“When Vice President Pence visited a migrant detention center here Friday, he saw nearly 400 men crammed behind caged fences with not enough room for them all to lie down on the concrete ground. There were no mats or pillows for those who found the space to rest. A stench from body odor hung stale in the air,” the Washington Post reports.
“When reporters toured the facility before Pence, the men screamed that they’d been held there 40 days, some longer. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot, but the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink.”
New Yorker: “Early next week, according to a D.H.S. official, the Trump Administration is expected to announce a major immigration deal, known as a safe-third-country agreement, with Guatemala.”
“For weeks, there have been reports that negotiations were under way between the two countries, but, until now, none of the details were official. According to a draft of the agreement… asylum seekers from any country who either show up at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead.”
President Trump on Saturday broadened his attack on Paul Ryan, saying conservatives like the former speaker “almost killed the Republican Party” because they were “weak, ineffective & stupid,” Politico reports.
“Trump’s repeated attacks against Ryan this week came after the publication of book excerpts on Wednesday detailing the former speaker’s negative views of Trump during the 2016 campaign and his first two years as president.”
Geoffrey Skelley: “At the moment, just five candidates have qualified for the third debate, according to our research, and while it’s early yet (candidates have until late August to improve their donor numbers and gain more support in the polls), the debate’s higher thresholds will probably result in far fewer than 20 candidates making the stage.”
“To qualify, candidates must have at least 2 percent support in four qualifying national or early-state polls released after the first debate on June 26-27 through two weeks before the third debate on Sept. 12-13 and 130,000 unique donors (including at least 400 individual donors in at least 20 states). And while those thresholds might not sound that difficult to meet, it’s definitely raising the ante from the first two debates, in which candidates needed to hit only 1 percent support in three qualifying polls or 65,000 unique donors (including at least 200 individual donors in at least 20 states).”
CBS News: Here are the candidates who have qualified for the second debate.
Quartz notes there’s a framed photo of conservative commentator Tomi Lahren hanging in the U.S. Border Patrol headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Lahren has called immigrants “shifty and adaptable,” and has claimed they are bringing disease to the U.S. She regularly pushes alt-right conspiracy theories and believes an “invasion by foreigners” is “overwhelming” the country.
“Former special counsel Robert Mueller and two House panels struck a deal Friday to reschedule his congressional testimony for July 24 and agreed to give lawmakers more time to question him about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
“Mueller had been scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17 in a much-anticipated public appearance… Instead, Mueller will testify beginning 8:30 a.m. on July 24, the two committees announced late Friday, for an ‘extended period of time.’”
“Mueller will testify for three hours before the Judiciary panel and then give testimony to the Intelligence Committee.”
Playbook: “There are just 8 days left this month when the House and Senate are both in session. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have both said that the debt limit needs to be lifted this month before everyone gets out of town.”
“Now, both sides want to strike a budget deal that would lift spending caps for the next fiscal year. They would then attach a debt limit hike to that. But… If they can’t get a spending deal, there’s another bill both chambers want to pass before August: the 9/11 first-responders bill. Attach a debt limit increase to that and it would be quite tough to vote against it.”
“A federal investigation into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign-finance laws appears to be wrapping up without charges being filed,” CNN reports.
“In January, one month after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors requested interviews with executives at the company… But prosecutors never followed up on their initial request, people familiar with the matter said, and the interviews never took place.”
Trump biographer Tim O’Brien told MSNBC that President Trump is distorting facts when he says he didn’t know Jeffrey Epstein, saying “they knew each other well.”
Said O’Brien: “When the president stands on the White House lawn and said he barely knew Jeffrey Epstein, that’s not supported by the fact pattern. They knew each other well from 1987 to at least 2002. He traveled on Epstein’s jet at least once. Epstein was either a member of Mar-a-Lago in name or substance, but he was there all the time and the president wanted him to be there.”
He added: “I spent about two years, a lot of time with Trump in the mid-2000s, and he routinely talked about Jeffrey Epstein as someone he admired, he felt they were in sync.”
Pete Buttigieg weighed in on his opponents’ plans to implement “Medicare for All” and free college tuition, calling them “questionable on their merits” and “pretty far out from where Americans are,” CNN reports.
Said Buttigieg: “I do think that we should be realistic about what’s going to work. And just flipping a switch and saying we’re instantly going to have everybody on Medicare just like that — isn’t realistic.”
The Intercept: “When news broke that thousands of current and former Border Patrol agents were members of a secret Facebook group filled with racist, vulgar, and sexist content, Carla Provost, chief of the agency, was quick to respond.”
Said Provost: “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”
“For Provost, a veteran of the Border Patrol who was named head of the agency in August 2018, the group’s existence and content should have come as no surprise. Three months after her appointment to chief, Provost herself had posted in the group… Provost’s comment was innocuous — a friendly clapback against a group member who questioned her rise to the top of the Border Patrol — but her participation in the group, which she has since left, raises serious questions.”
“After fighting for months in court to try to get a citizenship question on the 2020 Census — and briefly overruling his own Justice Department’s legal surrender — Trump abandoned the effort in a manner that had a familiar plot twist: A surprise backup plan that, in Trump’s view, is actually better than the original plan,” the Washington Post reports.
“It’s part of a pattern that Trump has developed during a presidency in which many of his most hard-fought battles have ended in defeat or awkward pivots to secondary options.”
“Ever the brand strategist, Trump rarely gives up quietly, instead preferring to invite the cameras in and make the case that his losses are actually unexpected victories. From his failed efforts to repeal Obamacare to Republicans’ loss of the House majority in 2018, Trump has proved adept at seeing — and promoting — the bright side of failure.”
“An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts.”
“That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its ‘end of life’ on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing ‘patches’ to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit.”