What Now?! – 5/25/19

Politico: “[Speaker Pelosi] sent lawmakers out the door Thursday for a 10-day Memorial Day break after tamping down swelling demands from House Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.”

“After working to mollify the party’s restive left flank this week by pointing to a pair of legal victories in their oversight battle with Trump, Democrats were ushered into the recess with new talking points from the caucus’ messaging arm that were conspicuously silent on impeachment.”

“Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media, highlighting how political disinformation that clouds public understanding can now spread at the speed of the Web,” the Washington Post reports.

“The video of Pelosi’s onstage speech Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she said President Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations was tantamount to a “coverup,” was subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and warped. It was then circulated widely across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.”

The Guardian: “Facebook says it will continue to host a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been edited to give the impression that the Democratic House Speaker is drunk or unwell, in the latest incident highlighting its struggle to deal with disinformation.”

“Despite the apparently malicious intent of the video’s creator, Facebook has said it will only downgrade its visibility in users’ newsfeeds and attach a link to a third-party fact checking site pointing out that the clip is misleading. As a result, although it is less likely to be seen by accident, the doctored video will continue to rack up views. Facebook only took the action following inquiries from the Washington Post, which first reported the story.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told MSNBC that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to testify before his committee, but only in private. Mueller would give a public opening statement and agree to allow a transcript of his private testimony to be released publicly. Nadler said Mueller doesn’t want to participate in a televised open hearing that could be a spectacle.

Politico: “They’ve been so busy fighting technical battles over access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that they’ve barely had time to speak directly to Americans about its damning public findings of President Trump’s conduct.”

“Trump and Attorney General William Barr, they say, drew them into process-focused skirmishes — battles over redactions, access to evidence and even a multi-day fight over the format of a hearing with Barr which the attorney general later refused to attend.”

“Lost in it all was the vivid evidence Mueller uncovered about Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of his campaign’s links to Russia. Now, Democrats say, it’s time to start telling that story, too.”

New York Times: “Ms. Pelosi set out Thursday morning to pick a fight with Mr. Trump, three people close to her said, part of a strategy to unnerve a president who has defied the efforts of House Democrats to subpoena documents and summon witnesses to testify about his conduct.”

“But her decision to dramatize the fight also represented an embrace of Mr. Trump’s own signature political tactic: an attempt to divert attention from a divisive internal debate — in this case a drive by two dozen of her caucus members to push ahead with impeachment — with a headline-grabbing attack, in hopes of uniting her own political base.”

New York Times: “The last time a president was threatened with impeachment, he made a point of not talking about it. This one cannot stop talking about it. Where Bill Clinton tried to appear above the mud fight, leaving it to aides and allies to wage the battle for him, Mr. Trump is determined to get down into the mud himself and wrestle with his enemies at every turn.”

“Some advisers worry that the president is giving oxygen to a fire that otherwise might burn out or at least be left to crackle in the background. Others agree with Mr. Trump that he has been treated so unfairly that he should take on his opponents frontally.”

“As for his critics, they have been left scratching their heads, wondering if Mr. Trump is actually trying to goad them into impeaching him on the theory that it would help him politically.”

“North Korea says nuclear negotiations with the United States will never resume unless the Trump administration moves away from what the North describes as unilateral demands for disarmament,” the AP reports.

Theresa May has said she will quit as Conservative leader on June 7, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister, the BBC reports. In an emotional statement in Downing Street, Mrs May said she had “done my best” to honour the 2016 EU referendum result. It would remain a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to deliver Brexit, she added. But a new PM was “in the best interests of the country”.

Washington Post: “House leaders had hoped to pass the disaster aid bill by unanimous consent, allowing them to move the measure despite most lawmakers having left Washington for the Memorial Day recess. But the objection from Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) holds up the legislation until lawmakers return, currently scheduled for June 3.”

“The bill was approved by the Senate on Thursday and appears to have President Trump’s support.”

“The Trump administration moved to roll back health-care protections for transgender patients by replacing an Obama-era policy that expanded nondiscrimination protections,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A section in the Affordable Care Act bans sex discrimination in federally funded health care. The Obama administration issued a regulation that included gender identity as sex discrimination, and the Trump administration wants to define that more narrowly by revising provisions in the regulation.”

The Hill: “Republican candidates and campaign committees have spent more than $4 million at hotel, golf and vineyard properties that bear President Trump’s name since he was inaugurated in 2017.”

Domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists is on the rise, the FBI told CNN on Thursday. An unnamed senior FBI counterterrorism official told CNN that while terror threats abroad have remained the same, the agency is now dealing with an increase in domestic terror cases in recent months.

The FBI did not tell CNN exactly how many white supremacist-tied terror cases there are. CNN noted that First Amendment protections can complicate crackdowns on domestic terrorism, and there is no law that directly targets domestic terrorism in the U.S.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s administration has hampered the government’s efforts to fight domestic terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security shut down an intel group dedicated to analyzing homegrown terrorists in April, and the administration refused to renew funding for the DHS’s anti-domestic terror program last year.

CBS News: “Facebook said it saw a ‘steep increase’ in the creation of abusive, fake accounts in the past six months. The company took down more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as it did in the previous six months.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

0 comments on “What Now?! – 5/25/19

Leave a Reply