September 10, 2018
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Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of the Beth Shir Shalom synagogue in Santa Monica, California, told his congregation during a Rosh Hashanah sermon on Monday that he does not condone former student Stephen Miller's "negativity, violence, malice, and brutality" toward immigrants.

Miller is President Trump's senior adviser for policy and one of the chief architects of his travel ban and directive to separate migrant children from their parents. Beth Shir Shalom is a progressive reform synagogue that Miller attended while growing up in Santa Monica, and Comess-Daniels said that he's been asked by other rabbis why Miller turned out the way he did. "I can assure you, as I can assure them, that what I taught is a Judaism that cherishes wisdom, values ... wide horizons and an even wider embrace," he said.

The sermon was streamed live on Facebook, The Guardian reports, and Comess-Daniels said that separating families is "completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law, and Jewish values." In a message directed at Miller, Comess-Daniels said he has "set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people" and "the actions that you now encourage President Trump to take make it obvious to me that you didn't get my, or our, Jewish message ... you should be ashamed of yourself." Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and Comess-Daniels said he felt compelled to speak out because "in a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible. Because we want this society to remain free, we will continue to act." Catherine Garcia

September 3, 2018

You probably first heard of Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce — AKA @IronStache — after he released a moving ad declaring his long-shot bid against House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) in June. In the months since, Ryan has announced his retirement, and Republican Bryan Steil has moved in as the frontrunner for the seat, but Bryce's talent for effective ads has not waned.

The difference is, this time around Bryce has made an "ad" for his opponent. At least that's the idea behind the video he put out on Sunday: "Paul Ryan's handpicked replacement … just released three minutes of silent B roll footage in hopes a right wing Super PAC would use it to make an ad for him," tweeted Bryce. "They haven't made one yet, so we made one for them. Presenting: The Life of Bryan."

Unfortunately, it probably is not quite the ad Steil was hoping for. Watch below. Jeva Lange

August 31, 2018
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President Trump's disapproval rating hit a record high of 60 percent Friday, a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News found.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, a four-point drop since April, when the poll was last conducted. While Trump maintains popularity among 78 percent of Republicans, more than 9 in 10 Democrats and 59 percent of independents disapprove of his performance. Nearly half of those polled, 49 percent, want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings; 46 percent do not.

Moreover, 63 percent of Americans support the investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russian election interference in 2016, and 53 percent say Trump has tried to interfere with the investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice. Despite Trump's attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his handling of the Justice Department, 64 percent say Trump should not fire him, and 62 percent say they side with Sessions in that he is following the law by allowing the Russia investigation to continue.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted Aug. 26-29, reaching 1,003 adults by phone. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. Read more results at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

August 27, 2018
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America's top student loans protector says the Trump administration isn't prioritizing students over exploitative lenders.

Seth Frotman, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's primary student loan watchdog, sent a fiery resignation letter to acting bureau director Mick Mulvaney on Monday, NPR reports. In it, Frotman says Mulvaney's bureau "has turned its back on young people and their financial futures," sparking worries over just how much the federal government cares about the ballooning student loans industry.

After the financial crisis unveiled the seriousness of predatory lending, Congress in 2010 designated a student loans ombudsman to oversee the $1.5 trillion system. The CFPB has since reviewed more than 60,000 complaints and gotten $750 million back to borrowers, NPR says. Frotman has served at the bureau for seven years and worked as the ombudsman since 2016.

Mulvaney, the acting CFPB director and target of Frotman's letter, is also the President Trump-appointed head of the Office of Management and Budget. As a House representative in 2014, Mulvaney called the CFPB "a joke ... in a sick, sad kind of way" because it acts without much congressional oversight, NPR points out.

Frotman said the CFPB under Mulvaney has "abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting." "Instead, you have used the bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America," Frotman wrote. And because Frotman feels he can't protect students under these conditions, he's leaving Mulvaney to handle the consequences. Read his entire resignation letter at NPR. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 17, 2018

If President Trump was watching his favorite show Tuesday morning, he probably didn't like what he saw.

Even the normally Trump-friendly hosts of Fox & Friends had some harsh words for the president the day after his disastrous Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle have derided after Trump publicly sided with Putin, and against U.S. intelligence agencies, on the topic of Russia's 2016 election meddling.

Co-host Steve Doocy questioned why Trump refused to denounce Putin when "there have been a number of times where the president has said 'I think it was Russia,' ... 'I think there was meddling.'" Abby Huntsman elevated the critique, saying Putin's "ultimate goal in life is to undermine our democracy" and Trump blew the "one moment that you had to stand up for your own country, stand up for your intelligence community."

Brian Kilmeade brought up fellow conservatives who've spoken out against Trump, saying that "when Newt Gingrich, when General Jack Keane, when Matt Schlapp say the president fell short and made our intelligence apparatus look bad, I think it's time to pay attention." But Kilmeade also made some excuses for Trump's performance. "Nobody's perfect, especially [after] 10 intensive days of summits, private meetings, and everything on his plate," he said. "But that moment is the one that's going to stand out unless he comes out and corrects it.”

Watch the whole clip below. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 16, 2018

He may not have been on camera, but Anderson Cooper couldn't hide his displeasure with Monday's U.S.-Russia meeting.

The second President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands after a post-summit press conference, the CNN anchor slammed the American president. "You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader that I've ever seen," Cooper declared.

Cooper's harsh words came in response to a joint press conference with Putin and Trump, held Monday after the two leaders held a closed-door meeting. Both Trump and Putin disputed claims of Russian meddling in American elections during the conference, with Putin vehemently denying interference in 2016 and Trump refusing to believe American intelligence over Putin. Instead of holding Putin accountable for alleged interference, Trump pivoted to his favorite topic: Hillary Clinton's emails.

Cooper called out Trump for fixating on this one topic, "like in Rain Man," where Dustin Hoffman plays the title character with autism.

Which may not have been the most thoughtful comparison to make. Cooper's CNN colleague John King, meanwhile, said Trump's meeting with Putin amounted to a "Surrender Summit." Kathryn Krawczyk

July 3, 2018

CNN's Chris Cuomo blasted President Trump on Monday night for declining the mayor of Annapolis' request to lower American flags in honor of the five Capital Gazette newspaper employees shot and killed last week.

"Is there a protocol that would make it weird to respect the dead journalists?" Cuomo asked on Cuomo Prime Time. No, he answered, because it was done for the victims of the Las Vegas and Parkland shootings. It's not a numbers thing, either, as flags were lowered following the recent deaths of former first lady Barbara Bush and Billy Graham. "Why was the Annapolis mayor turned down with such a no-brainer request?" Cuomo said. "I'm afraid I know the answer, and it's because President Trump doesn't like the media."

Cuomo said it sounds "extraordinarily petty and callous," but Trump is the same man who mocked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being captured during the Vietnam War and let a staffer stay at the White House who ridiculed his health. "Trump unfortunately is entirely capable of disrespecting people no matter their predicament if it suits him or his interests," Cuomo said. "Yes, Trump did say he respects journalists after the mass murder, but why would you believe that? Why would you believe he's not lying again?" Catherine Garcia

June 20, 2018
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Under District of Columbia law, only people of "good character" can hold a liquor license, and a group of religious leaders and former judges argue that the license issued to the Trump International Hotel should be revoked because President Trump "is not a person of good character."

The District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board received a complaint about the hotel from several rabbis, pastors, and retired judges who live in D.C. "The board owes it to the public to investigate the owner's lack of good character now," the complaint said, noting that "good character investigations typically occur at the time of license application or renewal," but Trump has engaged in "egregious conduct."

The complaint asks the alcohol licensing board to focus on Trump's "long history of lies," as well as "his involvement in relevant fraudulent and other activity demonstrating his lack of integrity, and his refusal to abide by the law or to stop associating with known criminals." He's been accused of sexual assault by several women, and fleeced people out of money through Trump University, the complaint continues, and the hotel should be ordered to "show cause why its license should not be revoked." Read the entire complaint here. Catherine Garcia

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