Friday, April 19, 2019
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller report lays out obstruction evidence against the president — The report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III lays out in alarming detail abundant evidence against Trump, finding 10 “episodes” of potential obstruction of justice but ultimately concluding it was not Mueller’s role to determine whether the commander in chief broke the law. The 448-page document alternates between jarring scenes of presidential scheming and dense legal analysis, and it marks the onset of a new phase of the Trump administration in which congressional Democrats must decide what, if anything, to do with Mueller’s evidence.
► In today’s NY Times — A portrait of the White House and its culture of dishonesty — Robert S. Mueller III had just been appointed as a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any actions by the president to impede it. Trump slumped in his chair. “Oh, my God,” he said. “This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.” Although the resulting two-year investigation ended without charges against Mr. Trump, Mr. Mueller’s report painted a damning portrait of a White House dominated by a president desperate to thwart the inquiry only to be restrained by aides equally desperate to thwart his orders. The White House that emerges from more than 400 pages of Mr. Mueller’s report is a hotbed of conflict infused by a culture of dishonesty — defined by a president who lies to the public and his own staff, then tries to get his aides to lie for him. Mr. Trump repeatedly threatened to fire lieutenants who did not carry out his wishes while they repeatedly threatened to resign rather than cross lines of propriety or law.
► In today’s Washington Post — The Mueller report is the opposite of exoneration (editorial) — Mueller told a very different story about whether President Trump obstructed justice than the one Attorney General William Barr gave the country in his summary of the special counsel’s report. In fact, Mueller compiled a damning account of Trump’s lies, behind-the-scenes manipulations and attempts at coercion while Justice Department officials were properly investigating Russia’s election-year activities and Trump’s own possible obstruction.
► From HuffPost — The ways William Barr misled the public about the Mueller report — Instead of just releasing the special counsel’s findings, the U.S. attorney general spun the report to the benefit of Trump.
► From Politico — Mueller report ropes in Senate GOP — Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) apparently supplied the White House counsel’s office with information about the Russia probe.
► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller report suggests the ‘fake news’ came from Trump, not the news media
► From the Guardian — Press secretary Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters
► From Politico — Dems run from impeachment post-Mueller — After interviews with 15 lawmakers Thursday, it’s clear Democrats think the report is severely damaging to the president, with substantial evidence that he attempted to derail the Russia probe. But it’s still not enough to pull the trigger on the most consequential — and politically risky — action Democrats could take in their new majority: trying to forcibly eject Trump from office. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgment.” Yet that stance only further exposes the divide between the party’s liberal base, eager to oust the president, and a seasoned leadership team fearful that such a move could cost the party the House.
► BREAKING from TPM — House Judiciary Committee subpoenas DOJ for unredacted Mueller report — Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said his committee is “entitled” to read the full report and called the redactions — which make up 36 pages of the 400-plus page report — “significant.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Call capital-gains tax for what it really is — a tax on extraordinary windfalls (by Lisa Mennet and Paul Joseph Brown) — As one of the very few households that would actually pay a capital-gains tax in Washington, we wanted to share our opinion: We think it’s time for lawmakers to close the tax break on capital gains and ask households like ours to pay more so we can fund our state’s priorities… By closing the tax break on six-figure capital gains profits while exempting retirement accounts and the sale of homes, lawmakers have proposed asking a small group of some of the wealthiest families to invest in creating a more equitable tax system for our state. We can both balance our upside-down tax code and invest in our shared priorities that lead to thriving communities.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Call hotline, urge legislators to end tax break on windfall gains — Please call 360-302-2962 today and urge your legislators to fix Washington state’s upside-down tax code by closing the tax break on windfall capital gains this session.
► From the AP — Affirmative action initiative reaches Legislature — An initiative that would bring affirmative action back to Washington state arrived at the Legislature Thursday, where supporters and critics alike invoked American ideals including opportunity and equality during a lengthy public hearing. The initiative, I-1000, would allow the state to use hiring and recruitment goals — but not quotas — to bring minority candidates into state jobs, education, and contracting, loosening restrictions enacted in a separate 1998 initiative that banned government discrimination or preferential treatment based on factors like race or gender.
► From KUOW — All three living former WA governors want affirmative action back — At a joint House-Senate hearing in Olympia, the three governors – Republican Dan Evans and Democrats Gary Locke and Chris Gregoire – called on state lawmakers to pass I-1000, an initiative to the Legislature that seeks to replace I-200, a voter-approved ban on affirmative action passed in 1998.
► From SEIU HealthCare 1199NW — Sen. Walsh on card-playing nurses
WAIT, WHAT?! WA State Senator says nurses at critical access hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” Nurses aren’t sitting around “playing cards,” we’re caring for patients! https://t.co/eb8MDpVkLI #BreaksAreALifesaver #YesOnSHB1155 #WALeg #SHB1155 pic.twitter.com/mxIVB2z33Z
— SEIUHealthcare1199NW (@SEIU1199NW) April 18, 2019
ALSO at the Stand — State Senate amends, passes nurse break bill — The Washington State Senate on Tuesday approved important patient safety legislation designed to ensure nurses and other frontline healthcare workers receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, but not before weakening the bill with an amendment to exempt many hospitals in rural parts of the state and to exclude medical technicians.
► From the AP — Washington set to be 1st state with long-term care benefit — Washington is poised to become the first state to establish an employee-paid program creating an insurance benefit to help offset the costs of long-term care, a step advocates say will help an aging population that is likely not prepared for the increasing costs needed for daily assistance.
► From KNKX — House passes HEAL Act for environmental justice, a first for Washington — The HEAL Act aims to improve health disparities in Washington through targeted investments in areas suffering worst from pollution.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Chopp will step aside even if Dems haven’t picked a successor — With the session scheduled to end April 28, some Democrats are concerned it’s too soon to choose a successor as House Speaker. They want to ensure there is adequate time for each person to be able to meet with candidates and the caucus to deliberate before a decision is made.
► In today’s Seattle Times — KeyArena renovation project now to exceed $900 million, with reopening pushed back — The privately funded project’s cost has reached $900 million and likely more and the targeted reopening has been delayed several months — until at least June 1, 2021 — and would push up against the late-May start of that year’s WNBA season for the Seattle Storm. NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke vows that its developers won’t skimp on the additional upgrades that have sent costs soaring.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Breanna Stewart’s Achilles injury underscores need for WNBA to find solution to pay issue (by Larry Stone) — Stewart’s season-ending injury is devastating news to the Storm, but it’s a huge blow for the league as well. What can the WNBA do about the fact its best players are being forced to play nearly year-round to supplement their WNBA income
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s NAFTA revisions offer modest economic benefits, report finds –A government report has concluded that the Trump administration’s revised North American trade agreement would offer modest benefits to the economy, challenging the president’s claims that the accord would make far-reaching changes.
ALSO at The Stand — Tell Congress: No new NAFTA until it’s fixed
► From The Independent — Republican rescinds AOC’s invite to meet coal miners after it completely backfires — An invitation from Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to meet with coal miners in his home state of Kentucky backfired completely after the progressive newcomer accepted without hesitation.
► From Truthout — Stop & Shop strikers are standing up for all grocery workers (by John Logan) — The current New England grocery workers’ strike will likely have long-lasting national significance. The strike that started April 11 with 31,000 Stop & Shop grocery workers at about 240 supermarkets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut is about to enter its second week… The workers are fighting against sweeping contract concessions demanded by Shop & Shop. The outcome of the strike will have national implications: If the company succeeds in weakening the workers’ health care and pension plans, and lowering the rate for Sunday pay, it will try to impose concessionary contracts on its workers in other states (New York State has more than 200 Stop & Shop stores, and the company also owns the Giant and Food Lion grocery chains). A management victory would also give encouragement to other unionized food retailers seeking to reduce costs and boost profits by slashing employee benefits.
► From the AP — Rabbis: ‘Not kosher’ to buy at Stop & Shop during strike — As thousands of Stop & Shop workers remain on strike in New England, some Jewish families are preparing for Passover without the region’s largest supermarket chain, which has deep roots in the local Jewish community.
► From The Hill — More Americans are moving, mostly to Sun Belt suburbs — A decade after the worst recession in modern history froze many Americans in place, the number of people with enough economic security to move is starting to rise once again, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau… Nine of the 10 counties that added the largest number of residents are in Sun Belt states like Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida; the 10th is home of Seattle, where a tech boom is fueling mammoth new growth. Seattle, the seventh fastest growing metro area in the country, added almost half a million new residents since 2010.
► Happy Good Friday! In His honor, today’s TGIGF video features one-hit wonder Norman Greenbaum. Though he was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household and remains observant, Greenbaum wrote this psychedelic Christian rock masterpiece 50 years ago after watching Porter Wagoner singing a gospel song on TV. “I thought, ‘Yeah, I could do that’,” Greenbaum said. “So I sat down and wrote my own gospel song. It came easy. I wrote the words in 15 minutes.” His 1969 hit sold two million copies. Clap your hands!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.