THE BIG IDEA: In June, D.C. voters made a surprising but decisive choice. By a 12-point margin, the District approved raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for restaurant workers and others who earn tips.
Less than 24 hours later, at least one council member was already trying to overturn the decision made by voters. “It’s not really the will of the people; it happens to be the will of the 17 percent of people who showed up and voted,” said Councilman Jack Evans.
Now seven of the council’s 13 members have sided with lobbyists for the restaurant industry and endorsed a plan to disregard Initiative 77. Even the mayor, who also opposed the measure, has said she would “really sit down and evaluate its impact.” They worry that eateries will go out of business because of higher labor costs and rising prices if the measure goes into effect.
The fight here reflects a national trend in which state lawmakers of both parties are persistently working to overturn decisions made by voters at the ballot box.
The strategy of putting policy questions directly to voters has become more popular in recent years. (In 2016, some 76 initiatives appeared on ballots across the country. That’s the highest number in a decade.)
So have attacks on the results. In the past two years alone, legislators have filed more than 100 bills across 24 states aimed at reversing ballot measures, according to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which focuses on advancing progressive priorities through ballot initiatives.
“It’s a power grab,” the center’s executive director Chris Melody Fields Figueredo said last month. “It’s an attempt to take that power away from the people. It is counter to why we have democracy in the first place.”
Looking ahead, there will be ample opportunity for state lawmakers to try reversing popular will after this November’s elections. Fields Figueredo’s group is tracking more than 60 proposed initiatives in 21 states this fall, addressing everything from term limits to medical marijuana. Of those initiatives, 45 have already been approved to appear on ballots this fall. (Another 18 proposals are awaiting official approval or are facing legal challenges.)
The most prominent recent example of lawmakers disregarding the will of their constituents has been in Maine, where GOP Gov. Paul LePage and a handful of Republican lawmakers have successfully blocked the implementation of a Medicaid expansion that 59 percent of Maine voters approved last November. The expansion, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, would be largely funded by the federal government and would cover at least 70,000 low-income Mainers. LePage has asserted the expansion could cost as much as $100 million a year, an estimate disputed by outside groups, and insisted that the legislature fund Medicaid at his inflated price point without increasing taxes or relying on one-time “gimmicks.”
“I think it’s really inexcusable that the governor can just do what he’s doing right now, which is to just ignore a law that the people have enacted,” Robyn Merrill, the executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners, said in an interview. Her group was a part of the original coalition that got the Medicaid question on last year’s ballot and has been involved in the months-long legal battle to force LePage to implement the expansion. The case remains pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, but the expansion was originally supposed to go into effect early last month. Merrill’s group has been encouraging Mainers who think they might be eligible for the expansion to sign up for coverage. As of this week, she said, state officials have started denying some applications. Maine Equal Justice Partners is encouraging those applicants to appeal and considering filing another lawsuit.
In South Dakota, Republican lawmakers early last year repealed an ethics reform package that voters approved in 2016. The initiative would have set up an independent ethics commission and placed limits on campaign finance and lobbying access. Legislators made overturning the initiative, known as Measure 22, one of their first orders of business once the state legislature started its session after the election.
Daugaard later signed into law a package of bills meant to replace pieces of Measure 22, but critics continue to denounce him and the GOP legislature for repealing the initiative before any substitute was passed. Republicans also overturned the measure under a so-called “state of emergency,” which blocked efforts to put it back on the ballot for 2018.
But in Maine, even as a core bloc of House Republicans has aligned themselves with LePage and repeatedly sustained his vetoes on Medicaid expansion, some GOP state lawmakers broke with the governor. “The court has ruled that the expansion is the law and I swore an oath to uphold the laws of this state,” GOP state Rep. Robert Foley said in an email. “My vote so reflected that oath and obligation to my constituents who approved the initiative by 58.9%[.]”
D.C. voters’ decisive approval of Initiative 77 is giving some council members similar second thoughts. “[W]hile I didn’t support this initiative at the ballot box, Ward 1 voters did,” Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) said in a statement. “[The reversal bill] would be a full repeal of the initiative, which I do not feel comfortable with, and did not co-sponsor.”
But a majority of Nadeau’s colleagues feel differently. “We should no more defend a bad law if it's an Initiative, than we should defend a bad law if the Council wrote it,” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said in a statement announcing a hearing next month on repealing the initiative.
