We Resist: Day 146

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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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Today is a very important day to make calls, because Donald Trump's resolve might be cracking. Alan Fram at the AP: Trump Tells Senators House Health Bill Is 'Mean'. "Donald Trump told Republican senators Tuesday that the House-passed health care bill he helped revive is 'mean' and urged them to craft a version that is 'more generous,' congressional sources said."

As Greg Sargent reports at the Washington Post, Republicans' response is to be pissed at Trump "for accidentally unmasking their big scam."
House Republicans are angry with [Donald] Trump for blurting out an inconveniently candid view of their health-care bill, Politico reports today. Trump reportedly told a closed-door gathering of GOP senators that the House repeal-and-replace bill is "mean" and called on them to make it "more generous." This promptly leaked, and a lot of people are noting that Trump undercut House Republicans politically and provided Democrats with ammo for a thousand attack ads.

But I'd like to argue that this moment has broader significance than that. If you place Trump's private candor in the context of the indefensibly opaque and secretive process that Republicans are using to get this health-care bill through, it reveals in a fresh way just how scandalous their approach to remaking one-sixth of the U.S. economy really has been.

...House Republicans are now angry at this, Politico reports, because they stuck out their necks making the case for a bill that would leave many millions without coverage and gut protections for people with preexisting conditions. They "explained to their constituents" that the last-minute changes to the bill (adding all of $8 billion) would make it less destructive to that latter group. But Trump has now upended all of this, putting them at greater political risk.

But their anger over this is particularly galling, because Republicans themselves do not want their constituents to actually know what is in the bill they are set to pass. And they are taking active, extensive and possibly unprecedented steps to make sure they don't. Trump merely made this harder for them to get away with.
All of that is spot-on, and I will personally be calling my Republican Senator today to ask him not to vote for a healthcare bill that even the president says is mean. I sincerely hope you will leverage the gift Trump has given us to do the same, if you're represented by any Republicans in the Senate.

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Caroline Bankoff at New York Magazine: Trump's Staff Has Reportedly Talked Him out of Firing Mueller. "Trump believes that Mueller, a friend of Comey, is part of a partisan 'witch hunt' against him. According to the Times, much of Trump's staff basically agrees, but they have tried to convince their boss that another rage-fueled intervention in the Russia investigations 'would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe.' (Melania also reportedly told her husband 'she believed the appointment of Mr. Mueller would speed resolution of the Russia scandal,' resulting in his exoneration.) ...On the other hand, there's only so much anyone can do: 'People close to Mr. Trump say he is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind about Mr. Mueller if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised. And his ability to endure a free-ranging investigation, directed by Mr. Mueller, that could raise questions about the legitimacy of his Electoral College victory, the topic that most provokes his rage, will be a critical test for a president who has continued on Twitter and elsewhere to flout the advice of his staff, friends, and legal team.'"

Philip Bump at the Washington Post: Sessions's Testimony Highlights Trump's Deep Lack of Interest in What Russia Did in 2016. "In his testimony, Sessions told Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) that he 'did not recall' any meeting during which Trump expressed concern or curiosity about what Russia had been doing during the 2016 election. ...Both before and after his election and inauguration, Trump's attitude toward the Russia investigation has almost exclusively been that it's a hassle, not an important step toward assuring the sanctity of American elections. (A sanctity, mind you, that has been his purported focus in establishing a commission to look at alleged voter fraud.) Instead, he has consistently disputed whether Russia was even behind the hacking—a line that Sessions mirrored in his testimony on Tuesday by stating that Russia's role was the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies without embracing it as his own."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Nick Penzenstadler, Steve Reilly, and John Kelly at USA Today: Most Trump Real Estate Now Sold to Secretive Buyers. "Since [Donald] Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies' real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers' identities, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies–corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners' names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before. ...Since Election Day, Trump's businesses have sold 28 of those U.S. properties for $33 million."

Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post: Congressional Democrats to File Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump.
Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress agreed to file a lawsuit Wednesday against [Donald] Trump alleging that by retaining interests in a global business empire he has violated constitutional restrictions on taking gifts and benefits from foreign leaders.

The lead senator filing the complaint in federal district court, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), said Tuesday that the lawsuit has already drawn more congressional plaintiffs — 196 — than any legal action previously taken against a president. No Republicans had joined in the lawsuit so far, although they will be invited to do so, Blumenthal said.

An advance copy of the legal complaint reviewed by The Washington Post argues that those in Congress have special standing because the Constitution's "foreign emoluments clause" requires the president to obtain "the consent of Congress" before accepting any gifts.

The legal effort, led in the House by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), is likely to escalate tensions between the White House and Capitol Hill, where at least five committees are investigating various issues related to the Trump administration.

...The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night, but on Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed the lawsuit filed by the two state attorneys general, saying it's "not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations."
Honestly, it actually is hard to conclude that Democrats are being motivated by partisanship, for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that the Democrats consistently fail to act for the specific reason of being afraid to look partisan. There really has to be something serious going on for Dems to risk the horror of some dipshit shill on CNN accusing them of partisanship.

[CN: Racism] Jenny Rowland at Think Progress: Despite Tribal Opposition, Trump's Interior Secretary Wants to Shrink Bears Ears National Monument. "The report and review of Bears Ears National Monument are the result of an Executive Order signed by Trump in April aimed at revoking or shrinking 27 national monuments. Bears Ears is a 1.35 million-acre monument that was designated late last year by President Obama at the behest of a coalition of five tribal nations with the intention to protect sacred Native American sites and ecologically significant landscapes. 'For Navajo nation this is really about the preservation of our way of life as Navajo people,' said Ethel Branch, Attorney General for the Navajo Nation and Navajo tribal member. 'Protection of these lands is non negotiable. Our people and our leaders have spent endless hours working to protect these lands through monument designation.'"

Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: Climate Change Mentions Are Deleted From the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Website. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has made some subtle, but telling, changes on its website. It recently removed all mentions of climate change from its Tribal Climate Resilience Program website. Now, it is called Tribal Resilience Program. ...This isn't the administration's first attempt at clearing climate change off federal websites. The EPA's climate change website was all but removed in April."

Bernie Sanders at the New York Times: How Democrats Can Stop Losing Elections. This is an 857-word essay by someone who is not even a Democrat, which does not mention any of the following: Voting rights, voting accessibility, voter purges, felony restrictions on voting, prisoner disenfranchisement, machine tampering, gerrymandering, foreign meddling, ideological harassment and violence, or the need for responsible journalism that centers policy. Fucking Bernie Sanders, man.

And finally, a couple of pieces of good news...

David Eggert at the AP: Five People, Including Michigan Health Chief, Charged in Flint. Nick Lyon, head of the Michigan Health Department, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter as part of the investigation of Flint's lead-contaminated water crisis. Wow. And good.

Stephanie Merry at the Washington Post: Oliver Stone Defended Vladimir Putin to Stephen Colbert; the Audience Laughed at Him. Oliver Stone is such an ass. I'm so glad he's getting pushback on this garbage.

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

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