This was one of those son-of-a-bitch weeks that’s harder to stomach than some. But there was still plenty of progress still being made.
The GOP quietly introduced another abortion-ban bill, which quietly failed to advance in the Senate.
A Manhattan federal judge decried ICE for “cruel” tactics in jailing immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir and ordered him freed.
The Republican Governors Association cut all ties with former RNC chairman and accused harasser Steve Wynn and returned money he had donated to the organization, and the University of Iowa, which had named one of its institutes after him in exchange for his $25 million commitment to the school, is retracting the honor.
Donald’s release of cherry-picked facts from the memo House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes carefully and selectively edited regarding the Russian investigation and the FBI’s surveillance of people in the Trump campaign has resulted in a firestorm of controversy, but it’s not just the FBI and Democratic lawmakers speaking out against the irresponsible, propagandized, potentially national-security-threatening memo.
Republican John McCain says, “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”
And former CIA head John Brennan (under both Bush and Obama) accused Nunes (who, let’s remember, tried to secretly share confidential House Intelligence Committee info with the White House last year before he even briefed his bipartisan committee colleagues) and the GOP of “reckless partisan behavior” pointedly adding that “Absence of moral and ethical leadership in [White House] is fueling this government crisis.”
And a former FBI special agent and counterterrorism investigator spoke out in a NYTimes op-ed about why he’s leaving the bureau in the interest of being free to protect it and our institutions, sharply calling out “political operatives” trying to shake the public’s trust in the FBI in order to undermine the findings of the Russia investigation—“operatives” he doesn’t call out by name, but by using direct quotes from Donald’s tweets, makes his subject entirely clear.
Lawyers for Donald’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s codefendant in Mueller’s fraud and money-laundering prosecution, Rick Gates, have asked the federal judge in the case to let them leave the case—the third shift in legal representation since Gates was indicted. The attorney’s declined to offer a reason, citing a gag order. Meanwhile, TIME magazine discovered that in 2013, Donald’s former campaign adviser Carter Page bragged of his Kremlin contacts in a letter to a publisher—not only adding fuel to Mueller’s investigation of him, but lending credence to the FBI’s decision to surveil him that Nunes’s memo glosses over as probable cause.
Meanwhile, here’s the Washington Post’s great visual breakdown of who we know has spoken with Mueller’s investigation.
Another one bites the dust—Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee (and he who relentlessly dragged out the Benghazi investigation, racking up millions of dollars in cost to taxpayers despite repeatedly finding no evidence of wrongdoing), has announced he won’t seek reelection, calling himself “a lousy politician” (we can’t help but agree). GOP lawmakers are being picked off like carnival ducks—do they know something we don’t know (like that a new conservative party is forming?) or are they simply leaving the field in disgrace?
Donald may yet face few consequences for calling Haiti and other minority nations “shitholes,” but one official has—the lottery board chairman who referred to a town in Illinois as “a shithole of the universe” has stepped in the face of heavy public criticism.
The White House has withdrawn Kathleen Harnett White, Donald’s nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, after loud public and congressional outcry against the climate-change denier—including a letter signed by more than 300 scientists across the country.
Need a palate cleanse for the week? Stream the inaugural episode of David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, featuring Barack Obama and John Lewis. Here’s a clip—but don’t miss the whole one-hour show. It will remind you why we’re fighting and how far we’ve come—and how hard those before us have fought, and how much there is to be gained.