Headlines: July 3, 2018
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A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration has violated immigration rules by issuing blanket detentions for nearly all asylum seekers instead of deciding on a case-by-case basis. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington DC ruled in a case brought forward by nine plaintiffs that shows how dramatically the Department of Homeland Security has changed its rates of detention under Trump. In past years 90% of asylum seekers remained free while their cases were being adjudicated. Now, about 90% are being detained. One of the plaintiffs has been held for 2 years. Judge Boasberg has ordered Homeland Security to abide by its own 2009 directive and release most asylum seekers. Michael Tan, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project told press, “This ruling means the Trump administration cannot use indefinite detention as a weapon to punish and deter asylum seekers.”
Protests against Trump’s immigration policies have remained strong with two major actions in Southern California on Monday. In downtown Los Angeles, 18 people were arrested at a protest outside an ICE office as they blocked the driveway and entrances leading up to it. LA City Councilman Mike Bonin and Rabbi Jonathan Klein were leading the act of civil disobedience and were among those arrested. This is Council member Bonin explaining to CBS Los Angeles why he engaged in the action.
LA City Council member Mike Bonin speaking with press about his arrest. The action came just 2 days after an estimated 75,000 people gathered in downtown LA for the Keep Families Together march and rally. Later in our show we’ll bring you a special report from that rally from our correspondent Nic Cha Kim as part of our series Rising Up in the Streets.
In San Diego on Monday hundreds of people gathered outside a federal building to protest anti-immigrant policies. At one point they sat with locked arms surrounding the building chanting and singing while another person dropped a banner over the nearby Westin Hotel that read “Free Our Families Now.”
These are some of the sounds of the San Diego action on Monday calling for ICE to be abolished among other things.
A 3-year old girl has died after being attacked by a man with a knife at her birthday party in Idaho. The girl and her party’s attendees were primarily refugees from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia. A 30-year old American man named Timmy Kinner has been charged with first-degree murder and several other felonies. The judge has ruled him, “an extreme danger to the community.” Hundreds of people turned out to the funerals of the victims and expressed their support for the refugee community. The attack has not been ruled a hate crime.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has cut dental and vision health insurance for nearly half a million residents of his state in a move being denounced as cruel and vindictive. The announcement came on Monday, after a judge on Friday blocked Bevin’s proposal to reform his state’s Medicaid plans in line with Donald Trump’s desire for, “work requirements” for the poor. Instead of dropping the plans for reform the governor simply decided to end insurance for about 460,000 Kentuckians and called it “an unfortunate consequence” of the judge’s ruling. Democratic State representative Joni Jenkins criticized the Governor’s actions saying, “We have folks that are showing up for dental appointments that they made months ago and neither they nor the providers are really certain what the rules are…And that’s just unacceptable for government to be operating this way.”
We’ll have more on the Kentucky story on our show on Thursday.
In Supreme Court-related news, President Trump has begun the process of interviewing candidates for the seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy after announcing a self-imposed deadline of July 9th. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump met with four potential candidates on Monday. The Washington Post revealed the identities of the four as Raymond Kethledge, Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. All of the candidates on Trump’s shortlist are anti-abortion and abortion appears to be the single most important litmus test for potential nominees as Trump attempts to cement his base ahead of the midterm elections. News has emerged in recent days that it was his short-list of 25 candidates to replace Antonin Scalia’s seat that won him over evangelical Christians ahead of the 2016 elections.
Later in our show we’ll hear from Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire.News about why she thinks Trump will nominate a conservative woman – who will end up undoing the legacy of Roe V. Wade.
Trump this week denied a request from by mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, to lower US flags to half-mast in honor of the five people that were murdered at the newsroom of the Capital Gazette last week. The mayor apparently made the request on Friday based on the fact that Trump had ordered flags to be flown at half-mast in the wake of other recent mass shootings but the President inexplicably denied his request. Annapolis residents have been mourning the loss of the journalists and other staffers at the paper. Trump has long waged a war of words with journalists and reporters called the press the “enemy of the people.”
Within a day of winning the Presidential elections in Mexico by a landslide, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised to, “reach an understanding” with Trump. He explained, “We are conscious of the need to maintain good relations with the United States. We have a border of more than 3,000 kilometers, more than 12 million Mexicans live in the United States. It is our main economic-commercial partner.” The two leaders spoke on the telephone for 30 minutes discussing such issues as NAFTA and the border issue. Trump remarked later, “I think the relationship will be a very good one.”
After today’s headlines we’ll turn to Roberto Flores for analysis of Lopez Obrador’s win. The left-leaning Mexican leader has been compared to Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn but Flores likens him more to Barack Obama.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s head Scott Pruitt is facing new accusations in a Congressional investigation of his misdeeds. The Washington Post reported that two of Pruitt’s aides have shared new details with lawmakers that reveal his, “willingness to leverage his position for his personal benefit and to ignore warnings even from allies about potential ethical issues.” Among the actions he is accused of taking is using his position to find a job for his wife with a salary of $200,000 a year, and insisting on traveling first-class for government business.
The accusations come as Pruitt himself has been videotaped being confronted by a mother carrying her child at a DC-area restaurant and asking the EPA head to resign. Kristin Mink posted a video of herself to Facebook as she talked to Pruitt telling him how her 2-year old son, “loves animals, breathing clean air, and drinking clean water.” Reading from hand-written notes, Mink raised the numerous scandals that he is being investigated for while Pruitt sat quietly listening. She then urged him to resign. Pruitt is the latest in a series of Trump administration officials that have been confronted publicly at restaurants for their policies.
In New York, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused by a third woman of sexual misconduct and has been hit with a new indictment that includes a new count of criminal sexual assault and two counts of predatory sexual assault which could carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Weinstein is expected to be arraigned on July 9th and will be pleading not guilty to the charges. High-profile revelations of his sexual assaults and coercion in Hollywood led to the movie-mogul’s downfall and catapulted the #MeToo movement into national consciousness. More than 75 women have spoken out about his actions against them.
In France a nuclear power plant has been hit with a small drone dressed in a Superman costume and a smaller remote controlled plane by activists with the group Greenpeace. The plant is about 20 miles from the city of Lyon. Greenpeace, which has released a video of its actions, claims that it wanted to demonstrate the lax security at France’s many nuclear power plants. The country relies on nuclear power for about three quarters of its energy.