What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Will Trump Get Played by Putin?; Election Commission May Have Broken Law

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

Will Trump Get Played by Putin at the G-20?

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Forum of regions of Russia and Belarus. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)


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An unprecedented show of bipartisan resistance” –> Ari Berman reports for The Nation that 45 states are refusing to comply with Kris Kobach’s Voter Suppression Election Integrity Commission. “Most notable,” he writes, “is the strong opposition from Republican secretaries of state from red states like MississippiLouisiana and Arizona… Also notable is the opposition from members of Trump’s own election commission.”

And Lydia Wheeler and Mike Lillis report for The Hill that Kobach’s request for information about registered voters nationwide “may have violated the law by ignoring federal requirements governing requests for information from states.”

Another yuge foreign jaunt –> The Washington Post’s Damian Paletta and Ana Swanson write that “President Trump and key global leaders are on a collision course ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Germany this week, with Trump’s unapologetic ‘America First’ mantra on trade and climate change running into emboldened, and increasingly united, opposition overseas.”

Philip Oltermann reports for The Guardian that Hamburg officials “are preparing for the arrival of… thousands of international protesters ranging from anti-capitalist activists to middle-class families keen to voice dissent.” Among them, police “expect a core of about 5,000 violent protesters to gather in the city’s historic port area for a ‘Welcome to Hell’ march just as world leaders and international delegates start arriving at Hamburg airport on Thursday afternoon.” Civil rights activists are concerned about a heavy-handed response by law enforcement.

Trump is getting a nice reception during his first stop in Poland. In advance of his arrival yesterday, Jason Le Miere reported for Newsweek that, in a move “borrowed straight from the Communist Party playbook… supportive crowds literally will be bused in to cheer for him.”

Of course, the centerpiece of the trip will be a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin. Julie Smith reports for Foreign Policy that “the meeting itself carries serious risks,” and “according to European intelligence sources, Putin believes he can get concessions on sanctions by promising Trump cooperation in Syria.” Smith writes that while Trump wants to stabilize relations between the two erstwhile superpowers, “the problem… is that for months the United States has been getting played.”

Meanwhile, Felicia Schwartz reports for The Wall Street Journal that “thousands of State Department and US Agency for International Development employees indicated in a survey they are worried about the future of their agencies, with some expressing particular concern about lack of support from the Trump administration and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.”

Trump will take the credit anyway –> Kimberly Dozier reports for The Daily Beast that while “Trump may have unleashed the dogs of war” on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, “US special operations forces are running out of top ISIS figures to kill — because the strategy Obama put in place is working.”

Bernie 2020? –> Vox’s Matthew Yglesias makes a compelling case that Bernie Sanders is “doing exactly what a candidate who fell short needs to do to run a second time,” and should be seen as “the real 2020 Democratic frontrunner.”

BREAKING NEWS –> Wacky and/or offensive tweets from the president of the United States of America are certainly newsworthy, but do they need to be treated as major stories? At Columbia Journalism Review, Kyle Pope urges the press to “stop reporting on every tweet with the volume of a declaration of war; stop letting the president and his staff frame every misstep and scandal as a media story; stop treating Trump’s war with the press as if it’s the most important thing happening in this country.” He’s not wrong.

Actual Nazis –> Speaking of treating Trump’s tweets as blockbuster stories, Keegan Hankes reports for Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch that The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, unleashed an army of trolls on CNN staffers in “retaliation” for the network reporting on — but not revealing the identity of — a Reddit user who created that meme of Trump beating up on the network. Hankes writes, “within hours, personal information for multiple CNN staffers and their family members — alongside images and gifs of individuals with CNN superimposed over their faces being shot in the head — appeared in the comments of the posting.”

Weird religious right news –> “Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts store run by conservative, Evangelical Christians has been caught smuggling nearly 5,500 ancient artifacts from the Middle East,” according to Christa Blackmon at Lawyers, Guns & Money. She adds that there’s a “possibility that Hobby Lobby’s purchases went on to fund ISIL, a terrorist organization that the religious right in America particularly likes to remind people is engaged in the genocide of Iraqi Christians.”

Health care deform –> The Washington Post’s Paige Winfield Cunningham explains why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is having a harder time mollifying hard-right senators who don’t think his repeal and replace bill is sufficiently cruel than the “moderates” who “would just need [McConnell] to expand its spending so fewer Americans lose coverage.”

Jonathan Chait writes at New York magazine that despite a constant stream of claims that Obamacare’s in a “death spiral,” Trump’s own Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, run by his hand-picked director, says it’s simply untrue.

And Kevin Drum writes at Mother Jones that the “Trump administration wants to take away [people’s] right to sue nursing homes.”

Also, this happened on Twitter:

Zip it –> That’s what a judge told infamous pharmaceutical profiteer Martin Shkreli, who won’t stop talking to reporters covering his fraud trial. “In their motion for a gag order, prosecutors said Shkreli’s comments were part of [a] ‘campaign of disruption,'” according to NBC’s Daniel Arkin. But “Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman — who speculated in his opening statements that his client might be ‘just nuts’ — responded to the motion by accusing the media of trying to ‘bait’ his client, whom he claimed was in a ‘frail emotional state.'”

Persuasive –> There’s a lot of fictional nonsense on The History Channel, and some have debated the ethics of portraying shows like Ancient Aliens as documentary TV, but according to Daniel Arkin and Tom Costello, a special built around a “newly discovered photograph [which] suggests legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, who vanished 80 years ago on a ’round-the-world flight, survived a crash-landing in the Marshall Islands” appears to be pretty persuasive. “Shawn Henry, former executive assistant director for the FBI and an NBC News analyst, has studied the photo and feels confident it shows the famed pilot and her navigator,” write Arkin and Costello. If true, it would confirm what “locals have claimed” for many years: “they saw Earhart’s plane crash before she and Noonan were taken away” by the Japanese. We should note that the Japanese say they have no record of capturing Earhart.

It’s all a big grift –> Lachlan Markay writes for The Daily Beast that “Trump campaign email vendors are marketing an anti-aging cream with the help of conspiracy theories surrounding the 2016 murder of” Democratic Party staffer Seth Rich. Markay adds that while “the ad hawking the wrinkle-fighting formula is very clearly a scam,” it nonetheless “found its way onto an email list managed by consultants who have worked for some of the most prominent politicians in the country, including President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.”

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

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