“Demonstrators descended on Washington Monday in the latest protest staged by the new Poor People’s Campaign, which organizers say is the most expansive wave of nonviolent direct action in the U.S. this century. Campaign organizers Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis and around 100 others were arrested for protesting a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voting rights by upholding Ohio’s controversial voter purge law. At least 300 people were arrested nationwide. Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested around the country since the campaign launched, 50 years after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. launched the first Poor People’s Campaign.”
Donald Trump’s top lawyer defending the president in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has resigned. John Dowd confirmed Thursday he’s leaving Trump’s legal team, writing in a statement, “I love the president and wish him well.” Dowd reportedly resigned after Trump repeatedly ignored his legal advice and attacked Robert Mueller by name on Twitter, after Mueller’s team subpoenaed financial documents from the Trump Organization.
Congress approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill early this morning—averting what would have been the third government shutdown of the year, less than a day before it was set to take effect. The bill won bipartisan support in both houses, clearing the Senate on a 65-32 vote just after 1 a.m., after more than two-thirds of House lawmakers approved it earlier in the day. President Trump has signaled he will sign the bill, which will boost spending on weapons and war to an all-time high, while increasing funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. It does not address the plight of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children—so called DREAMers—a key demand of immigrant rights groups and some Democrats. The bill also contains modest gun control measures, including tightening a background check measure known as “NICS”—but does not provide for universal background checks for prospective gun buyers.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter. In the same tweet, the president announced CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is a close ally of the Koch brothers, would be nominated to become the new secretary of state. Trump also tapped CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA. Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times and tortured in other ways. Both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel must now face Senate confirmations, but barring any Republican defections, both can be confirmed without any Democratic support. Last year, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked German prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Haspel for her role in the torture program. For more, we speak with Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.
A veteran Fox News analyst has quit the cable news network, saying he can no longer work for the channel “in good conscience.” In an open letter released Tuesday, retired U.S. Army Colonel Ralph Peters writes that Fox News hosts routinely “dismiss facts and empirical reality.” Peters also blasted the network over its unwavering support for President Trump, writing, “In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.”
In Sacramento, California, police have released a pair of videos showing the moments before a pair of officers shot and killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark, an African-American father of two who was gunned down in his own backyard. At the time of the killing, officers were investigating a 911 call reporting someone in a hoodie in the neighborhood breaking the windows of cars. One newly released video, taken from a police helicopter, shows thermal images of Clark being pursued outside his home by two officers, who draw their pistols on him.
Officer 1: “All I can tell you is he’s got a hoodie on. He’s running toward the front yard at 29th Street, 29th Street. He’s looking into another car that’s in between the fence and the front yard.”
Another disturbing video, from a body camera worn by one of the officers, shows the moment Clark was killed in a hail of 20 bullets as both officers opened fire.
Officer 2: “Show me your hands! Gun! Gun! Gun! [gunshots] 5-7, shots fired. Suspect down!”
The Sacramento Police Department says officers waited for about five minutes before approaching Clark to administer medical attention after they shot him in his own yard. The officers initially claimed they opened fire after Clark advanced toward them holding an object they believed was a gun. In a separate statement, the department later said the officers believed at the time that Clark was holding a “tool bar.” Clark was found to have only a cellphone on him at the time of his death.
Israel’s army raided TV channels and media outlets across the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday, confiscating equipment, forcing broadcasters off the air and arresting two Palestinians. In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces accused the media outlets of inciting terrorism. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned the crackdown and promised to rally media workers outside U.N. offices in Ramallah.
The raids came as Israel approved plans to build 31 new housing units in a settlement in the Palestinian city of Hebron. It’s the latest move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to defy international law by expanding Jewish-only settlements. This is Hagit Ofran of the Israeli group Peace Now.
Hagit Ofran: “This plan is going to be in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron. It’s going to increase the number of settlers by 20 percent. This is a bad decision that Israel is now allowing to expand the settlement, which represents the most ugly face of Israel’s occupation.”