News & Analysis of Economic, Racial, Gender Justice and More

A federal appeals court has dismissed a major lawsuit brought by the Attorneys General of Maryland and the District of Columbia over President Donald Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the suit over the Trump International Hotel in DC renting out rooms to foreign heads of state. The two Attorneys General plan to appeal the ruling. Trump hailed the decision on Twitter calling the lawsuit, “a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt.”

A day earlier Trump suffered a legal loss after a federal judge in New York denied the administration’s request to change its lawyers in the bid to add a citizenship question to the US Census. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman wrote, “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel.” Trump slammed the decision saying, “So now the Obama appointed judge on the Census case … won’t let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use. Could this be a first?”

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve testified to the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing on Wednesday during which he warned against the US’s trade wars and “weak manufacturing” thwarting the economy.  He also warned that he could cut interest rates soon – a first in about a decade. Congresswoman Maxine Waters who chairs the committee asked Powell a pointed question during the hearing.

A week after President Trump’s massive Fourth of July military display and speech, DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced that the city’s security fund has been depleted and is projected to be in debt to the tune of $6 million. Bowser has asked the White House to reimburse that fund. One estimate found that this year’s Independence Day celebrations were six times higher than past years and that as the costs were added up, that may increase. The Pentagon found that the cost of displaying tanks and conducting military flyovers as per Trump’s demand ran into $1.2 million. The Pentagon Comptroller’s report said, “Funding for the demonstrations came from the military services’ training budgets that facilitate flying hours, which are imperative to military readiness. Additional funding was used for the transportation of static displays and equipment.” Trump wants a repeat of the spectacle next year.

The family of a slain black teenager in Arizona wants justice and a hate crimes charge in the killing of Elijah El-Amin. Seventeen-year old El-Amin was in a convenience store in Peoria when a 27-year old white man named Michael Adams entered the store and allegedly stabbed El-Amin in the neck without provocation. Adams’ only defense is that El-Amin was listening to rap music in his car in the parking lot of the store and claims that he had been attacked in the past by people listening to such music, namely, “blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.”

Meanwhile in Anaheim, California, the family of a 17-year old girl named Hannah Williams who was killed by police after a traffic stop is demanding answers. Police say a BB gun that resembled a real gun was found at the scene.

In immigration news, the number of border arrests in the month of June dropped by more than a quarter according to the Department of Homeland Security. The New York Times explained that DHS, “credited the drop to the security forces Mexico deployed to prevent migrants from reaching the United States border and the expansion of a program that forces migrants to wait in Mexico as their immigration cases are processed.” Meanwhile Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday night announced that it is investigating a complaint against one of its agents for sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl who was being held in detention. NBC News obtained a copy of the internal report detailing the accusation alongside other allegations of physical and verbal abuse aimed at refugee and immigrant children.

A woman named Jennifer Araoz has publicly revealed that she was abused and raped by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2002. She was just 15 years old at the time. In an interview on NBC’s Today show, Araoz detailed how she was introduced to Epstein through another young girl and started out being paid to give him massages after which he eventually raped her.  Epstein was charged in federal court earlier this week on multiple charges including operating a sex trafficking ring.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has once more decided to attack a woman of color in power, this time focusing on Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. On Tuesday Carlson said that Omar was, “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.” Omar came to the US as a refugee from Somalia. She slammed Carlson on Twitter, saying, “Not gonna lie, it’s kinda fun watching a racist fool like this weeping about my presence in Congress.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday reportedly chastised her fellow Democrats who lie to her ideological left for taking their political battle with her to the public. According to a source who attended the closed-door meeting, Pelosi said, “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK.” She was referring to responses from members of Congress such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib among others who differed with her position on the recent border funding bill. However, it was Pelosi’s pointed barb aimed at them in a New York Times interview that started the spat.

The UK’s Ambassador to the US has announced his resignation days after his private thoughts about President Trump became public. Ambassador Kim Darroch wrote in his resignation letter, “The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.” Trump had openly insulted the Ambassador for days on Twitter.

And finally a British organization called The Rendition Project on Wednesday released the results of four years of investigation into the US CIA’s torture program launched after the 9-11 attacks. The report is considered, “the most comprehensive review of CIA torture ever likely to be conducted.”

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