Week 85: Friday, 31 August – Thursday, 6 September 2018 (Days 589-595)

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

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


Friday, 31 August 2018, Day 589:


Federal Judge in Texas Delivers Unexpected Victory for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 31 August 2018: “A federal judge in Texas declined on Friday to halt an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, handing a temporary victory to activists who are waging a legal fight against the Trump administration to save it. The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, said the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, had been relied upon by hundreds of thousands of immigrants since it was established almost six years ago, and should not be abruptly ended. The ruling means that young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as small children can continue to apply for the program, which shields them from immediate deportation and provides a permit to work legally in the United States.”

Still separated: Nearly 500 migrant children taken from their parents remain in U.S. custodyThe Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Lawyers are coldcalling phone numbers in far-flung Central American villages, and enlisting church pastors and schoolteachers to help. They are spreading the word on radio stations, putting up posters and setting up Spanish-language hotlines. They are trying to reach every parent separated from their children by the Trump administration. More than a month after a court deadline passed for the government to reunite families divided by President Trump’s border crackdown, nearly 500 children remain in U.S. government-funded shelters without their parents, according to court papers filed Thursday night. Advocates and government officials say it could be weeks, months or longer before they are together. Nearly two-thirds of the 497 minors still in custody — including 22 ‘tender-age’ children, who are younger than 5 — have parents who were deported, mostly in the first weeks of Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Their lawyers are locating parents in their home countries to ask whether they want their children sent back, or would rather have them remain in the United States to pursue their own immigration claims. At the same time, the lawyers are trying to bring some deported parents back to seek permission to live in the United States — a decision that might end up with U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who issued the reunification order.”

Thousands of Vietnamese, including children of U.S. troops, could be deported under tough Trump policy, The Washington Post, Simon Denyer, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese citizens have immigrated to the United States since the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. Many came in the wave of ‘boat people’ who made headlines in the late 1970s as they fled Vietnam in overcrowded and unsafe vessels. The new arrivals were given green cards when they reached the United States, but many … lacked the education, language skills or legal help needed to negotiate the complex bureaucratic process of acquiring citizenship. Many came as children, attended schools and colleges in the United States, worked, paid taxes and raised families. Decades on, their lives and families could be ripped apart again. The Trump administration, in a policy shaped by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, has reinterpreted a 2008 agreement reached with Vietnam by the George W. Bush administration — that Vietnamese citizens who arrived before the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995 would not be ‘subject to return.’ Now, the White House says, there is no such immunity to deportation for any noncitizen found guilty of a crime.”

Continue reading Week 85, Friday, 31 August – Thursday, 6 September 2018 (Days 589-595)

Donald Trump confirms Toronto Star story on his secret bombshell remarks about Canada, Toronto Star, Daniel Dale, Friday, 31 August 2018: “High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning after inflammatory secret remarks by President Donald Trump were obtained by the Toronto Star. Trump’s comments were viewed by Canadian negotiators as evidence for their suspicions that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s officials confronted the president’s officials with the leaked quotes at a high-level meeting on Friday morning. Trump’s words caused a U.S. media firestorm. By the end of the day, Trump had confirmed the accuracy of the Star’s report, said he was fine with the leak because now Canada knows his true feelings and also complained at length that the leak was a breach of his trust. Canada and the U.S. were not able to reach a deal by Trump’s informal deadline of Friday. The talks were scheduled to resume on Wednesday. Trump made his controversial statements in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. He said, ‘off the record,’ that he is not making any compromises at all with Canada — and that he could not say this publicly because ‘it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.’… In another remark he did not want published, Trump said that any deal with Canada would be ‘totally on our terms.’ He suggested he was scaring the Canadians into submission by repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs on imports of Canadian-made cars.” See also, Transcript of Trump’s Interview With Bloomberg News, Bloomberg News, Friday, 31 August 2018.

U.S. to End Funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the U.N. Agency That Helps Palestinian Refugees, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Friday, 31 August 2018: “The United States government has decided to stop all funding it gives to a United Nations agency that provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees, ending a decades-long policy of supporting it, according to a former senior United States aid official. The move was pushed hardest by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinian politicians to drop demands for many of those refugees to return to what they call their homeland, said the former official, R. David Harden, who worked at the United States Agency for International Development until April. Each year, the State Department transfers money by the end of September to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East…. Nicholas Burns, a Harvard Kennedy School professor and a former senior United States diplomat who has worked on the Palestinian issue, called the change ‘heartless and unwise’ and a reflection of ‘the most one-sided U.S. policy since 1948,’ when President Truman recognized the newly established state of Israel.” See also, Trump Administration’s Move to Cut Aid to Palestinian Refugees Is Denounced, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Tuesday, 31 August 2018: “The Trump administration’s decision to end American funding to a United Nations agency that provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees was denounced broadly on Friday by international officials, former United States diplomats and Palestinians who were reeling from the elimination of a decades-long policy of support….  The move was pushed by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinian politicians to drop demands for most of the refugees to return to what they call their homeland.” See also, Eliminating Funding for the United Nations Agency That Aids Palestinian Refugees Is a Vengeful and Shortsighted Act, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Friday, 31 August 2018: “The Trump administration has offered various explanations for cutting aid to the Palestinians and stopping all contributions to the United Nations agency that supports five million Palestinian refugees: They need to learn to help themselves. Other Arabs should pay. Most of them are not really refugees and should stop claiming a right to return to what is now Israel. This will push them to the negotiating table. They’re not grateful enough. These excuses range from petty to downright dangerous. Does Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, who is supposed to be preparing an Israeli-Palestinian ‘deal of the century,’ really believe that slashing assistance to the Palestinians and stripping them of their status as refugees will compel them to accept whatever one-sided plan he cooks up or teach them to show proper respect for Mr. Trump? Most important, does Mr. Trump understand or care that his administration has effectively abandoned the critical role his predecessors have tried to fulfill as peace brokers in the Middle East, while remaining Israel’s major friend and ally? Does he recognize that depriving Palestinians of any hope of outside mediation or support, and making their lives more miserable, could well lead to another round of violence?” See also, Even Israeli Officials Are Warning That Trump’s Moves Against Palestinians May Backfire, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain, published on 30 August 2018: “Jared Kushner has yet to formally unveil his highly touted peace plan for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. But in the past weeks and months, its outlines have become increasingly clear. Recent moves by the United States to recognize Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and deprive Palestinians of refugee status have taken key issues off the table before any future peace negotiation even begins. The Trump administration has announced a steady stream of cuts in aid for Palestinians, including reported plans to stop all funding for the United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency which provides healthcare and schooling for Palestinian refugees, as well as cutting $200 million in economic aid to the West Bank and Gaza. These moves are helping clarify the Trump administration’s strategy for getting to peace in the region: imposing maximum pain on the Palestinians as a means of bullying them into submission. But this strategy may backfire, including against a Netanyahu government that has enthusiastically supported Trump’s get-tough approach. Even former Israeli military officials have begun raising the alarm that the Trump administration’s punitive actions against the Palestinians, rather than bringing peace, are leading the region toward a new era of conflict.”

