Trump Administration, Week 120: Friday, 3 May – Thursday, 9 May 2019 (Days 834-840)


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.


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

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Friday, 3 May 2019, Day 834:


Ohio Congressional Map Is Illegal Gerrymander, Federal Court RulesThe New York Times, Trip Gabriel and Michael Wines, Friday, 3 May 2019: “A federal court on Friday tossed out Ohio’s congressional map, ruling that Republican state lawmakers had carved up the state to give themselves an illegal partisan advantage and to dilute Democrats’ votes in a way that predetermined the outcome of elections. The ruling, by a three-judge panel from the Federal District Court in Cincinnati, ordered new maps to be drawn by June 14 to be used for the 2020 election, when Democrats will fight to preserve their House majority. The ruling will go directly to the United States Supreme Court for review. The ruling follows decisions by four other federal courts striking down partisan gerrymanders in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maryland and, last week, in Michigan. All but Maryland were gerrymandered by Republicans. The Supreme Court, which last year sidestepped the issue of whether partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution, is expected to rule this spring in appeals from Maryland and North Carolina. The rulings in those cases could determine whether the Supreme Court upholds this decision, alters it or nullifies it entirely.” See also, Federal judges declare Ohio congressional map unconstitutionalThe Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 3 May 2019: “A unanimous panel of federal judges on Friday declared Ohio’s Republican-drawn congression­al map unconstitutional, adding to a growing number of states where partisan gerrymandering has been outlawed. That decision and a similar one last month in Michigan could be seen as signals from the lower courts to their superiors. The Supreme Court is deciding whether judges even have a role in such disputes. While the high court regularly polices redistricting plans for racial gerrymandering, it has never found lawmakers’ partisan efforts to preserve power so extreme that their actions violate the constitutional rights of voters. The justices’ decision is expected by the term’s end in June.” See also, A federal appeals court just dealt a blow to gerrymandering. It probably won’t last. The Washington Post, Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, Friday, 3 May 2019.

House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler gives Attorney General William Barr deadline for access to the Mueller reportThe Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 3 May 2019: “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has given Attorney General William P. Barr one last shot to accommodate lawmakers seeking access to a more complete version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report before beginning contempt proceedings. In a letter Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave Barr until Monday to respond to his request that the Justice Department allow more lawmakers the chance to read the fuller report as well as turn over investigative material underlying the report. Barr had released a redacted version of the report on April 18. Earlier this week, citing a ‘compelling need to protect the autonomy and effectiveness of its investigations,’ the department said it was ‘unable to provide’ Mueller’s investigative files in response to a committee subpoena. ‘The committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the department,’ Nadler wrote. ‘But if the department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse.'” See also, Democrats Try to Revive Talks Over Full Mueller Report as Contempt of Congress Vote LoomsThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, Friday, 3 May 2019: “House Democrats, threatening to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress, tried on Friday to revive negotiations with the Justice Department over a subpoena for Robert S. Mueller III’s full report and its underlying evidence. They offered to prioritize some material under subpoena over others and raised the possibility of limiting their request for the underlying evidence. At the same time, they asked the Justice Department to reconsider allowing all members of Congress to view a less-redacted version of his report.” See also, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler delivers ultimatum to Attorney General William Barr before holding him in contempt of CongressPolitico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 3 May 2019: “House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is making what he calls a final ‘counter offer’ to Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to grant immediate access to the underlying evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. In a new letter to Barr on Friday, Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave the Justice Department until 9 a.m. Monday to comply with his adjusted request before moving forward with an effort to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a committee subpoena demanding Mueller’s full unredacted report and underlying documents by May 1.”

Jay Inslee, Running as a Climate Candidate, Wants Coal Gone in 10 YearsThe New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Matt Stevens, Friday, 3 May 2019: “Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington has centered his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on a single issue, climate change. On Friday, he unveiled his first major climate policy proposal, calling for all coal-fired power plants to be closed in a decade.”

Continue reading Week 120, Friday, 3 May – Thursday, 9 May 2019 (Days 834-840)

Trump Says He Discussed the ‘Russian Hoax’ in a Phone Call With Russian President Vladimir PutinThe New York Times, Mary Landler, Friday, 3 May 2019: “President Trump telephoned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday for what both men described as a lengthy, positive conversation, in which they dismissed two years of investigations into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential campaign as a ‘Russian Hoax’ and a mountain that ‘ended up being a mouse.’ Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office after his first exchange with Mr. Putin since the release of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which asserted that ‘the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,’ Mr. Trump said he did not broach the threat of Russian interference in future elections with Mr. Putin.” See also, Trump and Putin Discuss Venezuela, North Korea, Mueller ReportThe Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Vivian Salama, Friday, 3 May 2019: “President Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed two thorny topics—Venezuela and North Korea—in a more than hourlong phone call Friday, while avoiding another sensitive subject: Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.” See also, Trump says he talked to Putin about ‘Russian Hoax’ but not about ongoing election interferenceThe Washington Post, Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Anton Troianovski, Friday, 3 May 2019.

Republican legislators in Florida vote to limit the voting rights of felons. Critics call it a new poll tax. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Friday, 3 May 2019: “The largest expansion of voting eligibility in the country since the elimination of poll taxes and literacy tests in the 1960s suffered a setback Friday when Republican legislators in Florida voted to limit the scope of a new constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to most convicted felons. The measure, which would require felons to pay all court-ordered fines, fees and restitution before their eligibility to vote is restored, quickly drew accusations of voter suppression. Supporters of what is known in Florida as Amendment 4 said the law effectively reinstitutes a poll tax by requiring felons to satisfy financial obligations before they can vote again. ‘This does not comport with what voters intended when they passed Amendment 4, and equally important, it does not comport with the Florida Constitution,’ state Rep. Joseph Geller (D) said during the televised debate in the Florida House on Friday.” See also, Floridians Gave Ex-Felons the Right to Vote. Lawmakers Just Put a Big Obstacle in Their WayThe New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Friday, 3 May 2019: “In November, Florida voters approved a groundbreaking ballot measure that would restore voting rights for up to 1.5 million people with felony convictions. But the Republican-led Legislature voted on Friday to impose a series of sharp restrictions that could prevent tens of thousands of them from ever reaching the ballot box. In a move that critics say undermines the spirit of what voters intended, thousands of people with serious criminal histories will be required to fully pay back fines and fees to the courts before they could vote. The new limits would require potential new voters to settle what may be tens of thousands of dollars in financial obligations to the courts, effectively pricing some people out of the ballot box.”

Watergate had the Nixon tapes. Mueller had Annie Donaldson’s notes. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Friday, 3 May 2019: “The notes, scribbled rapidly on a legal pad, captured the fear inside the White House when President Trump raged over the Russia investigation and decreed he was firing the FBI director who led it: ‘Is this the beginning of the end?’ The angst-filled entry is part of a shorthand diary that chronicled the chaotic days in Trump’s West Wing, a trove that the special counsel report cited more than 65 times as part of the evidence that the president sought to blunt a criminal investigation bearing down on him. The public airing of the notes — which document then-White House counsel Donald McGahn’s contemporaneous account of events and his fear that the president was engaged in legally risky conduct — has infuriated Trump…. The scribe keeping track of the president’s actions was Annie Donaldson, McGahn’s chief of staff, a loyal and low-profile conservative lawyer who figures in the Mueller report as one of the most important narrators of internal White House turmoil. Her daily habit of documenting conversations and meetings provided the special counsel’s office with its version of the Nixon White House tapes: a running account of the president’s actions, albeit in sentence fragments and concise descriptions.”

