THE BIG IDEA: To pay for eliminating all $1.6 trillion of outstanding student loan debt, Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed on Monday a stiff tax on Wall Street investments that he estimates would raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years. It would impose a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions and a 0.1 percent tax on bonds. This is in addition to previous calls by the democratic socialist for expanding the estate tax to cover the holdings left at death by the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans. The Vermonter has separately floated an annual 1 percent wealth tax on anyone with assets exceeding $21 million.
Beto O’Rourke called for a “war tax” yesterday to fund a health care trust fund for veterans. Each time the U.S. goes into a new war, taxpayers would be required to pony up. It would be progressive: Those earning less than $30,000 per year would pay $25. Anyone making over $200,000 would be taxed at $1,000. Households with someone currently in the military, or a veteran, would be exempted. “This new tax would serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by those who serve and their families,” said the former congressman from Texas.
If it’s a day that ends in Y, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are advocating aggressively for higher taxes on affluent Americans. Egged on by polls that show majority support for taxing the richest among us and eager to impress the hardcore activist base of the party in a crowded field, several of the leading Democratic contenders sound almost gleeful at times as they call for soaking the rich. The first debates, tomorrow night and Thursday, are poised to highlight this tonal shift but could perhaps also offer a taste of resistance to the party’s leftward lurch on tax policy. President Trump has promised recently to tout the 2017 tax cuts on the campaign trail and warn that Democrats will roll them back if they retake the White House.
Elizabeth Warren gets some of her biggest cheers at rallies by advocating for a 2 percent annual tax on all household wealth in excess of $50 million. She would take 3 percent on every dollar above $1 billion. Warren’s applause line is that the federal government can tax “the diamonds, the yachts and the Rembrandts” to pay for free college, child care and pre-K. Depending on the region of the country she’s in, the senator from Massachusetts will tag on the opioid epidemic. “I’m tired of freeloading billionaires,” she always concludes.
Separately, Warren calls for increasing corporate taxes by $1 trillion. She would do this by taxing publicly traded companies based on whatever profits they report to shareholders on earnings calls, not the IRS. Every dollar of profit above $100 million would get taxed at 7 percent.
Joe Biden, who is leading in the polls, has said repeatedly that one of the first things he’d do if elected is try to “repeal those Trump tax cuts,” which the former vice president argues unfairly benefit the richest 1 percent and the biggest corporations.
Pete Buttigieg has said he favors a “fairer, which means higher” marginal income tax, a “reasonable” wealth tax “or something like that,” a financial transactions tax and closing “corporate tax loopholes.” He has not specified which ones. “You don't blow a hole in the budget with an unnecessary and unaffordable tax cut for the very wealthiest," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said during a Fox News town hall last month, referring to the Trump tax cuts. The issues page on Buttigieg’s web site suggests he would pursue a carbon tax to implement a Green New Deal.
-- To be sure, several of these Democrats are also calling for tax cuts to the middle class and the poor. Most Senate Democrats have signed onto a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to expand the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). And Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is a co-sponsor of a House bill to expand the earned income tax credit.
“Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) last fall proposed a new refundable tax credit of up to $6,000, or $500 per month, which would be in addition to existing tax credits,” the Hill’s Naomi Jagoda notes. “Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in April proposed an expansion of the EITC he calls the ‘Rise Credit,’ which includes nearly doubling the income maximum at which people can receive the EITC and allowing low-income students and family caregivers to receive the credit. … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) recently announced that in her first 100 days as president, she would outline a plan to cut childhood poverty in part by expanding the EITC and the CTC.”
-- Some rich people say they’re okay being soaked. Eighteen ultrarich liberals, including George Soros, published an open letter yesterday endorsing a wealth tax on the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Other singers included Abigail Disney, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Hyatt heir Regan Pritzker. “America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more,” they wrote in a Medium post that was written as an open letter to the 2020 candidates. “A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms. Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.
-- “Recent polls show there’s a great appetite for increasing taxes on the wealthy,” Hamza Shaban reports. “According to a February Politico-Morning Consult poll, 61 percent of the voters surveyed say they support a wealth tax such as the one backed by the co-signatories, with 20 percent saying they oppose it and 19 percent saying they weren’t sure. When the results are broken down by political affiliation, 50 percent of the Republican voters support a wealth tax, compared with nearly three-quarters of Democrats.
“According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the [2017 tax cuts] will give the richest 1 percent of Americans — those earning more than $732,800 a year — an average tax break on personal income of about $33,000. Those on the opposite end of the spectrum — those earning less than $25,000 annually — saw an average personal income tax break of $40. The richest 0.1 percent of Americans now command more wealth than the bottom 80 percent, according to a recent working paper on wealth inequality by Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. Nearly 20 percent of the nation’s wealth belongs to the country’s richest people.”
-- Academic research shows the concentration of wealth in America is returning to levels not seen the Roaring Twenties. Consider these visualizations from Christopher Ingraham:
-- “The wealth tax debate has been reinvigorated by a growing consensus that inequality poses a long-term threat to the stability of capitalism,” Laura Davison explains for Bloomberg News. “It was fueled by Thomas Piketty’s 2013 book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century,’ which asserted that the rate of return on investments has historically outpaced broader economic growth and wages, meaning that inequality will increase unless offset by other forces. But in practice, wealth taxes can be costly to implement and don’t always collect much revenue. All but four of the 15 European countries that introduced them in recent decades repealed them. Spain effectively abolished its levy on wealth of roughly over 1 million euros (about $1.2 million) in 2008 but brought it back in 2011, and efforts are again underway to repeal it. In Germany and Norway, unequal treatment of different asset classes contributed to money moving out of stocks and bonds and into real estate.”
-- While polls show people are generally supportive of higher taxes on the rich, enacting such tax increases has always proven more difficult. To understand the risks that national Democrats are taking, look to the states. In the midterm elections, for example, voters rejected ballot referendums that would have raised taxes on six-figure wage earners to pay for public education in Colorado and universal home health care in Maine.
Tim Craig reported last week from the well-to-do suburbs outside Chicago on the blowback to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to raise taxes on the richest 3 percent of Illinois residents: “Kim Flores, a retired accountant showing off his restored horizon-blue 1949 Cadillac, said he has supported Democrats for years, but the tax plan is causing him to reconsider. ‘Increasing taxes on the rich is just nonsense,’ said Flores, 72. ‘I completely agree that middle-income people are hurting versus the higher-income people, and that is just wrong. But what are you going to do?’
“Plans to raise taxes on the rich also have been considered in New Mexico, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey this year. So far, however, the tax plans have met stiff resistance, even among some fellow Democratic leaders, who worry that they will alienate the wealthy suburban voters who were critical to the party’s success last year. … Many of these new officeholders campaigned explicitly on a pledge to raise taxes on the rich to address rising income inequality, as well as to meet a backlog of needs left by their tax-cutting Republican predecessors.
