Takeaway from Mueller Testimony: Bipartisan Frustration on the Hill

Both Democrats and Republicans were left unsatisfied after former Special Counsel refused to play the part that Democrats and Republicans had cast him for. Notably, these parts were different: Democrats were looking for some kind of folk hero who would provide clarity on calls in the House for impeachment whereas Republicans were looking to completely vindicate President Trump and impugn the FBI. Mueller refused to play either part and gave answers that were, by turns, clipped, evasive, and pointed.

Wednesday morning through Wednesday afternoon saw Robert Mueller testify in front of Congress for a total of seven hours. Mueller patiently took questions first with the House Judiciary Committee then, after lunch, with the House Intelligence Committee. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller extensively went through the 448-page report – the so-called Mueller Report – on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible instances of obstruction of justice committed by the president.

One of the more interesting clarifications that Mueller repeatedly made during Wednesday’s testimony concerned the fact that he never made a determination on whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice or not. Why is that? Because a Department of Justice policy stemming from Watergate and the 1970s supposedly forbids bringing criminal indictments against the president; such indictments are said to be an undue encumbrance on a democratically elected president. In Mueller’s testimony, the former special counsel repeatedly clarified that charges were not considered because a criminal indictment was out-of-bounds and beyond the scope of Mueller’s mandate as special counsel.

The biggest overarching takeaway from Wednesday’s testimony was perhaps the fact that Robert Mueller refused to read sections, or even tiny excerpts, from the report that he and his team created over 22 months of investigation. Democrats had hoped to have a made-for-TV moment in which Robert Mueller read aloud the most damning evidence against the president whereas Republicans hoped that Mueller would declare Trump completely exonerated of all potential charges. Robert Mueller refused to appease either side and instead stuck closely to the report; in fact, the most common refrain that Mueller had to questions was something along the lines of, “that’s in the report.”

What’s to be made of Wednesday’s testimony? Mueller kept emphasizing that Russian election interference occurred in the 2016 presidential election and would recur in the upcoming election if steps were not immediately taken to protect democracy. Mueller further added that presidential indictment wasn’t considered.

Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to FTC for Exposing User Data

Facebook has been in the news recently for not doing enough to protect its users’ privacy data. These issues came to a head and received more international attention after Facebook Inc. may have been the unwitting participant in a Russian propaganda campaign designed to mislead voters and give eventual President Donald Trump a leg-up during the campaign. The Federal Trade Commission’s decision to fine Facebook Inc. was more general, however, and centered around issues like Facebook’s inability to employ basic privacy practices and safeguard user data from advertisers and nefarious actors (e.g., scammers).

The Federal Trade Commission’s probe began last year as an inquiry into whether Facebook had violated its own 2012 consent decree. Part of the fine levied against Facebook stemmed to a breach in this 2012 consent decree that resulted in the improper sharing of 87 million users’ data with the political consulting outfit Cambridge Analytica. Coming full circle to politics, Cambridge Analytica was associated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign and could have received Facebook user information that it shouldn’t have had the social media firm lived up to its 2012 consent decree.

The Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to levy a $5 billion fine against Facebook. Interestingly, given the political angle, the three Republicans on the commission were thrilled with the outcome whereas the two Democratic commissioners were less enthusiastic. The Democrats felt as though the fine wasn’t nearly hefty enough given the financial clout of Facebook and the damage done to Facebook users and the U.S. political system. Notwithstanding the celebrations and grievances of Federal Trade Commission commissioners, the decision to fine Facebook $5 billion still faces court approval and could theoretically be struck down or effectively redecided.

Republican FTC Chairman Joe Simons was one of those commissioners excited about the fine against Facebook, so he lamented the fact that it might be watered-down due to the Federal Trade Commission’s limited legal authority and unwillingness to mount a sustained court challenge should the FTC’s fine be subsequently questioned or overruled in court. Commissioner Joe Simons felt that he got about as much as the FTC could have mustered by rhetorically answering “no” to the question that he posed to himself during a press conference – namely, would it have been possible to further curtail Facebook’s ability to collect and store customer data and fine Facebook $10 billion instead of $5 billion? Still, $5 billion is onerous.

