News

May 2019 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

May 4

U.S. Justice & Constitutional Crisis william barr image by donkehotey dmca

Attorney General William P. Barr (Image by Donkehotey via dmca)

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump finds in Barr the attorney general — and shield — he long sought, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger and Ashley Parker, May 4, 2019 (print ed.). For a time, President Trump was reluctant to select William P. Barr as his attorney general. The veteran Justice Department official from the George H.W. Bush administration was not a longtime Trump loyalist, and the president wondered whether one of his own political allies might serve better as a shield, people familiar with the matter said.

But Trump was ultimately persuaded — in part because his lawyers and advisers told him Barr was a strong supporter of presidential power and unafraid of taking on critics. This week, the president has been thrilled with his choice, particularly after Barr sparred so vigorously with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that some were left wondering whether he viewed himself as the president’s defense attorney, according to people familiar with the matter, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

In Barr’s first three months in the job, his actions have served to protect Trump, though his motive is up for debate. Barr’s defenders note that the attorney general has long advocated strengthening the power of the executive branch, and the attorney general has told other lawyers that he is more interested in protecting the presidency than the man in the job.

jerrold nadler o SmallBut critics say that Barr has emerged as the partisan champion Trump always wanted — one willing to defend the president’s most questionable conduct, put a Trumpian spin on the results of special counsel Robert S.…

April 2019 News Reports

Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative April 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

April 3

Trump Probes

washington post logoWashington Post, House Democrats seek six years of Trump’s tax returns, setting stage for fight, Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Josh Dawsey, April 3, 2019. ​”This request is about policy, not politics,” the Ways and Means Committee chairman said. The president has said he does not plan to hand over his tax returns to Congress — and that he irs logowould fight it to the Supreme Court, according to two administration officials.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS on Wednesday for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax richard neal oreturns, a request with which the president immediately said he was not inclined to comply.

The committee chair’s letter to the Internal Revenue Service — and Trump’s immediate and public response — set up what is likely to become an intense and drawn-out court fight as Democrats push to see tax records they think can shed light on numerous aspects of Trump’s business dealings and Trump resists their demands. The Ways and Means chairman’s request was expected but nonetheless represented a significant escalation in House Democrats’ wide-ranging probes of Trump and his administration.

The IRS was given until April 10 to respond. The panel’s chairman was able to make the request because of a 1924 law that gives the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee broad powers to request and receive the tax returns of any American.

“Congress, as a coequal branch of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E.

March 2019 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative March 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

March 2

Trump Banking Disclosures Near?

Palmer Report, Analysis: Maxine Waters makes stunning revelation about Donald Trump’s international finances, Bill Palmer, March 2, 2019. Donald Trump spent the past two years hurling one dishonest, vicious, and outright racist insult at Congresswoman Maxine Waters after another. That didn’t work out too well for Trump, as she’s now Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and she maxine watershappens to be in charge of a House committee that has the power to dig deep into Trump’s international finances. Waters just revealed that she’s got him by the you-know-what.

Maxine Waters (shown in a file photo) appeared on the Chris Hayes show on MSNBC on Friday night and announced that her staffers are now working directly with Deutsche Bank, with regard to the series of suspicious loans that the bank has made to Donald Trump over the years.

While Deutsche Bank has made previous claims to the media that it was cooperating with investigators, this is the first time one of the investigators has publicly confirmed that the bank’s cooperation is for real. So what does this mean?

bill palmer report logo headerBack in early 2017, a major British newspaper reported that U.S. and UK regulators had busted Deutsche Bank for laundering billions of dollars of Russian money into the hands of clients in a handful of cities including New York City. Palmer Report pointed out at the time that this lined up rather conveniently with the “loans” that Deutsche Bank kept floating to New York City resident Donald Trump, even after he became a poor credit risk – and much of the money deutsche bank logonever was repaid.…

February 2019 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative February 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

Feb. 15

Trump Claims ‘National Emergency’

 ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A Trump-Made Emergency, Editorial Board, Feb. 15, 2019. The president decides that fulfilling a campaign promise is more important than respecting the separation of powers.

washington post logoWashington Post, Shutdown averted as Trump signs spending bill, John Wagner, Josh Dawsey and Damian Paletta​, Feb. 15, 2019. President announces national emergency as he seeks funds to pay for wall. Many of President Trump’s Republican allies have called a national emergency ill-advised, and Democrats immediately called the move unconstitutional. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the House Armed Services Committee chairman, said that Trump’s plan was “utterly disrespectful” to members of the military.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: ‘I didn’t need to do this’: Trump just kneecapped his own case, Aaron Blake​, Feb. 15, 2019. President Trump basically admitted that this was a choice for him — a matter of expediency, quite literally — and not something required by events on the ground.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s bewildering national emergency news conference, annotated, Aaron Blake​, Feb. 15, 2019. President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border — but not without making a scene full of false claims, offbeat comments and tense exchanges.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s border wall is a departure from the 31 other current emergencies, Kevin Schaul, Feb. 15, 2019. Nearly all national emergency declarations under the 1976 National Emergencies Act relate to sanctions or export restrictions.

Roll Call, Trump’s executive order will tap $6.6. billion in Pentagon, Treasury funds for wall, source says, John T. Bennett, Feb. 15, 2019. Money will come from DOD drug interdiction program and Treasury’s drug forfeiture funds.

January 2019 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative January 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

Jan. 31

U.S. Shutdown Solution Talks

washington post logodemocratic donkey logoWashington Post, Trump digs in on border wall funds, but Democrats’ opening bid is zero, Erica Werner, John Wagner and Mike DeBonis​, Jan. 31, 2019 (print edition). In a sign of how difficult it may be for lawmakers to strike a bipartisan compromise that President Trump can support to avert another government shutdown next month, Democrats dismissed his insistence on physical barriers on the border.

Trump v. His Intel Appointees

washington post logoWashington Post, In latest attack on intelligence agencies, Trump ignores where they actually agree, Shane Harris and John Wagner, Jan. 31, 2019 (print edition). “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president wrote in pointed tweets Wednesday morning.

President Trump lashed out at the government’s most senior intelligence leaders Wednesday, his latest assault on the spies and analysts who work for him but sometimes deliver facts that he doesn’t want to hear.

CIA LogoTriggering the president’s rage was an annual congressional hearing on global security threats, a routine event at which intelligence agency heads testified that Iran, while still a global menace, is complying with an international agreement to suspend its development of nuclear weapons. Trump ridiculed that assessment and the intelligence leaders themselves.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “. . . They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Power Up: Trump rift with his own intelligence chiefs widens global opening for Putin, Jacqueline Alemany, Jan.…

December 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: December 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

christmas wreath

Happy New Year!

Dec. 31

2018 Retrospective

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: What was all that back there? Bill Palmer (right), Dec. 31, 2018. Now that we’ve reached the end of 2018, it’s fair to say that it was a year for the ages. And by “ages” I mean the garbage dump.

bill palmer report logo headerLet’s not mince words here: this was, by any objective measure, a historically terrible year for America, for the world, and for the human race. But we can also learn from everything that’s gone wrong, and use it as a roadmap for finding our way back.

U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUSblog, The chief justice’s 2018 year-end report: The federal judiciary and #MeToo, Amy Howe, Dec. 31, 2018. Chief Justice John Roberts released his annual report on the john roberts ofederal judiciary today, focusing on the judiciary’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Roberts had discussed this issue in his 2017 report, after several female law clerks accused Judge Alex Kozinski – then a prominent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – of inappropriate sexual conduct.

A working group created to review the safeguards in place to protect law clerks and other employees concluded, Roberts reported, that “inappropriate workplace conduct is not pervasive within the Judiciary, but it is also not limited to a few isolated instances involving law clerks” and “frequently goes unreported.” Roberts endorsed the recommendations made by the group, which included making changes to the codes of conduct for both judges and employees to make clear that both harassment and retaliation against employees who report misconduct are prohibited.

Roberts observed that he was “pleased” that the judiciary has “mobilized to ensure that” it is “the exemplary workplace that we all want,” but he added that “the job is not finished until we have done all that we can to ensure that all of our employees are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.”

Foreign Policy

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: C.I.A.’s Afghan Forces Leave a Trail of Abuse and Anger, Mujib Mashal, Dec.…

November 2018 News Updates

 JIPLogoEditor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative November 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

Nov. 30

Former President George H.W. Bush Dies

usa today logoUSA Today, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president and father of the 43rd, has died at age 94, Susan Page and Judy Keen, Nov. 30, 2018. George Herbert Walker Bush, george hw bush HRthe president who managed the end of the Cold War and forged a global coalition to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait, has died at age 94. In a political career that spanned three decades, he lost his bid for re-election, lived to see his son win the Oval Office and then, in a turn worthy of Shakespeare, died soon after Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years.

The death of Bush — nicknamed “41” to distinguish himself from son George W. Bush, “43” — was announced by spokesman Jim McGrath.

Trump Abroad

ny times logoNew York Times, Dodging Friends, Chased by Legal Woes, Trump Navigates G-20, Mark Landler and Peter Baker, Nov. 30, 2018. President Trump’s first day at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires was a window into his idiosyncratic statecraft. Mr. Trump’s “America First” foreign policy has left him with a strange patchwork of partners at global gatherings.

Twitter, That feeling when you own the President of the United States and can do whatever you want.

Mueller Probe / Justice Dept.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Cohen Lied. Here’s Why It Matters, Editorial Board, Nov. 30, 2019 (print edition). With Michael Cohen’s latest deal, the special counsel shows he is President Donald Trump officialunafraid of crossing Donald Trump’s red lines on Russia. When all is said and done, the April raids by federal prosecutors targeting Michael Cohen’s office and other premises in Manhattan may be seen as a turning point for Donald Trump’s presidency.…

October 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative October 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

U.S. Elections: Early Voting, Poll Place Info

U.S. Voters: Find your polling location here. (This website is an initiative of the Voting Information Project (VIP), a partnership between state election officials and Democracy Works to connect voters with the election information they need to cast a ballot. Launched in 2008, VIP works with state and local election officials to provide official and up-to-date election information.)

Oct. 31

U.S. Elections 2018

washington post logoDemocratic-Republican Campaign logosWashington Post, Trump, a self-styled ‘nationalist,’ turns midterms into a forum on American identity, Matt Viser, Oct. 31, 2018. President Trump escalated his rhetoric on immigration by vowing to end birthright citizenship, a move some experts say would run afoul of the Constitution. Trump’s sharpened tone also creates potential complications for some GOP candidates.

washington post logoWashington Post, Commentary: Trump is wrong. He can’t revoke birthright citizenship, George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal, Oct. 31, 2018 (print edition). George T. Conway III is of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz [and husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway]. Neal Katyal is a partner at Hogan Lovells and former acting U.S. solicitor general in the Obama administration.

Donald TrumpSometimes the Constitution’s text is plain as day and bars what politicians seek to do. That’s the case with President Trump’s proposal to end “birthright citizenship” through an executive order. Such a move would be unconstitutional and would certainly be challenged. And the challengers would undoubtedly win.

Trump has long argued that birthright citizenship for the children of parents not legally in the United States should be abolished. “It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he told Axios in an interview released Tuesday, in which he disclosed his plan for the unilateral action.…

September 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Sept. 30

Supreme Court Battle / #MeToo

ny times logoNew York Times, Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range, Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Sept. 30, 2018 (print edition). The F.B.I. will interview four witnesses about sexual assault claims against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as part of a background check, not a full-fledged criminal investigation. The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry and can order further investigation based on the findings from the four interviews.

The Atlantic, Opinion: This Was Never About Finding Out the Truth, Matt Thompson, Sept. 30, 2018. Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate was a lesson in power — who wields it, and at whose expense.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Deborah Ramirez has already dropped the FBI hammer on Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 30, 2018. Even as controversy and chaos swirl around the scope of the FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the FBI is moving forward very quickly.

deborah ramirez benjamin rasmussen new yorkerDeborah Ramirez, right, was interviewed by the FBI earlier today, according to a CNN report this evening. Not only that, she provided the FBI with a list of witnesses who can corroborate her sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault,’ Alex Horton​, During an appearance on CNN, Sept. 30, 2018. The White House adviser suggested conservatives have become targets for political score settling.

Natural Disaster: Indonesia

washington post logoWashington Post, Death toll soars past 800 after quake, tsunami in Indonesia, Ainur Rohmah and Shibani Mahtani, Sept.…

August 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Aug. 31

Trump Watch

 ny times logoNew York Times, Lobbyist Sam Patten Pleads Guilty to Steering Foreign Funds to Trump Inaugural, Kenneth P. Vogel, Sharon LaFraniere and Adam Goldman, Aug. 31, 2018.  An American lobbyist on Friday admitted brokering access to President Trump’s inauguration for a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch in a scheme that highlighted the rush by foreign interests to influence the new administration.

republican elephant logoAs part of a plea agreement under which he pledged to cooperate with federal prosecutors, the lobbyist, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party, and to helping the Ukrainian oligarch who had funded that party illegally purchase four tickets to Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Although the charges were not brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert S. Mueller III, they stem from his team’s work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting that Mr. Patten could be a useful witness.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes, Tyler Pager and Jaclyn Peiser, Aug. 31, 2018. When Peter D. Barbey bought The Village Voice in 2015, he vowed to invest in the storied alternative weekly, saying it would “survive and prosper.” But last August he shuttered the print edition, and on Friday he closed the operation altogether.

The end of the left-leaning independent publication was an anticlimax, given the many empty red plastic Village Voice boxes that have been scattered like debris across the sidewalks of Manhattan in recent years.

“This is a sad day for The Village Voice and for millions of readers,” Mr.…

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