Thanks to Joanna Walters for manning the blog so I could grab some lunch and stretch my legs.
Trump took another round of questions from reporters on his way back to the White House. Trump continued to attack the city of Baltimore, even though some state lawmakers in Virginia boycotted his speech commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy over his inflammatory remarks.
For those wondering if Trump is playing “3-dimensional chess” or simply following his instincts, the president says it’s the latter. Unless, of course, he is playing 3-dimensional chess and “no strategy” is the stratgey.
He also again stood firm in his decision to nominate Texas congressman John Ratcliffe, who appears to have an uphill confirmation battle awaiting him in the Senate.
Trump, who has employed his daughter and son-in-law in the White House, is thrilled that Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s son will be the ambassador to the US. Bolsonaro, after all, embraces comparisons to his American counterpart.
Impeachment ad to run during presidential primary debates
The first paid TV advertisement to emerge in the aftermath (anticlimax?) of the testimony by Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill last week will air during the Democratic primary debates tonight and tomorrow night.
With crisp clips of the most revealing questions from Democrats and decisive responses from the former special counsel, who spent almost two years conducting the Trump-Russia investigation, it does get to the best of the hearing.
As Politico revealed this morning, it starts with: “Did you actually totally exonerate the president?” House judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) asks Mueller. “No,” Mueller says.
And it goes on from there in similar vein.
McSally backs General but Ernst has serious questions
Notwithstanding Arizona Republican senator Martha McSally’s stunningly definite assertions earlier that Hyten is “innocent”, fellow Republican Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, expressed concerns about an Air Force General John Hyten’s nomination to serve as vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, amid the allegations of sexual harassment.
Ernst questioned Hyten during an armed services committee hearing about his handling of complaints of a “toxic” environment within his command.
She said she was left with concern over Hyten’s “judgment, leadership and fitness to serve” in leadership, the AP reports.
Ernst is a former reserve officer. She recently disclosed that she was a survivor of a college sexual assault.
McSally’s comments earlier were especially stunning because she recently revealed that she was raped in the military by a superior officer. And the way the crime investigation was handled drove her to despair.
Ernst, meanwhile, in an interview with the Guardian earlier this year revealed that she turned down the opportunity to be Donald Trump’s vice-president because she believed her husband Gail “hated any successes I have”.
Army colonel who alleges sexual assault responds
US Army Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser has just responded, to reporters, after US Air Force General John Hyten denied her accusations of sexual assault, earlier at his Senate confirmation hearing today.
Spletstoser on Tuesday maintained the sexual assault accusations she had leveled against Donald Trump’s nominee for the position of second-highest ranking military officer in the country. She accused Hyten of making false statements in front of a Senate panel earlier in the day, Reuters reports.
“You just had a four-star general get up in front of the American people and in open testimony, in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and make false official statements under oath, he lied about a myriad of items,” Spletstoser told reporters.
Of his alleged assailing of her in the past, she said: “He did it, he did it multiple times.”
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the recipient of days of attacks from the president, spent his morning with students of the University of Maryland’s Summer Bioscience Internship Program and the Youthworks Program. On Twitter, the House Oversight committee chair championed the program that he helped start – and vowed to continue serving as a “check on the Executive Branch”.
He also got a boost from Cher, who shared a slightly pixelated head shot of the lawmaker with the hashtag “IStandWithElijahCummings.”
Senate Democrats unveiled a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, a 2010 US supreme court decision that opened the spigot on unlimited campaign spending in US elections.
The legislation has little chance of passing, especially with Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader. Once an advocate of campaign finance reform, McConnell is now a staunch opponent of efforts to enact change.
The amendment, introduced by Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico, and Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, has 43 original cosponsors and would give Congress and US states the ability to write the rules on political spending by outside groups. The House introduced a companion to this measure.
A constitutional amendment must be approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate with a two-thirds majority vote or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.
Ibraheem Samirah, a Palestinian-American who is a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, interrupted the president’s remarks commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American Democracy.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Samirah called Trump a “beacon of hate speech and harmful policy.”
Yeah, we’re talking to you.
We are asking our Charm City readers to share with us a little bit about the Baltimore you experience every day.
If you’re so inclined the questionnaire can be found in this story. Just tap the gray box and fill out the form.
A Guardian journalist may follow up with you.
Elizabeth Warren will take the debate stage tonight alongside fellow progressive stalwart Bernie Sanders.
Ahead of their appearance, she unveiled a list of new endorsements from progressive lawmakers, including one from Raúl Grijalva, who was one of only a handful of members of Congress to endorse Sanders in 2016.
“She is a bold, persistent, visionary leader who cares about working families – and because of this, she’s won my endorsement,” Grijalva said.
She also won endorsements from Representative Deb Haaland, one of the first two Native American women to serve in the US Congress along with several members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, including Senator Ed Markey, and congressmen Joe Kennedy.
Donald Trump’s delivered a speech that celebrates America’s sweep from colonial Virginia settlement to – one day – planting an American flag on Mars.
“America always gets the job done,” he said. “America always wins.”
The speech was briefly interrupted by a protester who was shouted down by supporters of the president chanting “Trump”.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was not on the dais during Trump’s speech.
In remarks earlier in the commemoration ceremony, Northam, who was called on to resign by several black lawmakers in the state over a scandal involving a racist yearbook photo,” emphasized the inequities that still exist in Virginia 400 years later.
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is black and was urged not to attend, was present for Trump’s remarks but sat stone-faced and did not clap.
Donald Trump said the “African American community is so thankful” that he was speaking out about the grim reality of inner cities like Baltimore.
How did the entire African American community convey this gratitude? “They’ve called me and they’ve said, ‘finally somebody is telling the truth,” Trump said.
Some critics weren’t buying it.
While we wait for Trump to speak in historic Jamestown, Virginia, a recap of his comments from earlier.
Before departing from the White House, Trump said the black legislators planning to boycott his appearance at a Virginia event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first meeting of the House of Burgesses are acting “against their own people.”
Trump went on to say that African Americans “love the job” he’s doing and are “happy as hell” with his recent comments disparaging the majority black city of Baltimore and its congressman, Elijah Cummings. This follows his attacks on four progressive congresswoman of color, who he told to “go back” to their home countries, even though three were born in the US and all are US citizens.
Rather than attend the ceremony in Jamestown, members of Virginia’s legislative black caucus placed a wreath honoring deceased black lawmakers at Virginia’s State Capitol, according to the Associated Press. They also plan to hold a ceremony at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site in Richmond, where slaves were imprisoned and sold.
Delegate Lamont Bagby told the AP that the lawmakers chose to boycott Trump’s speech in Jamestown because they want to reflect on the good, the bad and “the ugly” of the last 400 years, including slavery.