Posted on July 27, 2018 in Countdown
Click here to subscribe to Countdown, AAI's weekly take on news from Washington, around the country, and abroad.DREAMers Countdown: It’s been 325 days since President Trump moved to end DACA. The courts did step in to block the move, but Congress has yet to provide a permanent fix. TWEET THIS
What’s More Plausible? You Decide
Surely you remember the story: A Russian businessman with ties to Trump contacted Donald Trump Jr. to offer documents that would “incriminate Hillary” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” and Trump Jr. responded with “love it.” Subsequently, he, Jared Kushner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort all met with a Russian lawyer about this, but they all supposedly kept Donald Trump in the dark about all of it, both before and after the meeting. According to CNN, the Trump team “offered misleading explanations and changed their story several times. But one claim stayed consistent: Trump had no knowledge of the meeting beforehand.” But because the world loves twists, Trump’s embattled lawyer is now saying otherwise, that Trump knew of the meeting, but Trump took to his favorite platform to dispute Michael Cohen’s claim. Surely Trump’s ignorance seems far-fetched, but he also has an impeccable track record of honesty, so it’s hard to know who to believe. So, we’ll just leave it up to you to decide what’s more plausible.TWEET THIS
“Cram ALL of the Dem garbage”
“In a glorious way that makes it easier to cram ALL of the Dem garbage...into only four districts.” This is from an email by an aide to former Michigan Republican congressman Thaddeus McCotter, explicitly proposing the gerrymandering of districts in the state. And let’s not leave out “the obvious objective -- [...] increase the black population in the black districts." We’ll give you a moment to collect your jaw off your lap. Republicans in Michigan have long claimed they haven’t tried to gerrymander the state to give their party an advantage, but these emails, showing otherwise, have now emerged because of a federal lawsuit, led by the League of Women Voters of Michigan. The suit argues that “Republicans violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments by minimizing Democratic representation for partisan gain.” The emails also showed Republicans attempting to redraw the state map to give their party 10 of the 14 district seats, but one Republican strategist pushed back with: “We needed for legal and PR purposes a good looking map that did not look like an obvious gerrymander.” Isn’t it amazing that this is all expressed in writing? If you’re not smart enough to avoid putting stuff like that on email, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be plotting the undermining of democracy.TWEET THIS
Democracy Bites Back
Remember when we warned y’all not to mess with Florida students? Yeah, we weren’t kidding. On Tuesday, District Judge Mark Walker decided that Florida college and university campuses can be used as early voting sites in this year’s elections, ruling unconstitutional the ban put in place by Secretary of State Ken Detzner. In 2014, Detzner told officials in Gainesville that they could not use the student union at the University of Florida as an early voting location, a ban which the League of Women Voters of Florida and many college students challenged in May. And the Gainesville-area supervisor of elections didn’t waste a minute after Walker’s ruling, sending a letter to the UF president asking to set up an early voting location at the once-contested student union. Florida early voting runs from October 22-November 3, the last day of which coincides with a Gators football game. As thousands of fans flock to this Gators home game, the early voting center on campus will work to maintain accessibility. What goes together better than football and voting? Nothing. Nothing goes together better.TWEET THIS
Census Litigation Win
As you may remember, earlier this year nearly thirty states, cities, organizations, and individuals sued the Census Bureau over the addition of the untested citizenship question to the 2020 census. Yesterday, Judge Furman of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York denied in part the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss the suit. The judge wrote, “Plaintiffs plausibly allege that Secretary Ross’s decision to reinstate the citizenship question was motivated at least in part by discriminatory animus and will result in a discriminatory effect.” This is the first legal win for challenges to the Trump Administration’s handling of the 2020 census. The immediate significance of this decision is that the suit is likely to enter the discovery phase of litigation, which may compel the Census Bureau to hand over information regarding the decision that has not yet been made public. This decision may also encourage other suits challenging the census in other courts around the country. Stay tuned!
Arsonist Criticizes Inadequate Fire Department Response
How absurd is U.S. policy on Gaza? It’s so absurd that the U.S. simultaneously supports Israel’s suffocation of Gaza that has created a humanitarian catastrophe, AND is upset because others aren’t doing more to alleviate this humanitarian catastrophe. We’re not joking! After the Trump administration slashed funding for UNRWA, our confused U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley unleashed an epic rant about Arab countries who are “generous with their words”, but who aren’t doing enough to help Palestinians. She said it was time for “regional states in particular to step up” their humanitarian aid for the Palestinians. But many Arab states are giving sizable contributions on that front. Sure, an argument could be made that some should give more, or that political opposition to Israel’s policies ought to be even stronger, but it takes a lot of audacity for an administration that supports siege and occupation to be lecturing others about stepping up to alleviate the consequences of these policies. It’s like an arsonist who gets mad at the fire department for not putting out her fires more aggressively.