A third probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, even to pacify the paranoid president, may cause real harm. If you come at the king, you best not miss. That’s the message Attorney General William Barr is sending to FBI agents, whether intentionally or not. Barr has authorized yet another investigation into the FBI’s conduct probing links between Russian election interference and the Trump campaign. Even though two other entities are already investigating the same matter, reports indicate that Barr has appointed Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe. In doing so, Barr is playing into the hands of President Donald Trump, who has already characterized Durham’s assignment as an investigation into “how that whole hoax got started.” The most charitable interpretation of Barr’s behavior in defense of Trump is that he believes strongly in a “unitary executive,” where the president can order any investigation he wants. But in his quest to protect the presidency, Barr is damaging our national security. His complicity in Trump’s efforts to disparage the FBI will make it more difficult for agents to do their jobs and could discourage investigations of those in power.
(CNN) - Whose side is Lindsey Graham on? His constituents -- that is, the American people? Or the Trump family.
The ever more obsequious US senator from South Carolina has made his position clear: He's here to protect the Trump family, regardless of any alleged crimes, and regardless of the will of the American people, his Senate colleagues, or even the law. To Graham, defending the Trumps is more important than the pursuit of justice. His latest lackeying: Publicly advising Donald Trump Jr. on Fox News last Sunday to ignore a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee, or, if Jr. does testify, Graham clarified for reporters Monday, he should plead the Fifth so that he doesn't actually have to answer any questions. "You'd have to be an idiot as a lawyer to put your client back into this circus, a complete idiot," Graham told reporters. By Tuesday, Trump Jr. and the Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal for the President's eldest son to appear before the committee behind closed doors in mid-June, a source told CNN.
The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee has launched an investigation into claims brought forth by Michael Cohen, the president's former personal attorney, who has suggested that members of President Donald Trump's legal team edited his statement to Congress about a prospective Trump Tower-Moscow project. During public testimony in March, before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen said Trump's current personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, changed his statement to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees regarding the duration of those discussions before he submitted it to Capitol Hill. In his initial statement to Congress, Cohen said discussions about the Moscow project ended in January of 2016, when in reality conversations about the prospective deal continued through the summer of 2016 -- well after Trump became the Republican nominee for president. Federal prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller's office later wrote that Cohen also sought to "minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1," referring to then-candidate Trump.
A prominent board member of the National Rifle Association urged the organization to clean “its own house” and move on from CEO Wayne LaPierre’s leadership on Tuesday in a stunning escalation of the internal crisis that has plagued the organization in recent months. Retired Lt. Col. Allen West, a former Republican congressman from Florida serving his second term on the board, announced in a blog post that he was withdrawing his support from LaPierre, citing concerns about alleged financial mismanagement within the organization and what he called “outright lies” told by Carolyn Meadows, the group's new president, and Charles Cotton, chairman of the NRA's audit committee, in LaPierre’s defense. “There is a cabal of cronyism operating within the NRA and that exists within the Board of Directors,” West wrote. “It must cease, and I do not care if I draw their angst.” West said that he had called for LaPierre’s resignation before the organization’s annual meeting in Indianapolis in April, where some of the first signs of serious trouble at the organization emerged. “It is imperative that the NRA cleans its own house,” West wrote. “If we had done so in Indianapolis, much of this could have been rectified.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) argued Monday that if President Trump's tax returns are not turned over to Congress following a subpoena, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig should face fines or jail time. “I believe that the Justice Department should first fine the two persons that we’re talking about, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Rettig," Pascrell said during an interview on MSNBC. “If they say no all the way, then I'd put them in jail all the way.” Pascrell is a member of the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee, which last week subpoenaed six years of Trump’s tax returns from both Mnuchin and Rettig. The committee gave the officials until 5 p.m. Friday to hand over the returns.
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s tariffs were initially seen as a cudgel to force other countries to drop their trade barriers. But they increasingly look like a more permanent tool to shelter American industry, block imports and banish an undesirable trade deficit. More than two years into the Trump administration, the United States has emerged as a nation with the highest tariff rate among developed countries, outranking Canada, Germany and France, as well as China, Russia and Turkey. And with further trade confrontations brewing, the rate may only increase from here. On Tuesday, the president continued to praise his trade war with China, saying that the 25 percent tariffs he imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods would benefit the United States, and that he was looking “very strongly” at imposing additional levies on nearly every Chinese import. “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well. We’re in a very strong position,” Mr. Trump said in remarks from the White House lawn. “Our economy is fantastic; theirs is not so good. We’ve gone up trillions and trillions of dollars since the election; they’ve gone way down since my election.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday over Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, with both men pointing fingers at the other as the U.S. ramps up its preparations for next year's presidential election. In a news conference during Pompeo’s first trip to Russia as America’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov continued to reject the accusations that his government engaged in the kind of multifaceted meddling operation outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last month. After intercepting a question about election interference intended for Pompeo, Lavrov blamed Washington in a six-minute tangent, accusing the U.S. of conducting the “lion’s share” of attacks against Russian internet operations. He also told reporters of a memo he delivered to Pompeo that he said contained “actual information” to prove that the U.S. government had interfered in Russian domestic policy.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal on Tuesday for the president’s eldest son to sit for a private interview with senators in the coming weeks that will be limited in time, an accord that should cool a heated intraparty standoff. The deal came after an aggressive push by the younger Trump’s allies, who accused the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, of caving to Democrats by issuing a subpoena for the president’s son’s testimony. They called the effort a political hit job against the White House, using the president’s son as fodder. Mr. Burr told fellow Republican senators last week that the president’s son had twice agreed to voluntary interviews but had not shown up, forcing the subpoena. Mr. Trump’s lawyer had prepared a blistering letter to send to the committee, telling its members that Donald Trump Jr. would not submit to open-ended questions before a panel that included multiple Democrats running for president, according to people familiar with its contents. The lawyers had prepared to send the letter on Monday, facing a deadline to respond to the subpoena. But they received a call from committee aides, asking if there was a “reasonable” path forward, according to a person familiar with the events.
