Trump Administration, Week 127: Friday, 21 June – Thursday, 27 June 2019 (Days 883-889)

Elizabeth Warren and Andrea Harrington, 2018

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, 21 June 2019, Day 883:


Urged to Launch an Attack on Iran, Trump Listened to Skeptics Like Tucker Carlson Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Thomas Gobbons-Neff, Friday, 21 June 2019: “He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson. While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran’s provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president’s best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.” See also, Trump Says He Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike Iran, but Pulled Back, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt, 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…. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, blasted Mr. Trump, tweeting: ‘There is no justification for further escalating this crisis — we need to step back from the brink of war.’ Top Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said they were not informed of the planned strikes, a departure from normal practice.” See also, ‘We were cocked & loaded’: Trump’s account of Iran attack plan is facing scrutiny, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Missy Ryan, and Erin Cunningham, Friday, 21 June 2019: “President Trump stepped away from the precipice of an immediate military conflict with Iran on Friday, calling off a strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone. But with the United States and Iran still locked in an adversarial pose, with none of their underlying grievances resolved, the prospect for fresh brinkmanship loomed as U.S. officials contemplated an alternative response…. The precariousness of the moment was compounded by widespread uncertainty about the president’s decision-making process, which he detailed Friday in tweets and statements that drew scrutiny from even his own aides. Early in the day, the president said he called off the attack at the last minute because it would have killed 150 people in retaliation for the downing of the drone. ‘We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,’ he tweeted. But administration officials said Trump was told earlier Thursday how many casualties could occur if a strike on Iran were carried out and that he had given the green light that morning to prepare the operation.” See also, Trump’s bizarre tweets and comments about his Iran decision, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 21 June 2019. See also, War-weary Republicans and Democrats express relief after Trump calls off strike on Iran, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 21 June 2019.

Attorneys say Texas border facility near El Paso is neglecting migrant children, Associated Press, Cedar Attanasio, Garance Burke, and Martha Mendoza, Friday, 21 June 2019: “A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they’ve been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station. The bleak portrait emerged Thursday after a legal team interviewed 60 children at the facility near El Paso that has become the latest place where attorneys say young migrants are describing neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government. Data obtained by The Associated Press showed that on Wednesday there were three infants in the station, all with their teen mothers, along with a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds and a 3-year-old. There are dozens more under 12. Fifteen have the flu, and 10 more are quarantined. Three girls told attorneys they were trying to take care of the 2-year-old boy, who had wet his pants and had no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.” See also, ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Friday, 21 June 2019: “A chaotic scene of sickness and filth is unfolding in an overcrowded border station in Clint, Tex. [near El Paso], where hundreds of young people who have recently crossed the border are being held, according to lawyers who visited the facility this week. Some of the children have been there for nearly a month. Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.” See also, Justice Department Lawyer Sarah Fabian Argues Against Providing Soap, Toothbrushes, and Beds to Detained Children, HuffPost, Mary Papenfuss, published on Thursday, 20 June 2019: “A Justice Department attorney this week argued in court that the federal government should not be required to provide soap, toothbrushes or even beds to detained children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. Government lawyer Sarah Fabian argued Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that forcing children to sleep on cold concrete floors in cells is both ‘safe and sanitary.'” See also, Detained migrant children got no toothbrush, no soap, no sleep. It’s no problem, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian argues. The Washington Post, Meagan Flynn, Friday, 21 June 2019: “The government went to federal court this week to argue that it shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or even half a night’s sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities. The position bewildered a panel of three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday, who questioned whether government lawyers sincerely believed they could describe the temporary detention facilities as ‘safe and sanitary’ if children weren’t provided adequate toiletries and sleeping conditions. One circuit judge said it struck him as ‘inconceivable. To me it’s more like it’s within everybody’s common understanding: If you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary,’ Senior U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima told Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian. ‘Wouldn’t everybody agree to that? Would you agree to that?’ Fabian said she thought it was fair to say ‘those things may be’ part of the definition of safe and sanitary. ‘What are you saying, may be?’ Tashima shot back. ‘You mean, there [are] circumstances when a person doesn’t need to have a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap? For days?'” See also, ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: New Concentration Camp System in the United States, The New York Review of Books, Andrea Pitzer, Friday, 21 June 2019: “On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as ‘concentration camps,’ spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust. At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations. The twenty-first century is unraveling that response…. The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into ‘dog pound’-style detention pens, ‘iceboxes,’ and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?”

Hideous Men. Donald Trump assaulted me in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago. But he’s not alone on the list of awful men in my life. New York Magazine, The Cut, E. Jean Carroll, Friday, 21 June 2019: “Before I discuss [Trump], I must mention that there are two great handicaps to telling you what happened to me in Bergdorf’s: (a) The man I will be talking about denies it, as he has denied accusations of sexual misconduct made by at least 15 credible women, namely, Jessica Leeds, Kristin Anderson, Jill Harth, Cathy Heller, Temple Taggart McDowell, Karena Virginia, Melinda McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Jessica Drake, Ninni Laaksonen, Summer Zervos, Juliet Huddy, Alva Johnson, and Cassandra Searles. (Here’s what the White House said:  “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”) And (b) I run the risk of making him more popular by revealing what he did…. The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights. I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. I am wearing a pair of sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels, which puts my height around six-one, and I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand — for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other — and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.” See also, E. Jean Carroll: ‘Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman,’ New York Magazine, Sarah Jones, Friday, 21 June 2019. See also, Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll accuses Trump of sexual assault, an allegation he denies, The Washington Post, Beth Reinhard and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 21 June 2019: “E. Jean Carroll, a New York-based writer and longtime women’s advice columnist, accused President Trump of sexually assaulting her more than two decades ago in a dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store, an episode detailed in a book excerpt published Friday in New York magazine. In an interview with The Washington Post on Friday afternoon, Carroll reiterated the allegations, saying that during a chance encounter with the then-real estate developer at Bergdorf Goodman in late 1995 or early 1996, Trump attacked her in a dressing room. She said he knocked her head against a wall, pulled down her tights and briefly penetrated her before she pushed him off and ran out.” See also, Trump compares himself to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in latest sexual assault allegation, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Beth Reinhard, and David Weigel, published on Saturday, 22 June 2019. See also, Trump Emphatically Denies Sexual Assault Allegation by E. Jean Carroll, The New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, published on Saturday, 22 June 2019: “President Trump again denied that he had sexually assaulted the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s, saying multiple times in extended comments to reporters on Saturday that he had ‘no idea’ who Ms. Carroll was. In a forthcoming book, Ms. Carroll alleges that Mr. Trump raped her in 1995 or 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. An excerpt from the book including the accusation was published on New York magazine’s website on Friday. Mr. Trump issued a statement on Friday denying the accusation and saying he had never met Ms. Carroll. A photograph accompanying the excerpt showed Mr. Trump and Ms. Carroll together at a 1987 party, along with Ivana Trump, who was then his wife, and John Johnson, a television news anchor who was then Ms. Carroll’s husband.” See also, E. Jean Carroll Accuses Trump of Sexual Assault in Her Memoir, The New York Times, Alexandra Alter, Friday, 21 June 2019. See also, Major newspapers largely leave new report of sexual assault by Trump off their front pages, Media Matters, Katie Sullivan, published on Saturday, 22 June 2019: “A new report of sexual assault committed by President Donald Trump has come to light, but several major newspapers didn’t find the story important enough to place on their front pages. On June 21, journalist and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll wrote in The Cut that 23 years ago, Trump assaulted her in a department store dressing room. According to Carroll, Trump ‘lunge[d] at me, pushe[d] me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and [put] his mouth against my lips.’ She wrote that he then pulled down her tights and assaulted her. Carroll told two close friends at the time, both of whom ‘still remember the incident clearly and confirmed their accounts to New York.’ The next day, several major newspapers failed to report the story on their front pages, even though it is horrific, detailed, and extremely similar to the accounts of numerous other women. It also echoes comments Trump has made in the past, saying in 2005, ‘I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.'”

Continue reading Week 127, Friday, 21 June – Thursday, 27 June 2019 (Days 883-889)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting migrant families are slated to start Sunday in major U.S. cities, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Friday, 21 June 2019: “President Trump has directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to conduct a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders, an operation that is likely to begin with predawn raids in major U.S. cities on Sunday, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans. The ‘family op,’ as it is referred to at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, is slated to target up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and other major immigration destinations, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the law enforcement operation.” See also, ICE Is Expected to Begin Operation on Sunday Targeting 2,000 Immigrant Family Members, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 21 June 2019: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to send agents into communities on Sunday morning to begin a coordinated operation deporting undocumented immigrant family members across the country, according to two Department of Homeland Security officials. The effort has been planned as a show of force to deter migration to the southwestern border, but immigration agents and experts have also described the planning and logistics for the operation as flawed.”

White House tells agencies they no longer have to weigh a project’s long-term climate impacts, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Friday, 21 June 2019: “The White House proposed Friday that federal agencies no longer have to take a project’s long-term climate impacts into account when assessing how they will affect the environment, reversing a major Obama administration policy. The draft guidance, issued by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, would change the way the U.S. government evaluates activities ranging from coal mining to gas pipelines and oil drilling by limiting the extent to which agencies can calculate their greenhouse gas emissions. In April 2016, CEQ finalized a directive that agencies quantify to what extent they will contribute to climate change, a move that threw approval of those projects into doubt. Now, according to the new directive, agencies conducting reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) only have to calculate an action’s greenhouse gas emissions when ‘a sufficiently close causal relationship exists’ between a project and greater carbon emissions. It also tells agencies they can opt not to assess a project’s climate impact if they decide it ‘would be overly speculative,’ and they can put any projected emissions in the context of the local, regional or national carbon output.”

Blue States Roll Out Aggressive Climate Strategies. Red States Keep to the Sidelines. The New York Times, Brad Plumer, Friday, 21 June 2019: “At a time when the country is already deeply fractured along partisan lines, individual states are starting to pursue vastly different policies on climate change with the potential to cement an economic and social divide for years to come. A growing number of blue states are adopting sweeping new climate laws — such as New York’s bill, passed this week, to zero out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — that aim to reorient their entire economies around clean energy, transforming the way people get their electricity, heat their homes and commute to work. But these laws are passing almost exclusively in states controlled by Democrats, while Republican-led states have largely resisted enacting aggressive new climate policies in recent years. At the same time, the Trump administration is rolling back federal climate regulations, which means many red states now face even less pressure to shift away from coal power or gas-guzzling vehicles.”

U.S. Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren calls for ban on private prisons, Reuters, Jarrett Renshaw, Friday, 21 June 2019: “U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for the elimination of privately run prisons and detention centers at the federal and state level, arguing they too often place profits above safety. The U.S. senator from Massachusetts also pledged to ban private contractors from charging inmates for routine services such as phone calls, bank transfers and healthcare, and to crack down on the practice of marking up prices for commissary items. ‘There should be no place in America for profiting off putting more people behind bars or in detention,’ Warren said in a statement.” See also, Elizabeth Warren Wants to Ban Private Prisons, The Intercept, Aida Chávez, Friday, 21 June 2019. See also, Elizabeth Warren says she would ban private prisons and detention facilities as president, CNN, Kate Sullivan, Friday, 21 June 2019.

Elizabeth Warren Condemns ICE’s ‘Cruel and Unnecessary’ Use of Solitary Confinement and Demands Answers, The Intercept, Maryam Saleh, Friday, 21 June 2019: “Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate, sent a letter on Friday to Immigration and Customs Enforcement demanding answers about the agency’s use of solitary confinement, which she described as a ‘cruel and unnecessary solution for detainees’ with special vulnerabilities. ‘I am concerned that ICE continues to overuse and misuse solitary confinement — where detainees are locked down for at least 22 hours a day — as a cruel and unnecessary solution for detainees who have mental or physical disabilities, are disabled, have been victims of sexual assault or torture, or otherwise may be especially vulnerable and in need of protection,’ Warren wrote in the six-page letter addressed to the acting director of ICE, Mark Morgan. Her letter follows an investigation into ICE’s use of solitary confinement published last month by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Intercept, along with five other news organizations in the United States and Latin America. Our reporting, which included a review of more than 8,400 reports describing placement in solitary confinement from 2012 to early 2017, found that ICE uses isolation as a go-to tool, rather than a last resort, to punish vulnerable detained immigrants.”

Supreme Court Rules That Excluding Black Jurors in Curtis Flowers Case Violated the Constitution, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 21 June 2019: “A white Mississippi prosecutor violated the Constitution by excluding black jurors from the sixth trial of Curtis Flowers, a black man who was convicted of murdering four people in 1996 in a furniture store, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, writing for a seven-justice majority, said the prosecutor, Doug Evans, had run afoul of the court’s 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky. ‘Equal justice under law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process,’ Justice Kavanaugh wrote. ‘Enforcing that constitutional principle, Batson ended the widespread practice in which prosecutors could (and often would) routinely strike all black prospective jurors in cases involving black defendants.'” See also, The Supreme Court tossed Curtis Flowers’s death-row conviction, ruling it was racially biased, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 21 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Friday reversed the most recent conviction of a Mississippi man who has been tried an extraordinary six times for a quadruple murder in 1996, finding that a white prosecutor once again had improperly kept African Americans off the jury. The decision was 7 to 2, with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh writing the majority opinion. He said the ruling dismissing the conviction and death sentence of Curtis Flowers, who is black, broke no new legal ground but reinforced the court’s prior rulings about how prosecutorial bias in jury selection violates the Constitution.”

Missouri rules against the state’s last abortion clinic, CNN, Jay Croft and Holly Yan, Friday, 21 June 2019: “Missouri moved closer Friday to becoming the first state without an abortion clinic when its health department rejected a license renewal for the St. Louis Planned Parenthood location. A judge had ordered the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to decide by Friday whether it would renew a license for Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. Judge Michael Stelzer relayed the health department’s decision Friday in court. Refusal of the license renewal is only for abortions and does not include other services that Planned Parenthood offers, said Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services. And, at least for now, the clinic may continue performing abortions, Stelzer added — until further court order. Should that change, Missouri could become the first state without an abortion clinic in almost 50 years.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Sides With Republican Lawmakers to Limit the Democratic Governor’s Power, NPR, Laurel White, Friday, 21 June 2019: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Republican state lawmakers and upheld laws limiting the power of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The state’s December 2018 lame-duck session of the legislature passed a number of laws curbing Evers’ power, including one that barred him from authorizing the state’s departure from a federal lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. Evers campaigned on leaving that lawsuit. Lawmakers also limited Evers’ ability to change existing state laws through executive action, including Wisconsin’s voter ID and right-to-work laws. The governor’s power to appoint board members to the state’s economic development agency, which is overseeing the state’s $4 billion tax incentives deal with tech giant Foxconn, was scaled back as well. The court ruled 4-3 in favor of the GOP on Friday, dismissing an argument that the session was called unconstitutionally.”

Joe Biden Defends His Remarks About Segregationist Senator James Eastland but Omits Some History, The New York Times, Linda Qiu and Thomas Kaplan, Friday, 21 June 2019: “In defending his comments about working with segregationists, Joe Biden cited his record on civil rights and his relationship with Ted Kennedy. But he didn’t address his opposition to busing.” See also, Joe Biden Has Not Changed. The Politics, Culture, and Mood of His Party Have. The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Friday, 21 June 2019.

Trump Nominates Mark Esper as Next Defense Secretary, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Friday, 21 June 2019: “President Trump nominated Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and former West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Friday to be the next defense secretary. If confirmed, Mr. Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for Raytheon, would succeed Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria. Mr. Esper is set to become acting defense secretary on Sunday, after the abrupt resignation of Patrick Shanahan, who was also nominated by Mr. Trump to the top Pentagon job. Mr. Shanahan withdrew on Tuesday amid news reports about his 2011 divorce.”

During interview, Trump threatens reporter from TIME magazine with prison time, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 21 June 2019: “President Trump, in an interview this week and on Twitter on Friday morning, again suggested criminal action against American journalists. During a sit-down interview with Time magazine, Trump showed the reporters a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. When a photographer tried to snap a photograph of the letter, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told him he couldn’t. Later in the interview, the subject turned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and a reporter asked about sworn testimony that Trump tried to limit the investigation to only ‘future election meddling.’ Rather than answer, Trump lashed out about the photographer’s attempt to take a shot of the letter from Kim, according to a transcript of the interview that Time released Thursday night. ‘Well, you can go to prison, instead, because if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you . . . ‘ Trump started. When the Time reporter interjected to continue his line of questioning, Trump went on, ‘confidentially, I didn’t give it to you to take photographs of it — so don’t play that game with me.'”


Saturday, 22 June 2019, Day 884:


Trump Says He’ll Delay Deportation Operation Aimed at Undocumented Families, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “President Trump on Saturday delayed plans for nationwide raids to deport undocumented families, but threatened to have Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents resume the raids in two weeks if Democrats do not submit to changes in asylum law they have long opposed. Immigration agents were planning to sweep into immigrant communities in 10 major cities on Sunday in coordinated raids. Officials said on Friday that they would target about 2,000 families in a show of force aimed at enforcing immigration laws. If the plans had gone forward, some immigrant children — many of whom are American citizens because they were born in the United States — would have faced the possibility of being forcibly separated from their families when ICE agents arrived to arrest and deport their undocumented parents.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomes Trump’s decision to put ICE raids on hold hours before they were to start, The Washington Post, Kayla Epstein, Nick Miroff, Seung Min Kim, and Maria Sacchetti, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “President Trump abruptly suspended his wide-ranging threat to deport ‘millions’ of undocumented immigrants starting Sunday, demanding that Democrats and Republicans forge a plan to stanch the record flows of asylum-seeking families across the southern border into the United States. Trump had announced the raids Monday in a surprise tweet that ignited a frenzy of fear in immigrant communities nationwide and drew criticism from law enforcement and elected officials in California, New York and other states. Then, in a move that has become a hallmark of his chaotic presidency, he reversed the plan in a tweet Saturday, mere hours before the raids were to begin.”

‘Stop Repeating History’: Plan to Keep Migrant Children at Former Internment Camp for Detainees of Japanese Descent at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Draws Outrage, The New York Times, Ben Fenwick, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “For Satsuki Ina, who was born in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, the news that the United States would detain undocumented migrant children at this Army base in Oklahoma felt like an unwelcome wallop from the past. The base, Fort Sill, Okla., once held 700 Japanese-Americans who lived in tents in desertlike heat, surrounded by barbed wire and guards. They were among the more than 100,000 residents of Japanese ancestry who were rounded up by the government during the war and placed in detention camps around the country. Ms. Ina and more than 200 demonstrators arrived at Fort Sill on Saturday to protest the government’s latest plan for the base: to house 1,400 undocumented children who arrived in the United States without a parent or a legal guardian. The protesters called the plan, which was announced this month, a return to one of the nation’s great shames…. It will not be the first time in recent history that the base will house migrants. The Obama administration held several thousand immigrant children at Fort Sill in 2014. Ms. Ina protested then, too. But the announcement this month came amid sharply escalating rhetoric over the country’s immigration policies, and as the country’s network of detention facilities struggles to keep up with an influx of new arrivals.” See also, Japanese internment camp survivors protest Fort Sill (Oklahoma) migrant detention center, Los Angeles Times, Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Saturday, 22 June 2019. See also, Geronimo and the Japanese were imprisoned there. Now Fort Sill (Oklahoma) will hold migrant children again, sparking protests. The Washington Post, Gillian Brockell, published on Sunday, 23 June 2019.

Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children, The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “Hundreds of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents or family members are being held in dirty, neglectful, and dangerous conditions at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. This week, a team of lawyers interviewed more than fifty children at one of those facilities, in Clint, Texas, in order to monitor government compliance with the Flores settlement, which mandates that children must be held in safe and sanitary conditions and moved out of Border Patrol custody without unnecessary delays. The conditions the lawyers found were shocking: flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated, and children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, and taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards. Some of them had been in the facility for weeks.”

U.S. Carried Out Cyberattacks on Iran, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “United States Cyber Command on Thursday conducted online attacks against an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe helped plan the attacks against oil tankers in recent weeks, according to people briefed on the operation. The intrusion occurred the same day President Trump called off a strike on Iranian targets like radar and missile batteries. But the online operation was allowed to go forward because it was intended to be below the threshold of armed conflict — using the same shadow tactics that Iran has deployed.” See also, Trump approved cyber-strikes against Iran’s missile systems, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “President Trump approved an offensive cyberstrike that disabled Iranian computer systems used to control rocket and missile launches, even as he backed away from a conventional military attack in response to its downing Thursday of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone, according to people familiar with the matter.”

I’m a Journalist, But I Didn’t Fully Realize the Terrible Power of U.S. Border Officials Until They Violated My Rights and Privacy, The Intercept, Seth Harp, Saturday, 22 June 2019: “In general, law enforcement agents have to get a warrant to search your electronic devices. That’s the gist of the 2014 Supreme Court case Riley v. California. But the Riley ruling only applies when the police arrest you. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether the same protections apply to American citizens reentering the United States from abroad, and federal appeals courts have issued contradictory opinions. In the absence of a controlling legal authority, CBP goes by its own rules, namely CBP Directive No. 3340-049A, pursuant to which CBP can search any person’s device, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. If you refuse to give up your password, CBP’s policy is to seize the device. The agency may use ‘external equipment’ to crack the passcode, ‘not merely to gain access to the device, but to review, copy, and/or analyze its contents,’ according to the directive. CBP can look for any kind of evidence, any kind of information, and can share what it finds with any other federal agency, so long as doing so is ‘consistent with applicable law and policy.'”


Sunday, 23 June 2019, Day 885:


Trump Shrugs Off the Killing of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Ally Saudi Arabia, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “President Trump on Sunday shrugged off the brutal dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, just days after a United Nations report described how a team of Saudi assassins called Mr. Khashoggi a ‘sacrificial animal’ before his murder. The U.N. report urged an F.B.I. investigation into the slaying. But in an interview with NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Mr. Trump said the episode had already been thoroughly investigated. He said the Middle East is ‘a vicious, hostile place’ and noted that Saudi Arabia is an important trading partner with the United States. ‘I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time, all money, all jobs, buying equipment…. I’m not like a fool that says, “We don’t want to do business with them.” And by the way, if they don’t do business with us, you know what they do? They’ll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese.'” See also, Trump brushes off calls to investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s death, The Washington Post, Kayla Epstein, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “Days after a U.N. expert called for further investigation of Saudi Arabian officials’ involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump declined to say whether he would hold the country’s leaders responsible and asserted that it was in the United States’ best interest to ‘take their money.’ In a Sunday interview on ‘Meet the Press,’ Trump revealed that he recently had ‘a great conversation’ with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he did not raise the issue of the U.N. report or Khashoggi’s killing in October.”

White House Is Pressing for Additional Options, Including Cyberattacks, to Deter Iran, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials. The goal is to develop operations similar to the cyberattacks conducted on Thursday and that echo the shadow war the United States has accused Tehran of carrying out with attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, according to American officials briefed on the effort. Iran maintains that it was not responsible for the attacks on the tankers.”

Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change, Politico, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change, defying a longstanding practice of touting such findings by the Agriculture Department’s acclaimed in-house scientists. The studies range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle. All of these studies were peer-reviewed by scientists and cleared through the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s leading sources of scientific information for farmers and consumers. None of the studies were focused on the causes of global warming – an often politically charged issue. Rather, the research examined the wide-ranging effects of rising carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures and volatile weather.”

‘Medicare for All’ vs. ‘Public Option’: The 2020 Democratic Field Is Split, Our Survey Shows, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough and Trip Gabriel, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “‘Medicare for all’ is the hottest idea in the Democratic presidential race for overhauling the nation’s health care system, and it is a phrase quite likely to be heard repeatedly at the first debates this week. But despite all the buzz, it turns out that the concept is dividing the 2020 field.” See also, How the Democratic Candidates Responded to a Health Care Policy Survey, The New York Times, Sunday, 23 June 2019.

Nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents leaked to ‘Axios on HBO’ identify a host of ‘red flags’ about officials who went on to get some of the most powerful jobs in the U.S. Government, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Juliet Bartz, Alayna Treene, and Orion Rummler, Sunday, 23 June 2019: “The massive trove, and the story behind it, sheds light on the slap-dash way President Trump filled his cabinet and administration, and foreshadowed future scandals that beset his government.”


Monday, 24 June 2019, Day 886:


Trump says E. Jean Carroll, the latest woman to accuse him of rape, is ‘totally lying’ and ‘not my type,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Monday, 24 June 2019: “President Trump on Monday said New York-based writer E. Jean Carroll was ‘totally lying’ when she accused him of sexually assaulting her more than two decades ago, adding that Carroll is ‘not my type. I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?’ Trump told the Hill newspaper in an interview. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night, Carroll responded: ‘I love that I’m not his type. Don’t you love that you’re not his type?’ She noted that Trump had previously criticized the appearance of a former Miss Universe, taking aim at her weight.” See also, Trump vehemently denies E. Jean Carroll allegation of rape and says ‘she’s not my type,’ The Hill, Jordan Fabian and Saagar Enjeti, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, ‘She’s Not My Type’: Accused Again of Sexual Assault, Trump Resorts to Old Insult, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Neil Vigdor, Monday, 24 June 2019: “President Trump on Monday again denied assaulting a columnist for Elle magazine in the dressing room of a high-end clothing store more than 20 years ago, countering her explosive accusation by asserting that he would not have assaulted her because ‘she’s not my type.’… Mr. Trump in the past has rejected other sexual assault accusations by asserting that the women who accused him of taking advantage of them were not attractive enough to engage in such behavior.” See also, Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times, Revisits How The Times Handled E. Jean Carroll’s Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump, The New York Times, Lara Takenaga, Monday, 24 June 2019: “After an article last week reported the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations against President Trump, some readers accused The Times of downplaying the story. Many have written to ask us why we didn’t give the allegations more attention on our website and in print. (The Times published an 800-word story on Friday evening, but did not promote the story on its home page until late Saturday morning and did not run a print story until Sunday.) Some questioned whether the lack of prominence showed too much deference to the president’s denials, or whether it even suggested misogyny or an unwillingness to believe a victim’s account. The Reader Center took the concerns to The Times’s top editors and sat down with Dean Baquet, the executive editor. He said the critics were right that The Times had underplayed the article, though he said it had not been because of deference to the president. He pointed out that The Times had written some of the earliest stories about Mr. Trump’s alleged abuse of women, and that its coverage of Harvey Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement, but in this case, he said, ‘We were overly cautious.’… The fact that a well-known person was making a very public allegation against a sitting president ‘should’ve compelled us to play it bigger.'” See also, ‘We were overly cautious’: New York Times admits mistake on rape allegation against Trump by E. Jean Carroll, The New York Times, Erik Wemple, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, E. Jean Carroll’s Trump rape claim did not get enough coverage, Columbia Journalism Review, Jon Allsop, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, America must listen to E. Jean Carroll. It’s clear Trump won’t. The Washington Post, Editorial Board, published on Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “PRESIDENT TRUMP, following the latest of more than a dozen allegations of sexual assault against him, did not say that he would never touch a woman without her consent. He said, instead, ‘She’s not my type.’ The crudeness and cruelty of this response to a woman’s recounting of trauma are not surprising. Mr. Trump has said similar things before. But neither the president’s callousness nor advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s accusation in New York magazine that he attacked her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago can be met with a shrug…. Just as we cannot ignore the disdain for the truth and the law that defines this administration simply because we have grown to expect it, we cannot ignore an allegation of sexual assault against the president simply because others have come before it. The United States still has to function with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, but greeting the grossest abuses as routine veers too close to treating them as acceptable. At the least, the country must do for Ms. Carroll what the president will not: Listen to her.”

Hundreds of Migrant Children Are Moved Out of an Overcrowded Border Station in Clint, Texas, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Monday, 24 June 2019: “Hundreds of migrant children have been transferred out of a filthy Border Patrol station in Texas where they had been detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food, the authorities confirmed on Monday, suggesting that worsening conditions and overcrowding inside federal border facilities may have reached a breaking point. The move came days after a group of lawyers was given access to the station in Clint, Tex., about 20 miles southeast of El Paso, and said they saw children as young as 8 caring for infants, toddlers with no diapers, and children who said they were waking up at night because they were hungry. Though the station had held a relatively small population of migrants, compared to the tens of thousands who have been crossing the border each month, the lawyers’ accounts offered a rare view into a system that has largely been hidden from public view. Other examples of facilities with poor conditions have trickled out in recent months through reports published by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, as well as from other lawyers who have occasionally been allowed in. Access to the facilities has been largely restricted, however, even as federal authorities have declared that the number of migrants on the border has escalated beyond their ability to safely handle.” See also, US government moves migrant children after Associated Press exposes bad treatment, Associated Press, Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The U.S. government has removed most children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas near the border with Mexico following reports that more than 300 children were detained there and caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. Only about 30 children remained at the station outside El Paso on Monday, Rep. Veronica Escobar said after her office was briefed on the situation by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official. Most of the infants, toddlers and teens who were held at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, were scheduled to be transferred by Tuesday to shelters and other facilities run by a separate federal agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement said.” See also, This is the reality of Trump’s America, The Washington Post, Eugene Robinson, Monday, 24 June 2019: “President Trump’s immigration policy has crossed the line from gratuitous cruelty to flat-out sadism. Perhaps he enjoys seeing innocent children warehoused in filth and squalor. Perhaps he thinks that’s what America is all about. Is he right, Trump supporters? Is he right, Republicans in Congress? Is this what you want? A team of lawyers, tasked with monitoring the administration’s compliance with a consent decree on the treatment of migrant children, managed to gain access to a Customs and Border Protection detention center in Clint, Tex., last week. The lawyers were not allowed to tour the facility but were able to interview more than 50 of the estimated 350 children being held there…. Trump and Vice President Pence responded with lies (blaming the Obama administration), deflection (blaming Democrats in Congress) and lots of oleaginous faux concern. But this is a humanitarian crisis of Trump’s making. A president who panders to his base by seizing billions of dollars from other programs to build a ‘big, beautiful wall’ also panders to his base by cruelly treating brown-skinned migrant children like subhumans. Do not look away. This is the reality of Trump’s America. Deal with it.” See also, Democrats are developing their own answers to Trump’s border cruelties, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, ‘Somebody Is Going to Die’: Lawyer Warren Binford Describes Chaos, Illness & Danger at Migrant Child Jail in Clint, Texas, Democracy Now!, Monday, 24 June 2019: “Outrage is mounting over a shocking Associated Press report published late last week revealing that at least 250 migrant infants, children and teenagers have been locked up for nearly a month without adequate food, water or sanitation at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, near the city of El Paso. Lawyers who visited the facility described a scene of chaos and sickness, with children unable to shower or change into clean clothes for weeks on end. The AP report came the same week that the Trump administration argued in federal court that the government is not required to provide toothbrushes, soap or beds to children detained at the border, and as other reports found similarly squalid conditions at a number of immigration jails.” See also, Doctor compares conditions for unaccompanied children at immigrant holding centers to ‘torture facilities,’ ABC News, Serena Marshall, Lana Zak, and Jennifer Metz, published on Sunday, 23 June 2019: “From sleeping on concrete floors with the lights on 24 hours a day to no access to soap or basic hygiene, migrant children in at least two U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities face conditions one doctor described as comparable to ‘torture facilities.’ The disturbing, first-hand account of the conditions were observed by lawyers and a board-certified physician in visits last week to border patrol holding facilities in Clint, Texas, and McAllen, a city in the southern part of the state. The descriptions paint a bleak image of horrific conditions for children, the youngest of whom is 2 1/2 months old. ‘The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,’ the physician, Dolly Lucio Sevier, wrote in a medical declaration obtained exclusively by ABC News. Lucio Sevier, who works in private practice in the area, was granted access to the Ursula facility in McAllen, which is the largest CBP detention center in the country, after lawyers found out about a flu outbreak there that sent five infants to the neonatal intensive care unit.” See also, Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at the Border. Here’s How You Can Help. The New York Times, Editorial Board, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The United States needs an immigration policy that combines border security, justice and humanity. No one with a conscience can look at the photo of an asylum seeker and his 23-month-old daughter lying dead on the bank of the Rio Grande and accept the status quo. That single tragedy, reminiscent of the photo of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015, has the power to clarify a vast, long-running problem that has already claimed many lives. What it should also do is prompt urgent action from the country’s elected representatives to compromise over their many differences and resolve a stalemate that is no longer tolerable.”

Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Adding to Tensions, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Monday, 24 June 2019: “President Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation’s leaders and further squeezing the Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran. The move came on top of actions taken by the administration this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy. The new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries. But the Iranian officials most likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions, and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal.” See also, Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran and warns U.S. ‘restraint’ is limited, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Anne Gearan, and Erin Cunningham, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, Trump Imposes Sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader and Others, The Wall Street Journal, Ian Talley and Rebecca Ballhaus, Monday 24 June 2019.

Medical groups warn climate change is a ‘health emergency,’ Associated Press, Elana Schor, Monday, 24 June 2019: “As Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for their first 2020 primary debate this week, 74 medical and public health groups aligned on Monday to push for a series of consensus commitments to combat climate change, bluntly defined by the organizations as ‘a health emergency.’ The new climate change agenda released by the groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, comes amid early jostling among Democratic candidates over whose environmental platform is more progressive. The health organizations’ policy recommendations, while a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s approach, represent a back-to-basics approach for an internal Democratic climate debate that has so far revolved around the liberal precepts of the Green New Deal.”

Jay Inslee Just Proposed the Most Ambitious Climate Plan From a Presidential Candidate. Here’s Who It Targets. The Intercept, Kate Aronoff, Monday, 24 June 2019: “Jay Inslee, a 2020 presidential hopeful, released an expansive plan on Monday that attempts to capture and rein in the full range of what’s propping up the fossil-fuel economy, from big banks, to lax drilling laws, to federal subsidies. The Washington governor is the first candidate to call — and plan explicitly — for phasing out fossil fuel production writ large in the United States, through both legislative and executive actions to ban fracking and to prohibit fossil fuel leases on public lands, among other sweeping changes. The plan also explores possibilities for restricting drilling on nonpublic lands, such as instituting mandatory buffers between drilling operations and populated areas like schools, homes, and hospitals.”

Audley ‘Queen Mother’ Moore, the black woman who launched the modern fight for reparations, The Washington Post, Ashley D. Farmer, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The reparations hearings in the House of Representatives last week turned contentious as experts such as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates traded barbs with politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill at the heart of the hearings, H.R. 40, first introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. in 1989, would create a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations for descendants of slaves. While Conyers should be lauded for his original efforts to introduce this legislation, this month’s hearings would not be possible without Audley ‘Queen Mother’ Moore, the founder of the modern reparations movement. Indeed, black women have been at the center of the push for reparations for more than a century. Excluding them from the reparations debate blinds us to the multifaceted modern movement. It also runs the risk of omitting some of the most generative and inventive reparations proposals developed to date.”

Supreme Court Ruling Makes FOIA Requests More Difficult for Journalists, Democracy Now!, Monday, 24 June 2019: “On Monday, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for journalists to access commercial information under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The case involves a South Dakota newspaper which was refused documents by the U.S. Agriculture Department related to grocery stores participating in the food stamp program. The publication, the Argus Leader, was investigating fraud in the federally funded program. The justices ruled 6 to 3 against the newspaper, with Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Breyer dissenting. The Committee to Protect Journalists said of the ruling, ‘In order to hold institutions to account, journalists often need to petition the government to make documents public. Today’s ruling will undermine the ability of reporters to access the information they need to do their jobs and is a blow to the transparency of the United States government.'” See also, Supreme Court strikes down violent criminal provision and rules against newspaper seeking food stamps data, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Robert Barnes, Monday, 24 June 2019. See also, Supreme Court creates new limits to Freedom of Information (FOIA) disclosure, CNN, Ariane de Vogue and Steve Vladeck, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a setback to Freedom of Information Act advocates, ruling that the term ‘confidential’ can be interpreted broadly to allow the government to withhold from disclosure under FOIA private businesses’ financial or commercial data in the government’s possession, even if the disclosure of that information would not cause any harm to the businesses.”

Missouri’s last abortion clinic is running out of time after judge’s latest ruling, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The only remaining abortion clinic in Missouri is taking its fight to stay open to a state appeals panel. Three days after the Missouri Health Department denied the St. Louis Planned Parenthood’s application for a permit to perform abortions, a judge ruled Monday that the clinic must take its case to the Administrative Hearing Commission. The independent state agency considers appeals and other petitions from the public and private sectors and is made up of four commissioners — one of whom could soon decide whether Missouri becomes the first state in more than 40 years without access to abortion.”

Inspector general to probe Trump administration’s handling of Harriet Tubman on $20 bill, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Monday, 24 June 2019: “A watchdog in the Treasury Department will probe the Trump administration’s handling of Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill, according to a letter released by a Democratic lawmaker on Monday. The Treasury Inspector General’s Office will incorporate questions surrounding the timing of the release of the abolitionist’s image on the $20 into an audit ‘that is about to get underway,’ said a letter from the office, which was sent to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in response to his requests. Democrats like Schumer have requested an investigation after the New York Times reported earlier this month that the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delayed Tubman’s appearance on the $20 bill until after the president leaves office. President Trump has publicly lamented the idea of replacing Andrew Jackson, the $20′s current occupant.” See also, Treasury’s Inspector General to Review Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Delay, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The Treasury Department’s internal watchdog has agreed to look into why designs of a new $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will not be unveiled next year. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, last week asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to open an investigation following Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s announcement at a May Congressional hearing that designs of the new $20 would be unveiled in 2026 instead of 2020 — the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.”

Bernie Sanders Unveils Education Plan to Eliminate Student Loan Debt, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Monday, 24 June 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders, along with prominent House Democratic progressives, introduced legislation on Monday to eliminate all of the country’s student debt while transforming the nation’s higher education system, escalating the policy battle to win the support of the Democratic Party’s left flank. The plan, which Mr. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, introduced with Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, both Democrats, would forgive the student debts of nearly 45 million graduates — worth about $1.6 trillion — and eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year institutions and community colleges. It would cap student loan interest rates; expand Pell grants by allowing them to cover books, housing and transportation; and cancel tuition at trade schools and apprenticeship programs. It would also channel more funding to historically black universities, tribal colleges and other minority institutions. To pay its estimated $2.2 trillion cost, its authors would impose a ‘Wall Street speculation tax’ on financial investment transactions. Mr. Sanders said that all debt could be eliminated within six months under his plan.” See also, Bernie Sanders proposes canceling entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, escalating Democratic policy battle, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Monday, 24 June 2019: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed on Monday eliminating all $1.6 trillion of student debt held in the United States, a significant escalation of the policy fight in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary two days before the candidates’ first debate in Miami. Sanders is proposing the federal government pay to wipe clean the student debt held by 45 million Americans — including all private and graduate school debt — as part of a package that also would make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free. Sanders proposes to pay for these plans with a tax on Wall Street that his campaign says will raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years, although some tax experts give lower revenue estimates.” See also, Bernie Sanders unveils plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt, CNN, Ryan Nobles and Gregory Krieg, Monday, 24 June 2019.

White House officials have refused to tell House Democrats what happened to the Trump-Putin translator notes, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Monday, 24 June 2019: “White House officials have refused to tell House Democrats what happened to a series of interpreter notes transcribed during President Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — notes the president seized personally to keep them from view. The House Oversight Committee in a Monday morning letter to the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, doubled down on its request for answers about whether Trump destroyed or in any way altered the interpreter notes, which Democrats argue are federal records that must be preserved under record-keeping laws.”

White House Directs Kellyanne Conway Not to Testify Before House Oversight and Reform Committee, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Monday, 24 June 2019: “The White House is directing Kellyanne Conway, the president’s counselor, to reject a request to testify before a House committee about her repeated violations of a federal ethics law that bars government officials from engaging in political activities at work, further escalating a standoff between Congress and the Trump administration over oversight requests. In a letter sent on Monday night to Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, cited ‘longstanding precedent’ in declining the invitation for Ms. Conway to appear before the committee…. The Oversight Committee is now preparing to subpoena Ms. Conway and will move to hold her in contempt if she does not comply, Mr. Cummings said. ‘We cannot have people disobeying the law. The president is not above the law, and nor is Ms. Conway above the law,’ Mr. Cummings said. ‘There are many, many federal employees who are obedient with regard to the Hatch Act.'” See also, White House moves to bar counselor Kellyanne Conway from testifying to Congress about alleged violations of Hatch Act, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Rachael Bade, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 24 June 2019.


Tuesday, 25 June 2019, Day 887:


‘We’re in a Dark Place’: Children Returned to Troubled Border Facility in Clint, Texas, The New York Times, Arturo Rubio and Caitlin Dickerson, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “At the squat, sand-colored concrete border station in Texas that has become the center of debate over President Trump’s immigration policies, a chaotic shuffle of migrant children continued on Tuesday as more than 100 were moved back into a facility that days earlier had been emptied in the midst of criticism that young detainees there were hungry, crying and unwashed. The transfer came just days after 249 children originally housed at the station in Clint, Tex., had been moved to other facilities to relieve overcrowding. The continuing movement of children and confusion over housing of the Border Patrol’s youngest detainees pointed to an increasingly disorganized situation along the southern border and an agency struggling to maintain minimal humanitarian standards amid an unprecedented influx of migrant families.” See also, U.S. returns 100 migrant children to overcrowded border facility in Clint, Texas, as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says it is out of space, The Washington Post, Abigail Hauslohner, Tuesday, 25 June 2019.  See also, Migrant children are suffering at the border. But reporters are kept away from the story. The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Overcrowded facilities. Sick, filthy and hungry children sleeping on concrete floors. Young children taking care of infants and toddlers in the enforced absence of their parents. News stories emerged last week about squalid conditions at a Border Patrol detention facility housing about 300 migrant children on the U.S.-Mexico border. The media accounts described the facility in Clint, Tex., near El Paso, that houses children separated from their parents by order of the Trump administration. Apart from their appalling specifics, the stories were notable for one element: They were all based on secondhand accounts. Reporters were unable to see the facilities themselves or speak to any of the children. Instead, they relied on descriptions provided by lawyers and advocates who were granted access under a legal settlement with the Border Patrol.” See also, 100 children moved back to controversial Clint, Texas, border facility, CNN, Priscilla Alvarea and Nick Valencia, Tuesday, 25 June 2019. See also, ‘Children Were Dirty, They Were Scared, and They Were Hungry,’ The Atlantic, Lizzie O’Leary, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Over the past week, reports have emerged of hundreds of migrant children being held in unbelievably harsh conditions at government facilities on and near the southern U.S. border. The stories have shocked many Americans, and led to deep division on the part of House Democrats over how to fund an emergency humanitarian-aid package. To understand more about this crisis, I called Elora Mukherjee, a professor at Columbia Law School and the director of the school’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. She has been working on issues related to the Flores settlement, an agreement that outlines how the U.S. government must care for unaccompanied migrant children, since 2007. Mukherjee has represented and interviewed multiple children and families. She was at the Clint holding facility in Texas last week, along with a group of lawyers and doctors, to interview the children held there. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity…. Elora Mukherjee: I have been representing and interviewing immigrant children and their families in detention…. Last week I was in Clint, and the conditions we found were appalling. In 12 years representing immigrant children in detention, I have never seen such degradation and inhumanity. Children were dirty, they were scared, and they were hungry…. When I interview children in detention, I try to sit near them so that we can have a better conversation about very traumatic, sensitive, difficult topics. Usually that leaves the children crying. At Clint, I found that hard to do because there was a stench emanating from some of the children. It was filthy and disgusting and there was, as of last week, a flu epidemic at Clint and a lice infestation. And children do not have the ability to wash their hands with soap at Clint.”

Wayfair Workers Are Planning a Walkout to Protest the Company’s Sale of Furniture to Immigrant Detention Facilities, BuzzFeed News, Leticia Miranda, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “A group of Wayfair employees are organizing a companywide walkout Wednesday to protest the company’s business with the government agency and its contractors housing children seeking asylum in the US, according to people familiar with the situation inside Wayfair. The walkout comes after employees discovered that Wayfair fulfilled an order for $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture for a detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that is designed to hold up to 3,000 immigrant children, a Wayfair employee who has access to the contract told BuzzFeed News. Wayfair previously sold furniture to outfit a Tornillo, Texas, detention facility housing children seeking asylum in September 2018, the employee said. BuzzFeed News has reached out to Wayfair about these claims and requested comment.”

Trump Threatens ‘Obliteration’ of Iran, as Sanctions Dispute Escalates, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Isabel Kershner, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “President Trump warned on Tuesday that any attack Iran might carry out “on anything American” would result in the ‘obliteration’ of parts of Iran, responding angrily to comments by President Hassan Rouhani that the White House was ‘mentally handicapped.'” See also, Trump warns Iran of ‘overwhelming force’ in the event of an attack on ‘anything American,’ The Washington Post, Erin Cunningham and Ruth Eglash, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday warned Iran that any attack on ‘anything American’ would be met with ‘great and overwhelming force’ after Iranian officials slammed new U.S. sanctions as permanently closing the path to diplomacy amid a spike in tensions in the Persian Gulf.”

Former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify to Congress in open session about his investigation, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify to Congress in public session next month about his investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, a reluctant witness long sought by House Democrats. The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, in a late-night announcement Tuesday, said that ‘pursuant to a subpoena’ Mueller has agreed to appear before both panels on July 17. Mueller, who oversaw the 22-month investigation, is perhaps the one individual that lawmakers and the nation have been wanting to hear from the most.” See also, Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees, Setting Up a Political Spectacle, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month about his investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, House Democrats announced on Tuesday night. Coming nearly three months after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report, two back-to-back hearings on July 17 before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees promise to be among the most closely watched spectacles of Mr. Trump’s presidency. They have the power to potentially reshape the political landscape around his re-election campaign and a possible impeachment inquiry by the Democrat-controlled House.”

Reopened Legal Challenge to Census Citizenship Question Throws Case Into Chaos, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “The battle over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census was thrown into turmoil on Tuesday, just as the Supreme Court was expected to issue a ruling on the dispute this week. By allowing a district judge to reopen a case related to the origin of the question, a federal appeals court raised the prospect that the federal government might be unable to meet a deadline for completing census questionnaires that include it, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling.” See also, As Supreme Court decision nears, lower court orders new look at census citizenship question, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Felicia Sonmez, and Tara Bahrampour, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “A federal appeals court said Tuesday that a Maryland judge should examine new allegations that the Trump administration had a discriminatory intent in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, on the eve of a possible Supreme Court decision on the matter. The order was part of last-minute wrangling in the lower courts, in the Supreme Court and on Capitol Hill as the justices are set to vote on the issue before the end of their term, presumably this week. The Supreme Court is considering lower-court decisions that said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated administrative law and the enumeration clause of the Constitution by proposing to ask the citizenship question of each household. Critics, even in the Census Bureau, say the question could cause an undercount of millions of people who would be afraid to return the form. The Maryland case would pose different questions: whether the addition would violate equal-protection guarantees and whether it is part of a conspiracy to drive down the count of minorities.” See also, The Testimony of a Commerce Department Official Adds to Rancor Around Census Citizenship Question, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Michael Wines, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “A Commerce Department official considering whether the 2020 census should include a citizenship question told congressional aides that he consulted with a professor who argued that the addition was necessary to exclude undocumented immigrants from a redistricting of House seats, testimony released on Tuesday shows. The testimony by James Uthmeier, the department’s counsel, to aides on the House Oversight and Reform Committee has drawn the ire of Democrats, who have accused the Trump administration of trying to skew census results to the Republican Party’s benefit.”

Sunrise Movement Rallies Outside Democratic National Committee Headquarters Over Climate Change Debate Failure, The Intercept, Aida Chávez, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “About 100 young activists with the Sunrise Movement rallied outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Tuesday, demanding the party to reverse its ban on holding a climate change debate among the 2020 presidential candidates. Activists have been calling for a full presidential debate dedicated to climate change as the issue has become a top priority for voters, pushing candidates to develop and release detailed policy proposals in the process. In addition to the protest in Washington, D.C., they’re calling on supporters to sign a petition demanding a climate debate.”

Latest sexual assault allegation against Trump draws muted political reaction, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Emily Davies, and Hailey Fuchs, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “The news that another woman had accused President Trump of sexual assault landed with barely a political whimper. When the allegation by magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll emerged Friday afternoon, there was little response from Capitol Hill, as senators were gone for the weekend and members of the House were rushing through votes so they could leave town. On the presidential campaign trail, Democratic candidates did not raise the topic as they spent the weekend wooing voters in South Carolina and preparing for the first debates. The muted reaction to the claim by Carroll, who said Trump attacked her in a dressing room more than two decades ago, reflected a sense among resigned Democrats that the president will never face serious political damage from accusations of sexual misconduct, which 16 women have now made.”

‘A Constant Game of Musical Chairs’ Amid Another Homeland Security Shake-Up, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Turmoil intensified on Tuesday inside the agency responsible for securing the country’s borders as a top official was replaced by an immigration hard-liner and former Fox News contributor who last week pushed for nationwide raids to deport undocumented families. That hard-liner, Mark Morgan, will take over as the head of Customs and Border Protection, administration officials said Tuesday…. The White House directed Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, to replace Mr. Sanders with Mr. Morgan after multiple White House officials expressed displeasure that Mr. Sanders was not being aggressive enough at the southwestern border, administration officials said. Mr. McAleenan complied, hoping to diminish friction with the White House, officials said…. In 2017, shortly after he took office, Mr. Trump forced out Mr. Morgan as Border Patrol chief. But Mr. Morgan won the approval of the White House after backing the president’s aggressive policies on television. In one appearance on Fox News, Mr. Morgan said that when he looked into the eyes of detained migrant children, he saw a ‘soon-to-be MS-13 gang member.'” See also, Mark Morgan to replace John Sanders as border chief as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shake-up continues, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 25 June 2019.

Judge Rejects Government’s Request to Halt Emoluments Suit Against Trump, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “A federal judge refused on Tuesday to halt a lawsuit by congressional Democrats alleging that President Trump has illegally profited from his business while in office, and ordered evidence gathering to begin on Friday. The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Many legal experts predict that the extraordinary contest over whether Mr. Trump has violated the so-called emoluments clauses of the Constitution will eventually reach the Supreme Court.” See also, Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit against President Trump can proceed, federal judge rules, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Jonathan O’Connell, and Carol D. Leonnig, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Rejecting a request from President Trump, a federal judge in Washington on Tuesday cleared the way for nearly 200 Democrats in Congress to continue their lawsuit against him alleging that his private business violates an anti-corruption provision of the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan declined to put the case on hold and said lawmakers could begin this week seeking financial information, interviews and other records from the Trump Organization.”

A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President. The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi and Steve Eder, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “In the waning months of the Obama administration, a Chilean conglomerate was losing a fight with the United States government over a copper mine that it wanted to build near a pristine wilderness area in Minnesota. The election of President Trump, with his business-friendly bent, turned out to be a game-changer for the project.”

Elizabeth Warren’s Latest Plan: Expanding Voting Access, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday released a far-reaching plan that would create new standards for how federal elections are carried out across the country, part of an effort to protect voting rights and make it easier for Americans to vote…. As part of her proposal, intended to expand voting access and strengthen election security, Ms. Warren would create a new federal agency, the Secure Democracy Administration. She would replace every voting machine across the country with modern equipment and would require the use of a uniform federal ballot. She would also impose uniform standards on election rules, requiring all states to have automatic voter registration and same-day registration, early voting and voting by mail.” See also, Elizabeth Warren unveils far-reaching plan to overhaul elections, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “A day before Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes center stage in the first Democratic presidential debate, she unveiled a $20 billion plan to federalize national elections, notably by buying new voting machines for the entire country, standardizing ballots and making Election Day a holiday.”

House passes $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill with provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “The House passed a $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill Tuesday, one containing provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody that Democratic leaders added amid widespread anger in their ranks over President Trump’s handling of the crisis. The 230-to-195 vote, largely along party lines, followed a flurry of last-minute negotiations among Democrats who said they have been horrified by reports of poor conditions at overcrowded U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities where unaccompanied children have been kept. The bill’s passage sets up a high-stakes negotiation with Trump and Senate Republicans to deliver aid days before a looming deadline.”

Sarah Fabian on Toothbrushes for Migrant Children: ‘Lots of People May Well Hate Me,’ The New York Times, Manny Fernandez, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “She has received death threats. On Twitter, someone posted her work phone number, and someone else announced that her ‘room in hell is ready. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate, said she ‘needs to be fired and prevented from ever holding another government job.’ Her name is Sarah B. Fabian. She is a Justice Department lawyer who has been a somewhat anonymous foot soldier in the Trump administration’s legal battles over immigration. Until last week, that is, when a courtroom video went viral of Ms. Fabian suggesting that the federal government may not be required to provide soap, toothbrushes or beds for detained migrant children.”

80 House Democrats want to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Amber Phillips, and Kevin Schaul, updated on Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Calls for the impeachment of President Trump are growing louder. After the release of the Mueller report, 80 House Democrats say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry into whether the president committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ That includes 15 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.”

Trump Names Stephanie Grisham, Aide to First Lady, as Sarah Sanders’s Successor, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, will replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary, continuing the ascent of a former campaign aide who established herself as a loyal and at times combative defender of the Trump family. Ms. Grisham will also take on the added role of communications director, a job that has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine in March, and will keep her role in the East Wing.” See also, Stephanie Grisham, first lady’s communications director to succeed Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Tuesday, 25 June 2019. See also, Stephanie Grisham, New White House Press Secretary, Has Already Been Caught Lying, The Intercept, Robert Mackey, Tuesday, 25 June 2019.

‘Lock the S.O.B.s Up’: Joe Biden and the Era of Mass Incarceration, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Astead W. Herndon, Tuesday, 25 June 2019: “In September 1994, as President Bill Clinton signed the new Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in an elaborately choreographed ceremony on the south lawn of the White House, Joseph R. Biden Jr. sat directly behind the president’s lectern, flashing his trademark grin. For Mr. Clinton, the law was an immediate follow-through on his campaign promise to focus more federal attention on crime prevention. But for Mr. Biden, the moment was the culmination of his decades-long effort to more closely marry the Democratic Party and law enforcement, and to transform the country’s criminal justice system in the process. He had won.”


Wednesday, 26 June 2019, Day 888:


A grim border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants, Associated Press, Peter Orsi and Amy Guthrie, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments. The searing photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.” See also, The father and daughter who drowned at the border dove into the river in desperation, The Washington Post, Alex Horton and Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “Valeria is much shorter than her father. But face down in a muddy Rio Grande riverbank, her head is level with his, and her thin arm wraps around his neck as if they embraced one last time as they drowned. Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month old daughter, both Salvadoran migrants, were swept away in the river waters in a last-ditch attempt to reach Brownsville, Tex., on Monday. A photo of their bodies among matted reeds was published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada and later by the Associated Press, shocking the world in a viscerally clear moment of desperation and reminiscent of a photograph showing a 3-year-old Syrian boy who lay drowned on a calm Mediterranean shore.” See also, Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at the Border. Here’s How You Can Help. The New York Times, Editorial Board, published on Monday, 24 June 2019: “This editorial has been updated to reflect news developments. The United States needs an immigration policy that combines border security, justice and humanity. No one with a conscience can look at the photo of an asylum seeker and his 23-month-old daughter lying dead on the bank of the Rio Grande and accept the status quo. That single tragedy, reminiscent of the photo of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015, has the power to clarify a vast, long-running problem that has already claimed many lives. What it should also do is prompt urgent action from the country’s elected representatives to compromise over their many differences and resolve a stalemate that is no longer tolerable. President Trump has made agreeing on an approach to immigration in the United States more difficult. He has done so by systematically creating a false narrative of immigrants as job-stealing criminals, by insisting that there is a crisis of illegal immigration where there is none and, most maliciously, by dreaming up schemes to torment these people in the perverse notion that this will deter others from trying to reach the United States. The most appalling of these has been the separation of children from their parents and detaining them in conditions no child anywhere should suffer, and certainly not children in the care of the American government.” See also, Photo of Migrants Shocks, but Congress Stalls on Border Aid, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: ”

U. S. asylum officers say Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is threatening migrants’ lives and ask federal court to end it, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “U.S. asylum officers slammed President Trump’s policy of forcing migrants to remain in Mexico while they await immigration hearings in the United States, urging a federal appeals court Wednesday to block the administration from continuing the program. The officers, who are directed to implement the policy, said it is threatening migrants’ lives and is ‘fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our Nation.’ The labor union representing asylum officers filed a friend-of-the-court brief that sided with the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which has sent 12,000 asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico since January. The policy aims to deter migrants from coming to the United States and to keep them out of the country while courts weigh their claims.”

Democrats Diverge on Economy and Immigration in First Debate, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “Democratic presidential candidates leveled a stark critique of President Trump’s immigration policies and the condition of the American working class in the first primary debate on Wednesday, but split in unmistakable terms over just how aggressively the next president should seek to transform the country along more liberal lines. The strength of the party’s progressive wing was on vivid display in South Florida, starting in the first minutes of the debate when Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts branded the federal government as thoroughly corrupt. Ms. Warren, the highest-polling candidate onstage, called for the government to bring to heel oil companies and pharmaceutical companies, and embraced the replacement of private health insurance with single-payer care.” See also, 7 big takeaways from the first Democratic debate, Politico, David Siders and Natasha Korecki, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, Full Transcript: Night 1 of the Democratic Presidential Debates, The New York Times, Wednesday, 26 June 2019. See also, Transcript: Night one of the first Democratic debate, annotated, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips and Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “A slate of 10 Democrats vying to become their party’s nominee for president faced one another on Wednesday in Miami, the first of two nights of debate among the 2020 candidates.”

Bill Wehrum, the Environmental Protection Agency’s top air policy official, steps down amid scrutiny over possible ethics violations, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “Bill Wehrum, a top Environmental Protection Agency official who helped reverse Obama-era rules aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, is stepping down amid scrutiny over possible violations of federal ethics rules. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s announcement Wednesday did not cite a specific reason for the departure of Wehrum, who as an attorney represented power companies seeking to scale back several air pollution rules before joining the Trump administration.”

Canada Signals a Willingness to Challenge Trump on His Clean-Car Rollback, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “Canada has signaled a willingness to buck one of President Trump’s most significant environmental rollbacks —a major weakening of auto pollution standards — by signing a clean-car deal with California, the state leading the fight against the rollback. Wednesday’s agreement, which pledges to advance the use of clean and electric cars, lacks binding specifics. Nevertheless, Canada’s decision to publicly align itself with California and its climate-change policies inserts the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into a high-profile battle being waged over Mr. Trump’s weakening of rules designed to combat climate change. ‘Working with California is a way to move forward and share best practices and align our standards,’ said Catherine McKenna, the Canadian environment minister, on a telephone call with reporters. ‘California has been an inspiration when it comes to clean fuel standards. That is where the world is going.’ Traditionally, Canada has aligned its auto emissions standards with federal rules in the United States. However, several analysts said they saw Wednesday’s announcement as a clear step toward a more concrete shift in which Canada could potentially switch to the environmentally stricter standards of California and other states.”

Timeline of Deceit: From Trump’s Draft to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Cover Story for the Firing of James Comey as FBI Director, The New York Review of Books, Murray Waas, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “In a confidential draft of a letter that President Trump wrote, firing James Comey as FBI director, the president repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s covert interference in the 2016 presidential election. That the FBI’s inquiry was the president’s main complaint in the original four-page May 2017 draft provides new and previously unreported evidence that Trump’s primary motivation in firing Comey may have been to impede the Russia investigation, a potential obstruction of justice. Although the existence of the draft was first disclosed by The New York Times in the fall of 2017, and it was discussed at some length in the Mueller Report, the text of the letter itself has remained secret; also previously undisclosed is the fact that President Trump so directly linked the firing of Comey to the FBI’s Russia investigation. In the letter, President Trump railed against the Russia investigation as ‘fabricated and politically motivated.’ He complained about then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement in the investigation, claiming bias since McCabe’s wife had run for state office as a Democrat. The letter also expressed frustration that Comey had refused to issue a public statement saying the president was not under investigation. In part because of these things, the draft letter said, morale was at an all-time low at the FBI.”

As former special counsel Robert Mueller reluctantly agrees to testify, Trump goes on the attack, and Democrats hope for the best, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Matt Zapotosky, and Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “Robert S. Mueller III will head to Capitol Hill next month reluctantly, knowing he will be thrust instantly into the teeth of a partisan storm. Democrats will press the former special counsel to tell them more about President Trump’s wrongdoing than was already detailed in his 448-page investigative report, while settling for a televised spectacle that presents Mueller’s findings to new swaths of voters. Republicans will try to cast their political opponents as intent on impeaching the president and unwilling to let go of an investigation that ended months ago without charges against Trump, while some are likely to attack Mueller for his team’s perceived missteps. On Wednesday, not 24 hours after it was revealed that Mueller would testify publicly pursuant to a subpoena from the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Trump lashed out at the man who investigated him. He accused Mueller of a crime, alleging without evidence that the special counsel had deleted text messages of two anti-Trump FBI employees who worked on the case. As he has in the past, Trump deemed Mueller’s work a ‘hoax.'” See also, Weeks of Talks Led a Reluctant Mueller to Testify, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “The agreement for Robert S. Mueller III to testify on Capitol Hill materialized after weeks of phone calls and meetings between House Democratic staff and associates of Mr. Mueller, who made clear his reluctance to enter the political war surrounding his investigation. His intermediaries repeatedly delivered a message that Mr. Mueller, then the special counsel, conveyed last month in a rare public appearance: A prosecutor speaks through his indictments and the written word rather than the public spectacle of a congressional hearing. Mr. Mueller was so averse to being pulled into the political arena that he never spoke directly with lawmakers or their aides, according to a senior congressional official involved in the talks and others briefed on them. His reticence mattered little in the end. Democrats were insistent that he had a responsibility to testify, though they agreed to combine questioning from two panels on one day. The protracted negotiations came to an abrupt stop late on Tuesday night when representatives for Mr. Mueller agreed that he would show up if the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees issued subpoenas for an appearance on July 17.”

House Oversight Committee votes to authorize subpoena for White House’s Kellyanne Conway after she fails to show for hearing, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “A House committee voted Wednesday to authorize a subpoena for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she failed to show for a hearing on a government watchdog’s findings that she broke the law dozens of times. The House Oversight Committee voted, 25 to 16, for the subpoena after special counsel Henry Kerner said she blatantly violated the Hatch Act, a law that bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work. Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who has backed impeachment of President Trump, was the only Republican to cross party lines and join Democrats.” See also, House Oversight and Reform Committee  Subpoenas Kellyanne Conway on Ethics Law Violations, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 26 June 2019: “A House panel voted on Wednesday to subpoena Kellyanne Conway for her testimony after she failed to show to a hearing at which a special counsel told the committee she should be fired from the White House for her ‘egregious, repeated, and very public violations’ of federal ethics law.”


Thursday, 27 June 2019, Day 889:


Supreme Court Leaves Census Question on Citizenship in Doubt, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “In a setback for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected its stated reason for adding a question on citizenship to the census, leaving in doubt whether the question would appear on the census forms sent to every household in the nation next year. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the explanation offered by the Trump administration for adding the question ‘appears to have been contrived.’ But he left open the possibility that it could provide an adequate answer. Executive branch officials must ‘offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,’ the chief justice wrote. ‘Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case.’ The practical impact of the decision was not immediately clear.” See also, Supreme Court puts census citizenship question on hold, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Thursday froze the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form sent to every U.S. household, saying the government had provided a ‘contrived’ reason for wanting the information. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the splintered opinion, and it seemingly will be up to him — if the Commerce Department offers new justification — whether it passes muster and the question appears on the census form.” See also, What You Need to Know About the Census Citizenship Question, The New York Times, Timothy Williams, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, Trump asks lawyers if census can be delayed and calls Supreme Court decision ‘totally ridiculous,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner and Deanna Paul, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “President Trump said Thursday that he is seeking to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give administration officials time to come up with a better explanation for why it should include a citizenship question. Trump’s announcement, in tweets sent from Japan, came hours after the Supreme Court put on hold his administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, saying it had provided a ‘contrived’ reason for wanting the information.”

Supreme Court Bars Challenges to Partisan Gerrymandering, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that federal courts are powerless to hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering, the practice in which the party that controls the state legislature draws voting maps to help elect its candidates. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. In a momentous decision, the court closed the door on such claims. The drafters of the Constitution, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, understood that politics would play a role in drawing election districts when they gave the task to state legislatures. Judges, the chief justice said, are not entitled to second-guess lawmakers’ judgments. ‘We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,’ the chief justice wrote…. In an impassioned dissent delivered from the bench, Justice Elena Kagan said American democracy will suffer thanks to the court’s ruling in the two consolidated cases decided Thursday, Rucho v. Common Cause, No. 18-422, and Lamone v. Benisek, No. 18-726. ‘The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government,’ she said. ‘Part of the court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections.’ She added that she was dissenting ‘with deep sadness.’ Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined Justice Kagan’s dissent.” See also, Supreme Court says federal courts don’t have a role in deciding partisan gerrymandering claims, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal judges have no power to stop politicians from drawing electoral districts to preserve or expand their party’s power, a landmark ruling that dissenters said will empower an explosion of extreme partisan gerrymandering. The 5-to-4 decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and joined by the court’s other conservatives. It capped decades of debate about whether federal courts have a role in policing partisan efforts to draw electoral districts in the same way the judiciary protects against racial discrimination.” See also, What Is Gerrymandering? And Why Did the Supreme Court Rule on It? The New York Times, Michael Wines, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, Supreme Court Declines to Set Limits on Political Gerrymandering, The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “Federal judges have no authority to correct partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a 5-to-4 decision that allows politicians to keep drawing electoral districts that entrench their power unless state law or Congress prevents them from doing so. The decision by the court’s conservative majority overruled lower courts and rejected two constitutional challenges to partisan district mapmaking, one brought by Democrats in North Carolina and another by Republicans in Maryland. ‘Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust. But the fact that such gerrymandering is “incompatible with democratic principles,” does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary,’ wrote Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents.” See also, US supreme court declines to block partisan gerrymandering, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The supreme court has declined to rule in a pair of partisan gerrymandering cases, in a demurral that advocacy groups warned could amount to a ‘green light’ for abuse by political insiders in charge of redrawing state legislative maps. Pro-democracy groups had hoped the court would declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional and throw out maps in Maryland, where Democratic mapmakers were accused of shrinking Republican influence by distorting district lines; and in North Carolina, where Republican operatives were accused of doing the same to Democrats. But the court has deferred in both cases concluding that authority over district maps rests with state legislatures and the US Congress, and not the supreme court.” See also, Supreme Court rules that federal courts can’t police partisan gerrymandering, Politico, Josh Gerstein and Steven Shepard, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Thursday dashed efforts to crack down on partisan gerrymandering, ruling in two cases that attempts to gain political advantage through the redistricting process are so pervasive that allowing judges to police the practice would lead to a boundless quagmire of litigation.”‘

Biden Comes Under Attack From All Sides in Democratic Debate, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. repeatedly found himself on the defensive in the Democratic debate on Thursday over his record as well as his personal views, with the most searing moment of the night, and the primary campaign to date, coming when Senator Kamala Harris confronted him over his comments on working with segregationists in the Senate. Mr. Biden, the Democratic front-runner who was participating in his first major debate in seven years, was at times halting and meandering, but also forceful in pushing back on criticism of his record. Those attacks included a call for the 76-year-old former vice president to ‘pass the torch’ to a younger generation, as well as questions about his positions on immigration and abortion, and his enthusiasm for working with Republicans. But the most dramatic exchange was over not only policy — but also personal history. Peering down the stage to look at Mr. Biden directly, Ms. Harris assailed him for remarks he made this month invoking his work in a Senate that included a pair of notorious segregationists. She then went further, recalling that he had also opposed school busing in the 1970s. ‘There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,’ Ms. Harris said. ‘And that little girl was me.'” See also, Transcript: Kamala Harris and Joe Biden Clash on Race and Busing, The New York Times, Isabella Grullón Paz, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, 6 Highlights From Night 2 of the Democratic Debates, The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Sydney Ember, and Reid J. Epstein, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, What We Learned From the 2020 Democratic Debates, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, published on Friday, 28 June 2019: ” See also, Kamala Harris Makes the Case That Joe Biden Should Pass That Torch to Her, The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer and Alexander Burns, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, Fact-Checking Night 2 of the 2020 Democratic Debates, The New York Times, Thursday, 27 June 2019.

Democratic rivals attack Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris leading the way on race issues, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Toluse Olorunnipa, and Chelsea Janes, published on Friday, 28 June 2019: “Rival Democratic presidential contenders pummeled former vice president Joe Biden with searing, emotional critiques Thursday at their first debate — denouncing his record on racial issues and calling on him to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders. In one of the most dramatic moments of the campaign season, Biden found that his long-held stature as a beloved party leader offered him no respite at the center of a crowded debate stage, given his early domination of national polling in the race. Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who commanded the event at several points in the night, led the charge. ‘I do not believe you are a racist. I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,’ Harris said. ‘But I also believe, and it’s personal . . . it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on segregation of race in this country.’ She accused him of opposing policies that allowed black girls like her to attend integrated schools. ‘There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,’ she said. ‘That little girl was me.’ Biden looked away as Harris spoke, appearing emotionally affected by the attack as he attempted to defend himself. ‘Mischaracterization of my position across the board,’ Biden said. ‘I did not praise racists. That is not true.'” See also, The full Kamala Harris-Joe Biden exchange over race and busing, annotated, The Washington Post, Natalie Jennings and Eugene Scott, published on Friday, 28 June 2019. See also, Transcript: Night 2 of the first Democratic debate, The Washington Post, The Fix staff, published on Friday, 28 June 2019. See also, Racial tensions bedeviled Biden and Buttigieg during the Democratic debate. They’re not going away. The Washington Post, James Hohmann, published on Friday, 28 June 2019. See also, Four hours of debate scrambles the Democratic presidential field, exposing Joe Biden’s vulnerabilities, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, published on Friday, 28 June 2019. See also, A breakout and a bust: Kamala Harris takes Joe Biden to task in Democratic debate, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemanhy, published on Friday, 28 June 2019.

A Whistleblower Pointed to Abuse of Solitary Confinement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Now Pressure Mounts for Congressional Investigation. The Intercept, Maryam Saleh, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “An advocacy group [Government Accountability Project] that represents whistleblowers sent a scathing letter Thursday to the House and Senate committees overseeing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling on the congressional bodies to investigate abuses by ICE and the executive branch’s failure to hold the agency accountable. The group, Government Accountability Project, cited a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued earlier this month about conditions and practices at hundreds of immigration detention facilities. ‘We are concerned that the OIG report, while horrific in its findings, merely scratched the surface of systematic abuses and violations reported by whistleblowers,’ GAP said in its letter. The group is representing multiple immigration whistleblowers, including Ellen Gallagher, who went public with her concerns about ICE’s use of solitary confinement in interviews with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Intercept last month, following her yearslong effort to raise the issue before governmental oversight bodies.”

House Passes Senate Border Aid Bill in Striking Defeat for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “Congress sent President Trump a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package on Thursday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and dropped her insistence on stronger protections for migrant children in overcrowded border shelters. The vote came after a striking display of Democratic disunity and was a setback for Ms. Pelosi. Until Thursday, she had proved adept at navigating the complexities of a caucus rived by powerful progressive and moderate factions that often work at cross purposes. But their priorities clashed, the liberal flank was vanquished and the speaker — who had put her reputation on the line, calling herself a ‘lioness’ out to protect children as she held out for stronger protections in the migrant facilities that house them — grudgingly had to accept defeat. The final vote, 305 to 102, included far more Republicans in favor, 176, than Democrats, 129. It left House liberals furious.” See also, House passes $4.6 billion border bill as leaders cave to moderate Democrats and Republicans, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, and Rachael Bade, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The House passed a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill for the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, after Democratic leaders retreated from efforts to amend the legislation to add more restrictions on the Trump administration. The 305-to-102 vote sends the legislation, passed by the Senate earlier in the week, to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. The measure will pump billions of dollars into the budgets of agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, that have been overwhelmed by the influx of Central American migrants at the Southern border. The decision by House Democratic leaders to bring the legislation up for a vote came after hours of frantic maneuvering during which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sought support for a new version of the bill containing additional protections for unaccompanied minors and restrictions on the administration’s use of funds. But the White House made clear it opposed Pelosi’s changes, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not take them up. The Senate legislation passed Wednesday on a bipartisan vote of 84-to-8, and Republicans pointed repeatedly to that overwhelming margin in arguing Pelosi should agree to accept it.” See also, House passes border aid bill after Nancy Pelosi bows to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Politico, Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris, and Burgess Everett, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The House cleared a $4.6 billion emergency aid package Thursday to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, sending the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after Speaker Nancy Pelosi bowed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The 305-102 vote in favor of the legislation came after Pelosi fought Republicans and members of her own caucus to push for additional language to protect migrant children as part of the package, but then was forced to take up the Senate bill, which didn’t include such restrictions.”

Who’s behind the law making undocumented immigrants criminals? An ‘unrepentant white supremacist.’ The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The provision of federal law criminalizing unlawful entry into the United States — which some Democratic presidential candidates now want to undo — was crafted by an avowed white supremacist who opposed the education of black Americans and favored lynching, which he justified by saying, ‘to hell with the Constitution.’ The law, referred to as Section 1325, became a flash point in the first of two Democratic presidential debates this week, when Julián Castro, a former secretary of housing and urban development, challenged his rivals to back its repeal. The measure’s little-known history did not arise on Wednesday night in Miami, where the first cohort of Democrats vying to compete against President Trump took the stage. No one mentioned Sen. Coleman Livingston Blease.”

What the Concentration Camps of Bosnia Can Teach Us About the Abuse of Immigrants on the U.S. Border, The Intercept, Peter Maass, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “How do you investigate human rights abuses at detention centers that are off-limits to outsiders? I am not one of the on-the-ground reporters covering the Trump administration’s abusive treatment of immigrant children on the border with Mexico, but more than 25 years ago I investigated the concentration camps where Serbs tortured and executed Muslims during the Bosnian war. I can’t quite believe that I am writing this line and this story, but much of what I saw at those Balkan camps in the 1990s is relevant to what’s happening now in America.”

Corroborating E. Jean Carroll. Ms. Carroll told two women that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. The women, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, went public for the first time with Megan Twohey, a New York Times reporter. The New York Times/The Daily, hosted by Michael Barbaro, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The writer E. Jean Carroll came forward last week with explosive accusations that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Today, the two women she privately confided in after the alleged attack discuss it publicly for the first time.” See also, Why E. Jean Carroll, ‘the Anti-Victim,’ Spoke Up About Trump, The New York Times, Jessica Bennett, Megan Twohey, and Alexandra Alter, Thursday, 27 June 2019. See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there’s no role for Congress in addressing the latest sexual assault accusation against Trump, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she sees no role for Congress in addressing the latest sexual assault allegation against President Trump, making her the latest lawmaker to react coolly to the news. Pelosi (D-Calif.), during a news conference on Capitol Hill, was asked about an accusation leveled by magazine writer E. Jean Carroll last week that Trump assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s. After her story was made public, The Washington Post spoke to her as well as to two friends she confided in at the time, who confirmed that Carroll had described the alleged attack to them shortly after it occurred. ‘I’m more concerned about policy decisions that we need to come together on that affect the lives of the American people,’ Pelosi said. ‘I am just not following it that closely.'”

House Passes Election Security Package, With an Eye on Mitch McConnell, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “The House on Thursday approved expansive election security legislation that would mandate the use of backup paper ballots and postelection vote audits to guard against potential foreign meddling, seeking to pressure Senator Mitch McConnell to lift his blockade of election legislation in the upper chamber.”

Trump Once Again Assails America’s Friends as He Opens Overseas Visit in Japan, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 27 June 2019: “President Trump plunged back into the world of international diplomacy on Friday with characteristic provocation, keeping some of America’s closest allies, including his hosts, off balance even as he sought advantage on an array of economic and security disputes with profound consequences. Mr. Trump opened a series of high-stakes meetings with world leaders gathered in Osaka, Japan, for an international summit meeting after calling into question the very foundation of the relationship between the United States and two of its most important friends, Japan and Germany, and lashing out at a third partner, India.”