Trump, Week 82: Friday, 10 August – Thursday, 16 August 2018 (Days 568-574)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

Friday, 10 August 2018, Day 568:

 

Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison in Thailand Run by Gina Haspel, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Scott Shane, Friday, 10 August 2018: “In late November 2002, C.I.A. interrogators at a secret prison in Thailand warned a Qaeda suspect that he had to ‘suffer the consequences of his deception.’ As interrogators splashed water on the chest of the man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, he pleaded that he was trying to recall more information, according to a newly released C.I.A. cable. As he cried, the cable reports, the ‘water treatment was applied.’ The ‘water treatment’ was bureaucratic jargon for waterboarding, and 11 newly released top-secret cables from the time that Gina Haspel, now the C.I.A. director, oversaw the base provide at times graphic detail on the techniques the agency used to brutally interrogate [i.e., torture] Qaeda captives. Agency leaders and officers were racing to uncover what they feared were large-scale plots against the United States in the chaotic months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the chief of the base, Ms. Haspel would have written or authorized the cables, according to Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a research organization at George Washington University. The cables, obtained by the archive in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, were redacted to eliminate the names of interrogators and C.I.A. officers involved. ProPublica previously reported on cables from the Thailand black site, which also offered details of the C.I.A.’s methods. Like those documents, the new cables describe the waterboarding of Mr. Nashiri as well as the use of other torture techniques.” See also, Torture of al-Qaeda suspect described in 2002 cables sent by CIA Director Gina Haspel, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 10 April 2018: “The torture of a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, including waterboarding, is described in meticulous detail in newly-declassified cables that CIA Director Gina Haspel sent to agency headquarters in late 2002, when she headed a secret U.S. detention facility in Thailand. The suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was believed to have been involved in planning the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000, and the CIA was convinced that he knew about other attacks being planned. Nashiri’s treatment during interrogation — forced nudity, shackling, being slammed against walls, being confined in a small box and mock executions, as well as waterboarding — has been previously mentioned in broad terms in official reports, hearings, court cases and news reports. But many specifics about what happened to Nashiri during his several-week stay at the Thailand facility, while Haspel was briefly in charge, have not been made public. They are contained in 11 cables obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive, a private research institute, which plans to release them early Friday.”

Trump blasts National Football League (NFL) players for kneeling at preseason games, Politico, Stephanie Murray, Friday, 10 August 2018: “President Donald Trump blasted NFL players on Friday morning for protesting during the national anthem at preseason games, accusing them of being ‘unable to define’ what they are protesting and suggesting the athletes should instead ‘be happy’ and ‘be cool.’ ‘The NFL players are at it again – taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the national anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love,’ Trump said in a tweet…. Contrary to the president’s claim, the NFL players who kneel for the national anthem have been vocal and specific about their protests, which began two seasons ago in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and some of his teammates wore t-shirts Thursday that said ‘more than 60% of prison populations are people of color’ on the front and ‘nearly 5,000 kids are in adults prisons and jails’ on the back, according to NBC Sports.” See also, Trump Blasts N.F.L. Players as Protests Resume During Anthem, The New York Times, Ken Belson and Benjamin Hoffman, published on Thursday, 9 August 2018: “The morning after a handful of N.F.L. players renewed their protests against social inequality and police brutality by raising fists or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, President Trump renewed his criticism of their actions.”

Trump’s New War on Immigrants, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Friday, 10 August 2018: “The Trump Administration is about to change the rules of naturalization in a way intended to drastically cut the number of immigrants who become U.S. citizens. According to NBC News, the White House’s plan is to make immigrants who have received any public assistance ineligible to become citizens. (The Department of Homeland Security did not deny the plan’s existence to NBC.) It is impossible to predict exactly how many people will be affected, but immigration experts think the impact will be enormous. The new rules appear to use the broadest possible definition of public assistance—one that includes Obamacare and children’s health insurance—meaning that most potential new citizens will be ineligible for naturalization. In 2016, the last year for which statistics are available, more than seven hundred and fifty thousand immigrants became American citizens. In order to apply for naturalization, an immigrant has to have lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident for thirty months out of a consecutive five years, depending on the reason she gained permanent-resident status. Because a green card often takes a number of years to obtain, most new citizens have been living in the United States for well more than five years. During that time, the chances are good that the immigrants have benefited from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (either through the Medicaid expansion or by enrolling in an Obamacare marketplace plan) or used a program such as CHIP, which provides low-cost health insurance for children; in New York State, children in families of four earning up to $97,200 are eligible for CHIP. With an approach this broad, it seems likely that hundreds of thousands of people a year will be affected by the rules change.”

Continue reading Week 82, Friday, 10 August – Thursday, 16 August 2018 (Days 568-574)

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Trump, Week 81: Friday, 3 August – Thursday, 9 August 2018 (Days 561-567)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

Friday, 3 August 2018, Day 561:

 

Judge John D. Bates of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia Upholds Order for the Trump Administration to Restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 3 August 2018: “A federal judge on Friday upheld his previous order to revive an Obama-era program that shields some 700,000 young immigrants from deportation, saying that the Trump administration had failed to justify eliminating it. Judge John D. Bates of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia gave the government 20 days to appeal his decision. But his ruling could conflict with another decision on the program that a federal judge in Texas is expected to issue as early as next week. The Trump administration announced late last year that it would phase out the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects undocumented young adults from deportation and grants them two-year renewable work permits. The administration argued that President Barack Obama had overstepped his authority and circumvented Congress when he created the program in 2012. The decision to end the program has faced numerous legal challenges. Currently, the government must continue accepting applications to renew DACA status, if not new applications from those who meet the criteria to qualify. DACA recipients — often called ‘Dreamers’ — typically were brought to the United States illegally as children through no choice of their own. Judge Bates ruled in late April that the administration must restore the DACA program and accept new applications. He had stayed his decision for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the program, the opportunity to lay out its reasons for ending it.” See also, Judge rules the Trump administration is still not justified in ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, The Washington Post, Erik Larson, Friday, 3 August 2018: “The Trump administration was unable again to convince a federal judge that there’s a legitimate reason to rescind legal protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and seek to avoid deportation.”

Opponents of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Nomination to the Supreme Court Say a Former Aide’s Role in the Screening of Documents Presents a Conflict of Interest, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 3 August 2018: “The lawyer advising former President George W. Bush on the release of thousands of records relating to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time as an aide in the Bush White House once worked for him — a relationship that opponents of the judge’s nomination to the Supreme Court say is a conflict of interest. The lawyer, William A. Burck, served as a deputy to Judge Kavanaugh in 2005 when he was staff secretary — a job at the center of a bitter documents dispute between Democrats and Republicans. A team of roughly 50 lawyers is reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents held by the Bush Library in Texas as part of an effort to determine which, if any, should be withheld from the Senate based on Mr. Bush’s assertion of ‘executive privilege’ — his right to object to their release. The documents relate to Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office, not his time as staff secretary. Mr. Burck is not screening the documents himself, but he is supervising the review, and, according to a person familiar with the process, does advise the former president as he makes those decisions.”

It’s True: Trump Is Lying More, and He’s Doing It on Purpose, The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Friday, 3 August 2018: “On Thursday, the Washington Post published a remarkable story on its front page revealing a recent spike in the number of ‘false and misleading claims’ made by President Trump. In his first year as President, Trump made 2,140 false claims, according to the Post. In just the last six months, he has nearly doubled that total to 4,229. In June and July, he averaged sixteen false claims a day. On July 5th, the Post found what appears to be Trump’s most untruthful day yet: seventy-six per cent of the ninety-eight factual assertions he made in a campaign-style rally in Great Falls, Montana, were ‘false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.’ Trump’s rallies have become the signature events of his Presidency, and it is there that the President most often plays fast and loose with the facts, in service to his political priorities and to telling his fervent supporters what they want and expect to hear from him. At another rally this week, in Tampa, Trump made thirty-five false and misleading claims, on subjects ranging from trade with China to the size of his tax cut. These astonishing statistics were compiled by a small team overseen by Glenn Kessler, the editor and chief writer of the Post’s Fact Checker column, who for much of the last decade has been truth-squadding politicians and doling out Pinocchios for their exaggerations, misrepresentations, distortions, and otherwise false claims…. The White House assault on the truth is not an accident—it is intentional.”

Continue reading Week 81, Friday, 3 August – Thursday, 9 August 2018 (Days 561-567)

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Trump, Week 80: Friday, 27 July – Thursday, 2 August 2018 ( Days 554-560)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

Friday, 27 July 2018, Day 554:

 

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, claims Trump knew in advance about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, CNN Politics, Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen, Friday, 27 July 2018: “Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said. Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017. Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources. To be clear, these sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.” See also, Michael Cohen is now alleging what would be the Trump team’s worst cover-up yet, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 27 July 2018. See also, Trump maintains not knowing in advance about meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016, disputing Michael Cohen’s claim, The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Tom Hamburger, and Felicia Sonmez, Friday, 27 July 2018: “President Trump on Friday issued a fresh rebuttal against his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, maintaining that he did not know in advance about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.”

Venting about press, Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters over the way they ask him questions, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, Friday, 27 July 2018: “President Trump has sought repeatedly to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to ban those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials, according to several current and former administration officials. At various moments throughout his presidency, Trump has vented angrily to aides about what he considers disrespectful behavior and impertinent questions from reporters in the Oval Office and in other venues. He has also asked that retaliatory action be taken against them. ‘These people shouting questions are the worst,’ Trump has said, according to a current official. ‘Why do we have them in here?’ Until this week, the officials said, Trump’s senior aides have resisted carrying out his directives. They convinced him that moves to restrict media access could backfire and further strain the White House’s fraught relationship with the press corps, whose members the president routinely derides as ‘fake news’ and ‘dishonest people.’ On Wednesday, however, newly installed Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took action against CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, telling her she could not attend Trump’s open-media event in the Rose Garden because they objected to her questioning of the president earlier in the day. The move revealed a fresh willingness inside the West Wing to execute the president’s wishes to punish reporters. It immediately drew a chorus of protest throughout the media, including from Fox News Channel, Trump’s favorite network and Shine’s former employer.”

Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s Successor at the Environmental Protection Agency, Wants Rollbacks, Too. And He Wants Them to Stick. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 27 July 2018: “In his first three weeks on the job, Andrew Wheeler, the acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has sought to halt two major efforts by his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, to roll back environmental regulations, arguing that the policies are legally vulnerable, according to people who have heard his reasoning. Mr. Wheeler’s actions signal a strategic shift at the E.P.A., an agency at the heart of President Trump’s push to strip away regulations on industry. Under Mr. Pruitt, who resigned July 5 under a cloud of ethics investigations, the agency pushed for ambitious but fast-paced rollbacks of environmental rules. At least a half-dozen of those have been struck down by federal courts. Mr. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who served as Mr. Pruitt’s deputy, has brought a more disciplined approach to dismantling environmental rules. It is an approach that may take longer, but it may be more effective in standing up to the inevitable legal challenges.” See also, Andrew Wheeler, the Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Closes Dirty-Truck Loophole Left by Scott Pruitt, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Friday, 27 July 2018: “Andrew R. Wheeler, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has reversed the final policy act of his predecessor, Scott Pruitt: granting a loophole that would have allowed more highly polluting trucks on the nation’s roads.”

Continue reading Week 80, Friday, 27 July – Thursday, 2 August 2018 (Days 554-560)

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Trump, Week 79: Friday, 20 July – Thursday, 26 July 2018 (Days 547-553)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

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

 

Friday, 20 July 2018 (Day 547)

 

Trump’s Longtime Lawyer, Michael Cohen, Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model Karen McDougal, The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 20 July 2018: “President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording. The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them. The recording’s existence appears to undercut the Trump campaign’s denial of any knowledge of payments to the model. It further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.” See also, In secret recording seized by FBI, Trump and Michael Cohen, his longtime lawyer, discuss buying rights to model’s account of alleged affair, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 20 July 2018: “Two months before the 2016 election, longtime Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen secretly taped a conversation with the then-GOP presidential nominee about whether to purchase the rights to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal’s account of her alleged extramarital affair with Trump, according to three people familiar with the conversation…. Trump and Cohen’s discussion came a month after AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, bought the rights to McDougal’s story for $150,000, then shelved it…. In a statement Friday, President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani confirmed the recording’s existence and said no payment was ever made. He said the conversation does not pose any legal jeopardy for the president. ‘Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of [the AMI payment] in advance,’ Giuliani said. ‘In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence.’ However, the recording shows that Trump — whose spokeswoman denied he had any knowledge of the AMI deal with McDougal when it became public days before the election — in fact knew of her claims and efforts to keep her quiet at least two months earlier. The timing of the conversation between the GOP nominee and his longtime ‘fixer’ also provides more evidence that Cohen was trying to squash embarrassing stories about Trump before the election — a major focus of the investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.”