“Last month, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) successfully fought off a major push by Democratic lawmakers in that state to impose a 2 percent surcharge on capital gains for couples earning more than $1 million a year and individuals earning more than $500,000. Lamont said that Connecticut residents had ‘tax fatigue.’ But state Rep. Anne Hughes (D), co-chair of the Democratic Progressive Caucus, vowed to keep pushing for the proposal.
“In New Mexico, where Democrats gained complete control of the Santa Fe statehouse in 2018, the state Senate dialed back a House proposal to raise the top tax rate to 5.9 percent from 4.9 percent on individuals earning at least $210,000 a year, or $315,000 for a married couple. The compromise calls for the higher tax rate to take effect in 2021 — but only if the state’s oil-based revenue stream registers less than 5 percent growth. Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), called the law ‘an important step to restore progressivity to the personal income tax’ while protecting the state budget ‘from shocks associated with the oil and natural gas industries.’”
-- While many Democrats are being up front about how they’d like to get revenue, some experts say that the 2020 candidates are calling for more new spending than their tax increases would support – especially considering that the national debt is already greater than $20 trillion.
“Warren’s ambitious agenda relies on two assumptions that defy a long history of U.S. policymaking: First, that the country’s wealthiest taxpayers won’t find ways to evade the targeted tax hike she proposes; and second, that new entitlement programs won’t result in ballooning costs that plunge the federal government deeper into debt,” Toluse Olorunnipa explained last month. “Since launching her presidential campaign, Warren has rolled out a domestic platform that, so far, her campaign estimates would cost a combined $3 trillion over 10 years — plans that include canceling student debt for almost every American, building 3 million affordable housing units, reducing rents by 10 percent nationwide, shrinking the black-white wealth gap by 4 percentage points, subsidizing child-care for all young families, offering universal prekindergarten, providing universal opioid treatment and eliminating the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog while making all national parks free. …
“Warren’s campaign says that the wealth tax would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years. … But some economists are beginning to question the math behind Warren’s proposals. In a Washington Post op-ed [in April], former Obama administration economic adviser Lawrence Summers and University of Pennsylvania professor Natasha Sarin wrote that ‘such a wealth tax will not yield the revenue that its proponents hope for,’ citing figures from the current estate tax that show how the wealthy have proved adept in avoiding the 40 percent levy on their assets after death. A recent poll of about 40 top economists by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that 73 percent believed a wealth tax ‘would be much more difficult to enforce than existing federal taxes’ because of tax evasion.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- Biden still calls himself “Middle Class Joe” on the campaign trail, but he’s made “millions of dollars largely from book deals and speaking fees that ranged to as much as $200,000 per speech,” Matt Viser reports: “As Biden has traveled the country, he asked his sponsors for VIP hotel suites, town cars and professional drivers, chartered flights and travel expense reimbursements for some of his appearances that reached at least $10,000 per event. The Washington Post found at least 65 instances in which Biden gave a speech or appeared at a book event; in at least 10 instances he did not take a fee, although in some of those cases he was reimbursed for travel expenses. Biden’s campaign said he has given less than 50 paid speeches, but declined to be more specific about exactly how many he delivered, or how much he earned in total.”
-- Biden’s team is downplaying the significance of the first Democratic debates as he prepares to be on the receiving end of his opponents’ attacks. The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas reports: “The 76-year-old has participated in at least 16 debates as a presidential or vice-presidential candidate, but never before has he been the most susceptible to incoming attacks from multiple opponents. … Mr. Biden has been preparing in recent weeks with the help of an experienced debate team, led by Ron Klain, a longtime Biden adviser who has overseen debate prep for every Democratic presidential nominee since 2004. … Mr. Biden frequently appeared with six or seven opponents when he participated in 11 debates in 2007 dominated by the three major contenders—Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. An underdog in the primaries, Mr. Biden often displayed a sense of humor and comedic timing, playing the aggressor and pointing to his foreign-policy experience.”
-- Democratic campaigns are desperate to score viral moments, often strategizing about highly choreographed social-media comments that are meant to appear impromptu. Amy B Wang reports: “After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a $9 trillion climate plan last month, his staffers noticed the plan had been parodied twice in one week by the Onion, a popular satirical website. They began brainstorming a ‘clever and self-deprecating’ response in case it happened again, an aide said. Sure enough, a week later the Onion again poked fun at Inslee, parodying his youth-friendly message by saying he had decided to run for president only after five teenagers ‘pressed enchanted rings together to call him into existence.’ Inslee responded quickly with a deadpan tweet: ‘That was supposed to be off the record.’ It instantly became one of Inslee’s most popular Twitter posts; aides followed it up with a fundraising appeal, which helped push the candidate across the 65,000-donor threshold to qualify for the first Democratic debates.”
-- Sanders is facing a new kind of threat in Warren. Sean Sullivan reports: “Doubling down on his ideological purity and socialist credentials carries risks for the senator from Vermont ... It’s enabled Warren to position herself as impassioned but reasonable, while Sanders holds down the leftward flank of the Democratic Party and serves as the ideological outlier in the race. … For Sanders, the threat from Warren is different from any he’s faced during his long political career, including in his 2016 presidential run, since Warren in many ways embraces the same brand of fiery liberalism."
-- Biden has been pillioried by the left for his role in the 1994 crime bill, but Sanders also voted for it and supported some of the legislation’s tough-on-crime provisions. NBC News’s Heidi Przybyla reports: “Sanders was a member of the House of Representatives at the time and said he had strong objections to parts of the bill, mainly its death penalty expansion and lack of investment in crime prevention. … But he also declared it to be a good compromise at a time when the nation faced a national crack cocaine epidemic and increasing violent crime, including surging homicide rates. He voted in favor of at least one amendment allocating more money for prison funding, though 49 Democrats voted against it. … The amendment gave $10.5 billion more in grants to states for prison construction, a feature that remains one of the bill’s most contentious legacies 25 years later.”
-- The Post’s theater critic Peter Marks reviewed Kamala Harris’s performance at a series of campaign events in South Carolina. Marks writes: “The unadorned production Harris takes from venue to venue has at its core a person seeking to project warmth, strength and a common touch. The people who introduce her at her events in South Carolina, where she runs third or fourth in polls at present, are local people, not celebrities, and she rarely fails to mention that her campaign manager is her sister, Maya Harris, a lawyer and political analyst for MSNBC. … Subtext is everything in drama: What a character says is subordinate to what an audience intuits. With Harris, the visceral impression is of a pleaser — she is an inveterate dispenser of thank-yous to inquiring voters during Q&As — whose résumé suggests a toughness.”
-- Is Howard Schultz's failure a sign that centrism is doomed? Simon van Zuylen-Wood wrote an autopsy on his independent bid for president for Sunday's WaPo magazine: “It’s hard to think of a less compelling thing to be right now than a centrist. Precisely because of the permanent crisis that afflicts Trump’s Washington, Schultz’s pox-on-both-houses sanctimony can feel not just inadequate but slightly nauseating…. But there was another, arguably more serious, problem with Schultz’s version of centrism: It does the opposite of what it claims to do. A politics intended to appeal to a wide middle of the country has, in the hands of someone like Schultz, come to mean an incredibly narrow thing: fiscally conservative, socially liberal, open borders on trade and immigration, restrictive on gun rights, hawkish on foreign policy, and not crazy about raising taxes. 'Centrism,' in other words, has become a byword for the politics of the business elite. Defined left to right, on an x-axis, it may approximate the center of the political spectrum. But on a y-axis that represents socioeconomic status, it sits at the very top.”
-- A new poll from the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs found that most Democrats want an experienced candidate who has previously held elected office. (AP)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Iran said the new sanctions targeting the country’s leadership permanently close the path to diplomacy and that the White House has "become mentally crippled" under Trump. Erin Cunningham and Ruth Eglash report: “Speaking in a televised address, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the restrictions targeting the supreme leader ‘outrageous and idiotic’ and said they showed ‘certain failure’ on the part of the Trump administration to isolate Iran. ‘You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?’ Rouhani said on state television, referring to remarks by U.S. officials suggesting plans to sanction Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later this month. ... 'The assets of Ayatollah Khamenei and his office will not be spared from the sanctions,' Trump said. The president mispronounced the Iranian clerical leader’s name as 'Khomeini,' which was the name of the former leader who died in 1989. The decision to target Khamenei directly suggests that Trump is attempting to turn up pressure on the leader who would decide whether to accept an invitation to new negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
“In Jerusalem on Tuesday, national security adviser John Bolton said the new sanctions were ‘significant’ but that Trump ‘has held the door open to real negotiations.’ He spoke at a trilateral summit of U.S., Israeli and Russian national security advisers — the first of its kind. … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began recruiting allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to help monitor threats from Iran in the Persian Gulf. … U.S. officials said there is currently no backchannel between the U.S. and Iranian governments. … It is far from clear that Iran will buckle.”
-- Trump claimed in an interview that E. Jean Carroll was “totally lying” when she accused him of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990’s, saying the New York-based writer is “not my type.” “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” Trump told the Hill. Carroll responded in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. “I love that I’m not his type,” Carroll said. “Don’t you love that you’re not his type?” She also noted Trump’s previous criticisms of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. “One of the most beautiful women in the solar system, and he called her fat,” Carroll said. Hours earlier, she expressed frustration with how Trump has politically survived past assault allegations. “With all the women it’s the same: He denies it, he turns it around, he attacks, and he threatens — and then everybody forgets it until the next woman comes along,” Carroll said during another CNN interview. “I am sick of it. I am sick of it.” (John Wagner)
-- Col Allan, a former lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch who has returned to the New York Post, reportedly ordered the removal of a story about Carroll’s allegations. CNN’s Oliver Darcy and Marianne Garvey report: “The Post's story about Carroll's sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid's website on Friday afternoon. The link to the story, which had been written by reporter Joe Tacopino, directed readers to a dead or 404 page. A wire story by the Associated Press which had been published on the Post's website was also removed. … A spokeswoman for the Post declined to comment. The spokeswoman did not dispute the account of events CNN Business provided to her, nor did she provide an explanation for the removal of the stories about Carroll's accusations. But the two people familiar with the matter [said] that Col Allan, the former editor-in-chief of the Post who currently works as an adviser to the paper, ordered the story to be scrubbed from the website.”
GET SMART FAST:
The International Olympic Committee selected Italy to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. The choice came down to either Stockholm-Åre in Sweden or Italy’s Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, reflecting how the games are increasingly moving toward split-location bids as the costs of hosting have skyrocketed. (Cindy Boren and Chico Harlan)
The U.S. women’s national soccer team defeated Spain 2-1 in the first game of knockout play. The U.S. victory sets the stage for a dramatic showdown against France in Friday’s quarterfinal match. (Steven Goff and Jacob Bogage)
The federal government’s first study of the nearly 15-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico estimates that up to 108 barrels per day — more than 4,500 gallons — is flowing from a site where an oil company’s platform and wells were destroyed during a hurricane. The report by two scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a Florida State University professor joined several others in disputing Taylor Energy’s claim that only one drop of oil per minute is being released from a small area covered in mud, amounting to less than three gallons each day. (Darryl Fears)
- Many new beverages feature CBD oil, or “active hemp extract,” even though it is still illegal at the federal level. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the CBD-infused waters and teas fall into a regulatory gray area because the ingredient can be derived from hemp or cannabis. It also remains illegal to add even approved drugs to human or animal food in interstate commerce. (Laura Reiley)
Lawmakers are finding out how hard it is to regulate data brokers that buy and sell the personal information of millions of Americans, sometimes without their knowledge. A law passed in Vermont required all businesses that trade data on state residents to register publicly, but few did so. (Douglas MacMillan)
A 23-year-old University of Utah student has been missing for more than a week since taking a Lyft to the northern part of Salt Lake City. Mackenzie Lueck took a Lyft from the airport to a park that is about a 20-minute drive from her home to meet an unidentified person, police said. They have spoken to Lueck’s Lyft driver and have uncovered no indications of foul play. (Alex Horton)
A new police video shows actor Jussie Smollett with a rope around his neck after the alleged hate crime hoax. The video is part of the hundreds of files the Chicago police have released into the investigation of Smollett’s claim that he was assaulted by two men in January. In the body camera video, Smollett can be heard saying he doesn’t want to be filmed. (CBS News)
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- Congressional liberals, angry at the treatment of migrant children at detention centers, forced House leaders to amend a bill that would deliver emergency aid to the border. Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade report: “Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) emerged Monday from a nearly two-hour meeting involving members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — two groups that had expressed concerns about delivering additional funding to the Trump administration — and said a vote would proceed on Tuesday. Changes to the $4.5 billion bill, he said, could be made before the vote to secure the necessary support from Democrats. ‘I think this bill will pass,’ Lujan said. … Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) attacked the idea that Congress would provide billions of dollars in more funding to detain unaccompanied children apprehended at the border. … Ocasio-Cortez and three other hard-left Democrats issued a statement Saturday insisting that they could not support the legislation, saying that it ‘continues to support a fundamentally cruel and broken immigration system.’”
-- Horrifying details continue to emerge about the conditions of migrant detention centers, where overcrowding and illness have become common. Meagan Flynn reports: “The image kept replaying in attorney W. Warren Binford’s mind after she left a migrant detention facility last week in Clint, Tex., where hundreds of children were held: The 15-year-old mother, her baby covered in mucus. It seemed no matter how many times she washed the sick baby’s clothes in the sink she couldn’t get them clean. There was no soap. And when she tried to find baby food, there was none of that, either. All they had was instant oatmeal for breakfast, instant soup for lunch and a frozen burrito for dinner, ‘every single day,’ Binford said. Child care was not the forte of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Binford could see. Here, in a warehouse filled with filthy kids who had not bathed in days, some with lice and influenza, it was kids taking care of kids.”
-- The government moved most of the children detained at that station in Clint after the AP reported that more than 300 children were detained there under inadequate conditions. The AP’s Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke report: “Just 30 children remained at the station outside El Paso Monday, said Rep. Veronica Escobar after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection. Attorneys who visited Clint last week said older children were trying to take care of infants and toddlers … Border Patrol officials have not responded to AP’s questions about the conditions at the Clint facility, but in an emailed statement Monday they said: ‘Our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis.’ Although it’s unclear where all the children held at Clint have been moved, Escobar said some were sent to another facility on the north side of El Paso called Border Patrol Station 1. Escobar said it’s a temporary site with roll-out mattresses, showers, medical facilities and air conditioning.”
-- People donating diapers and toys to children at Border Patrol facilities in Texas are being turned away. The Texas Tribune’s Alex Samuels reports: “A slew of other sympathetic people, advocacy groups and lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have expressed a desire to lend a hand to the kids housed in the facilities. But after purchasing items like toys, soap, toothbrushes, diapers and medicine — especially as news reports circulate of facilities having drinking water that tastes like bleach and sick children without enough clothing — they’ve been met with a common message: No donations are being accepted."
-- Americans should be horrified by the conditions migrant children are being detained in, The Post’s editorial board says: “Most pets get better treatment. The United States should be horrified and demand that the president and Congress take action, immediately, to provide humane care for these vulnerable young people. … Congress shares in the blame for its failure to address some of the issues that have led to an increase in illegal border crossings. It also has failed to act, after appropriating $400 million in February, on a larger supplemental spending bill to cope with the surge in migrants. A Senate version of the bill is headed to the floor with bipartisan support, but its future in the House is unclear. Some House Democrats, using the hashtags #NotOneDollar and #CloseTheCamps, have come out against additional funding because they think it will help advance the administration’s immigration and detention policies. Such thinking is irresponsible; children are hurting. Congress should provide the needed resources and then closely monitor how the money is spent.”
-- The Department of Justice lawyer who said the Flores settlement agreement does not explicitly require the government to supply migrant minors with soap, toothbrushes or beds, has received death threats. A DOJ spokeswoman said the lawyer, Sarah Fabian, has received “several” death threats after an edited clip of her discussing the Flores Settlement before a panel of judges went viral. (National Review)
THE SUPREME COURT:
-- The Supreme Court sided with an L.A. clothing designer in a case that challenged a federal ban on registering “immoral” and “scandalous” trademarks. Robert Barnes reports: “Five justices joined [Justice Elena] Kagan’s opinion in Iancu v. Brunetti. Los Angeles artist Erik Brunetti had sued the government, saying it violated the First Amendment by refusing to register the trademark for his ‘subversive’ clothing line: FUCT. Other justices on both sides of the court’s ideological divide worried that the ruling went too far and would leave the Patent and Trademark Office powerless to refuse, in the words of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, ‘registering marks containing the most vulgar, profane, or obscene words and images imaginable.’ Sotomayor feared that the government would now be forced to register trademarks that include even a ‘particularly egregious racial epithet.’ … Kagan was joined by an ideologically mixed group of justices: Alito, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.”
-- The justices also struck down a provision of a gun law that allowed prosecutors to seek harsher punishments for certain violent crimes involving firearms. Ann E. Marimow and Barnes report: “‘A vague law is no law at all,’ wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was joined by the court’s liberal justices, Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan. The 5-to-4 ruling came on what was originally scheduled to be the last day of the Supreme Court’s term. But the justices have not delivered opinions in eight case argued earlier in the term, including what role federal courts play in policing partisan gerrymandering, and whether the Trump administration may add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census form sent to every household. … In the gun case, Gorsuch assumed the role of the man he replaced, Antonin Scalia, a conservative who sided with liberal justices in similar criminal cases involving laws that lower courts deemed hard to decipher.”
-- In a blow for government transparency, the high court limited access to government documents sought by the Argus Leader newspaper in South Dakota by adopting a broad definition of the Freedom of Information Act. USA Today’s Jonathan Ellis and Richard Wolf report: “At issue was whether confidentiality, as used in a section of the [FOIA], means anything intended to be kept secret or only information likely to cause harm if publicized. The high court adopted the broader definition. [Gorsuch] wrote the 6-3 decision, with [Breyer], [Ginsburg] and [Sotomayor] dissenting. A retailers trade group, the Food Marketing Institute, and the federal government had argued for a broad definition that would leave ample room to keep data from the public. Media organizations and public interest groups favored a more narrow definition requiring harm, which would make confidentiality apply to fewer FOIA requests.”
-- The court agreed to hear a case next term on whether the federal government owes billions of dollars to health-care insurers because of an Obamacare program. Barnes reports: “The program, creating what is known as ‘risk corridors,’ was one of three strategies built into the 2010 health-care law to try to deter insurers participating in the new marketplaces from mainly seeking customers who are healthy and thus use little medical care. But insurers say the government never fully funded the program, and owe them $12 billion. … Originally, the program was not required to pay for itself, but, in a 2015 funding bill, congressional Republicans prohibited the Health and Human Services department from using any of its other resources for the program.”
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- The White House will bar counselor Kellyanne Conway from testifying before the House Oversight Committee about allegations that she violated the Hatch Act, increasing the likelihood of another subpoena battle. John Wagner, Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey report: “House Democrats counter, however, that the White House has no right to claim executive privilege or immunity for Conway because the alleged violations deal with her personal actions — not her duties advising the president or working in the West Wing.”
-- The House Judiciary Committee has reached a tentative agreement to have Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn, provide written answers to the panel’s questions and appear to testify after Nov. 1. Rachael Bade reports: “The panel, which subpoenaed Donaldson to appear on Monday, granted the delay because the former staffer no longer lives in the Washington area and is in her third trimester of pregnancy, limiting her ability to travel. … [T]he White House is likely to try to stop Donaldson from talking about her time working in the administration.”
-- Michael Flynn’s new lawyer said the defense team needs more time to obtain security clearances to access classified information before being able to discuss a sentencing date for the former U.S. national security adviser. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called for Monday’s hearing after Flynn retained conservative lawyer and commentator Sidney Powell earlier this month as his new counsel and fired his former defense team of Robert K. Kelner and Stephen P. Anthony. Powell, a former federal prosecutor and critic of [Bob] Mueller’s investigation, said that Flynn will continue to cooperate with the government, but that she needed time to get up to speed in the case. ‘There are more moving pieces in this representation than there are movements in an old-fashioned Swiss watch,’ she told Sullivan.”
-- The House Oversight Committee’s Democratic staff revealed that James Uthmeier, a former senior adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said Ross directed him to add a citizenship question to the Census. Felicia Sonmez and Tara Bahrampour report: “'Mr. Uthmeier disclosed that Secretary Ross directed him to begin examining the citizenship question within weeks of being sworn in as Secretary and that they had multiple conversations about it well before any request came from DOJ — erasing any doubt about the inaccuracy of Secretary Ross’ claim that he added the citizenship question ‘solely’ at DOJ’s request,’ the [Democratic] memo reads. Ross originally told Congress that his decision to add the question came solely in response to a December 2017 Justice Department request, but lawsuits later produced emails showing that Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, had been pushing for the question for months before that.”