In only 318 words, the arch-conservative laid out a roadmap for overturning decisions permitting abortion, same-sex marriage, and more. In 1992, the Supreme Court looked poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case protecting abortion rights. They didn’t, however, and the main reason was respect for precedent—specifically, the legal doctrine known as stare decisis, or “let the decision stand.” Would it do the same today, with over 250 laws meant to test the case pending in states across the country? An otherwise obscure case decided this week, Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, suggests that a majority of the court would not. Hyatt was, in large part, about stare decisis. A 1979 Supreme Court case, Nevada v. Hall, held that citizens can sue a state in another state’s court. In 1998, Gilbert Hyatt did just that as part of a tax dispute, with tens of millions of dollars at stake. This week, the court overruled its 1979 decision by a vote of 5-4 and tossed out Hyatt’s claim. The split was on ideological lines, with the court’s five conservatives in the majority and four liberals in the minority. Of the 18 pages in the majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, 17 are about the legal question in the case, which revolves around states’ rights, sovereign immunity, and the Constitution. It’s no surprise that Justice Thomas, in particular, wrote this opinion, as states’ rights have been a focus of his for three decades.
A National Rifle Association member and former congressman called on the lobbying group to “clean its own house” and replace longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre in a blog post Tuesday. In the post, retired Lt. Col. Allen West, who represented Florida in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, said he was pulling his backing for LaPierre’s re-election amid allegations of financial mismanagement and accusing LaPierre’s defenders, including Carolyn Meadows, who replaced Oliver North as president, of “outright lies.” West said he had already called for LaPierre to step down ahead of the NRA’s annual meeting, which took place in April in Indianapolis. Amidst the meeting, LaPierre wrote to the organization’s board to accuse North of extorting him and demanding his resignation, which LaPierre called “a threat meant to intimidate and divide us.” North had sent his own letter to the NRA board citing over $200,000 of clothing purchases LaPierre allegedly charged to a vendor.
Ollie North claims the NRA faces unfathomably high legal expenses. Experts say his concerns are serious. ‘The IRS would definitely be interested in it,’ one tells The Daily Beast. “One hundred thousand dollars a day? That’s just off the charts.” That’s how Deborah Rhode, a legal ethics expert from Stanford Law School, put it after reviewing a memo from ex-NRA president Oliver North. In the document, North laid out allegations against the embattled gun rights group’s outside law firm, claiming the firm has billed the association about $24 million since last March and $8.8 million in the first three months of 2019—averaging to more than $97,000 per day. Meanwhile, the NRA’s latest financial disclosures forms show its revenue has slumped under the gun-friendly Trump administration. North’s memo—which NRA top brass dispute—raises new questions about the association’s finances at an extraordinarily fraught moment for the grassroots gun-rights powerhouse. On the one hand, it finds its most powerful ally ever in President Trump. But at the same time, it faces acute challenges from inside and out: an increasingly organized, media-savvy movement calling for tighter gun laws, a belligerent foe in the New York governor’s mansion, and internal turmoil that has left its members’ heads spinning. Plus, there’s the whole money problem. Now North claims the group’s legal bills are a new, huge strain on its finances—which have contracted. “The Brewer invoices are draining NRA cash at mindboggling speed,” reads the memo, referring to the legal bills, and adding that they “pose an existential threat to the financial stability of the NRA.”
Calls for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to resign began trending on Twitter Tuesday morning after the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman encouraged President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., to plead the Fifth. Graham on Monday said Trump Jr. should refuse to answer questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which subpoenaed Trump Jr. to testify about his communication with Russian officials. “You just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with,” Graham told reporters, referring to the amendment that protects citizens from self-incrimination, according to The Washington Post. The official Twitter account for Democratic Coalition, an anti-Trump super PAC that targets Republican officials and candidates, called for Graham to resign following the comments. “Retweet if you agree. #LindseyGrahamResign,” the group posted.
Mitt Romney was the only Republican senator to vote against one of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees on Tuesday. And he did so in part to defend former President Barack Obama. Romney cast the lone GOP "no" vote against Michael Truncale, who was confirmed 49-46 on Tuesday morning to the Eastern District of Texas. Truncale called Obama an "un-American imposter" in June 2011, and explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was "merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama." He also said he believed Obama was born in Hawaii and did not subscribe to "birtherism," a racist theory that the president was not an American citizen.
Some members of the House Judiciary Committee think “stronger tools” are needed to force the Trump administration to comply with requests. WASHINGTON — Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have grown increasingly impatient with President Donald Trump’s attempts to block their Russia investigation. And now, some of them are urging the use of “stronger tools,” including impeachment proceedings, in order to strengthen their access to documents and witnesses, according to several lawmakers who spoke with NBC News. Attorney General William Barr has resisted committee demands to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s full and unredacted Russia report to Congress and said he will not appear before the committee, which planned to use staff lawyers to question him. In the past week, Trump has said he does not want Mueller to testify before the committee, although he said that decision is ultimately up to Barr, and sought to withhold classified portions of the report from Congress by invoking “executive privilege.” “The obstruction stuff the president’s engaged in now is causing people to give this a second look,” Rep. David Cicilline, a committee Democrat from Rhode Island, said about impeachment. “Whatever you think about the findings in the report itself, the blanket defiance of lawfully issued subpoenas and refusal to cooperate with constitutionally required oversight is — in and of itself — basis for impeachment,” Cicilline said in an interview.
The Trump administration is preparing a new list of $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that would be hit with tariffs of up to 25%, after China retaliated Monday in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published a list of Chinese goods that would be hit with new duties, ranging from artists' brushes and paint rollers to clocks and watches. The list also includes a wide range of sporting goods, from baseballs to fishing reels. And it dedicates several pages to agricultural products, from livestock to dairy, plants and vegetables. Staples such as rice and tea are on the list. "The proposed product list covers essentially all products not currently covered by action in this investigation," the USTR office says. It adds, "The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth materials, and critical minerals." The U.S. proposal will enter a public comment period and could take effect sometime in late June or July. On Monday, China's State Council Customs Tariff Commission announced it will impose tariffs of up to 25% on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods starting in June, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The tit-for-tat exchange rattled stock markets on Monday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite closed the day down 3.4%.