Immigrant Shelters Drug Traumatized Teenagers Without Consent, ProPublica, Caroline Chen and Jess Ramirez, Friday, 20 July 2018: “Whether they came to the U.S. alone or were forcibly separated from their families at the border, despondent minors are often pressured into taking psychotropic drugs without approval from a parent or guardian…. At the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center, which has a program for unaccompanied immigrant teenagers, at least 70 percent of the residents were on antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids, often taking multiple pills, according to two former employees…. Most of the teenagers had crossed the border alone, but often had family members in the U.S. who were seeking to sponsor them. Even in cases where a child had a mother or father living in the U.S., the parent was never contacted for permission to medicate, said the former employees, who asked for anonymity for fear of affecting future employment…. While skipping consent procedures, staff also made it hard for children to say no. A federal field specialist from the Department of Homeland Security instructed staff to file a ‘significant incident report’ every time a teen refused to take medication, said one of the former employees. That report could then be used to justify delaying reunification with family. The teenagers, fearing being written up, would take their pills, the staffer said.” See also, Immigrant Parents Face a Dilemma: Will Making an Asylum Claim Make It Harder to Reunite With Their Kids? The New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer, Friday, 20 July 2018: “In ICE detention, parents who [are] seeking asylum due to threats of violence or harm back home are being pressured to abandon their claims…. Since last summer, when the family-separation policy went into effect, activists and lawyers had worried about parents who were agreeing to voluntary departure—essentially, deportation—either because they were distraught after being separated from their kids, confused, or misled to believe that they would see their children sooner if they agreed to sign whatever forms the government put in front of them. For parents who were seeking asylum due to threats of violence or harm back home, agreeing to voluntary departure effectively ended their asylum claim. People were told, ‘You don’t have the option to seek asylum and be reunited with your children,’ Gracie Willis, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, told HuffPost earlier this month. Some parents have already been deported without their kids, and many more could follow. ‘The government plan is to deport parents who have final orders of removal and then the parents will decide whether to leave their children behind,’ Lee Gelernt, of the A.C.L.U., told me.”

Bill Shine, Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Was Questioned by Federal Prosecutors, The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson and Emily Steel, Friday, 20 July 2018: “Bill Shine, a former co-president of Fox News hired this month as President Trump’s communications chief, brought conservative credentials and heavy baggage with him into the White House. President Trump embraced the former and ignored the latter. Mr. Shine, now struggling to limit the damage from Mr. Trump’s performance on Monday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, was ousted from Fox News last year in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal at the network. Mr. Shine was never publicly accused of harassment, but he was accused in multiple civil lawsuits of covering up misconduct by Roger E. Ailes, the founding chairman of Fox News, and dismissing concerns from colleagues who complained. Mr. Shine’s appointment to the White House job has drawn criticism from some women who worked for him at Fox News, and has brought new scrutiny of his record there. In one previously undisclosed action, Mr. Shine was subpoenaed last year by a federal grand jury in New York as part of a criminal investigation into Fox News’s handling of sexual harassment complaints, according to a document viewed by The New York Times…. In hiring Mr. Shine, Mr. Trump ignored advisers who worried that Mr. Shine’s legal exposure in the harassment cases was not fully known, and that the hire could again draw attention to accusations from at least 19 women of sexual misconduct by Mr. Trump before he became president…. ‘Our president is telling the world he doesn’t care about creating a healthy work environment,’ said Rudi Bakhtiar, a former Fox News correspondent who was fired after she reported sexual harassment by a colleague in 2007. She ultimately reached a $675,000 settlement with Fox News. ‘It’s a boy’s club,’ she said. ‘They take care of each other.'”

Continue reading Week 79, Friday, 20 July – Thursday, 26 July 2018 (Days 547-553)

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Trump, Week 78: Friday, 13 July – Thursday, 19 July 2018 (Days 540-546)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

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

 

Friday, 13 July 2018, Day 540:

 

