Interesting bit of background from one of my colleagues. As I mentioned below, a briefing from the DOJ’s Gene Hamilton this afternoon makes clear what we discussed: the Executive Order is illegal on its face. The White House knows this. You can’t detain kids for more than 20 days. (Technically, the child separation policy isn’t detention. They’re separated from their parents, turning them into abandoned kids – “Unaccompanied Minors” – which the government then must house.) Hamilton made clear that what happens from here is that the administration will begin detaining families intact with a 20 day countdown until President Trump blames a court for forcing him to separate families again.
And there you have it. DOJ confirms that the White House knows the President’s executive order is in fact illegal on its face. What it does is set a 20 day countdown until Trump blames a court for forcing him to separate more families again.
JUST IN: Senior Justice Department official Gene Hamilton confirms the Flores settlement still controls, and that unless Congress or the court acts, the government can only detain families together for "up to 20 days."
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) June 20, 2018
Fascinating, convoluted and really complicated story today in The Guardian. The gist is that top Putin-aligned oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s U.S. lobbyist, Adam Waldman, met repeatedly in 2017 with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Deripaska is Manafort’s guy. Or rather, Paul was Deripaska’s guy. He was the one Manafort was offering private briefings to when he was riding high as Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016. He was also the one Manafort owed some $20 million to and who wanted to collect his debt. Waldman met repeatedly with Assange over the course of 2017, with meetings heavily weighted toward the first months of the year.
In Michael Cohen’s letter resigning his position as a Deputy Finance Chair at the RNC he also took a moment to call the President’s family separation policy “heart wrenching” and said that “children should never be used as bargaining chips.”
As it attempted to stave off public outcry about the border crisis, the Trump administration argued that it was helpless to take action. This is a law, or maybe a policy, representatives of the administration said; its hands were bound.
From a column in The Houston Chronicle from a flight attendant refusing to fly more flights in which migrant children separated from their families are being transported …
I have told my story to many of my flight attendant colleagues and they have pledged to do the same.
Since sharing my story, I learned from a fellow flight attendant that he was lied to by an ICE agent who said the children on the flight were part of a soccer team. When pressed, the agent finally admitted that they were, indeed children who were being relocated to assigned camps.
This inhumane separation of migrant children from their families is against the morals and principles instilled in me, as well as my religious and spiritual teachings.
The President says he’s signing an executive order to end family separations. The actual aim seems to be to pick a fight with the courts and allow separations to continue while blaming judges. According to The New York Times, the President will sign an executive order allowing children to be detained indefinitely with their parents. The problem is that that violates a 1997 consent decree saying that you can’t detain/imprison children for more than 20 days (technically what’s currently happening isn’t detention). It straight up violates that order. So what will almost inevitably happen is that a court will step in, say you can’t do that and then Trump will announce that the judge is forcing him to keep separating families.
Every discussion of immigration from the President and most Republicans begins with a lie intended to frame the question. Government statistics show clearly that immigrants, whether legal or not, do not increase crime rates. Full stop. Immigrants do not create crime. Undisputed data shows that immigrants actually commit crimes at a slightly lower rate than native-born American citizens. The entire security and safety argument is simply false. If we were truly concerned about public safety and wanted to address the issue through immigration policy we’d do better by inviting in more immigrants and booting citizens who are already here. It’s all a straight-up lie, the purported balancing of security and humane treatment. There are many legitimate immigration related policy questions. But controlling crime or safety or security is simply not one of them. It’s the foundational lie of the entire immigration debate.
Donald Trump reportedly gave an angry fighting talk to House Republicans last night. We’re also led to believe they’re angry about the President’s family separation policy. But at least according to these photos released through the President’s Twitter feed, these folks were loving their dear leader. Bigly.
Click the image for full screen view.
Good morning. Here’s what our writers and editors have their eyes on today.
A notice or reminder. President Trump is going to give one of his campaign-style rallies tonight in Duluth, Minnesota. Coming on the heels of what appears to be Trump’s aggressive and embattled mood over the family separation policy and anger that the furor is crowding out coverage of the Inspector General’s Report (yes, he’s actually mad about that), one can only imagine what that speech is going to be like.
Here are some key video excerpts of an interview this afternoon with Thomas Homan, acting Director of ICE. Homans is a career ICE officer, back to its predecessor organizations. Despite being a career employee he’s turned out to be an ardent Trumper. Blitzer does an excellent job, continually coming back to press the key points, repeatedly with government statistics on hand to refute claims by Homans which are either deceptive or outright lies.