Editor’s Blog

And There You Have It

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.

the FEI European Championship 2015 media night on August 11, 2015 in Aachen, Germany.
He’s Flippin’

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.”

Sic Transit

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.

Trump’s Ploy

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.

Trump’s Foundational Immigration Lie

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.

Creeping Kimism

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.

Trump On Fire

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.

Most Bracing, Ugliest Moments of ICE Chief Interview on CNN

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. Read More

Sic Transit

Michael Cohen has hired a new criminal lawyer, a former high-ranking SDNY prosecutor named Guy Petrillo. Peter Strzok was reportedly escorted out of the FBI building Friday afternoon. For the moment, he appears still to be employed by the FBI. We now have James Comey fired. Andrew McCabe fired and apparently in line to be prosecuted. Peter Strzok appears to be on the cusp of being fired and the President’s lawyer has demanded that he be imprisoned. Big picture, folks, big picture.

What?

Curious what on earth this means. From deep in a Politico article on family separation and Secretary Nielsen …

But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.

What on earth does that mean? My best guess is that standard pattern of continuing to enable Trump and prepackaging a later explanation for why you didn’t really support any of it.

Literally

Racist Demagogue

This requires an explicit mention.

The use of the word “infest” to talk about people is literally out of the Nazi/anti-Semites’ playbook for talking about the Jewish threat. It was also a standard for talking about Chinese in the western United States and it remains part of the vocabulary for talking about Romani (Gypsies) in parts of Europe. This is the most hard-boiled kind of racist demagogic language, the kind that in other parts of the world has often preceded and signaled the onset of exterminationist violence. The verb “to infest” is one generally used to describe insects or vermin (rats), creatures which are literally exterminated when they become present in a house or building or neighborhood.

Listen

Audio of children newly separated from their parents at the border. Listen here.

The Press Conference

DHS Secretary Nielsen just finished her press conference on the family separation policy. It was aggressive, dishonest and included a turbulent exchange with reporters. Here are a few snippets of video I found noteworthy. Read More

Very Odd

Sen. Blumenthal says in today’s hearing that he sent a letter to FBI Director Wray on May 8th asking about the Giuliani issue. He says he’s received no reply. Blumenthal also read into the record a pretty detailed explanation of Nunes’ admission that got a leak from the FBI New York field office right after the Weiner laptop was found. But somewhat bizarrely, Blumenthal didn’t actually ask about that. He asked for assurances that there were no on-going leaks to either Giuliani or Nunes, which of course allowed Wray to completely ignore the whole issue. Not sure I understand the logic of that approach to the question. Read More

“You Guys Are Finally Going to Get that Bitch”
Honoree former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Planned Parenthood 100th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

This is notable. According to testimony in the IG Report, one reason for the harsh criticism of Secretary Clinton in James Comey’s June 2016 statement was to assuage the concerns of FBI employees who said “You guys are finally going to get that bitch. We’re rooting for you.” Read More

Don’t Believe the IG Hype

It’s refreshing to see at least one Democratic member of Congress roundly address Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) apparent role pushing to restart the Clinton emails investigation in the final weeks of the 2016 election. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called Nunes “the President’s fixer in Congress.” But I would be highly, highly skeptical of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s suggestion that the Rudy Giuliani/New York field office leaks are still under investigation. I’ve even seen some people speculating that he may be signaling the existence of a criminal probe that his office had to avoid interfering with. Again, be highly, highly skeptical. Read More

Hostage Situation

President Trump just made the terms pretty clear. The kids can see their parents again if Democrats agree to fund his wall. That’s actually what he’s saying here. If Democrats will support his bill to fund a wall the kids can go free.

Family Separation, Evil Via Policy and The Internal Contradictions of Trumpism

Amidst the ugliness and moral squalor of the Trump family separation policy, the current backlash provides an important window into the nature of Trumpism. US law gives the government discretion over how to prosecute certain actions at the border. If they are prosecuted criminally that leads to parents being separated from children. It is clear from lower court decisions in recent weeks that if the goal beyond family separation is deterrence or punishment the policy has serious legal and constitutional problems. The problem for the administration is that the highest ranking members of the executive branch (Trump, Sessions and others) have already stated explicitly that the aim is deterrence. Read More

‘A Deep and Visceral Hatred,’ The Timeline

Over recent days I’ve been noting abundant evidence from the DOJ Inspector General’s report, Rep. Devin Nunes and other sources of clear anti-Clinton animus on the part of senior FBI Agents in the New York FBI Field Office and among retired agents with whom they were apparently in contact. It seems clear that members of that office leaked word of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop more or less immediately to Capitol Hill Republicans and at least one top Trump campaign surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, to create pressure to reopen the Clinton probe.

It further seems clear that fear of such leaks was a major or even the primary reason why James Comey sent his letter to Congress on October 28th, 2016. In other words, there was not just bias – Comey himself reportedly called it a “deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton”. That bias lead to specific and repeated actions which at least violated FBI regulations and possibly violated the law. Those violations triggered a chain of events which likely changed the outcome of the election. That is a very big deal. And yet, these basic facts, which seem all but beyond dispute receive no clear examination in the IG Report. Read More

Schiff: First We Heard About Leaks To Nunes

Fascinating but unsurprising. Rep. Adam Schiff says it’s the first he’s heard of the “good FBI agents” immediately leaking news of the Anthony Weiner laptop to Rep. Devin Nunes.