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Trump Thanks 'Two Great People': Diamond And Silk

By Nicole Lafond

April 6, 2019 10:10 am




Ecuador Denies WikiLeaks Claim That It Plans To Expel Assange

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Nicole Lafond

April 6, 2019 10:06 am

The Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Friday combatting WikiLeaks claims that the embassy in London intends to expel WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and had already arranged for his arrest, according to NBC’s translation of the statement.

The ministry said Assange has demonstrated “ingratitude and disrespect” toward Ecuador, despite the protection the Ecuadorian embassy has offered him since 2012.

“(We) have made significant expenditures to pay for his stay (and have) endured its rudeness,” the statement said of Assange and WikiLeaks, according to NBC.

WikiLeaks tweeted on Friday that Assange would be kicked out of the embassy “within ‘hours to days'” and claimed the country had made arrangements for the UK to put him under arrest.


Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/ecuador-denies-wikileaks-claim-it-plans-expel-assange

Yes, There's a Crisis on the Border. And It's Trump's Fault.

Instead of wasting his time on a wall, the president should fix the asylum system.


Alan Bersin served as the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and assistant secretary and chief diplomatic officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nate Bruggeman held senior policy positions at the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection from 2009 to 2012. He is a partner in the consulting firm BorderWorks Advisers.

Ben Rohrbaugh was the director for enforcement and border security at the National Security Council from 2014 to 2016. He also served in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Donald Trump has made border security and immigration enforcement a rallying cry of his campaign and the centerpiece of his presidency. But now, as the effects of his immigration policies have become measurable, it is clear to us—three people who have worked on the issue in previous administrations—that Trump is the worst president for border security in the last 30 years.

The border is currently overwhelmed with increasing numbers of migrants, in particular Central American asylum seekers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that 66,450 persons were apprehended between the ports of entry in February, the highest monthly total in a decade. Projections for March are even worse—exceeding 100,000—with experts concerned that monthly totals could exceed 150,000 in the coming months. CBP is reassigning officers from the ports of entry, which are critically understaffed, to help Border Patrol with the crush. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has said the immigration system on the border is at “the breaking point.” In response, the president threatened to close the border altogether to legal crossings, a threat he walked back on Thursday and replaced with a “one-year warning” to Mexico.

Despite the administration’s attempts to shift blame for the chaos, make no mistake: It is Donald Trump himself who is responsible. Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis. The solution to our current border troubles lies in reforming the U.S. asylum system and immigration courts and helping Central America address its challenges—not in a “big beautiful” wall or shutting down the border. Yet effective action on these issues has been missing. And the president has now so poisoned the political well with his approach that there is little hope of meaningful congressional action until after the next election. Unless the administration changes course, the immigration crisis will only continue to worsen.

In fiscal year 2017, the last year of the Obama administration and the first of Trump’s, 303,916 migrants were arrested by the Border Patrol. This was the lowest level in more than three decades. The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations had worked hard to tackle the problem of illegal migration through substantial increases in border security staffing, improvements in technology, innovations in strategy and improved security coordination and assistance to Mexico. Coupled with improved economic conditions in Mexico, these administrations were hugely successful in deterring and breaking the cycle of illegal crossing: Unlawful Mexican economic immigration, which had historically been the primary immigration enforcement issue at the border, dropped nearly 90 percent between 2000 and 2016.


How Trump Conspired with the Freedom Caucus to Shut Down the Government

By JAKE SHERMAN and ANNA PALMER April 05, 2019

It was as if Mark Meadows were watching a political car crash in slow motion. In November 2018, when House Republicans lost their legislative majority, it rendered him a bit player in Donald Trump’s Washington. Then in late November and early December, a more paralyzing fear began to creep into his mind: Republicans were going to fold and keep the government open without delivering on the president’s promise to fund the border wall with Mexico. Unthinkable. Unconscionable. He had to stop it.

As he entered a divided government, Meadows believed that finally this was Trump’s hill to die on. “It’s a symbol of the dysfunction of government overall, and it’s bigger than just the wall, and it’s why the two sides are dug in,” Meadows told us in January. “It’s who’s going to decide what happens in the next two years under this administration … We’re trying to figure out who’s going to be the most powerful person in Washington, D.C., and bottom line is, it’s either going to be Nancy Pelosi or it’s going to be Donald J. Trump. And that’s what this comes down to.”

Months after the 34-day standoff that followed, the full story of how the president was pushed into the shutdown is a lesson in how to take the reins in Trump’s Washington. The lawmakers around Trump who wanted a shutdown knew exactly how to bring the president around to their side: threaten that others might perceive him as weak and push that threat around Capitol Hill and, eventually, all the way to Fox News. It helped to have a man on the inside, too—in this case, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. As Meadows was about to find out, following this playbook was enough to get inside the head of the most powerful man in Washington, and use him to get what Meadows and his allies wanted.

With Republican Washington taking its last gasp and Democratic D.C. rearing its head, the president was ready to take the plunge. On November 27, during an interview in the Oval Office for Politico, Trump laid out his demands: He wanted at least $5 billion for his wall and more money for border security.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called each member of his Democratic Caucus to tell them that they could not let Trump get $5 billion. “There’s an endgame,” Schumer said in an interview days before the White House meeting. “January 3, Nancy is going to pass a [funding bill] without the wall, and we will be all for it, and it will be Mitch McConnell keeping the government closed.” He added: “We believe we have the upper hand.”


Congress' new Mueller fight: Do Dems need to begin impeachment to see secret files?

By KYLE CHENEY 04/06/2019 08:43 AM EDT

Do Democrats have to begin the process of impeaching President Donald Trump in order to access special counsel Robert Mueller’s secrets?

That legal debate began raging inside the House Judiciary Committee on Friday after a new federal court ruling suggested that Congress’ access to some confidential evidence — like the kind obtained by Mueller — hinges on lawmakers launching a “judicial proceeding.”

Republicans on the committee say the only “judicial proceeding” Congress can lead is an impeachment inquiry -- a claim they say is backed up by legal precedent and history. Democrats would have to launch one against Trump if they want Mueller’s grand jury evidence, Republicans say.

That interpretation would be problematic for Democratic leaders in Congress, who have little interest in launching a politically explosive impeachment process at the moment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said it’s not worth the House’s time and other top Democrats have said it’s premature while they conduct their own investigations and await the details of Mueller’s findings.

But it’s a fight that could animate the next few weeks and months as Democrats attempt to pry loose as much information from Mueller’s probe as they can. They’re still awaiting access to a redacted version of Mueller’s 400-page report, which Attorney General William Barr has indicated he’ll deliver by mid-April. But Democrats say Congress must see an unredacted version of the report and Mueller’s underlying evidence -- even if Barr has to get a judge to unseal the grand jury material it contains.


In which our knight-errant slays the carcinogenic windmill

By Dana Milbank
April 5 at 5:10 PM

President Trump really puts the “err” in knight errant.

Cervantes tells us that Don Quixote attacked the windmill with his lance. This week, Trump also attacked the lowly turbine — with misinformation.

“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations: Your house just went down 75 percent in value,” the president told Republican donors Tuesday. “And they say the noise causes cancer.” He made a circling gesture and emitted the carcinogenic sound himself: “Whirrr! Whirrr!”

How silly! Everybody knows windmills don’t cause cancer. They cause autism. Much like vaccines.

The windmill wonder was just one way in which Trump has wandered off course in the past two weeks. Attorney General William Barr’s reading of the Mueller report gives Trump a fairly clean bill of health (whether the report itself did so is another matter). Trump, unshackled, should be lord of the manor. Instead, he’s playing the knight errant, bouncing from crackup to pratfall.

One moment, he informs us there is a “very good likelihood” he will close the border with Mexico within days. The next, he says he’s delaying that a year and might first “tariff their cars” — upending the trade deal he just negotiated.


Here's how Elizabeth Warren is trying to outmaneuver Bernie Sanders

By Liz Goodwin GLOBE STAFF APRIL 05, 2019

NEW YORK — Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.

The move puts her campaign rivals on the spot to explain how they would pass their own ambitious legislative priorities if the Senate keeps its rule in place requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most bills.

Warren’s announcement allows her to swerve to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a meaningful way at a time when she’s straggling far behind him in early polls and grass-roots fund-raising.

Sanders, who popularized proposals like free college and Medicare for All among Democrats during his 2016 run for president, has been reluctant to support scrapping the filibuster. That raises questions about how he would be able to pass his sweeping proposals into law should he become president, given Democrats are extremely unlikely to have 60 seats in the Senate.


Howard Schultz Gets Called Out as 'Rich Guy' in MSNBC Interview

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO and potential 2020 Democratic contender, was called out by MSNBC host Ari Velshi on Friday after lamenting the country’s economic inequality. After Schultz began offering up his own proposed solutions to what he described as a “bifurcated economy” in which he said some families don't even have $400 in case of an emergency, Velshi cut in. “A lot of Americans knew this a long time before you really rich guys started talking about how bifurcated America is, and that's where we are today,” Velshi said. Schultz shot back, claiming that he “grew up in federal housing” and started from the bottom up as a “self-made” executive. He went on to suggest that such economic problems stem from Republicans and Democrats not getting along and a “lack of leadership,” a claim on which Velshi once again confronted him. “It's not because of the Democrats and Republicans. It's about rich people who don't pay taxes, who don't understand that it's not about charity—it's actually about wealth distribution.”




With the most diverse presidential field ever, black voters ponder the best odds against Trump

By Sean Sullivan and
David Weigel April 5 at 7:59 PM

NEW YORK — More than a third of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president are women. There are two black men, a Mexican American man, a Taiwanese American man and a gay man.

Yet, in the initial phase of the 2020 race, two straight white men have emerged as the fastest fundraisers, and another has jumped to a lead in recent polls, before even announcing his candidacy.

The rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and former vice president Joe Biden in a field with historic diversity has caused dismay among some Democrats, particularly African Americans and women hoping for a mold-breaking nominee who reflects the changing face of the party and the country.

Black voters, particularly black women, have the potential to play a decisive role in the Democratic Party’s attempt to defeat President Trump in 2020. An inability to earn their support has dealt severe blows to past candidates — most recently Sanders in the 2016 primaries and to a lesser extent Hillary Clinton in the general election.

That has led the current white male candidates in particular to seek out black voters with some urgency. They are opening the door to reparations, speaking openly about the legacy of slavery and offering blunt talk on racial injustice — a stark departure from past presidential campaigns in which candidates trod lightly around those topics.

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