What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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Day 974: "Totally appropriate."

1/ Trump pressured the leader of Ukraine eight times to investigate Joe Biden's son. Trump used a July 25th phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky to repeatedly pressure the recently elected leader to work with Rudy Giuliani on an investigation that Trump believed would deliver political dirt against Biden. Trump told Zelensky that Ukraine could improve its reputation and "interaction" with the United States by investigating a Ukrainian gas company with ties to Biden's son Hunter, who served on the board of directors. In June and August, Giuliani met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation. Toward the end of August, the White House considered blocking $250 million to support Ukraine's military in its war against Russian-backed separatists. On Sept. 12, however, that funding was released. Separately, lawmakers have been investigating whether Trump or Giuliani tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue probes in an effort to benefit Trump's re-election bid. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Daily Beast / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 841: Rudy Giuliani is encouraging Ukraine to pursue an investigation into Joe Biden's son and his involvement in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. Trump's personal lawyer is meeting with the incoming government in Kiev to press them to try to discredit Mueller's investigation and undermine the case against Paul Manafort. "We're not meddling in an election," Giuliani said. "We're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do." (New York Times / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 945: Rudy Giuliani confirmed that the State Department helped him press the Ukrainian government to probe Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Giuliani has wanted Ukrainian officials to look into Biden's effort to crack down on corruption in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden's involvement in a natural gas company there. Giuliani also wanted to know if Ukrainian officials and the DNC worked together to harm Trump's 2016 campaign by releasing damaging information about Paul Manafort. (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 952: Trump is considering a plan to block more than $250 million in foreign aid to Ukraine. Since 2014, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in security assistance to bolster the country's military, which faces an ongoing conflict with separatists that the Pentagon believes are backed by Moscow. (CNN / Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 964: Three House committees are investigating reported efforts by Trump and Rudy Giuliani "to pressure the government of Ukraine to assist" Trump's re-election campaign. The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees wrote to the White House and State Department seeking records related to what they described as efforts to "manipulate the Ukrainian justice system." (Reuters / CNBC)

2/ The whistleblower complaint about Trump made by an intelligence official involves Ukraine. In late July – two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed – Trump told Ukraine's new president that he could improve Ukraine's reputation and its "interaction" with the United States by investigating "corruption." The complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a "promise" that Trump made. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 973: The whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer was triggered by a "promise" Trump made to a foreign leader and involves a series of actions that goes beyond any single discussion. The formal complaint was filed with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who "determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent." The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, however, has refused to turn it over to Congress. While it's unclear to whom Trump was speaking at the time, White House records show Trump spoke to or interacted with Putin, Kim Jong Un, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the Emir of Qatar in the five weeks prior to the complaint being filed on August 12th. Trump, meanwhile, denied that he made any "promise" to a foreign leader, calling the formal complaint "Presidential Harassment!" and rhetorically asking if there is "anybody dumb enough to believe that [he] would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader." (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / ABC News / NBC News)

3/ Rudy Giuliani denied asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden immediately before admitting that he actually had. In an interview on CNN, Chris Cuomo asked Giuliani if he had pressed Ukrainian officials to pursue investigations into Biden's son. "No, actually I didn't. I asked Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton," Giuliani said. "You never asked anything about Hunter Biden? You never asked anything about Joe Biden and the prosecutor?" Cuomo asked again. Giuliani replied that the "only thing" he asked was how the prosecutor got dismissed. "So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden," Cuomo said. "Of course I did," Giuliani said. (CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Trump dismissed the whistleblower complaint involving his conversations with Ukraine as a "ridiculous," "partisan" attack. He then admitted that he didn't know the identity of the whistleblower, but called a "political hack job" anyway. Trump then added that "It doesn't matter what I discussed [with Ukraine's president], but I'll tell you this, somebody ought to look into Joe Biden's statement." Trump also defended his July conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky as "totally appropriate" while characterizing the conversation as "beautiful." (Associated Press / Bloomberg / New York Times / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)

  • Hillary Clinton accused Trump of asking "a foreign power to help him win an election. Again," referring to Trump's call during the 2016 race for Russia to look into Clinton's deleted emails. (CNN / The Guardian)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed changing federal law so sitting presidents can be indicted. "I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he's committed a wrongdoing β€” any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted," Pelosi said. (NPR / Politico)

5/ California and 22 other states filed a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from blocking California's authority to set emission standards for cars and trucks. Earlier this week, Trump revoked California's authority, contending that the waiver was improperly granted because greenhouse gases don't cause specific local or regional problems linked to traditional pollutants, like soot and smog. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 971: The Trump administration will revoke California's right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks than those required by the federal government. In July, California reached an agreement with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW to support the state's right to set its own fuel efficiency standards and to voluntarily produce cars averaging nearly 50 mpg by model year 2026. The rollback of California's waiver will also affect 13 other states and the District of Columbia, which follow California's emissions regulations. Last summer, the EPA proposed weakening fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration by freezing standards at roughly 37 mpg from 2020 to 2026. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state intends to strike back with a lawsuit, which is expected to go to the Supreme Court. (Los Angeles Times / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ Trump imposed terror-related sanctions on Iran's central bank and sovereign wealth fund following the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which the U.S. has blamed on Iran. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new sanctions would cut off the last source of funds for Iran. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

7/ Trump suggested that he could end the Afghanistan war "very quickly" but it'd require killing "tens of millions" of people. Trump made a similar claimed in July, saying he could win nearly 19-year war "in a week," but didn't want to go that route, because "I just don't want to kill 10 million people." (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 914: Trump claimed that he could easily "wipe" Afghanistan "off the face of the earth," but doesn't "want to go that route" because he'd have to "kill 10 million people." (Daily Beast/Vox)

8/ The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with El Salvador. The deal could force Central American migrants who pass through El Salvador to first seek asylum there or be sent back to the country once they reach the U.S. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Axios)

Day 973: Credible and urgent.

1/ The whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer was triggered by a "promise" Trump made to a foreign leader and involves a series of actions that goes beyond any single discussion. The formal complaint was filed with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who "determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent." The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, however, has refused to turn it over to Congress. While it's unclear to whom Trump was speaking at the time, White House records show Trump spoke to or interacted with Putin, Kim Jong Un, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the Emir of Qatar in the five weeks prior to the complaint being filed on August 12th. Trump, meanwhile, denied that he made any "promise" to a foreign leader, calling the formal complaint "Presidential Harassment!" and rhetorically asking if there is "anybody dumb enough to believe that [he] would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader." (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / ABC News / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 970: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused the acting director of national intelligence of withholding a whistleblower complaint in order to protect a "higher authority" official. Adam Schiff said Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, consulted the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint prior to his decision to withhold the complaint – a departure from standard practice. Schiff added that the Committee "can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials." (Business Insider / CBS News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 972: The acting director of national intelligence refused testify before Congress or hand over a whistleblower complaint to lawmakers. The complaint was submitted on Aug. 12 by a member of the intelligence community involving conduct by someone "outside the intelligence community" who does not involve intelligence activity under the supervision of Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. Maguire had told Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, that he would not provide the complaint "because he is being instructed not to" by "a higher authority" who is "above" the cabinet-level position of the director of national intelligence. (New York Times)

2/ The White House and the Justice Department both advised the director of national intelligence that the whistleblower complaint is outside intelligence activities. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence told lawmakers on September 13th that the complaint "involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community." ODNI also noted that the agency would work toward "protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests." (CNN)

3/ House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff threatened to sue the Trump administration over its refusal to turn over the whistleblower complaint that involves Trump's interactions with a foreign leader. Schiff accused the White House and Justice Department of "trying to manipulate the system" to prevent the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, from sharing the complaint with Congress. Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint last week, which Maguire has refused to turn over. (Politico / Washington Post / Reuters / NBC News / )

4/ Trump sued his accounting firm and the New York district attorney to block eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns from being sent to state prosecutors. Trump's lawyers argued that he cannot be criminally investigated while in office, because the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House. Cyrus Vance's office issued a subpoena last month to Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA, which said in a statement this week that it "will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations." Vance's office is investigating the hush money payments made during the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both of whom have alleged affairs with Trump, which he has denied. (NBC News / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 970: The Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed eight years of Trump's "personal and corporate tax returns" as part of its investigation into hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130,000 Cohen he paid Stormy Daniels just before the election to buy her silence about an affair she had with Trump. Cyrus Vance's office is exploring whether the reimbursements violated New York state laws and whether the Trump Organization falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. The subpoena was served last month to Mazars USA, which prepares Trump's tax returns. (New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 925: State prosecutors in New York subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to its role in hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The investigation is examining whether senior executives filed false business records related to the $130,000 payment Michael Cohen made to Daniels, as well as the arrangement between Cohen and the National Enquirer to pay off McDougal. Falsifying business records would constitute a state crime. The Manhattan district attorney separately subpoenaed American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer. (New York Times)

5/ A federal judge temporarily blocked a California law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot. U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. said he'd issue a final ruling in the coming days but took the unusual step of issuing a temporary injunction, saying there would be "irreparable harm without temporary relief" for Trump and other candidates. (Los Angeles Times / ABC News / Politico / Axios)

6/ Mitch McConnell will now back a measure to provide states with an additional $250 million in election security funding. McConnell and Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked Democratic efforts to bring election security legislation to the floor, including a measures that would have authorized funding to update voting equipment. (Washington Post / Politico)

poll/ The latest Fox News poll shows Trump losing to every Democratic frontrunner including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. 52% of voters said they would support Biden if the 2020 election were held today to 38% who said they'd support Trump. 48% would support Sanders, 46% would support Warren, and 42% would support Harris, while 40% would support Trump. (Fox News / Newsweek)

Day 972: Dastardly.

1/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of having carried out an "act of war" with strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Trump, however, pushed back against American military response in the Middle East, saying wars are "very easy to start," but that "there are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that." U.S. military leaders have, however, presented Trump with a range of options for a retaliatory strike against Iran, including a cyber attack or a strike on Iranian oil facilities. Another option includes a strike by Saudi Arabia, with the U.S. providing intelligence, targeting information, and surveillance capabilities, but the U.S. refraining from actually firing any weapons. Other options include strikes on missile launch sites, bases, or other assets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. There are currently no indications that any U.S. military action is imminent. Pompeo was scheduled to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attack and "coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region." (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / NBC News)

2/ Trump directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "to substantially increase" U.S. sanctions on Iran. Trump's comment came after Iranian news agencies reported that Iran had warned the U.S. that it would retaliate against any attacks. Trump later told reporters that his administration will "be adding some very significant sanctions" on Iran within the next two days and that he's got time to devise a "dastardly" response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg)

3/ The White House fired the Department of Homeland Security's general counsel. John Mitnick will be replaced by Joe Maher, principal deputy general counsel. Mitnick's job was to push back against policies that could put Homeland Security in a legally dubious position, such as the time the White House proposed releasing migrants into sanctuary cities to send a message to Democrats who opposed his immigration agenda. Mitnick was fired in part due to his opposition to Stephen Miller and his immigration policies. (New York Times / CNN)

4/ The acting director of national intelligence refused testify before Congress or hand over a whistleblower complaint to lawmakers. The complaint was submitted on Aug. 12 by a member of the intelligence community involving conduct by someone "outside the intelligence community" who does not involve intelligence activity under the supervision of Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. Maguire had told Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, that he would not provide the complaint "because he is being instructed not to" by "a higher authority" who is "above" the cabinet-level position of the director of national intelligence. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 970: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused the acting director of national intelligence of withholding a whistleblower complaint in order to protect a "higher authority" official. Adam Schiff said Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, consulted the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint prior to his decision to withhold the complaint – a departure from standard practice. Schiff added that the Committee "can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials." (Business Insider / CBS News)

5/ Trump picked the State Department's top hostage negotiator to be his fourth national security advisor. Robert C. O'Brien will replace John Bolton and has no known experience managing an organization the size of the National Security Council. By Trump's recounting, O'Brien won him over in part by praising him in the job interview and in tweets. Trump also dispatched O'Brien to help free rapper A$AP Rocky from Swedish prison earlier this year. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Bloomberg / Washington Post / CNBC)

6/ The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point – the second time since July. Officials also left the door open for another rate cut this year if the economy continues to weaken. Major U.S. stock exchanges dropped after the decision was announced. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been publicly pressured by Trump to reduce rates to "ZERO or less." The Federal Open Market Committee again cited "the implications of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures" as the primary rationale for the cut. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)

7/ Trump criticized Powell and the Fed for having "no 'guts,'" saying they "Fail[ed] Again." Trump has previously called the Fed policymakers "boneheads" for not lowering rates to help boost economic growth. At one point he asked whether Fed Chair Jerome Powell or China's president was "our bigger enemy." (Bloomberg)

8/ The military has spent nearly $200,000 at Trump's Turberry golf resort in Scotland since 2017. The spending paid for the equivalent of hundreds of nights of rooms over approximately three dozen separate stays since August 2017. The Air Force also confirmed last week that its crews had stayed up to 40 times at Trump's property since 2015. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 963: An Air National Guard crew stayed at Trump's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March. The Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel both en route to the Middle East and back, with the crew staying at the resort, which lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. The Air Force confirmed that crew members stayed at Turnberry, but said "it did not appear" that they stayed at the hotel on the way back. There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns a few miles from the Prestwick airport with most of them much less expensive than the $380/night advertised rate at Trump Turnberry. The fuel would have also been cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. (Politico / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 967: The Air Force sent crews to Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland on 40 different occasions since 2015. That number is much higher than previously known, and it represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched last week after news reports about the Air Force sending crews to Trump's properties. The preliminary tally does not indicate how many of the stays at Trump properties occurred since Trump became president, but the Air Force significantly increased the number of stops in Scotland under Trump after signing a deal with the Prestwick Airport at the end of the Obama administration. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 971: Some Air Force crews that stayed at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland stayed for multiple nights and were given gifts during their stays. The resort gave high-ranking officers "Pride Pins," which are reserved for VIP members. Low-ranking airmen received other gifts and welcome packages, including Scottish shortbread and other treats. Instead of being restricted to single-night refueling stops, Air Force crews sometimes stayed for multiple nights while the weather cleared up or their planes were repaired. (Politico)

poll/ 56% of Democratic primary voters say they prefer a candidate who proposes "larger scale policies that cost more and might be harder to pass into law, but could bring major change" on issues like climate change, health care and economic opportunity. (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration claimed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional because Congress limited presidential power to remove the agency's director before their five-year term expires. The CFPB was given stronger enforcement powers over the financial industry to help prevent another economic meltdown like the mortgage-lending crisis that began in 2007. Two federal appeals courts have also upheld the CFPB's structure, which is intended to insulate the director from political interference. (Wall Street Journal)

  2. The Trump administration proposed a new rule that would allow pork slaughterhouses to use fewer line inspectors from the Department of Agriculture and to run slaughter lines without any speed limit. The rule allows factory workers, instead of USDA inspectors, to remove unsuitable carcasses and trim defects in plants that are subject to the new inspection system. USDA inspectors will still examine the carcasses, but they will be stationed farther down the lines. The new rule is intended to modernize the inspection system, but consumer advocates say it will make food less safe and increase the risks to workers. (NBC News)

  3. House Joint Economic Committee estimated that gun violence costs the U.S. $229 billion a year, according to a new report using data from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Centers for Disease Control. Lost income, employer costs, police and criminal justice responses, and health care treatment account for the biggest costs to the economy. (CNBC)

  4. Attorney General William Barr is sharing a proposal on expanding background checks with senators. Lawmakers, however, don't know where Trump stands on potential new firearms restrictions. (Bloomberg)

  5. Mike Pence canceled a trip to meet with the leader of the Solomon Islands after the island government cut ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China. The meeting was supposed to be an opportunity for the U.S. to discuss development partnerships with the Solomon Islands, and it was supposed to take place on the sidelines of or shortly after the upcoming U.N. General Assembly meeting. The Solomon Islands is the sixth country to switch its allegiance from Taiwan to China since 2016. (Reuters)

Day 971: Abuse of power.

1/ The Trump administration will revoke California's right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks than those required by the federal government. In July, California reached an agreement with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW to support the state's right to set its own fuel efficiency standards and to voluntarily produce cars averaging nearly 50 mpg by model year 2026. The rollback of California's waiver will also affect 13 other states and the District of Columbia, which follow California's emissions regulations. Last summer, the EPA proposed weakening fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration by freezing standards at roughly 37 mpg from 2020 to 2026. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state intends to strike back with a lawsuit, which is expected to go to the Supreme Court. (Los Angeles Times / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 560: The Trump administration plans to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards on new cars. Under the Obama administration, the EPA and the Transportation Department set requirements for new cars to average at least 35 mpg by 2020 and to continue improving efficiency up to 50 mpg by 2025. The policy was intended to combat global warming. Trump's plan would freeze the fuel economy standards after 2021 at about 37 mpg and would revoke a waiver granted to California and 13 other states to set more aggressive tailpipe pollution standards. (Los Angeles Times / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 943: The White House is attempting to block additional states from joining a pact with California and four automakers to oppose Trump's rollback of auto emissions standards. Toyota, Fiat, Chrysler, and General Motors were summoned to the White House last month and pressed by an adviser to stand by Trump's rollbacks. Meanwhile, Mercedez-Benz is preparing to join the agreement, which has reportedly "enraged" Trump. The five automakers account for more than 40% of all cars sold in the United States. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 960: The Justice Department opened an antitrust investigation into four automakers who rejected the Trump administration's relaxed air pollution and mileage regulations. Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda, and BMW instead struck a deal with California to reduce automobile emissions. Automakers have urged the administration not to drastically roll back Obama-era emissions levels, arguing that one national standard would be better than one weaker standard for most of the country and one tougher standard for California, plus the 13 other states that follow California's lead. Those 14 states account for about 40% of the U.S. population. The Justice Department is investigating whether the deal could potentially limit consumer choice. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ Trump ordered two former White House aides not to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing about Trump's possible obstruction of justice. The White House asserted immunity for Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, who were subpoenaed to appear in front of the committee today. Trump also ordered his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, not to answer questions about anything that happened after Trump was elected and to not provide any information beyond what is already in the Muller report. (CNN / Reuters / New York Times)

3/ Corey Lewandowski refused to answer dozens of questions about potential obstruction of justice during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power." Lewandowski did confirm that Trump asked him to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the Russia investigation, but he claimed he was never asked to do anything illegal. As the hearing started, Lewandowski demanded that Democrats read him the section of the Mueller report they were referring to. Democrats then gave Lewandowski a copy, who proceeded to read directly from the report. Republicans, meanwhile, forced a series of procedural votes. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / NBC News)

4/ Trump administration officials suggested charging immigrants $975 to appeal an immigration judge's deportation ruling and $895 to request the Board of Immigration Appeals reconsider a case, according to a draft Department of Justice regulation. The current fee to apply for each of these requests is $110. (BuzzFeed News)

5/ Construction of Trump's border fence could damage or destroy up to 22 archaeological sites within Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The administration plans to convert an existing five-foot-high vehicle barrier to a 30-foot steel structure that could cause irreparable harm to the unexcavated remnants of Sonoran Desert people. (Washington Post)

6/ Some Air Force crews that stayed at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland stayed for multiple nights and were given gifts during their stays. The resort gave high-ranking officers "Pride Pins," which are reserved for VIP members. Low-ranking airmen received other gifts and welcome packages, including Scottish shortbread and other treats. Instead of being restricted to single-night refueling stops, Air Force crews sometimes stayed for multiple nights while the weather cleared up or their planes were repaired. (Politico)

7/ Trump wants to put a proponent of torture in charge of U.S. human rights policy. Marshall Billingslea, who currently serves as assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing, was involved in Bush-era torture as a senior Pentagon official. During this tenure, Billingslea advocated for the use of torture techniques against the advice of top military lawyers, dismissed protests against the use of torture by the Army's Judge Advocate General, and advocated for Donald Rumsfeld to approve more torture tactics than Rumsfeld had already approved. If confirmed, Billingslea would become the top U.S. executive branch official directly responsible for human rights policy: undersecretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights. (Politico Magazine)

Day 970: Locked and loaded.

1/ The Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed eight years of Trump's "personal and corporate tax returns" as part of its investigation into hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130,000 Cohen he paid Stormy Daniels just before the election to buy her silence about an affair she had with Trump. Cyrus Vance's office is exploring whether the reimbursements violated New York state laws and whether the Trump Organization falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. The subpoena was served last month to Mazars USA, which prepares Trump's tax returns. (New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 925: State prosecutors in New York subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to its role in hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The investigation is examining whether senior executives filed false business records related to the $130,000 payment Michael Cohen made to Daniels, as well as the arrangement between Cohen and the National Enquirer to pay off McDougal. Falsifying business records would constitute a state crime. The Manhattan district attorney separately subpoenaed American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer. (New York Times)

2/ The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused the acting director of national intelligence of withholding a whistleblower complaint in order to protect a "higher authority" official. Adam Schiff said Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, consulted the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint prior to his decision to withhold the complaint – a departure from standard practice. Schiff added that the Committee "can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials." (Business Insider / CBS News)

3/ A previously unreported story about Brett Kavanaugh in college echoes Deborah Ramirez's allegation that he pulled down his pants at a party and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Former Yale classmate Max Stier told senators and the FBI last year about a separate episode where Kavanaugh had his pants down at a dorm party while his friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. The FBI failed to investigate the incident Stier described. During his Senate testimony, Kavanaugh said that if the incident had occurred, it would have been "the talk of campus." Senate investigators at the time also concluded that Ramirez's account lacked corroboration. However, at least seven people corroborated the incident before Kavanaugh became a federal judge, including two classmates who heard about it days after the party occurred. Ramirez's lawyers also gave the FBI a list of at least 25 people who may have had corroborating evidence. The bureau declined to interview any of them. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 613: A second woman publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both freshmen at Yale during the 1983-84 academic school year. Deborah Ramirez said Kavanaugh exposed himself and shoved his penis in her face without her consent at a dorm party. Kavanaugh's roommate at the time said he "cannot imagine [Ramirez] making this up" and that Kavanaugh was "frequently, incoherently drunk." After learning of Ramirez's allegation last week, Senate Republicans called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to accelerate its confirmation vote. (New Yorker)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 615: Kavanaugh's second accuser is willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee, her attorney said. Deborah Ramirez's lawyer expressed concern about her testifying before the FBI is able to conduct an investigation into her claims, saying "we can't even talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee about what that would look like" because "they certainly haven't invited her" to testify. Senate Republicans blew off a scheduled phone call yesterday to discuss Ramirez's claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were in college. (Axios / The Hill / CNN / Good Morning America)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 622: The FBI has not contacted at least 40 potential corroborators or character witnesses about the allegations made against Kavanaugh by Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Two sources, however, say more interviews are happening with a focus on Kavanaugh's high school friends who are listed as attending a July 1, 1982, party. (NBC News / CNN)

4/ A Democratic senator told FBI Director Christopher Wray last fall of the sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh by Max Stier. In a letter to Wray, Sen. Christopher Coons said "several individuals," including Stier, contacted his office wanting to share information with federal authorities about Kavanaugh, but said they had "difficulty reaching anyone who will collect their information." The FBI supplemental background investigation into Kavanaugh did not include Stier's allegation. (Washington Post / Los Angeles Times / Axios)

5/ Several Democratic presidential candidates called for Kavanaugh to be impeached after new information about Ramirez's allegations of sexual misconduct became public. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and JuliΓ‘n Castro called for Kavanaugh to be impeached after the authors of a new book wrote that they had found new corroboration for accusations that Kavanaugh exposed himself to Ramirez, a classmate at Yale. (New York Times / CBS News / NBC News / Washington Post)

  • How impeaching a Supreme Court justice works: The House is responsible for voting on impeachment. Its members decide by a majority vote. The Senate then holds a trial for the underlying misconduct. A conviction requires two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes. If there is a conviction, the Senate would remove the individual from office. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump tweeted that Kavanaugh should "start suing people" or the Department of Justice "should come to his rescue." Trump also accused news outlets of trying to "scare [Kavanaugh] into turning Liberal!" and that he should sue people for "liable" – misspelling the word "libel." (Politico / CNBC)

  • Trump called on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate Obama's book deal and Netflix show. Trump complained about the time and money spent on the Mueller report and the investigations into him and his businesses, and said, "I have a better idea. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal." Barack and Michelle Obama have reportedly signed a "high 8-figure" deal with Netflix and a joint book deal reported worth $65 million. (Vice)

7/ The House Judiciary Committee is negotiating to secure Jeff Sessions' testimony as part of its impeachment investigation of Trump. Democrats on the committee hope Sessions' appearance will help bolster the inquiry, especially since Sessions has had a turbulent relationship with Trump. An attorney for Sessions said the former attorney general will not agree to testify unless he is subpoenaed. (Washington Post)

8/ Trump threatened military action in response to an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Trump said the U.S. is "locked and loaded" and ready to respond, but was waiting to consult with Saudi officials before taking any action. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, however, blamed Iran, calling the incident "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." He insisted that there was "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." A senior Trump administration official said Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and over 20 drones from its territory in the attack on a Saudi oil facility. In response to the attack, Saudi Arabia cut its daily oil output in half. Trump responded by saying, "We don't need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas," but said the U.S. "will help our allies!" (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / ABC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Reuters)

Day 967: Moral compass.

1/ A federal appeals court revived a previously-dismissed lawsuit that accused Trump of violating the Constitution's emoluments clause. The lawsuit claimed that Trump's "vast, complicated and secret" business arrangements violate the Emoluments Clause, which bars presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the permission of Congress. The case was originally dismissed by a lower-level federal judge in December 2017. Earlier this year, Trump won a separate emoluments suit by the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia when the case was dismissed by another federal appeals court's. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 902: A federal appeals court dismissed an emoluments lawsuit against Trump. The judges rejected the premise of the case that the Trump International Hotel – blocks from the White House – had violated the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the Constitution by accepting money from state and foreign governments at Trump's hotel in downtown Washington. While Trump stepped back from day-to-day management of the businesses, he still maintains ownership. "Even if government officials were patronizing the hotel to curry the president's favor," the court said, "there is no reason to conclude that they would cease doing so were the president enjoined from receiving income from the hotel. After all, the hotel would still be publicly associated with the president, would still bear his name, and would still financially benefit members of his family." All three judges on the panel were appointed by Republican presidents. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 144: In a separate case, the Justice Department argued that Trump can accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office. Advocates from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington brought the suit against Trump in January, asserting that because Trump-owned buildings take in rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign governments he breached the emoluments clause. (Washington Post / Politico / The Hill)

2/ Trump plans to pay for his border wall using funds from more than four dozen Air Force construction projects poses a variety national security risks, according to a report composed by the Air Force. Some of the affected Air Force projects include money for a project to build facilities to store more than $1 billion in munitions at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, replacing a boiler at a base in Alaska, "whose failure is 'imminent'" and could result in the evacuation of the base, a new entry-control point at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to protect troops, and construction in support of the European Defense Initiative, a program to boost U.S. military presence and discourage Russian aggression. (NBC News / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 959: The Pentagon will divert funding from military construction projects in 23 states, three territories, and 19 countries to pay for Trump's border wall. Among the projects being defunded to pay for Trump's border wall, include nine schools for military children on bases in the U.S. and abroad, a daycare center at Joint Base Andrews, Hurricane Maria recovery projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, construction projects in Europe designed to help allies deter Russia. In total, $3.6 billion will be taken from 127 projects to fund 11 border barrier projects in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 957: The Trump administration will divert $3.6 billion this week from 127 military construction projects to build to build 175 miles of Trump's border wall. Trump declared a national emergency in February to draw funding from federal accounts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said about half of the funding will come from military construction projects outside the United States and half will come from projects within the country. (Politico / Washington Post)

3/ The Air Force sent crews to Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland on 40 different occasions since 2015. That number is much higher than previously known, and it represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched last week after news reports about the Air Force sending crews to Trump's properties. The preliminary tally does not indicate how many of the stays at Trump properties occurred since Trump became president, but the Air Force significantly increased the number of stops in Scotland under Trump after signing a deal with the Prestwick Airport at the end of the Obama administration. (Politico)

4/ Trump is not planning to name Mike Pompeo as national security adviser while also keeping him as Secretary of State. Trump confirmed that he spoke to Pompeo about the idea, but said that Pompeo "likes the idea of having somebody in there with him, and I do, too." Trump said he has 15 other candidates in mind to replace John Bolton, who Trump fired as national security adviser earlier this week. (Politico)

5/ The U.S. is preparing to send 150 troops to patrol northeastern Syria. Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria last December, but the new troop deployment is part of an expanding series of military and diplomatic steps the U.S. has taken in recent weeks to defuse tensions with Turkey, which opposes U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish fighters. The U.S. currently has around 1,000 troops in Syria. (New York Times / The Hill)

6/ Ivanka Trump told a crowd of high-end donors that she got her moral compass from her father after being asked to name the personality traits she inherited from her parents. Ivanka said that Melania gave her an example of how to be a powerful, successful woman. (Politico)

7/ Trump complained that energy efficient light bulbs make him "always look orange." Trump also complained that energy-efficient light bulbs are "many times more expensive than that old incandescent bulb." (CNN / Mediaite)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 958: The Trump administration relaxed requirements for energy efficient light bulbs that Congress passed in 2007. The Energy Department's filing in the Federal Register will now prevent new efficiency standards for inefficient incandescent and halogen bulbs from going into effect on Jan. 1st. (New York Times)

poll/ 38% of Americans say climate change is a "crisis" – up from 23% five years ago. Another 38% say climate change is a "major problem." (Washington Post)


πŸ“Ί Dept. of Dem Debates:

  1. Trump gave a bizarre speech during the Democratic debate. Trump talked about fake tax cuts while Democrats debated how to pay for their ambitious policies. (Vox / Politico)

  2. Andrew Yang announced a $120,000 giveaway during last night's Democratic primary debate. Yang said his campaign plans to randomly select 10 families and give them a total of $120,000 over the next year as part of a pilot program for his universal basic income plan. (Politico)

  3. Biden incorrectly claimed that the Obama administration didn't separate families at the border. The Obama administration did not separate families as a matter of policy, as the Trump administration did as part of its "zero tolerance" border policy in 2018, but separations occurred on a case-by-case basis for parents being prosecuted on more serious charges than illegally crossing the border or in cases when an adult was suspected of not being a child’s parent. (CNN / The Hill)

  4. Biden tried to clarify his record on Iraq War during Democratic debate. Biden is still struggling to explain his vote for the war and when his feelings about intervention evolved. (NPR)

  5. Beto O'Rourke: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47." O'Rourke said that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons. (NPR / CNN)

  6. Fact-checking Democratic candidates on the issues at the ABC News debate in Houston. (ABC News)

  7. Bernie Sanders said his administration will "cancel all student debt in this country." Sanders also pledged that under his administration every teacher in America will make at least $60,000 a year. (ABC7)

Day 966: Simply unacceptable.

1/ The Trump administration repealed Obama's landmark clean water protections that had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands, and other bodies of water. The Obama-era Waters of the United States rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60% of the nation's bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about one-third of the U.S., and extended existing federal authority to limit pollution in large bodies of water. The EPA plans to also establish a stricter legal definition of what qualifies as "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act before the end of the year. The existing rules would be replaced with a much narrower definition of the types of tributaries, streams, and wetlands that are subject to protections. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CBS News)

2/ The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can continue to deny most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. while a legal battle over the issue plays out in the lower courts. The Court issued a brief, unsigned order that says the administration can enforce new rules that generally refuse asylum applications from migrants who failed to apply for it in another country after leaving home but before arriving at the southern border. For instance, migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador cannot seek asylum in the U.S. if they didn't first ask for it in Mexico. A separate lawsuit to overturn the new rules is still working its way through the lower courts. (New York Times / NBC News / Reuters / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

3/ The CEOs of 145 companies called on the Senate to pass "common-sense gun laws," stating that it is "simply unacceptable" to do nothing about gun violence in America. The letter urges the Republican-controlled Senate to enact bills already introduced in the House that would require background checks for all firearm sales and stronger "red flag" laws, which could prevent shootings in cases where family members or law enforcement report concerns about someone who may be at risk of harming themselves or others. (NPR / New York Times)

4/ The Trump administration discussed offering China a limited trade agreement that would delay or roll back some U.S. tariffs increases set to take effect in October and December in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases. Several of Trump's top economic officials are reportedly trying to resurrect the deal they were previously negotiating with China that officials said was "90 percent" done. A senior White House official, however, said the U.S. is "absolutely not" considering an interim trade deal with China. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC)

5/ The FBI and other federal agencies accused Israel of placing cell phone surveillance devices near the White House within the past two years. The devices were likely intended to spy on Trump, according to senior U.S. officials, but it is unclear whether the attempts were successful. When Trump administration officials heard about the surveillance devices, however, they didn't rebuke Israel, which is usually the case when incidents of foreign spying are discovered on U.S. soil. A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy called the claims "absolute nonsense," and insisted that "Israel doesn't conduct espionage operations in the United States, period." (Politico)

6/ The U.S. deficit surpassed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year – up 19% from a year ago and exceeding $1 trillion for the first time since 2012. The government said it expects to borrow more than $1 trillion for the second year in a row in 2019. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

7/ The Justice Department recommended indicting former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over his alleged "lack of candor" during an internal watchdog probe in 2017. McCabe authorized the FBI to investigate possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. The grand jury hearing the case was recalled this week after going months without meeting but left without revealing any immediate signs of an indictment. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / CNN / New York Times)

8/ The House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution defining the rules for its impeachment investigation into Trump. The measure also triggers a House rule that gives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler the ability to deem committee hearings as impeachment hearings, allowing staffers to question witnesses for an hour at the end of every hearing, gives Trump's lawyers the ability to respond in writing to public testimony, and allows the committee to collect information in secret "executive sessions." The Judiciary Committee believes it has identified five areas of potential obstruction in Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, in addition to the hush-money payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, and allegations that Trump has used his public office to benefit his private business. The resolution passed along party lines, 24-17. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Reuters)

Day 965: Boneheads.

1/ Trump ordered Mick Mulvaney to have NOAA repudiate a tweet by weather forecasters that contradicted his statement that Hurricane Dorian posed a significant threat to Alabama. Mulvaney then called Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to tell him to have the forecasters disavow their position that Alabama was not at risk. Ross, in turn, threatened to fire top employees at NOAA if the situation was not addressed. Trump, meanwhile, denied ordering Mulvaney to direct Ross to pressure NOAA to rebuke scientists who contradicted his hurricane claim, saying "I never did that β€” I never did that," dismissing the situation as "a hoax by the fake news media." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

2/ The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology opened an investigation into Ross pressuring the acting administrator of NOAA into supporting Trump's false claim about Hurricane Dorian. The committee also demanded documents and information related to the unsigned statement that NOAA issued that was perceived as rebuking its own scientists for contradicting Trump's claim that Dorian would hit Alabama "harder than anticipated." (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 963: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA employees after the agency's Birmingham office contradicted Trump's claim that Alabama would be hit "harder than anticipated" by Hurricane Dorian. Ross directed Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president. Jacobs initially objected to the demand, but was told by Ross that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not resolved. NOAA then sided with Trump over its own scientists, stating that Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time of Trump's tweet that Alabama would "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The Trump administration will not grant temporary protected status to Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian. Temporary protected status would have let Bahamians work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe to return home. (NBC News)

4/ Trump's trade war with China has reduced U.S. employment by 300,000 jobs through a combination of eliminated jobs by companies struggling with tariffs and jobs that would have been created but weren't because of reduced economic activity. Moody's Analytics forecasts that the job toll from the trade war will hit about 450,000 by the end of the year, if there are no changes in policy. (Yahoo Finance)

5/ Trump called on the "boneheads" at the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to "ZERO, or less" and again blamed the Fed for a slowing U.S. economy. Trump also called on the Fed to "start to refinance our debt" despite there being no modern precedent for the refinancing of federal debt. The U.S. is currently $22.5 trillion in debt, $16.7 trillion of which is owed by the public. The federal debt burden has grown by 13% – $2.6 trillion – under Trump, due in part to the 2017 tax cut Trump pushed through Congress. (CNBC / Washington Post / Politico)

6/ Trump tweeted "never forget" to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terror attacks, but after first attacking the "Amazon Washington Post/ABC" over an unfavorable poll, which he called a "phony suppression poll." Trump also tweeted about the Federal Reserve and pressuring it to lower interest rates, congratulating Republicans in a North Carolina special election, and ranting about China and his trade war. (HuffPost)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 964: 60% of Americans expect a recession in the next year. Trump's economic approval rating declined from 51% in July to 46% in September, with 47% disapproving. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 964: 38% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president – down from a career-high 44% in July. 56% disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president. (ABC News)


Notables.

  1. Three of former national security adviser John Bolton's top aides submitted their resignations. Trump said Bolton was fired while Bolton said he resigned. (Reuters)

  2. The Trump administration plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes following an outbreak of a vaping-related lung disease that has sickened 450 people and resulted in at least six deaths. (Politico / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News)

  3. Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire have promised not to cancel their caucus and primary for 2020 even as GOP leaders in other states have canceled party elections to help clear the way for Trump's reelection. GOP officials in New Hampshire said that "under no circumstances" will they ever cancel the state's primary election, "whether there’s token opposition or a serious contest." Iowa Republicans said it was "never even up for discussion." (Associated Press)

  4. Trump posted a photo of a "Trump 2024" campaign sign on Twitter and Instagram, joking once again that he is interested in serving more than two terms. Trump has made the joke in various forms on several different occasions, including earlier this year when he suggested that he would be president forever. (Newsweek / Fox News / Washington Post / HuffPost)

Day 964: Extremely complete.

1/ Trump announced that he fired his national security adviser, who insists that he resigned. John Bolton, disputing Trump's version of events, tweeted that "I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, 'Let's talk about it tomorrow.'" Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that "I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House." Trump added that he "disagreed strongly with many of [Bolton's] suggestions." The two have had a series of disagreements during Bolton's tenure, including how to handle sensitive foreign policy matters involving North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran. Trump did not name Bolton's successor but said he plans to name a replacement "next week." Bolton was Trump's third national security adviser. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press / BBC / Axios)

2/ Trump called his second national security adviser and told him that he missed him. In phone calls with retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump has solicited advice on national security challenges, including asking McMaster whom he should nominate for Secretary of Defense. McMaster was also fired by Trump on Twitter. (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 421: Trump plans to remove national security adviser H.R. McMaster and is currently considering potential replacements. Trump plans to take his time with the transition in order to avoid humiliating McMaster and ensure he has a strong replacement. Other Trump officials, like Ben Carson and Mick Mulvaney, are also rumored to be on the chopping block. "There will always be change," Trump said. "I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas." Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, disputed the story that Trump had decided to fire McMaster, tweeting: "Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster β€” contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC." (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 428: Trump will replace H. R. McMaster with John Bolton as his national security adviser. Bolton is a Fox News commentator and a former United States ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster had reportedly been discussing his departure with Trump for several weeks. "The two have been discussing this for some time. The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation," a White House official said. "This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two." McMaster, a three-star Army general, also announced that he would retire from the military. Bolton will be Trump's third national security adviser in 14 months. Bolton was also passed over for a State Department job last year, because Trump didn't like his mustache. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

3/ The purported high-level CIA source extracted from Russia in 2017 is currently living in Washington under his real name and under government protection. The CIA's Russian informant was active in the agency's conclusion that Putin ordered and orchestrated the campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The CIA then exfiltrated one of its top spies from Russia after officials became concerned he was in danger of being caught after Trump "mishandled" classified material. While NBC News is withholding the man's name and other key details at the request of U.S. officials, he fits the profile of the person who may have had access to information about Putin's activities, and who would have been recruitable by American intelligence officials. The NBC correspondent went to the man's house, rang the doorbell, and five minutes later two men in an SUV came up the street and parked immediately adjacent to the correspondent's car. (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 963: In 2017, the U.S. extracted one of its highest-level covert spies from inside the Russian government. The previously undisclosed secret mission was driven, in part, after Trump shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador in a May 2017 Oval Office meeting. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 111: Trump met with Putin’s top diplomats at the White House. The talks came one day after Trump fired the FBI Director, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sergey Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson earlier in the day and sarcastically acknowledged the dismissal of James Comey by saying "Was he fired? You're kidding. You're kidding." The Kremlin said Trump's firing of Comey will have no effect on bilateral relations between the two countries. Trump also met with Sergey Kislyak, a key figure in the Flynn investigation. (Associated Press / Reuters / Washington Post / NPR)

4/ Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about using foreign intelligence from covert sources, saying he doubts the credibility of the information they provide. Multiple senior officials who served under Trump, said he privately complained that foreign spies can damage relations with their host countries and undermine his personal relationships with their leaders. (CNN)

5/ Trump claimed he'll release an "extremely complete" report of his financial records in order to dispel the notion that he's profiting off of his administration. In response to questions from reporters about several instances of U.S. Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry resort in Scotland, Trump said it was unfair to suggest that he played any part in the arrangement because he owns so many different properties. He offered no specifics about the report, nor did he give a timeline of when he plans to release it. (Politico)

6/ Trump played a direct role in setting up the arrangement between his golf resort in Scotland and officials at Glasgow Prestwick Airport with the goal of increasing private and commercial air traffic to the region. During Trump's presidential run, the Pentagon began using the airport to refuel Air Force flights, giving the local airport the job of finding accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight. Yesterday, Trump said that the deal had "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME," but documents show both Trump and the Trump Organization were directly involved in crafting the partnership. The Trump Organization worked to get Trump's resort on the list of hotels that Prestwick would routinely send aircrews to, even though Turnberry is 20 miles from the airport – farther away than many other hotels and with higher advertised prices. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 963: An Air National Guard crew stayed at Trump's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March. The Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel both en route to the Middle East and back, with the crew staying at the resort, which lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. The Air Force confirmed that crew members stayed at Turnberry, but said "it did not appear" that they stayed at the hotel on the way back. There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns a few miles from the Prestwick airport with most of them much less expensive than the $380/night advertised rate at Trump Turnberry. The fuel would have also been cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. (Politico / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 963: Trump denied being involved in the stays at Turnberry by Air Force crews, tweeting that "I know nothing," but that "they have good taste!" Air Force crews will typically stop at U.S. military bases in Europe to refuel, where it's cheaper to do so. Trump added: "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME." (Politico)

poll/ 60% of Americans expect a recession in the next year. Trump's economic approval rating declined from 51% in July to 46% in September, with 47% disapproving. (Washington Post)

poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president – down from a career-high 44% in July. 56% disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president. (ABC News)

poll/ 60% of American say Trump does not deserve to be reelected. (CNN)


Notables.

