Okay, so you surely did not miss the fact that Trump blew up after finding Melania watching CNN while en route to Brussels two weeks ago. And you surely did not miss the report that the House Freedom Caucus has begun impeachment proceedings against Rod Rosenstein, while Trump continues to call the Mueller investigation a ‘witch hunt’. You don’t need me to keep you informed of those things. But in amidst all the muck, there are a few things you might not have noticed, so here is a brief roundup of three I caught last night.
Another blow to freedom of the press …
Kaitlan Collins is a reporter for CNN. Yesterday morning, Ms. Collins attended an “Oval Office press event”, and planned to attend the subsequent photo op ceremony in the Rose Garden with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. She never made it to the second event. Why? Because she asked questions that Donald Trump, Communication Director Bill Shine, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t like. They were not inappropriate questions. They were questions about the same things that are on everyone’s mind: Vladimir Putin’s postponed visit and the Michael Cohen tapes. Fair game. But in the Trump administration, there is no sense of fair play.
It is telling that even CNN’s traditional rival and Trump’s favoured network, Fox News, came to Collins’ defense:
“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.” – Jay Wallace, President of Fox News
And from the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) …
“We strongly condemn the White House’s misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like. This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand. Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the president, helps hold those people accountable. In our republic, the WHCA supports the prerogative of all reporters to do their jobs without fear of reprisal from the government.” – Olivier Knox, President of the WHCA
This is nothing less than a significant blow against a free press and one that we simply cannot tolerate. Shutting out the press is only the first step.
Whose idea was it?
Trump’s former paramour, Stormy Daniels, was arrested in Columbus, Ohio on July 12th. This is the woman, you may remember, to whom Trump via his then-attorney Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to buy her silence about their affair. When I read of her arrest, red flags went up and my nose twitched, but I soon forgot about it in light of other news, for Trump had just left behind his trail of detritus at NATO and was now in the UK, prepared to leave more droppings. But yesterday, the story found its way back onto my radar …
Police said that Daniels violated an Ohio law by “touching” patrons of the strip club where she was performing. Hmmm … sound fishy? Well it is. Turns out that those ‘patrons’ were actually undercover Vice cops. The charges against Ms. Daniels were dropped 12 hours later, and Police Chief Kim Jacobs apologized and called it a “mistake.”
A whistleblower from the City of Columbus contacted the Fayette Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and VICE officers. Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before her scheduled performance.
The bulk of the emails that the whistleblower provided are from the email account of Detective Shana Keckley. Keckley was one of the lead-arresting officers the night that the “sting” operation went down.
In an email dated Tuesday, July 10 — two days before Daniels arrived in Columbus — Keckley emails herself a video of Daniels in West Hollywood. Not long after, the VICE detective emails herself a link to an NBC 4 Columbus story promoting Daniels’ planned appearance. In another email, several hours after Ms. Daniels’ arrest, Keckley writes to another police officer bragging about Daniel’s arrest, saying, “You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later.”
Is this just the work of a bunch of local yokels, or did the orders come from ‘higher up’? Draw your own conclusions.
Today is the deadline …
Today is the court-imposed deadline for the federal government to have re-united the immigrant children who were separated from their parents and held in detention centers around the nation. Now tell me honestly, do you think they are even close to 100% on this one? Nah, me neither.According to the most recent government figures, the administration is on track to reunite most if not all “eligible” parents with their children by the court-mandated deadline. On Tuesday evening, the administration said it has reunited 1,012 parents with their kids between the ages of 5 and 17. There was a time, say a year-and-a-half ago, that I might have taken this information at face value, but not today. There is no way for you or I to either prove or disprove the numbers, and frankly, I don’t believe them. But even if I did believe them, I have concerns about the government determining who is an “eligible” parent. The parents were with their children when they came here. They were ‘eligible’ parents on the day HHS took their children from them. I don’t think it is our place to deem a parent ineligible to get their children back unless it can be proven that the child would be in danger.
One parent was declared ineligible for having received a DUI. Sorry, I don’t see how that disqualifies him from being reunited with his child. Perhaps having his child taken from him led to his drinking. Two others are grandparents instead of parents and thus their grandchildren, who were with them as they crossed the border, are still being withheld from them. And, of course, there are nearly 500 parents in total that have been deported and HHS claims they are unable to reunite the children.
I will have more about this later, for I want to know just what the plans for the rest of these children are – will HHS continue trying to reunite them, or are they planning to place them in private foster homes, or are they planning to keep them in detention centers indefinitely? Below is a summary of the results as of yesterday morning. Please note that there are still 1,584 children who have not yet been reunited with their parents.Let’s keep our eye on this ball, folks, for I’m fairly certain Trump & Co would like nothing better than for it to fade from the news and from our minds & hearts.
It is easy to lose sight of some things with the constant barrage of news facing us each day. Some things, though, are just too important to lose sight of.