Trump Tower, once the crown jewel in Donald Trump’s property empire, now ranks as one of the least desirable luxury properties in Manhattan.
The 36-year-old building has been turned into a fortress since Trump won the presidency, ringed with concrete barriers and the two main entrances partially blocked off. It hasn’t been substantially updated in years. And Trump’s name has been a huge turnoff in liberal New York City. For anyone who owns a unit in the tower, the past two years have been brutal. Most condo sales have led to a loss after adjusting for inflation, property records show. Several sold at more than a 20% loss. By contrast, across Manhattan, just 0.23% of homes over the past two years sold at a loss, according to real-estate data provider PropertyShark, although the firm doesn’t adjust for inflation. It’s all a far cry from the days when the New York landmark attracted the likes of Michael Jackson, Johnny Carson and Steven Spielberg. These days, it’s better known for a Trump campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer documented in Robert Mueller’s Russia report. While some corners of Trump’s business empire have thrived, such as his Washington D.C. hotel, others have suffered from his high unpopularity. Rounds of golf are down at his public course in New York, a clutch of once Trump-branded buildings have torn his name off their fronts, and an ambitious plan to launch a new mid-tier hotel chain across the country fizzled.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will "back off" its investigation into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse. Addressing reporters on Capitol Hill, Graham, the committee chairman, said he changed his mind after learning Attorney General William Barr had tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham from Connecticut with examining the origins of the federal Russia investigation. "I'm glad you have a prosecutor not a politician," he said. "I don't expect you to take my word about what happened with the FISA warrant. I'm a Republican, and I want the president to do well. I don't expect Republicans to take [House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry] Nadler's word about anything wrongdoing toward Trump. We finally have somebody outside of politics."
Trump seeks government help for “great Patriot farmers” who are being hit by China’s retaliatory tariffs. President Donald Trump is opposed to the government interfering in the market to pick winners and losers — at least when doing so doesn’t directly benefit voters crucial to his reelection prospects. In recent months, Trump has made his opposition to socialism — a system of government in which the government plays a leading role in distributing goods and services — a regular feature of his speeches. During his most recent State of the Union address, Trump alluded to rhetoric by Democrats and said, “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.” At a rally in Wisconsin last month, Trump vowed that America “will never be a socialist country.” He framed the crisis in Venezuela as a failure of socialism and suggested Democrats wanted to use the Mueller investigation to force him out of office and “institute Socialism.” Life, however, comes at you fast — especially when you launch a trade war with a country that represents the second-largest export market for American agriculture. During an Oval Office event with Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orbán on Monday, Trump outlined a plan to redistribute money from American importers to farmers hurt by his escalating trade war with China that might fall short of socialism, but is certainly a far cry from the values of free markets and free trade traditionally embraced by Republicans.
A federal judge on Tuesday gave lawyers for President Trump and Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee until the end of the week to make their final arguments on whether the court should uphold a subpoena requesting Trump’s private financial records. District Judge Amit Mehta, during the first court hearing in D.C. over the subpoena issued by Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for records from the accounting firm Mazars, said he considers the matter to be “fully exhausted” after hearing arguments from attorneys on both sides. And he promised to quickly issue a ruling on the matter. Attorneys for Trump and his businesses argued that the House committee had no standing to issue the subpoena, describing the request for documents as “law enforcement” and going beyond Congress’s authorities. Trump lawyer William Consovoy said that investigating the president for potential wrongdoing was outside of Congress's constitutional bounds, reiterating an argument that all congressional probes should be tied to legislation. But Mehta pushed back against some of Consovoy’s remarks by pointing to investigations like Watergate that weren’t tied to specific bills.
“You mean to tell me that because he is the president of the United States, Congress would have no ability to investigate?” Mehta said, referring to Trump.
Democrats are fighting for access to the president's financial records. A federal judge raised pointed doubts Tuesday about arguments by President Donald Trump’s legal team that a Democratic effort to subpoena Trump’s financial records was an invalid exercise of congressional power. Amit Mehta, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, indicated that he would have trouble ruling that Congress’ goal in accessing the president’s records was unconstitutional — as Trump’s lawyers have argued — and he underscored that he believes Congress has a significant “informing function” that doesn’t necessarily require an explicit legislative purpose to justify an investigation involving the president. “Does Congress have to do that — do they have to identify a bill in advance? The Supreme Court has said the opposite,” Mehta said during a round of questioning with Trump’s attorney William Consovoy during a hearing. Consovoy argued throughout Tuesday’s hearing that Congress has no basis for investigating whether Trump’s financial disclosures are accurate, contending that it’s a “law enforcement issue” that’s not tied to a specific legislative agenda. Mehta cast serious doubt on those claims, suggesting at one point that investigations of such financial violations are “strictly” under Congress’ purview and that the courts have “very little, if any” discretion over Congress’ asks. “I almost wonder whether I have no role,” Mehta told Consovoy at one point.
American farmers know they can't control Mother Nature, but they shouldn't have to worry about the climate for trade agreements, too. Growing up on the farm, my father would always say that the two things you could count on were death and taxes. And then he would quickly add the one thing you could not count on but on which we were dependent: Mother Nature, the weather. This year has been a particularly difficult time for our family farm in Indiana, as it has been for farmers throughout the Midwest, from Nebraska to Iowa, from Missouri to Ohio. Many are still waiting for the water to drain from their fields so they can begin spring planting of corn and soybeans. There is not much farmers can do about the weather in the short term. The crops need to be planted and May is a critical month. It turns out, however, that our nation’s farms are underwater in more ways than one. On Monday, China announced it is putting tariffs on more than 5,000 U.S. products, including vegetables, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision late last week to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. Just like last spring, agriculture producers can once again add trade policy as another unknown to their business model.
