Trump Slashes Endangered Species Act!

H2 endangered species act threatened protections climate change mining drilling trump extinction plan

The Trump administration finalized changes rolling back the Endangered Species Act Monday. Regulators will now be allowed to factor in economic considerations when granting “endangered” status, species classified as “threatened” will see their protections weakened, and scientists will be limited in setting climate change-related protections. Critics say the changes were made to clear the way for mining, drilling and development projects in areas populated by protected species. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries. He is currently under investigation for possible ethics violations. The 46-year-old landmark Endangered Species Act has saved over 99% of classified animals, plants and insects since its inception. It’s credited with protecting the grizzly bear, the humpback whale and the bald eagle from extinction, among many others.

Environmental groups, Democratic lawmakers and attorneys general have vowed to fight the changes. The Sierra Club called the move the “Trump Extinction Plan.” The International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement, “The most comprehensive assessment of biodiversity ever completed was released earlier this year and shows that more than one million species are at risk of extinction. These species are inextricably linked to our own well-being, livelihoods, economies, food security, and overall survival. Gutting key protections of the Endangered Species Act is precisely the wrong action for the U.S. to be taking.”

Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem to defend migrant rule change

Statue of Liberty

A top US immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.

The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

The official added the words “who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge”.

It comes as Trump officials debuted a regulation that denies aid to migrants.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Monday a new “public charge” requirement that limits legal migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in the future.

The New Colossus plaque and Emma LazarusThe New Colossus was written by New York-born poet Emma Lazarus in 1883

The new regulation, known as a “public charge rule”, was published in the Federal Register on Monday and will take effect on 15 October.

The rule change is intended to reinforce “ideals of self-sufficiency”, officials said. Critics argue that it will prevent low-income US residents from seeking help.

What did the official say?

On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York’s Ellis Island still applied.

“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” asked NPR’s Rachel Martin.

Ken CuccinellKen Cuccinelli, the acting head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services

“They certainly are,” Mr Cuccinelli responded. “Give me your tired and your poor – who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

“That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed – very interesting timing,” he added.

The actual passage reads in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome “who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition”.

Top immigration official says public charge rule will not target “any particular group”

After the host asked if the policy “appears to change the definition of the American dream,” he said: “We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege.

“No one has a right to become an American who isn’t born here as an American.”

Who will be affected by the new rule?

Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the US are unlikely to be affected by the rule change.

It also does not apply to refugees and asylum applicants.

But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or US citizenship will be subject to the change.

Those who do not meet income standards or who are deemed likely to rely on benefits such as Medicaid (government-run healthcare) or housing vouchers in future may be blocked from entering the country.

Foreign-born population by legal status

Those already in the US could also have their applications rejected.

An estimated 22 million legal residents in the US are without citizenship, and many of these are likely to be affected.

President Trump has made immigration a central theme of his administration. This latest move is part of his government’s efforts to curb legal immigration.

What has reaction been?

The Democratic led House Homeland Security Committee condemned Mr Cuccinelli’s revision in a tweet, calling the words “vile and un-American”.

“It’s clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out,” the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli “a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government”.

Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.

Asked about Mr Cuccinelli’s remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: “I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States.”

“I’m tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things.

“So I think we’re doing it right.”

President and First Lady Pose with Infant Orphaned in El Paso Massacre

H2 trump melania hospital el paso orphan massacre smiling thumbs up photo pose jordan andre anchondo

New details have emerged about Wednesday’s visit to El Paso by the president and first lady Melania Trump. Reporters were barred from following the Trumps as they toured the University Medical Center of El Paso, where victims of Saturday’s mass shooting were treated. None of the eight survivors who were still receiving treatment agreed to meet with the president. But a cellphone video given to local station KDBCshows the president smiling and laughing with medical workers as he boasts about the size of a crowd at a Trump campaign rally in El Paso in February, while disparaging a competing campaign rally held by Beto O’Rourke.

President Donald Trump: “That was some — that was some crowd. And we had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people, in a parking lot.”

CNN reports a hospital official said President Trump showed an “absence of empathy” during the visit. On Thursday, Melania Trump’s Twitter account published a photo from the trip showing the first lady holding a 2-month-old infant who was orphaned when both her parents were gunned down Saturday. In the photo, President Trump stands next to his wife, flashing a “thumbs up” sign. Both the president and first lady are grinning widely. Relatives brought the child back to the hospital for the Trumps’ visit. The child’s parents, Jordan and Andre Anchondo, died as they shielded their baby from the alleged white nationalist shooter whose online manifesto — published moments before the assault — echoed President Trump’s rhetoric about an “invasion” of immigrants. The baby was grazed by a bullet and was treated for broken fingers.

Free Sticker – Moveon.org

Over the weekend we saw two massacres in the United States in less than 12 hours. The white supremacist killer in El Paso parroted Donald Trump’s racist language in his manifesto. These mass shootings were the second and third mass shootings in the country in less than a week, and the 250th and 251st this year, along with daily gun violence that takes the lives of more than 36,000 Americans every year.1

And yet Trump continues to shift the blame away from his own incitements of racist violence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to do his job and bring gun violence prevention bills to a vote, while Republicans in Congress refuse to stand up against racist attacks, violence against immigrants, and the epidemic of gun violence.

Enough is enough. We must spread the message that all of these callous, racist obstructionists must be voted out of office in 2020—which is why MoveOn just printed a big batch of “Disarm Hate” stickers and is giving them away for free while supplies last.

Click here or on the image below to order yours now.

As Mitch McConnell, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and even Trump himself hit the road to campaign for their re-elections, they must see a barrage of messages reminding them that we are their constituents and they have failed us.

Imagine Republican politicians constantly spotting “Disarm Hate” on cars, in shop windows, on bike helmets and more as they drive through their districts—a reminder that voters will hold them accountable next November.

As immigrant groups hold vigils today and constituents bring concerns about gun violence to town halls during this recess, we can all show our support for confronting attacks on immigrants, tackling gun violence, and ending white supremacy. 

Click here to get your “Disarm Hate” sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Schuyler, Michael, Emma, and the rest of the team

What is US impeachment? Six things to know

How does it work? Which presidents have been impeached? What do Americans think? A guide to the US impeachment process.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at Aaron Bessant Amphitheater [Evan Vucci/AP Photo]
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at Aaron Bessant Amphitheater

As the confrontation between US President Donald Trump and Democrats over Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia report intensifies, talk of impeachment has continued to swirl around Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has so far resisted calls to begin impeachment proceedings. Instead, House committees are aggressively investigating Trump, a Republican, through subpoenas of witnesses and documents.

In an April 22 letter to fellow Democratic politicians, Pelosi urged restraint and patience, insisting that it is “important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings”.

She repeated that sentiment on Thursday, saying Democrats will take a step-by-step approach. “We won’t go any faster than the facts take us or any slower,” she said.

But she did say that as Trump continues to stonewall congressional investigations, he is “becoming self-impeachable”.

Trump and his supporters argue the Mueller investigation into the president and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is “case-closed”.

Despite the top Democrats’ effort to tamp down impeachment talk, several Democrats, including some 2020 presidential contenders, want the House to start impeachment proceedings.

Here’s what you need to know about the US impeachment:

1. What is impeachment in the US political system?

The founders of the United States included impeachment in the US Constitution as an option for removal of presidents by Congress.

Top House Democrat agrees US faces ‘constitutional crisis’

Impeachment, a concept in English common law, was one of the more hotly debated points during the constitutional convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. Delegates agreed that presidents could be removed if found guilty by Congress of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Sole authority under the Constitution to bring articles of impeachment is vested in the House of Representatives where proceedings can begin in the Judiciary Committee. If the House approves articles of impeachment, or “impeaches” a president, he or she would then be subject to trial in the US Senate.

2. On what grounds can a president be impeached? How does impeachment work?

Under the Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

To begin impeachment proceedings, a House member can introduce an impeachment resolution, or the entire House can vote to initiate an investigation into whether there are grounds for impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee or a special committee will then investigate. The panel votes on whether to bring a vote to the full House. Impeachment in the 435-member House must be approved with a simple majority.

Post-Mueller: Can Trump block witnesses, access to documents?

If the House votes to impeach, the matter moves to the Senate, where a trial is held. The chief justice of the US Supreme Court presides over the trial.

A two-thirds majority vote is required in the 100-member Senate to convict and remove a president from office.

The Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. At least 20 Republicans would have to vote with all Democrats and the two independents to remove the president.

3. Which presidents have been impeached?

Only two US presidents have ever been successfully impeached and in neither instance was the president removed from office. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 in the tumultuous aftermath of the American Civil War; and Bill Clinton in 1998 for issues including his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Both times, the House approved formal charges and impeached the president, only to have the Senate fail to convict and remove him.

The House Judiciary Committee in 1974 voted to recommend impeachment accusing another president, Richard Nixon, of planning to obstruct an investigation in the Watergate scandal. Before the full House could vote on impeachment, Nixon became the only US president ever to resign.

4. Who would become president if Trump was impeached and removed? What would happen to Trump?

A Senate conviction that removed Trump from office would automatically elevate Vice President Mike Pence to become president, completing Trump’s term, which ends on January 20, 2021.

Top House Democrat agrees US faces ‘constitutional crisis’

Criminal charges cannot be brought against a sitting president, however, the Constitution does allow for separate criminal charges once a president is removed.

5. What do the Democrats say about impeachment? What does Trump’s team say?

The Democratic leadership has so far tried to tamp down impeachment talk, instead advocating a “methodological” approach.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for his failure to hand over the full, unredacted Mueller report.

Pelosi said, however, that she isn’t going to rush the full House vote on the contempt resolution.

“This is very methodical, it’s very Constitution-based,” the top Democrat told reporters on Thursday. “We won’t go any faster than the facts take us, or any slower than the facts take us.”

Democrats want to see Mueller’s full Russia-Trump investigation report, as well as some of the underlying evidence.

Barr last month released a 448-page redacted version of Mueller’s report on his 22-month investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

US: White House orders ex-counsel McGahn to defy House subpoena

The redacted Mueller report details extensive contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Moscow, as well as the campaign’s expectation of benefiting from Russia’s actions.

It did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian operatives.

The investigation did, however, examine “multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations”. Mueller did not conclude that Trump committed obstruction of justice, but did not exonerate him either. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein subsequently concluded that Trump did not break the law.

The Department of Justice has accused Democrats of engaging in “inappropriate political theatrics” – an accusation Democrats dismissed.

Hours before the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt, Trump asserted executive privilege to block the release of the Mueller report.

The Trump administration has also blocked staffers and former aides from attending interviews or hearings, as well as having refused to disclose his subpoenaed tax returns.

Top Republicans have declared the Mueller investigation “case closed”.

“This investigation went on for two years,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “It’s finally over.”

Can the Supreme Court help Trump?

On the question of impeachment, Trump’s personal lawyer said in a recent New York Daily News interview that impeachment would give Trump a boost in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats “can do it if they want to,” Rudy Giuliani said. “Would it politically be the best thing that could happen to the president? Absolutely.”

US: What does the redacted Mueller report say?

But he has somewhat backtracked on those comments, telling the New York Times, “Nobody wants to be impeached. I think Clinton would say, even though it worked out to his favour, he would have rather not been impeached.”

Trump himself has falsely said he could turn the Supreme Court if the House moved to impeach him.

“I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted last month. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

But the Supreme Court has previously ruled that impeachment authority resides solely with Congress.

Pelosi said she recognised what the Trump administration is trying to do.

“Trump is goading us to impeach him,” she recently said at a Cornell University event.

US: What does the redacted Mueller report say?

“That’s what he’s doing,” she said. “Every single day, he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting because he knows that would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn’t really care. He just wants to solidify his base.”

Who’s calling for impeachment?

As Democratic leadership continue to tiptoe around impeachment, a number of more progressive members of Congress have said it’s time for proceedings to begin.

“I believe impeachment is the solution to a constitutional crisis,” Representative Al Green told US media.

US Representative Rashida Tlaib speaks during a press conference [Saul Loeb/AFP]

Similar calls have also come from Rashida Tlaib, as well as Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

“If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail,” Warren said during a CNN town hall.

“He serves the whole thing up to the United States Congress and says, in effect, if there’s going to be any accountability, that accountability has to come from the Congress,” Warren said. “And the tool that we are given for that accountability is the impeachment process. This is not about politics; this is about principle.”

6. What do Americans say about impeachment?

The number of Americans who said Trump should be impeached rose five percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April, while more than half said multiple congressional probes of Trump interfered with important government business, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.

The opinion poll, conducted on Monday, did not make clear whether investigation-fatigued Americans wanted House of Representatives Democrats to pull back on their probes or press forward aggressively and just get impeachment over with.

WATCH

Debating Mueller, Trump and the lies told

In addition to the 45 percent pro-impeachment figure, the Monday poll found that 42 percent of Americans said Trump should not be impeached. The rest said they had no opinion.

In comparison, an April 18-19 survey found that 40 percent of all Americans wanted to impeach Trump.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll from April 24-29 put the overall support of impeachment at 39 percent.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showed stronger support for impeachment among Democrats and independents.

It also showed that 57 percent of adults polled agreed that continued investigations into Trump would interfere with important government business. That included about half of all Democrats and three-quarters of all Republicans.

The poll also found that 32 percent agreed that Congress treated the Mueller report fairly, while 47 percent disagreed.

Trump’s popularity was unchanged from a similar poll that ran last week – 39 percent of adults said they approved of Trump, while 55 percent said they disapproved.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English, throughout the US. It gathered responses from 1,006 adults and had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about four percentage points.