President Trump Continues to Add $1 Trillion to Federal Debt Annually

Financial experts are questioning the economic bona fides of President Trump as the Trump administration continues to run massive deficits. Earlier this week, President Trump signed a bipartisan bill that does little to curb the federal deficit, which has expanded dramatically under President Trump. The Trump administration is on pace to have another year of $1 trillion deficits. The federal deficit has been dramatically increased with President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which made tax cuts for the wealthy permanent and tax cuts for the middle class temporary and due to be phased out in 2021.

President Trump has ignored many of his campaign promises and pleadings from so-called budget-minded Republicans, who lament more government spending without consideration of offsetting entitlement reforms. President Trump on the campaign trail crowed that he could completely eradicate the federal deficit and usher in an age of government surplus a la President Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s. A far different picture is arising with President Trump than the one that was promised on the campaign trail nearly four years ago. In fact, President Trump is far more like President Obama than President Clinton in terms of controlling, or failing to control, the federal deficit.

President Trump has run into the red at a level not seen since President Obama’s first term in office, which saw deficits of over $1 trillion annually for each of President Obama’s first four years in office. Republicans squawked at the time that federal deficits needed to be offset by entitlement reforms, and President Obama apparently attempted but ultimately failed to author a so-called grand bargain that would have partly privatized Social Security in exchange for concessions to Democrats. The difference between President Trump and President Obama, of course, is that President Trump has focused and largely succeeded in expanding the economy beyond the levels of growth overseen by each president’s predecessor.

President Trump’s economy is one in which unemployment is low, growth in certain sectors of the economy is booming, and the stock market continues to soar. The open secret of this growth is that it comes at the expense of growing wealth inequality – the vast majority of Americans do not own many stocks – and staggering levels of federal debt experienced under President Trump’s term. The most recent piece of bipartisan legislation signed by President Trump increases public spending by an eyebrow-raising $300 million.

Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-23/trump-shoves-aside-deficit-worries-in-debt-deal-with-pelosi

Former National Security Agency Contractor Sent To Prison

A former contractor for the National Security Agency was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Maryland court on Friday. The prison was punishment for stealing classified material from various intelligence agencies over a 20 year period. There is no evidence that 54-year-old Harold Martin made the information available to anyone else.

Richard Bennett, the United States District Judge that presided over Martin’s trial, also ordered three years supervised release following Martin’s prison term.

The security agencies that were victims of theft by Martin include the CIA, National Reconnaissance Office, NSA, and U.S. Cyber Command. Martin began the series of thefts in 1996 and is believed to be the perpetrator of the largest classified information breach in the history of America.

Detailed information from the NSA regarding cybersecurity in 2014 was among the information stolen by Martin. The indictment against the disgraced former NSA agent also explains Martin stole operating instructions for an information-gathering tool used by the NSA and a 2007 file that logged daily activities within the agency.

John Demers, Assistant Attorney General, expressed outrage over the fact that Martin showed no regard for the trust the American people bestowed upon him. Demers says Martin chose instead to endanger the American people when he betrayed that trust.

Prosecutors say the thefts by Martin could have easily made classified material available to enemies of America. Martin is known to have spoken to Russian agents online but no evidence could be found that he provided them with information.

Martin’s defense team characterized their client as a hoarder who is also a little eccentric. Lawyers for Martin declined when asked for comment on the matter.

The Justice Department reports that Martin accepted assignments with several government agencies and seven private firms over a 23 year period from 1993 to 2016. The positions Martin held provided him with security clearances that made extremely sensitive information available to him.

Court documents do not specify what Martin did with the classified information other than hoard the material at his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Documents were also found in Martin’s car.

Martin was first arrested in 2016. At the time of his arrest, he worked for a company named Booz Allen. The same company employed Edward Snowden, the man responsible for leaking classified information to various media outlets in 2013.

The documents and files found in Martin’s possession added up to 50 terabytes of stored information.

The Nobel Peace Prize Is Awarded To Nadia Murad

Nadia Murad is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She spoke of her experience during her time as a captive of ISIS. Her six brothers and her mother were killed by ISIS and buried in mass graves. She survived torture and sexual slavery before she managed to escape. She became an advocate for her minority community. This brought her to the moment when she would stand beside President Donald Trump. The President had already vowed to stop United States immigration for individuals forced out of their homes.