-- House Democrats accused the White House of ignoring their questions about what happened to the transcribed notes from Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin. Bade reports: “The House Oversight Committee in a Monday morning letter to the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, doubled down on its request for answers about whether Trump destroyed or in any way altered the interpreter notes, which Democrats argue are federal records that must be preserved under record-keeping laws. The Oversight panel joined two additional Democratic-led committees in mid-February to inquire what happened to the documents. The White House, however, has refused to say, House Democrats said.”
-- Trump’s former adviser Jason Miller left his job at the prominent consulting firm Teneo days after unleashing an expletive-ridden tweetstorm against House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng reports: “Miller’s anger had been sparked by Nadler’s questioning of former Trump aide and confidante Hope Hicks during closed-door testimony several days prior. During that testimony, Nadler had referred to Hicks as ‘Ms. Lewandowski.’ The congressman later insisted it was a slip of the tongue, but his repeated use of the wrong surname led to the impression that he was referencing an alleged ‘affair’ between Hicks and one-time Trump campaign chief Corey Lewandowski. Miller, who served as communications director for Trump’s presidential transition and who is a close friend of Hicks since the campaign, put up at least four tweets in which he repeatedly mocked Nadler’s weight and behavior. In one, he said people should ‘call Mr. Nadler ‘Mr. MuffinTop.'"
-- A judge released new details about the scope and speed of special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation. CNN's Katelyn Polantz reports: “The pages largely show limited new details about Mueller's work, such as the redacted case names and dates for his 499 search warrants and 200 communications data requests. Mueller began getting permission for searches in early July 2017, not even two months following his appointment as special counsel, the documents show. His office did the bulk of its searches throughout 2018, conducting only a few searches this year, when the investigation was wrapping up. … Almost all of the hundreds of search and seizure cases revealed Monday are still under seal. Yet the lists still confirm that Mueller and the FBI gave extensive information about the special counsel's work to the court system.”
THE DOMESTIC AGENDA:
-- The fate of the last abortion clinic left in Missouri hangs on a judge’s ruling after the state denied it a license. Reis Thebault reports: “The state health department rejected the St. Louis Planned Parenthood’s permit application Friday morning. The expected move does not immediately affect the clinic’s operations because of a court order allowing it to operate during an ongoing legal dispute with Missouri officials. But a federal judge could effectively revoke that permission. … If the facility closes, Missouri would return to an era before the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide with its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade."
-- Trump signed an executive order intended to give Americans more transparent information about the cost and quality of health-care services. Amy Goldstein reports: “It is based on the idea, in fashion lately with both Republicans and Democrats, that greater transparency in hospital and other health-care prices will lead consumers to make better choices about where to get care and thus will save money. 'No Americans should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance,’ the president said in a signing ceremony in the White House’s grand foyer. … The most contentious part of the order requires health officials to propose a regulation within 60 days that would eventually require hospitals and doctors employed by hospitals to post their charges — including disclosing for the first time the discounted rates they negotiate with insurers. …
“The order itself does not immediately trigger changes in the health-care system. But it sets in motion several new rules HHS and other federal agencies will write and gives Trump a set of pro-consumer talking points in the first week after he formally announced his reelection campaign. … Tom Nickels, the American Hospital Association’s executive vice president for government relations and public policy, said the order’s language ‘is pretty vague’ about publicizing negotiated rates. … HHS Secretary Alex Azar told reporters during the media briefing that another part of the order calls for the government to consider proposals to give patients more information in advance about the out-of-pocket costs they will face.”
-- Although Trump called his executive order “the opposite of Obamacare,” he also said that the Affordable Care Act “works at least adequately now.” “I had a decision to make. Do we do a good job with Obamacare -- a remnant of Obamacare? Or do we do a bad job? If I do a bad job, well there you can blame Obama and the Democrats. If we do a good job, they'll get a little bit more credit, but it's still very faulty," Trump said. "It doesn't work and it's too expensive. And I told our great secretary (of Health and Human Services) Alex Azar, 'Don't do a good job. Do a great job.’ … Once we got rid of the individual mandate it made it better but Obamacare doesn't work -- but it works at least adequately now. And we had that choice to make. And politically it's probably not a good thing that I did, but it's the right thing to do for a lot of people." (CNN)
-- An estimated 400,000 households could lose food stamps under proposed Department of Agriculture regulations. Columnist Joe Davidson writes: “Members of Congress expect the Department of Agriculture to propose regulations that would eliminate or reduce the ability of states to allow food stamps for people earning more than 130 percent of poverty guidelines, which is $33,475 for a family of four. Democrats pointed out that the benefit amounts to $1.40 per person per meal. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly called SNAP — is often referred to as food stamps, its former name. While this proposal is expected soon, President Trump already has called for a 10-year, $220 billion cut for SNAP in his budget plan for fiscal 2020. In addition, some SNAP and other anti-poverty program recipients would be cut by the administration’s plan to change the consumer inflation measure used to determine eligibility in the programs.”
-- The Office of the Inspector General is evaluating whether the USDA concealed worker safety data to promote a new hog inspection system. Kimberly Kindy reports: “The USDA’s inspector general, Phyllis Fong, notified 16 members of Congress on Friday that her office has launched the probe in response to concerns the lawmakers raised in March, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. Under the proposed new system, plant owners would be allowed to run pork plant slaughter lines as fast as they want, a provision that has worker safety advocates concerned that worker injury rates would rise. The USDA said in a proposed rule — which if finalized would create the new system — that its data shows worker injury rates probably would be lower than those at traditional plants where limits are placed on line speeds.”
-- It’s been two weeks since the president signed an emergency funding bill into law, but Puerto Rico has still not received $600 million in food stamp aid. Jeff Stein and Arelis R. Hernández report: “Puerto Rico does not expect to be able to spend the emergency food stamp funding until September, most likely, six months after food stamp cuts began for the more than 1 million island residents who rely on the program, said Glorimar Andújar Matos, executive director of the Departamento de la Familia, the Puerto Rico government agency that administers the program."
-- Trump said American soccer star Megan Rapinoe’s silence during the national anthem at the World Cup was inappropriate. Rapinoe, who is gay, called herself a “walking protest” to the Trump administration and has said that the idea of someone like her can wear the U.S. kit is a “kind of a good ‘F’ you’ to any sort of inequality … that the administration might move towards people who don’t look exactly like him.” (Jake Russell)
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- Trump’s nominee to represent the United States at the United Nations, Kelly Craft, received an email from senior Environmental Protection Agency officials in her capacity as the U.S. ambassador to Canada. The EPA received an answer from her husband – billionaire coal magnate Joseph Craft. From the AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer: “The blurring of roles — and email accounts — by the Crafts this time and others since she began representing the U.S. is raising questions as senators consider her nomination. The U.N. post would give her a prime seat at international talks to fight climate change, in part by encouraging limits on the burning of coal, with its heat-trapping emissions. … Joseph Craft sent the acknowledgment on his work email for his Tulsa, Oklahoma-based coal company, Alliance Resource Partners LP. His response ended with the breezy auto-tag from his cellphone: ‘Sent from my iPhone powered by coal!’ … The State Department said Joseph Craft had been copied in on the EPA response to his ambassador wife after her Great Lakes discussion with [Scott] Pruitt because he ‘had played a role in facilitating the exchange.’ The statement did not elaborate, or say why his help was needed arranging a discussion between two government officials. ‘However, he does not play a role in official U.S. government business,’ the State Department said.”
