We Resist: Day 111

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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:

Obviously the political press is consumed today by Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Following is a quick list of some recommended reading on the subject.

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Behind Comey's Firing: An Enraged Trump, Fuming about Russia. "He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn't disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said."

The L.A. Times Editorial Board: Absolutely Nothing About James Comey's Firing Passes the Smell Test. "Comey is the official who has been supervising an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign of the very president who just fired him. That president, by the way, tweeted this on Monday: 'The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?' Americans can be excused for wondering if Trump hopes that Comey's departure from the scene is the answer to his question."

Matt Shuham at TPM: McConnell Defends Trump's Firing Of Comey, Opposes New Investigations. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday defended [Donald] Trump's decision to fire James Comey as director of the FBI. McConnell also argued against appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election."

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: In the Wake of Trump's Brazen Firing of Comey, It's Time to Go Nuclear. Here's How. "If those Republicans are truly as alarmed as their rhetoric suggests, there are concrete things they can do in the Senate right now that could help compel either a full accounting of the Comey firing, or an independent Russia probe, or both. And Democrats, too, can ratchet up the tactics in a big way to try to force GOP leaders to relent on both of these fronts."

Josh Meyer and Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: FBI Agents in Tears as News of Comey's Firing Spread. "The news of FBI director James Comey's firing struck like a thunderclap at field offices around the country, where agents heard first from TV or the internet that their boss had been dismissed by [Donald] Trump. 'I'm literally in tears right now. That's all I have to say,' said a longtime special agent who's known and worked with Comey for years, who first heard the news on the car radio."


To sum: Multiple news outlets are reporting, based on information from well-placed sources, that Comey recently requested additional resources from the Justice Department to expand his Russia investigation. The Justice Department spokesperson, who has lied to cover the Attorney General's ass previously, contradicts those reports. Very concerning. Are all of those sources lying, or is the Justice Department?

Julian Sanchez at Just Security: Some Obvious Thoughts About the Comey Firing. "The question of Comey's replacement is hugely significant, and the confirmation hearings for the next FBI director are bound to be explosive. One consistent theme of Trump's business career is that he has always viewed the law as a cudgel with which to bludgeon adversaries.. The prospect of a Federal Bureau Investigation run in the same way ought to be genuinely frightening, and with Comey out of the way, it seems all too possible."

Also genuinely frightening is that "Sessions, who is supposed to recuse himself from Trump campaign investigations, is going to be interviewing for an acting FBI director."

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Relatedly, and very importantly, Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met at the White House today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who joked about Comey's firing before heading into his meeting with Tillerson.

Later, this happened:

Note the credit on that photo: "Russian Foreign Ministry."

So, to recap: The Russian Foreign Minister makes a joke about the U.S. FBI Director, who's overseeing investigations into Russian interference and collusion, being fired. Then he goes to meet with the President of the United States, who disallows press access, and then the Russian Foreign Ministry releases a photo of the Foreign Minister shaking hands with the President.

They are laughing at us. Trump is Putin's puppet, whether he intends to be or not. He is so easily manipulated because of his brittle ego that he has played right into Russian hands. And, thus far, Republicans seem disinclined to rescue the nation from this humiliation and peril.

Speaking of which: Mike Pence went on record in defense of this horseshit today.

This also happened:

Russia laughs at the Trump administration, and the Trump administration laughs at us. They're just trolling us. What the fuck are you gonna do about it?


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In other news:

Samantha Schmidt at the Washington Post: West Virginia Journalist Arrested After Asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a Question.
As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price walked through a hallway Tuesday in the West Virginia state capitol, veteran reporter Dan Heyman followed alongside him, holding up his phone to Price while attempting to ask him a question.

Heyman, a journalist with Public News Service, repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation's health care system, he said.

"He didn't say anything," Heyman said later in a news conference. "So I persisted."

Then, an officer in the capitol pulled him aside, handcuffed him and arrested him. Heyman was jailed on the charge of willful disruption of state government processes and was released later on $5,000 bail.

Authorities said while Secret Service agents were providing security in the capitol for Price and Kellyanne Conway, special counsel to the president, Heyman was "aggressively breaching" the agents to the point where they were "forced to remove him a couple of times from the area," according to a criminal complaint.

Heyman "was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price," the complaint stated.

But Heyman said he was simply fulfilling his role as a journalist and feels that his arrest sets a "terrible example" for members of the press seeking answers to questions.

"This is my job, this is what I'm supposed to do," Heyman said. "I think it's a question that deserves to be answered. I think it's my job to ask questions and I think it's my job to try to get answers."
Absolutely chilling. That is of course his job. And it is plain as day that accusations of being disruptive were used against him because he was asking a very inconvenient question on a subject that the Republican Party doesn't want to answer.

Speaking of Tom Price:

Tara Bahrampour at the Washington Post: U.S. Census Director Resigns Amid Turmoil over Funding of 2020 Count. "The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is resigning, leaving the agency leaderless at a time when it faces a crisis over funding for the 2020 decennial count of the U.S. population and beyond. John H. Thompson, who has served as director since 2013 and worked for the bureau for 27 years before that, will leave June 30, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday. The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. ...A Commerce Department spokesperson said an acting director would be designated 'in the coming days' and the position would be filled permanently 'in due course.'"

Marianne Levine at Politico: Is ICE Targeting Activists? "Immigration activists say the Trump administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants is targeting those who speak out against it. ...A young woman was detained after she denounced deportations at a press conference in Jackson, Miss. A pair of activists in Burlington, Vt., were arrested leaving their offices. An outspoken college student in New Brunswick, N.J., was summoned to an unexpected meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 'That's not something that we saw under the Obama administration,' said Cecillia Wang, a deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union. 'As draconian as the enforcement was under Obama, there did not appear to be a deliberate effort to instill fear in immigrant communities.'"

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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