The thing to keep in mind about President Trump, as he thrashes around like a weak swimmer in a strong current, is that he has no idea what he’s doing. None. Not a clue. I know that he can be clever politically, in a tactical sense. I know that his lies are often both deliberate and effective. I know that his utter shamelessness can sometimes come off as some kind of warped genius. But the only thing that’s profound about Trump is the truly spectacular depth of his ignorance. As evidence, take a glance — if you dare — at your 401(k). The president’s decision last week to unilaterally boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports produced an entirely predictable response — retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, a freakout by the financial markets and a screaming plunge in the Dow and other major indexes.
Tell me again how loyal you are to the text of the Constitution. The greatest restraint on judges is that they are bound by a written text — or, at least, that they are supposed to be. Members of Congress gain their legitimacy from the will of the people, so they have broad ranging authority to enact laws that, in their opinion, will serve those people. Judges, by contrast, have no democratic legitimacy and far less discretion. Their sole task, at least in theory, is to apply written law to individual cases. Which is why Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion for the Supreme Court in Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt is troubling. Hyatt does not simply overrule a longstanding precedent, it does so while admitting that nothing in the text of the Constitution supports such an outcome. Loyalty to constitutional text and loyalty to written precedents are the twin pillars that stabilize our system of law. The Supreme Court just abandoned both of them. The rule Thomas announces in Hyatt, by his own admission, is “not spelled out in the Constitution.” It’s also not spelled out in the Supreme Court’s precedents. Much to the contrary, Hyatt explicitly overrules a 40-year-old decision. The decision was 5-4, along familiar partisan lines.
CNN analyst Ana Navarro reacts to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) advising Donald Trump Jr. to ignore the subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying that Graham is serving as President Trump's accomplice.
The Democratic candidate said that she does not want to encourage additional ad dollars for the network. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is declining to participate in a Fox News town hall, a move that comes after a number of her fellow 2020 Democratic competitors have agreed to engage with the network’s audience. “I love town halls. I’ve done more than 70 since January, and I’m glad to have a television audience be a part of them. Fox News has invited me to do a town hall, but I’m turning them down—here’s why,” she wrote Tuesday morning in a series of tweets. “Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life & death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.” Warren charged that the network “balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet.” She said that participation in a town hall on the network sends a signal that it is appropriate to still buy ads on the cable channel, which hosts a primetime lineup of overtly pro-Trump hosts who engage in bigoted and conspiratorial rhetoric—something she doesn’t want to encourage.
The GOP governor said the incidents took place in 2016 and no election results were compromised. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After an FBI briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the 2016 presidential election. DeSantis said Tuesday the hackers didn't manipulate any data and the election results weren't compromised. The governor said he signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties, but elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions.
Washington (CNN) - American farmers are running out of patience with President Donald Trump's trade war with China. Farmers have long stood behind Trump's mission to get a better trade deal with Beijing that addresses long-standing issues with what they say are unfair trading practices. But after weeks of optimistic statements by Trump and members of his administration about how trade talks were progressing, Trump abruptly escalated tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week and opened the door to even more -- prompting Beijing to hit back Monday by raising the tariff rate on $60 billion of US items. The escalated tariffs don't hit agricultural products directly, since most were already facing a 25% tariff imposed by China last year. But the news still sent commodity prices plummeting. "The President of the United States owes farmers like myself some type of plan of action," John Wesley Boyd Jr., a soybean farmer in Baskerville, Virginia, told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday. "Farmers were his base. They helped elect this president ... and now he's turning his back on America's farmers when we need him the most," he added.
President Donald Trump cast a fog of misinformation over the U.S. trade dispute with China, floating inaccurate numbers and skewed economic theories as big tariffs kicked in on Chinese goods. At stake in the rupture is a trading relationship between the world's two largest economies that employs nearly 1 million Americans, supplies affordable goods to U.S. households and, in the view of Mr. Trump and a bipartisan group of trade hard-liners, puts U.S. business at an unfair disadvantage. President Trump's torrent of tweets on the subject Friday followed a rally infused with familiar falsehoods about his achievements (the economy, veterans' health) and grievances (the Russia inquiry). Here's a look at his words about trade between the U.S. and China over the past week, including tweets from Monday morning.
President Trump hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the White House on Monday, a gesture that two past presidents have avoided granting to the hard-right European leader. "People have a lot of respect for this Prime Minister," said the president in a photo-op in the Oval Office before their meeting. Trump went on to warmly praise the Hungarian leader. "He's a respected man. And I know he's a tough man, but he's a respected man. And he's done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration." Orbán is on record calling Syrian refugees "Muslim invaders," and many human rights activists are concerned about the signals Trump is sending with this meeting, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports:
The bitter battle over the death penalty continued Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court with the highly unusual release of explanatory statements from the court's conservatives as to why they reached such apparently contradictory decisions in two death cases in February and March. On Feb. 7, the court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that Alabama could go ahead with its execution of a Muslim prisoner convicted of murder. The newly energized five-man conservative majority overruled the temporary stay put in place by the lower court because Alabama only allowed a Christian minister in the execution room and refused to allow the condemned man's Imam to be present. The decision was widely condemned by religious groups on the left and right. Not to mention the blistering dissent from the court's liberals, who called the decision "profoundly wrong."
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration wants to shift money for Pell Grants for college education to fund new spending, including a $1.6 billion bump for NASA to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024. Under a budget amendment sent to Congress Monday evening, the administration would use an additional $1.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant money to fund other budget priorities, including an infusion of new cash for NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” President Donald Trump tweeted. A series of proposed changes reverses some of the most controversial cuts Trump’s administration had proposed, including slashing funding for the Special Olympics. The White House can send such requests, called “rescissions,” to Congress to clawback unspent money the administration views as wasteful or unnecessary. Congress, however, must approve.
WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate,” a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Monday. Barr appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to conduct the inquiry, the person said. The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Durham’s appointment comes about a month after Barr told members of Congress he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016. He later said he didn’t mean anything pejorative and was gathering a team to look into the origins of the special counsel’s investigation. Barr provided no details about what “spying” may have taken place but appeared to be alluding to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on a former Trump associate, Carter Page, and the FBI’s use of an informant while the bureau was investigating former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
Washington (CNN)Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented a military plan at a meeting of top national security officials last week that would send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran strikes American forces in the region or speeds up its development of nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported Monday. The Times said the plan, which does not call for a land invasion of Iran, was ordered in part by national security adviser John Bolton. Citing administration officials, the Times said it is unknown whether President Donald Trump has been briefed on the plan, including the number of troops. The Times said the meeting occurred days after the Trump administration cited "specific and credible" intelligence last week that suggested Iranian forces and proxies were targeting US forces in Syria, Iraq and at sea. The meeting included Bolton, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, according to the Times.
The decision could provide a blueprint for other judges deciding on the president's attempts to stop congressional investigations. President Donald Trump’s strategy of outright resistance to House subpoenas will face its first test in federal court on Tuesday, setting up a ruling that could boost Democrats’ efforts to investigate the president’s business dealings. U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta is set to rule on the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years of Trump’s financial records. The committee’s demand is part of its investigation into alleged financial crimes committed by Trump. Trump filed suit seeking to invalidate the subpoena three weeks ago — the first of two lawsuits aimed at hobbling House Democrats’ investigations targeting his administration, presidential campaign and business empire. Mehta’s ruling will represent a flashpoint in the myriad disputes between the White House and Congress — marking the first time the judiciary weighs in on Trump’s blanket strategy of refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas and oversight requests from House Democrats.
Regional experts and government officials are voicing their worry over the potential for conflict — intended or accidental — to break out between the U.S. and Iran. The price of oil spiked Monday, with Brent crude jumping more than 1.5% at noon London time in a sign of market concern over the unraveling nuclear deal and provocative behavior from both Washington and Tehran. “Both Iran and the United States are seemingly putting in place networks and infrastructure to deter military attacks against one another’s assets in the region,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told CNBC on Monday. “In the absence of a serious diplomatic channel, the current maximalist approach from the Trump White House could spark a new cycle of intentional or inadvertent military confrontation in the region.” Citing “very real” threat reporting on Iran, but withholding details of those specific threats, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized during an interview with CNBC on Sunday that all options — military and otherwise — were on the table in case Iran “makes a bad decision.”
San Francisco police raided the home and office of a freelance journalist on Friday, taking a sledgehammer to the gate of his house and seizing his computers, phones and other devices. Their goal: To uncover the source of a leaked police report in the possession of freelance videographer Bryan Carmody. The raids on Carmody's home and office are the latest in a series of events concerning the death of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi in February, at age 59. Within hours of Adachi's collapsing in a San Franscisco apartment, details from a leaked police investigation into his death were already showing up in news reports, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A number of the details in the police report were salacious, suggesting that perhaps one or more members of the police department were trying to tarnish the reputation of Adachi, who was known as a police watchdog and fierce advocate for criminal justice reform. In San Francisco, a public defender is an elected position.
This story originally appeared on Mother Jones and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A few years ago I stood in a cramped trailer beside the busy 110 freeway in Los Angeles as researchers at the University of Southern California gathered soot thrown off by vehicles pounding by just a few yards from their instruments, which rattled whenever a heavy truck passed. I was there to learn about how scientists were beginning to link air pollution—from power plants, motor vehicles, forest fires, you name it—to one of the least understood and most frightening of illnesses: dementia. - Thanks to Trump and the GOP who have weakened air standards how more American with get dementia?
BEIJING — China moved to retaliate against the United States, announcing plans on Monday to raise tariffs on American goods ranging from beer and wine to swimsuits, shirts and liquefied natural gas. The decision, which follows President Trump’s increase in tariffs on Chinese goods last Friday, escalates the pressure in the ongoing trade war. Trade talks between the two sides broke down last week without a deal, causing tensions that have rippled through financial markets and the global economy. American stocks plunged on Monday, extending the recent losses. Beijing’s retaliation comes at a time when many in China feel that the United States has behaved highhandedly in threatening tariffs. “Mutual trust and respect are of the essence in handling the negotiations,” said Zhu Ning, a Tsinghua University economics professor. It isn’t clear whether China’s retaliation would end with the tariff increases. In the past, China has slowed imports at customs and launched investigations into foreign companies during times of tension.
Some of the Inventions African Americans created in America and their contribution to the advancement of America
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday acknowledged that the Chinese do not directly pay tariffs on goods coming into the U.S., contradicting President Donald Trump’s claims that China will pay for tariffs imposed by the U.S. Kudlow said that “both sides will suffer on this,” but argued that China will suffer significant GDP losses as export markets are hit. The blow to U.S. GDP, on the other hand, won’t be substantial since the economy is “in terrific shape,” he said. Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Kudlow about Trump’s claims. “It’s not China that pays tariffs,” Wallace said. “It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what, in effect, is a tax increase and oftentimes passes it on to U.S. consumers.”
“Fair enough,” Kudlow replied. “In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.” Kudlow added, however, that China doesn’t actually pay the tariffs, but that their GDP will suffer “with respect to a diminishing export market.” “This is a risk we should and can take without damaging our economy in any appreciable way,” Kudlow said.
Trump and his allies are blocking more than 20 separate Democratic probes in an all-out war with CongressPresident Trump and his allies are working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats into his actions as president, his personal finances and his administration’s policies, according to a Washington Post analysis, amounting to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades. Trump’s noncooperation strategy has shifted from partial resistance to all-out war as he faces mounting inquiries from the Democratic-controlled House — a strategy that many legal and congressional experts fear could undermine the institutional power of Congress for years to come. All told, House Democrats say the Trump administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information. The president is blocking aides from testifying, refusing entire document requests from some committees, filing lawsuits against corporations to bar them from responding to subpoenas and asserting executive privilege to keep information about the special counsel’s Russia investigation from public view. One such case will come to a head in court on Tuesday, when a federal judge is expected to rule on whether Trump can quash a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding financial records from his personal accounting firm.