Nadia Murad explained the predicament of her people did not stop after ISIS was forced from Iraq. She spoke of half a million Yazidis without a safe place to live and no choice but to flee. She asked for assistance for these individuals to return to Iraq in a safe community or to be given a safe home somewhere else. She told President Trump her home was destroyed, there was nothing for her people to go back to and asked him to help with their problem. Additional information is available at CNN.

The other survivors of religious persecution were also in attendance including a Chinese Tibetan Buddhist and a Myanmar Rohingya Muslim. The President’s tweets resulted in a racist chant in North Carolina during a campaign rally. This was the same week the administration discussed not admitting any refugees into the country for the next year. This was discussed during a meeting including officials from numerous agencies including the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the State Department.

The current limit for admitting refugees into the United States is 30,000. This is a 33 percent decrease from 2018 and the lowest admission rate in almost forty years. Immigration has been an important part of the presidency for the last four years. Although none of the President’s campaign promises have yet reached completion, immigration and border security have both been addressed. This includes the recent Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids beginning on Sunday.

President Trump has also forged ahead with his plans for the limitation of asylum claims made by migrants of Central America. The President has used questionable language when referring to the migrants such as calling them caravans of criminals. The picture painted by Nadia Murad as she stood by the President was completely different. She said the Yazidi began immigrating to Germany since 1984 in a dangerous manner. President Trump stated he would look into her claims.

Judge Unseals Cohen’s Proof The Trumpster Wanted To Kiss And Not Tell

Tony Scaramucci stopped filming another segment of Big Brother to let the Trumpster know he needs to tone down his racism. Scaramucci told Trump 15 percent of his voter base will slip him the finger come voting time. And that could end his dictatorship.

Trump rallied the troops in Greenville N.C. when he showed the Trumpians how low he will go to win another election. It’s never about real issues with Trump. It’s about where the people he hates come from and what they look like, according to the New York Times. The four lawmakers who represent a growing group of independents scares Trump in one way. In another way, he uses them as bait so the Democrats will nominate Joe Biden. Trump claims he can body slam Joe come election time. That’s why Joe keeps challenging the Trumpster to a push-up battle.

Lindsey, Mitch, Eric, and all the Republican dirtbags should know when a president crosses constitutional lines. They should know it’s time to get off Trump’s capitalistic ego ride. It is the Congress and the Senate’s responsibility to step in, put politics aside, and throw the cuffs and a muzzle on Trump, according to the Washington Post.

Mr. Trump had to admit the Chinese won’t kiss his ass the way he thought they would. He didn’t know China’s top tech company, Huawei can run circles around Silicon Valley in terms of Ai and 5G development when he used the company as bait. Trump even set up a phony sanctions charge and told the Canadians to arrest Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou. Meng is also CEO Ren Zhengfei’s daughter.

China doesn’t need to sign a trade agreement that keeps the tariffs in place, according to the Chinese news agency. The Chinese economy is off a bit because of the trade war, but China’s GDP growth puts U.S. growth to shame.

Some news reports say if Iran names a new nuclear treaty after Trump he’ll sign. After all, Israel named a town after Trump. The Trumpster can’t let Iran fry Trump Town with a nuke.

Mr. Trump’s pal Ben Netanyahu only has a couple of months to form a government and face corruption charges. A judge unsealed all of Michael Cohen’s memos, tapes, side notes and anything else that Cohen did to cover up Trump’s affairs. The Democrats will use Chen’s information and the video of Trump with Jeffrey Epstein his old Studio 54 pal.

Iran Said To Be Responsible For Missing Oil Tanker, Says United States Official Speaking Under Condition Of Anonymity

An unnamed government official from the United States recently shared with news reporters that the federal government believes that Iran is most likely responsible for causing an oil tanker to have gone missing this weekend.

Registered in the Central American country of Panama and doing most of its business in the United Arab Emirates, which is located just miles from Iran via the Persian Gulf, the MT Riah stopped transmitting tracking signals late Saturday night.

The oil tanker had taken oil in, out, and around the United Arab Emirates for the past three months straight without having any such issues with its tracking technology, according to Ranjith Raja, an expert oil industry analyst that works for both Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters Oil Research.

So far, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the full name of the country of Iran, has not publicly commented on the issue.

Over the past few months, Iran is suspected to have been involved with targeting several other oil tankers that have traveled through the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, or – more specifically – the Strait of Hormuz, a body of water that separates the two aforementioned Middle Eastern gulfs, as well as separates the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from Iran, both of which aren’t on the best terms with Iran.

Iran is widely thought to be engaging in such behavior because its leadership isn’t happy with the sanctions that have recently been slapped against the country by the United States, one of the world’s biggest players in the global oil economy.

The country also recently shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a UAV or a drone, that belonged to the United States. American officials claimed that the drone was flying above the Strait of Hormuz in international waters at the time it was shot down, though Iranian officials have contrasted the United States’ claims, stating that it was flying above Iranian national airspace without prior permission or legal authorization.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is in prime location to engage with these oil tankers thanks to its border with the Strait of Hormuz, which is roughly 25 miles wide. About one-fifth of the world’s crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. As such, many countries, especially the oil-loving United States, are concerned with the interference that oil tankers registered in countries around the globe have faced in recent months.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/us-officials-suspect-iran-may-have-seized-missing-uae-based-oil-tanker/ar-AAEqBjH

Judge Bans Roger Stone from Social Media

NPR recently reported that Roger Stone was ordered by Judge Amy Berman Jackson to cease all online social media activities until his trial is over. Stone is a long-time informal confidant of President Donald Trump and was indicted for obstruction of justice, making false statements under oath and witness tampering. His federal case is scheduled for trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November of this year. He was under a previous gag order from Judge Jackson, which the court found that he violated by engaging in publicly visible social media activity. Stone’s posts were not widely viewed, but they were still publicly available.

Stone was scolded by Judge Jackson during the two-hour hearing for his apparent failure to follow a court order. He was ordered to not discuss the case publicly until it was over. The government and Judge Jackson contend that Stone violated the gag order by re-posting other news articles on his social media accounts as well as by directly contacting the media. Judge Jackson noted that Stone’s defense team failed to raise any objections pursuant to the First Amendment about any violation of his right to free speech imposed by the gag order. In court, Stone’s attorney argued that Stone was not making any of the statements on social media himself and was simply re-posting articles that were created and originally published by others. In addition, Stone’s lawyer said that his past online behavior was not at risk of tainting the potential jury pool in his case.

When speculating as to what Stone intended to accomplish through his flurry of online activity since the court instituted the gag order in his case, Judge Jackson remarked that he was clearly calling into question the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation in order to undermine the government’s case against him. Although Judge Jackson did not find that Stone should serve jail time while he awaits his trial, she did impose even harsher restrictions on him than in the previous gag order that he violated. Stone is not to use Instagram, Facebook or Twitter in any fashion until after his trial. This means that he cannot even like, follow or comment on any content posted by any other social media users. She scolded his attorneys for not doing a better job of monitoring their client and ensuring that he complies with all court orders in this case.

Trump Wants To Push A Non-Existent Healthcare Plan If He Wins The Affordable Health Care Lawsuit

Some news reports say Donald Trump is the legal profession’s best friend. Mr. Trump likes to fight in the courts. When Trump sees a defeat of any kind brewing, or if Congress wants to know more about his finances, Trump sues to protect his privacy. When Congress finds wrongdoing in the Trump White House, Trump blocks its attempt to find out what he’s really up to with lawsuits and executive orders.

Mr. Trump doesn’t win all his lawsuits, but he creates enough chaos and distractions to claim a win even when he loses. The Census citizenship question is a good example of how Trump turns a court defeat into a win, according to the Washington Post.

Trump won another lawsuit when an appeals court ruled Trump ownership in Trump Tower properties in Washington and New York doesn’t violate the law that says you can’t profit from a business or accept money from foreign governments if you are president. According to the Washington Post, Trump profits when foreign government officials stay at his hotels.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s special advisor, violates the Hatch Act every time she campaigns for Trump during her news conferences. Mr. Trump claims she has a right to campaign for him while she does government business. The president claims the First Amendment gives Conway the right to say whatever she wants while she does government business.