California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law, The New York Times, Cecilia Kang, Friday, 31 August 2018: “California lawmakers on Friday passed a net neutrality bill that would guarantee full and equal access to the internet for its residents, in the biggest pushback yet to the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of rules last year. The bill is viewed as even stronger than those previous federal rules and is sure to set up a fight between broadband providers, like Verizon and AT&T, and consumer groups, which will be joined by internet sites like Etsy and Reddit. Lawmakers in California are seeking to bar internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast from blocking or slowing down the transmission of web traffic to the state’s broadband customers. The bill, which heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law, would also prohibit promotions of free streaming for apps, a practice that can stifle the businesses of other websites that are not part of such promotions. California would become the fourth state to create net neutrality laws since the federal rollback of rules in December. But it is the most significant, and its legislation is viewed as being even stricter than the overturned federal rules. California’s laws also have enormous influence across the country. Its higher standards for auto emissions, for example, have been followed by a dozen other states, giving California major sway over the auto industry.”

Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department lawyer, says Christopher Steele told him in July 2016 that Russian intelligence believed it had Trump ‘over a barrel,’ Associated Press, Eric Tucker and Chad Day, Friday, 31 August 2018: “A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump ‘over a barrel,’ according to multiple people familiar with the encounter. The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said. The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit…. Beside the ‘over a barrel’ remark, Ohr also told Congress that Steele told him that Page, a Trump campaign aide who traveled to Moscow that same month and whose ties to Russia attracted FBI scrutiny, had met with more-senior Russian officials than he had acknowledged.”

Lobbyist Sam Patten Pleads Guilty to Steering Foreign Funds to Trump Inaugural, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Sharon LaFraniere, and Adam Goldman, Friday, 31 August 2018: “An American lobbyist on Friday admitted brokering access to President Trump’s inauguration for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians in a scheme that highlighted the rush by foreign interests to influence the new administration. As part of a plea agreement under which he pledged to cooperate with federal prosecutors, the lobbyist, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party, and to helping a Ukrainian oligarch who funded that party illegally purchase four tickets to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Although the charges were not brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert S. Mueller III, they stem from his team’s work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting that Mr. Patten could be a useful witness.” See also, Paul Manafort associate Sam Patten paid Trump inauguration $50,000 in Ukrainian cash, The Guardian, Jon Swaine, Friday, 31 August 2018.

Plaintiffs in North Carolina gerrymandering case reluctantly conclude that new maps are not an option for November, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 31 August 2018: “The plaintiffs who persuaded federal judges to declare unconstitutional North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional maps have ‘reluctantly concluded’ that there is not enough time to draw new maps in time for the November elections. A three-judge panel ruled this week that the maps were an ‘invidious’ plan to favor Republicans over Democrats and had resulted in the GOP capturing 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts in 2016, even though its share of the statewide vote was just over 53 percent. The judges raised the possibility of imposing new maps for the coming elections, even though primary elections have already been held. They asked the parties in the case how to provide a remedy, but the plaintiffs — a consortium of Democratic voters and public-interest groups — said redrawing the lines before the elections would be impractical. ‘After careful consultation, particularly with the institutional clients Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and the North Carolina Democratic Party, plaintiffs have reluctantly concluded that — on the unique facts presented here — attempting to impose a new districting plan in time for the 2018 election would be too disruptive and potentially counterproductive,’ their lawyers said in a brief filed with the court. The state’s Republican legislative leaders had already filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court and said they would ask the justices to issue a stay to keep the maps in place for November.”

Racist robocalls tied to neo-Nazi group target Andrew Gillum, Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Florida, Tallahassee Democrat, Jeff Burlew, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Robocalls against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum that say they were paid for by a neo-Nazi group in Idaho are going out to voters in Tallahassee. The automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using an exaggerated minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background. The calls end with a  disclaimer that they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website and podcast linked to Scott Rhodes of Sandpoint, Idaho. According to the Des Moines Register, a sister paper of the Tallahassee Democrat, the group has been linked to other robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, Oregon and California.” See also, ‘We Negroes’ robocall is an attempt to ‘weaponize race’ in Florida campaign, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum warns, The Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., published on Sunday, 2 September 2018. See also, Racist Robocalls Target Andrew Gillum, Democratic Nominee for Florida Governor, The New York Times, Jacey Fortin and Patricia Mazzei, published on Saturday, 1 September 2018.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is leaving it to states whether to use federal money to buy guns for schools, The Washington Post, Laura Meckler and Moriah Balingit, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Friday it is up to states whether to spend federal money to buy firearms as officials struggle to find ways to prevent school shootings. That means, for the first time, federal education dollars could be used to buy guns. ‘Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff” under federal education law, DeVos said in a letter to Rep. Robert C. ‘Bobby’ Scott (D-Va.). DeVos said Congress should determine whether the money can be spent on firearms.”

Hate in the White House–August, Southern Poverty Law Center, Friday, 31 August 2018: “The following is a timeline of instances of extremism in the Trump administration in August. President Trump has opened the White House doors to extremism, not only consulting with hate groups on policies that erode our country’s civil rights protections but enabling the infiltration of extremist ideas into the administration’s rhetoric and agenda. Once relegated to the fringes, the radical right now has a toehold in the White House.”


Saturday, 1 September 2018, Day 590:


In rare admission, U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition says its airstrike killed scores of people in Yemen last month, including at least 40 children, The Washington Post, Sudarsan Raghavan, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “In a rare admission, a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition accepted responsibility Saturday for an airstrike last month on a school bus in northern Yemen that killed scores of people, including at least 40 children. The statement by the coalition called the attack unjustified and vowed to punish those involved. The coalition said that an internal investigation had ‘concluded that there were mistakes made in abiding by the rules of engagement.’ The coalition expressed ‘regret for these mistakes, and offers its condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims and wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured.’ The apology was striking in a conflict that has now entered its fourth year, with the [U.S.-backed] Saudi-led coalition seeking to oust Houthi rebels and restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government. More than 17,000 civilians have been killed or injured since the war began, mostly by airstrikes. The fighting has deepened the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and millions are suffering from hunger, disease and displacement.”

For Families Split at the Border, an Anguished Wait for Their Children’s Return, The New York Times, Erik Semple and Miriam Jordan, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “[Many] of the 3,000 or so families that were separated at the border under the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, which was meant to deter illegal immigration, have been reunited under a court order. But in more than 500 cases, children are still separated from their parents, including 22 under the age of 5. Their fate lies, to a large extent, in the hands of nonprofit groups that have stepped into the breach left by the government to do the hard work of finding and reconnecting families. More than 300 of these cases … affect children whose parents were deported without them. The majority of these families are from Guatemala, followed by Honduras, while a small number are from El Salvador and several other countries. Advocates have said in court that the American authorities forced or induced many parents to accept deportation and abandon their hopes of pursuing asylum on the promise of quick reunification with their children. But many parents who were deported without their children … have found that instead of speeding things up, leaving the United States has only delayed reunification. They often don’t understand the cumbersome legal process in which their children are trapped, or know when they might be with them again — uncertainty that leaves them anguished.”

Citing Executive Privilege, the White House Withholds 100,000 Pages of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Records, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “The Trump White House, citing executive privilege, is withholding from the Senate more than 100,000 pages of records from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time as a lawyer in the administration of former President George W. Bush. The decision, disclosed in a letter that a lawyer for Mr. Bush sent on Friday to Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes just days before the start of Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday. It drew condemnation from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. ‘We’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre,’ Mr. Schumer wrote on Twitter on Saturday. ‘President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up.’… Democrats and Republicans have been arguing for weeks over access to documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh’s time working for Mr. Bush. Democrats say that Republicans are blocking access to the documents as part of an effort to ram through the nomination without proper scrutiny…. Senate Democrats said this was the first time that a sitting president has exerted executive privilege under the Presidential Records Act in order to prevent documents from going to Congress during a Supreme Court confirmation process. Mr. Schumer issued his angry tweets alleging a holiday weekend cover-up just minutes before the start of the funeral for his Senate colleague John McCain, which Mr. Schumer attended.” See also, Trump to withhold 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s White House records, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Saturday, 1 September 2018.

In McCain Memorial Service, Two Presidents Offer Tribute, and a Contrast to Trump, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “He drove them crazy. He berated them on the way to the White House and badgered them once they got there. He stood by them when he thought they were right and tore at their heels when he was convinced they were wrong. And when it came time to depart this world, John McCain wanted them to tell his story. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the two men who thwarted Mr. McCain’s ambitions to become [president], stood one after the other before the nation’s elite at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday to honor the man they beat, extolling him as a one-of-a-kind figure the likes of which will not be seen again anytime soon. That they were asked, and not the current president, spoke volumes about the man and the moment. And while neither explicitly mentioned President Trump, who, uninvited and unwelcome, went golfing instead, their tributes could hardly be heard without the unspoken contrast to the current occupant of the Oval Office, a message amplified by a more overt rebuke from the senator’s daughter.”

As Washington mourns McCain, Trump tends to grievances on Twitter, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “President Trump, who has relished standing apart from Washington’s political establishment, found himself more isolated than ever Saturday, airing his latest grievances and retreating to his private golf course in Virginia as his peers gathered to pay homage to the late senator John McCain. Trump had not been invited to the memorial service for McCain at Washington National Cathedral, where his two recent predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, delivered eulogies. The 45th president, who detested McCain, a fellow Republican, did not mention him in a series of morning missives on Twitter. Instead Trump issued threats to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement and promoted a false conspiracy theory alleging government misconduct in its surveillance of one of his former campaign aides.”

From Criminal Convictions to Ethical Lapses: The People Connected to Trump Who Have Violated Federal Ethics Rules or Been Charged With Crimes, The New York Times, Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “Since President Trump’s inauguration, numerous campaign and administration officials have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes. Others were found to have violated federal ethics rules, or were forced to resign over security clearance issues. The criminal charges were all connected to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.”

Justice Department Officials Tried to Flip Russian Oligarchs. The Fallout Spread to Trump. The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Matthew Rosenberg, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “In the estimation of American officials, Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, has faced credible accusations of extortion, bribery and even murder. They also thought he might make a good source. Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant. They signaled that they might provide help with his trouble in getting visas for the United States or even explore other steps to address his legal problems. In exchange, they were hoping for information on Russian organized crime and, later, on possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to current and former officials and associates of Mr. Deripaska. In one dramatic encounter, F.B.I. agents appeared unannounced and uninvited at a home Mr. Deripaska maintains in New York and pressed him on whether Paul Manafort, a former business partner of his who went on to become chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, had served as a link between the campaign and the Kremlin. The attempt to flip Mr. Deripaska was part of a broader, clandestine American effort to gauge the possibility of gaining cooperation from roughly a half-dozen of Russia’s richest men, nearly all of whom, like Mr. Deripaska, depend on President Vladimir V. Putin to maintain their wealth, the officials said. Two of the players in the effort were Bruce G. Ohr, the Justice Department official who has recently become a target of attacks by Mr. Trump, and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a dossier of purported links between the Trump campaign and Russia. The systematic effort to win the cooperation of the oligarchs, which has not previously been revealed, does not appear to have scored any successes…. But the fallout from the efforts is now rippling through American politics and has helped fuel Mr. Trump’s campaign to discredit the investigation into whether he coordinated with Russia in its interference in the election.”

Thomas Homan, Donald Trump’s Former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Is to Be Honored at Notorious Anti-Muslim Convention, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “The former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is listed as the ‘special dinner gala honoree’ at an upcoming convention for ACT for America, an organization accused of having links to white supremacists and that is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘an anti-Muslim hate group.’ Thomas Homan served as ICE’s acting director under President Donald Trump until June of this year. During a period in which the Trump administration came under intense public scrutiny for its aggressive immigration enforcement tactics, Homan was an unapologetic proponent of controversial policies such as the separation of migrant families at the southern border.”

Trump threatens to leave Canada behind on NAFTA and warns Congress not to ‘interfere,’ The Washington Post, Heather Long, Saturday, 1 September 2018: “President Trump on Saturday threatened to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, asserting his right to broker a new trade pact that does not include Canada despite opposition from lawmakers and questions over his legal authority to do so. Trump on Friday formally informed Congress of his intent to enter into a trade deal with Mexico, with the notice adding the administration hopes Canada would be added to the new pact later. U.S. and Canadian negotiators worked throughout the week on adding Canada to Friday’s notice, but the negotiations failed to produce an agreement ahead of Trump’s own Friday deadline. Negotiations with Canada are set to continue Wednesday in the hopes of adding Canada to the deal. Lawmakers have told Trump they will only sign onto a new NAFTA deal that includes all three North American nations. But Trump issued a warning Saturday to both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Congress in a post on Twitter, writing he would go on without Canada and could unwind North American free trade if lawmakers would not support his approach.”


Sunday, 2 September 2018, Day 591:


Trump’s Mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Accent Complicates Trip to India by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, The New York Times, Gardiner Harris, Sunday, 2 September 2018: “There have always been irritants in relations between India and the United States. But few have been as perplexing to New Delhi, or left as bitter a taste, as President Trump’s tendency to mock Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accent in English. A video of Mr. Trump imitating Mr. Modi has gone viral in New Delhi. So have reports that Mr. Trump often mimics his Indian counterpart in internal discussions. ‘There’s a general understanding here that Modi is not sure he can do business with Trump,’ said Suhasini Haidar, foreign affairs editor of The Hindu. ‘India is just now coming to terms with the idea that Trump will not treat India with the same kind of benevolence that previous presidents have.'”

Mollie Tibbett’s Father Asks That Her Death Not Be Exploited to Promote Racism, The New York Times, Melissa Gomez, Sunday, 2 September 2018: “The father of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa college student whose body was found last month, has called on others to not ‘callously distort and corrupt’ her death to promote a political agenda, a day after President Trump’s eldest son blamed Democrats for her death. Since the authorities announced on Aug. 22 that Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a farmworker from Mexico, was charged with first-degree murder in her death, politicians and pundits have used the arrest to push for stronger immigration laws. In a column in The Des Moines Register on Saturday, her father, Rob Tibbetts, encouraged the debate on immigration. ‘But,’ he added, ‘do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.’… In his column, Mr. Tibbetts apologized to the Hispanic community for being ‘beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death.’ The authorities have said that Mr. Rivera is from Mexico. ‘The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people,’ Mr. Tibbetts wrote.”

A Summer of Megafires and Trump’s Non-Rules on Climate Change, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, published online on Sunday, 2 September, and in the print edition on Monday, 10 September 2018: “Against an infernal backdrop of widespread wildfires, the Trump Administration announced its plan to roll back rules limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants…. A blaze that consumes more than a hundred thousand acres is known as a megafire. It used to be rare for fires to reach this threshold. Now it’s routine.”


Monday, 3 September 2018, Day 592:


Hours before the start of hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Bush lawyer releases 42,000 pages of documents to the Judiciary Committee, The Washington Post, Fred Barbash and Seung Min Kim, Monday, 3 September 2018: “Hours before the start of hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the lawyer for former president George W. Bush turned over 42,000 pages of documents from the nominee’s service in the Bush White House, angering Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who issued what is certain to be a futile call to delay the proceedings. ‘Not a single senator will be able to review these records before tomorrow,’ Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Monday evening.”

Trump’s Justice Department Redefines Whose Civil Rights to Protect, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Monday, 3 September 2018: “The Justice Department’s decision last week to support Asian-Americans seeking to curb race-based college admissions is the latest in a series of moves that are redefining decades of civil rights enforcement — and reshaping the very notion of whose interests the federal government should protect. Since its founding six decades ago, the Justice Department’s civil rights division has used the Constitution and federal law to expand protections of African-Americans, gays, lesbians and transgender people, immigrants and other minorities — efforts that have extended the government’s reach from polling stations to police stations. But under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the focus has shifted to people of faith, police officers and local government officials who maintain they have been trampled by the federal government. The department has supported state voting laws that could wind up removing thousands of people from voter rolls. And it has pulled back on robust oversight of police departments found to have violated the rights of citizens in their jurisdictions.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Was Attacked by Trump on Twitter After the Justice Department Brought Criminal Charges Against Two Republican Congressmen, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Katie Benner, Monday, 3 September 2018: “President Trump on Monday attacked Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, over the Justice Department’s decision to bring criminal charges against two Republican congressmen ahead of the midterm elections, linking the department’s actions with his party’s political fate. In a pair of tweets sent midafternoon, Mr. Trump suggested that the Justice Department should not have brought charges against two ‘very popular’ Republican lawmakers running for re-election so close to November because it could jeopardize the party’s control of the House. ‘Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.’… His comments triggered a swift rebuke from former prosecutors and members of his own party. ‘The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice — one for the majority and one for the minority party,’ Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. ‘These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the president was when the investigations began.'” See also, ‘Two easy wins now in doubt’: Trump renews attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Monday, 3 September 2018. See also, In Chastising Attorney General Jeff Sessions Over Indictments of Two Republicans, Trump Crosses a Line, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, published on Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “If President Trump is worried that he could be impeached should Democrats take control of the House in the midterm elections, he is not acting like it. If anything lately, he seems to be offering more examples for his opponents to use against him. His tweet over the holiday weekend chastising Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, for the Justice Department’s recent indictments of two Republican congressmen because it could cost the party seats in November crossed lines that even he had not yet breached, asserting that specific continuing criminal prosecutions should be decided on the basis of partisan advantage. Shocking as many legal and political figures found it — one Republican senator compared it to ‘banana republic’ thinking — the message by itself might not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors required for impeachment because it could be construed as commentary rather than an order. But legal scholars and some lawmakers said it could be one more exhibit in trying to prove a pattern of obstruction or reckless disregard for the rule of law in a future impeachment proceeding. ‘I think it was appalling,’ Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another Republican, told reporters asking on Tuesday about the tweet. ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable.'” See also, Trump’s tweets criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions mark a grotesque new low, The Washington Post, Editorial Board, published on Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “Trump’s scorn for the rule of law has — by now — been pretty well established. He has denigrated the FBI, impugned the motives of judges, attacked the investigation into his campaign’s involvement with a foreign adversary, repeatedly ridiculed his attorney general and called for political rivals to be imprisoned. But his latest tweeted tirade over the Justice Department’s decision to bring criminal charges against two Republican congressmen represents a grotesque new low that should alarm anyone who cares about our democracy.”

On Labor Day, Trump slams AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, union leader who criticized him, Associated Press, Monday, 3 September 2018: “President Donald Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Trump tweeted Monday that Trumka ‘represented his union poorly on television this weekend.’ He added: ‘It is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!’ The president’s attack came after Trumka appeared on ‘Fox News Sunday’ over the weekend where he said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are ‘integrated’ and ‘it’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal.'”


Tuesday, 4 September 2018, Day 593:


Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Is Portrayed as a Hopeless Partisan as Confirmation Hearings Open, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “Senate Democrats tore into President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee on Tuesday, painting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as a narrow-minded partisan as the opening day of his confirmation hearings verged on pandemonium. Dozens of screaming protesters were hauled out of the hearing room in handcuffs. The verbal brawl began moments after the hearings began. Democrats, furious at being denied access to records related to Judge Kavanaugh, immediately interrupted the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, demanding time to consider tens of thousands of pages of documents released late Monday — the night before the hearing. Judge Kavanaugh, who finally had the microphone hours later, portrayed himself as an impartial jurist and affable family man.” See also, Partisan fury bursts into the open as hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, SEung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “The confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh launched Tuesday as a bitter political brawl, with loud objections from Democratic senators, the arrests of dozens of protesters and questions even from some Republicans about how Kavanaugh would separate himself from President Trump, the man who chose him.” See also, Takeaways From Day 1 of Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolbert, Adam Liptak, and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 4 September 2018. See also, Senator Kamala Harris’ Opening Statement at the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing, Tuesday, 4 September 2018. See also, Kamala Harris fears Brett Kavanaugh will put Trump before country, San Francisco Chronicle, John Wildermuth, Tuesday, 4 September 2018.

Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “John Dowd was convinced that President Trump would commit perjury if he talked to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So, on Jan. 27, the president’s then-personal attorney staged a practice session to try to make his point. In the White House residence, Dowd peppered Trump with questions about the Russia investigation, provoking stumbles, contradictions and lies until the president eventually lost his cool. ‘This thing’s a goddamn hoax,’ Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, ‘I don’t really want to testify.’ The dramatic and previously untold scene is recounted in ‘Fear,’ a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward that paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency, based on in-depth interviews with administration officials and other principals. Woodward writes that his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on ‘deep background,’ meaning the information could be used but he would not reveal who provided it. His account is also drawn from meeting notes, personal diaries and government documents.” See also, Bob Woodward, in his book ‘Fear,’ says Trump’s aides stole his papers ‘to protect the country,’ CNN, Jeremy Herb, Jamie Gangel, and Dan Merica, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “President Donald Trump‘s closest aides have taken extraordinary measures in the White House to try to stop what they saw as his most dangerous impulses, going so far as to swipe and hide papers from his desk so he wouldn’t sign them, according to a new book from legendary journalist Bob Woodward. Woodward’s 448-page book, ‘Fear: Trump in the White House,’ provides an unprecedented inside-the-room look through the eyes of the President’s inner circle. From the Oval Office to the Situation Room to the White House residence, Woodward uses confidential background interviews to illustrate how some of the President’s top advisers view him as a danger to national security and have sought to circumvent [him]. Many of the feuds and daily clashes have been well documented, but the picture painted by Trump’s confidants, senior staff and Cabinet officials reveals that many of them see an even more alarming situation — worse than previously known or understood. Woodward offers a devastating portrait of a dysfunctional Trump White House, detailing how senior aides — both current and former Trump administration officials — grew exasperated with the President and increasingly worried about his erratic behavior, ignorance and penchant for lying.” See also, Transcript: Phone call between Trump and journalist Bob Woodward, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “Bob Woodward, an associate editor at The Washington Post, sought an interview with President Trump as he was writing ‘Fear,’ a book about Trump’s presidency. Trump called Woodward in early August, after the manuscript had been completed, to say he wanted to participate. Over the course of 11-plus minutes, Trump repeatedly claimed his White House staff hadn’t informed him of Woodward’s interview request — despite also admitting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had told him Woodward wanted to talk. He also started the phone call by saying Woodward had ‘always been fair’ to him, but by the end he said the book would be ‘inaccurate.'” See also, 5 Takeaways From Bob Woodward’s Book on the Trump White HouseThe New York Times, Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 4 September 2018. See also, Trump and the White House attack new book from Bob Woodward, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “The White House on Tuesday aggressively challenged aspects of Bob Woodward’s explosive new book on President Trump’s administration, which paints a devastating portrait of a presidency careening toward a ‘nervous breakdown.’ Hours after The Washington Post first reported several key incidents from Woodward’s book, ‘Fear,’ the administration mounted a vigorous string of public denials, with statements from top advisers — White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — as well as from Trump’s former personal attorney John Dowd.” See also, Here are some of the craziest bits from Bob Woodward’s explosive new book on Trump, Vice News, Rex Santus, Tuesday, 4 September 2018.

Ayanna Pressley ousts 10-term Massachusetts Democrat in latest primary upset, The Guardian, Ben Jacobs and Sarah Betancourt, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “In the latest upset during the 2018 Democratic primaries, Ayanna Pressley beat a veteran 10-term Democrat in Massachusetts in a House race being watched nationally as an indicator of the future of the Democratic Party. With Michael Capuano conceding and no Republican opponent on the ballot in November, Pressley will be become the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts on Capitol Hill. The night also marked another victory for insurgent candidates within the Democratic Party, who are demanding a more strident political posture in the era of Trump.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Will Accept Some Written Answers From Trump, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will accept written answers from President Trump on questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference, Mr. Mueller’s office told Mr. Trump’s lawyers in a letter, two people briefed on it said on Tuesday. But on another significant aspect of the investigation — whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself — Mr. Mueller and his investigators understood that issues of executive privilege could complicate their pursuit of a presidential interview and did not ask for written responses on that matter, according to the letter, which was sent on Friday. Mr. Mueller did not say that he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice. But the tone of the letter and the fact that the special counsel did not ask for written responses on obstruction prompted some Trump allies to conclude that if an interview takes place, its scope will be more limited than Mr. Trump’s legal team initially believed, the people said.”

Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims in 592 days, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Tuesday, 4 September 2018: “In the 592 days since he took the oath of office, President Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That’s an average of about eight claims a day. When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. But the average number of claims per day keeps climbing as the president nears the 600-day mark of his presidency.”


Wednesday, 5 September 2018, Day 594:


I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration. I work for the president, but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. The New York Times, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers…. [W]e believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office…. Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over. The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.” See also, Trump Lashes Out After Reports of ‘Quiet Resistance’ by Staff, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “President Trump sought to assert command of his administration on Wednesday amid reports of a ‘quiet resistance’ among some of his own advisers who have secretly and deliberately tried to thwart from the inside what one official called his ‘reckless decisions.’ The surreal struggle between Mr. Trump and at least some members of his own team has characterized his tenure from the beginning, but it spilled into public view this week in a way that raised questions about the president’s capacity to govern and the responsibilities and duties of the people who work for him…. Mr. Trump erupted in anger after reading the Op-Ed article and John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, and other aides scurried in and out of the press office trying to figure out how to respond. Advisers told Mr. Trump that this was the same as leakers who talk with the news media every day, but a hunt for the author of the offending article was quickly initiated and scrutiny focused on a half-dozen names. Aides said they assumed it was written by someone who worked in the administration but not the White House itself, although they could not be sure. Mr. Trump angrily lashed out during public events and on Twitter. He assailed what he called the ‘gutless editorial’ by the unnamed official and he dismissed Mr. Woodward’s book as ‘a total piece of fiction’ and ‘totally discredited.’ He attributed the accounts to a news media that has sought to destroy his presidency.” See also, ‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and his aides are shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “President Trump and his aides reacted with indignation Wednesday to an unsigned opinion column from a senior official blasting the president’s ‘amorality’ and launched a frantic hunt for the author, who claims to be part of a secret ‘resistance’ inside the government protecting the nation from its [president]. The extraordinary column, published anonymously in the New York Times, surfaced one day after the first excerpts emerged from Bob Woodward’s new book, in which Trump’s top advisers painted a devastating portrait of the president and described a ‘crazytown’ atmosphere inside the White House. Taken together, they landed like a thunder clap, portraying Trump as a danger to the country that elected him and feeding the president’s paranoia about whom around him he can trust. Trump reacted to the column with ‘volcanic’ anger and was ‘absolutely livid’ over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty and told confidants he suspects the official works on national security issues or in the Justice Department, according to two people familiar with his private discussions.”

What Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings Reveal About His Beliefs on Abortion, Guns, and Presidential Power, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh spent a long day answering — and often failing to answer — questions about some of the most pressing issues that could reach the Supreme Court in the years ahead.” This article looks at his responses to questions about abortion, the Second Amendment, and presidential power. See also, Kavanaugh debates and dodges on Day 2 of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Ann E. Marimow, Seung Min Kim, and Elise Viebeck, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Kavanaugh would not take a position on whether a president can be forced to respond to a subpoena. He declined to say whether the chief executive can pardon himself. He sidestepped a question from Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) about whether he still believes, as he wrote decades ago, ‘that a president can fire at will a prosecutor criminally investigating him.'” See also, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Ducks Questions on Presidential Powers and Subpoenas, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Adam Liptak, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, on Wednesday dodged direct questions about whether the Constitution would allow Mr. Trump to use the powers of the presidency to thwart the Russia collusion and obstruction investigations that are swirling around his administration. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on a grueling second day of hearings, Judge Kavanaugh refused to say whether he believes Mr. Trump, as a sitting president, could be subpoenaed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, to testify in the sprawling inquiry. Answering questions in public for the first time since his nomination, the judge also declined to say whether Mr. Trump could escape legal jeopardy by pardoning himself or his associates…. Judge Kavanaugh also declined to say he would disqualify himself from cases concerning Mr. Trump.” See also, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh won’t commit to removing himself from cases directly affecting TrumpThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, Robert Barnes, and Elise Viebeck, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Under questioning from senators, he would not say whether Trump is correct in claiming an ‘absolute right’ to self-pardon or whether presidents have to respond to subpoenas. Kavanaugh also declined to say whether Roe v. Wade was correctly decided or whether he would uphold a law requiring coverage for preexisting conditions and defended his dissent in a 2011 ruling that upheld Washington, D.C.’s ban on semiautomatic rifles.” See also, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Is Pressed on Knowledge of Bush-Era Disputes, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “A Democratic senator called into question on Wednesday Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s testimony a dozen years ago that he knew nothing about two disputed episodes from the George W. Bush era: Republicans’ infiltration of computer files belonging to Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats and a warrantless surveillance program created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The senator, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, cited emails that have not been made public in raising the issue during Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearing. Mr. Leahy was referring to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony about the Bush-era disputes as an appeals court nominee during hearings in 2004 and in 2006. At the time, Judge Kavanaugh told the Senate he knew nothing about either episode until they became public knowledge. But Mr. Leahy said that Bush White House emails provided to the Judiciary Committee for Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination — most of which were deemed “committee confidential,” meaning he cannot make them public — raise ‘serious questions’ about the ‘truthfulness’ of Judge Kavanaugh’s statements to the Senate back then.” See also, 5 takeaways from Day 2 of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Wednesday, 5 September 2018.

