- Senate intelligence committee subpoenaed Trump’s eldest son
- Barr working with intelligence chiefs on Russia inquiry review
- Sign up to the US briefing and get a new perspective
The House judiciary committee sent a letter Tuesday to the Justice Department, requesting documents and information pertaining to the agency’s oversight of potential civil rights violations by law enforcement:
Despite continuing concerns from civil rights and community-based organizations, the Department has sharply curtailed its statutory role in identifying and eradicating civil rights abuses by law enforcement. Excessive force in police-civilian encounters presents a crisis of trust throughout our nation. Changes to Department policy and failure to uphold the law run the risk of undermining federal oversight authority in this space.
Alabama state senator Vivian Davis Figures proposed an amendment to make vasectomies a felony in response to legislation that would essentially criminalize abortion. It may seem a little eye-for-an-eye, but it’s a tactic that been used in the pro-choice fight before.
In March, Georgia state representative Dar’shun Kendrick drafted a “testicular bill of rights” in response to the legislation signed into law this week that bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected (which can be as early as six weeks).
Ggggooooodddd morning! Introducing my “testicular bill of rights” legislative package. You want some regulation of bodies and choice? Done! pic.twitter.com/5E8HBRSc9l
Read more on the Alabama abortion bill here:
Some more updates from Montgomery, Alabama, where our colleague Erin Durkin is reporting on that the state senate is consider a near-total ban on abortion that would make it a crime to perform one at any stage of pregnancy:
Senator Chambliss is arguing against allowing an exception for rape. “That life is worth preserving even at that point. That life is precious,” he said.
“Do you know what it’s like to be raped?” Senator Vivian Figures asks Chambliss.
“You don’t have to raise that child. You don’t have to carry that child. You don’t have to provide for that child. You don’t have to do anything for that child. But yet you want to make that decision for that woman,” Sen. Figures says.
Sen. Figures is introducing an amendment that would require legal bills for the state to defend this legislation to be paid by the legislators who voted for it. (Before introducing it, she asked Chambliss if he would be willing to help pay, and he said yes)
The amendment fails by a vote of 24-6.
Another amendment from Sen. Figures: To make a it a class A felony for a man to have a vasectomy.
Some news from the west coast: California joined in on a lawsuit, announced Monday, with Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon. Turns out that was California’s 50th lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the issues that California has tussled over with the Trump administration:
The New York Times is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. and the Senate intelligence committee reached a deal Tuesday for his forthcoming testimony on Capitol Hill:
NEWS – A deal was struck between the senate committee subpoeaning @DonaldJTrumpJr for limited appearance, between 2-4 hours, in mid-June, after an intense campaign by his allies against Burr and McConnell. story via @npfandos and me coming soon.
The compromise was an appearance by Mr. Trump in the middle of June, with questions limited to about a half-dozen topics, with the time no longer than two to four hours, according to a person briefed. Another person, who would not be identified, contested that the scope was of the topics had been limited.
Hey all, Vivian Ho taking over for Tom McCarthy.
Our colleague Erin Durkin is in Alabama at the moment, where lawmakers are considering abortion legislation. We’ll keep you updated on what goes down here.
The Alabama Senate is about to meet to consider a near-total ban on abortion, which would make it a crime to perform one at any stage of pregnancy.
Here’s a summary of the day thus far:
Trump wraps his Louisiana speech. With piped-in Rolling Stones to see him off, just like 2016. Here we go again.
Trump is speaking in Louisiana. So far he’s made fun of Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg’s name, referred to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” and promised a “brand-new I-10 bridge” for the region “if we win this election”.
Applause lines all. Follow along here:
Senator Ron Wyden has written a letter to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau asking for assurances of safe passage for Portland Trail Blazers star Enes Kanter if the Oregon-based team meets the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals, as could happen.
There are concerns that Kanter, who is Turkish and a critic of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, could be targeted by the Erdogan government. Wyden’s letter, first reported by ESPN, read in part:
I ask your government to facilitate Mr. Kanter’s safe passage to and from Canada should the Portland Trail Blazers play the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Canada, in the upcoming NBA Finals. I also urge your government to state publicly that it will not comply with any Interpol red notice meant to interfere with Mr. Kanter’s livelihood and to intimidate him and his family back in Turkey.
It turns out that Trump is thrilled with the way Barr is going after his perceived political opponents, who through another lens were career justice department employees pursuing an investigation of foreign sabotage of a US election.
“I think it’s a great thing that he did it.”
It was announced yesterday that former president Carter, 94, broke his hip while preparing to go turkey hunting and had to undergo surgery.
I’m wishing President Carter a full recovery from his broken hip and a speedy return to his good work around the world.
Having a little fun?
Here’s footage from Pompeo’s meeting with Putin. In these preliminary remarks, Putin touts bilateral ties. Pompeo says Trump sent him to find ways for the countries to work together.
LIVE: Sec. Pompeo meets with President Putin. https://t.co/8u8r1Sh518
In remarks to reporters before leaving the White House today, Trump described the retaliatory tariffs between the United States and China as “a little squabble”:
“We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very very unfairly for many decades.. I think it’s going to turn out extremely well, we’re in a very strong position.”
Here’s senator Lindsey Graham carrying water for Donald Trump in discouraging the idea of Donald Trump Jr testifying before the Senate, which has demanded that Trump Jr appear.
To review, that’s Graham turning on his Republican colleagues in the senate on behalf of the president:
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “If I were [Donald Trump Jr.’s] lawyer I wouldn’t put him back into this circus. He’s been to the committee, two or three different committee. He’s testified under oath.” pic.twitter.com/3IY4NbyvB1
Nicholas Geale, a top Labor Department official, is leaving the Trump administration over a clash with White House officials, Axios reports. The report says that the officials considered Geale to be “personally difficult and as an impediment to President Trump’s deregulatory agenda.”
A source who is close to the president and has direct knowledge of the situation told me: “The pace of change has not been sufficient. [Sec. Acosta] tends to be fairly fearful of taking hardline positions. He tends to be solicitous of the unions, often making the argument that that’s what the president wants.”
Attorney General William Barr is working with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to examine intelligence methods used during the Russia investigation, the Associated Press reports:
That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person could not discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.
Barr has appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to lead the inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation and the intelligence methods used during the probe. But the person said Barr remains directly involved in the probe.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council has released a statement accusing Trump of shunning American Muslims by failing to invite them – for a second consecutive year – to the White House Iftar.
The statement, first reported by Talking Points Memo, read:
Tonight marks another year when President Trump fails to invite American Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Instead, foreign ambassadors and dignitaries from Muslim-majority countries comprise the guest list for tonight’s iftar. Many of those he did invite represent autocratic and repressive governments, regimes that routinely oppress innocent citizens and violate the rights of women, minorities and free-thinking people.
Hillary Clinton started the tradition of the White House Iftar (the daily fast-breaking dinner) in 1996 when she served as First Lady. Since 1996, when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton began the tradition, this event has been a staple of both Republican and Democratic administrations. It’s served as an opportunity to celebrate Ramadan with the American Muslim community, the leaders of its civic groups, its imams, its writers, artists, and entertainers.
After canceling the White House iftar two years ago, President Trump broke away from this great tradition. This year, he has continued the tradition MPAC initiated over 20 years ago — but for the past two years, no American Muslim organizations or leaders were invited. This is not surprising, through his exclusively foreign guest list he is perpetuating the narrative Islam is foreign to America and that American Muslims are not an integral part of our social fabric.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday that Washington would not tolerate any Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2020, Reuters reports:
Speaking at a news conference after holding talks with Lavrov in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Pompeo said he had made it clear to Russia that there could be no repeat of election interference of the kind Washington accuses Moscow of undertaking in the 2016 presidential election.
Russia denies the allegation it meddled in that election.
Contrary to previous reports and this earlier blog block, district judge Amie Mehta does not intend to rule today on a challenge by the president to a House subpoena for eight years’ worth of accounting documents. The ruling could defuse a tense standoff between Trump and congress – or send the country further towards a bona fide constitutional crisis.
Britain Eakin of Courthouse News is in the room:
Mehta will not be ruling from the bench today, he says straight away, contrary to media reports implying as such. The issues presented today are serious, Mehta says. “No judge would make a hasty decision on such important issues for the sake of expediency.”
And that’s a wrap. Mehta will leave the record open until the 18th for the parties to submit additional evidence. There will be no discovery and no further briefing in the case before he rules. Thank you for joining me today!
Campaigning in New Hampshire, former vice president Joe Biden says that post-Trump, Republicans will become a party of compromising partners in government:
In New Hampshire, Joe Biden predicts that once President Trump is out of office, Republicans will have “an epiphany” and work with Democrats toward consensus.
