Trump Administration, Week 117: Friday, 12 April – Thursday, 18 April 2019 ( Days 813-819)


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


Friday, 12 April 2019, Day 813:


Concerns of young protesters about climate change are justifiedScience, Gregor Hagedorn, Peter Kalmus, Michael Mann, Sara Vicca, Joke Van den Berge, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Dominique Bourg, Jan Rotmans, Roope Kaaronen, Stefan Rahmstorf, Helga Kromp-Kolb, Gottfried Kirchengast, Reto Knutti, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Philippe Thalmann, Raven Cretney, Alison Green, Kevin Anderson, Martin Hedberg, Douglas Nilsson, Amita Kuttner, and Katharine Hayhoe, Friday, 12 April 2019: “The world’s youth have begun to persistently demonstrate for the protection of the climate and other foundations of human well-being. As scientists and scholars who have recently initiated similar letters of support in our countries, we call for our colleagues across all disciplines and from the entire world to support these young climate protesters. We declare: Their concerns are justified and supported by the best available science. The current measures for protecting the climate and biosphere are deeply inadequate.”

Trump Says He Is Considering Releasing Migrants in ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ a Day After His Administration Said the Policy Proposal Was Never Seriously ConsideredThe New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 12 April 2019: “President Trump said on Friday that he was open to releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic ‘sanctuary cities,’ suggesting that the idea should make liberals ‘very happy’ because of their immigration policies. Mr. Trump’s comments came a day after his administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered. But after the president’s Twitter posts on Friday, a White House spokesman said Democrats should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts…. Democratic lawmakers do not want ‘open borders,’ as the president has suggested. They favor improving border security, but they do not support many of Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration policy proposals, such as building a wall along the southwestern border…. Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, a state with several sanctuary cities, criticized the president’s proposal. ‘Trump’s plan to release migrants into “enemy” cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible,’ Mr. Markey wrote in a Twitter post. ‘Trump is obsessed with the border and sanctuary cities because he only wins by dividing people.'” See also, Trump says he is giving ‘strong considerations’ to releasing immigrant detainees in ‘sanctuary cities,’ The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey, John Wagner, and Rachael Bade, Friday, 12 April 2019: “President Trump moved aggressively Friday to take ownership of an internal White House plan to release immigrant detainees into ‘sanctuary cities’ that his aides had sought to minimize a day earlier by saying it was shelved months ago after only informal consideration. Directly contradicting his staff, Trump declared in a tweet that he was giving the plan ‘strong considerations,’ and, at an event later in the day, sarcastically challenged Democrats in liberal jurisdictions to accept the immigrants with ‘open arms.’ The president said that if Congress refuses to change immigration laws to allow his administration to more quickly deport a surge of asylum-seeking Central American families, ‘we’ll bring — I call them the “illegals” because they enter the country illegally — to sanctuary cities and areas and let those particular areas take care of it.'” See also, Trump threatens to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary citiesPolitico, Rebecca Morin, Friday, 12 April 2019. See also, Seattle isn’t afraid of immigrants, Mr. TrumpThe Washington Post, Jenny A. Durkan, Friday, 12 April 2019: Jenny A. Durkan, a Democrat, is mayor of Seattle. “Here’s a message to President Trump: Seattle is not afraid of immigrants and refugees. In fact, we have always welcomed people who have faced tremendous hardships around the world. Immigrants and refugees are part of Seattle’s heritage, and they will continue to make us the city of the future. What does scare us? A president and federal government that would seek to weaponize a law enforcement agency to punish perceived political enemies. A would-be despot who thinks the rule of law does not apply to him.”

Trump Urged Homeland Security Official Kevin McAleenan to Close the Border Despite an Earlier Promise of a DelayThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, and Eric Schmitt, Friday, 12 April 2019: “President Trump last week privately urged Kevin McAleenan, the border enforcement official he was about to name as acting secretary of homeland security, to close the southwestern border to migrants despite having just said publicly that he was delaying a decision on the step for a year, according to three people briefed about the conversation. It was not clear what Mr. Trump meant by his request or his additional comment to Mr. McAleenan that he would pardon him if he encountered any legal problems as a result of taking the action. Federal judges have already blocked the administration’s attempts to limit asylum seekers who illegally enter the country, and it is not likely that Mr. McAleenan would have ended up in jail if he had followed the president’s directive. One of the people briefed on the conversation said it was possible Mr. Trump had intended the comments to Mr. McAleenan as a joke. But the conversation, which took place during the president’s visit to the border town of Calexico, Calif., alarmed officials at the Department of Homeland Security who were told of it, according to the people familiar with the remarks. It was another instance of the president trying to undo a decision and to stretch the boundaries of his power, even when told there were legal issues at stake. The same situation played out on Friday, when Mr. Trump said he was considering releasing asylum seekers into so-called sanctuary cities after administration officials told reporters the proposal was rejected because of legal issues.”

Continue reading Week 117, Friday, 12 April – Thursday, 18 April 2019 (Days 813-819)

Trump targets Representative Ilhan Omar with a video of the Twin Towers burningThe Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, Friday, 12 April 2019: “President Trump on Friday tweeted a video attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for the way she phrased a reference to 9/11, adding fuel to a controversy that has swelled in Republican political circles this week. The video showed snippets of comments Omar made last month at a banquet for a Muslim civil rights organization interspersed with footage of the twin towers burning. ‘WE WILL NEVER FORGET!’ Trump tweeted, along with the video. On Thursday, the New York Post had helped set the tone by publishing a front page that showed her comments over a similar image…. [A]fter the New York Post put it on such an incendiary cover, some liberals began to speak up against it, saying they felt it was an incitement to violence against Omar, who has been the target of threats and overt Islamophobia….  Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) called for more Democrats to speak out to defend her this week. ‘Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today,’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. ‘@IlhanMN’s life is in danger.’ Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted that Omar is ‘a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we,’ he wrote. ‘The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.'” See also, Trump Assails Representative Ilhan Omar With Video of September 11 AttacksThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman, published on Saturday, 13 April 2019: “President Trump on Friday targeted Representative Ilhan Omar for remarks she made during a speech on civil rights and Muslims in America with a graphic video featuring the burning World Trade Center towers and other images from Sept. 11, 2001, that he tweeted to millions of his followers. The Twitter post from the president stoked and amplified a controversy that has been a focus of conservative news outlets, which have sought to elevate Ms. Omar — a Minnesota Democrat and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress — as a political target, as Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign begins in earnest. At issue were remarks that Ms. Omar made last month at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. There, she gave a speech in which she addressed lingering fear directed at Muslims, and the rights Muslims have to speak out about being viewed with suspicion. During the speech, she said that Muslims had ‘lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.’ She added that the council was created after the Sept. 11 attacks ‘because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.’ (The Council on American-Islamic Relations was actually founded in 1994.)… 2020 presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, chimed in. ‘The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion,’ she tweeted. ‘It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.'”

A Federal Judge Compared Trump’s Criticism of the Courts to the KKK and SegregationistsBuzzFeed News, Zoe Tillman, Friday, 12 April 2019: “In a highly unusual public rebuke against President Donald Trump by a sitting member of the federal judiciary, US District Judge Carlton Reeves delivered a speech Thursday calling the Trump administration a ‘great assault on our judiciary’ and comparing the president’s criticism of the judiciary to tactics used by the Ku Klux Klan and segregationists. According to a copy of the speech obtained by BuzzFeed News, Reeves, who is black and sits in Jackson, Mississippi, extensively quoted Trump’s tweets and public comments about judges and the courts (the written version includes footnotes making clear who and what Reeves is referring to) and blasted the lack of diversity among Trump’s judicial nominees. ‘When politicians attack courts as “dangerous,” “political,” and guilty of “egregious overreach,” you can hear the Klan’s lawyers, assailing officers of the court across the South. When leaders chastise people for merely “us[ing] the courts,” you can hear the Citizens Council, hammering up the names of black petitioners in Yazoo City, [Mississippi],’ Reeves said, quoting Trump. ‘When the powerful accuse courts of “open[ing] up our country to potential terrorists,” you can hear the Southern Manifesto’s authors, smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black folk. When lawmakers say “we should get rid of judges,” you can hear segregationist senators, writing bills to strip courts of their power.’ Reeves spoke at the University of Virginia School of Law, his alma mater, where he received the school’s Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law. He said there was ‘no excuse’ for the ‘exclusion’ of minorities from the courts, pointing to the fact that only a handful of Trump’s nominees to date were people of color and that a small proportion were women.” See also, ‘You can hear the Klan’s lawyers’: Federal judge likens Trump’s attacks on the judiciary to the KKKThe Washington Post, Reis Thebault, published on Saturday, 13 April 2019: “President Trump has attacked the judiciary like few U.S. leaders before him, disparaging judges and their rulings as ‘dangerous,’ ‘horrible’ and ‘a complete and total disgrace.’ Some of his supporters and fellow Republicans applaud and parrot him, but U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said he hears something sinister: echoes of a time when the Ku Klux Klan and the architects of the Jim Crow South attacked the courts for chipping away at segregation and racism. In a speech to the University of Virginia School of Law on Thursday, Reeves criticized Trump’s aggressive responses to his administration’s losses in court and the lack of diversity in his judicial appointments — an extremely rare rebuke from a sitting federal judge. Though Reeves, whose court is in Jackson, Miss., never mentioned Trump by name, he quoted the president more than a dozen times and compared him to a stridently racist Alabama governor. [Drawing from Trump’s Twitter feed, Reeves said,] ‘When the executive branch calls our courts and their work “stupid,” “horrible,” “ridiculous,” “incompetent,” “a laughingstock,” you can hear the slurs and threats of executives like George Wallace, echoing into the present.’ Take Trump’s insults of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Reeves said. Trump said Curiel should not hear a lawsuit against Trump University because Trump’s hard-line immigration polices presented a conflict of interest for Curiel, who is of Mexican descent. ‘I know what I heard when a federal judge was called “very biased and unfair” because he is “of Mexican heritage.” When that judge’s ethnicity was said to prevent his issuing “fair rulings,” when that judge was called a “hater” simply because he is Latino,’ Reeves said, ‘I heard those words and I did not know if it was 1967 or 2017.'”

