Trump Not Above The Law
Trump’s lawyer is dead wrong on obstruction of justice. Just Security: "The Declaration of Independence charged King George III with 'obstruct[ing] the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to the laws for establishing judiciary powers.' That alone is evidence that the founding generation did not believe that heads of state were immune from obstruction charges. And while Article II instructs the president to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed,' that does not give him carte blanche to wield his law enforcement powers any way he chooses. Trump is not the first sitting president to face accusations of obstruction of justice. During the Watergate scandal, the first article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee charged Richard Nixon with obstructing justice by endeavoring to influence an FBI investigation into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. That article passed the committee by a 27-11 vote, with six Republicans joining all the committee’s Democrats in the majority... a president commits criminal obstruction only when he abuses his power over law enforcement for personal, pecuniary, or purely partisan ends. But Dowd’s claim that the obstruction statutes never apply to the president is without merit."
Trump Fractures Transatlantic Alliance
Trump blows up G7 agenda. Politico: "With days to go before leaders of the world’s seven largest advanced economies meet in Canada, organizers have a problem — Donald Trump is making it hard to agree on anything. The annual gathering of the so-called G7 countries is scheduled for June 8 in Quebec, but there remains unprecedented division over the agenda and what joint statements might be issued out of the summit, according to senior officials in Europe and the United States. And the disruptive force is Trump. From trade rules to climate change, to defense spending and the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. president has torn up the global consensus that existed under his predecessor, Barack Obama, leaving diplomats scrambling to paper over the cracks in the Western alliance and find any common ground on which to build the event. Failure to come together would break with years of tradition at the G7 summit, which has historically served as an annual affirmation that the biggest Western powers are largely aligned."
US-China Talks End Abruptly
U.S.-China Trade Talks End in an Impasse. NYT: "The United States and China ended trade talks in Beijing on Sunday without any announced deals and with Chinese officials refusing to commit to buying more American goods without a Trump administration agreement not to impose further tariffs on Chinese exports. 'If the United States introduces trade measures, including an increase of tariffs, all the economic and trade outcomes negotiated by the two parties will not take effect,' China said in a statement distributed by the state-controlled news media. The apparent impasse left the Trump administration with the issue of what to do about China’s industrial policies. It also left unresolved an awkward issue for both sides: the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, which had violated sanctions against North Korea and Iran. President Trump had sent to the talks what was essentially an export promotion team led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and including senior officials from the Treasury and from the Agriculture Department. Conspicuously absent were top officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which has threatened to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion a year in Chinese goods, in addition to the tariffs already imposed on $3 billion a year in Chinese steel and aluminum exports."
Tariffs Threaten Iowa Farmers
Threats of retaliatory tariffs prompted by Trump have cost Iowa pork industry $560M. The Hill: "Concerns over retaliatory tariffs from Mexico have cost Iowa pork producers roughly $560 million, the Des Moines Register reported Friday. Concerns over retaliatory tariffs from Mexico have cost Iowa pork producers roughly $560 million, the Des Moines Register reported Friday. According to the newspaper, Iowa pork producers could take another hit if Mexico follows through on its threat to impose a 20 percent tariff on hams and pork shoulders from the U.S. Producers in the state already face a 25 percent tariff on pork exports to China. But duties from Mexico — the largest export market for American pork by volume — could put further strain on producers. Iowa is the largest pork producer in the U.S., according to Gregg Hora, the president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Hora told the Register that the threatened tariffs are 'potentially devastating news for Iowa’s pig farmers and the rural Iowa economy.' According to the newspaper, Iowa pork producers could take another hit if Mexico follows through on its threat to impose a 20 percent tariff on hams and pork shoulders from the U.S. Producers in the state already face a 25 percent tariff on pork exports to China. But duties from Mexico — the largest export market for American pork by volume — could put further strain on producers. Iowa is the largest pork producer in the U.S., according to Gregg Hora, the president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Hora told the Register that the threatened tariffs are "potentially devastating news for Iowa’s pig farmers and the rural Iowa economy."
Immigrants Revitalize Small-Town America
The Mexican revival of small-town America. NYT: "Amid all the anti-immigrant fervor, nativists have overlooked a fundamental fact: In recent years, Mexican immigrants and their Mexican-American offspring have been rescuing the most iconic places in America — its small towns. In the past 10 years, the number of Mexican immigrants living in the United States has declined by more than one million; some left by choice but tens of thousands more left through deportation. Americans who dream of an America without Mexicans should consider Kennett Square. A town of more than 6,000 people, about an hour outside Philadelphia, Kennett Square proudly calls itself the mushroom capital of the world. The $2.7 billion mushroom industry in southeastern Pennsylvania employs 10,000 people... 'Mexicans are leaving, and that’s bad news for everyone,' Chris Alonzo, president of Pietro Industries, one of the biggest mushroom companies, and a third-generation mushroom farmer, told me. 'All the negativity, the fearmongering, the anti-immigrant feeling is hurting our small town. We’re seeing labor shortages, and that threatens the vibrancy of our community.'"
UN Denounces Trump's Treatment Of Poor
The UN Just Published a Scathing Indictment of US Poverty. Common Dreams: "The United Nations has released a scathing report on poverty and inequality in the United States. The findings, which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on June 21, follow an official visit to the United States by Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, to investigate whether economic insecurity in the country undermines human rights. The conclusions are damning. 'The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,' the report concludes. 'High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.' The U.N. explicitly lays blame with the Trump administration for policies that actively increase poverty and inequality in the country. “The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality. The consequences of neglecting poverty and promoting inequality are clear,” it concludes. “The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.”"