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Wilbur Ross Trump Minion

Wilbur Ross is a Trump Minion doing whatever Trump wants him to do for Donald J. Trump not the constitution or the American people. Wilbur Ross oath is to the constitution and America not to Donald J. Trump. Wilbur Ross has violated his oath of office.

Ordering weather service officials to falsely back up the president’s claim that Dorian was headed to Alabama should force Ross’s resignation—or impeachment.
By Joan Walsh

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was already the most corrupt cabinet member in the Trump administration. He was party to many shady deals while vice chair of the Bank of Cyprus, and faced multiple lawsuits and SEC fines for his practices with his other business holdings. Like his boss, Ross held on to many of his business interests despite promising to divest, and a Forbes investigation found that his calendar has been studded with meetings with companies tied to his own portfolio—from Boeing and Ford to international firms, including questionable interests in Russia and China. After Democrats took back the House last year, Bloomberg columnist Joe Nocera suggested that Ross should be high on their list of Trump toadies to be investigated.

On top of all that business sleaze, he’s also been caught lying under oath, to courts and to Congress, about the purpose behind his agency’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the census (hint: It was racism). All of that came before Monday, when we learned from The New York Times that Ross “threatened to fire top employees” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration if they did not back up Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian was headed for Alabama, when in fact was not. Birmingham’s National Weather Service officials were forced to issue a statement reassuring Alabamians that the storm was not coming their way, after fielding calls from people worried they that should evacuate.

That prompted Trump to continue to insist he had been right about his Alabama claim, even using a Sharpie to ridiculously alter a Weather Service map to falsely show the state within the storm’s potential path. Much of the media treated “Sharpiegate,” as it was frivolously termed, as another zany Trump battle with the truth, but it was on its own an abuse of power. Then it got worse. According to the Times, Ross “phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.”

After Ross’s pressure, NOAA released an unsigned statement claiming Trump had in fact been given information that Alabama was a possible Dorian target, and specifically chiding Birmingham weather officials for correcting the president using “absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.” Huh? Sharpiegate” was never just another silly Trump story. It was always about his authoritarian approach to power, and his willingness to sacrifice public safety to his own vanity. Obviously, people rely on National Weather Service reports to decide whether to stay or to evacuate during a major storm. But Ross’s involvement makes the story one layer more corrupt.

He’s commerce secretary: Imagine the “commerce” implications of bad advice from NOAA and the National Weather Service, as businesses tried to prepare for what was for a while a Category 5 hurricane. This wasn’t just another ugly episode of Trump-ass-kissing but a serious subversion of Ross’s own responsibilities. Ross is someone with the power and fortune to walk away from this job, rather than shame himself this way, but clearly this level of corruption doesn’t bother him. The Commerce Department’s inspector general is now examining the Times’ charge. Clearly, if it’s true, and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t, Ross should resign, and if he doesn’t resign, he should be impeached. So far, a few members of Congress have called on Ross to resign, but that would require Trump to force him. Congress has its own powers, and it should use them to get to the bottom of what Ross did immediately. more...

The commerce secretary deceived Congress on the census and threatened those who told the truth about the weather. The boss must be pleased.
By The Editorial Board

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. After a quiet couple of months, Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, appears set on distinguishing himself again as the most compromised member of an administration that at times seems defined by ethical and moral flexibility. On Monday, The Times reported that Mr. Ross threatened last week to fire officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, not for doing their job poorly but for doing it well.

The secretary was displeased that forecasters at the National Weather Service, which is overseen by NOAA, had contradicted President Trump’s incorrect warning that Hurricane Dorian was on track to hit Alabama. The threat was an abuse of authority aimed at misleading the public to provide cover for the president. For those not following the Hurricane Dorian controversy: On Sept. 1, Mr. Trump tweeted a warning to residents of several states, including Alabama, that they would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by the storm. A few minutes later, responding to inquiries from concerned Alabamians, the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service issued a tweet clarifying that the state would “NOT see any impacts from Dorian.” Government scientists attempting to stem the spread of bad information about a natural disaster should be seen as fulfilling their duty.

A White House official suggested the correction was an attempt to show up the president. Mr. Trump then spent the next several days scrambling to prove he had been right, an increasingly embarrassing spectacle best captured by a media briefing on Sept. 4, at which he displayed a map that appeared to have been doctored with a Sharpie to show a sliver of Alabama in the storm’s path. As the mockery grew louder, the White House decided to get serious. Cue Mr. Ross, who, multiple sources told The Times, interrupted his work travels in Greece last Friday to order top officials at NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, to find a way to remedy the impression that the agency had contradicted the president.

When NOAA’s acting administrator, Neil Jacobs, objected, Mr. Ross threatened to fire the agency’s top managers. A few hours later, NOAA issued an unsigned statement scolding the Birmingham office and insisting that the president was right all along. Problem solved. Except it wasn’t. Outraged by the political meddling, current and former NOAA officials, along with outside meteorologists, began objecting. At an industry conference on Monday, the director of the National Weather Service, Louis Uccellini, praised the Birmingham office for “upholding the integrity of the forecasting process.” NOAA’s acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, has opened an investigation into whether the agency’s scientific integrity policy was compromised.

Three former NOAA administrators cheered his decision in a Washington Post op-ed on Monday. “Even a hint that a forecast or warning was influenced by politics would undermine the public’s trust and the ability to respond quickly and effectively under potentially life-threatening conditions,” they wrote. “Weather forecasting should never be political.” Putting politics ahead of sound science has proved to be standard operating procedure for this president. From the health risks of coal mining to the national security risks of climate change, Mr. Trump is hostile to any research that does not comport with his political interests — or view of reality. His administration has time and again suppressed and censored data that it finds inconvenient, prompting government scientists to lodge complaints or resign in protest. Studies have been derailed, scientists reassigned and advisory panels disbanded. Mr. Trump is waging a war on facts, and he expects his aides to fight fiercely on his behalf, even when this requires misleading the public.

Mr. Ross has previously exhibited a willingness to deceive the American people and Congress to advance the president’s political aims. Mr. Ross, who also oversees the Census Bureau, was a key player in Mr. Trump’s quest to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Critics feared that the move was a partisan power grab that would result in an undercount of residents in areas with large immigrant populations. Documents presented during the resulting court fight supported these concerns. Mr. Ross repeatedly claimed, including in his testimony before Congress in March 2018, that the question had been added solely at the behest of the Department of Justice with an eye toward protecting the voting rights of minorities. This rationale was so transparently absurd that the Supreme Court ruled against allowing the question until the administration could come up with a less laughable excuse. more...

The bottom line is that Thursday’s decision is not the final word on the census saga. But it is a good day for those who care about the rule of law.
By Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School

Today, the Supreme Court offered a strong rebuke of the Trump administration. For now, the decennial census will not include a question about citizenship status. There may still be a slim chance that the question appears on the 2020 census, but that possibility is quickly fading as the census questionnaire must be printed soon — although President Donald Trump has since floated the idea of postponing the census until he gets the decision he wants. (There is also some disagreement about whether the questionnaires need to be printed now or in October.) Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the..... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019. Regardless of some of the logistical details, the court’s decision is a setback for Trump and his administration, which has long pushed for the inclusion of the question. Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the liberal justices on the court, authored the fractured majority opinion, in which he concluded that the Trump administration had not offered an adequate explanation for wanting to add the citizenship question to the census. The court sent the case back down to the federal trial court to consider evidence calling into question the Trump administration’s alleged reason — enforcing the Voting Rights Act — for including the question. This means the Commerce Department will still have a chance to explain itself. Regardless, Roberts, along with the four liberal members of the court, told us something important today. They told us that at least some federal laws still matter. They told us that a federal agency can’t just conjure up a reason, any reason, even a reason that strains common sense, for its actions, and claim it therefore has the authority for those actions. The political stakes of this case are huge. And to understand why, let’s start at the beginning. The Enumeration Clause of the Constitution dictates that Congress must count how many people live in our country every 10 years. The number of residents in each state dictates the number of members of Congress and electors for the Electoral College each state is allocated. It also helps to determine the amount of federal funds a state will receive. People (representatives and electors) and money are the two most vital things states can receive from the federal government, and the census determines them both. more...

By Davin Rosborough, Staff Attorney, ACLU Voting Rights Project

This morning, the Supreme Court told the country what we and our clients have long known: that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross provided a false reason for his decision to add a citizenship question to the Decennial Census. The court explained that the Trump administration’s stated reason for adding a citizenship question—enforcement of the Voting Rights Act—was “contrived.” The justices could not “ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given.”

Bottom-line, this decision prevents addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census based on the administration’s lies. As we explained in our complaint and as the district court’s decision found, Secretary Ross “was determined to reinstate a citizenship question from the time he entered office.” He adopted the Voting Rights Act as the reason “late in the process” after already having “made up his mind” to add a citizenship question for other, unstated reasons. Ultimately, “the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.”

In other words, the Secretary’s decision was a solution in search of a problem. The implications for this decision are huge for immigrants and people of color across the county whose census participation the administration sought to suppress with this question. The ruling  affirms that our clients—the New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Road New York, CASA, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—would be injured by the addition of this question. Striking this question will remove a major barrier to allowing a full count of all people residing in the United States and prevent the use of the census as a political weapon to harm the representation and funding interests of affected communities. more...

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