Trump Administration, Week 130: Friday, 12 July – Thursday, 18 July 2019 (Days 904-910)


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, 12 July 2019, Day 904:


House Oversight Committee Report: At least 18 migrant children under the age of 2 were separated from parents for 20 days to 6 months, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Friday, 12 July 2019: “At least 18 migrant infants and toddlers under the age of two were separated from their parents at the border ‘including nine infants under the age of one,’ according to a report released Friday by the House Oversight Committee. The Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced in April 2018 led to the separation of thousands of families, sparking a national outcry. More than a year later, the repercussions of that policy continue to be felt as House Democrats seek additional information on its execution. The Democratic-led House Oversight Committee report comes ahead of a hearing on child separations that will include testimony from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who toured border facilities last week, as well as testimony from the inspectors general from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security. Friday’s report, based on data obtained by the committee under subpoena from the Trump administration, provides new information about at least 2,648 children who were separated from their parents.” See also, New Details on Family Separations Fuel Emotional Hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 12 July 2019: “At least 18 infants and toddlers younger than 2 years old were separated from their parents for at least 20 days because of the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the southwestern border, according to a report released on Friday by a House committee. Those findings were gleaned from records that the House Oversight and Reform Committee obtained under subpoena on at least 2,648 children who were separated from their families, the youngest being just 4 months old. Some of the children were kept apart for as long as six months and 241 of the children were kept in Border Patrol custody longer than 72 hours, some as long as a week. Under federal regulations, migrant children must be transferred to shelters managed by the Department of Health and Human Services after three days in Border Patrol custody.”

Alexander Acosta to Resign as Labor Secretary Over Jeffrey Epstein Plea Deal, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Eileen Sullivan, and Noam Scheiber, Friday, 12 July 2019: “President Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced his resignation on Friday amid continuing questions about his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida. Mr. Trump, who announced the resignation, said Mr. Acosta had called him on Friday morning to tell the president he planned to step down. Mr. Acosta’s decision came only two days after he held a news conference to defend his handling of the 2008 sex crimes prosecution of Mr. Epstein while trying to quell a chorus of Democratic calls for his resignation and convincing Mr. Trump he was strong enough to survive.” See also, Alex Acosta resigns as labor secretary, the latest Trump official to leave amid scandal, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, John Wagner, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s resignation Friday amid the mushrooming Jeffrey Epstein investigation made him the latest in a growing list of President Trump’s Cabinet members to depart under a cloud of scandal, plunging an administration that has struggled with record turnover into further upheaval.” See also, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Resigns Amid Pressure over Epstein Prosecution, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Eric Morath, and Michael Bender, Friday, 12 July 2019. See also, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s 72-hour failure to win back Trump, Politico, Ian Kullgren, Eliana Johnson, and Anita Kumar, Friday, 12 July 2019. See also, Alex Acosta Had to Go, but the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal Is Really About Money and Privilege, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The issues raised by the Epstein saga and the plea bargain that Acosta agreed to are systemic, rather than partisan. They go to the heart of the American class system and the manner in which people of great wealth and high social standing are often able to buy their own brand of justice, regardless of how flagrant or hideous their crimes may be…. Let the last words go to Julie K. Brown. ‘Sexual assault involving CHILDREN is NOT a Democratic or Republican issue,’ Brown commented on Twitter, after Acosta’s press conference on Wednesday. ‘This horrific crime doesn’t discriminate based on political party. EVERYONE should be asking hard questions about [the] decisions made in this case … Not just why the deal was made—but because these decisions were made in secret, without telling the victims; by misleading the victims AND likely led to more victims being harmed. That’s not ‘stringing’ a public servant up—it’s called holding him accountable.'”

Jeffrey Epstein Paid $350,000 to Possible Witnesses Against Him, Prosecutors Say, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Just days after a newspaper expose last November drew new attention to Jeffrey Epstein’s predatory behavior toward young women, he wired $350,000 to two people close to him, federal prosecutors revealed on Friday. Mr. Epstein, a financier who now faces sex-trafficking charges in New York, was using the money to try to buy the silence of possible witnesses against him, the prosecutors said. The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan made the new allegations in a court filing asking that Mr. Epstein be denied bail while he awaits trial, saying the payments were evidence that he might try to influence witnesses if he were not detained. Mr. Epstein wired the payments from an account he controlled to the potential witnesses in late November and early December, 2018, shortly after the Miami Herald began publishing an investigative report about a secret deal Mr. Epstein had reached with the authorities in Florida to avoid federal prosecution in 2008, the government said.” See also, Jeffrey Epstein paid suspected co-conspirators, which prosecutors suggest may have been to ‘influence’ them, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Soon after The Miami Herald began reporting on his favorable treatment by law enforcement in an early 2000s sex crimes investigation, jet-setting financier Jeffrey Epstein paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to people investigators had identified as possible co-conspirators — payments which federal prosecutors alleged Friday might have been meant to influence them.”

Continue reading Week 130, Friday, 12 July – Thursday, 18 July 2019 (Days 904-910)

House Democrats Postpone Mueller Testimony by One Week, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 12 July 2019: “House Democrats said late Friday that they would postpone until July 24 two hearings with Robert S. Mueller III, which had been scheduled to take place next week, to allow for expanded questioning of the former special counsel. The reversal, after a day of negotiations with Mr. Mueller’s associates, came as both Democrats and Republicans were deep in preparations for his testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. The back-to-back hearings with the enigmatic former F.B.I. director are expected to be a pivotal moment for the House as it investigates possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump.” See also, Mueller and House committees strike deal to delay hearing until July 24, giving lawmakers more time to question him, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Ellen Nakashima, and Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and two House panels struck a deal Friday to reschedule his congressional testimony for July 24, an agreement that gives lawmakers more time to question the reluctant witness about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.” See also, Mueller testimony delayed by one week, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio, and John Bresnahan, Friday, 12 July 2019.

House Passes $733 Billion Defense Bill Checking Trump’s War Powers, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The House gave final approval Friday to a defense bill that would put a liberal stamp on military policy by shackling President Trump’s ability to wage war in Iran and Yemen, restricting the use of military funds at the southwestern border and returning transgender troops to the armed forces. The $733 billion National Defense Authorization Act was passed along stark party lines — 220 to 197 — with Republicans uniting to oppose the legislation. The defense policy bill has traditionally been a bipartisan exercise, but House Republicans have come out strongly against this year’s version. The bill still must be reconciled with a Senate version that is considerably less confrontational with the Trump administration. And it is likely Senate negotiators will try to strip out many of the House’s provisions. In amendment after amendment, lawmakers flexed their oversight muscles, reflecting a growing desire to take back long-ceded authority over matters of war and peace from the executive branch, a reclamation that legislators in both parties contend has grown more urgent amid escalating tensions with Iran.” See also, House votes to restrain Trump on war with Iran, setting up showdown with the Senate, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The House voted Friday to prevent President Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval, after more than two dozen Republicans joined Democrats to include the provision in the House’s annual defense authorization bill. The move sets up a showdown with the Senate over whether the Iran restriction, which includes an exception for cases of self-defense, will be included in the final bill negotiated between the two chambers.” See also, In a sign of fights to come, House defense bill highlights partisan divide over Iran, border wall, Guantanamo, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, published on Saturday, 13 June 2019.

Cash, banners, and bullhorns: Big philanthropists throw their weight behind disruptive climate activists, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Groups of climate activists known for their aggressive tactics and raucous protests are getting an unusual assist from some of the biggest names in philanthropy. Filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the niece of John F. Kennedy, and Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, are among numerous prominent founding members of a Climate Emergency Fund that will send everything from cash to bullhorns and other supplies to grass-roots activists gaining momentum across the country and around the globe. The move is an especially big boon to the activists that are part of a ‘climate emergency movement’ calling on governments around the world to treat climate change as an existential threat — as much of the funding in the climate space traditionally goes to groups advocating for slower and less ambitious policy changes.”

The Youth Climate Summit starts July 12. It’s full of young activists trained in the anti-Trump movement. The Washington Post, Dana R. Fisher, Friday, 12 July 2019: “On July 12, young people from across the United States are converging in Miami to participate in the Youth Climate Summit. The summit builds on the momentum of the global youth climate movement, which has focused on school strikes and demanding that governments take meaningful steps to address climate change. Who are these young people focusing on the climate? My data shows for the first time that the youth climate movement brings in people with experience in what is sometimes called the “resistance”: the broader movement that has been challenging President Trump’s administration and its polices since January 2017. This movement has merged the efforts of various progressive movements within it (including women’s rights, gun control and climate change). That includes a significant portion of these young climate activists, as I’ll explain.”

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide considered ‘very highly toxic’ to bees, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency approved broad new applications Friday for a controversial insecticide, despite objections from environmental groups and beekeepers who say it is among the compounds responsible for eviscerating the nation’s bee populations. Alexandra Dunn, head of the EPA office that oversees pesticides, said the agency was ‘thrilled’ to be able to approve new uses and lift past restrictions on sulfoxaflor, which she called a ‘highly effective’ tool for growers around the country — but which the agency itself considers ‘very highly toxic’ to bees. The decision will allow the chemical to be applied to a wide array of crops, including citrus and corn, soybeans and strawberries, pineapples and pumpkins…. The agency’s critics, some of whom successfully sued the EPA in federal court during the Obama administration to restrict use of the pesticide, were anything but thrilled with Friday’s announcement. ‘At a time when honeybees and other pollinators are dying in greater numbers than ever before, EPA’s decision to remove restrictions on yet another bee-killing pesticide is nothing short of reckless,’ Greg Loarie, an attorney for the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, said in an email. The news comes during a time that commercial honeybee colonies have been declining at a startling rate. The annual loss rate for honeybees during the year ending in April rose to 40.7 percent, up slightly over the annual average of 38.7 percent, according to the Bee Informed Partnership, a nonprofit group associated with the University of Maryland.”

Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) Plans to Curtail the Ability of Communities to Oppose Pollution Permits, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to weaken rules that for the past quarter-century have given communities a voice in deciding how much pollution may legally be released by nearby power plants and factories. The changes would eliminate the ability of individuals or community advocates to appeal against E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges. However, the industrial permit-holders could still appeal to the panel, known as the Environmental Appeals Board, to allow them to increase their pollution. The draft plan was described by three people familiar with the document, who requested anonymity because the proposal is not yet public. The document has been largely completed, they said, and the next step would be to announce the proposed rule change and seek public comment.”

‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas Detention facility, Vice President Mike Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 12 July 2019: “When Vice President Pence visited a migrant detention center [in McAllen, Texas, on] Friday, he saw nearly 400 men crammed behind caged fences with not enough room for them all to lie down on the concrete ground. There were no mats or pillows for those who found the space to rest. A stench from body odor hung stale in the air. When reporters toured the facility before Pence, the men screamed that they’d been held there 40 days, some longer. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot, but the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink. Pence appeared to scrunch his nose when entering the facility, stayed for a moment and left. A few minutes earlier, from a bird’s eye room called ‘The Bubble,’ he’d seen 382 men packed into cells, peering against the windows to get a view of him. Some appeared shirtless.” See also, Vice President Mike Pence Defends Conditions at Migrant Detention Centers in Texas, The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, published on Saturday, 13 July 2019: “Vice President Mike Pence played down reports of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at two migrant detention centers in Texas that he visited on Friday, but he acknowledged the gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding along the United States’ southwestern border. The tour gave journalists covering the vice president a rare glimpse inside a Border Patrol station near McAllen, Tex., where they observed nearly 400 men crammed inside a cage with no space to lie down and no mats or pillows, according to pool reports. Before members of the news media were ushered out of the facility, some of the detainees shouted that they had been there for more than 40 days, were hungry and could not brush their teeth. One pool reporter described the stench as ‘horrendous’ — some of the agents wore face masks — and said it was sweltering inside the detention center, which is less than 10 miles from the Rio Grande, the river that divides the United States and Mexico. Mr. Pence was effusive in his praise of Border Patrol agents, whom he referred to as ‘compassionate.’ But instead of tamping down criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the tide of refugees, many from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the photos and videos that emerged from the tightly choreographed tour further inflamed critics.”

Photos: Lights for Liberty Vigil in Pittsfield, MA, Berkshire Eagle, Gillian Jones, Friday, 12 July 2019: “About 200 people participated in a ‘Lights for Liberty’ vigil Friday organized by Indivisible Pittsfield, Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice and Greylock Together. ‘Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps’ was held at Park Square in Pittsfield. The vigil was one of at least 700 in the nation.” See also, Protesters shine ‘Lights for Liberty’ on Trump immigration policies, The Berkshire Edge, Terry Cowgill, published on Sunday, 14 July 2019.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the Trump administration in ‘sanctuary city’ case, The Hill, Tal Axelrod, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s efforts to prioritize federal dollars for local policing to towns and cities that complied with certain immigration policies. The ruling, a split 2-1 decision, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) was within its rights to withhold Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants from sanctuary cities and states over their refusal to work with federal immigration enforcement authorities and instead prioritize agencies that focused on unauthorized immigration and agreed to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to jail records and immigrants in custody.”

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost Was a Member of Secret Facebook Group Filled With Racist, Vulgar, and Sexist Content, The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, Friday, 12 July 2019: “When news broke that thousands of current and former Border Patrol agents were members of a secret Facebook group filled with racist, vulgar, and sexist content, Carla Provost, chief of the agency, was quick to respond. ‘These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,’ Provost said in a statement. ‘Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.’ For Provost, a veteran of the Border Patrol who was named head of the agency in August 2018, the group’s existence and content should have come as no surprise. Three months after her appointment to chief, Provost herself had posted in the group, then known as ‘I’m 10-15,’ now archived as ‘America First X 2.’ Provost’s comment was innocuous — a friendly clapback against a group member who questioned her rise to the top of the Border Patrol — but her participation in the group, which she has since left, raises serious questions.”

This framed photo of far-right commentator Tomi Lahren hangs in US Border Patrol headquarters, Quartz, Zoë Schlanger & Justin Rohrlich, Friday, 12 July 2019: “A large, framed photo of far-right commentator Tomi Lahren posing with US Border Patrol officials hangs prominently on the wall of the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC. A person with access to the area described the setting and shared a picture of it with Quartz. Lahren, a vocal supporter of US president Donald Trump, has called immigrants ‘shifty and adaptable,’ and has claimed they are bringing disease to the US. She regularly pushes alt-right conspiracy theories and believes an ‘invasion by foreigners’ is ‘overwhelming’ the country. She has also lashed out at Black Lives Matter, comparing the social justice movement to the Ku Klux Klan. She now hosts a talk show on the Fox Nation streaming service.”

House Votes to Extend 9/11 Fund for Lifetimes of First Responders, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The House on Friday approved legislation to replenish a depleted federal fund to compensate emergency workers and others who became ill as a result of their work in the ruins of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, extending it for the lifetime of those who were at Sept. 11’s ground zero. The bill, passed by a lopsided bipartisan 402-12 vote, would authorize $10.2 billion for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It comes in the face of a large uptick in medical claims from people who worked on ‘the pile,’ as the steaming heap of steel rubble was often called by those who labored there in the months after the attack in 2001. Many of them have since become gravely sick with cancer and other ailments…. The cause was championed by the comedian Jon Stewart and brought to an emotional peak by the death two weeks ago of Luis G. Alvarez, a former New York City detective and advocate for the emergency workers.” See also, House passes bill extending 9/11 first responders funding for decades, CNN Politics, Ashley Kilough and Clare Foran, Friday, 12 July 2019.

California Passes Measure Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns, HuffPost, Mary Papenfuss, Friday, 12 July 2019: “The California Legislature has overwhelmingly passed a measure requiring all presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns to get on the primary ballot, which could shake things up for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act, SB 27, would require that the candidates release the previous five years of their returns. The bill passed 57-17 in the Assembly on Tuesday and 29-10 in the state Senate Thursday. It now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to become law. The measure includes an urgency clause, which would allow the legislation to take effect immediately, in time for the 2020 election, reports ABC-7 News. The measure only applies to the primary ballot because the state constitution allows political parties to nominate their own presidential candidates in the general election.”

At Latino Forum, Democratic Candidates Channel Anxiety Over Immigration, The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Friday, 12 July 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren accused President Trump of stirring ‘hate.’ Julián Castro said the president had acted ‘like a dictator.’ The Trump administration’s actions, warned Beto O’Rourke, threaten to ‘stain’ the nation’s conscience. The Democratic presidential candidates, gathered here in Milwaukee on Thursday to address Latino voters, excoriated Mr. Trump’s immigration and deportation policies and channeled rising anxiety among a constituency that could be crucial in the 2020 primary race.”


Saturday, 13 July 2019, Day 905:


How the Stress of Separation and Detention Changes the Lives of Children, The New Yorker,  Isaac Chotiner, Saturday, 13 July 2019: “The horrific accounts of the conditions under which immigrant children are being held has focussed outrage and attention on the Trump Administration’s actions and agenda. But any future reversal of policy will do little to help kids who have already been detained—many of them after being separated from a parent or other relative. The psychological effects of separation and detention have worried experts in child development, and some of them are speaking out. The American Psychological Association, among other groups, has issued multiple statements on the effects of the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, writing that they ‘pose serious harm to the psychological well-being of immigrant children, their U.S.-born siblings, and other family members.’ I recently spoke with Jack P. Shonkoff—a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a professor of child health and development at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education—whose research has addressed the consequences of excessive stress on young children. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the psychological effects of detention, the differences in how toddlers and teen-agers register trauma, and why kids who appear to have adapted to their circumstances are often at risk of the most serious problems. What most concerns you about what we have read about and seen from these border facilities holding children? Oh, God, where do I begin? I think—to cut through all of the noise, the politics, the back-and-forth on the details—there are just two core issues that are screaming out. One is the fact that the forced and abrupt separation of children from their parents is a huge psychological trauma and assault. The magnitude of the nature of the crisis for a child’s health and well-being cannot be overstated. Abrupt separation from primary caregivers or parents is a major psychological emergency. The second issue is the prolonged placement of children in institutional settings. Obviously, the two are linked in this particular situation. From the perspective of what we know about children’s health and well-being, what we know about trauma, abrupt separation is one area where we have a lot of research and a lot of evidence about its consequences. But prolonged institutionalization is a separate area in which we have an equally deep research base and knowledge about how damaging that kind of setting is for kids. We are dealing with two very well-studied, serious assaults on the health and well-being of children.”

Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway. The New York Times, Jodi Kantor, Mike McIntire, and Vanessa Friedman, Saturday, 13 July 2019: “A strange thing happened when Jeffrey Epstein came back to New York City after being branded a sex offender: His reputation appeared to rise. In 2010, the year after he got out of a Florida prison, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos dined at his Manhattan mansion with a British royal. The next year, Mr. Epstein was photographed at a ‘billionaire’s dinner’ attended by tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. A page popped up on Harvard University’s website lauding his accomplishments, and superlative-filled news releases described his lofty ambitions as he dedicated $10 million to charitable causes…. Over a decade ago, when Mr. Epstein was very publicly accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, he minimized the legal consequences with high-powered lawyers, monetary settlements that silenced complaints, and a plea deal that short-circuited an F.B.I. investigation and led to the resignation announcement on Friday of a Trump cabinet official who had overseen the case as a prosecutor. Socially, Mr. Epstein carried out a parallel effort, trying to preserve his reputation as a financier, philanthropist and thinker.”

