The Trump administration has a policy for separating migrant kids from their parents, but not reuniting them
In May, the Trump administration rolled out a program it had been testing since last summer to charge everyone crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without proper documents with illegal entry, even asylum-seekers, a policy that "ends up systematically separating families because children can't go with their parents who are being detained by the U.S. Marshals," BuzzFeed News' Adolfo Flores explains. "But people charged with illegal entry go before a judge within days or weeks of their detention and are usually sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor. There appears to be no set procedure for what happens with parent and child after that."
Once the children are separated, they are handed over to the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) "and treated as though they traveled to the U.S. alone," The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer adds. "No protocols have been put in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them. Immigration lawyers, public defenders, and advocates along the border have been trying to fill the void."
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Danielle Bennett told BuzzFeed News that "reunification typically does not occur until the removal stage of the process," and "the logistics of the reunification are made on a case-by-case basis." She declined to provide any statistics or give any examples of children successfully reunited with parents, saying, "We don't have any metrics to provide at this point and we wouldn't proactively give examples of this." Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen doesn't seem clear on some details, either.
Reporter: Why is the government only releasing images of the boys being held? Where are the girls & toddlers?
Nielsen: I'll look into that pic.twitter.com/aWZ7UoehEr
— POLITICO (@politico) June 18, 2018
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's fellow defenders have not embraced Ed Whelan's elaborate multi-tweet theory that Christine Blasey Ford is accusing the wrong specific man of holding her down, groping her, and stifling her screams as he tried to remove her clothes at a high school house party in the early 1980s. Ford said there was "zero chance" she would confuse Kavanaugh with the other man, now a middle school teacher whom Ford said she "socialized" with in high school and has since visited in the hospital.
Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House distanced themselves from Whelan's doppelgänger theory. But Whelan "had told people around him that he had spent several days putting together the theory and thought it was more convincing than her story," The Washington Post reports, citing "two friends who had talked to him." And he wasn't the only one considering the idea, the Post says. "Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions."
Whelan, a former clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and former White House colleague of Kavanaugh's, has been an adviser on Kavanaugh's confirmation push along with his friend Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society. His mistaken-identity theory was not well-received on Twitter, but if he really believes it to be true, Whelan probably has enough clout to get President Trump to order an FBI investigation. Peter Weber
Congressional Republicans planned to run for re-election on their biggest legislative accomplishment, the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul they passed in December with zero Democratic votes. Taxes are the top issue in GOP ads, mentioned in a third of those that ran Aug. 29 to Sept. 12, USA Today reports, but more than two-thirds of those ads attacked Democrats rather than defending the GOP tax cuts. An internal survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee suggests why: By a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe the tax cuts benefit "large corporations and rich Americans" over "middle class families," according to Bloomberg News, which obtained the poll.
The survey, completed Sept. 2, found that 61 percent of voters said the tax overhaul helps the rich while 30 percent picked the middle class. Independents agreed about the wealthy benefiting by 36 percentage points. Overall, 44 percent of voters approved of the law, 45 percent opposed it. "Voters are evenly divided on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," the report said. "But, we've lost the messaging battle on the issue." (According to the Tax Policy Center, 25 percent of the law's gains will accrue to the top 1 percent by 2025, rising to 83 percent for the top 1 percent by 2027.)
Internal GOP poll finds voters overwhelmingly believe the tax law benefits the rich rather than the middle class. "We've lost the messaging battle on the issue." https://t.co/VS3k3s17U2 pic.twitter.com/9aeZXRcvtH
— Joe Light (@joelight) September 20, 2018
"Most voters believe that the GOP wants to cut back on" programs like Social Security and Medicare "to provide tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy," the RNC survey concludes, attributing this to "a fairly disciplined Democrat attack against the recent tax cuts." Clearly, Democrats running on ObamaCare and Republicans shying from touting tax cuts was not how Republicans thought this would play out. "If we can't sell this to the American people," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the Senate passed the tax bill, "we ought to go into another line of work." Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert turned Trump's 'disturbingly inappropriate' Hurricane Florence comments into a children's book
President Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday, after the waters of Hurricane Florence had subsided in some communities, and he had a lot of things to say about boats, telling the owner of one destroyed home that at least he "got a nice boat out of the deal," Stephen Colbert noted on Thursday's Late Show. "His comments are so disturbingly inappropriate relative to this tragedy, the only way we could make them remotely palatable is to turn them into a children's book. So gather round, kids, it's time to read a little book we at The Late Show put together called Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don't Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane. Just a quick reminder, these are all actual things that he said to the storm-ravaged people." Also, the illustrations are actually pretty great. Watch below. Peter Weber
Michael Cohen essentially confirms he's been cooperating with Robert Mueller, in an unnecessarily confusing way
On Thursday, ABC News reported that Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer and "fixer," has spent hours talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators about Trump's dealings with Russia and whether he had offered Cohen a pardon, which could amount to obstruction of justice.
The ABC News report cited "sources" for its scoop, but ABC's Meridith McGraw captured a tweet from Cohen's account, quickly deleted, seeming to confirm (in the third person) that Cohen had volunteered "critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement."
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) September 20, 2018
Journalist Yashar Ali suggested that Cohen had been test-writing a tweet for someone else, and he appeared to be right, when Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis posted the tweet from his own account.
3. Well, here you go. pic.twitter.com/XBlGfE2Ry6
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) September 21, 2018
But Davis had a different explanation:
FYI - I wrote a Tweet congratulating @MichaelCohen212 and sent text to him to Tweet to his much larger following - but was delayed posting myself so he posted first. All take a breath. I don’t control or have access to Mr. Cohen’s Twitter account. He is my client and my friend.
— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) September 21, 2018
The bottom line would seem to be firsthand confirmation that Cohen is cooperating with Mueller. And that's potentially bad news for Trump. Peter Weber
As Terry Lauerman can attest, there's no better place to enjoy a cat nap than at an animal rescue.
Lauerman, 75, visits the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin, every day. The shelter's founder, Elizabeth Feldhausen, told HuffPost on Thursday that Lauerman walked into the facility about six months ago, armed with a cat brush, and said he wanted to help with grooming. Safe Haven rescues cats with disabilities that otherwise would likely be euthanized, and Lauerman spends about three hours a day there. During each visit, Lauerman will pick up a cat, start brushing it, and then doze off, still holding the feline.
Lauerman will sleep "for about an hour, then he'll wake up and switch cats," Feldhausen said. He knows all the cats, she said, and told her volunteering is "as great of an experience for him as it is for them." On Facebook this week, the shelter wrote a post praising Lauerman, and it immediately went viral. Lauerman said he hopes the attention will result in more donations to Safe Haven, and he also praised his fellow volunteers. Safe Haven is grateful for his dedication, writing on Facebook, "We are so lucky to have a human like Terry." Catherine Garcia
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang died Friday from a "serious illness despite efforts by domestic and international doctors and professors,” state-run Vietnam Television reports. He was 61. Quang was appointed president in April 2016, and he last appeared in public on Wednesday, at a Politburo meeting and a reception for a Chinese delegation. He was one of three top leaders in the nation, along with the prime minister and Communist Party chief, and experts described his role as largely ceremonial. Before becoming president, Quang served as minister of public security, and before that he was a police general. He grew up in a small farming community south of Hanoi. Peter Weber
GOP activist tied to Florida gubernatorial nominee says he called Obama the N-word becaue he's angry, not racist
Republican activist Steven Alembik wants the world to know he's not a racist, and he used a bunch of slurs to prove it.
On Sept. 8, Alembik tweeted that former President Barack Obama is a "F---ing MUSLIM N----r." When asked about this tweet by Politico on Wednesday, he at first said he didn't think he wrote it. After looking at the tweet, which he deleted after speaking to Politico, Alembik acknowledged he use the N-word after Obama made an unflattering remark about the Republican Party. But he is not a racist, Alembik explained. "When I write anything inflammatory, it's because I'm seriously pissed off. I'm an emotional human being."
On the apparent theory that digging a gigantic hole is better than a small one, Alembik kept talking. "So somebody like Chris Rock can get up onstage and use the word and there's no problem?" he asked. "But some white guy says it and he's a racist? Really?" Alembik grew up in New York in the '50s, he told Politico, and then proceeded to use a string of racial slurs against Jews, blacks, and Latinos to show that back in the good old days, everyone was calling each other names based on their religion and ethnicity.
Alembik has donated more than $22,000 over the years to Ron DeSantis, Florida's Republican gubernatorial nominee, and hooked DeSantis up with a speech at Mar-a-Lago. In a statement to Politico, campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson called the tweet "disgusting rhetoric" and said DeSantis condemned it. When asked by The Associated Press if DeSantis would return any of the money he received from Alembik, Lawson said no, it has already been spent, but DeSantis will not accept any additional donations from him. For more on Alembik and DeSantis' own controversial statements, visit Politico. Catherine Garcia