Court hands Trump a victim card
In a 5-4 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump's attempt to dismantle the "Dreamers" program that has protected from deportation 650,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. But Roberts also hinted the court majority could have gone the other way — and still might in the future — if only the Trump administration had followed the correct rules and procedures.
Was Trump's response "Oops, sorry"? No, not when he can now recycle an issue he ran on in 2016 for his bid to win a second term.
"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives," Trump tweeted. "We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!"
Trump also suggested the top court's decision was personal, yet another chapter in the unfair-to-Trump chronicles. “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?” he asked on Twitter.
Immigration experts said participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started eight years ago by then-President Barack Obama will be safe almost certainly at least through the November election.
Roberts wrote that there was no question on whether the Department of Homeland Security may rescind DACA — "All parties agree that it may." The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so. Among the shortcomings was a failure to address "what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
Polls have shown that even a majority of Trump voters favor protecting the Dreamers. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged to send Congress proposed legislation on his first day in office to make DACA protections permanent. Obama tweeted praise for the court ruling and urged voters to elect Biden and a Democratic Congress that "finally creates a system that’s truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all."
Should Bolton finally testify?
Top House Democrats say they're seriously considering whether former national security adviser John Bolton should appear before them — either voluntarily or under subpoena — to testify about his book's allegations, which include Trump "pleading" for China's help for his reelection.
While ripping Bolton for refusing to testify when the House was pursuing impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his accounts buttress the Democrats' belief that Trump was unfit for office. But Senate Republicans were quick to downplay suggestions that Bolton should be hauled in. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he found it hard to take seriously “anyone who claims to have witnessed treason and obstruction of justice and tells about it in a book."
In a new clip from Bolton's ABC News interview that is airing Sunday, the former national security adviser and longtime conservative Republican said of Trump: "I don't think he's fit for office" and "I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job."
A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday on the Justice Department's suit to block publication on grounds that Bolton revealed classified information. Bolton contends classified material already was removed during a review process, including the quote from Trump pressing China to buy more U.S. farm goods because it would help him politically.
Vanity Fair reported that a source showed it the quote from an unredacted manuscript. “Make sure I win,” Trump allegedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping last year. “I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms. … Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.”
Janison: That's credible
Trump is calling Bolton a liar, but the president has no benefit of the doubt left, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.
The longtime hostility between Democrats and Republican Bolton may make him all the more credible an eyewitness as he depicts Trump as corruptly betraying U.S. goals.
Bolton has torn the mask off the president's "tough on China" pose with his account of Trump blatantly asking Xi for election support. Bolton's tell-all "The Room Where It Happened" will sound plausible especially because its top allegations mesh with other fact patterns of the Trump term.
Trump remained passive toward Xi as the coronavirus spread out of Wuhan. Only after the pandemic spread across the U.S. did the White House start to blame China. It also easy is to believe that the president, according to Bolton, signaled approval of China's herding of Muslim minorities into internment camps. Consider Trump's minimalist reaction to the Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi or his campaign assertion that "Islam hates us."
Trump's interventions with the Justice Department on behalf of foreign dictators he counts as friends are entirely consistent with a president who does that so openly for political allies like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
Hiring hall for 'losers'
Trump boasted before taking office that he would hire only "the best people," yet when ripping those who have departed and spoke out against him, he makes himself sound like he was an employer of last resort.
On Sean Hannity's Fox News show and on Twitter, Trump called Bolton "a washed-up guy," a "disgruntled boring fool" and a "dope." Bolton joins a club that now counts former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who went from "a true General's General" in 2016 to "the world’s most overrated General" two weeks ago. His first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, straight out of "central casting," turned out to be "dumb as a rock."
Jeff Sessions was "a fitting selection for attorney general" until he recused himself from the Russia investigation. Trump now says he was "not mentally qualified" for the job. Retired Gen. John Kelly was "a Great American" when Trump made him chief of staff. Lately, Trump says Kelly "was way over his head" and "went out with a whimper."
Michael Cohen was the personal lawyer entrusted by Trump to be his fixer for delicate matters, such as handling payoffs to keep porn star paramours quiet, until Cohen got arrested and turned "rat." Then Trump called him "a weak person,” “not a very smart person,” a “bad lawyer” and “a fraudster.” The "tough and smart" political strategist Steve Bannon “cried when he got fired and begged for his job.”
Trump made Anthony Scaramucci his communications director, briefly. Scaramucci is now anti-Trump, and the president calls him "totally incapable” and “a highly unstable ‘nut job.’ ” And who can forget onetime aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, the two-time "Apprentice" contestant later described as "that dog" by Trump. "When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out." He had hoped it would because "she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!"
Lost in a whiteout
Trump said he didn't know that when his campaign originally scheduled a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Friday, June 19, it would fall on Juneteenth, when black Americans celebrate the end of slavery. Now he's taking credit for making the holiday famous.
When criticism erupted over the rally date, Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview, he polled many people around him about Juneteenth, none of whom had heard of it. Finally, "a young African American Secret Service agent knew what it was. I had political people who had no idea."
The rally was changed to Saturday, and Trump said, "I did something good. I made it famous. I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, it’s an important time. But nobody had heard of it. Very few people have heard of it."
J.C. Watts, a black Oklahoma Republican and former congressman there, told The New York Times that the episode made him wonder “if there’s any African Americans in the White House that’s high enough that has a seat at the table.” Randal Pinkett, an African American and former winner of “The Apprentice,” said Trump "has a tremendous blind spot on these matters and he surrounds himself with people who also have those same blind spots.”
A majority of Americans think Trump is exacerbating tensions in a moment of national crisis, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll found 54% say Trump has made things worse during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd, the unarmed and handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. Seventy-two percent of black Americans and 51% of white Americans think Trump has made things worse following Floyd’s death.
Trump seemed to mock heightened concerns over racism by tweeting out a video from a right-wing supporter showing a pair of white and black children and a clumsily faked CNN chyron: “Breaking News: Terrified Todler [sic] Runs From Racist Baby.” Twitter then slapped on a warning label saying the Trump tweet was "manipulated media."
See a roundup of the latest pandemic developments from Long Island and beyond by Newsday's reporting staff, written by Bart Jones. For a full list of Newsday's coronavirus stories, click here.
What else is happening:
- Minnesota's Sen. Amy Klobuchar took herself out of the running to be Biden's vice presidential pick and told MSNBC she urged him to put a woman of color on the ticket to help "heal the nation." Klobuchar's record as a prosecutor has come under more scrutiny since the Floyd killing. "There's a lot of untruths out there about my record and now is not the time to debate those," she said.
- Biden’s campaign announced Thursday its first TV ad buy of the general election, a $15 million, five-week blitz that will target six battleground states won by Trump in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona. One theme: The presidency is "the duty to … care for all of us, not just those who vote for us."
- Seeking help with his campaign ads, Trump is consulting My Pillow Inc. founder Mike Lindell, Bloomberg News reported. Lindell, whose pillow ads are in regular rotation on Fox News, predicted Trump would win by a "landslide" in his home state of Minnesota, which went Democratic in 2016.
- A Fox News poll shows Biden leading Trump by 50% to 38% among registered U.S. voters, a 12-point advantage. Majorities say racism, unemployment and the coronavirus pose a major threat to the stability of the country, the survey found. A new Quinnipiac poll measured Biden's lead as 8 points. When a CNN poll last week showed a 14-point Biden lead, the Trump campaign threatened to sue.
- Trump has tasked Rudy Giuliani to press his demands with the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates to get a say over the choice of moderators, Politico reported. Trump's campaign also said they want more debates than the three that are planned, hoping that the more voters see Biden, the less they'll want him. Biden's campaign called the Trump move an effort to distract from his plunging poll numbers.
- A senior State Department official who joined the Trump administration in 2017 is resigning over his handling of racial tensions across the country, saying the president’s actions “cut sharply against my core values and convictions.” Mary Elizabeth Taylor, 30, is the first black woman to serve as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, The Washington Post reported.
- Weighing in during The Wall Street Journal interview on mask-or-no-mask debates, Trump said those who wear the face coverings "could be" doing so to show disapproval of him. "But it could also be they feel better about it. I mean, I’m OK with it," he added. He also called mask-wearing "a double-edged" sword because some people touch them too much and don't clean them enough.
- Facebook on Thursday removed content and political ads run by Trump’s campaign that featured an inverted red triangle identical to the symbol used in Nazi concentration camps to identify some categories of political prisoners. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh argued, “The red triangle is an antifa symbol.” Experts said it is not a commonly adopted symbol among anti-fascist activists.