Epstein appealing decision to deny him bail
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman rejected Epstein’s request last week to remain under house arrest in his Manhattan mansion before the trial. Epstein’s defense team is now asking a federal appeals court to review that decision.
Epstein avoided serious jail time from similar charges in Miami in 2008 thanks to a sweetheart plea deal, partly negotiated by Alexander Acosta. Acosta resigned as Trump’s labor secretary earlier this month over his role in Epstein’s plea deal.
House conservatives push Trump to reject debt ceiling deal
Some of the House’s fiscal conservatives are urging the president to reject the budget deal that would raise the debt ceiling because they fear it would increase federal spending too much.
The Republican lawmakers, led by Representative Chip Roy of Texas, are circulating a letter to Trump slamming the “fiscally irresponsible” deal and urging the president to secure more funding for Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
“You should veto this bill because it is fiscally irresponsible,” the Republicans write in the letter. “It blows well beyond what was intended with the 2011 [Budget Control Act] caps. Furthermore, it continues spending hundreds of billions more than what we take in a year and does not put our nation on a path towards a balanced budget.”
And, they added, “it raises our debt ceiling for two years, indulging our national spending addiction.”
The conservatives’ complaints may be enough to sway Trump, who is always very sensitive to any charge that he is ignoring his base. But rejecting the deal could plunge the country into a financial tailspin, which could interfere with Trump’s repeated boasts about overseeing a record surge in the stock market (a claim that is not true.)
Trump tweets about a “BAN” on Guatemala and a member of “the Squad”
Trump is tweeting about everything from British politics to immigration policy and Representative Ilhan Omar this morning.
For starters, he attacked Guatemala for deciding not to move forward with an agreement that would have required the country to take in more asylum seekers. He threatened the country with an ambiguous “BAN” as well as tariffs for turning down the proposal.
The president also claimed that Omar, one of four minority congresswomen who make up “the Squad,” would allow him to win her home state of Minnesota next year. Trump lost the state by 1.5 points in 2016, and he claimed that the “hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar” would propel him to victory in 2020. He also derisively referred to the Squad as “AOC Plus 3,” referring to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Good morning, live blog readers! This is Joanie Greve, reporting from Washington, and there is plenty of news to cover on both sides of the Atlantic this morning:
- Donald Trump was up early this morning to congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming Britain’s next prime minister. The US president predicted Johnson would make a “great” leader, while his daughter tweeted a slightly more embarrassing message. (For more details on Johnson’s election, check out our colleague Andrew Sparrow’s live coverage over in London.)
- Congressional leadership is concerned Trump may turn against the debt ceiling deal reached by the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. Trump’s tweet announcing the deal said he was “pleased” about an agreement being struck but noted that it involved a “real compromise” to secure more defense spending. And Trump has shown that no one speaks for him but himself.
- All of Washington is buzzing about special counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance on Capitol Hill tomorrow. Trump told reporters yesterday that he didn’t plan on watching the back-to-back hearings, but the AP notes that Trump’s light schedule tomorrow morning may allow him to watch much of the coverage.
- Multiple outlets reported yesterday that Mueller planned to make a brief opening statement to kick off his appearance. That will likely be leaked at some point later today.
- And the FBI director, Christopher Wray, is testifying to the Senate judiciary committee at 10am EDT today. The hearing could provide a preview of how Trump’s congressional allies plan to question Mueller about the origins of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Stay with us as we cover all of that and more. Thanks for spending your Tuesday morning with the Guardian.