There are several lawsuits in the courts right now that will determine whether Congress can see Trump’s federal tax returns and his financial records. According to Congressman Adam Schiff, Trump may be part of a money-laundering scheme. Schiff wants Deutsche Bank to give him Trump’s financial records, but the president blocked Schiff’s request with a lawsuit.

The other case that may upend healthcare coverage for more than 20 million American’s is Trump’s lawsuit to throw the Affordable Healthcare Act out. Trump wants to develop a new healthcare plan that doesn’t have Obama’s name attached to it.

Trump told the press his new healthcare plan would help millions of Americans. But according to several Republican senators, he doesn’t have a plan.

Lawsuits give Trump power even when he doesn’t win. He keeps appealing and hoping all his legal battles reach the Supreme Court. He thinks the Supreme Court justices he nominated will have his back and rule in his favor.

Read More: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-biden-health-care-plan-20190715-story.html

President Trump Says Crackdown On Illegal Immigrants Starts Now

United States President Donald Trump announced on Friday that a concerted effort to arrest immigrants previously ordered to leave the country will begin over the current weekend. The president explained that the plan he devised to discourage the current influx of illegal aliens into the country will move forward now after weeks of delay.

The raids will be conducted in ten U.S. cities and will target members of hundreds of immigrant families who have not abided by orders of deportation.

Trump made the unusual move of announcing the deportation plans on Twitter about a month ago. The plan met resistance from Democrats and immigrant rights groups and the president agreed to postpone the operation in hopes a compromise could be reached.

Trump told a group of reporters that the ‘major operation’ would concentrate on deporting criminals from the country. Trump explains the targets entered America illegally and would now be sent home by legal means.

Government data shows that thousands of illegal immigrant arrests are made on a weekly basis by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. For the most part, these arrests are not announced in advance and receive no media publicity.

The president expressed no concern that the advanced notice he has given illegal immigrants will help them to escape being arrested.

A number of mayors in targeted cities have repeated past promises to not aid ICE in their efforts to deport residents. Some cities have even established hotlines immigrant families can call to gain information pertaining to their rights.

Democratic lawmakers have publicly instructed immigrant families to ignore knocks on the door from ICE unless a search warrant is displayed. Immigrants were also told to not answer any questions or sign any documents unless a lawyer is present.

President Trump has made immigration issues a centerpiece for both his administration and his bid to gain reelection in 2020. The Administration has taken a series of measures to address the overflow of Central American natives approaching the United States border in search of asylum.

The arrests planned by the Administration comes after much criticism has been aimed at the President because of the conditions in which current immigration detainees live. Many groups have also been upset by the fact some immigrant children have been separated from their families.

Democrats expressed concern during hearings on Friday that the plan of action desired by the president would result in more children and families being separated.

Trump Administration Birth Control Exemptions Blocked By Federal Appeals Court

A federal appeals court decided on Friday to block President Trump and his administration from taking advantage of new rules that would exempt an Obama-care requirement that they provide female employees coverage for birth control under their health care plans.

The 3rd United Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the decision of a lower court to block employers with moral or religious objections from becoming exempt from healthcare requirement laws of 2010.

The three-judge panel, seated in Philadelphia, agreed with attorney generals from the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the opinion that rules set forth by the Health and Labor Departments are problematic.

The lawsuit was just one of a series of lawsuits filed by attorney generals across the country that challenge the ability to target an Affordable Care Act requirement. The Act is the signature accomplishment for former Democratic President Barack Obama.

The Obama Care mandate concerning contraceptive requires employers to provide an insurance plan that allows employees to receive birth control without a charge for co-payments.

Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, applauds the decision and says it will go along way to protect the contraceptive rights of women.

The Trump Administration has reported on its own that 126,400 women across the nation would lose their contraceptive care if the rule were enforced.

Justice Department Spokeswoman Kelly Laco says the decision is a disappointment to the department. Laco expressed the belief that religious individuals and organizations should not be forced to act against their own belief system.

In a report by Reuters, the Friday ruling upheld a January ruling by a Philadelphia federal judge. A similar ruling by a judge in California blocked enforcement of the rule in14 states across the nation and the District of Columbia.

Judge Patty Schwartz penned the judgment for the three-judge panel. Schwartz wrote the Trump Administration demonstrated no good reason to bypass public notice or the opportunity to provide commentary on the rules adopted by the Administration in 2017.