12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Katie Benner, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election issued an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. The indictment came only three days before President Trump was planning to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland. The 29-page indictment is the most detailed accusation by the American government to date of the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 election, and it includes a litany of brazen Russian subterfuge operations meant to foment chaos in the months before Election Day. From phishing attacks to gain access to Democratic operatives, to money laundering, to attempts to break into state elections boards, the indictment details a vigorous and complex effort by Russia’s top military intelligence service to sabotage the campaign of Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. The timing of the indictment, by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, added a jolt of tension to the already freighted atmosphere surrounding Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Putin. It is all but certain to feed into the conspiratorial views held by the president and some of his allies that Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors are determined to undermine Mr. Trump’s designs for a rapprochement with Russia. The president has long expressed doubt that Russia was behind the 2016 attacks, and the 11-count indictment illustrates even more the distance between his skepticism and the nearly unanimous views of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies he leads.” See also, Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians with hacking of Democrats in 2016, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 13 July 2018: “A dozen Russian military intelligence officers were indicted Friday on charges they hacked Democrats’ computers, stole their data and published those files to disrupt the 2016 election — the clearest connection to the Kremlin established so far by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of interference in the presidential campaign. The indictment against members of the Russian military agency known as the GRU marks the first time Mueller has taken direct aim at the Russian government, accusing specific military units and their named officers of a sophisticated, sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.” See also, Read Mueller probe indictment of 12 Russians for hacking Democrats, The Washington Post, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, 12 Russians Charged: Major Highlights of the Indictment and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Statement, The New York Times, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, Timeline: How Russian agents allegedly hacked the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, Over 100 Charges, 32 People, and 3 Companies: The Mueller Inquiry, Explained, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Alicia Parlapiano, published on Friday, 23 February 2018 and updated when necessary. See also, Who has been charged in the Russia probe and why, The Washington Post, Jukie Vitkovskaya, Samuel Granados, and Aaron Williams, updated on Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, How the Russians hacked the DNC and passed its emails to WikiLeaks, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, How Russian Intelligence Officers Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign, The New York Times, Nathaniel Popper and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 13 July 2018: “In early 2016, Russian intelligence officers obtained a new pool of the virtual currency Bitcoin. They quickly put the digital money to work. The Russian spies used some of the Bitcoins to pay for the registration of a website, dcleaks.com, where they would later post emails that had been stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. When the operatives needed a computer server to host the dcleaks site, they paid for that with Bitcoins as well. The transactions were detailed in an indictment on Friday from the Justice Department, in which prosecutors accused 12 Russian operatives of interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign through a sophisticated hacking scheme. The indictment provided one of the clearest illustrations to date of the inner workings of the Russian operation that carried out the hacking of the Democratic Party and other targets. It also showed how cryptocurrencies — and the anonymity they provide — have become both a tool and a challenge for intelligence agencies in the battles between nation states.”

On 27 July 2016 Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Emails and to Make Them Public. On the Same Day Trump Encouraged Russians to Hack Clinton’s Emails, Russians Started Targeting Clinton’s Personal Servers for the First Time. Were They Listening? The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 13 July 2018: “It was one of the more outlandish statements in a campaign replete with them: In a news conference in July 2016, Donald J. Trump made a direct appeal to Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and make them public. ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Mr. Trump said, referring to emails Mrs. Clinton had deleted from the private account she had used when she was secretary of state. ‘I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’ As it turns out, that same day, the Russians — whether they had tuned in or not — made their first effort to break into the servers used by Mrs. Clinton’s personal office, according to a sweeping 29-page indictment unsealed Friday by the special counsel’s office that charged 12 Russians with election hacking. The indictment did not address the question of whether the Russians’ actions were actually in response to Mr. Trump. It said nothing at all about Mr. Trump’s request for help from Russia — a remark that had unnerved American intelligence and law enforcement officials who were closely monitoring Russia’s efforts to influence the election. But the indictment did offer some clues about what happened, implying that the hacking had occurred later on the day Mr. Trump issued his invitation. He made the statement around 10:30 a.m. July 27 at his golf course in Doral, Fla. It was late afternoon in Russia.” See also, On 27 July 2016 Trump publicly asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. They acted within hours. Vox, Dylan Scott, Friday, 13 July 2018: “On the very same day in 2016 that Donald Trump urged Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, Russian intelligence officers launched a new attack to hack his opponent’s personal emails, according to the latest indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller. It is maybe the most eyebrow-raising detail in an indictment filled with them.” See also, Why You Should Read the Latest Mueller Indictment Yourself, The New Yorker, Eric Lach, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The latest indictment produced by the special counsel Robert Mueller is a brisk read. ‘You can see, in detail, how the Russian spies operated,’ The New Yorker’s Adam Entous told me on Friday, a few hours after the document was made public. ‘You learn a ton.’ The indictment accuses twelve Russian military-intelligence officers of interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election by hacking the computers of people working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, releasing material stolen from those computers to the public, and then trying to cover their tracks. It details how the Russians used various means, including the hacker persona Guccifer 2.0, to communicate with journalists and other people in the U.S. And, in one notable paragraph, the document says that the Russians tried to hack e-mail accounts used by Clinton’s personal office on July 27, 2016—the same day that Donald Trump, at a rally, publicly asked Russia to try to find Clinton’s ‘missing’ e-mails. But in other ways the indictment is a limited document…. [T]hough, as Entous says, the indictment offers a ‘damning’ amount of detail about the methods the Russian officers used—computer programs, cryptocurrencies, aliases, and so on—it is completely silent on who ordered the Russian operation.”

Top Democrats call on Trump to cancel Putin meeting following indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in a ‘sustained effort’ to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks, CNN Politics, Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The top Democrats in Congress on Friday called for President Donald Trump to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Justice Department announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals, that accused them of engaging in a ‘sustained effort’ to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks. ‘President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, tweeted, ‘@realDonaldTrump must immediately cancel his meeting with Putin.'”

Continue reading Week 78, Friday, 13 July – Thursday, 19 July 2018 (Days 540-546)

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Trump, Week 77: Friday, 6 July – Thursday, 12 July 2018 (Days 533-539)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

 

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

 

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

 

Friday, 6 July 2018, Day 533:

 

76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under the Trump Administration, The New York Times, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis, updated on Friday, 6 July 2018: “Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 70 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources.”

Scott Pruitt Is Gone, but the Trump Administration’s Climate Negligence Remains, The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot, Friday, 6 July 2018: “Scott Pruitt’s resignation as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, on Thursday, offered reassurance—of the kind we could use right now—that certain forces of accountability are still in effect in Donald Trump’s Washington. True, it took months of revelations about Pruitt’s ethical blunders to push him out—the first-class travel at the taxpayers’ expense, the forty-three-thousand-dollar secured phone booth and the unprecedented twenty-four-hour security detail he demanded, the schedule dominated by meeting after meeting with fossil-fuel interests, the weird tasks given to his staff, such as driving him to secure his favored Ritz-Carlton moisturizer. And it’s not that Trump himself held Pruitt accountable, or that Pruitt admitted any wrongdoing as he gave up his job…. The accountability instead came from the journalists and environmentalists who have diligently reported on and monitored the E.P.A. in the face of increasing hostility (an E.P.A. spokesperson recently called a reporter looking into the resignation of a top Pruitt aide ‘a piece of trash’), and from the bureaucrats in the Government Accountability Office who have been investigating Pruitt. Without these watchdogs, we’d know very little about Pruitt’s misdeeds, and he would still be enjoying the blessing of working for Trump.” See also, Scott Pruitt is gone. But that doesn’t mean the environment is safer. The Washington Post, Editorial Board, Friday, 6 July 2018.

Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite families separated at the border, Los Angeles Times, Kristina Davis, Thursday, 6 July 2018: “The federal government, under orders from a San Diego federal judge to reunite families who have been separated at the border, is asking for more time. In a motion filed late Thursday night, the Department of Justice says it has dedicated “immense” resources to reunifying families since the June 26 order. But the process that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has put into place to match up family members will take some time if it is to comply with existing law meant to protect children from human trafficking, the DOJ argues. The order, filed last week, gives the government until July 10 to reunite children younger than 5 with their parents and until July 26 for older children. The motion will be discussed with U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw and attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union during a telephonic status conference at noon Friday.” See also, Trump administration seeks more time to reunite some migrant families split at the border, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 6 July 2018.

Continue reading Week 77, Friday, 6 July – Thursday, 12 July 2018 (Days 533-539)

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Trump, Week 76: Friday, 29 June – Thursday, 5 July 2018 (Days 526-532)

 

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

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

 

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

 

Friday, 29 June 2018, Day 526:

 

Trump administration may seek to detain migrant families longer than previously allowed, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Friday, 29 June 2018: “The Trump administration plans to detain migrant families together in custody rather than release them, according to a new court filing that suggests such detentions could last longer than the 20 days envisioned by a court settlement. ‘The government will not separate families but detain families together during the pendency of immigration proceedings when they are apprehended at or between ports of entry,’ Justice Department lawyers wrote in a legal notice to a federal judge in California who has been overseeing long-running litigation about the detention of undocumented immigrants. The filing comes as the Justice Department seeks to navigate two different court edicts — an injunction issued this week by a federal judge in San Diego that required the government to begin reuniting the roughly 2,000 migrant children still separated from their families, and an older court settlement in federal court in Los Angeles that requires the immigration agencies to release minors in their custody if they are held for more than 20 days.”

Hundreds Arrested During Women’s Immigration Protest in Washington, The New York Times, Niraj Chokshi, Friday, 29 June 2018: “More than 500 people, including at least one member of Congress, were arrested and escorted from the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday after staging a sit-in during a women-led march against the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to illegal immigration. The United States Capitol Police charged approximately 575 people with unlawfully demonstrating, a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine, according to a police spokeswoman. Those arrested included Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, and the actress Susan Sarandon. Organizers said more than 2,500 women from 47 states participated in the protest. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, spoke to the protesters with her 11-week-old daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, strapped to her chest. Other Democratic lawmakers also appeared with or spoke to the demonstrators, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and the Representatives Nydia M. Velázquez of New York and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.”

Trump Says He Has Narrowed List of Possible Supreme Court Picks to Five, The Wall Street Journal, Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas, Friday, 29 June 2018: “President Donald Trump said on Friday that he planned to interview one or two candidates this weekend at his Bedminster, N.J., resort to fill Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat, and plans to announce his final pick on July 9. ‘I’ve got it narrowed to about five,’ he said, including two women. The president also said he wouldn’t specifically ask candidates about Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling making abortion legal. However, a potential nominee’s approach to the issue has been a factor in creating Mr. Trump’s list of 25 conservative candidates. The president didn’t say if all of his five finalists were from that list, but he had earlier pledged to pick exclusively from it. Late Thursday, the president met with a bipartisan group of six senators who will play a pivotal role in selecting Mr. Kennedy’s successor because they have deviated from their party on key votes in the past. The lawmakers signaled they want an ideological centrist, complicating Mr. Trump’s decision. Among them were Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom back abortion rights. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia also met with the president, the White House said. ‘At the end of the day, this is where confirmation is made or broken,’ a White House official said, referring to the senators who visited Thursday night.”

Continue reading Week 76, Friday, 29 June – Thursday, 5 July 2018 (Days 526-532)

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Trump, Week 75: Friday, 22 June – Thursday, 28 June 2018 (Days 519-525)

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

 

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

 

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

 

Friday, 22 June 2018, Day 519:

 

In Ruling on Cellphone Location Data, Supreme Court Makes Statement on Digital Privacy, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 22 June 2018: “In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies. ‘We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information,’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. The 5-to-4 ruling will protect ‘deeply revealing’ records associated with 400 million devices, the chief justice wrote. It did not matter, he wrote, that the records were in the hands of a third party. That aspect of the ruling was a significant break from earlier decisions. The Constitution must take account of vast technological changes, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, noting that digital data can provide a comprehensive, detailed — and intrusive — overview of private affairs that would have been impossible to imagine not long ago. The decision made exceptions for emergencies like bomb threats and child abductions. ‘Such exigencies,’ he wrote, ‘include the need to pursue a fleeing suspect, protect individuals who are threatened with imminent harm or prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.’ In general, though, the authorities must now seek a warrant for cell tower location information and, the logic of the decision suggests, other kinds of digital data that provide a detailed look at a person’s private life. The decision thus has implications for all kinds of personal information held by third parties, including email and text messages, internet searches, and bank and credit card records. But Chief Justice Roberts said the ruling had limits.” See also, The Supreme Court Takes On the Police Use of Cellphone Records, The New York Times, Alex Abdo and Kate Klonick, Friday, 22 June 2018: “The Supreme Court has handed down what may be the most important privacy case of the digital era, ruling on Friday that the government cannot force cellphone service providers to hand over their users’ locations over significant periods of time without first getting a warrant. The decision, United States v. Carpenter, is the latest in a steady drip of rulings by the Supreme Court over the past two decades that are gradually defining the Fourth Amendment right to privacy in a world of ever-evolving technology…. The question the case presented was deceptively simple: Can the police collect your cellphone location data for days on end without a warrant? A 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court said no. But even in reaching what it characterized as a ‘narrow’ conclusion, the court took a significant step that will shape the constitutional right to privacy in the modern age. Specifically, the court cut back on the scope and reach of the ‘third-party doctrine’ — a legal presumption, embraced by the Supreme Court in the 1970s and ’80s, that if you share information with a third party, you have forfeited your right to privacy regarding that information. It’s the rationale used to justify the police’s warrantless access to the garbage you place out on the street, to your call records and to your bank statements.” See also, In Carpenter v. United States, the Supreme Court Rules, Narrowly, For Digital Privacy, The New Yorker, Amy Davidson Sorkin, Friday, 22 June 2018: “Everyone—or almost everyone—in America has a cell phone, but, in a 5–4 decision on Friday, the Supreme Court decided that this does not mean that all Americans are subject to close surveillance of their movements, conducted without a warrant, stretching back in time, in some cases, for years. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision in Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States; he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. One of the strengths of the decision is that it recognizes its own complexity—placing the imperfection of precedents that deal with things called ‘phones,’ which are far from smartphones, alongside the enduring power of the Founders’ belief in the right to be secure in one’s papers and effects—and doesn’t back away. Carpenter is not quite a full manifesto for digital privacy, but it insists that there is a new discussion to be had, and it tries to set the terms. It almost certainly marks the beginning of a series of cases on the private data held by cell-phone-service providers, social-media companies, and app makers. And it is a pretty good start.” See also, Supreme Court Rules That the U.S. Government Must Get a Warrant Before Accessing Cellphone Location Data, The Intercept, Alex Emmons, Friday, 22 June 2018: “In a landmark privacy decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that police must get a warrant in order to obtain your cellphone’s location data over an extended period of time. The decision is a major victory for privacy advocates, who have long argued that the law has failed to keep pace with the amount of intrusive data we voluntarily hand over to private companies. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal justices on the court, declaring that even though the data is held by a third party, the government still needs a warrant to obtain it.”

Why the United States Needs More Immigrants. The Census Bureau published new data that show why the United States will need more immigrants, not fewer, in the coming decades. The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 22 June 2018: “As controversy continued to rage on Thursday about the Trump Administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the southern border, the Census Bureau published new data that show why the United States will need more immigrants, not fewer, in the coming decades. Demographers and economists have been warning that the aging baby-boomer population presents a serious challenge to the nation’s finances, as the ratio of seniors to working-age adults—the age-dependency ratio—rises. The reason is straightforward: Social Security and Medicare are largely financed on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that some of the taxes paid by current workers are transferred to current retirees. If the dependency ratio rises, the financial burden on the working-age population also increases…. In the long run, welcoming immigrants is a good investment for the United States. The entire history of the country demonstrates this fact. But the current President wants to go in the opposite direction. Along with introducing draconian measures to curb the influx of undocumented migrants, he wants to slash legal immigration. At the moment, the United States grants permanent-resident status to about a million people a year, and many of these folks go on to become U.S. citizens. Trump wants to cut this number in half, roughly speaking. His policy isn’t driven by economics, of course. As he more or less admitted earlier this year, with his derisive comments about immigrants from ‘shithole countries,’ it is driven by racism and a desire to resist the emergence of a nonwhite majority in the United States—a transformation that is inevitable and necessary.”

In Tense White House Meetings, Trump Officials Debate How to Process Migrant Families, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Ron Nixon, and Katie Benner, Friday, 22 June 2018: “Tense arguments broke out at the White House over the past two days as top government officials clashed over how to carry out President Trump’s executive order on keeping together immigrant families at the Mexican border, according to four people familiar with the meetings. The disputes started Thursday night. They continued Friday as Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, returned to the White House to question how his agency was supposed to detain parents and children together when the law requires that children not be held indefinitely in jail. The bureaucratic battles threatened to undermine Mr. Trump as his administration tries to counter a political crisis driven by heartbreaking images and recordings of crying migrant children separated from their parents and sent off to shelters. On Friday, the president was defiant. ‘We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief,’ Mr. Trump said on Twitter. But inside the White House, the arguments echoed the chaos at American airports after Mr. Trump’s ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The ban, issued days after he took office, surprised Border Patrol agents and State Department consular officials. Officials at the southwestern border are struggling to obey Mr. Trump’s demand to prosecute people who illegally enter the United States — ending what the president has reviled as a ‘catch and release’ policy — while also following an executive order he issued Wednesday to keep migrant families together as they are processed in courts. But as with the case of the travel ban, the reality of a vastly complicated bureaucratic system is colliding head-on with Mr. Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip use of executive power.”

Continue reading Week 75, Friday, 22 June – Thursday, 28 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Friday, 15 June 2018, Day 512:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Friday, 8 June 2018, Day 505:

 

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

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

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

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

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