-- Trump is getting tired of his acting chief of staff, but he’s unlikely to find a replacement in the foreseeable future. Politico’s Nancy Cook: “Trump’s honeymoon period with Mick Mulvaney is coming to an end. In recent weeks, Trump has been snapping at his acting chief of staff with some frequency, and expressing greater frustration with him than usual, according to four current and former senior administration officials. … While Mulvaney is not in danger of losing his job any time soon, officials stressed, Trump’s treatment of him still signals to aides the slow deterioration of their relationship has begun. … Ultimately, the president likes the hands-off approach Mulvaney has taken to his schedule, whims and decision-making style. More importantly, Trump is wary to embark on another chief of staff search after the last one played out in the press over several days with two top candidates turning down offers and a raft of negative headlines.”
-- Stephen Moore failed to join the board of the Federal Reserve, so he is now looking into starting his own cryptocurrency central bank, which is being billed as “the world’s decentralized central bank.” Fox Business’ Lydia Moynihan and Charles Gasparino report: “’Decentral,’ as it is known, will attempt to perform Fed like duties in terms of regulating the supply of crypto in the same way as the Fed controls the supply of money for the U.S. economy, they contend. It will exchange its own new token for other cryptos; the supply of the new cryptocurrency will be tied to the value of the dollar or some other ‘stable’ valuation method and will be strictly controlled by an algorithm, company officials tell FOX Business. Moore’s role is somewhat unclear. For now he is the group’s chief economic officer and will report to tech entrepreneur Sam Kazemian, Decentral’s chief executive officer.”
-- Mark Esper, the new acting secretary of defense, sent his first memo to all Pentagon employees dictating the department’s “path forward.” Fox News’s Talia Kaplan reports: “Esper said Monday the department’s priorities would ‘remain unchanged’ and everything the department did ‘should support its stated objectives.’ He then went on to explain ‘three mutually reinforcing lines of effort’ used to continue to expand the competitive space. They included building ‘a more lethal force,’ strengthening alliances and attracting new partners, as well as reforming the department ‘for greater performance and affordability.’”
-- Trump won’t reveal how confident he is in FBI director Christopher Wray. CNN’s Maegan Vazquez reports: “’Well, we'll see how it turns out,’ Trump told The Hill ... when asked about his confidence level in the FBI director, who has been on the job for nearly two years. ‘I mean, I disagree with him on that and I think a lot of people are disagreeing. You may even disagree with him on that,’ Trump said regarding his allegations of spying on his campaign. Trump also publicly disagreed with Wray when asked about taking dirt on political opponents in an interview with ABC earlier this month.”
-- Trump considered Facebook’s global policy head for a Cabinet position. Republican Joel Kaplan runs the company’s lobbying efforts out of his D.C. office and was considered to join the administration as the head of the Office of Management and Budget. (The Daily Beast)
THE 2020 CONGRESSIONAL MAP IS TAKING SHAPE:
-- Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of the Maine House, announced that she will challenge Sen. Susan Collins next year. “Susan Collins has been in the Senate for 22 years,” Gideon says in a video announcing her candidacy. “And at one point, maybe she was different than some of the other folks in Washington, but she doesn’t seem that way any more.” The video includes footage highlighting Collins’s support of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and the GOP tax overhaul. Gideon, who was encouraged to run by national Democrats, said Collins’s vote for Kavanaugh “may be paying off for her, but it’s put women’s control over their own health-care decisions in extreme jeopardy.” (John Wagner)
-- Retired Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc (R) announced he challenge New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). CBS News’s Eleanor Watson and Nicole Sganga report: “Bolduc, who spent 32 years in the Army, said at his announcement that the current leadership in Washington haven't secured the border, addressed student debt, or ended the opioid crisis. Although Bolduc is running as a Republican, he did not refer to [Trump] in his speech. Bolduc told the crowd that he has nothing against Shaheen, who has been in the Senate since 2009, but that ‘she has been a part of failed leadership in Washington for too long.’ Bolduc also said that he would not ‘engage in personal destruction’ as a candidate.”
-- Chuck Schumer is trying to dissuade J.D. Scholten, who ran against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) last year, from entering the race against Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in order to clear the field for another candidate. Time’s Lissandra Villa reports: “A source familiar with the situation [said] that Schumer flew [Scholten] to Washington in March to discuss his plans and later attempted to dissuade him from jumping into the race in a phone call. Few Democrats in the state have the statewide recognition to pull off a competitive bid for the Republican’s seat, but currently Theresa Greenfield, the president of a Des Moines real estate business, is the frontrunner for the nomination. She is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Meanwhile, Scholten has been openly considering jumping into the race as well. ‘We don’t need a primary,’ Schumer told Scholten on a phone call at the end of May, according to the source.”
-- Schumer has said the Democratic Senate recruits reflect the party’s efforts to recreate the success of the 2018 takeover by their House counterparts. Politico’s James Arkin and Burgess Everett report: “After their highest-profile recruits passed on Senate campaigns, Democrats are relying on a collection of relatively unknown and untested candidates to retake the Senate in 2020 — a challenging task given a map tilted toward Republican territory. But what the recruits lack in name ID, party leaders say, they compensate for with their profiles: Several are women and military veterans, boasting the type of résumés that Democrats rode to the House majority last year. ‘These are sort of on the 2018 House model,’ [Schumer] said in an interview of recently announced candidates. ‘Most of them are not traditional, old-time politicians. They are new, fresh-faced.’”
-- Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a freshman who formerly served as Ted Cruz's chief of staff, is courting right-wing support – and a tough 2020 race. Mike DeBonis reports: “Roy has quickly earned a reputation as a lawmaker who is unconcerned about annoying his colleagues and, in the eyes of some observers, about retaining a seat that he won by 2.6 percentage points last fall. ‘I think it’s really important that the people in this town not get comfortable that they can just kind of move through business and not solve the issue of the day,’ Roy said in an interview last week. ‘I get that it causes some pain; I understand that. I don’t take joy in that, but I’m not bothered by it, either.’ Moments later, Roy walked onto the House floor to make an obscure procedural motion that forced an unplanned roll-call vote and delayed amendment debate for more than an hour.”