The Complete Mercenary: How Erik Prince Used the Rise of Trump to Make an Improbable ComebackThe Intercept, Matthew Cole, Friday, 3 May 2019: “When Erik Prince arrived at the Four Seasons resort in the Seychelles in January 2017 for his now-famous meetings with a Russian banker and UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed, he was in the middle of an unexpected comeback. The election of Donald Trump had given the disgraced Blackwater founder a new opportunity to prove himself. After years of trying and failing to peddle a sweeping vision of mercenary warfare around the world, Erik Prince was back in the game.”


Saturday, 4 May 2019, Day 835:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Warns Democrats: Stay in the Center or Trump May Contest the 2020 Presidential Election ResultsThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Saturday, 4 May 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not believe President Trump can be removed through impeachment — the only way to do it, she said this week, is to defeat him in 2020 by a margin so ‘big’ he cannot challenge the legitimacy of a Democratic victory. That is something she worries about. ‘We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that,’ Ms. Pelosi said during an interview at the Capitol on Wednesday as she discussed her concern that Mr. Trump would not give up power voluntarily if he lost re-election by a slim margin next year. Sitting in her office with its panoramic view of the National Mall, Ms. Pelosi — the de facto head of the Democratic Party until a presidential nominee is selected in 2020 — offered Democrats her ‘coldblooded’ plan for decisively ridding themselves of Mr. Trump: Do not get dragged into a protracted impeachment bid that will ultimately get crushed in the Republican-controlled Senate, and do not risk alienating the moderate voters who flocked to the party in 2018 by drifting too far to the left. ‘Own the center left, own the mainstream,’ Ms. Pelosi, 79, said.”


Sunday, 5 May 2019, Day 836:


Trump Objects to Robert Mueller Testifying Before CongressThe New York Times, Michael Tackett and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “President Trump reversed himself on Sunday and said that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, should not testify before Congress, setting up a potentially explosive confrontation with Democrats over presidential authority and the separation of powers…. On Friday, Mr. Trump had said it was up to Attorney General William P. Barr whether Mr. Mueller testified. The president’s about-face now puts new pressure on Mr. Barr, who must decide whether to accede to Mr. Trump’s call. Last week, Mr. Barr said he had no objection to Mr. Mueller testifying…. Still, the confrontation over Mr. Mueller, however much it antagonizes Democrats, could be short-lived. Mr. Mueller, who as special counsel is an employee of the Justice Department, is likely to finish his work this month. After that, any decision to testify before Congress would not be constrained by Mr. Barr, assuming the White House does not try to stop him by some other means, possibly through the courts.” See also, In reversal, Trump says Mueller ‘should not testify’ before CongressThe Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 5 May 2019.

Trump taps Mark Morgan, former Obama official who supports border wall, to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Shane Harris, and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “President Trump announced his choice as director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Sunday, tapping a former FBI official who frequently appears on cable news advocating for the president’s immigration policies. In a tweet, Trump called Mark Morgan, who briefly ran the U.S. Border Patrol under President Barack Obama, ‘a true believer and an American Patriot. He will do a great job!’  Trump, who has made tougher immigration enforcement a pillar of his presidential campaign and his administration, recently pulled the nomination of his previous choice to run ICE, saying that he wanted to go in ‘a tougher direction.'” See also, Trump Names Mark Morgan, Former Head of Border Patrol, to Lead ICEThe New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael Tackett, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “President Trump on Sunday named a former Obama administration official who has embraced some of Mr. Trump’s hard-line positions on border security as the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of a broad effort to force federal agencies into a more aggressive crackdown on migrants.”

Citing Iranian Threat, U.S. Sends Carrier Group and Bombers to Persian GulfThe New York Times, Edward Wong, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “The White House announced on Sunday that the United States was sending an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East because of ‘troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ related to Iran. The deployment was intended ‘to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,’ said John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, in a statement released Sunday night.” See also, In message to Iran, White House announces new military assets in the Middle EastThe Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “The Trump administration is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East, the White House said Sunday, in a show of force aimed at Iran.”

Trump says 2 years of his term were ‘stollen,’ Politico, Quint Forgey, Sunday, 5 May 2019: “President Donald Trump on Sunday floated the idea of extending his constitutionally limited time in office, complaining online that two years of his first White House term were ‘stollen’ as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”


Monday, 6 May 2019, Day 837:


Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ PaceThe New York Times, Brad Plumer, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded. The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year. Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate ‘unprecedented in human history.’ At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in. When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction. As a result, biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, particularly in the tropics, unless countries drastically step up their conservation efforts.” See also, One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result. The Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Monday, 6 May 2019: “One million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival, according to a United Nations report released Monday. The landmark report by seven lead co-authors from universities across the world goes further than previous studies by directly linking the loss of species to human activity. It also shows how those losses are undermining food and water security, as well as human health. More plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than any other period in human history, it concludes. Nature’s current rate of decline is unparalleled, and the accelerating rate of extinctions ‘means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely,’ it says.” See also, Life as We Know ItThe New York Times, Editorial Board, published on Saturday, 11 May 2019: “Our planet has suffered five mass extinctions, the last of which occurred about 66 million years ago, when a giant asteroid believed to have landed near the Yucatán Peninsula set off a chain reaction that wiped out the dinosaurs and roughly three-quarters of the other species on earth. A few years ago, in a book called ‘The Sixth Extinction,’ the writer Elizabeth Kolbert warned of a devastating sequel, with plant and animal species on land and sea already disappearing at a ferocious clip, their habitats destroyed or diminished by human activities. This time, she made clear, the asteroid is us — and we will pay heavily for our folly. Humanity’s culpability in what many scientists believe to be a planetary emergency has now been reaffirmed by a detailed and depressing report compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies. A summary was released last Monday in Paris, and the full 1,500-page report will be available later in the year. Its findings are grim. ‘Biodiversity’ — a word encompassing all living flora and fauna — ‘is declining faster than at any time in human history,’ it says, estimating that ‘around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades,’ unless the world takes transformative action to save natural systems. The at-risk population includes a half-million land-based species and one-third of marine mammals and corals.” See also, Climate Change and the New Age of ExtinctionThe New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, published on Tuesday, 14 May 2019: “Last week, an international group of scientists issued what the Times called ‘the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity.’ The findings were grim. On the order of a million species are now facing extinction, ‘many within decades.’ ‘What’s at stake here is a liveable world,’ Robert Watson, the chairman of the group, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, told Science. The U.N.-backed I.P.B.E.S. is to flora and fauna what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to the atmosphere. Based in Bonn, it is funded by a hundred and thirty-two member nations, including the United States. More than three hundred experts contributed to its latest assessment, which runs to more than fifteen hundred pages.”

Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president, hundreds of former federal prosecutors assertThe Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 6 May 2019: “More than 450 former federal prosecutors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations have signed on to a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he holds. The statement — signed by myriad former career government employees as well as high-profile political appointees — offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was ‘not sufficient’ to establish that Trump committed a crime.” See also, Who signed the letter asserting Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he weren’t president, and what they hope happens nextThe Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “By early Tuesday evening, more than 720 former federal prosecutors who worked in Democratic and Republican administrations had signed a letter asserting that President Trump would have been charged with obstructing justice based on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings — if Trump were not the president. The signers included some left-leaning lawyers who have gained prominence from their frequent TV appearances, but also a significant number of career prosecutors and high-profile conservatives who bristle at the suggestion they were motivated by anti-Trump bias. A handful interviewed by The Post on Tuesday said they hoped for little else than to make public their view that Attorney General William P. Barr had mischaracterized Mueller’s report in asserting it laid out insufficient evidence to make an obstruction case. They said they did not sign hoping to spark impeachment proceedings.” See also, Hundreds of Former Federal Prosecutors Would Indict Donald TrumpThe New Yorker, John Cassidy, Tuesday, 7 May 2019.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Refuses to Release Trump’s Tax Returns to CongressThe New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Monday, 6 May 2019: “The Treasury Department said on Monday that it would not release President Trump’s tax returns to Congress, defying a request from House Democrats and setting up a legal battle likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court.” See also, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Rejects Request for Trump Tax ReturnsThe Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected House Democrats’ request for President Trump’s tax returns, a move that was expected after he had contended for weeks that lawmakers were trying to expose details of the president’s finances rather than conducting legitimate legislative oversight. The move will likely send the dispute between the executive and legislative branches into federal court, where judges may take months or years to resolve a legal question about the boundaries of congressional investigations.” See also, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejects Democrats’ demand to hand over Trump’s tax returns, all but ensuring legal battleThe Washington Post, Damian Paletta and Jeff Stein, Monday, 6 May 2019.

Trump pardons former Army lieutenant Michael Behenna who was convicted of murdering an Iraqi prisonerThe Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Monday, 6 May 2019: “President Trump has pardoned Michael Behenna, a former Army lieutenant who served five years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi prisoner in 2008. Behenna, who was an Army Ranger in the 101st Airborne Division, was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone and sentenced to 25 years after killing Ali Mansur, a detainee and suspected al-Qaeda member. Behenna, who stripped Mansur naked, interrogated him without authorization and then shot him twice, has claimed repeatedly that he was acting in self-defense…. For [some], the pardon represents an abdication of the government’s responsibility to uphold human rights. ‘This pardon is a presidential endorsement of a murder that violated the military’s own code of justice,’ said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in a statement. ‘Trump, as Commander-in-Chief, and top military leaders should prevent war crimes, not endorse or excuse them.'” See also, Trump Pardons Ex-Army soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi ManThe New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, Monday, 6 May 2019.

House Democrats move closer to holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, raising questions about the fate of former Trump counsel Donald McGahnThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Carol Leonnig, and Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 6 May 2019: “House Democrats on Monday moved closer to holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress, agreeing to vote on the question this week, a rare rebuke for the nation’s top law enforcement official in the intensifying fight between the Trump administration and Congress. A second possible confrontation also looms as Democrats discuss a possible contempt citation for Donald McGahn, President Trump’s onetime lawyer, according to multiple Democratic officials.  The former White House counsel — a major figure in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice — faces a Tuesday deadline to turn over 36 types of documents subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee, most relating to Mueller’s nearly two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. But White House officials have signaled that they may claim executive privilege and try to bar McGahn from complying, raising the possibility of a contempt citation for McGahn should he go along with that plan.” See also, Democrats Threaten to Hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt of Congress, and the White House Guards Trump’s Tax ReturnsThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Alan Rappeport, Monday, 6 May 2019: “The Trump administration ruled out turning over President Trump’s tax returns to the House on Monday and girded for a looming contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General William P. Barr. The actions ratcheted up the showdown between the executive and legislative branches, as Mr. Trump and his administration continued to resist the Democrats’ oversight efforts on multiple fronts.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praises the effects of climate change on Arctic ice for creating new trade routesIndependent, Clark Mindock, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised the effects of global warming for cutting the time it takes to trade between Asia and the west, during a speech before an international group. Mr Pompeo said during his speech before the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Finland on Wednesday that melting Arctic ice caps present ‘new opportunities for trade,’ but did not discuss the dangers scientists say climate change presents for the world’s population.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Says that Reduction of Arctic Sea Ice Opens Up ‘Opportunities for Trade.’ He Also Called for the Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Arctic. Democracy Now!, published on 7 May 2019: “While at the Arctic Council meetings, Pompeo celebrated the shrinking levels of sea ice in the region, saying it opened up new opportunities for trade. He also called for the exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: ‘The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, and an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources. […] Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade.’ Pompeo added that ‘Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.’ Scientists warn that melting sea ice in the Arctic due to climate change will have catastrophic effects on coastal cities, biodiversity and the global economy. President Trump has called climate change a ‘Chinese hoax.'” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Rattles Arctic Talks With a Sharp Warning to China and RussiaThe New York Times, Somini Sengupta, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday sharply warned China and Russia against ‘aggressive’ actions in the Arctic, while resisting a diplomatic push by other countries in the region to avert the worst effects of climate change…. He was speaking at a meeting of the Arctic Council, an international organization made up of eight Arctic countries and representatives of the indigenous people of the area. The Council’s mission is to cooperate on Arctic issues, especially how to protect its fragile environment. The Arctic is heating up far faster than the world average because of rising greenhouse gas emissions, scientists have warned. Over the past five years, the region has been warmer than at any time since 1900, when record keeping began. Describing the rapidly warming region as a land of ‘opportunity and abundance,’ Mr. Pompeo cited its untapped reserves of oil, gas, uranium, gold, fish, and rare earth minerals. Melting sea ice, he said, is opening up new shipping routes.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns of the dangers of Russian and Chinese activities in the ArcticThe Washington Post, Carol Morello, Monday, 6 Man 2019. See also, The day a million species are announced to be on the brink of extinction, the U.S. says melting ice creates ‘new opportunities for trade,’ The Washington Post, Rick Noack, published on Tuesday, 7 May 2019. See also, U.S. Pressure Blocks Declaration on Climate Change at Arctic TalksThe New York Times, Somini Sengupta, published on Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “Under pressure from the United States, the Arctic Council issued a short joint statement on Tuesday that excluded any mention of climate change. It was the first time since its formation in 1996 that the council had been unable to issue a joint declaration spelling out its priorities. As an international organization made up of eight Arctic countries and representatives of indigenous groups in the region, its stated mission is cooperation on Arctic issues, particularly the protection of the region’s fragile environment.”

The White House Says New Tensions With Iran Threaten the Nuclear Deal and U.S. TroopsThe New York Times, David E. Sanger, Edward Wong, Eric Schmitt, and Helena Cooper, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Tensions escalated between the United States and Iran on Monday as the Trump administration accused Iran and militias that it backs of threatening American troops, and Iran signaled it might soon violate part of the 2015 nuclear deal it reached under former President Barack Obama.”

House Democrats demand White House documents on the federal response to Puerto Rico disasterThe Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Monday, 6 May 2019: “House Democrats on Monday demanded government records related to the federal response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, as President Trump and his critics continue to feud over whether the administration exacerbated the human suffering from one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) sent letters to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an extensive request for records related to the federal response to Hurricane Maria, which killed thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damage.”

