Headlines: July 13, 2018
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President Donald Trump kept setting off metaphorical fires all over Europe as he continued his UK trip, fresh from a NATO Summit where he left allies aghast at his demands and behavior. The day before he met UK Prime Minister Theresa May, he gave an explosive interview to the tabloid paper, The Sun (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch) where he blasted May for not taking his advice on how to negotiate a BREXIT deal, said a US-UK trade deal was off, and that controversial former foreign minister Boris Johnson would make a good Prime Minister. Trump on Friday backtracked, telling reporters, “I didn’t criticize the prime minister.”
In his Sun Interview Trump also explained how he didn’t feel welcome in London implying that the mass protests were embarrassing him, and blamed Mayor Sadiq Khan for encouraging terrorism in the city. Mayor Khan responded directly to the press.
That’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan responding to allegations made by Trump in a UK tabloid paper during his trip there. Trump’s visit has prompted mass protests all over the UK. Here’s an AP report of some of the protests that took place today including an interview with an American who lives in London.
Later in the program we’ll go to London to speak with social justice organizer Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz with the group War Against Want who will explain what is happening on the ground this week in the UK and why people are joining together in “Carnival of Resistance” against Trump and Trumpism.
The Trump Administration is saying that it has completed the task set forth by a judge to reunite all children under the age of 5 with their parents, albeit 2 days past the Tuesday deadline. But to date only 57 out of 103 children have been reunited and the rest, according to the government, will remain separated for various reasons that include parents having criminal records or not being biologically related to the children. The troubling announcement was made in a joint statement by the Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security Agencies, and the Department of Justice. It remains to be seen if Judge Dana Sabraw who issued the order will agree that the government has complied.
An Associated Press analysis has found that imprisoning immigrant children is now a billion dollar industry in the US. The industry’s profits have increased ten-fold over the past decade. According to AP, “Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states,” and that “by far the largest recipients of taxpayer money have been Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services,” which are non-profit and religious organizations.
On Thursday the congressional testimony of an FBI staffer became explosive and made headlines. Peter Strzok, who was taken off of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team because of his incriminating texts was confronted by Republican lawmakers attempting to taint the Mueller investigation. Here is an exchange between Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Strzok.
That’s FBI Agent Peter Strzok and GOP Representative Trey Gowdy in a heated exchange on Thursday’s hearing.
The adult film actress Stormy Daniels has been exonerated of all charges after being arrested on Wednesday night at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. Her attorney Michael Avenatti had slammed the misdemeanor charges she faced from an undercover sting operation as a “set up.” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein dismissed the charges on Thursday. Daniels is involved in a major lawsuit against Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has reached out to federal prosecutors across the country to help him gather and review documents on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Rosenstein’s request was an unusual insertion of politics into federal law enforcement,” given that it has generally been attorneys who help gather documents ahead of confirmation hearings, not those who prosecute criminals.
In New York a battle erupted between the Democratic Party’s new nominee for the 14th district, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the top Democratic incumbent that she beat, Joe Crowley. By a quirk of an unusual state election law, Crowley will remain on the ballot in the general election this November – as a nominee of the Working Families Party. Both Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley asserted on Twitter that they have reached out to one another’s staff to clarify the matter but that the other didn’t follow through. Ocasio-Cortez claimed that Crowley was, “mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a report on Thursday assessing its performance in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit last year. FEMA found that it was utterly unprepared for the scale of the island’s devastation, in part because the 2017 hurricane season was the worst on record and that far more people registered for assistance than before. FEMA also admits it had thousands fewer workers than it needed and that its staff were woefully unprepared and untrained for the situation at hand. According to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of the report just before it was due to be published, “FEMA failed to take account of the logistical problems that its own disaster planning drills had shown it could face when coping with a disaster in Puerto Rico.”
Sixty-two year old Timothy Trybus was arrested on Thursday and charged with two hate crime-related felonies over a June 14th incident during which he harassed and assaulted a woman in Chicago for wearing a T-Shirt celebrating Puerto Rico. The 24-year old woman, Mia Irizarry, was waiting at a picnic area to celebrate her birthday when Trybus, a white man, approached her and said, “You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” he said. “Are you a citizen?” A Cook County police officer arrived on the scene but video shows he did nothing to intervene as Trybus continued his hate-filled assault. The officer has been placed on desk duty and Trybus is scheduled for his court appearance today.
The Justice Department on Thursday appealed a ruling allowing AT&T’s merger with Time Warner to go ahead. The DOJ filed the appeal in district court saying that it opposed the massive $80 billion deal because it would reduce competition. The US Court of Appeals will now have several months to decide whether the original judge’s ruling allowing the merger was correct or not.
Meanwhile activist organizations are making themselves heard about another media merger – the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media. On Thursday a number of representatives from various organizations such as Free Press, the ACLU, Credo, and more, delivered more than 600,000 signatures on a petition opposing the deal to the offices of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).