  1. More Americans lack health insurance for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. About 27.5 million people, or 8.5% of the population, lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9% the year before. (New York Times)

  2. The Trump administration promoted an immigration judge that threatened a 2-year-old Guatemalan boy with an attack dog if he didn't stay quiet in court. "I have a very big dog in my office," Judge V. Stuart Couch told the boy, "and if you don't be quiet, he will come out and bite you!" In August, the Trump administration promoted Couch and five other judges to the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals, which often has the final say over whether immigrants are deported. (Mother Jones)

  3. Trump ordered White House officials to crackdown on homelessness in California. Trump has repeatedly attacked Democratic politicians in California over the state's homelessness issue, which he's called a "disgrace to our country." The Trump administration, however, may have exacerbated the problem by tightening immigrants' eligibility for federal assistance. (Washington Post)

  4. A federal judge set Michael Flynn's sentencing for Dec. 18th. Flynn pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to lying to the FBI about contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (Washington Post)

  5. Three House committees are investigating reported efforts by Trump and Rudy Giuliani "to pressure the government of Ukraine to assist" Trump's re-election campaign. The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees wrote to the White House and State Department seeking records related to what they described as efforts to "manipulate the Ukrainian justice system." (Reuters / CNBC)

Day 963: "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME"

1/ An Air National Guard crew stayed at Trump's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March. The Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel both en route to the Middle East and back, with the crew staying at the resort, which lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. The Air Force confirmed that crew members stayed at Turnberry, but said "it did not appear" that they stayed at the hotel on the way back. There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns a few miles from the Prestwick airport with most of them much less expensive than the $380/night advertised rate at Trump Turnberry. The fuel would have also been cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. (Politico / New York Times)

2/ Trump denied being involved in the stays at Turnberry by Air Force crews, tweeting that "I know nothing," but that "they have good taste!" Air Force crews will typically stop at U.S. military bases in Europe to refuel, where it's cheaper to do so. Trump added: "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME." (Politico)

  • The Air Force ordered a review of how it chooses hotels after military personnel stayed at Trump properties on multiple occasions. In one case, air crews were found to have occasionally stayed at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland while refueling at Prestwick Airport, a nearby commercial airport. Another time, the Maine Air National Guard also landed at Prestwick on its way back from Qatar and stayed at Turnberry. An Air Force spokesperson said the branch is reviewing "all associated guidance" related to personnel lodging because "lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable." (Politico)

3/ In 2017, the U.S. extracted one of its highest-level covert spies from inside the Russian government. The previously undisclosed secret mission was driven, in part, after Trump shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador in a May 2017 Oval Office meeting. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 111: Trump met with Putin’s top diplomats at the White House. The talks came one day after Trump fired the FBI Director, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sergey Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson earlier in the day and sarcastically acknowledged the dismissal of James Comey by saying "Was he fired? You're kidding. You're kidding." The Kremlin said Trump's firing of Comey will have no effect on bilateral relations between the two countries. Trump also met with Sergey Kislyak, a key figure in the Flynn investigation. (Associated Press / Reuters / Washington Post / NPR)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 112: The White House was misled about the role of the Russian photographer and were surprised to see photos posted online showing Trump not only with Sergey Lavrov but also smiling and shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Russian officials described the person as Lavrov's official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass, a Russian state-owned news agency. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 118: Putin offers to provide Congress with the transcript to prove Trump didn't pass Russia secrets, turning up the pressure on the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. Putin said Russia could hand over a transcript of Trump's meeting with Lavrov, if the Trump administration deemed it appropriate. (Reuters / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA employees after the agency's Birmingham office contradicted Trump's claim that Alabama would be hit "harder than anticipated" by Hurricane Dorian. Ross directed Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president. Jacobs initially objected to the demand, but was told by Ross that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not resolved. NOAA then sided with Trump over its own scientists, stating that Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time of Trump's tweet that Alabama would "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • NOAA officials warned staff not to contradict Trump. The warning came nearly a week before the NOAA publicly backed Trump over its own scientists. After Trump claimed Alabama "would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated" by Hurricane Dorian, NOAA staff were told to "only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon." They were also told not to "provide any opinion" on the matter. The order was understood internally as a reference to Trump and his false statements about Dorian. (Washington Post)

  • NOAA's acting chief scientist is investigating whether the agency's response to Trump's Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of policies and ethics. The director of the National Weather Service, meanwhile, broke with NOAA leadership, calling the agency's response "political" and a "danger to public health and safety." (Washington Post)

5/ Trump dismissed the idea of allowing Bahamians into the United States on humanitarian grounds following the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. Hours earlier, the acting Customs and Border Protection chief suggested that the idea was worth considering. Trump said that those struggling in devastated areas of the Bahamas should go to the "large sections" of their country that were not hit, because he's concerned that "bad people" could exploit the U.S. refugee process. (NBC News / Washington Post)

6/ The House Judiciary Committee will vote this week to define its ongoing "impeachment investigation." The vote would detail the parameters of its investigation and formalize procedures for an impeachment inquiry. Democrats say the move will allow the panel to work faster and potentially acquire more information about possible obstruction of justice and abuses of power by Trump. The resolution will also mark the first recorded vote related to impeachment by lawmakers, even though the committee has already informed federal courts and the public that it is currently in the midst of a full-scale impeachment inquiry. (New York Times) / Politico)

7/ Trump called off a secret meeting with Afghan and Taliban leaders at Camp David to negotiate a peace deal to end the 18-year-long war. Trump called off the meeting after the Taliban admitted to a suicide car bomb attack at a checkpoint near the American Embassy in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 others. The secret peace talks were slated to happen two days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times)

8/ Michael Flynn refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena for testimony and documents as part of its Russia investigation. The committee is now demanding that Flynn appear on September 25th and provide documents by September 18th. (Politico / CNN)

poll/ 58% of Americans have confidence that stricter gun laws would reduce mass shootings, while 41% remain skeptical. 76% think improved mental health monitoring and treatment would reduce mass shootings. 89% support background checks for gun purchases, including for sales at gun shows. 86% support "red flag" laws that allow police to take firearms away from people found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others. (ABC News / Washington Post)

Day 960: Looking for acknowledgment.

1/ The Trump administration is considering a drastic reduction in refugee admissions for next year. One plan would zero out the refugee program altogether, while another would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people. Senior officials plan to discuss what Trump should set the refugee admissions at for the coming year in a meeting next week. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 911: The Trump administration is considering admitting zero refugees next year. The idea was floated during a recent meeting with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and the Pentagon. Homeland Security officials at the meeting suggested making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000. The Trump administration cut refugee admissions from 110,000 in fiscal year 2017 to 30,000 in 2018. (Politico / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 944: The Trump administration is considering a plan to allow states and cities the ability to deny entry to refugees approved for resettlement in the United States. According to the draft order, "the federal government will resettle refugees only where both the relevant state and local governments have consented to participate" in the program. If a jurisdiction does not agree, the federal government will find another location. Trump, meanwhile, is debating whether to decrease refugee admissions starting on Oct. 1. In fiscal year 2016, the limit was 85,000 refugees; in fiscal year 2019, the number was 30,000. (NBC News)

2/ Four states are planning to cancel their Republican presidential primaries and caucuses. Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to complete the cancellation of their primaries at meetings this weekend. It is not unprecedented for state Republicans or Democrats to decide not to hold a presidential primary when an incumbent is running uncontested to save party money at the state level. Trump's challengers, however, say the moves are undemocratic and represent the latest illustration of Trump's takeover of the entire Republican Party. (Politico / CNN)

3/ Trump called a Fox News correspondent to the Oval Office to insist that he wasn't wrong when he claimed Hurricane Dorian could have hit Alabama. "He stressed to me that forecasts for Dorian last week had Alabama in the warning cone," said Fox News senior White House correspondent John Roberts. "He insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm" and suggested that Trump was "just looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong for saying that at some point" about Alabama being at risk. Trump later complained on Twitter that the media has not apologized to him for "four days of corrupt reporting" about his false claim that Alabama was among a handful of states that "will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." Trump attempted to prove that his original claims about Alabama were accurate this week by showing a doctored and outdated hurricane map that had been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the storm's track forecast cone. (CNN / Politico / Washington Post)

  • A White House official said Trump was the one who drew on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map with a sharpie to make it look like Dorian was poised to strike Alabama. "No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie," said the official. (Washington Post / Politico / Talking Points Memo)

4/ The Justice Department opened an antitrust investigation into four automakers who rejected the Trump administration's relaxed air pollution and mileage regulations. Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda, and BMW instead struck a deal with California to reduce automobile emissions. Automakers have urged the administration not to drastically roll back Obama-era emissions levels, arguing that one national standard would be better than one weaker standard for most of the country and one tougher standard for California, plus the 13 other states that follow California's lead. Those 14 states account for about 40% of the U.S. population. The Justice Department is investigating whether the deal could potentially limit consumer choice. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN)

5/ The U.S. added 130,000 jobs in August – about 25,000 of which were temporary 2020 Census workers – signaling a slowdown in the pace of job growth. Economists had predicted 160,000 job gains in August. Job gains for the two previous months were also revised downward by 20,000. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%. (Washington Post / Los Angeles Times / NPR / New York Times / Associated Press / CNBC)

6/ Congressional investigators identified possible failures in Deutsche Bank AG's money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs. Investigators discovered the potential failures after going through a series of transactions, emails, and other documents turned over to Congress by the bank. The inquiry found instances where bank staff flagged concerns about new Russian clients and transactions but were ignored by managers. Congress is also looking into whether the bank allowed entities to funnel illegal funds into the United States as a correspondent bank by processing transactions for others. (Reuters / The Hill)

Day 959: The ultimate deal.

1/ The Pentagon will divert funding from military construction projects in 23 states, three territories, and 19 countries to pay for Trump's border wall. Among the projects being defunded to pay for Trump's border wall, include nine schools for military children on bases in the U.S. and abroad, a daycare center at Joint Base Andrews, Hurricane Maria recovery projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, construction projects in Europe designed to help allies deter Russia. In total, $3.6 billion will be taken from 127 projects to fund 11 border barrier projects in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 957: The Trump administration will divert $3.6 billion this week from 127 military construction projects to build to build 175 miles of Trump's border wall. Trump declared a national emergency in February to draw funding from federal accounts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said about half of the funding will come from military construction projects outside the United States and half will come from projects within the country. (Politico / Washington Post)

2/ A federal judge ruled that 11 parents who were deported from the U.S. without their children will be allowed to return to the country. San Diego District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that the Trump administration illegally prevented the parents from pursuing their asylum cases. In some cases, the judge found that agents coerced the parents into dropping their claims and accepting deportation by having them sign documents they didn't understand or lying and telling the parents that the asylum laws had changed. Sabraw refused to allow seven other parents listed in the original request to return to the U.S. (The Hill)

3/ A district court judge in Virginia ruled that the federal government's database of "known or suspected terrorists" violates the rights of American citizens who are on the watchlist. Judge Anthony Trenga said "the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient" to address the risk of incorrectly depriving U.S. citizens of their freedom to travel or protect their reputation. The database is a major tool of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and the ruling calls the constitutionality of the watchlist into question. As of 2017, roughly 2.1 million people were on the watchlist. (New York Times)

4/ The U.S. and China will resume trade talks aimed at ending the trade war. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed to visit Washington in "early October" with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Stocks rose following the news that talks would resume. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ Trump's Middle East peace negotiator will leave the administration. Jason Greenblatt didn't say when his resignation would take effect, but the departure leaves the Israel-Palestinian peace effort – team led by Jared Kushner – without its chief architect. Trump has called it the "ultimate deal," but the plan has been repeatedly delayed with Palestinian leaders rejecting it sight unseen. Trump officials, however, claimed that "The vision is now complete and will be released when appropriate," but that the plan will not be released before Israel's Sept. 17 election. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

Day 958: "I don't know."

1/ Trump displayed a doctored National Weather Service map to "prove" that Alabama would, in fact, be affected by Hurricane Dorian. The storm's projected path on the map was extended to include Alabama with a black marker in an apparent attempted to retroactively justify Trump's incorrect tweet over the weekend warning that Alabama could be affected. "This is original path that we thought – and everybody thought that this was about a 95 percent probably," Trump said. When asked whether the chart had been drawn on, Trump said: "I don't know; I don't know." By law, knowingly issuing a false weather report is a violation of the law subject to imprisonment and or fine. (Washington Post / NPR / ABC News / The Guardian)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 957: Trump refused to retract his claim that Hurricane Dorian was poised to hit Alabama, even though the National Weather Service said he was wrong. The NWS office in Birmingham rejected Trump's assertion that Alabama was in the storm's path, tweeting: "We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama." Trump, meanwhile, explained that it's "Always good to be prepared!" (CNN / New York Times / The Hill / Yahoo! News)

2/ The Trump administration relaxed requirements for energy efficient light bulbs that Congress passed in 2007. The Energy Department's filing in the Federal Register will now prevent new efficiency standards for inefficient incandescent and halogen bulbs from going into effect on Jan. 1st. (New York Times)

3/ The FBI is tracking people protesting U.S. immigration policy at the border and monitoring their social media. The FBI office in Phoenix sent an "external intelligence note" to other law enforcement and government agencies saying these groups are "increasingly arming themselves and using lethal force to further their goals." Almost all of the evidence cited in the report involved nonviolent protest activity. Civil rights advocates say that the government is classifying legitimate protests and legally protected speech as violent extremism or domestic terrorism. (Yahoo News)

4/ Mitch McConnell reiterated that he is open to bringing gun legislation to the floor of the Senate – but only if Trump supports it. Democrats are urging McConnell to bring the House's universal background checks bill to the Senate floor. McConnell said he would be happy to put the bill on the floor if Trump "is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it it'll become law." (Politico)

  • Trump said he hopes will Congress would reach an agreement on gun reform "soon," but didn't endorse the House-passed bill that would mandate universal background checks for all gun sales. (Politico)

  • San Francisco's Board of Supervisors labeled the NRA a terrorist organization, saying the organization intentional "spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence." The NRA called the resolution a "ludicrous stunt." (KTVU)

5/ A former top Trump official at the Interior Department who oversaw oil and gas drilling on federal lands joined an oil and gas company less than a week after resigning from Interior. Joe Balash served as assistant secretary for land and minerals management for nearly two years, where he worked to open up the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development and expand drilling on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to the west of the refuge. Now, Balash will be working for Oil Search, a Papua New Guinea-based oil company that is currently developing one of Alaska's largest oil prospects in years on state lands that are nearby β€” but not inside β€” those same federal reserves. (Washington Post)

6/ The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security over Trump's alleged offer to pardon officials who break the law while carrying out his immigration agenda. Trump has denied making the offer while his allies claimed the closed-door comment was a joke. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 951: Trump promised to pardon any official who breaks the law in order to get his border wall built by the 2020 election. Trump also directed officials to "take the land" necessary and "get it done" by eminent domain along the U.S.-Mexico border, ignore environmental regulations, and quickly approve billions of dollars' worth of construction contracts to fast-track his signature 2016 presidential campaign promise. "Don't worry, I'll pardon you," Trump reportedly told aides. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / CNN / The Independent)

7/ A federal judge blocked the White House's decision to revoke a Playboy reporter's press pass over a showdown in the Rose Garden with former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras granted a preliminary injunction to restore Brian Karem's "hard pass," because reporters weren't given a clear set of rules governing press conduct at events like the one in question in the Rose Garden. Despite objections from the White House press secretary that reporters are required to adhere to general standards of "professionalism" and "decorum," Contreras said that "without any contextual guideposts, 'professionalism,' standing alone, remains too murky to provide fair notice here." (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 62% of voters said they're somewhat or very concerned that there will be a recession in the next six months. 57% said they would blame Trump should America enter recession by the end of the year. (Newsweek / Harvard CAPS/Harris)

Day 957: Always good to be prepared.

1/ The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to investigate Trump's alleged involvement in the 2016 hush-money payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. The committee plans to hold hearings and call witnesses involved in the scheme as soon as October, but say there is already enough evidence to name Trump as a co-conspirator. Michael Cohen previously pleaded guilty to two campaign finance crimes related to the hush-money payments. The renewed inquiry will serve as another aspect of the House's consideration of whether or not to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. (Washington Post)

2/ Trump "suggested" that Pence stay at his Irish golf club and hotel during a taxpayer-funded trip, despite the meetings taking place more than 150 miles away. Pence is traveling with his wife, sister, and mother, and was originally scheduled to end his trip at Trump's golf club in Doonbeg. Pence will now fly back and forth from Doonbeg to Dublin for his meetings – more than an hour flight each way. Both Pence and an aide defended the arrangement, claiming that the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel was "the one facility" in Ireland that could accommodate the delegation traveling with Pence. Since 2017, Pence's political group has spent about $224,000 at Trump properties. (NBC News / Daily Beast / Associated Press / New York Times / CNN /Washington Post)

3/ A company that Trump's campaign manager owns received more than $900,000 in business from a pro-Trump super PAC. Bradβ€―Parscale created Red State Data and Digital to act as a "firewall company" that allowed it to continue working with the America First super PAC during the midterm elections without violating election rules that prohibit coordination between a campaign and a super PAC. Red State was founded on March 2, 2018 – days after it was announced that Parscale would become Trump's 2020 campaign manager. (CNN / ABC News)

4/ A group of Trump's allies is trying to raise at least $2 million to investigate reporters and editors Trump doesn't like. In a fundraising pitch, the group claims it will provide damaging information about reporters and editors to "friendly media outlets," such as Breitbart, as well as traditional media when possible. GOP consultant Arthur Schwartz will be involved with the fundraising effort, along with several others associated with the "loose network" of operatives identified by the New York Times last week. The prospectus for the project says it is "targeting the people producing the news." (Axios)

5/ The Trump administration will divert $3.6 billion this week from 127 military construction projects to build to build 175 miles of Trump's border wall. Trump declared a national emergency in February to draw funding from federal accounts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said about half of the funding will come from military construction projects outside the United States and half will come from projects within the country. (Politico / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 757: Trump declared a national emergency at the border to circumvent Congress and fund his border wall with money lawmakers refused to give him, saying "I didn't need to do this," but "I just want to get it done faster, that's all." In a Rose Garden news conference, Trump said he would sign the declaration to divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects to his border wall and then use presidential budgetary discretion to redirect $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and another $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund. Between the $1.375 billion authorized for fencing in a spending package passed by Congress, and the roughly $6.5 billion in funding from executive action, Trump is will have about $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier – significantly more than the $5.7 billion that Congress refused to give him. Following the news conference, Trump signed the spending legislation. (New York Times / The Guardian / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News)

6/ Trump tweeted a detailed aerial photo of an Iranian launchpad from that appears to have come from a classified intelligence briefing. The photo shows the aftermath of an accident at Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center. Some experts suspect that the image in Trump's tweet might have come from a drone or a spy plane, confirming that the U.S. is violating Iran's airspace to spy on the missile program. Amateur satellite trackers, however, say image was taken by one of the United States' most secretive surveillance satellites, USA 224. The capabilities of USA 224 are so closely guarded that people have been sent to prison for leaking photos from them. Trump denied responsibility for the extensive damage to the launchpad and defended his decision to tweet the photo, saying: "We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do." (Washington Post / NPR / Los Angeles Times / CNBC)


Notables.

  1. Trump is "not sure that (he's) ever even heard of a Category 5" hurricane. Four such storms – including Hurricane Dorian – having threatened the U.S. since he took office. (CNN)

  2. London Mayor Sadiq Khan mocked Trump for "dealing with a hurricane out on the golf course." Trump cancelled his trip to Poland to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II to instead concentrate on Hurricane Dorian. Instead, he played golf at his private club in Virginia. (Politico)

  3. Trump refused to retract his claim that Hurricane Dorian was poised to hit Alabama, even though the National Weather Service said he was wrong. The NWS office in Birmingham rejected Trump's assertion that Alabama was in the storm's path, tweeting: "We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama." Trump, meanwhile, explained that it's "Always good to be prepared!" (CNN / New York Times / The Hill / Yahoo! News)

  4. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos scaled back an Obama-era federal student loan forgiveness policy for borrowers who claim they were misled or deceived by their colleges. The new rules will make it more difficult for federal student loan borrowers to cancel their debt on the grounds that their college defrauded them. (Politico)

  5. U.S. manufacturing contracted for the first time since 2016, heightening fears that the trade war with China could bring on a recession. The Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers index fell to 49.1 in August. Figures below 50 indicate the manufacturing economy is generally shrinking. (Bloomberg / New York Times)

Day 953: Cone of uncertainty.

1/ Trump's longtime personal assistant was fired after bragging to reporters that she had a better relationship with Trump than Ivanka or Tiffany Trump – his own daughters. Madeleine Westerhout also told reporters that Trump did not like being in pictures with Tiffany because he thought she was overweight. Westerhout comments happened at an off-the-record dinner with reporters in Bedminster, N.J. (Politico / New York Times / CNN)

2/ Trump formally established the U.S. military's Space Command, which will be responsible for protecting American interests in what he called "the next war-fighting domain." Space Command will consist 287 personnel, but could draw troops from other branches of the military, as well as from Trump's proposed Space Force, the sixth branch of the military that is currently waiting to be approved by Congress. Space Command's location has yet to be determined, but the Pentagon is currently considering six locations at bases in Colorado, Alabama and California. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN / New York Times)

3/ The Federal Election Commission no longer has enough commissioners to legally meet after the vice chairman resigned earlier this week. With Matthew Petersen gone, the FEC will be down to three members and won't have a quorum. The agency is supposed to serve as the watchdog over how money is raised and spent in American elections. (NPR / New York Times / USA Today)

4/ Trump canceled his planned trip to Poland to monitor Hurricane Dorian, which is threatening to strike Florida near Mar-a-Lago. The storm is projected to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Monday, with Melbourne as the most likely landing spot – about 115 miles north of where Trump's ocean-front hotel is situated. Mar-a-Lago remains in the "cone of uncertainty." Trump had been set to travel to Poland to participate in a World War II commemoration ceremony. Pence will make the trip instead. (NBC News / Tampa Bay Times / Washington Post / CNN)

Day 952: "A troubling pattern of corruption."

1/ The EPA plans to roll back regulation of methane emissions – a major contributor to climate change – by eliminating the federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to monitor and limit leaks from wells, tanks, and pipeline networks. Trump administration officials suggested that because the oil and gas industry can't profit from leaks, they already have an economic incentive to limit their methane emissions. Several of the world's largest fossil fuel companies, however, opposed the rollback and urged the Trump administration to leave the current standards in place. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian / NBC News)

2/ The Trump administration started denying applications by immigrant families for permission to extend their stay in the for medical care not available in their home countries. Letters issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to those applying for medical relief that agency offices "no longer consider deferred action requests," except for members of the military, and their stay has been rescinded. They have 33 days to leave the country, retroactive to any requests filed on or before Aug. 7th. The policy has not been publicly announced. (NBC News / ABC News)

3/ The Justice Department inspector general found that James Comey violated FBI policies for sharing memos that detailed his interactions with Trump. Comey won't be charged. The inspector general determined that the memos were official records, which describe how Trump pressed Comey for loyalty and asked him to stop an investigation into Michael Flynn. (Washington Post / NPR / USA Today / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 104: Comey helped release details of his meetings with Trump. Comey acknowledged that he shared copies of his memos documenting his Trump meetings with a β€œclose friend” β€” a professor at Columbia Law School β€” who could share the information with reporters. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 456: The Justice Department sent partially redacted copies of James Comey's memos – 15 pages in total – to Congress, which leaked to the public within hours. The memos cover the first three months of the Trump administration. Following the release, Trump tweeted that the memos "show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION." (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The House Judiciary Committee will investigate Trump's proposal to hold the 2020 G7 meeting at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, calling the move "only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing" by Trump. Jerrold Nadler said that requiring foreign leaders to pay to stay at a Trump-owned property would be a direct violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 949: Trump floated the idea of holding the next G7 summit at his "magnificent" Doral golf resort in Miami. Trump said that while he hasn't made a final decision, "it's right next to the airport and it's a great place," and that his staff had determined that β€” of all the resorts in America β€” Trump's club was the best suited to host the international meeting. Trump also defended the possibility of hosting the summit at his golf club, claiming "I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money. I don't care about making money." The U.S. is next to host the G7 in 2020. Trump also refused to say whether he would invite Russia to the meeting, but said he thought it would be "advantageous" if they attended. Russia was kicked out over its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / CNN)

5/ Trump attacked Puerto Rico as it braces for Hurricane Dorian. He called the island "one of the most corrupt places on earth" and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz "incompetent." Trump then proclaimed himself "the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico." (ABC News / CNBC / Washington Post)

6/ Trump complained that Fox News "isn't working for us anymore" because the network is not sufficiently loyal to him. Trump urged his followers to "start looking for a new News Outlet" as an alternative to Fox. Several Fox News personalities, however, pushed back, saying: "Fox News isn't supposed to work for you," and "We don't work for you." (Politico / CNN / Daily Beast)

7/ MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell retracted his claim Russian oligarchs had co-signed Trump's Deutsche Bank loans. O'Donnell said that statements from a single source weren't ready to be reported, because he did not go through the network's "rigorous verification and standards process" before repeating it, and that "had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it." (Politico / NBC News)

8/ Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner discussed the possibility of replacing Pence with Nikki Haley on the 2020 Republican ticket. Haley, meanwhile, tweeted out a denial of the "false rumors" β€” which hadn't leaked beyond the White House β€” that she wanted to join Trump on the 2020 ticket. (Raw Story / Political Wire)

9/ Trump aides admitted that he lied about the "high-level" trade talks with Chinese officials in order to boost markets. Aides privately conceded that the calls didn't happen the way Trump said they did, and because Trump wanted to project optimism, he conflated comments from China's vice premier with direct communications from the Chinese. (CNN)

10/ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin floated the idea of offering bonds with maturities of 50 to 100 years. Mnuchin said the idea was under "very serious consideration" after a meeting with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier this month when the yield curve briefly inverted. (Bloomberg)

11/ Trump is considering a plan to block more than $250 million in foreign aid to Ukraine. Since 2014, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in security assistance to bolster the country's military, which faces an ongoing conflict with separatists that the Pentagon believes are backed by Moscow. (CNN / Politico)

12/ Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he had "no choice but to leave" the Trump administration after Trump announced plans to withdraw the U.S. military from Syria. Mattis has given a series of interviews and public statements in recent weeks indirectly criticizing Trump, but he has refused to directly address Trump's character and fitness for office, citing a "duty of silence" to the administration. "When you leave an administration over clear policy differences," Mattis said, "you need to give the people who are still there as much opportunity as possible to defend the country." (CNN)

13/ Trump made 48 false claims between Tuesday and Sunday last week. He has averaged 7.7 false claims per day since July 8. (CNN)

14/ A press secretary for Trump's reelection campaign disputed that Trump frequently lies. Kayleigh McEnany said "No, I don't think the President has lied," and then accused some news networks of "lying to the American people." McEnany also dismissed Russia's interference in the 2016 election. (CNN)

Day 951: Dread.

1/ Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court that it has some Trump-related tax returns. In a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Deutsche wrote that it "has in its possession tax returns (in either draft or as-filed form) responsive to the Subpoenas" from the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees seeking financial records for Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, the Trump Organization, and other Trump-family-controlled entities. Deutsche redacted the names of individuals from the public filing due to privacy concerns about its relationship with clients and wouldn't publicly confirm whether it specifically had Trump's tax returns, but added it also has tax records "related to parties not named in the subpoenas but who may constitute 'immediate family'" of individuals named in the document request. The disclosure was made by Deutsche after appellate judges had asked if the bank actually had the records. Capital One, which was also subpoenaed by the House committees in April, said it "does not possess any tax returns responsive to the Capital One subpoena." Trump is currently suing to prevent Deutsche Bank and other banks from complying with the subpoenas. Deutsche Bank has been Trump's primary lender for years when other banks wouldn't lend to the Trump Organization. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Reuters / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 320: Robert Mueller issued a subpoena for the banking records of people affiliated with Trump. The move forced Deutsche Bank – Trump's biggest lender – to turn over documents related to certain credit transactions and the $300 million Trump owes the lender. Legal experts said it showed Mueller was "following the money" in search of links between the campaign and the Kremlin since Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump's mortgage or loans to Russian-owned banks, which could potentially give Russia leverage over Trump. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's personal lawyers, denied that a subpoena had been issued. Since 1998, Deutsche has helped loan at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Trump, which he used to build or purchase highest-profile projects in Washington, New York, Chicago and Florida. (The Guardian / Bloomberg / Reuters / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 356: The Trump administration waived fines for Deutsche Bank and four other multinational banks convicted of manipulating global interest rates. Trump owes Deutsche at least $130 million in loans that were originally worth $300 million. The German bank was also fined $425 million by New York State for laundering $10 billion out of Russia. (International Business Times / USA Today)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 526: Justice Anthony Kennedy's son, Justin, worked at Deutsche Bank for more than a decade, helping loan Trump more than $1 billion at a time when other banks wouldn't. Since 1998, Deutsche has helped loan Trump at least $2.5 billion, of which at least $130 million is still owed to the bank. In 2017, Deutsche Bank AG agreed to pay $425 million to New York's banking regulator over a money laundering scheme that helped Russian investors move $10 billion out of Russia. Trump later waived the fines for the bank after Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche for the banking records of people affiliated with him. Following Trump's first address to Congress in February 2017, he stopped to tell Justice Kennedy: "Say hello to your boy. Special guy." (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 789: Deutsche Bank loaned more than $2 billion to Trump over nearly two decades during his time as a real estate developer at a time when other banks wouldn't lend to him. The bank repeatedly loaned money to Trump despite multiple business-related "red flags," including instances where Trump exaggerated his wealth by an extra $2 billion in order to secure additional loans from the bank. In 2010, Trump returned to Deutsche Bank for $100 million loan, even though it had concluded at the time that Trump had overvalued some of his real estate assets by up to 70%. (New York Times / New York Times / CNBC)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 817: House Democrats subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for Trump's personal and financial records. Democrats also subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup for documents related to possible Russian money laundering. Maxine Waters said Trump's "potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern" and that the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees will "follow the facts wherever they may lead us." Deutsche Bank reportedly requested a so-called "friendly subpoena" from the committees before it would comply with their request. The Trump Organization, meanwhile, said it was looking at options to block Deutsche Bank from complying with the subpoena. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Reuters / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 831: Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization are suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block their compliance with subpoenas from House Democrats seeking his financial records. Trump's attorneys argue that the subpoenas serve "no legitimate or lawful purpose" and were issued to harass Trump and "rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family." House Democrats called it a "meritless lawsuit" that was "only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible" in order to "obstruct Congress's constitutional oversight authority." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and the Trump Organization. Deutsche Bank and Capital One intend to begin providing documents to the House on May 6th, absent court intervention. (New York Times / Politico / Axios / CNBC / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 851: Deutsche Bank staff identified multiple suspicious transactions made in 2016 and 2017 by legal entities controlled by Trump and Jared Kushner. A group of anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended that the bank report the transactions to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. But executives at the bank, from which Trump has borrowed billions of dollars, rejected the advice of their staff and chose not to file the reports with the government. The nature of the transactions in question is still unclear, but at least some of them involved money flowing back and forth between overseas entities or individuals, something the bank employees flagged as suspicious. Deutsche Bank has denied the report that its executives ignored the recommendations of its own anti-money-laundering specialists. (New York Times / Reuters / Reuters)

🚨 RUMOR MILL: MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell said that a "single source close to Deutsche Bank" said Trump had Russian oligarchs co-sign his loan documents. O'Donnell added that his source said Trump would not have been able to obtain his loans with Deutsche without the co-signers, which described as "Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin." (Washington Examiner / Business Insider / Twitter)

  • Trump's personal attorney threatened NBCUniversal and Lawrence O'Donnell with a defamation suit for reporting that "Russian oligarchs" co-signed loans to Trump. Charles Harder demanded that O'Donnell and NBCU "immediately and prominently retract, correct and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements." (Hollywood Reporter)

2/ Trump promised to pardon any official who breaks the law in order to get his border wall built by the 2020 election. Trump also directed officials to "take the land" necessary and "get it done" by eminent domain along the U.S.-Mexico border, ignore environmental regulations, and quickly approve billions of dollars' worth of construction contracts to fast-track his signature 2016 presidential campaign promise. "Don't worry, I'll pardon you," Trump reportedly told aides. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / CNN / The Independent)

3/ Children born to some U.S. military members and government employees working overseas will no longer automatically be considered United States citizens, according to policy alert issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Trump administration rescinded previous guidance that children of U.S. service members and government officials abroad are considered "residing in the United States" and automatically given citizenship under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The new policy, however, states that "these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically." The new policy will go into effect on Oct. 29th. (Task and Purpose / The Hill / Axios / Daily Beast)

4/ Trump instructed his Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska's 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions put in place nearly two decades ago. The move would open up more than half of the world's largest intact temperate rainforest to potential logging, energy, and mining projects. It would also undercut a policy put in place by the Clinton administration known as the "roadless rule." Forest Service officials had planned to phase out old-growth logging in the Tongass within a decade. (Washington Post / The Hill / Slate)

5/ Trump said he backs Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in the struggle to contain the man-made fires in the Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro is "working very hard on the Amazon fires," Trump tweeted, "and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil - Not easy. He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!" Bolsonaro played a key role in pushing for the deforestation which directly contributed to the fires. He recently rejected $20 million in international aid to help fight the fires, before deciding on Tuesday to accept all foreign aid from organizations or countries β€” as long as Brazil can decide how to use the assistance. (Politico / New York Times / MSNBC / CBS News)

poll/ 56% of voters disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president. If the 2020 presidential election were held today, 54% of voters said they'd vote for Joe Biden, while 38% would vote for Trump. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 37% of Americans say the economy is declining, compared with 31% who continue to see improvement. (Bloomberg / Quinnipiac)

poll/ 81% of voters say the fundamental values of the United States are being tested in the 2020 election, including 87% of Democrats, 81% of Republicans, and 78% of independents. 58% added that the 2020 election will be the most important of their lifetimes. 6%, however, said the 2020 election is not at all important compared to other elections. 38% of Americans said they would have little or no confidence that the election had been conducted in a "fair-and-square way" if their candidate loses. (USA Today / Suffolk University)

Day 950: Downhill.

1/ The Trump administration is pulling $155 million from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to temporarily pay for court hearing locations for asylum-seekers along the southern border who have been forced to wait in Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security will also lose $116 million previously allocated for Coast Guard operations, aviation security, and more in order to fund nearly 6,800 more beds for immigrant detainees. Combined with existing space, the funding would allow ICE to detain nearly 50,000 immigrants at one time. The Trump administrations sent the allocation changes to Congress as a notification rather than a request. Puerto Rico is currently under a hurricane watch, which Trump complained about as "yet another big storm" before overstating how much money Congress allocated for recovery in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / BuzzFeed News)

2/ The attorneys general for 19 states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration to block a new rule to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally. The new rule would terminate the Flores agreement, which puts a 20-day limit on how long children can be held in immigration detention. (Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 924: The Trump administration will terminate the 20-day cap for detaining migrant children and allow the government to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally. The new regulation, announced by acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan, requires approval from a federal judge before it can go into effect and could be in defiance of the 2015 Flores agreement, which limited the time families could be detained to 20 days. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly blamed the 20-day rule for encouraging migrants to arrive at the border with their children expecting to be released. Administration officials claim the new rule will serve as a deterrent against migrant families. The Trump administration proposed a similar rule in September 2018 that would have allowed the government to detain migrant children for longer periods of time, so long as they were treated with "dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors." (ABC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / New York Times)

3/ Homeland Security plans to launch a program aimed at protecting voter registration databases and systems from ransomware attacks ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The systems are used to validate the eligibility of voters before they cast ballots. They were compromised in 2016 by Russian hackers collecting voter information. Intelligence officials say that in 2020, however, foreign hackers will not only target the databases, but could also attempt to manipulate, disrupt, or destroy the data altogether. A senior U.S. official says the systems are classified as "high risk." (Reuters)

4/ Attorney General William Barr booked Trump's D.C. hotel for a 200-person holiday party in December. Trump's hotel will likely earn more than $30,000 in revenue from the event. Justice Department attorneys, meanwhile, are currently defending Trump's business in court, arguing that he has not violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump blamed "Radical Left Democrats" for spreading a "false and nasty rumor" about a bedbug infestation at the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort. "No bedbugs at Doral," Trump tweeted, referring to a lawsuit over bedbugs that the resort settled in 2017. The hashtag "#TrumpBedBugs" was trending on Twitter yesterday after Trump floated the idea of hosting next year's G7 meeting at the hotel. (Washington Post / Politico)

  • 2017: Trump Doral settles lawsuit over biting bedbugs. (Miami Herald)

  • Trump called Baltimore "rat and rodent infested" four months after he tried ending the primary funding source for the city's public housing rat-elimination program. The Community Development Block Grant program funded $22 million worth of improvements in Baltimore last year and ensures "decent affordable housing," after-school programs to low-income children, and assistance on closing costs to purchase homes. (Baltimore Sun)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 921: Trump called Elijah Cummings a "brutal bully" and his Baltimore-based district a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" that "is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there." Trump also called Cummings, a black civil rights icon, a "racist." Trump's tweets appeared to be in response to a Fox & Friends segment on the same topic that ran earlier in the day, which included images of rundown and neglected apartment buildings in Baltimore. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings has initiated most of the investigations into the Trump administration. Last week, Cummings was authorized to subpoena work-related text and emails by White House officials, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Trump called Cummings' "radical 'oversight' […] a joke!" (Baltimore Sun / New York Times / Washington Post / Washington Post / The Hill)

6/ Trump said he refuses to jeopardize the wealth of the U.S. over climate "dreams" and "windmills" after skipping a G7 session on climate change. The Trump administration has rolled back several U.S. environmental protection policies put in place by the Obama administration, including weakening the Endangered Species Act. (Reuters)

7/ Farmers are losing patience with Trump's trade war with China and a growing number suggest it will not take much more to lose their vote. "We're not starting to do great again," said the president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. "Things are going downhill and downhill quickly." American agricultural exports to China were $24 billion in 2014, but fell to $9.1 billion last year. Exports of farm products to China fell by another $1.3 billion in the first half of this year. Farm bankruptcy filings this year through June are up 13% from 2018 and loan delinquency rates are also on the rise. (New York Times)

  • China's foreign ministry said it hopes the U.S. can create the conditions for additional trade talks between the world's two largest economies. The ministry also reiterated that it had no knowledge of any recent phone call between the U.S. and China, as members of the Trump administration claimed. (Reuters)

poll/ Trump's net approval rating has dropped in every key battleground state since January 2017. (Axios / Morning Consult)

Day 949: Magnificent.

1/ Trump was the only world leader to skip a session devoted to climate change at the G7 summit, citing scheduled meetings with Germany and India. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, both attended the climate change meeting. When asked whether he had attended the climate session, Trump replied: "We're having it in a little while." (The Guardian / USA Today / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 931: Climate change is putting pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself, according to a new United Nations report that was prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and, unanimously approved. The report warns that the world's land and water resources are being exploited at "unprecedented rates" and "the cycle is accelerating." Climate change has already degraded lands, caused deserts to expand, permafrost to thaw, and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. "The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases," the report said. The report offered several proposals for addressing food supplies, including reducing red meat consumption, adopting plant-based diets, and eating more fruits, vegetables and seeds. As a result, the world could reduce carbon pollution up to 15% of current emissions levels by 2050. It would also make people healthier. (New York Times / Associated Press / Nature)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 627: A U.N. report on the effects of climate change predicts a strong risk of an environmental crisis much sooner than expected. The report finds that the atmosphere could warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, which would cause sea levels to rise, intensify droughts, wildfires, and poverty, and cause a mass die-off of coral reefs. To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and fully eliminated by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1% and 7% by 2050. Renewable energy would have to increase to about 67%. Trump has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, vowing to increase the burning of coal, and he intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. The world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark and "there is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the report said. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 676: The National Climate Assessment concludes that global warming is already "transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us." The findings from the landmark scientific report, issued by 13 federal agencies, are at odds with the Trump administration's environmental deregulation agenda, which Trump claims will lead to economic growth, and its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The report predicts that the effects of global warming could eliminate as much as 10% of the U.S. economy by the end of the century, and warns that humans must act aggressively now "to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades." The first report, released in November 2017, concluded that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for the changing climate other than "human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases." Trump recently questioned the science of climate change, saying that "I don't know that it's man-made" and that the warming trend "could very well go back." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 685: Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record. Global emissions grew 1.6% in 2017 with 2018 expected to increase 2.7%. The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon emissions, but that hasn't stopped the Trump administration from moving to roll back regulations designed to limit those emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power-plant smokestacks. As United Nations Secretary General AntΓ³nio Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference: "We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change." (Washington Post / New York Times

2/ Trump floated the idea of holding the next G7 summit at his "magnificent" Doral golf resort in Miami. Trump said that while he hasn't made a final decision, "it's right next to the airport and it's a great place," and that his staff had determined that β€” of all the resorts in America β€” Trump's club was the best suited to host the international meeting. Trump also defended the possibility of hosting the summit at his golf club, claiming "I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money. I don't care about making money." The U.S. is next to host the G7 in 2020. Trump also refused to say whether he would invite Russia to the meeting, but said he thought it would be "advantageous" if they attended. Russia was kicked out over its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / CNN)

  • Trump told the G7 that Obama was "outsmarted" and embarrassed by Putin when Russia illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Revenue at the Trump National Doral has declined since 2015. The resort's net operating income fell by 69% from 2015 to 2017. (Washington Post)

3/ The Trump's hotels and resorts could save millions of dollars on outstanding loans if the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates as Trump has demanded. For every quarter-point reduction, Trump could save as much as $850,000 in annual interest rate payments. If the Fed dropped rates a full percentage point, which Trump has repeatedly urged Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to do, the Trump Organization could save more than $3 million annually. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 942: Trump urged the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by a full percentage point. The Fed cut rates last month for the first time in a decade, signaling it might further cut rates amid slowing global growth and uncertainty over Trump's trade war with China. Trump chastised the central bank's chairman, Jerome Powell, for a "horrendous lack of vision" and claimed that the U.S. economy "is very strong." (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 946: Trump called the Federal Reserve chairman an "enemy" of the United States after Jerome Powell said Trump's trade war is a "complex, turbulent" situation. Powell, whom Trump picked for the role, suggested the trade wars were contributing to a possible global slowdown and that the central bank was facing a "new challenge" as a result. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that the Fed "did NOTHING" and questioned who "our bigger enemy" is: Powell or China's President Xi Jinping. Trump also tweeted that he'll continue to "work 'brilliantly.'" [Editor's note: It's unclear why Trump quoted the word brilliantly in his tweet.] (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / The Guardian / CNBC)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 937: Trump, meanwhile, called Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell "clueless" and blamed him for the "CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE!" Trump, deflecting criticism that his trade war with China is hurting the economic outlook, claimed that "China is not our problem" and that "we are winning, big time." Yesterday, Trump delayed imposing tariffs on some Chinese imports until December "just in case" there would be a negative impact on shoppers during the holidays. (CNBC / Bloomberg)

4/ Trump claimed that "China called last night" to resume trade talks because "They have been hurt very badly" by the trade war. Chinese officials, however, said they were "not aware" of any phone calls with Trump and that China was willing to resolve the trade dispute through "calm" negotiations and opposed further escalation of the conflict. Trump replied: "Sorry, it's the way I negotiate." (Politico / Reuters / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNBC / Washington Post)

5/ Trump has repeatedly suggested dropping nuclear bombs on hurricanes to stop them from hitting the U.S. during meetings with senior Homeland Security and national security officials. "Why don't we nuke them?" Trump reportedly asked at one hurricane briefing at the White House. Government scientists have repeatedly said the idea will not work. A source in the room said "You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, 'What the fβ€”? What do we do with this?'" Trump later denied the report, tweeting in third person that "President Trump […] never said this" and called the story "ridiculous." (Axios / CNN)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration won't say when the first mile of Trump's new border wall will be built. More than 60 miles of existing barriers and fences have been replaced with a new wall, but to date not a single mile of wall has been built where no barrier previously existed. (Axios)

  2. A network of conservative operatives and White House allies are attempting to discredit news organizations that Trump doesn't like by publishing damaging information about journalists who work for them. The group compiles dossiers of embarrassing social media posts and other public statements made by journalists who work at large news organizations, including CNN, Washington Post, and New York Times. The research also reportedly extends to the family members of journalists, liberal activists, and other political opponents of Trump. (New York Times)

  3. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House staff secretary Rob Porter for public testimony. Porter was a key witness in Mueller's investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Trump and will now testify publicly about Trump's efforts to impede the Russia investigation. Porter is the third former Trump adviser to receive a subpoena in the last month. The committee is currently weighing whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump. Porter resigned last year amid allegations that he abused his ex-wives. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Reuters)

  4. Trump claimed that Melania Trump has "gotten to know" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and that she agrees that Kim "is a man with a country that has tremendous potential." Melania Trump has never met Kim, which the White House later confirmed. (Politico / Washington Post)

Day 946: "Our bigger enemy."

1/ Trump called the Federal Reserve chairman an "enemy" of the United States after Jerome Powell said Trump's trade war is a "complex, turbulent" situation. Powell, whom Trump picked for the role, suggested the trade wars were contributing to a possible global slowdown and that the central bank was facing a "new challenge" as a result. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that the Fed "did NOTHING" and questioned who "our bigger enemy" is: Powell or China's President Xi Jinping. Trump also tweeted that he'll continue to "work 'brilliantly.'" [Editor's note: It's unclear why Trump quoted the word brilliantly in his tweet.] (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / The Guardian / CNBC)

2/ China will retaliate with tariffs on $75 billion more of U.S. goods in two batches effective Sept. 1st and Dec. 15th, which match with 10% tariff the Trump administration said would go into effect on $300 billion worth of imports from China. Beijing will also impose 25% tariffs on U.S. cars and a 5% on auto parts and components, which will go into effect on Dec. 15th. China paused the tariffs in April. (ABC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / Axios)

3/ Trump "hereby ordered" U.S. companies via Twitter to leave China "immediately" after Beijing said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of additional U.S. products. In a series of tweets, Trump demanded that U.S. companies "start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA," because "Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years." Trump also "ordered" the United States Postal Service and private American companies like FedEx, Amazon, and UPS to search packages from China for Fentanyl and refuse delivery. The White House does not have the authority to force companies to follow these "orders." Trump also promised to escalate the trade war, saying he would be "responding to China's Tariffs this afternoon" because "This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States." (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg)

4/ The Dow dropped more than 600 points after Trump ordered U.S. manufacturers to find alternatives to China. The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year Treasury yield also inverted following Trump's tweets. A yield curve inversion is considered one of the most reliable leading indicators that recession is coming. (CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)

  • Trump joked that the stock market dropped because Rep. Seth Moulton dropped out of the presidential race. Moulton, meanwhile, reacted to Trump's tweet, saying "I'm glad he thinks I have more influence on the Dow than he does." (The Hill / Politico / New York Times)

5/ Trump tweeted that he'll raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 25% to 30% on Oct. 1. Trump also announced that the 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods set to go into effect on Sept. 1st would be raised to 15%. Trump capped off his tweetstorm with: "Thank you for your attention to this matter!" (CNBC / Politico / Bloomberg / Axios / New York Times)


Notables.

  • The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to allow private companies to fire workers based only on their sexual orientation. An amicus brief filed by the Justice Department weighed in on two cases involving gay workers and what is meant by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination "because of sex." The administration argued that Title VII's ban on sex discrimination only prohibits unequal treatment between "biological sexes." (BuzzFeed News)

  • The Trump administration promoted six judges to the immigration appeals court who all have high rates of denying immigrants' asylum claims. All six were named by Attorney General William Barr. The immigration appeals court is responsible for setting binding policy for deportation cases. (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Trump claimed that 94% of Republicans approve of the way he is handling his job. Trump's job approval among Republicans in recent nationally representative polls, however, found that his approval stands at 84% (Monmouth University), 79% (AP-NORC), and 88% (Fox News). (Washington Post)

Day 945: "Frankly ridiculous."

1/ The economy added 501,000 fewer jobs since 2018 than previously reported, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics revision. Trump's tax cuts resulted in fewer restaurants, hotels, retailers and professional business services jobs than it initially reported. Trump, meanwhile, recently exaggerated that "We've created over 6 million new jobs since the election." Since Trump took office, however, the country has added about 5.7 million jobs. (MarketWatch / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • The U.S. manufacturing contracted for the first time since September 2009. The purchasing managers' index was 49.9 in August. Any reading below 50 signals a contraction. (CNBC)

2/ Trump dropped his plan to eliminate more than $4 billion in foreign aid funding without congressional approval. The Trump administration wanted to decrease what it called wasteful spending by making foreign aid conditional on support of U.S. policies. Trump's decision to forgo a "rescission" comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and several Republican lawmakers warned that the move would be detrimental to national security. Acting budget director, Russ Vought, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, however, both pushed Trump to pursue the plan. (Politico / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 575: The White House budget office is attempting to cancel about $3 billion in foreign aid using an obscure budget rule to freeze the State Department's international assistance budget. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 937: The Trump administration will shield funding for Ivanka Trump and Pence's programs as the White House looks to cancel billions of dollars in unspent funding already approved by Congress. The White House is expected to propose returning billions of dollars of unspent foreign aid funds to the Treasury in a process known as rescission. The Office of Management and Budget, however, has already ruled out canceling funds for Ivanka's Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, Pence's programs for Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East, and some global health programs. Republicans and Democrats say the review undermines Congress's authority to appropriate funds. (Washington Post)

3/ Trump said he's considering ending birthright citizenship in the U.S. for children of non-citizens and people who came to the U.S. illegally. Trump called it "frankly ridiculous" that someone can "have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby β€” congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen." The Constitution's 14th Amendment, however, guarantees citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," which has been interpreted by the courts to grant citizenship to people born in the United States, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. (Reuters)

4/ The Justice Department sent all immigration court employees an article posted from a white nationalist website that "directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs." The Justice Department recently moved to decertify the immigration judges union. (BuzzFeed News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 936: The Justice Department moved to decertify the union representing hundreds of U.S. immigration judges. The DOJ filed a petition asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to review the certification of the National Association of Immigration Judges and determine whether it should be revoked "because the bargaining unit members are management officials under the statutory definition." The NAIJ represents some 440 immigration judges across the country. (NPR)

5/ Rudy Giuliani confirmed that the State Department helped him press the Ukrainian government to probe Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Giuliani has wanted Ukrainian officials to look into Biden's effort to crack down on corruption in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden's involvement in a natural gas company there. Giuliani also wanted to know if Ukrainian officials and the DNC worked together to harm Trump's 2016 campaign by releasing damaging information about Paul Manafort. (NBC News)

6/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders will join Fox News as a contributor and will make her debut on "Fox & Friends" on Sept. 6th. Sanders left the White House in June and is the third former top White House communications official to join Fox after exiting the Trump administration. (CNN / Variety / Axios / CNBC)

7/ A top aide at the Department of Homeland Security resigned amid frustrations between the White House and DHS leadership. Andrew Meehan was a top aide and spokesman to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. (Axios / The Hill)

8/ Trump wanted to award himself a Medal of Honor, but his aides talked him out of it. "Nothing like the Medal of Honor," Trump said to the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans. "I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify […] I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?' They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea.'" Trump never served in the military and received five draft deferments, including four for college and one for bone spurs in his foot. (Politico)

poll/ 62% of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president; 36% of Americans approve of the way Trump his handling his job. Trump's approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% since he took office. (Associated Press)

Day 944: Absurd.

1/ The Trump administration will terminate the 20-day cap for detaining migrant children and allow the government to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally. The new regulation, announced by acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan, requires approval from a federal judge before it can go into effect and could be in defiance of the 2015 Flores agreement, which limited the time families could be detained to 20 days. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly blamed the 20-day rule for encouraging migrants to arrive at the border with their children expecting to be released. Administration officials claim the new rule will serve as a deterrent against migrant families. The Trump administration proposed a similar rule in September 2018 that would have allowed the government to detain migrant children for longer periods of time, so long as they were treated with "dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors." (ABC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / New York Times)

2/ The Trump administration is considering a plan to allow states and cities the ability to deny entry to refugees approved for resettlement in the United States. According to the draft order, "the federal government will resettle refugees only where both the relevant state and local governments have consented to participate" in the program. If a jurisdiction does not agree, the federal government will find another location. Trump, meanwhile, is debating whether to decrease refugee admissions starting on Oct. 1. In fiscal year 2016, the limit was 85,000 refugees; in fiscal year 2019, the number was 30,000. (NBC News)

3/ Trump accused Jewish Democrats of "show[ing] either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," repeating an anti-Semitic trope that Jews have a "dual loyalty" and are more devoted to Israel than they are to their own countries. Trump's comments came in response to a question about Rep. Ilhan Omar's suggestion that the U.S. should reconsider how much foreign aid it pays to Israel. Trump also tweet-quoted a conservative radio host and known conspiracy theorist, who praised Trump as "the greatest President for Jews," that Israelis "love him like he is the second coming of God," and that Trump is "the King of Israel." (NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / The Guardian)

4/ The federal budget deficit is growing faster than expected and the Congressional Budget Office forecasts the deficit will expand by about $800 billion more than previously expected over 10 years. The U.S. was already expected to hit about $1 trillion in annual deficits next year, but the shortfall will expand by $1.9 trillion in new spending over the next decade because of a budget deal to avoid the spending cliff and an emergency spending package for the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. It would be the first time the deficit exceeded the $1 trillion mark since 2012, when the economy was recovering from the financial crisis. By 2029, the national debt will reach its highest level as a share of the economy since the end of World War II. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ Trump is no longer considering "a tax cut now," because – he claimed – "we don't need it. We have a strong economy." Yesterday, Trump confirmed that he is considering "various tax reductions," including a payroll tax cut, to stimulate a weakening American economy. Meanwhile, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney promised top GOP donors that if an election-year recession hits, it would be "moderate and short." (Wall Street Journal / Politico)

6/ Trump cancelled his trip to Denmark because the Danish prime minister would not sell him Greenland and had "no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland." Trump accused Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of making "nasty" comments and that "she blew me off" and made "not a nice statement" about his interest in purchasing Greenland. Frederiksen called Trump's idea of selling Greenland "absurd." (NPR / BBC / New York Times / New York Times / NBC News / NBC News /Washington Post / Washington Post)

poll/ 65% of Americans say current economic conditions are good – down five percentage points since May. The drop is the first significant decline in public perception about the economy during Trump's presidency. (CNN)

Day 943: Fundamentals.

1/ Trump confirmed that he is considering "various tax reductions," including a payroll tax cut, to stimulate a weakening American economy. The White House previously disputed that a payroll tax was under consideration. Trump said he'd "been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time," and that "it's not being done because of recession." Trump added that he's thinking about reducing capital gains taxes, which would largely benefit wealthy investors. (Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ Kellyanne Conway insisted that "the fundamentals of our economy are very strong," despite a majority of economists expecting a downturn to hit by 2021 at the latest. The White House, meanwhile, is discussing ways to stimulate an economy that Trump claimed was "very strong." (Associated Press / New York Times)

  • U.S. Steel plans to lay off 200 workers at its facility in Michigan due to "current market conditions." Since Trump announced the tariffs in March 2018, U.S. Steel has lost about 70 percent of its market value, or $5.7 billion. (Crain's Detroit / CNBC / Reuters)

3/ Trump appeared to withdraw his support for additional background checks and gun legislation after speaking with NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. LaPierre reportedly told Trump that expanded background checks wouldn't sit well with his supporters. In the wake of the recent back-to-back mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, Trump said "I think background checks are important. I don't want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate." Now, Trump says he is "very concerned" about the Second Amendment and claims "people don't realize we have very strong background checks right now." (New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The U.S. won't vaccinate migrant families and has no plans to do so ahead of this year's flu season. At least three children held in detention centers at the Mexican border have died from the flu. The U.S. had previously gone almost a decade without any children dying while under U.S. immigration custody. (CNBC)

5/ New York, Connecticut and Vermont sued to block Trump's public charge rule, which would limit pathways to citizenship for some legal immigrants. Under the new rule, immigrants enrolled in publicly funded programs, like food stamps and public health insurance, and seeking to change their legal immigration status can be deemed "public charge." Once labeled a "public charge," immigrants would be denied green cards, visas and other forms of legal immigration status. (NBC News)

6/ Trump is expected to name John Sullivan to be the next ambassador to Russia, replacing Jon Huntsman Jr. Sullivan is currently the deputy secretary of state and has limited diplomatic experience dealing with Moscow. (New York Times)

7/ The White House is attempting to block additional states from joining a pact with California and four automakers to oppose Trump's rollback of auto emissions standards. Toyota, Fiat, Chrysler, and General Motors were summoned to the White House last month and pressed by an adviser to stand by Trump's rollbacks. Meanwhile, Mercedez-Benz is preparing to join the agreement, which has reportedly "enraged" Trump. The five automakers account for more than 40% of all cars sold in the United States. (New York Times)

8/ Trump tweeted a doctored photo showing a Trump Tower in Greenland, apparently making light of his idea to buy the world's largest island. The photo shows a golden-clad Trump Tower looming over a small village in Greenland with the caption, "I promise not to do this to Greenland!" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

9/ Trump inflated the value and profitability of his Scotland golf courses by $165 million. Trump claimed in his 2018 U.S. filing that his Turnberry and Aberdeen resorts were each worth more than $50 million. The balance sheets filed with the United Kingdom, however, show that two golf courses combined debt exceeded their assets by 47.9 million British pounds ― the equivalent of $64.8 million. Trump's 2018 "public financial disclosure" filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics also claimed the two resorts earned "income" of $23.8 million. The filings with the U.K. Companies House office in Edinburgh, however, showed the resorts had lost 4.6 million pounds ― equal to $6.3 million. Knowingly providing false or incomplete information on that form is a violation of the Ethics in Government Act punishable by up to a year in jail. (HuffPost)

Day 942: Damaging to our democracy.

1/ Trump claimed – without evidence – that Google "manipulated" votes in the 2016 election after a Fox Business segment aired Senate Judiciary Committee testimony in June of a psychologist claiming that "biased search results generated by Google's search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton (whom I supported)." The authors of the study looked at search results for 95 people over the 25 days preceding the election and evaluated the first page for bias. They did not describe their process, provided no data on the searches, or discuss how Google personalizes search results on past searches, preferences, and location. Trump's tweet also appears to refer to documents leaked to conservative group Project Veritas. The documents, however, do not contain outright allegation of vote manipulation or attempts to bias the election. (CNBC / Washington Post / TechCrunch)

2/ The Federal Election Commission chairwoman called Trump's repeated allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election unsubstantiated and "damaging to our democracy" because they "undermines people's faith" in the election system. Ellen Weintraub's comment came after Trump asserted at a rally in New Hampshire that voter fraud is the reason he lost the state's four electoral votes in the previous election. "There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016," Weintraub added, "or really in any previous election." (Politico / CNN / Axios)

3/ Trump falsely claimed that he has the authority to make decisions about which TV networks can host the presidential debates during the general election. While complaining that Democrats had barred Fox News from hosting or televising the 2020 Democratic primary debates, Trump warned that he could do the same to Fox News in the general election if the polls about his reelection chances coming out of the network don't change for the better. "My worst polls have always been from Fox," Trump said. "And I think Fox is making a big mistake, because, you know, I'm the one that calls the shots on that β€” on the really big debates." (Politico)

  • Trump is "not happy" with Fox News after a recent poll by the network showed him losing head-to-head matchups with four of the top Democratic candidates. Trump said he didn't "believe" the poll. (Politico)

4/ Thousands of union workers at a Shell plant in Pennsylvania were ordered to attend a Trump speech last week or lose some of their weekly pay. The rules given to workers stated that attendance was "not mandatory," but only those who arrived at 7 a.m., swiped in with their work IDs, and stood for hours waiting to hear Trump speak would be paid for their time. "NO SCAN, NO PAY," said the memo, which also prohibited the workers from doing "anything viewed as resistance" during the event. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / NBC News / New York Times / Yahoo News)

5/ Trump and two of his senior economic advisers dismissed concerns of a recession. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and White House trade director Peter Navarro appeared on all five morning talk shows this weekend, arguing that Trump's tax cuts and trade war with China aren't harming Americans. The economy flashed some warning signs of a recession last week with the stock markets plunging as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell below that of the two-year Treasury note, which is considered one of the most reliable leading indicators of recession. Consumer confidence has also dropped 6.4% since July. Trump, meanwhile, told reporters: "I don't see a recession." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / ABC News)

6/ Trump urged the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by a full percentage point. The Fed cut rates last month for the first time in a decade, signaling it might further cut rates amid slowing global growth and uncertainty over Trump's trade war with China. Trump chastised the central bank's chairman, Jerome Powell, for a "horrendous lack of vision" and claimed that the U.S. economy "is very strong." (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

7/ White House officials are discussing a temporary payroll tax cut to reverse a weakening economy and encourage consumer spending. Payroll tax cuts usually add to the deficit and – depending on how they're designed – take billions of dollars out of Social Security and Medicare. (Washington Post)

8/ Planned Parenthood pulled out of the federal family planning program rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that restricts clinics from referring patients for abortions. Forgoing Title X federal funding could affect more than 1.5 million low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services like birth control, pregnancy tests, and sexually transmitted disease screening. Planned Parenthood serves about 40% of the four million patients under Title X. (New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

9/ Trump wants to set up a naval blockade along the Venezuelan coastline to prevent goods from coming in and out of the country. Trump suggested the blockade to national security officials as recently as a few weeks ago, and has been raising the idea periodically for the last year and a half. Senior Pentagon officials believe a naval blockade is impractical, has no legal basis, and would drain additional resources from a U.S. Navy that is already stretched in their attempts to counter China and Iran. "He literally just said we should get the ships out there and do a naval embargo," said one source who heard Trump's suggestion. (Axios)

10/ Trump still wants to buy Greenland. He confirmed that he asked his administration to explore the possibility of purchasing the island from Denmark, even though officials in Greenland have repeatedly said they're not for sale. Trump, however, called it "essentially […] a large real estate deal." (NBC News / Washington Post)

Day 939: Hate and war.

1/ The impact of Trump's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Trump called "the biggest reform of all time" to the tax code, has not generated an increase in overall economic growth, business investment, or worker pay. Half of corporate chief financial officers expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020 with two-thirds expecting a recession by the end of next year. Despite an uptick in the second quarter of 2018, growth declined the following two quarters to end up at 2.9% for the year – falling short of the promised 3% growth. (CNBC)

2/ Trump claimed that Americans – "whether you love me or hate me" – have "no choice" but to vote for him in 2020, because the stock market will collapse otherwise. Trump also baselessly accused the media of "doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election." Trump, meanwhile, recently attacked the Federal Reserve, forced Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to label China a "currency manipulator," and delayed tariffs on Chinese imports over concerns they could depress holiday sales. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ Trump body shamed one of his supporters at a campaign rally, saying "That guy has got a serious weight problem. Go home, get some exercise!" Frank Dawson, who was wearing a "Trump 2020" shirt, was standing near a group of protesters holding two banners. Trump later called from Air Force One, and left a voice mail message for Dawson, but did not apologize for the insult. (Washington Post / New York Times / Daily Beast)

4/ The House Republican strategy on gun violence is to describe mass shootings as "violence from the left" while downplaying white nationalism, according to a talking points memo recently circulated. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 73% of extremist-related murders are committed by right-wing fanatics and white supremacists. No extremist-related murder in the United States last year was carried out by "the left." (Tampa Bay Times

5/ The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rolled back a nationwide injunction that blocked the Trump administration from denying most asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. The decision will now effectively block most Central Americans who cross into the U.S. – legally or illegally – in New Mexico or Texas from seeking asylum while allowing those who cross the border into California or Arizona to claim asylum. (ABC News / Axios)

6/ Trump and his national security advisers are considering a deal with the Taliban for a withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaeda and to prevent it from activities such as fundraising, recruiting, training and operational planning in areas under Taliban control. An initial withdrawal would include roughly 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and end America's longest military engagement abroad. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

7/ Greenland to Trump: "We're not for sale." (Reuters)

Day 938: Fantastic.

1/ The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to testify publicly about potential obstruction of justice by Trump. The committee also issued a subpoena to former White House deputy chief of staff for policy Rick Dearborn. House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler said the two former Trump aides will testify publicly on Sept. 17th and expects their testimony "will help the Committee determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President or other Article 1 remedies." The Mueller report said Trump asked Lewandowski to convince then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from the investigation into Russian election interference, and publicly say Trump had not done anything wrong. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Axios)

2/ Trump thinks Lewandowski would be a "fantastic" senator if he ran in New Hampshire. Lewandowski has been reportedly considering a Senate run and is expected to make an appearance at a Trump rally in the state on Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee subpoena came hours after Trump told a local radio station that Lewandowski would make a "great senator," who would be "hard to beat" if he ran against Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

3/ White House officials want to invoke executive privilege to limit or block Lewandowski's testimony despite Lewandowski never working in the administration. The White House previously invoked executive privilege to block Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, and Annie Donaldson – who all held titles in the West Wing – from complying with similar congressional subpoenas. Lewandowski, however, has only informally advised Trump since his work on the 2016 campaign ended. (CNN)

4/ A federal judge rejected the House Judiciary Committee's attempt to link Robert Mueller's grand jury evidence with compelling Don McGahn to testify. The committee contends that the two lawsuits will expedite its decision whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump. House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the two cases should be paired in front of the judge, because both seek evidence for a potential impeachment and are based on the same set of facts. D.C. federal District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that connections between the two suits are "too superficial." (Politico)

5/ Trump retweeted a criminologist who argued that there is no evidence that the United States is experiencing an "epidemic" of mass shootings. At least four people have been killed in a mass shooting, on average, every 47 days since June 17, 2015. (Washington Post)

6/ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel after Trump lobbied Israeli leaders to block them from entering the country. Trump tweeted that allowing Omar and Tlaib to enter Israel "would show great weakness," because they're "a disgrace." Omar and Tlaib have been critical of Israel and outspoken about their support for Palestinians and the boycott-Israel movement. Under Israeli law, supporters of the movement can be denied entry. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Haaretz / Politico / BBC)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration wants to redirect money from Homeland Security accounts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Last year, the Trump administration redirected $200 million from various Homeland Security accounts – including the Coast Guard and TSA –into ICE. Nearly $10 million was also diverted from FEMA at the start of hurricane season. Congressional appropriators are reviewing the request. (Politico)

  2. A correctional officer drove a truck into ICE protesters outside a private prison. Some were treated at a hospital, though none were severely injured. The officer was wearing a badge and a uniform and police officers at the protest did not intervene. The driver eventually walked into the prison after guards pepper-sprayed the protesters. (Washington Post)

  3. Trump administration asked Congress to reauthorize a law that lets the National Security Agency gain access to the logs of Americans' phone and text records. While the program is set to expire in December, the Trump administration is pushing to make gaining access to the logs of Americans' domestic communications permanently within the legal authority of the NSA. The program was indefinitely shut down after technical issues repeatedly caused the NSA to collect more records than it had legal authority to gather. (New York Times)

  4. In 2017, Fox Business host David Asman advised then-Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh about how the administration should pursue tax cuts. Four days later, Asman emailed Sayegh to tell him that a significant portion of a Fox Business show would focus on the administration's tax policies. "You'll like it," Asman said. "Awesome David," Sayegh wrote back. "You're the man." Sayegh is a former Fox News contributor. (Hollywood Reporter)

  5. Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland to aides in meetings, at dinners, and in passing conversations. Trump has reportedly asked advisers whether the U.S. could acquire Greenland, which is a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark. (Wall Street Journal)

Day 937: Clueless.

1/ The Trump administration formally proposed regulation allowing some businesses to discriminate against workers on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, and LGBTQ status by citing religious objections. The rule would apply to any organizations with federal contracts, including corporations, schools, and societies, provided they claim a "religious purpose," but that "this need not be the contractor's only purpose." (BuzzFeed News)

2/ Planned Parenthood will withdraw from the nation's family planning program because of new Trump administration rules that block Title X funds for organizations that provide or refer patients for abortion. Federal funding for abortion is already prohibited in most cases. The new rules, however, target any group involved in providing or counseling patients about abortions, blocking them from receiving Title X funding to pay for other services, such as contraception and health screenings. Planned Parenthood asked for a stay against the new rules. (NPR)

  • A Congressional Republican defended banning all abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. Steve King also argued that if it were not for rape or incest, there wouldn't "be any population of the world left." [Editor's note: Go fuck yourself Steve King.] (Des Moines Register / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios)

3/ Trump claimed – without evidence – that being president will personally cost him $5 billion dollars due to the lawyers defending him in various lawsuits. (NBC News)

  • The Secret Service stayed at a Trump hotel in Vancouver while protecting Trump Jr. on a hunting trip to Canada in August 2017. They spent $5,700. The Secret Service also spent $20,000 at the same hotel in February 2017 when Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump attended the hotel's grand opening. Congress hasn't launched a formal investigation into federal spending at Trump properties, but the House Oversight Committee has focused on the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids presidents from accepting gifts from foreign officials. (Politico)

4/ The Trump administration will shield funding for Ivanka Trump and Pence's programs as the White House looks to cancel billions of dollars in unspent funding already approved by Congress. The White House is expected to propose returning billions of dollars of unspent foreign aid funds to the Treasury in a process known as rescission. The Office of Management and Budget, however, has already ruled out canceling funds for Ivanka's Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, Pence's programs for Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East, and some global health programs. Republicans and Democrats say the review undermines Congress's authority to appropriate funds. (Washington Post)

5/ The Dow posted its largest decline of the year. The Dow dropped 800 points, or about 3.05%, while the S&P 500 fell 85.72 points, or 2.93%. For the first time since the the Great Recession, the yields on 2-year U.S. bonds eclipsed those of 10-year bonds. The yield curve inversion is considered one of the most reliable leading indicators of a recession in the U.S. It has preceded every economic decline in the past 60 years with a recession occurring, on average, 22 months following an inversion. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR)

  • πŸ‘€ Recession watch: What is an "inverted yield curve" and why does it matter? (Washington Post)

6/ Trump, meanwhile, called Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell "clueless" and blamed him for the "CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE!" Trump, deflecting criticism that his trade war with China is hurting the economic outlook, claimed that "China is not our problem" and that "we are winning, big time." Yesterday, Trump delayed imposing tariffs on some Chinese imports until December "just in case" there would be a negative impact on shoppers during the holidays. (CNBC / Bloomberg)

  • A recession next year could hurt Trump's attempt to win a second term and raises the potential for the 2020 election to look more like 2008 when a cratering economy dominated the political debate. (Politico)

Day 936: Just in case.

1/ Trump delayed imposing tariffs on some Chinese imports until December. Trump told reporters that he delayed tariffs "for the Christmas season" on cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and certain types of footwear and clothing "just in case" there would be a negative impact on shoppers during the holidays. The 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports will be delayed until Dec. 15, instead of taking effect on Sept. 1 as Trump originally announced. The U.S. Trade Representative office said certain products will also be taken off the list based on "health, safety, national security and other factors." Markets rallied on the news. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNBC / Axios)

2/ Trump's tax cuts, reduced regulation, and tariffs have been ineffective at drawing factory investment and jobs from abroad. Instead, Trump's trade policies have pushed factory activity to low-cost Asian countries, like Vietnam. Foreign and domestic business investment briefly accelerated after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017, but then slowed. In Trump's first two years in office, companies announced plans to relocate about 145,000 factory jobs to the U.S. However, more than half of those jobs were announced in 2017 – before Trump's tax cuts took effect. (New York Times)

3/ Trump tried to take credit for the construction of Shell's petrochemicals complex in western Pennsylvania, which will turn the natural gas deposits into plastics. "This would have never happened without me and us," Trump told a crowd of thousands of workers. Shell, however, announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, when Obama was in office. (Associated Press)

4/ A coalition of 22 states and seven cities sued to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants, saying the EPA had no basis for weakening the Clean Power Plan that set national limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants. The lawsuit argues that the Affordable Clean Energy rule ignores the EPA's responsibility to set limits on greenhouse gases and that the new rule would extend the life of dirty and aging coal-burning plants, increasing pollution instead of curbing it. (New York Times)

  • 🌑 America's fastest-warming places: Extreme climate change has arrived. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 931: Climate change is putting pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself, according to a new United Nations report that was prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and, unanimously approved. The report warns that the world's land and water resources are being exploited at "unprecedented rates" and "the cycle is accelerating." Climate change has already degraded lands, caused deserts to expand, permafrost to thaw, and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. "The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases," the report said. The report offered several proposals for addressing food supplies, including reducing red meat consumption, adopting plant-based diets, and eating more fruits, vegetables and seeds. As a result, the world could reduce carbon pollution up to 15% of current emissions levels by 2050. It would also make people healthier. (New York Times / Associated Press / Nature)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 627: A U.N. report on the effects of climate change predicts a strong risk of an environmental crisis much sooner than expected. The report finds that the atmosphere could warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, which would cause sea levels to rise, intensify droughts, wildfires, and poverty, and cause a mass die-off of coral reefs. To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and fully eliminated by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1% and 7% by 2050. Renewable energy would have to increase to about 67%. Trump has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, vowing to increase the burning of coal, and he intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. The world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark and "there is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the report said. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 676: The National Climate Assessment concludes that global warming is already "transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us." The findings from the landmark scientific report, issued by 13 federal agencies, are at odds with the Trump administration's environmental deregulation agenda, which Trump claims will lead to economic growth, and its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The report predicts that the effects of global warming could eliminate as much as 10% of the U.S. economy by the end of the century, and warns that humans must act aggressively now "to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades." The first report, released in November 2017, concluded that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for the changing climate other than "human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases." Trump recently questioned the science of climate change, saying that "I don't know that it's man-made" and that the warming trend "could very well go back." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 685: Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record. Global emissions grew 1.6% in 2017 with 2018 expected to increase 2.7%. The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon emissions, but that hasn't stopped the Trump administration from moving to roll back regulations designed to limit those emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power-plant smokestacks. As United Nations Secretary General AntΓ³nio Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference: "We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change." (Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ The Justice Department moved to decertify the union representing hundreds of U.S. immigration judges. The DOJ filed a petition asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to review the certification of the National Association of Immigration Judges and determine whether it should be revoked "because the bargaining unit members are management officials under the statutory definition." The NAIJ represents some 440 immigration judges across the country. (NPR)

6/ The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services suggested that only immigrants who can "stand on their own two feet" are welcome in the United States. Ken Cuccinelli's comment came after being asked if the words of the poem displayed on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal still remain "part of the American ethos." Cuccinelli replied: "They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor β€” who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." The Trump administration announced a "public charge" regulation yesterday, allowing federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future. (Politico / CNN / NPR)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 935: The Trump administration made it harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefit programs to obtain permanent legal status as part of a new policy aimed at reducing legal immigration and cutting down the number of poor immigrants. The new regulation makes it easier for federal officials to deny green cards and visa applications to legal immigrants who have received public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers, have low incomes, or little education, deeming them more likely to need government assistance in the future. Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a "public charge." (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 72% of Americans say there should be a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Only a quarter of respondents said there should be a national law enforcement effort to deport all undocumented immigrants. 54% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree that there should be a legal way for undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, but that number is down 5% since March 2017. (Pew Research Center)

Day 935: Irregularities.

1/ The Trump administration made it harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefit programs to obtain permanent legal status as part of a new policy aimed at reducing legal immigration and cutting down the number of poor immigrants. The new regulation makes it easier for federal officials to deny green cards and visa applications to legal immigrants who have received public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers, have low incomes, or little education, deeming them more likely to need government assistance in the future. Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a "public charge." (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ The White House has ordered ICE officials to conduct more "workplace enforcement operations" this year. After the recent raids in Mississippi led to the arrest of at least 680 undocumented workers, ICE field offices across the country were told to identify at least two locations in their respective regions as potential targets for additional raids. (CNN)

  • "If you’re a good worker, papers don't matter": How a Trump construction crew has relied on immigrants without legal status. For nearly two decades, the Trump Organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin American employees at the company’s winery and its golf courses from New York to Florida. (Washington Post)

3/ The Trump administration weakened the Endangered Species Act, allowing the government to put an economic cost on saving a species. The changes will also make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife. Critics argue that the change will accelerate the extinction for some plants and animals and clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live. (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post)

  • The EPA dropped salmon protections after Trump met with with Alaska's governor. EPA scientists were planning to oppose a controversial Alaska mining project on environmental grounds that could devastate one of the most important wild salmon fisheries. In 2014, the project was halted because an EPA study found that it would cause "complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources" in some areas of Bristol Bay. (CNN)

4/ Attorney General William Barr and several members of Congress called for an investigation following the apparent suicide of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who faced federal sex trafficking charges before his death this weekend. Barr said Epstein's death while in federal custody "raises serious questions that must be answered." The FBI and the Justice Department inspector general both opened investigations. Epstein had been briefly placed on suicide watch leading up to his death, but was taken off six days later. Epstein had reportedly been alone in his cell and was not monitored by guards, who were supposed to check on him every 30 minutes. (NBC News / The Hill / CNN / CBS News / New York Times)

  • In the wake of Epstein's death, Trump retweeted several unsubstantiated conspiracy theories suggesting that the Clintons were involved in his death. (Business Insider / NBC News / Politico / Axios)

  • The day before Epstein's death, thousands of pages of court documents related to his activities were unsealed and released. The documents detail how hundreds of girls and young women were allegedly trafficked for sex to a range of wealthy business, political and world leaders by Epstein and his madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. (New York Magazine / Miami Herald)

  • Barr accused the Manhattan federal prison of "serious irregularities" and a "failure to adequately secure" Epstein. Barr did not provide details about the irregularities, but questioned why Epstein had been taken off suicide watch and left in a cell alone without supervision. Epstein was found hanging in his cell over the weekend. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Trump told advisers that he thinks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel because the two congresswomen support a boycott of Israel over the country's continued occupation of Palestine. Israel passed a law in 2017 that requires the interior minister to block foreign nationals from entering Israel if they have supported boycotting the Jewish state. Trump's reaction came days after the House passed a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which Omar and Tlaib supported. (Axios)

6/ The U.S. fiscal deficit has already exceeded last year's total. The deficit grew to $866.8 billion in the first 10 months of the fiscal year, up 27% from the same period a year earlier. At this point last year, the deficit was $684 billion. (Bloomberg)

7/ U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia tested a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile following an explosion that killed at least seven people, including scientists, and released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week. Russian officials said "a small nuclear reactor had exploded during an experiment." (New York Times)

8/ Trump has made 12,019 false or misleading claims over 928 days and is averaging about 13 false or misleading claims a day. (Washington Post)

Day 932: "Not a photo op."

1/ The House Judiciary Committee is officially conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump and will decide by the end of the year whether to refer articles of impeachment to the House floor. In a July court filing to get the full, unredacted Mueller report, the Judiciary Committee argued that it needed the information because it "is conducting an investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment." Today, chairman Jerry Nadler clarified that "This is formal impeachment proceedings." That timeline would put an impeachment battle in the middle of the Democratic presidential primary contests. (Washington Post / Politico)

2/ The El Paso shooter that killed 22 people told police that his target was "Mexicans" and confessed that "I'm the shooter" when he was arrested. Patrick Crusius also said he had used an AK-47-style rifle and brought multiple magazines with him to carry out the killings. Authorities believe Crusius was the author of a "manifesto" posted online shortly before the attack, saying he wanted to stop the "Hispanic invasion of Texas." (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The Trumps posed for a photo with an orphaned two-month-old, whose parents were shot dead in El Paso. Melania Trump smiled broadly and held the baby, while Donald flashed a thumbs-up and grinned. The picture was circulated by Melania Trump and not the family. White House aides had not allowed journalists into the hospital during the visit, saying it was "not a photo op." (The Guardian / Yahoo)

4/ The State Department suspended a foreign affairs official in the energy bureau after his ties to a white nationalist group were revealed. The State Department refused to name the official, but the Southern Poverty Law Center identified him as Matthew Gebert. The SPLC published a report on Wednesday that Gebert hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online using a pseudonym. (Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 930: A U.S. State Department official oversaw a Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home, and published white nationalist propaganda online. Matthew Gebert works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

5/ The White House has prepared an executive order that would give the FCC oversight over tech companies and how they monitor and manage their social networks. "Protecting Americans from Online Censorship" tasks the FCC with developing new regulations to clarify how and when the law protects social networks when they remove or suppress content on their platforms. The draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when investigating or filing lawsuits against technology companies. (CNN / TechCrunch)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 931: The White House is preparing an executive order to address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies. While the contents of the order remain unknown, last month Trump said he would be exploring "all regulatory and legislative solutions" to deal with the supposed issue. (Politico)

6/ Trump walked back his statement that he was "strongly considering" commuting the 14-year sentence of the former Illinois governor who was convicted of essentially trying to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat for personal gain. A day after musing about commuting Rod Blagojevich's sentence, Trump was having second thoughts in response to pushback from conservatives and Illinois Republicans. Now, Trump says White House staff are merely "continuing the review of this matter." (New York Times)

7/ The DOJ official responsible for the Trump administration's failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census is leaving the Justice Department. John Gore, who served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, said he wants to spend time with his family while "discerning next steps." Gore is currently facing allegations that he provided false testimony and concealed evidence as part of the lawsuits over the citizenship question. (NPR)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 813: The House Oversight Committee threatened to hold a Justice Department official in contempt after refusing to comply with a subpoena for testimony and documents related to the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said in a letter to AG William Barr that the committee would hold his principal deputy assistant AG, John Gore, in contempt of Congress if Barr didn't make him available to answer questions about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's decision to add the question to the census. Gore was slated to testify on Thursday but he did not appear. The committee voted 23-14 earlier this month to compel Gore to testify and for the Trump administration to provide additional documents pertaining to the citizenship question. (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 825: The Justice Department refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for a Trump administration official to testify about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating the addition of the citizenship question despite evidence that it could lead to millions of people being undercounted. John Gore's refusal to appear before the committee is at the direction of Attorney General William Barr. Gore is the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division. (CNN / Washington Post)

Day 931: "Hostile actions."

1/ White House officials refused requests by the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year to make combating domestic terror a greater priority. While the National Strategy for Counterterrorism, issued last fall, stated that "Radical Islamist terrorists remain the primary transnational terrorist threat to the United States and its vital national interests," it included one paragraph about domestic terrorism and made no mention of white supremacists. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in July that there have been almost as many domestic terror arrests in the last nine months – about 100 – as there have been arrests connected to international terror. Wray also noted that most of the domestic terrorism cases were motivated by white supremacist violence. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 803: The Department of Homeland Security quietly disbanded its domestic terrorism unit last year, saying that the threat of "homegrown violent extremism and domestic terrorism," including the threat from white supremacists, has been "significantly reduced." The branch of analysts in DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis were reassigned to new positions. (Daily Beast)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 854: The FBI has seen a significant rise in white supremacist domestic terrorism in recent months. No specific numbers were provided, but an FBI official said the cases generally include suspects involved in violence related to anti-government views, racial or religious bias, environmental extremism and abortion-related views. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 915: The FBI recorded about 90 domestic terrorism arrests in the past nine months and about 100 international terrorism arrests. Most of the domestic terrorism cases involved a racial motive believed to be spurred by white supremacy. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 928: FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered the agency to conduct a new threat assessment in order to identify and stop potential future mass shootings. A command group in Washington, D.C. will oversee the effort, during which FBI field offices will actively work to identify threats that are similar to the attacks last week at a food festival and over the weekend in Texas and Ohio. In recent congressional testimony, senior FBI officials said they were conducting about 850 domestic terrorism investigations β€” down from a year earlier, when there were roughly 1,000. (CNN / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 930: The FBI warned that fringe conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorist threat. The document specifically mentions QAnon, a network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring involving Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, which doesn't have a basement. (Yahoo News)

2/ Twitter suspended Mitch McConnell's account after the campaign tweeted a profanity-laced video of protesters outside his home. According to Twitter spokesperson, Team Mitch "was temporarily locked out of their account for a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety." McConnell's campaign manager, however, called Twitter's action part of a "problem with the speech police in America today" and that "Twitter will allow the words of 'Massacre Mitch' to trend nationally on their platform but locks our account for posting actual threats against us." Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the hashtag "Massacre Mitch" trended on Twitter, in reference to two gun control bills that McConnell has refused to bring to a vote. (Courier-Journal / Axios)

  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee stopped advertising on Twitter after the social media platform temporarily locked McConnell's account for violating the company's "violent threats policy." The NRSC claimed Twitter's "hostile actions" were "outrageous" and said the committee would "not tolerate" or "spend our resources on a platform that silences conservatives." (Politico)

  • The White House is preparing an executive order to address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies. While the contents of the order remain unknown, last month Trump said he would be exploring "all regulatory and legislative solutions" to deal with the supposed issue. (Politico)

3/ The NRA warned Trump against endorsing extensive background checks for gun sales, saying the legislation would not be popular among his supporters. Before visiting Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Trump claimed there "was great appetite for background checks," which the NRA opposes. About 9 in 10 Americans support background checks for all gun purchases, including more than 8 in 10 Republicans, Democrats, and independents. (Washington Post)

4/ McConnell promised that expanding background checks for all gun purchasers would "front and center" in the coming Senate debate on how to respond to gun violence. McConnell previously said he will not bring any gun control legislation to the floor without widespread Republican support. McConnell, however, rejected Democrats' calls to cancel the August recess and address the issue immediately, saying the proposals needed "discussions" before they were brought to the floor. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico)

5/ Wall Street banks turned over documents related to Russians who may have had dealings with Trump, his family or the Trump Organization. Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo all turned over documents to the House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Separately, Deutsche Bank has turned over emails, loan agreements and other documents related to the Trump Organization to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. (Wall Street Journal)

6/ Andrew McCabe filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Justice Department alleging that he was illegally demoted and fired in retaliation for not being sufficiently loyal to Trump. The former FBI deputy director alleged that Trump "purposefully and intentionally" pushed the Justice Department to fire him as part of an "unconstitutional plan" to discredit and remove Justice Department and FBI employees who were "deemed to be his partisan opponents." McCabe authorized the counterintelligence investigation into Trump's ties to Russia and obstruction of justice after Trump fired James Comey. McCabe was also the subject of a Justice Department inspector general report that accused him of violating bureau policy when he authorized the disclosure of information to the press and then misleading investigators about what he had done. McCabe's termination occurred less than two days before he was to retire and become eligible for full pension benefits. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ ICE raided seven poultry processing plants in Mississippi and arrested at least 680 people in "what is believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation's history," according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. Roughly 600 ICE agents fanned out across plants in Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie and Sebastapol, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing. ICE Acting Director Matt Albence said the arrests were part of a year-long investigation. (KTVU / NBC News / Associated Press / The Hill / BuzzFeed News)

8/ An Iraqi man from Detroit died after the Trump administration deported him back to Iraq and was unable to get access to the insulin he needed to treat his diabetes in Baghdad. Jimmy Aldaoud was an Iraqi national, who was born in Greece and came to the U.S. as a young child. He never lived in Iraq and did not speak Arabic. (Politico)

9/ The deputy director of national intelligence resigned and will step down on Aug. 15 – the same day her boss, Dan Coats, is scheduled to leave. Sue Gordon was in line to replace Coats in an acting capacity until the Senate confirmed Trump's nominee for a permanent replacement. Several Trump allies outside the White House saw Gordon as too close to former CIA Director John Brennan, who has publicly criticized Trump's leadership. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 925: The White House will block the nation's No. 2 intelligence official from taking over as acting director of national intelligence when Dan Coats steps down. A federal statute requires that if the director of national intelligence role becomes vacant, the deputy director β€” currently Sue Gordon β€” will serve as acting director. The White House, however, can choose who to appoint as acting deputy if the No. 2 position is vacant, raising the question of whether Gordon will be ousted as part of a leadership shuffle. The White House, meanwhile, has asked the national intelligence office for a list of all its employees at the federal government's top pay scale who have worked there for 90 days or more. While it's unclear what the White House will do with the list, many of the people on it may be eligible to temporarily takeover as acting director of national intelligence. (New York Times / Daily Beast)

  • The assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere resigned, leaving a vacancy at the top diplomatic office in charge of Trump's efforts to deal with immigration from Mexico and Central America. The position is also in charge of building stronger relationships between the U.S. and South America. Kimberly Breier has held the position since October. She referred questions about her departure to the State Department press office, which refused to comment. (Washington Post)

10/ Climate change is putting pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself, according to a new United Nations report that was prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and, unanimously approved. The report warns that the world's land and water resources are being exploited at "unprecedented rates" and "the cycle is accelerating." Climate change has already degraded lands, caused deserts to expand, permafrost to thaw, and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. "The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases," the report said. The report offered several proposals for addressing food supplies, including reducing red meat consumption, adopting plant-based diets, and eating more fruits, vegetables and seeds. As a result, the world could reduce carbon pollution up to 15% of current emissions levels by 2050. It would also make people healthier. (New York Times / Associated Press / Nature)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 627: A U.N. report on the effects of climate change predicts a strong risk of an environmental crisis much sooner than expected. The report finds that the atmosphere could warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, which would cause sea levels to rise, intensify droughts, wildfires, and poverty, and cause a mass die-off of coral reefs. To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and fully eliminated by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1% and 7% by 2050. Renewable energy would have to increase to about 67%. Trump has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, vowing to increase the burning of coal, and he intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. The world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark and "there is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the report said. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 676: The National Climate Assessment concludes that global warming is already "transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us." The findings from the landmark scientific report, issued by 13 federal agencies, are at odds with the Trump administration's environmental deregulation agenda, which Trump claims will lead to economic growth, and its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The report predicts that the effects of global warming could eliminate as much as 10% of the U.S. economy by the end of the century, and warns that humans must act aggressively now "to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades." The first report, released in November 2017, concluded that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for the changing climate other than "human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases." Trump recently questioned the science of climate change, saying that "I don't know that it's man-made" and that the warming trend "could very well go back." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 685: Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record. Global emissions grew 1.6% in 2017 with 2018 expected to increase 2.7%. The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon emissions, but that hasn't stopped the Trump administration from moving to roll back regulations designed to limit those emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power-plant smokestacks. As United Nations Secretary General AntΓ³nio Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference: "We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change." (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 740: Trump dismissed climate change as a hoax, calling for "global warming" to "come back fast" as a dangerous deep freeze hits the Midwest where a polar vortex is expected to drop temperatures to negative 30F with the wind chill driving temperatures as low as negative 50F or 60F β€” the lowest in more than two decades. Roughly 83 million Americans – about 25% of the U.S. population – will experience temperatures below zero this week. Weather and climate are two different things: Weather is what you experience in the moment, while climate is the broader trend. Trump's tweet, asking "What the hell is going on with Global Waming?" – misspelling "warming" – suggests he doesn't understand the difference between climate and weather. In 2017, Trump also tweeted that the U.S. could use some "good old Global Warming" while most of the Northeast was experiencing record-breaking cold weather. (Chicago Tribune / Vox / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 678: Trump – again – dismissed his own government's report on the devastating impacts of climate change and global warming, saying he doesn't see climate change as a man-made issue and that he doesn't believe the scientific consensus. "One of the problems that a lot of people like myself," Trump said, "we have very high levels of intelligence but we're not necessarily such believers." He continued: "You look at our air and our water, and it's right now at a record clean." (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 886: The Trump administration stopped promoting dozens of taxpayer-funded studies about the impacts of climate change. The studies include a discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment, a finding that climate change would exacerbate allergy seasons, and a warning to farmers about an expected reduction in the quality of important grasses used to feed and raise cattle. All of the studies were peer-reviewed and cleared through the Agricultural Research Service. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 733: 73% of Americans believe that climate change is real– a jump of 10 percentage points from 2015, and three points since last March. 72% also said that global warming is personally important to them. (New York Times)

Day 930: Do something.

