Trump Lifts Ethanol Restrictions
Trump seeks new ethanol policy to help Republicans in the midterms. WaPo: "So less than a month before Election Day, Trump traveled to southwest Iowa on Tuesday to try and bolster his and his party's fortunes there in November and beyond. He came to stump for Midwestern Republicans armed with a pledge to make good on a campaign promise poised to boost demand for corn grown by Iowa farmers worried recently about diminished trade with the huge Chinese market. During a rally in Council Bluffs, Trump formally announced that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency to allow for the year-round sale of gasoline containing a high blend of corn-based ethanol. Currently, gas stations are not permitted to sell that fuel mixture during the peak summertime driving season."
Voter Suppression Threatens Midterms
How Voter Suppression Imperils the Midterms. Common Dreams: "The November 6 midterm election could deliver a decisive rebuke to the “Crazytown” of the Trump presidency. A Blue Wave of outraged voters could transfer the House, if not the Senate, from Republican to Democratic control and set the stage for impeaching the forty-fifth President. But Blue Wavers may find it harder to cast a ballot this fall, due to a counter-wave of laws and policies meant to suppress the Democratic-leaning votes of the poor, the young, and minorities. Twenty-four states—mostly red ones—have stricter voting laws than they did in 2010, and nine of those states minted them since 2016, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University (see chart). These laws abbreviate early voting, require proof of citizenship, limit student voting, curb voter registration drives, and, most notoriously, mandate photo IDs, even though the problem they’re supposed to prevent—people voting under false identities—is exceedingly rare. “More people are struck and killed by lightning than walk into polls and pretend to be someone else,” says Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who worked in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division during the Obama Administration. Levitt’s research has uncovered only thirty-one credible cases of voter impersonation involving up to 250 people between 2000 and 2014, during which more than a billion votes were cast."
Haley Resigns From UN, Just In Time
Nikki Haley may have timed her exit perfectly. CNN: "Nikki Haley is getting out of the Trump administration with her stature elevated and political prospects brightened -- not something that could be said for most top political power players who leave the President's reputation-crushing fold. Outshining the showman in chief in her Oval Office goodbye Tuesday, the outgoing US ambassador to the UN pocketed a valuable endorsement for a political career no one thinks is over. The President, in comments that might one day find new life as a campaign ad, said Haley "has been very special to me. She's done an incredible job. She's a fantastic person, very importantly -- but she also is somebody that gets it." As she sat smiling beside the President, their unusual photo op, and the generosity of a President whose good mood may owe much to his current political roll, suggested Haley has the essential ingredient of high-flying political careers -- timing."
Obama Left Door Open To Bush Holdovers
Obama's resistance to investigation left door open to Kavanaugh's entry to SCOTUS. The Intercept: "Obama’s first decisions after being elected president continued to haunt the country over the weekend, as Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the fifth hard-line conservative on the Supreme Court. In January 2009, George W. Bush left office with an abysmal 22 percent approval rating, the lowest ever recorded. Almost everyone with anything to do with his administration was considered politically toxic. With full Democratic control of the federal government, calls came for an investigation into the scandals of the Bush administration, including torture, mass surveillance, and war profiteering. While some called for criminal prosecutions, others wanted hearings or an independent investigation that would — at minimum — put into the public record the details of who did what and when. At the least, the argument went, Democrats could ensure that the GOP had to wear the Bush administration for years; that the officials involved in wrongdoing would be written out of polite society; and that future administrations would not revert to those practices. Obama refused. “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” he said famously on January 11, 2009, days before he took office. Had he looked forward far enough, he would have seen one of the chief boosters of the torture program elevated to CIA director, and a Bush administration attorney with complicity in a wide array of its most controversial programs lifted up to the U.S. Supreme Court."
SCOTUS Delays Ross Census Citizenship Test Deposition
SCOTUS Puts Wilbur Ross' Testimony In Census Lawsuit On Hold. Reuters: "Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was supposed to face questioning in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to put Ross' deposition on hold. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court denied a request by the Trump administration to stop an order forcing Ross and Justice Department official John Gore to testify this week. But later that night, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a temporary stay on the order while the high court decides how to handle the Trump administration's request. As several outlets have noted, this could be the first matter new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will publicly vote on. Ginsberg's order gives the challengers until Thursday afternoon to file their response to the administration's request."
ICE Stops Coordinating Family Reunifications
ICE ending practice of coordinating plans for asylum-seeking families in Arizona. CNN: "Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ended its practice of coordinating plans for asylum-seeking families in Arizona that are released from custody but still awaiting a court hearing on their request. Prior to Sunday, the agency carried out reviews that included confirming bus routes, coordinating with NGOs, communicating with family members and ensuring that asylum seekers had a means to reach a final destination within the United States before release from custody, according to ICE. This change could create the need for more non-governmental support as families continue to be released without a reviewed travel and communications plan. This was a "self-imposed process" and there is no requirement that these reviews be conducted, according to ICE spokesperson Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe."