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Rulings Weaken Fed’s Independence

A Trump-appointed judge just gave him a scary new power. ThinkProgress: “Two Republican judges, including one who was just recently appointed by Donald Trump, held on Monday that Trump has the power to fire the head of an obscure federal housing agency. The judges’ reasoning, however, could potentially extend much further, giving Trump authority over other agencies that are intended to be independent of the president. Most notably, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Collins v. Mnuchin could potentially strip independence from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, giving Trump the power to inject cocaine into the economy just in time to boost his reelection race.”

Trump Baits Iran With Sabre-Rattling

Trump tweets explosive threat to Iran. CNN: “President Donald Trump issued a furious, all-caps challenge to the Iranian regime late Sunday night, warning that any threats to the US would be met with unspecified dire consequences. The tirade — apparently in response to earlier remarks by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who warned the US that war with Tehran would be the “mother of all wars” — signaled an immediate escalation of tensions between Washington and Teheran… Even before Trump’s tweet, his administration had already intensified the rhetoric against the regime. In a blistering speech earlier Sunday evening, US Secretary of State Pompeo likened the Iranian regime to the mafia, accusing the clerics that rule the country of enriching themselves and funding terrorism at the expense of ordinary Iranians.”

Risks Loom As Manafort Heads To Trial

Risks pile up for Trump as Manafort heads to trial. Politico: “The first trial prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller will offer the clearest public view yet of what his investigators have on President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with a catalogue of evidence and testimony undercutting the president’s repeated claims that the Russia investigation is a ]witch hunt.’… the Manafort trial will create daily reminders of the Mueller investigation, as commentators pile onto cable networks to discuss what the case could indicate about the president’s own exposure — and, potentially, as the president himself offers his own analysis on Twitter. Whether he addresses it publicly or not, Trump will have to pay close attention given the array of legal investigations involving various former associates, said Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard law professor who is close to Trump. “Of course the president has to watch. He has to watch everything Mueller is doing,” he said. Dershowitz specifically mentioned the Southern District of New York, the federal jurisdiction that’s investigating Michael Cohen, the longtime Trump Organization personal lawyer, who has dropped hints he may cooperate with the government.”

Detention Of Migrant Children Continues To Rise

The number of immigrant children being detained in Texas continues to rise. ThinkProgress: “The rising numbers come on the heels of administration claims that hundreds of families have been reunited. ThinkProgress: “A new report in The Texas Tribune found that despite a federal court order that immigrant children separated from their families be reunited with their parents, the number of of youngsters being detained in the state is on the rise. According to The Tribune, the number of children housed in Texas shelters rose from 4,919 on June 21 to 5,024 on July 13. This includes both immigrant children who arrived at the border unaccompanied and children that were separated from their families by federal authorities. The report says that there are applications for up to four additional shelters to be built in Texas. The shelters would be built to ‘care for unaccompanied boys and girls up to 17 years old or as young as infants.’ These findings come on the heels of the Trump administration’s claims that it has reunited hundreds of children with their families. The administration claims it currently has 2,551 immigrant children between the ages of 5 and 17 in its care who were separated from their parents under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. So far, only 364 of those children have been reunited.”

Feds Halt Reviews Of Toxic Pesticides

Under Trump, federal agencies halt reviews of toxic pesticides that endanger wildlife. Salon: “Under the Obama administration, the government began reviewing the impacts of all pesticides on the nation’s approximately 2,300 endangered and threatened species. Two days before President Donald Trump took office, federal officials issued a preliminary report on three highly toxic and popular agricultural insecticides, concluding that they jeopardize the survival of more than 1,800 species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including 18 types of salmon. Now, under the Trump administration, these reviews have ground to a halt. Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered a close relationship between pesticide companies and federal agencies, mirroring a pattern the Trump administration has followed with many other regulated industries. The pesticide industry has spent years trying to fend off regulations designed to protect endangered species. Under Trump, it is succeeding. Among the findings, according to documents obtained and interviews conducted by Reveal: Three federal environmental agencies are reshaping the scientific methods used in their reviews at the request of pesticide manufacturers. Some researchers and advocates say that if these reviews, known as biological opinions, do begin again, this change could shift the results in favor of the pesticide industry — and away from protecting endangered wildlife. Officials from all three agencies held a meeting with key pesticide manufacturers, teaching them how to influence the reviews of their products. Manufacturers, in turn, schooled the government on what data to use. The agencies have granted repeated delays in the reviews to resolve questions posed by the companies that scientists say already have been addressed.”

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