With Emily Davies

THE BIG IDEA: President Trump has soured on hiring generals, whom he stocked his administration with at the beginning. Remember John Kelly, Jim Mattis, Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster.

But the billionaire’s fondness has grown for stocking the Cabinet with lobbyists, lawyers and executives from the corporate class. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was an oil industry lobbyist. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler was a coal lobbyist. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was a pharmaceutical executive. Personnel is policy, and these men are pursuing for Trump what Steve Bannon famously called “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Trump’s announcement last night that he will nominate Eugene Scalia to replace Alex Acosta as the next labor secretary offers the freshest, and maybe even starkest, example. Scalia, the son of the late Antonin Scalia, has spent most of his career at a white-shoe law firm helping Corporate America thwart federal regulations and fighting various organizing efforts by employees. The 55-year-old is active in the Federalist Society and a partner in the D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

His biography on the law firm’s website touts legal work he’s done on behalf of Ford Motor, Steve Wynn’s casinos, UBS, UPS, MetLife, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the Business Roundtable, plus the main telecommunications and retail industry trade associations. His bio also outlines some of the fights he’s waged, often successfully, against regulations or enforcement actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Labor Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

In a 2012 profile, the Wall Street Journal called Scalia “one of the industry's go-to guys for challenging financial regulations.”

In a review of his record, today’s New York Times highlights three other cases: “In 2006, he helped Walmart triumph in a prominent fight against a Maryland law that would have required companies with more than 10,000 workers to either spend at least 8 percent of their payroll costs on health care, or pay into a state Medicaid fund. He argued that allowing individual states to establish health care mandates would create chaos and that the federal government should address the issue of rising health care costs. Mr. Scalia also defended Boeing in a politically charged case. A union representing the company’s workers in Washington State argued that Boeing had violated labor law by threatening to open another assembly plant in South Carolina unless the union agreed to a no-strike clause in its contract.”

-- The impetus for Acosta’s resignation last Friday was his 2008 plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein, but another huge factor was that corporate chieftains didn’t think the secretary was being aggressive enough in trying to roll back protections for their workers. It has been widely reported that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who confessed last year while speaking to Wall Street bankers that as a member of Congress he did not meet with lobbyists unless they gave him money, chewed out Acosta during a meeting earlier this year and subsequently sought to oust him.

-- Scalia will almost certainly be confirmed easily by the Republican-controlled Senate. In 2002, however, George W. Bush used a recess appointment to subvert the opposition of the Senate and install Scalia as acting solicitor at the Labor Department. The Democratic-controlled chamber blocked Scalia’s nomination because of his outspoken antagonism toward unions and opposition of the ergonomics rule, which protected workers from repetitive stress injuries on the job. It had been a priority for Bill Clinton during his final year in office.

“Ergonomic regulation will force companies to give more rest periods, slow the pace of work and then hire more workers (read: dues-paying members) to maintain current levels of production,” Scalia wrote in an op-ed for the Journal in 2000.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a veteran of that battle, lamented last night that “Trump has again chosen someone who has proven to put corporate interests over those of worker rights.” He added that “union members who believed candidate Trump when he campaigned as pro-worker should feel betrayed.”

The younger Scalia, who graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and studied at the University of Virginia as an undergraduate, also worked as a special assistant to Bill Barr during his previous tour of duty as attorney general under George H.W. Bush. And he wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan’s education secretary William Bennett.

-- Meanwhile, Trump’s pending nominee for secretary of defense, Army Secretary Mark Esper, spent years as a top lobbyist for Raytheon, which received $18.1 billion in unclassified defense contracts last year. He was elevated to acting secretary last month after Patrick Shanahan, a former top Boeing executive, withdrew after details emerged about a contentious divorce, including an incident in which his son attacked his ex-wife with a baseball bat.

At his confirmation hearing this week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Esper declined to extend a 24-month ethics commitment he signed upon joining the administration in 2017. That means that, after November, he will no longer need to steer clear of decisions involving Raytheon. Esper also declined to commit to not working for a private defense company for the four years after he leaves the Pentagon. (The Center for Responsive Politics has a lengthy list of lobbyists who got sub-Cabinet jobs in the Trump administration.)

-- There are daily proof points that the former lobbyists in the administration are advancing Trump’s quest to eviscerate the administrative state. Just last night, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency quietly rejected a petition by environmental and public health groups to ban a widely used pesticide that has been linked to neurological damage in children, even though a federal court said last year there was “no justification” for such a decision.

“The Obama administration had proposed in 2015 to revoke all uses of chlorpyrifos after EPA scientists determined that existing evidence did not meet the agency’s threshold of a ‘reasonable certainty of no harm,’ given exposure levels in Americans’ food supply and drinking water,” Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin report. “EPA staffers cited studies of families exposed to it in apartment buildings and agricultural communities that found lower birth weight and reduced IQ, among other effects. But before the ban was finalized, in March 2017, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected the agency’s own analysis, saying the agency would reassess the science underpinning that decision. … That action, welcomed by the pesticide industry and Agriculture Department officials who had questioned the EPA’s findings, led to the latest court fight.”

-- Part of the battle to deconstruct the administrative state is a war of attrition. Two research agencies at the Agriculture Department are uprooting from D.C. to Kansas City this fall, for instance, but many staffers have decided to give up their jobs rather than move, prompting concerns of hollowed-out offices unable to adequately fund or inform agricultural science. “About two-thirds of the USDA employees declined their reassignments,” Ben Guarino reports. “Ninety-nine of 171 employees at the Economic Research Service, an influential federal statistical agency, will not move. At the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which manages a $1.7 billion portfolio in scientific funding, 151 of 224 employees declined to relocate. … Jack Payne, University of Florida’s vice president for agriculture and natural resources, warned that the hemorrhage of employees will devastate ERS and NIFA. ‘This is the brain drain we all feared, possibly a destruction of the agencies,’ Payne said.”

-- The Trump administration has been chipping away at post-9/11 programs designed to prevent terrorism in the United States. A new Los Angeles Times investigation found that multiple programs under the Department of Homeland Security, aimed at detecting and preventing terrorism, have been cut back or dismantled entirely without rigorous risk assessments.

-- As a result of retirements and a federal hiring freeze, the number of compliance safety and health officers tasked with conducting workplace inspections at OSHA – which is part of the Labor Department – has been falling since Trump took office, despite public pledges from Acosta that he’d boost the number of such officers on the beat.

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will face off again in the next two-night debate at the end of July, while the ideologically aligned Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will appear together the other night. CNN, which is hosting the debate, held a televised, live drawing last night to determine the lineups. Joining Sanders and Warren on the first night, July 30, will be Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney and Marianne Williamson. The next night, July 31, with Biden and Harris, will be Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bill de Blasio, Michael Bennet, Tulsi Gabbard and Jay Inslee.

“The Democratic field is the most diverse ever and yet all five minority candidates ended up on the same night,” Colby Itkowitz notes. “Who is matched with whom can shift the trajectory of the race, as Harris showed in the first debate when she went after Biden on the issue of busing. The aftershocks of that moment were felt for days later, culminating in Biden giving a major speech defending his civil rights record. A rematch gives Harris another shot to handicap Biden, while Biden gets an opportunity for a do-over after his fumbling performance last time. … For socialist democrat Sanders and capitalist Warren, who are vying for many of the same far-left voters, their matchup allows them the chance to differentiate. It also denies Sanders a chance to go after Biden, whom he competes with for the populist and working-class vote. In the past week, Sanders has targeted Biden for not embracing Medicare-for-all, providing a preview of how hard he planned to go after Biden if given the opportunity.”

-- The debate in Detroit could be a season finale for as many as half the candidates who have made the stage, as they struggle to meet the higher qualification requirements that will go into effect for later televised gatherings. (Annie Linskey and Michael Scherer)

-- Unionized campaign organizers working for Sanders are clashing with the campaign manager, according to internal communications leaked to Sean Sullivan: “Campaign field hires have demanded an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which Sanders for years has said should be the federal minimum. The organizers and other employees supporting them have invoked the senator’s words and principles in making their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir. A review of emails, instant messages and other documents obtained by The Post show that the conflict dates back to at least May and remains unresolved. … The Sanders campaign made history in March when it announced that all employees below the rank of deputy director would be represented by a union. The Warren and Castro campaigns followed suit.”

The Sanders campaign responds that it’s offering wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, pointing to the latest fundraising reports. “Bernie Sanders is the most pro-worker and pro-labor candidate running for president,” Shakir emails. “Bernie and I both strongly believe in the sanctity of the collective bargaining process and we will not deviate from our commitment to it.”

