Trump Administration, Week 128: Friday, 28 June – Thursday, 4 July 2019 (Days 890-896)


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, 28 June 2019, Day 890:


Supreme Court Will Hear ‘Dreamers’ Case, The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The Supreme Court will decide whether the Trump administration may shut down a program that shields some 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants from deportation, the court said on Friday. The court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which starts in October, and will probably issue its decision in the spring or summer of 2020, ensuring a fierce immigration debate over the outcome in the midst of the presidential campaign. Mr. Trump tried to end the program in 2017, when he called it an unconstitutional use of executive power by President Barack Obama and revived the threat of deportation for immigrants who had been brought to the United States illegally as young children. But federal judges have ordered the administration to maintain major pieces of the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, while legal challenges move forward.” See also, Supreme Court to review DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program protecting young undocumented immigrants, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The Supreme Court announced Friday it will take up next term whether the Trump administration illegally tried to end the program that shields from deportation young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. A string of lower courts have said that President Trump’s decision to terminate the Obama-era program was based on faulty legal reasoning and that the administration has failed to provide a solid rationale for ending it.”

Trump and Putin Share Joke About Election Meddling at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael Crowley, Friday, 28 June 2019: “They were having a good time. Like old friends reuniting, they warmly shook hands, smiled and chatted amiably. And then President Trump brushed off Russia’s interference in American democracy with a joke as President Vladimir V. Putin chuckled. The first encounter between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin since the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III reported that Russia conducted a ‘sweeping and systematic’ operation to sway the 2016 election proved more convivial than confrontational. Rather than challenge Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump treated it as a laughing matter. In the process, he triggered a fresh furor over his accommodating approach to Russia and brought back old questions that have haunted him since he took office: Angry at perceived challenges to his legitimacy, he has long dismissed the conclusions of American intelligence agencies that Russia sought to help his campaign.” See also, In Osaka, Japan at the G20 Summit, Trump appears to make light of Russian election interference during meeting with Putin, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Seung Min Kim, and Damian Paletta, Friday, 28 June 2019: “President Trump on Friday appeared to make light of Russian election interference, telling President Vladi­mir Putin with a grin during a bilateral meeting, ‘Don’t meddle in the election,’ after reporters shouted questions about the topic. Trump met with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit here, but he did not initially raise the topic during brief remarks in front of reporters, calling their relationship ‘very, very good.'” See also, Trump, With a Grin, Tells Putin: ‘Don’t Meddle in the Election,’ The Wall Street Journal, Alex Leary, Friday, 28 June 2019: “President Trump was about to start his meeting with Vladimir Putin when a reporter threw out a question: Would he tell his Russian counterpart not to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election? ‘Don’t meddle in the election, president,’ Mr. Trump said, with a hint of a grin. Then he wagged his finger at Mr. Putin and repeated: ‘Don’t meddle in the election.’ Mr. Putin made a half-smile of his own, and the two men left to start a private meeting on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit of leading world economies. A White House statement said the leaders discussed global issues including Syria, but made no mention of further discussion of election interference.” See also, Trump gives Putin light-hearted warning: ‘Don’t meddle in the election,’ CNN, Kevin Liptak, Friday, 28 June 2019: “President Donald Trump issued a breezy warning to his Russian counterpart Friday against meddling in US elections, laughing and smiling as he told his counterpart not to interfere. ‘Don’t meddle in the election, please,’ Trump said, smirking and wagging his finger at Putin. He only raised the matter after being questioned by reporters whether he would issue a warning.” See also, Trump jokes to Putin they should ‘get rid’ of journalists, The Guardian, Julian Borger, Friday, 28 June 2019: “Donald Trump joked with Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists and Russian meddling in US elections when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan. As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka. ‘Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,’ Trump said. To which Putin responded, in English: ‘We also have. It’s the same.’ Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin first became president, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), many of them investigative reporters scrutinising governmental abuses. Trump has frequently referred to the press as the ‘enemy of the people’ and in February the CPJ expressed concern about the safety of journalists covering Trump rallies, where they have been the target of derision and abuse from the president and his supporters. It is a year to the day since five Capital Gazette employees were killed in their newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooting led to the organisation Reporters Without Borders adding the US to its list of the five deadliest countries for journalism.” See also, Trump joking with Putin over eliminating journalists is a betrayal of America. So is ignoring it. The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, Friday, 28 June 2019: “In the past couple of weeks, President Trump has accused the New York Times of ‘a virtual act of treason’ because of an accurate story he didn’t like. It reported that the United States ‘is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid.’ And he’s been credibly accused of rape by a well-known magazine journalist, to which he responded that it never happened and what’s more, she was ‘not my type.’ Apparently deadened by the constant barrage of outrages and scandals surrounding him, Congress and many Americans don’t seem to care about any of it. So there’s absolutely no reason to think that what happened between the president of the United States and Russian leader Vladi­mir Putin on Friday will make a difference or change minds. But it really should.”

A Breakfast Invitation by Trump to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia Helps to Rebuild the Crown Prince’s Standing, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 28 June 2019: “Barely a week ago, he was in theory a marked man, fingered by the United Nations as the probable mastermind behind one of the most grisly and sensational murders of recent years. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has been wandering around the world stage in Japan the last couple of days hobnobbing with presidents and prime ministers as if he were just another leader deliberating on economics and energy. No one is more important to Saudi efforts to rehabilitate their de facto ruler after the bone-saw killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi than President Trump, who joshed around with the crown prince during a summit photo session on Friday and hosted him for a personal breakfast on Saturday morning where he lavished praise on the prince as a reformer opening up his society…. Mr. Trump ignored questions by reporters about Mr. Khashoggi’s death and the crown prince’s apparent role in it, and made no mention of the Saudi government’s crackdown on dissent, including the prosecution of women activists and the recent arrests of intellectuals and journalists, including two with dual American citizenship. After breakfast, Mr. Trump went to a session on women’s empowerment. Mr. Trump’s willingness to embrace Prince Mohammed as if nothing were wrong sent a powerful signal to the rest of the world and represented a cold-eyed calculation that America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is more important than the death of Mr. Khashoggi, a longtime Saudi dissident who had been working as a columnist for The Washington Post and who had lived in the United States as a legal resident.” See also, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is center stage at G-20 summit, only nine months after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Friday, 28 June 2019: “Amid international outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military campaign in Yemen last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was positioned at the very edge of the traditional ‘family photo’ of world leaders at the G-20 summit last November. Looking every bit a pariah, Mohammed walked away alone after the group photo was taken as other leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations mingled — while protesters outside the venue demanded his arrest. Only half a year later, however, the crown prince is no longer isolated at the G-20. In the photograph of world leaders taken on Friday at this year’s event in Osaka, Mohammed was front and center — standing between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the event’s host.”