-- Pompeo is facing a dilemma: should he stay in the administration as Secretary of State or bet on his own future? Politico’s Burgess Everett and Eliana Johnson report: “Over the coming months, the former GOP congressman will have to decide whether to stay as one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted advisers — something many Trump allies say is his patriotic duty amid myriad international crises — or seek a Senate seat in Kansas that could lay the groundwork for a presidential run of his own. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing hard for Pompeo to choose the latter.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s former spy chief, Gen. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, is now in the U.S. armed with allegations against his ex-boss’s government. An exclusive from Anthony Faiola, who talked to Figuera for twelve hours: “Figuera doesn’t regret turning against his boss. ‘I’m proud of what I did,’ he said last week from a hotel room in central Bogota. ‘For now, the regime has gotten ahead of us. But that can quickly change.’ … Figuera ran an agency accused of arbitrary detentions and torture. He was one of five senior Venezuelan officials placed under sanctions by the Trump administration in February. His wooing indicates the moral trade-offs Maduro’s opponents have been willing to make in the effort to remove him. Figuera defends his work advancing Chavismo. But he says he regrets some of its excesses. … ‘I thought I would be able to make Maduro see sense. I couldn’t.’”
Figuera’s allegations include: illicit gold deals, Hezbollah cells working in Venezuela and a look into the extent of Cuba’s influence inside Maduro’s presidential palace. “Figuera had begun to investigate allegations about a company set up by an assistant to Maduro’s 29-year-old son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra. He said the company had established a monopoly on buying gold from small miners in the country’s south at discounted prices and selling it at elevated prices to Venezuela’s central bank. He was preparing to go to Maduro with the information, he said, but was warned off by a key Maduro aide. Figuera said he uncovered what he described as money laundering involving then-Vice President Tareck El Aissami, now Maduro’s minister of industries, who has been placed under sanctions and indicted in the United States on drug-trafficking charges. … Figuera said he saw intelligence indicating that illegal groups were operating in Venezuela with the protection of the government. They included members of the Colombian guerrilla group ELN, active around mining areas in southern Bolivar state and promising to provide a first line of defense should foreigners invade Venezuela.”
-- A Chinese bank that is involved in a probe into North Korean sanctions and money laundering faces the financial “death penalty” after a U.S. judge found it and two others in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “The order triggers for the first time a provision that could cut off one of China’s largest banks from the U.S. financial system at the demand of the U.S. attorney general or treasury secretary. The three banks are not identified, but details in court rulings align with a 2017 civil forfeiture action in which the Justice Department alleged that China’s state-owned Bank of Communications, China Merchants Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank worked with a Hong Kong front company accused of laundering more than $100 million for North Korea’s sanctioned, state-run Foreign Trade Bank. The bank at risk of losing access to U.S. dollars, the lifeblood of international finance, appears to be SPDB, China’s ninth-largest bank by assets, whose roughly $900 billion makes it comparable in size to Goldman Sachs.”
-- One-third of Americans would support a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea, new research found. Simon Denyer reports: “The survey of 3,000 Americans was conducted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and British research firm YouGov, and asked people to consider a scenario in which North Korea had tested a long-range missile and the U.S. government was considering how to respond. Most did not want their government to launch a preemptive strike, but a large minority supported such a strike, whether by conventional or nuclear weapons. … The report was conducted in February, presumably before the breakdown of a summit between [the nations’ two leaders in Hanoi].”
-- Trump is privately considering ending a postwar defense treaty with Japan. Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reports: “Trump regards the accord as too one-sided because it promises U.S aid if Japan is ever attacked but doesn’t oblige Japan’s military to come to America’s defense, the people said. The treaty, signed more than 60 years ago, forms the foundation of the alliance between the countries that emerged from World War Two. Even so, the president hasn’t taken any steps toward pulling out of the treaty, and administration officials said such a move is highly unlikely. All of the people asked not to be identified discussing Trump’s private conversations.”
-- An American man was arrested for an “attempt to overthrow” the Vietnamese government. Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, from Orange County, Calif., was also sentenced to 12 years in jail for allegedly inciting people to participate in protests with the intent to attack government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. (CBS News)
-- The Trump administration is using images from aid programs that Trump cut off to promote Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan. From CNN’s Oren Liebermann: “’We were surprised to see our photos used in such a document that is explaining the 'Deal of the Century,' which is rejected by the Palestinian people,’ [Bassam Aramin, father of a girl killed by an Israeli border guard in 2007] told CNN. ‘No one asked for our permission to use our photos.’ Aramin was not the only one. In at least eight different instances in the economic plan document and website, the White House appears to have used images lifted directly from USAID programs that it defunded.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
A House Democrat demanded more answers about the conditions of migrant detention faclities:
Many questions remain to understand what happened and the Trump admin. should answer:— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) June 24, 2019
How many children in Clint were separated from their parents?
What is the administration doing to reunite these families?
Who will be held accountable for these atrocities?
An American journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008 compared his detention conditions to those migrant children are facing at the border:
The Taliban gave me toothpaste & soap.— David Rohde (@RohdeD) June 24, 2019
A Democratic senator commented on the Trump administration's Iran policy:
Kind of feels like they meet each morning to decide what the Iran policy will be that day. https://t.co/nt3SzlFRbo— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 24, 2019
A Post reporter shared this photo from Pompeo's meeting with the Saudi king:
A CNN anchor tweeted this in response to Pompeo's trip to Saudi Arabia:
A freshman House Democrat voiced support for canceling student debt after Sanders released his plan:
👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 24, 2019
Bill de Blasio sought debate advice from his son:
Lucky to have the talented, debater Dante de Blasio helping me get ready for Wednesday! pic.twitter.com/my51wahM6S— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 24, 2019
Jay Inslee and his wife debated whether one can ever have too many cloud pictures:
One of Inslee's advisers also noted this uninvited attendee at a campaign event:
One Warren organizer is a huge fan of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
Warren organizer in Iowa got a lip tattoo of "CFPB" https://t.co/rLzaItDqt1— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) June 24, 2019
Author Stephen King, a Maine resident, endorsed Collins's challenger:
It’s time for Susan Collins to go. https://t.co/rs5Rs1Yczb— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 24, 2019
Italy's nationalist deputy prime minister celebrated the country's successful Olympics bid, claiming the games would create 20,000 jobs:
Vince l’ITALIA, vince lo sport!— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) June 24, 2019
Viva i giochi olimpici e paralimpici invernali del 2026, che significano almeno 20.000 posti di lavoro creati, tanti investimenti e 5 miliardi di euro di valore aggiunto per l’Italia.
GRAZIE, al lavoro😊🇮🇹#Olimpiadi2026 #MilanoCortina pic.twitter.com/l8UREn9KS4
And three astronauts returned to Earth after 204 days in space:
📍 There’s no place like home! Mission teams confirmed that @AstroAnnimal and two of her crewmates landed safely at 10:47pm ET after spending 204 days in space conducting science and maintenance aboard the @Space_Station. Coverage continues: https://t.co/ZuxLDtzW9c pic.twitter.com/YC9UzBpRC1— NASA (@NASA) June 25, 2019
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Wall Street Journal, “Don’t Want Your School to Be Named for a Confederate General? Find Someone Else Named Lee,” by Tawnell D. Hobbs: “Many school districts are wrestling with sometimes contentious debates over being named for Confederate figures, while also facing tight budgets. The solution, they are finding, can be picking someone with a similar name. … In the Houston Independent School District, officials changed a school named for Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier to the late Bob Lanier, a former mayor of the city. The Austin school district’s Robert E. Lee Elementary is now Russell Lee Elementary, named for a Depression-era photographer."
-- A black Revolutionary War hero from Maryland is being honored at last after being denied the freedom he fought for twice. Jonathan M. Pitts reports: “James Robinson, who was born into slavery in Maryland in the mid-18th century, was denied his liberty for most of his life, and he never received the military honors he’d earned. That changed over the weekend. Robinson, an Eastern Shore native whose 1868 obituary described him as ‘loved by all and venerated by all,’ was given a military funeral Saturday in his adopted hometown of Detroit. Sponsored by two military legacy organizations, the event at the historic Elmwood Cemetery included an honor guard, a flag presentation, speeches, a 21-gun salute and the dedication of two bronze emblems representing the conflicts in which he fought: the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.”
-- The Economist, “Medical marijuana is not the way out of America’s opioid crisis,”: “The idea that cannabis legalisation—for both medical and recreational purposes—could seriously make a dent in America’s opioid crisis is common. This month, the state health commissioner of New York issued emergency regulations allowing anyone with an opioid addiction to obtain medical marijuana, calling it “a critical step in combating the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state”. Illinois has introduced a similar programme. Yet the evidence behind the theory that legalising marijuana can help combat opioid addiction is thin. And the consequences of bad policy could be severe.”
-- The New Yorker, “The Hidden Cost of GoFundMe Healthcare,” by Nathan Heller: “The platform has the familiar social-media effect of publicizing private struggles. Patterns emerge. A common theme among medical fund-raisers is feeling locked out of the system: not knowing whom to call next, or how to push past a bureaucratic blockade, or whether there are any options left. Class in the United States is commonly framed in terms of money or profession, but those things fluctuate in the course of an adult American life in a way that class usually does not. A more telling index of class is access to opportunity—one’s sense of how to begin to begin, one’s social sphere. The true mark of class vulnerability today isn’t the capacity to run out of money but the capacity to run out of options. In the blind alleys of public health, GoFundMe has become both a first stop and a last resort.”
-- “Can Democrats win back the internet in the age of Trump?” Vanity Fair Peter Hamby writes: “Voters might be retreating into their phones and hiding from traditional campaign outreach, but the early Trump moment was also marked by spontaneous grassroots convulsions of like the women’s marches or March For Our Lives, creating fresh opportunities to organize. Companies like Mobilize America, Tuesday Company and OutVote—all seeded by Higher Ground—began developing tools to make it easier for activists to connect and build their movements from the ground up, as well as share manpower across campaigns, without the top-down structure of a regular political organizations. OutVote was launched after Trump’s election in Cambridge, Massachusetts by a pair of millennials, Naseem Makiya, a Harvard-educated engineer, and Nadeem Mazen, an MIT graduate and former city councilman. The goal was to empower everyday activists with modern political tools, without waiting for guidance from experienced Washington hands, a decentralized and distributed organizing model powered by fingers tapping a smartphone.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Ex-Fox Newser Carl Cameron takes his ‘unfinished business’ to progressive startup,” from Erik Wemple: “When folks leave Fox News, they quite often pursue projects that align with the worldview of their former employer. … Carl Cameron, who covered politics for Fox News over two decades, is veering from that path. ‘I have a little bit of unfinished business,’ says Cameron. He is teaming up with Joseph Romm, an author and reporter on climate science and climate policy at ThinkProgress, an ‘editorially independent’ arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Their collaboration is FrontPageLive.com, a news site where progressives can find stories that feed their sensibilities. A news release calls the site ‘the go-to liberal antidote’ to the Drudge Report, the aggregator that for more than two decades has been amplifying news reports with a conservative spin.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Star-Studded Cast to Perform Live Reading of the Mueller Report,” from Variety: “Haven’t perused the Mueller report yet? A star-studded cast, including Annette Bening, Kevin Kline, and John Lithgow, can read it to you. For one night only on Monday, June 24, stars [performed] a live reading of passages from the Mueller report for ‘The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts,’ Robert Schenkkan’s stage adaptation of the Mueller report. The live performance [was] streamed online only on the website for Law Works. … The cast of the event also includes Justin Long, Piper Perabo, Michael Shannon, and Zachary Quinto, among others. Sigourney Weaver, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Mark Hamill will also make appearances. Law Works is an organization catering to bipartisan voices to make sure that the public is educated on the Mueller investigation among other issues in American politics.”
Trump will sign an executive order on the creation of a White House Council focused on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. He will then present the Medal of Honor to David Bellavia, the first Iraq War veteran to receive it. He will later meet with supporters and participate in a fundraising committee reception at the Trump International Hotel.
Pence will fly to Miami to speak at the Trump for President, Latino coalition rollout. He will then receive a briefing at the National Hurricane Center, wher he will also deliver remarks before returning to D.C.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“He’s not taking any crap. I mean, he’s taking on political correctness; he’s taking fights that a lot of people want to see fought. The forgotten man that he speaks to is a person that finally feels like they’re being taken seriously, they’re being paid attention to. And he’s concerned about their issues.” – Former House speaker Paul Ryan on Trump’s appeal to voters. (Felicia Sonmez)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Enjoy the lower humidity today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “After some unsettled weather overnight, we’re aiming for calmer conditions in the days ahead, even as temperatures stick to the hotter side. Humidity is slightly lower today and especially tomorrow despite highs near or past 90. But the heat and humidity worsen on Thursday and Friday as the heat index gets into the more serious range. The weekend is trickier as a series of cool fronts could spark the return of scattered showers and storms.”
-- Members of the D.C. council are upset over the arrest of a man trying to help a juvenile detained by the Metro Transit Police. Peter Hermann reports: “Prosecutors in the District on Monday dropped all criminal charges against a man who was shoved by a Metro Transit Police officer and then hit with a stun gun as police accused him of interfering with the questioning of a handcuffed teenager at the U Street station. Tapiwa Musonza, 28, was freed from jail as activists, members of the D.C. Council and his family blamed the officer for escalating an impassioned discussion into a violent confrontation. A bystander captured the incident on video that spread over social media. … Six members of the D.C. Council expressed concern over the incident, and at least two called on Metro’s police chief, Ron Pavlik, to suspend the officer during an internal investigation that began Sunday. Metro kept the officer on full-duty status. A Metro spokesman did not respond to a request to interview Pavlik.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Seth Meyers took a look at the tensions between the U.S. and Iran:
Stephen Colbert said Trump's decision to stall any attack on Iran is the first thing he "has ever ordered and not finished":
Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor apologized after a video emerged showing her yelling at campus officers for asking her to remain at the scene of a fender bender she was involved in: