President Trump pulled out a piece of paper earlier, claiming it was his deal with Mexico. Many speculated then that the paper was blank, but on enterprising Washington Post photojournalist managed to zoom in and enhance.
House judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler tells MSNBC’s Ari Melber that former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify before the committee “way before” the end of summer.
Mueller previously expressed reluctance at any sort of Capitol Hill appearance, making it known in his only public statement that everything he had to say was in the report. It is unknown whether this testimony before the committee “way before” the end of summer will be behind closed doors or public.
“We’re carrying on conversations with him, and he will come in, and if we have to subpoena him, we will,” Nadler said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had strong words on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition of the impeachment process:
North Dakota’s congressional delegation is urging the Trump administration to address the state’s year-old request for $38m to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Associated Press is reporting.
Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Representative Kelly Armstrong sent a letter Thursday calling for attorney general William Barr and acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan to settle the state’s claim, filed last year by North Dakota’s attorney general against the Army Corps of Engineers. The state is accusing the agency of letting protesters illegally camp on federal land in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017, and not maintaining law and order when thousands gathered to protest the $3.8bn pipeline.
“This administration has reset the precedent on permitting this type of project,” the Bismarck Tribune reports the delegation wrote in the letter. “But we urge you to also reset the federal government’s precedent in these matters to maintain law and order on federal land and recognize the overwhelming responsibility the state and local authorities in North Dakota employed to maintain public safety.”
A jury deadlocked Tuesday on charges against a border activist who humanitarian aid groups say was just providing two migrants with water, food and lodging, the Associated Press is reporting.
Scott Daniel Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor, was charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants, and faced up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors argued that the men were not in distress and that Warren conspired to transport and harbor them at a property used for providing aid to migrants in an Arizona town near the US-Mexico border.
Jurors said Monday that they couldn’t reach a consensus but a federal judge told them to keep deliberating. The judge set a July 2 status hearing after the jury said it was deadlocked.
The case played out as humanitarian groups say they are coming under increasing scrutiny while President Donald Trump’s administration looks for new ways to clamp down on illegal immigration.
Warren is one of nine members of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths who have been charged with crimes related to their work. But he is the only one to face felony charges.
In West Texas, a county attorney was detained earlier this year after stopping her car on a dark highway to pick up three young migrants who flagged her down. Teresa Todd was held briefly, and federal agents searched her cellphone.
Border activists say they worry about what they see as the gradual criminalization of humanitarian action.
Warren has said his case could set a dangerous precedent by expanding the definition of the crimes of transporting and harboring migrants to include people merely trying to help border-crossers in desperate need of water or other necessities.
Warren and other volunteers with the No More Deaths group also were targeted earlier this year in separate federal misdemeanor cases after leaving water, canned food and other provisions for migrants hiking through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona.
In Warren’s felony case, the defense team headed by Greg Kuykendall argued that Warren could not, in good conscience, turn away two migrants who had recently crossed the desert to enter the U.S.
Thousands of migrants have died crossing the border since the mid-1990s, when heightened enforcement pushed migrant traffic into Arizona’s scorching deserts.
Here’s a hell of a bump for Senator Cory Booker: the sometimes politically active pop icon Taylor Swift gave the 2020 hopeful a shoutout on Instagram, on which she has 118m followers, for signing her Equality Act petition:
In case you missed it, Swift kicked off Pride Month by asking the Tennessee Republican senator Lamar Alexander to support the Equality Act, legislation that recently passed in the House that would extend civil rights protections to LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Read all about it below:
Representative Steve King, the Iowa Republican stripped of all committee assignments following a litany of racist remarks and behavior, was banned from flying aboard Air Force One as President Trump traveled to Iowa today, CNN is reporting:
King, who represents the state’s 4th District in Western Iowa, asked the White House to join the President’s entourage, but administration officials rejected the request, two officials familiar with the matter told CNN.
Republican senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Deb Fischer of Nebraska joined Trump aboard Air Force One. Ernst had not been planning to travel with the President, citing her voting schedule, but ended up flying to Iowa with Trump.
