the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President.'” See also, What happened on impeachment on Friday, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Marisa Iati, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry requested a long list of documents and communications Friday from Vice President Pence related to Ukraine. Earlier, President Trump said that Democrats ‘unfortunately have the votes’ to impeach him in the House, but he predicted he would ‘win’ in a trial in the Republican-led Senate…. Trump’s comments to reporters at the White House came as fallout continued Friday from the late-night release of text messages by House investigators, while another key figure, the inspector general of the intelligence community, testified on Capitol Hill behind closed doors. The texts released late Thursday show how State Department officials coordinated with Zelensky’s top aide and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to leverage a potential summit between Trump and Zelensky on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate an energy company, Burisma, that had employed Hunter Biden.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House over Ukraine documents, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy and Julia Carrie Wong, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents, escalating impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 4 October 2019.

Continue reading Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)

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Trump Administration, Week 141: Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

Montreal Climate March, Friday, 27 September 2019

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 27 September 2019, Day 981:

 

‘We are changing the world’: Greta Thunberg addresses hundreds of thousands at Montreal climate march, CBC, Benjamin Shingler, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets of Montreal on Friday in a climate march that turned the city’s downtown into a sea of placard-waving protesters. To deafening cheers, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed the crowd at the end of the protest. ‘We are not in school today, you are not at work today, because this is an emergency, and we will not be bystanders,’ said the 16-year-old, whose activism has made headlines around the world. ‘Some would say we are wasting lesson time. We say we are changing the world. So that when we are older we will be able to look our children in the eyes and say that we did everything we could back then.’ Organizers said 500,000 people attended the march, making it the largest in the province’s history.” See also, As it happened–500,000 in Montreal climate march led by Greta Thunberg, Montreal Gazette, Andy Riga, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The best signs from Montreal’s climate march, CBC, Friday, 27 September 2019.

More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern,’ The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials have signed a statement warning that President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern’ and supporting an impeachment inquiry by Congress to determine ‘the facts.’ ‘To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress’ deliberative process,’ said the statement, released Friday. ‘At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.'” See also, Hundreds of ex-national security officials support impeachment inquiry into Trump, CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former national security officials have come out in support of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, arguing the President’s actions in regard to Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern. President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes,’ a statement signed by the officials and dated Friday reads. ‘That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power.'”