1/ The House Judiciary Committee sued to force former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify before Congress. The Judiciary Committee claimed that McGahn is "the most important witness, other than the president," in their investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Trump. They asked a federal judge to strike down the Trump administration's claim that McGahn and other aides are "absolutely immune" from the committee's subpoenas. McGahn spent more than 30 hours with Robert Mueller's investigators and his name appears more than 500 times in the redacted version of Mueller's report. (New York Times / NBC News / ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 838: The White House invoked executive privilege and ordered former counsel Donald McGahn not to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to Robert Mueller's investigation. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that "McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose these documents to third parties" and asked that the committee instead direct the request to the White House, "because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege." Trump has also promised to assert executive privilege to block McGahn's testimony to the committee later this month. McGahn spent more than 30 hours speaking to Mueller's investigators, outlining two episodes where Trump asked him to have Mueller fired, and later asking McGahn to deny news reports about that conversation. McGahn rebuffed both requests. (CNBC / ABC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 844: The White House asked Don McGahn to declare that Trump never obstructed justice. Two requests by presidential advisers show how far the White House has gone to try to push back on accusations that the president obstructed justice. McGahn initially entertained the request. "We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister," McGahn's attorney said in a statement. "It was a request, professionally and cordially made." (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 851: Trump instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The committee subpoenaed McGahn to appear to answer questions about Trump's attempts to obstruct justice during the Russia investigation, but the White House presented McGahn with a 15-page legal opinion from the Justice Department that states, "Congress may not constitutionally compel the president’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties." The current White House counsel sent a letter to the committee explaining that Trump instructed McGahn not to appear due to the "constitutional immunity" outlined in the DOJ legal opinion, "and in order to protect the prerogatives of the office of the presidency." (New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 852: Former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear at hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, following Trump's instructions to ignore the congressional subpoena. "Our subpoenas are not optional," Committee chair Jerry Nadler said after McGahn failed to show up. Nadler also warned that "one way or another," the panel will hear from McGahn, even if that means holding McGahn in contempt of Congress for failing to appear. "This committee," he said, "will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him." (Associated Press)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 872: Jerry Nadler agreed to delay a vote to hold Barr and McGahn in contempt of Congress after reaching the deal with the Department of Justice for evidence from the Mueller report. The House will still proceed with a vote to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr to federal court to fully enforce its subpoena, but will not formally vote to hold Barr in contempt. "If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps," Nadler said. "If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies." (ABC News / NBC News / NPR)

2/ Trump visited both Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, but remained largely out of public view. In Dayton, protesters waved signs and chanted to "Dump Trump" and to "Do Something!" because "Thoughts and prayers don't stop bullets." Before leaving Washington, Trump said he "would like to stay out of the political fray" during the trip, dismissing suggestions that his rhetoric on race and immigration is to blame for a rise in hate-inspired violence, saying: "I think my rhetoric brings people together." Hours earlier, Trump attacked Beto O'Rourke by telling the Democratic presidential candidate to "be quiet," and mocked him for having a "phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage" (a reference to his discredited claim that O'Rourke had changed his first name to appeal to Hispanic voters). Trump also quoted conservative news reporting that "the Dayton, Ohio, shooter had a history of supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA" – a radical leftist group. After visiting Dayton, Trump attacked Mayor Nan Whaley, calling her a supporter of Bernie Sanders and of antifa and that she "totally misrepresent[ed] what took place inside of the hospital." during his visit. Whaley said she told Trump during his visit that Dayton is "really looking forward to some action" on gun control. Journalists weren't allowed to accompany Trump at hospital in Dayton, but Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino, claimed that Trump was "treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital." (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / Bloomberg / BBC)

3/ Congressional Republicans are "confident Congress will be able to find common ground" on legislation to help law enforcement take guns from those who pose an imminent danger. The so-called "red flag" laws allow police to temporarily confiscate firearms from a person deemed by a judge as posing a risk of violence. While Republicans in Congress are focused passing "red flag" legislation, Trump claimed – without evidence – that there was a "great appetite" for reforming background checks among lawmakers. Trump also claimed there is no "political appetite" for legislation to ban assault weapons, but suggested he'd bring lawmakers back from their August recess if Republicans and Democrats can "get close" on a gun reform proposal. Meanwhile, more than 200 Democratic lawmakers urged Mitch McConnell to call a vote on House-passed legislation aimed at strengthening background checks for gun purchases. (New York Times / Politico / CNBC / NPR / The Hill)

  • The Trump administration has eased more than half a dozen restrictions that expanded access to guns by lifting some bans and limiting the names in the national database used to keep firearms away from dangerous people. Trump claimed his administration has done "much more than most" to curb mass shootings in the United States. (Politico)

  • Texas passed new firearm laws that will make it easier to have guns on school grounds and loosened restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint, allows for licensed handgun owners to legally carry weapons in churches, among others. The laws were passed before attack in El Paso and are set to go into effect on September 1st. (CNN)

4/ The owner of the online message board 8chan was called to testify before Congress after the website was linked to the terrorist attack in El Paso. The House Homeland Security Committee demanded that 8chan owner Jim Watkins testify about site's efforts to address "the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist content." Committee chair Bennie Thompson and the ranking Republican Mike Rogers sent a letter to Watkins, an American citizen living in the Philippines, noting that the El Paso massacre was "at least the third act of supremacist violence linked to your website this year." (Reuters)

  • Trump's campaign promoted a video that included two clearly visible signs promoting a QAnon conspiracy theory. The signs appear in a close-up shot of a "Women for Trump" video published online by the Trump campaign in late July. It is unclear whether the ad was being broadcast on TV or just online. A warm-up speaker at one of Trump's rallies last week, for example, recited a popular QAnon slogan during his speech. The Women for Trump video appears to have been removed from YouTube. (Daily Beast)

  • The FBI warned that fringe conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorist threat. The document specifically mentions QAnon, a network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring involving Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, which doesn't have a basement. (Yahoo News)

5/ A U.S. State Department official oversaw a Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home, and published white nationalist propaganda online. Matthew Gebert works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

  • Tucker Carlson claimed that white supremacy "is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax." The Fox News host called white supremacy a "conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power." (Washington Post)

Notables.

  1. Rep. Joaquin Castro tweeted a list of names of constituents in his Texas congressional district who have maxed out their contributions to the Trump campaign. Joaquin is the twin brother of 2020 presidential candidate JuliΓ‘n Castro. All of the information in Castro's tweet, including the occupations of the donors, is public information. (Politico / Washington Post)

  2. Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed short-range ballistic missiles in an attempt to send a warning to the United States and South Korea. North Korea has conducted four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks, all of which come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations between Trump and Kim. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the significance of the tests, which experts say has given North Korea more room to develop its capabilities to strike South Korea and the U.S. ahead of negotiations. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies have been conducting military drills of their own, and negotiations are set to resume when those drills end later this month. (Associated Press)

  3. Trump lied 56 times last week – down from 78 false claims the week prior and 61 false claims the week before that. (CNN)

Day 929: "The least racist person."

1/ Trump attacked Obama after the former president called on Americans to "soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments." Tweeting paraphrased quotes from Fox News hosts, Trump rhetorically asked: "'Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control.'" Trump also claimed (again) that he is "the least racist person" in the world. Obama did not mention Trump in his comments. (Politico)

2/ The Trump campaign paid for more than 2,000 Facebook ads this year that included the word "invasion" in relation to immigration. The campaign has spent roughly $1.25 million on Facebook ads about immigration since late March. The campaign spent nearly $5.6 million on Facebook ads overall during that same period. "We have an INVASION!" many of the ads say in large letters. "It's CRITICAL that we STOP THE INVASION." While there is no evidence that Trump's campaign messaging influenced the shooter in the white supremacist terrorist attack that left 22 people dead and dozens injured in El Paso, the shooter declared in his manifesto that "this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." (Media Matters / New York Times / The Guardian / USA Today / VICE News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 651: Trump suggested that he might invoke a state of national emergency in order to justify using the military to arrest and detain migrants and refugees at the southern border. When asked what role active duty military personnel would play, since U.S. law prohibits the U.S. Army from being used to enforce domestic law, Trump said "Well it depends, it depends." He continued: "National emergency covers a lot of territory. They can't invade our country. You look at that it almost looks like an invasion. It's almost does look like an invasion." (ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 788: Mick Mulvaney: Trump "is not a white supremacist." The acting chief of staff went on to say it was "absurd" to draw a connection between Trump's statements about immigration and the acts of a shooter who embraced both white nationalism and Trump. Last week Trump called undocumented immigrants coming to U.S. an "invasion" as he vetoed a congressional resolution that would block his declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico. (Washington Post / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 928: Trump dismissed accusations that his own racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric has stoked racial hatred and helped to provoke would-be mass shooters. Instead, Trump tweeted – without evidence – that the news media is contributing "greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years." The manifesto of the shooter in Texas, however, echoes the same kind of anti-immigrant language that Trump has used at his rallies over the years, specifically stating that "this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." Portions of the 2,300-word essay, titled "The Inconvenient Truth," closely mirror Trump's rhetoric demonizing undocumented immigrants as "thugs" and "animals," and decrying Latino immigration as "an invasion of our country." (Reuters / New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The FBI opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting that left three people dead and 13 wounded after officials discovered the gunman had a list of other potential targets. The FBI special agent in charge said they also "uncovered evidence that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies." (Los Angeles Times / San Francisco Chronicle)

4/ Mitch McConnell complained that protesters outside his home were making "serious calls to violence" over his refusal to allow the Senate to consider bills passed by the House to strengthen background checks for gun sales. The protest followed the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead. Louisville metro police confirmed that the group outside McConnell's residence were "protesting peacefully." McConnell's campaign, however, characterized the group of 20 to 30 people as "an angry left-wing mob" making threats and shouting profanities. (Washington Post / New York Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 407: Mitch McConnell said the Senate will skip debate on gun legislation and instead turn to a banking bill next week, reflecting the reality that negotiators have not settled on legislation that can pass the House and Senate. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 928: Democrats called on Mitch McConnell to cancel the Senate's August recess so they can take up gun control legislation. The bill would create new background check requirements for gun transfers between unlicensed individuals. It passed the House in February 240-190. (NBC News)

5/ McConnell's campaign tweeted a photo of mock tombstones with the names of his political opponents, Democratic initiates, and nominees he's blocked, with the caption: "The Grim Reaper of Socialism." The photo shows five gravestones flanked by two "Team Mitch" signs. One tombstones reads "R.I.P Amy McGrath, November 3rd, 2020," a reference to his Democratic opponent in the 2020 Kentucky Senate race and the date of the general election. Others include a Judge Merrick Garland tombstone, the Green New Deal, "Socialism," and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 2014 Democratic challenger who McConnell defeated that year.(Politico / Washington Post)

6/ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez confronted McConnell about a photo of seven high school men in "Team Mitch" shirts "groping & choking" a cardboard cutout of her. The photo, which has since been deleted, was posted to Instagram with the caption: "break me off a piece of that." Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the photo to McConnell, asking to clarify if McConnell was "paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?" The McConnell campaign said that it "in no way condones" the photo and that "these young men are not campaign staff, they are high schoolers." While the photo was taken during a "non-school" event, some of the men were in a photo shared by the McConnell campaign's Instagram account, holding large posters of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The McConnell campaign then attacked "the far-left and the media" for writing about the incident and using the image to "demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics." (NBC News / Washington Post / Daily Beast)


Notables.

  1. A federal judge signaled that he is willing to consider removing the redactions in Robert Mueller's report. The case includes a pair of consolidated lawsuits filed against the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act. District Judge Reggie Walton appeared to side several times with attorneys for BuzzFeed and the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center during oral arguments, saying "That's what open government is about." Walton has the power to rule on the redactions, but he also has the power to review the unredacted report to see if the exemptions claimed by the DOJ to block the release of the full report align with what is permitted under the law. (Politico)

  2. Trump and the Republican National Committee filed a pair of lawsuits challenging a new law in California requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to be placed on the state primary ballot in 2020. The RNC called the law a "naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States." Trump's lawyer William Consovoy argued that the new law adds an "unconstitutional qualification" to the set of qualifications for the presidency as defined in the Constitution and violates the First Amendment. The Constitution requires that you be a natural born citizen, at least 35 or older, and be a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. (New York Times / CNN / Axios)

  3. The U.S. Ambassador to Russia submitted his resignation and plans to move back home to Utah. Jon Huntsman resignation is effective October 3rd and there is speculation that he is planning to run for governor of Utah. (Salt Lake Tribune / CNN)

  4. Trump – without evidence – accused Google of "very illegal" acts to subvert his 2016 presidential campaign and that he'll be watching the company "very closely" ahead of the 2020 election. Trump's tweets came after a former Google engineer appeared on "Fox & Friends." A Google spokesperson described the employee, who was fired from in June 2018, as a "disgruntled former employee." (Reuters / Politico)

Day 928: "Enabling white supremacy."

1/ Trump "condemn[ed] racism, bigotry and white supremacy" following two mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH over the weekend that left 31 people dead. Trump, who spent the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., stopped short of endorsing new gun control measures, and instead parroted Republican talking points about the "perils" of mental illness, violence in the media, and violent video games for fostering white nationalism and hatred. In El Paso, the shooter published a four-page "manifesto" on the online message board 8chan about 20 minutes before the attack, saying he wanted to stop the "Hispanic invasion of Texas." Trump failed to acknowledge his repeated use of the word "invasion" to describe asylum seekers and immigrants at the southern border. Trump also cited the threat of "racist hate" with no acknowledgment that his own anti-immigrant rhetoric. Reading from a teleprompter at the White House, Trump also incorrectly referred to Toledo, Ohio instead of Dayton, Ohio as the location of one of the killings. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press / The Hill)

  • Dayton, Ohio: 9 people were killed and 27 others injured. The shooter used an assault-style rifle with high capacity magazines, wore body armor and a mask. He did not have a police record. (CBS News / Washington Post / Associated Press)

  • El Paso, Texas: 22 people were killed and 26 others injured. The shooter used an assault-style rifle. (CNN / New York Times / NBC News)

2/ Hours earlier, Trump called for "strong background checks" and suggested "marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform." Trump made a similar call to improve background checks after a shooting last year in Florida. Trump, however, threatened to veto a gun control bill that passed the House with bipartisan support in February that would require universal background checks. The bill has not been considered by the Senate, which is on recess until September. (CNN / New York Times)

3/ Trump dismissed accusations that his own racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric has stoked racial hatred and helped to provoke would-be mass shooters. Instead, Trump tweeted – without evidence – that the news media is contributing "greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years." The manifesto of the shooter in Texas, however, echoes the same kind of anti-immigrant language that Trump has used at his rallies over the years, specifically stating that "this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." Portions of the 2,300-word essay, titled "The Inconvenient Truth," closely mirror Trump's rhetoric demonizing undocumented immigrants as "thugs" and "animals," and decrying Latino immigration as "an invasion of our country." (Reuters / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • A Republican lawmaker in Nebraska accused Trump and the GOP of "enabling white supremacy." John McCollister said that while he is "not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists," nor that the average Republican voter is a racist, "the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party." McCollister continued by directly calling out Trump, who has downplayed the threat of white supremacy and white nationalism: "We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base," McCollister tweeted. "He calls certain countries 'sh*tholes,' tells women of color to 'go back' to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth." (Washington Post)

4/ Democrats called on Mitch McConnell to cancel the Senate's August recess so they can take up gun control legislation. The bill would create new background check requirements for gun transfers between unlicensed individuals. It passed the House in February 240-190. (NBC News)

  • McConnell tripped on his patio and fractured his shoulder. The 77-year-old is recovering at his home in Kentucky. He is running for a seventh term in the Senate next year. (Politico / Washington Post)

5/ FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered the agency to conduct a new threat assessment in order to identify and stop potential future mass shootings. A command group in Washington, D.C. will oversee the effort, during which FBI field offices will actively work to identify threats that are similar to the attacks last week at a food festival and over the weekend in Texas and Ohio. In recent congressional testimony, senior FBI officials said they were conducting about 850 domestic terrorism investigations β€” down from a year earlier, when there were roughly 1,000. (CNN / Washington Post)


Notables.

  1. July was the hottest month that humans have ever recorded since record-keeping began more than a century ago, slightly eclipsing the previous record-holder, July 2016. The past five years have been the hottest on record. The 10 hottest years have all occurred in the past two decades. This year is on track to be in the top five hottest ever. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  2. Wall Street suffered its worst day of 2019 as China answered Trump's threat to add 10% tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese imports by allowing its currency to slide to an 11-year low against the dollar. Trump accused China of manipulating its currency. The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq fell 2.9%, 3%, and 3.5%, respectively. (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  3. The Treasury Department designated China as currency manipulator, a move that no White House had exercised since the Clinton administration. (CNBC)

  4. The Trump "superfan" who sent homemade pipe bombs to Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors had called for a life sentence for Cesar Sayoc, while his defense lawyers pushed for a 10-year sentence, saying that at the time of his arrest, Sayoc was allegedly suffering from an untreated mental illness, compounded by excessive steroid use, and that he had become increasingly obsessive, isolated and paranoid. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Day 925: LameStream.

1/ Trump dropped his plan to nominate John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence, "rather than going through months of slander and libel." Ratcliffe withdrew from consideration following bipartisan questions about his qualifications, pushback over whether he had exaggerated his rΓ©sumΓ© that required his aids to walk back his claim that as a federal prosecutor he had won convictions in terrorism cases, and former intelligence officials expressing concern that he might politicize the job. Trump claimed that Ratcliffe, who will remain in Congress, "is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream media." Ratcliffe was Trump's pick to succeed Dan Coats, who is stepping down as director of national intelligence on Aug. 15. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC / NBC News / Washington Post)

2/ The White House will block the nation's No. 2 intelligence official from taking over as acting director of national intelligence when Dan Coats steps down. A federal statute requires that if the director of national intelligence role becomes vacant, the deputy director β€” currently Sue Gordon β€” will serve as acting director. The White House, however, can choose who to appoint as acting deputy if the No. 2 position is vacant, raising the question of whether Gordon will be ousted as part of a leadership shuffle. The White House, meanwhile, has asked the national intelligence office for a list of all its employees at the federal government's top pay scale who have worked there for 90 days or more. While it's unclear what the White House will do with the list, many of the people on it may be eligible to temporarily takeover as acting director of national intelligence. (New York Times / Daily Beast)

3/ State prosecutors in New York subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to its role in hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The investigation is examining whether senior executives filed false business records related to the $130,000 payment Michael Cohen made to Daniels, as well as the arrangement between Cohen and the National Enquirer to pay off McDougal. Falsifying business records would constitute a state crime. The Manhattan district attorney separately subpoenaed American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer. (New York Times)

4/ China threatened to retaliate against Trump's latest round of tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump's latest round of tariffs would effectively extend punitive duties to everything the U.S. imports from China. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said that if the new tariffs go into effect, "China will have to take necessary countermeasures to resolutely defend its core interests." (Associated Press)

5/ The U.S. will test a new weapons systems in the coming weeks that would have been prohibited under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987. The current Pentagon budget includes $48 million for research on potential military responses to the Russian violations of the INF treaty. The options do not include a nuclear missile. Separately, the U.S. military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using up to 25 unmanned solar-powered, high-altitude experimental balloons intended to "provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats." (Associated Press / The Guardian)

6/ Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Russia for its use of chemical weapons in the 2018 attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The Trump administration already imposed an initial round of sanctions last year, in accordance with a 1991 law. The same law requires that the administration impose a second round of sanctions if Trump cannot determine that the state in question has stopped using chemical weapons, which U.S. intelligence agencies have been unable to do. Russia continues to deny their involvement in the attack on Skripal and his daughter. (Politico / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 594: Putin claimed he doesn't know the two suspects behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Putin's foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the names of the suspects "do not mean anything to me." (Associated Press)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 735: The Trump administration hasn't imposed required sanctions on Moscow nearly three months after determining that Russia had violated the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act in connection with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. (NBC News)

7/ Trump contradicted his own intelligence advisers and Robert Mueller that Russia is already interfering in the 2020 presidential election, asking reporters: "You don't really believe this. Do you believe this?" FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 23 that "The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections." When asked if he raised the issue of ongoing Russian political interference during a call with Putin this week, Trump replied: "We didn't talk about that." (NBC News / USA Today)

Day 924: Dramatic impact.

1/ Trump unexpectedly announced that he will impose a new 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports – effectively taxing every product that Americans buy from China – after China failed to begin buying more American agricultural products as they had promised. The new tariffs would go into effect on Sept. 1st and would be in addition to the 25% tariff that has already been imposed on $250 billion of imports. The announcement came a day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wrapped up talks in Shanghai on a comprehensive trade deal. The negotiations reportedly ended early and without a deal. A new meeting is set up for September. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press)

  • Trump's former chief economic adviser said the trade war with China is backfiring and having a "dramatic impact" on the U.S. economy. Gary Cohn served as director of the National Economic Council in the Trump administration from January 2017 to April 2018, resigning after Trump decided to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminium. (BBC / CNBC)

2/ The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal that raises spending $320 billion over current levels and lifts the debt ceiling until after the 2020 election. The legislation now goes to Trump, who is expected to sign it despite complaints from conservatives that it would fuel the nation's debt. Under the Trump administration, the annual federal deficit is set to reach $1 trillion a year. (Politico / Associated Press / CNBC / Axios / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

3/ The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community won't investigate how the White House handled the security clearances for Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and other officials unless Trump asks him. Michael Atkinson declined the request to investigate the security clearance process by four top Senate Democrats, saying "The authority over access to classified information ultimately rests with the President of the United States." In response, the senators wrote a letter to Trump, asking him to order the investigation. The White House did not respond to a request for comment and has previously declined to comment on the security clearances. (NBC News)

4/ Justice Department won't prosecute James Comey over the leak of his memos that the FBI later determined contained classified information. The inspector general's office had referred Comey for prosecution. After Trump fired Comey, the former FBI Director asked a friend to leak the memos, which detailed his conversations with Trump about the FBI's probe of Russian election interference. The Justice Department prosecutors declined to prosecute Comey, because they didn't believe there was evidence to show Comey knew and intended to violate laws regarding the handling of classified information. (NBC News / CNN)

5/ The White House instructed Trump's newly appointed Secretary of Defense to reexamine the military's $10 billion cloud computing contract because of concerns it would be awarded to Amazon. The Pentagon planned to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract to either Amazon or Microsoft this month. Mark Esper, who assumed his post on July 23rd, is now reviewing accusations of unfairness that pre-dates Trump's involvement, including allegations by rival companies that the competition unfairly favored Amazon because of perceived conflicts of interest. Despite a court ruling that the competition was fair, Trump asked officials to review the contracting process after companies competing against Amazon lodged "tremendous complaints." Trump has often made false and misleading attacks against Amazon and the Washington Post, conflating the two as the "Amazon Washington Post" because they're both owned by Jeff Bezos. (Washington Post / Politico / CNBC)

6/ Trump ordered the military to punish the prosecutors who tried the case of a Navy SEAL charged and acquitted of war crimes in the death of a captured ISIS fighter in Iraq. Trump complained that the prosecutors who tried the case against Eddie Gallagher "were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal" and demanded that the military "immediately withdraw and rescind the awards." (New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ More than half of House Democrats support launching impeachment proceedings against Trump with 118 out of 235 members now supporting the effort. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has argued that impeachment would alienate too many voters. (Politico / New York Times / BuzzFeed News)

Day 923: Animosity.

1/ The Trump administration separated more than 900 migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border after a judge ordered the government to stop the practice in June 2018 except in cases where a parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child. One man lost his daughter because a Border Patrol agent claimed he had failed to change the girl's diaper and another had his child taken from him because of a property damage conviction allegedly worth $5. Another man who has a speech impediment had his 4-year-old son taken from him because he couldn't clearly answer Border Patrol agent's questions. Attorneys for the ACLU asked a federal judge to block the Trump administration from continuing to separate migrant children from their parents. (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 524: A federal judge ordered the federal government to reunite migrant families separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy and to end most family separations. U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw issued a nationwide injunction requiring that all children under the age of five be reunited with their parents within 14 days and that older children be reunited within 30 days, and temporarily stopping the practice of separating children from their parents. The judge also ordered that all children who have been separated be allowed to talk to their parents within 10 days. (Politico / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

2/ The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point – the first rate cut in more than a decade. The move is meant to protect the U.S. economy against the effects of an economic slowdown in China and Europe and the uncertainty from Trump's trade war. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the rate cut was a precautionary, "midcycle adjustment" to provide "insurance" against "downside risks." Trump, who has called in recent months for the Fed to cut interest rates by a full percentage point, tweeted that the interest rate cut was "not enough" and that Powell had "let us down" "as usual."(New York Times / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ Two of Mitch McConnell's former staffers lobbied Congress and the Treasury Department on the development of a $200 million investment in a Kentucky aluminum mill backed by a Russian aluminum company. Rusal could only make the investment after winning sanctions relief from the Treasury Department initially imposed in April 2018 on Rusal and other companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch and Putin ally. (Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 739: The Trump administration lifted sanctions against three companies owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The Treasury Department originally sanctioned Deripaska, six other oligarchs, and their companies in April in response to Russia's "malign activity" around the world. The sanctions against Deripaska himself will remain in effect, but his companies launched a lobbying campaign to argue that the sanctions against aluminum giant Rusal would disrupt the aluminum market and damage U.S. companies. (Reuters / New York Times / Fox News / Bloomberg)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 818: An aluminum company partially owned by a Russian oligarch plans to invest around $200 million to build a new plant in Mitch McConnell's home state. McConnell was among the advocates for lifting U.S. sanctions on Rusal, the aluminum company Oleg Deripaska partially owns. (Newsweek)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 917: Following Robert Mueller's testimony and warnings about Russia's continued attempts to interfere in U.S. elections, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure. Democrats attempted to pass two bills by unanimous consent on Wednesday that would require campaigns to notify the FBI and the FEC if they receive offers of assistance from foreign governments. The other bill would let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for the personal devices and accounts of lawmakers and their staff. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked all three of the bills without giving any reason for her objections or indicating whether she blocked the bills on behalf of herself or the GOP caucus. Mueller testified yesterday that "The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious" and that "it wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign." (The Hill / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 922: Mitch McConnell defended his decision to block an election security bill in a speech on the Senate floor, accusing his critics of engaging in "modern-day McCarthyism" to "smear" his record. McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to bring up several bipartisan election security bills for votes, including legislation to require a paper trail for ballots and the disclosure for online political ads. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough dubbed McConnell "Moscow Mitch" for the move with opinion columnist Dana Milbank labeling McConnell a "Russian asset." McConnell has blamed Democrats for politicizing election security. Following McConnell's speech, the hashtag #MoscowMitchMcTreason began trending on Twitter. (KTLA / Washington Post / New York Times / The Hill)

4/ A former congressional staffer who tried to discredit Robert Mueller's investigation has been promoted on the National Security Council staff. Kash Patel spearheaded the efforts with Devin Nunes to call the court-approved surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page into question. Now, Patel has been promoted to a leadership position focused on counterterrorism at the NSC's Directorate of International Organizations and Alliances. (Daily Beast)

5/ A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee against Trump's presidential campaign related to Russian hacking of Democratic party computers and the release of material stolen by the hackers. The ruling terminated the DNC's claims against the Trump campaign, individual members of the campaign, including Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. (CNBC)

6/ Osama bin Laden's son is reportedly dead. U.S. officials did not provide details of where or when Hamza bin Laden died, or the role the U.S. played in his death. (NBC News / New York Times)

7/ The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran's top diplomat, following Tehran's recent missile-test launch, seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, and the downing of a U.S. military drone. The sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were delayed after State Department officials argued that would close the door to diplomacy. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)


🐊 Swamp things.

  1. A church in Baltimore kicked Ben Carson off of their property after the Housing and Urban Development secretary attempted to hold a press conference without first asking for permission. HUD officials moved the news conference to an adjacent alley, where Carson compared Baltimore to a patient with cancer and that the "cancer is going to have a devastating effect" that "we can't sweep them under the rug." Carson, who was in Baltimore to talk about opportunity zones and federal programs, said the Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ kicked him off because of "animosity." (Baltimore Sun / CBS Baltimore / CNN)

  2. The Department of Justice is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke used personal email accounts for official government business. The investigation is part of a larger probe into Zinke, who has been criticized for mixing his personal, political, and official business while in Trump's cabinet. Zinke resigned in 2018 following scrutiny of his participation in a land deal with the chairman of Halliburton. (Politico)

  3. A Democratic senator temporarily blocked a Trump nominee from serving as the top lawyer for the Interior over concerns that Daniel Jorjani possibly lied to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing about his role in reviewing public information requests submitted to the agency. (The Hill / HuffPost)

  4. The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced Air Force Gen. John Hyten to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, despite allegations of sexual assault by a former subordinate. (Politico)

  5. Energy Secretary Rick Perry contradicted Trump on climate change, saying "The climate is changing. Are we part of the reason? Yeah, it is." Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the role humans play in climate change. (CNBC)

  6. Trump sent the U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs to Sweden to monitor the court proceedings for rapper A$AP Rocky. The Harlem rapper is accused of beating a 19-year-old man in Stockholm on June 30th. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. Robert O'Brien's job is to advise the government on hostage issues. (The Independent)

πŸ“Ί Tonight's debate will start at 8 p.m. ET and end around 10:30 p.m. ET. Watch on CNN.

Day 922: An emblem of hate.

1/ Mitch McConnell defended his decision to block an election security bill in a speech on the Senate floor, accusing his critics of engaging in "modern-day McCarthyism" to "smear" his record. McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to bring up several bipartisan election security bills for votes, including legislation to require a paper trail for ballots and the disclosure for online political ads. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough dubbed McConnell "Moscow Mitch" for the move with opinion columnist Dana Milbank labeling McConnell a "Russian asset." McConnell has blamed Democrats for politicizing election security. Following McConnell's speech, the hashtag #MoscowMitchMcTreason began trending on Twitter. (KTLA / Washington Post / New York Times / The Hill)

  • Trump defended McConnell and accused the Washington Post of being a "Russian asset." McConnell "is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump, and I know nothing," Trump said. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 917: Following Robert Mueller's testimony and warnings about Russia's continued attempts to interfere in U.S. elections, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure. Democrats attempted to pass two bills by unanimous consent on Wednesday that would require campaigns to notify the FBI and the FEC if they receive offers of assistance from foreign governments. The other bill would let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for the personal devices and accounts of lawmakers and their staff. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked all three of the bills without giving any reason for her objections or indicating whether she blocked the bills on behalf of herself or the GOP caucus. Mueller testified yesterday that "The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious" and that "it wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign." (The Hill / CNN)

2/ Trump's pick for director of national intelligence promoted the now-debunked conspiracy theory of an anti-Trump "secret society" operating within the FBI. John Ratcliffe claimed that the text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok before the 2016 election were proof that the FBI was working against Trump, which fell apart when the exchange became public. Ratcliffe also misrepresented his role in an anti-terrorism case, claiming he had been appointed as a "special prosecutor" in 2008 to secure convictions for funneling money to Hamas, which is a designated terrorist organization. Court records and lawyers involved in the case suggest he had no direct role in the prosecution. (Daily Beast / ABC News)

3/ One of Trump's billionaire friends tried to buy the only U.S. manufacturer of large nuclear reactors while he was lobbying Trump to become a special envoy and promote his company's nuclear work in Saudi Arabia, according to a new congressional report. Thomas Barrack failed in both efforts, but his attempts raised "serious questions about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the President's friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons." The report shows Barrack negotiated with Trump and other White House officials to seek "powerful positions" like special Middle East envoy while he was also attempting to purchase Westinghouse Electric Company, the sole American manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors β€” partly with capital from Saudi Arabia or its close ally, the United Arab Emirates. (The Guardian / New York Times)

4/ Barrack also provided a draft of Trump's energy speeches in 2016 to senior officials from the United Arab Emirates for edits, according to emails and text messages uncovered by a House Oversight Committee investigation. Two weeks before Trump was scheduled to give the speech, Barrack provided a former business associate inside the UAE with an advance copy of the speech, which the associate then shared with UAE and Saudi government officials. Later, Barrack arranged for the edits requested by the UAE officials to be added to the speech with the help of Paul Manafort. "This is the most likely final version of the speech. It has the language you want," Manafort confirmed in an email to Barrack on the day of the speech. (ABC News)

5/ The Senate failed to override Trump's veto of three resolutions to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The resolutions were passed by Congress with bipartisan support in June, but the three votes to override Trump's vetoes failed, 45-40, 45-39 and 46-41. A two-thirds vote was needed in each case. (Politico / CBS News / CNN)

6/ White House adviser Stephen Miller wants to use Border Patrol agents as asylum screeners in order to reduce asylum approvals. Miller believes Border Patrol agents would be tougher critics of asylum seekers and is interested in the rate of approval for migrants interviewed by Border Patrol agents versus asylum officers. On average, asylum officers approve about 90% of "credible fear" screenings – the first thing migrants must do when seeking asylum is to convince officers that they have a credible fear for their safety in their home country. (NBC News)

7/ California now requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings in order to be on the state's presidential primary ballot. Trump will be ineligible for California's primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns. (Los Angeles Times / New York Times)

8/ More than half of the Trump administration's trade-war aid for farmers went to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program. The Trump administration announced a $16 billion round of trade aid for farmers this year as the trade dispute with China continues. (Bloomberg)

9/ For the fourth consecutive day, Trump attacked Elijah Cummings and asserted – without evidence – that black Baltimoreans "really appreciate what I'm doing." Trump added that "Cummings should take his oversight committee and start doing oversight on Baltimore." Hours later, Trump marked the 400th anniversary of the birth of democracy in America in a speech at the Jamestown Settlement Museum. Virginia's African-American state lawmakers boycotted the speech, calling Trump an "emblem of hate" and accused those who chose to attend and remain silent of being complicit in Trump's racism. During his speech, Trump made no reference to his attacks on Cummings and his majority black, Baltimore-based district, which Trump previously called "rat and rodent infested" where "no human being would want to live," nor mentioned the four congresswomen of color he recently told to "go back" to where they came from. Instead, Trump highlighted that this year is also the 400th anniversary of the first slaves brought to America. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / USA Today)

πŸ“Ί The second set of Democratic presidential debates are tonight and tomorrow. They begin at 8 p.m. ET and are expected to last at least two hours. Here's the NPR guide to how to watch and what they're watching for, the CNN guide, and the New York Times guide. Go nuts.

Day 921: Critical.

1/ Trump called Elijah Cummings a "brutal bully" and his Baltimore-based district a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" that "is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there." Trump also called Cummings, a black civil rights icon, a "racist." Trump's tweets appeared to be in response to a Fox & Friends segment on the same topic that ran earlier in the day, which included images of rundown and neglected apartment buildings in Baltimore. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings has initiated most of the investigations into the Trump administration. Last week, Cummings was authorized to subpoena work-related text and emails by White House officials, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Trump called Cummings' "radical 'oversight' […] a joke!" (Baltimore Sun / New York Times / Washington Post / Washington Post / The Hill)

  • Trump denied being a racist, saying that "there is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district." Trump added: "Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts." (BBC)

  • The Baltimore Sun responded to Trump: "Better to have a few rats than to be one." The editorial accused Trump of deploying "the most emotional and bigoted of arguments" against a Democratic African American congressman from a majority-black district. (Baltimore Sun / Washington Post)

  • Four years ago, Trump criticized Obama for not doing enough to address problems in Baltimore. Trump claimed at the time that "I would fix it fast!" (Washington Post)

  • Trump attacked Rev. Al Sharpton, calling him "a con man" who "Hates Whites & Cops!" Sharpton had tweeted a photo of himself at an airport with the caption: "headed to Baltimore." (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 917: The House Oversight and Reform Committee authorized subpoenas for senior White House aides official work communications sent via personal email and cellphone. The White House refused to turn over the messages voluntarily earlier this month. Democrats have raised questions about whether Jared Kushner's WhatsApp communications with foreign officials, Ivanka Trump's use of a private email account to conduct official business, and Stephen Bannon's use of a personal mobile device for White House business violated the Presidential Records Act. (Politico / Washington Post / Axios)

2/ Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended Trump's attacks, saying that some people will be offended by anything Trump says and that he was "fighting back" against "illegitimate attacks about the border." Mulvaney argued that Trump's use of "infested" to attack Cummings had "nothing to do with race." Trump, however, has repeatedly used "infested" to attack places in which the majority are people of color. Trump previously told Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," suggested that John Lewis' district was "in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)," referred to Africa as "Ebola-infested," and called California a "ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept." (Politico / Axios / Washington Post / Mediate)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 907: Trump told four liberal congresswomen of color to "go back" and "fix" their "broken and crime infested" countries. All four are American citizens and born in the United States, except for one, who became a refugee at age 10 when a civil war devastated Somalia. While he did not mention them by name, Trump's tweets were directed at the members of the so-called "squad," who were elected to Congress in 2018: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. Republicans remained largely silent after Trump's attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, called the tweets "xenophobic" and accused Trump of reaffirming his plan to make "America white again." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Yahoo News / CNN)

3/ Jared Kushner owns more than a dozen apartment complexes in Baltimore that have been cited for hundreds of code violations and provide substandard housing to lower-income tenants. Since 2013, Kushner Cos. has owned nearly 9,000 rental units across 17 complexes that generate at least $90 million in annual revenue. In 2017, Baltimore County officials revealed that apartments owned by Kushner Cos. were responsible for more than 200 code violations – all accrued in the span of the calendar year – and repairs were made only after the county threatened fines. (Washington Post / Baltimore Sun / New York Times)

  • Trump's eateries in New York were recently fined by health inspectors for "evidence of mice or live mice" in and around the kitchen and other "critical" violations. (New York Daily News)

  • House Republicans scheduled their yearly policy retreat at a downtown Baltimore hotel in September despite Trump calling Baltimore a "very dangerous & filthy place." Trump is expected to speak at the retreat. (Washington Post)

4/ Dan Coates will step down as director of national intelligence next month. Coates frequently pushed back against Trump on foreign policy issues, including on Russia and North Korea. Trump said he would nominate John Ratcliffe to replace Coates, who will officially leave his post on Aug. 15th. It's unclear whether Ratcliffe will be confirmed by the Senate, since he has no background in intelligence. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr "cautioned the president's advisers that he considered Mr. Ratcliffe too political for the post." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, warned that it'd be a "big mistake" for Senate Republicans to "elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship." Trump was, reportedly, "thrilled by Ratcliffe's admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing." (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters / NBC News / USA Today / NPR / Axios / Politico / CNN / New York Times)

5/ The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can use $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to expand the border wall with Mexico. In a 5-to-4 ruling, the court lifted a lower court order that blocked the four contracts the Trump administration had awarded using Defense Department money. Funding for the projects had been frozen by lower courts while a lawsuit over the money proceeded. (New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post)

6/ The Trump administration didn't include analysis that more than 500,000 children would lose eligibility for free school meals under a proposed change to the food stamp program. When the Department of Agriculture proposed last week to end food stamp benefits for 3.1 million people by changing eligibility and automatic enrollment, the agency did not include its own estimate that more than 500,000 children would also lose eligibility for free school meals. Currently, children whose families receive food stamps are automatically enrolled in a federal program that offers free breakfast and lunch at school. The two programs are automatically linked to reduce paperwork to ensure that children receive all of the food assistance they qualify for. (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 915: The Trump administration proposed ending food stamp benefits for 3.1 million people by tightening eligibility and automatic enrollment. The current rule allows residents in 43 states to be automatically eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if they receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The new rule would require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible to receive food from SNAP. Removing 3.1 million people from SNAP would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year. About 40 million low-income people received SNAP benefits in 2018. (Reuters / Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post)

7/ More than 100 Democrats in the House have called for impeachment proceedings against Trump to begin. A total of 107 House Democrats have publicly supported the move, including 12 since Mueller's testimony last week. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Trump "richly deserves impeachment," but that it was too soon to begin the process despite Trump having "violated the law six ways from Sunday." (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Axios)

poll/ 47% of American said Mueller's testimony made no difference in their views about impeaching Trump. Among Democrats, 48% said they are more likely to support impeachment that could ultimately lead to Trump's removal from office. 3% of Republicans said they were more likely to support impeachment. 71% of Americans said that they had either read, seen or heard about Mueller's testimony last week. (ABC News)

Day 918: Warriors.

1/ The House Judiciary Committee said it would petition a federal judge to unseal Robert Mueller's secret grand jury evidence. Chairman Jerry Nadler argued that it's essential that Congress "have access to all the relevant facts" – including witness testimony – in order to fully investigate potential abuses of power by Trump and his inner circle before deciding whether to recommend articles of impeachment. The petition does not seek the public release of the grand jury evidence. The committee will also continue its investigation during the House's six-week summer recess and is working to obtain testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn. Nadler said he is going to court today and again next week to file a lawsuit to force McGahn to testify. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will make a decision regarding impeachment in a "timely fashion," denying that she is trying to "run out the clock" on the issue. Pelosi's comment came shortly before Nadler said the House Judiciary Committee had already "in effect" been conducting an impeachment inquiry. (NBC News)

2/ Russia targeted the election systems in all 50 states in 2016, the Senate Intelligence Committee's new report on election interference concluded. Officials believe that Russians probably "scanned" systems in every state for "election-related web pages, voter ID information, election system software, and election service companies." The investigation found that Russia's interference began as early as 2014 and continued into at least 2017, but there was no evidence that votes were changed or that any voting machines were compromised. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 917: The Senate Intelligence Committee found that "the Russian government directed extensive activity, beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into at least 2017, against U.S. election infrastructure at the state and local level," according to the committee's report on Russian interference. The report recommends that Congress provide additional funding for states to secure elections once the $380 million appropriated in 2018 is spent. (NPR / Bloomberg / Axios / The Hill)

3/ Active duty military personnel are stationed within feet of migrant adults and children inside Border Patrol facilities. The proximity could lead to violations of the 140-year-old federal law that prohibits active duty troops and military personnel from coming into direct contact with migrants or from being used as law enforcement. Soldiers stand on elevated platforms throughout large rooms inside the facilities where detained migrants are held. Troops were originally assigned to the facilities to conduct periodic welfare checks of the migrants detained inside, but officials say that arrangement has evolved into a continual presence watching over them. (NBC News)

4/ Several U.S. Marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton and charged with human smuggling and other offenses for allegedly transporting undocumented migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. The migrants in question told border agents they had agreed to pay the Marines $8,000 to take them north of the border to Los Angeles and eventually to New Jersey. The Marines could face charges in military or federal court. None of the Marines in question had served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission. (NBC San Diego)

5/ The U.S. government will pay between $15 and $150 per acre to American farmers hurt by Trump's trade war with China. The latest aid package will cost $16 billion, with farmers in the South expected to see higher rates than those in the Midwest. The assistance will be distributed beginning in mid-to-late August, and payment will be disbursed based on their geographic location instead of the crops they produce. (Reuters)

6/ The Justice Department approved the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint after the two companies agreed to create a new wireless carrier by selling assets to satellite-TV provider Dish. The attorneys general for 13 states are trying to block the $26 billion merger with an antitrust lawsuit, arguing the deal could leave consumers with higher cellphone bills. T-Mobile and Sprint are the third- and fourth-largest wireless companies in the U.S. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 749: T-Mobile executives involved in the company's merger with Sprint last year have booked more than 52 nights at Trump's D.C. hotel since then. Newly obtained records from the hotel show T-Mobile executives booked more nights than previously reported, sometimes staying in rooms that cost up to $2,246 per night. Trump still owns the hotel, despite turning day-to-day control over to his sons Eric and Don Jr. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 775: T-Mobile spent $195,000 at Trump's Washington hotel after the announcement of its merger with its Sprint last April. Before news of the deal broke on April 29, 2018, only two top officials from T-Mobile had ever stayed at Trump's hotel. (Washington Post / Reuters)

7/ U.S. economic growth didn't hit Trump's 2018 target of 3%, according to revised government data that showed a slower pace of expansion in the final quarter than previously estimated. Trump called the report "not bad." Gross domestic product was up 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, but down from a recent estimate of 3%. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times)

8/ Trump attacked Fox News after the network's pollsters showed him losing a handful of hypothetical matchups against 2020 Democratic candidates. Trump claimed that Fox News had been "Proud Warriors!" during the 2016 campaign but the "new Fox Polls" are "so different from what they used to be." The national survey said Trump would lose to Biden by 10 percentage points and to Bernie Sanders by 6 points. It also showed him beating Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris by 1 point. The poll's margin of error is 3 percentage points. (Politico)

Day 917: Extensive activity.

1/ Following Robert Mueller's testimony and warnings about Russia's continued attempts to interfere in U.S. elections, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure. Democrats attempted to pass two bills by unanimous consent on Wednesday that would require campaigns to notify the FBI and the FEC if they receive offers of assistance from foreign governments. The other bill would let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for the personal devices and accounts of lawmakers and their staff. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked all three of the bills without giving any reason for her objections or indicating whether she blocked the bills on behalf of herself or the GOP caucus. Mueller testified yesterday that "The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious" and that "it wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign." (The Hill / CNN)

2/ Mitch McConnell blocked the two election security measures on Thursday, arguing that Democrats are trying to give themselves a "political benefit." McConnell called the House-passed legislation "so partisan it received just one Republican vote over in the House," adding that the election security legislation is being pushed by the same Democrats who pushed the "conspiracy theory" of Trump and Russia. (The Hill / CNN)

3/ The Senate Intelligence Committee found that "the Russian government directed extensive activity, beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into at least 2017, against U.S. election infrastructure at the state and local level," according to the committee's report on Russian interference. The report recommends that Congress provide additional funding for states to secure elections once the $380 million appropriated in 2018 is spent. (NPR / Bloomberg / Axios / The Hill)

4/ The House Oversight and Reform Committee authorized subpoenas for senior White House aides official work communications sent via personal email and cellphone. The White House refused to turn over the messages voluntarily earlier this month. Democrats have raised questions about whether Jared Kushner's WhatsApp communications with foreign officials, Ivanka Trump's use of a private email account to conduct official business, and Stephen Bannon's use of a personal mobile device for White House business violated the Presidential Records Act. (Politico / Washington Post / Axios)

5/ The Trump administration threatened a travel ban against Guatemala unless the nation agrees to the safe third country deal, which would require migrants from El Salvador and Honduras to seek asylum there, instead of in the United States. Guatemala backed out on the immigration deal earlier this month when Guatemala's high court blocked its government from signing the deal. The White House is looking at the authority already granted to the executive branch to suspend classes of people it considers detrimental to national interests. (NPR / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The Justice Department will resume executing prisoners awaiting the death penalty for the first time in 16 years. Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons set execution dates for five men on federal death row who have exhausted their legal appeals. Their executions are to be carried out in December and January. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

7/ The House passed the budget deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and set budget levels for two years. The legislation raises spending by $320 billion above limits set in a 2011 budget law and suspends the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. 65 Republicans joined the Democrats in the 284-149 vote. 132 Republicans voted against the bill, despite Trump's endorsement. The House vote sends the measure to the Senate, which is expected to pass it in the coming days and send it to Trump’s desk. Trump is expected to sign it. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC)

8/ Trump, his company, and three of his children must face part of a lawsuit alleging they used their family name to scam people into joining a multilevel marketing scheme. A federal judge said the Trumps and their investors in a Trump-endorsed company called American Communications Network could be liable for claims of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition. The suit claims the Trumps received millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to 2015 in exchange for endorsing ACN and then conned people into believing that Trump thought their investments would pay off, when the Trumps' real goal was simply to enrich themselves. (Reuters / Bloomberg)

9/ Trump's pick for assistant treasury secretary for public affairs repeatedly suggested Obama was secretly a Muslim who was sympathetic to America's enemies. Monica Crowley made the comments online between 2009 and 2015. Trump originally tapped Crowley in December 2016 to be the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council before she withdrew herself from consideration after it was reported that she plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and portions of her 2000 Ph.D. thesis. (CNN)

10/ Trump appeared in front of a fake presidential seal that had been edited to look like the Russian coat of arms. The doctored seal swapped out the traditional bald eagle clutching arrows in its talons for a two-headed bald eagle clutching golf clubs. The two-headed eagle seal is similar to the coat of arms Russia has been using since 1993 and the preeminent symbol of the Russian empire dating back to the 1600s and beyond. Additionally, instead of "e pluribus unum," the scroll above the eagle appears to say "45 es un titere," which roughly translates from Spanish to mean "45 is a puppet." (The Guardian / Esquire / USA Today / CNN)

Day 916: "A very innocent President."

Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in seven hours of back-to-back hearings about his report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Mueller agreed that Trump's conduct was problematic, that the investigation did not exonerate Trump, and that Trump did not cooperate fully with the investigation. Mueller did not to go beyond the findings in his 448-page final report and declined repeatedly to offer his opinion on questions or even to read directly from the document.

πŸ‘‰ Start here for in-depth articles recapping Mueller's back-to-back testimony today. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)


1/ Mueller: Trump "was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed," adding that Trump could potentially be indicted after he leaves office. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler asked Mueller if Trump was "correct" that the report "found that there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him." Mueller replied: "That is not what the report said." Mueller confirmed that Trump had engaged in 10 instances of obstruction of justice, which Attorney General William Barr decided not to file charges for. Mueller also confirmed that Trump refused to sit for an interview. [Editor's note: I had to look up what "exculpated" means, because I'm not a lawyer. You're probably not a lawyer either, so here's what it means: to "show or declare that (someone) is not guilty of wrongdoing." Curiouser and curiouser…] (The Guardian / NBC News / CBS News / Daily Beast / Axios / CNBC)

2/ During his House Intelligence Committee testimony, Mueller initially suggested he didn't indict Trump because of a Justice Department policy. Mueller later clarified that because the policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president, he "did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime." Mueller's response, however, contradicted Barr's claim that the OLC guidelines played no part in Mueller's approach. Mueller also refuted Trump's claim that the report proved "no collusion," saying: "We did not address 'collusion,' which is not a legal term." (Politico)

3/ Mueller condemned Trump's tweets about WikiLeaks' stolen emails during the 2016 campaign, calling it "problematic" and "an understatement." Mueller, who earlier said Russia had launched a "sweeping and systematic" attack on American democracy, called Trump Jr.'s Twitter exchange with WikiLeaks "disturbing" and that they were subject to investigation. Meanwhile, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff asked Mueller: "Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?" Mueller responded: "It is not a witch hunt." Rep. Jackie Spierer asked Mueller if Russia helping Trump was a hoax. Mueller replied: "It was not a hoax." (CNN / NBC News)

4/ Mueller declined, deflected, or deferred nearly 200 questions, speaking only about what his report said regarding Trump, Russian interference, or obstruction of justice. Some of his responses: "I'm not going to speak to that," "I'm not going to get into that," "I can't get into that," "I can't say," "outside my purview," "I'm not certain I agree with your characterization," "I don't subscribe necessarily to the way you analyze it," and "I'm not going to discuss that." Mueller also referred lawmakers to his report at least 40 times. (NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Washington Post)

5/ Before Mueller's testimony began, Trump accused Democrats of trying to "illegally fabricate a crime" and pin it on a "very innocent President," calling Mueller's investigation "an illegal and treasonous attack on our Country," questioning Mueller's impartiality and calling him "an Embarrassment to our Country!," adding "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!" Throughout the hearing, Trump tweeted quotes from Fox News and his supporters, despite claiming earlier this week that he wouldn't watch Mueller's testimony. Trump also complained about a request by Mueller to have his aide, Aaron Zebley, testify with him as a witness before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, declaring that "This was specifically NOT agreed to, and I would NEVER have agreed to it." The Judiciary Committee denied the request, but allowed Zebley to appear with Mueller if the former special counsel require assistance during the hearings. (New York Times / NBC News / Mother Jones / Politico)

6/ Trump, meanwhile, claimed that Article II of the Constitution gives him "the right to do whatever I want as president." Article II grants the president "executive power." The comment came while addressing a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington. Last month, Trump cited Article 2 as the reason why presidents can't be charged with obstruction of justice. Trump also bemoaned the duration and cost of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Talking Points Memo)

poll/ 37% of voters say they believe Mueller’s investigation was carried out very or somewhat fairly, compared with 42% who say the probe was conducted "not too fairly" or "not fairly at all." (Politico / Morning Consult)


Notables.

  1. House Democrats are prepared to pass a measure intended to improve their case for access to Trump's financial information. The proposal would declare that any committee subpoenas related to Trump, his family, current and former White House officials and the Trump Organization are presumed to have the approval of the full House of Representatives. (Politico)

  2. A former business partner of Michael Flynn was convicted on a pair of foreign-agent felony charges related to work the two men did for Turkish interests during Trump's presidential campaign. Bijan Rafiekian faces up to 15 years in prison for acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the U.S., and conspiracy to violate that law as well as to submit false statements to the Justice Department in a foreign-agent filing. (Politico)

  3. The Justice Department will not bring criminal charges against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following the House vote to hold them in contempt. The Justice Department was never expected to prosecute its own leader and another cabinet official. (Politico)

  4. The House Oversight and Reform Committee scheduled a vote to hold Kellyanne Conway in contempt of Congress after she failed to comply with a subpoena to testify about her repeated Hatch Act violations. The panel will vote on Thursday. (The Hill)

  5. The Freedom Caucus formally urged Trump to reject the bipartisan spending deal and agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The conservative group cited concerns about the impact the deal will have on the national debt as the main reason for their opposition. "Our country is undeniably headed down a path of fiscal insolvency and rapidly approaching $23 trillion in debt," the group said in a statement. "All sides should go back to the drawing board and work around the clock, canceling recess if necessary, on a responsible budget agreement that serves American taxpayers betterβ€”not a $323 billion spending frenzy with no serious offsets." (The Hill)

  6. The EPA will allow the expanded use of a pesticide it considers to be toxic to bees. The announcement comes after the Trump Administration said it was suspending data collection on bee populations. (KSHB)

  7. Afghanistan asked the United States to clarify Trump's claim that he would "wipe [Afghanistan] off the face of the Earth" if he wanted to win the war in the country. (CNN)

  8. North Korea launched two unidentifiable objects that traveled 267 miles into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea. U.S. officials confirmed that North Korea had launched at least one projectile, describing it as a short range missile. (ABC News)

  9. Trump vetoed Congress's attempt to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, worth more than $8 billion. Earlier this month, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to block the arms deals in an effort to punish the kingdom over weapons being used against civilians in Yemen's civil war and the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Washington Post)

Day 915: Still at it.

1/ Trump sued the House Ways and Means Committee and the New York state officials to block his state tax returns from being turned over to the committee. In May, New York passed a bill that allowed the Ways and Means Committee chairman to obtainTrump's state tax returns. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to would block the application of the new state law. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 900: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing congressional committees to access Trump's New York state tax returns. The bill requires state tax officials to release the state returns for any "specified and legitimate legislative purpose" on the request of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. Trump's personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, called the bill "more presidential harassment." The House Ways and Means Committee has unsuccessfully tried to access six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns. The House sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service last week to try to force them to release the returns. (New York Times / NBC News)

2/ The Trump administration proposed ending food stamp benefits for 3.1 million people by tightening eligibility and automatic enrollment. The current rule allows residents in 43 states to be automatically eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if they receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The new rule would require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible to receive food from SNAP. Removing 3.1 million people from SNAP would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year. About 40 million low-income people received SNAP benefits in 2018. (Reuters / Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Trump is on track to add another $1 trillion dollars to the national deficit this year after endorsing the two-year bipartisan budget deal that will raise spending limits by $320 billion and allow the government to keep borrowing money. Republicans say the deal will add too much to the debt while some Democrats are upset that Trump is not prevented from using money from military programs to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Trump's rhetorical appeals to white working-class voters during the 2016 campaign have not been matched with legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests. Since becoming president, Trump has signed taxes that benefitted companies and the wealthy, rolled back regulations on corporations, and appointed administration officials and judges from the conservative movement. (New York Times)

4/ More than 180 human rights groups and 22 senators demanded that the Trump administration's new Commission on Unalienable Rights be abolished. Letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuse the 10-member commission of being overseen by clergy and scholars "known for extreme positions opposing LGBTQI and reproductive rights," including some who they say have defended "indefensible human rights violations." Pompeo launched the commission earlier this month to, he claimed, "provide fresh thinking" about returning the government's focus to promoting "natural law and natural rights." (NBC News)

5/ Robert Mueller will have one of his aides sit alongside him during his House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. Aaron Zebley will not be under oath or allowed to answer lawmakers' questions directly, but he can privately consult with Mueller if the former special counsel needs assistance or guidance about how to respond during the hearing. It's unclear if Mueller made a similar request to the House Intelligence Committee. (New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

  • Jerry Nadler called Trump's Justice Department "incredibly arrogant" after instructing Mueller to limit the scope of his congressional testimony. The House Judiciary Committee chairman added that "It's a part of the ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the American people." Mueller will appear before the House Judiciary Committee at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday for about three hours and will then appear before the House Intelligence Committee at noon for about two hours. (Politico / Washington Post)

  • Trump said he might watch a "little bit" of Mueller's public testimony this week. (NBC News)

  • poll/ 18% of Republicans said they planned to watch Mueller's testimony, 60% said they would not watch, with the rest unsure. 31% of Republicans considered it "very" or "somewhat" important that Mueller was scheduled to testify this week. (Reuters)


Notables.

  1. FBI Director Christopher Wray said Russia is "absolutely intent" on interfering in the 2020 presidential election despite sanctions and other efforts. "My view is until they stop they haven't been deterred enough," Wray told Lindsey Graham during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Graham had asked Wray if "they're still at" despite "all the sanctions, all the talk." (Reuters)

  2. Trump met with Devin Nunes to discuss possible replacements for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates. Some intelligence officials believe Trump is considering Nunes for an intelligence post. Coates' job security has been up in the air since he contradicted Trump in statements he made about North Korea, Iran, and Syria. (Politico)

  3. The Senate confirmed Mark Esper as defense secretary. The Pentagon has been without a permanent leader since Jim Mattis resigned last year over policy disagreements with Trump. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

  4. Trump threatened Guatemala with tariffs and other retaliation for backing away from a planned "safe third country" agreement with the U.S., which would have required Central American migrants traveling into Guatemala to claim asylum there instead of elsewhere. Trump warned that his administration would explore imposing a "ban," tariffs, remittance fees or some combination of all three. (Politico / Washington Post)

  5. Trump's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations spent the equivalent of seven months of her 20-month tenure as ambassador to Canada in places where she had homes. Kelly Craft came under fire for her absences from the embassy in Ottawa after Federal Aviation Administration records showed her family plane had made weekly roundtrips to the United States. (Politico)

  6. The Senate passed a bill to make the 9/11 victims compensation fund permanent. The bill now heads to Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it. The bill was passed with the support of more than two-thirds of the House and Senate, meaning Congress could override a veto if Trump objected. (ABC News / NBC News)

  7. The FBI recorded about 90 domestic terrorism arrests in the past nine months and about 100 international terrorism arrests. Most of the domestic terrorism cases involved a racial motive believed to be spurred by white supremacy. (Washington Post)

  8. The lawyers for the "MAGA Bomber" claimed his client was manipulated by Fox News, Trump's tweets, and Facebook. Cesar Sayoc previously pleaded guilty to mailing 16 pipe bombs to Trump's political opponents, news outlets, and other public figures in October. Sayoc watched "Fox News religiously at the gym" and planned his "workout to coincide with Fox and Friends and his evenings to dovetail with Hannity." Sayoc's attorneys added that "a rational observer may have brushed off Trump's tweets as hyperbole, but Mr. Sayoc took them to heart." (Daily Beast / Washington Post / HuffPost)

Day 914: An unindicted co-conspirator.

1/ The Trump administration plans to use a fast-track deportation process to bypass immigration judges in order to quickly deport undocumented immigrants who have illegally entered the U.S. within the past two years. Previously, the policy for "expedited removal" had been limited to migrants caught within 100 miles of the U.S. border who had been in the country for less than two weeks. The Department of Homeland Security defended the shift, saying the new plan will ease the backlogged immigration courts by allowing ICE to deport unauthorized immigrants without placing them in "timeconsuming removal proceedings." Expedited removals will take effect immediately. (Washington Post / CBS News / New York Times)

  • Trump wants to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer "ASAP" to discuss conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border after Schumer took a tour of migrant detention facilities and called them "inhumane." (Washington Post)

2/ House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said there is "very substantial evidence" in Robert Mueller's report that Trump is "guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors." House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff added that it was "clear" that the Justice Department feels bound by an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that prevents indicting a sitting president, alleging that Trump "is an essentially unindicted co-conspirator." The House Judiciary Committee would be in charge of leading impeachment proceedings if the House decided to move forward with articles of impeachment. Mueller is scheduled to testify on July 24th in front of both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in back-to-back public hearings, where he will answer questions about the contents of his report and his 22-month-long investigation. (CNN / Politico / Washington Post)

3/ Trump doesn't think Mueller should be allowed to testify before Congress about his ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice. Trump tweeted that "Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple," because "in the end it will be bad for him." Trump also complained that the "phony Democrats" in Congress "have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt," and again called for investigations into Hillary Clinton instead of himself and his campaign. (Washington Post / The Independent / Politico)

  • Inside the preparations for Mueller's testimony. (Politico)

  • 19 questions for Mueller ahead of his congressional testimony. (New York Times)

4/ Mueller will offer his entire 448-page report as his official statement when he testifies Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Justice Department officials have reportedly told Mueller that the department expects him to limit his congressional testimony to the public findings in his report, arguing that anything outside the report is covered by "presidential privilege" that hasn't been waived. Mueller will have a brief opening statement, which hasn't been seen by the Justice Department. (NBC News / Politico / CNN)

5/ Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid more than $600,000 in legal fees to the law firm that represents Hope Hicks. The House Judiciary Committee is reexamining the truthfulness of Hicks's mid-June testimony after unsealed court documents revealed that she was in close contact with Michael Cohen as he was negotiating a hush money payment with Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 911: The House Judiciary Committee asked Hope Hicks to clarify her congressional testimony after newly unsealed documents showed "apparent inconsistencies." The documents reveal that Hicks spoke on the phone with Trump and Michael Cohen about Stormy Daniels and the Trump campaign's attempt to stop Daniels from going public with the allegations about an affair with Trump. Hicks originally stated that she "had no knowledge of Stormy Daniels other than to say she was going to be mentioned in the story." Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the new documents "raises substantial questions about the accuracy" of Hicks' original statements. (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Vox)

6/ A federal judge blocked congressional subpoenas for Trump Organization financial records in a lawsuit over whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Democrats sent 37 subpoenas earlier this month seeking financial information about Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel, Trump Tower and other Trump properties. The subpoenas had a due date of July 29th. Judge Emmet Sullivan made the decision after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said it should hear the case. (CNN)

  • The Trump National Doral is one of the finalists to host the G7 summit next year. (Axios)

poll/ 59% of Americans disagree with Trump that the four Democratic congresswomen of color should "go back" to their countries, while 40% agree with Trump's comment. (CBS News)

poll/ 52% of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president; 44% approve. (NPR)

poll/ 54% of voters in 11 southern states either "strongly approve" or "somewhat approve" of the way Trump's handling his job – up from 52% approval from September of last year. (NBC News)

study/ 45% of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were founded by immigrants and their children. The same study also found that that number is growing, despite claims that immigration leads to lower wages and fewer jobs for American citizens. The Fortune 500 companies examined in the study brought in a combined $1.6 trillion in annual revenue last year, and employed 13.5 million people. On average, the companies founded by immigrants also employed 11% more people than the Fortune 500 companies with non-immigrant founders. (Axios)


Notables.

  1. The White House and congressional negotiators reached a two-year budget deal that would raise the spending cap by $320 billion and suspend the debt ceiling until after the next presidential election. The House must approve the agreement before members leave July 26th for a six-week recess. The Senate, meanwhile, can put vote on it next week. The measure will also need Trump's signature and he didn't explicitly say he'll sign it, but called it a "real compromise." (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico)

  2. Trump "offered to personally vouch" for rapper A$AP Rocky's bail. Trump tweeted that during "a very good call" with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, he "assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk." The artist has been in custody since early this month over an alleged fight. Trump became involved after Kim Kardashian West contacted Jared Kushner. (Associated Press)

  3. A Republican political organization in Illinois posted and then deleted a movie-style poster depicting the four congresswomen of color who have been attacked by Trump as "The Jihad Squad." The poster included the slogan, "Political Jihad Is Their Game," and depicted Rep. Ayanna Pressley aiming a gun with a smile on her face. (Chicago Tribune / NBC News)

  4. A Louisiana police officer posted on Facebook that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "needs a round." Charlie Rispoli was replying to a post by a satirical website with the headline "Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: 'We Pay Soldiers Too Much.'" Officials in the city where the officer works condemned his comment, but said they weren't sure it constituted a threat. (New York Times)

  5. Stephen Miller defended Trump's tweets and campaign rally where the crowd chanted "send her back." Miller called labeling Trump's behavior "racist" a tactic "deployed by the left" used to "silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with." (Washington Post / USA Today)

  6. Trump claimed that he could easily "wipe" Afghanistan "off the face of the earth," but doesn't "want to go that route" because he'd have to "kill 10 million people." (Daily Beast / Vox)

Day 911: "The gravity of the president's misconduct."

1/ The Trump administration is considering admitting zero refugees next year. The idea was floated during a recent meeting with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and the Pentagon. Homeland Security officials at the meeting suggested making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000. The Trump administration cut refugee admissions from 110,000 in fiscal year 2017 to 30,000 in 2018. (Politico / CNN)

  • Border protection officers detained three children, who are U.S. citizens, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The children had arrived in the U.S. after a trip to Mexico with a relative when they were detained. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that the three girls were detained because the adult they were traveling with was "deemed inadmissible." The children were eventually released to their mother's custody after an official from the Mexican consulate secured an agreement that their mother could come pick them up without being taken into custody herself. (Chicago Tribune)

2/ The Trump administration is planning to update the naturalization test to become a U.S. citizen. Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized more than 750,000 people and the average pass rate on the test was 90%. Since becoming president, Trump has cut the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., banned immigrants based on their nationality in a handful of majority-Muslim countries, made it more difficult to qualify for asylum, and proposed a visa system overhaul that would prioritize immigrants with advanced degrees, English-language skills and money. (Washington Post)

3/ The House Judiciary Committee asked Hope Hicks to clarify her congressional testimony after newly unsealed documents showed "apparent inconsistencies." The documents reveal that Hicks spoke on the phone with Trump and Michael Cohen about Stormy Daniels and the Trump campaign's attempt to stop Daniels from going public with the allegations about an affair with Trump. Hicks originally stated that she "had no knowledge of Stormy Daniels other than to say she was going to be mentioned in the story." Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the new documents "raises substantial questions about the accuracy" of Hicks' original statements. (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Vox)

  • An attorney for Hope Hicks called reports that Hicks participated in discussions to pay Stormy Daniels "simply wrong." Robert Trout said that "Hicks stands by her truthful testimony that she first became aware of this issue in early November 2016, as the result of press inquiries." (Washington Post)

4/ The House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees intend to press Robert Mueller to tell a "much clearer narrative" about "the gravity of the president's misconduct." Mueller is expected to appear publicly Wednesday for three hours before the Judiciary Committee followed by two hours before the House Intelligence Committee. Staffers said Mueller's report "lays out the dots" but "they don't connect any of the dots, at least through the most significant instances that we're so interested in." Lawmakers will focus on five different instances they think would incur criminal charges for obstruction of justice: Trump's attempts to have former White House counsel Don McGahn fire Mueller; Trump directing McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller; Trump directing to Cory Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation by excluding Trump and only focusing on future elections; Trump directing Lewandowski to tell Sessions he would be fired if he didn't meet with Lewandowski; and witness tampering regarding Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Democrats also plan to press Mueller on the contacts with Russia and WikiLeaks detailed in the report. (NBC News / CBS News / CNN)

  • The House Oversight Committee asked federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York if the Justice Department's memo against indicting a sitting president played a role in their decision not to criminally charge Trump over hush money payments to women accusing Trump of extramarital affairs. The 2000 memo by the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel was a key factor in Mueller's decision to refrain from considering whether to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. (Politico)

  • The Trump administration asserted executive privilege to block the House and Senate intelligence committees from accessing classified documents from Mueller's investigation. Congressional investigators believe Mueller's team was given access to a range of materials that could include intercepts, secretive source interviews, and material shared by the spy agencies of other foreign governments. Justice Department officials, meanwhile, argued that the documents are covered by the privilege initially asserted in response to a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for all of Mueller's records. (ABC News)

5/ Trump plans to name the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as his next secretary of labor. Eugene Scalia is a longtime labor attorney and a former top lawyer for the Labor Department under George W. Bush. Scalia spent most of his career defending Walmart and other large companies against labor unions and tougher labor protection laws. (New York Times / Politico / NBC News)

6/ Researchers correlated Trump's election with worsening cardiovascular health, sleep problems, anxiety, and stress. The study, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found 3.2% to 3.6% more premature births were reported among Latina women following Trump's election. (Washington Post / CNN)

poll/ Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular senator. McConnell has a 50% disapproval rating. He is trailed by Susan Collins with 48%, followed by Bob Menendez and Joe Manchin at a 42% disapproval rating. (The Hill / Morning Consult)

Day 910: Imminent danger.

1/ The FBI believed that then-candidate Trump was closely involved in the plan to the hide hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, according to previously redacted federal search warrants made public following the conclusion of the probe into Michael Cohen's campaign finance crimes. The documents describe a "series of calls, text messages, and emails" between Cohen, Trump, Hope Hicks, Keith Davidson – an attorney for Daniels – Dylan Howard – the National Enquirer editor – and David Pecker, an executive of the company that published the National Enquirer. It's the first time that the authorities have identified Trump by name regarding his alleged involvement in the scheme. Authorities previously referred to Trump in court filings as "Individual 1." Last August, Cohen admitted to making $280,000 in illegal payments through a shell company to buy the silence of Daniels and McDougal. In April 2018, Trump claimed that he didn't know anything about the hush money payment to Daniels. (NBC News / The Guardian / Washington Post / Reuters / CNN / Daily Beast / Wall Street Journal)

  • Federal prosecutors signaled that it's unlikely they would file additional charges in the hush-money investigation, saying they had "effectively concluded" their inquiry. (New York Times)

2/ Trump continued his racist call for a congresswoman to "go back" to Somalia during a campaign rally last night while the crowd chanted "send her back." Rep. Ilhan Omar is a U.S. citizen and Somalian refugee, and is one of four congresswomen of color Trump attacked on Twitter over the weekend, telling them to "go back" to their countries. The other three were born in the United States. "If they don't love it," Trump told the crowd, "tell them to leave it." Trump paused to allow the "send her back" chant and did nothing to discourage the crowd. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission includes "Go back to where you came from" as one of its examples of potentially unlawful harassment based on national origin. Trump spent more time during the rally attacking Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley than he did discussing his 2020 presidential campaign. (Politico / NBC News / Reuters / BuzzFeed News / New York Times)

  • House Democrats warned that Omar's "life is in imminent danger" following the chants to "send her back." Senior Democrats are now calling for authorities to evaluate security for Omar, as well as the three other lawmakers Trump has recently attacked. (Politico)

  • Trump claimed he was "not happy" with the "send her back" chant that broke out during his re-election rally. Trump argued that he tried to cut off the chant by "speaking very quickly," which is contradicted by video of the event. (New York Times)

  • The chairman of House Republicans' campaign arm said "there's no place for that kind of talk," referring to the "send her back!" chant. Representative Tom Emmer, however, also claimed that "there's not a racist bone in the president's body." (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ Iran seized a foreign oil tanker carrying 1 million liters of "smuggled fuel" near a small island in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Iranian state TV. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps ambushed the tanker, which appears to be a United Arab Emirates-based tanker that disappeared off trackers in Iranian territorial waters over the weekend. (CNN / Associated Press / CNBC)

4/ The Navy "destroyed" an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of the U.S.S. Boxer and ignored "multiple calls to stand down" hours after Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign tanker it accused of smuggling oil. Trump said the drone was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew" in the Strait of Hormuz and was "immediately destroyed."Four weeks ago, Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone flying over international airspace the same area. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Reuters / CNBC / The Guardian / Politico)

  • The Trump administration is preparing to send hundred of troops to Saudi Arabia as a show of force against Iran. Five hundred troops are expected to be deployed to the Prince Sultan Air Base east of Riyadh. A small number of troops are already on site at the base to begin initial preparations for the deployment of a Patriot missile defense battery, as well as runway and airfield improvements. (CNN)

poll/ Two-thirds of Americans support statehood for Puerto Rico. 66% of respondents said they support adding Puerto Rico as the 51st state, which is consistent with polling dating back to the 1960s. Support is highest among Democrats, young voters, and non-white voters. (Politico)


Notables.

  1. Trump asked for information about the Pentagon's cloud-computing contract that will likely be awarded to either Amazon or Microsoft. Republican lawmakers have pressured the White House to intervene in the project, and one person familiar with the process said that it sounded as if Trump was thinking about canceling the contract, worth as much as $10 billion over ten years. "I never had something where more people are complaining," Trump said. "We're getting tremendous complaints from other companies." (Bloomberg / CNBC)

  2. The Pentagon authorized an additional deployment of 1,100 active-duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. They will join some 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops already there, for a force of more than 6,600 at the border. (Politico)

  3. The House voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate, undoing Trump's attempt to use emergency powers to sidestep Congress and push through 22 deals worth more than $8 billion. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  4. William Barr gave $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the months leading up to his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general. Barr's contributions took place over a 5-month period from October 2018 to February 2019. In the past Barr gave occasionally: once in 2009 and 2011, twice in 2014, once in 2015, and another in 2016. (Quartz)

  5. The Agriculture Department blocked the release of a plan on how to respond to climate change that was finalized in the early days of the Trump administration. Top officials decided not to release the multiyear plan that outlined how the department should help agriculture understand, adapt to and minimize the effects of climate change. Instead, staff members were told to keep it for internal use only. (Politico)

  6. The EPA announced that it would not ban a pesticide associated with developmental disabilities and other health problems in children, claiming that the science was unsettled. The Obama administration banned chlorpyrifos in 2015 after scientific studies produced by the EPA showed the pesticide had the potential to damage brain development in children. (New York Times)

  7. The House passed a bill to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. The measure is not expected to advance in the GOP-led Senate. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

  8. Trump directed his administration to have rapper A$AP Rocky freed from custody in Sweden after Kim Kardashian West contacted Jared Kushner. Rocky turned himself into Swedish police after he was wanted for questioning about a street fight in Stockholm. (TMZ / Axios)

Day 909: "Not unhappy."

1/ The House voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents about the Trump administration's efforts to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census. Barr and Ross withheld documents that had been subpoenaed by the Oversight and Reform Committee as part of its probe into the origins of the citizenship question. The Trump administration claimed it needed the citizen question to enforce the Voting Rights Act. In May, however, evidence emerged that the question was intended to specifically give an electoral advantage to Republicans and whites. Ross also previously testified before Congress that he added the question "solely" at the request of the Justice Department. It later came out that he'd asked the department to make the request. While Barr and Ross face up to a year behind bars and a $100,000 fine, it's unlikely the Justice Department will pursue the case, because Barr is the head of the Justice Department. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The House voted to table a resolution to impeach Trump, put forth by Rep. Al Green, who used a procedural mechanism that required action within two days. Green previously forced two votes on advancing articles of impeachment against Trump in 2017 and 2018, when Republicans controlled the House. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • READ: The full text of the House impeachment resolution against Trump. (NBC News)

3/ Former Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said his country was aware that WikiLeaks cofounder Julian Assange was interfering in the 2016 presidential election from inside Ecuador's embassy in London. "WikiLeaks' justification was that they were providing truthful information. Sure, but (it) was just about Hillary Clinton. Not about Trump. So, they were not saying all the truth. And not saying all the truth is called manipulation." Surveillance reports describe how Assange transformed the embassy into a command center to release a series of damaging disclosures intended to undermine Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. The reports describe how Assange met with Russians and hackers, as well as computer hardware to facilitate data transfers from Russian operatives. "We did notice that he was interfering in the elections," Correa said, "and we do not allow that because we have principles, very clear values, as we would not like anyone to interfere in our elections." (CNN / CNN)

4/ A November 1992 tape shows Trump and Jeffrey Epstein at Mar-a-Lago laughing, pointing, and discussing young women dancing at a party. Trump is seen gesturing to a woman and appears to say to Epstein, "Look at her, back there. … She's hot." Epstein smiled and nodded. The party took place the same year that Trump a private party with Epstein and more than two dozen "calendar girls," who were flown in to provide them with entertainment. (New York Times / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 902: Trump and Epstein were once the only attendees at a party with roughly two dozen women at Mar-a-Lago. 28 women were flown in for a "calendar girl" competition that was organized at Trump's request. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 901: In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine that Epstein was "a terrific guy," who "likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Today, however, Trump told reporters that the two "had a falling out" about 15 years ago and that he "was not a fan of his, that I can tell you." (Washington Post / Associated Press / Miami Herald / CNN / Washington Post)

5/ Trump said he's "not unhappy" with the reaction to his racist comments that four congresswomen of color should "go back" where "they came" from. "The only thing they have, that they can do is, now, play the race card," Trump said. "Which they've always done." Yesterday, the House voted on a resolution condemning Trump's rhetoric as "racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color." (Daily Mail)

poll/ 59% of Americans called Trump's tweets targeting the four congresswomen "un-American," with 68% calling Trump's tweets offensive. 57% of Republicans, however, said they agreed with Trump's tweet that the congresswomen should to go back to their "original" countries. (USA Today)

poll/ Support for Trump among Republicans rose by five percentage points following Trump's racist tweets and comments that the four congresswomen of color should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Trump's approval rating among Republicans now stands at 72%. (Reuters)

poll/ 51% of voters supported the deportation raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, compared with 35% of voters who oppose those efforts. (Politico)


Notables.

  1. Rand Paul blocked an attempt to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Paul objected to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's attempt tried to bring the House-passed bill to a vote, pointing to the growing debt and arguing that any new spending should be offset by cuts to other spending. The Senate, however, is still expected to pass the bill before leaving for their summer recess on August 2nd. (The Hill)

  2. The White House Office of Management and Budget projected that the federal deficit would surpass $1 trillion this year. It's the first time the U.S. deficit has exceeded the $1 trillion level since the 4-year period following the Great Recession. (Axios)

  3. Federal prosecutors in New York ended their investigation into the Trump Organization's role in hush money payments made to protect Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. A federal judge ordered prosecutors to release additional information connected to their related probe of Michael Cohen. Last August, Cohen admitted to making the illegal payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, at Trump's behest to silence them ahead of the election. (CNN / Politico / NBC News)

  4. Rand Paul asked to be the administration's chief diplomatic emissary to Iran. Trump approved of Paul sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in an attempt to restart negotiations with Iran. Some administration officials are concerned that Paul's intervention threatens to undermine Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran. (Politico)

Day 908: "Join us in condemning the president's racist tweets."

1/ Republicans temporarily blocked a resolution denouncing Trump's racists tweets that four congresswomen of color should "go back" where "they came" from as "racist comments." In a floor speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Democrats and Republicans to "join us in condemning the president's racist tweets" and that the "comments from the White House" are "disgraceful" and "disgusting" and that "these comments are racist." Republican Rep. Doug Collins interjected and asked Pelosi to "rephrase" her statement, which was then ruled as out of order under House rules that lawmakers may not make disparaging remarks about the president on the floor of the House. Following a two-hour long delay, the House voted along party lines to allow Pelosi to refer to Trump's tweets as racist, overriding House rules and GOP objections. That final vote on the resolution condemning Trump's rhetoric as "racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color" passed largely along party lines, 240-187. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump – again – denied that his racist tweets were racist, urging House Republicans to "not show 'weakness'" and reject the condemnation resolution. Trump called the resolution a "con game" and claimed that his tweets "were NOT Racist," because "I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" Trump then accused the four Democratic congresswomen – Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – of "spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate." (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / Politico)

3/ Kellyanne Conway responded a White House reporter's question about Trump's racist tweets with "What's your ethnicity?" Andrew Feinberg had asked Conway which countries Trump was referring to when he suggested that Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar should "go back" to where they came from. All four congresswomen are U.S. citizens. (Daily Beast / NBC News)

  • Kellyanne Conway's husband wrote an opinion piece saying "Trump is a racist president." (Washington Post)

4/ The Justice Department will not bring federal civil rights charges against the New York Police Department officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner. Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to bring charges due to concerns that prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully following a dispute between a Justice Department team from New York and the Civil Rights Division in Washington. Daniel Pantaleo will never face criminal prosecution for Garner's death, despite bystanders filming the arrest as Garner gasped: "I can't breathe." (New York Times / CNN / Politico)

5/ The Trump administration will begin enforcing a new regulation that taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions – effective immediately. Health and Human Services formally notified the clinics that it will begin enforcing the new rule on Monday, in addition to a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. A separate requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof is scheduled to take effect next year. (CBS News / Associated Press)


Notables

  1. A federal judge banned Roger Stone from social media after ruling that he violated a previous gag order that banned him from discussing his case in the media or public. "What am I supposed to do with you?" U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked rhetorically. In February, Stone posted a photo of Jackson with crosshairs from a gun. (NBC News / CNBC / CNN / Washington Post)

  2. Trump's former campaign communications chief hired numerous prostitutes and visited "hand job" massage parlors as recently as a few months ago. Jason Miller made the admission while testifying on in Washington D.C. in connection to his lawsuit against Gizmodo, accusing the media company of defaming him with a story citing an allegation he slipped an "abortion pill" to a stripper he impregnated. (Mediate)

  3. The House Oversight Committee is expanding an investigation into the use of personal email by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Chairman Elijah Cummings said the move came after "disturbing new revelations" released by the Education Department's inspector general in May about DeVos' use of personal email while on the job. (Politico)

  4. Trump named healthcare economist Tomas Philipson as the acting chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. Philipson was already a member of the council, and teaches the economics of healthcare at the University of Chicago. He also served as a top economist at the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Philipson replaced White House economist Kevin Hassett, who announced his departure on Twitter last month. (NPR)

  5. The revenue from Trump's tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is not enough to cover the cost of the bailout for farmers, nor will it be enough to compensate all of the other industries hurt by the ongoing trade war. The tariffs will have brought in $20.8 billion as of Wednesday, but Trump has already committed to paying $28 billion to the farmers hurt by the trade war. The government hasn't provided similar bailouts to other businesses or industries that have lost contracts and revenue as a result of Chinese retaliation. (New York Times)

  6. The Department of Agriculture will relocate 547 employees from the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to an office building in Kansas City. Employees called the move an effort to "eviscerate" the agency and "silence" researchers doing work that runs counter to the administration's goals. The Trump administration claimed the move would save taxpayers money by bringing researchers closer to the farmers they serve. (NBC News)

  7. The Interior Department will relocate 81% of its headquarters staff to west of the Rockies by 2020. Trump hasn't nominated a permanent director for Bureau of Land Management after more than two-and-a-half years in office. (Washington Post)

  8. Rep. Al Green plans to file articles of impeachment against Trump tonight, forcing a floor vote before the House departs for its August recess. Democrats have viewed Robert Mueller's appearance on Capitol Hill as a potential inflection point to begin impeachment proceedings. Green's move, however, will force House Democrats to take a position sooner than expected. Green has forced two votes on impeachment in the past, one in 2017 and one in 2018, while Republicans controlled the House. (Washington Post / Politico)

Day 907: Racist in chief.

