Everybody Knows
October 1, 2020

Internal talking points from the Department of Homeland Security directed federal law enforcement officers to speak sympathetically about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Trump supporter facing intentional homicide charges for the shooting deaths of two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a chaotic night on Aug. 25, NBC News reports. Rittenhouse brought an AR-15-style rifle to Kenosha from his home in Illinois to guard private businesses alongside armed militia groups. According to police and video footage, he killed one protester, then shot two more after he tripped while trying to flee the scene.

The talking points obtained by NBC News urge federal officials to tell the media that Rittenhouse "took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners," and that "Kyle was seen being chased and attacked by rioters before allegedly shooting three of them, killing two." Also, "subsequent video has emerged reportedly showing that there were 'multiple gunmen' involved, which would lend more credence to the self-defense claims," the documents claim.

It isn't clear if the talking points originated in the White House, where President Trump and his press secretary have defended Rittenhouse. Three former Homeland Security officials told NBC News law enforcement isn't typically instructed to discuss particular groups or people before an investigation is finished. "It is as unprecedented as it is wrong," said one, Peter Boogaard.

The talking points also advise telling reporters that Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group in Oregon that clashes with anti-racism protesters, is not racist. One protester, Michael Reinoehl, apparently shot dead a Patriot Prayer member in Portland, before Washington state law enforcement, working for the U.S. Marshals, fatally shot him outside an apartment. Before being killed, Reinoehl said he was acting in self defense, and a witness said the officers did not identify themselves before killing Reinoehl and disputed police assertions that Reinoehl was armed and fired at police. Trump said at Tuesday's debate that the Marshals "took care of business"; earlier, he called Reinoehl's killing "retribution." Peter Weber

June 12, 2019

Yale Law professor Amy Chua, best known for her controversial 2011 parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, praised Brett Kavanaugh as a great "mentor to women" in a Wall Street Journal op-ed three days after President Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2018, then defended him again after women accused him of sexual assault. Chua, a member of Yale Law's clerkship committee, noted in her op-ed that her daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, graduating from Yale Law, was supposed to start her appellate clerkship with Kavanaugh that summer. Some people found Chua's op-ed a little self-serving at the time.

Chua mentioning that her daughter will "probably be looking for a different clerkship" is her way of suggesting "she isn't entirely self-interested" because "her daughter will be out of a job," Elie Mystal wrote at Above the Law in July 2018. But that's only credible to people "who don't know how the game is played."

Yes, Chua's daughter will have to find a different lower-court clerkship if Kavanaugh is confirmed. But in future years, after doing her circuit court clerkship, Chua's daughter will be nearly guaranteed a Supereme Court clerkship, which is the big enchilada, from now-Justice Kavanaugh. Chua's daughter will be at the top of the list next year, and Chua is just counting on you people who haven't been educated in her exceptional parenting style to be too stupid to notice that. [Above the Law]

Chua-Rubenfeld responded to Mystal, saying she was in ROTC at Yale Law and she "won't be applying to SCOTUS anytime soon" because after her appellate clerkship she "will be in the Army." On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that Kavanaugh has hired two new clerks, and one of them is Chua-Rubenfeld. When Yahoo News asked mother and daughter for comment, neither responded. Peter Weber

January 28, 2019

Starting on the morning of Jan. 18, President Trump's golf club in Westchester County, New York, began firing about a dozen employees who didn't have valid legal documents to work in the U.S., The Washington Post reports. Many were former employees of the month, they had worked there as long as 18 years, and "some were trusted enough to hold the keys to Eric Trump's weekend home," the Post says. "They were experienced enough to know that, when Donald Trump ordered chicken wings, they were to serve him two orders on one plate."

Donald Trump owns his company's 16 golf courses and 11 hotels around the world, along with other assets, but he has given over day-to-day control to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. In a statement to the Post, Eric Trump said the company is "making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment. Where identified, any individual will be terminated immediately." This is one reason "my father is fighting so hard for immigration reform," he added. "The system is broken."

The crackdown appears to have started after The New York Times reported about undocumented workers at Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The Westchester club doesn't appear in the federal list of participants in the E-Verify system employees use to confirm the legal status of workers, the Post notes. And the fired workers said management knew they were working without papers. In 2008, a Trump club accountant told Mexican employee Jesus Lima that she couldn't accept his forged documents and "go back and tell them to do a better job," Lima said. Former managers told the Post that there was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy at the club and they were told to "get the cheapest labor possible." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

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