One Fair Wage DC, a group that supported Initiative 77, has produced an ad comparing the council’s reversal efforts to House Republicans’ past attempts to overturn D.C. legislation. “Residents of Washington, DC just voted overwhelmingly to raise the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour,” the ad reads in all caps. “But now, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council are threatening to overturn the will of the voters.” Mendelson is featured in the ad, saying, “It’s not right for a legislature to swoop in and say, ‘Well, we’re going to disapprove this little piece.’”
“When your elected officials aren’t listening to the majority of constituents, then citizen initiatives are the way to go,” Diana Ramirez, the director of the D.C. chapter of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, said in an interview.
Ramirez’s group, which backed Initiative 77, argued that the restaurant industry’s overreliance on tips disadvantages women and people of color and that those concerns were ignored when the city raised the minimum wage two years ago. “In our democracy, we must have a tool to circumvent elected officials when they’re not listening to the majority of their constituents,” she said.
Ramirez added that the low voter turnout of the election — commonly cited by Initiative 77’s opponents — is the same turnout that just secured several council members’ Democratic primary victories, effectively guaranteeing their reelection. She said, “For them to say they have the right to overturn this, well, then maybe they should put themselves up for another election.”
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the D.C. mayor’s public comments on Initiative 77. She has not formally endorsed the repeal.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- “A number of pedestrians” were injured in a car crash near Britain’s Houses of Parliament that London police are calling a terrorist incident. William Booth reports: “The driver was arrested at the scene on ‘suspicion of terrorist offenses,’ said police. The suspect, a man in his late 20s, was taken to a south London police station where he remains in police custody. His name has not been released. ‘At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation,’ the Metropolitan Police spokesman said. London Ambulance Service said its staff treated three people at the scene, two of whom ended up at a local hospital. A third suffered just minor injuries. Scotland Yard said none of the injuries were life-threatening.”
-- Trump responded to the news by tweeting: "Another terrorist attack in London...These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!"
GET SMART FAST:
The declining value of Turkey’s currency has touched off fears of a new global financial crisis. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far refused to raise interest rates or seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund as his country faces soaring debt payments. (David J. Lynch and Kareem Fahim)
- A senior U.S. general traveled to Riyadh, where he urged Saudi officials to conduct a “thorough investigation” of an airstrike last week that killed at least 40 children in Yemen. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that he had “dispatched a three-star general into Riyadh to look into what happened” in the strike in the northern Saada province. (Missy Ryan)
A former congressional candidate in Georgia was charged with the murder of her former campaign manager. Kellie Collins, who entered but then dropped out of the race to challenge GOP Rep. Jody B. Hice, turned herself in to authorities after Curtis Cain was discovered shot to death at his apartment. (Eli Rosenberg)
TSA is testing the use of CT scanners at security checkpoints to allow travelers to keep electronics and liquids in their bags. Fifteen airports across the country will employ the new technology this summer to test its effectiveness. (Andrea Sachs)
- The Government Accountability Office has begun tweeting one fact a day, as part of an effort to raise awareness about the nonpartisan auditing agency, which publishes anywhere from 700 to 1,000 reports annually on federal agency spending and performance. (Eric Yoder)
A New Mexico judge ruled that a family accused by prosecutors of training their children in firearms use for a violent mission should be released on unsecured bond. While Judge Sarah Backus acknowledged details of the case were “troubling,” she said, “The state alleges there was a big plan afoot but the state has not shown to my satisfaction by clear and convincing evidence what in fact that plan was.” (CNN)
The Baltimore police officer who resigned after a video showed him repeatedly punching a suspect could face criminal charges. The officer, whose name was not released by the Baltimore police commissioner, is under criminal investigation and could face a charge of second-degree assault. (Kristine Phillips)
A group of former Detroit Public Schools students is suing state officials, claiming their civil rights were violated when they were not taught how to properly read. Attorneys for the students argue literacy is key to unlocking other pivotal rights — including voting, applying for jobs and writing letters to lawmakers. (Moriah Balingit)
- Aretha Franklin is “seriously ill,” according to a person close to the legendary singer. The “Queen of Soul” canceled shows earlier this year on doctor’s orders. (Elahe Izadi)
- A horse was neglected by his former owner — and is now suing him. A newly filed legal complaint on behalf of Justice, the 8-year-old quarter horse, is seeking $100,000 for veterinary care as well as damages “for pain and suffering.” (Karin Brulliard)
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- Trump attacked his former adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, who is promoting her new tell-all book about her time in the White House, writing on Twitter that “Wacky Omarosa” already had a “fully signed” NDA. Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report that “it was the first apparent acknowledgment by Trump that he has used such documents as president.”
