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)

Trump calls for Russia to be reinstated to G-7 and threatens allies on trade, The Washington Post, Damian Paletta, Anne Gearan, and John Wagner, Friday, 8 June 2018: “President Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven industrial nations Friday, reaching out to an adversary as he further scrambled an international summit that has showcased a rift between the United States and its closest allies. Russia was expelled four years ago after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, and it has since angered U.S. lawmakers and foreign powers over interference in the U.S. presidential election, among other actions. But Trump broke with most other G-7 leaders during the first day of their annual summit with his call to bring back Russia.” See also, Trump Calls for Russia to Be Readmitted to the Group of 7 and Shakes Up World Stage in Break With U.S. Allies, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 8 June 2018: “At the annual meeting on Friday of seven major economies known as the Group of 7, Mr. Trump was the odd man out as he quarreled with Europeans and Canadians over trade and pushed for the reinstatement of Russia four years after it was cast out. Seemingly reluctant to spend more time with longtime allies than necessary, he planned to leave early on Saturday to meet instead with a longtime adversary, North Korea.” See also, Ahead of G-7 Summit Meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec. Trump Rails Against Canadian Tariffs, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 8 June 2018.

The Trump administration shifted positions in a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. It wasn’t the first legal about-face. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 8 June 2018: “The Trump administration’s decision not to defend parts of the Affordable Care Act against a constitutional challenge from Republican-led states is only the most dramatic of a number of shifts the Department of Justice has taken to distance itself from the previous administration. The administration has changed the department’s position on voting rights cases, switched sides in a suit challenging Texas’s redistricting plans, revoked past support for organized labor, rescinded protection for transgender students and split with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on workplace protection for gays. Some of the issues are under consideration this term at the Supreme Court.”

Judge Kimba M. Wood Denies Trump’s Secrecy Claim Involving the Review of Materials Collected from Michael Cohen, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Benjamin Welser, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Striking a note for transparency, a federal judge ruled on Friday that President Trump and his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, cannot proceed in total secrecy as they weigh in on the final stages of a laborious review of a huge trove of materials seized from Mr. Cohen during a series of raids by the authorities in April. For two months now, Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen’s lawyers have been fighting with prosecutors in Manhattan over how to handle the millions of documents and data files that federal agents hauled away from Mr. Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room. The chief dispute concerned the question of who should get to determine what materials were protected by the attorney-client privilege that Mr. Trump enjoys in his dealings with Mr. Cohen. Those determinations are important because any file covered by that privilege could be withheld from the prosecutors who are investigating Mr. Cohen’s various business projects, including some involving Mr. Trump. The battle over the materials — a vast cache of Mr. Cohen’s papers, data files from several of his iPads, cellphones and computer drives, and even the contents of one of his shredders — could determine how much and what kinds of evidence the government has at its disposal as it pursues its investigation.”

Trump says he is likely to support ending the blanket federal ban on marijuana, Los Angeles Times, Evan Halper, Friday, 8 June 2018: “President Trump said he likely will support a congressional effort to end the federal ban on marijuana, a major step that would reshape the pot industry and end the threat of a Justice Department crackdown. Trump’s remarks put him sharply at odds with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on the issue. The bill in question, pushed by a bipartisan coalition, would allow states to go forward with legalization unencumbered by threats of federal prosecution. Sessions, by contrast, has ramped up those threats and has also lobbied Congress to reduce current protections for medical marijuana.”

Six House Democrats seek criminal probe of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Six House Democrats on Friday sought a criminal investigation into Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt for reportedly using his office in a bid to secure work for his wife. Writing to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and acting assistant attorney general John Cronan, the lawmakers said Pruitt had used his office for ‘the personal gain of himself and his family, in violation of federal law.’ Their letter was released by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).”


Saturday, 9 June 2018, Day 506:


Trump Refuses to Sign G-7 Statement and Calls Trudeau ‘Weak,’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Catherine Porter, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “President Trump upended two days of global economic diplomacy late Saturday, refusing to sign a joint statement with America’s allies, threatening to escalate his trade war on the country’s neighbors and deriding Canada’s prime minister as ‘very dishonest and weak.’ In a remarkable pair of acrimony-laced tweets from aboard Air Force One as he flew away from the Group of 7 summit toward a meeting with North Korea’s leader, Mr. Trump lashed out at Justin Trudeau. He accused the prime minister, who hosted the seven-nation gathering, of making false statements. Literally moments after Mr. Trudeau’s government proudly released the joint statement, noting it had been agreed to by all seven countries, Mr. Trump blew apart the veneer of cordiality that had prevailed throughout the two days of meetings in a resort town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. ‘Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!’ Mr. Trump wrote…. Mr. Trudeau had sought to play down personal clashes with Mr. Trump as he wrapped up the summit, calling the meeting ‘very successful’ and saying he was ‘inspired by the discussion.’ But he also pledged to retaliate against the United States tariffs on steel and aluminum products in defense of Canadian workers. Mr. Trump, who apparently saw Mr. Trudeau’s news conference on television aboard Air Force One, was clearly enraged. ‘PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @g7 meetings,’ Mr. Trump said in a second tweet, ‘only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!’ Not long after, John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, tweeted out a dramatic photo of Mr. Trump, arms crossed and scowling, looking defiant as the leaders of the other nations stood in a circle around him.” See also, Trump removes U.S. from G-7 joint statement over escalating feud with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The Washington Post, Damian Paletta and Anne Gearan, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “President Trump feuded with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threatened to impose penalties on foreign automobile imports Saturday, capping an acrimonious meeting of the Group of Seven industrial nations that further frayed ties between the United States and its closest allies.” See also, Trump’s Blasts Upend G-7, Alienating Oldest Allies, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, Saturday, 9 June 2018. See also, Trump Threatens to End All Trade With Allies, New York Magazine, Chas Danner, Saturday, 9 June 2018. See also, Trump Says He’ll Know the Outcome of the North Korea Summit After One MinuteNew York Magazine, Chas Danner, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “President Trump believes he will be able to predict the outcome of his upcoming summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un within one minute of meeting the leader, he told reporters after departing the G7 summit on Saturday. Cutting off a journalist’s question about how long he thought it would take him to gauge Kim’s willingness to give up his nuclear weapons, Trump assured her that his quick gut was all he would need. ‘I think within the first minute, I’ll know,’ Trump said, further explaining that it would be ‘just, my touch, my feel — That’s what I do.'”

First Canada Tried to Charm Trump. Now It’s Fighting Back: Inside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign against the American trade war. The New York Times, Guy Lawson, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “The Canadians could see the trouble looming in the summer of 2016. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister at the time, found herself, along with millions of Canadians, fixated on the unfolding United States presidential election, and it was becoming impossible to overlook the gathering clouds of protectionism. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were each casting aspersions upon Nafta as if it were self-evidently a bad deal for American workers, especially for the hollowed-out working and middle classes in the Midwestern states, like Ohio and Michigan, that would decide the election. Incredibly, at least according to Trump, America’s seemingly benign and milquetoast northern neighbor was an economic predator taking advantage of its naïve neighbor; America was the victim and Canada the villain. American ignorance about Canada has long been a fact of life — and an eye-rolling joke — for Canadians. But with the election of Trump, Americans’ lack of knowledge suddenly appeared to the inner circle of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to be a geopolitical threat.”

A family was separated at the border, and Marco Antonio Muñoz, a distraught father, took his own life, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “A Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell last month, according to Border Patrol agents and an incident report filed by sheriff’s deputies. The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, and it did not appear in any local news accounts. But according to a copy of a sheriff’s department report obtained by The Washington Post, Muñoz was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck. Starr County sheriff’s deputies recorded the incident as a ‘suicide in custody.’ Muñoz’s death occurred not long after the Trump administration began implementing its ­’zero-tolerance’ crackdown on illegal migration, measures that include separating parents from their children and the threat of criminal prosecution for anyone who enters the United States unlawfully. Much of the controversy generated by the approach has centered on its potentially traumatic impact for migrant children, but the government has said little about how it handles parents who become mentally unstable or violent after authorities split up their families.”

She Was Kidnapped by Guerrillas and Forced to Work. That Qualifies as Material Support for Terrorism, According to Immigration Ruling. The Intercept, Trevor Aaronson, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “The highest U.S. immigration administration authority ruled this week that cooking and cleaning for terrorists, even when done under threat of death, qualifies as providing material support and justification for deporting someone. The immigration court’s catch-all interpretation of material support aligns with how it has been used in federal criminal cases, where the law has allowed prosecutors to charge people for vague, often nonviolent offenses related to terrorism.”

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “As President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics. Mr. Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics. As a businessman and president, Mr. Trump has proudly been guided by his instincts. Nevertheless, people who have participated in past nuclear negotiations say the absence of such high-level expertise could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reinstated for-profit college accreditor (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) despite staff objections, report showsPolitico,  Michael Stratford, Saturday, 9 June 2018: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos earlier this year reinstated an accreditor of for-profit colleges despite findings by her agency’s career staff that the organization failed to meet federal standards, an internal document shows. The report, released by the Education Department on Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, shows that career department analysts had serious concerns about restoring the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools just a month before DeVos issued an order reinstating the accreditor’s federal status.” See also, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Reinstated College Accreditor Over Staff Objections, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, published on Monday, 11 June 2018: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disregarded a scathing review by her own staff this spring when she reinstated the watchdog body that had accredited two scandal-scarred for-profit universities whose bankruptcies left tens of thousands of students with worthless degrees and mountains of debt, a new report has revealed. A 244-page internal document, written by career staff and delivered to the secretary in early March but made public late Friday, found that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or Acics, had failed to meet 57 of 93 federal quality and management compliance standards as it vied to continue operating as a gatekeeper for billions in federal financial aid dollars. The findings were released late last week after the department was sued by the National Student Legal Defense Network and the Century Foundation.”


Sunday, 10 June 2018, Day 507:


Trump and North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, Arrive in Singapore for Historic Summit Meeting, The New York Times, Motoko Rich, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “Fresh from a contentious global economic summit meeting with United States’ oldest and closest allies, President Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday for his historic on-again-off-again meeting with the North Korea leader, Kim Jong-un. With the nuclear future of North Korea and the security of the entire region at stake, the encounter will be the first ever between a sitting American president and a North Korean leader. Just over two weeks ago, it seemed that the summit meeting was not going to happen. A few months ago, the two countries even seemed close to the brink of war…. Mr. Trump … has declared that he did not need to prepare for the two-day meeting….” See also, Trump and Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore for historic summit, The Washington Post, Anna Fifield and Philip Rucker, Sunday, 10 June 2018. See also, The ‘dotard’ meets ‘Little Rocket Man’: Trump and Kim are adversaries with many similarities, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Sunday, 10 June 2018.

Escalating Clash With Canada, Trump Is Isolated Before North Korea Meeting, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “President Trump escalated a bitter clash with some of America’s closest allies on Sunday, lashing out through his advisers at Canada’s prime minister in unusually personal terms and leaving himself with a diplomatic crisis as he arrived in Asia to negotiate a nuclear agreement with North Korea. A day after Mr. Trump refused to sign a communiqué of the Group of 7 major industrial economies, his advisers went on the attack, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of ‘betrayal’ and a ‘stab’ in the back, even as Canada, Germany and France pushed back against what they called the American president’s ‘insult’ and ‘inconsistency.’… During closed-door meetings, Mr. Trump largely listened through most issues, firmly crossing his arms and swiveling a bit in his seat, according to people who were in the room. At points, he looked around trying to catch the eyes of others, as if looking for reassurance, the witnesses said. Some smiled back; others did not. He arrived 18 minutes late for a Saturday session on gender equality and did not bother putting his headphones on for translation when President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke. At some points, Mr. Trump closed his eyes in what people in the room took to mean he was dozing off. But he came alive whenever trade was mentioned, mocking and insulting other leaders, particularly Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, according to the witnesses. Ms. Merkel was clearly not happy but largely kept quiet, evidently not wanting to provoke more conflict. Mr. Trump’s conversation was described by European officials as stream of consciousness, filled with superlatives but not following a linear argument.”

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s Top Economic Adviser, Ties G-7 Tension to North Korea Meeting, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “President Trump’s top economic adviser said on Sunday that Mr. Trump had pulled out of a joint statement with allies at the Group of 7 meeting over the weekend because a ‘betrayal’ by the Canadian prime minister had threatened to make Mr. Trump appear weak before his summit meeting on Tuesday with North Korea’s leader. The adviser, Larry Kudlow, said that Mr. Trump had no choice but to take the action after the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said in a news conference that Canada would not be bullied by the United States on trade. Mr. Trump ‘is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around,’ Mr. Kudlow said, adding, ‘He is not going to permit any show of weakness on a trip to negotiate with North Korea.'” See also, White House ratchets up trade war with ‘special place in hell’ slug at Trudeau, Politico, Patrick Temple-West, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “Tensions between the U.S. and Canada mounted on Sunday even as President Donald Trump tried to shift his attention to North Korea, with one U.S. official saying there is a ‘special place in hell’ for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after bitter words between the two leaders…. ‘There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door,’ White House adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday on Fox News. ‘And that’s what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference.’ Trudeau’s administration punched back Sunday. Asked repeatedly by reporters about Navarro’s ‘special place in hell’ remark, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said: ‘Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks.'” See also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union will act against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, Reuters, Michael Nienaber, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “Europe will implement counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum just like Canada, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, voicing regret about President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw support for a G7 communique.” See also, French President Emmanuel Macron blasts ‘incoherent’ Trump after G7 fiasco, Politico, Maïa De La Baume, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “France pledged on Sunday to stand by the G7 summit statement disowned by Donald Trump and took a swipe at the U.S. president by declaring that international cooperation could not depend on ‘fits of anger’ or ‘little words.’… In a statement on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said all of Europe would continue to stand behind the communiqué, which included a commitment by the seven leading industrialized democracies to a ‘rules-based international trading system’ and a pledge to ‘continue to fight protectionism.’ ‘We spent two days to obtain a text and commitments. We will stand by them and anyone who would depart from them, once their back was turned, shows their incoherence and inconsistency,’ said the statement, quoted by Le Monde, which did not mention Trump by name but was clearly referring to his actions.” See also, Trump’s ‘Bully’ Attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Outrages Canadians, The New York Times, Dan Bilefsky and Catherine Porter, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “Canadians have had enough. It takes a lot to rile people in this decidedly courteous nation. But after President Trump’s parting shots against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the day he left the Group of 7 summit meeting in Quebec, the country reacted with uncharacteristic outrage and defiance at a best friend’s nastiness. ‘It was extremely undiplomatic and antagonistic,’ Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, wrote in an email. ‘It was disrespectful and ill informed.’… Even Mr. Trudeau’s political foes rose to his defense.”

Trump Upends Global Trade Order Built by the U.S., The New York Times, Ana Swanson, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “At the rockiest annual meeting of major Western powers in decades, President Trump criticized the tariffs imposed on American goods as ‘ridiculous and unacceptable’ and vowed to put an end to being ‘like a piggy bank that everybody is robbing.’ Behind Mr. Trump’s outrage is his belief that the United States is at a disadvantage when it comes to global trade and is on the losing end of tariffs imposed by other nations. But to many of the country’s trading partners, the president’s criticisms ring hollow given that the United States places its own tariffs on everything from trucks and peanuts to sugar and stilettos. ‘While the system has problems, it is in no way “unfair,” to the U.S., which as a hegemon has set the rules and the exceptions to the rules,’ said Susan Aaronson, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. The United States has long been the biggest champion of global trade, viewing the opening of borders as essential to strengthening not only its economy but the global economy as well. It led the way in building the international trading order in the 20th century, rising to become the world’s predominant economy. Tariffs were used as a way to offer protection for certain industries, but free trade was considered the tide that would lift all boats because all countries involved would benefit.”

‘Mothers could not stop crying’: Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington blasts Trump policy after visiting detained immigrants at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Washington, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Sunday, 10 June 2018: “A group of lawmakers and public officials in Washington state denounced the Trump administration Saturday for a policy that is resulting in the separation of undocumented immigrant families at the Mexican border, accusing the administration of causing undue trauma to children and parents who might be legally seeking asylum in the United States. Although Seattle is some 1,500 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the debate over family separations hit closer to home for the Evergreen State after dozens of undocumented immigrants were transferred last week to the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Nearly all of those migrants — 174 out of 206 — were women, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who spent about three hours Saturday morning meeting with the recently moved detainees at the SeaTac facility…. On Saturday afternoon, Jayapal issued a withering statement describing her visit — ‘The mothers could not stop crying when they spoke about their children,’ she wrote — and called for the Trump administration to reunite the detained and separated families.”


Monday, 11 June 2018, Day 508:


Trump and Kim See New Chapter for Nations After Summit, The New York Times, Mark Landler, Monday, 11 June 2018: “President Trump shook hands with Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Tuesday [Tuesday in Singapore; Monday in the U.S.] and offered a major concession during the first summit meeting between their nations, a momentous step in an improbable courtship between the world’s largest nuclear power and the most reclusive one. Brash, impulsive leaders who only a few months ago taunted each other across a nuclear abyss, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim set aside their threats in a gamble that for now, at least, personal diplomacy can counteract decades of enmity and distrust.” See also, Atrocities Under North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un: Indoctrination, Prison Gulags, Executions, The New York Times, Maya Salam and Matthew Haag, Monday, 11 June 2018: “With the meeting of President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, human rights groups are watching for Mr. Trump to bring up North Korea’s widespread crimes against humanity. Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world. In North Korea, these crimes ‘entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,’ concluded a 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea. [This article covers] some of the atrocities that have happened there…. Since Mr. Kim assumed power in 2011, taking over from his father, Kim Jong-il, he has consolidated his power through executions. In the first six years as leader, he has ordered the executions of at least 340 people, according to the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank arm of the National Intelligence Service. In 2016, Kim Yong-jin, the deputy premier for education, was killed in front of a firing squad after showing ‘disrespectful posture’ in a meeting. Hyon Yong-chol, a general over the armed forces, fell asleep in a meeting. He was executed with an antiaircraft gun.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Says Domestic and Gang Violence Are Not Grounds for Asylum, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Caitlin Dickerson, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday made it all but impossible for asylum seekers to gain entry into the United States by citing fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, in a ruling that could have a broad effect on the flow of migrants from Central America. Mr. Sessions’s decision in a closely watched domestic violence case is the latest turn in a long-running debate over what constitutes a need for asylum. He reversed an immigration appeals court ruling that granted it to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused by her husband. Relatively few asylum seekers are granted permanent entry into the United States. In 2016, for every applicant who succeeded, more than 10 others also sought asylum, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security. But the process can take months or years, and tens of thousands of people live freely in the United States while their cases wend through the courts. Mr. Sessions’s decision overturns a precedent set during the Obama administration that allowed more women to claim credible fears of domestic abuse and will make it harder for such arguments to prevail in immigration courts.” See also, Trump administration moves to block victims of gang violence and domestic abuse from claiming asylum, Los Angeles Times, Evan Halper, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence, a move that could block tens of thousands of people, especially women, from seeking refuge in America. The decision, which immigration advocates are sure to aggressively fight, comes as Sessions seeks to use the authority of his office to sharply change U.S. immigration law to make it less friendly to asylum seekers.” SPLC statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ order to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence, Southern Poverty Law Center, Michelle Lapointe, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Today’s cruel and heartless decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions – ordering immigration authorities to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence in their home countries – strikes at the heart of longstanding protections guaranteed to asylum seekers, and will condemn tens of thousands of men, women and children to death. By declaring that the lack of policing of domestic and gang violence in other countries cannot be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., Sessions is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from obtaining refuge in America.” See also, Attorney General Jeff Sessions just all but slammed the door on survivors of domestic violence and gang violence, Vox, Dara Lind, Monday, 11 June 2018. See also, The Trump Administration Is Completely Unravelling the U.S. Asylum System, The New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Since becoming Attorney General, Sessions has limited the ability of asylum seekers to appeal decisions, restricted the discretion that immigration judges have over their own dockets, and used his authority as Attorney General to personally review immigration cases…. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency in charge of processing people as they arrive in the U.S., has been telling asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until American authorities have the capacity to admit them. Many legal scholars say that making people who are looking for safety in the U.S. wait across the border violates both American and international human-rights law, which together hold that asylum seekers cannot be sent back to countries where they are likely to be tortured or killed…. The Trump Administration also appears to be putting more asylum seekers behind bars…. Over the past year, immigrant-rights advocates along the U.S.-Mexico border have documented increasing numbers of people who have been blocked from having a credible-fear interview at ports of entry. According to one lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security, one C.B.P. officer, in McAllen, Texas, allegedly told an asylum seeker, ‘Trump says we don’t have to let you in.'” See also, The Misogynistic Logic of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Horrifying New Asylum Policy for Domestic Violence Victims, The Intercept, Natasha Lennard, published on Friday, 15 June 2018: “When the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993, it gave long overdue recognition to the fact that gendered domestic violence is not a private issue, but a public health and human rights concern for the international community. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision this week to stop giving asylum protections for domestic violence victims stands in grim conflict with this principle. On Monday, Sessions reversed an immigration court’s ruling that granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador whose husband had repeatedly abused her physically, sexually, and emotionally. The court ruled in 2014 that domestic violence victims constitute a social group when it comes to asylum considerations. But in a 31-page ruling with profound implications for immigration policy, Sessions wrote that ‘generally’ claims on domestic and gang violence will no longer qualify for asylum and will not even reach the initial ‘credible fear’ standard to allow an immigrant to have her asylum claim heard by a judge. Victims of domestic and gang violence, in other words, won’t even be able to have their claims for asylum heard. The effect of Sessions’s ruling could be sweeping and immediate. Immigration attorneys have said this decision could invalidate tens of thousands of pending asylum claims from women fleeing domestic and gang violence, which often intersect, in Central America and Mexico.”

Supreme Court upholds Ohio’s way of removing infrequent voters from the rolls, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Conservatives on the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s strict method of removing infrequent voters from the rolls, a process that challengers of the law say disproportionately affects poor and minority voters. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 decision, said Ohio’s disputed process of purging voters who may have moved met the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The decision came under immediate criticism, beyond the dissenters on the court. Liberal groups and minority advocates said it gave states a green light to impose procedures that studies have shown tend to impact urban areas. The subtext of the decision was a continuing battle between Republicans and Democrats over laws that regulate who gets to vote and when, including voter-ID requirements and restrictions on early voting. Republicans say the integrity of the process demands ensuring that only the eligible vote, while Democrats say that voter fraud is practically nonexistent and that the goal should be to enfranchise all who are eligible. It is no surprise the case comes from Ohio, which has the nation’s strictest law on removing voters and is a closely divided state almost always seen as a battleground in national politics.” See also, The Supreme Court Is Helping Republicans Kill a Key Voting Rights Law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. After gutting the Voting Rights Act, Republicans are now weakening the National Voter Registration Act in order to do mass voter purging. Mother Jones, Ari Berman, Monday, 11 June 2018: “In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to end the disenfranchisement of black voters in the Jim Crow South. The law was remarkably successful in dismantling barriers to the ballot box like literacy tests and poll taxes, but a few decades later, Congress recognized that more still needed to be done to boost political participation. In the 1988 presidential election, for example, barely half of eligible African American voters cast a ballot. In response to persistently low voter turnout, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to allow voters to register at Department of Motor Vehicles offices and other public agencies. President Bill Clinton called it ‘a sign of a new vibrancy in our democracy.’ The ‘motor voter’ law had an immediate impact: More than 30 million people registered or updated their registrations through the NVRA in its first year in effect. Roughly 16 million people per year have used it to register ever since. One of the key features of the law was to protect voters from being wrongly removed from the voter rolls. The NVRA stipulated that someone could not be removed from the rolls ‘by reason of the person’s failure to vote.’ But in a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Ohio could remove infrequent voters from the rolls, severely weakening the power of the NVRA and opening the door to wider voter purging.” See also, Supreme Court Upholds Ohio’s Purge of Voting Rolls, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 11 June 2018.

Marco Antonio Muñoz, the Honduran man who killed himself in a Texas jail in May, was fleeing violence, Honduran consul says, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Monday, 11 June 2018: “A Honduran man who killed himself in a Texas jail last month after U.S. authorities forcibly separated him from his wife and child was seeking asylum in the United States following the slaying of his brother-in-law, the Honduran consul in McAllen, Tex., said Monday. Marco Antonio Muñoz fled Honduras with his wife, Orlanda de Muñoz, and their 3-year-old son after her brother’s slaying left the family fearing for their lives, Consul Ana Bulnes told The Washington Post, providing new details about the circumstances preceding Muñoz’s death May 13. His suicide, which was first reported by The Post on Saturday, raised new concerns about the psychological strain endured by migrant families who cross the border illegally and face separation once in government custody.”

Doctors Rip Trump Department of Justice’s Move to Gut Obamacare’s Protections for Patients With Preexisting Conditions, Forbes, Bruce Japsen, Monday, 11 June 2018: “The nation’s doctor groups are once again rallying to the defense of the Affordable Care Act after the U.S. Justice Department filed a brief that doesn’t defend the law’s popular protections for patients with preexisting conditions. At the American Medical Association annual meeting this week, doctors are discussing numerous ways to protect patients, updating its lobbying agenda to include ways to support the ACA.”

Canada has every right to be insulted, The Washington Post, Editorial Board, Monday, 11 June 2018: “‘THERE’S A special place in hell’ for leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ This, as President Trump was about to sit down with the head of a totalitarian North Korean regime responsible for crimes against humanity without parallel in the contemporary world, as a U.N. commission reported four years ago. What could account for such White House savagery against a historic U.S. ally? Mr. Trudeau had engaged in ‘bad-faith diplomacy,’ Mr. Navarro maintained. ‘He really kind of stabbed us in the back,’ Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, agreed on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday. How so? Mr. Trudeau said at a news conference at the end of a tense Group of Seven summit that U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum were ‘kind of insulting,’ because Mr. Trump cited national security to erect them. This is nothing all that different from what Mr. Trudeau had said before. It is also a mild reaction relative to the sheer irrationality of the president’s increasingly unmoored trade policy. In fact, Canada has every right to be insulted that Mr. Trump would invoke national security in their trade dispute. Canada has stood with the United States in every modern war and crisis.”

Judge Peter Messitte of the United States District Court in Maryland Questions the Defense of Trump’s Hotel Profits in Emoluments CaseThe New York Times,  Sharon LaFraniere, Monday, 11 June 2018: “A federal judge on Monday sharply criticized the Justice Department’s argument that President Trump’s financial interest in his company’s hotel in downtown Washington is constitutional, a fresh sign that the judge may soon rule against the president in a historic case that could head to the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, charge that Mr. Trump’s profits from the hotel violate anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution that restrict government-bestowed financial benefits, or emoluments, to presidents beyond their official salary. They say the hotel is siphoning business from local convention centers and hotels.”

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump made at least $82 million in outside income last year while serving in the White House, filings show, The Washington Post, Amy Brittain, Ashley Parker, and Anu Narayanswamy, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, brought in at least $82 million in outside income while serving as senior White House advisers during 2017, according to financial disclosure forms released Monday. Trump earned $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington and more than $2 million in severance from the Trump Organization, while Kushner reported over $5 million in income from Quail Ridge, a Kushner Cos. apartment complex acquired last year in Plainsboro, N.J. The filings show how the couple are collecting immense sums from other enterprises while serving in the White House, an extraordinary income flow that ethics experts have warned could create potential conflicts of interest.”

Treasury Department Hits Russia With New Sanctions, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Monday, 11 June 2018: “The Treasury Department imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia on Monday, escalating its response to Russian cyberwarfare as the administration continues to warn about Russia’s potential to meddle in America’s coming midterm elections. The sanctions target five Russian companies and three individuals, some of whom are accused of directly supporting Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, in its efforts to carry out cyberattacks. They follow sanctions that the United States imposed in April on a roster of Russian business tycoons, government officials and corporations, and are the latest example of the hot and cold approach that the Trump administration has taken in handling one of America’s most prominent adversaries…. The sanctions come as President Trump’s presidential campaign continues to face a federal investigation into improper coordination with Russia, which meddled in the 2016 election. Last year, Congress passed legislation that curtailed Mr. Trump’s power to lift sanctions on Russia on his own, tying his hands with a rare showing of overwhelmingly bipartisan defiance. That has not stopped Mr. Trump from embracing the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump called for Russia to be readmitted into the Group of 7 industrialized nations, despite having been kicked out for annexing Crimea in 2014. The actions on Monday were required as part of the 2017 legislation — the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act….”

Web of elite Russians met with National Rifle Association executives during the 2016 presidential campaign, McClatchyDC, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, Monday, 11 June 2018: “Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source. The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.”


Tuesday, 12 June 2018, Day 509:


Vague on Details, Trump Is Betting on ‘Special Bond’ With Kim to Deliver Deal, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “On paper, there is nothing President Trump extracted from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in their summit meeting that Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather had not already given to past American presidents. In fact, he got less, at least for now. But as Mr. Trump made clear in a lengthy but vaguely worded reconstruction of their five hours of talks, none of that really matters to him. Instead, he is betting everything on the ‘terrific relationship’ and ‘very special bond’ that he said he developed with the 34-year-old dictator, and Mr. Trump’s seeming certainty that they now view the future elimination of North Korea’s arsenal of atomic weapons the same way. He swatted away suggestions that the phrase ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ means something different in Pyongyang than it does in Washington…. So he flew halfway around the world to meet the leader of one of the world’s most repressive nations on the theory that if he could win over the country’s leader with a vision of future wealth, North Korea will determine that it no longer needs its nuclear weapons. Or its missiles, its stockpiles of VX and other nerve agents or its biological weapons. It is a huge gamble, based on the very Trumpian assumption that the force of his personality, and the deal-making skills in which he has supreme confidence, will make all the difference. Skeptics doubt that anything basic has changed and that a regime that has survived chiefly on its ability to threaten Armageddon will be willing to give up everything.” See also, The Trump-Kim Summit Statement: Read the Full Text, The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 June 2018. See also, Trump-Kim summit: Trump says after historic meeting, ‘We have developed a very special bond,’ The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Philip Rucker, Anna Fifield, and Anne Gearan, Tuesday, 12 June 2018. See also, Pentagon and Seoul Surprised by Trump Pledge to Halt Military Exercises, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “President Trump’s pledge on Tuesday to cancel military exercises on the Korean Peninsula surprised not only allies in South Korea but also the Pentagon. Hours after Mr. Trump’s announcement in Singapore, American troops in Seoul said they are still moving ahead with a military exercise this fall — Ulchi Freedom Guardian — until they receive guidance otherwise from the chain of command.” See also, Trump pledges to end military exercises as part of North Korea talks, apparently catching South Korea and U.S. military officials by surprise, Politico, Nancy Cook, Louis Nelson, and Nahal Toosi, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the U.S. will halt joint military exercises with South Korea as part of larger denuclearization talks with North Korea — apparently catching South Korea and U.S. military officials by surprise and drawing criticism that he was giving away too much for little in return. Trump, who also expressed a wish to one day withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea, spoke several hours after he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a ceremony in Singapore to sign a joint statement in which Kim vowed to eventually give up his nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees from the United States. The one-page document contained few specifics on how that goal would be achieved. It also didn’t describe what exactly “denuclearization” means to each side or what sort of time frame Washington and Pyongyang have in mind. Trump’s decision to stop what he — echoing North Korea — called “war games” was not mentioned in the document. Neither were other elements that Trump claimed to have convinced Kim to do, including destroying a missile engine testing site.” See also, The Trump-Kim Summit: Reality TV or a New Era? The New Yorker, Robin Wright, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “In especially vague terms, North Korea reaffirmed an agreement—originally made between the two Koreas at their historic summit on April 27th—to ‘work toward’ complete denuclearization. Two other key words long sought by the United States—’verifiable’ and ‘irreversible’—were missing.”

Reporters thought this video was North Korea propaganda. It came from the White House. The Washington Post, Avi Selk, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “Reporters crowded into a Singapore auditorium Tuesday, expecting President Trump to walk out and announce the results of his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Suddenly, two huge screens on either side of the empty podium came to life. Soaring music boomed over the speakers, and the reporters were bombarded with a montage portraying North Korea as some sort of paradise. Golden sunrises, gleaming skylines and high-speed trains. Children skipping through Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang. North Korean flags fluttering between images of Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Lincoln Memorial. In a split-screen shot, Kim Jong Un waved to an adoring crowd while President Trump stood beside him with his thumb in the air. The pair appeared over and over again, like running mates in a campaign video. The film went on like this for more than four minutes, with brief interludes of missiles, soldiers and warships interrupting the pageantry. Some journalists, unable to understand the Korean-language narration, assumed they were watching one of Pyongyang’s infamous propaganda films. ‘What country are we in?’ asked a reporter from the filing center.” See also, The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong Un, The New Yorker, Troy Patterson, Tuesday, 12 June 2018. Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better. The New York Times, Taige Jensen, Japhet Weeks, Leah Varjacques, and Adam B. Ellick. “Donald Trump showed Kim Jong-un a trailer casting both leaders as heroes. The Times’s Opinion video team cut a more honest makeover.” See also, Donald Trump Tried to Get Kim Jong-un to Surrender His Arms by Showing Him a Weird Video, The Intercept, Robert Mackey, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “During his post-summit news conference, Trump expanded on how he used the video to try to persuade Kim to disarm and open his country to investment from, for example, property developers. ‘That was a version of what could happen, what could take place,’ Trump said. ‘As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, “Boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind … ?” And I explained, I said, “You know, instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world right there.” Think of it from a real estate perspective.'”

Peter Navarro, One of Trump’s Top Trade Advisers, Apologizes for ‘Special Place in Hell’ Comments About Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “Peter Navarro, one of President Trump’s top trade advisers, said on Tuesday that it was a mistake to suggest that ‘there is a special place in hell’ for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, offering a rare apology from a White House that almost never walks back heated rhetoric. ‘In conveying that message, I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,’ Mr. Navarro said at an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal. ‘I own that, that was my mistake, those were my words.'”

Trump again scolds Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and says Trudeau’s criticism will cost Canada ‘a lot of money,’ The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “President Trump reprised his criticism of Canada’s prime minister here Tuesday, threatening that Justin Trudeau’s tough exchanges with him over trade policy would ‘cost a lot of money for the people of Canada.'”

‘Back to the Dark Ages’: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s asylum ruling reverses decades of women’s rights progress, critics say, The Washington Post, Samantha Schmidt, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “Aminta Cifuentes suffered weekly beatings at the hands of her husband. He broke her nose, burned her with paint thinner and raped her. She called the police in her native Guatemala several times but was told they could not interfere in a domestic matter, according to a court ruling. When Cifuentes’s husband hit her in the head, leaving her bloody, police came to the home but refused to arrest him. He threatened to kill her if she called authorities again. So in 2005, Cifuentes fled to the United States. ‘If I had stayed there, he would have killed me,’ she told the Arizona Republic. And after nearly a decade of waiting on an appeal, Cifuentes was granted asylum. The 2014 landmark decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals set the precedent that women fleeing domestic violence were eligible to apply for asylum. It established clarity in a long-running debate over whether asylum can be granted on the basis of violence perpetrated in the ‘private’ sphere, according to Karen Musalo, director for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. But on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the precedent set in Cifuentes’s case, deciding that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally will not qualify for asylum under federal law. (Unlike the federal courts established under Article III of the Constitution, the immigration court system is part of the Justice Department.)” See also, With a Decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Chances for People Asking for Asylum Based on Domestic or Gang Violence Went From Challenging to Nearly Impossible, The New York Times, Liz Robbins, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “The threats from her boyfriend came daily, fear having no respite, Blanca said. If she were to leave him, he told her from his jail cell, he would torture her, cut her into pieces and leave her to die. He was a member of the 18th Street gang in Honduras, and they did these sorts of things. She tried to resist. Then he threw her against a wall when she visited him in jail, the police nowhere to be found. When his fellow gang member later raped and impregnated her, and then another threatened to kill her, she finally fled to the United States in 2013. On Thursday, Blanca, 30, who now lives in the Bronx, will go before an immigration judge in New York to plead her case for asylum. On Monday, her chances of success changed instantly from challenging to nearly impossible. On that day, in a speech to immigration judges gathered for annual training, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he was reversing recent immigration practice and declaring that domestic and gang violence were generally not grounds for asylum. Mr. Sessions’s action overturned a 2014 decision that had established domestic violence victims as a social group, based on the abuse a Guatemalan woman, Aminta Cifuentes, had faced for 10 years.” 

The New Justice Department Lawsuit Against Obamacare Could Undo Far More Than Protections for Pre-existing Conditions, The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “A new Trump administration court challenge is explicitly aiming to remove a central promise of Obamacare — its protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. But it could also make it much harder for any individual to obtain health insurance on the open market. The administration’s brief, filed in Federal District Court in Texas on Thursday, focuses on the core Obamacare provisions that make insurance available to people with prior illnesses. Those protections — which President Trump once praised and Republicans in Congress vowed not to disrupt last year — don’t exist in a vacuum. Undoing them could also undo other programs in the health law, making insurance harder to obtain for people who buy their own insurance or get it through a small company, and possibly making it unaffordable for many middle-income people who receive financial assistance with their health insurance premiums under the law. The Justice Department’s brief argues that last year’s tax reform bill has rendered Obamacare’s individual mandate — the requirement that a vast majority of Americans buy health insurance — unconstitutional. If the individual mandate is stripped away, it argues, two other key parts of Obamacare should necessarily fall with it.”

Exclusive: Trump is looking to erect tent cities to house unaccompanied children, McClatchy DC, Franco Ordoñez, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “The Trump administration is looking to build tent cities at military posts around Texas to shelter the increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children being held in detention. The Department of Health and Human Services will visit Fort Bliss, a sprawling Army base near El Paso in the coming weeks to look at a parcel of land where the administration is considering building a tent city to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the plans. HHS officials confirmed that they’re looking at the Fort Bliss site along with Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo for potential use as temporary shelters.”

Customs and Border Protection is examining agent Jeffrey A. Rambo’s questioning of national security reporter Ali Watkins, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Matt Zapotosky, and Jack Gillum, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “The actions of a Customs and Border Protection agent who confronted a reporter covering national security issues about her confidential sources are being examined by the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. The agent, Jeffrey A. Rambo, contacted journalist Ali Watkins last June as the Trump administration was ramping up its investigations of unauthorized leaks to reporters, and he identified himself as a government agent. Rambo met with Watkins at a restaurant in Washington after initially contacting her by email. A reporter taking such a meeting with a potential source would not be unusual. But after he arrived, Rambo said the administration was eager to investigate journalists and learn the identity of their confidential sources to stanch leaks of classified information. He questioned Watkins broadly about her reporting and how she developed information, according to the people familiar with the incident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Rambo’s behavior was un­or­tho­dox. It’s highly unusual for government investigators to question reporters about their sources, and national security leaks are generally investigated by the FBI, not CBP, part of the Department of Homeland Security. Rambo also contacted Watkins using a personal email address and declined to provide his name.”

Organizing for Action, the Political Committee Formed by Former President Barack Obama, Is Preparing to Mobilize for the 2018 Midterm Campaign, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “The political committee formed by former President Barack Obama is preparing to mobilize for the 2018 midterm campaign, targeting more than two dozen congressional races and several key state elections with a program aimed at turning out Democratic-leaning voters. The group, Organizing for Action, which emerged from the vestiges of Mr. Obama’s old campaign operation, intends to deploy organizers in 27 Republican-held congressional districts that could be key to a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. Their mission, officials with the group said, will be to coordinate and train volunteers and deploy them to help Democrats in states from California to North Carolina. In addition, the organization will focus on several elections that may affect the redrawing of the congressional map after the 2020 census; these include races for governor in states such as Florida and Wisconsin and redistricting-themed ballot referendums in Colorado and Michigan. Organizing for Action previously announced it would partner in 2018 with a committee led by Eric H. Holder Jr., Mr. Obama’s former attorney general, to attack legislative gerrymandering in the midterms.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller sees Russian effort to influence the 2018 midterm elections, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “Russian intelligence agencies are trying to meddle in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections much as they did two years ago, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office asserted on Tuesday in a court filing. The claim of active election-focused intelligence operations came as prosecutors moved to block more than a dozen Russians who are charged criminally in the prior effort from gaining access to evidence gathered as that case was assembled. ‘Public or unauthorized disclosure of this case’s discovery would result in the release of information that would assist foreign intelligence services, particularly those of the Russian Federation, and other foreign actors in future operations against the United States,’ Mueller’s team said in a motion filed with a federal judge in Washington. ‘The substance of the government’s evidence identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the present indictment.’ Mueller didn’t offer any proof or specifics about ongoing operations, but his assertion sounded somewhat more concrete than statements other U.S. officials have made on the point.”

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson orders Special Counsel Robert Mueller to identify unnamed figures in Manafort indictment, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Tuesday, 12 June 2018: “A federal judge has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to identify by Friday all the individuals and organizations involved in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s alleged scheme to lobby on behalf of Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent under U.S. law. Among the people Mueller will be required to identify to the defense are top European former politicians who took part in the influence campaign, as well as others whose testimony Manafort has been accused of trying to influence in recent months. Manafort’s alleged effort to shape the accounts of those people led to two new felony obstruction of justice charges last week. The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson Tuesday represents a rare courtroom win for Manafort’s defense, which is battling Mueller’s prosecutors in two different federal courts and faces two looming jury trials. Prosecutors resisted the defense motion, but the judge’s decision is not likely to be significant since many of the names are well known to the defense and have been reported in the media.”


Wednesday, 13 June 2018, Day 510:


Antarctic ice is melting faster than ever, according to two new studies, The Guardian, Matthew Taylor, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies. A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.”

Scanning immigrants’ old fingerprints, U.S. threatens to strip thousands of citizenship, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “The Trump administration is analyzing decades-old fingerprints in an unprecedented effort to rescind American citizenship from immigrants who may have lied or falsified information on their naturalization forms. Revoking citizenship, a process known as denaturalization, has long been treated as a rare and relatively drastic measure by immigration authorities, reserved for foreigners who commit egregious crimes or acts of fraud, or pose a threat to national security. But under a new policy memo issued by L. Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency is investigating thousands of old fingerprint records and files to determine whether foreigners made false or fraudulent statements in their attempts to obtain legal residency in the United States.”

Trump and Kim declare summit a big success, but they diverge on the details, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and John Wagner, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un agreed Wednesday that their Singapore summit had been a momentous and unqualified success, but they offered somewhat differing versions of what they had accomplished and where they go from here. Trump, in tweets that began as Air Force One made an early-morning landing, declared America’s ‘biggest and most dangerous problem’ all but resolved. The deal he struck with Kim, he said, meant there was ‘no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,’ and ‘everybody can now feel much safer.’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration expected ‘major disarmament’ by North Korea before the end of Trump’s term in January 2021. Kim, or at least his country’s state-run news agency, said the two leaders had decided to end ‘extreme hostile relations’ and described the beginning of a ‘step-by-step and simultaneous’ process that would eventually lead to peace and ‘denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’ Both sides said Trump had agreed to halt military exercises with South Korea. Additionally, according to Pyongyang, the president offered ‘security guarantees . . . and [to] lift sanctions’ as their dialogue proceeded, to which North Korea would respond with ‘additional good-will measures.'” See also, Fact-checking Trump’s claims about the North Korea deal, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

James A. Wolfe, Former Director of Security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pleads Not Guilty to Lying to the F.B.I., The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “A former top staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with reporters, and his defense lawyer accused the Justice Department and President Trump of making inappropriate comments about the case that could poison the jury pool. The former staff member, James A. Wolfe, appeared before a magistrate judge at the federal courthouse blocks from the Senate office building where he used to work. Mr. Wolfe was indicted last week on three counts of lying to F.B.I. agents working on a leak investigation, but has not been charged with unlawfully disclosing classified information.”

Corey Stewart’s Virginia Restoration, The New Yorker, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “Corey Stewart, whom Steve Bannon once called the ‘titular head of the Trump movement’ in Virginia, won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in the state on Tuesday night, and will challenge Senator Tim Kaine, the Democratic incumbent, in November. The result was a shock. Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, helped turn the campaign to defend Confederate monuments into a national issue, and appeared at a press conference in Charlottesville with Jason Kessler, who would later organize the white-supremacist Unite the Right rally. Stewart has described Paul Nehlen, a white-nationalist candidate for Congress in Wisconsin, as one of his ‘personal heroes,’ and has claimed that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.” See also, Fact Check: Corey Stewart, Republicans, and the Fringe Right, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa retweeted a self-described ‘Nazi sympathizer.’ The Republican party did not rebuke him. The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa is drawing scrutiny after sharing a social media post from a British white nationalist who has described himself in the past as an admirer of Hitler’s Germany and a ‘Nazi sympathizer.’ King, whose racially inflected comments on subjects such as immigration and Western culture have drawn headlines for years, retweeted the British white nationalist Mark Collett, who had shared a statistic from Breitbart News on Tuesday morning about opinions of ‘mass immigration’ in Italy.”

Trump Appointee Mari Stull Compiles Loyalty List of U.S. Employees at the U.N. and State Department, Foreign Policy, Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “A senior advisor to the State Department appointed just two months ago has been quietly vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine whether they are loyal to President Donald Trump and his political agenda, according to nearly a dozen current and former U.S. officials. Mari Stull, a former food and beverage lobbyist-turned-wine blogger under the name ‘Vino Vixen,’ has reviewed the social media pages of State Department staffers for signs of ideological deviation. She has researched the names of government officials to determine whether they signed off on Obama-era policies — though signing off does not mean officials personally endorsed them but merely cleared them through the bureaucratic chain. And she has inquired about Americans employed by international agencies, including the World Health Organization and the United Nations, asking their colleagues when they were hired and by whom, according to the officials.”

Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Is Parting With His Lawyers as the Federal Investigation Continues, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, William K. Rashbaum, and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal fixer, will soon be parting from the lawyers who are representing him in a potentially damaging and wide-ranging federal investigation into his business dealings, according to two people familiar with the case. Prosecutors conducting the inquiry have not yet approached Mr. Cohen to seek his cooperation, according to two people briefed on the case. But as the investigation continues, and with Mr. Cohen’s legal team in flux, the pressure on him to cooperate with the government may well intensify. Mr. Cohen’s current lawyers — a three-man team from the firm of McDermott Will & Emery — are expected to stay with him for at least the rest of the week as they struggle to complete a laborious review of a trove of documents and data files seized from their client in a series of extraordinary early-morning raids two months ago. But after that review is finished, Mr. Cohen will seek new legal counsel, the people familiar with his case said. The dispute between Mr. Cohen and his lawyers involves the payment of his legal bills, part of which are being financed by the Trump family. Mr. Cohen has also had more longstanding concerns about the lawyers: As his case moves forward, possibly toward criminal charges, he has been thinking for some time about hiring a new legal team with stronger relationships with the federal prosecutors’ office in New York that is leading the investigation, according to the people briefed on the matter.”

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt tapped top aide and donors to help his wife land job at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, Brady Dennis, and Shawn Boburg, Wednesday, 13 June 2018: “Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt last year had a top aide help contact Republican donors who might offer his wife a job, eventually securing her a position at a conservative political group that has backed him for years, according to multiple individuals familiar with the matter.  The job hunt included Pruitt’s approaching wealthy party supporters and conservative figures with ties to the Trump administration. The individuals said he enlisted Samantha Dravis, then serving as associate administrator for the EPA’s Office of Policy, to line up work for his wife.”


Thursday, 14 June 2018, Day 511:


Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children, The Washington Post, Michael E. Miller, Emma Brown, and Aaron C. Davis, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “For more than a year, the old Walmart along the Mexican border here has been a mystery to those driving by on the highway. In place of the supercenter’s trademark logo hangs a curious sign: ‘Casa Padre.’ But behind the sliding doors is a bustling city unto itself, equipped with classrooms, recreation centers and medical examination rooms. Casa Padre now houses more than 1,400 immigrant boys in federal custody. While most are teenagers who entered the United States alone, dozens of others — often younger — were forcibly separated from their parents at the border by a new Trump administration ‘zero tolerance’ policy. On Wednesday evening, for the first time since that policy was announced — and amid increased national interest after a U.S. senator, Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, was turned away — federal authorities allowed a small group of reporters to tour the secretive shelter, the largest of its kind in the nation…. Federal officials have not allowed reporters to visit the facilities that house the youngest children, and it is not clear precisely how many of those children are being held or where. In the two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the separation policy, on May 7, 638 adults were prosecuted, and they had been accompanied by 658 children, federal officials have said.” See also, Marches Across the U.S. Protest Separation of Migrant Families, The New York Times, Tim Arango and Kayla Cockrel, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “Drawing on an American history of cruelty, from the conquest of the Indians to the slave trade to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, activists in [Los Angeles] gathered on Thursday to voice outrage at what they see as the latest affront to American values by the Trump administration: splitting up migrant families at border crossings, and confining children in detention facilities.” See also, Conservative Religious Leaders Are Denouncing Trump Immigration Policies, The New York Times, Laurie Goodstein, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “Conservative religious leaders who have long preached about the sanctity of the family are now issuing sharp rebukes of the Trump administration for immigration policies that tear families apart or leave them in danger. The criticism came after recent moves by the administration to separate children from their parents at the border, and to deny asylum on a routine basis to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. Some of the religious leaders are the same evangelicals and Roman Catholics who helped President Trump to build his base and who have otherwise applauded his moves to limit abortion and champion the rights of religious believers.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant children from their parents, The Washington Post, Julie Zauzmer and Keith McMillan, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday used a Bible verse to defend his department’s policy of prosecuting everyone who crosses the border from Mexico, suggesting that God supports the government in separating immigrant parents from their children. ‘I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,’ Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind. ‘Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.’ Government officials occasionally refer to the Bible as a line of argument — take, for instance, the Republicans who have quoted 2 Thessalonians (‘if a man will not work, he shall not eat’) to justify more stringent food stamps requirements. But the verse that Sessions cited, Romans 13, is an unusual choice. ‘There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked,’ said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. ‘One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution.’ The other, Fea said, ‘is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong. I mean, this is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made.'”

Report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Criticizes Former F.B.I. Director James Comey but Finds No Bias in F.B.I. Decision Not to Prosecute Hillary Clinton for Using a Private Email Server, The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The Justice Department’s inspector general on Thursday painted a harsh portrait of the F.B.I. during the 2016 presidential election, describing a destructive culture in which James B. Comey, the former director, was ‘insubordinate,’ senior officials privately bashed Donald J. Trump and agents came to distrust prosecutors. The 500-page report criticized Mr. Comey for breaking with longstanding policy and publicly discussing — in a news conference and a pair of letters in the middle of the campaign — an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in handling classified information. The report was a firm rebuke of those actions, which Mr. Comey has tried for months to defend. Nevertheless, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, did not challenge the conclusion that Mrs. Clinton should not be prosecuted. That investigation loomed over most of the presidential campaign, and Mr. Horowitz and his investigators uncovered no proof that political opinions at the F.B.I. influenced its outcome. ‘We found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,’ he wrote. ‘Rather, we concluded that they were based on the prosecutor’s assessment of facts, the law and past department practice.'” See also, Long-awaited report of the Justice Department’s Inspector General blasts former FBI director James Comey, documents major missteps in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email, but it falls well short of supporting Trump’s assertion that the investigation was rigged in favor of Clinton, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Karoun Demirjian, John Wagner, and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The inspector general did not find evidence supporting assertions made by the president and his allies that political bias inside the FBI had rigged the case to clear Clinton, but the report cited numerous instances of unprofessionalism, bias, and misjudgment that hurt the bureau’s credibility.” See also, The Report on the F.B.I.’s Clinton Investigation Is 500 Pages. Our Experts Broke It Down, The New York Times, Thursday, 14 June 2018. See also, Democrats Find Vindication, and New Agony, in Report on Comey, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The inspector general’s report criticizing Mr. Comey for his flamboyant handling of the Clinton investigation sent an angry thrill through the ranks of Democrats and Mrs. Clinton’s allies. Michael E. Horowitz, an investigator not appointed by Mr. Trump, concluded that Mr. Comey had twice breached the bureau’s traditional discretion: first by holding a July news conference to announce he would not charge Mrs. Clinton with mishandling classified information, and then later sending a letter to Congress disclosing that the agents were scrutinizing new evidence in the matter. In many respects, those findings mirrored Democrats’ own assessments of Mr. Comey — save for the omission of certain four-letter words.”

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani says special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe should be suspended ‘tomorrow,’ Politico, Brent D. Griffiths and Darren Samuelsohn, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday evening that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe should be suspended and Friday is the last chance for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ‘redeem themselves.’ ‘I believe that Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions have a chance to redeem themselves and that chance comes about tomorrow,’ Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity. Holding up a copy of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General report, Giuliani argued that Mueller’s probe must cease so top FBI officials named in the report can be investigated. The report, compiled by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his staff, found that the FBI’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was not affected by political bias. However, multiple agency officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, made decisions that went against department norms and others, like agent Peter Strzok, made inappropriate comments critical of then-candidate Trump.”

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood files civil suit against Trump, alleging his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, engaged in ‘illegal conduct,’ The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “New York’s attorney general filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children Thursday, alleging ‘persistently illegal conduct’ at the president’s personal charity and saying that Trump had repeatedly misused the nonprofit organization to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at 2016 campaign events. In the suit, Attorney General Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation. She asked that its remaining $1 million in assets be distributed to other charities and that Trump be forced to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties. Underwood also asked that Trump be banned from leading any other New York nonprofit organization for 10 years — seeking to apply a penalty usually reserved for the operators of small-time charity frauds to the president of the United States. The allegations of sweeping misuse by Trump of his personal foundation came the same day that he faced another legal setback, with the rejection by an appeals court in New York of his request to halt a defamation lawsuit filed by a former ‘Apprentice’ contestant. That decision leaves open the possibility that Trump could be deposed in the case.” See also, New York Attorney General Sues Trump Foundation After 2-Year Investigation, The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing, and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.” See also, The Donald J. Trump Foundation Explained, The New York Times, Vivian Wang, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “Why has President Trump’s charity faced years of legal scrutiny? And what does the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against it mean?” See also, How Trump allegedly used his nonprofit to support his presidential bid, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The New York attorney general’s office announced a lawsuit targeting Trump and his three oldest children, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. The allegation, in short, is that the foundation ‘operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities’ for more than a decade. Buried in the long lawsuit, though, is a fascinating look at how Trump allegedly tried to use the foundation — a charitable organization — to bolster his 2016 presidential bid. He had been leveraging the foundation to his personal benefit for some time, according to extensive reporting from The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold. The extent to which he apparently deployed the charity to aid his campaign, though — and the extent to which his campaign team seemed to direct the work of the charity — is made very clear in the legal filing.”

Broad health-care coalition opposes administration stance in anti-Affordable Care Act lawsuit, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “A broad swath of health-care constituencies weighed in on Thursday to oppose a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, forming an uncommonly united front against a decision by the Trump administration not to defend significant parts of the law. Hospitals, doctors, medical schools, patient-advocacy groups, the health insurance industry and others filed briefs in a federal court in Texas, disputing the argument of 20 Republican-led states and the Justice Department that all or part of the 2010 law is unconstitutional. In all, 11 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed. From various vantage points, each argues that a ruling in favor of this latest challenge to the ACA’s constitutionality would ‘have a devastating impact on doctors, patients, and the American health care system as a whole,’ as a brief from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry puts it.”

Supreme Court says Minnesota ban on political apparel in polling places is too broad, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Minnesota’s ban on wearing ‘political’ apparel to polling places, saying that the state’s intentions may be good but that its law was too broad and open to differing interpretations. The 7-to-2 decision, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., was careful not to cast constitutional doubt on restrictions every state imposes to protect the solemnity of the voting booth. But Minnesota’s prohibition on the wearing of a ‘political badge, political button or other political insignia’ raised more questions than it answered, Roberts wrote, and gave too much discretion to volunteer election judges trying to figure out what counted as ‘political’ and what did not.”

U.S. Insists Sanctions Will Remain Until North Korea DenuclearizesThe New York Times, Jane Perlez and Choe Sang-Hun, Thursday, 14 June 2018: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Asian powers on Thursday that President Trump was sticking to demands that North Korea surrender its nuclear weapons, as he sought to hold together a fragile consensus on maintaining tough sanctions against the North despite Mr. Trump’s declaration that it was ‘no longer a nuclear threat.’ At a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Mr. Pompeo softened some of the president’s recent comments — but did not retract them — and insisted that United Nations sanctions would remain in place until North Korea had accomplished ‘complete denuclearization.'”