The Progress Report
April 12, 2017
Yesterday, the Trump Administration accused Russia of spreading “false narratives” about the Assad regime’s chemical attack last week. Reminder: a National Security Council report confirmed that the Assad regime was behind the sarin gas attack that killed more than 80 people in Syria last week. Russia, on the other hand, blamed insurgents.
It has since been confirmed that the Kremlin knew about Assad’s plan to use chemical weapons on civilians before the attack. This has even the suspiciously pro-Russian Trump Administration publicly opposing Russia by accusing them of covering up Assad’s role in the attack. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said only Russia and the “failed states” of Syria, North Korea, and Iran denied Assads’ role in the attack. This sudden serious stance against Russia is quite the reversal for the Trump Administration whose ties to Putin get more tangled by the day. Confused by the Trump’s Russia connections? Check out The Moscow Project.
Speaking of Trump and Russia… Yesterday it was reported that the FBI got permission to collect intel on Carter Page, one of Trump’s campaign advisers, during the campaign season. That means that the FBI had enough evidence to convince a judge that Page could have been acting as a foreign agent for the Russian government. Add this to the list of reasons we need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of the connections between the Trump team and Russia.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Find an event near you. Congress is still home for recess, which means this is our chance to hold them accountable. People across the country are making their voices heard at town halls, and it seems to have some lawmakers nervous. Many members of congress are refusing to hold town halls at all, while others are holding sham town halls, held in the middle of a workday when few people would be able to attend. Don’t see a town hall in your area? Check out ResistanceNearMe.org to see what other resist events are happening in your area. Still nothing? Organize your own event and submit it to ResistanceNearMe here. Or find out how to plug into the resistance from your couch at RecessToolkit.com.
Gaffes. That’s how Vox gently described White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments about the Holocaust yesterday. By now you’ve surely seen Spicer’s egregious Hitler/Assad comparison: “Hilter didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” But that was just the first of several gaffes Spicer made yesterday.
Germany. According to reports, nearly three or more explosions hit the bus of a popular German soccer team en route to its playoff game in Monaco. Officials also found a letter at the crime scene, which takes responsibility for the attack, but details are still unfolding.
Showdowns. When they’re back from recess, Congress will only have a few days to pass a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown and Trump’s budget director is complicating that effort. Facing bipartisan opposition to appropriating billions of dollars to build a border wall, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is now encouraging congressional Republicans to restrict funding for so-called sanctuary cities—localities limit local law enforcement’s involvement in federal immigration enforcement efforts—in the upcoming spending bill. In January, just before issuing his first Muslim ban, Trump issued an executive order threatening funding for sanctuary jurisdictions. This Friday, the city and county of San Francisco and Santa Clara county are taking this executive order to court, arguing that it is unconstitutional. More on the case here.
A Woman’s Place. Is leading the resistance, of course. A new poll is out with results that should surprise no one: middle-aged women are doing nearly all the activism these days. Though women are a minority in elected positions, they far outpace men in other forms of political action like registering to vote, voting, and volunteering. Read more here.
UNDER THE RADAR
Drowning in debt. Counter to Trump’s pledge to ease the burden of student loan debt on millions of Americans, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos just made it much harder to pay back your student loans. In a widely-criticized decision, DeVos rescinded Obama-era protections aimed at focusing on debt-management and repayment to cost-efficiency with—you guessed it—no replacement plan.
Vacations. Bill O’Reilly could really use one. After news broke that he Fox News paid millions of dollars to five women who said they were sexually harassed by O’Reilly, dozens of advertisers have left his show. Last night, O’Relly announced that he’s taking a vacation. While O’Reilly said he’ll be back on April 24th, there are reports that last night’s show “could be his last.”
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