What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Trump Vacillates, Keeping Dreamers in Limbo; Mike Flynn Was Paid to Push Nuke Plan

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Trump Vacillates, Keeping Dreamers in Limbo

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Medicare-for-All –> The Nation’s John Nichols spoke at length with Sen. Bernie Sanders about the Medicare-for-All bill he released yesterday.

But at ThinkProgress, Ian Millhiser warns that it’s easier to rally support for the concept than to design a program, and offers “seven tough questions that single-payer advocates must answer before their ideas can become law.”

Speaking of tough questions, Sanders has gotten some criticism for not detailing how his plan would be financed. Instead, he’ll release several different options independent of the bill, which Vox’s Jeff Stein writes, “will make it easier for Senate Democrats to co-sponsor the legislation and win over Sanders’ supporters, but also not co-sign their names to legislation calling for billions in new personal income taxes (as Sanders primary campaign plan did).”

Red hot focus –> “Russia’s effort to influence US voters through Facebook and other social media is a ‘red-hot’ focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election,” reports Chris Strohm for Bloomberg.

Relatedly, Jim Rutenberg has a must-read piece in the New York Times Magazine about RT, Sputnik, fake social media accounts and the increasingly sophisticated “information war Russia is waging against the West.”

Meanwhile, Manu Raju reports for CNN that Trump’s Justice Department is “preventing Senate investigators from interviewing two top FBI officials who could provide first-hand testimony over the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.”

And Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Trump’s former national security adviser, is now “a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.” Carol Lee, Julia Ainsley and Ken Dilanian report for NBC News that investigators are looking at “his work with his father’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group.”

Only the best people! –> Speaking of the Flynns, during the presidential transition, Michael Flynn the elder “actively promoted a private-sector scheme to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East,” according to Josh Dawsey at Politico, but he “did not publicly disclose that backers of the plan had paid him at least $25,000.”

Justin Fishel, Brian Ross and Jordyn Phelps report for ABC News that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, sparking an ‘inquiry’ by the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.”

And Daniel Craig, Trump’s nominee to serve in the number two spot at FEMA withdrew on Wednesday after reporters asked “about a federal investigation that found he had falsified government travel and timekeeping records when he served in the Bush administration in 2005.” Suzy Khimm has that story for NBC News.

We’re confused too –> Earlier this week, we mentioned that Trump had said that he wouldn’t tie the fate of the Dreamers — unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as children — to funding for his border wall, which Mexico seems intent on not paying for. So last night, after dinner at the White House, Democratic leaders announced that they’d cut a deal with Trump to protect the Dreamers in exchange for a modest increase in border security, but no wall. At the link, Robert Costa reports for The Washington Post that the announcement set off “a blaring political fire alarm among Trump’s diehard supporters.”

Then this morning, Trump said on Twitter that no deal had been cut with Democrats, according to Reuters, and “massive border security” would have to be included in a bill to save the Dreamers.

And then Jake Tapper weighed in.

How about some democracy? –> At The Daily Beast, Lawrence Lessig argues that the time has come to make the popular vote decide presidential elections rather than an archaic Electoral College — and talks about his new project dedicated to making that happen.

Cruel and unusual –> Nathalie Baptiste reports for Mother Jones that as Arizona wilted in 100-degree heat, “not only did inmates and staffers [in the state’s prison system] suffer, but some authorities may have recorded false temperatures to make conditions appear more comfortable than they really were.”

Arpaio –> Speaking of Arizona, a district court judge in the Copper State “is weighing arguments against throwing out charges against Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio in spite of President Donald Trump’s pardon,” according to David Ferguson at Raw Story.

Thank a Satanist, maybe –> Christina Cauterucci reports for Slate that a lawsuit filed by abortion rights advocates including Planned Parenthood and the Satanic Church which overturned onerous licensing requirements for abortion providers will soon significantly increase access to the procedure in Missouri.

The Democratic base is agitated and motivated –> Democrats flipped several more seats in state legislatures on Tuesday, and Reid Wilson reports for The Hill that it’s “a worrying sign for Republicans, who will have to boost turnout among their own voters before next year’s contests.”

Not-so-post-racial –> A new study of hiring discrimination by researchers at Northwestern University found “no change in rates of discrimination against African-Americans in field experiments of hiring from 1990 to 2015,” and only a slight decrease in discrimination against Latino job applicants. Hilary Hurd Anyaso has more at Northwestern Now.

Another study, a survey conducted by Reuters/Ipsos in conjunction with UVA Center for Politics, found that almost a third of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the US needs to “protect and preserve its White European heritage,” and 16 percent said that “marriage should only be allowed between two people of the same race.” Those were just two of the disturbing findings from the survey of racial attitudes.

And Kelly Swanson reports for Vox that the White House is trying to get an African-American ESPN commentator fired for calling Trump a “white supremacist.”

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy –> We’ll leave you with the news that a judge yanked sleazy “Pharma-bro” Martin Shkreli’s bail and sent him to prison after Shkreli offered a $5,000 bounty for one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs. Brendan Pierson has more on that at Reuters.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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