1/ Trump told four liberal congresswomen of color to "go back" and "fix" their "broken and crime infested" countries. All four are American citizens and born in the United States, except for one, who became a refugee at age 10 when a civil war devastated Somalia. While he did not mention them by name, Trump's tweets were directed at the members of the so-called "squad," who were elected to Congress in 2018: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. Republicans remained largely silent after Trump's attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, called the tweets "xenophobic" and accused Trump of reaffirming his plan to make "America white again." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Yahoo News / CNN)

  • Trump racists tweets, explained. (Vox)

2/ Trump denied that his racist tweets were racist, insisting that "If you're not happy here, then you can leave." Earlier, Trump accused the four congresswomen of "spewing" "racist hatred" and that "many people" agree with his view that they "hate our country." (CNN / The Guardian / BuzzFeed News / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he doesn't believe Trump's racist tweets were racist. "I understand what the President's comment is," Mnuchin said. " I'm not concerned about the President's comment." (CNN)

3/ The four congresswomen condemned Trump's racist tweets, calling them "the agenda of white nationalists" and "a continuation of his racist and xenophobic playbook." During a press conference, Rep. Pressley responded to Trump's comments, saying: "Our squad is big. Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world, and that is the work that we want to get back to and given the size of this squad and this great nation, we cannot, we will not be silenced." Trump – again – attacked the four congresswomen in a series of tweets, saying, "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE." (Washington Post / CNN / CNN / CBS News)

4/ House Democrats are drafting a resolution to condemn Trump's racist tweets. Pelosi said Trump "went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language" and implored House Republicans to vote with Democrats to condemn Trump's language. (Politico)

5/ Trump's threats of mass ICE raids and deportations failed to materialize on Sunday, marking the second time Trump has threatened large-scale ICE enforcement actions that never came to fruition. ICE would not confirm any arrests. Trump, however, claimed that "The ICE raids were very successful β€” people came into our country illegally, illegally. Many, many were taken out on Sunday, you just didn't know about it." (NPR / Washington Post / Politico)

  • Mike Pence visited two detention facilities in Texas, including a Border Patrol station where hundreds of men were crowded in sweltering cages without cots. Agents wore face masks while Pence described the facility as smelling "horrendous" and called the experience "tough stuff." A group of detained men chanted: "No shower, no shower!" (Chicago Tribune / NBC News / The Guardian / CNN)

6/ The Trump administration moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants. The new rule would require asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country on their way to the U.S. to first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the U.S. border. The rule is expected to go into effect on Tuesday, and would also apply to children who have crossed the border by themselves. The only exceptions are for people who were trafficked, people who pass through a country that isn't a party to one of the major international refugee treaties, and people who sought asylum in a country on the way to the U.S. but were denied. (NPR / Associated Press)

7/ Trump is considering firing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after the attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census failed. Trump has expressed frustration with Ross in the past over failed trade negotiations, but Ross' personal friendship with Trump has saved him. Ross may still be in the clear now that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned last week, but some White House officials expect Ross to be gone as soon as this summer. Trump is reportedly making calls to allies outside the White House and musing about replacing Ross. (CNBC / NBC News)

8/ At Trump's request, Kellyanne Conway will ignore a House Oversight Committee subpoena and refuse to testify about a government watchdog's findings that she violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work. (Washington Post / Politico)

Day 904: Not a good one.

1/ At least 18 babies under the age of two – "including nine infants under the age of one" – were separated from their parents at the border and "kept apart for 20 days to half a year," according to a report by the House Oversight Committee. The report provides new information about at least 2,648 children who were separated from their parents. Some were kept at Border Patrol facilities longer than the 72-hour limit and many were shuffled around to multiple government facilities. In some cases, parents were not sent to federal criminal custody as intended under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" border policy, while others were taken into custody at first "and then returned within a day or two likely because prosecutors declined to prosecute their cases or because they were sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor of illegal entry." (CNN)

  • Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border are circulating unofficial commemorative coins mocking the task of caring for migrant children. On the front, the coin declares "KEEP THE CARAVANS COMING." The coin's reverse side features the Border Patrol logo and three illustrations: a Border Patrol agent bottle-feeding an infant; an agent fingerprinting a teen boy; and a U.S. Border Patrol van. The text reads: "FEEDING ** PROCESSING ** HOSPITAL ** TRANSPORT." (ProPublica)

2/ Robert Mueller's Capitol Hill testimony will be delayed one week under a tentative arrangement with the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. Mueller's testimony was postponed to give lawmakers more time to question him about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Mueller was initially scheduled to appear on July 17 before both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in back-to-back sessions where 22 members from each committee would get to question the special counsel. Members of the Judiciary Committee, however, were concerned that two hours would be insufficient time to discuss the 10 areas of potential obstruction of justice by Trump identified in the Mueller report. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will resign amid controversy about a plea deal he brokered for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein while serving as a U.S. attorney in Florida more than a decade ago. Trump called Acosta "a great Labor secretary not a good one" and "a tremendous talent." Epstein was arrested over the weekend and charged in the Southern District of New York with sex trafficking dozens of girls. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico / CNBC)

4/ California lawmakers passed legislation mandating all presidential and state gubernatorial candidates release their tax information in order to appear on the state's ballot. The bill passed with a 57-17 vote, and requires candidates to share their income tax returns from the last five taxable years with the California state government. The legislation also includes an "urgency clause," which allows it to take effect immediately and will force the candidates currently running for president in 2020, including Trump, to comply with the law. (ABC 7 News / The Hill)

5/ Trump told confidants he wants to remove Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. Trump has also been floating potential replacements since at least February. (Axios)

6/ The U.S. has gone seven months without a permanent defense chief – the longest stretch in Pentagon history. There is also no confirmed deputy secretary of defense, and several other significant civilian and military positions at the Pentagon remain in limbo β€” more than at any other time in recent history. (Associated Press)

7/ The House voted 251-170 to restrain Trump's ability to strike Iran without first getting Congress's approval. Last month, Trump said he believed he did not need congressional approval to strike Iran and was reportedly on the brink of a retaliatory missile strike before abruptly reversing course minutes before launch. Republican leaders in the House and Senate have argued that the language would send a bad message to Tehran and would complicate Trump's ability to manage tensions. (New York Times / Washington Post)

8/ Trump attacked Paul Ryan in response to criticism from the former House speaker. On Thursday, Trump claimed that Ryan "was not a talent," "wasn't a leader," and was a "lame duck for a long time as Speaker." Trump's comments follow the release of excerpts from a new book in which Ryan said Trump "didn't know anything about government" and that "We've gotten so numbed by it all. Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don't call a woman a 'horse face.' Don't cheat on your wife. Don't cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example." Trump continued the attack on Friday, saying that "The only success Paul Ryan had was the time that he was with me. He was a baby. He didn't know what the hell he was doing." (Politico / NBC News / Axios)

Day 903: Collateral damage.

1/ The Trump administration is scheduled to begin coordinated raids to arrest at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported. The raids – scheduled to begin on Sunday after initially being postponed in part to resistance at Immigration and Customs Enforcement – will be conducted by ICE agents over multiple days. The raids are expected to include "collateral" deportations, where ICE agents might detain any immigrants present when the raid occurs. Agents have expressed unease about arresting babies and young children, noting that the raids could have limited success since word has already spread among immigrant communities about how to avoid arrest. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Associated Press)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 886: Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids for two weeks to see if Congress can "work out a solution." Immigration agents had planned to sweep and deport people living the U.S. illegally in 10 major cities beginning Sunday. Hours after defending the plan, Trump delayed the raids on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Trump threatened to arrest and deport "millions of illegal aliens" next week. ICE leaders expressed concerns that officers' safety would be in jeopardy because too many details about the raids had been made public. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Politico / ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 894: Trump threatened to increase ICE raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants after the Fourth of July holiday, saying "they're going to be gone, they're going back to their countries. They go back home." Trump praised the Mexican government for taking steps to curb the flow of migrants reaching the U.S. border, claiming, "It was because of tariffs that they're doing it, but the point is they're doing a great job." Trump then reiterated his threat to deport all undocumented immigrants, "because that's what we do." Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids last month for two weeks to see if Congress can "work out a solution." (NBC News)

  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee requested business information from the companies managing detention centers at the southern border. The committee asked for an accounting of the hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts the Trump administration gave out. (NBC News)

2/ Trump will abandon his effort to add a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, Trump will take executive action instructing the Commerce Department to obtain citizenship data "through other means," including existing federal records. The administration is already printing census forms without the citizenship question after the Supreme Court ruled last month that the justification by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for adding the question was inadequate and "contrived." Trump acknowledged last week that the proposed citizenship question was part of a longterm Republican plan to use congressional redistricting to tilt power in their favor. "Number one, you need it for Congress – you need it for Congress for districting," Trump said. "You need it for appropriations – where are the funds going?" (ABC News / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / The Guardian / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NPR / CNN / Associated Press)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 889: The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The court found that while the Department of Commerce had a right to reinstate the question, the administration provided a "contrived" justification for doing so. The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law, while critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate immigrant households. The Department of Commerce will now have to justify the addition of the question, which raises the question of whether the Trump administration will have enough time or the ability to add it before the forms have to be printed. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June. The Census Bureau found the question would reduce the response rate –especially in immigrant communities – and result in an estimated 6.5 million people not being counted. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)

3/ Trump hosted a "social media summit" at the White House for his political allies, including a conspiracy theorist, a meme creator, and a plagiarist. Some Republican lawmakers and GOP campaign strategists were also invited. Facebook, Google, and Twitter, however, were reportedly excluded from the summit, which focused on allegations of social media bias against conservatives. Trump accused the tech companies of exhibiting "terrible bias" and silencing his supporters. Ironically, Twitter experienced an outage during the summit. Prior to the outage, attendees had been tweeting selfies. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

4/ The House Judiciary Committee authorized 12 subpoenas targeting Trump administration officials, including Trump family members and Jared Kushner. The committee also approved a separate group of subpoenas seeking information about the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their families at the border. Democratic leaders in the House also scheduled a full vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to turn over documents related to the citizenship question. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / USA Today)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 901: The subpoena targets include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski, as well as Dylan Howard and David Pecker, two executives at American Media, Inc., and Keith Davidson, an attorney who previously represented Stormy Daniels. Republicans called the subpoenas as an effort to "relitigate" the Mueller investigation. (Politico)

5/ A senior military officer accused Trump's nominee for the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of sexual misconduct. The officer says Gen. John Hyten subjected her to a series of unwanted sexual advances, including kissing, hugging, and rubbing up against her while she was one of his aides in 2017. She also said Hyten tried to derail her military career after she rejected his advances. (Associated Press)

6/ The Trump Organization cancelled a planned event with a Miami-area strip club at Trump's Doral golf resort, because the charity associated with the event dropped out after seeing the press coverage that golfers could pay for a dancer to serve as their "caddy girl" while they played golf. "Now that the charity has removed its affiliation," a Trump Organization spokesperson said, "the event will no longer be taking place at our property and all amounts paid will be refunded." (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 902: Trump's golf club will host a tournament put on by a Miami-area strip club, allowing golfers to pay for a dancer to serve as their "caddy girl" while they play golf. The Trump Organization confirmed the event and said it was for a "worthwhile cause" β€” a Miami children's charity. Trump still owns Doral and the Trump name and family crest were featured prominently in the strip club's advertising. Participation in the event ranges from $450 for a single player to $1,800 for a group of four with VIP upgrades available. (Washington Post / CNN)

7/ The Trump administration withdrew a proposal to lower prescription drug prices, which would have ended the practice of drugmakers giving rebates to insurance middlemen in government programs, like Medicare. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who backed the plan, clashed with senior White House advisers, who had sought to delay or water down the proposal. Separately, a federal judge threw out a rule earlier this week that would have required pharmaceutical companies to list the price of their drugs in TV advertisements. (Axios / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

Day 902: A worthwhile cause.

1/ Migrant children at an overcrowded detention facility in Arizona reported being sexually assaulted and retaliated against by agents for protesting, according to dozens of first-hand accounts collected by government case managers. An officer put his hands inside the bra of a 15-year-old from Honduras, pulled down her underwear and groped her as part of a "routine" pat down in front of other immigrants and officers. Guards removed sleeping mats from the cells of children who complained about the taste of the water and food. The reports also describes unsanitary and overcrowded conditions similar to detention facilities in Texas. (NBC News)

2/ Immigration and Customs Enforcement started using three new for-profit immigration detention centers, despite instructions from Congress to reduce the number of people in detention. The agency is now detaining migrants at a Mississippi prison operated by CoreCivic, a jail run by LaSalle Corrections, and the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center, run by GEO Group in Basile. A spokesman for ICE confirmed that all three facilities started housing immigrant detainees at the end of last month. (Mother Jones)

3/ A federal appeals court dismissed an emoluments lawsuit against Trump. The judges rejected the premise of the case that the Trump International Hotel – blocks from the White House – had violated the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the Constitution by accepting money from state and foreign governments at Trump's hotel in downtown Washington. While Trump stepped back from day-to-day management of the businesses, he still maintains ownership. "Even if government officials were patronizing the hotel to curry the president's favor," the court said, "there is no reason to conclude that they would cease doing so were the president enjoined from receiving income from the hotel. After all, the hotel would still be publicly associated with the president, would still bear his name, and would still financially benefit members of his family." All three judges on the panel were appointed by Republican presidents. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 887: A federal judge ruled that the Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump can proceed. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said discovery could begin Friday, and Democrats are expected seek financial information, interviews and other records from Trump and the Trump Organization. The Trump administration can still try to delay or block Democrats from issuing subpoenas by appealing directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to intervene. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 810: The Department of Justice recently adopted a narrow interpretation of the emoluments clause, which would exempt Trump's hotels from a ban on foreign payments or gifts. DOJ filings since June 2017 reveal a new interpretation that allows federal officials "to accept unlimited amounts of money from foreign governments, as long as the money comes through commercial transactions with an entity owned by the federal official." (The Guardian)

4/ Trump's golf club will host a tournament put on by a Miami-area strip club, allowing golfers to pay for a dancer to serve as their "caddy girl" while they play golf. The Trump Organization confirmed the event and said it was for a "worthwhile cause" β€” a Miami children's charity. Trump still owns Doral and the Trump name and family crest were featured prominently in the strip club's advertising. Participation in the event ranges from $450 for a single player to $1,800 for a group of four with VIP upgrades available. (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defended his handling of a 2008 plea deal with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein amid criticism that the deal he brokered was too lenient for the sex offender. Epstein was indicted on Monday by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan on child sex trafficking charges. Trump encouraged Acosta to hold a news conference to defend himself, which was seen as a test for whether Acosta would keep his job. "[Trump] has very publicly made clear that I've got his support," Acosta said, adding that "Times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed," and that "the facts are being overlooked." (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney privately urged Trump to dismiss Acosta. Mulvaney told Trump that the information surrounding the 2008 agreement Acosta struck with Epstein would hurt the administration. (Politico)

  • Trump and Epstein were once the only attendees at a party with roughly two dozen women at Mar-a-Lago. 28 women were flown in for a "calendar girl" competition that was organized at Trump's request. (New York Times)

  • Acosta attempted to cut to the 2020 budget for combating child labor, forced labor, and human traffickingΒ from $68 million to $18.5 million. The International Labor Affairs Bureau helps fund programs in countries through civil society organizations and other non-governmental groups to address the root of child labor and trafficking, as well as maintaining a list of products and source countries that the office has reason to believe use child and forced labor. (Daily Beast)

6/ The Justice Department is attempting to discourage two of Robert Mueller's deputies from testifying before Congress. Lawmakers previously reached an agreement with the DOJ to have the two former prosecutors answer questions behind closed doors next week, but the DOJ told the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees last week that it was opposed to the testimony and instructed both men not to appear. It is unclear whether the DOJ's intervention will impact the prosecutors' appearances, but the move suggests that the previous agreement between Congress and the Justice Department may be in jeopardy. (New York Times)

7/ Trump's $1.7 million military-style July Fourth parade bankrupted the Washington, D.C. security fund used to pay for extra security and anti-terrorism measures in the nation's capital. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser estimated that the fund will be running a $6 million deficit by Sept. 30, noting that the account was never reimbursed for $7.3 million in expenses from Trump's 2017 inauguration. (Washington Post / NBC News)

8/ Trump reportedly asked aides to find a way to weaken the U.S. dollar in an effort to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has grown concerned that the strengthening dollar is a threat to his economic agenda, which he expects to carry him to a second term. Trump asked about the dollar in job interviews with both Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller last week, who he selected for seats on the Federal Reserve's board. (Bloomberg / CNBC)

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled that an interest rate cut will likely happen this month, because Trump's trade war "continue[s] to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook." Trump has repeatedly attacked the Fed, blaming Powell for hurting the economy by keeping interest rates too high and threatening to try to remove Powell if the situation doesn't change. Powell, meanwhile, told lawmakers that the U.S. economy is doing "reasonably well," but business investment has "slowed notably" due to uncertainty around trade and global growth. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

  • The White House plans to send the North American Free Trade Agreement replacement to Congress after Sept. 1, setting up a vote on Trump's United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of the year. The Office of U.S. Trade Representative and the White House, however, disagree over how aggressively to push the deal through Congress. (CNBC)

9/ A State Department intelligence official resigned in protest after the White House blocked portions of his written congressional testimony on climate change and its threat to national security. Rod Schoonover spoke before the House Intelligence Committee in June that climate change is a "possibly catastrophic" threat to national security, but the White House would not let him submit evidence and data supporting his assessments. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 872: The White House blocked a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony that human-caused climate change is "possibly catastrophic" to national security. The written testimony by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research for a House Intelligence Committee hearing outlined that "absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant β€” possibly catastrophic β€” harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change." Officials from the White House's Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all objected to parts of the testimony because it did not align with the Trump administration's official stance. The analyst, Rod Schoonover, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, but the White House refused to approve Schoonover's written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Day 901: Radiating insecurity.

1/ A federal judge rejected a Trump administration request to assign a new legal team to a lawsuit that blocked the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman called the request "patently deficient" and that the U.S. had provided "no reasons, let alone 'satisfactory reasons,' for the substitution of counsel." The Justice Department had announced its intention earlier this week to swap out the legal team on the case, but didn't explain why. (Bloomberg / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 900: Trump is "very seriously" considering an executive order to get the citizenship question on the 2020 census despite statements last week from both his Department of Justice and his secretary of commerce that the administration was printing the census without the question. The Justice Department also assigned a new team of attorneys to defend Trump's attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census following the Supreme Court's ruling that effectively blocked the question. A statement released by the DOJ gave no clear reason for the change to the legal team, but experts say the team is likely to face questions on multiple fronts after the Trump administration spent the last 15 months giving conflicting explanations about why the question should be added. Trump also recently ordered officials to keep pursuing the addition of the question, even if it means delaying the constitutionally mandated decennial survey. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / ABC News / Axios)

2/ House Democrats plan to move forward with criminal contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas related to the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The move is a largely symbolic one, unlikely to lead to many tangible consequences. The DOJ will most likely refuse to charge Barr or any other cabinet secretary with a crime, and has even urged officials not to comply with the House Oversight and Reform Committee's subpoenas. (Politico)

3/ Democrats in Congress called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign over a controversial plea deal he brokered as a U.S. attorney that gave a lenient sentence to Jeffrey Epstein, who served 13 months for sexually abusing dozens of young women and underage girls. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said Acosta "must step down" because "he engaged in an unconscionable agreement" with Epstein that was "known" by Trump at the time. Acosta defended his 2007 decision, tweeting that he supports the "horrific" new charges and was "pleased" that prosecutors in New York are "moving forward with a case based on new evidence." (New York Times / Politico / USA Today / CNBC / CNN / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ [BACKGROUND]: Federal prosecutors charged Epstein on Monday with sex trafficking, alleging that the billionaire financier had abused dozens of young girls at his Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla., homes and enlisted his victims to bring him others. The indictment deals an implicit rebuke to the plea agreement, which was overseen by Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami and now Trump's labor secretary. Lewd photos of girls were discovered in a safe inside the Epstein's Manhattan mansion the day he was arrested, deepening questions about why federal prosecutors in Miami had cut a deal that shielded him from federal prosecution in 2008. (Washington Post / New York Times / New York Times)

4/ Trump said he felt "very badly" for Acosta while praising him as "excellent" and "very good" at his job. Trump added that he would be looking "very closely" at the circumstances surrounding the plea deal, but has no immediate plan to force out or fire Acosta, two White House officials said. In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine that Epstein was "a terrific guy," who "likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Today, however, Trump told reporters that the two "had a falling out" about 15 years ago and that he "was not a fan of his, that I can tell you." (Washington Post / Associated Press / Miami Herald / CNN / Washington Post)

  • Attorney General William Barr won't recuse himself from involvement in the new charges filed against alleged sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein by federal prosecutors. Epstein previously hired lawyers from the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where Barr served as counsel to the law firm before becoming attorney general. Barr, however, has recused himself from any review of the Justice Department's deal with Epstein more than a decade ago letting Epstein avoid prosecution on federal sex-trafficking offenses in Florida in exchange for pleading guilty to two charges of soliciting a prostitute. (Bloomberg)

5/ The House Judiciary Committee will vote to authorize subpoenas for 12 of Robert Mueller's witnesses. The subpoena targets include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski, as well as Dylan Howard and David Pecker, two executives at American Media, Inc., and Keith Davidson, an attorney who previously represented Stormy Daniels. Republicans called the subpoenas an effort to "relitigate" the Mueller investigation. (Politico)

  • Michael Flynn will not testify against his former business partner, because prosecutors no longer believe his version of events. Flynn previously admitted that he lied on foreign lobbying disclosure forms, but now is blaming his former lawyers and accusing them of filing inaccurate forms without his knowledge. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • The White House blocked a witness in the Mueller investigation from answering 212 questions about potential obstruction of justice by Trump. Annie Donaldson is the former chief of staff to ex-White House counsel Donald McGahn, and her contemporaneous notes are cited 65 times in the Mueller report. Trump administration lawyers, however, blocked her from going into detail about her documented exchanges between Trump and McGahn. (Washington Post)

  • The former British spy behind the Trump "dossier" was interviewed for 16 hours by the Justice Department's inspector general. During the 2016 election, Christopher Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to research Trump's Russia ties. (Politico)

  • Felix Sater testified before the House Intelligence Committee today. The former Trump business associate and chief negotiator for the defunct Trump Tower Moscow project has rescheduled his appearance several times since he was first slated to appear in March. (Politico)

6/ Trump said the U.S. will "no longer deal with" a British ambassador who called him "inept" and said his administration was "dysfunctional," in leaked cables. Trump attacked Sir Kim Darroch for the second day in a row, threatening to cut ties altogether over the leaked memos, which described Trump as "radiating insecurity." Trump tweeted that Darroch "is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him." He then attacked Prime Minister Theresa May for making a "mess" over Brexit. Weeks ago Trump praised her for having done a "very good job." (The Guardian / Washington Post)

7/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a panel aimed at providing him with "an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy." During remarks to the State Department, Pompeo said "words like 'rights' can be used by good or evil," and complained that some have "hijacked" the rhetoric of human rights and used it for "dubious or malignant purposes." While Pompeo offered little detail as to what the panel will actually do, emphasizing its focus on outlining principles instead of directing policy, he said he hoped the panel would facilitate "one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 universal declaration." (Politico)

8/ Mitch McConnell's great-great-grandfathers owned at least 14 slaves in the 1800s. McConnell, meanwhile, recently said he opposed paying government reparations to the descendants of American slaves "for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible." McConnell added: "We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African American president." (NBC News)

  • Amy McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot announced she would challenge McConnell for his seat in 2020. (New York Times)

9/ Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter who criticized or mocked him, a federal appeals court ruled. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled unanimously that because Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts. The case was brought against Trump, Dan Scavino, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders by a group of Twitter users who say they were blocked by Trump. Public officials who use social media for official government business, the court said, are prohibited from excluding people "from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

Day 900: Pathways.

1/ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing congressional committees to access Trump's New York state tax returns. The bill requires state tax officials to release the state returns for any "specified and legitimate legislative purpose" on the request of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. Trump's personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, called the bill "more presidential harassment." The House Ways and Means Committee has unsuccessfully tried to access six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns. The House sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service last week to try to force them to release the returns. (New York Times / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 894: House Democrats sued for Trump's tax returns, challenging the administration's refusal to comply with a subpoena for the records. The Ways and Means Committee accused the Trump administration of "an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight," naming the Treasury Department, IRS, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in the suit. The Trump administration has argued that Congress's power to access the returns is limited to information that would serve "legitimate" legislative purposes. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 809: New York lawmakers will introduce a bill this week to permit the Department of Taxation and Finance to release state tax returns requested by a congressional committee. Under the new proposal, the release of tax information would only happen after efforts to obtain federal tax information through the Treasury Department had failed. The move comes as the Trump administration has signaled that it will resist the House Ways and Means Committee request to turn over six years of Trump's federal business and personal tax returns by April 10th. Mick Mulvaney, meanwhile, promised that Democrats will "never" see Trump's tax returns. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 804: House Democrats formally requested six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns from the IRS. In a letter to the IRS, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee cited a little known provision in the IRS tax code that grants tax-writing committees in Congress the power to request tax information on any individual. Chairman Richard Neal requested Trump's personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018, giving the agency until April 10 to comply. Trump claimed his returns are being audited by the IRS and that he would "not be inclined to" turn anything over to Congress. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin previously told the Ways and Means committee that he would protect Trump's privacy if members of Congress requested his tax returns. (CNN / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Congressional Democrats issued three-dozen subpoenas to the Trump Organization and other Trump businesses tied to a lawsuit accusing Trump of profiting from foreign governments in violation of the Constitution. The Justice Department is asking an appeals court to prevent the subpoenas from going forward. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 887: A federal judge ruled that the Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump can proceed. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said discovery could begin Friday, and Democrats are expected seek financial information, interviews and other records from Trump and the Trump Organization. The Trump administration can still try to delay or block Democrats from issuing subpoenas by appealing directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to intervene. (Washington Post)

3/ Trump is "very seriously" considering an executive order to get the citizenship question on the 2020 census despite statements last week from both his Department of Justice and his secretary of commerce that the administration was printing the census without the question. The Justice Department also assigned a new team of attorneys to defend Trump's attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census following the Supreme Court's ruling that effectively blocked the question. A statement released by the DOJ gave no clear reason for the change to the legal team, but experts say the team is likely to face questions on multiple fronts after the Trump administration spent the last 15 months giving conflicting explanations about why the question should be added. Trump also recently ordered officials to keep pursuing the addition of the question, even if it means delaying the constitutionally mandated decennial survey. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / ABC News / Axios)

  • Previously: A day after pledging that the 2020 census would not ask respondents about their citizenship, Justice Department officials reversed course and said they were looking for a way to restore the question on orders from Trump. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Previously: Government lawyers scrambled to find a legal path to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census, despite their conclusions in recent days that no such avenue exists. (Washington Post)

  • Previously: The Trump administration confirmed that it will press forward with efforts to add a citizenship question to next year's census, with Trump saying he’s exploring the possibility of reviving the question via executive order and government lawyers telling a federal judge that they've "been asked to reevaluate all available options." (Politico)

4/ Attorney General William Barr believes there's a "pathway" to legally add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Barr said he believed the Supreme Court's ruling against the administration was "wrong" and that there is "an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that." Barr would not detail the administration's plans, but said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to ask the controversial question. (Post and Courier / Associated Press / Talking Points Memo)

5/ ICE officials used facial recognition software to analyze state driver's license photo databases without motorists' permission. ICE requested to comb through repositories of license photos in at least three states that offer licenses to undocumented immigrants. At least two of the states β€” Vermont and Utah β€” complied with the requests. In Washington state, agents authorized administrative subpoenas of the Department of Licensing to conduct a facial recognition scan of all photos of license applicants, but it's unclear whether state officials carried out the searches. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said immigration authorities are ready to identify, detain and deport approximately one million undocumented immigrants with pending removal orders. (CBS News)

  • The Trump administration plans to replace in-court interpreters at initial immigration court hearings with videos informing asylum seekers and other immigrants facing deportation of their rights. (San Francisco Chronicle)

6/ Trump said he wants members of the press to "go in and see" inside the "beautifully run" migrant detention centers. "I'm going to start showing some of these detention centers … to the press," Trump said. "We're going to send people in. We're going to have some of the press go in." Trump's comments come days after several Democratic members of Congress toured two facilities in Texas, where they found migrants and their children are being forced to live in squalid conditions while detained near the southwestern border. (CNN / USA Today)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 895: A report from the Department of Homeland Security's independent watchdog found the squalid conditions at migrant detention camps were more widespread than initially revealed. The report describes standing-room-only cells, children without access to showers or hot meals, and detainees desperately begging to be released. Inspectors visited five facilities in June, where they found many migrants are given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, leading to additional health problems. Children at two of the camps were not given hot meals until inspectors arrived. Overcrowding was so severe that migrants were banging on cell walls and pressing notes up against the windows begging for help. (New York Times / Reuters)

7/ The White House correspondent for Breitbart has joined the Trump administration. Michelle Moons will work in the office of Domestic Policy Council. (CNN)

poll/ 44% of Americans approve of Trump's job performance – up 5 percentage points from April and the highest point of his presidency – while 53% disapprove. (ABC News / Washington Post)

Day 895: Moving forward.

1/ A report from the Department of Homeland Security's independent watchdog found the squalid conditions at migrant detention camps were more widespread than initially revealed. The report describes standing-room-only cells, children without access to showers or hot meals, and detainees desperately begging to be released. Inspectors visited five facilities in June, where they found many migrants are given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, leading to additional health problems. Children at two of the camps were not given hot meals until inspectors arrived. Overcrowding was so severe that migrants were banging on cell walls and pressing notes up against the windows begging for help. (New York Times / Reuters)

2/ A federal judge blocked Attorney General William Barr's order to indefinitely detain immigrants seeking asylum and deny them bail if they crossed into the U.S. border without permission. The order requires immigration judges to conduct hearings for asylum applicants to ask for release on bail within seven days if they have shown a "credible fear" of returning to their country of origin. (Bloomberg / New York Times)

3/ Trump claimed that he is "absolutely moving forward" with including the citizenship question on the 2020 census, contradicting both the Justice Department and the Commerce secretary, and calling the news reports "FAKE!" Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Census Bureau was in the process of printing the census form without the citizenship question following the Supreme Court's decision to effectively block the question from being added to the questionnaire. (New York Times / CNBC / The Hill)

4/ The National Parks Service is diverting $2.5 million meant to improve parks in order to cover costs associated with Trump's Fourth of July event on the National Mall. Trump officials have consistently refused to disclose how much taxpayers will have to pay for the "Salute to America" event. The diverted park fees make up just a fraction of the extra costs the government will have to pay as a result of the event, which will include tanks, military flyovers, Air Force One, and an extended pyrotechnics display. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump defended the cost of his "Salute to America" event, saying it will be "very little compared to what it is worth" because it will be "the show of a lifetime." Military chiefs, meanwhile, are concerned about the politicization of the event – They've been asked to stand with Trump during the event. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN)

6/ Trump will hold a campaign rally in North Carolina on the same day Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify publicly to Congress. Trump's campaign announced that he will be returning to Greenville, N.C. on July 17 to offer counter-programming to Mueller's highly anticipated public testimony about his report on Russian election interference in 2016 and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The Trump campaign's chief operating officer said the rally will be an opportunity to highlight "the successes of the Trump presidency." (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 888: Robert Mueller agreed to testify before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in back-to-back public hearings on July 17th about his investigation into Russia's election interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The announcement came after the two panels issued a subpoena compelling Mueller's testimony. Mueller previously said he did not want to testify and his report should serve as his testimony. Members of Mueller's team will also participate in a closed-door session with lawmakers. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / ABC News / CNN)

poll/ 41% approve the job Trump is doing as president while 54% disapprove. 29% strongly approve with 44% who strongly disapprove. (Gallup)

Day 894: Surreal.

1/ House Democrats sued for Trump's tax returns, challenging the administration's refusal to comply with a subpoena for the records. The Ways and Means Committee accused the Trump administration of "an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight," naming the Treasury Department, IRS, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in the suit. The Trump administration has argued that Congress's power to access the returns is limited to information that would serve "legitimate" legislative purposes. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 876: The Justice Department supported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's refusal to turn over Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Office of Legal Counsel released its legal rationale for refusing to provide Trump's tax returns to Congress, saying the request was designed to make the returns public, which "is not a legitimate legislative purpose." (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 873: The House authorized committee chairs to sue the Trump administration in federal court to enforce a series of subpoenas. The House Judiciary Committee can now begin legal proceedings to enforce the panel's subpoenas for Mueller's evidence and force former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to cooperate with the panels' probe into whether Trump obstructed justice. The move also empowers other committee chairmen to seek enforcement of their own subpoenas for testimony and documents, such as Trump's tax returns. The measure, however, stopped short of a criminal contempt citation for Attorney General William Barr and McGahn. (Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 841: The House Ways and Mean Committee subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over Trump's tax returns. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig was also subpoenaed. Chairman Richard Neal gave Mnuchin and Rettig until until May 17 to turn over six years of Trump's returns, and is expected to go to court to enforce his request if the Trump administration continues to argue that the committee does not have a legitimate legislative purpose that warrants compliance. Earlier this week, Mnuchin rejected Neal's request for the returns. Trump previously vowed to fight all subpoenas from House Democrats. Subpoenas are now pending from the Ways and Means, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, Financial Services, and the Intelligence Committees. (CNBC / New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Trump administration dropped its plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census after the Supreme Court effectively blocked the addition of the question, calling the rationale for the question "contrived." After the ruling was announced last week, Trump said he was considering delaying the census until the question could be added. The process of preparing a new justification, however, was expected to take months and delay the process of printing hundreds of millions of forms. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 889: The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The court found that while the Department of Commerce had a right to reinstate the question, the administration provided a "contrived" justification for doing so. The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law, while critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate immigrant households. The Department of Commerce will now have to justify the addition of the question, which raises the question of whether the Trump administration will have enough time or the ability to add it before the forms have to be printed. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June. The Census Bureau found the question would reduce the response rate –especially in immigrant communities – and result in an estimated 6.5 million people not being counted. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)

  • The Trump administration missed its own July 1st deadline to print the 2020 census. The materials have yet to be officially approved by the White House's Office of Management and Budget, which is headed by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. (NPR / Daily Beast / New York Magazine)

3/ The Department of Homeland Security sent out fines for nearly $500,000 to some immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally for "failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed." ICE said the Immigration and Nationality Act grants the agency the right to impose "civil fines on aliens who have been ordered removed or granted voluntary departure and fail to depart the United States" of no more than $500 for each day the person is in violation of the section. Immigration lawyers say they've never heard of it used this way. (NPR)

4/ Trump threatened to increase ICE raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants after the Fourth of July holiday, saying "they're going to be gone, they're going back to their countries. They go back home." Trump praised the Mexican government for taking steps to curb the flow of migrants reaching the U.S. border, claiming, "It was because of tariffs that they're doing it, but the point is they're doing a great job." Trump then reiterated his threat to deport all undocumented immigrants, "because that's what we do." Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids last month for two weeks to see if Congress can "work out a solution." (NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 886: Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids for two weeks to see if Congress can "work out a solution." Immigration agents had planned to sweep and deport people living the U.S. illegally in 10 major cities beginning Sunday. Hours after defending the plan, Trump delayed the raids on Saturday.Earlier in the week, Trump threatened to arrest and deport "millions of illegal aliens" next week. ICE leaders expressed concerns that officers' safety would be in jeopardy because too many details about the raids had been made public. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Politico / ABC News)

  • Rep. Joaquin Castro snuck a hidden camera into a migrant detention facility and tweeted out photos and videos, saying Americans "must see what is being carried out in their name." The tweets show several women in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol sitting on the floor with blankets at a facility in El Paso. The facility in question housed "women from Cuba, some grandmothers, crammed into a prison-like cell with one toilet, but no running water to drink from or wash their hands with. Concrete floors, cinder-block walls, steel toilets." Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also visited the facility, where she said officers were keeping women in cells with no running water, and had "told them to drink out of the toilets." (The Hill / The Guardian / NBC News / BuzzFeed News / Washington Post)

5/ Tanks for Trump's Fourth of July "Salute to America" arrived in Washington. At least two Bradley and two Abrams tanks were purportedly en route to the National Mall. Trump also requested that the chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him during the celebration. (NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press)

  • The White House is distributing tickets for Trump's "Salute to America" to major Republican donors and political appointees. (HuffPost / Washington Post)

  • The 20-foot-tall balloon depicting Trump as a baby in diapers will fly on the National Mall during Trump's "Salute to America" event. (Politico / CNN)

6/ Ivanka Trump was an unofficial stand-in for diplomats and government officials at meetings with world leaders at the G-20 summit, in South Korea, and at the demilitarized zone last week. Ivanka called the experience "surreal." (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / NBC News)

poll/ Americans' pride in the U.S. hit an all-time low. 45% say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans. In 2018, 47% felt "extremely proud." (Gallup / Axios / CNN)

Day 893: Unforeseen.

1/ A federal judge ordered Customs and Border Patrol to let health experts into detention facilities holding migrant children in order to assess the children's needs and ensure the facilities are "safe and sanitary." The order includes all CBP facilities in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee made the ruling despite requests from Attorney General William Barr and others that the court "set a schedule for briefing these issues that provides defendants with a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations that plaintiffs have lodged against them." Last week, lawyers asked Judge Gee to hold the Trump administration in contempt and to order immediate improvements at the facilities. (CNN / The Hill)

  • Roughly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents are part of a secret Facebook group that jokes about migrant deaths, discusses throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress, and posts illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, among other things. The group was created in August 2016 and is called "I'm 10-15" – the Border Patrol code for "aliens in custody." (ProPublica)

2/ Inspectors warned Homeland Security in May that conditions at an El Paso migrant detention facility were so bad that border agents were arming themselves against possible riots. According to a report by the Homeland Security Inspector General's office, there were only four showers available for the 756 immigrants, more than half of the immigrants were being held outside, and there were five times as many people being held in cells beyond the maximum capacity allowed. One cell was so overcrowded that the men inside could not lie down to sleep, and temperatures in the cells were often higher than 80 degrees. "With limited access to showers and clean clothing," the report said, "detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks." Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, meanwhile, claimed that reports of poor conditions at the facility were "unsubstantiated." (NBC News)

3/ A federal judge blocked Trump from using $2.5 billion in military funding to build a wall at the southern border. The permanent injunction halts border wall construction at different sites in New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas. Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year in order to divert roughly $6 billion in Defense Department funds toward border wall construction, arguing that the use of the military funds was lawful under the scope of the national emergency, because the need for funding was "unforeseen." (NPR / The Hill / Mother Jones)

4/ A new study correlates Trump's rise in popularity during the 2016 campaign with social media activity by the Russian trolls and bots of the Internet Research Agency. While the study does not prove that Russian interference swung the election, researchers at the University of Tennessee found that for every 25,000 re-tweets by accounts connected to the IRA, Trump's poll numbers jumped 1%. [Editor's note: Correlation does not always mean causation.] (NBC News / Axios)

  • A Trump campaign consultant anonymously runs multiple fake Russian-style disinformation presidential campaign websites. Patrick Mauldin, who makes videos and other digital content for Trump's re-election campaign, calls the sites a political parody built and paid for "BY AN American citizen FOR American citizens." Mauldin, who also runs a Republican political consulting firm, claimed that the sites are not the work of any campaign or political action committee. Mauldin has set up fake campaign websites for "Uncle Joe" Biden, "Millionaire Bernie" Sanders, "Elizabeth Warren for Chief," and "Kamala Harris for Arresting the People." (New York Times)

5/ Trump Jr. shared – then deleted – a tweet questioning if Kamala Harris was black enough to discuss the black American experience. Harris is the biracial daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother and during the Demcratic debate, Trump Jr. shared a tweet that falsely claimed that Harris was "not an American Black," because "She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners." Spokesman Andy Surabian said "that folks were misconstruing the intent of [Trump Jr.'s] tweet." (New York Times)

6/ Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea. Trump spent 53 minutes privately talking with Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone. The two agreed to set up teams to "work out some details" and resume negotiations to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal. (Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times)

7/ Iran exceeded the maximum amount of low enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran's stockpile of about 660 pounds of low enriched uranium does not give the country enough material to produce a nuclear weapon. (New York Times / Axios)

8/ The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz for threatening to release embarrassing personal information about Michael Cohen on the eve of Cohen's testimony to the House Oversight Committee. (Politico)

9/ Trump requested tanks as a prop for his planned "Salute to America" Fourth of July address to the nation. Trump also requested an F-35 stealth fighter and Marine Helicopter Squadron One in addition to the planned flyover by other military aircraft, including Air Force One. (Washington Post)

poll/ 47% of Americans approve of Trump's handling of the economy, while 51% disapprove. 26% said Trump's tariffs have helped the economy, down from 40% in August 2018. (AP-NORC)

Day 890: Reluctantly.

1/ The House passed a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill for the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. The 305-to-102 vote sends the legislation, passed by the Senate earlier in the week, to Trump, who is expected to sign it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to add additional protections for unaccompanied minors and restrictions on the administration's use of funds to the bill, but was forced to accept the less restrictive Senate bill after the White House made clear it opposed the changes, and Mitch McConnell said he would not take them up. "We will reluctantly pass the Senate bill," Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Reuters)

  • The Department of Homeland Security projects arrests along the Mexico border to fall 25% this month. Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan attributed the drop to Mexico cracking down on Central American migrants and the expansion of a program that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for their immigration court hearings. (Washington Post / CNN)

  • The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will shift roles to take over as acting chief of Customs and Border Protection. Mark Morgan previously served at the CBP as chief of Border Patrol, before being named acting head of ICE in May. (The Hill)

2/ The Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether the Trump administration illegally tried to end DACA, which shields about 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation and allows them to receive work permits. Trump tried to end the program in 2017, calling it an unconstitutional use of executive power by Obama. Lower courts have said the Trump administration's explanation isn't adequate. The Supreme Court will likely render its verdict next June, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg / ABC News / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 229: Trump rescinded DACA and called on Congress to replace the policy before it expires on March 5, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security will no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers. Jeff Sessions formally announced the shift of responsibility, saying DACA "was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern.” He called the Obama-era policy an β€œopen-ended circumvention of immigration laws” and an unconstitutional use of executive authority. β€œThe executive branch through DACA deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

3/ Trump suggested he'll delay the 2020 Census – "no matter how long" – until the citizenship question can be added. The Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, calling the justification "contrived." Trump tweeted that the court's decision was "totally ridiculous," saying he's "asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census" until the question can be added. (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 889: The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The court found that while the Department of Commerce had a right to reinstate the question, the administration provided a "contrived" justification for doing so. The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law, while critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate immigrant households. The Department of Commerce will now have to justify the addition of the question, which raises the question of whether the Trump administration will have enough time or the ability to add it before the forms have to be printed. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June. The Census Bureau found the question would reduce the response rate –especially in immigrant communities – and result in an estimated 6.5 million people not being counted. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)

4/ Trump jokingly told Putin "don't meddle in the election" while touting his "very, very good relationship" with the Russian leader at the G20 Summit. Trump then pointed at another Russian official and repeated: "Don't meddle in the election." Trump's meeting with Putin was their first since last year's summit in Helsinki, when Trump took Putin's side over his own U.S. intelligence agencies on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has been increasingly pressured to publicly criticize Putin ahead of the 2020 election. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

  • Trump joked with Putin that they should "get rid" of journalists after quipping about election interference. "Fake news is a great term, isn't it? You don't have this problem in Russia but we do." Putin responded in English: "We also have. It's the same." (The Guardian)

  • Jimmy Carter suggested that Trump is an illegitimate president who only won the 2016 election because "Russians interfered on his behalf." Carter said Trump should "condemn" the Kremlin's interference since the American intelligence community concluded Russia had meddled in the election. "I think a full investigation would show that Trump didn't actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf." (NBC News / Politico / CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 543: Trump rejected the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would have interfered, and that Putin "was extremely strong and powerful" in denying it during their summit in Helsinki. Trump's refusal to condemn Moscow clashed with the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies, and comes days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in an attempt to help Trump. Putin confirmed the he wanted Trump to win the election. Prior to the summit, Trump blamed "U.S. foolishness and stupidity" for poor Russian relations. The Russian foreign ministry responded to Trump's tweet with "We agree." (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters/Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 544: Trump backtracked and tried to spin his Helsinki summit comments. Reading from prepared remarks, Trump claimed he misspoke yesterday and meant to say "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia" that interfered in the election. Trump also said "I accept" the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, but it "could be other people also." Trump asserted that "Russia's actions had no impact at all" on the election outcome. During yesterday's news conference, Trump said he doesn't "see any reason" why Russia would have meddled during the last election. Prior to that, Trump blamed the U.S. for acting with "foolishness and stupidity" toward Russia in the past. Trump also rejected the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Instead, Trump said he believed Putin's denial. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 552: The White House deleted a key exchange between a reporter and Putin from the official transcript and video of Trump's recent summit with Putin in Helsinki. During the press conference in Helsinki, a Reuters reporter asks Putin, "Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?" Putin then responds, "Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal." The White House omitted the first part of the question, leaving only the second part in the official transcript and video. The Russian government removed the entire exchange from their official record. [Editor's note: Apparently this was due to the audio feed switching between only the right channel and both channels. Regardless, it's unclear why the feed switched. White House transcripts are considered the official record of the president's comments.](The Atlantic / MSNBC / HuffPost)


✏️ Notables.

  1. The Supreme Court rejected Alabama's request to revive the state's ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure. The decision means the procedure will remain available to women seeking reproductive health services in that state. The Alabama law was blocked by lower courts, but would have affected 99% of abortions performed in the state after 15 weeks. (Politico / ABC News / New York Times / Reuters)

  2. In closed-door testimony with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson detailed how Jared Kushner bypassed the State Department to meet with foreign officials. Kushner privately talked with Saudi and Emirati leaders about their secret plans to impose a blockade on Qatar, leaving Tillerson and other senior national security officials β€” including Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary β€” in the dark. (Washington Post / Politico / Axios / New York Times)

  3. The White House is developing a plan to cut capital gains taxes, which would benefit the wealthy. The White House is considering revamping capital gains taxes by executive order as a way to bypass Congress. (Bloomberg)

  4. Senators blocked an effort to restrict Trump's ability to go to war with Iran. The proposal would have block Trump from using funding to carry out military action without congressional authorization. (The Hill)


🎀 Debatables.

Last night was the second of two back-to-back Democratic presidential primary debates. Here's how some of the major outlets covered it:

  1. Biden Comes Under Attack From All Sides in Democratic Debate. Senator Kamala Harris confronted the former vice president in a searing moment over racial equality, and others attacked him on policy and generational divide. (New York Times)

  2. Marianne Williamson’s β€œgirlfriend” call to New Zealand and her other best moments in the debates. And by best, we mean all of them. (Vox)

  3. 6 Takeaways From Night 2 of the Democratic Debate. Kamala Harris stood out from the 10-person crowd several times during the NBC debate. Her exchange with Joe Biden, who is leading in the polls, put him on the defensive. (New York Times)

  4. For Biden and Harris, busing and integration became a flashpoint on the debate stage. Harris forcefully slammed Biden's history of working with segregationists and opposing school busing (NBC News)

  5. Andrew Yang says microphone was 'not on' at times during Democratic debate. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang claimed his microphone was "not on" a few times when he attempted to jump in during Thursday night's Democratic debate in Miami. (The Hill)

  6. Candidates slam Trump at Democratic debate, but fight over racial issues, health care. The faceoff featuring 10 candidates included an intense racial moment between Biden and Harris over busing and segregation. (NBC News)

Day 889: Contrived.

1/ The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The court found that while the Department of Commerce had a right to reinstate the question, the administration provided a "contrived" justification for doing so. The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law, while critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate immigrant households. The Department of Commerce will now have to justify the addition of the question, which raises the question of whether the Trump administration will have enough time or the ability to add it before the forms have to be printed. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June. The Census Bureau found the question would reduce the response rate –especially in immigrant communities – and result in an estimated 6.5 million people not being counted. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)

2/ The Supreme Court ruled that federal courts cannot block partisan gerrymandering in a 5-4 decision that fell along partisan lines. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected two constitutional challenges to partisan district mapmaking – one brought by Democrats in North Carolina and another by Republicans in Maryland – writing that "partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." Districts are drawn nationwide every 10 years, and the next redistricting is scheduled to take place following the 2020 census, which also triggers reapportionment of U.S. House seats among states. Because of the 2010 midterm elections, the Republican party controls most statehouses across the country and, by extension, jurisdiction over the redistricting process. Dissenting Justice Elena Kagan called the decision "tragically wrong." (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / NPR / CNN / Bloomberg / USA Today / CNBC / Associated Press / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Trump marked his arrival in Japan for the G20 Summit by lashing out at U.S. allies. He complained that if the U.S. were attacked, Japan would simply "watch it on a Sony television" instead of coming to America's defense. He called Germany a security freeloader, and complained about India's new tariffs on U.S. goods. Trump is scheduled to meet with the leaders of all three countries on Friday. Trump did not, however, have anything negative to say about the fourth world leader on his meeting schedule for Friday: Putin. (New York Times)

  • Trump demanded that India withdraw its latest tariff hike on 28 U.S. products. India imposed tariffs in response to Trump's decision to remove key trade privileges for New Delhi. Trump called the tariffs "unacceptable," and tweeted that he's looking forward to "to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further." Trump is expected to meet with Modi at this week's G20 Summit in Japan. (CNBC)

4/ Trump told reporters that what he says to Putin in private is "none of your business," when asked what the two world leaders will discuss behind closed doors at the G20 Summit. Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin after House Democrats hear from the White House records chief about allegations that Trump tried to hide documents detailing his previous private conversations with Putin. (Politico / CBS News)

5/ Two women corroborated E. Jean Carroll's allegation that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Carroll privately confided in Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach after the alleged attack. Both came forward to talk about the advice they gave Carroll at the time. Neither of the women had been publicly identified until now, and it was the first time since the alleged assault that they had discussed the incident together. Trump denied Carroll's allegation and said she is "totally lying" and that he wouldn't have assaulted her because "she's not my type." (New York Times)

6/ The Trump International Hotel in Washington charged the Secret Service more than $200,000 in taxpayer money. The agency paid $33,638 for unspecified charges over two days in June, which coincided with Trump's first re-election campaign fundraiser. The Secret Service was also billed for $14,900 for two days in June 2017 and another for $11,475 for two days the next month. (NBC News)


Debatables.

Last night was the first of two back-to-back Democratic presidential primary debates, featuring 10 candidates and 5 moderators. The debate centered around a handful of major topics, including healthcare, guns, immigration, climate change, Iran, and others. Trump was absent from most of the discussion, with candidates opting instead to talk more about their respective policies and positions than Trump's presidency. The second debate begins tonight at 9 p.m. ET and will feature another 10 candidates. Instead of giving you a breakdown of last night's entire two-hour ordeal, here's how some of the major outlets are covering it:

  1. Fact-checking the first night of the first Democratic presidential debate. (CNN)

  2. Fact-checking the claims that hold up and the ones that don't. (NBC News)

  3. 5 takeaways from the first Democratic debate. (NPR)

  4. 7 takeaways from the first Democratic debate. (Politico)

  5. Recap: Democrats Diverge on economy and immigration in first debate. (New York Times)

  6. Recap: Democrats clash on healthcare, border in scrappy first U.S. presidential debate. (Reuters)

  7. Analysis: Who won the first debate? Experts on the Left and Right weigh in. (New York Times)

  8. Analysis: Debate shows how leftward it has moved. (Los Angeles Times)

  9. Transcript: The first Democratic debate night transcript, annotated. (Washington Post)

  10. FTW: Jay Inslee called Trump the greatest threat facing the U.S. (Axios)

  11. Hot take: Trump's reaction to the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate: "BORING!" (NBC News)

Day 888: Terminated.

1/ Robert Mueller agreed to testify before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in back-to-back public hearings on July 17th about his investigation into Russia's election interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The announcement came after the two panels issued a subpoena compelling Mueller's testimony. Mueller previously said he did not want to testify and his report should serve as his testimony. Members of Mueller's team will also participate in a closed-door session with lawmakers. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / ABC News / CNN)

2/ Trump attacked Mueller and – without evidence – accused him of committing a crime after House Democrats announced that Mueller would testify publicly next month. Trump claimed that Mueller "terminated" FBI communications by deleting text messages exchanged by two former FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. "And that's illegal," Trump tweeted. "That's a crime." Trump was referring to a report by the Justice Department inspector general that said it could not recover texts from the phones assigned to Strzok and Page, because by the time investigators requested the devices, they had been reset for other officials to use. Trump referred to Strzok and Page as "pathetic lovers" for having had an affair. (Washington Post / New York Times / Reuters)

3/ The House Oversight Committee authorized a subpoena for Kellyanne Conway after she failed to show for a hearing about her alleged violations of the Hatch Act, a law that limits federal employees' political activity. Special counsel Henry Kerner said Conway should be fired for blatantly and repeatedly violating the Hatch Act. The White House, meanwhile, blocked Conway from testifying about the allegations. Chairman Elijah Cummings warned that the committee would vote to hold Conway in contempt if she ignores the subpoena. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Reuters / Politico / Axios)

4/ The House approved a $4.5 billion aid package for the southwestern border. The 230-195 vote was mostly along party lines, with all but four Democrats supporting bill. Even if the two chambers are able to reach an agreement, it's unclear if Trump will sign it into law. Democrats will now have to begin negotiations with Senate GOP leaders in order to get the aid package signed into law before the weeklong recess. (Politico / NBC News)

5/ Trump complained that congressional Democrats "won't do anything at all about border security" hours after the House passed the aid package to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. (Politico)

6/ The Senate passed a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill for the southern border, rejecting the House legislation that attempted to set rules on how Trump could use the money. The Senate legislation allocates about $1.3 billion to improve border facilities and $2.9 billion for the care of migrant children. The measure would prohibit Homeland Security from adding more beds at detention centers or migrant processing facilities. House and Senate leaders must now decide whether to reconcile their conflicting proposals or head into a week-long July Fourth recess without addressing the growing humanitarian crisis. (New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. is "about 90% of the way there" on a trade deal with China. Mnuchin expects Trump and President Xi to make progress during the upcoming G20 Summit, but did not provide any details about what the remaining 10% of an agreement might look like. Trump, meanwhile, warned of a "Plan B with China" to raise tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports. (CNBC / Bloomberg)

  2. Trump's diplomatic protocol chief has been suspended indefinitely ahead of the G20 Summit in Japan. Sean Lawler is being investigated by the State Department inspector general over accusations that Lawler intimidated his staff and carried a whip in the office. The protocol chief assists the president during overseas trips and during visits from foreign leaders by making introductions and briefing the president on customs and protocol. Mary-Kate Fisher will take over as acting protocol chief. (CNN / Bloomberg)

  3. The EPA air chief resigned amid scrutiny over possible violations of federal ethics rules. Bill Wehrum helped reverse Obama-era rules aimed at cutting pollutants before joining the Trump administration. The Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating Wehrum's compliance with Trump's ethics pledge, which requires political appointees to recuse themselves from specific matters involving their former employers and clients for two years. (Washington Post)

  4. The White House will host "digital leaders" for a Social Media Summit next month following Trump's accusations that Google, Facebook and Twitter are biased against him and other conservatives. Earlier in the day, Trump suggested that "we should be suing Google and Facebook," adding "perhaps we will." (Politico / Axios)

  5. The Justice Department sued former Trump senior White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman for allegedly failing to file a financial disclosure report after she was fired in late 2017. Manigault Newman said she couldn't file the report because the White House never returned her personal files after she left. (CNBC / CNN / Politico)


NEW! πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Dept. of I Really Don't Care, Do U? I'm burnt out. You're burnt out. The news sucks. We're all suffering from disaster fatigue. So let's start a collaborative, curated thread for the strange-but-true political things that aren't really news, but seem to make the news anyway. Add your oddities to the forum post so we can cut the crap and get back to focusing on the things that matter.

Day 887: Overwhelming force.

1/ Trump – again – denied the rape allegations against him by E. Jean Carroll, claiming she is "totally lying" and "not my type." Carroll accused Trump of pushing her up against a dressing room wall and raping her in a department store in 1995 or 1996. Trump accused Carroll of making up the story, because "I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her. She is β€” it's just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that." Carroll is the 16th woman to have publicly accused Trump of sexual assault or misconduct β€” all of which he has denied. (The Hill / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 883: Trump rejected an allegation by journalist E. Jean Carroll that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s, saying that he has "never met this person in my life." According to Carroll, she met Trump inside Bergdorf Goodman when he told her he was buying a gift for "a girl" and needed help. While in the lingerie section, Carroll said Trump suggested a lace bodysuit, and encouraged her to try it on. "The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips," Carroll writes. "He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights." More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump, meanwhile, said: "Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda." (New York Magazine / Politico / Daily Beast)

2/ The New York Post's former top editor deleted a story about E. Jean Carroll's rape allegations against Trump. Col Allan, a Trump supporter and top Rupert Murdoch lieutenant, ordered the story to be scrubbed from the website on Friday, as well a wire story by the Associated Press. Allan returned to the paper in early 2019, reportedly in an effort to make the paper even more friendly to Trump. (CNN / New York Daily News)

3/ Congress is trying to pass a $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian aid to the southwestern border while putting restrictions on Trump's immigration policies. In the Senate, Republicans and Democrats approved a $4.6 billion border aid package last week that contained some limitations to prevent the administration from using the resources for enforcement. The House bill allocates $4.5 billion, but goes further in placing restrictions on the money. Democrats in the House, however, are still concerned that any money they approve will be directed by the Trump administration to advance Trump's immigration policies. The Trump administration, meanwhile, threatened to veto the House measure, claiming it "does not provide adequate funding to meet the current crisis" and "contains partisan provisions designed to hamstring the administration's border enforcement efforts." (New York Times / Reuters)

  • Here's what's different between the House and Senate bills. (New York Times)

4/ Customs and Border Protection returned more than 100 children back to a troubled Border Patrol station that independent monitors called conditions "unconscionable." Officials said the children were returned to the Clint, Tex. station due to a lack of bed space in U.S. shelters designed for children. Lawyers who visited recently the Clint station said hundreds of minor detainees had been housed for weeks without access to showers, clean clothing, or sufficient food. (Washington Post / CNN)

  • Health and Human Services said it will run out of money in July for sheltering migrant children. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said a situation to a government shutdown would result if the program isn't funded, with workers and companies caring for the children without pay. (Bloomberg)

  • Border Patrol is rejecting donations of toys, soap, toothbrushes, diapers and medicine for children held in "horrendous," overcrowded facilities. Under the Antideficiency Act, the government can't spend any money or accept any donations other than what Congress has allocated to it. (Texas Tribune / Washington Post / Slate)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 886: The Trump administration moved most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there with inadequate food, water and sanitation. (Associated Press / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 834: John Kelly joined the board of a company that operates the largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children. Caliburn International is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, which operates Homestead and three other shelters for unaccompanied migrant children in Texas. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Kelly had been on the board of advisors of DC Capital Partners, an investment firm that now owns Caliburn. (CBS News)

5/ The Customs and Border Protection agency's acting commissioner will resign in the coming weeks amid an increase in the number of undocumented migrants crossing the border and the fight over how to address it. John Sanders assumed the role after Kevin McAleenan replaced Kirstjen Nielsen as homeland security secretary this spring. (New York Times / CNN / Reuters)

6/ Trump declined to say if he has confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray. When asked about his level of confidence in Wray, Trump replied: "Well, we'll see how it turns out." Trump added that he disagrees with the FBI director, who previously said he does not believe the bureau "spied" on Trump's 2016 campaign. (The Hill / CNN / Axios)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 811: Barr told Congress that the government was "spying" on Trump's campaign during the 2016 election, but provided no evidence. During a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Barr said that while he's not launching an investigation of the FBI or suggesting there is an "endemic" problem at the FBI, he does "think there was a failure among a group of leaders at the upper echelons." Barr went on to say that he wanted to understand if there was "unauthorized surveillance" of political figures and whether law enforcement officials had proper legal justification for the "genesis" of the counterintelligence investigation. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 838: FBI Director Christopher Wray said he would not call the 2016 investigation into Trump's campaign advisers "spying." When asked during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing if he had "any evidence that any illegal surveillance" into the Trump 2016 campaign occurred, Wray told lawmakers that "I don't think I personally have any evidence of that sort." Wray's comments are in contrast to those made by Attorney General William Barr at a Senate hearing on April 10th, where he claimed that "spying did occur, yes," calling it "a big deal." The Justice Department inspector general is expected to issue a report in the next month or two about the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign. Wray asked lawmakers to wait for the report. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

7/ Trump is privately considering withdrawing from a defense treaty with Japan. Trump claimed the pact is too one-sided, because it guarantees U.S. aid if Japan is ever attacked, but doesn't require Japan's military to do the same for America. The treaty was signed more than 60 years ago and constitutes the foundation of the post-war alliance between the two countries after World War II. (Bloomberg)

8/ Iran called Trump's White House "mentally retarded" and promised that Iran wouldn't be intimidated by new, "fruitless sanctions." Iran's Foreign Ministry also said Trump's leadership would lead to "the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy" between the two countries and that Iran would take new steps to reduce its commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers on July 7th. Trump meanwhile, threatened that any attack by Iran would be answered with "great and overwhelming force" and in some cases, "overwhelming will mean obliteration." (New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / NBC News / The Independent / Washington Post)

9/ Trump claimed he has the authority to initiate a military strike against Iran without congressional approval, but said he likes "the idea of keeping Congress abreast." Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted that Trump would need congressional approval for any "hostilities" against Iran. Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, however, believes that Trump's authority to take military action against Iran falls within his executive power, but outside the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. (The Hill / CNN)

poll/ 65% of voters support Trump's decision to call off the planned military strike against Iran. 14% opposed the decision. Only 36% of voters support U.S. military actions against Iran in response to the downed surveillance drone. 42% oppose military action against Iran, while 22% say they have no opinion. (Politico)


🐊 Dept. of Swamp Things.

  1. Melania Trump's communications director will be the next White House press secretary, replacing Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is leaving at the end of the month. Stephanie Grisham will also take over the role of communications director, which has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine in March. (NBC News / Axios / New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)

  2. The Commerce Department ordered a former official not to answer questions from the House Oversight and Reform Committee about the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Commerce Department lawyers instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' senior adviser and counsel, James Uthmeier, not to answer the committee's questions about his contacts with the White House or his conversations with Ross regarding the citizenship question. (Washington Post / Politico)

  3. The House Oversight and Reform Committee called on the House to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying congressional subpoenas related to whether the administration was seeking to discriminate against certain groups by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. (Reuters)

  4. Trump has been frequently snapping at Mick Mulvaney and expressing more frustration with him than usual, revealing a slow deterioration of their relationship. Trump has recently asked people what kind of leadership and value they think Mulvaney is adding. Trump, however, is unlikely to replace his acting chief of staff – his third chief of staff in less than two-and-a-half years – anytime soon. (Politico)

  5. The Treasury Department's inspector general will open an investigation into why Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delayed the new $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman. The Trump administration has denied that it delayed the release of the bill. Trump, however, has publicly lamented the idea of replacing Andrew Jackson. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  6. The White House directed Kellyanne Conway to reject a request to testify before the House Oversight Committee about her repeated violations of the Hatch Act, a federal ethics law that bars government officials from engaging in political activities at work. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  7. A federal judge ruled that the Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump can proceed. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said discovery could begin Friday, and Democrats are expected seek financial information, interviews and other records from Trump and the Trump Organization. The Trump administration can still try to delay or block Democrats from issuing subpoenas by appealing directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to intervene. (Washington Post)

Day 886: Restraint.

1/ Trump signed an executive order imposing new, "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran in response to the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone last week. The new sanctions will deny Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and eight Iranian military commanders access to "key financial resources and support." Trump also warned that U.S. "restraint" has limits. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

  • Trump approved an offensive cyberstrike that disabled Iranian computer systems used to control rocket and missile launches. U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberstrikes against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps last week. (Washington Post)

2/ Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids for two weeks to see if Congress can "work out a solution." Immigration agents had planned to sweep and deport people living the U.S. illegally in 10 major cities beginning Sunday. Hours after defending the plan, Trump delayed the raids on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Trump threatened to arrest and deport "millions of illegal aliens" next week. ICE leaders expressed concerns that officers' safety would be in jeopardy because too many details about the raids had been made public. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Politico / ABC News)

  • The Trump administration moved most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there with inadequate food, water and sanitation. (Associated Press / New York Times)

3/ The Trump administration stopped promoting dozens of taxpayer-funded studies about the impacts of climate change. The studies include a discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment, a finding that climate change would exacerbate allergy seasons, and a warning to farmers about an expected reduction in the quality of important grasses used to feed and raise cattle. All of the studies were peer-reviewed and cleared through the Agricultural Research Service. (Politico)

  • More than 70 medical and public health groups warned that climate change is "a health emergency." The health organizations' policy recommendations are at odds with Trump's approach. (Associated Press)

  • Pence refused to say whether climate change was a legitimate threat to the U.S. Instead, Pence said that the Trump administration would "always follow the science" on the issue. (Axios / The Hill)

4/ Nearly 100 internal Trump transition team vetting documents were leaked, revealing a wide range of "red flags" about several officials who went on to secure high-ranking positions in the Trump administration. (Axios / Business Insider / Daily Beast)

  • Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt had a section in his vetting form titled: "allegations of coziness with big energy companies."

  • Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had sections in his dossier flagging "criticisms of management ability" and "Dysfunction And Division Has Haunted Price's Leadership Of The House Budget Committee."

  • Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had several "red flags," including his assessment that Trump "is not a very good person."

  • The Trump transition team was so worried about Rudy Giuliani being chosen as secretary of state that they created a separate 25-page document titled "Rudy Giuliani Business Ties Research Dossier" with many accounts of his "foreign entanglements."

  • The transition team was worried that Gen. David Petraeus "Is Opposed to Torture."

  • Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had ties to Russia.

  • Kris Kobach, who was once in the running for homeland security secretary, had "white supremacy" as one of his vulnerabilities.

  • Nikki Haley, who would go on to be U.N. ambassador, was flagged for saying that Trump is everything "we teach our kids not to do in kindergarten."


Notables.

  1. The White House is expected to block a former White House deputy counsel from answering House Judiciary Committee's written questions. Annie Donaldson was the top deputy to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who, according to Robert Mueller, was directed by Trump on several occasions to fire the special counsel. (Politico)

  2. Trump nominated Mark Esper to be the next defense secretary following the abrupt resignation of acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan. Esper is currently the secretary of the Army and former West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (New York Times / Politico)

  3. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro lobbied for a top Justice Department job under Jeff Sessions, which Trump considered. Sessions, however, blocked the appointment and then Pirro attacked Sessions on her show for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, calling him the most "dangerous person" in the U.S. (Washington Post / Talking Points Memo)

  4. Trump said appointing Sessions as his first attorney general was his "biggest mistake" and that he'd like a "do over" on the decision. (Reuters)

  5. White House officials have refused to tell House Democrats what happened to the interpreter notes from Trump's private meeting with Putin. The House Oversight Committee argues that the notes are federal records that must be preserved under record-keeping laws. The White House, however, won't say whether Trump destroyed or in any way altered the interpreter notes. (Washington Post)

  6. The House Oversight Committee will vote to subpoena Kellyanne Conway related to her violations of the Hatch Act if she does not voluntarily appear at the committee's hearing. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities in their official capacity, and the civil service watchdog known as the Office of Special Counsel determined earlier this month that Conway violated the act by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in an official capacity during television interviews and on social media." Conway claimed that House Democrats are seeking her testimony in retaliation for successfully managing Trump's 2016 campaign. [Breaking News: The White House moved to block Conway from testifying to Congress about alleged violations of the Hatch Act.] (Axios / Washington Post)

Day 883: "Cocked and loaded."

1/ Trump authorized a retaliatory military strike on Iran but called it off 10 minutes before because the response would not have been "proportionate." The planned attack, ordered after Iranian forces shot down a Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz, would have involved airstrikes and killed approximately 150 people. Officials said Trump had initially approved the attacks. Earlier, Trump tweeted that he was "cocked and loaded" for a strike, but later disputed that, claiming "nothing was green lighted." (New York Times / New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Los Angeles Times / Bloomberg)

  • Putin said he's open for a meeting with Trump, but that a U.S. military conflict with Iran would be a "catastrophe." Putin added that he believed Iran was complying with its commitments to the Iran nuclear deal. Hours later, Trump tweeted that he was in "no hurry" to confront Iran and called off the planned airstrike. (Associated Press / ABC News)

  • The White House did not notify House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Trump's plans to strike Iran. Pelosi is second in line to the presidency. (Washington Post)

  • Fox & Friends called Trump's decision to abandon airstrikes against Iran a "weakness, and weakness begets more attacks." Hosts Brian Kilmeade insisted that "North Korea's watching. Turkey's watching. Russia's watching. China…" (Daily Beast)

  • Iran received a message from Trump via Oman warning that an attack on Iran was imminent. Iranian officials said Trump claimed he was "against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues." They also said Trump "gave a short period of time to get our response but Iran's immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader." Another official said they would deliver Trump's message to the Ayatollah, "however, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences." (Reuters)

2/ Trump directed ICE to conduct a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders. The Sunday raids – dubbed the "family op" – will take place in as many as 10 cities and could target about 2,000 immigrants facing deportation orders. (Washington Post / NBC News)

  • ICE has deported more immigrants during the first eight months of this fiscal year than any full fiscal year of Trump's presidency, but he has yet to match Obama's early deportation numbers. ICE deportations fell to 226,119 in fiscal 2017 and then rose to more than 250,000 in fiscal 2018 before the Trump administration hit a high of 282,242 as of June this fiscal year. (Axios)

  • A legal team interviewed 60 children at a migrant detention facility near El Paso, TX and were told stories of neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government. The lawyers warned that kids are forced to take care of other kids. There is also inadequate food, water, and sanitation for the 250 infants, children, and teens currently detained at the Border Patrol station. (Associated Press / NBC News)

3/ Trump threatened a Time magazine reporter with prison after a photographer tried to take a photo of the letter sent to him by Kim Jong Un. Trump showed four reporters the letter he said was "written by Kim Jong Un" and then he asked to go off-the-record. Later in the interview, the subject turned to Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and instead of answering the question, Trump lashed out about the photographer's attempt to take a shot of the letter from Kim. "Well, you can go to prison, instead, because if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you…" (Time / CNN / Washington Post / Daily Beast)

4/ Trump rejected an allegation by journalist E. Jean Carroll that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s, saying that he has "never met this person in my life." According to Carroll, she met Trump inside Bergdorf Goodman when he told her he was buying a gift for "a girl" and needed help. While in the lingerie section, Carroll said Trump suggested a lace bodysuit, and encouraged her to try it on. "The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips," Carroll writes. "He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights." More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump, meanwhile, said: "Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda." (New York Magazine / Politico / Daily Beast)

5/ The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Felix Sater after he failed to show up for a voluntary interview. The Russia-born business executive worked with Michael Cohen to build a Trump Tower in Moscow before the 2016 election. Trump never disclosed the ongoing Trump Tower Moscow negotiations while he was running for president and repeatedly claimed that he has "nothing to do with Russia." Sater said he was feeling ill and slept through his alarm. (Politico / NBC News / Reuters / The Hill)

  • YESTERDAY: Sater said he "will answer every question without exception" and planned to discuss previously undisclosed details about his efforts to get a Trump tower built in Moscow. (Washington Post)

  • Federal prosecutors alleged that Roger Stone violated his gag order with recent social media posts. Stone was banned by Judge Amy Berman Jackson from making public statements about his case in February, after he posted on Instagram a photo of the judge with crosshairs behind her head. (CNN)

Day 882: The best is yet to come.

1/ Trump warned that Iran "made a very big mistake" after its military claimed responsibility for shooting down an American drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's Revolutionary Guard claimed the drone "violated" Iranian airspace, while U.S. military claimed the unmanned aircraft was taken down in "an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset" over international airspace. Trump called the action "a new fly in the ointment" and a "very foolish move," saying the "this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you." Trump added that it also could have been a "mistake" by someone "loose and stupid." A top Iranian commander, meanwhile, warned that Iran was "fully ready for war." And, when asked whether the U.S. would attack Iran, Trump responded: "You'll soon find out." (ABC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Politico / The Guardian / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)

2/ The Senate voted to block the sale of $8.1 billion in munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In back-to-back votes, the Senate passed three measures to block Trump from using his emergency authority to complete the arms sales, but fell short of the support needed to overcome a pledged veto. Trump is expected to veto the Senate's resolutions. (New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

3/ A federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration's family planning "gag rule" can immediately take effect nationwide. The ruling lifts national injunctions ordered by lower federal courts in Oregon and Washington state, as well as a statewide injunction in California, allowing the Trump administration to strip federal Title X funding from any clinic that provides abortions or abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood faces a cut of $60 million in Title X funds. (Washington Post / Politico)

4/ A watchdog group filed a complaint claiming Ivanka Trump violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in elections in their official capacity. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington cited a tweet from Ivanka Trump two days before Trump's 2020 campaign launch that included the campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" and stated "the best is yet to come." (The Guardian / The Hill)

5/ Felix Sater will testify before the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow about his experience working on the proposed Trump Tower Moscow. The closed-door interview is part of House Democrats' investigation into Trump's plans to expand his business operations in Russia during the 2016 election. Sater is a U.S. citizen who worked on two separate efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He was originally scheduled to testify in March, but his appearance was postponed. (Washington Post)

6/ Deutsche Bank is being investigated by federal authorities over questions of whether it complied with anti-money-laundering laws. Investigators will review the bank's handling of suspicious activity reports about potentially problematic transactions, including some linked to Jared Kushner. The criminal investigation is one part of several separate but overlapping government probes into financial corruption and the flow of illicit funds through the U.S. financial system. Several other banks are also under investigation. (New York Times)

7/ Three more senators received a classified Pentagon briefing about a series of reported Navy encounters with UFOs. A growing number of members from key oversight committees have requested similar briefings. Sen. Mark Warner was one of the latest three to be briefed on what Warner's spokesperson referred to as an "unidentified aerial phenomenon." The briefing comes several days after Trump claimed he had also been briefed on the reports. "People are saying they're seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly." (Politico / ABC News)

Day 881: Misplaced certainty.

1/ The EPA rolled back Obama's Clean Power Plan, allowing states to set their own carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants and limits the agency's authority to set national restrictions on carbon emissions in the future. Andrew Wheeler, the EPA administrator, insisted that the new plan will reduce carbon emissions in the power sector 34% below 2005 levels – roughly equal to the goals of the Clean Power Plan. Experts, however, say the U.S. power sector needs to cut its emissions 74% over 2005 levels by 2030 to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. As of last year, the power sector had cut its greenhouse gas emissions 27% compared with 2005. The EPA also said the new rules could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Axios)

2/ Hope Hicks refused to answer questions during a closed-door hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as part of their ongoing investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. While the White House did not formally assert executive privilege to block Hicks from answering questions, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone's said Hicks was "absolutely immune" from discussing her tenure in the Trump administration. Hicks, however, is a private citizen. Hicks also wouldn't answer questions as basic as where she sat in the West Wing or whether she told the truth to Mueller. Meanwhile on Twitter, Trump accused Democrats of putting Hicks "through hell" and seeking a "Do Over" of the Mueller investigation. The Judiciary Committee said it will release a full transcript of the interview within 48 hours. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Daily Beast /CNN)

  • Earlier Today: House Democrats will question former White House communications director Hope Hicks during a closed-door session of the Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers intend to ask Hicks about five specific incidents of possible obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. White House counsel Pat Cipollone claimed in a letter that Hicks is "absolutely immune" from answering any questions about her time working for the White House and for the Trump transition team. The committee also plans to ask Hicks about the hush money payments that Trump made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. (Politico / Washington Post)

3/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is privately claiming that Iran has ties to Al Qaeda in order to justify invoking the 2001 war authorization and allow the Trump administration to go to war with Iran. The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force permits the U.S. to wage war on Al Qaeda and its allies. While Pompeo claimed Trump "does not want war," Trump ordered 2,500 additional troops to the region recently. On Monday, the Pentagon said it would send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Senator Tom Cotton wants to launch a "retaliatory strike" on Iran for the two recent tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. "Whatever Iran thinks they can do to the United States or our security partners in the region we can do tenfold to them," Cotton said. "One hundredfold to them." (Politico)

  • Tucker Carlson has privately advised Trump against taking military action against Iran. The Fox News host compared Pompeo's "misplaced certainty" that Iran attacked the tankers to former Secretary of State Colin Powell's now-discredited claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. (Daily Beast)

poll/ 67% of Democrats want lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump – up from 59% in April. (Politico)


Notables.

  1. A U.N. investigator called for further investigation into Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard released a 101-page report detailing her months-long investigation into Khashoggi's death, providing new details which Callamard says place the blame for the murder beyond just the 11 Saudi agents who are currently on trial. Callamard said Khashoggi's death amounted to an extrajudicial killing, possibly involving torture, for which the Saudi kingdom is responsible. (Washington Post / CNN / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)

  2. Trump vowed to cure cancer and ends AIDS if he's elected to a second term. Trump promised to "come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases" as he officially kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando. (CBS News)

  3. Trump Jr. mocked Joe Biden for saying he wants to cure cancer. Junior's remarks came shortly before his father made the same promise to the same audience. (Washington Post)

  4. Trump took credit for passing a veteran's health care bill that was signed into law by Obama in 2014. The Veterans Choice program allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense. (The Hill / Associated Press)

  5. Trump refused to apologize for the full-page ad he ran in 1989 calling for the execution of the Central Park Five who were exonerated in 2002 after Matias Reyes confessed to raping the woman, which was backed up by DNA evidence. Trump suggested the men might still be guilty, because "they admitted their guilt." "You have people on both sides of that," Trump added. A new Netflix series has renewed scrutiny surrounding the Central Park Jogger case. (NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post / USA Today)

  6. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is "extremely serious" about running for governor of Arkansas. Sanders is preparing to leave her current role as White House press secretary at the end of the month and has been privately considering a gubernatorial run for months. (Politico)

  7. Today marks 100 days without an on-camera White House press briefing. The previous record was 42 days. (CNN)

Day 880: Let's see.

1/ Trump threatened to arrest and deport "millions of illegal aliens" next week. The action is not for people who have been in the country long term, but focused on recent arrivals who skipped court dates. There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Of those, a senior administration official estimated that over "1 million" undocumented immigrants "have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges yet remain at large in the country." A senior administration official said the department is still in the planning phase. (Washington Post / Politico / ABC News / CNN / NPR / Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 868: Mexico proposed sending about 6,000 National Guard troops to the country's border with Guatemala to help stem migration as part of a deal to avoid Trump's tariffs. Mexico and Guatemala also agreed to consider significant changes in asylum laws in the region, allowing the U.S. to reject requests for protection from many people fleeing persecution. The arrangement being discussed would require migrants to seek asylum in the first safe country they enter. Trump threatened to charge a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods starting Monday unless the country reduces the flow of migrants streaming to the U.S. border. The U.S., however, is considering delaying the tariffs as talks continue and Mexican negotiators have made clear that they will pull their offers if Trump imposes the tariffs. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 872: Trump backed off his threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods, tweeting that the U.S. reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the number of migrants at the southern border. According to a joint statement, Mexico agreed to "take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration," including the deployment of thousands of national guard troops to its border with Guatemala to stop migrants from reaching the U.S. Mexico also agreed to an expansion of a Trump administration program to host more migrants seeking asylum while their court proceedings are in progress in the U.S. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Trump administration of running "concentration camps" at the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans, meanwhile, accused Ocasio-Cortez of demeaning Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. Experts on concentration camps, however, say that "things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz." (Washington Post / Esquire / The Hill)

2/ Trump's nominee for defense secretary "decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family." An FBI background check revealed that Patrick Shanahan's ex-wife had accused him of punching her in the stomach after she was arrested and charged for punching him in the face, and in a separate incident, his son hit his mother with a baseball bat. Shanahan's nomination process had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check. Trump named Mark Esper, the secretary of the Army, to take over as acting secretary of defense. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / USA Today / Reuters)

3/ Trump's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations was frequently missing from her post while the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. FAA records show that a private jet registered to Kelly Craft's husband and used by the ambassador made 128 flights between the U.S. and Canada during a 15-month span of her tenure in Ottawa – the equivalent of a round trip once a week. (Politico)

4/ Attorney General William Barr's top deputy intervened in Paul Manafort's prison designation. The former Trump campaign manager was expected to be transferred to Rikers Island this month to await trial on a separate state case. Instead, Jeffrey Rosen informed prosecutors that Manafort will await trial at a federal lockup in Manhattan or at the Pennsylvania federal prison where he is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence. (New York Times / NBC News)

5/ The White House explored demoting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in February, shortly after Trump talked about firing him. When asked if Trump still wants to demote Powell, he told reporters: "Let's see what he does." The comment comes a day before the Fed was set to announce its next decision on interest rates. (Bloomberg / CNBC)

6/ Trump accused Fox News anchor Bret Baier of pushing "fake news." Baier cited Fox's own polling results that showed Joe Biden leading the 2020 presidential field in several battleground states. (Daily Beast)

7/ The EPA will allow states to use a pesticide that is harmful to bees. The use of Sulfoxaflor was temporarily banned in 2015. (The Hill)


Not a lot cooking today, so we're going to skip the Notables!

Day 879: True cowards.

1/ The Supreme Court ruled that criminal defendants may be prosecuted for the same offenses in both federal and state court without running afoul of the Constitution's double jeopardy clause. The ruling could impact Trump's pardon power – which extends only to federal crimes – by leaving people he pardons subject to state prosecutions. Paul Manafort, for example, is facing charges in New York similar to the federal charges for which he has been tried. A presidential pardon could free Manafort from federal prison, but it would not protect him from being prosecuted in New York. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / USA Today)

2/ U.S. Cyber Command hacked and deployed malware inside Russia's power grid that could be used for surveillance or attack – without Trump's knowledge. Pentagon and intelligence officials reportedly did not brief Trump due to concerns that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials. The actions were taken under a new set of legal authorities granted to U.S. Cyber Command by Congress last year, which allows the routine use of "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace without requiring presidential approval in order to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States." Officials at the National Security Council declined to comment about how deep into the Russian grid the U.S. had accessed, but said they had no national security concerns about the details of reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 571: Trump signed defense legislation named after John McCain but didn't mention the Senator's name during the ceremony. Trump praised the U.S. military and took credit for the $716 billion defense bill, which represents a $16 billion increase in authorized funding for the Pentagon over the current year. The bill is formally named the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2019." (Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ Trump accused The New York Times of committing a "virtual act of treason" for reporting that the U.S. had increased its cyberattacks on Russia, which were meant to deter future cyber activity by Moscow. In a separate tweet, Trump claimed that the story was "NOT TRUE!" and characterized the journalists as "true cowards." The New York Times responded to Trump's tweet, calling the accusation "dangerous" and noting that the paper reached out to the administration for comment on the story, but Trump's own officials said they had "no concerns" about the story. (Associated Press / NBC News / The Hill)

  • The Kremlin warned of a possible cyberwar with the U.S. for hacking into Russia's electric power grid. (New York Times)

4/ Trump's re-election campaign fired several pollsters after leaked internal polling showed he trailed Joe Biden in 11 battleground states. Trump denied the existence of any negative polling last week, calling them "fake polls" and claiming "we are winning in every single state that we've polled." The campaign fired Brett Lloyd, Mike Baselice and Adam Geller. Lloyd is the head of the Polling Company, a firm started by Kellyanne Conway in 1995. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / ABC News)

poll/ 27% of Americans say there's enough evidence to begin impeachment hearings now β€” up 10 points from last month. 24% think Congress should continue investigating to see if there's enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future, while 48% believe that Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and that Trump should finish out his term as president. (NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 50% of Americans believe the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia β€” up six points over the last three months β€” compared to 44% who do not believe there was coordination. (Fox News)

poll/ 50% of Americans say enforcement of immigration laws has "gone too far." 24% say actions haven't gone far enough. (Bloomberg)


Notables.

  1. Trump suggested his supporters might "demand that I stay longer" than two terms as president. "At the end of 6 years," Trump tweeted, "after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!" The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limits the presidency to two terms. In April, Trump told a crowd that he might remain in office "at least for 10 or 14 years." And, last year Trump joked about doing away with term limits entirely, praising Xi Jinping for doing so in China. (Washington Post / The Independent)

  2. The Supreme Court ruled that the legislative districts in Virginia that it previously said were racially gerrymandered have to remain in their redrawn form. The Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates attempted to challenge a lower court opinion that struck several district maps as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. The justices found that House Republicans did not have legal standing to challenge the decision. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / The Hill)

  3. Congressional leaders from both parties will meet this week in an attempt to reach a deal to avoid tens of billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts this fall. Neither side says they are close to reaching an agreement at the moment, and Republicans have acknowledged that they're even having trouble finding a common position with the White House. At stake is $125 billion in automatic, mandatory spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic spending unless a deal is reached to increase those limits. (Politico)

  4. The State Department will cut off all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador until the countries take "concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the U.S. border." (Axios)

  5. Iran will surpass the uranium-stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, unless it received assurances that Europe will combat economic sanctions imposed by Trump. The U.S. withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. (Associated Press / New York Times)

  6. Trump will send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to "hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups" that threaten U.S. "personnel and interests." (Axios / CNN)

  7. Trump directed all agencies to cut their advisory boards by "at least" one third. Agencies have until Sept. 30 to "evaluate the need" for each of their current advisory committees and reduce them by one-third. (The Hill)

Day 876: Probably not a good idea.

1/ Trump backtracked on his willingness to accept help from foreign governments, saying "of course" he would "absolutely" report an encounter to the FBI. Trump, however, added that he'd alert the FBI only after reviewing the material first, "because if you don't look at it, you won't know it's bad." (New York Times / Politico)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 875: Trump admitted that he'd "want to hear" from foreign governments with damaging information about his political opponents. Trump claimed "there isn't anything wrong with listening" to a foreign government if they contacted him and said "we have information on your opponent." Trump also rejected the notion that accepting damaging information from a foreign government would constitute election interference, saying "It's not an interference, they have information – I think I'd take it." FBI Director Christopher Wray during congressional testimony last month told lawmakers that "the FBI would want to know about" any foreign election meddling. Trump, however, said he might alert the FBI "if I thought there was something wrong," but then said "The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn't happen like that in life." (ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)

2/ Mitch McConnell downplayed Trump's willingness to accept foreign dirt on political opponents and not report it to the FBI in 2020. McConnell said Democrats keep bringing up the 2016 presidential election because they "can't let it go," and accused Democrats of trying to "harass" Trump. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, said taking help from foreign agents would be "probably not a good idea." John Cornyn added: "I'd rather just have Americans participate in American elections." (Politico / CNN)

3/ Senate Republicans blocked a bill requiring campaigns to tell the FBI about any offers of foreign assistance they receive. Marsha Blackburn called the legislation's reporting requirements "overbroad," and complained that it would require campaigns to worry about disclosures at "so many different levels." Mark Warner said Blackburn's assessment of the bill was "not accurate," and "The only thing that would have to be reported is if the agent of a foreign government or national offered that something that was already prohibited." (Axios)

4/ The head of the Federal Election Commission reiterated that foreign assistance is illegal in U.S. elections. "I would not have thought that I needed to say this," Ellen Weintraub tweeted. "Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election." (Politico / The Hill)

5/ Democratic presidential candidates will participate in two debates, split into two groups of 10 on June 26 and 27 in Miami. On night one, Cory Booker, JuliΓ‘n Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren. On night two, Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang. The debates will air on NBC and be moderated by the NBC anchors Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd, the Telemundo anchor JosΓ© DΓ­az-Balart, and the MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow. (New York Times / NBC News)

6/ The Justice Department supported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's refusal to turn over Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Office of Legal Counsel released its legal rationale for refusing to provide Trump's tax returns to Congress, saying the request was designed to make the returns public, which "is not a legitimate legislative purpose." (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 841: The House Ways and Mean Committee subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over Trump's tax returns. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig was also subpoenaed. Chairman Richard Neal gave Mnuchin and Rettig until until May 17 to turn over six years of Trump's returns, and is expected to go to court to enforce his request if the Trump administration continues to argue that the committee does not have a legitimate legislative purpose that warrants compliance. Earlier this week, Mnuchin rejected Neal's request for the returns. Trump previously vowed to fight all subpoenas from House Democrats. Subpoenas are now pending from the Ways and Means, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, Financial Services, and the Intelligence Committees. (CNBC / New York Times / Politico / Washington Post /Wall Street Journal)

Notables.

