Headlines: July 22, 2019
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House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other Democrats have been speaking out ahead of Wednesday’s public hearing featuring testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In an interview on Fox News with host Chris Wallace, Mr. Nadler accused the President of being guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” If Democrats do pursue impeachment after the Mueller hearings, they would be led by the committee that Nadler chairs. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Monday appeared panicked in his Twitter post when he said, “Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple.” He then ended his tweet with a contradictory message saying that Mueller was to be trusted if judged by his report. He wrote, “Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!…”
A Washington Post article on Sunday explained that ahead of his controversial political rally last week where Trump’s supporters chanted “Send Her Back,” in reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Trump prepared ahead of time to launch attacks on Omar and her colleagues. According to the paper, “Advisers wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four congresswomen.” Trump denied the report on Twitter, but was proven wrong when photos emerged of a sheet of paper in his hands with talking points. Among the points typed on the sheet were, “it seems like they hate America,” and “if you are not happy here you can leave.” Meanwhile Trump adviser Stephen Miller, widely credited for infusing the White House with racism, was confronted by Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday, essentially refusing to answer Wallace’s questions about why it was wrong for the Squad to criticize America when Trump has done it many times.
Meanwhile news emerged on Saturday in the New York Times about an idea Trump pitched in 2005 for his reality TV show that would, “pit an all-white team against an all-black team.” The article was aptly titled, “Trump Employs an Old Tactic: Using Race for Gain.” In Louisiana a police officer was found to have written in a FaceBook post that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is part of the “squad,” should be shot. He wrote in response to a fake-news meme that she, “needs a round — and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.” He also called her, “a vile idiot.” And in Georgia, an African American state lawmaker named Erica Thomas said that a white male grocery store employee told her to, “go back to where she came from.”
Congresswoman Deb Haaland, who this year became one of two of the first ever Native American members of Congress, wrote a scathing op-ed in the New York Times on Monday titled, “Trump Wants Immigrants to ‘Go Back.’ Native Americans Don’t.” She wrote, “The president and his followers lack authority to tell anyone to leave this country because they are not indigenous to this land.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer visited the US-Mexico border on Friday where he spoke with Border Patrol officers and also met mothers and children locked in cages, sleeping on the floor and with no access to proper hygiene. He wrote on Twitter, “Humans being locked in cages. To see these people, coming to America in search of a better life, treated in such inhumane conditions. This is heart-wrenching. This is wrong. This is not who we are. This has to end. Now.” Trump responded saying he wanted to meet with Schumer as soon as possible.
A CBS News poll of Democratic Presidential contenders has found Senator Elizabeth Warren surging ahead of a very crowded field to claim the second highest spot after Vice President Joe Biden. The poll shows Biden at 25% support, Warren at 20%, and Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders at 16% and 15% respectively. Meanwhile the progressive group Democracy For America released the results of a straw poll on Monday finding Sanders leading by far at 32%, Warren at 26%, Harris at 12% and Biden at a mere 10%.
Hundreds of thousands of people are on the streets of San Juan in Puerto Rico on Monday upping the ante against Governor Ricardo Rosselló demanding his resignation. The protests could be the largest the island has ever seen. Reports emerged that people occupied several miles of a major highway as part of their actions.
The credit reporting company Equifax has just been fined $650 million in a settlement over charges of a data breach that exposed personal information of about 147 million people in 2017. If approved by a court, the fine, “would be the largest ever paid by a company over a data breach,” said the New York Times.
In yet another escalation of tensions between the US and Iran, Iranian authorities are claiming that they have caught 17 members of a spy network belonging to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Some of them have apparently been sentenced to death. President Trump denied the report on Twitter on Monday writing that it was, “totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda.” Meanwhile the UK is now considering how to respond to what it considers aggressive Iranian actions against its oil tankers. Outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency security session to meet with her cabinet about it.
In Hong Kong protesters remain defiant months into a mass movement against Chinese authority over the island’s laws. Some people on Sunday apparently vandalized the Chinese government’s liaison office. According to news reports, “protesters had defaced a crest of the Chinese government at the liaison office with eggs and black ink, and had sprayed the building’s exterior with graffiti.” On Monday a group of men armed with sticks and bars attacked a group of antigovernment protesters at a train station in Yuen Long which is near the border with China. Dozens of victims, including a lawmaker and a journalist were not in the middle of protesting when the attack took place. Hong Kong police apparently took their time getting to the scene.
And finally at least 17 people have been killed in a bomb attack near Mogadishu airport in Somalia. The militant group Al Shabab took responsibility for the attack. Just one week earlier 26 people had been killed and 54 wounded in a suicide attack that Al Shabab also claimed credit for, in the southern part of the country.