Rule Keeping Asylum Seekers in Mexico Can Temporarily Proceed, Federal Appeals Court SaysThe New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, Friday, 12 April 2019: “A federal appeals court said Friday that the Trump administration could temporarily continue to force migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay of a lower-court ruling four days earlier that blocked the administration’s protocol. The appeals court will consider next week whether to extend that stay — and allow the Trump administration policy to remain in effect for longer.” See also, Trump’s Policy Forcing Asylum-Seekers to Wait in Mexico Has Been Temporarily Allowed by a Federal CourtBuzzFeed News, Hamed Aleaziz, Friday, 12 April 2019: “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, long the target of President Trump’s attacks on Twitter and elsewhere, delivered a victory Friday for his administration by temporarily allowing a policy of forcing migrants to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed to continue.”

William Barr, Trump’s new attorney general, launches fresh changes to immigration courtsSan Francisco Chronicle, Tal Kopan, Friday, 12 April 2019: “Attorney General William Barr is making his first major moves on immigration policy since his confirmation, setting up big changes for the courts that decide whether immigrants will stay in the U.S. or be deported. The Justice Department is on the verge of issuing rule changes that would make it easier for a handful of appellate immigration judges to declare their rulings binding on the entire immigration system, The Chronicle has learned. The changes could also expand the use of single-judge, cursory decisions at the appellate level — all at the same time as a hiring spree that could reshape the court.”

Representative Katie Porter’s exchange with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a congressional hearing laid bare the CEO-employee pay disparityThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 12 April 2019: “At its heart, the question posed by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was simple: How should a woman who lived in her district manage the fact that her job with Dimon’s company didn’t pay enough to cover her bills? With a take-home pay of $35,070 a year, including a $750 bonus, the employee came up nearly $600 short a month on her expenses, even excluding costs like clothes and medication. ‘I don’t know,’ Dimon replied. ‘I’d have to think about that.’ ‘Would you recommend that she take out a JPMorgan Chase credit card and run a deficit?’ Porter asked. ‘I don’t know. I’d have to think about it,’ Dimon replied, this time somewhat curtly. ‘Would you recommend that she overdraft at your bank and be charged overdraft fees?’ Porter asked. ‘I don’t know,’ Dimon replied again. ‘I’d have to think about it.’ Porter’s question wasn’t just about that one Chase employee, of course. It was, instead, about a central issue in American politics: The divide between the richest Americans and everyone else.”

House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings says he will issue a ‘friendly subpoena’ to Trump accounting firmCNN, Lauren Fox and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 12 April 2019: “House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said Friday he will issue what he has previously called a ‘friendly subpoena’ to the accounting firm that prepared several years’ worth of President Donald Trump’s financial statements. The accounting firm, Mazars USA, had requested such a subpoena from the committee before providing records, and Cummings wrote to committee members he would serve it on Monday.”

Partnering with Julian Assange was unpleasant. But work like his is crucial. The Washington Post, Alan Rusbridger, Friday, 12 April 2019: “Of all of Julian Assange’s undoubted talents, maybe his greatest gift is the ability to make enemies. He trusts, likes and respects almost no one. He falls out with his friends and disgusts his opponents. Now that he has been dragged kicking and shouting from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London — where he was, by all accounts, the house guest from hell — he may find few allies in the world outside…. And yet. The laws protecting free speech should not depend on the likability, mental health or personal hygiene of those in the firing line. And Assange is now very much a target — being threatened with extradition to America to face charges relating to his collaboration with the source of the 2010 WikiLeaks revelations, Chelsea Manning. It may be that we have to suspend our complicated feelings about the man and consider the implications for free expression.” See also, The Indictment of Julian Assange Is a Threat to JournalismThe New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 12 April 2019.

Report says AccuWeather, led by Barry Myers, Trump’s nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was rife with rampant sexual harassment, including groping and kissing of subordinates without consentThe Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 12 April 2019: “A federal workplace investigation found rampant sexual harassment and retaliation at AccuWeather, a federal contractor, including groping, touching and kissing of subordinates without consent. AccuWeather’s chief executive at the time of the allegations and investigation, Barry Myers, was tapped by President Trump to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The detailed results of the investigation, not previously reported, were compiled last year by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and obtained by The Washington Post. It determined that AccuWeather, under Myers, fostered a culture ripe for sexual harassment, turned a blind eye to allegations of egregious conduct and retaliated against those who complained.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos  Is Quietly Making It Easier for Dying For-Profit Schools to Rip Off a Few More Students on the Way OutThe Intercept, David Dayen, Friday, 12 April 2019: “Betsy DeVos’s Education Department quietly dropped requirements for risky for-profit colleges to set aside funds in case the schools closed, according to documents from a lawsuit filed last year. Two of the for-profit networks subsequently shut down without owing the Education Department any money; in one case, the department actually gave $10 million back to a for-profit on the brink of bankruptcy. Not only did this deprive taxpayers an offset to costs associated with refunding loans, but it also extended the life of the for-profit colleges, allowing them to enroll more students into a doomed enterprise that wasted time, money, and effort, and delivered them nothing of value. That mirrors a persistent theme of DeVos’s leadership. Though the Obama administration initially dithered while for-profit colleges preyed on students, eventually it did crack down on the sector. Not so under DeVos.”


Saturday, 13 April 2019, Day 814:


Fleeing Climate Change, Central American Farmers Head to the U.S.The New York Times, Kirk Semple, Saturday, 13 April 2019: “The challenges of agricultural life in Honduras have always been mighty, from poverty and a neglectful government to the swings of international commodity prices. But farmers, agricultural scientists and industry officials say a new threat has been ruining harvests, upending lives and adding to the surge of families migrating to the United States: climate change. And their worries are increasingly shared by climate scientists as well. Gradually rising temperatures, more extreme weather events and increasingly unpredictable patterns — like rain not falling when it should, or pouring when it shouldn’t — have disrupted growing cycles and promoted the relentless spread of pests…. Central America is among the regions most vulnerable to climate change, scientists say. And because agriculture employs much of the labor force — about 28 percent in Honduras alone, according to the World Bank — the livelihoods of millions of people are at stake. Last year, the bank reported that climate change could lead at least 1.4 million people to flee their homes in Mexico and Central America and migrate during the next three decades.”

Representative Richard Neal, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Says Treasury’s Concerns Over Trump’s Tax Returns ‘Lack Merit,’ The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Saturday, 13 April 2019: “A Democratic House chairman on Saturday castigated the Treasury Department for failing to meet his deadline to furnish President Trump’s tax returns, arguing that the administration’s apparent concerns over his use of powers outlined in the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code ‘lack merit.’ The chairman, Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, set a new deadline for compliance, April 23, and warned that if the Trump administration did not reply by then, its ‘failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request.’ The tone of Mr. Neal’s letter suggested Democrats are prepared to take their request — made through a little-known provision in the federal tax code — to court if necessary, initiating what could be a protracted legal fight over Congress’s oversight powers. In it, he cited legal precedent that he argued clearly showed the law is on the committee’s side, and said that the executive branch had no right to ‘second guess’ its motivations.” See also, House Democrats give IRS hard deadline of April 23 to turn over Trump tax returns and say the administration’s concerns ‘lack merit,’ The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Saturday, 13 April 2019: “House Democrats are giving the Trump administration a hard deadline of April 23 to turn over the president’s tax returns, pushing back against Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s skepticism over their request for the private records. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Saturday sent a two-page letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig rebuffing Mnuchin’s statement earlier this week that Treasury would miss House Democrats’ initial April 10 deadline for the returns. Mnuchin’s concerns ‘lack merit,’ Neal wrote.”

‘The president today made America smaller’: Democratic candidates react to Trump’s attack on Representative Ilhan OmarThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 13 April 2019: “Democratic presidential candidates blasted President Trump over the weekend for inciting violence, perpetuating Islamophobia and politicizing the worst day in American history after he escalated attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar by tweeting a video of her image spliced with footage of the burning Twin Towers on 9/11. The swift condemnation began Friday night after Trump tweeted the video with the caption ‘Never Forget,’ and it continued to be a focal point across the campaign trail on Saturday. Omar, who made history as one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, has been attacked by the right this week for saying ‘some people did something’ as part of a larger point she was making about the treatment of Muslim Americans after the 9/11 attacks. Trump’s tweet was instant fodder for Democrats lining up to run against Trump in the 2020 election.”

Cory Booker, Citing a Rising Newark, Pitches a Campaign of ‘Justice,’ The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Saturday, 13 April 2019: “Drawing on themes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter From a Birmingham Jail,’ Senator Cory Booker pitched his campaign for president in newly urgent terms on Saturday, declaring that ‘we are here today to say we can’t wait’ as he laid out his vision for addressing the economic and social ills of the country. In what was billed as the major hometown rally kicking off his campaign, Mr. Booker spoke to a late-arriving but enthusiastic crowd at Military Park, a revitalized green oasis in a city that was once a symbol of urban despair but has credible claims of an economic and cultural resurgence. Mr. Booker combined his familiar themes of unity with specific policies to close the racial wealth gap, repair what he considers a broken criminal justice system and set the country on a path to be a leader in climate change. ‘We can’t wait when powerful forces are turning their prejudice into policy and rolling back the rights that generations of Americans fought for and heroes died for,’ Mr. Booker said. ‘We can’t wait when this administration is throwing children fleeing violence into cages, banning Muslims from entering the nation founded on religious liberty, and preventing brave transgender Americans from serving the country they love.'” See also, Senator Cory Booker formally joins presidential race with an echo of Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘We can’t wait.’ The Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Saturday, 13 April 2019: “Speaking in the rejuvenated downtown of the city he helmed as mayor for seven years, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) offered himself as an optimistic and hopeful counterpoint to President Trump who would heal political and social toxicity that Booker said extends far beyond the White House…. Booker’s choice to formally announce his campaign in Newark, with a speech that echoed lines of Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights writings, was meant to put firm underpinnings beneath a candidate who has been criticized by some as inauthentic and a campaign that has struggled to survive in a sprawling and diverse Democratic field.”


Sunday, 14 April 2019, Day 815:


How the 2020 Democratic Candidates Responded to Trump’s Attack on Representative Ilhan OmarThe New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “The first reaction came Friday evening, from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. President Trump had escalated his political attacks on Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democrat who is also one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, tweeting an inflammatory video that implied she trivialized the horror of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Ninety minutes later, Mr. Sanders called the video ‘disgusting and dangerous,’ and an example of ‘Trump’s racism and hate.’ It kicked off a cascade of analogous statements from other Democrats who are running for president, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and former Representative Beto O’Rourke, all of whom weighed in shortly afterward. Not on that list: Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, who waited until later in the weekend to offer statements of support.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Requests Security Review of Protect Ilhan Omar After Trump TweetThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked House officials on Sunday to review security measures intended to protect Representative Ilhan Omar after President Trump tweeted a video attacking the Minnesota Democrat using images of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks…. ‘The president’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,’ Ms. Pelosi said. ‘President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Calls for Tightened Security on Representative Ilhan Omar After Trump TweetThe Wall Street Journal, Josh Mitchell, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she asked police on Capitol Hill to step up protection of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) after President Trump tweeted a video of remarks she made about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mr. Trump on Friday tweeted a 43-second video that mixes footage of a recent statement by Ms. Omar, who is Muslim, with footage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The video shows Ms. Omar, in a recent speech, saying, ‘Some people did something,’ and then shows the World Trade Center burning during the attacks. President Trump, a Republican, tweeted the video with the caption, ‘WE WILL NEVER FORGET!’ Mrs. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Capitol Police would address threats Ms. Omar faces following the president’s tweet. ‘President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video,’ she said. The video had been pinned atop Mr. Trump’s Twitter account as of early Sunday but later in the day appeared lower down on his feed.” See also, How Democrats Did, and Did Not, Defend Ilhan OmarThe Intercept, Robert Mackey, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Democratic presidential candidates, led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, spoke out forcefully in defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar this weekend, after the president of the United States risked inciting violence against the Muslim congressperson by endorsing the false claim that she downplayed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Those comments from the progressive Democratic senators contrasted sharply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initial failure to even mention that Omar, whose life has recently been threatened by a Trump fan, was the target of the president’s inflammatory tweet, which mixed video of her with harrowing images of the World Trade Center towers falling.”

The New York Post Inspires Boycott With 9/11 Photo and Ilhan Omar Quotation, The New York Times, Christina Goldbaum, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “The New York Post came under a barrage of criticism last week for a front page that featured a Sept. 11 photograph of the World Trade Center in flames and an isolated quote from a Muslim member of Congress, Ilhan Omar. ‘Here’s your something. 2,977 people dead by terrorism,’ Thursday’s boldface headline screamed. Twitter erupted in outrage, and messages began to fly on Facebook and in WhatsApp groups for Yemeni-Americans in New York expressing fear that the newspaper cover would incite anti-Muslim violence. By Saturday morning, 10 of the most prominent Yemeni bodega owners in New York had agreed to stop selling the paper, and Yemeni taxi drivers began delivering fliers explaining the boycott to other Yemeni-owned stores. On Sunday, the influential Yemeni American Merchant Association announced a formal boycott of the paper at a news conference outside the News Corporation building in Midtown Manhattan that houses The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. ‘We support free speech, but we will not accept the incitement of violence against Muslims,’ said Debbie Almontaser, the secretary of the board of directors for the merchants association.”

Pete Buttigieg says he can beat Donald Trump in 2020The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of this northern Indiana city [South Bend] who in just weeks has vaulted from being a near-unknown to a breakout star in the Democratic Party, officially started his presidential bid here on Sunday, presenting himself as a transformational figure who is well positioned to beat President Trump, despite being young and facing off against many seasoned rivals. ‘I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern, millennial mayor, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act,’ Buttigieg said in front of thousands of supporters, jacket-free with his sleeves rolled up. ‘It calls for a new generation of leadership.’ Buttigieg added, ‘It’s time to walk away from the politics of the past and toward something totally different.'” See also, Pete Buttigieg Announces Official Start to His 2020 Presidential CampaignThe New York Times, Trip Gabriel, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Pete Buttigieg, the young Midwestern mayor whose presidential bid has been an unlikely early focus of attention from Democratic voters and donors, kicked off his campaign on Sunday and proclaimed his hometown’s revival [South Bend, Indiana] was the answer to skeptics who ask how he has the ‘audacity’ to see himself in the White House…. If elected, Mr. Buttigieg, a 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, would represent a series of historic firsts: the youngest president ever and the first who is openly gay. He said he was motivated to run despite his youth because of an urgency to correct the course of the Trump administration on climate change, health care and immigration. ‘This is one of those rare moments between whole eras in the life of our nation,’ Mr. Buttigieg said, adding, ‘The moment we live in compels us to act.’” See also, Pete Buttigieg’s Focus: Storytelling First. Policy Details Later. The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Sunday, 14 April 2019. See also, Pete Buttigieg’s  Campaign Kickoff: Full Speech, AnnotatedThe New York Times, Alexander Burns, published on Monday, 15 April 2019.

Trump’s Campaign Machine Has Two-Year Head Start in Raising Money for His Re-election in 2020The Wall Street Journal, Julie Bykowicz, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Before any well-known Democrats even began their White House bids, President Trump’s re-election team had spent more than $83 million on rallies, fundraising and other expenses associated with the thick of a heated race. Mr. Trump set up his 2020 operation as he moved into the White House, the earliest start of any president in modern history. His three political committees raised more than $127 million between January 2017 and the end of last year, mostly from small donors, according to Federal Election Commission reports. But the PACs aren’t waiting for the general election to start spending, a Wall Street Journal analysis of FEC reports found.”

Trump Sees an Obstacle to Getting His Way on Immigration: His Own OfficialsThe New York Times, Eileen Sullivan and Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Mr. Trump insisted in a tweet on Saturday that he was ‘not frustrated’ by the situation at the border, where for months he has said there is a crisis that threatens the nation’s security. But unable to deliver on his central promise of the 2016 campaign, he has targeted his administration’s highest-ranking immigration officials. And behind that purge is Mr. Miller, the 33-year-old White House senior adviser. While immigration is the issue that has dominated Mr. Trump’s time in office, the president has little interest or understanding about how to turn his gut instincts into reality. So it is Mr. Miller, a fierce ideologue who was a congressional spokesman before joining the Trump campaign, who has shaped policy, infuriated civil liberties groups and provoked a bitter struggle within the administration…. [Current and former officials said the purge] was the culmination of months of clashes with Mr. Miller and others around the president who have repeatedly demanded implementation of policies that were legally questionable, impractical, unethical or unreasonable. And when officials explained why, it further infuriated a White House set on making quick, sweeping changes to decades-old laws. In a twist, many of the officials who have clashed with the White House were the president’s own political appointees, who share his broad goal of limiting immigration into the United States. To that end, they have already succeeded in lowering the number of refugees allowed into the United States, imposing a travel ban on entry from mostly Muslim nations, speeding up denaturalization proceedings, slowing asylum processing at ports of entry and developing proposals to limit work permits for spouses of high-tech workers.”

Bernie Sanders Accuses Liberal Think Tank of Smearing Progressive CandidatesThe New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Sydney Ember, Sunday, 14 April 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders, in a rare and forceful rebuke by a presidential candidate of an influential party ally, has accused a liberal think tank of undermining Democrats’ chances of taking back the White House in 2020 by ‘using its resources to smear’ him and other contenders pushing progressive policies. Mr. Sanders’s criticism of the Center for American Progress, delivered on Saturday in a letter obtained by The New York Times, reflects a simmering ideological battle within the Democratic Party and threatens to reopen wounds from the 2016 primary between him and Hillary Clinton’s allies. The letter airs criticisms shared among his supporters: that the think tank, which has close ties to Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, is beholden to corporate donors and has worked to quash a leftward shift in the party led partly by Mr. Sanders. ‘This counterproductive negative campaigning needs to stop,’ Mr. Sanders wrote to the boards of the Center for American Progress and its sister group, the Center for American Progress Action Fund. ‘The Democratic primary must be a campaign of ideas, not of bad-faith smears. Please help play a constructive role in the effort to defeat Donald Trump.'”


Monday, 15 April 2019, Day 816:


Elizabeth Warren Proposes Broad Plan to Protect Public LandsThe New York Times, Matt Stevens, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts unveiled a public lands proposal on Monday, thrusting land-use issues and the environment into the spotlight as she continues to set the pace on policy in a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates. Ms. Warren’s plan, which she outlined in a post on Medium ahead of trips to Colorado and Utah this week, promises an executive order that would prohibit new leases for fossil fuel drilling offshore and on public lands, calls for the creation of ‘a 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps’ staffed by 10,000 young people and seeks to reduce inaccessible public acreage by 50 percent. It also aims to undo some of the environmental actions undertaken by the Trump administration, which she said amounted to ‘selling off our public lands to the oil, gas and coal industries for pennies on the dollar,’ accelerating a ‘climate crisis’ in the process. Under the plan, Ms. Warren said she would reinstate Obama-era air and water protections and wield the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law, to restore national monuments that President Trump shrank.” See also, My plan for public landsMedium, Elizabeth Warren, Monday, 15 April 2019. See also, Elizabeth Warren Presses Pentagon on Its Planning for Climate ChangeThe Intercept, Kate Aronoff, Monday, 15 April 2019: “One of America’s major political parties may not yet be willing to acknowledge that climate change is real, but it is already having significant effects on the U.S. military. Flooding in Nebraska and a hurricane in Florida that damaged military installations led to a recent Pentagon request of $5 billion in relief money. Now Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are calling on the Government Accountability Office to assess military contractors’ vulnerability to climate risks.”

Representative Ilhan Omar says death threats spiked after Trump tweet: ‘This is endangering lives. It has to stop.’ The Washington Post, Tim Elfrink, Monday, 15 April 2019: “As President Trump has faced withering blowback over a Friday tweet that used video of the twin towers falling on 9/11 to launch a broadside against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), many have argued that the visceral imagery could inspire more violence aimed at one of the first two Muslim women in Congress. That’s exactly what has happened, according to Omar. The Democrat said in a statement late Sunday that threats against her life have spiked, and she explicitly blamed Trump’s tweet for the surge. ‘Since the President’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the President’s video,’ Omar said in the statement, which noted that she now receives death threats daily that often reference her faith. Omar’s warning, which came hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) revealed she has asked the U.S. Capitol Police to increase protection for Omar, adds new urgency to the demands for calmer rhetoric from her critics, who have repeatedly charged her with anti-Semitism and now with downplaying the 2001 terrorist attacks.” See also, House speaker Nancy Pelosi calls Trump’s tweet aimed at Representative Ilhan Omar ‘beneath the dignity of the Oval Office,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Monday, 15 April 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that it was ‘beneath the dignity of the Oval Office’ for President Trump to have shared a video on Twitter of Rep. Ilhan Omar spliced with footage of the burning twin towers from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Taking questions during an appearance at the London School of Economics, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was hesitant to criticize Trump while on foreign soil. But she called his actions ‘wrong’ when questioned about how Trump has responded to the freshman lawmaker. ‘I don’t think any president of the United States should use the tragedy of 9/11 as a political tool,’ Pelosi said, adding that she is ‘proud’ of her Democratic colleagues.” See also, Representative Ilhan Omar has had a spike in death threats since Trump’s attack over her 9/11 commentThe Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Monday, 15 April 2019. See also, Trump continues attacking Representative Ilhan Omar and singles out Nancy Pelosi for defending OmarThe Guardian, Lauren Gambino, Monday, 15 April 2019. See also, Trump escalates his attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar after Pelosi ups Omar’s securityPolitico, Rebecca Morin and Heather Caygle, Monday, 15 April 2019. See also, In Attacking Representative Ilhan Omar, Trump Revives His Familiar Refrain Against MuslimsThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Monday, 15 April 2019: “President Trump has often seen the political benefits of stigmatizing Muslims. During the 2016 campaign, he would not rule out creating a registry of Muslims in the United States. He claimed to have seen ‘thousands’ of Muslims cheering on rooftops in New Jersey after Sept. 11, a statement that was widely debunked. And after the deadly attacks in Paris and California, Mr. Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims traveling to the United States. ‘I think Islam hates us,’ Mr. Trump told Anderson Cooper, the CNN host. Now, with 19 months until the 2020 election, Mr. Trump is seeking to rally his base by sounding that theme again. And this time, he has a specific target: Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

The Supreme Court Will Soon Consider Whether the Census Will Include a Citizenship QuestionThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The sixth sentence of the Constitution, and the first one that specifically tells the government to do something, established the census. It called for an ‘actual enumeration’ every 10 years and, since the end of slavery, requires answers to just two questions: ‘How many people live in the United States?’ and ‘Where do they live?’ The answers to those questions are the basis for American democracy, and much more. They determine, for instance, how congressional seats are allocated and where hundreds of billions of dollars of federal money are spent. Next week, the Supreme Court will consider whether the Trump administration may add a question about citizenship to the 2020 ‘short form’ questionnaire — the one that goes to every household in the nation. Nobody seriously disputes that this will cause fewer people to participate and will undermine the basic constitutional goal of counting everyone. ‘The Census Bureau’s own analysis was that 5.8 percent of households with a noncitizen would not respond to the census if you add the question,’ said Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents challengers in the case. ‘That translates to about 6.5 million people. If you put them in one state, that’s our 18th largest state.'”

Justice Department says it expects to release a redacted version of the Mueller report on ThursdayThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The Justice Department expects to release on Thursday a redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on President Trump, his associates and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, setting the stage for further battles in Congress over the politically explosive inquiry.” See also, Justice Department says the Mueller Report Will Be Released on ThursdayThe New York Times, Katie Benner, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr will release the highly anticipated special counsel’s report to Congress and to the public on Thursday morning, a Justice Department spokeswoman said Monday. Mr. Barr will release the report after department lawyers black out secret grand jury testimony, classified information, material related to continuing investigations and other delicate information, said the spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec.” See also, Mueller report to be released on ThursdayPolitico, Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein, Monday, 15 April 2019.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and top Republican committee member Devin Nunes sent a joint request for a classified briefing from special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, Kyle Cheney, Politico, Monday, 15 April 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and top GOP committee member Devin Nunes have briefly united to request a classified briefing from special counsel Robert Mueller and his team on every aspect of their findings. The two men, who have clashed repeatedly over the Russia probe, similarly requested every scrap of evidence that Mueller collected or produced, ‘regardless of form and classification.’ In a three-page letter sent late last month to Attorney General William Barr, Schiff and Nunes said it’s their role on the Intelligence Committee to review and understand any counterintelligence findings that Mueller may have reached — including those related to the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and whether any Americans aided the effort, wittingly or unwittingly.”

Interior Department Opens Ethics Investigation of Its New Chief, David BernhardtThe New York Times, Coral Davenort, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against the agency’s newly installed secretary, David Bernhardt. Mr. Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries, was confirmed by the Senate last week to head the agency, which oversees the nation’s 500 million acres of public land and vast coastal waters. He has played a central role in writing policies designed to advance President Trump’s policy of ‘energy dominance’ and expanding fossil fuel exploration. He has been dogged by allegations of ethics violations since joining the Trump administration as the Interior Department’s deputy secretary in 2017. Eight senators, all Democrats, and four government ethics watchdog groups have requested that the Interior Department’s inspector general open formal investigations into various aspects of Mr. Bernhardt’s conduct. Among the chief complaints have been allegations, revealed by three separate New York Times investigations, that Mr. Bernhardt used his position to advance a policy pushed by his former lobbying client; that he continued working as a lobbyist after filing legal paperwork declaring that he had ceased lobbying; and that he intervened to block the release of a scientific report showing the harmful effects of a chemical pesticide on certain endangered species.” See also, The Interior Department’s watchdog opens an ethics probe into David Bernhardt four days after his Senate confirmationThe Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The Interior Department’s internal watchdog opened an investigation into ethics complaints against former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt on Monday, four days after the Senate confirmed him as the agency’s secretary. A spokeswoman for Interior’s inspector general’s office, Nancy DiPaolo, said the probe is ‘based on requests from multiple lawmakers and others.’ At least eight senators who chastised Bernhardt during his confirmation hearing, including Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), called for an investigation. Numerous conservation groups also submitted demands for inquiry into potential conflicts of interest.”

Deutsche Bank Is Subpoenaed for Trump Records by House DemocratsThe New York Times, Emily Flitter and David Enrich, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Congressional investigators on Monday intensified their pursuit of President Trump’s personal and business financial records by issuing a subpoena to his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank. The two committees that issued the subpoena, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees, also demanded documents from numerous other financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe, according to three people with knowledge of the investigation. ‘The potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern,’ Representative Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. She added that the panel was ‘exploring these matters, including as they may involve the president and his associates, as thoroughly as possible pursuant to its oversight authority, and will follow the facts wherever they may lead us.'” See also, House Democrats subpoena Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions tied to TrumpThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Monday, 15 April 2019: “House Democrats issued subpoenas Monday for records from Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions, seeking information regarding President Trump’s business ventures as several congressional panels took steps to intensify their scrutiny of the president’s personal accounts and corporate dealings.”

Secret Report Reveals Saudi Incompetence and Widespread Use of U.S. Weapons in YemenThe Intercept, Alex Emmons, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Since the brutal murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi last October, Congress has increasingly pressured the Trump administration to stop backing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen and halt U.S. arms sales to Riyadh. In response, President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that if the U.S. does not sell weapons to the Saudis, they will turn to U.S. adversaries to supply their arsenals. ‘I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States,’ Trump told reporters in October, referring to a collection of intent letters signed with the Saudis in the early months of his presidency. ‘You know what they are going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else.’ But a highly classified document produced by the French Directorate of Military Intelligence shows that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen. Many of the systems listed are only compatible with munitions, spare parts, and communications systems produced in NATO countries, meaning that the Saudis and UAE would have to replace large portions of their arsenals to continue with Russian or Chinese weapons.”

Internal memos say Trump officials are going to resume forcing asylum seekers to wait in MexicoLos Angeles Times, Molly O’Toole, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The Trump administration moved Monday to restart a controversial policy that forces Central American asylum seekers to return to Mexico to await adjudication of their claims, an approach dubbed ‘Remain in Mexico.’ The move came after a federal appeals court in California temporarily lifted an injunction on Friday that had blocked the policy. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials told staff at the agency’s main asylum office in Arlington, Va., on Monday to prepare for asylum seekers to again be sent back across the border, according to emails obtained by the Los Angeles Times. An internal agency memo on Monday cited Friday’s decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that granted the government’s emergency motion for a stay of a lower court ruling that had blocked the policy. The administration calls the policy ‘Migrant Protection Protocols.’… The appeals court is expected to decide this week whether to extend the temporary stay and allow the Remain in Mexico policy to remain in effect…. Under the policy, which then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced in December, authorities have forcibly returned more than 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Central America, to Mexico.”

Trump attorneys warn accounting firm Mazars USA not to hand over Trump’s financial records to the House Oversight and Reform CommitteePolitico, Andrew Desiderio, Monday, 15 April 2019: “President Donald Trump’s attorneys are warning of potential legal action if an accounting firm turns over a decade of the president’s financial records to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Trump attorneys William S. Consovoy and Stefan Passantino are urging Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena that Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issued on Monday for Trump’s financial documents, calling it a politically motivated scheme to take down the president…. Last month, the committee formally requested that Mazars turn over 10 years of Trump’s financial records, related specifically to the Trump Organization, the president’s revocable trust and other subsidiaries. In response, Mazars asked for a so-called friendly subpoena so that it could comply. Cummings told the firm that it was seeking the documents to corroborate the testimony of Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer, who alleged that Trump artificially inflated and deflated the value of his assets for his personal benefit.”

Trump Lawyer Urges Treasury Not to Release His Tax ReturnsThe New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Monday, 15 April 2019: “President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday urged the Treasury Department not to hand over Mr. Trump’s tax returns to House Democrats, warning that releasing the documents to lawmakers he accused of having a ‘radical view of unchecked congressional power’ would turn the Internal Revenue Service into a political weapon. It was the second such letter written on behalf of Mr. Trump since Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, formally requested six years of the president’s personal and business tax returns earlier this month. Mr. Neal on Saturday gave the Internal Revenue Service until April 23 to provide him with the tax returns after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said last week that he could not meet an earlier deadline because he needed to study the lawfulness of the request. The fight over Mr. Trump’s tax returns is expected to turn into a protracted legal battle that will likely make its way to the Supreme Court.”

Bernie Sanders takes on Fox–and emerges triumphant, Holly Otterbein, Politico, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Bernie Sanders entered the Fox’s den on Monday night — and he not only survived the hour-long encounter, but often dominated. Appearing at a Fox News-hosted town hall smack dab in the middle of Trump Country, the Democratic presidential front-runner played the part, swatting down tough questions from the hosts about health care, defense spending, and his newfound wealth. At one point, the Vermont senator even led the network’s audience in a call-and-response that found them cheering loudly for his policies. In the days preceding the event, Sanders faced backlash from liberals who said he shouldn’t participate given the network’s nativist bent and cheerleading for President Donald Trump. But when it was over, Sanders had received an hour of positive exposure on the highest-rated cable channel — something none of his primary rivals have yet risked.” See also, Bernie Sanders pierces the Fox News bubble–but for only a flickering momentThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) went where the Democratic Party is unwilling to tread on Monday, participating in a lengthy town hall interview on Fox News. The questions posed by Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum aimed at poking holes in Sanders’s political rhetoric, but, by the time the event had ended, it was Fox News’s bubble that had been pierced. Rest assured: The damage was quickly repaired as the network’s programming continued over the course of the evening.”

Bill Weld officially announces he is challenging Trump for Republican nomination in 2020CNN, Steve Brusk and Kate Sullivan, Monday, 15 April 2019: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Monday he is officially entering the race for president, becoming the first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 race.”

The Rematch: Bernie Sanders vs. Clinton Loyalist Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American ProgressThe New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson and Kenneth P. Vogel, Monday, 15 April 2019: “The bad blood started early. In 2008, Neera Tanden, then a top aide on Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign, accompanied Mrs. Clinton to what was expected to be an easy interview at the Center for American Progress, the influential group founded by top Clinton aides. But Faiz Shakir, the chief editor of the think tank’s ThinkProgress website, asked Mrs. Clinton a question about the Iraq war, an issue dogging her candidacy because she had supported it. Ms. Tanden responded by circling back to Mr. Shakir after the interview and, according to a person in the room, punching him in the chest. ‘I didn’t slug him, I pushed him,’ a still angry Ms. Tanden corrected in a recent interview. Ms. Tanden now leads the Center for American Progress, Mr. Shakir runs Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and the enmity between the two camps burst into the open last weekend. Mr. Sanders, angry about a video produced by ThinkProgress that ridicules his new status as one of the millionaires he has vilified on the campaign trail, sent a scorching letter to the center’s board, accusing Ms. Tanden of ‘maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas.’ The blowup is another reflection of the ideological divisions among Democrats, this time between a legacy Clinton organization and a liberal wing trying to move the party to the left to harness the energy of millennials. Mr. Sanders’s team remains convinced that the Democratic establishment worked behind the scenes to deprive him of the party’s nomination in 2016; his campaign has cast the group as beholden to corporate interests set on thwarting him in 2020.”

A guide to Democratic talking points not far off the markThe Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Monday, 15 April 2019: “We have given lots of Pinocchios in recent weeks to Democrats running for president. (Recent examples herehereherehere and here.) Regular readers know that The Fact Checker generally awards Geppetto Checkmarks to claims that are unexpectedly true. As we have been keeping track of the Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, we have noticed a number of interesting factual statements being made by Democrats that are not worthy of Pinocchios but do not quite rise to the level of a Geppetto Checkmark. Many of these claims have to do with the state of working Americans. Readers will probably be hearing these lines in the coming months, so we thought we would provide a quick roundup that explains the sources and context of these numbers.”


Tuesday, 16 April 2019, Day 817:


Trump Vetoes Measure to Force End to U.S. Involvement in Yemen WarThe New York Times, Mark Landler and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “President Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution on Tuesday that would have forced an end to American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s civil war in Yemen, rejecting an appeal by lawmakers to his own deeply rooted instincts to withdraw the United States from bloody foreign conflicts. The veto, only the second time Mr. Trump has used his power to block legislation passed by both houses of Congress, strikes down a resolution that invoked the War Powers Act to distance the United States from a four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and resulted in a widespread famine. The measure was a rebuke of Mr. Trump’s support for Saudi Arabia even after the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It was opposed by several of the president’s top advisers, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the national security adviser, John R. Bolton, according to people who spoke with White House officials. ‘This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,’ Mr. Trump said in his veto message.” See also, Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil warThe Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Karoun Kemirjian, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday vetoed a resolution that would have ended U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen…. The measure had passed the House on a 247-to-175 vote this month and was approved by the Senate last month with the support of seven Republicans. This month’s House vote marked the first time both chambers had acted to invoke the same war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict. It also represented the latest instance of Congress’s challenging Trump’s decisions as commander in chief. The veto means the United States will continue its involvement in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, waged in the name of holding back Iran’s expansion in the region.”

In New Effort to Deter Migrants, Attorney General William Barr Withholds Bail to Asylum SeekersThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Katie Benner, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “The Trump administration on Tuesday took another significant step to discourage migrants from seeking asylum, issuing an order that could keep thousands of them in jail indefinitely while they wait for a resolution of their asylum requests. The order issued by Attorney General William P. Barr was an effort to deliver on President Trump’s promise to end the ‘catch and release’ of migrants crossing the border in hopes of escaping persecution in their home countries. The order — which directs immigration judges to deny some migrants a chance to post bail — will not go into effect for 90 days. It is all but certain to be challenged in federal court, but immigrant rights lawyers said it could undermine the basic rights of people seeking safety in the United States…. Mr. Barr’s order is the latest effort by the Trump administration to reduce the number of immigrants who are able to seek protection from violence, poverty and gangs by asking for legal status in the United States. It has slowed the processing of asylum requests at ports of entry, and it has ordered that some asylum seekers be required to wait in Mexico…. For more than a decade, migrants who are deemed to have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution in their home countries have been allowed to request a bond hearing so they can be released on bail while they wait for their asylum cases to be heard, sometimes months or years later…. Mr. Barr’s decision does not affect migrants applying for asylum at one of the two dozen ports of entry along the border with Mexico. It affects people who are apprehended after they cross into the United States illegally in the often vast, rural stretches of the border.” See also, Attorney General William Barr to withhold bail from asylum seekers in latest border crackdownThe Washington Post, Reis Thebault and Michael Brice-Saddler, published on Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “Migrants who come to the United States seeking asylum may instead wind up jailed indefinitely while they wait for their claims to be processed, the Trump administration ruled Tuesday in its latest crackdown at the border. Attorney General William P. Barr’s written decision, a policy reversal, applies to migrants who have already established ‘a credible fear of persecution or torture’ in their home country. Barr ordered immigration judges to stop allowing some asylum seekers to post bail while they wait the months or years for their cases to be heard — a system that President Trump has derided as ‘catch and release.’ But advocates criticized the policy change and said it would lock up people who are simply looking for safety. ‘Unless stopped, this decision will result in the unlawful jailing of thousands of people who should not be behind bars,’ Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a tweet…. Barr’s ruling reversed the decision in a 2005 case in which an Indian man entered the United States from Mexico and requested asylum. Parole by the Department of Homeland Security will be the only way asylum seekers who crossed the border illegally can be released once the order goes into effect.”

House Judiciary committee requests information on Trump’s reported pardon offer for Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenanPriscilla Alvarez, CNN, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee is requesting information about reports that President Donald Trump told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan he would grant a pardon if McAleenan was sent to jail for having border agents block asylum seekers from entering the US. ‘These allegations, if true, would represent a grave breach of the duties of the President,’ the letter, directed to now Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan, reads. The request comes on the heels of a letter from three House committee chairmen Monday requesting documents related to Trump’s proposal to release immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities.”

How Trump’s border crisis is driven by climate change, Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “[It has] become increasingly clear that climate change has played a significant part in deepening the extreme poverty and insecurity that compels many to head north. According to the World Bank, climate change could lead to at least 1.4 million people leaving their homes in Mexico and Central America over the next three decades. Central America — where a third of all jobs remain linked to agriculture — is one of the more susceptible regions in the world to the long-term effects of a warming planet. Successive years of drought, extreme fluctuations in temperature and shifting rain patterns have led to failed harvests and forced many Central American farmers to forsake traditional crops. A recent lengthy exposé by the New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer focused on the expanding ‘dry corridor’ — a region in Central America marred by drought that stretches from Panama to the southern reaches of Mexico.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to speed up its science reviews. Now the reviewers say it won’t work. The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision last year to disband an air pollution science panel may be coming back to bite the administration. Last October, the Trump administration dissolved the panel of outside experts advising the agency on ways to limit the amount of harmful soot pumped into the air, in the hopes of speeding up the often-sluggish pace of environmental rulemaking. But now, the independent scientists it charged to do the work instead are saying they want the original panel back. And the deliberations about pollution rules are dragging on even longer.”

Mick Mulvaney’s Master Class in Destroying the Government From Within, The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “This account of Mulvaney’s tenure [at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] is based on interviews with more than 60 current or former bureau employees, current and former Mulvaney aides, consumer advocates and financial-industry executives and lobbyists, as well as hundreds of pages of internal bureau documents obtained by The New York Times and others. When Mulvaney took over, the fledgling C.F.P.B. was perhaps Washington’s most feared financial regulator: It announced dozens of cases annually against abusive debt collectors, sloppy credit agencies and predatory lenders, and it was poised to force sweeping changes on the $30 billion payday-loan industry, one of the few corners of the financial world that operates free of federal regulation. What he left behind is an agency whose very mission is now a matter of bitter dispute. “The bureau was constructed really deliberately to protect ordinary people,” says Lisa Donner, the head of Americans for Financial Reform. ‘He’s taken it apart — dismantled it, piece by piece, brick by brick.’ Mulvaney’s careful campaign of deconstruction offers a case study in the Trump administration’s approach to transforming Washington, one in which strategic neglect and bureaucratic self-sabotage create versions of agencies that seem to run contrary to their basic premises.”

Trump moves to resist House inquiries, setting up fight over congressional subpoena powersThe Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey, and Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “President Trump’s attorneys and the White House are moving to resist a growing number of congressional requests for information, increasing the likelihood of a protracted legal fight that could test the power of congressional subpoenas. The building battle will shape how much material House Democrats will be able to obtain about Trump’s policies and personal finances through multiple investigations launched by various congressional committees. White House officials are already digging in their heels on a slew of requests related to Trump’s actions as president. The administration does not plan to turn over information being sought about how particular individuals received their security clearances, Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders and other topics that they plan to argue are subject to executive privilege, according to several aides familiar with internal discussions.”

A President of the People or a President of His People? The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “In the last couple of weeks, President Trump repeatedly called his enemies ‘treasonous.’ He threatened to punish Democrats by dumping migrants in their districts. He promoted a video tying a Muslim congresswoman to images of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The message seems clear and so does the audience: more red meat for red-state Americans who have been the foundation of his political enterprise since his against-the-odds campaign for the White House. And it is a reminder that this president governs as none of his modern predecessors did.”

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris Lead the Democratic Money RaceThe New York Times, Sarah Almukhtar, Thomas Kaplan, Blacki Migliozzi, and Rachel Shorey, Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “Who has the most campaign cash on hand? Who spent about as much money as they raised? Who relied heavily on personal loans and past political accounts Democratic presidential candidates on Monday provided the first broad look at campaign finances. Early fund-raising is no guarantee of votes in 2020, but it is a barometer of which Democrats are generating interest — not an easy feat in a crowded field.”


Wednesday, 17 April 2019, Day 818:


A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like then? The Intercept, Naomi Klein, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “Today, The Intercept launches ‘A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,’ a seven-minute film narrated by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Set a couple of decades from now, it’s a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves? What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like then?”

Satellite confirms key NASA temperature data: The planet is warming–and fastThe Washington Post, Chris Mooney, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “A high-profile NASA temperature data set, which has pronounced the last five years the hottest on record and the globe a full degree Celsius warmer than in the late 1800s, has found new backing from independent satellite records — suggesting the findings are on a sound footing, scientists reported Tuesday. If anything, the researchers found, the pace of climate change could be somewhat more severe than previously acknowledged, at least in the fastest warming part of the world — its highest latitudes.”

24 Magazine Covers About Climate ChangeThe Washington Post, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “We know that the clock is ticking on climate change, yet the sheer volume of news can make it tough for even the most conscientious citizen to comprehend the full scale of the crisis. So for Earth Day, we created a different way to read about climate change: an all-cover issue of The Washington Post Magazine, with each cover illustrating an aspect of climate change that The Post wrote about in the past year or so. Scroll down to see the stories — and the covers we created to highlight them.”

White House and Justice Department Officials Discussed Mueller Report Before ReleaseThe New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos, and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “Not all of Robert S. Mueller III’s findings will be news to President Trump when they are released Thursday. Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings. A sense of paranoia was taking hold among some of Mr. Trump’s aides, some of whom fear his backlash more than the findings themselves, the people said. The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president — providing a kind of road map for retaliation. The discussions between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers have also added to questions about the propriety of the decisions by Attorney General William P. Barr since he received Mr. Mueller’s findings late last month.” See also, Key members of Congress will get more complete version of the Mueller report than the public, prosecutors tell judgeThe Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “The Justice Department plans to provide key members of Congress with a more complete version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report than what will be made public on Thursday, prosecutors told a federal judge on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors described the plan to provide nonpublic material to Congress — where Democratic lawmakers have been pushing to receive an unredacted version of the report — in a court filing made Wednesday in the case against Trump confidant Roger Stone.” See also, On the eve of the release of the Mueller report, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accuses Attorney General William Barr of protecting TrumpThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Rachael Bade, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accused Attorney General William P. Barr of trying to protect President Trump and ‘bake in the narrative to the benefit of the White House’ by holding a news conference about the special counsel’s report hours before Nadler says the report will be made public. In a hastily assembled news conference of his own Wednesday night on the eve of the release of the redacted findings of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, the New York Democrat said he’d been informed by the Justice Department that Congress would receive the report between 11 a.m. and noon. Barr is scheduled to speak to the press at 9:30 a.m. ‘The attorney general appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump — the very subject of investigation at the heart of the Mueller report — rather than letting the facts speak for themselves,’ Nadler said.” See also, Media must ‘fight their own DNA’ to properly cover the redacted Mueller reportThe Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “It’s certainly possible that the news media will do a nuanced, accurate job Thursday of helping citizens understand the redacted version of the Mueller report. It’s possible they will do a better job than many of them did with their credulous and misleading coverage of Attorney General William P. Barr’s letter on the report last month in which they failed to adequately challenge President Trump’s false claim of being completely exonerated. But don’t count on it — especially on live cable news in the initial burst of coverage but also as print news organizations and the broadcast networks struggle to get something up immediately on websites and on social media.”

What Is Asylum and Who Can Seek It? Explaining Trump’s New Restrictions. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “In an effort to stem the flow of Central American migrants coming into the United States, the Trump administration has focused on limiting who can apply for asylum and instituting detention policies that officials hope will deter people from seeking refuge in the country. On Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr issued an order that could keep thousands of migrants seeking asylum in jail while they wait for their requests to be evaluated by a judge.”

The Environmental Protection Agency Moves to ‘Close the Door’ on Asbestos. Consumer Groups Say Loopholes Remain. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “The Trump administration on Wednesday issued a regulation it said would impose new restrictions on asbestos, a deadly substance once commonly found in insulation materials. The final Environmental Protection Agency rule goes somewhat further than the initial version the agency had proposed, but public health advocates said it still fell short of the protections needed.”

Trump administration announces new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, and NicaraguaThe Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “The Trump administration levied new sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua on Wednesday, using the language of the Cold War — and of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign — in a vow to combat socialism, communism and human rights abuses. The heaviest measures were directed at Cuba. U.S. citizens will now be allowed to sue any entity or person found to be “trafficking” in property that was expropriated from U.S. citizens after the 1959 revolution. Trump’s three immediate predecessors in office had suspended that right, sustaining a 1996 law containing Cuba sanctions, on the grounds that it would interfere with trade and national security. The administration is also reimposing limits on the amounts of money that Cuban Americans can send to relatives on the island, as well as the frequency of transactions, and ordering new restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens. Those actions further reverse President Barack Obama’s moves to normalize relations with Havana, which Trump has called ‘terrible and misguided.’ New sanctions were announced against people and entities in Venezuela and Nicaragua, as well as prohibitions on U.S. dollar transactions by the Central Bank of Venezuela and a Venezuelan subsidiary bank in Nicaragua.” See also, New U.S. Policy on Cuba Sanctions Threatens European Union TiesThe Wall Street Journal, Laurence Norman and Vivian Salama, published on Tuesday, 16 April 2019: “The Trump administration plans to intensify pressure against Cuba by allowing U.S. nationals to lodge claims against foreign companies that do business there, a senior U.S. official said, setting up a fresh front in the U.S.’s widening economic rift with Europe. The U.S. decision to end a two-decade-old waiver on a key part of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act comes after top European Union officials privately warned last week that doing so could lead the bloc to sue the U.S. at the World Trade Organization and may result in European courts imposing economic penalties against U.S. companies, according to a letter seen by The Wall Street Journal…. The U.S. decision will end a waiver on what is known as Title III of the Helms-Burton act, legislation that grouped together the U.S.’s economic measures against Cuba. Title III was intended to allow U.S. nationals whose property was seized by the Castro regime in Cuba after 1959 to sue for damages in the U.S. court system. Its repeal opens the way for foreign companies who do business involving confiscated property to be sued.” See also, Trump Administration Announces New Restrictions on Dealing With CubaThe New York Times, Niraj Chokshi and Frances Robles, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed new restrictions on dealing with Cuba amid a broader toughening of its Latin American policy, limiting nonfamily travel to the island and how much money Cuban-Americans can send to relatives there, and allowing exiles to sue for property seized by the Castro government. ‘In our most fervent dreams, we could not have conceived that a U.S. administration would do this,’ Nicolás J. Gutiérrez, president of the National Association of Sugar Mill Owners of Cuba and whose family lost property there, said in praising the decision to allow the lawsuits. ‘No administration has ever done this. Forget Reagan. Forget Bush.’ By allowing the lawsuits — a departure from nearly a quarter-century of policy — the administration dismissed passionate opposition from officials in Europe and Canada who had lobbied in recent weeks against the move, which could unleash a torrent of proceedings against companies and people accused of ‘trafficking’ in the confiscated property.”

Concern About Mass Shootings Has Lifted Spending on Research Into the Causes of Gun ViolenceThe New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped funding research into the causes of gun violence. And for decades the field suffered from neglect: low funding and a corresponding limited interest in academia. Then came a series of high-profile mass shootings. And donations from billionaires. A result has been a recent surge in state and private funding for gun research, and a revival in interest among journal editors and young academics beginning their careers.”

House Democrats Subpoenaed Nine Banks in Trump Finance ProbeThe Wall Street Journal, Andrew Ackerman and Lalita Clozel, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “House Democrats have subpoenaed nine large banks as part of an inquiry into President Trump’s financial interests, according to people familiar with the matter, including six U.S. firms and three foreign lenders. The list includes U.S. giants JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley , Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America as well as Capital One FinancialCorp. It also includes Deutsche Bank , Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion BankThe total number of lenders targeted by the lawmakers hasn’t been previously reported, nor have most of their identities.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Moves to Limit Public Housing Aid for Undocumented ImmigrantsThe New York Times, Annie Karni and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “The Trump administration proposed a rule on Wednesday night intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance, the latest step in its efforts to ramp up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.”

Ivanka Trump says she turned down her father’s offer to lead the World BankPolitico, Caitlin Oprysko, Wednesday, 17 April 2019: “Ivanka Trump said Wednesday she’d turned down her father’s offer to lead the World Bank, and wouldn’t reveal whether he’d approached her about any other jobs in his administration. Trump, who serves in the White House as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, was rumored earlier this year to be in the running for president of the global financial institution, though her father ultimately went with David Malpass, a U.S. Treasury Department official. In a profile of his daughter published last week, the president acknowledged for the first time that he’d thought about selecting her because ‘she’s very good with numbers.'” See also, Ivanka Trump says she passed on World Bank jobAssociated Press, Catherine Lucey, Wednesday, 17 April 2019.


Thursday, 18 April 2019, Day 819:


The Mueller Report


The New York Times:


Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly anticipated ReportThe New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “Robert S. Mueller III revealed the scope of a historic Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential election in a much-anticipated report made public on Thursday, and he detailed a frantic monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart a federal investigation that imperiled his presidency from the start. Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, laid out how his team of prosecutors wrestled with whether Mr. Trump’s actions added up to a criminal obstruction-of-justice offense. They ultimately chose not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him and suggested that it might be the role of Congress to settle the matter.” See also, Excerpts and Analysis From the Redacted Mueller ReportThe New York Times, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “The Mueller report was just released by the Justice Department and Times reporters are reviewing it and posting excerpts. Read the full 448-page report handed out by the Justice Department.” See also, Redacted Mueller Report Release: What We Know So Far, Live UpdatesThe New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “The redacted report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has been released. He investigated Russian election interference, any ties to the Trump campaign and possible presidential obstruction of justice.” See also, Read the Redacted Mueller Report: Full DocumentThe New York Times, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, How Attorney General William Barr’s Excerpts Compare to the Mueller Report’s FindingsThe New York Times, Charlie Savage, published on Friday, 19 April 2019. Charlie Savage tweet on Friday, 19 April 2018: “Barr’s use of fragmentary quotes from the Mueller report to bolster his narrative-shaping letter to Congress last month was misleading, omitting words & context to make them look better for Trump. Here is each passage in his letter alongside the original.” See also, A Portrait of the White House and Its Culture of DishonestyThe New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “As President Trump met with advisers in the Oval Office in May 2017 to discuss replacements for the F.B.I. director he had just fired, Attorney General Jeff Sessions slipped out of the room to take a call. When he came back, he gave Mr. Trump bad news: Robert S. Mueller III had just been appointed as a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any actions by the president to impede it. Mr. Trump slumped in his chair. ‘Oh, my God,’ he said. ‘This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.’… The White House that emerges from more than 400 pages of Mr. Mueller’s report is a hotbed of conflict infused by a culture of dishonesty — defined by a president who lies to the public and his own staff, then tries to get his aides to lie for him. Mr. Trump repeatedly threatened to fire lieutenants who did not carry out his wishes while they repeatedly threatened to resign rather than cross lines of propriety or law.” See also, The Episodes of Potential Obstruction of Justice by Trump in the Mueller ReportThe New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller Rejects View That Presidents Can’t Obstruct JusticeThe New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things. The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Trump Ordered Aides to Search for Clinton Emails, While the Russians Were Already LookingThe New York Times, David E. Sanger, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, ‘Redacted’ Is the Word of the Day as the Mueller Report LandsThe New York Times, Sarah Mervosh, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, How Much of the Mueller Report Was Redacted? 22 Answers to Readers’ QuestionsThe New York Times, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller Report Leaves Unanswered Questions About Contacts Between Russsians and Trump AidesThe New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Read Attorney General William Barr’s News Conference Remarks Ahead of the Release of the Redacted Mueller ReportThe New York Times, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Attorney General William Barr’s Defense of Trump Rewards the President With the Attorney General He WantedThe New York Times, Mark Landler and Katie Benner, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “For 21 minutes on Thursday morning, with the nation watching, President Trump had the loyal attorney general he had always longed for…. It was less a performance of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer than that of a defense lawyer for Mr. Trump, citing selective facts to build a case for exoneration and sidestepping elements of the report less favorable to the president. It enraged Democrats, drew heated and substantive rebuttals, and validated the fears of Mr. Barr’s critics that he would bring his expansive view of presidential privilege to a norm-shattering presidency.” See also, Trump Says He’s Having a ‘Good Day,’ but He Avoids QuestionsThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Annie Karni, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Democrats Draw Closer to a Dicey Question: Whether to Impeach TrumpThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “House Democrats, facing some of the most striking evidence yet from Robert S. Mueller III that President Trump attempted to thwart his investigation, edged closer on Thursday to confronting a question they have long tried to avoid: whether the president’s behavior warrants impeachment. Although the more than 400-page report made public on Thursday found ‘insufficient evidence’ to conclude that Mr. Trump conspired in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and cited legal and factual constraints preventing Mr. Mueller from charging Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice, the special counsel presented months of damning presidential behavior that Democrats said left it up to Congress to review. ‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,’ Mr. Mueller wrote in the report. House Democrats, in particular, took that legal analysis as a clear nod that Congress should take the next step to make its own judgment, although Republicans disagreed with that view.” See also, 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Target Attorney General William Barr Over the Mueller ReportThe New York Times, Astead W. Herndon and Matt Stevens, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Who Is William Barr? He Decides What the Public Can See in Mueller’s Report. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 18 April 2019.