  1. The owner of one of the Japanese oil tankers that was attacked in the Straight of Hormuz says the U.S. is wrong about the attack, contradicting the claims made β€” without evidence β€” by Trump and Mike Pompeo. The U.S. military released a video and claimed that it shows Iranian boats retrieving an unexploded mine from the oil tanker, but the owner of the tanker says his sailors saw "flying objects" just before it was hit. Yutaka Katada called the reports claiming the tanker was hit by a mine "false" and denied any possibility of a mine or torpedo attack because "the impact was well above the water." Trump blamed Iran for the attack, describing the country is a "nation of terror." (CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post / Daily Beast / NBC News / NPR / The Guardian / Associated Press)

  2. Trump doesn't plan to fire Kellyanne Conway for her repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity in their official roles. "It looks to me like they're trying to take away her right of free speech," Trump said, "and that's just not fair." A report submitted to Trump by the Office of Special Counsel found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on multiple occasions by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media." (Washington Post / CNN)

  3. The Trump administration and Congress owe Washington, D.C. more than $7 million in expenses from Trump's 2017 inauguration. The total cost of the four days of events, parade, and gathering of roughly 600,000 people on the Mall, was $27.3 million. Congress appropriated roughly $20 million for Trump's inauguration. (Washington Post)

  4. Ivanka Trump made $4 million from her investment in the Trump International Hotel last year. (Bloomberg)

  5. D.C. residents filed a petition to revoke the Trump International Hotel's liquor license. D.C. law states that license applicants must be of "good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure." (Washington Post)

  6. A physicist appointed by the White House to counter the federal government's own climate science consulted a group that disavows manmade climate change. William Happer reached out to the Heartland Institute to discuss his arguments in a paper attempting to knock down the contributions of fossil fuel emissions in climate disruption. Happer is now a member of Trump's National Security Council. (Associated Press / The Guardian)

  7. The Trump administration cannot block pregnant, undocumented teenagers held in government custody from getting abortions, a federal appeals court ruled. The court concluded that they were "rejecting the government's position that its denial of abortion access can be squared with Supreme Court precedent." (CNN / BuzzFeed News)

  8. ICE placed 5,200 adult immigrants in quarantine after being exposed to mumps or chicken pox while in custody. About 4,200 have been exposed to mumps, 800 exposed to chicken pox, and 100 have been exposed to both. (CNN)

  9. Trump declined to endorse Mike Pence for president in 2024, instead said he would give it "strong consideration." (USA Today / Politico)

  10. Trump compared Melania Trump to Jackie Kennedy Onassis, saying "we have our own Jackie O. It's called Melania…we'll call it Melania T." Trump made the comparison while defending his decision to paint the new Air Force One red, white and blue, replacing the baby blue color scheme picked by Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s. (Politico / Talking Points Memo / The Hill / The Cut)

Day 875: The green light.

1/ Trump admitted that he'd "want to hear" from foreign governments with damaging information about his political opponents. Trump claimed "there isn't anything wrong with listening" to a foreign government if they contacted him and said "we have information on your opponent." Trump also rejected the notion that accepting damaging information from a foreign government would constitute election interference, saying "It's not an interference, they have information – I think I'd take it." FBI Director Christopher Wray during congressional testimony last month told lawmakers that "the FBI would want to know about" any foreign election meddling. Trump, however, said he might alert the FBI "if I thought there was something wrong," but then said "The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn't happen like that in life." (ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)

  • Putin: Relations between Moscow and Washington "are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse." (Reuters)

2/ Nancy Pelosi: "Everybody in the country should be totally appalled" by Trump's comments and that he "gave us evidence once again he does not know right from wrong." Pelosi added that Trump is giving Russia "the green light" to again interfere in the presidential election. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, meanwhile, called Trump's remarks "disgraceful" and "shocking," saying that "it's as if the president had learned absolutely nothing in the past two years" from Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Associated Press / ABC News / CNBC / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

  • More than a dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates rebuked Trump after he admitted he would consider taking information on his political opponents from a foreign government. Many renewed calls for impeachment while also voicing new concerns about the security of American elections. (Washington Post)

3/ Trump tried to defend and recast his comments about accepting information about his rivals from foreign governments, tweeting that he talks to foreign leaders every day and asking: "Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous!" Trump then argued that his comments were taken out of context, claiming that his "full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media" and that "They purposely leave out the part that matters." He did not offer evidence to support the claim. (Politico / HuffPost)

4/ The Justice Department plans to interview senior CIA officials about the origins of its Russia investigation and their conclusion that Putin ordered an influence campaign that "aspired to help" Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Attorney General William Barr previously said he wanted to review why the FBI opened the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in order to determine whether law enforcement officials abused their power. (New York Times)

5/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders resigned and will leave the White House at the end of the month. Sanders has not held a press briefing for a record 94 days. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / The Guardian / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

6/ A federal watchdog agency recommended that Kellyanne Conway "immediately" be "removed from service," citing repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from political activity. The Office of Special Counsel – unrelated to Mueller's office – said Conway has been a "repeat offender" by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media." The decision to remove Conway is up to Trump. (Washington Post / Politico / ABC News / New York Times / Axios / Reuters / Associated Press / The Hill / The Guardian)

7/ The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to Michael Flynn and Rick Gates. The committee is demanding that Flynn and Gates provide documents by June 26 and testify before the committee on July 10. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the committee issued the subpoenas after both "refused to fully cooperate with Congress." Flynn and Gates both pleaded guilty and cooperated in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Reuters)

  • Trump approves of Flynn's new lawyer, saying his former national security adviser "has not retained a good lawyer, he has retained a GREAT LAWYER." Sidney Powell previously accused the FBI of spying on Flynn as part of a "setup," arguing that Flynn should withdraw his guilty plea and that his case should be dismissed. (Politico)

Notables.

  1. Trump Jr. indicated that he plans to campaign against Justin Amash, the only Republican congressman who has called for Trump's impeachment. (CNBC / Washington Post)

  2. Two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were attacked as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran. The attack comes a month after four tankers were damaged in the same area. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, said intelligence showed that Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers. While Pompeo didn't present any evidence, he called the sabotage against the tankers the latest in a series of "unprovoked attacks [that] present a clear threat to international peace and security." (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

  3. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney used his position to push for the nomination of a federal judge over the objection of White House lawyers. Mulvaney repeatedly pushed Don McGahn to nominate Halil Suleyman Ozerden to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mulvaney was a groomsman at Ozerden's wedding in 2003. (Politico)

  4. Trump still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in security fees to at least ten U.S. cities. The Trump campaign has failed to reimburse the cities for public-safety costs associated with his presidential and campaign rallies. The total bill currently sits at $841,219 and includes invoices that date back to before Trump was elected in 2016. (Center for Public Integrity / The Hill / NBC News)

  5. Trump revealed images of Air Force One's proposed redesign, which features a color scheme similar to his own private jet. The two new planes will cost $3.9 billion, but won't be ready for takeoff until 2024. (ABC News / Washington Post)

Day 874: Not at all worried.

1/ Trump asserted executive privilege over subpoenaed documents about the administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The move, on the advice of the Justice Department, was meant to undercut a vote later in the day by the House Oversight Committee to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to turn over the materials. Hours later the committee voted 24-15 to advance the contempt measures against Barr and Ross. The full House will need to hold a floor vote in order to to file a lawsuit to enforce the committee's subpoenas. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Axios / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump Jr. said he's "not at all worried" about perjury charges over suspicions he previously lied to Congress. "There was nothing to change," Trump Jr. said following his closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee today. In February, Michael Cohen testified that he briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about negotiations regarding the Trump Tower Moscow project. Cohen also told Congress that he believed he heard Trump Jr. talking with his father about the Trump Tower meeting between him, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico / Talking Points Memo)

  • Michael Flynn's new attorney is one of the earliest and fiercest critics of the Justice Department and the FBI's investigation into a potential conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia. Sidney Powell, a former Justice Department attorney, claimed that Flynn was spied on as part of a "set-up" by the FBI and that his case should be "dismissed." Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation. (The Hill / Politico / CNN)

  • The House Intelligence Committee chairman threatened to subpoena FBI Director Christopher Wray for information related to the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adam Schiff said he has been unable to get information on the status or findings of the counterintelligence probe. (The Hill / Associated Press / Politico / CNN)

3/ Hope Hicks agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next Wednesday. Hicks will be the first former Trump aide to go before the committee investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Her testimony will be behind closed doors but a transcript will be released to the public. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Kamala Harris – if elected – said her Justice Department "would have no choice" but to prosecute Trump after his term in office. "There has to be accountability," Harris added. "Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law." (NPR / Axios)

poll/ 69% of voters said a sitting president should be subject to criminal charges, while 24% said a president should be charged with crimes after they leave office. 52% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats, and 68% of independent voters all support charging a sitting president. 55% of voters say Robert Mueller's report did not clear Trump of wrongdoing. (Quinnipiac)


Notables.

  1. Trump publicly came out against the use of CIA informants to spy on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it would not happen on his watch. Trump's comments came a day after reports that Kim's half-brother, who was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017, was a CIA source. "I saw the information about the CIA, with respect to his brother, or half-brother," Trump told reporters. "And I would tell [Kim Jong Un] that would not happen under my auspices, that's for sure. I wouldn't let that happen under my auspices." (Reuters)

  2. Trump held up a document and claimed it was a "secret" deal with Mexico to avoid further tariffs. Mexican officials had already revealed most of it. Photographs of the document show language about "a regional approach to burden-sharing in relation to the processing of refugee status claims to migrants." The document also refers to a window of "45 days," and says Mexico has committed to examining and changing its laws in order to implement the agreement. Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Friday agreement with the U.S. gave Mexico 45 days to prove that it could diminish migration without agreeing to a "safe third country" deal, in which Central American migrants would be held in Mexico while their claims are processed. (Washington Post / Reuters / The Guardian)

  3. Trump – without evidence – claimed he is "winning in every single state that we polled." Trump, however, was recently briefed on a 17-state poll by his campaign that showed him trailing Biden in many of the states he needs to win in 2020. He then instructed aides to deny the results of the campaign's internal polling. "We have great internal polling," Trump added. (Washington Post)

  4. Mitch McConnell dismissed reports that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, helped steer federal funding to his home state of Kentucky. When asked about the allegations of special treatment, McConnell joked that he was disappointed that Chao wasn't able to steer enough funds his way. "You know, I was complaining to her just last night: 169 projects, and Kentucky got only five," McConnell said. "I hope we'll do a lot better next year." (Washington Post)

  5. The U.S. budget deficit widened to $738.6 billion – a $206 billion increase from a year earlier. (Bloomberg)

  6. At least 22 foreign governments have spent money at Trump Organization properties. According to news accounts and other public records, at least nine foreign governments were involved in hosting events at a Trump property, at least nine foreign governments rented or purchased property in buildings or communities owned by Trump businesses, representatives of at least five foreign governments have stayed at a Trump property, and at least eight foreign governments or their representatives attended parties or gatherings at Trump properties. (NBC News)

Day 873: Not off the table.

1/ The White House will review and decide what evidence from Robert Mueller's report the House Judiciary Committee gets to see. The Trump administration will work with the Justice Department and is expected to assert executive privilege to limit the documents the committee has access to. (Daily Beast)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 872: The Justice Department agreed to provide Congress with "key evidence" collected by Robert Mueller related to obstruction of justice and abuse of power by Trump. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said "Mueller's most important files" will be available to all committee members, allowing "us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel." The House Judiciary Committee, however, moved no closer to securing testimony from Mueller or other figures, such as former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who has declined to testify, citing Trump administration lawyers. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

2/ The House authorized committee chairs to sue the Trump administration in federal court to enforce a series of subpoenas. The House Judiciary Committee can now begin legal proceedings to enforce the panel's subpoenas for Mueller's evidence and force former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to cooperate with the panels' probe into whether Trump obstructed justice. The move also empowers other committee chairmen to seek enforcement of their own subpoenas for testimony and documents, such as Trump's tax returns. The measure, however, stopped short of a criminal contempt citation for Attorney General William Barr and McGahn. (Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

  • The Justice Department advised Trump to invoke executive privilege to block House Democrats' access to documents about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd threatened the blanket assertion of privilege if the House Oversight and Reform Committee proceeds with a scheduled vote on Wednesday to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress. (Politico)

3/ Trump Jr. will be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Wednesday. The Republican-led committee subpoenaed Trump Jr. last month, angering Trump and his allies. Trump Jr. will testify for two-to-four hours on a half dozen topics, including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow project. (CNN)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 840: Mick Mulvaney criticized Republicans for not informing him that Trump Jr. would be subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The acting White House chief of staff called it "bad form" to "not at least get a heads-up" from the Republican-led committee. Senator Richard Blumenthal said that "If [Trump Jr.] fails to comply with a lawful subpoena, he has no privilege, prison is the only answer." Trump Jr. is expected to assert his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination in order to resist testifying about his contacts with Russia. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / The Hill / Reuters)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 839: The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony related to the Russia investigation. Trump Jr. testified before the committee in September 2017 that he was only "peripherally aware" of the proposed plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Michael Cohen, however, told a House committee earlier this year that he had met with both Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump "approximately 10" times to brief them about the Trump Tower plan. The Republican-led committee wants Trump Jr. to answer questions about his claim to have limited knowledge of the plan. (Axios / CNBC / New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 680: Trump Jr.'s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee conflicts with Michael Cohen's version of events regarding negotiations of a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow. In Cohen's version, he says the discussions with at least one Russian government official continued through June 2016. Trump Jr. testified in September 2017 that talks surrounding a Trump Tower in Moscow concluded without result "at the end" of 2014 and "certainly not [20]16. There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue." Trump Jr. told the Senate committee that he "wasn't involved," knew "very little," and was only "peripherally aware" of the deal other than a letter of intent was signed by Trump. He also said he didn't know that Cohen had sent an email to Putin's aide, Dmitry Peskov. In Cohen's guilty plea, he said he briefed Trump's family members about the continued negotiations. (NPR / USA Today)

4/ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said impeachment is "not off the table," but that the Democratic caucus is "not even close" to moving forward with impeaching Trump. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, meanwhile, has twice urged Pelosi in private to open a formal impeachment inquiry. (CNN / Axios / Politico)

  • Rep. Justin Amash stepped down from the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, which he co-founded, less than a month after becoming the first Republican to admit that Trump committed impeachable offenses. Amash said he "didn't want to be a further distraction for the group" after tweeting that Mueller's report contained "multiple examples" of Trump committing obstruction of justice. Trump called Amash "a loser for a long time." Amash is now facing a primary challenge from a Trump supporter. (CNN / Fox News / Politico / Axios / Washington Post)

poll/ 70% of American voters say the economy is "excellent" or "good," but only 41% of voters say Trump deserves credit for it. Another 27% said Trump does not deserve credit and 28% say the economy is "not so good" or "poor." (Quinnipiac)


Notables.

  1. Trump ordered his aides to lie about the results of his campaign's internal polling efforts in key battleground states. After he was briefed on the results of a 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Trump told aides to publicly deny that he was trailing Joe Biden in states like Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. When details about the polls leaked, he also told aides to say publicly that other polling data showed him doing well. (New York Times / The Week)

  2. The Trump campaign is considering putting resources into Oregon – a state where Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 11 percentage points in 2016. (CNN)

  3. Three Republican former heads of the EPA accused the agency's current leadership of taking a "catastrophic" approach to climate change by "undermining [the] science." (ABC News)

  4. Mike Pence confirmed that American embassies were banned from flying the pride flag on their embassy flagpoles, calling it "the right decision." Pence added that "when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies and capitals around the world, one American flag flies." (Washington Post / USA Today / NBC News)

  5. Trump's former Chief of Staff Reince Preibus joined the Navy. Preibus was sworn in as an entry-level officer by Pence during a commissioning ceremony. (Washington Post)

  6. Trump appears to be having second thoughts about his next secretary of defense. Last week, Trump asked several confidants about alternative candidates for nominee Patrick Shanahan. (NBC News)

  7. Trump distinguished between himself and Richard Nixon about the possibility of impeachment. "He left. I don't leave," Trump said. "A big difference." (Politico)

Day 872: Possibly catastrophic.

1/ The Justice Department agreed to provide Congress with "key evidence" collected by Robert Mueller related to obstruction of justice and abuse of power by Trump. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said "Mueller's most important files" will be available to all committee members, allowing "us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel." The House Judiciary Committee, however, moved no closer to securing testimony from Mueller or other figures, such as former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who has declined to testify, citing Trump administration lawyers. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

2/ Jerry Nadler agreed to delay a vote to hold Barr and McGahn in contempt of Congress after reaching the deal with the Department of Justice for evidence from the Mueller report. The House will still proceed with a vote to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr to federal court to fully enforce its subpoena, but will not formally vote to hold Barr in contempt. "If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps," Nadler said. "If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies." (ABC News / NBC News / NPR)

3/ Trump backed off his threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods, tweeting that the U.S. reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the number of migrants at the southern border. According to a joint statement, Mexico agreed to "take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration," including the deployment of thousands of national guard troops to its border with Guatemala to stop migrants from reaching the U.S. Mexico also agreed to an expansion of a Trump administration program to host more migrants seeking asylum while their court proceedings are in progress in the U.S. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • READ: The United States-Mexico Joint Declaration released by the State Department. (New York Times)

4/ Mexico had already agreed to deploy its National Guard several months ago. The Mexican government agreed to the "deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border" during secret talks with Kirstjen Nielsen back in March. And, the agreement to host asylum seekers in Mexico while their cases proceed in the U.S. was reached in December. Trump, however, tweeted on Saturday that he was "very excited about the new deal with Mexico." (New York Times / Reuters)

5/ Trump claimed there are "some things….. …..not mentioned" in the deal with Mexico, promising they'll be revealed "in the not too distant future." Mexico's Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, however, contradicted Trump's claim that a "fully signed and documented" agreement would be revealed soon, saying there were no undisclosed parts of the U.S.-Mexico deal. Trump also claimed that Mexico agreed to "immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers." There is no evidence, however, that an agreement on agricultural trade was agreed to and three Mexican officials have denied that it exists. (Politico / Associated Press / ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Business Insider)

6/ The White House blocked a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony that human-caused climate change is "possibly catastrophic" to national security. The written testimony by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research for a House Intelligence Committee hearing outlined that "absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant β€” possibly catastrophic β€” harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change." Officials from the White House's Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all objected to parts of the testimony because it did not align with the Trump administration's official stance. The analyst, Rod Schoonover, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, but the White House refused to approve Schoonover's written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that people deal with climate change by "mov[ing] to different places." Pomeo claimed that the climate "always changes," and so "societies reorganize" and "we will figure out responses to this that address these issues in important and fundamental ways." (Talking Points Memo)

Notables.

  1. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao set up a special liaison to deal with grant applications from her husband Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky. The deal allowed at least $78 million for preferred projects to go through while McConnell campaigned for reelection. Chao personally asked Todd Inman to serve as intermediary and help advise McConnell and local officials on specific grants that McConnell designated. One grant for a highway improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold had already been rejected on two separate occasions. (Politico)

  2. A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner received $90 million in foreign funding since 2017. Kushner failed to list the company, Cadre, on his first ethics disclosure, but later adding the company and calling it an inadvertent omission. (The Guardian)

  3. A bipartisan group of Senators is attempting to block Trump's sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Senators are using a provision in the Foreign Assistance Act to request a report from the Trump administration on Saudi Arabia's human rights record, which could trigger a vote to halt the billions of dollars in arms sales that Mike Pompeo is pushing for despite opposition from Congress. (Politico / NBC News / The Hill)

  4. The Trump administration rejected requests from U.S. embassies to fly the rainbow pride flag on embassy flagpoles during Pride Month. An advisory cable last year directed diplomats to obtain top-level approval from the State Department's Office of Management to fly a rainbow flag. Requests by U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia to fly the pride flag on their flagpoles have been denied. (NBC News / Washington Post)

  5. The symbolic oak tree Emmanuel Macron gave to Trump last year has died. Macron tweeted at the time that the sapling would be "a reminder … of these ties that bind us" and the "tenacity of the friendship" of the two nations. (The Guardian)

  6. Trump has made at least 10,796 false or misleading claims since taking office. Trump has averaged about 12 false claims a day. (Washington Post)

Day 869: Untenable.

1/ The Justice and Commerce departments rejected subpoenas by House Democrats demanding more documents about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, claiming the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and therefore cannot be disclosed. Boyd wrote that the committee's "insistence that the department immediately turn over these documents … is improper," and added that the Justice Department has already handed over tens of thousands of documents. (Politico)

2/ Elijah Cummings indicated that he plans to move forward with contempt votes for Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in response to the Justice and Commerce departments' refusal to turn over documents. "We gave Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross every opportunity to produce the documents the Committee needs for our investigation," Cummings said in a statement, "but rather than cooperate, they have decided that they would rather be held in contempt of Congress." The panel is scheduled to vote next week to hold Barr and Ross in contempt of Congress, the same week the House will vote to hold Barr in contempt for failing to provide the full, unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence to Congress. (The Hill)

3/ The world's largest automakers warned Trump that his plan to weaken tailpipe pollution standards is a threat to their profits and will produce "untenable" instability in the manufacturing sector. In a letter signed by 17 companies including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volvo, the companies urged Trump not to roll back the policy. Trump's new rule would all but eliminate the Obama-era auto pollution regulations and effectively freeze miles-per-gallon standards at 37 mpg for cars, instead of the original goal of reaching 54.5 mpg by 2025. The automakers warned Trump that "an extended period of litigation and instability" would follow if his plans are implemented. (New York Times / NPR)

4/ Government prosecutors released the audio recording of a 2017 voicemail from Trump's then-personal lawyer asking Michael Flynn's attorney for "some kind of heads up" about his cooperation with investigators. Mueller's team has described John Dowd's call to Rob Kelner as a "potential" effort to hinder the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The transcript of Dowd's call with Kelner was included in the Mueller report, but the audio remained secret until Thursday. Prosecutors turned it over after an order from a federal judge, who is weighing how to sentence Flynn for making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. (ABC News / New York Times)

  • Russia tried to set up a video teleconference between Trump and Putin on the day after Trump's inauguration. While the U.S. and Russian officials have never confirmed that a conversation took place on Jan. 21, 2017, the White House, however, provided a readout of a "congratulatory call" from Putin that happened on Jan. 28th. The call lasted about one hour and the two discussed Syria and fighting Islamic terrorism, among other topics. (Politico)

5/ U.S. and Russian warships almost collided in the Pacific, coming somewhere between 50 feet and 165 feet of each other. Each side blamed the other, alleging that their ships were forced to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid a collision. (CNN)

6/ The economy added 75,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6% – the lowest level in almost 50 years. March's job count was revised lower from 189,000 to 153,000 and the April number was lowered to 224,000 from 263,000. (CNBC / NBC News / New York Times)

7/ Trump called Nancy Pelosi a "nasty, vindictive, horrible person" in response to the House speaker telling lawmakers she'd rather see "him in prison" than impeached. Trump also called Charles Schumer a "jerk" and Mueller a "fool." (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 77% of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade. Within that group, 26% say they would like to see it remain in place, but with more restrictions added; 21% want to see Roe expanded to establish the right to abortion under any circumstance; 16% want to keep it the way it is; and 14% want to see some of the restrictions allowed under Roe reduced. 13% overall say it should be overturned. (NPR)

Day 868: Aesthetics.

1/ Mexico proposed sending about 6,000 National Guard troops to the country's border with Guatemala to help stem migration as part of a deal to avoid Trump's tariffs. Mexico and Guatemala also agreed to consider significant changes in asylum laws in the region, allowing the U.S. to reject requests for protection from many people fleeing persecution. The arrangement being discussed would require migrants to seek asylum in the first safe country they enter. Trump threatened to charge a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods starting Monday unless the country reduces the flow of migrants streaming to the U.S. border. The U.S., however, is considering delaying the tariffs as talks continue and Mexican negotiators have made clear that they will pull their offers if Trump imposes the tariffs. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico)

  • Earlier in the day, Trump declared that "not nearly enough" progress has been made in the negotiations with Mexico. Trump warned that "if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule." Trump indicated that he won't be satisfied with anything less than direct evidence that Mexico has completely stopped the flow of migration through its country. (New York Times / Politico)

2/ Trump threatened to impose tariffs on "at least" another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, but said he thinks China and Mexico both want to make deals. "Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening," Trump told reporters. "We'll see what happens… I could go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time." No face-to-face meetings between Trump and Chinese officials have been held since May 10, when Trump announced a 25% increase in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. (Reuters)

3/ The military will spend a month painting a mile-long section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall to improve its "aesthetic appearance." An unspecific number of service members were instructed to paint barriers in the California border town of Calexico for a total of 30 days. Sen. Dick Durbin called the task a "disgraceful misuse" of taxpayer money. (CBS News)

4/ Nancy Pelosi told senior Democrats she'd like to see Trump "in prison" while discussing with Rep. Jerry Nadler whether to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. Nadler pressed Pelosi to start the proceedings, but Pelosi refused and said: "I don't want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison." Pelosi said she prefers voters to remove Trump via the ballot box and then have him prosecuted for his crimes. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, said Trump "would be carried out in handcuffs" if he were anybody else. (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)

5/ Jerry Nadler told Democratic leaders that he will issue a subpoena within the next two weeks for Robert Mueller to testify before the House Judiciary Committee if they're unable to reach an agreement to secure his voluntary public testimony. Mueller is currently only willing to answer questions in private, which is a nonstarter for most House Democrats. (Politico)

  • Trump said Mueller made "such a fool" out of himself when he delivered his public statement about the Russia investigation last week. (Fox News)

6/ House Democrats plan to grant committees the authority to enforce subpoenas for documents and witness testimony that the Trump administration has tried to block. Committee chairs will be able to sue the Trump administration and hold officials in contempt of Congress. Democrats said the reason for the change is to prevent contempt citations from dominating the House's floor time. (CNN / Politico)

7/ Michael Flynn fired his legal team. The former Trump national security adviser awaits sentencing for lying to the FBI about his conversations with a top Russian official. (Politico)

8/ Trump's empty cabinet positions have been vacant more than four times as many days as any other president since Ronald Reagan at this point in their presidencies. (Axios)

Day 867: The cleanest climate.

1/ Trump said he believes climate change "goes both ways," claimed the U.S. has one of "the cleanest climates," and blamed China, India, and Russia for polluting the environment. Trump's comments came after a 90-minute meeting with Prince Charles on the subject. While Trump remains unconvinced that the climate is warming, he said he agrees with Charles that he wants the U.S. to have "good climate, as opposed to a disaster." The United States is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions, which rose an estimated 3.4% in 2018. (BBC / The Guardian / Washington Post)

2/ Trump claimed that he is "making up" for not serving in the Vietnam War by proposing to increase the Pentagon's budget to around $750 billion in 2020. Despite avoiding service through student deferments and a medical disqualification for bone spurs, Trump claimed he "would have not have minded that at all. I would have been honored" to serve. (Washington Post)

  • Trump erroneously claimed that he reinstituted a ban on most transgender people from serving in the military because some of them take prescription medicine. Trump said that when "you're in the military, you're not allowed to take any drugs." The military, however, doesn't prohibit service members from taking prescription medicines. (Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ A bipartisan group of senators will try to block the Trump administration's use of emergency authority to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Senators will try to force 22 votes aimed at rebuking the Trump administration's May decision to invoke an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act in order to push through $8 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Congress had been blocking the sale since last year. (Associated Press / Politico / USA Today / New York Times)

4/ The House passed the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, which would give millions of young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. The measure passed with a vote of 327 to 187, and it now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely to be considered. The White House has also threatened to veto the measure if it makes it to Trump's desk. Seven Republicans voted in favor of the measure, and no Democrats voted against it. (CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ A 40-year-old migrant woman died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody – the second migrant woman to die within a 36-hour period. Border Patrol agents detained the woman in Eagle Pass, Texas on Monday and she collapsed minutes later. She was transported to a hospital, where she died shortly after arriving. On Saturday, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. (The Guardian)

6/ Border Patrol agents are boarding buses and trains across the northern U.S. with increasing frequency to ask passengers about their citizenship status, often nowhere near the U.S. border. Newly obtained emails show a Border Patrol official in Maine told agents "Happy hunting!" as they prepared to begin boarding buses. The searches can happen as often as three times per day at some bus stations, even at those with no direct routes to or from the border, causing bus delays and missed connections. (NBC News)

7/ The Trump administration canceled English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in federal migrant shelters. The Office of Refugee Resettlement discontinued funding for the programs, calling them "not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation." (Washington Post / ABC News)

poll/ 54% of Americans say they think Trump will win the 2020 election, compared to 41% who feel he will lose. In December, 51% said they thought Trump would lose his bid for re-election. (CNN)

poll/ 68% of American believe "made-up news" is a "very big problem" in the U.S. By comparison, 46% called climate change a "very big problem," 40% said the same about racism, and 34% said the same about terrorism. (Pew Research Center / Nieman Lab / Axios)


Notables.

  1. House Democrats rejected calls to preemptively cancel a House vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, but said they are willing to reopen negotiations with the DOJ over Mueller's full, un-redacted report. Rep. Jerry Nadler said he was willing to try to find a compromise, but only "without conditions" from the Justice Department. "We urge you not to make the mistake of breaking off accommodations again," Nadler warned last night. "We are here and ready to negotiate as early as tomorrow morning." (New York Times / House Judiciary Committee)

  2. A federal judge said the Justice Department does not have to turn over the transcripts of Michael Flynn's calls with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak as part of Flynn's sentencing. The DOJ originally failed to turn over the transcripts, saying they did not have any additional documents to share with the court that could help at sentencing. The judge said "the government is not required to file any additional materials or information on the public docket." (CNN)

  3. The Russian trolling effort on Twitter during the 2016 campaign was larger, more coordinated, and more effective than previously known. The operation by the Internet Research Agency amounted to "a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages," according to the cybersecurity firm Symantec. Some of the trolls used their fake accounts to make money on the side, with one potentially generating nearly $1 million. (Politico / NBC News)

  4. The Trump administration sharply reduced federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses. The move overrides the advice of scientists, who say the tissue is crucial for studies that benefit millions of patients and have led to life-saving advances, including the development of vaccines for rubella and rabies and drugs to treat the HIV virus. The decision fullfills a top goal by anti-abortion groups that have lobbied hard for it. (New York Times / ABC News)

Day 866: False light.

1/ The White House directed Hope Hicks not to cooperate with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents related to her White House service. The White House also instructed Annie Donaldson, the former deputy White House counsel, not to turn over the documents. Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the documents are no longer covered by executive privilege "if they ever were" and that the White House's move was "part of President Trump's continued obstruction of Congress." Hicks, however, said she will hand over documents related to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. (CNN / Washington Post / CNBC / NBC News / Politico)

2/ The Justice Department agreed to reopen negotiations with the House Judiciary Committee for Robert Mueller's full, unredacted report if the House removes its threat to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt next week. In a letter to committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the Department said it would only "resume negotiations" if the committee reversed its previous recommendation that Barr be held in contempt. The committee subpoenaed for Mueller's report and the underlying material in April. When Barr didn't comply, they held a committee contempt vote. (Talking Points Memo / Axios / Washington Post)

3/ Trump vowed to move forward with imposing tariffs on Mexican imports next week, warning Republican senators they would be "foolish" to try and stop him. Any vote to disapprove the tariffs would likely face a presidential veto. The 5% tariffs on all Mexican goods, rising to 25% over time, are intended to force Mexico to stop the Central American migrants from seeking entry into the U.S. (New York Times)

  • Trump's tariffs on China, Mexico, Europe and other governments would nullify the gains from his $1.5 trillion tax cut for low- and middle-income earners, according to two new analyses. (New York Times)

4/ Republican senators warned Trump that they were prepared to block his effort to impose tariffs on Mexican imports. Senators told the White House and Justice Department there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward and they may have enough support to override a veto. After a closed-door meeting with White House officials, Mitch McConnell told reporters that "there is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure." Republican senators are worried that the tariffs on all imported goods from Mexico will impact the economy and their home states. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)

  • Earlier in the day: Congressional Republicans are discussing whether or not they may have to vote to block Trump's latest proposed tariffs against Mexico. The vote would be the most dramatic defiance of Trump by the GOP since he took office, and could also block millions of dollars in funding for Trump's border wall, since Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexico relies on his national emergency declaration. Congress has the right to override the national emergency determination by passing a resolution of disapproval. (Washington Post)

5/ The owners of the former Trump Panama hotel accused the Trump Organization of evading taxes and creating a "false light" around one of the hotel's finances. The accusations, made in a legal filing in Manhattan federal court, claimed that Trump's family cheated a foreign government and that the Trump Organization "made fraudulent and false claims to the Panamanian tax authorities" in order to "cover up its unlawful activities." The Trump Organization called the claims "completely false." (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)


Notables.

  1. The House passed the $19.1 billion disaster aid package after Republicans blocked the bill on three separate occasions. The vote was 354-58, sending the measure to Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it. Once the bill is signed into law, funding will be released to communities recovering from hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and other recent disasters. (Politico)

  2. Dozens of migrant children spent up to 39 hours in a van while waiting to be reunited with their parents. What was supposed to be a 30-minute ride to reunite with their parents at an ICE facility in Texas in July, turned into a two-night ordeal in the back of a van for the children, all of whom are between 5 and 12 years old. Most spent at least 23 hours in the vans. Emails between employees of the nonprofit government contractor responsible for transporting the children reveal frustrations with the lack of preparation by ICE and senior leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services. (NBC News)

  3. The Trump campaign spends $37,500 a month for office space in Trump Tower that "four or five" campaign staffers work at. The cost per-square-foot is nearly triple what the Republican National Committee pays at a newly opened office in northern Virginia it shares with the campaign. (HuffPost)

  4. Paul Manafort will be transferred to the Rikers Island and most likely be held in isolation while facing state fraud charges. Manafort is serving a seven-and-a-half-year federal prison sentence after being convicted of bank fraud, tax and conspiracy last year. (New York Times / Fox News)

  5. The Trump administration twice authorized U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia after the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government. In all, the Department of Energy has approved the transfer of nuclear information from U.S. companies to Saudi Arabia seven times under Trump. (Reuters / The Guardian / Axios)

  6. The Trump administration banned U.S. cruise ships from visiting Cuba as part of an effort to roll back the Obama-era efforts to restore relations between the United States and Cuba. (Associated Press)

  7. The EPA blamed the media for the public's concerns about climate change. Andrew Wheeler argued that the press is doing a "disservice to the public" and needs to help "fix" the "perception" that the environment is getting worse. (Talking Points Memo)

Day 865: Presidential obstruction and other crimes.

1/ Before even landing in England for his first official state visit to the U.K., Trump tweeted that the mayor of London was a "stone cold loser" for being "foolishly 'nasty'" to him. Sadiq Khan wrote an op-ed prior to the visit, calling Trump "one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" and suggested that the state visit be rescinded because Trump's views are "incompatible with British values." After landing, Trump met with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and later tweeted that the trip was "going really well." (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / NBC News / The Guardian)

  • Ahead of his three-day state visit, Trump suggested that the U.K. should "walk away" from Brexit talks if the European Union does not give it what it wants. Trump criticized the $50 billion bill the U.K. must pay as part of the Brexit deal, saying he "wouldn't pay" it because "it's a tremendous number." Trump later called on the U.K. to throw off the "shackles" of EU and strike a free-trade deal with the U.S. (Vox / CNN / Bloomberg)

2/ Trump called for a boycott of AT&T in order to force "big changes" at CNN, which is owned by the telecommunications giant. Trump tweeted for AT&T "do something" about CNN, because the network "is the primary source of news available from the U.S." in the U.K. and – he claims – its coverage of his administration is "unfair." (Axios / CNBC / Politico / Washington Post)

3/ The House Judiciary Committee announced a "series of hearings" related to Robert Mueller's report, "Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes." The first hearing is scheduled for June 10th and will focus on Trump's "most overt acts of obstruction" with John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate scandal, as one of the witnesses. Mueller – for now – is not scheduled to appear. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / The Hill / CNBC / Politico)

  • Research study: Russian Twitter trolls attempted to fuel the anti-vaccination debate in the U.S. According to the study from George Washington University, "sophisticated" bots, mimicking previous Russian troll efforts, shared opinions from both sides of the anti-vaxxer debate. (CBS News)

4/ The Justice Department refused to turn over transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian officials, including those with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite a court order. The transcripts between Flynn and Kislyak were obtained from an FBI wiretap and are expected to show that in December 2016 they talked about sanctions that the Obama administration had just imposed on Russia. Prosecutors also failed to release unredacted portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge ordered to be made public. The Justice Department, however, did release transcripts of a voice mail from Trump's attorney John Dowd to Flynn's attorney, Rob Kelner, about Flynn's discussions with Mueller just before Flynn pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's investigation. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Axios)

  • Jared Kushner doesn't know if he'd call the FBI if he received an email like the one before the Trump Tower meeting, which had the subject line: "Re: Russia - Clinton - private and confidential." (Axios / Washington Post)

5/ A witness in Mueller's investigation was charged with transporting child pornography last year. George Nader operated as a liaison between Trump's supporters, Middle East leaders, and Russians interested in making contact with the incoming administration in early 2017. Nader helped arrange the Seychelles meeting in January 2017 between Erik Prince and a Russian official close to Putin. Nader was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (Washington Post)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 441: A cooperating witness in Robert Mueller's investigation may have information linking the United Arab Emirates to Russia. George Nader has received at least partial immunity for his cooperation. Nader's international connections helped him arrange several meetings that have drawn the attention of the special counsel, including a meeting in the Seychelles between Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, and a Trump adviser days before Trump took office. (New York Times)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 483: Mueller's team is examining a series of meetings that took place in the Seychelles, which have been characterized as an attempt by the U.S. to set up a backchannel with Russia. A Russian plane, owned by Andrei Skoch, a Russian billionaire and deputy in the Russian State Duma, the country's legislative body, flew into the Seychelles a day prior to the 2017 meeting. (NJ.com)

poll/ 41% of Americans feel Trump should be impeached and removed from office compared to 54% who are against impeachment. Trump's approval rating, meanwhile, stands at 43% with 52% disapproving of the President. (CNN)


Notables.

  1. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is moving to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Chairman Elijah Cummings said he would consider postponing the contempt votes if Barr and Ross turn over the requested documents by Thursday. (Politico)

  2. A new State Department policy requires visa applicants submit information about any social media accounts used in the past five years. Account information could provide the government with access to photos, locations, dates of birth, and other personal data commonly shared on social media. (New York Times)

  3. Trump's economic advisor will depart the White House "shortly." Kevin Hassett denied that his pending departure was not related to Trump's tariff threats on China and Mexico. Hassett, however, said that the chance of Trump hitting the 3% growth target this year is less certain due to the trade war and a ballooning budget deficit. He will leave at the end of this month. (Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg / Reuters)

  4. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has "repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile" of her family's shipping company, Foremost Group, which benefits from industrial policies in China. Chao has no official affiliation or stake in her family's company, but she and her husband, Mitch McConnell, have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, who ran the company until last year. (New York Times)

  5. The Trump administration considered imposing tariffs on imports from Australia last week, but decided against the move after opposition from military and State Department officials. Some of Trump's top advisers urged him to impose the tariffs in response to a surge of Australian aluminum coming into American markets over the last year. But DOD and State Department officials warned that the move would alienate a top ally. (New York Times)

  6. The Pentagon told the White House to stop politicizing the military after the Trump administration ordered the Navy to hide the USS John S. McCain during Trump's visit to Japan. The Navy confirmed that the White House made the request "to minimize the visibility of" the ship. (Associated Press / NBC News)

Day 862: A colossal blunder.

1/ Trump threatened to impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods unless the country stops all "illegal migrants coming through Mexico," linking his immigration policy to trade. The tariffs would begin on June 10th and "gradually increase" to 10% on July 1st, followed by an additional 5% each month for the next three months. Tariffs would remain at 25% "if the crisis persists." The National Foreign Trade Council called the move "a colossal blunder," as U.S. companies pay the import penalties and pass some costs along to consumers. The White House defended the legality of the move, saying Trump was acting under the powers granted to him by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president broad power to take action to address any "unusual or extraordinary threat." (Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian / Reuters)

2/ Republicans warned Trump that imposing tariffs on all Mexican imports could upend the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and undermine the economy. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley called the move "a misuse of presidential tariff authority and contrary to congressional intent," adding that implementing the tariffs would "seriously jeopardize passage" of the USMCA. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, blamed Congress for refusing to deal with problems at the border, saying if they "were stepping up and doing more the president wouldn't have to continue to look for ways to stop this problem on his own." (Politico / Washington Post)

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups are considering suing the White House over Trump's new tariffs on Mexico. The tariff threat was reportedly "hurried out the door" in order to appease Trump, who did not consult business groups or federal agencies in advance. A 5% tariff on imported goods from Mexico would result in a potential tax increase on American businesses and consumers by about $17 billion. That would eclipse $86 billion if the tariffs reach Trump's cap of 25%. (CNBC / NBC News / U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

3/ Trump's Treasury secretary and top trade advisor both opposed the plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. Steve Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer have stressed the importance of enacting USMCA, meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, and argued that the tariffs could derail ratification of the deal in Congress. "Lighthizer is not happy," an unnamed administration official said. The tariff strategy was spearheaded by White House adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hawk, after Trump was "riled up" by conservative radio commentary about the recent surge in border crossings. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

4/ The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General found "dangerous overcrowding" and unsanitary conditions at a Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection. The IG found "standing room only conditions" at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center with "approximately 750 and 900 detainees." The facility has a maximum capacity of 125 migrants. (CNN)

  • About half of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children held in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities have been there beyond the legally allowed time limits. Federal law and court orders require that children in Border Patrol custody be transferred within 72 hours after being apprehended. Some unaccompanied children are spending more than a week in Border Patrol stations and processing centers and children 12 or younger have been in custody for an average of six days. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump is considering a proposal to enact restrictions on asylum claims that would deny Central American migrants from entering the U.S. The draft proposal would prevent migrants from seeking asylum if they lived in another country after leaving their home country and coming to the U.S., which would impact thousand of migrants who have been waiting on the other side of the border after traveling through Mexico. (Politico)

6/ Attorney General William Barr disagreed with Robert Mueller's "legal analysis," saying it "did not reflect the views" of the Justice Department, which is why he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "applied what we thought was the right law" instead. In Barr's written testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, he wrote that "we accepted the Special Counsel's legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion." Barr also said he was surprised that Mueller "did not reach a conclusion" as to whether Trump had obstructed justice, despite Mueller stating in his report and at yesterday's press conference that "charging the president with a crime was […] not an option we could consider," because Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. Mueller also noted yesterday that the Constitution "requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing." Barr went on to claim that Mueller's report shows "no evidence of a conspiracy […and…] this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus." (CBS News / Talking Points Memo / New York Magazine)

  • A federal grand jury used in the Mueller inves