Continue reading Week 128, Friday, 28 June – Thursday, 4 July 2019 (Days 890-896)

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bid to Revive an Alabama Law That would Have Banned the Vast Majority of Second-Trimester Abortions, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Friday turned down an appeal asking it to revive an Alabama law that would have banned the procedure used in the vast majority of second-trimester abortions…. The Alabama law, enacted in 2016, was blocked by lower courts. It would have affected 99 percent of abortions performed in the state after 15 weeks.” See also, Supreme Court rejects Alabama’s request to reconsider abortion ban that was blocked, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Alabama’s request to resurrect the state’s ban on a procedure commonly used in second trimester abortions, marking a win for supporters of abortion rights. The conservative-leaning 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against the ban on the procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, finding it was an ‘undue burden on abortion access.’ The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case lets the appellate court decision stand.”

Senate Rejects Curb on Trump’s Authority to Strike Iran, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The Senate on Friday voted down a bipartisan measure that would have required President Trump to get Congress’s permission before striking Iran, after Republicans balked at infringing on the president’s war-making powers at a time of escalating tensions with the Islamic republic. Mr. Trump has said he has the power to launch a military strike against Iran without Congress’s permission, and in effect, the Senate agreed…. The Iran measure highlighted growing unease after years of Congress ceding its constitutionally granted war powers to the presidency — but that discomfort has not reached anything like critical mass. The measure, which needed 60 votes to pass, failed 50 to 40 on Friday afternoon, despite Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all Republicans, breaking ranks to join Democrats who voted in favor.”

Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis signs bill making it harder for felons to regain voting rights, The Washington Post, Lori Rozsa, Friday, 28 June 2019: “The historic effort to allow more than a million felons in Florida to vote hit a roadblock Friday when Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill limiting who can register. Voters in the state overwhelmingly passed an amendment in November that restored voting rights to those with felony records — as many as 1.5 million people. The result would have been the largest expansion of voting rights in the country in a half-century. But the Republican-controlled state legislature, saying that it needed to give ‘guidance’ to elections officials, voted in May to require felons who have served their sentences to pay all court-ordered fines, fees and restitution. DeSantis, who opposed the felon voting rights amendment, signed the legislation into law late in the day Friday, one day before his deadline to sign passed. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, joined by other civil rights groups including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, filed a lawsuit Friday night to block the law.”

Federal Judge Rules Against Border Wall Construction With Military Funds, NPR, Bobby Allyn and Barbara Campbell, Friday, 28 June 2019: “A federal judge in California has blocked President Trump from using $2.5 billion in military funding to build a southern border wall. The Trump administration sought to tap Department of Defense money to support the construction of portions of the president’s long-promised border wall stretching across large swaths of the Mexican border with New Mexico, Arizona and California. Those plans have now been halted after U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam sided with plaintiffs in two separate suits contending that the executive branch was overstepping its authority. But the legal fight over border wall funding brought on by the two suits — one filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, and another suit filed by California along with 19 other states — is not over. Trump, speaking to reporters at the end of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, called the ruling ‘a disgrace,’ and said the administration will be ‘immediately appealing.’ The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could take the case on as soon as next week. The decision on Friday expanded a ruling Gilliam issued last month affirming Congress’ absolute control over federal spending, writing in May that the Trump administration attempting to circumvent Congress to use federal money for desired projects ‘does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.'”

What We Know About Joe Biden’s Record on School Busing, The New York Times, Matt Stevens, Friday, 28 June 2019: “[In response to a question asked by Kamala Harris at the Democratic debate on Thursday night, Joe Biden said] ‘I did not oppose busing in America… What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.’ In reality, Mr. Biden was a leading opponent of busing in the Senate during the 1970s and 1980s, and his opposition went beyond the federal government’s role in the practice…. Mr. Biden was a liberal on most civil rights issues, but he did not support integrating schools through busing from the 1970s to the 1980s.” See also, A Day After Bruising Debate, Joe Biden Pushes Back Against Criticism on Civil Rights, The New York Times, Julie Bosman and Katie Glueck, Friday, 28 June 2019.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Repeals Obama-Era Rule Cracking Down on For-Profit Colleges, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Friday, 28 June 2019: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday officially repealed an Obama-era regulation that sought to crack down on for-profit colleges and universities that produced graduates with no meaningful job prospects and mountains of student debt they could not hope to repay. The so-called gainful employment rule was issued by the Obama administration in 2014, right before huge for-profit chains collapsed, leaving students stranded with debt and worthless degrees. Under the new standards, career and certificate programs, many of which operate in the for-profit sector, would have to prove their graduates could find gainful employment to maintain access to federal financial aid. It also would have required schools to disclose in advertisements a comparison of the student debt load of their graduates and their career earnings…. [I]n rescinding the rule, the department is eradicating the most fearsome accountability measure — the loss of federal aid — for schools that promise to furnish students with specific career skills but fail to prepare them for the job market, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay back their loans. Congressional Democrats and student advocates said rescinding the rule would leave the scandal-scarred for-profit college industry unchecked. The repeal will take effect July 2020.”


Saturday, 29 June 2019, Day 891:


Kamala Harris Is Supported by Rivals After Trump Jr. Questions Her Race, The New York Times, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Saturday, 29 June 2019: “Days after Donald Trump Jr. shared, and then deleted, a tweet questioning Senator Kamala Harris’s race, several of her rival Democratic presidential candidates lent her their support on Saturday. Mr. Trump, President Trump’s eldest son, on Thursday had shared a tweet from Ali Alexander, a right-wing personality, that falsely claimed Ms. Harris’s racial identity did not qualify her to speak about the anguish that black Americans face. ‘Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves,’ Mr. Alexander wrote during the second night of the Democratic debates. ‘She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.’ Mr. Trump shared the message, asking his more than three million followers, ‘Is this true? Wow.’ By Saturday, several Democratic hopefuls had begun to publicly support Ms. Harris, of California, who is the biracial child of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother.” See also, 2020 Democrats defend Kamala Harris after Donald Trump Jr. tweets about her race, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 29 June 2019.

History Has Taught Us That Concentration Camps Should Be Liberated. We Can’t Wait Until 2020. The Intercept, Shaun King, Saturday, 29 June 2019: “‘Yes, we do have concentration camps,’ began the stinging critique of the Trump administration’s immigration detention facilities. It was written earlier this week by the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune, in the reliably conservative state of Utah. Andrea Pitzer, author of the definitive book on the global history of concentration camps, agrees. So do people who were once forced to live in another era’s concentration camps. But amid the debate about what to call immigration detention facilities, few people have disputed the truly terrible conditions that exist within them. Migrants have long reported awful experiences in immigration custody, but in recent months, an increase in the number of people, especially families and children, crossing the border and being detained has led to severe overcrowding. Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier was granted access to a Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, and wrote in her report about it that ‘the conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities.’ They ‘felt worse than jail.’ The kids she examined were forced to endure ‘extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food. Over the past year, seven children have died in U.S. immigration custody or shortly after being released. These deaths occurred after 10 years during which not a single child died. Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, told The Atlantic that the stench in some detention facilities is so horrible that it was hard for her to even have a focused conversation with the children. Babies didn’t have diapers. Young kids were forced to care for infants who they didn’t even know. Clothes were covered in snot and excrement. Baby bottles were used without being properly cleaned and sterilized. All of these conditions have created environments where sicknesses and diseases spread like wildfire. In one facility, lice spread from child to child, and when the children were forced to share ‘lice combs,’ and one somehow got lost, dozens of kids were punished by having their bedding removed. They had to sleep on the cold concrete floor. This is why we say that cruelty is the point. It’s not an accident. These systems are cruel by design. The idea is to make it miserable to deter people from coming to the U.S. These detention centers are reckless and dangerous. As many have pointed out, we need to remember exactly how and why the teenage diarist Anne Frank actually died. She was not gassed to death in a Nazi death camp. Instead, she died of neglect, malnutrition, and disease. It’s believed that she and her sister Margot contracted and died from typhus…. Here’s where I am. If we have doctors, historians, and leading congresspeople calling these facilities ‘torture facilities’ and ‘concentration camps,’ and we all see the deaths piling up, and the conditions growing perilous, the question becomes: What exactly are we going to do about it?… It seems like our game plan is to focus on defeating Trump, and in the meantime, sue the administration until it incrementally agrees to start allowing kids to brush their teeth or wash their hands with soap. It just doesn’t seem to be enough.”

Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas, The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Saturday, 29 June 2019: “A federal judge has ordered a mediator to move swiftly to improve health and sanitation at Border Patrol facilities in Texas, where observers reported migrant children were subject to filthy conditions that imperiled their health. Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California asked late on Friday that an independent monitor, whom she appointed last year, ensure that conditions in detention centers are promptly addressed. She set a deadline of July 12 for the government to report on what it has accomplished ‘post haste’ to remedy them…. The lawyers’ reports on conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Tex., where they said children were unable to bathe, were living in filthy clothes and diapers and were often hungry, prompted a public outcry and a new motion asking the court to force the government to move more aggressively to improve accommodations along the border for the thousands of migrants arriving from Central America.”

As G-20 reaffirms fight against climate change, Trump again stands apart and at odds with the rest of the world, The Washington Post, Simon Denyer and Brady Dennis, Saturday, 29 June 2019: “Leaders from the Group of 20 nations renewed their vow to take action to curb climate change on Saturday, as United States once again stood apart and at odds with the rest of the world. President Trump — who at times appeared not to grasp the difference between global warming and air pollution — dismissed the worldwide push for climate action and denied that any aggressive response to curb the world’s greenhouse gas emissions was necessary. ‘We have the cleanest water we have ever had. We have the cleanest air we’ve ever had, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we’ve built up over a long period of time and what I’ve enhanced and revived,’ Trump told a news conference at the end of the two-day G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The United States was the lone dissenting voice in the final communique, where 18 countries and the European Union underlined that the Paris climate change accord is irreversible, and reiterated their commitment to its full implementation.”

Patrick Mauldin, a Trump Consultant, Is Trolling Democrats With Biden Site That Isn’t Biden’s, The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg, Saturday, 29 June 2019: ‘For much of the last three months, the most popular Joseph R. Biden Jr. website has been a slick little piece of disinformation that is designed to look like the former vice president’s official campaign page, yet is most definitely not pro-Biden…. All the site says about its creator is buried in the fine print at the bottom of the page. The site, it says, is a political parody built and paid for ‘BY AN American citizen FOR American citizens,’ and not the work of any campaign or political action committee. There is indeed an American behind the website — that much is unambiguously true. But he is very much a political player, and a Republican one at that. His name is Patrick Mauldin, and he makes videos and other digital content for President Trump’s re-election campaign.”


Sunday, 30 June 2019, Day 892:


Trump Steps Into North Korea and Agrees With Kim Jong-un to Resume Talks, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael Crowley, Sunday, 30 June 2019: “President Trump on Sunday became the first sitting American commander in chief to set foot in North Korea as he met Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, and the two agreed to restart negotiations on a long-elusive nuclear agreement…. After about a minute on officially hostile territory, Mr. Trump escorted Mr. Kim back over the line into South Korea, where the two briefly addressed a scrum of journalists before slipping inside the building known as Freedom House for a private conversation along with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Mr. Trump said he would invite Mr. Kim to visit him at the White House…. A showman by nature and past profession, Mr. Trump delighted in the drama of the moment, which he had arranged with a surprise invitation via Twitter barely 24 hours earlier.” See also, Beyond ‘Freedom’s Frontier,’ Trump scores his biggest live show yet in North Korea, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Sunday, 30 June 2019: “For President Trump, it was the biggest live show yet: A handshake with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and then a short stroll together — beyond Freedom’s Frontier and into the Hermit Kingdom. One small step for the 45th president; one giant boost for his television ratings. Trump billed his third meeting with Kim on Sunday in the Korean demilitarized zone as a ‘simple handshake,’ perhaps to play down the consequences if the get-together ultimately fails to break the deadlock that scuttled their last round of nuclear talks in Hanoi in February. But the moment was more than simple — it marked another in a series of remarkable set pieces that Trump has used over the past two years — first to bully Kim, then engage him — in a diplomatic gambit that has no precedent. Critics often accuse the media-obsessed president of trying to conduct complex diplomacy on Twitter, the place where ‘Little Rocket Man’ and ‘fire and fury’ were born during the early days of Trump’s tenure when he and Kim were chest-beating in a barrage of threats and insults.” See also, 4 Takeaways From the Trump-Kim Meeting at the DMZ, The New York Times, Yonette Joseph, Sunday, 30 June 2019.