Washington seems to be barreling toward a constitutional crisis. Democrats are barraging President Trump with demands for witnesses and documents. Trump has answered by stonewalling, vowing to fight “all the subpoenas.” As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned, Trump seems to be goading the Democratic-controlled House toward impeachment, perhaps because it’s a battle he thinks he can win. Politicians on both sides are repairing to their tribal corners. Is there anyone who can serve as honest referees in this partisan standoff? One answer — don’t laugh — is lawyers. Specifically, Republican lawyers. Even as Republicans in Congress have fallen in line to defend Trump at every turn, a surprising number of conservative lawyers have broken ranks and are condemning the president for abuses of power and denouncing his blanket claims of executive privilege. Last week, John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who drafted a notorious memo justifying the torture of detainees under President George W. Bush, warned that Trump had gone too far in asserting unbridled presidential power. “That's what Nixon did,” Yoo told NPR. “That's what other presidents who have failed have done.”
It’s important to uphold the constitution through impeachment – even if it goes nowhere, even if it’s unpopular with many voters, even if it’s politically risky. It’s a constitutional crisis all right. So what happens now? An impeachment inquiry in the House won’t send Trump packing before election day 2020 because Senate Republicans won’t convict him of impeachment. So the practical political question is whether a House impeachment inquiry helps send him packing after election day. That seems unlikely. Probably no more than a relative handful of Americans are still unsure of how they’ll vote on 3 November 2020. An impeachment is unlikely to reveal so many more revolting details about Trump that these voters are swayed to vote against him, and their votes won’t make much of a difference anyway. Besides, the inquiry probably won’t reveal much that’s not already known because House subpoenas will get tangled up in the courts for the remainder of Trump’s term (even though courts give more deference to subpoenas in an impeachment inquiry). Worse yet is the chance that an impeachment inquiry plays into Trump’s hands by convincing some wavering voters that Democrats and the “deep state” are out to get Trump, thereby giving him more votes than he’d otherwise get. Does this mean House Democrats should avoid taking the political risk of impeaching Trump? Not at all.
(CNN) - "Saturday Night Live" brought together some GOP congressional members to ask a simple question: What would it take to stop supporting President Trump? The NBC variety show opened Saturday night's episode with a sketch version of "Meet the Press" with host Chuck Todd (Kyle Mooney) interviewing Sen. Susan Collins (Cecily Strong), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (Kate McKinnon) about Trump. Mooney's Todd went through some hypothetical scenarios to test the loyalties of the senators to the President. The first hypothetical: Robert Mueller testifies before Congress and says he believes Trump committed obstruction of justice. "The best way to uphold the law is to be above it, Chuck," McKinnon's Graham said.
Trump tells China to ‘act now’ on trade or face a ‘far worse’ deal in his second termPresident Donald Trump on Saturday called for China to act now on trade or risk facing a worse deal if negotiations continue into a possible second term after the 2020 presidential election. Trump claimed China was ‘beaten so badly’ in recent trade negotiations that Beijing wanted to wait until after the 2020 election in the hope a Democrat would win the White House and offer them a better deal. Trump, however, said he would prevail in the upcoming election and warned that a trade deal would be ‘much worse’ for China if it was negotiated during his second term. Chinese and U.S. negotiators held trade talks in Washington on Friday after Trump more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, raising the rate from 10% to 25%. The administration is also moving to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. Trump said Friday’s talks were constructive and negotiations will continue while tariffs remain in place, though they could be lifted depending on how the situation progresses. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin told CNBC no further trade talks are planned between the two sides “as of now.” Chinese state media has reported that the next round of talks is expected to take place in Beijing. Trump abruptly announced the tariff hike last Sunday, shattering hopes that a trade deal was near and sending U.S. markets into turmoil for much of the week. The president cited slow progress in negotiations as the reason for his decision.
President Donald Trump lashed out at Don McGahn on Saturday, tweeting that he was “Never a big fan” of the former White House counsel amid an ongoing battle between House Democrats and the administration over documents and testimony related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration,” the president wrote online. “Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!” The broadside follows a Friday report by The Wall Street Journal that McGahn rebuffed a request from the White House last month to publicly state that he did not believe the president obstructed justice when Trump ordered McGahn to seek Mueller’s firing in June 2017. According to the redacted version of the special counsel’s report released by the Justice Department in April, Trump instructed McGahn to inform Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Mueller must be removed. McGahn refused Trump’s subsequent request to refute press reports of the president’s directive, according to Mueller’s report.
The administration of former President John F. Kennedy sent National Guard troops to accompany the first black students admitted to the universities of Mississippi and Alabama. Did Kennedy also wonder whether God is black? "What if we go to heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white?" begins a quote a May 6 Facebook post attributes to JFK. "What then is our response?"
This 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.) The photo of the Kennedy featured in the post isn’t JFK, though. It’s his brother, Robert F. Kennedy.
Docs show former president Oliver North warning that legal fees “pose an existential threat to the financial stability of the NRA.” The NRA has racked up huge legal bills over the last year that threaten to debilitate the organization, according to documents posted anonymously online that appear to be written by the group’s ex-president Oliver North. The bills highlight the organization’s extraordinary legal challenges. A person close to the matter confirmed the authenticity of the documents to The Daily Beast. Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon was the first reporter to flag the documents on Friday. Senior NRA officials disputed the documents’ claims but not their authenticity. The documents include a confidential memo that North and NRA official Richard Childress sent to the NRA’s general counsel and audit committee chairman, dated April 18, 2019—the week before North was dramatically deposed as NRA president. (The NRA suspended its board’s longtime lawyer at the same time.) In the memo, North claimed to be “deeply concerned about the extraordinary legal fees the NRA has incurred” from outside attorney Bill Brewer. North and Childress then called for an independent review of Brewer’s invoices. Brewer has defended his fees in the past, telling the Wall Street Journal, “We’re a premium law firm, we make no bones about that.”