-- NDAs are unconventional for government employees, and according to most legal experts, legally unenforceable. Yet Josh and Ashley report: “Dozens of White House aides have signed NDAs in exchange for working for Trump, who has long relied on such agreements in his business career, according to current and former administration employees . . . Copies of Trump NDAs obtained by The Washington Post or described by current and former aides lay out breathtakingly broad prohibitions on behavior and appear to be drawn heavily from similar contracts used in the past by the Trump Organization, the president’s family firm. Under one agreement from the 2016 campaign, signers promised not to 'demean or disparage publicly' Trump, his company or any member of his family — and also not to assist any other politician exploring a federal or state office. An agreement circulated in the White House last year barred signers from sharing any information they had learned in the building.”
- Staffers were urged to sign NDAs in 2017, after Trump repeatedly demanded that White House counsel Don McGahn draft the agreement. “Initially, McGahn told Trump he would not draft or give aides the NDAs because they were not enforceable[.] But in the end, McGahn created a document that said aides would not divulge any confidential or nonpublic information to any person outside the building at any time.”
- “Dozens of senior aides signed the documents, but some were assuaged before signing by McGahn, who said they were unenforceable. Others, however, said they were never given documents to sign. [And] the use of NDAs was de rigueur during the Trump campaign, officials said.” “Everyone signed one,” said one former campaign aide.
- “Trump and his allies have kept a number of current and former White House aides … on the payroll of affiliated groups, from the 2020 reelection campaign to a super PAC. Continuing to pay employees often discourages them from sharing negative information about the employer.”
-- But, but, but: Trump’s White House NDA includes a clause expressly banning former aides from penning tell-all books. “Embedded in the White House’s two-page non-disclosure agreement was a seemingly innocuous clause that prohibited top aides from disclosing confidential information in any form including books, without the express permission of the [president],” Politico’s Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia report. “And if aides violated those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulated they would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings.”
-- For her part, Manigault Newman in a PBS NewsHour interview maintained that she had never signed an NDA while working for the administration — though she did admit to signing such documents before appearing on “The Apprentice” in 2003 and while working on Trump's 2016 campaign. “I never signed that draconian NDA that they presented to me when I walked into the White House,” she said, adding that she “[knew it] … was not something that was acceptable.” (Politico)
-- Manigault Newman shared a taped phone conversation she had with Trump the day after she was fired. In a “Today” show interview, she also claimed that her two-hour Situation Room meeting with John Kelly, during which the chief of staff fired her, amounted to “false imprisonment.” (Felicia Sonmez)
-- Manigault Newman has claimed she also has taped phone calls from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni report: “She claims her stash of recordings … includes a condolence call she received from the couple the day after she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly last December. Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block, according to the people with whom she has discussed the call. Manigault Newman’s claim about the new tape provides additional confirmation that she was looking to build a case not only against Trump … but also against his top aides and family members.”
Trump called Manigault Newman a “lowlife” and a “dog” this morning:
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
-- A CNN review found that no Trump White House senior officials are black. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reports: “Only a handful of his senior staff are of Latino, Asian or Arab descent, according to a CNN review of 48 senior White House officials. Instead, the President is being advised by a senior White House staff that is overwhelmingly white. … In the eight months since Manigault Newman was fired, Trump has yet to appoint a single African-American to a senior White House role as either an assistant or a deputy assistant to the President.”
-- Administration staffers have been offered discounts on Trump-branded merchandise at the president’s Bedminster golf club. Politico’s Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson report: “White House staffers who have a Secret Service hard pin identifying them as administration officials can flash it at the pro shop … and receive the same discount available to club members, who pay a reported $350,000 to join the club. Those discounts range from 15 percent off of any merchandise sold in the store, to 70 percent off clearance items … The practice is the latest indication that being a public servant in this administration comes with special perks to sweeten the deal. The discounts available at the Bedminster club were originally pitched by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and the president himself as a nice gesture to aides … ”
-- White House counsel McGahn has exempted Trump's new communications director Bill Shine from federal ethics laws to allow the former Fox News executive to take meetings with the network. The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay reports: “[Shine] and Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economist, who worked at CNBC before his White House post, have both been excused from provisions of the law, which seeks to prevent administration officials from advancing the financial interests of relatives or former employers. ‘The Administration has an interest in you interacting with Covered Organizations such as Fox News,’ wrote White House counsel Don McGahn in a July 13 memo granting an ethics waivers to Shine, a former Fox executive. ‘[T]he need for your services outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the White House Office’s programs and operations.’”
-- Voters head to the polls for primary elections today in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont.
-- Keith Ellison, the House Democrat now running for Minnesota's attorney general, is denying the allegations he abused his ex-girlfriend in 2016. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott have some details on the accusations: “[Karen] Monahan, an organizer with the environmental group the Sierra Club, said Ellison was emotionally abusive and on one occasion physically abusive near the end of their relationship in late 2016, prompting her to move out of Ellison's apartment. She said that alleged physical altercation was the incident her son referred to [over social media] involving Ellison allegedly pulling her off the bed and cursing at her. Monahan said she discreetly recorded the video on her cell phone and then uploaded it onto her computer. Monahan said Saturday that she did not know where the video was because she misplaced it when moving. Monahan also said she would not want the video made public in any case, calling it ‘embarrassing.’ " Ellison has claimed no such video exists because the incident did not occur.
Kaczynski and McDermott report: “Three friends of Monahan, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, told CNN she had confided in them about the bed incident in the months after she had moved out of Ellison's apartment. Monahan also shared with CNN dozens of screenshots of text messages and Twitter direct messages she claimed she exchanged with Ellison. Monahan provided one text of her mentioning the physical altercation to Ellison in December 2017 . . . In follow up texts viewed by CNN, Ellison did not directly address the physical altercation. Other messages viewed by CNN do not specifically show incidents of verbal abuse.”
-- Minnesota Democrats are moving to the left to woo supporters who strongly disapprove of Trump’s presidency. David Weigel reports: “Republicans, here as elsewhere, saw the 2016 election as the start of a conservative wave and are hewing closer and closer to the president — making Minnesota an example of the nation’s swing away from the middle and toward the political poles. The changes wrought in 2016 have affected not only the candidates’ positioning but also where they are delivering their messages. As in most of the Midwest, Democrats had typically competed for Minnesota by winning the cities and competing in rural areas with strong labor traditions; Republicans had won by winning in suburbs and exurbs. That changed in 2016, as Democrats ran up their vote in the Twin Cities, and in suburbs where they had rarely been competitive, but lost badly in outlying parts of Minnesota.”
-- A pair of high-profile Wisconsin Republicans — Gov. Scott Walker and Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson — came out against Trump’s suggestion to boycott Harley-Davidson over its plan to relocate some of its production overseas. The AP’s Scott Bauer reports: “Walker, Wisconsin’s most prominent Harley owner, faces a tough re-election bid in November. He tweeted Monday afternoon that ‘of course I don’t want a boycott of Harley-Davidson.’ That came after Walker initially on Sunday did not directly address the boycott call. Nicholson, who faces state Sen. Leah Vukmir in a Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, said on WTMJ radio that ‘I don’t want to see Harley-Davidson boycotted,’ but didn’t think a boycott would be necessary because Trump’s approach to trade was succeeding and opening new markets.”
-- A new coalition is launching a seven-figure campaign aimed at mobilizing Puerto Rican voters who were displaced by Hurricane Maria — seeking to tap into shared outrage over Trump’s tepid response to the storm. CBS News’s Ed O’Keefe reports: “[Organizers are planning] demonstrations in New York and Florida to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The events are part of a new project launched by the Latino Victory Project (LVP), a liberal group that supports Latino Democratic political candidates … and Power 4 Puerto Rico (P4P), an upstart organization that has spent the last year working to draw more attention to the stunted recovery on the island. [LVP] … now plans to devote at least $1.5 million to locate, register and then turn out displaced Puerto Ricans living in Florida and other states, including Georgia and Pennsylvania. The project could be especially critical to Democratic chances in Florida, home to competitive gubernatorial, Senate and House elections this year.”
-- That campaign comes as Florida’s Democratic Party reports a decrease in its share of registered voters ahead of the state’s primaries later this month. Politico’s Marc Caputo reports: “For this election, the percentage of active registered Democrats is down by nearly 2 percentage points compared with 2016, according to Florida Division of Elections data published Sunday for the primary. Because Florida doesn’t allow last-minute voter registration, the figures are final. Some Democrats are worried, but they won’t say so publicly. They haven’t occupied the governor’s mansion in 20 years, and the only statewide elected Democrat, Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking reelection, is slightly trailing Gov. Rick Scott in recent polls as the Republican has unloaded on him in a broad TV ad campaign.”
-- A new political group formed by black business leaders endorsed four Democratic candidates, including Maryland gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous. Felicia Sonmez and Erin Cox report: “The Black Economic Alliance, which was formed by African American business leaders, promised to invest what was necessary to help Jealous, a former NAACP president, beat [Gov. Larry Hogan]. The group also endorsed two other Democratic candidates for governor — Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Richard Cordray in Ohio — as well as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is seeking another term … All four Democrats have high profiles nationally and are in heated races in states where the black population is near or above the U.S. national average. The alliance said it raised $3.5 million from 55 donors over the past two months and plans to invest in ‘competitive contests’ that emphasize improved economic conditions for black voters and where African American turnout is crucial to victory.”
-- Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) responded to Trump’s accusation that he was to blame for the narrow margin in last week’s special election with a GIF of Vladimir Putin chuckling. Robert Costa reports: “Trump’s attack, while demeaning, gave Kasich something his allies say he needs: a burst of national attention as he mulls whether to take on Trump [in 2020] and seek the party’s presidential nomination. ‘It elevates Kasich,’ said Bill Kristol, a conservative commentator and anti-Trump organizer. … Trump’s tweet Monday also reflects his eagerness to deflect blame for Republicans’ lackluster showing in the special election regardless of whether he perceives Kasich as a legitimate threat or just another critic to be rebuked for speaking out against him.”
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- FBI agent Peter Strzok was fired Friday over his politically charged text messages, overruling a recommendation from the director of the FBI’s internal disciplinary arm. Strzok is the third high-ranking FBI official involved in the Hillary Clinton and Russia probes to be fired from the bureau in recent months. Matt Zapotosky reports: “Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process[:] ‘This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,’ Goelman said. The termination is a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year member of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. But when [an DOJ inspector-general probe] uncovered politically charged messages that Strzok had exchanged … he was relegated to a position in human resources.”
Ousted FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe weighed in on the news of Strzok’s firing on Monday, writing: “Another patriot, public servant, and defender of the FBI fired to appease the [White House] .”
-- Robert Mueller is examining allegedly threatening emails sent by Roger Stone to Randy Credico, the former radio host once accused by Stone of acting as his “intermediary” to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Mother Jones’s Dan Friedman reports: “A lawyer for [Credico confirmed that he received a grand jury subpoena from Mueller] for September 7. The attorney, Martin Stolar, said he believes prosecutors want to ask Credico about his contacts with Stone and also potentially about [Assange]. Assange called into Credico’s radio show in 2016, and Stone has claimed Credico gave him information from Assange about plans to release hacked emails.” Credico will be the eighth known Stone associate to be questioned by Mueller in the Russia probe.
-- House Intelligence Committee Democrats want to interview alt-right activist Charles Johnson for their Russia probe. Politico’s Ben Schreckinger reports: “The Democratic effort is mostly toothless because it relies on voluntary cooperation. But if Democrats take the House in November, they will gain subpoena power and be able to compel testimony from Johnson and other witnesses. The Democratic lawmakers want information about Johnson’s work with Republican activist Peter W. Smith during the 2016 presidential campaign to obtain emails allegedly hacked from Hillary Clinton, according to the Monday letter from Shannon Green, a Democratic staffer on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”
PAUL MANAFORT TRIAL:
-- Special counsel prosecutors called their final witness before resting their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is being tried on federal charges of tax and bank fraud in Alexandria, Va. The court also heard testimony from Jim Brennan, a vice president of the Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank, from which Manafort is accused of fraudulently securing $16 million in loans. Rachel Weiner, Lynh Bui, Michael Kranish and Tom Jackman report on the most significant events of the day:
- Brennan said he would not have approved Manafort’s loan application if it were not for the bank’s CEO, Steve Calk — who pushed them through because of his desire to obtain a Cabinet-level job in Trump’s administration. “Brennan testified that one of the loans received a rating of 4 — the lowest possible rating an application could get before it would be rejected. Brennan said he would not have approved the loan and it would have gone on the bank’s ‘watch list,’ but he didn’t have a choice … [adding that] Calk had pushed for it.” Brennan also said Manafort failed to mention mortgages on two New York properties while seeking the loans.
- In one instance, Brennan said, Manafort’s proposal for a new loan structure was approved even after the bank’s president rejected it. “It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close,” Brennan said.
- What’s next: Manafort’s attorneys will begin arguing their motion to acquit and will have the opportunity to present any potential witnesses before closing arguments begin.
-- Manafort turned to Jared Kushner for assistance in securing a government post for Calk. Bloomberg News’s David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg report: “[Manafort] got a quick response. ‘On it!’ Kushner replied on Nov. 30, 2016, according to an email submitted by prosecutors into evidence Monday … The email shows how Manafort reached, without success, into Trump’s inner circle for help months after he was deposed as campaign manager.”
-- White House adviser Stephen Miller’s uncle, David S. Glosser, condemned his nephew’s views on immigration in Politico Magazine. Glosser recounts his ancestor Wolf-Leib Glosser’s journey to America at the turn of the 20th century, writing: “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country. I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses — the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants — been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom.”
-- “The op-ed underlines the glaring differences between Miller, who started as an outspoken conservative activist in high school and college, and some members of his liberal family,” Kristine Phillips notes. “The Los Angeles Times described Miller’s parents, Michael and Miriam, as ‘a Jewish family of longtime Franklin Roosevelt Democrats.’”
-- The son of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Bobby Goodlatte, tweeted that he was "deeply embarrassed" that Peter Strzok's career "was ruined by my father's political grandstanding." Jenna Portnoy reports: “Bobby Goodlatte, a venture capitalist who lives in San Francisco, on Sunday tweeted his support for the underdog Democrat running for his father’s seat, announced he had donated the maximum of $2,700 to her campaign and encouraged others to do the same. … [Both] tweets helped Democrat Jennifer Lewis raise more than $10,000 from across the country and brought national attention to the contest in a conservative western Virginia district that [Trump] won by double digits. ... Bobby Goodlatte has posted liberal messages on social media in the past ... But this appears to be the first time he has publicly targeted his father."
-- Lawyer George Conway, who is married to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, tweeted about John Kasich’s higher approval rating over Trump in Ohio as the president sought to blame Kasich for the narrow margin in last week’s special election. Conway shared a link to a Suffolk University poll showing that 59 percent of Ohio voters view Trump unfavorably, compared to 35 percent who view Kasich unfavorably.
THE REST OF TRUMP’S AGENDA:
-- Trump traveled to New York to sign a sprawling, $716 billion defense bill named after Sen. John McCain. But in his speech, he snubbed the ailing veteran and Arizona Republican — prompting harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle. Anne Gearan, Paul Sonne and David Nakamura report: “In a 25-minute address to troops, Trump praised the U.S. military as the world’s most powerful war-fighting force and took credit for the legislation, which represents a $16 billion increase in authorized funding for the Pentagon over the current year. But Trump said nothing of [McCain], who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a champion of most of the priorities contained in the legislation . . .
-- “The defense bill seeks to continue reviving beleaguered operations and maintenance units in the military that top generals say suffered from years of congressional budget caps temporarily lifted in February. … But the bill stops short of the radical changes defense analysts say the American military would need to make to prepare for the sort of great-power confrontation the administration outlined in its strategy.”
-- Federal arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal histories have more than tripled under Trump’s administration. NBC News’s Ben Leonard reports: “The surge has been caused by a new ICE tactic of arresting — without warrants — people who are driving or walking down the street and using large-scale ‘sweeps’ of likely immigrants, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in June by immigration rights advocates in Chicago. ICE ‘administrative’ arrests of immigrants without criminal convictions have spiked 203 percent in the first full 14 months of his presidency compared to the final 14 months of the Obama administration, growing from 19,128 to 58,010, according to NBC's review of ICE figures. During the same time period, the numbers show that arrests of undocumented immigrants with criminal records grew just 18 percent.”
-- A growing number of Indian migrants are traveling to the United States seeking asylum. The Los Angeles Times’s Sarah Parvini reports: “According to immigration officials and attorneys, there has been an increase in recent years of Indian nationals crossing into the U.S. through Mexico — although they represent a small percentage of those detained overall. Indian citizens are among thousands of migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia now trekking across Latin America, taking advantage of travel routes forged by Latino immigrants.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The president denied Omarosa's claim that Trump was taped using a racial slur during filming of “The Apprentice”:
.@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
....such wonderful and powerful things about me - a true Champion of Civil Rights - until she got fired. Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn’t want interviews) when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they will talk to her. Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
A Slate writer mocked Trump's denial:
As someone who has never used the n-word, I also still require people to call me and tell me they have no tapes of me using it. https://t.co/1DBwZDHVec— Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) August 14, 2018
A CNN reporter highlighted an admission from Omarosa about the special counsel's investigation:
Omarosa was just asked on Hardball if she had anything of interest to Robert Mueller. She answered, "If his office calls again..." — revealing, I believe for the first time, that she's been contacted by the special counsel.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 13, 2018
A CBS News reporter compared Trump's 2018 opinion of Omarosa to a 2013 tweet:
But today, she is a "not smart" "lowlife." https://t.co/3tF8qzOWvM— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) August 13, 2018
A former Democratic congressman taunted Trump with the slogan of the first lady's anti-cyberbullying campaign:
Former secretary of state John Kerry condemned Trump's omission of John McCain's name when signing the defense authorization bill:
Disgraceful - but nothing will erase for an instant the legacy John McCain has written and is still writing every day. https://t.co/hv40tsnqo3— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 13, 2018
Cindy McCain touted her husband's accomplishment:
I’m so proud of @SenJohnMcCain and his work on NDAA. Incredibly humbled at the naming of this after my husband.— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) August 13, 2018
An NBC News reporter joked about a House Republican's son endorsing his opponent:
Man! Going to be a rough Thanksgiving in the Goodlatte household— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) August 13, 2018
Trump endorsed his former presidential primary rival, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker:
Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a tremendous Governor who has done incredible things for that Great State. He has my complete & total Endorsement! He brought the amazing Foxconn to Wisconsin with its 15,000 Jobs-and so much more. Vote for Scott on Tuesday in the Republican Primary!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
(Walker faces only one challenger in the primary, who did not actively campaign.)
The president also reiterated his support of a GOP congressional candidate in Minnesota, where Republicans hope to flip the seat from blue to red:
Pete Stauber is running for Congress in Minnesota. He will make for a great Congressman. Pete is strong on crime and borders, loves our Military, Vets and Second Amendment. Vote for Pete tomorrow. He has my full and total Endorsement!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
The managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball noted the unique state of this year's gubernatorial races:
Flip side of this coin: All 6 New England governorships are up this fall. Rs control 4/6 (ME-MA-NH-VT). It's possible that the Rs could sweep all 6. As it stands, Rs look good in MA-NH-VT. Other 3 look pretty close.— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) August 13, 2018
And a New York Times writer compared Trump's reported mispronunciations of countries' names to a Simpsons episode:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The New Yorker, “How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man,” by Joshua Yaffa: “Browder, who is fifty-four, with a dusting of silver hair and rimless eyeglasses, has a forceful yet understated authority and a talent for telling a coolly suspenseful tale. … Since the Magnitsky Act passed, the Russian government has charged Browder with myriad crimes, and has periodically tried to lodge warrants for his arrest via Interpol. ‘Their main objective is to get me back to Russia,' Browder has said. 'And they only have to get lucky once. I have to be lucky every time.’ In 2012, in Surrey, England, Alexander Perepilichny, one of Browder’s chief sources of information on the movement of the stolen funds, collapsed while jogging near his home and died. The case is still under investigation. Browder, who has taken to relating to as large an audience as possible the danger he faces, has called this ‘a perfect example of why you don’t want to be an anonymous guy who drops dead.’ … Browder is obviously nothing like the cartoon villain that Putin portrays him to be, and yet his political influence means that his every move, past and present, has global reverberations ... "
-- New York Times, “What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is the Accused?” by Zoe Greenberg: “The case seems like a familiar story turned on its head: Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman. … Coming in the middle of the #MeToo movement’s reckoning over sexual misconduct, it raised a challenge for feminists — how to respond when one of their own behaved badly. And the response has roiled a corner of academia.”
-- Vanity Fair, “‘Everybody Immediately Knew That It Was For Amazon’: Has Bezos Become More Powerful In D.C. Than Trump?” by May Jeong: “The controversy involves a plan to move all of the Defense Department’s data—classified and unclassified—on to the cloud. The information is currently strewn across some 400 centers, and the Pentagon’s top brass believes that consolidating it into one cloud-based system, the way the CIA did in 2013, will make it more secure and accessible. That’s why, on July 26, the Defense Department issued a request for proposals called JEDI, short for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. Whoever winds up landing the winner-take-all contract will be awarded $10 billion—instantly becoming one of America’s biggest federal contractors. But when JEDI was issued, on the day Congress recessed for the summer, the deal appeared to be rigged in favor of a single provider: Amazon.” (Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Post.)
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Trump poses with supporter with sexist patch at motorcyclist event,” from Anne Gearan: “The dress code for President Trump’s by-invitation meet-and-greet with motorcycle enthusiasts here on Saturday was biker chic — leather, bandannas and for at least one of the supporters who posed with Trump at the raucous event, sexist and other offensive patches. A bearded man who is part of a New Jersey ‘Bikers for Trump’ group stood with the president as he shook hands inside his posh golf club near here, and again when the group posed for photos outside, engines revving. ‘I (heart) Guns & Titties,’ reads one patch on the unidentified man’s vest. The patch features a drawing of a woman’s naked torso and breasts and a pair of handguns atop her nipples. Other patches visible in blown-up versions of images from the rain-drenched event include one that reads ‘This is America. We eat meat, we drink beer and we speak [expletive] English.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Antifa protesters couldn’t find any fascists at Unite the Right — and harassed the press instead,” from Avi Selk: “[A] long-planned rally for far-right extremists fizzled into a paltry gathering of a few dozen white supremacists … And yet Antifa still managed to fight — not fascists this time, but reporters. … When a Washington Post reporter tried to interview the antifascists, they refused to speak. When he followed them up the street with his cellphone camera, one of them shoved a black umbrella into his lens and several shouted: ‘No photos!’ ‘This can harm us,’ one of the protesters said, just before someone swatted the reporter’s iPhone out of his hand and threw it into the middle of the street. The reporter and camera were fine, but the incident was hardly isolated. Throughout the day, journalists covering the rally shared stories of cameras being yanked and reporters accosted by members of the same movement that claims it is protecting free society.”
Trump will receive his intelligence briefing and have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He has no other events on his public schedule.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Even their fact-checking is wrong. If I’m right or if I’m 97.3 percent right, they will say, ‘He’s got a Pinocchio, or he’s lying.’ They are bad people.” — Trump disparaging fact-checkers at his New York fundraiser.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The District may see more afternoon thunderstorms today, but sunshine should prevail for the rest of the workweek. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Skies are mixed this morning as temperatures travel into the middle to upper 80s with slightly lower humidity. We still need to watch for mainly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms, but coverage and intensity should be less than recent days. Rain could miss you, or you could see upward of a trace to quarter-inch with some locally heavier spots possible. Light winds blow mainly from the west, except briefly gustier around any thunderstorms.”
-- The Nationals lost to the Cardinals 7-6, the team’s 21st one-run defeat. (Chelsea Janes)
-- D.C. authorities defended the massive police presence to protect white supremacists at the Unite the Right anniversary rally, claiming it helped ensure a violence-free event. Peter Hermann and Fenit Nirappil report: “D.C. police and the mayor called the event a success — no injuries, one minor arrest — and said security measures were solely designed to physically separate white nationalists and counterprotesters with a history of violent clashes. But those same methods included what appeared to observers as amenities — police escorts and a semiprivate Metro rail car to spirit the rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler, in and out of the District. … The region’s ability to ensure a peaceful event may turn out to be a double-edged sword. [Rally organization Jason Kessler], who thanked D.C. police and other law enforcement agencies for protecting his right to free speech, said it went so smoothly, he’d like to return.”
-- Trains were temporarily bypassing the Farragut West Metro station due to a bomb threat that was later found to be unsubstantiated. (Justin Wm. Moyer)
-- The Office of Personnel Management has advised federal agencies to allow more telework and alternative work schedules for their employees amid Metro service disruptions. OPM said in a memo that it “strongly encourages agencies to allow affected employees to utilize various workplace flexibilities” through the Metro project, which is scheduled to continue through Aug. 26. (Eric Yoder)
-- Some recent visitors to Maryland’s state parks have been turned away due to massive crowds. Scott Dance reports: “Capacity crowds have led officials to close the gates more than 100 times in each of the past three years. The surge in popularity mirrors a boom in park attendance nationwide. It means more people are enjoying public land set aside for recreation. But it also means wear and tear on facilities that in many cases are years behind on maintenance projects, and a greater demand on rangers to protect ecosystems from human effects.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Late-night hosts reveled in the feud between Trump and Omarosa:
A nature documentarian captured a volcano erupting in Indonesia:
Lightning split a tree in half in Alexandria, Va.:
New Jersey police officers rescued a bride and groom after flash floods submerged their car:
And this video of Aretha Franklin recirculated on Twitter amid grave reports on her health: