Hundreds of thousands of people around the world showed up at more than 800 March for Our Lives rallies organized by students outraged by Congress’s lack of action on instigating sensible gun reform—including more than 20,000 in Austin, and a similar number in Parkland, FL, where a school shooting killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Donald, in Florida to golf yet again, had his motorcade route altered so as not to trouble himself seeing all the demonstrations. And farther down on the low road, an NRATV host taunted the Parkland kids, saying “No one would know your names” if it hadn’t been for the shooting.
But the world is listening—and responding—even if Congress isn’t. Kroger chain Fred Meyer has said it will phase out its sales of firearms, just two weeks after deciding not to sell firearms and ammunition to those under age 21. A recently filed Oregon initiative would makemanufacturing, importing, possessing, purchasing or selling an assault weapon or large capacity magazine a crime, and require registration with police of all existing assault weapons. YouTube continues to ban various firearms videos. Citigroup has announced new restrictions on firearms purchases for customers who offer Citi-backed credit cards or conduct any other credit/banking functions through the company: the new policies prohibit the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
In policy news, education secretary Betsy DeVos attempted to gut funding for her department by $3.6 billion—instead, Congress voted for a $3.9 billion increase in education funding—none of which is earmarked for DeVos’s pet school choice programs that disadvantage economically disadvantaged families. From the Washington Post: “She wanted to eliminate money for after-school programs for needy youth and ax a grant program that helps low-income students go to college in favor of spending more than $1 billion to promote charter schools, magnet schools and private school vouchers…. Her budget would have eliminated grant programs that supported student mental-health services — a move that received scrutiny in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.”
A panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania rejected the GOP’s attempt to block new redistricting from taking place after a ruling that existing districts were unfairly gerrymandered, dismissing Republican lawmakers’ lawsuit claiming that the state supreme court overstepped its authority in making that ruling.
In Wisconsin, Republican governor Scott Walker was ordered by a judge he himself appointed to hold special elections in two districts where he has been refusing to do so. Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are attempting to flout the court order and change the law the ruling was based on.
Some Republicans are finally fleeing their party: Charles Djou, former Republican Congressman from Hawaii, announced he is leaving the GOP because he can no longer stay in a party led by Donald Trump. Retired army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters, a frequent analyst on FOX News, has publicly severed ties with the network, stating that he is “ashamed” of his association with FOX for its propaganda and perpetuation of conspiracy theories, denial of facts, and attacks on the Constitution and our democratic institutions. Amid all this, a record number of Democrats are running for legislative seats in November’s primaries.
Republicans are facing all kinds of legal trouble, much of it directed at the sexual predator in chief. A judge has ruled the Summer Zervos’s defamation lawsuit against Donald may proceed—potentially opening Donald to discovery. In October of 2016, Zervos was one of 11 women accusing Donald of sexual harassment during the shooting of The Apprentice whom Donald called “liars.” Another woman claiming an affair with Donald, a former Playboy playmate, is also suing to end her NDA preventing her from speaking out about an affair with Donald. AndStormy Daniels, whose interview with 60 Minutes aired Sunday night, continues to press her suit to be released from the NDA Donald procured with hush money about their extramarital affair while Melania was recovering from childbirth.
Washington, DC, and Maryland have filed a lawsuit against Donald for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which disallows presidents from receiving gifts and payments from foreign governments without congressional approval. Because Donald refuses to divest himself of his business interests, he is receiving direct payments from foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses.
The New York business commission is investigating more than a dozen Kushner Co. properties for filing false paperwork regarding rent-controlled buildings in an attempt to illegally begin construction work.
The attorney for one of the women who accused Alabama senatorial candidate (and accused child sexual predator) Roy Moore of sexual impropriety reported that a Moore supporter offered him $10K and political favors to drop the woman as a client and publicly state that he didn’t believe her.
Evidence is mounting that Steve Bannon, while working as Donald’s top campaign adviser, oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s illegal gathering of Facebook data that helped Donald win the election, along with similar Russian efforts. Robert Mueller is already all over that.
Speaking of the Russia investigation, new emails show that despite Donald and co.’s denials of George Papdopoulos’s involvement with Donald’s campaign, campaign officials urged him to open a channel of communication to create a U.S. “partnership with Russia,” and Papdopoulos’s direct contacts included Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn. Let us remember that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
In the never-ending White House revolving door, McMaster is out. Donald’s lead legal counsel John Dowd is out. John McCain submitted a series of pointed questions to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel about her history of involvement in torture as part of the agency’s interrogation program. McCain, often the only remnant of a moral conscience in the GOP, said, ““We now know that these techniques not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence, but actually produced false and misleading information. Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.”
Meanwhile John Bolton—Donald’s freshly minted new national security adviser, was head of a super PAC that paid more than a million dollars to Cambridge Analytica to target voters to further his national security agenda.
Scott Pruitt doesn’t seem to be changing his profligate ways—in the past seven months he’s racked up $68K in premium airfare and hotel stays on the taypayer dime. That figure does not include expenses for the aides and security who travel with him.
Donald congratulated Putin on “winning” the recent Russia election, despite specific warnings in his briefing notes in his favorite all-caps , “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.” Someone in the White House leaked the info, and John Kelly is mad, y’all.