Trump Administration, Week 126: Friday, 14 June – Thursday, 20 June 2019: (Days 876-882)


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.


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Friday, 14 June 2019, Day 876:


‘Flying Object’ Struck Tanker in Gulf of Oman, Operator Says, Not a MineThe New York Times, Ben Dooley, Friday, 14 June 2019: “One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship’s Japanese operator said on Friday, expressing doubt that a mine had been attached to its hull. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies had concluded that Tehran was behind the disabling of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital conduit for much of the world’s oil. Iranian officials denied any involvement in the events, which have escalated tensions in the region.” See also, Japanese ship owner contradicts U.S. account of how tanker was attackedThe Washington Post, Simon Denyer and Carol Morello, Friday, 14 June 2019: “The owner of a Japanese tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman offered a different account Friday of the nature of the attack than that provided by the United States. Yutaka Katada, president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, said the Filipino crew of the Kokuka Courageous tanker thought their vessel was hit by flying objects rather than a mine.” See also, Trump administration steps up efforts to show Iran carried out tanker attacksThe Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Erin Cunningham, and Simon Denyer, Friday, 14 June 2019: “The Trump administration on Friday intensified its effort to demonstrate Iran’s culpability in a spate of damaging oil tanker attacks, as dueling accusations from Washington and Tehran heightened concerns about military conflict. American officials said newly released intelligence, including a grainy video, illustrated Tehran’s role in twin explosions Thursday that crippled Japanese- and ­Norwegian-owned ships in the Gulf of Oman. But European nations appealed to all sides to de-escalate, as statements by the owner of one of the targeted ships appeared to challenge the U.S. account that Iranian naval boats had employed limpet mines.” See also, Trump blames Iran for oil tanker attacks and calls country a ‘nation of terror,’ The Guardian, Sabrina Siddiqui, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Donald Trump has blamed Iran for recent attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, describing the country as a ‘nation of terror.’ Speaking with Fox News on Friday, the president rejected Tehran’s denials that it was involved in the attacks and cited a video released by US Central Command late Thursday purporting to show an Iranian vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers.” See also, U.S. Puts Iran on Notice and Weighs Response to Attack on Oil TankersThe New York Times, Mark Landler, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, Friday, 14 June 2019. See also, The U.S. Has Turned Up Pressure on Iran. See the Timeline of Events. The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Friday, 14 June 2019.

See a Design of the Harriet Tubman $20 Bill That Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin DelayedThe New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Extensive work was well underway on a new $20 bill bearing the image of Harriet Tubman when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last month that the design of the note would be delayed for technical reasons by six years and might not include the former slave and abolitionist. Many Americans were deeply disappointed with the delay of the bill, which was to be the first to bear the face of an African-American. The change would push completion of the imagery past President Trump’s time in office, even if he wins a second term, stirring speculation that Mr. Trump had intervened to keep his favorite president, Andrew Jackson, a fellow populist, on the front of the note. But Mr. Mnuchin, testifying before Congress, said new security features under development made the 2020 design deadline set by the Obama administration impossible to meet, so he punted Tubman’s fate to a future Treasury secretary. In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf. That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.”

The Democratic Debate Lineups Are Set. Here’s What to Expect. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Lisa Lerer, and Matt Stevens, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Two nights, four hours, so, so many candidates: the first Democratic presidential debates will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. A former vice president on stage with a self-help author. Three female candidates on one night, three female candidates the next — more than have ever been on the debate stage at once. A 37-year-old squaring off against two septuagenarians.”

Continue reading Week 126, Friday, 14 June – Thursday, 20 June 2019 (Days 876-882)

Trump administration cannot block abortions for immigrant teens in custody, court rulesThe Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 14 June 2019: “The Trump administration’s policy blocking abortion services for pregnant teenagers in immigration custody functions as ‘an across-the-board ban’ on access to the procedure, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The 2-to-1 opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means the government will continue to be prevented from standing in the way of migrant teens who seek to end their pregnancies.” See also, A Federal Appeals Court Rules the Trump Administration Can’t Block Undocumented Teens From Getting AbortionsBuzzFeed News, Zoe Tillman, Friday, 14 June 2019: “The Trump administration cannot block pregnant, undocumented teenagers held in government custody from getting abortions, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. In an 81-page opinion, the court concluded that it was ‘rejecting the government’s position that its denial of abortion access can be squared with Supreme Court precedent. The Supreme Court has determined and then redetermined that the Constitution offers basic protection to the woman’s right to choose,’ the judges wrote, quoting earlier decisions. ‘And we are not free to dilute a constitutional right recognized by controlling Supreme Court precedent — a right the government affirmatively assumes unaccompanied minors here have — so that others will be dissuaded from seeking a better life in this country.'”

New York City Allocates $250,000 for Abortions, Challenging Conservative StatesThe New York Times, Nikita Stewart, Friday, 14 June 2019: “New York City will spend $250,000 to help poor women who travel from other states to obtain abortions here, inserting itself into the increasingly contentious debate over access to the procedure. While the amount of money is relatively small, the allocation is a symbolic if provocative move as more conservative states take steps to all but ban abortion. The money will go to the New York Abortion Access Fund, according to City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, a Democrat from Manhattan, and Jennifer Fermino, a spokeswoman for the Council speaker, Corey Johnson. Abortion rights activists believe that this is the first time that a city will allocate money specifically for abortions.”

Australia approves Adani coal mine, endangering the Great Barrier Reef and, well, civilizationRolling Stone, Jeff Goodell, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Thanks to President Trump and his transparent and perverse desire to enrich his golfing buddies in the fossil fuel industry and to accelerate the climate crisis, the U.S. is the most notorious climate criminal in the world right now. But the Aussie’s are giving us a run for our money. Exhibit A: the decision this week by the Queensland State government to allow a big coal mine in northeastern Australia to move forward. The project, known as the Carmichael mine, is controlled by the Adani Group, an Indian corporate behemoth headed by billionaire Gautam Adani. If it ever opens, the Carmichael mine would not be the biggest coal mine in the world, or even the biggest coal mine in Australia. But it may be the most insane energy project on the planet, and one that shows just how far supposedly civilized nations (and people) are from grasping what’s at stake in the climate crisis.”

Temperatures leap 40 degrees above normal as the Arctic Ocean and Greenland ice sheet see record June meltingThe Washington Post, Jason Samenow, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Ice is melting in unprecedented ways as summer approaches in the Arctic. In recent days, observations have revealed a record-challenging melt event over the Greenland ice sheet, while the extent of ice over the Arctic Ocean has never been this low in mid-June during the age of weather satellites. Greenland saw temperatures soar up to 40 degrees above normal Wednesday, while open water exists in places north of Alaska where it seldom, if ever, has in recent times.”

White House physicist William Happer sought the aid of the Heartland Institute, a rightwing thinktank, to challenge climate scienceThe Guardian, Oliver Milman, Friday, 14 June 2019: “A member of the Trump administration’s National Security Council has sought help from advisers of a conservative thinktank to challenge the reality of a human-induced climate crisis, a trove of his emails show. William Happer, a physicist appointed by the White House to counter the federal government’s own climate science, reached out to the Heartland Institute, one of the most prominent groups to dispute that burning fossil fuels is causing dangerous global heating, in March.”

Justice Department Memo Backs Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Refusing to Turn Over Trump’s Tax ReturnsThe Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin, Friday, 14 June 2019: “The Justice Department backed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to turn over President Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. In a 33-page opinion released late Friday, the Office of Legal Counsel wrote that Mr. Mnuchin reasonably concluded that he couldn’t satisfy the request from Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass), the committee chairman. The memo argues that the request was really designed to make the returns public, not to oversee the performance of the Internal Revenue Service…. Under the tax code, returns are private, and government officials face prosecution if they release them. But under the same law, the Ways and Means Committee chairman can request and review any taxpayer’s returns. It would take a separate committee vote to make any returns or information from them public. In April, Mr. Neal sought six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and audit records, first by request and then by subpoena.” See also, Justice Department issues memo backing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to give Trump’s tax returns to CongressThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 14 June 2019.

Trump says former White House counsel Donald McGahn ‘may have been confused’ when he said Trump directed him to pursue the firing of special counsel Robert MuellerThe Washington Post, John Wagner, Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Trump said in an interview broadcast Friday that former White House counsel Donald McGahn ‘may have been confused’ when he told investigators that Trump had directed him to pursue the firing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III amid his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. During the interview with ABC News, Trump issued a fresh denial of an episode detailed in Mueller’s report that House Democrats have seized upon as they examine whether Trump sought to obstruct Mueller’s probe and should be impeached.”

Trump Appoints Loyalist Thomas Homan as ‘Border Czar’ in Latest Immigration ReshuffleThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Trump on Friday again shook up his immigration team, appointing a hard-liner to coordinate border policy from the White House and sending a message that he is redoubling his efforts to prevent migrants from entering the United States. Thomas D. Homan, his choice for the job, served as the acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement early in the administration and retired last year when his nomination for the permanent position stalled in the Senate. Since then, he has been a fierce supporter of the administration’s policies during frequent appearances on Fox News.”

5,200 people in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are quarantined for exposure to mumps or chicken poxCNN, Priscilla Alvarez, Friday, 14 June 2019: “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed 5,200 adult immigrants in quarantine after being exposed to mumps or chicken pox, a dramatic jump from just a few months ago, the agency says. ICE has recorded cases of either mumps or chicken pox in 39 immigrant detention centers nationwide, an ICE official tells CNN. Of the 5,200 detainees in quarantine across those centers, around 4,200 are for exposure to mumps. Around 800 were exposed to chicken pox and 100 have been exposed to both.”

Mexico Made Refugee Concessions Months Before Trump Tariff Threats, Department of Homeland Security Documents ShowThe Intercept, John Washington and Danielle Mackey, Friday, 14 June 2019: “Bit by bit, President Donald Trump’s story of winning concessions on immigration enforcement from Mexico is falling apart. Last weekend, Trump announced that the U.S. and Mexico ‘reached a signed agreement’ to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants entering the U.S. through its southern border — the fruits, the administration suggested, of his threats to impose tariffs against the U.S.’s southern neighbor. That version of events was called into question by the New York Times, which reported that Mexico was already carrying out or had been planning to carry out the actions that the administration claimed were part of a deal. Trump responded by insisting that there were ‘secret’ provisions. On Wednesday, he waved a purported secret deal with Mexico in front of reporters. One photojournalist captured a partially legible backlit image, revealing that the paper described ‘a regional approach to burden-sharing in relation to the processing of refugee status claims to migrants.’ Documents obtained by The Intercept suggest that this part of Trump’s deal also already existed before his tariff grandstanding. The documents affirm that an agreement has been in the works for months — with Mexico acquiescing to do more to process refugees on its soil since at least October 2018.”

Trump says he won’t fire Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violationsThe Washington Post, John Wagner and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Trump said Friday that he will not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work…. A report submitted to Trump found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by ‘disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.’ ‘No, I’m not going to fire her,’ Trump said. ‘I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokeswoman. She’s been loyal. She’s just a great person.'”

Under Fire, Trump Says He Would ‘Absolutely’ Report Foreign Campaign HelpThe New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Trump on Friday appeared to backtrack somewhat on accepting campaign help from Russia or other foreign governments without necessarily telling the F.B.I., saying that he would certainly inform law enforcement authorities if he were approached. Under fire for saying earlier in the week that ‘I’d take it’ and scoffing at the notion that he should call authorities, Mr. Trump shifted by saying that while he would still look at incriminating information provided by a hostile foreign power about an election opponent he would ‘absolutely’ report such an encounter. See also, Trump goes on Fox to clean up his foreign interference commentsPolitico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 14 June 2019: “President Donald Trump on Friday tried again to rectify the mess he made by saying he would likely accept dirt on a political opponent from a foreign entity, going on ‘Fox & Friends’ to clean up the comments. Trump insisted during a meandering 50-minute interview that ‘of course’ he would alert the FBI in such a case, but only after reviewing it first, ‘because if you don’t look at it, you won’t know it’s bad.’ The president has moved into damage control mode after an interview he gave with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos this week in which he scoffed at the notion of reporting revelations of damaging information from a foreign source to U.S. authorities.”


Saturday, 15 June 2019, Day 877:


U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power GridThe New York Times, David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, Saturday, 15 June 2019: “The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States. But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow…. Power grids have been a low-intensity battleground for years. Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid. But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before…. Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.”

Trump Ordered Dramatic Cuts to Expert Science PanelsBuzzFeed News, Dan Vergano, Saturday, 15 June 2019: “The Trump administration wants to dramatically cut the number of expert panels that widely advise federal agencies on pollution, public health, spending, and planning, according to a White House executive order released late Friday. There are about 1,000 of these advisory committees — often called ‘the fifth arm of government’ — which act as a reality check on agencies, operating under a 1972 law that makes their deliberations transparent to the public. ‘Each agency shall, by September 30, 2019, terminate at least one-third of its current committees,’ the Friday executive order says. ‘If the combined total number of eligible committees exceeds 350, an agency may not establish a new advisory committee.’ The panels advise on high-profile agency decisions. One at the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, recently questioned estimates of cost savings from allowing more pollution. These panels are found at nearly 50 agencies and departments, involve about 72,000 volunteer experts, and cost around $367 million — total — to run in 2015, according to the Government Accountability Office. ‘This kind of wholesale elimination of advisory panels is bad government,’ Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists told BuzzFeed News. ‘The panels are not expensive to run, and no one has to follow their recommendations,” he added. “But they help to inform and enrich the deliberative process. Could that be what the White House objects to?'”

Immigrants Brought Riches to Urban Schools. Now They’re in the Shadows. The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Saturday, 15 June 2019: “Mary Donnelly, the principal of John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School, has watched with pride for 18 years as new languages proliferated in the hallways, different countries were added to her social studies work sheets and the student population nearly quadrupled. The influx of poor immigrant families brought a flood of resources as the school’s official poverty rate rose above 90 percent: an after-school program, three interpreters and a steady infusion of federal funding. But in recent years, as the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown began to reverberate through the nation’s public schools, the students who had been such a fiscal asset have turned into a budgetary liability.”

Trump Renews Feud With London Mayor, Calling Him a ‘Disaster,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 15 June 2019: “President Trump on Saturday resumed his 3,675-mile feud with the mayor of London, calling him ‘a disaster’ who should be turned out of office after a spate of stabbings in Britain’s capital. ‘LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to Sadiq Khan, the mayor he has been fighting with from a distance for three years. ‘Khan is a disaster – will only get worse!’… It is highly unusual for an American president to offer his views uninvited on the internal affairs of an ally, much less call for the ouster of a democratically elected official in another country. It is, however, not at all unusual for Mr. Trump, who has made a practice of telling foreign leaders how they should govern.”


Sunday, 16 June 2019, Day 878:


Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller and census official discussed citizenship question, new documents filed by lawyers suggestThe Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Sunday, 16 June 2019: “Documents discovered in the files of a deceased Republican redistricting strategist contain further information connecting him to the Trump administration’s quest to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, say civil rights groups challenging the question. Attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), and individual plaintiffs, filed material Friday to Maryland U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel indicating that Thomas Hofeller, who died in August, was in direct contact with a top census official regarding the question.”

Trump Campaign to Purge Pollsters After Leak of Dismal ResultsThe New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 16 June 2019: “President Trump’s campaign has decided to purge some of its pollsters after a leak of dismal internal polls for the president that he denied existed. Just two days before the president is set to kick off his bid for re-election, a top adviser said on Sunday that the campaign was cutting ties with three of its five pollsters to prevent further disclosure of survey data. The polling showed Mr. Trump behind former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in several key battleground states, including by double digits in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The results were confirmed to The New York Times by advisers to Mr. Trump, but when they became public, he called them ‘fake polls.'” See also, Trump campaign parts ways with pollsters after leakPolitico, Andrew Restuccia, Sunday, 16 June 2019.

Trump calls newspaper report on Russia power grid ‘treason,’ Associated Press, Sunday, 16 June 2019: “President Donald Trump has lashed out at The New York Times, saying it engaged in a ‘virtual act of treason’ for a story that said the U.S. was ramping up its cyber-intrusions into Russia’s power grid. The Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. has bored into Russian utility systems in an escalating campaign meant to deter future cyber activity by Russia.” See also, New York Times slams Trump: ‘Accusing the press of treason is dangerous,’ CBS News, Dartunorro Clark, Sunday, 16 June 2019: “The New York Times called it ‘dangerous’ for President Donald Trump to accuse the paper of a ‘virtual act of treason’ after it published a story about the U.S. increasing digital incursions into Russia’s electrical power grid as retaliation for Moscow’s cyber warfare. Trump lashed out at the paper in a pair of tweets Saturday night, hours after it was published, calling the story ‘not true’ and the media ‘true cowards’ and ‘the enemy of the people.'”

The Youngest Child Separated From His Family at the Border Was 4 Months OldThe New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Sunday, 16 June 2019: “Baby Constantin spent five months of his first year in a foster home. His family got a painful look at America’s experiment with family separation as an immigration policy.”


Monday, 17 June 2019, Day 879:


Supreme Court Affirms Exception to Double Jeopardy in a Case With Implications for Trump AssociatesThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 17 June 2019: “In a decision that could affect associates of President Trump accused of wrongdoing and hoping for pardons, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that criminal defendants may be prosecuted for the same offenses in both federal and state court. Since Mr. Trump’s pardon power extends only to federal crimes, the ruling leaves people he pardons subject to state prosecutions. The vote was 7 to 2, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil M. Gorsuch each filing dissents.” See also, In ruling with implications for Trump’s pardon power, Supreme Court continues to allow state and federal prosecutions for the same offenseThe Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 17 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed the long-established precedent that allows both state and federal authorities to prosecute a person for the same offense, a ruling that has implications for President Trump’s pardon powers. The 7-to-2 ruling rejected arguments that allowing subsequent prosecutions violates the double jeopardy clause in the Bill of Rights, which prohibits more than one prosecution or punishment for the same offense. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority; Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented. Since the 1850s, the court has allowed an exception to the Constitution’s double jeopardy prohibition on the theory that federal and state governments are separate constitutional actors with their own sovereign authority.”

Supreme Court hands Democrats a win in Virginia racial gerrymander caseCNN, Ariane de Vogue, Ryan Nobles, and Devan Cole, Monday, 17 June 2019: “In a victory for Democrats in Virginia, the Supreme Court held Monday that the Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates did not have the legal right to challenge a lower court opinion that struck several district maps they had drawn as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. This means court-ordered maps that favored Democrats will continue to be used. The decision will have an immediate impact on Virginia’s fall legislative elections at a crucial time. The state, once reliably Republican, has slowly drifted left. Republicans have not won a statewide race since 2009, but they have held on to both the Senate and House by slim margins. This fall, every state legislative seat is up for re-election and the GOP holds only a two-seat advantage in both chambers. Had the court ruled in favor of the Republican challenge, it would’ve greatly improved their chances of holding on to the House of Delegates. Twenty-six House districts were re-aligned by an outside expert after a lower court ruled 11 districts unconstitutional. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for a 5-4 court, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Because the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge on standing grounds, justices did not rule if the maps constitute an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.” See also, Justices Dismiss Appeal in Virginia Racial Gerrymandering CaseThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 17 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a challenge to the voting map for Virginia’s House of Delegates, saying that state lawmakers were not entitled to appeal a ruling striking down parts of the map on race-discrimination grounds. The Supreme Court’s action is likely to help Democrats in elections this fall. The vote was 5 to 4, and it scrambled some of the court’s usual alliances. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch were in the majority, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer was among the dissenters.” See also, High court dismisses challenge to findings of racial gerrymandering in VirginiaThe Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Laura Vozzella, Monday, 17 June 2019: “The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Virginia’s House Republicans did not have the legal right to challenge a decision that some of Virginia’s legislative districts were racially gerrymandered, which means fall elections will take place in districts more favorable to Democrats. All 140 seats in the legislature are on the ballot, and the GOP holds a three-seat edge in the House (51 to 48) and a bare majority in the Senate (20 to 19), with one vacant seat in each chamber. Democrats have been hoping that a wave of successes in recent Virginia elections will move them into control of the legislature for the first time since 1995. The party in charge in 2021 will oversee the next statewide re­districting effort, following next year’s census — potentially cementing an advantage in future elections. The 5-to-4 decision did not shed light on how courts should consider claims of racial gerrymandering, but rather who has the right to sue. The court is considering potentially more groundbreaking cases about partisan gerrymandering, in maps drawn by Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland. The court has never found that politics have so infected a redistricting process that voters’ constitutional rights were violated. Its decision in those cases will come before the end of the month.”

Supreme Court Won’t Rule on Clash Between Another Bakery and a Gay CoupleThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 17 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from the owners of an Oregon bakery who were fined for refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. In a brief order, the justices instead returned the case to lower courts in Oregon ‘for further consideration’ in light of a decision last year in which the court ducked a similar issue in a case concerning a baker from Colorado. The court’s action on Monday left still unresolved the question of whether many kinds of businesses, including florists, photography studios, calligraphers and tattoo artists, may discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. Lower courts have generally sided with gay and lesbian couples who were refused service, ruling that they are entitled to equal treatment, at least in parts of the country with laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation. The owners of businesses challenging those laws have argued that the government should not force them to choose between the requirements of their faiths and their livelihoods, citing constitutional protections for free speech and religious liberty.” See also, Supreme Court passes on case involving baker who refused to make wedding cake for same-sex coupleThe Washington Post, Roberg Barnes, Monday, 17 June 2019.

Supreme Court Upholds Virginia’s Ban on Uranium MiningThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 17 June 2019: “The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Virginia may ban uranium mining in the state. The case, Virginia Uranium v. Warren, No. 16-1275, was decided by fractured vote, with two three-justice blocs agreeing on the bottom line but differing in their reasoning. A third group of three justices dissented.”

Trump Adds Troops After Iran Says It Will Breach Nuclear DealThe New York Times, Edward Wong, Helene Cooper, and Megan Specia, Monday, 17 June 2019: “Tensions between the United States and Iran flared on Monday as Tehran said it would soon breach a key element of the 2015 international pact limiting its nuclear program, while President Trump ordered another 1,000 troops to the Middle East and vowed again that Iran would not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. The Pentagon’s announcement of the troop deployment came three days after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the administration has blamed Iran for. And it came hours after Iran said it was within days of violating a central element of the landmark 2015 agreement — intended to curb its ability to develop a nuclear weapon — unless European nations agreed to help it blunt crippling American economic sanctions.” See also, An Explanation of the Iran CrisisThe New York Times, Michael Crowley, Monday, 17 June 2019: “Iran threatened on Monday to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, moving it closer to the ability to build an atomic weapon — something that President Trump has vowed to prevent. But it was Mr. Trump who withdrew the United States from the Obama-era nuclear agreement in May 2018, saying the deal wasn’t tough enough. Since then the administration has steadily imposed ever harsher sanctions on Iran as the country’s economy has sharply declined.”

Landlords Oppose Trump Plan to Evict Undocumented ImmigrantsThe New York Times, Lola Fadulu and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Monday, 17 June 2019: “Landlords and local officials across the country say a White House proposal to eject undocumented immigrants from subsidized housing would displace some of their most reliable tenants and add major financial strains to an already cash-strapped system.”

2020 Democrats Address Poverty and Systemic Racism at Presidential ForumThe New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Monday, 17 June 2019: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. struck a notably different tone than some other Democrats on Monday over how to bring about change in government, defending his approach to working with Republicans during an appearance at a forum where he and eight other presidential candidates shared their views on addressing poverty. Mr. Biden suggested that those who cannot conceive of compromising with the opposition might as well ‘start a real, physical revolution.'”


Tuesday, 18 June 2019, Day 880:


Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee, and Mark Esper Is Named Acting Pentagon ChiefThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, leaving the Pentagon in transition at a time of escalating tensions with Iran and questions about the role of the military on the border with Mexico. Mr. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who had been serving as the acting defense secretary, announced his resignation as an F.B.I. background investigation, conducted on all cabinet nominees, was continuing because of incidents of family violence. Mr. Shanahan’s ex-wife had accused him of punching her in the stomach, which Mr. Shanahan has denied. He said his ex-wife started the fight, and his spokesman said she was arrested and charged with domestic violence. The charges were eventually dropped.” See also, As Patrick Shanahan, Trump’s nominee for Defense Secretary, withdraws, he addresses violent domestic incidentsThe Washington Post, Aaron C. Davis and Shawn Boburg, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said. On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — ‘so that he can devote more time to his family.’ Shanahan spoke publicly about the incidents in interviews with The Washington Post on Monday and Tuesday.” See also, Mark Esper, Named as Acting Defense Secretary, Brings Military Background to the JobThe New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Tuesday, 18 June 2019. See also, Patrick Shanahan pulls out of Pentagon job as reports emerge of family violenceReuters, Phil Stewart and Steve Holland, Tuesday, 18 June 2019. See also, Democrats and some Republicans question Trump’s vetting process after Shanahan withdrawalThe Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Senators from both political parties are asking why they did not have advance notice of the domestic assault allegations that ended Patrick Shanahan’s bid to become President Trump’s permanent defense secretary, calling his nomination’s collapse the latest example of shoddy White House vetting.”

House Democrats, With Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Support, Will Consider a Commission on ReparationsThe New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “With the support of a string of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, the idea of reparations for African-Americans is gaining traction among Democrats on Capitol Hill, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs the establishment of a commission that would develop proposals and a ‘national apology’ to repair the lingering effects of slavery. Nearly 60 House Democrats, including Representative Jerrold Nadler, the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, support legislation to create the commission, which has been stalled in the House for 30 years. The bill will be the subject of a hearing on Wednesday — the first congressional hearing on reparations in more than a decade, and the first on the measure itself.” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s against reparations for slavery: ‘It would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he opposes reparations for the descendants of slaves, arguing that ‘it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate.’ McConnell (R-Ky.) made the remarks at his weekly news conference with reporters ahead of a House subcommittee hearing on the issue Wednesday. ‘I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago — for [which] none of us currently living are responsible — is a good idea,’ McConnell said when asked whether he supports reparations or, if not, whether he backs the idea of a public apology from Congress. Wednesday’s hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, titled ‘H.R. 40 and the Path to Restorative Justice,’ will include testimony from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover, among others.”

Representative Katie Porter, Who Flipped a Seat in a Republican Stronghold in California, Is Calling for an Impeachment InquiryBuzzFeed News, Addy Baird, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat who flipped a competitive Southern California district last year, announced in a video posted to Twitter Monday evening that after ‘weeks of study, deliberation, and conversations with Orange County families,’ she has decided to support an impeachment inquiry. ‘I have not come to this easily,’ Porter said in the video. ‘I didn’t come to Congress to impeach the president. I ran to use my decades of consumer advocacy to help Orange County families. I ran to fight back against Big Pharma and outrageous prescription drug pricing, to help families with the crushing costs of child care, and to take on the affordable housing crisis hurting our community, and I will continue to do those things and much more, but when faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution.'”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Signals Mass Immigration Arrests, but Not the ‘Millions’ Trump PromisedThe New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement in recent days has bulked up the branch responsible for carrying out deportations in preparation for the mass arrests of undocumented immigrants, two Department of Homeland Security officials said on Tuesday, adding that the agency could not immediately deport “millions of illegal aliens” as President Trump had promised the night before. Senior ICE officials, many of whom were blindsided by Mr. Trump’s tweet, have signaled for weeks that the agency would conduct raids targeting thousands of migrant families in homes and communities, something one of the homeland security officials confirmed on Tuesday was expected in the coming weeks.” See also, Trump vows mass immigration arrests and removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next weekThe Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti, published on Monday, 17 June 2019: “President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting ‘next week,’ an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities. ‘Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,’ Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ‘They will be removed as fast as they come in.'” See also, Trump promises mass deportations of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ next weekPolitico, Ted Hesson and Quint Forgey, published on Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “President Donald Trump pledged Monday night to begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally and offered uncharacteristic praise for Mexico’s efforts to stem the tide of Central American migrants surging across the southern border.” See also, What You Need to Know About Trump’s Mass Deportation ThreatThe Intercept, Maryam Saleh, Tuesday, 18 June 2019.

Trump Will Not Apologize for Calling for Death Penalty Over Central Park FiveThe New York Times, Jan Ransom, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “President Trump said on Tuesday that he would not apologize for his harsh comments in 1989 about the Central Park Five, the five black and Latino men who as teenagers were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in New York City. Mr. Trump was asked about newspaper advertisements he bought back then calling for New York State to adopt the death penalty after the attack. (The ads never explicitly called for the death penalty for the five defendants.) ‘You have people on both sides of that,’ he said at the White House. ‘They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city never should have settled that case — so we’ll leave it at that,’ he added, referring to the former prosecutor who was running the Manhattan district attorney’s sex crimes unit at the time. Mr. Trump’s remarks about the Central Park Five were strikingly similar to comments he made in reaction to the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. A woman was killed after a driver slammed his vehicle into counterprotesters. At the time, the president said, ‘There was blame on both sides.'”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Migrant Detention Centers ‘Concentration Camps,’ Eliciting BacklashThe New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the liberal freshman Democrat from New York who has made fighting for immigrants’ rights a signature issue, on Tuesday described the Trump administration’s border detention facilities as ‘concentration camps,’ provoking backlash from Republicans who said she was minimizing the Holocaust. ‘This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying,’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, amplifying comments she had made on her Instagram feed on Monday night. ‘This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis,’ she added, citing an article in Esquire magazine that quoted a historian of the Holocaust who lectures at the University of Virginia. In the article, the historian, Waitman Wade Beorn, said, ‘Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz.’ But the invocation of Nazi imagery to describe the administration’s handling of immigrants and refugees set off a furor in Washington. Although not all Nazi concentration camps were death camps — some were forced labor camps — Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the phrase, which she said was intentional, opened the door for attacks from Republicans, led by Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the sharp-tongued chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.” See also, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez presses case that the U.S. is running ‘concentration camps’ at the border amid Republican outcryThe Washington Post, John Wagner, Tuesday, 18 June 2019.

Overruling his experts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keeps Saudis off U.S. child soldiers listReuters, Jonathan Landay and Matt Spetalnick, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter.”

New York to Approve One of the World’s Most Ambitious Climate PlansThe New York Times, Jesse McKinley and Brad Plumer, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “New York lawmakers have agreed to pass a sweeping climate plan that calls for the state to all but eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, envisioning an era when gas-guzzling cars, oil-burning heaters and furnaces would be phased out, and all of the state’s electricity would come from carbon-free sources. Under an agreement reached this week between legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act would require the state to slash its planet-warming pollution 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and offset the remaining 15 percent, possibly through measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

A federal watchdog is investigating the Trump administration’s decisions on Utah monument (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “A federal watchdog agency will investigate whether the Trump administration broke the law by preparing lands within the old boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for potential fossil-fuel leasing. The Government Accountability Office will probe whether the Interior Department, in charge of managing most U.S. public lands, went against spending instructions from Congress when it used federal funds to assess the suitability of lands once within the massive protected area in Utah for coal, oil and natural gas extraction.”

Trump, at Rally in Florida, Kicks Off His 2020 Re-election BidThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, and Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 18 June 2019: “President Trump delivered a fierce denunciation of the news media, the political establishment and what he called his radical opponents on Tuesday as he opened his re-election campaign in front of a huge crowd of raucous supporters by evoking the dark messaging and personal grievances that animated his 2016 victory. Almost four years to the day since he announced his first, improbable run for public office from the basement of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Mr. Trump mocked and disparaged Democrats….” See also, Fact-Checking Trump’s Orlando Rally: Russia, the Wall, and Tax CutsThe New York Times, Linda Qiu, Tuesday, 18 June 2019. See also, What We Learned From Trump’s Orlando RallyThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 18 June 2019.


Wednesday, 19 June 2019, Day 881:


E.P.A. Finalizes Its Plan to Replace Obama-Era Climate RulesThe New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The Trump administration on Wednesday replaced former President Barack Obama’s effort to reduce planet-warming pollution from coal plants with a new rule that would keep plants open longer and undercut progress on reducing carbon emissions. The rule represents the Trump administration’s most direct effort to protect the coal industry. It is also another significant step in dismantling measures aimed at combating global warming, including the rollback of tailpipe emissions standards and the planned withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. The move largely gives states the authority to decide how far to scale back emissions, or not to do it at all, and significantly reduces the federal government’s role in setting standards. The Obama plan would have set national emissions limits and required the reconstruction of power grids to move utilities away from coal. The new regulation, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, immediately drew a flurry of challenges, with attorneys general in California, Oregon, Washington State, Iowa, Colorado and New York saying they intended to sue to block the measure.” See also, Trump EPA finalizes rollback of key Obama climate rule that targeted coal plantsThe Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Despite a drumbeat of scientific warnings, the Trump administration Wednesday issued a new rule that cuts carbon emissions from power plants by less than half of what experts say is needed to avoid catastrophic global warming. The Affordable Clean Energy rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents the Trump administration’s most significant action to unwind federal regulations aimed at addressing climate change. At the EPA on Wednesday, Trump’s top aides, Republican lawmakers and state business leaders celebrated it as proof that the president had delivered for his constituents in coal country.” See also, EPA Overturns Obama-Era Clean Air Rules for Power PlantsThe Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The Trump administration moved to try to revive the coal-power industry Wednesday, overturning Obama administration policies aimed at stemming climate change and adopting rules that could allow older power plants to continue operating. The new plan, signed by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, replaces rules that sought to mandate a national shift away from coal to cleaner sources of power, including natural gas, wind and solar. The EPA move faced an immediate pushback from environmental groups and some state and city governments.”

Joe Biden, Recalling ‘Civility’ in Senate, Invokes Two Segregationist SenatorsThe New York Times, Katie Glueck, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Several Democratic presidential candidates sharply criticized Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday for invoking two Southern segregationist senators by name as he defended himself over accusations of being ‘old-fashioned’ and fondly recalled the ‘civility’ of the Senate in the 1970s and 1980s.” See also, ‘We got things done’: Joe Biden recalls ‘civility’ with segregationist senatorsThe Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Joe Biden wistfully recalled on Tuesday an era in which he was able to get along with segregationist senators even though they ‘didn’t agree on much of anything.’… As evidence of his ability to forge personal bonds, the former vice president pointed to his 36-year career in the Senate, which stretched back to 1973 and overlapped with the service of leading Southern Democrats. Biden cited the late senators James O. Eastland (Miss.) and Herman E. Talmadge (Ga.), who were steadfastly opposed to civil rights and racial integration.” See also, Joe Biden and Democratic Rivals Exchange Attacks Over His Remarks on SegregationistsThe New York Times, Katie Glueck and Astead W. Herndon, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday lashed out at his Democratic rivals who had condemned his fond recollections of working relationships with segregationists in the Senate, declining to apologize and defending his record on civil rights. The angry exchange shattered, at least for now, the relative comity that had marked the Democratic presidential primary.” See also, Joe Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senatorsThe Washington Post, Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, Wednesday, 19 June 2019.

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks Declines to Answer Lawmakers’ Questions on Transition and White HouseThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “After weeks of simmering frustration, House Democrats took their first shot on Wednesday at questioning a key figure from Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice. They were not entirely happy with the results. Behind closed doors, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee pressed Hope Hicks, one of Mr. Trump’s closest former aides, for nearly seven hours on her recollections of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as on episodes documented by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in which Mr. Trump tried to assert control over investigations into those contacts. And they resurrected an older accusation against Mr. Trump: his role in an illegal scheme to make hush payments to two women during his 2016 campaign. But if the hearing held out the promise of kick-starting Democrats’ stalled investigations into Mr. Trump, it quickly veered toward an increasingly familiar outcome. It took place in private rather than public. And under the direction of the White House, Ms. Hicks declined to answer nearly every question about her time working in the administration, citing instructions from the president that she was ‘absolutely immune’ from answering, lawmakers from both parties said.” See also, Democrats are livid as Hope Hicks, Trump’s former longtime confidante, dodges questions: ‘It’s a Farce,’ Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “House Democrats erupted Wednesday at the White House’s repeated interference in their nearly eight-hour interview with Hope Hicks, a longtime confidante of President Donald Trump who was a central witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation. Several House Judiciary Committee members exiting the closed-door interview said a White House lawyer present for her testimony repeatedly claimed Hicks had blanket immunity from discussing her tenure as a top aide to the president, including during the presidential transition period. Democrats said she wouldn’t answer questions as basic as where she sat in the West Wing or whether she told the truth to Mueller.” See also, White House blocks former Trump aide Hope Hicks from answering questions during a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary CommitteeThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, and Hailey Fuchs, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The White House on Wednesday blocked President Trump’s former aide Hope Hicks from answering dozens of questions from a House committee, an impasse that hands pro-impeachment Democrats another argument to start proceedings, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed back.”

Black writers, activists, and scholars testify about reparations before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil LibertiesThe Washington Post, Emily Davies and Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Prominent African American writers, activists and scholars on Wednesday addressed a House panel as lawmakers took their first step in a decade toward debating the role of reparations in correcting what many called ‘the original sin.’ The hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was set to coincide with the observance of Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black people in the United States. It also came as the Democratic-led House is pressing forward with H.R. 40, a measure that would create a national commission to study the legacy of slavery and make proposals on reparations to African Americans. But much of the debate centered on remarks made by the leader of the other chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said Tuesday that the country had addressed its historic racial injustices in part through the election of President Barack Obama. ‘There’s a tremendous amount of ignorance in that statement,’ Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is running for president, said in an interview with SiriusXM ahead of the hearing.” See also, Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a thorough history lesson on reparationsVox, P.R. Lockhart, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a congressional hearing on reparations on Wednesday, using a brief but effective history lesson to rebut the senator’s recent claim that reparations are not ‘a good idea. We recognize our lineage as a generational trust, as inheritance, and the real dilemma posed by reparations is just that: a dilemma of inheritance,’ Coates told a packed room gathered for hearing on HR 40, a House bill that would create a commission to study the historical need for reparations. ‘It is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery.’… Coates, the author of ‘The Case for Reparations,’ a 2014 Atlantic article that pushed discussions of reparations further into the national spotlight, argued that McConnell’s comments dismissed the very real impacts of slavery in America and ignored that many living black Americans directly experienced Jim Crow and other forms of legalized discrimination.” See also, At Historic Hearing, House Panel Explores ReparationsThe New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 19 June 2019. See also, Here’s What Ta-Nehisi Coates Told Congress About ReparationsThe New York Times, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose 2014 article ‘The Case for Reparations’ in The Atlantic rekindled the debate over reparations for slavery and its legacy, testified on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Coates took direct aim at Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, for remarks Mr. McConnell made opposing the reparations idea.” See also, ‘Why not and why not now?’ Lawmakers debate reparations for slavery. Associated Press, Errin Haines Whack, Wednesday, 19 June 2019. See also, Reparations: Reasonable and RightThe New York Times, Charles M. Blow, Wednesday, 19 June 2019. See also, Black People’s Land Was Stolen, The New York Times, Andrew W. Kahrl, published on Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Thanks to Mr. [Ta-Nehisi] Coates and others, today’s movement for reparations places as much emphasis on the racist public policies of the 20th century, which denied black Americans opportunities to build wealth and left them vulnerable to all manner of economic exploitation, as it does on the crimes of slavery. Many leading proponents of reparations point to the federal government’s failure to provide land and resources (40 acres and a mule) to former slaves following emancipation, as promised, as laying the course for today’s inequities. ‘Had such a racial land reform taken place,’ the Duke University economist William Darity Jr. argues, ‘it is easy to envision that the vast current differences in wealth between black and nonblacks would not exist.’ Mr. Darity has gone so far as to use the ungranted 40 acres of land that was due former slaves as the basis for calculating the amount of reparations due to their descendants today. But in addition to invoking the 40 acres black people never got, the reparations movement today should be talking about the approximately 11 million acres black people had but lost, in many cases through fraud, deception and outright theft, much of it taken in the past 50 years.”

Accusing the New York Times of ‘Treason,’ Trump Crosses a LineThe Wall Street Journal, A.G. Sulzberger, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “First it was ‘the failing New York Times.’ Then ‘fake news.’ Then ‘enemy of the people.’ President Trump’s escalating attacks on the New York Times have paralleled his broader barrage on American media. He’s gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists with a phrase that’s been used by generations of demagogues. Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death. On Saturday, Mr. Trump said the Times had committed ‘a virtual act of treason.’ The charge, levied on Twitter , was in response to an article about American cyber incursions into the Russian electrical grid that his own aides had assured our reporters raised no national-security concerns. Few paid much attention. Many news organizations, including the Times, determined the accusation wasn’t even worth reporting, a sign of how inured we’ve grown to such rhetorical recklessness. But this new attack crosses a dangerous line in the president’s campaign against a free and independent press.” See also, New York Times publisher slams Trump over ‘virtual act of Treason,’ allegationThe Washington Post, Erik Wemple, published on Thursday, 20 June 2019.

We Put the 2020 Democrats on the Spot. Here’s What We Learned. The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Sydney Ember, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “We spent hours interviewing the enormous Democratic presidential field on subjects ranging from climate change and border control to fast food and personal humiliation. And while many Democrats agree on a broad set of political ideas, there were some telling differences and disclosures that emerged from our conversations.” See also, 18 Questions. 21 Democrats. Here’s What They Said. The New York Times, Wednesday, 19 June 2019.

Jamal Khashoggi killing: UN human rights expert says Saudi Arabia is responsible for ‘premeditated execution,’ United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated extrajudicial execution, for which the State of Saudi Arabia is responsible, according to a report published today by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings. Following a six-month investigation, Agnes Callamard issued her findings into the killing last October of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, analyzing evidence on the basis of international human rights law, and considering steps that could have prevented his murder. ‘The circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death have led to numerous theories and allegations, but none alters the responsibility of the Saudi Arabia State,’ the report reads. ‘Saudi state agents, 15 of them, acted under cover of their official status and used state means to execute Mr. Khashoggi. His killing was the result of elaborate planning involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources. It was overseen, planned and endorsed by high-level officials. It was premeditated.'” See also, Jamal Khashoggi Was My Fiancé. His Killers Are Roaming Free. The New York Times, Hatice Cengiz, Wednesday, 19 June 2019. See also, U.N. investigator calls for probe of Saudi officials in the killing of Jamal KhashoggiThe Washington Post, Carol Morello and Kareem Fahim, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “A U.N. investigation into the brutal slaying of Jamal Khashoggi released Wednesday provides the clearest picture yet of the journalist’s final moments inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, refocusing attention on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his crackdown on dissidents. The months-long investigation by Agnes Callamard, a human rights expert at the United Nations, faulted the United States and other countries for not exerting enough pressure on Saudi Arabia despite ‘credible evidence’ of the likelihood that ­Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi’s killing.” See also, How Saudi agents plotted to dismember Jamal Khashoggi and other chilling takeaways from a U.N. investigationThe Washington Post, Claire Parker, Wednesday, 19 June 2019. See also, Saudis Called Khashoggi ‘Sacrificial Animal’ as They Waited to Kill HimThe New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick and Nick Cumming-Bruce, Wednesday, 19 June 2019.

Trump Officials Tell Skeptical Congress That Iran Has Ties to Al QaedaThe New York Times, Edward Wong and Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The Trump administration is telling Congress about what it says are alarming ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill. Briefings by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, backed up by other State Department and Pentagon officials, have led Democrats and some Republicans to ask whether the administration is building a case that the White House could use to invoke the war authorization passed by Congress in 2001 to battle terror groups as legal cover for military action against Iran.”

Senate confirms Matthew Kacsmaryk’s lifetime appointment to the federal bench in the Northern District of Texas. He has called homosexuality ‘disordered.’ The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The Senate confirmed a controversial judicial nominee Wednesday over objections from civil rights groups and Democrats who criticized President Trump’s pick as being hostile to the LGBTQ community. Just one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), joined every voting Democrat to oppose Matthew Kacsmaryk’s lifetime appointment to the federal bench in the Northern District of Texas. He was confirmed, 52 to 46. ‘Mr. Kacsmaryk has demonstrated a hostility to the LGBTQ bordering on paranoia,’ Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said before the vote. ‘It’s unbelievable that this man has been nominated, and he’s not alone. The parade of narrow-minded, often bigoted people who we’re putting on the bench. . . . One Republican senator rightfully voiced concerns about this man’s fitness. Where are the others?’ Collins, in a statement last week announcing her intention to vote ‘no,’ said Kacsmaryk’s ‘extreme statements’ on LGBTQ and reproductive rights issues ‘reflect poorly on Mr. Kacsmaryk’s temperament and suggest an inability to respect precedent and to apply the law fairly and impartially.'”

Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) Says the Agency Plans Deportation Operation Aimed at Undocumented FamiliesThe New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Miriam Jordan, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said on Wednesday that he would follow through with plans to send agents into communities to round up and deport undocumented families, in the Trump administration’s latest attempt to deter large-scale migration of Central Americans to the southwest border. The acting director, Mark Morgan, who has signaled for weeks that there would be a heightened focus on deporting families, told reporters that agents would target more than 2,000 immigrant family members who already have deportation orders.”

Trump administration backtracks on closure of Job Corps program after bipartisan opposition from CongressThe Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “The Trump administration on Wednesday scrapped plans to kill a U.S. Forest Service program that trains disadvantaged young people for rural jobs after a bipartisan outcry from Congress. The decision came after weeks of heavy pressure from lawmakers from Montana to Kentucky, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Forest Service had planned to begin layoffs of 1,110 employees by September, believed to be the largest number of cuts to the federal workforce in a decade.”

Senator Chuck Schumer Requests Investigation Into Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Handling of the Harriet Tubman $20 BillThe New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general on Wednesday to open an investigation into delayed design concepts of a new $20 note featuring the image of Harriet Tubman that were set to be unveiled next year. The Trump administration has faced backlash after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that design concepts of a $20 bill featuring Tubman would not be released next year and that the new note might not even include her when it does come into circulation, most likely in 2030.” See also, Senator Chuck Schumer calls for investigation into Trump administration decision to delay Harriet Tubman $20 billThe Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 19 June 2019.

Deutsche Bank Faces Criminal Investigation for Potential Money-Laundering LapsesThe New York Times, David Enrich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “Federal authorities are investigating whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other crimes, the latest government examination of potential misconduct at one of the world’s largest and most troubled banks, according to seven people familiar with the inquiry. The investigation includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s handling of so-called suspicious activity reports that its employees prepared about possibly problematic transactions, including some linked to President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to people close to the bank and others familiar with the matter.”

$24.8 Million Raised in 24 Hours: Trump Adds to His Financial AdvantageThe New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Wednesday, 19 June 2019: “President Trump’s campaign announced Wednesday that he had raised $24.8 million over 24 hours as he kicked off his re-election bid, an enormous haul that punctuates the financial advantage he is expected to enjoy over his Democratic challengers in 2020. Mr. Trump’s one-day total was more than any Democratic presidential candidate raised in the entire first quarter of 2019, though it included money that went to joint fund-raising operations with the Republican National Committee. It came as he held a huge rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday night, telling throngs of cheering supporters that his new campaign slogan would be ‘Keep America Great.'”


Thursday, 20 June 2019, Day 882:


Strikes on Iran Approved by Trump, Then Abruptly Pulled BackThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley, and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions. As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations. Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries. The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.” See also, Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was ‘Not Proportionate,’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt, published on Friday, 21 June 2019: “President Trump said Friday morning that the United States military had been ‘cocked and loaded’ for a strike against Iran on Thursday night, but that he called it off with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that 150 people would probably die in the attack…. It was unclear why Mr. Trump would have been getting information about possible casualties so late in the process of launching military action. Such information is typically discussed early in the deliberations between a president and national security officials.” See also, What You Need to Know About the Iran CrisisThe New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, published on Friday, 21 June 2019.

Senate Votes to Block Trump’s Arms Sales to Gulf Nations in Bipartisan RebukeThe New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “The Senate voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, in a sharp and bipartisan rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to circumvent Congress to allow the exports by declaring an emergency over Iran. In three back-to-back votes, Republicans joined Democrats to register their growing anger with the administration’s use of emergency power to cut lawmakers out of national security decisions, as well as the White House’s unflagging support for the Saudis despite congressional pressure to punish Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the killing in October of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A United Nations report released Wednesday made the most authoritative case to date that responsibility for the killing and its cover-up lies at the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.” See also, Senate votes to block Trump’s emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “The Senate on Thursday passed three measures to block President Trump from using his emergency authority to complete several arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates but fell short of the support needed to overcome a pledged veto.” See also, Senate rebukes Trump with vote to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab EmiratesPolitico, Marianne Levine, Thursday, 20 June 2019. See also, Senate Passes Resolutions Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Duehren, Thursday, 20 June 2019.

A panel of federal appeals court judges ruled the Trump administration’s abortion ‘gag rule’ can take effectThe Washington Post, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “A panel of federal appeals court judges ruled on Thursday that a Trump administration family planning ‘gag rule’ that could cut as much as $60 million in Title X funds from Planned Parenthood could go into effect immediately. The decision is a major setback for the women’s health-care provider and for 21 state attorneys general who filed lawsuits shortly after the policy was published in March, arguing it would undermine the patient-provider relationship and endanger the health of millions of women. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the decision ‘a major step toward the Trump administration being able to ensure that all Title X projects . . . do not support abortion as a method of family planning.’ But Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the news ‘devastating’ for the millions of women who rely on the program for services such as cancer screenings, HIV tests and birth control, and said the organization would immediately appeal.” See also, U.S. appeals court lets Trump abortion referral ‘gag rule’ go into effectReuters, Jonathan Stempel, Thursday, 20 June 2019. See also, Appeals court says Trump family planning restrictions can take effectPolitico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Thursday, 20 June 2019.

Federal judge says census citizenship question merits more consideration in light of new evidenceThe Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “A federal district judge in Maryland on Wednesday ruled that new evidence in the case of a census citizenship question merits more consideration, opening the possibility that the question could come before the Supreme Court again even after it rules as expected this month. Civil rights groups who had sued the government over its addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census had asked U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel to reconsider his ruling on whether the government was guilty of conspiracy and intent to discriminate after new evidence in the case emerged last month. Files discovered on hard drives belonging to a deceased Republican redistricting strategist suggested he had communicated with the Trump administration about how to get the citizenship question onto the survey and that the strategist had determined that adding the question would create an electoral advantage for Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. In his ruling Tuesday, Hazel wrote that the plaintiffs’ motion ‘raises a substantial issue’ in the case.”

Supreme Court upholds sex offender rules, but separation of powers battle continuesThe Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a federal program regulating the registration of sex offenders is constitutional. The case split the court, took months to decide and was closely watched not because of the Maryland offender at its center but because it raised questions about how much authority Congress can cede to the executive branch — in this case the attorney general. More than the fate of a specific federal program, the decision seemed to portend major battles over conservative concerns about the ‘administrative state’ and whether executive agencies and unelected public officials have been given too much power.” See also, Supreme Court Sustains Executive Power in Sex Offender CaseThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 20 June 2019.