The Trump administration argued in past proceedings that the harm caused to employers who have religious objections to the Obama Care provision made it necessary to act urgently on the matter.

Judge Schwartz countered by saying the desire to lessen the harm done to employers is not cause to ignore ‘appropriate procedures.’ She characterized a decision by the government to adopt a final set of rules in 2018 that were not allowed by Obama Care as lacking ‘open-mindedness.

Iranian Ships Tried To Take Advantage Of British Oil Tanker Until A British Warship Came To Its Defense

Earlier today, on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, a group of boats under operation by the Iranian government just outside of the Strait of Hormuz, a body of water in the Middle East bordering Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman that also separates the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, got dangerously close to an oil tanker out of the United Kingdom. The Iranian boats are said to have attempted to force the British marine vessel into waters that Iran legally controlled.

According to BBC, after the oil tanker realized what was going on, its management staff buzzed in help from the British military. Luckily for the British oil tanker, a British warship was stationed nearby the location of the incident, forcing the group of five Iranian marine military vessels away from one of its countries’ companies’ oil tankers.

Iran has been involved in several incidents off of its coast, which is shared between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, in recent months, including the sinking of an oil tanker roughly a month ago.

Iran is also responsible for bringing down a United States unmanned military drone that was allegedly – according to Iranian government officials, at least – operating within Iran’s official airspace borders, though the United States has widely disputed this fact, claiming the drone was found in the international airspace directly above the Strait of Hormez, the same place where the aforementioned altercation between the United Kingdom and Iran occurred earlier today.

The five Iranian military ships were shooed away by the United Kingdom’s HMS Montrose, located some four miles to the rear of the British oil tanker.

The United States Department of Defense’s Central Command, also known as USCENTCOM or CENTCOM for short, shared in a press release earlier today that the United States military was aware of what happened and did not support Iran’s actions.

It’s worth noting that the United States backs Saudi Arabia currently in its efforts to fight one-half of the Yemeni Civil War, which has been ongoing for five years. This is of relevance because Iran is the main financial and military backer of the other half of military forces fighting for control of Yemen, a country located on the southernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula, right below Saudi Arabia. As such, the United States was widely expected to side with the United Kingdom in its protection of one of its economy’s oil tankers from Iranian forces.

Cuomo Gives New York The Green Light To Send Trump’s State Tax Returns To Congress

President Trump wants that citizenship question on the 2020 Census, and he wants it bad. He told the Department of Justice to put another legal team together. He wants a team with enough hypothetical legal bullshit to send the Census case back to the Supreme Court. Mr. Trump thinks his bro Chief Justice Roberts will vote his way if he finds the right legal team.

While the Queen of England and Prince Charles gave Trump the Royal treatment at Buckingham Palace, the British Ambassador to the United States kept sending British officials secret memos that threw serious shade at Trump. Ambassador Kim Darroch started sending London memos in 2017, and the memos didn’t stop until they surfaced from an internal leak.

In his memos, Darroch called Trump inept, unpredictable, clumsy, and several other choice descriptions of the chaos Trump creates in the White House. The British Ambassador told a story of nepotism gone bad in his secret internal memos. He watched Ivanka and Jared, Trump’s special advisors, take control of the White House.

White House aides and former cabinets members claim the president only listens to Ivanka and Jared. Ivanka and Jared were with Trump in South Korea. The couple were less than diplomatic when Ivanka asked Kim to grant her trademark protection the same way China did when she let President Xi talk a selfie with her. Jared told Kim he wants to develop an Office park next to the oceanfront Trump Tower the president wants to build on the North Korean coast, according to the Washington Post.

Mr. Trump wants to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Trump told the press Powell doesn’t get it. Trump wants the Feds to cut interest rates to stop the economic bloodbath his tariff war creates. The economy is not as strong as Trump claims. The Feds will meet the end of July, and according to Wall Street, a quarter percent rate cut might be the bone the Reserve Board throws at Trump.

New York state lawmakers just passed a Trump-related bill and Governor Cuomo signed it. The bill forces the State Treasury Department to turn over state tax returns if a Congressional committee asks for them. Congress may want to get Trump’s federal return before that ask New York for his state returns. Richard Neal, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee told the press he wants to wait until there’s a ruling in his court case.

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/08/any-further-delay-injustice-given-green-light-cuomo-rep-richard-neal-urged-request

Trump Blocks Don McGahn’s Assistant From Spilling The Obstruction Beans

Governor Cuomo signed a bill that could help Congress get Trump’s state tax returns. New York can turn over state tax returns to Congress if a congressional committee asks for them, according to the bill Cuomo signed. Congress sued Trump and the Treasury Department in order to get Trump’s federal returns, but the case is a court battle. Richard Neal, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, told the press he won’t ask for the state returns until his lawsuit against Trump ends.

Mr. Trump didn’t waste time when British Ambassador Kim Darroch’s secret memos hit the press. He told Prime Minister May Darroch is a loser, and he wants to send him home. Darroch’s description of the dysfunction, chaos, ineptness, and unpredictability that surrounds everything Trump touches is no secret. The media made the same claims about the president, but he was able to deflect those comments by calling the mainstream media “Fake News.”

But Darroch didn’t call Trump an insecure and incompetent president to sell news articles. He wrote about Trump’s presidency so his country could determine how to deal with Trump. Darroch’s memos paint a picture of a president who mixes a few facts with a lot of fiction when he stands in front of the cameras. Another Darroch memo said most of the people who attend Trump’s rallies are white. Darroch also told his superiors Trump could throw the World Trade Organization to the curb at any time, and he will continue to launch tariff weapons at allies.

The Democrats believe Trump continues to profit from foreign governments while he is in office. More than 36 subpoenas are in play and the goal is to dig into Trump secretive and complicated personal and business financial records. Last month, a federal judge gave the Democrats the green light to continue the legal discovery process.

The Department of Justice claims Trump will suffer irreparable damage if Congress sees his financial records. The DOJ wants to protect the presidential office in the battle over Trump’s financial records. But according to legal experts, Congress will eventually get Trump’s financial information. But it could take months before the all court proceedings end, according to CNN.

Attorney Annie Donaldson, Don McGahn’s former legal assistant, told Congress she couldn’t answer the 200 written questions about Trump’s meltdown over the Mueller investigation. The White House blocked her from answering questions about Trump’s conversations with former White House attorney Don McGahn. Trump asked McGahn to fire Mueller, and Donaldson has the notes to prove it, according to the Washington Post. But getting her to testify about Trump’s quest to obstruct justice will take more time thanks to Trump’s legal stonewalling.

Memphis’s Methodist Hospital System Suspends Wage Garnishment Practice Over Unpaid Bills

Memphis, Tenn.’s largest hospital system, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, is immediately suspending its court collection activities pending a review of their policies. When attorney R. Alan Pritchard appeared in Shelby County General Sessions Court in Memphis on July 3, he asked the court to drop over 24 cases related to unpaid hospital bills.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare came under fire recently after MLK50 and ProPublica Local Reporting Network published an article highlighting the aggressive debt collection tactics the hospital system uses against low-wage patients who cannot pay their bills. In June, Mary Washington Healthcare in Virginia was similarly exposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association for seeking legal action against low-income individuals for unpaid bills. The hospital also suspended the practice until they can review their policies.

Critics of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare say the non-profit hospital pays no tax in return for serving Memphis. Instead, the health system filed 8,300 lawsuits in five years to collect debts. They point to the case of Carrie Barrett who ran up a $12,019 bill in 2007 for a necessary heart catheterization. The non-profit system garnished her less than $13 wage multiple times and added interest to her debt. Barrett, now 63, owes $33,000 which she cannot pay.

According to NPR.org, part of the problem is Methodist’s policy of ignoring patients needing financial assistance to help with their out-of-pocket expenses. The hospital owns its own collection agency which goes after judgments to garnish wages. Lawmakers expressed surprise at the hospital system’s debt collection practices as did the Rev. Anthony Anderson, an elder at Memphis’s Faith United Methodist Church.

According to the hospital system’s own statements, they made $86 million in 2018 after expenses. In 2017, CEO Dr. Michael Ugwueke earned $1.6 million in total compensation and his assistant, former CEO Gary Shorb earned $1.2 million as Ugwueke’s advisor.