Cory Booker’s Gun Control Plan Calls for National Licensing ProgramThe New York Times, Matt Stevens, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey rolled out a broad plan on Monday that seeks to combat gun violence through measures including a gun licensing program and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Aspects of Mr. Booker’s 14-part plan are among the most progressive gun-control measures suggested by a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for president and are likely to face sharp criticism from gun-rights advocates like the National Rifle Association.”

Report Released by the National Urban League Says Russian Efforts to Exploit Racial Divisions in 2016 Presidential Election Found Firm GroundThe New York Times, Mihir Zaveri and Jacey Fortin, Monday, 6 May 2019: “Russian disinformation operations to exploit racial tensions during the 2016 presidential election in the United States found firm ground in a country where legislators have long sought to suppress the black vote, according to a report released Monday. The report, ‘State of Black America,’ was released by the National Urban League, a civil rights organization based in New York. It underlined the Russian interference in particular but said that black voting rights were under attack from a wide range of actors, including domestic politicians.”


Tuesday, 7 May 2019, Day 838:


Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses From 1985-1994. During a Decade When He Claimed to Have Surpassed All Businessmen of His Age, Donald Trump Regularly Lost More Money Than Almost Any Other U.S. Taxpayer. The New York Times, Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal’ hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns. Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition. The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse. The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.” See also, 5 Takeaways From 10 Years of Trump Tax FiguresThe New York Times, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner, Tuesday, 7 May 2019. See also, Trump’s early financial losses were so steep that he did not pay income taxes for eight years, according to new report published in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, David A. Fahrehthold, Tuesday, 7 May 2019. See also, Tax records show how Trump profited off spreading rumors–until investors stopped believing himThe Washington Post, James Hohmann, published on Wednesday, 8 May 2019.

N.Y. Lawmakers Move Closer to Allowing Release of Trump’s State Tax ReturnsThe New York Times, Jesse McKinley, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “As the standoff over President Trump’s federal tax returns deepens in Washington, New York State lawmakers say they intend to advance a bill on Wednesday to allow congressional committees to see Mr. Trump’s New York State returns. State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, confirmed on Tuesday that the State Senate had enough votes to ensure passage of a bill allowing the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by a leader of one of three congressional committees for any ‘specified and legitimate legislative purpose.’ A tax return from New York — the headquarters of the president’s business empire and his home state — could contain much of the same financial information as a federal return, which Mr. Trump has steadfastly refused to release. On Monday, the Treasury Department denied a request from House Democrats for six years of the president’s federal returns, setting up a likely court battle that could reach the Supreme Court.” See also, Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over His Tax ReturnsThe New York Times, Jesse McKinley and Eileen Sullivan, published on Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Taking aim at President Trump, New York lawmakers voted on Wednesday to create a pathway for congressional committees to obtain the president’s state tax returns, potentially opening another avenue to shake loose information that he has long concealed. The bill, passed by the Democrat-controlled State Senate, does not explicitly mention Mr. Trump, but there was little question that he was the focus: Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, bucking a common practice of presidents for the past four decades.”

Attorney General William Barr will ask Trump to invoke executive privilege over redacted Mueller materialsThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “The Justice Department informed the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night that it would ask President Trump to assert executive privilege over underlying evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, a move all but assuring that Attorney General William P. Barr will be held in contempt of Congress. In a late-night letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), assistant attorney general Stephen E. Boyd argued that the Justice Department had tried to accommodate Democrats’ demands for the release of the full Mueller report, which the Judiciary panel subpoenaed for its investigation into the president…. Nadler dismissed the Justice Department’s move as ‘without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis,’ arguing that the White House waived privilege when it allowed aides to testify before Mueller in the first place. He promised to soon ‘take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover up. [T]his kind of obstruction is dangerous,’ he said. ‘The Department’s decision reflects President Trump’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties.'” See also, The Justice Department Threatens to Ask Trump To Invoke Executive Privilege Over the Redacted Portions of Robert Mueller’s Report and All the Evidence Behind It If Democrats Proceed With a Vote to Hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt of CongressThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Charlie Savage, Catie Edmondson, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “The Justice Department threatened late Tuesday to ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege over the hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s report and all of the evidence behind it if Democrats proceeded Wednesday with a vote to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the department accused Democrats of being unreasonable in subpoenaing that material…. Democrats were enraged and said Wednesday’s vote would go on as planned because Mr. Barr was in defiance of a Judiciary Committee subpoena for the same material he was threatening to seal off. The committee also warned Mr. McGahn that if he did not show up for a public hearing this month, they would most likely hold him in contempt of Congress, too.”

Trump’s Opposition to Mueller Testimony Poses a Test for Attorney General William BarrThe New York Times, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “When President Trump declared that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, ‘should not testify’ before Congress, he contradicted Attorney General William P. Barr, who had already told lawmakers that he had no objection to letting Mr. Mueller talk to them. That clash has raised the prospect of a major test of Justice Department independence on Mr. Barr’s watch.”

White House invokes executive privilege to bar former White House counsel Donald McGahn from turning over documents to CongressThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Carol D. Leonnig, and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “The White House on Tuesday invoked executive privilege to bar former White House counsel Donald McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena to provide documents to Congress related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. The move triggered an immediate showdown with House Democrats, who threatened to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress if he refused to testify before the committee this month. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone said McGahn does not have the legal right to comply with its subpoena for 36 types of documents — most related to Mueller’s nearly two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rather, Cipollone argued the committee needed to send the request to the White House — and even hinted the administration would assert privilege to block the information. ‘The White House provided these records to Mr. McGahn in connection with its cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation and with the clear understanding that the records remain subject to the control of the White House for all purposes,’ he wrote. ‘The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under long-standing constitutional principles, because they implicate significant executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.’ But Democrats rejected the White House moves as illegitimate, arguing that the Trump administration hadn’t officially completed the paperwork to assert privilege. And even if it had, the committee continued, it would not apply because the White House waived privilege for McGahn long ago.” See also, White House Tells Don McGahn to Rebuff Subpoena for Documents Related to MuellerThe Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Byron Tau, and Kristina Peterson, Tuesday, 7 May 2019.

Clash Between Trump and House Democrats Poses Threat to Constitutional OrderThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “President Trump’s wholesale refusal to provide information to Congress threatens to upend the delicate balance that is the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. Earlier administrations fought isolated skirmishes over congressional subpoenas. Mr. Trump, by contrast, has declared an all-out war on efforts by House Democrats to look into his official conduct and business dealings. And that has legal experts across the ideological spectrum warning that the president’s categorical opposition to what he sees as partisan meddling could create a constitutional crisis — an impasse that the allocation of interlocking powers and responsibilities by the framers cannot solve. ‘A president who refuses to respond to congressional oversight is taking the presidency to new levels of danger,’ said William P. Marshall, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. ‘We’re supposed to be in a system of checks and balances, and one of the biggest checks that Congress has over the executive is the power of congressional oversight. Not responding to that is to literally say that you’re above the law and you’re above the Constitution,’ he said.”

Democrats appear headed straight to court for Trump’s tax returnsPolitico, Toby Eckert, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal indicated Tuesday that Democrats would go straight to federal court to try to force the administration to give up President Donald Trump’s tax returns, skipping a subpoena or a contempt vote. ‘There doesn’t have to be any intermediary step. They seem not to be paying a lot of attention to the subpoenas, so take it from there,’ Neal (D-Mass.) told reporters, adding that he’d have a response by the end of this week to the rejection of his request for the returns.”

Democrats plan new push on election security and voting rightsMcClatchy DC Bureau, David Lightman, Bryan Lowry, and Lesley Clark, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “Democratic leaders are launching a more aggressive push this month that could widen their probe of possible voter suppression into states other than those now under scrutiny, seeking to make it particularly less difficult for minority voters, who tend to vote Democratic, to go to the polls. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings told McClatchy he wants to ‘make sure we spend significant effort and time, perhaps even looking at even more states and seeing what they’re doing and shining a light on what they may be doing illegally or improperly to stop or hinder people from voting and having those votes counted.’  Cummings was already planning to look at possible voter suppression in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Kansas. The Maryland Democrat did not name additional states. At the same time, congressional Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to address election security lapses to prevent a repeat of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.”

Georgia governor Brian Kemp signs ‘heartbeat bill,’ giving the state one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nationThe Washington Post, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Ariana Eunjung Cha, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “Conservative governors and legislators are using new highly restrictive abortion laws to get abortion back in front of what they believe is the most friendly U.S. Supreme Court in decades. Sixteen states have passed or are scrambling to pass bans on abortion after a doctor can detect what they call ‘a fetal heartbeat in the womb,’ usually at about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. That includes Georgia, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a ‘heartbeat bill’ into law on Tuesday. Separately, the Alabama Senate is poised to vote this week on legislation that could become the nation’s strictest abortion law, making it a felony to receive an abortion, with no exception for rape or incest. In a countermove, lawmakers in a growing number of states are racing to amend state constitutions to provide a backstop for the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion. Vermont on Tuesday passed a bill that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, with similar legislation in the works in 12 other states, including New Mexico, Nevada and Rhode Island.” See also, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Signs ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion LawThe New York Times, Patricia Mazzei and Alan Blinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation on Tuesday, effectively banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, when doctors can usually start detecting a fetal heartbeat. Georgia is the fourth state to enact a so-called fetal heartbeat law this year. Like in other states, it is expected to face a swift legal challenge, which supporters hope will lead to a re-evaluation by the United States Supreme Court of the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.” See also, The Race to Limit Abortion AccessThe New York Times, Maya Salam, published on Friday, 10 May 2019.

A Federal Appeals Court Rules the Trump Administration Can Keep Sending Asylum Seekers to MexicoThe New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration can continue to enforce a policy that returns asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for an immigration court to decide their cases. The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allows the government to continue enforcing the policy, formally called the Migration Protection Protocols, while the legal issues of the case are being decided. It was an unusual victory for the Trump administration in the liberal-leaning court, though the judges did not rule on the merits of the case.”

Intelligence, Ethics, and Bureaucracy: The Duty to Warn Jamal KhashoggiJust Security, Larry Siems, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “In the six months since Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi ‘Rapid Intervention Group’ in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, press reports have described a variety of information swept up by U.S. intelligence that foretold or foreshadowed the heinous crime. The reporting has cast a rare light not only on our spy agencies’ activities and capabilities, but also on the complicated moral dilemmas that accompany mass surveillance. And it has intensified questions over whether the intelligence agencies that gathered this information carried out a legally required duty to warn the journalist that his life was in danger.”

F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray Defends Bureau Against Spying Accusations: ‘That’s Not the Term I Would Use,’ The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, defended the bureau on Tuesday amid another round of accusations that agents abused their powers in investigating the Trump campaign, saying he was unaware of any illegal surveillance and refusing to call their work ‘spying.’ Mr. Wray’s defense of his agency put him in direct conflict with Attorney General William P. Barr, who told lawmakers last month that he believed the F.B.I. engaged in spying on the Trump campaign.” See also, FBI director Christopher Wray tells Congress he has no evidence of ‘spying’ on the Trump campaignThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Tuesday that he would not call the investigation of Trump campaign advisers in 2016 ‘spying’’ — distancing himself from language used by President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr. ‘That’s not the term I would use,’ Wray said in response to a question from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) during a congressional hearing about the FBI’s budget. Wray, who took over the bureau in 2017, urged lawmakers to wait for the findings from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is expected to issue a report in a month or two about the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign, and the law enforcement tools that were used, including foreign intelligence surveillance court orders.”

How Trump has attempted to recast his response to CharlottesvilleThe Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Tuesday, 7 May 2019: “Hours after Joe Biden launched his 2020 campaign by attacking President Trump for his response to a deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the president began to spin a yarn. The August 2017 demonstration was actually just a group of ‘neighborhood’ folks from the local University of Virginia community who simply ‘wanted to protest the fact that they want to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee,’ Trump said in an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin in late April…. In fact, the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville — which left one woman dead and 19 injured — was explicitly organized by a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis as a celebration of white nationalism. The official event was presaged by a nighttime parade in which rallygoers held tiki torches aloft while chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us!’ and ‘Blood and soil,’ a reference to a nationalist slogan used in Nazi Germany. ‘It is a misrepresentation of what was happening in Charlottesville to say it was a statue protest that went wrong,’ said Nicole Hemmer, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center who lives in Charlottesville and attended the rally as an observer. ‘Anyone who was there that day would have walked into a park of people waving Nazi flags and people who were Klansmen. It was not a secret who put that rally on that day.’ For Trump, his recasting of Charlottesville is just the latest version of a story he has been altering and embellishing over the past 21 months in defense of one of the lowest points of his presidency, when he attracted bipartisan opprobrium for his seeming reluctance to forcefully condemn white supremacy. Even in his revisionist retelling, the president’s decision to lavish praise on Lee — a slave owner who led Confederate troops in defense of human bondage — leaves in place a level of ambiguity for those in his political base sympathetic to alt-right causes.”


Wednesday, 8 May 2019, Day 839:


House Judiciary Committee Approves Contempt of Congress for Attorney General William Barr After Trump Claims Executive Privilege Over Full Mueller ReportThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from Congress. The committee’s 24-to-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate over the future of American democracy, was the first official House action to punish a government official in the standoff over the Mueller report. The Justice Department denounced the move as unnecessary and intended to stoke a fight. After the vote, the Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, swatted away questions about possible impeachment, but added, ‘We are now in a constitutional crisis.'” See also, Trump asserts executive privilege over Mueller report; House Judiciary Committee votes to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena for the full Mueller reportThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Carol D. Leonnig, and Matt Zapotosky, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “President Trump asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report Wednesday, his first use of the executive authority in the ongoing constitutional clash with Congress that the courts ultimately may resolve. The administration’s move to deny Congress — and the broader public — Mueller’s complete report from the nearly two-year investigation came just hours before the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a congressional subpoena. ‘We have talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis; we are now in a constitutional crisis,’ House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said moments after the contempt vote. ‘Now is the time of testing whether we can keep this type of republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government.'” See also, Attorney General William Barr held in contempt of Congress by House Judiciary CommitteePolitico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 8 May 2019.

Scoop: Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas Trump Jr. over Russia mattersAxios, Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene, and David Nather, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony before Senate investigators in relation to the Russia investigation, sources with direct knowledge told Axios. Why it matters: It’s the first congressional subpoena — that we know about — of one of President Trump’s children. The subpoena sets up a fight that’s unprecedented in the Trump era: A Republican committee chair pit against the Republican president’s eldest son. It’s also a sign that the Russia investigations in Congress aren’t over despite the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it’s time to move on from the Russia probe.” See also, The Senate Intelligence Committee Subpoenas Donald Trump Jr. to Testify on Russia ContactsThe New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, who met with Russians in June 2016 after being promised political dirt about Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the committee’s decision. The younger Mr. Trump is the first of President Trump’s children to be subpoenaed in the continuing congressional investigations into Russia’s 2016 election interference, and the move by the Republican-led committee is a sign that some members of the president’s party are not aligned with his desire for a swift end to all of the Russia inquiries. News of the subpoena came a day after Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, sought to lower the curtain on the drama in Congress surrounding Russia’s efforts to sabotage the 2016 election. The end of the Mueller investigation, he said, meant ‘case closed.’” See also, Donald Trump Jr is subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee for further testimony on Trump campaign’s Russia contactsThe Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Karoun Demirjian, and Shane Harris, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, seeking additional closed-door testimony as part of lawmakers’ ongoing probe of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, according to people familiar with the summons. Trump Jr. has been a focus of several probes — including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — over his involvement in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who allegedly had promised incriminating information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Congressional Democrats think that in his previous turns on Capitol Hill, Trump Jr. may have lied to investigators about that meeting and whether he alerted President Trump that the meeting would take place.”

New York state legislature advances bill that would allow release of Trump’s state tax returnsThe Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The New York State Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would allow President Trump’s state tax returns to be turned over to congressional committees, a move that could pave the way for House Democrats to obtain the president’s closely guarded financial records. The bill must still be approved by the State Assembly and signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.), but Cuomo has expressed support for the measure and Democrats have a majority in the legislature’s lower chamber.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff subpoenas the Department of Justice for unredacted Mueller report and counterintelligence informationPolitico, Andrew Desiderio, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to the Justice Department on Wednesday for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in addition to all of the foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information collected during the 22-month investigation. The subpoena comes after Schiff (D-Calif.) and his Republican counterpart, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, made a rare joint request for the documents. Schiff said the Justice Department had yet to respond to the committee’s request, prompting him to issue a subpoena.”

Trump Is Pushing Democrats to the Brink. Look at Elijah Cummings. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Even after President Trump sued him last month to keep his business records secret, Representative Elijah E. Cummings kept his cool and urged Congress to move slowly on impeachment. But with Mr. Trump manning a full-scale blockade of Democrats’ access to documents and witnesses, the ordinarily careful Democrat is, like the rest of his caucus, growing impatient. ‘It sounds like he’s asking us to impeach him,’ Mr. Cummings, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and a top lieutenant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in an interview last week. Ticking off all the ways Mr. Trump is stonewalling Congress, he added, ‘He puts us in a position where we at least have to look at it.’ Mr. Cummings’s remarks, which have been echoed by Ms. Pelosi, represent a significant shift for top Democrats, who have been trying to maneuver carefully around the impeachment issue. But with Mr. Trump standing in the way of their investigations — on Wednesday he asserted executive privilege over the unredacted version of the special counsel’s report and on Tuesday he tried to block the former White House counsel from handing over documents — their strategy of holding impeachment-like hearings without declaring a formal impeachment process is looking like a dead end.”

Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear dealThe Washington Post, Tamer El-Ghobashy, Michael Birnbaum, and Carol Morello, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Iran’s decision Wednesday to halt its compliance with elements of the landmark nuclear deal immediately escalates the crisis between Tehran and Washington, but the real flash point could come early this summer when Iran threatens to take a major step toward acquiring weapons-grade material. In announcing Iran’s partial break with the nuclear accord, President Hassan Rouhani set a 60-day deadline to get relief from punishing sanctions, promising to resume enriching uranium to a higher level than now allowed under the treaty if his demand goes unmet. While Iran’s dispute is with the United States, which abandoned the nuclear treaty a year ago, Rouhani’s pledge puts European nations squarely in the middle of the standoff by insisting they defy the U.S. embargo on Iran. Europeans may now determine what course history takes in the Middle East.” See also, U.S. Issues New Sanctions as Iran Warns It Will Step Back From Nuclear DealThe New York Times, David E. Sanger, Edward Wong, Steven Erlanger, and Eric Schmitt, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Iran’s president declared on Wednesday that he would begin to walk away from the restrictions of a 2015 nuclear deal, and the Trump administration responded with a new round of sanctions against Tehran, reviving a crisis that had been contained for the past four years. The escalation of threats caught the United States’ allies in Europe in the crossfire between Washington and Tehran. And while the announcement by President Hassan Rouhani of Iran did not terminate the landmark nuclear accord that was negotiated by world powers, it put it on life support. Britain, France and Germany all opposed President Trump’s move a year ago to withdraw the United States from the accord that limited Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear fuel for 15 years. Ever since, the Trump administration has ramped up a pressure campaign against Iran’s military and clerical leaders, including blocking global oil exports and expediting warships and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf this week to face down what officials described, without evidence, as a new threat by Tehran against American troops in the Middle East.”

Environmental Protection Agency Leaders Disregarded Agency’s Experts in Issuing Asbestos Rule, Memos ShowThe New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos. Because of its fiber strength and resistance to heat, asbestos has long been used in insulation and construction materials. It is also a known carcinogen. Last month’s rule kept open a way for manufacturers to adopt new uses for asbestos, or return to certain older uses, but only with E.P.A. approval. Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said when the rule was issued that it would significantly strengthen public health protections. But in the memos, dated Aug. 10, more than a dozen of E.P.A.’s own experts urged the agency to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations.”

New Report from the International Monetary Fund Says U.S. Fossil Fuel Subsidies Exceed Pentagon Spending, Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion. The study defines ‘subsidy’ very broadly, as many economists do. It accounts for the ‘differences between actual consumer fuel prices and how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs’ and other damage, including premature deaths from air pollution.”

Senator Ron Wyden Demands Answers From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Private Intelligence Firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions About Spying on Anti-Trump Immigration ProtestsThe Intercept, Aida Chávez and Ryan Devereaux, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Senator Ron Wyden is pressing for answers about how the Department of Homeland Security and LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, a private intelligence firm, gathered and distributed intelligence about hundreds of protests against the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. In separate letters, the Oregon Democrat demanded information from DHS and LookingGlass in the wake of an Intercept report that revealed that the firm shared dates, times, and physical locations of the protests with the law enforcement agency.”

Elizabeth Warren, Unveiling Opioid Plan, Says She Will Give Sackler Family’s Donations to CharityThe New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts escalated her criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, announcing she would donate the campaign contributions she has received from the family of the pharmaceutical magnate Raymond Sackler, and calling on Harvard University to remove the Sackler name from all campus buildings where it appears. Ms. Warren, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the announcement as she unveiled a plan on Wednesday to fight the opioid crisis raging in the United States. She linked the epidemic to the pharmaceutical industry and the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, which helped explode the country’s reliance on prescription painkillers. In a Medium post, Ms. Warren said the opioid epidemic had been ‘driven by greed, pure and simple.'”

Only one 2020 Democrat fully grasps the threat Trump poses: Elizabeth WarrenThe Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Is President Trump an aberration whose defeat in 2020 would allow the nation to begin rebounding toward normalcy? Or does his ascendance reflect long-running national pathologies and deeply ingrained structural economic and political problems that will intractably endure long after he’s gone? The answer to this question — which has been thrust to the forefront by the Democratic presidential primaries — is, in a sense, both. Trump represents both a continuation of and a dramatic exacerbation of those long running pathologies and problems. As of now, Elizabeth Warren appears to be the Democratic candidate who most fully grasps the need to take both of those aspects of the Trump threat seriously. The Massachusetts senator is, I think, offering what amounts to the most fully rounded and multidimensional response to that threat.”

Kamala Harris Is Trying to Reset Her Campaign by Taking On TrumpThe New York Times, Astead W. Herndon and Jonathan Martin, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “Senator Kamala Harris of California structures her stump speech around two themes — ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ — meant to evoke her career as a barrier-breaking prosecutor and cultivate a reputation as a fearless public advocate. But when Ms. Harris swept into Detroit to address an N.A.A.C.P. banquet on Sunday night, she added something new. After her signature windup of ‘let’s speak truth,’ she replaced her usual recitation of Democratic policies with an attack on President Trump, accusing him of enabling bigotry and divisiveness and refusing ‘to call neo-Nazi violence what it is: domestic terrorism. This president isn’t trying to make America great,’ she said, ‘he’s trying to make America hate.'”

White House imposes new rules on reporters’ credentials, raising concerns about accessThe Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Wednesday, 8 May 2019: “The White House has implemented new rules that it says will cut down on the number of journalists who hold ‘hard’ passes, the credentials that allow reporters and technicians to enter the grounds without seeking daily permission. The new policy has been met with some confusion and even worry among journalists, some of whom suspect that the ultimate aim is to keep critics in the press away from the White House and President Trump.”

Thursday, 9 May 2019, Day 840:


A White House Strategy Emerges to Counter House Democrats: Dare Them to ImpeachThe New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “As the White House and Congress escalate their constitutional showdown, President Trump and his team are essentially trying to call what they see as the Democrats’ bluff. The message: Put up or shut up. Impeach or move on. Confident that there are not enough votes to remove him from office through an impeachment trial in the Senate, Mr. Trump and his advisers have chosen the path of maximum resistance, calculating that they can put the Democrats on the defensive in a fight that is politically useful for the president. The decision to assert executive privilege and defy subpoenas across the board suits Mr. Trump’s natural combative instincts and fits the grievance narrative he has adopted by arguing that the establishment is out to get him. The president seems eager to force the hand of Democrats who are investigating him as if they are conducting an impeachment inquiry without actually calling it that and risking any of the political problems that might come with it.”

‘Shoot them!’: Trump laughs off a supporter’s demand for violence against migrantsThe Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “A roar rose from the crowd of thousands of Trump supporters in Panama City Beach on Wednesday night, as President Trump noted yet again that Border Patrol agents can’t use weapons to deter migrants. ‘How do you stop these people?’ he asked. ‘Shoot them!’ someone yelled from the crowd, according to reporters on the scene and attendees. The audience cheered. Supporters seated behind Trump and clad in white baseball caps bearing the letters ‘USA’ laughed and applauded. ‘That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,’ Trump replied, smiling and shaking his head. ‘Only in the Panhandle.’ Though Trump didn’t explicitly endorse the suggestion to shoot migrants, his joking response raised concerns that he was tacitly encouraging extrajudicial killings and brutality against asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The president has long been accused of endorsing acts of violence through his incendiary rhetoric and allusions to the potential for violence at his rallies, a charge that members of his administration deny.” See also, For Trump and some of his supporters, violence against immigrants appears totally acceptableThe Washington Post, Eugene Scott, Friday, 10 May 2019: “President Trump has not shied away from proposing harsh strategies to keep migrants out. He was willing to support a shutdown of the government to have U.S. taxpayers pay for a wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump has complained that the troops at the border aren’t allowed to be as ‘rough’ as he would like. And he has vowed to close the border altogether, thus threatening multiple economies, to curtail both illegal and legal immigration. At a rally Wednesday, he seemed to condone straight-up violence to deal with ‘the border crisis.'”

Decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. sets off a Republican firefightThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “The Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has ignited an internal Republican firefight over the fate of the committee’s Russia probe, as the panel’s GOP chairman showed no signs of backing down despite fierce criticism from many of his colleagues that it was time to move on. The sudden infighting threatened to undermine support for the Senate’s Russia investigation, which is the sole bipartisan probe in Congress into Russian interference in the 2016 election and has been widely praised as operating with little public drama. Much of the backlash against the decision by Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) to subpoena President Trump’s eldest son came from GOP senators who are up for reelection next year and from those closely aligned with the president. The outrage was partially fueled by Trump Jr. and his own allies.” See also, Allies of Trump’s Son Declare War on Republican-Led Senate Intelligence Committee After Subpoena, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Maggie Haberman, and Alexander Burns, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Donald Trump Jr.’s political allies launched an all-out war against the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, turning several Republican senators Thursday against the panel’s chairman amid news that he subpoenaed testimony from the president’s son. The broadsides included tweets targeting the Republican chairman, Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, calls from people close to the president to at least one vulnerable Republican senator, and a Breitbart story aimed at senators including the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, according to multiple people involved in the effort.”

Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is encouraging Ukraine to wade further into sensitive political issues in the United States, seeking to push the incoming government in Kiev to press ahead with investigations that he hopes will benefit Mr. Trump. Mr. Giuliani said he plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump. One is the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. Mr. Giuliani’s plans create the remarkable scene of a lawyer for the president of the United States pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations that Mr. Trump’s allies hope could help him in his re-election campaign. And it comes after Mr. Trump spent more than half of his term facing questions about whether his 2016 campaign conspired with a foreign power.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Declares the Nation Is in a ‘Constitutional Crisis,’ The New York Times, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the United States was in a ‘constitutional crisis’ and warned that House Democrats might move to hold more Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress if they continued their refusals to comply with committee subpoenas. Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi said she agreed with Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said Wednesday that the nation was in a constitutional crisis after his committee recommended the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the special counsel’s report, along with the report’s underlying evidence.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she agrees with House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler that the U.S. is in ‘constitutional crisis,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she agrees with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that the country is in a ‘constitutional crisis’ due to President Trump’s stonewalling of congressional investigations.”

Federal judge to fast-track ruling on House subpoena for Trump accounting recordsThe Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “A federal judge will fast-track a decision on President Trump’s bid to quash a House subpoena for financial records from his accounting firm, saying he will decide the full case, not just whether to temporarily block the subpoena while the case proceeds, after a hearing Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta made his announcement Thursday in a brief notice to both sides after receiving a first round of written arguments in the case. The lawsuit was brought April 22 by Trump and several of his businesses against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Trump’s accounting firm. ‘The sole question before the court — Is the House Oversight Committee’s issuance of a subpoena to Mazars USA LLP for financial records of President Donald Trump and various associated entities a valid exercise of legislative power? — is fully briefed, and the court can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments,’ Mehta said.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders Team Up on Legislation to Cap the Interest Rate on All Consumer Loans at 15 PercentThe Intercept, David Dayen, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will announce her first major bill today, in partnership with Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. It’s something Sanders has proposed for many years: a 15 percent interest-rate cap on all consumer loans, which would reduce what many Americans pay on their credit cards and effectively eliminate the payday loan industry. The bill is called the Loan Shark Prevention Act, and it’s only two pages long. It includes language that would prevent lenders from adding fees to ‘evade’ the interest rate cap and sets penalties for violators, including a forfeiture of all interest on the illegal loans.”

With Passage of Health Insurance Bill, House Democrats Begin Health Care BlitzThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Returning to a central issue of the 2018 campaign, House Democrats on Thursday passed legislation to reverse Trump administration rules that allow expansion of health care plans that do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage of pre-existing medical conditions. The vote — 230 to 183 — was a jab at President Trump, who has pressed for ways around the coverage mandates of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement while claiming he is committed to protecting Americans with chronic illnesses. But it served a larger political purpose, kicking off a push by House Democrats on health care, an issue they see as central to winning back the White House and holding their gains in the House in 2020. Over the next two weeks, Democrats expect to pass a raft of legislation to drum home the point that, even as they clash with the White House over the findings of the Mueller report, they will continue to focus on proposals that help real people.” See also, Democrats launch health-care law rescue in face of Trump’s threat of repealThe Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “House Democrats began making good on their campaign promise to shore up the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, passing a bill that would bar the Trump administration from granting states some waivers to the landmark health-care law. Next week, the House will vote on a package of seven health-care bills, several of which would reverse administration actions that Democrats have described as efforts to sabotage former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The votes come as President Trump recently renewed his vow to repeal the 2010 law and directed the Justice Department to support a lawsuit aimed at invalidating the law entirely — including its popular protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions.”

Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert on the U.N. Extinction ReportThe New Yorker, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “After years of languishing far down the list of voters’ priorities—for Democrats and even more so for Republicans—the desire for action on climate change has brought this issue to the top of many voters’ concerns, according to a CNN poll. Now Presidential candidates are competing to establish themselves as leaders on the issue, while children are making headlines for striking from school. Bill McKibben, whose book ‘The End of Nature’ brought the idea of global warming to public consciousness thirty years ago, tells David Remnick that the accumulation of weather catastrophes—droughts, wildfires, floods—may have finally made an impact. McKibben joined Elizabeth Kolbert in a conversation about the U.N.’s new report on species extinction. It finds that a million species could become extinct within a few decades, and that human life itself may be imperilled. While the political tide could be turning, both worry that it is too late.”

Trump picks former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan for defense secretaryThe Washington Post, Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “President Trump intends to nominate acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan to remain in the top Pentagon job, the White House said Thursday, placing a relatively low-profile and soft-spoken former Boeing executive atop the military at a time of mounting tension abroad. Shanahan has served as acting defense secretary since his predecessor, Jim Mattis, resigned late last year over policy differences with the president. Shanahan was recently cleared by the Defense Department inspector general of allegations that he was partial to his former employer while serving in the Pentagon’s No. 2 job under Mattis.” See also, Trump to Nominate Patrick Shanahan as Secretary of DefenseThe New York Times, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Mr. Shanahan’s nomination will most likely fuel criticism among lawmakers and Defense Department officials who believe he does not have enough foreign policy experience to run the largest bureaucracy in the American government, one that oversees national security issues around the world.” See also, Trump taps Patrick Shanahan to be next Secretary of DefensePolitico, Connor O’Brien, David Brown, and Eliana Johnson, Thursday, 9 May 2019.

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating SanctionsThe New York Times, Eileen Sullivan and Benjamin Weiser, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “The United States has seized a North Korean shipping vessel in response to violating American-led sanctions, the Justice Department announced Thursday, a move that is certain to escalate tensions already on the rise between the two nations because of recent North Korean weapons tests. Prosecutors said the carrier ship, the Wise Honest, was being used to export North Korean coal, a critical sector of the North’s economy that the United States and the United Nations have aggressively imposed sanctions on in an effort to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program. This is the first time the United States seized a North Korean cargo vessel for international sanctions violations, the Justice Department said.” See also, U.S. authorities seize North Korean coal ship and accuse Pyongyang of violating international sanctionsThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Jeanne Whalen, Thursday, 9 May 2019.

Ex-Intelligence Analyst Daniel Hale Is Charged With Leaking Information to a ReporterThe New York Times, Adam Goldman, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “Federal prosecutors in Virginia charged a former United States intelligence analyst with providing classified information to a reporter, according to unsealed court documents. Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville was arrested Thursday morning and was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Nashville. He was charged under the Espionage Act and with theft of government property. The Espionage Act is a World War I-era law that criminalizes the disclosure of potentially damaging national security secrets to someone not authorized to receive them. Mr. Hale’s case is the latest example of the Justice Department’s efforts to find and prosecute officials who provide reporters with sensitive information, an aggressive approach dating to the George W. Bush administration. The number of leak cases accelerated under President Barack Obama, and the heightened pace has continued under President Trump.” See also, The Trump administration is on pace to shatter the record for the most prosecutions of journalistic sourcesFreedom of the Press Foundation, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “President Trump’s Justice Department has arrested and charged former intelligence analyst Daniel Everette Hale for allegedly sharing classified national security information with a reporter. Hale is at least the sixth alleged journalistic source charged by the Trump administration in just over two years in office. The Justice Department has previously indicated dozens more leak investigations are ongoing. Hale is accused of leaking information on drone warfare — an issue of enormous public interest value — with a reporter, which news reports suggest may be Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. If convicted, Hale could face up to 50 years in prison. Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm issued the following statement: ‘Prosecuting journalistic sources chills investigative reporting and poses an enormous threat to whistleblowers, press freedom rights, and the public’s right to know. Whistleblowers should be lauded for their courage, not charged with felonies and imprisoned. The Trump administration is on pace to shatter the Obama administration’s record for the number of prosecutions of alleged sources, and everyone who cares about brave national security reporting should loudly condemn Hale’s arrest.'”

It’s the law now: In Florida, teachers can carry guns at schoolThe Washington Post, Katie Mettler, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “More than a year after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., and after months of fierce debate, the governor of Florida signed into law Wednesday a bill that allows teachers to carry guns at school…. Republican lawmakers pushed for the bill during this legislative session, though educators statewide and officials in Broward County, home to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including the sheriff, have rejected the program. ‘Florida lawmakers claim they passed this bill for the victims and survivors of the shooting at Parkland, but they have ignored many concerns for student safety,’ Sari Kaufman, a Parkland survivor and a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told the AP.”

Alabama Senate delays vote on nation’s strictest abortion billThe Washington Post, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Ariana Eunjung Cha, Thursday, 9 May 2019: “After a shouting match broke out, the Alabama Senate on Thursday abruptly delayed a vote on a bill that would outlaw most abortions in the state and make performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment. The tumult and yelling on the Senate floor began when some Republicans attempted to remove amendments that would have allowed women to get abortions in cases of rape or incest. The decision was made by a voice vote, angering Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton and other Democrats who were seeking a roll-call vote on all issues related to the abortion bill. A voice vote, Democrats argued, gave cover to Republicans unwilling to put their names on an amendment that would ban abortions even for women who were raped.”