By Robert A. Vella
Protests hit Barr
A progressive advocacy organization called for a nationwide protest Thursday to demand the full release of the special counsel’s report and its underlying materials.
The gathering at the White House was one organizers said were happening across the country in 44 cities to demand the full report. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Senator Richard Blumenthal were in attendance.
“We are in a battle over the rules that govern our democracy,” Nadler said speaking to the group of demonstrators.
The scheduled protests come one day after Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of the report noting Mueller’s “principal collusions” which found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials in the 2016 election but left the issue of obstruction of justice open.
Antiwar vote hits Trump
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration’s support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia.
The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to veto it. The White House says the bill raises “serious constitutional concerns,” and Congress lacks the votes to override him.
By a 247-175 vote, Congress for the first time invoked the decades-old War Powers Resolution to try and stop a foreign conflict.
“The president will have to face the reality that Congress is no longer going to ignore its constitutional obligations when it comes to foreign policy,” said Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered by the war “demands moral leadership.”
Hate hits states
A woman suspected of vandalizing the Democratic Party Headquarters and the Chickasaw Nation Office with Nazi graffiti in Oklahoma City last week appears to have struck again, police say.
Norman Police Department has released surveillance video of a woman who it says is its main suspect in three incidents of vandalism that took place on Tuesday at the Cleveland County Democratic Party offices, McKinley Elementary School and the Firehouse Arts Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The force added in a statement on Facebook that it was working closely with Oklahoma City Police Department to confirm investigators’ belief that the suspect was connected to other racist messages and Nazi symbols found daubed on the outside of buildings in the state capital on March 28, 20 miles away.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is comparing the rhetoric used by President Donald Trump to describe immigrants to the rhetoric used in Nazi Germany.
At a town hall in Iowa on Thursday, O’Rourke called out “the rhetoric of a president who not only describes immigrants as rapists and criminals but as animals and an infestation,” in response to a question on how he would address attacks from Republicans.
The former congressman from Texas says, “Now, I might expect someone to describe another human being as an infestation in the Third Reich. I would not expect that in the United States of America.”
“Adoption discrimination is snowballing toward a serious crisis for children, families and communities,” Liz Welch, a faith engagement strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union, told NBC News. “Once considered fringe policy in just a couple states, the push behind child welfare religious exemption bills has picked up alarming speed and momentum.”
At least nine states have laws on the books allowing for religious exemptions in the foster and adoption process, and several others are considering similar measures. Welch said such laws have “far-reaching consequences — most significantly for the children.”
Death hits border
The analysis, the first of its kind, found that Border Patrol agents engaged in more than 500 pursuits in border districts in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Of those, 1 in 3 ended in a crash.
The danger has ramped up in the two years under President Donald Trump, who declared illegal border crossing a national emergency. Human smuggling prosecutions along the border have increased by 25 percent; the number of people injured in pursuit crashes has increased by 42 percent. Among those harmed were Border Patrol agents. One was hit by flying debris while trying to spike a tire; another was dragged for at least 30 feet.
Last year brought the most pursuits in every district in the period examined, even as apprehensions for illegal border crossings did not increase significantly over prior years.
Canada’s foreign minister warned Friday that outside interference in the country’s upcoming parliamentary election was “very likely”.
“We are very concerned. Our judgement is that interference is very likely and we think there have probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy,” Chrystia Freeland said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in northern France, she added: “What we are seeing in many liberal democracies, the effort is not so much to secure a particular outcome in an election.
“The effort is to make our societies more polarised and make us, as citizens of democracies, more cynical about democracy and that it can work.”
Climate change panel reorganizes
The Trump administration may have shut down the government advisory committee on climate change started by President Barack Obama, but its members considered the work so important that they did not stop working.
The Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment was created in 2015 by the Obama administration to help local leaders and policymakers figure out how to apply lessons from the National Climate Assessment. The latest version of that report, released in November, determined that climate change is already hurting the United States and that it could cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars and will kill thousands of Americans.
At the invitation of New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, most of the members of the committee reconvened and became the Science to Climate Action Network, also known as SCAN.
Public opinion of social media
WASHINGTON — The American public holds negative views of social-media giants like Facebook and Twitter, with sizable majorities saying these sites do more to divide the country than unite it and spread falsehoods rather than news, according to results from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
What’s more, six-in-10 Americans say they don’t trust Facebook at all to protect their personal information, the poll finds.
But the public also believes that technology in general has more benefits than drawbacks on the economy, and respondents are split about whether the federal government should break up the largest tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.