Republicans Against the Law
A federal judge blocked Don John’s effort to switch legal representation in seeking to circumvent the Constitution by pushing through with adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census in violation of the Supreme Court decision disallowing it—followed by a second federal judge upholding that ruling. At which point, in yet another head-spinning 180, Donald once again backed down from trying to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census.
In a mixed blessing, a federal judge ruled that Don John can no longer block his critics on Twitter. A win for free speech…but there’s something lovely about being blocked by the toddler in chief from seeing his toilet-seat tantrums.
The DC attorney general issued subpoenas to the NRA and its “charitable” foundation in an investigation into whether the organization violated the city’s Nonprofit Act, which prohibits misuse of nonprofit funds, including for personal gain.
The governor of New York approved a new law allowing the release of Trump’s state tax returns to Congress.
Meanwhile California lawmakers passed, 57-17, legislation requiring all presidential and state gubernatorial candidates to release their tax information to appear on the state’s ballot.
Congressional Democrats issued 37 subpoenas to the Trump Organization and other Trump businesses tied to a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits profiting from foreign governments.
A House panel voted to subpoena Kushner and Sessions, along with 10 other witnesses in the Mueller investigation.
A federal grand jury is investigating former RNC chairman Elliott Broidy to determine whether he used his position as vice chair of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee to facilitate business deals with foreign leaders.
Social and Civil Rights Advances
Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly (383-73) to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland and to require the government to expand draconian restrictions on abortion.
The Boca Raton, FL, principal who stated in an email to a parent that he couldn’t state whether the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event” because he had to stay “politically neutral” has been removed from his position.
The Best People
Labor secretary Alex Acosta slinks away from Don John’s cabinet (making him the ninth cabinet member to leave in Donny’s first two and a half years—more than his five immediate predecessors in their entire first terms) after dogged Miami Herald journalist Julie Brown uncovered evidence of how Acosta, as the top federal prosecutor in Florida, brokered a plea deal with child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that resulted in extraordinarily lenient sentencing. Bringing the total of “acting” heads in key positions in Don John’s administration serving without any vetting by the Senate to more than a dozen.
Either Donald is straight-up insane, or he’s an imminent threat to the rule of law, democratic norms, and simple civility. (Either way, America loses.)
Your Feel-good Stories of the Week
Starting in 2020, UT announced it will provide free tuition to undergrad students whose family income is $65K or below.
A grocery store’s attempt to shame customers into avoiding plastic bags backfired hilariously—but drew attention to eco-awareness.
Swiss researchers have a beautiful plan to counteract climate change: plant a trillion trees—literally. “It’s like the hippie solution: plant a tree, save the world. But the amazing thing is now we’ve got the science to back it up. It really is this unbelievably powerful tool.”
A needlepoint artist wanted to do something to protest the egregious violations of human decency by the Very Stable Genius and started a movement: the Tiny Pricks Project was formed to bring more awareness to this administration’s misogyny.
This wonderfully thought-provoking short piece by Sebastian Junger cites scientific studies that show our politics may be in our DNA—but also makes the hopeful point that this makes us evolutionarily adaptable if we can manage to work together: “Every human society must do two things: It must be strong enough to protect itself from outside groups, and it must be fair enough to avoid internal conflict. A society entirely composed of liberals risks being overrun by enemies, and a society entirely composed of conservatives risks breaking apart over issues of inequality — ‘social justice,’ as it’s now termed. Put those groups together, however, and you have addressed the two greatest threats to human welfare: enemies and discord.”