More than 70 House Democrats want to open an impeachment inquiry into TrumpThe Washington Post, JM Rieger, Amber Phillips, and Kevin Schaul, updated on Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Calls for the impeachment of President Trump are growing louder. After the release of the Mueller report, 73 House Democrats say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry into whether the president committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ That includes 14 of the 24 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, which is where impeachment proceedings would start. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has so far resisted, worried that her party could face political jeopardy if Democratic House members attempt to impeach Trump as the 2020 elections near.” See also, Full List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump? The New York Times, Alicia Parlapiano, Jason Kao, Emily Cochrane, and Catie Edmondson, updated on Thursday, 20 June 2019.

Illinois Democratic Representatives Sean Casten and Jan Schakowsky call for Trump impeachment inquiryChicago Sun Times, Lynn Sweet, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Freshman Rep. Sean Casten, an Illinois Democrat who flipped a suburban Chicago congressional district in 2018, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday he backs launching an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump…. Casten is among the 44 House Democrats facing the toughest GOP challenges in 2020, according to a ‘frontline’ list compiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His public call stands out because Casten is only the third in this group of 44 to support an impeachment inquiry. Casten joins freshmen Katie Porter of California and Tom Malinkowski of New Jersey – a friend whose office is down the hall from Casten’s.”

For Representative Jan Schakowsky, an ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backing impeachment of Trump is carefully calibratedThe Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Just hours after Rep. Jan Schakowsky broke with longtime ally Speaker Nancy Pelosi and called for an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, the Illinois Democrat qualified her comments. ‘A lot of people are going to say, “Well, Nancy Pelosi, you’re a big supporter,” which I am,’ Schakowsky said Thursday in an interview. ‘And I think that she’s ultimately right, that the way that we’re going to get rid of Donald Trump is in the election in 2020.’ Compare that to her Wednesday night announcement, which made headlines as she joined 72 other Democrats in supporting impeachment. ‘Today, I am announcing that I believe that the House of Representatives should begin an impeachment inquiry, officially, because President Trump certainly has committed all kinds of offenses that meet the standard of impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanors,’ Schakowsky, a senior chief deputy whip and member of Pelosi’s leadership team, said in a video posted on her official website. Schakowsky’s dual statements — backing an impeachment inquiry while also suggesting that Pelosi (D-Calif.) is justified in refusing to launch one — reflect the posture many pro-impeachment Democrats have taken in recent weeks: When they endorse impeachment, they tend to defer to Pelosi rather than trying to pressure her into backing proceedings.”

Boston federal court judge temporarily blocks courthouse arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)MassLive, Jacqueline Tempera, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “A Boston federal court judge has ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to stop arresting undocumented immigrants who show up for court dates in Massachusetts, granting a preliminary injunction in immigration advocates’ case against federal agencies.”

Joe Biden Phoned Cory Booker. But Apologize? It’s Not the Biden Way. The New York Times, Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “From his treatment of Anita Hill in the 1990s to his unwelcome hugs of women, from his recent flip-flop on abortion funding to his latest remarks about segregationists, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has spent the early months of his third presidential bid doing a lot of explaining, justifying and pushing back. The one thing he hasn’t done is bow to critics and apologize outright. ‘Apologize for what?’ Mr. Biden snapped on Wednesday evening after Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a rival in the 2020 campaign, said he should express regret for citing two Southern segregationist senators as examples of civility in politics. ‘There’s not a racist bone in my body.'”

Cory Booker Proposes Clemency for Thousands of Nonviolent Drug OffendersThe New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey on Thursday announced a plan to offer clemency to more than 17,000 inmates serving time for nonviolent drug-related offenses on the first day of his presidency, an expansive use of executive power that would be the broadest clemency initiative since the Civil War. The plan, which draws heavily on previous legislation he has introduced and passed as a senator, takes pains to address the vast racial inequalities wrought by the so-called war on drugs. It focuses on those serving sentences for marijuana-related offenses, as well as those with disparate sentences because of old distinctions between crack and powder cocaine. It also addresses inmates whose sentences would have been reduced had the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Mr. Booker and signed by President Trump late last year, been applied retroactively.”

Sex Harassment Laws Toughened in New York: ‘Finally, This Is Happening,’ The New York Times, Vivian Wang, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “For decades, sexual harassment was the State Capitol’s worst-kept secret…. Even when harassment scandals burst into public view, lawmakers did not propose bills to strengthen workplace protections, promising instead to dedicate themselves to internal reform. But under the newly Democrat-led Legislature, that era seems to have ended. Earlier this year, the state held its first public hearings on the issue in nearly 30 years. And on Wednesday, lawmakers passed sweeping anti-harassment legislation that supporters said would make New York’s laws among the most robust in the nation.” See also, The Sexual Harassment Bills Passed in New York Are the Structural #MeToo Victories We NeedThe Intercept, Natasha Lennard, Friday, 21 June 2019.

When Trump visits his clubs, government agencies and Republicans pay to be where he isThe Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, Jonathan O’Connell, and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “When President Trump finished the first official rally of his reelection campaign this week, he got on Air Force One. But he didn’t go home to Washington. Instead, he flew 190 miles in the opposite direction — to visit his own Doral golf resort, outside Miami. The resort’s profits have fallen since Trump took office. But it had a major event planned for the next day, a fundraiser for Trump’s reelection campaign. It would be his 126th visit to one of his properties since taking office. And this visit — like more than a dozen before it — would bring paying customers, allowing Trump to play a double role. The president would be the headliner and the caterer.”

Does Trump Have the Legal Authority to Demote the Federal Reserve Chairman? The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “President Trump has been attacking the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome H. Powell, because he is angry that the central bank’s efforts to keep the economy healthy over the long term may dampen the stock market and economic growth in the short term just as he gears up for re-election…. Bloomberg News reported this week that the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, had been researching whether Mr. Trump could remove Mr. Powell as the Fed chairman, demoting him to an ordinary member of the agency’s seven-member board of governors. Such a step would be yet another violation by Mr. Trump of norms that previous presidents of both parties exercised. It would also constitute an unprecedented challenge to the agency’s relative independence from politics.”

A Climate Bill Sets Off Tumult in Oregon: Republicans Flee, and Police FollowThe New York Times, Timothy Williams, Thursday, 20 June 2019: “Tensions boiled over in the Oregon Capitol this week as Republican state senators vanished in an effort to delay a vote on a climate change bill they oppose. On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, ordered the state police to find them and bring them back. It was only the latest chapter in a season of partisan division and frustration in the nation’s statehouses, where, for the first time in more than a century, all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party. In Oregon, where Democrats dominate both chambers, Republicans were unapologetic about their efforts to slow the state’s adoption of an emissions-reduction program by disappearing — and keeping the Democrats from having enough lawmakers present to call a vote.” Updated on Sunday, 23 June 2019. See also, Republican lawmakers in Oregon skipped town to avoid a climate change vote. Then the governor called the police. The Washington Post, Reis Thebault and Lindsey Bever, published on Friday, 21 June 2019. See also, Threats from militia provoke shutdown at Oregon capitol, a day after Republican lawmakers fled, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault and Michael Brice-Saddler, published on Friday, 21 June 2019.

Trump’s Interview With TIME on 2020: Read the TranscriptTime, Thursday, 20 June 2019.