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William Cummings, USA TODAY
President Donald Trump and many congressional Republicans treated former special counsel Robert's Mueller's testimony last week before two House committees as a victory, but for Democrats like Rep. Jerry Nadler the possibility of impeachment proceedings against the president remains very real. "My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment," Nadler said during an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "He has done many impeachable offenses. He's violated the law six ways from Sunday." But the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment, said his personal view on whether the president should be impeached is not the issue. "The question is, 'Can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people?'" he said. To that end, Nadler said House Democrats and his committee will continue to gather evidence and investigate "the corruptions of the administration, the abuses of power, what Mueller showed, the possible violations of the Emoluments Clause; all the things that might cause us to recommend articles of impeachment." During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney conceded that the impeachment battle is "far from over," but he said Nadler's was trying to take down the president because he is "facing a primary from his left in New York." "He is falling over himself to become more and more progressive in order to try and keep his job and not lose to the next AOC," Mulvaney said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset win over Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York's June 2018 Democratic primary. He said only left-wing Democrats still wanted to pursue the "bizarre" course of impeachment.

By Tom Porter
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats repeatedly found his warnings about the threat posed by Russia suppressed by the White House, The New York Times reported Sunday amid his resignation from the post. According to The Times, Coats has often found himself at odds with President Donald Trump over Russia, a situation that worsened in recent months. Coats saw Russia as an adversary to the US, The Times wrote, and pushed for closer cooperation with European countries to counter it, but the White House did not agree. Several times Coats saw his language on the Kremlin's activities watered down by the White House, according to The Times. A secret report by Coats on Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterms by spreading disinformation was reportedly altered by the White House. A public statement on Coats' conclusions contained less critical language than the original, The Times said.

By Jordan Weissmann - Slate
This week, much of the story that the White House likes to tell about its economic record fell apart. It’s not just that growth appears to have slowed, though it has. On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the country’s gross domestic product expanded at a middling 2.1 percent annual rate during the the second quarter, down from 3.1 percent over the first three months of 2019. This was only a preliminary estimate, a guesstimate really; the government will gather more data and revise that number in the coming months. But it was clearly worrisome to Donald Trump, who tried in vain to put a glass-half-full spin on the news while also placing blame for any weakness on his nemeses at the Federal Reserve.  Friday’s report also robbed the White House of a favorite talking point. Previously, the government believed that the economy grew by more than 3 percent in 2018, a mark it hadn’t hit in more than a decade. This milestone led Trump (or, really, his press shop) to boast that he had “accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.” He was particularly jazzed that growth hit 4.1 percent for one quarter that year. It turns out we didn’t reach 3 percent growth after all. In its annual data revisions, which also dropped Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by just 2.5 percent or 2.9 percent in 2018, depending on exactly how you measure it. It also turns out that growth never actually hit 4 percent in the second quarter of 2018, which—despite being sort of meaningless—had been a point of pride for Trump. In short, goodbye, bragging rights. Of course, whether or not our GDP growth rate managed to pass a somewhat arbitrary numerical threshold isn’t all that important in the scheme of things. But Friday’s numbers also dealt a deeper blow to the White House’s narrative about how it has supposedly resuscitated the economy from the doldrums of the late Obama years. Trump and his advisers like to claim that by loosening up regulations and cutting taxes on corporations, the administration unleashed a flood of new business investment that has helped push growth along. Their case has always been fairly flimsy: Much of the growth in business investment over the last couple of years was driven by the oil and gas industry, as frackers ramped up drilling in response to higher prices. Still, there was at least some uptick in business investment outside the fossil fuels sector that they could point to as proof that they were doing something right. After the Commerce Department’s latest data revisions, that no longer seems to be the case. As Harvard Kennedy School economist and former Obama adviser Jason Furman notes, business investment outside of oil and mining has actually slowed down during the Trump administration. It’s possible the investment would be even weaker were it not for Trump’s tax cuts and deregulatory moves. But on the face of things, there’s really no obvious case to be made that they’ve unleashed a boom in business investment.

By Alex Ward
Missile tests. Building provocative submarines. It’s all good. In just the past week, North Korea has unveiled a brand new submarine that could potentially launch nuclear weapons and tested two short-range missiles that gravely threaten US allies South Korea and Japan. The casual observer might understandably expect President Donald “fire and fury” Trump and his hawkish administration to respond forcefully to these new provocations. But the opposite has happened: They’re taking the barrage with a degree of calm virtually unseen before from this administration. In fact, they’re actively downplaying — and in some cases even defending — North Korea’s actions. For instance, on Thursday, Fox News’s Brett Baier asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Kim showing off his shiny new (and potentially extremely deadly) submarine and whether that kind of thing makes it harder to reach a deal with North Korea. Pompeo’s response was stunning: “I went to a defense facility,” he said flatly. “We all go look at our militaries, and we all take pictures of them.” America’s top diplomat equating his own routine visits to US military sites with a North Korean dictator posing for propaganda photos meant to send threatening signals to Washington and its allies is ... unusual, to say the least. Hours later, Trump expressed similar sentiments, telling Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Kim’s missile tests didn’t worry him at all. “They haven’t done nuclear testing, they really haven’t tested missiles other than, you know, smaller ones, which is something that lots [of countries] test,” he said.

by Chris Baynes
US president says has given attorney general William Barr permission to share files with 'whoever he wants' Donald Trump has given the US attorney general permission to share classified information about the Russia investigation with Devin Nunes, the Republican House Intelligence Committee ranking member who has called for Justice Department and FBI officials to be jailed over the probe. The US president said he had given William Barr “a total release” of documents relating to the investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, and had also “given him authorisation to release it to whoever he wants”. “He’s got everything; everything he needs, he’s got,” he told Sean Hannity in an interview on Fox News on Thursday night. Mr Trump added: “He’s the attorney general of the United States, he’s has got a lot of very good people under him that I guess are involved and I gave them a total release. So, all of it’s been released and he has all of it. “I’ve also given him authorisation to release it to whoever he wants, whether it’s his people or frankly perhaps people like Devin Nunes, who is a star.”

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a trio of congressional resolutions aimed at blocking his administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month cited threats from Iran as a reason to approve the $8.1 billion arms sale to the two U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia is an enemy of Iran and tension has mounted between the UAE and Tehran over several issues, including the UAE's coordination with U.S. efforts to curb what it calls Iran's malign activities in the region.

By Sean Rossman, USA TODAY
The graphic artist who created a fake presidential seal that mocked President Donald Trump went from anonymity to anti-Trump folk hero this week after the president stood before the seal during a gathering of conservative teens on Tuesday. Turning Point USA, the organization that hosted Trump at its Teen Action Summit in Washington, say "a last-minute A/V mistake" caused the doctored seal to flank a gleaming Trump while he was onstage at the Washington Marriott Marquis. But the man who created it, Charles Leazott, according to multiple media reports, explains it this way. "There are only two options here," Leazott told Forbes. "This really was an accident and their incompetence knows no bounds (or) someone did this on purpose and they're lying to cover that fact up." Breaking down the symbolism: Golf clubs, double-headed eagle are in the doctored image. The Washington Post reported that Leazott, 46, is a former Republican from Richmond, Virginia, who twice voted for George W. Bush.

