We Resist: Day 145

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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:

Earlier today by me: Sessions to Testify to Senate Intelligence Committee.


Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott at ProPublica: Trump's Personal Lawyer Boasted That He Got Preet Bharara Fired. "Marc Kasowitz, [Donald] Trump's personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations. Kasowitz told Trump, 'This guy is going to get you,' according to a person familiar with Kasowitz's account. Those who know Kasowitz say he is sometimes prone to exaggerating when regaling them with his exploits. But if true, his assertion adds to the mystery surrounding the motive and timing of Bharara's firing. ...Kasowitz and the White House did not respond to requests for comment." I'll bet they didn't.

Bharara was not investigating Trump at the time he was fired, but he was overseeing the district in which Trump's business dealings prior to being elected would be investigated, should any investigations arise, and he was conducting an investigation into Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, as well as investigating Fox News.

So, Bharara's firing has always had the whiff of obstruction, and it sure got stinkier when Trump fired James Comey. All of which, of course, was preceded by the firing of Sally Yates.

Now, Trump's surrogates are going on the attack against Special Counsel Bob Mueller — and, incredibly, Trump confidant Christopher Ruddy, CEO of arch-conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS' Judy Woodruff last night: "I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he's weighing that option."

It's absolutely breathtaking — and simultaneously somehow totally unsurprising — that Trump would actually consider firing the Special Counsel appointed to investigate his administration's ties to Russia, whose appointment was only necessitated by his own Attorney General's ties to Russia, about which he lied under oath during his confirmation hearing.

It's also unclear whether Trump understands that he cannot personally fire the Special Counsel. That's not how it works. He could pressure Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is acting AG in the Russia matters, by virtue of Jeff Sessions' aforementioned recusal, to fire Mueller, but given that Rosenstein just appointed Mueller, he is unlikely to agree with the president that the Special Counsel needs to be fired.

(In fact, in testimony just earlier today, Rosenstein stated: "If there were good cause, I would consider it. If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says.")

Every day, we are verging closer to a major crisis in the Department of Justice, as Trump brazenly seeks to remove anyone who is tasked with investigating his administration. The president has utter contempt for the rule of law. And his party doesn't seem to care.

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Kira Lerner at Think Progress: The Senate Is Blocking TV Reporters from Interviewing Lawmakers in the Capitol. "The Senate made an unprecedented move on Tuesday and began banning members of the media from interviewing lawmakers in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, according to multiple reporters. As GOP senators draft their signature health care law in secret, refusing to share the text of the bill with the public or the media, TV reporters said they were approached in the halls by Senate staff who said they could no longer film interviews with lawmakers."

What a bunch of conniving cowards.

[Content Note: Violent imagery/mob metaphor] Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at the Root: How Trump's Cabinet Meeting Devolved into a Mob Movie. "After signing some stuff the president then praised himself as one of the most productive signing stuff president ever and the conceded that President Roosevelt may have signed stuff better than him. Godfather Trump then asked the cabinet to introduce themselves and their position... Vice President Pence started the praisefest: 'The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who's keeping his word to the American people,' The New York Times reports. ...But the true tribute and most bizarre moment came from 'The most likely to be beaten by Trump with a baseball bat' chief of staff Reince Priebus, whose job is hanging on by an angel's eyelash. 'We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda,' Preibus said."

Yes, I mentioned that shit yesterday, but I still can't get over it! I AM STILL PROCESSING THAT THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE WHITE HOUSE OMGGGGGG. And if Trump really expects us to believe he's not the kind of guy who asked James Comey to make a loyalty pledge, then maybe he shouldn't oblige the members of his Cabinet to talk about how awesome he is on camera. Just a thought!

Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: U.S. Does Not Sign G7 Document on Climate Change. "In a new, international, anti-climate move, the United States did not sign onto a pledge yesterday (June 12) from the leading industrial nations which comprise the Group of Seven, or G7. The seven countries—Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States—met in Bologna, Italy, for two days to discuss the matter before releasing the environment ministers' statement yesterday. It sets a global agenda to meet the sustainable development goals and properly respond to the manmade disaster that is climate change with explicit language on how climate change will further exacerbate poverty and social problems around the world, particularly for 'women and Indigenous peoples.' EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was there on behalf of the United States but left more than a day early after other leaders expressed their disappointment in the U.S. for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement June 1."

Renae Ditmer at Indian Country Today: Will [Donald] Trump Eliminate the BIA? "It's a tale as old as time: The federal government wants to reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to better serve both American Indians and taxpayers. ...Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, with his literal spurs and cowboy hat and horse, has now been charged by his boss, [Donald] Trump, to make reform happen once again and with less money than ever, accounting for inflation. On March 13, Trump signed an executive order entitled 'A Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,' and he has since directed the Office of Management and Budget 'to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies…components of agencies, and agency programs.' Could that be what Trump wants Zinke to do at the BIA? No one at the White House is saying that, but they aren't saying much of anything on Indian affairs, despite repeated requests for comment. What is known is that Trump's executive order does not mention consultation with the American Indian and Alaska Native communities, or consent by them to implement any changes to Indian-focused programs."

[CN: Worker exploitation] Krithika Varagur at the Guardian: Revealed: Reality of Life Working in an Ivanka Trump Clothing Factory. "The reality of working in a factory making clothes for Ivanka Trump's label has been laid bare, with employees speaking of being paid so little they cannot live with their children, anti-union intimidation, and women being offered a bonus if they don't take time off while menstruating. The Guardian has spoken to more than a dozen workers at the fashion label's factory in Subang, Indonesia, where employees describe being paid one of the lowest minimum wages in Asia and there are claims of impossibly high production targets and sporadically compensated overtime. The workers' complaints come only a week after labour activists investigating possible abuses at a Chinese factory that makes Ivanka Trump shoes disappeared into police custody."

Ally Boguhn at Rewire: Karen Handel: Georgia's Discriminatory Voter ID Law Her 'Most Important Accomplishment'. Yes, that's the same Karen Handel who was just bragging about not supporting a liveable wage. She's also, in case you've forgotten this old chestnut, the same Karen Handel who had to resign as vice president for public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure after the massive public relations disaster caused by withdrawing funding from Planned Parenthood. She seems great. Ahem.

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

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