Immigration-Enforcement Raids Begin in New York City, The Wall Street Journal, Jim Carlton and Corinne Ramey, Saturday, 13 July 2019: “Federal immigration authorities attempted raids in at least two neighborhoods in New York City on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the matter, a day prior to when President Trump had said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would begin national roundups of people illegally in the U.S. In New York City, ICE agents went to residences in the Harlem section of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, the person said. The agents were rejected by people at the residences because they didn’t have warrants, but [the agents] plan to return to Sunset Park tomorrow, according to the person.” See also, What Happens After an ICE Raid? Explaining the Deportation Process. The New York Times, Adeel Hassan, published on Tuesday, 16 July 2019.


Sunday, 14 July 2019, Day 906:


Trump Tells Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to the Countries They Came From, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “President Trump said on Sunday that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should ‘go back’ to the countries they came from rather than ‘loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States’ how to run the government. Wrapped inside that insult, which was widely established as a racist trope, was a factually inaccurate claim: Only one of the lawmakers was born outside the country. Even though Mr. Trump has repeatedly refused to back down from stoking racial divisions, his willingness to deploy a lowest-rung slur — one commonly and crudely used to single out the perceived foreignness of nonwhite, non-Christian people — was largely regarded as beyond the pale. ‘So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, ‘now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.’ Mr. Trump added: ‘Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.’ Delivered on the day he had promised widespread immigration raids, Mr. Trump’s comments signaled a new low in how far he will go to affect public discourse surrounding the issue. And if his string of tweets was meant to further widen Democratic divisions in an intraparty fight, the strategy appeared quickly to backfire: House Democrats, including Ms. Pelosi, rallied around the women, declaring in blunt terms that Mr. Trump’s words echoed other xenophobic comments he has made about nonwhite immigrants.” See also, Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “President Trump woke up on Sunday morning, gazed out at the nation he leads, saw the dry kindling of race relations and decided to throw a match on it. It was not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last. He has a pretty large carton of matches and a ready supply of kerosene. His Twitter harangue goading Democratic congresswomen of color to ‘go back’ to the country they came from, even though most of them were actually born in the United States, shocked many. But it should have surprised few who have watched the way he has governed a multicultural, multiracial country the last two and a half years. When it comes to race, Mr. Trump plays with fire like no other president in a century. While others who occupied the White House at times skirted close to or even over the line, finding ways to appeal to the resentments of white Americans with subtle and not-so-subtle appeals, none of them in modern times fanned the flames as overtly, relentlessly and even eagerly as Mr. Trump.” See also, Trump tells four liberal congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to defend them, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “President Trump said Sunday that four minority, liberal congresswomen who have been critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,’ prompting other Democrats — including Pelosi — to leap to their defense. Pelosi denounced Trump’s tweets as ‘xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,’ while the four congresswomen promised to continue fighting Trump’s agenda and accused him of trying to appeal to white nationalists. Trump’s remark swiftly united a House Democratic caucus that had been torn apart in recent days by infighting between Pelosi and the four freshman women of color — Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). It also comes after Trump announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were preparing to round up migrant families that have received deportation orders across the country.” See also, The unmistakable ugliness of Trump urging brown-skinned congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Sunday, 14 July 2019. See also, Trump, son and husband of immigrants, tells U.S.-born political opponents to ‘go back’ to where they came from, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Sunday, 14 July 2019. See also, Trump tells Democratic congresswomen: Go back where you came from, Politico, Bianca Quilantan and David Cohen, Sunday, 14 July 2019. See also, Trump Targets Lawmakers in Racially Charged Tweets, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Michael C. Bender, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “President Trump provocatively injected himself into a simmering Democratic dispute Sunday, tweeting that a group of progressives quarreling with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—all but one of whom were born in the U.S.—came from corrupt and broken countries and should ‘go back’ to ‘fix’ what he called the ‘totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.’ The president’s broadside against the lawmakers, all of whom are minorities, was condemned as racist by Democrats across the spectrum. Mr. Trump’s tweets came amid deepening tensions between Mrs. Pelosi and a group of freshman progressive lawmakers seeking to push Democratic policy further to the left, a dispute that also was playing out on social media over the weekend.” See also, Editorial: Trump is truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief, Los Angeles Times, Editorial Board, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “President Trump’s Twitter feed is a repugnant place, and no one would want the thankless task of having to weed through all his bitter, bigoted ramblings to determine which are the most offensive. But a three-tweet thread early Sunday morning — in which he wrote that the four progressive House Democrats who call themselves ‘The Squad’ should ‘go back’ to the ‘crime-infested places from which they came’ — certainly has to rank among the most disgusting…. [Trump] is not really trying to inform us or to make a reasoned point about anything or to express a fully formed thought of any sort. He is simply spewing as usual, and in the process fanning the flames of disunity, chaos, prejudice and polarization — all cleverly hidden behind a veneer of rote and thuggish patriotism. He is playing to the lowest, most degraded emotions of his supporters while reveling in the fury of his opponents. This is the definition of demagoguery.” See also, Trump’s Racism Hit a New Level as He Told Four Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to Their ‘Broken’ Countries, BuzzFeed News, Claudia Koerner, Sunday, 14 July 2019.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Launches Raids Targeting Migrant Families, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Nick Corasaniti, and Edgar Sandoval, Sunday, 14 July 2019: “A small number of coordinated federal raids targeting undocumented migrant parents and their children took place over the weekend, the beginning of the Trump administration’s plan to swiftly enforce deportation orders against some 2,000 recently arrived migrants who are not eligible to remain in the country. Only a handful of arrests appeared to take place, and they were reported in just a few cities. That was much different than the nationwide show of force that had originally been planned, in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were expected to fan out in unison on Sunday morning across immigrant communities in major cities. But the authorities said that more arrests would follow through the week. The plans for the operation were changed at the last minute because of news reports that had tipped off immigrant communities about what to expect, according to several current and former Department of Homeland Security officials. Instead of a large simultaneous sweep, the authorities created a secondary plan for a smaller and more diffuse scale of apprehensions to roll out over roughly a week. Individual ICE field offices were given the discretion to decide when to begin, one official said.”


Monday, 15 July 2019, Day 907:


After Trump Accuses Four Democratic Congresswomen of Hating U.S., They Fire Back, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Monday, 15 July 2019: “President Trump, under fire for comments that even members of his own party called racist, amplified his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color on Monday, saying that they hated America and that one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress sympathized with Al Qaeda. In an extraordinary back and forth from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Trump appeared to revel in the viciousness of his brawl with the four progressive women who have become the young faces of the Democratic Party. He goaded them into a response from Capitol Hill in which they denounced the president’s rhetoric and his policies, charging that he was pressing the agenda of white nationalists from the White House. ‘He’s launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color,’ said Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and the target of Mr. Trump’s most outrageous charges. ‘This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden.’ The exchange was the latest episode in a presidency in which Mr. Trump has skittered from condemnations of black athletes kneeling during the national anthem to insults lobbed at developing countries to a defense of protesters at a white supremacist march. But now Mr. Trump is going after members of the majority party in the House, capable of fighting back.” See also, Trump says they ‘hate our country.’ The Democrats he attacked say the country ‘belongs to everyone.’ The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Rachael Bade, and John Wagner, Monday, 15 July 2019: “President Trump on Monday defended his racist remarks about four minority lawmakers by alleging that they “hate our country” and should leave if they are unhappy — leading the Democratic congresswomen to respond by offering a competing vision of America that they said was based on inclusiveness.” See also, ‘This is the agenda of white nationalists’: Four minority congresswomen condemn Trump’s racist remarks, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Rachael Bade, Monday, 15 July 2019: “After being targeted by President Trump with racist tweets — following days of scolding from their own party leaders — four Democratic congresswomen chose to stand together before the cameras and defend their vision for their country. During a hastily scheduled news conference late Monday, the self-described ‘Squad’ — Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) — spoke in somber and personal terms of their belief in America as a nation of immigrants offering opportunities for women of color like themselves, rather than a country for the privileged. They rejected Trump’s ‘agenda of white nationalists.’ It was a notable moment underscoring the sharpened nature of politics in the Trump era — four minority women, stepping forward to directly challenge the president’s history of racist and crude remarks, some of which they cited using language rarely if ever uttered in such a formal setting in the Capitol. ‘This is a president who has said “grab women by the pussy.” This is a president who’s called black athletes “sons of bitches.” This is a president who has called people who come from black and brown countries “shitholes.” This is a president who has equated neo-Nazis with those who protest against them,’ Omar said.” See also, ‘Bile of garbage’: Progressive squad tears into Trump, Politico, Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, Monday, 15 July 2019. See also, Trump’s incendiary rhetoric is met with fading resistance from Republican and corporate leaders, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Monday, 15 July 2019: “When Donald Trump assailed Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals during his 2015 presidential campaign launch, companies including Macy’s and NBC rushed to cut their business ties with him. When a tape surfaced in 2016 of Trump boasting about grabbing women’s genitals, top Republican officials briefly pulled their endorsements, disinvited him from events and even sought to remove him from the ticket. When, as president, Trump equivocated on condemning white supremacists in a deadly Virginia rally, top business leaders disbanded White House advisory boards in protest. But on Monday, a day after he posted tweets promoting the racist trope that four minority congresswomen should ‘go back’ to their countries of ancestry, the president waltzed onto the South Lawn of the White House with the confidence of a man fully supported by his party and by much of the corporate world that had once kept him at arm’s length.” See also, ‘Racist’ tweets? News media grapple with how to label Trump’s latest attacks, The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Monday, 15 July 2019: “When is it time to call a statement ‘racist,’ and when is it time to let others characterize it that way? News organizations wrestled with that question Sunday and Monday after President Trump tweeted a series of statements aimed at four members of Congress, all women of color. Trump’s comments — ‘Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’ — drew a thunderously negative reaction, with many people, especially Democrats, calling the tweets straight-up racist. But not everyone in the mainstream media was so direct. Reflecting a reluctance to use an incendiary term to describe Trump’s motives and behavior, some tiptoed around the word in their initial reports. Others stepped closer to the line, relying on phrases best described as ‘racist-adjacent,’ such as ‘racially loaded,’ ‘racially tinged’ and ‘racially charged.'” See also, Tiptoeing around Trump’s racism is a betrayal of journalistic truth-telling, The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, Monday, 15 July 2019: “It makes good sense for media organizations to be careful and noninflammatory in their news coverage. That kind of caution continues to be a virtue. But a crucial part of being careful is being accurate, clear and direct. When confronted with racism and lying, we can’t run and hide in the name of neutrality and impartiality. To do that is a dereliction of duty…. Journalists don’t need to see themselves as political advocates when they say obvious things in plain terms. And doing so doesn’t make them Democratic operatives as their pro-Trump critics are sure to charge. It just means they are doing the most fundamental job they have: telling the truth as plainly and directly as possible.” See also, Given an opportunity to criticize white nationalists, Trump instead welcomed their agreement, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Monday, 15 July 2019. See also, Politicians have been sending black Americans ‘go back’ messages for generations, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott, 15 July 2019. See also, Trump Falsely Accuses Ilhan Omar of Proclaiming ‘How Great Al Qaeda Is,’ The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Monday, 15 July 2019. See also, A Blaring Message in Republicans’ Muted Criticism: It’s Trump’s Party, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Monday, 15 July 2019: “The lack of widespread Republican condemnation of President Trump for his comments about four Democratic congresswomen of color illustrated both the tightening stranglehold Mr. Trump has on his party and the belief of many Republicans that an attack on progressivism should in fact be a central element of the 2020 campaign. While a smattering of Republicans chastised Mr. Trump on Monday, most party leaders in the House and Senate and much of the rank-and-file remained quiet about the president’s weekend tweets directing dissenters to ‘go back’ where they came from. He followed up on those comments on Monday with harsh language directed at ‘people who hate America’ — an inflammatory accusation to be leveled against elected members of the House.” See also, Trump’s Aides, Not Eager to Defend His Tweets, Also Don’t Condemn Them, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Monday, 15 July 2019. See also, Trump intensifies assault on progressive congresswomen despite outcry, Politico, Quint Forgey and Caitlin Oprysko, Monday, 15 July 2019. See also, Trump Goes All In on Racism, The Atlantic, David A. Graham, Monday, 15 July 2019: “If you’re surprised today that Donald Trump is a racist, you haven’t been paying attention. Since he entered politics, he has proved it repeatedly. In fact, as I reported with several colleagues in The Atlantic recently, bigotry has been a part of Trump’s public persona since he’s had a public persona. Yet Trump’s racist Twitter attacks on Democratic congresswomen over the weekend still managed to shock, even in this benumbed age, because of his willingness and eagerness to place racism at the center of his political platform in a run for reelection to the presidency. It is not simply the employment of racist ideas for political advantage—that has been a staple of campaigns in both parties for some time. It is the invitation to a racial conflict that pits citizen against citizen, under the calculation that racism itself is a winning strategy, that astonishes.”

Most Migrants at U.S. Border With Mexico Would Be Denied Asylum Protections Under New Trump Rule, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Monday, 15 July 2019: “Long before a surge of migrants from Central America overwhelmed the southwestern border, the Trump administration was already waging a broad assault on the rules determining who can seek asylum in the United States. But on Monday, the administration announced one of its most restrictive rules yet for a system, enshrined in international law, that Mr. Trump has called ‘ridiculous’ and ‘insane.’ In a move that would stop virtually all Central American families who are fleeing persecution and poverty from entering the United States, Trump administration officials said they would deny asylum to migrants who failed to apply for protections in at least one country they passed through on their way north…. The new rule is expected to be immediately challenged. Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement that it ‘could not be more inconsistent with our domestic laws or international laws’ and that his organization would sue swiftly.” See also, Trump moves to effectively end asylum at southern border, Associated Press, Colleen Long, Monday, 15 July 2019: “Reversing decades of U.S. policy, the Trump administration said Monday it will end all asylum protections for most migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border — the president’s most forceful attempt yet to block asylum claims and slash the number of people seeking refuge in America. The new rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, would cover countless would-be refugees, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. It is certain to face legal challenges. According to the plan published in the Federal Register, migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.” See also, Trump moves to eliminate nearly all asylum claims at U.S. southern border, Los Angeles Times, Molly O’Toole, Monday, 15 July 2019: “The Trump administration moved Monday to effectively end asylum for any migrant who arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border, an enormous shift in U.S. immigration policy that could block hundreds of thousands of people from seeking protection in the U.S. — and is certain to draw legal challenges.”

62 Border Agents Belonged to Offensive Facebook Group, Investigation Finds, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Monday, 15 July 2019: “At least 62 current federal border agents have joined private Facebook groups and other social media pages that included obscene images of Hispanic lawmakers and threats to members of Congress, internal investigators said on Monday. In all, 70 current and former Customs and Border Protection employees were identified as members of the groups, officials from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility said. Investigators are examining inappropriate images, memes and comments in multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner. Additional agents may be identified later, he said, as investigators continue to gather evidence.”

White House Directs Kellyanne Conway to Defy House Subpoena, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Monday, 15 July 2019: “White House officials directed Kellyanne Conway on Monday not to comply with a congressional subpoena compelling her to answer to accusations of multiple violations of a federal ethics law, invoking the ‘longstanding principle of immunity for senior advisers to the president.’ The House Oversight and Reform Committee authorized a subpoena for Ms. Conway last month after Henry J. Kerner, a special counsel for a nonpartisan government watchdog agency, told the committee that Ms. Conway should be fired from the White House for her ‘egregious, repeated and very public violations’ of a federal ethics law called the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities at work.” See also, Trump tells White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to ignore Congressional subpoena, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Monday, 15 July 2019: “White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will ignore a congressional subpoena at the request of President Trump, refusing to testify about a government watchdog’s findings that she broke the law dozens of times, the White House said Monday. Last month, the House Oversight Committee authorized a subpoena for Conway after special counsel Henry Kerner said she blatantly violated the Hatch Act, a law that bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work.” See also, Kellyanne Conway defies Congressional subpoena, refusing to show up for testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Monday, 15 July 2019.

Trump abortion restrictions are effective immediately, Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Monday, 15 July 2019: “Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration said Monday, declaring it will begin enforcing a new regulation hailed by religious conservatives and denounced by medical organizations and women’s rights groups. The head of a national umbrella group representing the clinics said the administration is following ‘an ideological agenda’ that could disrupt basic health care for many low-income women. Ahead of a planned conference Tuesday with the clinics, the Health and Human Services Department formally notified them that it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. Another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof would take effect next year. The rule is widely seen as a blow against Planned Parenthood, which provides taxpayer-funded family planning and basic health care to low-income women, as well as abortions that must be paid for separately. The organization is a mainstay of the federally funded family planning program and it has threatened to quit over the issue.”

Federal Watchdog (Government Accountability Office) Says the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) Broke Rules in Shake-Up of Science Panels, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Monday, 15 July 2019: “The Trump administration failed to follow ethics rules last year when it dismissed academic members of Environmental Protection Agency advisory boards and replaced them with appointees connected to industry, a federal watchdog agency concluded Monday. The agency, the Government Accountability Office, found that the administration “did not consistently ensure” that appointees to E.P.A. advisory panels met federal ethics requirements. It also concluded that Trump administration officials violated E.P.A. guidelines by not basing the appointments on recommendations made by career staff members.”

Joe Biden, Echoing Obama, Pledges to Shore Up the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Abby Goodnough, Monday, 15 July 2019: “It was the singular promise that doomed the public perception of President Barack Obama’s health care law — and now former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is using it on the campaign trail. ‘If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it,’ Mr. Biden told an AARP forum on Monday. ‘If you like your private insurance, you can keep it.’ Mr. Biden restated nearly verbatim Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act promise — which was named Politifact’s ‘Lie of the Year’ in 2013 and has been ridiculed by Republicans for years — as he detailed for the first time how he would tackle health care as president. Mr. Biden’s proposal would create a so-called public option that would enable anyone to sign up for a government-run health plan like Medicare, allow more people to get subsidies to help pay for their health insurance and reduce the maximum percentage of income they could spend on premiums. It puts him in direct conflict with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and others who back a single-payer ‘Medicare for all’ plan. Mr. Sanders has led the charge to eliminate most private health insurance as part of his proposal, though other Democrats running for president have said they would seek to retain a private-insurance structure.”

House passes measures cracking down on Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and prepares to send more to Trump’s desk, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Monday, 15 July 2019: “The House passed two measures Monday aimed at cracking down on Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including a bill to impose sanctions on the people who ordered or carried out the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But despite the strong bipartisan backing of the House, the measures face a difficult road ahead in the Senate, where Republican leaders are sparring with members of their own party and Democrats over how forcefully to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s killing, the humanitarian disaster in war-torn Yemen, and a documented practice of jailing and torturing activists. The House unanimously passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia for detaining and allegedly abusing female human rights activists who have protested current and past restrictions on women driving and traveling without a male guardian. It overwhelmingly passed the Khashoggi bill, by a vote of 405 to 7, which would force the director of national intelligence to identify the perpetrators of his killing and deny or revoke any visas to those individuals.”


Tuesday, 16 July 2019, Day 908:


House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “The House voted on Tuesday to condemn as racist President Trump’s attacks against four congresswomen of color, but only after the debate over the president’s language devolved into a bitterly partisan brawl that showcased deep rifts over race, ethnicity and political ideology in the age of Trump. The measure, the first House rebuke of a president in more than 100 years, passed nearly along party lines, 240 to 187, after one of the most polarizing exchanges on the floor in recent times. Only four Republicans and the House’s lone independent, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, voted with all Democrats to condemn the president. ‘I know racism when I see it, I know racism when I feel it, and at the highest level of government, there’s no room for racism,’ said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, an icon of the civil rights movement.” See also, Read the House Resolution Condemning ‘Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Members of Congress,’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 16 July 2019. See also, The Republicans Who Voted to Condemn Trump’s Remarks (and Other Things to Know), The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 16 July 2019. See also, A divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, John Wagner, and Rachael Bade, published on Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “A divided House voted Tuesday to condemn President Trump’s racist remarks telling four minority congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their ancestral countries, with all but a handful of Republicans dismissing the rebuke as harassment while many Democrats pressed their leaders for harsher punishment of the president. The imagery of the 240-to-187 vote was stark: A diverse Democratic caucus cast the president’s words as an affront to millions of Americans and descendants of immigrants, while Republican lawmakers — the vast majority of them white men — stood with Trump against a resolution that rejected his ‘racist comments that have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.'” See also, House thrown into chaos after Speaker Nancy Pelosi decries Trump’s ‘racist’ tweets on the floor, Politico, John Bresnahan, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “The House voted along party lines to allow Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Donald Trump’s tweets about minority Democratic lawmakers ‘racist’ in the Congressional Record on Tuesday, overriding a parliamentary ruling and GOP objections. Pelosi’s comments were initially ruled ‘out of order’ on the floor itself, a small victory for the Republicans during a tense day in which both sides exchanged accusations of racism, hypocrisy and indecorous behavior unworthy of Congress or the country.” See also, House condemns Trump’s ‘racist’ tweets targeting minority congresswomen, Politico, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and Melanie Zanona, Tuesday, 16 July 2019. See also, House Passes Resolution Condemning Trump Tweets as Racist, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Michael C. Bender, Tuesday, 16 July 2019. See also, Am I an American? The Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “President Trump’s tirade against four minority congresswomen prompts the question: Whom does he consider to be American?… Maybe I had the question wrong all along. Maybe I should not live in envy; I should live in struggle. Maybe I should have been asking, ‘Who controls America?’ instead of ‘Am I an American?’ Because who controls America determines who is an American.” See also, Anti-Racist Historian Ibram X. Kendi: Attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar Are Rooted in the Belief that ‘America Is for White People,’ Democracy Now!, broadcast on Friday, 19 July 2019.

Trump fires again at congresswomen, accusing them of ‘spewing vile things,’ The Guardian, David Smith and Jamiles Lartey, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Donald Trump escalated his verbal attacks on four progressive Democratic congresswomen on Tuesday, accusing them of ‘spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate.’ Trump has shown no remorse for weekend tweets that suggested the four women ‘go back’ to their ‘broken and crime-infested’ countries, a racist outburst that earned domestic and international condemnation. Instead, the US president intensified his attacks on the four women of color, claiming the inflammatory tweets he sent were not racist. There was a deeply sceptical reaction from politicians and others who have come to regard divisive bigotry as not an exception but a defining feature of his presidency.” See also, Republican National Committee echoes Trump’s attacks on Democratic congresswomen, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 16 July 2019.

Republican support for Trump rises after racially charged tweets, Reuters, Chris Kahn, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows. The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,’ showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week. Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm. Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.”

The complete list of Republican lawmakers reacting to Trump’s ‘go back’ tweet, The Washington Post, Kevin Schaul and Kevin Uhrmacher, updated on Tuesday, 16 July 2019.

Trump Sets the 2020 Tone: Like 2016, Only This Time ‘the Squad’ Is Here, The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Annie Karni, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “With three days of attacks on four liberal, minority first-term congresswomen, President Trump and the Republicans have sent the clearest signal yet that their approach to 2020 will be a racially divisive reprise of the strategy that helped Mr. Trump narrowly capture the White House in 2016. It is the kind of fight that the president relishes. He has told aides, in fact, that he is pleased with the Democratic reaction to his attacks, boasting that he is ‘marrying’ the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party to the four congresswomen known as ‘the squad.'”

Once Trump Talked About ‘American Carnage.’ Now He Says Critics Should Leave. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “America stinks. At least that’s what Donald J. Trump seemed to be saying before becoming president. He did not believe in ‘American exceptionalism,’ he said, because America was not exceptional. Instead, it was a ‘laughingstock’ that was no better than Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia. By promising to make America great again, he made it clear that he believed it was not great anymore. That was then. Now the president who trash-talked America more than any other in modern times says anyone who trash-talks America should leave. The president, who took office with an inaugural address decrying ‘American carnage,’ now says that it is unpatriotic to speak ill of the country. And on Tuesday, he went further, equating attacks on him by his political opponents with attacks on ‘the Country, the Flag.’ The love-it-or-leave-it argument is hardly new, but in recent years, it has rarely played out at the volume and level it has since Mr. Trump on Sunday told a group of liberal, first-year Democratic congresswomen of color to ‘go back’ to their home countries, even though three of the four were born in the United States.”

Kellyanne Conway asks reporter’s ethnicity as she defends Trump’s racist remarks, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Kellyanne Conway, responding to a reporter’s question Tuesday about President Trump’s racist tweet directed to four Democratic congresswomen, asked the journalist: ‘What’s your ethnicity?’ Andrew Feinberg of Breakfast Media wanted to know what countries the president was referring to when he made the comment about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). Each of the congresswomen are American citizens; three of whom were born in the United States. Omar was born in Somalia and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.”

Representative Al Green files articles of impeachment against Trump despite pushback from Democratic leaders, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Rep. Al Green filed articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday night, triggering a contentious vote in the coming days to confront an issue that has bitterly divided the Democratic Party. The Texas congressman, who notified Democratic leaders of his decision on Tuesday, said the House must impeach Trump for racist remarks suggesting four minority congresswoman ‘go back’ to their ancestral countries as well as other comments made in the past. The four Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — are all citizens; three were born in the United States. ‘Donald John Trump has, by his statements, brought the high office of the President of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute, has sown discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be President, and has betrayed his trust as President of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office,’ Green read from his resolution on the House floor Tuesday night. Green’s move will force House Democrats to deal with the issue in the near term because of the privileged nature of the resolution. Under House rules, Democratic leadership can decide to try to table the impeachment articles, effectively killing them for now and risk criticism from the party’s liberal base; refer them to the House Judiciary Committee for possible consideration; or allow the vote to proceed. If leaders do nothing, Green can force a vote on the impeachment articles in two legislative days.”

ACLU and others file suit in San Francisco federal court to halt Trump asylum ban, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Plaintiffs led by the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday in an attempt to halt the implementation of a new policy disqualifying most asylum seekers who pass through Mexico before reaching the United States. The attorneys suing the government argued in their complaint that the Trump administration lacks the authority to exclude asylum seekers who arrive across the U.S. southern border because U.S. immigration law states clearly that the government cannot disqualify applicants on the basis of how they arrived.”

Judge Is Asked to Punish Officials Over Tactics in Census Question Dispute, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Critics who sued to block the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census asked a federal judge on Tuesday to punish administration officials, saying the officials had deliberately delayed the lawsuit in order to hide damning evidence — conduct they called ‘nothing less than a fraud on the court.’ In a motion filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, the plaintiffs charged that the conduct raised ‘serious questions’ about the role that senior Justice Department officials played in assisting that strategy.”

Planned Parenthood Ousts Its President, Dr. Leana Wen, Seeking a More Political Approach, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Tuesday, 16 July 2019: “Planned Parenthood on Tuesday removed its president after less than a year in the job, seeking new leadership at a time when abortion rights have come under increasing attack from statehouses and Republicans in Washington. The sudden ouster reflected a widening disagreement between the president, Leana Wen, and the board of directors over her management style and which direction to steer one of the nation’s leading women’s reproductive rights groups. Her departure followed a series of negotiations that appeared to end acrimoniously on Tuesday. In a Twitter post, Dr. Wen said her fate had been decided at a ‘secret meeting,’ which the organization disputed. She later issued a statement saying she was ‘leaving because the new board chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.’ The urgency of the abortion issue appeared to be at the heart of the disagreement. Dr. Wen, the first physician to lead the organization in decades, said that she believed ‘the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights.’ But four people familiar with the matter said the group’s board of directors felt it needed a more aggressive political leader to combat the current efforts to roll back access to abortions.” See also, Planned Parenthood Has Ousted Its President, Leana Wen, Amid a Dispute Over the Organization’s Direction, BuzzFeed News, Ema O’Connor and Ruby Cramer, Tuesday, 16 July 2019.


Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Day 909:


House Holds Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Criminal Contempt of Congress Over Census Dispute, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House voted Wednesday evening to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for their refusal to turn over key documents related to the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The citations for two cabinet officials, approved 230 to 198, will breathe new life into a dispute that has touched all three branches of government over why Trump administration officials pushed to ask census respondents if they were American citizens and what that question’s effect would be. Democrats investigating the issue believe that the documents and testimony being shielded would confirm that the administration’s long-stated rationale for collecting the data — to better enforce the Voting Rights Act — was merely a cover for a politically motivated attempt to eliminate noncitizens from population statistics used to allocate political representation, diminishing Democratic power. The Supreme Court hinted at that theory last month in a ruling about the citizenship question, when it rejected the administration’s stated reason for adding it as ‘contrived.’ And in an unusual twist, President Trump himself all but confirmed those suspicions this month when he said of the citizenship question, ‘You need it for Congress, for districting.’ Last week, he announced his government would give up the effort in light of the court’s decision.” See also, House votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to comply with subpoena on 2020 Census, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to provide documents related to the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, escalating the fight between Democrats and the White House over congressional oversight.” See also, House Votes to Hold Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in Contempt Over Citizenship Question on Census, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Sadie Gurman, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt over their refusal to produce documents concerning the addition of a citizenship question to the census, days after President Trump abandoned his legal efforts to amend the survey. The Democratic-led chamber’s approval of the measure, which passed 230-198, allows the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to consider taking action against the two Trump administration cabinet secretaries in federal court—where committee attorneys could ask a judge to enforce the subpoena. Holding a cabinet secretary in contempt is unusual, though this Congress is different because the White House is refusing to comply with subpoenas. In a contempt vote last month, the House authorized Congress to go to court to enforce subpoenas of Mr. Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn over the special counsel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.”

House Votes to Kill Trump Impeachment Resolution, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House on Wednesday killed an attempt to impeach President Trump for statements that the chamber condemned this week as racist, turning aside an accusation that he had brought ‘ridicule, disgrace and disrepute’ to his office. The move split Democrats, underscoring the divisions within the party over whether they should use their majority to charge Mr. Trump and try to remove him from office, with 95 signaling their support for at least considering the question further, and 137 moving to stop the current effort in its tracks. The president brushed off the vote as a victory, and hours later, at a rally in Greenville, N.C., he showed no signs of easing his attacks or toning down the vicious language that led to the impeachment attempt. He charged that the ‘dangerous, militant hard left’ among the Democrats were ‘hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. By the end of the rally, Mr. Trump went even further, accusing them of seeking the ‘destruction of our country.'” See also, House Passes Motion Blocking Bid to Impeach Trump, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House voted Wednesday to block an effort to impeach President Trump, but the tally made clear that many Democrats are eager to pursue removing him from office despite party leaders’ calls for caution. In the first test of the divisive issue since Democrats took control of the chamber, lawmakers voted 332 to 95 to kill the resolution, with all votes against the measure coming from Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has tried to hold the line on launching impeachment proceedings, which she sees as premature and politically risky. But outrage over Mr. Trump’s tweets about four lawmakers earlier this week prompted Rep. Al Green (D., Texas) to introduce the new impeachment push Tuesday. He unveiled the resolution shortly after the House voted, largely along party lines, to condemn the president’s remarks.” See also, House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump, avoiding a direct vote on whether to oust the president, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, Wednesday, 17 July 2019. See also, House shoots down attempt to immediately impeach Trump, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Heather Caygle, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to sideline an effort to immediately impeach Donald Trump, the first test of efforts in the Democratic-led House to seek the president’s removal from office. Ninety-five Democrats voted against blocking articles of impeachment filed this week by Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who used a procedural maneuver to force action on his proposal. But 137 Democrats and 194 Republicans voted to delay consideration of the measure indefinitely, effectively killing it.” See also, Effort to force Trump impeachment vote fails in House of Representatives, Vox, Andrew Prokop, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Most Democrats in the House of Representatives joined every Republican to prevent a vote on impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday. Using a procedural tactic known as a privileged resolution, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) forced the House to take action on articles of impeachment — something Democratic leaders opposed. But the House did not directly vote on whether Trump should be impeached. The vote was instead about whether Green’s impeachment resolution should be set aside (‘tabled’), as leaders of both parties wanted. A ‘yea’ vote meant shelving impeachment for now (though not necessarily forever). A ‘no’ vote would have meant keeping Green’s resolution on the House floor and proceeding to an actual vote on impeaching Trump. As expected, though, Republicans and most Democrats came together to vote ‘yes,’ tabling the measure, 332-95. The overall split in the Democratic Party: 137 voted to table and 95 voted against doing so.”

House Votes to Repeal Obamacare Tax Once Seen as Key to Health Law, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “In the heat of the legislative fight over the Affordable Care Act, Obama administration officials argued that including a steep tax on high-cost, generous health insurance plans was critical to the law because it would hold down soaring costs while helping to pay for its expanded health benefits. On Wednesday, that feature, once considered central to Obamacare, was dealt a blow by an unlikely foe: Democrats. The House voted almost unanimously to repeal the tax, which was intended to prompt employers to rein in such costly plans and force employees to spend more of their own money on their care. It was expected to be a key cost-containment provision in President Barack Obama’s signature health law and one of the main ways it was supposed to pay for itself. It was not to go into effect until 2022, but the unions never liked it, nor did business groups or Republicans.”

House Votes to Block Arms Sales to Gulf Nations, Setting Up Trump’s Third Veto, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House gave final passage on Wednesday to a series of measures that would block the sale of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sending to President Trump a fresh rebuke of his administration’s efforts to circumvent Congress to help Persian Gulf allies prosecute a disastrous war in Yemen.” See also, House votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, setting up a likely veto, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House voted Wednesday to undo President Trump’s bid to sidestep Congress and complete several arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sending three disapproval resolutions to the Oval Office, where they are expected to be vetoed.”

House Passes Intelligence Bill That Would Expand Secrecy Around Operatives, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The House passed a new intelligence authorization on Wednesday that will significantly expand prohibitions on disclosing the identities of covert agents and order new intelligence reviews of Russian and other foreign influence operations. The measure, which passed the House 397 to 31, must now be reconciled with the Senate’s version.”

Judge Says the Investigation Into Trump Campaign Finance Violations Is Over, The New York Times, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Benjamin Weiser, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “A federal judge in Manhattan disclosed on Wednesday that prosecutors have concluded their investigation into campaign finance violations involving President Trump and ordered that they publicly release some of their files, a new twist in a case that had threatened to upend the Trump presidency. The judge’s order did not answer one of the lingering questions of the investigation: whether prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan still plan to file additional charges in connection with the case. The investigation, which centered on hush money payments arranged during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, already resulted in the conviction of the president’s former fixer, Michael D. Cohen.” See also, Judge orders release of documents tied to Michael Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, NBC News, Tom Winter and Rich Schapiro, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “A federal judge disclosed Wednesday that prosecutors had concluded their probe into Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes as he ordered the release of search warrants tied to the case. Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, is serving a three-year prison sentence for a slew of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump. ‘The campaign finance violations discussed in the materials are a matter of national importance,’ Judge William Pauley III said in court papers, denying the government’s request for limited redactions. ‘Now that the government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials.'” See also, Federal prosecutors in New York end investigation into the Trump Organization and hush money payments made to women who alleged affairs with Trump, CNN Politics, Erica Orden, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Federal prosecutors in New York have ended their investigation into the Trump Organization’s role in hush money payments made to women who alleged affairs with President Donald Trump and have been ordered by a judge to release additional information connected to their related probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, according to court documents filed Wednesday.” See also, A federal investigation into hush money payments made to protect Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign has concluded, Politico, Darren Samuelsohn, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “At issue is an investigation led by the Southern District of New York connected to Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer to Trump who is serving a three-year prison term in part for breaking campaign finance law. Trump himself was implicated in Cohen’s crimes, which involved hush money payments to women that federal prosecutors have said were designed to sway the presidential election.”

Regulators Propose Fewer Inspections for Aging Nuclear Plants, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “A new report by staff members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the safety of the nation’s 59 aging nuclear power plants, recommends that the commissioners significantly weaken or reduce safety inspections of the plants. The report, published Tuesday, comes after a yearlong consultation and public meeting process, including views from the Nuclear Energy Institute, which lobbies on behalf of the nuclear power plant industry and has long sought weaker safety rules. It also comes amid a broader push by the Trump administration for reduced regulations on industry. Democrats in Congress and nuclear safety advocates criticized the report’s proposals, saying they reflect the influence of an industry seeking to cut regulations rather than improve public safety. The proposal comes as most of the nation’s nuclear power plants, which were designed and built in the 1960s or 1970s, are reaching the end of their original 40- to 50-year operating licenses. Many plant operators have sought licenses to extend the operating life of their plants past the original deadlines, even as experts have warned that aging plants come with heightened concerns about safety.”

Bernie Sanders Calls for Rivals to Reject Money From Health Care Industry, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, seeking to bring fresh momentum to his presidential campaign, offered a vigorous defense on Wednesday of his signature issue, ‘Medicare for all,’ and called for all Democratic candidates to pledge to reject contributions from the health care industry. Mr. Sanders argued in a formal address, whose themes were familiar to anyone who has followed his political career, that the current health care system was an ‘international embarrassment,’ and he offered his own vision for a single-payer program that he said would guarantee health care for every American. He also aimed to expand the sources of money considered verboten in the Democratic primary, inviting his fellow candidates to join him in refusing to accept contributions over $200 from political action committees, lobbyists and executives of health insurance and drug companies.” See also, Bernie Sanders defends Medicare for All plan against ‘misinformation’ as fight with Biden heats up, CNN Politics, Gregory Krieg and Ryan Nobles, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday defended his ‘Medicare for All’ bill against escalating attacks from critics like former Vice President Joe Biden, while also challenging the Democratic primary field to reject donations from private health insurance and pharmaceutical interests.”

At Rally, President Accuses Liberal Critics of Seeking the Nation’s ‘Destruction,’ The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “President Trump road-tested his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen on Wednesday, casting them as avatars of anti-American radicalism and reiterating his call for them to leave the country, in a preview of a slash-and-burn re-election strategy that depicts Mr. Trump as a bulwark against a ‘dangerous, militant hard left. These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force for evil,’ Mr. Trump told a packed arena. To roaring applause, he railed against what he called ‘hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They don’t love our country,’ he said. ‘I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.’ In recent days, similar comments by Mr. Trump have been met with repugnance across the country. But the capacity crowd in an arena at East Carolina University seemed to savor them. After Mr. Trump reeled off several controversial comments made by one of the four congresswomen, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, including ones that he depicted as sympathetic to Al Qaeda, the crowd started up a rousing chant of ‘Send her back! Send her back!'” See also, At rally, crowd responds to Trump’s criticism of Somali-born congresswoman Ilhan Omar with chants of ‘Send her back!’ The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “President Trump held a campaign rally Wednesday night where the crowd responded to his attacks on a Somali-born Muslim congresswoman with chants of ‘Send her back! Send her back!’ The crowd’s response to Trump echoed the racist remarks he has aimed in recent days at four minority Democratic congresswomen he has accused of making hateful comments about the country, setting off a controversy that led the Democrat-controlled House to vote to formally rebuke him on Tuesday night. The event here made clear that Trump plans to use his criticism of the liberal lawmakers as a rallying cry during his 2020 campaign as he seeks to frame the election around a nationalistic message that has inflamed racial tensions across the country.” See also, Trump’s incitement on Ilhan Omar marries two of his nastiest tactics, suspicion of Muslims and extrajudicial calls to action, with familiar results, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Thursday, 18 July 2019. See also, ‘Send her back’: Trump batters Democratic congresswomen on the campaign trail, Politico, Matthew Choi, Wednesday, 17 July 2019. See also, Trump’s Supporters in Greenville, North Carolina, Chanted ‘Send Her Back!’ as He Attacked Representative Ilhan Omar, BuzzFeed News, Salvador Hernandez, Wednesday, 17 July 2019.

‘His ideology is racism’: Former top Texas judge says she’s leaving the Republican Party over Trump, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “A former top Texas judge says she has left the Republican Party over President Trump, after his racist tweet telling four congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from. Elsa Alcala joins a small group of conservatives alienated by Trump’s remarks as most of the Republican Party sticks with the president — including through his latest attacks on Democratic representatives of color, three of whom were born in the United States. ‘Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,’ the 55-year-old retired judge wrote Monday in a Facebook post. ‘To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core.'”

The New Fugitive Slave Laws, The New York Review of Books, Manisha Sinha, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Scott Warren, a volunteer for the group No More Deaths that provides relief, usually in the form of supplies of food and water left in desert areas, to migrants attempting to cross the harsh, arid southern border of the United States, was arrested last year in Arizona for rendering care to two dangerously dehydrated and injured migrants. His case was brought to trial recently. Warren was charged with providing food, water, clothes, medical care, and shelter to two undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert. Last month, a jury in Arizona refused to convict him, eight finding him not guilty and four guilty…. Fifteen US senators have asked the Department of Justice to drop all charges against him, writing, ‘Providing humanitarian aid should never be a crime.’ Federal prosecutors, however, plan to retry him in November. If convicted, Warren faces ten years in prison. In antebellum America, abolitionists were imprisoned for assisting runaways and became international cause célèbres.”

Pentagon to Send 2,100 More Troops to the Southwestern Border, The New York Times, Zach Montague, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The Pentagon will send an additional 1,100 active-duty troops and 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to assist in securing the United States border with Mexico, the Defense Department announced on Wednesday, in a move that would significantly expand the American military presence there. The deployment would increase the number of American forces at the southwestern border by more than 45 percent, with the additional 2,100 troops joining roughly 4,500 personnel currently stationed there. The plan was approved on Tuesday night by Richard V. Spencer, who assumed the role of acting defense secretary on Monday while Mark T. Esper, President Trump’s latest nominee for the position, faced confirmation hearings this week.”

With Name-Calling and Twitter Battles, House Republican Campaign Arm Copies Trump’s Playbook, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is portrayed as wearing clown makeup. Democratic congressional candidates — including an Air Force combat veteran — are labeled ‘socialist losers’ or anti-Semites. Others have been singled out as Lyin’ Lucy McBath, Fake Nurse Lauren Underwood, Little Max Rose and China Dan McCready. The National Republican Congressional Committee, with the blessing of House Republican leaders, has adopted a no-holds-barred strategy to win back the House majority next year, borrowing heavily from President Trump’s playbook in deploying such taunts and name-calling. After losing 40 seats and the House majority in November, Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the committee’s new chairman, and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, decided that their messaging needed to be ruthless.”

Tape shows Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein discussing women at 1992 party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, NBC News, Jack Bohrer, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “The footage shows two wealthy men laughing and pointing as they appear to discuss young women dancing at a party. Today, one of the men is president of the United States. The other is in federal lockup awaiting a bail decision as he fights sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. The November 1992 tape in the NBC archives shows Donald Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, now a private club, more than a decade before Epstein pleaded guilty to felony prostitution charges in Florida. At one point in the video, Trump is seen grabbing a woman toward him and patting her behind.” See also, Trump and Epstein Partied and Commented on Women in 1992 Video, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “President Trump has been playing down his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier under federal indictment on charges of sexually trafficking and abusing girls, but at least one night they shared together in the company of dozens of N.F.L. cheerleaders was documented on camera. A newly unearthed video from 1992 shows Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein watching and commenting on women together at an event at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla. The video was broadcast on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on Wednesday morning. Dressed in a suit and a pink tie, Mr. Trump, then 46, appears to be in jovial spirits as he plays host, laughing and warmly welcoming guests, including Mr. Epstein — the man he now claims he was ‘never a fan of.'” See also, Video shows Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein at Mar-a-Lago in 1992, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Wednesday, 17 July 2019: “Donald Trump is seen partying at his Mar-a-Lago Club with financier Jeffrey Epstein in a November 1992 tape aired Wednesday by NBC News that shows the now-president dancing with cheerleaders, patting a woman on her backside, and appearing to point out other women to him.”


Thursday, 18 July 2019, Day 910:


Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children. The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops. It was the administration’s second major move this year to roll back or eliminate chemical safety rules. In April, the agency disregarded the advice of its own experts when officials issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, a known carcinogen. Agency scientists and lawyers had urged the E.P.A. to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations.” See also, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not ban the use of controversial pesticide linked to children’s health problems, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition by environmental and public health groups Thursday to ban a widely used pesticide that has been linked to neurological damage in children, even though a federal court said last year there was ‘no justification’ for such a decision…. The EPA’s decision, which represented a win for industry, drew swift condemnation from groups that have pushed for years to remove the pesticide from the market. ‘By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump’s EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children’s brains,’ Patti Goldman, an attorney for the environmental law organization Earthjustice, said in a statement. ‘It is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health.'”

‘They Are Human Beings’: Homeland Security Faulted for Treatment of Migrant Children, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Democratic lawmakers accused Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, of leading an agency with an ’empathy deficit’ during a hearing on Thursday that focused on the separation of migrant children from their parents and reports of poor conditions at holding facilities near the border. ‘What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces? Can’t take a shower?’ said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. ‘What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.’ The hearing came a week after the committee released findings of an analysis of the more than 2,600 migrant children separated from their parents last year under the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, which has since been suspended. Democrats grilled Mr. McAleenan over the rollout of the policy, as well as over the discovery of a secret Facebook group for Border Patrol agents that included offensive messages, including obscene images of members of Congress.”

House Passes Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $15, a Victory for Liberals, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeanna Smialek, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “The House voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, delivering a long-sought victory to liberals and putting the Democratic Party’s official imprimatur on the so-called Fight for $15, which many Democratic presidential candidates have embraced. The bill would more than double the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour — about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, or about $10,000 less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. It has not been raised since 2009, the longest time the country has gone without a minimum-wage increase since it was established 1938. The measure, which passed largely along party lines, 231-199, after Republicans branded it a jobs-killer, faces a blockade in the Senate, where Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said he will not take it up. Only three Republicans voted for it, while six Democrats opposed it. Most represent swing districts.” See also, House passes long-sought $15 minimum wage legislation, The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 18 July 2019.

Donald Trump and His Onetime Lawyer Michael Cohen Maintained Regular Contact While Hush Payments Were Arranged Before the 2016 Presidential Election, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Donald Trump and his onetime lawyer Michael Cohen were in particularly close contact while Mr. Cohen was working to arrange a hush-payment scheme before the 2016 presidential election, according to newly public documents that provide the most detailed account to date of discussions among members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle in the final weeks of the campaign. The documents describe in detail the sequence of conversations Mr. Cohen had with Mr. Trump, National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard, American Media Inc. Chief Executive David Pecker and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks as he was working to arrange payments to two women who alleged affairs with Mr. Trump, including Stephanie Clifford, a former adult-film actress known professionally as Stormy Daniels. Mr. Trump has denied having the affairs. ‘Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,’ a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent wrote in an April 2018 affidavit made public Thursday, referring to a tape that was released in October 2016 showing Mr. Trump making lewd comments about women about a decade earlier. The documents provide the most detailed look yet inside the 18-month investigation that led to the implication of a sitting president in federal crimes and sent Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s lawyer for more than a decade, to prison for three years. While prosecutors said in a December court filing that Mr. Cohen arranged the hush payments at Mr. Trump’s direction, they hadn’t previously made public details of the two men’s communications during that period.” See also, Trump spoke repeatedly with his onetime lawyer Michael Cohen and aides amid scramble to pay Stormy Daniels hush money, court documents show, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Tom Hamburger, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Newly unsealed court documents show that then-candidate Donald Trump communicated repeatedly with his lawyer Michael Cohen amid the election year scramble to keep quiet allegations that Trump previously had an affair with an adult-film actress. The documents were released Thursday at the direction of a federal judge in New York, who disclosed a day before that an investigation into suspected campaign finance violations had ended. Trump and those close to him long said they were unaware that Cohen had bought the women’s silence, but phone calls and text messages documented by the FBI suggest they were closely involved. The new details about the investigation are unlikely to have legal consequences for the president or those close to him because the hush-money investigation has concluded. However, the documents could further erode their credibility.” See also, Prosecutors Signal That New Charges in the Stormy Daniels Hush Money Inquiry Are Unlikely, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum and Ben Protess, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Federal prosecutors signaled in a court document released on Thursday that it was unlikely they would file additional charges in the hush-money investigation that ensnared members of Donald J. Trump’s inner circle and threatened to derail his presidency. In the document, the prosecutors said they had ‘effectively concluded’ their inquiry, which centered on payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to buy the silence of two women who said they had had affairs with Mr. Trump. The outcome appeared to be a legal victory for Mr. Trump, whom prosecutors implicated last year in directing the payments. Mr. Trump had denied the affairs and any wrongdoing, but his aides considered the inquiry a greater threat than even the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. At the same time, other documents released on Thursday offered the government’s most detailed account yet of Mr. Trump’s involvement in the hush-money payments, showing he was in close touch with Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, while the payments were being arranged. The day before paying $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress, in October 2016, Mr. Cohen spoke on the phone with Mr. Trump twice. Less than 30 minutes later, Mr. Cohen took steps to open a bank account to pay the woman, the documents showed.” See also, FBI says Trump was directly involved in talks that led to payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels, The Guardian, Jon Swaine, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Donald Trump and his press secretary were directly involved in discussions that led to an illegal hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign, according to the FBI. A court filing unsealed on Thursday said Trump and Hope Hicks spoke repeatedly with Michael Cohen, Trump’s longterm legal fixer, in October 2016 as Daniels – also known as Stephanie Clifford – threatened to sell her story of an affair with Trump. ‘I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public,’ an FBI agent wrote, in an application for a search warrant. Cohen later admitted to making payments totalling $280,000 through a shell company to buy the silence of Daniels and the former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged she had an affair with Trump.” See also, Unsealed documents show the FBI believed Trump was closely involved in hush-money scheme, NBC News, Tom Winter and Adam Edelman, Thursday, 18 July 2019. See also, Trump’s denial of knowing about the Stormy Daniels payment suffers another blow, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Thursday, 18 July 2019.

Trump Disavows the “Send Her Back’ Chant of His Supporters and Falsely Claims He Tried to Contain It, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Maggie Haberman, and Michael Crowley, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Nervous Republicans, from senior members of Congress to his own daughter Ivanka, urged President Trump on Thursday to repudiate the ‘send her back’ chant directed at a Somali-born congresswoman during his speech the night before at a rally in North Carolina, amid widespread fears that the rally had veered into territory that could hurt their party in 2020. In response, Mr. Trump disavowed the behavior of his own supporters in comments to reporters at the White House and claimed that he had tried to contain it, an assertion clearly contradicted by video of the event.” See also, Trump Disavows ‘Send Her Home’ Chant After His Racist Attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, But He Let His Supporters Chant ‘Send Her Home’ for a Full 13 Seconds Before Continuing His Verbal Attack on Congressmember Omar, Democracy Now!, broadcast on Friday, 19 July 2019. See also, House Democrats warn Representative Ilhan Omar is in ‘imminent danger’ after Trump supporters chant ‘Send Her Back’ at rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Politico, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and John Bresnahan, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “House Democrats erupted in fury Thursday over President Donald Trump’s attacks on freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar at his reelection rally, fearful that crowd chants of ‘send her back’ have personally endangered her and her family. Senior Democrats are now calling for authorities to evaluate security for Omar (D-Minn.), as well as the three other lawmakers who Trump called out by name at his Wednesday night rally in North Carolina — warning that Trump has escalated the risk of threats or even acts of violence toward the four minority freshmen. ‘It’s crystal clear to me that her life is in imminent danger,’ said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. ‘He has threatened the safety of a member of Congress. That takes this to a whole different level.'” See also, Trump says he disagrees with the ‘Send her back!’ chant directed at Representative Ilhan Omar during his rally in Greenville, North Carolina, despite his previous ‘go back’ tweet and despite pausing for 13 seconds to let the chant continue, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, John Wagner, Rachael Bade, and Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 18 July 2019. See also, Trump falsely claims he tried to stop ‘Send her back!’ chants about Representative Ilhan Omar, The Washington Post, Salvador Rizzo, Thursday, 18 July 2019. See also, The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’ It has become the message of Donald Trump’s presidency. The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “Donald Trump insists he’s not a racist. This is, increasingly, a bit beside the point. What is excruciatingly clear, and what matters most right now, is that he has chosen to ground his politics and his presidency in fomenting racial hatred. Whatever he may feel in his bones, he is an avid race warrior…. Mr. Trump appears to see the presidency as a giant megaphone for stoking racial and ethnic animus. It is not just that he pursues policies aimed at exacerbating divisions, like banning migrants from majority-Muslim nations or building a wall on the United States-Mexico border. He seeks to demonize those who oppose his policies as dangerous extremists out to destroy America. In cases where his critics are not white — whether congresswomen of color or a judge of Mexican heritage — Mr. Trump is eager to spotlight that fact. The president is looking to divide Americans along color lines, to conjure a zero-sum vision of America in which whites must contend against nonwhites for jobs, wealth, safety and citizenship. He thinks this approach will win him another four years in the White House. At this point, does it much matter if he is acting purely out of political cynicism, with no element of personal prejudice? The rage he is nurturing and the pain he is causing are all too real. The damage he is doing will take years to undo.” See also, Examining Trump’s Claims About Representative Ilhan Omar, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Thursday, 18 July 2019.

70 Catholics arrested in D.C. protest over Trump immigration policies, The Washington Post, Marissa J. Lang, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “On a day they dubbed the ‘Catholic Day of Action,’ hundreds of Catholics gathered outside the Capitol to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies and its treatment of migrants. ‘We hope that by being here and putting our bodies on the line, we can give people, members of Congress, courage to do the right thing,’ said Sister Marge Clark, from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. ‘It’s important to go beyond words, to put your body where your words are, where your beliefs are.’ In their hands and fastened to their bodies, demonstrators carried photographs of migrant children who died in federal custody into the Russell building, where more than 30 senators have offices. As five protesters lay on the floor of the rotunda to make the shape of a cross with their bodies, the group recited the children’s names: ‘Darlyn,’ protesters chanted in unison. ‘Jakelin. Felipe. Juan. Wilmer. Carlos.'”

Trump’s Department of Agriculture buried sweeping climate change response plan, Politico, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “The Agriculture Department quashed the release of a sweeping plan on how to respond to climate change that was finalized in the early days of the Trump administration, according to a USDA employee with knowledge of the decision. Staff members across several USDA agencies drafted the multiyear plan that outlines how the department should help agriculture understand, adapt to and minimize the effects of climate change…. The revelation comes after a recent POLITICO investigation found that the department had largely stopped promoting its own scientific findings about the consequences of climate change. The USDA has also moved away from using phrases like climate change, climate, and greenhouse gas emissions in press releases and social media posts.”

Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Noam Scheiber, and Michael Crowley, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “President Trump said Thursday that he would name Eugene Scalia as his next secretary of labor, tapping the longtime labor lawyer and son of the former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia for a position with vast responsibility over the American work force. The appointment is likely to be contested by Democrats and labor unions because Mr. Scalia has a long record of representing Walmart and other companies that pushed back against unions and tougher labor laws. He was a top lawyer for the Labor Department in the George W. Bush administration and is currently a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a prominent corporate law firm.” See also, Trump’s Choice for Labor Secretary Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale, The New York Times, Noam Scheiber, published on Friday, 19 July 2019. See also, Trump plans to nominate Eugene Scalia, Antonin Scalia’s son, for Labor Secretary, Gabby Orr, Marianne Levine, Anita Kumar, and Ian Kullgren, Thrusday, 18 July 2019: “A Scalia nomination could become a base-pleaser for Trump, who as a presidential candidate built a relationship with right-leaning evangelical voters after promising to select a reliably conservative judge to replace the late justice on the court.”

House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify the testimony she gave about Donald Trump’s hush-money payments to an adult film actress, Politico, Darren Samuelsohn, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday demanded Hope Hicks return for a second round of questioning within the next month to clarify what it described as ‘inconsistent’ testimony she gave about Donald Trump’s hush-money payments to an adult film actress. Democratic panel chairman Jerry Nadler in a five-page letter cited newly released court documents that raise questions about whether the former White House communications director and longtime Trump aide misled his panel about her role in the scheme during a closed-door interview last month.” See also, House Democrats demand answers from Hope Hicks over ‘apparent inconsistencies’ in her testimony, NBC News, Jane C. Timm, published on Friday, 19 July 2019: “House Democrats are demanding answers from former Trump aide Hope Hicks after newly unsealed documents showed “apparent inconsistencies” with her congressional testimony about hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sent Hicks a letter Thursday, calling on her to explain her June testimony to the panel in which she said that she had no knowledge of the payments to Daniels and that she hadn’t discussed them with President Donald Trump or others.”

Jeffrey Epstein Is Denied Bail in Sex Crimes Case, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and Ali Watkins, Thursday, 18 July 2019: “A federal judge on Thursday denied bail for Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan, rejecting his request to await trial under home detention at his Upper East Side mansion. The judge, Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court, said Mr. Epstein’s ‘past sexual conduct is not likely to have abated,’ and he was concerned that if Mr. Epstein were released, he would continue to abuse teenage girls.”