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Daily Reads: Trump Wants to Slash Legal Immigration; Booker Takes on Racial Disparities in Pot Sentencing

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

Cory Booker Takes on Racial Disparities in Pot Sentencing

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Biggest change in 50 years –> Trump, in a “renewed emphasis the White House has made in recent weeks to appeal to the president’s core supporters,” promised on Wednesday to “slash” the number of immigrants allowed into the US and move away from the current system which favors people with family connections toward one based on educational attainment and English language proficiency. Brian Bennett has more at The Los Angeles Times.

The highlight, or lowlight, was when Trump’s policy adviser, Stephen Miller, got into a heated debate with NBC’s Jim Acosta about the meaning of the famous “give me your huddled masses” inscription on the Statue of Liberty. At ThinkProgress, Rebekah Entralgo notes that Miller was “echoing a popular white nationalist talking-point.”

But some immigrants are OK –> Back in May, Jared Kushner’s family business got into some hot water by allegedly leveraging his position in the White House to pitch Chinese investors deals in which they would receive green cards if they sunk money into the firm’s real estate. On Wednesday, the Brooklyn US attorney’s office reportedly issued a subpoena to the company in connection with the practice. Josh Siegel has the details at The Washington Examiner.

The Marijuana Justice Act –> Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and, according to Matt Laslo at Rolling Stone, punish “states that disproportionately lock up minorities and the poor for marijuana offenses… by cutting off some of their federal dollars for building jails and prisons.”

Here’s Booker with a two-minute explainer…

And justice for some –> Jeffrey Toobin writes at The New Yorker that “while the public watches Trump churn through White House staff members, his administration is humming along nicely in filling federal judgeships.” On Wednesday, Trump’s fifth conservative federal judge was confirmed by the Senate, surpassing the number that both Obama and George W. Bush had appointed at this point in their presidencies.

The fortress is undefended in many cases –> At Mother Jones, AJ Vicens writes that “state voter registration systems are easier to hack than anyone wants to admit.”

Who knew health care was so complicated? –> Joshua Holland writes at The Nation that we’ll probably get a chance in the not-too-distant future to finally establish a universal health care system in the US, but if progressives “don’t sweat the details” of transitioning such a large sector of our economy then we might just “blow it.”

And at Vox, Mark Schmitt writes that “Medicaid saved the Affordable Care Act.” The fact that resistance to slashing the program played a big role in the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA “calls into question conventional wisdom about which social programs are the most vulnerable to public backlash. It’s long been thought that ‘targeted’ programs like welfare or Medicaid are more vulnerable to repeal or retrenchment than universal programs like Social Security.”

Why that matters –> We’ve mentioned Trump’s repeated threats to withhold payments to insurers for reducing out-of-pocket costs for low-income Obamacare enrollees. On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court made it much harder for him to kill them outright. Nicholas Bagley explains how at The Incidental Economist.

And Susan Cornwell reports for Reuters that both Democratic and Republican governors are lobbying the White House hard to continue making the payments.

Troubling story –> In an effort to “literally blow up the West,” Josephine Huetlin writes at The Daily Beast, “Russian extremists are training right-wing terrorists from Western Europe.”

Speaking of witch hunts –> After a rocky start, reports suggest that the Senate Committees investigating Russian meddling in 2016 are now serious efforts to gather the facts. But Billy House reports for Bloomberg that it’s a different story over at the House Judiciary Committee, where the “Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, has a different priority: investigating Hillary Clinton.”

Unified control, but not a lot of unity –> During the Obama years, Republicans repeatedly held debt limit increases hostage for policy concessions. Seung Min Kim and Rachel Bade report for Politico that now that the GOP is running the show, some hard-right lawmakers want to continue using the same strategy against their own leaders.

Travelers (of color) beware –> After several high-profile cases of alleged discriminatory policing in Missouri — including the death of a young African-American man who made a wrong turn earlier this year and ended up dying in jail despite not being charged with any offenses — the NAACP has issued the first travel advisory in the history of the organization for the Show-Me State. Ian Cummings has more for The Kansas City Star.

Last month, we mentioned a video that appeared to show several Baltimore police officers planting drugs at a crime scene. Now, Jacey Fortin reports for The New York Times that “over a hundred criminal cases that would have relied on testimony from those three officers are now under review,” and 41 have been dropped.

The white nationalist equivalent of losing Cronkite –> Donald Trump hit a new low in the Quinnipiac poll yesterday, with his support falling to 33 percent. As if that weren’t bad enough, “right-wing troll Mike Cernovich” then announced  that he’s doing “a big pivot” away from “being a pro-Trump guy,” according to Media Matters’ Cristina López G. Cernovich said that “backing Trump has been bad for business.”

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

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.