One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.
So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.
Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.
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Here are some things in the news today:
Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Sought to Block Sally Yates from Testifying to Congress on Russia.
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.Again, if as the administration keeps insisting, there's nothing to the allegations of collusion with Russia, then why are they trying so hard to stall the investigation?
Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.
[Donald] Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry to United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.
As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became national security adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster.
Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The following day, when Yates's lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.
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Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: Mar-a-Lago Can't Release Visitor Logs—Because It Doesn't Keep Them.
Mar-a-Lago also doesn't keep tabs on the identity of guests who come and go on a routine basis, even while the president is in residence. Club members call the front desk to give the names of their guests, including for parties held in the ballroom. But they don't have to submit details, like a middle initial or birth date or Social Security number, that are standard for visitor logs or background checks — which neither the club nor the Secret Service do at the resort.That is hugely problematic. We have no record of who has been able to buy access to the President of the United States for $300.
On Friday night, guests streamed into Mar-a-Lago, the president's self-proclaimed "southern White House," for the annual Palm Beach GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. All they had to do to get into the seaside retreat, where the first lady and the president's youngest son were vacationing for spring break, was buy a $300 ticket.
They didn't have to submit to the kinds of rigorous background checks required if they'd been entering the White House in Washington. And there were no weapon screenings or bomb-sniffing dogs checking vehicles of the sort that have long been routine at public restaurants or other places where the president or first lady is present.
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[Content Note: War; bombing; death] Thomas Gibbons-Neff at the Washington Post: The Airstrike in Mosul Was Potentially One of the Worst U.S.-Led Civilian Bombings in 25 Years. "Even though Iraqi civil defense workers are still sorting through the rubble, the March 17 U.S. airstrike in West Mosul, if confirmed, could potentially rank among one of the most devastating attacks on civilians by American forces in more than two decades. Residents from the neighborhood where the strike occurred said that 137 civilians were killed, while Iraqi officials have said that upward of 80 people had been pulled from the rubble. Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars.org, said the range of dead have been reported from 101 to 511, though the likely numbers are somewhere between 130 and 230." Fucking hell. Oh my god.
[CN: Nativism] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Jeff Sessions: No More DOJ Funding for Sanctuary Cities. "During Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefing [yesterday] (March 27), Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to the podium to inform state and local leaders that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer award grants to cities that don't comply with immigration laws as laid out by [Donald] Trump's recent executive orders. 'Today, I'm urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373,' Sessions said. 'Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants be certified compliant with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.'" Literally, the Attorney General just threatening local governments with punitive measures if they help undocumented immigrants and refugees.
Jonathan Swan at Axios: Trump Wants to Do Tax Reform and Infrastructure at the Same Time. "Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn't have to bargain with the hardliners. ...Trump needs fast victories and infrastructure is something that's big, flashy, and potentially bipartisan." The Democrats should avoid his infrastructure plan like the plague, since it's a dogshit privatization scheme. And if he combines it with tax cuts, hopefully that will give them even more incentive to obstruct.
Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein at WNYC News: Paul Manafort's Puzzling New York Real Estate Purchases. "Paul J. Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia, has engaged in a series of puzzling real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years. Real estate and law enforcement experts say some of these transactions fit a pattern used in money laundering; together, they raise questions about Manafort's activities in the New York City property market while he also was consulting for business and political leaders in the former Soviet Union." JFC.
(And of course there is some indication that Trump may have done the same thing.)
Ali Vitali and Corey Siemaszko at NBC News: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner: Rising Powers at the White House. "[Ivanka] often serves as Trump's 'consigliere' and, in a White House filling with infighting, is 'there to protect her father's interest,' a source told NBC News. Now with a West Wing office, she also has also been called on to serve as an adviser on issues not on her radar, most recently on Friday when the Trump-backed plan to replace Obamacare crashed and burned. Meanwhile, the profile of Trump's son-in-law is also on the rise. On Monday, it was announced that Kushner was tapped to oversee a new office called the White House Office of American Administration, whose mission is to make the federal government run more like a business."
Gwilym Mumford at the Guardian: Trump's Treasury Secretary Accused of Ethics Violation after Lego Batman 'Plug'. "A senior Democrat has called for US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to face an ethics violation investigation over comments he made plugging The Lego Batman Movie, a film financed by one of Mnuchin's companies. In a letter to Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, Ron Wyden, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate finance committee, expressed concern over comments made by Mnuchin during a live Q&A with the political news website Axios, in which Mnuchin called on the public to 'send all your kids to Lego Batman.'" This, again, is what happens when people who have no governmental experience are tasked with running the government. They don't know the rules, and so they keep breaking them.
[CN: Misogynoir] Bill O'Reilly, one of Trump's media BFFs, made a nakedly racist comment about Rep. Maxine Waters, who is one of Trump's most fervent critics. After watching a snippet of her speaking on the House floor, O'Reilly sniffed: "I didn't hear a word she said; I was looking at the James Brown wig." FUCK YOU, O'REILLY.
Nicole Knight at Rewire: Koch-Funded Group Wants to Quash Arizona Voter Rights. "Right-leaning groups and GOP lawmakers aim to make it tougher for Arizonans to pass ballot initiatives after voters overwhelming passed a $12 minimum wage initiative in 2016. Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation last week outlawing the common practice of paying signature gatherers based on the number of signatures collected. ...The new Arizona law, which only applies to voter initiatives, not to individual races, kills financial incentive for circulators to gather as many signatures as possible. Campaigns will be forced to pay by the hour or rely on volunteers. Ducey called the legislation 'common sense reform' to avoid voter fraud, but he offered no evidence of voter fraud in the state's citizen initiatives."
Olivia Solon at the Guardian: Your Browsing History May Be up for Sale Soon. Here's What You Need to Know. The House vote is/was today. Seethe.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?