US Politics in Trump era
Giuliani sought help for a Turkish-backed client accused of violating Iranian sanctions from a president who has a one-word policy for dealing with Tehran: sanctions. In the end, Zarrab pleaded guilty.
Since his emergence as a political figure, Trump has promised that if he ever attained power, he would use the U.S. military to inflict a massive bloodletting on others, including noncombatants. Unlike other campaign promises, Trump has delivered on this one. Since taking office, he has presided over skyrocketing rates of civilian casualties in America’s many foreign conflicts.
It’s strange to see my journalism twisted, perverted, and turned into lies and poisonous propaganda by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and their enablers. But that’s what has happened to a news story I wrote four years ago.
GOP Racial Gerrymandering Mastermind Participated in Redistricting in More States Than Previously Known, Files Reveal
The reach of late Republican gerrymandering mastermind Thomas Hofeller may be longer than previously known, according to a review of thousands of documents and emails culled from his hard drives, obtained by The Intercept. While Hofeller was known for drawing maps to give Republicans an advantage and to limit the impact of voters of color in North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, and Virginia, the new documents reveal he also participated in the 2010 redistricting cycle in Alabama, Florida, and West Virginia.
Last year, when many GOP candidates across the country turned to vicious anti-immigrant advertisements to turn out voters in the midterm elections, some turned to i360, Koch’s state-of-the-art data analytics company. The company is one of the several appendages of the Koch political machine — one that includes a suite of voter outreach organization, lobbying, and campaign messaging tools.
Before the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in a 2020 Senate race, it pressured consultants from at least five firms not to work with a leading progressive in the race, the candidate told The Intercept.
Two Brazilian firms owned by a top donor to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are significantly responsible for the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, carnage that has developed into raging fires that have captivated global attention.
Fueled by the growing demonization of migrants, as well as ongoing fears of foreign terrorism, the U.S. borderlands have become laboratories for new systems of enforcement and control. Firsthand reporting, interviews, and a review of documents for this story provide a window into the high-tech surveillance apparatus CBP is building in the name of deterring illicit migration — and highlight how these same systems often end up targeting other marginalized populations as well as political dissidents.
On Saturday morning, a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, shot and killed at least 20 people before surrendering to the police. By all accounts, Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old alleged shooter, is a fan of President Donald Trump and his policies. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “a Twitter account bearing the suspect’s name contains liked tweets that include a ‘BuildTheWall’ hashtag” and “a photo using guns to spell out ‘Trump.’”
Last week, CNN published an explosive story related to the Trump-Russia case that raised important new questions about ties between Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Russia. The report said that CNN had obtained hundreds of pages of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by a Spanish security company, which showed that Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, received “in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 U.S. election, during a series of suspicious meetings” while he lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have quietly muscled power away from reformist District Attorney Larry Krasner, passing new legislation giving authority to the state’s attorney general to prosecute certain firearms violations in Philadelphia — and nowhere else in the state. The provision will expire in two years, or just after Krasner’s first term ends.
As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the behest of President Donald Trump, plans mass raids following the July Fourth holiday, newly released documents shed light on the tactics the agency employs during such operations. The documents, released Wednesday by the immigrant rights groups Mijente, Just Futures Law, and Detention Watch Network, show that ICE officials are building arrest target lists for mass raids to meet specific numbers, even as the agency continues to internally and publicly stress a “public safety” rationale for immigration arrests.
Gov. Tom Wolf is weighing whether to sign SB 48, a GOP bill that would ban straight-ticket voting and give Donald Trump an edge in 2020. The ban is a longtime goal of Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel. In late 2015, Republicans succeeded in banning straight-ticket voting in Michigan, spurring litigation that lasted for a couple of years.
Senate Republicans narrowly defeated an amendment Friday that would have limited President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran without congressional approval. The 50-40 vote gave the measure a majority of votes cast, but due to parliamentary maneuvering by Senate leadership, it needed 60 votes to pass.
When it comes to conservatives and the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion and labor rights are often considered among their prime targets. Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the court last fall, though, opened the road for a host of other challenges for which conservatives have quietly been laying the groundwork for years. This month, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm based in California, made moves on one of those fronts, asking the Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning — a popular tool cities and states employ to increase affordable housing and promote residential integration.
AIPAC, which for years had strong support from both political parties, has seen its influence dip in the Democratic Party as its increasingly hard-line approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict pushes it in an ever more aggressive direction.
In 2018, President Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi. There’s a problem, though: Heshmat Alavi appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is known by the initials MEK, two sources told The Intercept.
Conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is launching yet another project to wage war on multiple fronts of America’s most heated cultural and political debates. This time, however, her plan will include a project to “protect President Trump” using at least two new campaign-related political entities, according to a presentation obtained by The Intercept and Documented.
As the Trump administration maintains the friendliest U.S. relationship with the Israeli right in history, Texas has become one of the most pro-Israel states in the country. It has forged ties with Israeli settlements and aggressively enforced a law targeting advocates of boycotting Israel. Its exports to Israel last year topped $900 million, and its imports from Israel are valued at $1.5 billion, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation.
“The news that the NSA transported a mass spying program designed for war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to the U.S.-Mexico border is both alarming and totally unsurprising,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.
The Trump administration chose the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend to invoke an obscure state-of-emergency provision that would allow it to sell billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without giving Congress a chance to block the sale.
At a luxury resort just outside of the nation’s capital last month, around four dozen senior congressional staffers decamped for a weekend of relaxation and discussion at Salamander Resort & Spa. It was an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together and listen to live music from the Trailer Grass Orchestra, sip surprisingly impressive glasses of Virginia wine — and hear from health care lobbyists focused on defeating Medicare for All.
Through his unrelenting efforts to obstruct the Trump-Russia investigation since its inception, President Donald Trump has inflicted a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre on the American people, a constitutional nightmare that has lasted two years instead of one night.
When Erik Prince arrived at the Four Seasons resort in the Seychelles in January 2017 for his now-famous meetings with a Russian banker and UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed, he was in the middle of an unexpected comeback. The election of Donald Trump had given the disgraced Blackwater founder a new opportunity to prove himself. After years of trying and failing to peddle a sweeping vision of mercenary warfare around the world, Erik Prince was back in the game.
For decades, the oil and gas industry has had a stranglehold on Colorado politics, but the newly empowered Democrats unveiled a sweeping bill to rein in fracking. The industry spent millions to stop it, but Democrats muscled it through, and it was signed by Gov. Jared Polis, an independently wealthy Democrat who ran in opposition to the industry.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced on Tuesday that he plans to name a new illegal settlement in the occupied Golan Heights in honor of Donald Trump, to thank the American president for agreeing to overlook the unlawful nature of Israel’s annexation of the territory seized from Syria in 1967.
One of America’s major political parties may not yet be willing to acknowledge that climate change is real, but it is already having significant effects on the U.S. military. Flooding in Nebraska and a hurricane in Florida that damaged military installations led to a recent Pentagon request of $5 billion in relief money. Now Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are calling on the Government Accountability Office to assess military contractors’ vulnerability to climate risks.
Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia could turn to Russia or China for arms, but the French intelligence report emphasizes its dependence on the West. But a highly classified document produced by the French Directorate of Military Intelligence shows that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen. Many of the systems listed are only compatible with munitions, spare parts, and communications systems produced in NATO countries, meaning that the Saudis and UAE would have to replace large portions of their arsenals to continue with Russian or Chinese weapons.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is unveiling a new way to tax corporations: Take them at their word. Due to the vagaries of American corporate accounting, companies routinely tell investors on conference calls that they made billions in profit over the previous quarter, then turn around and tell the IRS that, actually, they made no money at all, so they don’t owe any taxes. Warren’s plan would tax those companies on the profits they claim publicly.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who could be the first Jewish president of the United States two years from now, is currently the target of a pressure campaign on Facebook paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC. The sponsored post urges Facebook users to add their names to an online petition telling Sanders that “America stands with Israel.”
Adam Milstein, a real estate millionaire and prolific donor to right-wing, pro-Israel causes, had a busy few days on Twitter this month. In one tweet, he accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of being a “terrorist.” In another, he questioned Omar’s and Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s loyalty to the United States. He also accused Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood, indulging a tired trope popular among anti-Muslim bigots.
Six hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that it was blacklisting firms that work with primary challengers, I met with a potential client who was considering a Democratic primary. The client told me that two consultants dropped out that morning — and now the candidate may not run at all.*
It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute money in connection with U.S. elections. However, APIC and Right to Rise USA attempted to use an odd loophole created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to funnel overseas cash into American politics.
When Brett Kavanaugh was named a Supreme Court justice last fall, a world in which access to abortions would be significantly limited, if not downright illegal, became more likely. Late last month, Georgia joined a handful of Republican-led states positioning themselves to lead the charge if Roe v. Wade, the seminal Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, were to be overturned.
Defense Tech Startup Founded by Trump’s Most Prominent Silicon Valley Supporters Wins Secretive Military AI Contract
A startup founded by a young and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump is among the latest tech companies to quietly win a contract with the Pentagon as part of Project Maven, the secretive initiative to rapidly leverage artificial intelligence technology from the private sector for military purposes.
MSNBC Yet Again Broadcasts Blatant Lies, This Time About Bernie Sanders’ Opening Speech, and Refuses to Correct Them
MSNBC is a dishonest political operation, not a news outlet. It systematically and deliberately refuses to adopt a defining attribute of a news outlet: a willingness to acknowledge factual errors, correct them, and apologize. That they not only allow their lies to stand uncorrected but reward their employees who do it most frequently – especially when those lies are directed at adversaries of the Democratic Party – proves that they are, first and foremost, a political arm of the Democratic establishment.
Eight members of Congress have taken a pledge to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end, the result of a first-of-its kind lobbying effort by military veterans on Capitol Hill. The pledge was written and organized by a group called Common Defense, made up of veterans and military families, which advocates for scaling back U.S. military commitments overseas.
Kavanaugh's first Supreme Court dissent is a mess of omissions and misrepresentations. What is perhaps less obvious, at least at first glance, is the level of intellectual dishonesty baked into a four-page dissent penned by the court’s newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh voted along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch to deny the stay, but was the only justice to try to explain his thinking in writing. If he wanted to maintain the fidelity-to-precedent fiction he peddled at his confirmation hearings, it probably would have been better if he had stayed silent. The document is a mess of omissions and misrepresentations dressed up to appear anodyne.
A debate about the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan. Omar quoted rap lyrics — “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — to suggest McCarthy’s move was driven by the lobby’s prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”
The proposed $28 billion merger announced Thursday between large regional banks SunTrust and BB&T is the biggest banking tie-up since the financial crisis, creating what would become the nation’s sixth-largest bank. And it’s a direct result of actions taken by the Trump administration and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who passed a bank deregulation bill in 2018.
Of all the federal agencies that fall under Donald Trump’s purview, none embodies the administration’s unofficial mandate to do the exact opposite of its stated mission quite like the Environmental Protection Agency.
Here’s a riddle any Democrat hoping to be elected president at the crest of a progressive wave in 2020 should be able to solve: what do you call Israel’s military rule over millions of disenfranchised Palestinians in the territories it seized by force in 1967?
The first hand of the Green New Deal has been dealt. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on Thursday unveiled a five-page, nonbinding resolution that frames a 10-year “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization” to confront the climate crisis. The plan envisions the creation of millions of “good, high-wage jobs” and will serve to “counteract systemic injustices.”
On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.
The White House is openly plotting to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. It is being openly promoted as a campaign to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of U.S. corporations, and some powerful Democrats are cheering Trump on and joining the conspiracy.
More than two years after Donald Trump’s inauguration ushered in sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement system, accounts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arresting undocumented immigrants in and around New York courts have increased by 1,700 percent, according to a new report.
U.S. Senate’s First Bill, in Midst of Shutdown, is a Bipartisan Defense of the Israeli Government from Boycotts
In the 2019 GOP-controlled Senate, the first bill to be considered – S.1 – is not designed to protect American workers, bolster U.S. companies, or address the various debates over border security and immigration. It’s not a bill to open the government. Instead, according to multiple sources involved in the legislative process, S.1 will be a compendium containing a handful of foreign-policy related measures, a main one of which is a provision, with Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio as a lead sponsor, to defend the Israeli government. The bill is a top legislative priority for AIPAC.
“There’s enormous appetite in the Democratic Party and among all Americans for major public investment to tackle our nation’s major crises: deepening inequality and structural racism and climate disaster,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, in a statement to The Intercept. “Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership’s support of Paygo makes actually solving these crises all but impossible.
Khalil was shopping in the Hasakah marketplace in Syria when Kurdish military police arrested him last March. He was 19 and had papers that showed he was in high school, but that didn’t matter. The Kurdish militia, which feeds troops to the U.S.-led war in Syria, was way short of volunteers. They ordered him into a minibus and drove through the northeast Syrian city, abducting others along the way.
A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.
A pro-Israel activist group is quietly pushing lawmakers on Capitol Hill and key officials in the White House to embrace a plan that would entail paying Palestinian residents in the West Bank to move abroad. The plan is a bid to reshape the ethnic and religious population of territories controlled by Israel, according to the head of the group, called the Alliance for Israel Advocacy.
In a piece titled “Why America needs low-yield nuclear warheads now,” Michael Morell and Jon Kyl argued that Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization programs demanded a response. “Russia is intent on exploiting what it perceives as a U.S. nuclear capability gap,” they write. “We must change that calculation” by adding submarine and sea-launched missiles with nuclear warheads. This would increase deterrence and prevent nuclear war, they claim; otherwise Russia will strike first.
This “great guy” will leave behind an administration mired in scandal, chaos and corruption; a president perhaps even more reckless and lawless today than he was when Kelly arrived for work at the West Wing on the morning of July 31, 2017. That was a period in which political pundits and correspondents also believed the retired four-star general to be a “great guy.” Remember how his appointment, as replacement for the hapless Republican operative Reince Preibus, was greeted by the liberal press? Kelly, we were told, would be the “adult in the room”; he would rein in a brash and belligerent commander-in-chief.
Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin is making a behind-the-scenes push to slip an anti-boycott law into a last-minute spending bill being finalized during the lame-duck session, according to four sources familiar with the negotiations. The measure, known as the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, was shelved earlier amid concerns about the infringement of free speech, after civil liberties groups argued that the original version would have allowed criminal penalties for Americans who participate in a political boycott of Israel.
Under Jerry Brown, California has become a leader on climate politics. But the state has done little to phase out fossil fuel emissions at their source. Among other things, they called on Brown to “listen to science, not carbon polluters” by moving to keep fossil fuels in the ground. California — the world’s sixth-largest economy — has the country’s most ambitious climate policies by a mile, but it is also among the most prolific oil and gas producers in the U.S. — hence the papier-mâché likeness of Brown’s head atop an oil rig.
There’s no question that Donald Trump is the most flagrantly, compulsively, and voluminously dishonest president in American history — which is saying something, given the competition. He’s probably told 27 more lies during the time it took you to read this one sentence. But as preposterous as it sounds, there’s a case to be made that he’s simultaneously America’s most honest president.
Schumer has sided with the GOP on Wall Street, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Facebook. Almost any other Democrat should be Senate minority leader instead. As I argued earlier this week, the next two years in U.S. politics will be a 24/7 battle for the future of American democracy; a relentless fight against fascism, racism, and white nationalism. Are we really expected to believe that Schumer will be the leader of the #Resistance in the Senate ? Don’t make me laugh.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives undercut a bipartisan effort to end U.S. involvement in Yemen by sneaking a measure that would kill an anti-war resolution into a vote about wolves.
MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice
On Thursday, the Daily Beast published an article about the Saudi/US relationship by David Rothkopf, a long-time member in good standing of the U.S. Foreign Policy elite. But, unbeknownst to Daily Beast readers consuming his commentary about Saudi Arabia, Rothkopf is something else: a paid lobbyist for the Saudi regime’s close ally, the equally despotic regime of the United Arab Emirates. Last month, Rothkopf formally registered as a foreign agent for the Emiratis.
In this video essay, I examine Trump’s long history of doing deals with Saudi royals and look back at how the former reality TV star even bragged about his financial ties to the kingdom during the election campaign.
When Carlos Hidalgo was detained at the ICE processing center, in Adelanto, California, guards would mock the detainees lined up to get their meals by imitating the call of cows. “Moo! Here are the cows, walking through!”
Obama’s Resistance to Investigating the Bush Administration Allowed Brett Kavanaugh to Skate Onto the Supreme Court
With full Democratic control of the federal government, calls came for an investigation into the scandals of the Bush administration, including torture, mass surveillance, and war profiteering. While some called for criminal prosecutions, others wanted hearings or an independent investigation that would — at minimum — put into the public record the details of who did what and when.
Meddling in foreign elections is bad. I think we can all agree on that. And almost everyone — bar Donald Trump — seems to believe that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election. So that should be condemned. Here’s the problem, though: U.S. politicians and pundits cannot credibly object to Russian interference in U.S. elections without also acknowledging that the United States doesn’t exactly have clean hands.
State Department Team Led by Former Raytheon Lobbyist Pushed Mike Pompeo to Support Yemen War Because of Arms Sales
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced internal opposition to U.S. support for the war in Yemen from State Department staff, according to a recent report. The staffers had become concerned by the rising civilian death toll in the war being carried out by Persian Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — not only owing to bombings of densely populated areas, but also a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the fighting, with up to 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.
With voters sour on President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress, Republican lawmakers are facing daunting odds in the upcoming midterm elections — and they’re fighting back with misinformation. In a recent glaring example, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC tied to House Speaker Paul Ryan, is hoping to turn the tide in an Illinois congressional race with a patently dishonest ad attacking a Democratic challenger.
The Trump administration will open a week of high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a drug policy event featuring President Donald Trump. Invites to the event are being doled out only to those countries that have signed on to a controversial, nonnegotiable action plan, according to documents obtained by The Intercept — among them the countries with the world’s most draconian drug laws.
Attorney Sent Letter to Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein Claiming Federal Court Employees Willing to Speak About Brett Kavanaugh
The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were both approached in July by an attorney claiming to have information relevant to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The attorney claimed in his letter that multiple employees of the federal judiciary would be willing to speak to investigators, but received no reply to multiple attempts to make contact, he told The Intercept.
Koch-Backed Think Tank Finds That “Medicare for All” Would Cut Health Care Spending and Raise Wages. Whoops.
A new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is making headlines for projecting that Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” bill is estimated to cost $32.6 trillion — a number that’s entirely in line with 2016 projections, and is literally old news. But what the Associated Press headline fails to announce is a much more sanguine update: The report, by Senior Research Strategist Charles Blahous, found that under Sanders’s plan, overall health costs would go down, and wages would go up.
ICE Has Conducted Hundreds of Raids in New York Since Trump Came to Power. Here’s What Those Operations Look Like.
It was approximately 6:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in early April when the pounding on the front door began. The sun was still coming up over New York City as a man The Intercept will call Michael jumped out of bed to investigate the commotion. Michael opened the door and found three men and one woman wearing tactical vests standing outside. They were accompanied by a man with a camera, already recording.
A Swing-State Election Vendor Repeatedly Denied Being Hacked by Russians. The New Mueller Indictment Says Otherwise.
Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Russian military hackers tried to trick employees of VR Systems, a Florida-based e-voting vendor, into downloading computer-hijacking malware, according to a top-secret NSA report published by The Intercept last year. As recently as last month, the company denied any breach occurred. But, in fact, the hacking attempt worked, judging from an indictment of 12 Russian military officers prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and handed down by a grand jury today.
ndrew Cuomo has a glaring conflict of interest when it comes to the politics of abolishing ICE. Luxury landlords across the state collect millions in rent from the agency — money they have turned around and funneled to Cuomo’s political campaigns, according to a new report by the New York-based watchdog group Public Accountability Initiative.
Scott Pruitt Has Spent a Total of $4.6 Million on Security, New Disclosures Show — Including $1,500 on “Tactical Pants”
Pruitt’s high spending on security has become the subject of mounting criticism and a host of official investigations: Several EPA inspector general investigations have been opened, as well as an ongoing investigation by the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee. Records released under the Freedom of Information Act list expenditures totaling $288,610 on a range of security-related items. The EPA, according to three expense line items for April, spent a total of $2,749.62 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.”
The Trump administration, as part of a dual effort to counter both Iran and the Islamic State, should push for an “Islamic Reformation,” a State Department memo advised the White House last year. The suggestion was ultimately not adopted as part of the National Security Strategy announced in December, but that a so-called reformation of Islam was up for discussion at the highest levels of the State Department and National Security Council underscores the extraordinary rise of a once-fringe, far-right approach to foreign policy.
Democrats Set to Re-Nominate Sen. Bob Menendez After Preventing Challengers, Showing How Calcified the Party Is
Fresh off escaping a federal bribery conviction thanks to a hung jury, two-term Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez is almost sure to win his party’s nomination on Tuesday for re-election in New Jersey against only token opposition. That Menendez — who has been in Congress for 26 years, and is seeking his third Senate term — is about to become the Democrats’ nominee without any real primary challenge says a great deal about the party and the U.S. political system.
Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, took the side of poultry companies and other businesses in Arkansas in a dispute over the pollution of an ecologically sensitive and economically vital watershed, environmental groups say. While he was representing Oklahoma as its attorney general, Pruitt helped to slow the implementation of a plan, forged years ago by both states, to clean a river in his home state.
Heading into the 2018 midterms, with Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives and even make a run at the Senate, the party has spent more than $2 million worth of campaign resources on payments to Hillary Clinton’s new group, Onward Together, according to Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with people familiar with the payments.
Shortly after President Donald Trump was inaugurated last year, top Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy offered Russian gas giant Novatek a $26 million lobbying plan aimed at removing the company from a U.S. sanctions list, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
1,224 Complaints Reveal a Staggering Pattern of Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention. Half of Those Accused Worked for ICE.
lsewhere in Florida, a man said a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent threatened him with deportation after he refused to engage in oral sex — and that the officer told him he would be deported to Haiti, even though the man is from the Bahamas. In Texas, a Border Patrol agent driving detainees between detention centers pulled over and let a woman get out after she performed oral sex on him, according to another complaint.
The rural community of Morristown, Tennessee, is reeling following the largest raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a business in a decade. On Thursday, agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations wing, also known as HSI, stormed the Southeastern Provision meatpacking plant and detained scores of people.
Trump’s Attacks on Migrant Caravan Underscore How the U.S. Outsources Immigration Enforcement to Mexico
The migrant and refugee caravan traveling through Mexico continued its northbound trek on Wednesday, heading towards Mexico City after temporarily stopping in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where they regrouped amid a flood of attention lavished on their journey. Organized by a migrant activist collective called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people are participating in the caravan.
Affter the meeting between Kushner and Crown Prince, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.
In a statement to the media after the vote, Booker’s office said he supports the importation of prescription drugs but that “any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.” This argument is the same one offered by the pharmaceutical industry.The measure introduced by Bernie Sanders would have passed without Democratic defections.
Means testing has now come to disaster aid — and it only applies to Puerto Rico. When Congress passed a $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to bolster rebuilding efforts in several wildfire and hurricane-damaged areas in October, it shortchanged Puerto Rico, giving it a $4.9 billion loan instead of the grant that other areas received. Now, it appears the debt- and hurricane-ravaged island won’t even get that money.
Republicans are accusing the Obama Administraion of Abuse of Power. They have a duty to show evidence.
Social media last night and today have been flooded with inflammatory and quite dramatic claims now being made by congressional Republicans about a four-page memo alleging abuses of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act spying processes during the 2016 election. This memo, which remains secret, was reportedly written under the direction of the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, GOP Rep. Devin Nunes.
The attention Bannon demands of us should not obscure the rival media impresario with truly Manchurian levels of influence over the president: Rupert Murdoch. One of the less-noted passages in Wolff’s book explains that the president reveres Murdoch, regularly seeking advice from the founder of the Fox empire, a condition that made Bannon jealous of Murdoch’s power over Trump. The book quotes Roger Ailes, who ran Fox News for Murdoch until being dismissed for sexual harassment, as noting that “Trump would jump through hoops for Rupert.”
In his first year in office, Trump ordered 95 separate reports, performance reviews, instructions, or other activities to be carried out by executive branch agencies. The Intercept has been reviewing these orders for the last year. We found that 48 of the 95 actions were completed, in many cases after the due date stipulated in the order. Federal agencies have yet to complete another 20. In 27 cases, the agency was unresponsive to our requests for information.
U.S. corporations are already beginning the process of pocketing the winnings from the tax bill jackpot they expect to hit any day now, undercutting, in a remarkably public fashion, the pretense that the corporate tax cut will lead to greater investment in job creation. Since the Senate passed its version of the tax bill on December 2, 29 companies have announced $70.2 billion in stock buybacks, a maneuver that uses company cash to buy its own shares, which then drives up the price of those shares, rewarding major investors and executives whose compensation is directly tied to the company’s stock price.
Like jeans and pickup trucks before, social media misinformation has become the latest and greatest American export. A new report by Privacy International says that Harris Media, a Texas-based political communications firm that helped boost the Trump campaign, Benghazi paranoia, and German far-right politicians, found its most recent client in Kenya, where an October presidential election flared into deadly violence.
Human Rights Watch found that the number of people detained inside the U.S. rather than at the border — meaning that they were not new arrivals — increased by 42 percent over last year, while immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions nearly tripled.