House Republicans stripped King of his committee assignments following an interview with the New York Times in which King rhetorically said “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
These comments came after King endorsed a white nationalist candidate for Toronto mayor and tweeted support of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders , and after he compared immigrants to dirt and used rhetoric common to the alt-right in an interview with a magazine affiliated with the far-right Austrian Freedom party.
Hey all, Vivian Ho taking over for Sabrina Siddiqui. Let’s see where the day takes us, shall we?
Ok folks, that’s it from me, Sabrina Siddiqui … I’m handing over to my trusted colleague Vivian Ho, who will take you through the remainder of the day from the West Coast.
But first, a recap of the day’s events:
- The House of Representatives voted along party lines to hold attorney general William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in civil contempt; Democrats approved the resolution after Barr and McGahn defied congressional subpoenas seeking testimony and documents pertaining to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
- Joe Biden and Donald Trump provided a recap of a potential 2020 general election contest with dueling events in Iowa on Tuesday; Biden warned the president was an ‘existential threat’ to America, while Trump attacked the former vice president by questioning his mental fitness for office.
- A government watchdog group contends that Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may have violated the law by failing to keep records of their meetings with foreign leaders; the group filed a lawsuit citing meetings between Trump and Kim Jong-un, and between Kushner and Saudi diplomats, in which no note takers were present and thus no public record was created.
- Donald Trump Jr will testify before the Senate intelligence committee behind closed doors on Wednesday; the appearance by the president’s eldest son comes after the Republican-led panel issued a subpoena summoning Trump Jr to Capitol Hill following the release of the Mueller report.
Stay tuned for more!
In case there was any doubt Joe Biden is focusing his 2020 campaign on Donald Trump, the former vice president name-checked the president 44 times during his speech in Iowa on Tuesday.
Campaigning in Ottumwa, Iowa, Biden declared Trump was “literally an existential threat to America” while condemning his record on foreign policy, race relations and trade.
Biden also condemned Trump’s conduct during his recent travel to Normandy, where he attacked his political rivals on a trip intended to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“Did he do anything to signal that he’s prepared to walk away from the thugs he’s embraced on the world stage — from Putin to Kim Jong Un? No. He did none of that,” Biden said.
“Instead, he gets up in the middle of the night to attack Bette Midler. He attacks the mayor of London. He attacks the American Speaker of the House. It was a stunning display of childishness for the whole world to see.”
Trump, who held his own speech in Iowa the same day, responded by questioning Biden’s mental fitness as he departed the White House.
“I have to tell you, he’s a different guy,” Trump said of the former vice president. “He looks different then he used to, he acts different than he used to, he is even slower than he used to be.”
“So I don’t know. But when he mentions my name that many times, I guess I should be complimented.”
Trump also claimed Biden was the Democratic candidate he most wanted to run against. Biden currently leads Trump in several swing state and national polls.
On a party-line vote of 229-191, House Democrats passed a resolution that would enable lawmakers to go to court to enforce their subpoenas against Barr and McGahn.
The vote had long been planned amid unprecedented efforts by Donald Trump’s administration to stonewall Democrats’ witness and document requests pertaining to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Democrats on the House judiciary committee voted last month to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report. McGahn separately heeded to instructions from the White House to refuse a subpoena calling upon him to testify before Congress.
Despite a deal between Nadler and the Justice Department on Monday, paving the way for his panel to access some of Mueller’s underlying evidence, House Democrats said they were proceeding with Tuesday’s full floor vote to keep the option to enforce their subpoenas in court if necessary.
The measure also includes language to enable committee chairmen to enforce their subpoenas in court without a full vote on the House floor.
Stay tuned for more…
Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, appear to have violated the law by failing to document their meetings with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and others, according to a lawsuit filed by a prominent government watchdog.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), National Security Archive (the Archive) and Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), outlines several occasions in which the absence of note takers meant no official record was created of conversations between the president, members of his administration and foreign leaders.
The failure to keep records, they contend, is in violation with the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act.
Five such instances concerned meetings between Trump and Putin, while another involved a recent meeting between Kushner and top Saudi officials. The latter excluded officials from the State Department, prompting criticism from the agency.
“It is clear that President Trump and White House officials have gone to great lengths to hold high-level meetings with foreign governments and carry out foreign policy objectives while blatantly ignoring recordkeeping laws and preventing national security officials and the American people from understanding what they are doing,” said Noah Bookbinder, the executive director at CREW, said.
The absence of records in these circumstances causes real, incalculable harm to our national security and poses a direct threat to transparency for the American public. We’re asking the court to compel White House officials to make and maintain these important records that let the public know what the government is up to and provide a safeguard to our history.”
A hearing is officially underway in the House judiciary committee to examine anti-competitive behavior among digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook, and its impact on news media.
The hearing, which is part of a new antitrust investigation, comes amid growing scrutiny over the dominance of Big Tech and bipartisan push for new regulations.
Lawmakers were set to hear from News Media Alliance, a trade organization representing 2,000 news outlets, among other media executives. Matthew Schruers, vice president of the tech trade group Computer and Communications Industry Association, will speak on behalf of the technology industry.
David Cicilline, the chairman of the House judiciary antitrust subcommittee, opened the hearing with a focus on the enhanced market power of online platforms and subsequent threat to news publishers who have seen a dramatic fall in advertising revenues.
“Concentration in the digital advertising market has pushed local journalism to the verge of extinction,” Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said in his opening remarks. “The combination of predatory acquisitions, a growing innovation kill zone, and high network effects and switching costs appear to have undermined entrepreneurship and start-up rates.”
“And the sheer dominance of some platforms has resulted in worse products and significantly less choice, leaving people without a competitive alternative to services that harvest their data, manipulate their behavior, and monetize their attention.”
A day before the hearing, the News Media Alliance released a study showing that Google earned an estimated $4.7b in 2018 from news publishers’ content.
News publishers’ revenue from advertising has meanwhile rapidly declined and forced widespread layoffs in newsrooms across the US. According to the Pew Research Center, newsroom employment dropped 23% between 2008 and 2017.
“This journalism crisis is also a democracy crisis. As sources of trustworthy news disappear, American civic life suffers,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, said at the hearing.
“Today as the Internet becomes the dominant platform for accessing news, and as this platform grows more and more concentrated in the hands of just two major companies, news media once again faces serious threats, and congressional action may once again be required.”
Speaking of investigations, Donald Trump Jr is headed back to Capitol Hill…
The Republican-led Senate intelligence committee subpoenaed Trump Jr last month, shocking the president and his allies.
Trump Jr, who was coordinated the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower after being offered dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians, testified before the panel in 2017.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report nonetheless revealed inconsistencies in what the president’s eldest son told members of Congress about both conversations with his father regarding the Trump Tower meeting, and negotiations over a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 election.
According to CNN, Trump Jr struck a deal with the Senate intelligence committee to privately testify on both of those topics, as well as others, for two-to-four hours on Wednesday.
House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler on Monday touted a deal with the Justice Department under which his panel could review some of the underlying evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But not so fast…
The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s White House will work with the Justice Department to determine exactly what material House Democrats are able to see.
Citing two senior administrations officials, the report also alluded to the prospect of the White House claiming executive privilege to limit access to Nadler’s committee.
The White House has aggressively fought efforts by congressional Democrats to obtain key documents and witnesses related to the Mueller investigation and the president’s finances. Nadler’s panel has meanwhile engaged in tense negotiations with the DOJ to see the full unredacted version of Mueller’s report an underlying evidence.
The deal reached on Monday would enable lawmakers to review at least a subset of those documents and showed the first signs of progress in weeks. It remains to be seen how the White House’s role in the process might affect the agreement.
“That’s the agreement that everybody says I don’t have. I’m going to let Mexico do the announcement at the right time,” he said.
He then added: “This is one page of a very long and very good agreement from Mexico and the United States. Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing.”
But one pool reporter questions whether what’s really on the paper is…..nada.