What Now?! – 7/9/2019

“The Trump administration is preparing to replace in-court interpreters at initial immigration court hearings with videos informing asylum seekers and other immigrants facing deportation of their rights,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“The administration portrays the change as a cost-saving measure for an immigration court system bogged down under a growing backlog. But advocates for immigrants are concerned the new procedure could jeopardize their due-process rights, add confusion and potentially make the system less efficient by causing more of them to go underground or appeal cases.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr said “to expect the administration will present a legal path work-around that will allow a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 Census,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports. Said Barr: “I think over the next day or two you’ll see what approach we’re taking and I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the Census.”

“Two senior administration officials told Axios they were surprised when they first heard that President Trump would be giving a speech about his administration’s ‘environmental leadership.’ Both said the president probably won’t win a public debate on environmentalism, given he’s spent much of his time in office proudly repealing President Obama’s environmental regulations.”

Said one official: “I don’t know why we’d spend any time talking about their issue.”

“The other official described the speech as a ‘Javanka Special’ (a phrase some conservative administration officials use to describe liberal moves they blame on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump).”

“As they push a federal court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration lawyers are arguing the law is no longer workable because Congress eliminated a penalty on people who don’t have health insurance,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“But for months, senior administration officials and lawyers have been making the exact opposite case in other settings, a review of government reports, court filings and public statements made by Trump appointees shows.”

“In fact administration officials, including White House economists, this year repeatedly have hailed the strength of insurance marketplaces created by the 2010 law. And in stark contrast to their claims in federal court in New Orleans, they have stressed that the 2017 legislation eliminating the so-called mandate penalty has had little to no impact on markets and consumers, let alone on the broader healthcare law, often called Obamacare or the ACA.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill to allow congressional committees to access the president’s state tax returns, the New York Timesreports.

The bill requires state tax officials to release the president’s state returns for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose” on the request of the chair of one of three congressional committees: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation. It is effective immediately.

“The British government was hunting Monday for the source of a leak of diplomatic cables from Britain’s ambassador in Washington that branded President Trump’s administration ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘inept,’” the APreports.

“British officials are embarrassed by the publication of Kim Darroch’s unflattering assessment — but more alarmed that sensitive confidential information has been leaked, possibly for political ends.”

President Trump said he would “no longer deal with” the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S. after leaked cables revealed he told top government officials Trump is “insecure” and “incompetent,” The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him.”

“The Trump administration has few realistic options to get a citizenship question onto next year’s census, but by keeping the issue in the public eye it could still trigger an undercount of residents in Democratic-leaning areas,” Reuters reports.

“Constant media coverage linking citizenship and census forms could scare undocumented immigrants away from responding and rally U.S. President Donald Trump’s base to participate, they said. That, in turn, would help redraw voting districts across the country in favor of his Republican party, encouraging the president to pursue a legal battle that he has little chance of winning.”

Washington Post: The Trump administration has changed its story on the census citizenship question at least 10 times in four months.

The Week: “During the 2016 presidential campaign, an unnamed woman accused Trump of raping her in 1994 at one of Epstein’s Manhattan parties. She would’ve been 14 at the time. The woman eventually withdrew her suit. Another woman said she was recruited in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to be Epstein’s ‘sex slave.’ And in a less direct connection, Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has been accused of burying Epstein’s crimes and letting him off with a 13-month sentence back when Acosta was a Florida prosecutor.”

“The White House has denied that Trump and Epstein ever had a ‘social relationship’ … and also denied the earlier allegation of sexual assault.”

“Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a once-secret plea deal, the U.S. government is taking another run at putting the wealthy sex offender behind bars with new sex-trafficking charges that law enforcement officials say involve allegations dating to the early 2000s,” the AP reports.

“Epstein, arrested over the weekend, is expected to make his first court appearance on the new charges Monday in New York City.”

Elie Honig: “It is unusual and notable that SDNY’s Public Corruption Unit is on the Epstein case. I keep thinking back to 2008 when I was in the SDNY and Public Corruption was on a seemingly routine interstate prostitution case. Turned out, then-NY Governor Eliot Spitzer was Client 9.”

Christine Pelosi: “It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may – whether on Republicans or Democrats.”

I will gladly trade Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of York for the imprisonment of Donald Trump.

Politico: “He asks visitors if they’d like to wash their hands in a bathroom near the Oval Office. He’ll send a military doctor to help an aide caught coughing on Air Force One.”

“And the first thing he often tells his body man upon entering the Beast after shaking countless hands at campaign events: ‘Give me the stuff’ — an immediate squirt of Purell… White House staffers know that if they’re visibly sick or sound hoarse, they must steer clear of a president who doesn’t want to be around anyone who’s under the weather.”

“The Justice Department is swapping out the lawyers who had been representing the administration in its legal battle to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, possibly signaling career attorneys’ legal or ethical concerns over the maneuvering ordered by President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“President Trump wrapped up the weekend as he started it, jawboning the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates at a time when he may be sizing up his two latest picks for Fed governor as successors to Chairman Jerome Powell,” Bloomberg reports.

“The fresh criticism is consistent with ideas that the president is laying the groundwork to replace Powell when the chairman’s term is up in 2022, assuming Trump is re-elected, or will attempt to do so earlier if the Fed doesn’t bend quickly enough to his will.”

“A federal grand jury in New York is investigating top Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, examining whether he used his position as vice chair of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee to drum up business deals with foreign leaders,” the AP reports.

“A wide-ranging subpoena the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn recently sent to Trump’s inaugural committee seeks records relating to 20 individuals and businesses. All have connections to Broidy, his investment and defense contracting firms, and foreign officials he pursued deals with — including the current president of Angola and two politicians in Romania.”

Hours after the USA triumphed in the Women’s World Cup, President Trump said he had not thought about inviting the team for a visit, but would “look at it,” according to Voice of America.

Just two weeks ago Trump invited the team to the White House whether they won or lost after chastising co-captain Megan Rapinoe.

However, Rapinoe reiterated to AFP she would not be going: “I haven’t spoken to everyone about it, obviously not myself, not Ali Krieger, and I suspect not many, if any, of the other players would attend the visit.”

Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the team to the Capitol to celebrate their victory.

Washington Post: “For decades, Trump has cited his attendance at what was then called the Wharton School of Finance as evidence of his intellect. He has said he went to ‘the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,’ calling it ‘super genius stuff,’ and, as recently as last month, pointed to his studies there as he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative economist Arthur Laffer. ”

“But Trump, who questioned the academic standing of then-President Barack Obama, has never released records showing how he got into the school — or how he performed once he was there. And, until now, Nolan’s detailed account of Trump’s admission process has not been publicly disclosed.”

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

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