House Democrats Issue First Subpoena (Secretary of State Mike Pompeo) in Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats, moving quickly to escalate their impeachment inquiry into President Trump, subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding that he promptly produce a tranche of documents and a slate of witnesses that could shed light on the president’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to help tarnish a leading political rival. The subpoena and demands for depositions were the first major investigative actions the House has taken since it launched impeachment proceedings this week in light of revelations that Mr. Trump pushed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, possibly using United States aid as leverage.” See also, Democrats subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as part of impeachment inquiry, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Democrats hit the gas on their impeachment inquiry Friday, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents they demanded weeks earlier that describe a pattern of interactions between President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and senior Ukrainian officials who they pressured to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.” See also, House subpoenas Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and schedules depositions of five State Department officials, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The chairmen of three powerful House committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to their investigation into President Trump’s controversial call with the leader of Ukraine. The House panels have also scheduled five depositions beginning next week with State Department officials who would have knowledge of Trump’s engagements with Ukraine. These are the first concrete steps taken as Democrats seek to build a case for impeachment. Members of the House Intelligence Committee had said they planned to continue working next week through Congress’s scheduled recess, promising a very busy next few weeks. Lawmakers shared their plans hours after Trump called for the committee’s chairman to resign and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Attorney General William P. Barr of having ‘gone rogue.'” See also, Democrats Set Rapid Timetable for Trump Impeachment Probe, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Andrew Duehren, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats have settled on a narrow impeachment inquiry into President Trump centered on his campaign to enlist Ukraine to hurt a political rival, a rapid strategy that will produce hearings within a few weeks and build to a possible vote by November. That plan was put into action immediately on Friday, when a trio of House committees issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for records of interactions between the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the Ukrainian government. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which had requested the material about three weeks ago, also scheduled depositions starting next week with five State Department officials, including Kurt Volker, who late Friday resigned as the special envoy for Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter, after playing a role in arranging a meeting between Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and an aide to Ukraine’s president.” See also, House Democrats accelerate impeachment inquiry, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Heather Caygle, and Sarah Ferris, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats are moving swiftly in their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for key documents on Friday and announcing plans to haul in the intelligence community’s top watchdog next week over a scheduled recess. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) confirmed Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, will testify in a closed session before the panel next Friday.” See also, Where House Democrats stand on impeaching Trump, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Amber Phillips, and Kevin Schaul, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Now, 224 House Democrats and one Independent member say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry into whether the president committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Of those, 28 have gone a step further and said they support impeaching the president. The ranks of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump swelled in the past week, culminating on Sept. 24 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry.” See also, What you missed while not watching Day 4 of President Trump’s impeachment drama, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, Trump says the whistleblower complaint isn’t accurate. The White House keeps showing how it is. The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The Integrity of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New Yorker, Steve Coll, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Many features of Trumpism—the cynical populism, the brazen readiness to profit from high office, the racist and nativist taunts—have antecedents in American politics. But Donald Trump’s open willingness to ask foreign governments to dig up dirt on political opponents has been an idiosyncratic aspect of his rise to power. At a press conference in July, 2016, when he was the presumptive Republican nominee for President, he invited Russia to get hold of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and leak them to the press. This past June, George Stephanopoulos asked him what he thought his campaign should do now ‘if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else,’ offered information on his political opponents—accept it or call the F.B.I.? Trump allowed that he might do both, adding, “If somebody called from a country—Norway—‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” (When the interview was released, Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, felt obliged to point out that ‘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.’) We now know that, as Trump spoke to Stephanopoulos, he and Rudolph Giuliani, his personal lawyer, were deep in a vigorous effort to persuade the government of Ukraine to conduct investigations that might rake up some muck about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.” See also, Why the Trump Impeachment Inquiry Is the Only Option, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Friday, 27 September 2019.

Continue reading Week 141, Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

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Trump Administration, Week 140: Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 20 September 2019, Day 974:

 