This, uh, seems to run counter to everything we know about partisan politics in our polarized era. https://t.co/s5Ncdsa8U8
Ain’t a chance in heck this happens… but the idea of working with Republicans polls well among Democrats. https://t.co/bMz9L46l2w
Appearing on The View talk show this morning, Texas Representative and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke admits it might not have been the best idea to launch his presidential campaign on the cover of Vanity Fair:
Beto O’Rourke on criticisms of his ‘Vanity Fair’ “born to be in it” remark: “I was attempting to say that I felt my calling was in public service — no one is born to be President of the United States of America.”
4. @MeghanMcCain asks Beto if he can get away with stuff like “I’m just born to be in it,” because he’s a man.
Beto says “you’re right.”
He goes on to agree that the Vanity Fair cover as an announcement was a mistake. pic.twitter.com/dFoPdUgraf
Picking up on Trump’s suggestion earlier today that his son Donald Jr has testified enough, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, which has subpoenaed Trump Jr for further testimony, declines to say what would happen next in the frankly rather extremely plausible event that Trump Jr defies the subpoena:
Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr declines to comment about pursuing contempt for Donald Trump Jr if he defies subpoena
“I’m not going to discuss any engagement with witnesses,” Burr said off the floor
Perfect timing for this discovery, as US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is about to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin and can bring this up:
Trump spoke with reporters briefly before departing for New Orleans. He suggested that his son, Donald Jr, who has been subpoenaed to testify by the Republican-led Senate intelligence committee, had already testified enough (members have Congress have expressed concern that Trump Jr might have misled them).
Trump also addressed a New York Times report from yesterday with this eye-popping lede:
WASHINGTON — At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.
Trump, before leaving WH, said:
—there’s a squabble with China but he has a good relationship with Xi and US having a good dialogue
—doesn’t know anything about 120,000 troops
—Don Jr spent 20+ hours testifying
—a Q about whether he has confidence in Chris Wray “ridiculous.”
When I asked @realDonaldTrump if the U.S. is winning the trade war he told me: “ You wanna know something, we always win. “
The House Judiciary panel has set a 21 May hearing for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the Associated Press reports:
But it’s unclear if he’ll show.
The committee posted notice Tuesday of the hearing. McGahn was a vital witness for Mueller’s probe into Russia election meddling and contacts with Donald Trump’s campaign. McGahn told Mueller of Trump’s attempts to thwart his investigation and remove Mueller.
The White House has said McGahn cannot turn over documents the committee seeks and prefers he not testify, reflecting Trump’s strategy of resisting congressional investigations.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has said the committee would hold McGahn in contempt if he does not appear at the hearing.
Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator running for president, has declined to follow the lead of fellow Democrats who have either appeared in or committed to appear in town halls organized by Fox News.
In rejecting the offer, Warren says she does not want to feed the Fox “hate-for-profit” machine and accuses the network of giving “a megaphone to racists and conspiracists”:
Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.
But Fox News is struggling as more and more advertisers pull out of their hate-filled space. A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox—no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: It’s not).
I’m running a campaign to reach all Americans. I take questions from the press and voters everywhere I go. I’ve already held town halls in 17 states and Puerto Rico—including WV, OH, GA, UT, TN, TX, CO, MS & AL.
I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January. Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.
Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, announced on Tuesday that he is entering the presidential race after pushing a progressive agenda in a conservative state.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is to meet Vladimir Putin in Russia at a time of heightened fears of a clash between the US and Iran, a Moscow ally.
It is the first high-level meeting between US and Russian leaders since the partial release of the Mueller report, which at length documents the Russian sabotage of the 2016 election. Donald Trump and Putin spoke on the phone shortly after the report was published.
UPDATE: Judge Mehta said he would not rule today, as this blog block originally reported. See our update here. Original text of block follows:
On one side, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives demands documents from Donald Trump and aides: tax records, business documents, emails, legal opinions. The constitution prescribes that Congress oversee the other two branches of government and subpoenas are a favorite tool.
On the subject of markets – the Dow Jones Industrial Average has opened up slightly, a half a point in the green on the day so far. It fell a bit more than three points on Monday.
Donald Trump spent at least an hour and some 1,400 characters on Tuesday morning tweeting a defense of his tariffs on Chinese goods, which China has responded to with retaliatory tariffs, precipitating a dive on Monday in the US markets. Asian markets fell less sharply and European markets opened Tuesday slightly up.
Trump said on Tuesday that “Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry – it is booming!”, “we are in a fantastic position”, “We are in a much better position now than any deal we could have made” and “Other countries are already negotiating with us because they don’t want this to happen to them.”
Hello and welcome to our daily politics coverage.
US attorney general William Barr has put the power of the justice department behind a Donald Trump talking point by assigning a US attorney to examine the origins of an FBI investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, according to the Associated Press.