Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good morning, it's 30 may 2017

The news. Sorry.

Kelly defends plan for Russia back channel as a 'good thing'
Sec. John Kelly: Intelligence Leaks Are ‘Darn Close To Treason’
Trump expresses 'total confidence' in Kushner
Dems Call for Jared Kushner to Lose Security Clearance
Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows
Trump's obsession over Russia probe deepens
Trump campaign likely didn’t save documents: report
Russia scandal ices government lawyer hiring

Taking apart the modern world order:
A few people make this argument: once Trump is gone & replaced by a mainstream figure (Hatch or Warren, say) norms will return. Nope.
Scoop: Trump tells confidants U.S. will quit Paris climate deal
Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Donald Trump's America: 'We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands'

Neofascism, neo-Naziism, breakdown of civil society:
Portland Republican says party should use militia groups after racial attack
Texas Republican Called ICE on SB 4 Protesters, Threatened to Shoot Colleague
White Nationalist Who Shoved a Black Protester Blames Trump
Neo-Nazis Announce Nationwide Anti-Muslim March Just Days After Horrific Hate Crime
A U.S. citizen says her rights were violated after she was detained by immigration authorities in San Bernardino
Man arrested for machete stabbing, hate crime following standoff

Trump's friends:
Duterte jokes that his soldiers can rape women under martial law in the Philippines

How I Got Fox News To Tell The Truth About ‘Violent Lesbian Gangs’

----- 1 -----
White Nationalist Who Shoved a Black Protester Blames Trump
The woman who was shoved agrees.
Suzannah Weiss - Teen Vogue
May 28, 2017 5:00PM EDT

Matthew Heimbach, who was caught on film shoving a black protester at a Louisville, Kentucky rally for then-candidate Donald Trump rally, filed a lawsuit last month blaming Trump for inciting his actions. In the suit, Heimbach claims that he was acting "pursuant to the directives and requests of" Trump, who yelled "Get 'em outta here!" when the crowd shouted at protesters. The suit points out that Trump also told supporters at an Iowa rally to "knock the crap out of" protesters, and promised to pay their legal fees.

Kashiya Nwanguma, the woman Heimbach allegedly pushed, accused him of assault and battery in her own lawsuit, according to the New York Times, a filing that also argues that Trump is liable for the shoving. The president challenged this suit, but a judge ruled that he had in fact been "reckless" for egging on the crowd.

Both these lawsuits reflect a pattern: Trump's election does appear to have encouraged discrimination and hate crimes. New York Police Department reported 42% more hate crimes between November 8 and February 19 than it did a year before, and 72% of them were antisemitic. This uptick was observed throughout the country: Nine big U.S. cities saw a 20% increase in hate crimes last year. In November, the Trump Hate Map had recorded more than 140 incidents “where Donald Trump, his supporters, or his staff harassed or attacked Latinos and immigrants.”

----- 2 -----
Kelly defends plan for Russia back channel as a 'good thing'
Hope Yen and Vivian Salama, Associated Press
Updated 12:38 am, Monday, May 29, 2017

[Note: there was nothing normal about this. Backchannels using Russian codes through Russian spy agencies? No.]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is defending an alleged effort by top White House adviser Jared Kushner to create back-channel communications with Russia, describing it as a "good thing" as the Trump administration sought to quell mounting questions over secret ties to the Kremlin.

Speaking on Sunday's news shows, Kelly said he didn't know whether the reports by The Associated Press and other news outlets involving Kushner, who is President Donald Trump's son-in-law, were true. But Kelly said such back-channel communications don't bother him and would not be harmful to U.S. security interests.

"It's both normal, in my opinion, and acceptable," Kelly said. "Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing."

Congressional Democrats demanded to hear directly from Kushner over allegations of the proposed secret back-channel, saying his security clearance may need to be revoked. But Trump immediately railed against administration leaks in a flurry of tweets Sunday, calling them "fabricated lies."

----- 3 -----
Sec. John Kelly: Intelligence Leaks Are ‘Darn Close To Treason’
by Kailani Koenig | NBC News | 28 May 2017

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday condemned intelligence leaks after the Manchester attack as "darn close to treason."

The sharing of intelligence related to the case between British counterterrorism police and U.S. officials was briefly paused after pictures from the scene of Monday's deadly Ariana Grande concert bombing were published in the New York Times - and authenticated to NBC News by a senior U.S. law enforcement official. The name of the suspected attacker was also released to the press.

"I believe when you leak the kind of information that seems to be routinely leaked - high, high level of classification… I think it's darn close to treason," Kelly told NBC's "Meet The Press."

The New York Times did not reveal how it obtained the photos.

"I don't know where the leak came from," Kelly said. "But I will tell you this, as I always do in cases like this, I immediately called my counterpart in the UK. And after offering my condolences about the attack… She immediately brought this topic up. And, if it came from the United States, it's totally unacceptable. And I don't know why people do these kind of things, but it's borderline, if not over the line, of treason."

----- 4 -----
A few people make this argument: once Trump is gone & replaced by a mainstream figure (Hatch or Warren, say) norms will return. Nope.
Jeet Heer‏ on Twitter - May 28, 2017

1. A few people make this argument: once Trump is gone & replaced by a mainstream figure (Hatch or Warren, say) norms will return. Nope.

2. Here's the deal: once you elect a clown like Trump, you lose trust not just now but for many years to come.

3. A nation that elects a Trump once could easily elect a similar figure again in the future. That becomes priced into national reputation.

4. For the Germans, South Koreans, Japanese etc. this is no joke: they've stake their lives on having stable USA foreign policy.

5. This is the choice many Asian countries will face. In Europe it'll be "Germany, USA or Russia?"

6. The choice in Asia:

7. I'm open to argument that the decline of America as a global hegemon is a good thing. Ideally should've been done more orderly fashion

8. From the point of view of USA allies, problem is not just Trump but entire infrastructure of gov't enabling Trump.

9. Trump refuses to openly support Article 5 is bad. But almost equally bad is McMaster lying & saying Trump did affirm Article 5.

10. From European perspective, fact McMaster willing to lie & cover up for Trump means entire USA policy establishment is complicit.

11. McMaster's message to Europe on Article 5: "Who are you going to trust, me or your lying ears?" Not good for USA's reputation

12. On Article 5, Merkel & other leaders are likely to weigh Trump's silence more than spin of McMaster & Spicer. Rightly so.

13. The president is the commander in chief. If he won't affirm Article 5, that has to be taken seriously since final say is his, not NSA

14. Let's flip this: for those who still believe in liberal global order, path now is clearly to work outside and without USA government

15. America's erstwhile allies have to think about forming trade, climate & collective security agreements that don't include USA.

16. Americans who oppose Trump have to support civil society groups taking up liberal programs he's rejecting (i.e. Amnesty International)

----- 5 -----
Neo-Nazis Announce Nationwide Anti-Muslim March Just Days After Horrific Hate Crime
Posted By: Nathan Wellman May 28, 2017

America’s largest anti-Muslim grassroots group is organizing a “March Against Sharia Law” in 23 cities across 18 states.

The march is primarily being organized by ACT for America staffer Scott Ryan Presler, and it remains to be seen how well-attended the events will be, as counter-protesters tend to vastly outnumber the protesters at these type of gatherings. The Facebook event currently has 1,500 members.

ACT for America’s official position on racist language seems unusually strict for such a group. A warning email to its members reads “In no way, does our organization advocate, or tolerate bigotry, or threats of violence toward anyone, especially because of which God they may choose to worship… To be clear: any ACT for America member that propagates such ideas antithetical to the values of our organization will have their membership revoked immediately.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, however, compiled the following material from the March for Sharia’s Facebook page:

• “I have to disagree. I beleave [sic] we use any force needed to remove these islamic muslim Refugees terrorist [sic] from this country and are [sic] way of life” said Charles Chew on May 13.

• A May 9 post by Greg Meyer shows former President Barak Obama with a noose around his neck with the words “I look forward to this every day!!!” Theresa Lawver responded to Meyer’s post writing, “Me too and it WILL happen. President Trump is a genius!!”

• In a comment following a post about Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, Virgina Salamino Martinez wrote, “This bitch should be deported. She’s a terrorist.” Charles Chew returned on May 17 to write, “Kill all muslim terrorist [sic] in America.”

• On May 11, Todd Adam Wyman wrote, “Why don’t we all just go to Dearborn, MI, and take our country back? Since when did any of us vote for Sharia Law to be allowed. It should be a crime.”

• In a May 6 comment, Debi Baker Whitelaw wrote, “I agree! The USA is a Judeo/Christian nation and the Muslim nations want to destroy Israel and us.” Sharon Cromwell followed it up with, “We need to reclassify islam [sic] as a terrorist hate group, not a religion. It is an evil ideology invented by a murderous, insane pedophile!!!”

----- 6 -----
How I Got Fox News To Tell The Truth About ‘Violent Lesbian Gangs’
Before Fox News trotted out Rod Wheeler to fabricate a conspiracy about Seth Rich, he was spinning made-up yarns about gun toting “lesbian gangs.”
Mark Potok - The Daily Beast
05.28.17 12:00 AM ET

And on the seventh day, they retracted.

Fox News had dug in its heels hard. But its much-ballyhooed “brand new bombshell”—an evidence-free claim that a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered last summer because he leaked thousands of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks—had completely fallen apart by Tuesday.

That fantasy was purveyed over the previous week by some of the usual suspects of Fox’s Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and “political contributor” Newt Gingrich, but it rested on one man: Rod Wheeler, Fox News contributor, former Washington, D.C., homicide detective, and teller of very, very tall tales.

I can’t say that was much of a surprise to me.

Ten years ago, Rod Wheeler, then styled a “Fox News crime analyst,” appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” to report that “all over the country” hundreds of gangs of pink pistol-packing lesbians were terrorizing victims.

“Well, you know, there is this national underground group, if you will, Bill, of women that’s lesbians and also some men groups that’s actually recruiting kids as young as 10 years old in a lot of schools in the communities all across the country,” he said.

The gangs were armed and committing crimes, Wheeler warned, and numbered “well over” 150 in the Washington, D.C., area alone. Tragically, he informed host Bill O’Reilly, “some of the kids have actually reported that they were forced into, you know, performing sex acts with some of these people.”

----- 7 -----
Scoop: Trump tells confidants U.S. will quit Paris climate deal
28 May 2017 - Axios

President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change, according to three sources with direct knowledge.

Publicly, Trump's position is that he has not made up his mind and when we asked the White House about these private comments, Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks said, "I think his tweet was clear. He will make a decision this week."

Why this matters: Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could to do unravel Obama's climate policies. It also sends a stark and combative signal to the rest of the world that working with other nations on climate change isn't a priority to the Trump administration. And pulling out threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal, given how integral former President Obama was in making it come together in the first place.

Caveat: Although Trump made it clear during the campaign and in multiple conversations before his overseas trip that he favored withdrawal, he has been known to abruptly change his mind — and often floats notions to gauge the reaction of friends and aides. On the trip, he spent many hours with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, powerful advisers who back the deal.

----- 8 -----
Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Donald Trump's America: 'We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands'
German Chancellor says traditional western alliance threatened by new presidency and UK's Brexit
Samuel Osborne - Sunday 28 May 2017 - The Independent

Angela Merkel has suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Donald Trump.

Speaking at a campaign event held in a Bavarian beer tent, the German Chancellor emphasised the need for friendly relations with the US, Britain and Russia, but added: “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”

Ms Merkel said that as the traditional western alliance is threatened by the new US presidency and Brexit, “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”

While Germany and Europe would strive to maintain relations with the US and Britain, Ms Merkel said, “we need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny.”

Her comments came after Mr Trump said he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats.

----- 9 -----
Trump expresses 'total confidence' in Kushner
By POLITICO Staff - 05/28/2017

President Donald Trump on Sunday said he had "total confidence" in Jared Kushner, his embattled son-in-law, in a statement published by the New York Times.

“Jared is doing a great job for the country," the president was quoted as saying. "I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars.

"In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”

The statement appeared in an article headlined "Kushner's relationship with Trump tested as Russia accusations swirl."

Kushner, a vital part of his Trump administration from the git-go, has been under fire because of reports that he attempted — before Trump was sworn in — to establish back-channel connections with Russia that were meant to be obscured from public view. The controversy immediately became just one more part of the ongoing Russia scandals that have plagued Trump's presidency.

----- 10 -----
Duterte jokes that his soldiers can rape women under martial law in the Philippines
By Avi Selk May 27, 2017 | The Washington Post

Three days after declaring martial law in the rebellious southern
Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his troops to crush the
militants, and gave a speech to inspire them:

“You can arrest any person, search any house,” Duterte told the
soldiers Friday.

“I alone would be responsible” for anything they did under martial law,
he said. “I will go to jail for you. If you happen to have raped three
women, I will own up to it.”

This last comment — absolving his soldiers for any future rapes — was
widely reported as a joke, and if it was, it wouldn't be the ruler's
first attempt at the genre.

Before he won the presidency last year, Duterte joked that he “should
have been first” in the gang rape of a woman who was held hostage,
raped and killed in the 1980s.

As Travis M. Andrews noted for The Washington Post, Duterte's lead
widened after the comment. Since then, violence has infused the
rhetoric and actions of his presidency.

“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug
addicts. … I'd be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters a few
months after winning the election.

----- 11 -----
Dems Call for Jared Kushner to Lose Security Clearance
Newsweek - Harriet Sinclair · May 28, 2017

Democrats have called for Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to have his White House security clearance suspended after it emerged the FBI was looking into meetings he held with Russian officials.

Kushner met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and banker Sergey Gorkov in 2016, The Washington Post reported, with Kushner reportedly suggesting in one such meeting that a secret channel of communication be established with Moscow.

However, Kushner has not been accused of doing anything wrong by the FBI and is not facing any criminal charges.

He initially failed to report these meetings on his security clearance forms, according to The New York Times, although his lawyer claimed this was an accident and said the forms would be changed.

But Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said Kushner should not be in possession of security clearance while the investigation was underway.

Rep. Krishnamoorthi also suggested the committee should subpoena documents related to Kushner’s meetings with the Russian figures and asked that Kushner testify before his committee.

“The issue is not simply that Mr. Kushner wanted a communication backchannel; it’s that Mr. Kushner sought to pursue one with a hostile power months after American intelligence agencies had collectively acknowledged the Kremlin’s cyber warfare against the United States," he said in a statement seen by The Hill.

And on Thursday evening, the Democratic National Committee called for Kushner’s security clearance to be suspended.

“The FBI’s investigation reached Trump’s backyard and now it’s in his house,” the DNC said in a statement shared on social media. “Kushner’s security clearance should be suspended until the FBI’s findings are complete.”

The president has not yet commented on the calls for his son-in-law to have his security clearance suspended, but hit out at numerous White House leaks on Sunday, referring to them as “fake news.”

----- 12 -----
A U.S. citizen says her rights were violated after she was detained by immigration authorities in San Bernardino
The Los Angeles Times
By Paloma Esquivel and James Queally
26 May 2017

Guadalupe Plascencia said she was alarmed when a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy asked her to sign papers related to her immigration status.

The 59-year-old hairdresser from San Bernardino had spent the night of March 29 in jail because of a decade-old bench warrant related to her alleged failure to appear as a witness in a court case. During her night in jail, Plascencia said a deputy asked her to sign documents acknowledging that officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had inquired about her.

“Why?” Plascencia asked. “I’m an American citizen.”

Confused and scared, Plascencia did as she was asked, assuring herself that the entire ordeal was a mistake that would soon be cleared up.

But as she tried to leave the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Plascencia said she was met by immigration enforcement agents, handcuffed and placed in the back of a van. Plascencia would spend the rest of the day in ICE custody, fearful that she would be deported despite becoming an American citizen some 20 years ago, following an amnesty program initiated by President Ronald Reagan.

“I felt helpless, like I was no one,” she said in a recent interview. “Here, they talk about rights … in that moment, I realized, we don’t have rights.”

Plascencia was eventually released after her daughter showed ICE agents her passport. But now she has taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit against the federal immigration agency and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in a case that raises issues of how an American citizen wound up in the custody of immigration enforcement agents.

----- 13 -----
Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows
The New York Times
MAY 28, 2017

WASHINGTON — The most successful deal of Jared Kushner’s short and consequential career in real estate and politics involves one highly leveraged acquisition: a pair of adjoining offices a few penny-loafer paces from his father-in-law’s desk in the White House.

Over the past week, Mr. Kushner, who at age 36 occupies an ill-defined role somewhere between princeling and President Trump’s shadow chief of staff, has seen his foothold on that invaluable real estate shrink amid revelations he is under scrutiny in a federal investigation into whether there was collusion with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

Mr. Kushner, an observant Jew, spent the Sabbath in fretful seclusion with his wife, Ivanka Trump, at his father-in-law’s resort in Bedminster, N.J., unplugged, per religious custom, from electronics. But he emerged defiant and eager to defend his reputation in congressional hearings, according to two of his associates.

What is less clear is how Mr. Kushner’s woes will affect his hard-won influence on a mercurial father-in-law who is eager to put distance between himself and a scandal that is swamping his agenda and, he believes, threatening his family.

Continue reading the main story
Some Democrats are calling on the president to revoke Mr. Kushner’s security clearances. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and a chairman of the House committee investigating Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election, suggested in an interview on Sunday that the recent news reports about Mr. Kushner have brought the investigation from the periphery of the Trump campaign and transition teams into the Oval Office.

“If these stories are accurate” in their description of Mr. Kushner and Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s ousted national security adviser, “were they acting at the behest of Mr. Trump, then-candidate, or President-elect Trump? But whether they were or not, they’re still significant.”

In a statement Sunday night, Mr. Trump praised his son-in-law and the work he has done in the White House.

“Jared is doing a great job for the country,” he said. “I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”

But in recent weeks, the Trump-Kushner relationship, the most stable partnership in an often unstable West Wing, is showing unmistakable signs of strain.

----- 14 -----
Trump's obsession over Russia probe deepens
But the president's senior aides say he has yet to decide on a strategy for confronting the crises.
By Matthew Nussbaum , Josh Dawsey and Eliana Johnson
Politico - 05/28/2017

President Donald Trump has been aggressively working the phones since returning this weekend from his foreign trip, talking to friends and outside lawyers as he obsesses over the deepening investigations into his aides and Russia.

Two White House officials said Trump and some aides including Steve Bannon are becoming increasingly convinced that they are victims of a conspiracy against Trump's presidency, as evidenced by the number of leaks flowing out of government — that the crusade by the so-called “deep state” is a legitimate threat, not just fodder for right wing defenders.

Still, Trump and his aides are starting to take the probes more seriously, seeking to establish a communications team dedicated to dealing with questions around the probe and beefing up his legal representation. And they've become more rattled by the idea that they don't know where the scandals are headed and who may be ensnared next.

“The more people talk to him about it, the more he obsesses about it,” said one outside adviser who is close to the president. The White House did not respond to requests for comment as to how Trump was spending his day after returning from the nine-day foreign trip the night before.

----- 15 -----
Portland Republican says party should use militia groups after racial attack
County GOP chair James Buchal says security forces may be appropriate as tensions rise after two people died in a racial attack on public transport
Jason Wilson
Monday 29 May 2017

As tensions continue in Portland following the racially charged murder of two men on Friday, the top Republican in the city said he is considering using militia groups as security for public events.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, were stabbed to death and 21-year-old student Micah David-Cole Fletcher was injured when they came to the aid of two women being subjected to hate speech on public transport. The suspect, Jeremy Christian, 35, was found to hold white supremacist views and to have attended an “alt-right” rally in the city.

On Monday, Donald Trump issued a belated message of condolence. Asked about the president’s tweet, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler told the Guardian: “Our current political climate allows far too much room for those who spread bigotry. Violent words can lead to violent acts.

“All elected leaders in America, all people of good conscience, must work deliberately change our political dialogue.”

Multnomah County GOP chair James Buchal, however, told the Guardian that recent street protests had prompted Portland Republicans to consider alternatives to “abandoning the public square”.

“I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there,” he said. “And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.”

Asked if this meant Republicans making their own security arrangements rather than relying on city or state police, Buchal said: “Yeah. And there are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.”

Asked if he was considering such groups as security providers, Buchal said: “Yeah. We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”

----- 16 -----
Trump campaign likely didn’t save documents: report
By Max Greenwood - 05/28/17 - The Hill

The Trump campaign likely did not preserve documents and communications key to the law enforcement investigation into possible collusion between President Trump's associates and the Kremlin, Politico reported Saturday.

Political campaigns, Politico noted, are typically not required to preserve emails on their private server for long windows of time, and most messages are deleted within 30 to 90 days, unless steps are taken to preserve them.

What's more, the Trump campaign did not do much to establish a plan to maintain those communications, according to a former campaign aide.

"You’d be giving us too much credit,” the former aide told Politico. "The idea of document retention did not come up. The idea of some formal structure did not come up."

The White House itself is subject to more rigorous recordkeeping rules, and White House counsel Don McGahn directed staffers in February to preserve documents and other records that could be requested or used in ongoing federal investigations into Russian election meddling.

But at issue for some White House staffers is the existence of encrypted apps, such as Signal and Confide, that automatically delete messages. Failure to maintain certain records, according to Politico, could potentially lead to legal trouble.

----- 17 -----
Man arrested for machete stabbing, hate crime following standoff
Monday, 29 May 2017 02:07 Lake County News

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – A Clearlake man is in custody on numerous charges for stabbing a man with a machete in a Saturday night attack that police said appeared to have been racially motivated.

Anthony Robert Hammond, 34, is being held in the Lake County Jail on $1 million bail for felony charges of aggravated mayhem, battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, felony resisting executive officer, hate crime and two outside agency felony arrest warrants, and two misdemeanor charges of battery on a person, and obstructing or resisting a peace officer.

Sgt. Travis Lenz said that just before 8:15 p.m. Saturday Clearlake Police officers were dispatched to the Beachfront Apartments on Lakeshore Drive for a report of a male victim who had been stabbed with a machete.

Upon their arrival, officers discovered one black male victim who told them that a white male adult – later identified as Hammond – had been yelling racial slurs at numerous people located in the parking lot of the apartment complex, Lenz said.

Lenz said Hammond returned to his apartment, and then exited while holding a large machete. As he continued yelling racial slurs at the victim, Hammond struck the victim on the shoulder with the machete, causing serious bodily injury.

----- 18 -----
Russia scandal ices government lawyer hiring
Trump has top DOJ positions as well as U.S. attorney posts and judicial vacancies to fill, but as scandals have spread, the candidate pool has shrunk.
By Josh Gerstein - Politico - 05/28/2017 07:06 AM EDT

President Donald Trump was already struggling to fill hundreds of top legal jobs throughout the federal government.

Over the past two weeks, that task became exponentially more difficult, according to top GOP lawyers.

Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the subsequent string of allegations — from Trump demanding a pledge of loyalty from Comey and pressuring him to ease off a probe into his former aide, to revelations that Trump trashed Comey as a “nut job” in an Oval Office meeting with top Russian officials — have narrowed the ranks of people willing to serve.

“They were dealing with a pool that had already shrunk and, now, of course, some people will be avoiding it like the plague,” said one well-connected GOP lawyer who held a top-level post in President George W. Bush’s administration and asked not to be named. “The lesser-known folks are wondering if they’re going to take a huge reputational hit if the president of the United States starts tweeting about them. … There’s definitely some poisoning of the well going on in terms of who would take a job at this point.”

From the outset, the Trump administration was facing a limited pool of candidates for senior positions. Many GOP lawyers and former officials signed “Never Trump” pledges during the campaign and never seriously considered accepting a Trump appointment. Others did, but found themselves essentially blacklisted because of blog posts or other statements made about Trump during the campaign.

Trump still has to fill senior Department of Justice roles and the 93 U.S. attorney posts around the country — a task complicated by his decision, in March, to demand the immediate resignation of all remaining Obama-era appointees without a bench of replacements ready to go. Scores of seats on the federal bench also remain open.

----- 19 -----
Texas Republican Called ICE on SB 4 Protesters, Threatened to Shoot Colleague
The incident happened as more than 1,000 immigrant rights supporters flooded the Texas Capitol.
Texas Observer - 29 May 2017

A Texas Republican threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor over the state’s new anti-‘sanctuary cities’ law on Monday, the final day of the regular legislative session.

Representative Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, made the comment to Representative Poncho Nevárez during a dispute that began when Rinaldi told two Hispanic lawmakers that he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Senate Bill 4 protesters at the Capitol.

“There was a subsequent exchange between my brother Poncho and Representative Rinaldi and there was a threat made from Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleague’s heads,” Representative Justin Rodriguez told reporters after the incident. “That kind of threatening language, he needs to be called out and held accountable for.”

Rinaldi later said on Facebook that he called immigration agents “on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said ‘I am illegal and here to stay.'” Rinaldi accused Nevárez of repeatedly threatening him on the House floor during the scuffle.

“I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense,” Rinaldi said. “I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection.”

Nevárez responded on Twitter: “He’s a liar and hateful man. Got no use for him. God bless him.”

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