Photos: What the youth climate strike looks like around the world, Vox, Brian Resnick and Danielle Scruggs, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Friday may be remembered as the largest global demonstration ever in the fight against climate change. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, young people around the world have organized to skip school and protest in the street over the climate crisis and the adults who aren’t doing enough to transition off fossil fuels. Thunberg and her group Fridays for Future aren’t alone: They’ll be joined by adult climate activists, indigenous groups, workers from companies like Amazon and Google, and really anyone who feels like the world is overdue for dramatic action on climate change. The event is truly global: There are 2,500 events scheduled in over 150 countries.” See also, Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever, The Guardian, Sandra Laville and Jonathan Watts, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Millions of people demonstrated across the world yesterday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating, as they united across timezones and cultures to take part in the biggest climate protest in history. In an explosion of the youth movement started by the Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg just over 12 months ago, people protested from the Pacific islands, through Australia, across-south east Asia and Africa into Europe and onwards to the Americas. For the first time since the school strikes for climate began last year, young people called on adults to join them – and they were heard. Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilised in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook walked out to join the climate strikes.” See also, Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest–as it happened, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh, Mark Oliver, Haroon Siddique, and Naaman Zhou, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Protesting Climate Change, Young People Take to the Streets in a Global Strike, The New York Times, Somini Sengupta, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Anxious about their future on a hotter planet and angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, masses of young people poured into the streets on every continent on Friday for a day of global climate protests. Organizers estimated the turnout to be around four million in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. It was the first time that children and young people had demonstrated to demand climate action in so many places and in such numbers around the world.” See also, Climate Strike N.Y.C.: Young Crowds Demand Action and Welcome Greta Thunberg, The New York Times, Anne Barnard and James Barron, Friday, 20 September 2019: “They packed Foley Square and the streets around City Hall, and jammed the stairs leading out of nearby subway stations. They carried handmade signs like one that said, ‘There is no plan(et) B,’ and chanted, ‘Sea levels are rising and so are we!’ Later, they paraded out of the square, headed to another rally at Battery Park. Frustrated by what they consider officials’ failure to adequately address a crisis, thousands of young people marched through Lower Manhattan on Friday during a day of global climate protests. Those who rallied said that too little was being done to stem the rise of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. One test of their message will come on Monday, when world leaders convene at the United Nations to discuss what they are ready to do about climate change.” See also, Greta Thunberg is leading students and adults from 150 countries in a massive Friday climate strike, Vox, Umair Irfan, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Thousands of Tech Workers Join Global Climate Change Strike, Wired, Louise Matsakis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Thousands of workers from AmazonTwitterGoogleMicrosoftFacebookSquare, and other tech companies are expected to walk out today as part of a worldwide climate change strike led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg. After Amazon workers announced they were joining the demonstration last week, employees from other Silicon Valley firms began joining in. The same group of Amazon employees have been pushing the company to reduce its carbon footprint for nearly a year. Now, over 1,700 of them and counting have said they will join Friday’s walkout, which is expected to draw millions of participants in cities around the world.” See also, Millions of Young People Around the World Are Leading Strikes to Call Attention to the Climate Crisis, BuzzFeed News, Zahra Hirji, Matthew Champion, Azeen Ghorayshi, and J. Lester Feder, Friday, 20 September 2019: “People — mainly young people — across the world walked out of school and work in a massive youth-led movement to draw attention to the climate crisis. There were more than 3,600 events planned, according to the main organizing group #FridaysForFuture. The third global youth-run climate strike of the year, Friday’s event was poised to be the biggest yet and it seemed to deliver: streets in major cities around the world were shuttered with throngs of determined people holding clever signs and chanting.” See also, ‘We will make them hear us’: Millions of youths around the world strike for action, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan, Lauren Lumpkin, and Brady Dennis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In one of the largest youth-led demonstrations in history, millions of people from Manhattan to Mumbai took to the streets around the globe on Friday, their chants, speeches and homemade signs delivering the same stern message to world leaders: do more to combat climate change — and do it faster.” See also, Summits, Strikes, and Climate Change, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Are the politics of climate change in America changing? There are positive signs. Earlier this month, the top ten candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination participated in a CNN town hall on the issue; according to the Times, this was ‘the first such prime-time event’ in history. A recent Washington Post poll found that more than three-quarters of Americans now consider climate change a ‘crisis’ or a ‘major problem.’ A survey conducted this summer of voters in Texas showed that, even in the oil patch, a majority are concerned about climate change. Thunberg’s actions have inspired hundreds of thousands of young people around the globe to stage school strikes for climate action. Ahead of the strike called for the eve of the climate summit, the New York City school system said it would excuse students who skipped classes; Thunberg was set to speak to the strikers in Foley Square. Still, you’d have to ignore most of the past forty years to conclude that action is imminent.” See also, Scientists Warn That Immediate Climate Action Is Needed to Avoid ‘Grim’ Future, Scientific American, Thomas Frank, Friday, 20 September 2019: “A leading group of international climate scientists is warning that ‘large-scale strategies’ are needed immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert ‘catastrophic circumstances’ that threaten every part of the world. In a paper published yesterday in the journal Science, 21 researchers from 14 countries said climate change is already damaging the planet more than scientists had projected, endangering everything from food supply to the existence of island nations. Heat waves are intensifying in North America and Europe. Underwater heat waves are killing deepwater habitats and coral reefs. Insect populations are dwindling, threatening the food chain. And larger, more frequent wildfires, such as the blazes that have killed more than 100 people in California since 2017, are destroying forests and communities around the world.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Congress Should Pass New Laws so Sitting Presidents Can Be Indicted, NPR, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted. ‘I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he’s committed a wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted,’ Pelosi told All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro and NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Friday. ‘That’s something cooked up by the president’s lawyers.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs changing the law to allow a sitting president to be indicted, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed changing federal law to specify that a sitting president can be indicted, even as she indicated she was no closer to moving to impeach President Donald Trump. In an interview with NPR published Friday, Pelosi argued that despite a Justice Department legal opinion asserting the contrary, ‘there is nothing any place that says the president should not be indicted.'”

U.S. Agreement With El Salvador Seeks to Divert Asylum Seekers, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Elisabeth Malkin, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration signed an agreement with the government of El Salvador on Friday that could force Central American migrants traveling through El Salvador to seek refuge in that violent and dangerous country instead of in the United States. The agreement is a win for President Trump and his hard-line immigration policies, and it gives him another ally in Central America as he tries to block migrants from seeking asylum at the southwestern border. Washington has signed a similar agreement with Guatemala.” See also, Trump administration reaches deal to send asylum seekers to El Salvador in an effort to deter migrants from entering the United States, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration announced an accord Friday that will allow the United States to divert asylum seekers from the U.S. border to El Salvador, pushing migrants into one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The deal between the two governments is the latest measure aimed at creating new layers of deterrents to the influx of migrants applying for protection on U.S. soil.”

Continue reading Week 140, Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

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Trump Administration, Week 139: Friday, 13 September – Thursday, 19 September 2019 (Days 967-973)

 

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 13 September 2019, Day 967:

 

U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Emoluments Case Against Trump, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court in New York on Friday revived a lawsuit alleging that President Trump is illegally profiting from his hotels and restaurants in New York and Washington in violation of the Constitution’s anti-corruption, or emoluments, clauses. In a two-to-one decision, a panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that a lower court had wrongly dismissed the lawsuit accusing Mr. Trump of violating the Constitution’s bans on accepting financial benefits from foreign or state governments. The appeals court judge sent the lawsuit back to the lower court, ordering it be allowed to proceed.” See also, Appeals court revives lawsuit saying Trump is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court on Friday revived a previously dismissed lawsuit against President Trump, which alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by engaging in business transactions with foreign governments. In a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit found that a lower-court judge improperly threw out the lawsuit in December 2017. Now, plaintiffs are hoping this victory will allow them to seek detailed records on Trump’s transactions with foreign officials. But, if Trump appeals, as is expected, the case could go to the full 2nd Circuit — and possibly to the Supreme Court after that.” See also, Appeals court revives foreign corruption suit against Trump, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court has resurrected the first lawsuit President Donald Trump faced over claims that his business dealings violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars federal officials receiving payments from foreign governments.”

Teen activist Greta Thunberg takes her youth climate campaign to Washington, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan and Brady Dennis, Friday, 13 September 2019: “Barely a year ago, Greta Thunberg sat alone outside the Swedish parliament each week, holding a handwritten sign that read ‘School Strike for Climate.’ But by the time the 16-year-old arrived in the United States in late August after a two-week ocean voyage on a zero-emissions boat, she was an icon of the youth climate movement. She has published a book, given barn-burning speeches before audiences of the world’s political and business leaders and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This coming Friday, she plans to lead a protest in New York ahead of a United Nations summit on climate action. Hundreds of thousands of students across more than 150 countries have said they plan to walk out of school in solidarity with her.” See also, Greta Thunberg to U.S.: ‘You Have a Moral Responsibility’ on Climate Change, NPR, Bill Chappell and Ailsa Chang, Friday, 13 September 2019: “Greta Thunberg led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn’t looking to go inside — ‘I don’t want to meet with people who don’t accept the science,’ she says. The young Swedish activist joined a large crowd of protesters who had gathered outside, calling for immediate action to help the environment and reverse an alarming warming trend in average global temperatures. She says her message for President Trump is the same thing she tells other politicians: Listen to science, and take responsibility.”

Interior Department Takes Next Step Toward Sale of Drilling Leases in Arctic Refuge, The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Friday, 13 September 2019: “The Trump administration reached a milestone this week in its plan to open a pristine part of Alaska to oil and gas development with the release of a final report on the environmental impact of the plan. The report keeps the Interior Department on track to auction leases for the right to drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the end of the year, a long-stated administration goal. Having drilling rights in the hands of oil companies would make it more difficult to stop development in the refuge should Democrats take either the White House or Senate and keep control of the House in the 2020 elections.”

Continue reading Week 139, Friday, 13 September – Thursday, 19 September 2019 (Days 960-96)

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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.

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

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

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)

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Trump Administration, Week 137: Friday, 30 August – Thursday, 5 September 2019 (Days 953-959)

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 30 August 2019, Day 953:

 

Greta Thunberg joins hundreds of teenagers in climate protest in New York, The Guardian, Friday, 30 August 2019: “Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was joined by hundreds of American teenagers protesting outside the UN headquarters in New York on Friday calling for adults to act on the crisis of global heating. Holding her trademark ‘skolstrejk för klimatet’ (Swedish for ‘school strike for climate’) sign, Thunberg sat in the middle of the rally where young activists gave speeches calling for action on the climate crisis.”

Trump’s personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout is fired after comments about Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, Politico, Daniel Lippman, Friday, 30 August 2019: “Madeleine Westerhout, who left her White House job suddenly on Thursday as President Trump’s personal assistant, was fired after bragging to reporters that she had a better relationship with Trump than his own daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, and that the president did not like being in pictures with Tiffany because he perceived her as overweight. Given Westerhout’s sensitive role as a confidante to the president, the few details the White House shared about her abrupt firing had Washington’s political-media class in a quiet frenzy on Thursday night and Friday.” See also, Trump’s Personal Assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, Shared Intimate Details of First Family, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Annie Karni, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 30 August 2019: “If a White House official wanted to talk to President Trump, it helped to have a good relationship with Madeleine Westerhout, his 28-year-old assistant. She was known for brusquely deflecting officials senior to her both in title and age who wanted a few minutes of face time with the president with one withering question: ‘Why are you here?’ But it was not what some administration officials saw as Ms. Westerhout’s overprotectiveness of the president that led to her abrupt and unceremonious departure from the White House on Thursday. Instead, it was an act of disloyalty. At an off-the-record dinner and several rounds of drinks with reporters two weeks ago during the president’s working vacation in Bedminster, N.J., she shared personal details about the president and his family. Ms. Westerhout attended the dinner with Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman. After he left, she began to tell reporters about Mr. Trump’s eating habits; his youngest son, Barron Trump; and his thoughts about the weight and appearance of his daughter Tiffany Trump, according to a group of current and former administration officials who were told what happened.” See also, Trump says ousted personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout made ‘hurtful’ comments about his family to reporters, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 30 August 2019: “President Trump said he dismissed his personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, after she divulged personal information about the Trump family during an off-the-record dinner with reporters.” See also, Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, abruptly exits White House after sharing details about Trump’s family, CNN, Jim Acosta, Kaitlan Collins, Noah Gray, Pamela Brown, and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 30 August 2019. See also, Trump’s Personal Assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, Steps Down, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, published on Thursday, 29 August 2019.

How the Trump administration limited the scope of the US Department of Agriculture’s 2020 dietary guidelines, The Washington Post, Laura Reiley, Friday, 30 August 2019: “The Trump administration is limiting scientific input to the 2020 dietary guidelines, raising concerns among nutrition advocates and independent experts about industry influence over healthy eating recommendations for all Americans. For the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, which oversee the committee giving recommendations for the guidelines, have predetermined the topics that will be addressed. They have narrowed the research that can be used only to studies vetted by agency officials, potentially leaving key studies out of the mix. The 80 questions the committee has been asked to answer do not cover several pressing issues the panel explored five years ago. This includes the consumption of red and processed meat, as well as the dramatic proliferation of ultraprocessed foods, which account for a growing percentage of calories consumed by Americans. Nor will the committee explore appropriate sodium levels for different populations.”

Continue reading Week 137, Friday, 30 August – Thursday, 5 August 2019 (Days 953-959)

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Trump Administration, Week 136: Friday, 23 August – Thursday, 29 August 2019 (Days 946-952)

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 23 August 2019, Day 946:

 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Highlights the Limits of the Central Bank. Trump Labels Him an ‘Enemy.’ The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek, Friday, 23 August 2019: “Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, kept future interest rate cuts squarely on the table on Friday but suggested that the central bank was limited in its ability to counteract President Trump’s trade policies, which are stoking uncertainty and posing risks to the economic outlook. Mr. Powell’s remarks drew a swift and angry reaction from Mr. Trump, who equated the Fed leader with the president’s adversary in the trade war, President Xi Jinping of China.” See also, Trump calls the Federal Reserve chair an ‘enemy’ after Jerome Powell says Trump’s trade war is a ‘complex, turbulent’ situation, The Washington Post, Heather Long, Friday, 23 August 2019: “President Trump escalated his unprecedented attacks against America’s central bank Friday, calling Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell an ‘enemy’ of the United States that is as bad as China, a tweet that triggered a stock market slide and came minutes after Powell vowed to keep the economy growing. Powell said Friday that the trade war is a ‘complex, turbulent’ situation and that the central bank will ‘act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,’ suggesting another interest rate cut may be coming but not the large decline that Trump has demanded.” See also, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Issues a Warning Over Trade War and Signals More Rate Cuts Are Possible, The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos, Friday, 23 August 2019: “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave his most forceful warning yet about the risks to the U.S. economy from escalating trade tensions and the limits to the central bank’s ability to cushion any fallout. Mr. Powell, in a widely anticipated speech here Friday, signaled the central bank would follow its rate cut last month, its first in more than a decade, with an additional reduction soon. But he stopped short of saying how much stimulus the Fed might provide beyond that. Instead, he cautioned that the Fed’s tools weren’t well suited to counter rising business and investor anxieties over the intensifying trade war between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. There are ‘no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation. Moreover, while monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade,’ Mr. Powell said at the Kansas City Fed’s annual symposium.”

David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79, The New York Times, Robert D. McFadden, Friday, 23 August 2019: “David H. Koch, an industrialist who amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune with his brother Charles and then joined him in pouring their riches into a powerful right-wing libertarian movement that helped reshape American politics, died on Friday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 79…. Jane Mayer, the New Yorker writer and a critic of the Koch brothers, said in her book ‘Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right’ (2016), that the libertarian policies they embraced benefited Koch chemical and fossil fuel businesses, which were among the nation’s worst polluters, and paid millions in fines and court judgments for hazardous-waste violations. ‘Lowering taxes and rolling back regulations, slashing the welfare state and obliterating the limits on campaign spending might or might not have helped others,’ Ms. Mayer wrote, ‘but they most certainly strengthened the hand of extreme donors with extreme wealth.’ The Koch brothers rejected the allegations. Koch money also funded initiatives to undercut climate science and to counter efforts to address climate change. As Ms. Mayer put it in her book, ‘The Kochs vehemently opposed the government taking any action on climate change that would hurt their fossil fuel profits.’ In interviews after the book was published, Ms. Mayer said that investigators who she believed were hired by the Koch brothers had tried to intimidate her by digging up false information, including accusations of plagiarism, to smear her reputation.” See also, Looking Back at David Koch’s Impact on U.S. Politics, NPR, NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Friday, 23 August 2019. See also, David Koch Was the Ultimate Climate Change Denier, The New York Times, Christopher Leonard, Friday, 23 August 2019: “David Koch, who died Friday at the age of 79, is best known as a major funder of right-wing political causes, from tax cuts to deregulation, an enthusiastic patron of the arts and a man-about-town. But to his critics, his most lasting political legacy might very well be the rapidly warming world that he has left behind. Koch Industries realized early on that it would be a financial disaster for the firm if the American government regulated carbon emissions or made companies pay a price for releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The effects of such a policy would be measured over decades for Koch. The company has billions of dollars sunk into the complex and expensive infrastructure of crude-oil processing. If a limit on greenhouse gas emissions were imposed, it could dampen demand for oil and diminish the value of those assets and their future sales. The total dollar losses would likely be measured in trillions over a period of 30 years or more. In the face of this political problem, David Koch and his brother Charles built a political influence machine that is arguably unrivaled by any in corporate America.” See also, ‘Kochland’ by Christopher Leonard Examines the Koch Brothers’ Early, Crucial Role in Climate-Change Denial, The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, published on Tuesday, 13 August 2019: “If there is any lingering uncertainty that the Koch brothers are the primary sponsors of climate-change doubt in the United States, it ought to be put to rest by the publication of ‘Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America,’ by the business reporter Christopher Leonard. This seven-hundred-and-four-page tome doesn’t break much new political ground, but it shows the extraordinary behind-the-scenes influence that Charles and David Koch have exerted to cripple government action on climate change.”

Keystone XL Pipeline Plan Is Approved by Nebraska Supreme Court, The New York Times, Mitch Smith, Friday, 23 August 2019: “Nebraska’s highest court approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s planned path through that state on Friday, resolving a permitting battle that has stretched on for more than a decade as the project has become a proxy for a national debate between environmentalists and the energy industry. Keystone XL, which would carry crude oil from Canada to southern Nebraska, has been the subject of political maneuvering and litigation since it was proposed in 2008. The project, which was rejected by the Obama administration, was revived under President Trump…. The Nebraska Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday was not the final word on the pipeline. A federal lawsuit in Montana still seeks to block construction, and several landowners along the route have refused to sign easements. Protesters, including from Native American tribes in Nebraska and South Dakota, have promised to mobilize if construction begins.” See also, Keystone Pipeline’s Alternate Route Gets the Go-Ahead From Nebraska Supreme Court, NPR, Colin Dwyer, Friday, 23 August 2019: “The company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has won a major victory in Nebraska, where environmental activists, two Native American tribes and some local landowners had sought to derail its construction. The state’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled unanimously in favor of an alternate route proposed by TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada.”

Continue reading Week 136, Friday, 23 August – Thursday, 29 August 2019 (Days 946-952)

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Trump Administration, Week 135: Friday, 16 August – Thursday, 22 August 2019 (Days 939-945)

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 16 August 2019, Day 939:

 

Federal Appeals Court Rules U.S. Can Block Migrants Seeking Asylum, but Only in Some States, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 16 August 2019: “A federal appeals court said Friday that President Trump can begin blocking some Central American migrants from applying for asylum in the United States, but only along parts of the border with Mexico. Migrants who seek asylum in New Mexico and Texas can be subjected to the administration’s new rules, which effectively prohibit them from requesting protection if they traveled through another country on their way to the United States unless they already tried and failed to receive asylum in that other country or countries, the court said. But the ruling by the three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, is only a partial victory for Mr. Trump, whose immigration agenda has repeatedly been delayed by judges. In July, a lower court had blocked the president’s new asylum rules after finding that the administration had probably violated the procedures required to put those regulations in place. The judge suspended the asylum rules nationwide while the court challenge continued. The appeals court agreed with the lower court, but said that the judge had not provided enough evidence that the rules should be blocked across the country. The appeals panel narrowed the judge’s ruling, deciding that the tough asylum rules could not go into effect in the Ninth Circuit, which covers California and Arizona. The ruling means that the administration can begin blocking the Central American migrants in two border states: New Mexico, which is covered by the 10th Circuit, and Texas, which is covered by the Fifth Circuit. Immigrants from Honduras, for example, who enter the United States through those states will be eligible for asylum protections only if they had first been denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico. Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in the legal challenge to the asylum rules, said his organization plans to provide the judge in the case with more information about why the president’s rules should be blocked nationwide.” See also, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a split decision, allowing Trump’s latest asylum restrictions to continue in Texas and New Mexico, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 16 August 2019: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Trump administration’s latest asylum restrictions to take effect Friday in the border states of Texas and New Mexico — but not in California and Arizona — in a ruling that centered on whether a judge has authority to impose an injunction nationwide.”

Elizabeth Warren Offers a Policy Agenda for Native Americans, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Friday, 16 August 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Friday laid out a collection of policy proposals intended to help Native Americans, pledging to protect tribal lands and to bolster funding for programs that serve Native people. In releasing the proposals, Ms. Warren is drawing attention to Native American issues after months of largely refraining from doing so in the wake of a controversy over her ancestry. Ms. Warren put out the plans ahead of a scheduled appearance on Monday at a presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa, that is dedicated to Native American issues. Among the proposals, Ms. Warren said that if elected president, she would revoke the permits for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, two projects that have been opposed by many Native Americans. No energy project significantly affecting tribal lands should go ahead, she said, ‘without the free, prior and informed consent of the Tribal Nation concerned.’ She also called for expanding the ability of tribes to prosecute non-Indians for crimes committed on tribal land, and she proposed creating a nationwide alert system for missing indigenous women.” See also, Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes plan to aid Native American communities, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey, Friday, 16 August 2019: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a lengthy plan Friday aimed at helping to close income and health disparities faced by Native Americans, expand Native criminal jurisdiction and honor long-standing promises and treaties.”

Debate Flares Over Afghanistan as Trump Considers Troop Withdrawal, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Friday, 16 August 2019: “President Trump met with top national security officials on Friday to review near-final plans for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan, a prospect that has already prompted fierce political debate but could offer Mr. Trump a compelling talking point for his 2020 re-election campaign.” See also, Trump and senior aides discuss withdrawal from Afghanistan as talks with Taliban advance, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan, Anne Gearan, and Philip Rucker, Friday, 16 August 2019: “U.S. negotiators have made significant advances in recent talks with the Taliban, and the two sides are close to announcing an agreement on an initial U.S. troop withdrawal, along with plans to start direct discussions between the militants and the Afghan government, according to American and foreign officials.” See also, Trump Meets With Advisers to Consider Deal With Taliban, The Wall Street Journal, Nancy A. Youssef and Craig Nelson, Friday, 16 August 2019: “President Trump met with his top national security advisers Friday to consider a deal with the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the end of America’s longest military engagement abroad, U.S. officials said…. Joining the president at his New Jersey golf resort were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, national security adviser John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy leading the peace talks.” See also, Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Friday, 16 August 2019.

Continue reading Week 135, Friday, 16 August – Thursday, 22 August 2019 (Days 939-945)

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Trump Administration, Week 134: Friday, 9 August – Thursday, 15 August 2019 (Days 932-938)

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.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 9 August 2019, Day 932:

 

‘I’m the Shooter’: Police Say the El Paso Suspect Confessed to Targeting Mexicans, The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Friday, 9 August 2019: “The suspect in the El Paso shooting stepped out of a vehicle with his hands up and declared ‘I’m the shooter’ when he was arrested minutes after the massacre at a Walmart that killed 22 people, the police said in an affidavit filed Friday. The suspect, Patrick W. Crusius, 21, who is white, also divulged to the police that he had targeted Mexicans, according to the document, written by Detective Adrian Garcia of the El Paso Police Department.” See also, Police say the El Paso suspect said he was targeting ‘Mexicans,’ and that he was the shooter, The Washington Post, Robert Moore and Mark Berman, Friday, 9 August 2019: “The suspect accused of killing 22 people at an El Paso Walmart told authorities that he was targeting ‘Mexicans’ and confessed to carrying out the shooting rampage when he surrendered to authorities, according to police.” See also, Four Democratic Candidates Call on Walmart to Stop Selling Guns, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Friday, 9 August 2019.

A backlash is building over a picture posted by Melania Trump on Twitter that showed her and Donald Trump smiling broadly while holding a baby who was orphaned in the mass shooting in El Paso, The Guardian, Edward Helmore, Friday, 9 August 2019: “On a visit to El Paso this week, the president flashed a thumbs-up when posing with the two-month-old, whose parents Andre and Jordan Anchondo were shot dead last Saturday. When the picture was posted on the first lady’s Twitter account on Thursday, it prompted outrage. On a hospital visit in El Paso, Trump then reignited a dispute with 2020 Democratic contender and former local congressman Beto O’Rourke over crowd sizes, before getting into a Twitter row with the Dayton mayor, Nan Whaley.”

How a Trump construction crew has relied on immigrants without legal status: ‘If you’re a good worker, papers don’t matter,’ The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow and David A. Fahrenthold, Friday, 9 August 2019: “For nearly two decades, the Trump Organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin American employees to build fountains and waterfalls, sidewalks and rock walls at the company’s winery and its golf courses from New York to Florida. Other employees at Trump clubs were so impressed by the laborers — who did strenuous work with heavy stone — that they nicknamed them ‘Los Picapiedras,’ Spanish for ‘the Flintstones.’ For years, their ranks have included workers who entered the United States illegally, according to two former members of the crew. Another employee, still with the company, said that remains true today. President Trump ‘doesn’t want undocumented people in the country,’ said one worker, Jorge Castro, a 55-year-old immigrant from Ecuador without legal status who left the company in April after nine years. ‘But at his properties, he still has them.'”

Continue reading Week 134, Friday, 9 August – Thursday, 15 August 2019 (Days 932-938)

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