‘Everybody on the Inside Knows It’s True’: Bob Woodward’s Reality Bomb Is Blowing Up the West Wing, Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “The West Wing came to a virtual standstill yesterday after The Washington Post published the first excerpts of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, Fear. The book by the veteran White House chronicler portrays Donald Trump as an unhinged and ill-informed [president] surrounded by aides who doubt his intelligence and question his fitness for office. ‘It’s pandemonium. He literally isn’t talking to anyone. He’s canceled meetings and is on the phone calling up his friends,’ one source said. Current and former staffers, meanwhile, pointed fingers in all directions as they sought to deflect blame for the damaging leaks…. Woodward’s book triggered Trump’s wrath on several levels. Two sources told me Trump is furious at the portions of the book that describe administration officials questioning his intelligence and emotional stability. Woodward reports that Chief of Staff John Kelly called Trump ‘an idiot’ and the West Wing ‘Crazytown’; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis compared Trump to a ‘fifth- or sixth-grader’; and Trump’s former personal lawyer called Trump a ‘fucking liar’ who would end up in ‘an orange jumpsuit’ if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump is also outraged that the book portrays aides as believing they are the grown-ups protecting the country from his dangerous impulses.” See also, Woodward book prompts West Wing witch hunt, sources say, CNN, Jeff Zeleny and Jeremy Diamond, Wednesday, 5 September 2018. See also, One of the ugliest Woodward revelations is about Trump and race, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Who says President Trump never admits to making mistakes? A key revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book, ‘Fear,’ is that Trump privately conceded that he had mishandled his response to the white supremacist violence and murder in Charlottesville last year. No, Trump didn’t admit that he erred in saying that there is hatred and bigotry ‘on many sides.’ Just the opposite: Trump privately railed that he’d made a mistake in backing off of doing that.” See also, Trump suggests libel laws should be changed after uproar over Woodward book, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Wednesday, 5 September 2018.

Trump suggests that protesting should be illegal, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “President Trump has long derided the mainstream media as the ‘enemy of the people’ and lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. On Tuesday, he took his attacks on free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal. Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. ‘I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that,’ Trump said. ‘I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.’ He added: ‘In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.'”

The Justice Department Demands Millions of North Carolina Voter Records, Confounding Elections Officials, The New York Times, Richaard Fausset and Michael Wines, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Federal prosecutors have issued sweeping subpoenas demanding that millions of North Carolina voter records be turned over to immigration authorities by Sept. 25. With just two months to go before the midterms, the subpoenas threatened to sow chaos in the state’s election machinery, while renewing the Trump administration’s repeatedly discredited claims of widespread voting by illegal immigrants. The unsealed grand jury subpoenas were sent to the state elections board and to 44 county elections boards in eastern North Carolina. Their existence became widely known after Marc E. Elias, a voting rights lawyer aligned with the Democratic Party, mentioned them on Twitter. Though the nature, scope and impetus of the federal investigation that generated the subpoenas remain shrouded in mystery, the move appeared to be part of an effort to find and crack down on any unauthorized voting by noncitizens.”

Obama to Join Midterm Battle, Starting in California and Ohio, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Former President Barack Obama is poised to plunge into the fray of the midterm campaign, returning to electoral politics with a frontal attack on Republican power in two states that are prime Democratic targets this fall: California and Ohio. Having largely avoided campaign activities since leaving office, Mr. Obama’s first public event of the midterm election will take place in Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats. And Mr. Obama is expected to be joined by Democratic candidates from all seven of California’s Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.”

Hacking and cyberattacks are now the biggest threat to the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warns, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Cyberweapons and sophisticated hacking pose a greater threat to the United States than the risk of physical attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday while urging state election officials to add more safeguards to their voting systems. In a speech timed to next week’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and amid worries about interference in coming U.S. elections, Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security is facing down an array of cyberthreats from hostile foreign governments, extremist groups and transnational criminals.”

Texas Fetal Burial Law Struck Down in Another Blow to Abortion Restrictions, The New York Times, Manny Fernandez, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “A federal judge on Wednesday struck down a Texas law that would have required abortion providers and other health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains, the latest in a series of legal setbacks for anti-abortion activists and state Republican leaders who pushed for the law. The Texas Legislature passed the law in 2017. It would have required hospitals, abortion clinics and other providers to arrange for the burial or cremation of fetal remains, regardless of a patient’s personal wishes or religious beliefs, and regardless of whether the remains were from an abortion or miscarriage.”

Eight states are fighting Trump’s attempt to declaw the Migratory Bird Treaty, The Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Eight state attorneys general filed a legal challenge Wednesday to the Trump administration’s bid to dramatically weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a century-old law established to protect birds. The lawsuit, led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, and supported by Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, California and New Mexico, is an effort to stop the Interior Department from fully implementing a directive to its law enforcement division to forgive mass bird kills, even when the animals are threatened or endangered.”

Jerome Corsi, Conspiracy Theorist and Political Commentator, Is Subpoenaed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 5 September 2018: “Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and political commentator with connections to the former Trump adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., has been subpoenaed to testify on Friday before the grand jury in the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and whether Trump associates conspired with the effort, his lawyer said on Wednesday. The lawyer, David Gray, said that he anticipates that investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, plan to ask Mr. Corsi about his discussions with Mr. Stone, who appeared to publicly predict in 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to publish material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”


Thursday, 6 September 2018, Day 595:


Leaked Kavanaugh Documents From His Time as a White House Lawyer in the Bush Administration Discuss Abortion and Affirmative Action, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “As a White House lawyer in the Bush administration, Judge Brett Kavanaugh challenged the accuracy of deeming the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be ‘settled law of the land,’ according to a secret email obtained by The New York Times. The email, written in March 2003, is one of thousands of documents that a lawyer for President George W. Bush turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Supreme Court nominee but deemed ‘committee confidential,’ meaning it could not be made public or discussed by Democrats in questioning him in hearings this week. It was among several an unknown person provided to The New York Times late Wednesday. Judge Kavanaugh was considering a draft opinion piece that supporters of one of Mr. Bush’s conservative appeals court nominees hoped they could persuade anti-abortion women to submit under their names. It stated that ‘it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land.’ Judge Kavanaugh proposed deleting that line, writing: ‘I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.’ He was presumably referring to then-Justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, along with Justice Clarence Thomas, conservatives who had dissented in a 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The court now has four conservative justices who may be willing to overturn Roe — Justices Thomas and John G. Roberts Jr., Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — and if he is confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh could provide the decisive fifth vote.” See also, Kavanaugh advised against calling Roe v. Wade ‘settled law’ while a White House lawyer, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Michael Kranish, Thursday, 6 September 2018. See also, Newly Revealed Emails Raise Fresh Objections to Kavanaugh Confirmation to the Supreme Court,  The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “The disclosure on Thursday of dozens of previously secret emails involving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh provoked pointed new questions on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, as Democrats pressed him to explain fresh disclosures on abortion rights, affirmative action and previous testimony to the Senate.” See also, Here’s What Happened on Day 3 of the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Charlie Savage, and Adam Liptak, Thursday, 6 September 2018. See also, Trump and questions of presidential power dominate third day of Kavanaugh hearings, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, and Mark Berman, Thursday, 6 September 2018. See also, 12 questions Brett Kavanaugh would not answer during his confirmation hearing, The Washington Post, James Hohmann, Thursday, 6 September 2018.

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and a Parade of Administration Officials Deny Writing the Op-Ed Published by The New York Times, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “One by one, they came forward, almost as if in a virtual lineup. Not me, said the vice president. Nor me, said the secretary of state. Or me, said the attorney general. In a spectacle that may be without precedent even for an administration that has seen many of those already, almost the entire cabinet and leadership team working for President Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to writing an extraordinary anonymous essay about plotting against him.” See also, Trump officials rush to assure the president they didn’t pen op-ed criticizing him, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 6 September 2018. See also, Why the Anonymous Trump Official’s Op-Ed in The New York Times Matters, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Thursday, 6 September 2018: [There] “are legitimate concerns [regarding the anonymous essay published by The New York Times], but the [largest] one is that we have a menacing dingbat in the White House, and nobody with the requisite authority seems willing to do anything about it….” See also, The Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed and the Trumpian Corruption of Language and the Media, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Thursday, 6 September 2018.

The 25th Amendment: A Difficult Process to Remove a President, The New York Times, Michael Shear, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “The anonymous author of an Op-Ed article in The New York Times wrote this week that there were ‘early whispers’ among President Trump’s advisers about trying to remove Mr. Trump from the presidency by invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which provides a process to declare that the president is unfit for office. Such a move would be unprecedented, and the author of the essay writes that the discussions did not move forward because ‘no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.’ The amendment, adopted by the states 51 years ago, provides a complex, difficult process for the removal of a sitting president.” This article explains how the process would work.

Elizabeth Warren says it’s time to use the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office if top administration officials don’t think he can do the job, CNN, Manu Raju, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seizing on an explosive op-ed from an anonymous administration official, said Thursday that it’s time to use constitutional powers to remove President Donald Trump office if top officials don’t think he can do the job. ‘If senior administration officials think the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment,’ Warren told CNN. ‘The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the Vice President and senior officials think the President can’t do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the President — take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds … Everyone of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It’s time for them to do their job.’ The hard-charging comments by the potential 2020 presidential candidate come in the wake of the stunning New York Times piece where an anonymous official raises deep concerns about the President and contends there were some initial conversations to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office. The White House has aggressively pushed back on the piece, calling the author a traitor and a coward.”

Trump Administration Moves to Sidestep Restrictions on Detaining Migrant Children, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “Moving to bypass restrictions on the detention of migrant families in federal custody, the Trump administration introduced on Thursday a regulation that would upend a federal court settlement that requires such families to be released after 20 days. The so-called Flores settlement has become a prime target in the administration’s attempt to punish migrants for crossing the border with their children as a means of deterrence. Administration officials have long believed that migrants, primarily from Central America, are bringing children to the United States to shield themselves from consequences of crossing the border without permission…. The proposal is likely to end up in court, where the federal district judge overseeing the Flores consent decree, Dolly M. Gee, has rejected repeated attempts to modify its provisions. The settlement stems from a 1997 consent decree reached in litigation over a migrant child based on claims that federal detention was damaging, physically and emotionally, to children’s health. In 2016, the courts extended the settlement to apply to migrant families.” See also, Trump administration to circumvent court limits on detention of child migrants, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti, Thursday, 6 September 2018.

Greenhouse gases aren’t just warming the planet. They’re also acidifying our oceans. Los Angeles Times, James B. McClintock, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “As the new acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, pushes ahead with the Trump administration’s plan to weaken fuel economy standards to levels that give even the auto industry pause, Americans should consider the ramifications of the rollback. Most of us are aware that auto emissions contribute significantly to the pool of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Scientific studies show that nearly one-fifth of the atmospheric carbon dioxide gas generated in the United States each year comes from the combustion of fossil fuels by cars and trucks. Many citizens also know that the product of this combustion process is primarily carbon dioxide, a colorless gas that traps heat within the atmosphere, contributing to the ongoing warming of Earth. Much less common, however, is an understanding that the emissions spewing from our tailpipes are also acidifying the world’s oceans. Since the first coal-burning fires of the Industrial Age, about 30% of the atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by humans has been absorbed by our surging seas.”

North Carolina’s unconstitutional gerrymandered map will be used in midterms, CNN, Kate Sullivan, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “A federal court concluded Tuesday there is ‘insufficient time’ before the November midterm elections to redraw an electoral map that the same court earlier ruled is unconstitutionally gerrymandered…. In late August, the same panel of federal judges ruled that North Carolina’s congressional map favors Republicans and ‘constitutes an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.’… The court ruled North Carolina cannot use the current gerrymandered congressional map after the Nov. 6 general election.”

About 2 Million Low-Income Americans Would Lose Benefits Under House Farm Bill, Study Says, The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “Nearly two million low-income Americans, including 469,000 households with young children, would be stripped of benefits under the House version of the farm bill being considered this week by congressional negotiators, according to an analysis by a nonpartisan research firm. The bill, a multiyear spending measure that narrowly passed the House in June, includes a proposal to reformulate income and expense criteria for the 42 million recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

After Scaling Back Student Loan Regulations, the Trump Administration Tries to Stop State Efforts to Crack Down on Abusive Lending Practices by Companies That Administer Federal Loan Programs, The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 6 September 2018: “After the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, started scaling back consumer protections for student borrowers last year, six states and the District of Columbia sped up their own efforts to crack down on abusive lending practices by companies that administer federal loan programs. Now Ms. DeVos is trying to stop them. Trump administration lawyers filed a ‘statement of interest’ last month supporting a lawsuit from the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, an industry trade group, against the District of Columbia for creating a student loan ombudsman office. Under a new city law, the companies would be required to apply for licenses and could lose their right to operate if officials determine that they have engaged in fraudulent or irresponsible practices.”