The Washington Post:


Live Updates: Mueller rejects argument that Trump is shielded from obstruction of justice lawsThe Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, The redacted Mueller report, annotatedThe Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller report lays out obstruction of justice evidence against TrumpThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “The report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III lays out in alarming detail abundant evidence against President Trump, finding 10 ‘episodes’ of potential obstruction of justice but ultimately concluding it was not Mueller’s role to determine whether the commander in chief broke the law.” See also, The 10 areas where Mueller investigated Trump for obstruction of justiceThe Washington Post, Kevin Schaul, Kevin Uhrmacher, and Aaron Blake, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Trump asked his lawyer, Donald McGahn, to cross legal lines. The Mueller report shows how McGahn pushed back. The Washington Post, Deanna Paul, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidencyThe Washington Post, Dan Balz, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Here’s what Trump and his associates said at the time. Now, read what the Mueller report tells us. The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler and Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller laid out ‘thorough and compelling’ case of obstruction, but Attorney General William Barr decided Trump wasn’t guilty of a crimeThe Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, What Attorney General Barr said vs. what the Mueller report saidThe Washington Post, Salvador Rizzo, published on Friday, 19 April 2019. See also, Mueller report suggests the ‘fake news’ came from Trump, not the news mediaThe Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Paranoia, lies, and fear: Trump’s presidency laid bare by Mueller reportThe Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Mueller’s report paints a portrait of a campaign intrigued by Russian overturesThe Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, Karoun Demirjian, and Rachel Weiner, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Trump campaign attempted to obtain Hillary Clinton’s private emailsThe Washington Post, Shane Harris, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Attorney General William Barr is under fire for news conference that was a boon for Trump and often featured one of Trump’s preferred termsThe Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 18 April 2019.


The New Yorker:


The Mueller Report Won’t End Trump’s Presidency, But It Sure Makes Him Look BadThe New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “What we didn’t know until Thursday, when we finally saw the four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page document, is how much evidence Mueller had amassed about the President, panicked and in crisis mode, trying to shut down and block the investigation. The report documents ten different incidents that raise questions about the President’s behavior. Was it obstruction of justice? The Mueller report concluded (albeit in legalistic and unclear language) that that is a matter for Congress to decide. And Congress, as a matter of political calculation and senatorial math, remains unlikely to pursue the question to its bitter end.” See also, In the Mueller Report, Erik Prince Funds a Covert Effort to Obtain Clinton’s E-Mails From a Foreign StateThe New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater, a former private-security company embroiled in controversy surrounding its use of lethal force against civilians in Iraq, makes a strange cameo appearance in the redacted version of the Mueller report, which was released on Thursday morning. Prince, who is the brother of Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, is described as having provided some funding for a secretive effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails from shadowy operatives working on the so-called dark Web.” See also, The Mueller Report Is Clear: Donald Trump Repeatedly Tried to Obstruct JusticeThe New Yorker, John Cassidy, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “Now we know why Attorney General William Barr went to such great lengths to spin the contents of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Although Mueller’s team didn’t establish that Trump or anybody connected to his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russian trolls and hackers, the investigation dug up voluminous evidence that the President repeatedly tried to hamper, and even close down, the Russia investigation. The only partial mystery that remains is why Mueller backed away from concluding whether Trump’s efforts at obstruction amounted to a crime.” See also, Special Counsel Robert Mueller Let Donald Trump Duck Direct Questions About Obstruction of JusticeThe New Yorker, Eric Lach, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “For much of the time that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, was at work, a battle played out, mostly in secret, between his office and Donald Trump’s legal team over what the President himself would have to answer to as part of the investigation, and in what setting. It’s long been known that Trump refused to sit down for an in-person interview with Mueller, and that he opted to answer some written questions from the special counsel instead. The newly released Mueller report reveals what those questions and answers were, and what Mueller made of them. The short version is: the questions pertained to a pretty narrow set of topics, and Mueller was pretty unsatisfied with Trump’s answers. ‘During the course of our discussions, the President did agree to answer written questions on certain Russia-related topics, and he provided us with answers,’ the second volume of the report, which concerns the obstruction-of-justice side of the special counsel’s work, states. ‘He did not similarly agree to provide written answers to questions on obstruction topics or questions on events during the transition. Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so.'” See also, How Attorney General William Barr Politicized the Release of the Mueller ReportThe New Yorker, David Rohde, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “In a highly anticipated press conference at the Justice Department on Thursday morning, Attorney General William Barr sounded more like President Trump’s personal lawyer than like the country’s chief law-enforcement officer. In a twenty-minute appearance, Barr stated nine times that the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, did not find that President Trump or his campaign had conspired or coördinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. ‘That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed,’ Barr declared. The Attorney General then offered a vigorous defense of the President’s behavior in response to the special counsel’s investigation. ‘There is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his Presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fuelled by illegal leaks,’ Barr said. He made no mention of the events that prompted the appointment of a special counsel in the first place: Trump’s firing of the F.B.I. director James Comey, false statements that were made to the press about contacts between his campaign and Russians, and Trump’s public call for Russians to steal Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Barr’s statements on Thursday morning are consistent with his actions since he became Attorney General, in February. Every aspect of his handling of the Mueller report has favored the President’s political interests and political narrative.”



The Wall Street Journal:


Redacted Mueller Report Released–Live Updates and AnalysisThe Wall Street Journal, Thursday, 18 April 2019. See also, Redacted Mueller Report Lays Out Trump’s Attempts to Curtail the InquiryThe Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, Thursday, 18 April 2019.




Mueller report whacks Trump with evidence of obstruction of justice, Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, Politico, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report is more damning than President Donald Trump has publicly claimed, detailing Trump’s aggressive efforts to interfere in the Justice Department’s Russia probe and declining to rule out that Trump obstructed justice. Far from the ‘complete and total exoneration’ the president has declared in recent weeks, the report depicts a president who made repeated moves to thwart the investigation into his campaign and presidency, possibly because Trump was trying to hide other, potentially criminal behavior — although Mueller found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy to help Russia influence the 2016 election.” See also, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Mueller team she misled the press about the firing of FBI Director James ComeyPolitico, Katie Galioto, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told special counsel investigators that she misled the press about the reason President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, when she told reporters that “countless” FBI agents had lost confidence in the agency’s leader. The revelation was just one of many brought to light Thursday when the Justice Department published a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report detailing his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” See also, An annotated guide to the redacted Mueller reportPolitico, Natasha Bertrand, Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio, and Andrew Restuccia, Thursday, 18 April 2019.


The Intercept:


Annotating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Redacted ReportThe Intercept, James Risen, Robert Mackey, and Trevor Aaronson, Thursday, 18 April 2019.


Other news:


We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change. Here Are Their Ideas. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Maggie Astor, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “The New York Times sent a climate policy survey to the 18 declared candidates. They all want to stick to the Paris Agreement. Beyond that, they diverge.”

Militia in New Mexico Detains Asylum Seekers at GunpointThe New York Times, Simon Romero, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “A right-wing militia group operating in southern New Mexico has begun stopping groups of migrant families and detaining them at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol agents, raising tension over the tactics of armed vigilantes along the border between the United States and Mexico. Members of the group, which calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots, filmed several of their actions in recent days, including the detention this week of a group of about 200 migrants who had recently crossed the border near Sunland Park, N.M., with the intention of seeking asylum. They uploaded videos to social media of exhausted looking migrant families, blinking in the darkness in the glare of what appeared to be the militia’s spotlights. Professed militias have long operated along the border with attempts to curb the flow of undocumented migrants into the United States. But targeting the recent influx of families, who are legally allowed to request asylum and often quickly surrender to Border Patrol agents, is raising tension with human rights activists in this part of the West. The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the militia’s actions in a letter on Thursday that asked New Mexico’s governor and attorney general to investigate the group. The A.C.L.U. said the militia had no legal authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States.”

Report from Reporters Without Borders: U.S. declines again in press-freedom index and falls to ‘problematic’ statusThe Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “For the third time in three years, the United States’ standing in an annual index of press freedom declined, a result the report’s authors attributed to President Trump’s anti-press rhetoric and continuing threats to journalists. Reporters Without Borders, the international group that compiles the World Press Freedom Index, ranked the United States 48th among 180 nations and territories it surveyed. The U.S. ranking fell three spots from 2018, continuing a downward trend that began in 2016. The United States finished just above Senegal and just below Romania on this year’s list. It also fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered ‘problematic,’ the first time the United States has been so classified since the organization began the index in 2002.”

Gina Haspel Faces a Heckler, and Her Past: ‘Tell Them Who You Tortured’,   The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg, Thursday, 18 April 2019: “Gina Haspel, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, made a rare public appearance on Thursday to give a nostalgia-laced recruiting pitch to students at Auburn University. But she was confronted instead by a heckler shouting about her role in torturing suspected militants in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks. Ms. Haspel was recounting the excitement she felt at the start of her own career when the heckling began. ‘Tell these young children, tell them who you tortured. You know their names — they’re still in Guantánamo Bay,’ an unidentified man shouted. ‘You’re a decrepit human being,’ he continued before being removed by security. ‘The only [person] you should be talking to is a prison guard in a jail cell.’… Ms. Haspel has not been able to escape the part she played in the agency’s brutal detention and interrogation [torture] program under the administration of President George W. Bush. Ms. Haspel supervised a secret prison in Thailand in 2002 when a Qaeda suspect was waterboarded there, and later conveyed orders to destroy videos documenting torture that had taken place at the so-called black site.”