Donald Trump’s decision to send thousands of troops to the US-Mexican border to intercept migrants who intend to apply for asylum is not just a bald-faced political stunt — it is also illegal.
Passed in 1878 to end the use of federal troops in overseeing elections in the post–Civil War South, the Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of the military to enforce domestic US laws, including immigration laws. For this reason, Trump’s decision to deploy the military to the border to enforce US immigration law against thousands of desperate migrants from Central America — who have undertaken the perilous journey over 1,000 miles through Mexico to the US border in order to apply for asylum — is an unlawful order.Read more
The day after the midterm elections, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker, who has criticized the Mueller probe in the past, could fire Robert Mueller or defang his investigation.
Although Sessions was faithfully carrying out Trump’s draconian agenda on civil rights, immigration and policing, the president had Sessions in his sights since the latter recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017. Sessions’s recusal resulted from his failure to disclose at his confirmation hearing that he met with Russian officials when he was a Trump campaign adviser in 2016. The recusal paved the way for the appointment of Mueller as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017.
Champing at the bit to fire Sessions, Trump was convinced by his advisers to wait until after the midterms to avoid harming GOP candidates.
Sessions’s recusal infuriated Trump because it resulted in Rosenstein appointing Mueller as special counsel. Mueller has been methodically following his mandate to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
So far, Mueller’s probe has produced criminal charges against 32 individuals, including 26 Russians, and four close Trump aides have entered guilty pleas.Read more
In less than two years as president, Donald Trump has already put two radical right-wing justices on the Supreme Court, cementing a conservative majority on the Court for decades. He has also placed 29 right-wing judges on the federal circuit courts of appeals with more in the works by the end of the year. These judicial appointments threaten to endanger our rights for years to come.
We are painfully aware of how Trump and his GOP congressional leadership stole a Supreme Court appointment from Barack Obama and installed Neil Gorsuch, who has delivered conservative decisions as expected. And millions of us watched horrified as Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court pick, laid bare his right-wing bona fides as he lied under oath about a number of things and rallied conservatives in defense of rape culture.
Kavanaugh, who joined the high court on October 9, has not yet had the opportunity to rule on a case. But he showed his true colors during oral argument in Nielsen v. Preap, a case involving the right to a hearing for immigrants with criminal records before being imprisoned during the pendency of their deportation proceedings. Kavanaugh, who whined about being deprived of due process when he was accused of sexual assault, appears poised to vote with his fellow right-wing justices and deny immigrants who have already served their time any due process at all.
There is widespread focus on Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees. But there is less public awareness of how Trump has been systematically packing the federal circuit courts of appeals with conservative judges who are already slashing the rights of workers, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, consumers, voters, the environment, people accused of crime and whistleblowers.Read more
The alleged torture, murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, widely believed to have been carried out on orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, may put a crimp in Donald Trump’s plans to escalate his aggression against Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel are unified in their hatred of Iran, albeit with different motives. Iran has been in the crosshairs of the United States since the 1979 Iranian Revolution overthrew the vicious, US-installed puppet Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi; indeed, in 2002, George W. Bush initiated Iran into his “axis of evil.” Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest Muslim sites, sees Shiite Iran as a rival for regional hegemony. And Israel considers Iran an “existential threat.”
“Trump administration officials and outside experts said that possible repercussions on an elaborate plan to squeeze the Iranians have dominated internal discussions about the fallout over what happened to Mr. Khashoggi,” David Sanger reported in The New York Times.Read more
The alleged torture, dismemberment and killing of Saudi citizen and US permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul has triggered justifiable outrage throughout the United States and around the world. But amid the outcry over Khashoggi’s death, many media and public figures still fail to acknowledge the war crimes Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen with US assistance.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically about the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Post reported that Mohammed had recently attempted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia in an operation resembling an extrajudicial “rendition,” where a person is forcibly removed from one country and taken to another for interrogation. Bloomberg reported that the United States knew the Saudis planned to seize Khashoggi because US intelligence services had intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing the plan. According to Turkish sources, participants in Khashoggi’s killing and dismemberment were Saudi operatives.Read more
After Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Trump and the GOP leadership mounted a full-court press to ram through his confirmation before October 1, the first day of the Court’s new term.
Why the rush?
In part they want Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before the November 6 midterm elections. If the Democrats achieve a majority in the Senate, there may not be sufficient votes to confirm him.
But the hurry to get Kavanaugh confirmed has more to do with the cases on the Supreme Court’s docket: Republicans are hoping to ensure the outcome of several hot-button cases, including those involving double jeopardy, immigration, age discrimination and the Endangered Species Act. Moreover, there is the possibility that the Supreme Court could also decide to take up additional cases affecting gerrymandering, gay and transgender rights, and the separation of church and state.Read more
Judge Brett Kavanaugh learned a lesson from his weak appearance on Fox News last week. Testifying at the September 27 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations leveled against him by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh became belligerent and aggressive. Displaying outrage at the process, he portrayed himself as the victim and painted a conspiracy against him by the Democrats, the Clintons and left-wing opposition groups.Read more
Once again, the United States is blackmailing countries that would send Americans to face justice in the International Criminal Court. Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is leading the charge to shield US and Israeli war criminals from legal accountability.
On September 10, Bolton told the right-wing Federalist Society that the United States would punish the ICC if it mounts a full investigation of Americans for war crimes committed in Afghanistan or of Israelis for human rights violations committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.Read more
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record on racial issues and his answers to questions posed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week raise red flags about how he would rule on voting rights if confirmed to the Supreme Court.
During his confirmation hearing to become a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh bragged about hiring people of color as law clerks and decried the use of the “n” word. But this proved mere window dressing as his answers to the senators’ questions brought his racist views into sharp focus.Read more
US leaders who provided military support to the Saudi-led coalition that bombed civilians in Yemen this August could be charged with aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes under customary international law, which is part of US law.
The 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb, which the coalition dropped on August 9, killed 51 people, including 40 children. The bombing constituted a war crime.
“They came to the hospital in cars and ambulances. Dozens of children with an array of grisly wounds,” Marta Rivas Blanco, a nurse from the International Committee of the Red Cross who works at the Al Talh hospital, wrote in the Guardian. “Some were screaming, some were scared, many went straight to the morgue.”
Lockheed Martin, one of the leading US defense contractors,manufactured the bomb, which was part of a US-Saudi arms deal last year.Read more