-- A new Pew poll finds that Democratic voters are relatively satisfied with their choices for president. The level of excitement is comparable to 2008 and significantly higher than in 2016.

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away. Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it, per Dan Lamothe and Liz Sly. In New York, meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that if Congress lifts sanctions against the country, Tehran will commit firmly to allowing international inspections of its nuclear program, per Carol Morello.

  2. An alleged Islamic State fighter and American citizen has returned to the United States, transported by the U.S. military to face terrorism-related charges. He was previously held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which has custody of more than 2,000 foreign Islamic State fighters. (CNN)

  3. Millions of opioid pills found their way to the remote city of Norton in southwestern Virginia’s coal country. Over the course of seven years, from 2006 through 2012, the local Walmart received more than 3.5 million opioids. The CVS received more than 1.3 million. Those numbers come from a Washington Post analysis of a newly released Drug Enforcement Administration database that shows that the pharmaceutical industry pumped out 76 billion pills over that seven-year period. (Joel Achenbach)

  4. The New Jersey judge who said a 16-year-old boy accused of sexual assault should not be tried as an adult because he came from a “good family” resigned under pressure. And another New Jersey judge who asked a woman if she had attempted to close her legs to stop being raped has been suspended by the state’s high court. (Timothy Bella)

  5. The Senate agreed to vote Tuesday on legislation that would extend a victims compensation fund for 9/11 workers. The chamber will consider amendments by conservative Mike Lee to stiffen oversight of the spending and from Rand Paul to demand spending cuts as offsets. But the bill has 75 co-sponsors in the Senate and is expected to easily pass. (Felicia Sonmez and Devlin Barrett)

  6. Boeing said the grounding of its 737 Max jets would reduce its revenue and earnings by $5.6 billion in the second quarter, the largest financial effect of two deadly crashes of the jetliner so far. (Douglas MacMillan

  7. In Berkeley, Calif., “man-made” will soon be “human made,” “chairman” will become “chairperson,” and “manhole” will change to “maintenance hole” — at least in the city’s municipal code. In an effort to make Berkeley more inclusive for its non-binary residents, the city council voted to make the language more gender neutral, following a city clerk review that found that the municipal code primarily contained masculine pronouns. (Kayla Epstein)

  8. The Federal Trade Commission is considering updates to the children’s online privacy law, a process that could change underage engagement on YouTube, Instagram, Fortnite and more. (Tony Romm and Craig Timberg)

  9. Russia continues its campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Moscow. The Kremlin refused visas for 30 new teachers at a school that educates the children of Western diplomats. The school, overseen by U.S., British and Canadian embassies, has 1,100 children from more than 60 countries. Vladimir Putin is trying to bully the U.S. into rolling back restrictions that were put in place by the Obama administration for 2016 election interference. (Associated Press)

-- Best headline of the week, and of course it’s from Florida: “Five guys arrested after fist fight at Five Guys.” (Orlando Sentinel)

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS:

  1. Tens of thousands of Puerto Rican protesters continue to occupy the blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan to demand that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resign amid allegations of corruption and the revelation of a scandalous group chat involving his inner circle. The mobilization against the 40-year-old, who has refused to leave the governor’s mansion, known as the Fortress, represents one of the largest demonstrations of public repudiation of the Puerto Rican government in its history. (Arelis R. Hernández and Jeff Stein)
  2. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he’s making progress in negotiating a budget deal with Democrats but that significant provisions remained unresolved. Mnuchin, in an interview on CNBC from France, said negotiators had agreed to “top line” spending numbers for 2020 and 2021. Some lawmakers expressed concern that a rift among White House advisers could imperil the deal at a final stage of negotiations. (Damian Paletta, Erica Werner and Yasmeen Abutaleb)
  3. A federal judge said he is skeptical that there is enough evidence to convict Michael Flynn’s former business partner of illegally lobbying for Turkey after the former national security adviser failed to testify. Despite his comments, Judge Anthony Trenga declined for the moment to throw out the case against Bijan Rafiekian, an Iranian American businessman who ran a consulting firm with Flynn called the Flynn Intel Group. But the judge can revisit the concerns he expressed after hearing all the government’s evidence, before or after the case goes to a jury. (Rachel Weiner)
  4. Jeffrey Epstein will remain jailed while he awaits trial on new allegations that he sexually abused children. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman issued a 33-page written decision, saying that he was “concerned for new victims” and that Epstein’s alleged sexual conduct with young girls “appears likely to be uncontrollable.” (Renae Merle and Matt Zapotosky)
  5. She famously flipped off the president. Now Juli Briskman is running for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. (Petula Dvorak)
  6. Big Bird, Elmo and the rest of “Sesame Street” will make history as the first television program to receive the nation’s performing arts award at the Kennedy Center Honors in December. Actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt and R&B band Earth Wind & Fire will also be recognized for their lifetime achievements. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is the fifth honoree. (Peggy McGlone)

DIVIDED AMERICA:

-- The newest rallying cry for Trump supporters — “Send her back!” — is reverberating across a divided nation fraught with racial tension. We deployed reporters in 10 states to collect reactions from voters to the president’s racist tweets and the chants from an almost entirely white crowd at his rally in North Carolina. Toluse Olorunnipa weaves the choice quotes together to paint a portrait of an America riven by racial discord:

“Mary Thomas, who works at a restaurant near Wayne State University in Detroit, says the country’s racial climate is the worst she’s seen in her 60 years — a period that includes Detroit’s 1967 race riots when the National Guard was deployed. Thomas, who is black, blames Trump. ‘I think he’s racist,’ she said. ‘I really think he is.’

“Dan Wendel, a Boston contractor, had a different view about Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and three other congresswomen. ‘You really want to know? I love it!’ he said outside a building he was working on in Southie, a gentrifying working-class neighborhood of Boston. A 10-minute drive from Southie, in the racially mixed neighborhood of Dorchester, Trish Mullen said she has never felt as unsafe as she does with Trump as president. ‘It’s just embarrassing that we have someone representing our country that’s just foul,’ said Mullen, who came to the United States from the Philippines when she was 5.

“In Baton Rouge, Tammy Harrison said Trump’s comments were being exaggerated by the media. The 60-year-old Republican said she agreed with the president’s comments. … In Harrison’s view, Trump’s remarks targeting the four congresswomen were about ideology, not race.

“In Colorado, Diana Higuera said the chants that emanated from the North Carolina rally reminded her of the fraught political situations in country she left to come to the United States. ‘The situation in my country right now is not in good shape, and now I’m not so sure how safe this country is becoming,’ said Higuera, 47, who came to the United States in 2005 from Venezuela to study for a master’s degree. ‘As a foreigner, now I don’t feel safe — even though I’m naturalized — I still have an accent, and I speak Spanish to my kids.’

“Robert Hall, 33, who designs Blackfeet language curriculum for schools on the nation’s reservation in northwestern Montana, said he was entirely unsurprised by way the crowd responded at the rally. ‘We know it’s racism,’ Hall said. ‘To me it’s baffling. I don’t understand why racist people don’t just look us in the eye and say, ‘Yes, I’m racist.’ Liberate yourselves, then we can have an honest conversation.’”

-- More coverage:

  • Star Tribune: “Supporters rally around Ilhan Omar following 'Send her back!' attacks. A crowd of cheering supporters at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was a loud counterpoint to a turbulent week."
  • Ashley Parker: “How a racist tweet became a Trump rally chant in three short days.”
  • Fact Checker Sal Rizzo: “Trump falsely claims he tried to stop ‘Send her back!’ chants.”
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen: “In Trump’s vision of a white America, immigrants should be grateful and servile.” 
  • Jennifer Hassan, Kayla Epstein and Adam Taylor: “Angela Merkel says she rejects Trump’s racist remarks, stands ‘in solidarity’ with Ilhan Omar.”
  • Eugene Robinson: “Trump has become the voice of insecure white Americans.”
  • David Maraniss: “A racist chant is not what patriotism looks like.”
  • ABC News: “US government routinely sues companies for language that mirrors Trump's racist 'go back' tweets.”

-- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who was at the rally, defended the president. He said he had no control over the crowd and likened it to a rock concert. (Felicia Sonmez, Rachael Bade and Seung Min Kim)

-- The Marine Corps confronted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) over his use of its official emblem and slogan in a mailer that targeted three Muslim officials. Through a cease-and-desist letter to Hunter, the Marine Corps demanded that he no longer use its official emblem nor the motto “No better friend, no worse enemy” in campaign ads. The advertisement included photographs of Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is challenging Hunter for his seat. (NBC News)

-- ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, ripping Trump, derided his network’s no-politics policy: “There’s a racial division in this country that’s being instigated by the president, and we here at ESPN haven’t had the stomach for that fight,” Le Batard said Thursday on his daily radio show. (Des Bieler)

-- The Philadelphia Police Department will fire 13 officers who paired endorsements of violence with racism and homophobia in a slew of derogatory Facebook posts unearthed by an advocacy group. Reis Thebault reports: “The officers, one of whom was a sergeant, were among the 72 removed from street duty and placed on administrative leave in June, when the department announced its sweeping investigation into social media activity published by the nonprofit Plain View Project. The group examined Facebook pages of 3,500 current and former officers at eight departments across the country, and its findings spurred internal investigations from Phoenix to Lake County, Fla. In Philadelphia, the Plain View Project identified some 3,100 offensive or potentially offensive posts from 328 active-duty police officers. Of that number, the most offensive were placed on leave while a department-hired law firm probed the matter, Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference. In addition to the officers that will be dismissed, four others will be suspended for a month.”

-- Trump has helped to unite House Democrats, who are moving to quiet the searing internal feud that threatened to spin out of control last week — starting with the deletion of explosive tweets that helped spark the infighting. “The detente is expected to continue next week, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tentatively scheduled to meet Thursday with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.),” Mike DeBonis reports. “The leaders of the House Democratic Caucus and three ideological subcaucuses — the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition — issued a joint statement Thursday calling their united ranks a ‘diverse, robust and passionate family’ that is ‘dedicated to making life better for everyday Americans.’” A House Democratic aide calls it a “collective de-escalation.”

TRUMP’S CREDIBILITY CHASM:

-- Newly unsealed court documents show that Trump communicated repeatedly with his lawyer Michael Cohen amid the election year scramble to keep quiet allegations that Trump previously had an affair with an adult-film actress. Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger report: “The documents were released … at the direction of a federal judge in New York, who disclosed a day before that an investigation into suspected campaign finance violations had ended. Trump and those close to him long said they were unaware that Cohen had bought the women’s silence, but phone calls and text messages documented by the FBI suggest they were closely involved. Prosecutors submitted a search warrant from 2018, with newly unredacted sections describing the FBI’s investigation into payments Cohen arranged to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump: the porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal. …

“When Hope Hicks testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month, she said she was ‘never present’ at a time when Cohen and Trump discussed Daniels. … The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Hicks lied to Congress, according to an official with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote to Hicks late Thursday demanding that she appear again to clarify the discrepancies between her prior testimony and what was unsealed earlier in the day. A lawyer for Hicks declined to comment. … Four days before the search warrants were executed, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he had been unaware of the payments. … During congressional testimony in February, Cohen released copies of checks he received to reimburse him for the payment, including a check signed by Trump while he was serving as president.”

-- House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the documents prove definitively that “Trump was intimately involved in devising and executing a corrupt scheme to prevent his affair … from being revealed in the final weeks of the 2016 election.” 

-- Cohen issued a statement from prison, where he’s serving a three-year term after pleading guilty to arranging the illegal payments at Trump’s direction: “I and members of The Trump Organization were directed by Mr. Trump to handle the Stormy Daniels matter; including making the hush money payment.” He added that the investigation ending without charges for those at Trump’s business “should be of great concern to the American people and investigated by Congress and The Department of Justice.”

-- The president’s current lawyer Jay Sekulow had little to say. He sent a terse, two-word statement: “Case closed.” 

-- Read the 269 pages of search warrants for yourself.

-- Looking to Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers hope to use former special counsel Bob Mueller’s public testimony to revisit dramatic episodes in which Trump attempted to derail or interfere with the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Helderman and Hamburger explore the strategy.)

THE IMMIGRATION WARS:

--A Spanish-language journalist covered ICE detention. Then he lived through it,” by Marisa Iati: “There were bugs, and the showers were cold. Air conditioning was not available, but the heat was turned on inexplicably. If you didn’t have family in the United States to send money for food, you would go hungry. Those are just some of the conditions Manuel Duran described after he was released from a U.S. immigration detention center. As a journalist in Memphis, Duran had been reporting on immigration enforcement officials and sordid conditions for more than a decade by the time they took him into custody last year.

“Duran, a native of El Salvador, had been working for the Spanish-language news outlet Memphis Noticias. On April 3, 2018, Duran was reporting on a demonstration against local police helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement when Memphis police arrested him while they were trying to clear people from the street. Instead of releasing Duran from jail, his attorneys said he was turned over to ICE and brought on an eight-hour bus ride to the LaSalle detention center in Jena, La. — without access to a bathroom and with his wrists, ankles and waist in shackles.

Migrants did not get enough food at any of the four facilities where Duran was held, he said. … They had to buy rations with money sent by their families, and if they didn’t have relatives in the United States, the migrants would go hungry. The holding facilities were infested with cockroaches and spiders, Duran said. At Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama, he said he had to bathe with cold water from hoses for two months. The air conditioner was being repaired for most of the spring, Duran said, and the heat was turned on at one point for no clear reason, making it difficult for the migrants to sleep.”

-- While an undocumented Guatemalan woman waited to see her 12-year-old son in U.S. custody, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent allegedly asked her to watch a live video of him masturbating. Abigail Hauslohner and Maria Sacchetti report: “‘I felt like the world was falling on top of me,’ said the 48-year-old woman, an undocumented immigrant who came to the country from Guatemala and now lives in California. She spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from the agent and other immigration authorities. ‘I felt my son is in the hands of a bad man.’”

-- After losing her mother and grandparents in Honduras, 13-year-old Heydi Gámez García waited and waited for her father to join her in America. But by the time her father was granted two-week parole from an ICE detention center, his daughter was in a hospital bed, brain-dead from a suicide attempt. The New York Times reports: “Heydi’s short life story is much like those of thousands of Central American families who have been making their way to the United States over the past five years, petitioning for asylum from the turmoil of their homelands and hoping that the challenges of building a new life in an unfamiliar country will not be greater than the ones they left behind.”

-- “The Trump administration is considering a virtual shutdown of refugee admissions next year — cutting the number to nearly zero — according to three people familiar with the plan," Politico reports

-- Severe dehydration is devastating migrants in South Texas. The Texas Tribune reports that the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector has encountered 64 migrants with rhabdomyolysis this year — a condition that can break down muscle tissue and lead to renal failure. Last year, the same sector encountered half as many cases as rhabdomyolysis, and there are over two months left in the period. “Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Rodolfo Karisch said agents in his sector, who spend about 60% of their time on humanitarian response duties — as opposed to border enforcement — are taking about 30 migrants per day to the emergency room. He has also set aside one of his Border Patrol stations — in Weslaco — as an infirmary where patients can be quarantined,” the Tribune reports.

-- The Lord’s Prayer filled the marble dome of the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday as 70 Catholic sisters, clergy and parishioners were led away in handcuffs. “Forgive us our trespasses,” the demonstrators recited, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” On a “Catholic Day of Action,” hundreds of Catholics gathered outside the Capitol to protest Trump’s treatment of migrants. (Marissa Lang)

-- “Trump’s new asylum rule will guarantee more separated families,” explains Lindsay Harris, an assistant professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

A day after he sought to distance himself from a chant of “Send her back!” by his supporters, Trump lashed out at the media for its coverage of the episode at his rally that followed his repeated attacks aimed at the four minority congresswomen. In tweets this morning, Trump characterized the coverage of his rally in Greenville, N.C., as “crazed” and complained that media was “totally calm & accepting” of what he said were “vile and disgusting statements” made by the freshman lawmakers:

The ABC affiliate in Lynchburg, Va., posted this picture from a church:

Our Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic noted that the chants against "the Squad" are also sexist:

Scott Walker, the former RGA chair, attacked Jay Inslee, the former DGA chair, and Inslee clapped back:

A former senior adviser to Barack Obama criticized CNN's live drawing for the next debates :

Baseball Prospectus wrote a scouting report on a very good boy:

From a Democratic consultant:

CBS has a lighter story on a day with heavy news:

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Stephen Colbert covered Trump’s North Carolina rally:

House Chaplain Pat Conroy opened the House of Representatives legislative session on Thursday by praying to “cast out” the “darker spirits” in the chamber:

A New York television reporter doggedly questioned Rand Paul about his objections to the bill for 9/11 first responders:

The trailer for the “Top Gun” sequel dropped. It looks awesome:

And a community center in Frankfurt, Germany, is bridging the gap between refugees and locals:

Finally, many are circulating this video of Colin Powell in 2008 in the wake of the North Carolina chants: