TPM News

The Democratic National Committee has been trying and failing for months to force documents into White House adviser Jared Kushner’s hands to let him know that he is being served with a lawsuit, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg report.

The DNC sued Kushner back in April for alleged collusion with the Russians to alter the 2016 election. Since then, they have come up against a ridiculous multitude of obstacles in trying to officially deliver the notice to him.

After being rejected from his Manhattan apartment three times and from his Washington residence by the Secret Service, they finally tried to just send the documents in the mail. No dice. No one would sign for them and they got returned.

The committee reportedly asked a judge Tuesday for permission to simply mail the summons and complaint to Kushner in ordinary first class, so the package does not require a signature.

Per Bloomberg, the DNC sued Kushner alongside Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks for interference in the 2016 election.

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At least two Democrats have called for the interpreter, who assisted President Donald Trump during his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to testify before Congress.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) have pushed for the congressional hearing in tweets in recent days. Shaheen suggested that the interpreter could at least “help determine” what Trump “shared/promised Putin on our behalf.” Kennedy recommended that Republicans take action if they are “as outraged as they claim” and “issue the subpoena today.”

Trump’s press conference with Putin was met with bipartisan backlash after the President publicly supported Putin’s denial of meddling in the 2016 election and blamed both the U.S. and Russia for the decline in relations. But Republicans have appeared to ease up on their criticism of Trump in the past 24 hours, particularly after the President told reporters that he misspoke during the press conference.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s antitrust chief has fined Google a record $5 billion for abusing the market dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday that Google went against EU rules when it required mobile phone producers to pre-install the Google Search and browser apps as a condition for licensing Google’s app store. She said Google also paid big producers to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app.

Vestager said that “companies must compete on their merits,” playing by antitrust rules that favor consumers and open markets, and not restrict competition.

Google said that instead of restricting competition, it did the opposite. “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” said Google spokesman Al Verney.

“We will appeal the Commission’s decision,” he added.

The EU’s fine is the biggest ever imposed on a company for anticompetitive behavior.

Wednesday’s ruling caps an investigation that goes back at least three years. Regulators came out with a preliminary ruling in April 2016 in which they said Google had market shares exceeding 90 percent in most European countries in the realm of licensable mobile operating systems, and abused that share by forcing manufacturers to take its apps and by preventing them from selling altered versions of Android, which is technically open-source software.

In June 2017, regulators already fined Google 2.42 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for favoring its shopping listings in search results.

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Queen Elizabeth wore a 14-karat yellow gold brooch gifted to her by the Obamas on the day President Donald Trump arrived in the UK, according to a Tuesday Hill report.

The Queen’s adorning herself with the vintage piece, also known as the American State Visit brooch, is reportedly being seen by some as a delicate renunciation of the President as protesters stormed London’s streets and an infantile effigy graced the sky.

The Queen may not be the only royal reluctant to embrace the American leader, as Prince Charles and Prince William reportedly refused to see Trump during his visit.

The Obamas enjoyed a cozier relationship with the royal family, being invited to a Windsor Castle lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip, as well as a Kensington Palace dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry during their 2016 visit. Per the Hill, the couple has remained close to Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as their families.

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By AMY TAXIN, Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Wet and muddy from their trek across the Mexican border, immigrant children say they sat or lay on the cold, concrete floor of the immigration holding centers where they were taken.

It was hard to sleep with lights shining all night and guards kicking their feet, they say. They were hungry, after being given what they say were frozen sandwiches and smelly food.

Younger children cried in caged areas where they were crammed in with teens, and they clamored for their parents. Toilets were filthy, and running water was scarce, they say. They waited, unsure and frightened of what the future might bring.

“I didn’t know where my mother was,” said Griselda, 16, of Guatemala, who entered the U.S. with her mother in the McAllen, Texas, area. “I saw girls ask where their mothers were, but the guards would not tell them.”

The children’s descriptions of various facilities are part of a voluminous and at times scathing report filed in federal court this week in Los Angeles in a case over whether the Trump administration is meeting its obligations under a long-standing settlement governing how young immigrants should be treated in custody.

Dozens of volunteer lawyers, interpreters and other legal workers fanned out across the Southwest in June and July to interview more than 200 immigrant parents and children in holding facilities, detention centers and a youth shelter.

Advocates said the government isn’t complying with the decades-old Flores agreement, which lays out detention conditions and release requirements for immigrant children.

“They have spoken out loud and clear, and what they’ve said is they are experiencing enforced hunger, enforced dehydration, enforced sleeplessness,” said Peter Schey, an attorney for the children who has asked the court to appoint a special monitor to enforce the agreement. “They are terrorized, and I think it is time for the courts and the public to hear their voices.”

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration and border enforcement, did not immediately comment. But in their own reports to the court last month, government monitors said that immigration authorities were complying with the settlement agreement.

In his report, Henry Moak Jr., juvenile coordinator for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, documented the air temperature as appropriate at a number of border facilities and said he drank the water himself from 5-gallon (19-liter) containers at a processing center in McAllen.

He said some children and parents told him they disliked the food and weren’t sure the water was drinkable, but there were no allegations the food was spoiled.
At the Yuma station in Arizona, he said he tried the water there, too, and, “I can confirm the water fountains worked and the water tasted clean.”

The litany of complaints compiled by advocates comes after a global outcry drove the Trump administration to stop separating immigrant families at the border. Authorities are now reuniting parents and children under a separate court order and said they will seek to detain families together during their immigration proceedings, though under the Flores agreement immigrant children are generally supposed to be released from custody in about 20 days.

In that case, Justice Department lawyers assured a judge this week that the children in government custody were being well cared for.

Many of the children described conditions in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities where they were taken and processed in the initial days after crossing the border. They were identified in the reports solely by their first names.

Timofei, a 15-year-old from Russia who sought asylum at the border with his parents over their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses, said night and day blended together in the locked, crowded room where he was held with other boys. It had a single window overlooking an empty corridor, he said. He said there was no soap in the bathroom, and he only sometimes got a single-use toothbrush.

He said he was offered a shower upon arriving at the San Ysidro, California, facility but didn’t take one and wasn’t allowed one on his second or third day there.

Some children were later sent to the Casa Padre shelter in Texas for immigrant children traveling alone or who were separated from their parents. The facility operates under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. There, teenage boys described going hungry and not being given enough time to speak with their parents by phone.

Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said the agency wouldn’t comment on specific cases but if a contractor doesn’t comply with agency procedures, the issue is addressed.

Also in Texas, Keylin, a 16-year-old girl from Honduras, said she traveled north with her mother after her mother’s life was threatened back home. The pair turned themselves in at the border near McAllen and were taken to a facility she called the “ice box” because it was so cold.

A day later, they were taken to a facility with caged areas she called the “dog house.” There, they were separated and allowed to speak once for 10 minutes over the next four days, she said.

In both places, the food was frozen and smelled bad and she couldn’t eat it, she said. She said female guards yelled at her and other girls and made them strip naked and leered at them before they showered.

“I was very frightened and depressed the entire time. I was scared of the guards and scared I would be deported without my mother,” she said, adding they were later reunited and sent to a family detention center.

Angel, a 13-year-old who came from Mexico with his mother, said guards told boys in his cell in McAllen, Texas they were going to be adopted and wouldn’t see their parents again. He was later sent to family detention with his mother where he said they passed an asylum screening and were awaiting release.

“I am excited to get out of here and get past this nightmare,” he said.

Associated Press writer Astrid Galvan in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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The most well-documented Russia apologist in Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), criticized the recent indictment of a 29-year-old woman who allegedly attempted to set up a back channel between Russia and U.S. politicians through the NRA.

Rohrabacher called the indictment of Mariia Butina “bogus,” according to Politico. Butina, according to the indictment, allegedly spoke with a Russian official about his plans to “meet with a U.S. Congressman during a Congressional Delegation trip to Moscow in August 2015.” Rohrabacher said he’s unaware if he is the member of Congress mentioned in the indictment, but told Politico he had dinner with Butina, “along with another member, along with a visiting delegation to Russia.”

“It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid,” Rohrabacher told Politico. “She’s the assistant of some guy who is the head of the bank and is a member of their Parliament. That’s what we call a spy? That shows you how bogus this whole thing is. … This is an attempt to undermine the president’s ability to have better relationships with Russia.”

While Rohrabacher has repeatedly found himself in the middle of incidents being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, he hasn’t been accused of any misconduct. He told Politico he thinks he should be exempt of any wrongdoing in relation to his communications with Russian officials because he is the “chairman of the committee who has jurisdiction to oversee America’s relations with Russia.”

Butina was indicted this week for conspiring against the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent.

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As President Donald Trump disembarked from Air Force One after his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was enraged to find himself amid a maelstrom of criticism with few of his usual standbys in his corner.

Back in the West Wing, staffers were in crisis.

According to a Tuesday Vanity Fair report, the atmosphere was “funereal,” one source saying this was the “nightmare scenario.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly thought the comments unwise, but felt that it would make Trump look weak and silly if he retracted them.

Chief of staff John Kelly had no such qualms. Furious, Kelly reportedly told Trump that the comments would get him in hot water with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and sprang into action, calling around to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to get them to coerce Trump to walk back his statements.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave televised press conferences during which they asserted that the Russians definitely hacked the 2016 election.

According to a Tuesday NBC report, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also used some capital to get Trump to retract his statements. In a three-way Oval Office meeting, they reportedly urged him to “make clarifications” to his remarks from Helsinki.

Trump did an awkward pseudo-retraction on Tuesday, blaming his refusal to disavow Putin for the Russian hacking of the 2016 election on a grammatical error.

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During a lukewarm interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, recorded just after the press conference with Vladimir Putin on Monday, President Donald Trump argued that he’s “not pro-Russia,” but the country “really helped us” win some wars.

“It’s incredible,” he told Carlson Monday. “You look at World War I and World War II, there was Germany. And in World War II, Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war. I was saying to myself the other day, you know, Russia really helped us. I’m not pro-Russia, pro-anybody, I just want to have this country be safe, I don’t want nuclear weapons– even people thinking about it.”

The interview aired on Fox Tuesday night.

In the interview that took place on the heels of the summit with Putin, where Trump received intense backlash for publicly defending Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump also criticized the FBI and former intelligence official John Brennan.

In reaction to Trump’s press conference — where he also blamed both the U.S. and Russia for poor relations — Brennan called Trump’s behavior treasonous and suggested that his national security team should resign over Trump’s performance.

“Well I think Brennan is a very bad guy and if you look at it, a lot of bad things happened under his watch,” he said. “I think he’s a very bad person. I also think that when you watch Peter Strozk and Lisa page, when you watch all the things that have happened, Comey, take a look at that and McCabe, who’s got some pretty big problems I assume.”   

“You look at the deception, the lies and what’s gone on in the last fairly long period of time– before I won. Long before I won, I mean during the campaign I guess probably during the Republican, when I was fighting against 17 other Republicans — this has been going on for a long time,” he continued, repeating a darling, but tired talking point. “But these are people, in my opinion are truly bad people. They are being exposed for what they are and it’s a shame that it has to happen, but it’s really hurt our country.”

As Think Progress noted on Tuesday, despite calling reporters into the Cabinet Room on Tuesday to clarify a slip of tongue he claims he made during the press conference — “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia.’” — he didn’t clarify that in interviews with Fox News recorded just after the Putin presser.

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In his preferred black marker, President Donald Trump made handwritten edits to the public statement meant to mitigate his disastrous joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

Sharp-eyed photographers got shots of the four-page document. In all caps and a misspelling, Trump reminded himself on the first page that “THERE WAS NO COLUSION.”

He also struck a sentence concerning “anyone involved in that meddling to justice.”

Per the Post, other changes include his adding of “for years, relations could not have [illegible] worse,” and striking a paragraph reading “Now I understand there are some in Washington who don’t want diplomacy. This rejection of diplomacy is the same mindset that dragged us into Iraq and Libya.” He also crossed out a line following that said: “Any fool can start a war, but real [illegible] is forging peace.”

The shots of his prepared remarks also allow readers to see where he ad-libbed in his spoken statement. Most notably, he verbally added the following paragraph after asserting that he believes the intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia did hack the 2016 election:

“Could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that, a lot of people have come out strongly on that. …”

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In his classic style, President Donald Trump battled criticism Wednesday with the affirmation of an unnamed multitude of people who think he did a great job.

In this case, “so many people” approved of his joint presser with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite the widespread critiques he’s since received.

Trump has tried to walk back his disastrous performance in Helsinki—when he refused to denounce Putin for the Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. election—with a flimsy excuse that he misspoke.

Trump was forced into the awkward pseudo-retraction of his words after an outpouring of disapproval from even some of his staunchest allies.

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