WASHINGTON – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is deriding President Donald Trump as foolish for trying to oust him. Kim Jong Un is testing Trump’s “love” – and his resolve – in the North Korea negotiations. And Iran’s leaders are finding new ways to threaten the U.S. and to defy the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign. In short, Trump’s foreign policy agenda is hitting the diplomatic rocks, with potentially disastrous results. Some say it’s by design – Trump doesn't mind sowing chaos and confusion, and he has. Others say it’s a result of misguided policies and contradictory, undisciplined decision-making inside the White House. Either way, the president has suffered a series of stunning foreign policy setbacks this week, raising fresh questions about his approach to military engagement and international affairs. “What you see is a mismatch between means and ends across the board – whether it’s in Venezuela, whether it’s in North Korea, whether it’s in Iran – where the end’s always extremely ambitious and the diplomatic means tend to be quite de minimis,” said Robert Malley, a senior White House adviser on the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region in the Obama administration. “We’re courting danger where there’s no reason to.” Jon B. Alterman, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan think tank, said the series of foreign policy crises that have come to a head in recent days seem part of Trump’s design. “The president is a lot more comfortable with chaos than any president in recent memory,” Alterman said. “The president doesn’t see uncertainty and disorder as a liability. He sees it as an asset.”
USS Arlington carrying Patriot missiles to join USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, currently in the Red Sea. The US government has approved the deployment of a Patriot missile defence battery and another warship to the Middle East amid increasing tensions between the US and Iran. The USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, and rotary aircraft, as well as the Patriot missiles, will join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, which already passed through Egypt's Suez Canal on Thursday, and is currently sailing in the Red Sea, according to CNN. The US says the deployments of military hardware to the region comes in response to "heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations". The Patriot missile system is a defence mechanism against aircraft, drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and is currently deployed in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Meghan McCain: the postergirl for toxic femininity Meghan McCain seems to have appointed herself the leading authority on antisemitism in America. She may not be Jewish herself but some of her best friends are Jewish, you know? And of course, she’s also the daughter of the late senator John McCain, something she is not shy about pointing out, which automatically qualifies her as an expert on everything. According to McCain, the rise of antisemitism in America has little to do with white nationalism and everything to do with Ilhan Omar. McCain is obsessed with the Muslim congresswoman and has repeatedly misrepresented Omar’s comments about the Israel lobby in America. In an April appearance on This Week With George Stephanopoulos McCain even tried to blame Omar for the horrific Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego. To be clear, the man suspected of being responsible for that shooting is a white nationalist who also claims he burned down a nearby mosque.
President Trump said Friday it would be "appropriate" for him to discuss opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his family with Attorney General William Barr. Trump told Politico in an interview Friday that he hasn’t talked with Barr about investigating Biden and his family's business dealings but said "certainly it would be an appropriate thing" to bring up with the attorney general. "Certainly it is a very big issue and we’ll see what happens. I have not spoken to him about it. Would I speak to him about it? I haven’t thought of that. I mean, you’re asking me a question I just haven’t thought of," he told the outlet. The president noted that it could be "a very big situation" for Biden, who has led the Democratic presidential primary field in polling since he launched his campaign last month. "Because he’s a Democrat it’s about 1/100 the size of the fact that if he were a Republican, it would be a lot bigger," Trump alleged. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani last week called for an investigation into Biden for his previous ties to Ukraine after The New York Times reported that while Biden was vice president in 2016, he allegedly threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless the country removed a top prosecutor. The prosecutor, who had been accused of ignoring corruption in his own office, was later voted out. - Trump wants to investigate democrats but does not believe he should be investigated. If it is ok to investigate Democrats then it is ok to investigate Trump and Republicans. Trump and Republicans are not above the law even if they believe they are.
Financial markets should abandon any remaining illusion that U.S.-China trade talks are a time-constrained, tradable event that ultimately will result in a deal reassuring investors. Near dead is the notion that both sides would inevitably compromise because they so badly need agreement for their own political and economic purposes. What markets have misunderstood since the negotiations resumed last December – but U.S. and Chinese officials have grasped – is that the talks had become just one of many events of a new era of geopolitical and systemic competition that will define our times. To earn their pay, market analysts will have to get a lot better at pricing in geopolitical risk. Trump’s decision to more than double tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10% to 25%, received the most global attention this week. His move, which was fueled by the argument that China was backing out of already-negotiated terms of a draft agreement, has the potential to be the most significant of the many trade moves of his administration.
Tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports went up 150% Friday morning as President Trump sought to increase pressure on Chinese leaders to cut a more favorable trade deal. The higher tariffs will apply to new shipments from China, not products already en route or in U.S. inventories, so the effects won’t be felt immediately. But they will be felt. Most of the Chinese products targeted by these tariffs are purchased by businesses, not consumers (for example, automobile components and telecommunications equipment), and at the initial level of 10%, some of the cost may have been absorbed by the suppliers rather than being passed on to consumers. At the new level of 25%, however, consumers are going to wind up covering much more of the cost. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is preparing to slap 25% tariffs on the $325 billion in Chinese goods not currently subject to tariffs, most of which are bought by consumers, not businesses. So there’s no question who will be paying those levies. Well, no question in the mind of anyone who understands the basics of how tariffs are imposed and collected. But Trump continues to cling to the fantasy that the tariffs are being paid by the Chinese, and that the money rolling into the Treasury is coming from someone other than his constituents.
President Trump is undermining the credibility of his trade policies by falsely claiming that China is paying the bill. President Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese imports, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, are taxes that will be paid by Americans. That is a simple fact, and it remains true no matter how many times Mr. Trump insists the money will come from China. Mr. Trump’s latest escalation of his trade fight with China is a 25 percent tariff, or import tax, on products that compose about one third of China’s exports to the United States, including Chinese bicycles, circuit boards and wooden doors. The tariff rate on those goods was previously 10 percent. Mr. Trump also has threatened to impose the 25 percent rate on virtually all products imported from China — more than $500 billion in goods last year.
The state is the 25th to decriminalize or legalize weed. North Dakota quietly decriminalized marijuana earlier this month, making it the 25th state to do so.
As the news outlet Marijuana Moment and the advocacy group NORML reported, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana last week — but the issue got little to no attention from his office or news media. The law makes it so first-time possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana is no longer a criminal misdemeanor that carries the potential for jail time, but instead is an infraction that only carries a fine. This is different from marijuana legalization. Under decriminalization, penalties carrying jail or prison time are removed, but lower-level penalties, like a fine, remain in place and sales remain illegal. Under legalization, all penalties for marijuana possession are removed, and sales are typically allowed. Some opponents of legalization favor decriminalization as a step toward peeling back America’s harsh drug and criminal justice policies. They see “tough on crime” policies as too punitive and costly, but they don’t want to resort to full legalization, which they fear would make pot too accessible in the US and allow big corporations to sell and market the drug irresponsibly.
A federal judge on Friday struck down a Kentucky abortion law that would halt a common second-trimester procedure to end pregnancies. The state’s governor, who is against abortion, immediately vowed to appeal. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. ruled that the 2018 law would create a “substantial obstacle” to a woman’s right to an abortion, violating constitutionally protected privacy rights. Kentucky’s only abortion clinic challenged the law right after it was signed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. A consent order had suspended its enforcement pending the outcome of last year’s trial in which Bevin’s legal team and American Civil Liberties Union attorneys argued the case. The law takes aim at an abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” The procedure was used in 537 of 3,312 abortions in Kentucky in 2016, according to state statistics.
(CNN) - Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens accused President Donald Trump of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview published Thursday, telling The Wall Street Journal that the President "has to comply with subpoenas." Stevens' remarks come as the court battle over Trump's financial records ramps up, with Judge Amit Mehta overseeing the first hearing in the standoff between the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee and the President next week. The committee has subpoenaed Trump's long-standing accounting firm Mazars USA for several years' worth of the President's financial statements, and the President has sued the committee and Mazars to block the firm from complying. Asked about the modern political landscape, Stevens told the Journal, "I think there are things we should be concerned about, there's no doubt about that." "The President is exercising powers that do not really belong to him," Stevens added. "I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that."
(CNN) - During his rally in Florida Wednesday night, President Donald Trump hit on a lot of familiar themes -- the strong economy, building the wall, defeating ISIS and the 2020 election. Among his "greatest hits," Trump also repeated several false claims he's made in the past. First, the President claimed that Puerto Rico had received $91 billion after being hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, adding that was the highest amount ever given to "anybody" for disaster relief.
WASHINGTON — Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos. Because of its fiber strength and resistance to heat, asbestos has long been used in insulation and construction materials. It is also a known carcinogen. Last month’s rule kept open a way for manufacturers to adopt new uses for asbestos, or return to certain older uses, but only with E.P.A. approval. Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said when the rule was issued that it would significantly strengthen public health protections. But in the memos, dated Aug. 10, more than a dozen of E.P.A.’s own experts urged the agency to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations. “Rather than allow for (even with restrictions) any new uses for asbestos, E.P.A. should seek to ban all new uses of asbestos because the extreme harm from this chemical substance outweighs any benefit — and because there are adequate alternatives to asbestos,” staff members wrote.
WASHINGTON — North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr is not one to make a splash. So when the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Burr chairs, issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., it didn’t leak out for a couple of weeks. When the news finally broke, Burr refused to talk about it. That didn’t stop the onslaught from fellow Republicans, including President Donald Trump who said he was “very surprised” by the move. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called it “persecution of the president’s family.” Even Burr’s fellow North Carolina Republican, Sen. Thom Tillis, facing a primary challenge in 2020, tweeted “It’s time to move on.” Burr is not the usual target for Republican ire. He’s been in Washington since 1995, first in the House then the Senate, and is a reliable conservative vote. The mild-mannered senator is a far cry from the president’s Democratic critics, who have suggested Trump is "goading" impeachment by trying to overturn constitutional norms. The subpoena “is a courageous move for Burr, for the senator, because he knew that the angriest people would be members of his own party,” Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster told USA TODAY.
WASHINGTON — The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, notified Congress on Friday that he intended to shift $1.5 billion that had been designated for the war in Afghanistan and other projects to help pay for work on President Trump’s border wall. The money from the Pentagon’s other programs will be the last that it moves to help build about 80 miles of fencing and barriers along the southern border, Mr. Shanahan said. The newest shift in funding is in addition to the $1 billion that the Defense Department transferred to wall construction in March from the Army’s personnel budget. Mr. Shanahan insisted on Friday that the budget transfer would not affect “readiness,” the military catchall term that refers to the ability of American troops to fight when called up. But some of the funds — officials say $600 million — “did come from money we were under-running or saving or whatever, you know, terminology you want to use, from Afghanistan,” he said.
A shooting at a school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday in which one student was killed and eight others were injured swiftly drew comparisons to the 1999 attack on nearby Columbine High School and the dozens of shootings like it in the years since. The attack was the fourth such school shooting in the Denver area and at least the 111th in the country since 1970, according to a New York Times analysis — the latest in a decades-long series of violent episodes that have shocked the nation and traumatized generations of students. The Times examined hundreds of episodes in a database of shootings at elementary, middle and high schools to identify those cases where, like at Highlands Ranch and Columbine, the assailants planned their attacks and fired indiscriminately.
Four educators who smiled for a photo with a noose are all suspended, along with their principal, who reportedly shared it in a mass email. Linda Brandt, the principal of Summerwind Elementary School in Palmdale, California, allegedly emailed the photo to her staff, attaching a second image of the noose hanging in an office, according to Los Angeles television station Fox 11. Other parents found the photo on Instagram. Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Yesterday, it was brought to the Palmdale School District’s attention that an incident involving the discovery of a noose and possibly inappropriate responses to that discovery occurred at Summerwind Elementary School. The Principal and the personnel involved in this matter have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the matter. We will follow process and procedures to conduct the investigation.”