Kamala Harris and Classmates Were Bused Across Berkeley. the Experience Changed Them. The New York Times, Nellie Bowles, Sunday, 30 June 2019: “In 1967, the superintendent of the Berkeley, Calif., school district had resolved to desegregate the city schools. ‘We will set an example for all the cities of America,’ he wrote in a report called ‘Integration: A Plan for Berkeley,’ which he presented to the Berkeley Board of Education. ‘The children of Berkeley will grow in a community where justice is part of their pattern of life,’ the report stated. Several years later, a young girl named Kamala Harris, the daughter of a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father, boarded a school bus — part of that school integration program that would change her, the city and the country’s conversation about racial politics.”


Monday, 1 July 2019, Day 893:


A new study finds existing fossil fuel plants will push the world across a dangerous climate limit, The Washington Post, Chris Mooney, Monday, 1 July 2019: “The world’s existing power plants, industrial plants, buildings and cars are already numerous enough — and young enough — to commit the Earth to an unacceptable level of warming, according to new research published Monday. This fossil fuel infrastructure merely needs to continue operating over the course of its expected lifetime, and the world will emit over 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide, more than enough to dash chances of limiting the Earth’s warming to a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s a level of warming that has become increasingly accepted as a scientific line-in-the-sand. And it gets worse: Proposals and plans are currently afoot for additional coal plants and other infrastructure that would add another nearly 200 billion tons of emissions to that total. Some of these are now actually under construction. In other words, human societies would need not only to cancel all such pending projects but also timeout existing projects early, in order to bring emissions down adequately.”

Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes. The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them ‘scum buckets’ and ‘hoes.’ ProPublica, A.C. Thompson, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings…. Created in August 2016, the Facebook group is called ‘I’m 10-15’ and boasts roughly 9,500 members from across the country. (10-15 is Border Patrol code for ‘aliens in custody.’)” See also, A Facebook group for border agents was rife with racism and sexism. Now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating. The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Federal officials are investigating whether agents participated in a private Facebook group for Border Patrol employees that hosted racist, sexist and sexually violent memes about immigrants and officials such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after a report by the investigative site ProPublica. Matthew Klein, an assistant commissioner at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, called the Facebook group’s posts ‘disturbing’ and said that the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, of which CBP is a part, began an investigation. The posts on the private group, which says it is for current and former Border Patrol agents, included caustic remarks about the deaths of migrants, sexually explicit images edited to include Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and xenophobic asides and comments, according to ProPublica. The Washington Post was not able to confirm the existence of the group, called ‘I’m 10-15,’ after the law enforcement code for ‘aliens in custody.’ The private group is not visible to people who aren’t members.”

‘It Feels Like a Jail’: Lawmakers Criticize Migrant Holding Sites on the Border, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Women held in rooms without running water, sleeping bags set up on concrete and children left apart from their families: That was what Democratic lawmakers said they heard about on Monday as they toured two Texas border facilities. Their emotional, and graphic, descriptions came on a day when ProPublica reported the existence of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents. Posts on the group’s page included jokes about migrants’ deaths, obscene GIFs and doctored images of Hispanic lawmakers, the report said. Some of the most offensive posts were directed at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York. Monday’s visit to the border by more than a dozen members of Congress — including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas — was a specific focus of some of the abuse on Facebook, ProPublica reported. One post used vulgar language to encourage agents to ‘hurl a burrito’ at the two women. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez fired back at the group on Monday night in a series of tweets describing the visit. ‘These officers felt brazen in there,’ she said, pointing out that members of the congressional delegation were asked to surrender their phones before the visit. ‘While mgmt was telling us it was a “secure facility” where *members of Congress* had to check their phones, we caught officers trying to sneak photos, laughing.’ She added, referring to the Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection: ‘CBP’s “good” behavior was toxic. Imagine how they treat the women trapped inside.'”

Iran Breaches Critical Limit on Nuclear Fuel Set by 2015 Deal Which Trump Abandoned More Than a Year Ago, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Iran on Monday violated a key provision of the 2015 international accord to restrict its nuclear program and signaled that it would soon breach another as it seeks more leverage in its escalating confrontation with the United States. International inspectors confirmed that Iran had exceeded a critical limit on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the agreement, which President Trump abandoned more than a year ago. By itself, the move does not give Iran enough material to produce a single nuclear weapon, though it inches it in that direction. Hours later, Iran’s foreign minister said his nation now intended to begin enriching its nuclear fuel to a purer level, a provocative action that, depending on how far Tehran goes with it, could move the country closer to possessing fuel that with further processing could be used in a weapon…. [W]hile the moves appear to return Iran to its two-decade pursuit of the technology necessary to develop a nuclear arsenal, the real goal may have been to gain a diplomatic advantage for any future negotiations. Iranian leaders are betting they can force European countries, who were deeply critical of Mr. Trump’s scrapping of the nuclear deal, to deliver on promises to help compensate Tehran for the effects of American sanctions.”

Trump Says Tanks Will Be on Display in Washington for July 4th Celebration, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, and John Ismay, Monday, 1 July 2019: “President Trump said on Monday that the Pentagon would put military tanks on display on Thursday in Washington as part of his plans to turn the annual Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital into a salute to the country’s military prowess. The tanks will join an airborne display of the nation’s firepower, including a flight of Air Force One over Washington and a performance by the Navy’s Blue Angels jets. Mr. Trump, who is to speak at the celebration, has requested that the chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him as aircraft from each of their services fly overhead and their respective hymns play on loudspeakers…. Mr. Trump’s Fourth of July homage to the military sets up a cultural clash between the Republican president and a mostly Democratic city that has for decades celebrated America’s independence with almost no public participation by presidents of either party. The City Council for the District of Columbia, which was not happy with Mr. Trump’s decision, posted on Twitter that ‘we have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks.'” See also, Trump asks for tanks, Marine One, and much more for grandiose July Fourth event, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe, Monday, 1 July 2019: “President Trump has asked the Pentagon to marshal a broadening array of military hardware, including tanks and fighter jets, to showcase his planned Fourth of July address to the nation — dramatically escalating the gathering’s cost and sparking concerns about the potentially damaging impact on the Mall and other infrastructure.”

Democrats Angered by Housing and Urban Development’s Hiring of Eric Blankenstein, a Trump Aide Who Quit After Racist Posts, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu and Glenn Thrush, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Senate Democrats are calling for Housing Secretary Ben Carson to justify his hiring of a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official who resigned this year after the disclosure of racially provocative comments he made spanning more than a decade. Last month, White House officials placed Eric Blankenstein, a former policy supervisor at the bureau who had been responsible for enforcing the country’s fair lending laws, in a relatively low-profile position in the general counsel’s office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was to work on issues related to Ginnie Mae, a government corporation that guarantees mortgage-backed securities. But his hiring has infuriated Democrats. ‘Mr. Blankenstein has a history of racist and sexist statements that appear to have contributed to his recent resignation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,’ Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, wrote in a letter signed by five other Democrats. Mr. Blankenstein resigned in May after blog posts he wrote in 2004 as a University of Virginia law student surfaced in which he repeatedly used a racial slur. In a more recent exchange, he argued that the movement to deny that President Barack Obama was born in the United States was not racist.”

America’s Indefensible Defense Budget, The New York Review of Books, Jessica T. Mathews, published in the print issue of Thursday, 18 July 2019. “The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight of defense expenditures rare. As a democracy, we are on an unusual and risky path. For several decades, we have maintained an extraordinarily high level of defense spending with the support of both political parties and virtually all of the public…. If you have read anything about defense spending in recent years, it was probably expressed as a percentage of GDP. At roughly 3–4 percent (it was more than 40 percent in 1944, 15 percent during the Korean War, and over 10 percent in the early 1960s), it seems eminently affordable. But this almost universally used measure is close to meaningless, except to make rough international comparisons…. Instead, the valid measure of affordability is defense spending’s share of the federal discretionary budget: that is, of all federal spending other than the mandatory allotments to entitlements and interest on the national debt. Discretionary spending is everything else the government does: pay not just for the military but for the federal judiciary and law enforcement; support infrastructure, education, and agriculture; invest in science and technology; protect the environment, wilderness, and National Parks; manage relations with the rest of the world and with international organizations overseeing everything from trade to arms control; fund the National Weather Service; police the border; explore space; develop energy resources; ensure the safety and soundness of food, drugs, communications, airline travel, consumer products, banks, the stock exchanges, and on and on. The budget embodies the country’s core political choices: how much government its citizens want, what their priorities for it are, and how large a debt they choose to shoulder and to pass on. Defense spending now accounts for almost 60 percent of the budget: everything else is accommodated in the remaining two fifths. By this measure, defense spending looks anything but easily affordable. Nor, on its projected path of continuing growth, does it look sustainable. What would finally be too much? Two thirds of the total? Seventy percent?”

Nike Nixes ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneaker After Colin Kaepernick Intervenes, The Wall Street Journal, Monday, 1 July 2019: “Nike Inc. is yanking a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring an early American flag after NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive, according to people familiar with the matter. The sneaker giant created the Air Max 1 USA in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and it was slated to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, a design created during the American Revolution and commonly referred to as the Betsy Ross flag…. After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said. Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.” See also, ‘I’ll make the first order’: Mitch McConnell urges Nike to reverse cancellation of Betsy Ross shoesThe Washington Post, John Wagner, published on Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging Nike to reverse its decision to cancel production of shoes featuring the Betsy Ross flag and has promised that if the company does so, he will make the first order…. ‘If we’re in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we’ve got a problem,’ McConnell told reporters, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. ‘I hope Nike either releases these shoes or some other shoe maker picks up the flag, puts it on a pair of shoes and starts selling it. I’ll make the first order.'”


Tuesday, 2 July 2019, Day 894:


2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops the Effort, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The Trump administration, in a dramatic about-face, abandoned its quest on Tuesday to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a week after being blocked by the Supreme Court. Faced with mounting deadlines and a protracted legal fight, officials ordered the Census Bureau to start printing forms for next year’s head count without the question. The decision was a victory for critics who said the question was part of an administration effort to skew the census results in favor of Republicans. It was also a remarkable retreat for an administration that typically digs into such fights. Just last week after the Supreme Court’s decision, President Trump said he was asking his lawyers to delay the census, ‘no matter how long,’ in order to fight for the question in court. He reiterated his unwillingness to give up in a Twitter message posted late Tuesday, saying he had asked administration officials ‘to do whatever is necessary’ to get a citizenship question on the census form.” See also, Justice Department confirms the 2020 Census will not include citizenship question, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Matt Zapotosky, and Tara Bahrampour, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The Trump administration has dropped plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Justice Department said Tuesday, just days after the Supreme Court described the rationale for the question as ‘contrived.’ The decision was made after officials determined that there would not be enough time to continue the legal battle and meet the printing deadlines for the census questionnaire, according to people familiar with the matter.” See also, U.S. Drops Citizenship Question From Census, The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Janet Adamy, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The Trump administration dropped plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census form, a turnaround after days of defiant statements following last week’s Supreme Court decision to halt the query. ‘We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 decennial census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,’ a Justice Department attorney told lawyers for New York state and the American Civil Liberties Union by email Tuesday afternoon. She provided no explanation, and neither did a Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington, who confirmed the exchange but declined to comment further.” See also, Census to leave citizenship question off 2020 questionnaire, Politico, Ted Hesson, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The Census Bureau will not include a question about citizenship in the printed questionnaire for the 2020 census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed Tuesday. The decision represents a major defeat for the Trump administration five days after the Supreme Court refused to allow the question to be added without further explanation from Census officials. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing last week in a surprising decision that sent the case back to lower courts for further review.”

Department of Homeland Security’s Independent Watchdog Finds Squalid Conditions in Border Centers, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “Overcrowded, squalid conditions are more widespread at migrant centers along the southern border than initially revealed, the Department of Homeland Security’s independent watchdog said Tuesday. Its report describes standing-room-only cells, children without showers and hot meals, and detainees clamoring desperately for release. The findings by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General were released as House Democrats detailed their own findings at migrant holding centers and pressed the agency to answer for the mistreatment not only of migrants but also of their own colleagues, who have been threatened on social media. In June, inspectors from the department visited five facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and found children had few spare clothes and no laundry facilities. Many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing constipation and other health problems, according to the report. Children at two of the five facilities in the area were not given hot meals until inspectors arrived. Overcrowding was so severe that when the agency’s internal inspectors visited some of the facilities, migrants banged on cells and pressed notes to windows begging for help. ‘At one facility, some single adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week, and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells,’ according to the report, which built off an initial inquiry by the inspector general in May that described similar conditions in facilities in El Paso.”

Top Border Officials Condemn ‘Highly Inappropriate’ Secret Facebook Group, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “Top officials in the agency overseeing border security condemned a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents that featured jokes about migrant deaths, obscene images of Hispanic lawmakers and threats to members of Congress as the lawmakers themselves on Tuesday amplified their criticism of the agency. Carla Provost, the chief of the Border Patrol, sent an email to her agents describing the posts in the group as ‘highly inappropriate and offensive.’ The Customs and Border Protection agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general began an independent investigation into the posts, Ms. Provost said…. She said any agents identified as writing the posts would be held accountable. ProPublica reported the existence of the secret Facebook group just as Democratic lawmakers toured Border Patrol facilities in Clint and El Paso, Tex., on Monday. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat who was a target of some of the most offensive posts in the group, described Customs and Border Protection as a ‘rogue agency.’ ‘I can’t [over]state how disturbing it was that CBP officers were openly disrespectful of the Congressional tour,’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. ‘If officers felt comfortable violating agreements in front of their *own* management & superiors, that tells us the agency has lost all control of their own officers.'” See also, Women Held in Border Patrol Custody Say They Were Told to Drink Water From Toilets, BuzzFeed News, Adolfo Flores, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “Three members of Congress who visited Border Patrol facilities on Monday said immigrant women were being detained without running water and told by agents to drink from the toilets. Lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, toured the facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas, as part of a delegation to investigate detention centers used to hold immigrants, following reports children and adults were being housed in squalid conditions. Recent reports from the Clint facility drew outrage last week after lawyers who visited spoke out and described children caring for infants and toddlers, no access to soap and toothbrushes, and inadequate food, water, and sanitation. Ocasio-Cortez said one of the women she spoke to described the treatment by border authorities — being woken up at odd hours and calling them whores — as ‘psychological warfare.’ ‘This has been horrifying so far,’ Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. ‘We’re talking systemic cruelty [with] a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.’ Rep. Joaquin Castro said that at Border Patrol Station 1 near El Paso a group of 15 to 20 mothers were held in a cell that had a toilet with no running water. ‘There was a toilet but no running water for people to drink,’ Castro said. ‘One of the women said she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.'”

Trump Administration Hits Some Immigrants in U.S. Illegally With Fines Up to $500,000, NPR, Franco Ordonez, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The Trump administration is seeking to fine some immigrants, who are in the United States illegally, hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to take steps to leave after being ordered to do so, according to government documents obtained by NPR. The Department of Homeland Security sent out a batch of notices across the country to targeted individuals ordering them to pay fines of up to nearly $500,000 for ‘failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed,’ among other factors. It’s the latest hard-line effort by the administration as it clamps down on illegal immigration at the border and increases interior enforcement…. Pro-immigrant advocates argue the Trump administration is trying to instill fear and confusion in immigrant communities, expecting the immigrants will leave.”

Senator Cory Booker unveils plan to use executive action to shut down inhumane immigrant detention centers, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a Democratic presidential contender, laid out a plan Tuesday to use executive action if elected president to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, including shutting down detention centers with inhumane conditions…. As president, Booker said, he would unilaterally create new standards for immigrant facilities operated by the Department of Homeland Security and shut down ones that don’t meet them. He would also phase out for-profit contracts with private prison facilities that run some of the centers. Booker’s assertive approach would not only dramatically alter the nation’s use of detention centers to house immigrants who cross the border illegally but also would include sweeping immigration changes that have eluded Congress for decades.” See also, Senator Cory Booker Proposes Drastic Changes to Immigration Detention System, The New York Times,  Nick Corasaniti, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey on Tuesday announced a plan to drastically alter the nation’s immigration detention system through an executive order on his first day in office if he is elected president. In an effort to draw stark contrast to the immigration detention policies of the Trump administration, Mr. Booker’s platform simultaneously establishes a new, stronger set of civil detention standards for facilities operated by the Department of Homeland Security, and directs the department to phase out any contracts with private prison facilities and county or local prisons over three years.”

House Democrats sue the Trump administration over president’s tax returns, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “House Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court seeking access to President Trump’s tax returns, accusing the Trump administration of an ‘extraordinary attack’ on Congress in preventing the disclosure of the president’s personal financial records. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, filed the lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department after months of feuding with the administration over the returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who have denied Democrats’ demands for the returns, are named as defendants. ‘Defendants have mounted an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the IRS, and the tax laws on behalf of the American people who participate in the Nation’s voluntary tax system,’ the 49-page lawsuit states.” See also, House Files Lawsuit Seeking Disclosure of Trump Tax Returns, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The House sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday, demanding access to President Trump’s tax returns and escalating a fight with an administration that has repeatedly dismissed as illegitimate its attempt to obtain the financial records. The lawsuit moves the dispute into the federal courts after months of sniping between the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee, which requested and then subpoenaed the returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The case may ultimately go to the Supreme Court, and its outcome is likely to determine whether financial information that Mr. Trump has kept closely guarded in spite of longstanding presidential tradition will be viewed by Congress and, ultimately, the public.” See also, House Democrats sue for Trump’s tax returns, Politico, Brian Faler, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “House Democrats on Tuesday sued for President Trump’s tax returns, marking the beginning of a high-stakes legal fight over his efforts to keep his taxes secret. Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) filed suit in federal court to enforce a subpoena for the records rejected in May by the administration.”

Federal Judge Blocks Attorney General William Barr’s Attempt to Deny Asylum Seekers Bail, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “A federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday blocked an order by Attorney General William P. Barr that would have kept thousands of migrants detained indefinitely while waiting for their asylum cases to be decided. Judge Marsha J. Pechman of United States District Court for the Western District of Washington described the order, which would have denied some migrants a bail hearing, as unconstitutional. Under a preliminary injunction, Judge Pechman said migrants must be granted a bond hearing within seven days of a request or be released if they have not received a hearing in that time. ‘The court finds that plaintiffs have established a constitutionally protected interest in their liberty, a right to due process, which includes a hearing before a neutral decision maker to assess the necessity of their detention and a likelihood of success on the merits of that issue,’ Judge Pechman wrote. Her ruling also noted that the government was likely to appeal the decision.” See also, White House blasts federal judge in asylum case as ‘at war with the rule of law,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, published on Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “The White House on Wednesday blasted a federal judge in Seattle as being ‘at war with the rule of law’ in response to her blocking an administration plan that would detain thousands of migrants indefinitely while they wait for asylum cases to be heard.”

Climate Change Denialists Dubbed Auto Makers the ‘Opposition’ in Fight Over Trump’s Emissions Rollback, The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “In the early months of the Trump administration, automakers pleaded for — and appeared set to receive — some relief from fuel economy standards that they said were too difficult to meet. But newly released government emails show how a coalition of groups that reject established climate science quickly muscled into the picture, urging the administration to go much further and roll back the rules entirely and characterizing the automakers as their opponents in achieving that goal.”

Park Service diverts $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees for Trump’s July Fourth extravaganza, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration Thursday on the Mall, according to two individuals familiar with the arrangement. Trump administration officials have consistently refused to say how much taxpayers will have to pay for the expanded celebration on the Mall this year, which the president has dubbed the ‘Salute to America.’ The two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the transfer of the Park Service funds Tuesday. The diverted park fees represent just a fraction of the extra costs the government faces as a result of the event, which will include displays of military hardware, flyovers by an array of jets including Air Force One, the deployment of tanks on the Mall and an extended pyrotechnics show. By comparison, according to former Park Service deputy director Denis P. Galvin, the entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million.”

Elizabeth Warren Calls on Former Head of the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) to Quit Pfizer Board, The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday called on Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to resign from the board of Pfizer, saying his decision to join one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies ‘smacks of corruption.’ Ms. Warren, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a public letter to Dr. Gottlieb that the revolving door between government and industry ‘makes the American people rightly cynical and distrustful about whether high-level Trump administration officials are working for them, or for their future corporate employers.'”

Trump and Republican National Committee (R.N.C.) Raised $105 Million in 2nd Quarter, Outdoing Obama, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “President Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee on Tuesday said they had raised $105 million in the second quarter of this year, dwarfing what President Barack Obama raised in the equivalent period during his re-election campaign.”

Trump Expresses Shock at Homelessness, ‘a Phenomenon That Started Two Years Ago,’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 2 July 2019: “For decades before moving into the White House, President Trump lived in the heart of Manhattan but apparently never noticed that his hometown had a homelessness problem. Until now. In a puzzling series of comments during an interview over the weekend, Mr. Trump professed his concern about people living on the streets in America’s biggest cities, declaring that it is ‘a phenomenon that started two years ago.’ It did not. But in an interview for ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ broadcast on Fox News on Monday night, the president seemed to be unaware of decades of struggles by governments, churches and nonprofit organizations to combat homelessness, especially in high-rent places like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.”


Wednesday, 3 July 2019, Day 895:


Justice Department Reverses Course on Citizenship Question on Census, Citing Trump’s OrdersThe New York Times, Michael Wines, Maggie Haberman, and Alan Rappeport, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “A day after pledging that the 2020 census would not ask respondents about their citizenship, Justice Department officials reversed course on Wednesday and said they were hunting for a way to restore the question on orders from President Trump. The contentious issue of whether next year’s all-important head count would include a citizenship question appeared to be settled — until the president began vowing on Twitter Wednesday that the administration was ‘absolutely moving forward’ with plans, despite logistical and legal barriers. President Trump’s comments prompted a chaotic chain of events, with senior census planners closeted in emergency meetings and the Justice Department summoned to a phone conference with a federal judge in Maryland to explain itself. On Wednesday afternoon, Justice Department officials told the judge that their plan had changed in the span of 24 hours: They now believed there could be “a legally available path” to restore the question to the census, and they planned to ask the Supreme Court to help speed the resolution of lawsuits that are blocking their way. The reversal sends the future of the census — which is used to determine the distribution of congressional seats and federal dollars — back into uncertain territory.” See also, Reversing course, Trump administration will look for a way to add citizenship question to 2020 Census, The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Matt Zapotosky, and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “The Justice Department said Wednesday that the government is looking for a way to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, just one day after it said it would drop that effort and was printing the form without it. The course reversal came just hours after President Trump said he was ‘absolutely moving forward’ with adding the question, in a tweet that seemed to catch government lawyers off guard as they were summoned by two federal judges to explain the administration’s change of heart. The reversal came during a phone call with a federal judge in Maryland who had ruled against including the question, and, shortly afterward, in a filing to a New York federal judge who had also ruled against the question.”

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Blocking Trump From Using Defense Funds for Border Wall, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday upheld a block on President Trump’s attempt to use $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to construct a wall along the southwestern border, impeding the delivery of one of his signature campaign promises. The divided three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit agreed with a lower court’s decision from Friday that ruled the Trump administration did not have the authority to reallocate the funds without congressional approval. The administration immediately appealed. Two of the three judges on the panel affirmed that the administration could not build the barriers during future challenges. ‘We conclude that it is best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction,’ wrote Judges Michelle Friedland, an Obama appointee, and Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee.”

A Federal Judge Has Blocked Ohio’s Law Banning Abortion After 6 Weeks, BuzzFeed News, Ema O’Connor, Zoe Tillman, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “A federal judge on Wednesday blocked an Ohio law banning abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy, finding the law’s challengers were ‘certain’ to win in arguing the law is ‘unconstitutional on its face.’ Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the law in April, preventing women from legally obtaining an abortion after the fetus’s heartbeat can be heard, usually after about 6 weeks of pregnancy — before many women are aware they are pregnant. The law contains exceptions in cases of threat of ‘irreversible impairment’ or death of the pregnant woman, but it has no exceptions for cases of pregnancy from rape or incest.”

Justice Department Watchdog to Review Shift in Plan to Move F.B.I. Headquarters, The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “The Justice Department’s top watchdog will review why the F.B.I. scuttled plans to erect a new headquarters in suburban Washington and instead chose to replace the J. Edgar Hoover Building on its current site near the White House, he wrote to lawmakers this week. The F.B.I.’s abrupt change of plans has fueled concerns among Democrats in Congress that President Trump personally intervened to make sure that the land was not redeveloped with a project that would compete with his company’s nearby hotel. In May, Democrats asked the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, to examine the decision.”

Trump schedules a campaign rally in N.C. on the same day Robert Mueller testifies publicly to Congress, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “President Trump is planning to stage a campaign rally in the battleground state of North Carolina on the same day this month that former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is scheduled to deliver highly anticipated public testimony to Congress. Trump’s campaign announced Tuesday night that he would return to Greenville, N.C., on July 17, offering some counter-programming to Mueller’s testimony earlier in the day before the Democratic-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.”

Trump Says Migrants Are ‘Living Far Better’ in Overcrowded Border Facilities Than in Their Home Countries, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “President Trump said on Wednesday that migrants were ‘living far better’ in Border Patrol detention centers than in their home countries, one day after his own administration reported that children in some facilities were denied hot meals or showers, and that cells were so crowded that migrants begged to be freed. In a series of posts on Twitter, Mr. Trump criticized Democrats who this week visited Border Patrol facilities in Texas, and reported that migrants had been forced to drink from a toilet. Customs and Border Protection officials have disputed that claim.”

Moody’s Analytics says climate change could cost $69 trillion by 2100, The Washington Post, Steve Mufson, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “The consulting firm Moody’s Analytics says climate change could inflict $69 trillion in damage on the global economy by the year 2100, assuming that warming hits the two-degree Celsius threshold widely seen as the limit to stem its most dire effects. Moody’s says in a new climate change report that warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, increasingly seen by scientists as a climate-stabilizing limit, would still cause $54 trillion in damages by the end of the century. The firm warns that passing the two-degree threshold ‘could hit tipping points for even larger and irreversible warming feedback loops such as permanent summer ice melt in the Arctic Ocean.’ The new report predicts that rising temperatures will ‘universally hurt worker health and productivity’ and that more frequent extreme weather events ‘will increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property.'”

Pete Buttigieg Proposes National Service Programs for Climate Change and Mental Health, The New York Times, John Ismay, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in part on his experience with national service as a Navy Reserve officer who deployed to Afghanistan, on Wednesday proposed a major expansion of voluntary public service programs that aims to attract 250,000 Americans in the near term and potentially grow to one million a year by 2026. His plan calls for expanding existing national service organizations like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps and also adding new ones focused on combating climate change, treating mental health and addiction, and providing caregiving for older people. The new programs would prioritize bringing volunteers into predominantly minority communities and rural areas.”

Democrats had a lot more power in state legislatures this year. Here’s what they did with it. The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “The 2018 election was a good one across the board for Democrats. But what are they doing with all that new power? At the federal level, it’s still to be determined what Democrats will make of their majority in the House of Representatives. But we can start to answer that question in the states now that many legislatures have wrapped up for the year.”

‘Leave Tanks for Red Square’: Trump’s July 4th Celebration Unsettles Military, The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 3 July 2019: “With trouble spots from Iran to North Korea, the military’s role in a Fourth of July celebration in Washington should be the least of the Pentagon’s worries. Yet some retired and active-duty military officers, and, privately, even some Defense Department personnel said the participation of the military in President Trump’s “Salute to America” appears to politicize the armed forces on a day when the nation traditionally toasts its independence in a nonpartisan environment. ‘Put troops out there so we can thank them — leave tanks for Red Square,’ said Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general and former head of United States Central Command, who until earlier this year served in the Trump administration as a special envoy to help resolve disputes in the Persian Gulf. On Wednesday, the president defended the show of firepower on Twitter.”


Thursday, 4 July 2019, Day 896:


Trump administration scrambles to save citizenship question on census, The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Josh Dawsey, Matt Zapotosky, and William Wan, Thursday, 4 July 2019: “Spurred on by President Trump, government lawyers scrambled Thursday to find a legal path to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census, despite their conclusions in recent days that no such avenue exists. Census officials and lawyers at the Justice and Commerce departments scrapped holiday plans and spent their Independence Day seeking new legal rationales for a citizenship question that critics say could create a steep undercount of immigrants, which could limit federal funding to some communities and skew congressional redistricting to favor Republicans. A federal judge in Maryland overseeing one of three lawsuits on the citizenship question has given the Trump administration until 2 p.m. Friday to explain how it intends to proceed. The printing of census forms continued Thursday, according to administration officials. The question had seemed settled after the Supreme Court ruled last week against the Trump administration. As late as Tuesday evening, the secretary of commerce, who oversees the census, said the administration was dropping its effort and was printing the census forms without the citizenship question. But Trump, in tweets Wednesday and Thursday, said he was not giving up.”

Trump extols U.S. Military might in Fourth of July speech as jets fly over Washington, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Thursday, 4 July 2019: “It was a setting tailor-made for President Trump to launch into a partisan address, with a VIP crowd in front of him that included Republican donors and a display of military armor and aircraft he had personally ordered for a ‘Salute to America’ on the Mall. But during the Fourth of July extravaganza, the president diverged from his typical self-aggrandizing speaking style and instead turned his praise toward the military and ordinary Americans who have contributed to the country’s advancement…. The event was clouded in controversy in part because of the belief that the president was inserting himself into a typically nonpolitical event and planning to use a taxpayer-funded celebration of military power to bolster his political prospects.”

Representative Justin Amash, a Trump Critic on the Right, Leaves the Republican Party, The New York Times, Karen Zraick, Thursday, 4 July 2019: “Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, the only sitting Republican member of Congress to support impeaching President Trump, announced on Thursday that he was leaving the party after facing fierce attacks from the president and fellow Republicans. In an op-ed essay in The Washington Post that did not mention Mr. Trump by name, Mr. Amash wrote: ‘I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.’ Three hours after the essay was published, Mr. Trump responded with a personal attack against Mr. Amash, calling him ‘one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress.’ Mr. Amash, 39, is known as a libertarian with a contrarian streak and has been one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest critics on the right. He has even considered a run against him in the 2020 election. Mr. Amash’s move on Thursday makes him the only independent member of the House, which has 235 Democrats and, now, 197 Republicans.”