By Reis Thebault and Michael Brice-Saddler
Charles Leazott hadn’t thought about the seal in months. The 46-year-old graphic designer threw it together after the 2016 presidential election — it was one part joke, one part catharsis. He used to be a proud Republican. He voted for George W. Bush. Twice. But Donald J. Trump’s GOP was no longer his party. So he created a mock presidential seal to prove his point. He substituted the arrows in the eagle’s claw for a set of golf clubs — a nod to the new president’s favorite pastime. In the other set of talons, he swapped the olive branch for a wad of cash and replaced the United States’ Latin motto with a Spanish insult. Then, his coup de grace: a two-headed imperial bird lifted straight from the Russian coat of arms, an homage to the president’s checkered history with the adversarial country. “This is the most petty piece of art I have ever created,” the Richmond resident said in an interview with The Washington Post. The seal wasn’t meant for a wide audience. But then, years later, it wound up stretched across a jumbo-tron screen behind an unwitting President Trump as he spoke to a conference packed with hundreds of his young supporters.

By Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Speaking on Tuesday at a student activist conference hosted by the conservative advocacy organization Turning Point USA, President Donald Trump walked onstage in front of a presidential seal that, upon closer examination, appears to have been altered to include symbols representing Russia and golf. The Washington Post first reported on the altered seal. As Trump walked onstage to a cheering audience, two presidential seals flashed on screen. The seal directly behind Trump was the authentic presidential seal. One of the seals, however, was not like the others. Upon closer examination, the seal on Trump's right includes a double-headed eagle, unlike the single head of the traditional presidential seal, and seems to resemble the Russian coat of arms. The seal has a complex history, notes the Victoria and Albert Museum, but one of the more common interpretations is that the two heads represent east and west, "an allegory sometimes for unity, and sometimes for absolute monarchy." It could be a reference to Trump's sometimes-controversial relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The eagle also appears to be holding several golf clubs instead of arrows in its claws, perhaps a reference to Trump's affinity for golf. Additionally, instead of "e pluribus unum," the scroll above the eagle appears to say "45 es un titere," which appears to translate from Spanish to mean "45 is a puppet." It is not clear where the image originated, though, or who was responsible for the mixup.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) was asked whether Robert Mueller's testimony on Wednesday gave him any pause about how President Donald Trump had behaved during the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Here's how McCarthy responded: "No, this President has not done anything wrong in the process, so no, I don't have a problem with this President." Really? That's what McCarthy took from a) the 448-page Mueller report and b) Mueller's five hours of testimony on Capitol Hill? That Mueller's conclusions suggest the President had "not done anything wrong in the process"? If so, McCarthy missed the boat. By a lot. Like the size of the Atlantic Ocean a lot. What McCarthy seems to be saying is that because Mueller didn't recommend charges against Trump -- and Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice -- that means, ipso facto, that Trump did nothing wrong here. Which, of course, is inaccurate on a variety of levels. Start with the question of collusion. Mueller didn't say there was no collusion. In fact, he detailed in the report -- and again on Wednesday -- that the Trump campaign not only welcomed but encouraged Russian involvement to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. (That runs directly counter to the version of events that Trump allies offered.) And that Trump's praise for and encouragement of WikiLeaks was "problematic," adding that what Trump had done was give "some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal behavior."

By Sophia Tesfaye
How did Republicans react to Robert Mueller's testimony? By lying, deflecting and blocking election security bills. The integrity of American elections was compromised long before Donald Trump’s shocking victory in 2016, but former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday made clear that one political party is actively subverting attempts to protect our democracy. Hours after Mueller testified about foreign election interference before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon, the Republican-controlled Senate moved to block four separate bills to defend the U.S. democratic process. "Over the course of my career, I've seen a number of challenges to our democracy," Mueller said in his opening remarks. "The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. As I said on May 29, this deserves the attention of every American." Muller told the committee that the Russian effort “wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.” He later told lawmakers that "much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions — not just by the Russians, but others as well.” Researchers have already reported suspected Iranian disinformation campaigns on most major social media platforms this year. What Mueller said, coupled with his report — which found that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” — is breathtaking. Russia's disinformation campaign in 2016 spent more than $1 million a month, as Mueller reported in an indictment last year. When given an opportunity to question Mueller, however, some Republicans on the Intelligence Committee actually challenged him on his findings, complaining that he was baselessly defaming the Kremlin.

By Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump's pick for the top spokeswoman job at the Treasury Department repeatedly spread conspiracy theories that suggested then-President Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim who was sympathetic to America's enemies. Monica Crowley, who was appointed by Trump last week as assistant treasury secretary for public affairs, made multiple comments spreading these false claims on her personal blog and in at least one tweet between 2009 and 2015, according to a review by CNN's KFile team. Crowley also endorsed a story claiming Obama was an "Islamic community organizer" trying to conform the United States to Sharia law and claimed conspiracy theories about Obama's birth certificate were "legitimate concerns." During Obama's presidency, Trump was one of the most prominent voices pushing the so-called birther conspiracy theories questioning Obama's birthplace. When he was seeking the presidency himself and under continual questioning, Trump finally admitted that Obama was born in the US but offered no apologies or explanation for the years he spent sowing doubt about Obama's origins. Crowley, formerly a syndicated radio host, columnist and Fox News contributor, was originally chosen by Trump in December 2016 to be the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. She withdrew herself from consideration for that position after CNN's KFile team uncovered extensive plagiarism in her book and doctoral thesis. Crowley did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department also did not respond to a request for comment.

By Joshua Keating
Mark Esper is just the latest lobbyist to join Trump’s Cabinet. Compared with some of the other events taking place on Capitol Hill this week, Mark Esper’s confirmation as defense secretary on Tuesday was a largely drama-free affair: Esper, a former lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, sailed through with a 90–8 vote, ending the longest period without a confirmed secretary in the history of the Defense Department. Esper is one of three acting secretaries who’ve served since Jim Mattis resigned in December, including Patrick Shanahan, who was initially nominated by President Donald Trump to take on the role permanently but withdrew from consideration in June amid revelations of domestic violence involving his ex-wife and son. At a time when the president is casually talking about killing 10 million people in Afghanistan, it makes sense that Esper was an uncontroversial nominee, but outside the Trumpian context, it’s still regrettable that he didn’t face a little more scrutiny. At this point, senators might have voted for anyone with a pulse to take over the Pentagon. Esper boasts not only a pulse but a résumé that includes fighting in the Army during the first Gulf War, extensive experience in defense policy, and a positively regarded tenure as secretary of the Army. The answers he gave during his written and public testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee reveal very conventional defense establishment—as opposed to Trumpian—views: He believes in the value of U.S. alliances including NATO, views Russia as an adversary, and is wary of hasty troop withdrawals.

By Erica L. Green and Stacy Cowley
WASHINGTON — Dream Center Education Holdings, a subsidiary of a Los Angeles-based megachurch, had no experience in higher education when it petitioned the federal Education Department to let it take over a troubled chain of for-profit trade schools. But the organization’s chairman, Randall K. Barton, told the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, that the foundation wanted to “help people live better lives.” The purchase was blessed despite Dream Center’s lack of experience and questionable finances by an administration favorable to for-profit education. But barely a year later, the company tumbled into insolvency, dozens of its colleges closed abruptly and thousands of students were left with no degree after paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. Making matters worse, the college is accused of enrolling new students and taking their taxpayer-supported financial aid dollars even after some of its campuses had lost their accreditation, which rendered their credits worthless.

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Hundreds of red flags were raised internally within the Trump administration about how families were being separated at the US-Mexico border, including some from months before the controversial "zero tolerance" policy was announced, according to documents reviewed by CNN. The documents include anecdotes of children allegedly blindsided when they were separated from their parents after being apprehended at the southern border. One referral received by the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties describes a 14-year-old who said he was separated from his father in May 2018 "after a meal break while in custody, and was told by officers that his father would be deported." In another, an 11-year-old stated that he "was called aside by an officer and then he did not see his father again." A 10-year-old with "poor communication skills" was allegedly separated from his mother in June 2018. Taken together, the documents provide a rare glimpse into how one part of the Trump administration -- the Department of Health and Human Services -- was flagging cases of concern to another part -- the Department of Homeland Security -- during a tumultuous time that eventually resulted in the separation of thousands of families apprehended at the southern border. HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is charged with the care of unaccompanied migrant children, instructed staff to submit significant incident reports for alleged cases of family separation once the agency started seeing an uptick in cases, according to the agency.

By Tucker Higgins
The federal government will resume executing death-row inmates after nearly two decades without doing so, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five inmates convicted of murder and other crimes. The executions have been scheduled for December 2019 and January 2020. The department also announced a new execution protocol, replacing the three-drug cocktail previously used in federal executions with the single drug, pentobarbital. The last federal execution was carried out in 2003. There are 62 individuals on federal death row, according to a tracker maintained by the Death Penalty Information Center. The Supreme Court outlawed state and federal death penalty laws in the 1972 decision Furman v. Georgia. The decision invalidated the laws then on the books, but did not outlaw the death penalty under all circumstances, leading states and the federal government to draft new legislation. The federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, and expanded by Congress in 1994. No federal executions took place, however, until 2001, according to to the Bureau of Prisons.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez
Delivering a painful defeat to the Trump administration's most sweeping effort to single-handedly overhaul the asylum system without Congress, a federal judge on Wednesday blocked a rule that made most migrants from Central America and other countries ineligible for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed to issue a temporary injunction halting the policy while he reviews the merits of a legal challenge spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In his order, Tigar seemed to agree with the concerns raised by the plaintiffs that policy could result in the U.S. government sending asylum seekers back to dangerous circumstances just because they did not seek protection in countries like Mexico. The judge noted Mexico does not have as robust of an asylum system as the U.S. to guarantee people safe haven.  

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Washington (CNN) - The Democratic congressman who asked former special counsel Robert Mueller if Justice Department guidance stopped him from indicting President Donald Trump says he thinks Mueller walked back his initial response because it amounted to labeling Trump "a felon in the White House." California Rep. Ted Lieu had asked Mueller if the Office of Legal Counsel guidance against indicting a sitting president was the reason he didn't indict Trump. Mueller said that was "correct" at first. He later clarified, stating, "As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime." Appearing on "Anderson Cooper 360," Lieu said that he believes Mueller's initial answer is "what he actually believes." "I believe he fully understood my question. It was a logical extension of me getting him to establish the three elements of obstruction of justice were met and I think it's what he actually believes," Lieu told Cooper.. "I think he may have walked it back because he understood that what that means is we got a felon in the White House and that's what the hearing showed today, that Donald Trump committed multiple acts of obstruction of justice." "Those are felonies," he added. "What the American people and Congress choose to do with that information we'll see in the next few days and weeks." Mueller appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees Wednesday to discuss the report he released in April on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller's initial response to Lieu contradicted what Justice Department officials have said were the answers from the special counsel team during a March 5 meeting that included Mueller and his top lieutenants along with Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other officials.

By Jacqueline Thomsen
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday that federal prosecutors will not prosecute Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following a House vote to hold the officials in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas. “The Department of Justice’s long-standing position is that we will not prosecute an official for contempt of Congress for declining to provide information subject to a presidential assertion of executive privilege,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The House had rebuked the Trump Cabinet members by passing a criminal contempt resolution earlier this month, largely along party lines. However, it was widely presumed that the Justice Department would not pursue a criminal referral against the top DOJ official. The full House vote came after the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the Commerce and Justice departments earlier this year for documents relating to since-abandoned efforts to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The panel voted largely along party lines last month to hold Barr and Ross in contempt for failing to comply with those subpoenas. The agencies told lawmakers shortly before the vote was scheduled to be held that President Trump had asserted executive privilege over the requested documents.

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement
‘So Far I’ve Been Ghosted’ A Colorado county sheriff whose department handled security for a Vice President Mike Pence campaign fundraising event in Aspen isn’t sure who is going to pay for his deputies’ time – and is worried taxpayers might have to foot the bill. “I’m concerned we’re gonna get stiffed,” Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said after Monday’s event, as the Post Independent reported. The fundraiser was billed as an “intimate” $35,000 per couple event, headlined by the Vice President, and held, ironically, at a private club owned by two gay men. Pence has made a career out of his anti-LGBTQ policies. “Usually  this time, we’re aware of who’s going to pay,” Sheriff DiSalvo said. “I’ve been trying for a week and I still can’t get anyone to tell me who the Caribou Club host is. So far I’ve been ghosted.” The Sheriff estimated overtime costs for his deputies would be $10,000 to $20,000.

By Justin Baragona
“Yes, that was news,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi, whose question provoked the answer, told The Daily Beast. “I didn’t anticipate that.” Towards the end of Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, the former special counsel indicated that the FBI is currently investigating matters of blackmail and compromise involving those were in President Donald Trump’s orbit. During his allotted time, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) noted that because it was outside the Mueller investigation’s purview, the final report did not reach any counterintelligence conclusions regarding “any Trump administration officials who may be vulnerable to compromise or blackmail by Russia.” “Those decisions were probably made in the FBI,” Mueller, himself a former head of the FBI, replied. “We referred to the counterintelligence goals of our investigation which were secondary to any criminal wrongdoing we could find.” Krishnamoorthi, meanwhile, pointed out that the report also did not address whether Russian oligarchs engaged in money laundering through the president’s businesses. “And, of course, your office did not obtain the president’s tax returns, which could otherwise show foreign financial services, correct?” Krishnamoorthi asked. “I’m not going to get into that,” Mueller responded.

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn, on a pair of foreign-agent felony charges stemming from work the two men did for Turkish interests during the final months of the Trump presidential campaign in 2016. The verdicts, returned by jurors in Alexandria, Va., after a weeklong trial and only about four hours of deliberation, amount to a belated courtroom victory for special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated the $600,000 lobbying and public relations contract at the heart of the case and then handed the matter off to other federal prosecutors after Flynn’s guilty plea to a false-statement charge in 2017. Rafiekian, 67, faces up to 15 years in prison on the two felony counts against him: acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the U.S., and conspiracy to violate that law as well as to submit false statements to the Justice Department in a foreign-agent filing. Defendants are typically sentenced in accord with federal sentencing guidelines that result in far less than the maximum.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
President Trump believes the Constitution gives him a wide breadth of power. That’s the message he delivered ― not for the first time — on Tuesday while addressing a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington. There are numerous viral video clips from Trump’s 80-minute speech at the conference, but one of the most controversial moments came as he discussed Article II of the Constitution, which describes the powers of the president. Trump lamented the duration and cost of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which he has repeatedly said found “no collusion, no obstruction.” “Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president,” he said. “But I don’t even talk about that.” Political pundits flooded social media with that clip, though most of the videos didn’t include the Mueller-probe context. Trump in his Tuesday speech also attacked “the Squad” — four liberal congresswomen who are critical of the president — and falsely claimed Democrats saw wins in the 2018 elections because undocumented immigrants voted “many times — not just twice.” Article II grants the president “executive power.” It does not indicate the president has total power. Article II is the same part of the Constitution that describes some of Congress’s oversight responsibilities, including over the office of the presidency. It also details how the president may be removed from office via impeachment. - No Trump the president cannot do anything he wants to that is the reason the constitution includes impeachment. Impeachment was included for people like you who commit crimes and misdemeanors.

By Kevin Breuninger
President Donald Trump on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee, as well as New York state’s attorney general and its tax chief, to block the disclosure of years of his tax returns. The president’s lawsuit, which was filed “in his capacity as a private citizen,” came less than a month after the Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to obtain Trump’s federal returns. Trump’s new legal action intervenes in that suit, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Trump’s lawyers argue that the House panel “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” to use a recently passed New York state law to get Trump’s returns. They also claim that that state law violated the president’s First Amendment rights, because it was enacted to “discriminate and retaliate against President Trump for his speech and politics.” “We have filed a lawsuit today in our ongoing efforts to end Presidential harassment,” said Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow in a statement. “The actions taken by the House and New York officials are nothing more than political retribution.” - What is Donald J. Trump hiding? Why does he not show us his taxes if he has nothing to hide? Trump wanted to see Obama’s birth certificate we want to see Trump’s taxes.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
Washington (CNN) - He's loomed -- mostly unseen -- over all but a few months of President Donald Trump's tenure. On Wednesday, former special counsel Robert Mueller moves from the wings to center stage, occupying a spotlight the President would prefer just fade.
Trump has spent the last several days on the phone and in conversation with aides and allies discussing Mueller's upcoming testimony, CNN has learned. Instead of anxiety, the President has expressed irritation at having to watch the man who has shadowed his presidency sit down before two congressional committees Wednesday. Trump has been quizzing people around him about what they expect while complaining that Democrats will never let the Russia investigation go. He bemoaned the "Russian witch hunt" a day ahead of the former special counsel's testimony, asking an audience of conservative youth "should I talk about it for a sec" before laying into the probe. "First of all, it's very bad for our country," Trump said. "It makes it very hard to deal with Russia. We should be able to. They're a nuclear power. They have a big country. And we should be able to deal with them without having this artificial stuff." Later, he noted Mueller's coming appearance with disdain. "I saw Mueller's testifying tomorrow," he said. "How many times? Two-and-a-half years! And actually it started practically from the time I came down on the escalator."

President Donald Trump scored a major victory at the Supreme Court on Friday, as the justices lifted a lower court order blocking a key part of his plan to expand the border wall with Mexico. The Justice Department had asked the justices to stay a pair of rulings an Oakland-based federal judge issued in May and June blocking Trump’s plan to use about $2.5 billion in unspent military funds for wall projects in California, Arizona and New Mexico. All the Republican-appointed justices voted in favor of allowing Trump to proceed with that aspect of his plan while litigation over the issue continues. All the Democratic-appointed justices dissented, except for Justice Stephen Breyer who said he would have allowed the contracting process to move forward but blocked actual construction. The president touted the ruling in a tweet Friday evening: "Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!" However, the ruling may not signal that all challenges to the border wall funding in dispute are certain to fail.

CNN Digital Expansion 2018 Veronica Stracqualursi
By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Afghanistan has demanded the United States clarify remarks made by President Donald Trump, who said the country "would be wiped off the face of the Earth" if he wanted to win the war in Afghanistan. "The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate," Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesman for the President of Afghanistan, said in a statement. "Given the multifaceted relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for clarification on the US President's statements." Trump on Monday had suggested that he could put an end to the Afghanistan war in a week, but that it would cost millions of lives and wipe the country "off the face of the Earth." "If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people," Trump said, seated beside Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday. "I have plans on Afghanistan, that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in -- literally, in 10 days, and I don't want to do -- I don't want to go that route." The US has been pursuing a diplomatic strategy to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, holding on-again, off-again talks with the Taliban in Qatar to reach a peace deal. Earlier this month, a group of prominent Afghans —including some Afghan government officials acting in a personal capacity — held two days of joint talks with the Taliban, unofficially agreeing on a roadmap on how they might reach a peace deal.

By Barkha Dutt
Monday’s meeting between President Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was meant to prioritize Afghanistan and the ongoing U.S.-Taliban talks. Instead, Trump’s clumsy handling of the meeting has ended up making it all about relations between India and Pakistan — and left New Delhi with no option but to effectively say what many others have said before: that Trump is a liar. First, Trump boasted that he could win the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan “in a week,” a comment so absurd and ill-informed that it is unworthy of a rebuttal. Then he waded into the middle of a tenuous relationship between Delhi and Islamabad, governments that are only just emerging from the shadows of heightened tensions. He claimed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of mediator between the two countries and offered to get involved in a bid to resolve the long-standing dispute over the Kashmir issue. These remarks caused an immediate political furor in India, as they upended India’s long-standing position: that there is no room for a third party in the Kashmir conversation between India and Pakistan.

Ilhan Omar accuses Trump of being racist for decades
Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of long-harbored and deep-seated “inherent racism,” as the president has launched into another week of fiery attacks on the Minnesota Democrat and three other freshman progressive congresswomen. “Right now, even when we’re talking about the president, people will say, you know, his remarks are racist, and we’ll forget the inherent racism that has always been part of him,” Omar said, criticizing how Trump “always takes an opportunity to others to vilify them and destroy their existence and ability to access our justice system.” Omar went on to cite Trump’s calls three decades ago to reinstate the death penalty amid the “Central Park Five” case — a campaign by the real estate mogul that Omar characterized Tuesday as “going out of your way to ask for lynching for five innocent young men.” Omar’s remarks at the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy conference in Washington came less than an hour after Trump namechecked the lawmaker in a tweet, referencing her and the liberal House Democrats he has also repeatedly strafed: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

The president endorsed a bipartisan budget deal without any of the spending restraints previously demanded by Republicans. President Donald Trump may have to hand out some new nicknames — for himself — after endorsing a bipartisan budget deal with Congress: “Trillion Dollar Trump?” “Deficit Don?” With a new bipartisan budget deal that does nothing to cut federal spending, Trump is on track for another $1 trillion deficit this year. And there’s no reason to believe the following fiscal year will be any different, with ballooning deficits from higher spending, the 2017 tax cuts — Trump's signature legislative achievement, which slashed revenue — and none of the entitlement reforms long preached by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. Candidate Trump bragged that he would pay off the entire federal debt in eight years, but President Trump is governing as if deficits don't matter. In fact, Trump is approaching the level of red ink from President Barack Obama’s first term, when Obama racked up trillion-dollar deficits four years in a row. Trump is on pace to do the same, starting with this year's yawning deficit of more than $1 trillion, according to budget estimates. But there are huge differences: Trump has a growing economy with historically low unemployment and a soaring stock market, while Obama was battling a brutal downturn in the economy during the worst recession in 80 years, making it much harder to curb federal spending. Though Trump’s administration has repeatedly proposed massive cuts in its annual budget plans, lawmakers in both parties have laughed off the proposals. Now Trump has agreed to a second sweeping budget deal with Democrats that increases spending by more than $300 billion.

By Aimee Picchi
The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would limit Americans' access to food stamps, reportedly removing more than 3 million people from the federal program. The plan would eliminate automatic enrollment in food stamps for poor families who receive welfare benefits. The rule would erase what U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called a "loophole" in welfare benefits. Currently, 43 states allow families who qualify for the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, or TANF, to automatically receive food-stamp benefits, a link that the USDA wants to sever. Ending that practice would cut food-stamp spending by $2.5 billion per year, Reuters reported. While income limits for TANF programs vary by state, the welfare program typically is restricted to low-income families. For instance, Georgia requires a family of three to earn less than $784 per month, or $9,408 per year, and have less than $1,000 in assets. While policy experts say the food-stamp program is one of the nation's most successful anti-poverty programs, the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers want to scale it back, claiming that many of its beneficiaries don't need such assistance given the strong economy.

by Anna Giaritelli
SAN DIEGO, California — The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise to construct a “big beautiful wall.” In a statement last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency overseeing border barrier construction, confirmed that all the fencing completed since Trump took office is "in place of dilapidated designs" because the existing fence was in need of replacement. The agency said that it had built 51 miles of steel bollard fence with funding that was set aside during fiscal 2017 and 2018. But while the funding was meant both to replace outdated walls and to place barriers where there previously had been none, the government has only completed the replacement projects. The projects to secure areas with no fence are still in the works. The 50 miles of completed replacement barrier is a 10-mile gain since early April. In Trump’s two and a half years in office, his administration has installed an average 1.7 miles of barrier per month, and none of it in areas that did not previously have some sort of barrier. A total 205 miles of new and replacement barrier has been funded in the two and a half years since Trump took office. A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers moved faster on replacement projects than the new ones because the approval process for environmental and zoning permits was far less extensive than areas of the border with no barrier. A second senior official defended the administration's progress and blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking funding for additional projects the White House has tried to move on. - Trump is lying to the American people once again; replacing existing fencing is not adding new fencing.

By Aaron Rupar
“No obstruction ... We had a total no-collusion finding.” During a lengthy and at times wild White House press availability alongside Pakistani Prime Minster Imran Khan on Monday, President Donald Trump was asked if he plans to watch former special counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated congressional testimony on Wednesday. Trump said he might watch “a little bit.” Some outlets highlighted that revelation as a key takeaway from Trump’s remarks about Mueller. But perhaps more notably, in the span of just over one minute of talking, Trump told at least six demonstrable lies about Mueller and his investigation. The blizzard of falsehoods suggests that Trump anticipates Mueller’s testimony and its aftermath won’t be good for him, so he’s doing his best to do some preemptive gaslighting. “We had a total no-collusion finding” Trump began by saying that while he might watch some of Mueller’s testimony, he won’t watch much, “because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple.” He then completely mischaracterized the bottom-line findings of the Mueller report. “We had no collusion, no obstruction, we had no nothing,” Trump said. “We had a total no-collusion finding.”

By Morgan Chalfant
The Justice Department on Monday told former special counsel Robert Mueller that he should limit his Wednesday testimony before Congress to the four corners of his public report on Russian interference. “Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges,” Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote in a letter to Mueller that was obtained by The Hill. “These privileges would include discussion about investigative steps or decisions made during your investigation not otherwise described in the public version of your report,” Weinsheimer wrote. “Consistent with standard practice, Department witnesses should decline to address potentially privileged matters, thus affording the Department the full opportunity at a later date to consider particular questions and possible accommodations that may fulfill the committees’ legitimate need for information while protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests,” he added. It was already expected that Mueller was unlikely to speak beyond what is spelled out in the redacted version of his 448-page report on Russian interference into the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. The new letter all but guarantees that.

By Merrit Kennedy
President Trump said Iran's claim that it has captured 17 people spying for the U.S. is "totally false," as tensions continue to ratchet up between the two nations after the U.S. said it downed an Iranian drone last week. On Monday, a senior Iranian intelligence officer told reporters in Tehran that Iran has detained CIA-trained Iranian nationals who were attempting to gather information on the country's military and nuclear capabilities. "The rulings for these spies have been issued and a number of them will be executed as corruptors on Earth," said the intelligence officer, who was not identified. Iran's semiofficial news agency Fars describes him as the director-general of the intelligence ministry's counterespionage department. The Iranian reports do not specify how many of the alleged spies were set to be executed, or when that might happen. On Monday morning, Trump categorically denied that there was any truth to the news out of Iran. "The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do," the president said in a tweet. He added, "Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!"

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Washington (CNN) - House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Sunday said Robert Mueller's report presents "very substantial evidence" that President Donald Trump is "guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors" -- an impeachable offense. "We have to ... let Mueller present those facts to the American people, and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable," Nadler, whose committee would lead impeachment proceedings, said on "Fox News Sunday." Mueller, the former special counsel for the Department of Justice and former director of the FBI, will testify before Congress on July 24 after House Democrats issued a subpoena for his appearance. Earlier this year, Mueller concluded a nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are deeply divided on whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry, and Mueller's public testimony may provide an opportunity for the party to unify and decide whether impeachment proceedings should go forward or not. More than 80 House Democrats have called for starting an impeachment inquiry into the President -- the first step in a lengthy process, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Nadler have so far resisted the pressure to open an inquiry. Behind the scenes, Nadler has lobbied Pelosi to open an inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday most Americans haven't read the dense 448-page Mueller report. Schiff said on CBS "Face The Nation" that the report contains "a pretty damning set of facts," and said, "Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself." "We want the people to hear it directly from him," Schiff said. Mueller said in a rare and remarkable public statement in May his investigation could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice, and that charging the President was not an option his office could consider.

The Trump administration has finalized a plan to bypass immigration courts and deport undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they’ve been present continuously in the U.S. for two years or more, according to an announcement Monday. The Department of Homeland Security will publish a notice in the Federal Register Tuesday that aims to use the department’s full statutory authority to employ “expedited removal” to a wider range of undocumented immigrants who cross the border illegally. The expansion is the latest move in President Donald Trump’s crackdown on legal and illegal immigration. Last week, the administration published a regulation that will bar migrants who pass through another country en route to the U.S. from seeking asylum. POLITICO also reported Thursday that an administration official last week pressed to lower the annual refugee admission ceiling to zero, although those deliberations remain ongoing. The hard-line measures come as Trump appears poised to make immigration a focus of his 2020 reelection campaign. The American Civil Liberties Union — which has led legal battles against many of Trump‘s restrictive immigration policies — pledged to fight the new measure in court.

By Samantha Putterman
Some posts on social media are countering the accusations of racism against President Donald Trump after his tweet that a group of Democratic congresswomen should "go back" to the "crime infested places from which they came." (All four are citizens, and only one, Rep. Ilhan Omar, was born outside of the U.S. before arriving when she was 10.) One post points to Trump’s business history in New York as evidence that he looks out for minorities. The post, in full, reads: "There are only 3 people that won the Ellis Island Award for their work within the black community … 1. Rosa Parks 2. Muhammad Ali 3. Donald Trump … yet ‘squad’ wants you to believe he’s racist." The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) This claim gets one major thing wrong: While Donald Trump did win the award, called the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, it was not for "work within the black community."

By Josh Israel
Chris Wallace did not let Stephen Miller gaslight his viewers. Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser said to be the architect of the administration’s cruel anti-immigrant policies, went on Fox News Sunday to defend President Donald Trump’s latest round of racist and hypocritical attacks on congresswomen of color. The interview went rather poorly for him. Host Chris Wallace began the interview by asking Miller about Trump’s recent tweets attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and demanding that they go back to their home countries (Omar was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a child, the other three are natural-born citizens). Miller responded that the president isn’t a racist because the jobless rate has been falling for racial minorities. “I think the term ‘racist,’ Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by left/Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don’t want to hear,” Miller began, asserting that Trump “has been a president for all Americans” because of “historically low black unemployment rates, historically low Hispanic unemployment rates,” and his crackdown on immigration “to protect safety, security, rising wages for all American citizens.” Wallace responded that Trump’s claims that Mexican immigrants are mostly rapists and drug dealers and his proposed total ban on Muslims were “not protecting the American people” but “playing the race card.”

By Josh Israel
The president's Sunday morning was spent whining about a negative story from 2:43 p.m. on Saturday. President Donald Trump spent Sunday morning stewing over a nearly day old Washington Post story on aides’ concerns regarding his racist tweets about four congresswomen of color. Echoing his standard smear of news stories that are unfavorable to him, Trump attacked the story as “Fake News” with “phony sources who do not exist,” despite its reliance on on-the-record quotes from key supporters.

By Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors' decision to end an investigation into hush money payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump relied at least in part on long-standing Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The Justice Department told a federal judge on Monday that it had "effectively concluded" its investigation into efforts to silence the women in the final months of the 2016 campaign, but did not explain why it had done so. Prosecutors have said the payoffs violated a federal law that restricts campaign donations. A person familiar with the case, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said it was unclear whether prosecutors made a determination that they had sufficient evidence to bring a case against Trump or anyone other than his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year. But the Justice Department's opinion that a president cannot be indicted factored into the decision to end the probe, the person said. Federal prosecutors had repeatedly placed Trump at the center of the effort to silence pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the chaotic run-up to the 2016 election. Last year, they alleged in a court filing that Cohen had orchestrated illegal hush-money payments "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump. And it revealed in unsealed court records on Friday that Trump participated in phone calls about the payments to Daniels. The judgment by federal prosecutors in New York to take no further action in the wide-ranging inquiry tracks a decision earlier this year by former special counsel Robert Mueller, who cited the same Justice Department policy when he declined to make a determination about whether Trump's efforts to derail that investigation amounted to a crime. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel concluded in 2000 that "a sitting President is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution." That view has never been tested in court but is binding on federal prosecutors.

By Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a key legal challenge Thursday to a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, saying environmental groups had failed to prove that a ban was warranted. The agency’s defense of continued use of the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos could set the stage for a pivotal federal court decision on whether to overrule the EPA and force the agency to ban it. “To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the US,” said former senior EPA attorney Kevin Minoli. Scientists say studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the brains of fetuses and children. The pesticide has been used nationally on dozens of food crops, but California – the nation’s largest agricultural state – and a handful of other states have recently moved to ban it. - Trump’s EPA is not protecting Americans, how many American will die because of Trump and the GOP push to reduce regulations?

Paul Brandus, Opinion contributor
Why does Trump hate the things that make our country great? And how do the rest of us get beyond this hatred and ignorance? It was amusing at the start of the great racist tweet controversy to hear the media asking, “Is President Donald Trump a racist?” We are well beyond such questions. “I am the least racist person you have ever met,” he has said on numerous occasions. If you were living solo on a deserted island and he showed up, that might be true, but for everyone else, it’s just another one of his delusional claims. In fact, I have met the president myself, and he’s off by one word. He is not the least racist person I’ve ever met — he is the most. Trump supporters reading this will probably get upset and melt like snowflakes.Yet since October 1973, when Richard Nixon’s Justice Department sued Trump and his father Fred for barring blacks from their apartment buildings, it has been known that the president is a racist — and a congenital one at that. Trump racism goes back decades. The least racist person you have ever met? You don’t know the history of the Central Park Five (Trump called for the death penalty for the accused teens), or the history of blacks who worked at his casinos (fine paid for discrimination, and much more) in Atlantic City. The least racist person you have ever met? “Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control,” he said in a 1997 Playboy interview. The least racist person you have ever met? Mexicans? “they’re rapists.” White supremacists waving swastikas in Charlottesville? “very fine people on both sides.” On and on and on. Before we move on, here’s my favorite. Remember when Trump (you know, the least racist person you’ve ever met) said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that many African nations were “s---hole countries?”

By Kevin Liptak, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump claimed Thursday to be unhappy that his rally crowd broke out into chants of "send her back" as he denigrated a Democratic lawmaker he'd previously said should leave the US. "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn't say that, they did," Trump said at the White House a day after the rally, when a crowded arena in North Carolina began the thundering chant as he assailed Rep. Ilhan Omar, a freshman Minnesota Democrat. Trump's apparent disavowal came after expressions of concern from Republicans and outright outrage from Democrats, who accused the President of stoking racist sentiments among his white working class base. It's the latest in a multi-day controversy involving Trump and a foursome of first-term congresswomen of color, who Trump has repeatedly denigrated as he works to paint them as the face of the Democratic Party. Speaking to reporters, Trump claimed to have attempted to stop the chant Wednesday night by resuming his speech, though he waited 12 seconds before speaking as the crowd loudly shouted the three words. In the lull, Trump appeared to listen, letting the chant gain momentum, before resuming his speech, which continued with a litany of complaints against Omar and the other lawmakers. Later in his remarks, Trump encouraged his audience to "tell them to leave" the US if they continue to criticize him. "They are always telling us how to run it, how to do this. You know what? If they don't love it, tell them to leave it," Trump said. In the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump said he "felt a little bit badly" about the chant and claimed the hall where he spoke was noisy and hectic. Still, he said he would "certainly try" to prevent such a chant from breaking out again.
"It was quite a chant," Trump said.

By Clare Foran, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday morning called a chant that broke out at President Donald Trump's rally the previous night -- when the crowd yelled "send her back" as the President targeted Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota -- "ugly" and "wrong" and said it "would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers." "I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted - chants like 'send her back' are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union," Kinzinger said in a tweet on Thursday morning. The crowd broke out with chants of "send her back," after the President went on the attack during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, against Omar, the first Somali-American member of Congress, who came to the US as a refugee over two decades ago. Omar also made history alongside Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan at their swearing in as the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Omar responded to the rally last night, saying on Twitter, "I am where I belong, at the people's house and you're just gonna have to deal!" Omar's message appeared next to a picture of her on the House floor with the American flag in the background.

By David Masciotra
Trump's racist outburst contained blind, accidental honesty. This is the struggling country that needs help. President Trump often puts thoughtful Americans in the position of choosing whether to concentrate on his racism or stupidity. Since the two mental pathologies typically interlock, the choice is not binary. The latest incident of imbecility from the White House — as almost everyone knows by now — has Trump excoriating four congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib), three of whom were born in the United States, to go back to the countries where they came from. Rep. Omar of Minnesota, the only non-native born citizen in the group, arrived in America as a refugee at age 10, and has studied, worked and lived here ever since. Stumbling and sputtering under the blindness of his own hatred and ignorance, Trump might have actually fallen into an honest and accurate assessment of the United States. He not only told the congresswomen to go back to their countries of origin — for three of them that means staying right where they are — but described those places as “broken and crime infested.” Unique in the developed world, thousands of Americans die every year for lack of health insurance and medical debt is the No. 1 contributor to bankruptcy in the United States. The “greatest nation in the world,” to use Trump’s phrase from his recent exercise in derangement (otherwise known as a press conference), also has a higher infant mortality rate than every other comparably wealthy country, and even higher than many countries with far fewer resources, like Bosnia, Taiwan and Malta. Deaths from suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction have all dramatically escalated in the United States, especially among the poor. The majority of American families living below the poverty line qualify for the classification of “working poor,” meaning that one or more members of the household are employed. Income is often attached to educational attainment, and the United States currently ranks seventh in literacy among the world’s nations. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that 50 percent of U.S. adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level.

By Robert Farley and Lori Robertson
President Donald Trump accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of professing a “love” for al Qaeda and talking about “how great” and “how wonderful” al Qaeda is. That is false. Trump also misleadingly claimed polls showed Omar only has 8% support, not mentioning that a similar figure is from a poll of white likely general-election voters without a bachelor’s degree. Responding to press questions about his tweets on July 14 telling four progressive Democratic congresswomen known as “the squad” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested [countries] from which they came,” Trump doubled down, claiming the women “hate our country” and that “if they’re not happy here, they can leave.” False al Qaeda Claims: In his comments, Trump repeatedly singled out Minnesota Rep. Omar — a Somali American who became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in November — claiming, falsely, that she has made statements supporting al Qaeda. Trump said that Omar has talked about “how great” and “how wonderful al Qaeda is.” He claimed that Omar had said, “‘When I think of al Qaeda, I can hold my chest out.'” There’s no evidence Omar has said any of those things.

By Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York have concluded their investigation of hush-money payments President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer orchestrated to quiet potential sex scandals in the final months of his campaign, a judge said Wednesday. Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said he engineered payments to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump to silence them before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said those payments violated federal campaign finance laws, and both they and Cohen have said publicly that Cohen arranged them at Trump's direction. U.S. District Judge William Pauley revealed the end of the probe in a brief order on Wednesday, in which he instructed the government to make public some of the search warrants it used when investigating Cohen. Prosecutors had previously asked to keep documents under seal, indicating that the investigation into the campaign finance violations were ongoing. Pauley said they changed that position in a sealed filing on Monday, and that as a result, the search warrant materials should become public. “The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance. Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials,” Pauley wrote. Pauley ordered the government to make them public Thursday morning.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday he believes President Donald Trump actually lost the 2016 election and is president only because of Russian interference. Carter made the comments during a discussion on human rights at a resort in Leesburg, Virginia, without offering any evidence for his statements.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - On Tuesday night, the Democratic-controlled House did something very rare: They voted to condemn President Donald Trump for his Sunday tweets in which he urged four Democratic congresswomen to return to the countries they came from. It's been more than 100 years since Congress offered a formal rebuke of a sitting President and so the vote, in and of itself, is newsworthy and noteworthy. But don't fool yourself: There's no next step, no further action that Congress can or will take against Trump. And even the House vote, while historic, has no real-world implications for the President. See, the resolution of rebuke is non-binding, which means that there will be no actual penalties paid by Trump for the House's determination that he used racist language in attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) over the weekend. And the Senate remains in the hands of Republicans, who have shown zero willingness to cross Trump in any meaningful way -- much less bring up and vote on a measure that condemns him. Which means, almost certainly, that the issue dies here. That Trump's tweets, like so many abnormal things he has done since 2015, will simply be fed into the partisan meat grinder -- producing predictable results. Democratic elected officials (and their bases) will paint Trump's comments as part of a broader view -- repeatedly expressed by the President -- that quite clearly is animated by racist sentiment. Republicans will insist this is all partisan politics fueled by ill-intentioned Democrats who simply hate the President and are willing to say and do whatever it takes to remove him from office. We've already seen that exact dynamic play out -- on the floor of the House during Tuesday night's debate before the condemnation vote. Republicans demanded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's words be "taken down" -- a fancy way of asking that she be formally scolded -- because she said that the words Trump used to describe the quartet of female lawmakers -- known collectively as the "Squad" -- were racist. The Democratic majority rejected that parliamentary tactic but not before Democratic Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, in a fit of frustration, abandoned his post overseeing the the House. After the vote, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) called it a "sad day" for the institution, according to The Washington Post, and added: "Our rules of order and decency were broken today."

By Greg Sargent - Opinion writer
In the closing days of the 2018 elections, President Trump’s political guru, Brad Parscale, rolled out a massive TV ad campaign featuring a worried suburban mom fussing over her daughter. The woman told herself that everything would be okay, because of Trump’s economy — yet the spot did not feature Trump himself. This ad, Parscale said at the time, was targeted toward “independent voters” and “suburban mothers.” Meanwhile, Trump was sending the military to the border, demonizing asylum seekers as criminal invaders, and attacking Democrats as socialists, with some GOP ads tying then-House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Nancy Pelosi. Republicans then lost more than 40 House seats, making Pelosi the speaker — to no small degree due to desertions by suburban women like the one in Trump’s own ad. Now that Trump is continuing his racist attacks on nonwhite progressive lawmakers, this political dualism is on display once again. Trump is confidently proclaiming that these attacks will deliver victory in 2020 — which is a claim about his blue-collar white base — yet the real headwinds Trump faces are among those very same more upscale and suburban white voters. Trump just unleashed a new tweetstorm aimed at the four nonwhite congresswomen he has been targeting, accusing them of “vile” and “hateful” and “pro-terrorist” rhetoric, and bashing the Democratic Party for refusing to take on the “Radical Left.” Trump sees this as a winner, claiming that he cleverly forced the party to defend Ocasio-Cortez and “the Squad,” and this is “Not good for the Democrats!” Some pundits have endorsed this idea, suggesting this is the turf Trump wants 2020 fought upon.

By Philip Bump
President Trump’s defense of his declaration that progressive Democratic members of Congress should “go back” to where they came from was predicated in part on his assessment of their patriotism. While he didn’t identify those members of Congress by name, he referred to their feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), suggesting that he was talking about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — a group informally known as “The Squad.” Omar has been a frequent target of Trump’s, with his having suggested in the past that her comments about Israel’s political influence should be grounds for her resignation from office. How could this group, he wrote on Twitter on Sunday, “loudly and viciously [tell] the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run”? On Monday, he quoted Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) saying that “[Ocasio-Cortez] and this crowd . . . hate Israel, they hate our own country” and that they “are Anti-America.” “If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave,” Trump later told reporters in response to questions about his tweets. We dug into this claim. Where and when had Ocasio-Cortez and the other three freshmen said things that could be construed as anti-American? What comments had they made which met this standard? Before we answer that question, we’ll present to you a brief quiz, offering up quotes from people who are now in elected office and asking you to determine who said them. We tried to focus on criticisms of America or Americans instead of just criticisms of American leaders. Was it a member of The Squad? Or was it Trump? - Maybe Trump is the one who should leave our country, he complains about our country and attacks our intuitions. If they should leave then Trump has to go he complains about our country more than all of them combined.

By Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump's racist comments about Democratic congresswomen have won him renewed support from white supremacists who had been losing faith that he was the hero they wanted to create a prospering White America. Trump told the four women of color that they should "go back" to the "crime infested places" they came from, even though three of the four were born in the US and the fourth is a naturalized citizen. "Man, President Trump's Twitter account has been pure fire lately. This might be the funniest thing he's ever tweeted. This is the kind of WHITE NATIONALISM we elected him for," wrote Andrew Anglin on his Daily Stormer site -- one of the most highly trafficked neo-Nazi websites. "And we're obviously seeing it only because there's another election coming up. But I'll tell you, even knowing that, it still feels so good." White nationalists had become openly frustrated by Trump recently for the failure to build a border wall and the lack of a promised immigration crackdown. "With a single tweet, Trump was able to win back the sizeable deluded portion of the Alt-Right, eager to take another trip on the merry-go-round," prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer wrote on Twitter. Spencer, who infamously declared "Hail Trump" following the 2016 election at an event where people were seen apparently giving the Nazi salute, told CNN he now thought Trump was talk and no action. Spencer was one of those who led a torch rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, during a weekend when a neo-Nazi drove a car at a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman. Trump also received support from a well-known white supremacist organizer who goes by the name "Augustus Invictus."

By Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday defiantly responded to President Donald Trump's continued attacks on her and other minority Democratic congresswomen, calling him out for the various sexual assault allegations made against him and his boasts on the infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" video. The tweet from Ocasio-Cortez is the latest salvo in an ongoing heated and personal feud that reached new heights on Sunday when Trump falsely implied in a racist tweet that Ocasio-Cortez and several other minority Democratic congresswomen weren't natural-born American citizens. He suggested "they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." "Hey Mr. President, remember when you bragged about sexually assaulting women, talking about feeling their breasts and genitals, because 'when you're a star they let you do it?' And then you imposed DOE policies to make it harder for sexual assault survivors to report assault?" Ocasio-Cortez wrote Tuesday, referring to the tape that surfaced during the 2016 campaign in which Trump is heard saying he was able to grab women "by the p****" because he was famous. Trump later apologized for the remarks. More than a dozen women have come forward with a range of accusations against Trump, ranging from sexual harassment and assault to lewd behavior, from before he was President. Trump has vehemently denied all of the allegations and has threatened to sue his accusers, though he has not done so. In her tweet Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez was apparently referring to new rules unveiled by the Department of Education in November that narrowed the definition of sexual misconduct on college campuses. The New York Democrat was responding to a fresh attack by Trump in which he accused four lawmakers -- and women of color -- of "spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party." Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is among the four minority congresswomen that Trump attacked on Sunday, shared Ocasio-Cortez's tweet later Tuesday, adding in her own tweet that Trump "doesn't want us to remember" the "Access Hollywood" video. "His 'locker room' talk is now Oval Office talk," Omar said, referring to the phrase the President used to dismiss his remarks in 2016. "Lets stop dismissing him and start holding him accountable." Later Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez also responded to another tweet from Trump in which he said his Sunday tweets "were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!"

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump created a firestorm over the weekend when he told four Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their own countries. Although Trump did not specify who he was specifically referring to, many believe he was talking about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-,Minn., Ayanna Pressley D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. Three of those lawmakers were born in the U.S. Omar came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia more than 20 years ago and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Omar and Tlaib are the only two Muslim women in the House. On Monday afternoon, the lawmakers responded to Trump's comments in a press conference on Capitol Hill. Pressley said the president's recent comments were just a "disruptive distraction" from a "callous, chaotic and corrupt" administration. "I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait," Pressley added. Omar accused Trump of pursuing a "white nationalist" agenda. Ocasio-Cortez reminded children across the nation that "this country belongs to you," despite Trump's comments, and Tlaib renewed her calls for Trump to be impeached. While the congresswomen were speaking, Trump continued to tweet about them. "The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four 'progressives,' but now they are forced to embrace them," the president wrote. "That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!" Trump defended his comments in more tweets on Tuesday, writing "I don't have a racist bone in my body!" Since Trump's initial comments, a number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned the president's statements. Here's what we know about the comments and the reaction to them:

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Donald Trump wants to create an America that runs directly counter to the "melting pot" principle on which the country has prided itself for generations. This isn't an opinion. It is a statement of fact. How else can we take Trump's Sunday morning tweets -- directed at freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) -- in which he told the quartet, in essence, to go back where they came from? Wrote Trump: "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 (if they even have a functioning government at all), 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. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Trump continued his attacks Monday morning, calling for the "Radical Left Congresswomen," who he again did not name, to "apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the office of the President" for what he called "their horrible & disgusting actions." Let's start with some facts. Of the four people Trump told to go home to their own country, 3 of the 4 were born in the United States. The 4th -- Omar -- was born in Somalia, spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, arrived in the US at age 12 and is a naturalized US citizen, according to the New York Times. So, telling them to go back to their "totally broken and crime infested placed from which they came" makes very, very little factual sense. But Trump isn't terribly concerned with the facts here. It's the sentiment that matters to him.

By Jennifer Hassan
LONDON — Lawmakers and commentators around the world expressed shock and disgust Monday after President Trump targeted Democratic minority congresswomen in tweets over the weekend and told them to “go back” to their countries. On U.S. soil, the tweets prompted outrage, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) branding Trump’s string of remarks as “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” and Democrats defending those believed to be at the center of Trump’s fury: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). While Republicans remained overwhelmingly silent, lawmakers around the world were not. British politician David Lammy branded Trump’s comments “1950s racism straight from the White House” and called for Boris Johnson, who is in the running to replace Theresa May as prime minister, to condemn the remarks.

By Rosena Allin-Khan
I have been told to ‘go home’ – especially on Twitter, when someone disagrees with me. Back a People’s Vote? Go home. Talk about sexism in football? Go home. And now, I assume, I would get the same treatment from the leader of the free world. From as early as I can remember, I was used to meeting people and their first two questions being: “What is your name?” and “Where do you come from?” – and not always in that order. My answer was always “Tooting” and still is today. The questions did not, and do not, stop there: “Where do you REALLY come from?” – with a huge emphasis on the “really”. My mother was born in Poland, my father in Pakistan, and I identify as being 100 per cent Tooting. Generally, people understand this and I am so fortunate to represent an area which is so vibrant and diverse. There are people from all backgrounds, first generation, second generation and beyond, who each day have to go through the same line of questioning over and over. Most importantly though, we are all British. Regardless of background, we all live here because we share the same values, support the same teams, enjoy a cup of tea. On occasion, I have been told to “go home” – especially on Twitter, when someone disagrees with me. Back a People’s Vote? Go home. Talk about sexism in football? Go home. Criticise Donald Trump? Go home. How do you want me to “go home” exactly? Get the tube south on the Northern Line? Get a bus? Taxi? I have never been told to “go home” by the American President. But going by his track record now, anything is possible. Donald Trump’s weekend attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib sought to do exactly what those who seek to undermine me want to do, to make us appear as the “other”. In truth all he’s doing is seeking to limit the voices of Americans. The irony is remarkable. Four of Trump’s children have mothers born in Eastern European countries. Would he tell his own children to “go home”? I don’t think so. Is it any coincidence that he has decided to take a swipe at four rising stars in the Democratic Party? Politics is changing – for the good as well as the bad. Congress is now more racially diverse than ever. American people are being represented more and more by people who have similar life experiences.

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