By Robert A. Vella
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who had thought his wealth and privilege allowed him to escape justice, has been arrested on sex trafficking charges. White supremacists, including former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone who is awaiting criminal trial later this year, rallied in Washington D.C. this weekend amidst a heavy police presence to prevent violent clashes with counter-protesters. Leaked diplomatic memos revealed that the U.K. ambassador to the U.S. described Donald Trump as “inept,” “dysfunctional,” “insecure,” “incompetent,” and that his presidency would “crash and burn” and “end in disgrace.” Ex-Republican and now Independent congressman Justin Amash discussed what GOP officials have told him in private but won’t say in public for fear of angering Trump. Mexico has turned its newly created National Guard into an ethnic cleansing apparatus in support of Trump’s anti-immigration policy. Japanese elections are tilting towards nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who wants to undo the nation’s pacifist constitution enacted after World War II. Greek elections are tilting away from socialist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who rose to power by promising to end neoliberal austerity measures demanded by the E.U. but then reneged on those promises once he assumed office. Temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska hit the 90 degree Fahrenheit mark for the first time in history. Contrary to popular belief, the earthquake swarm hitting southern California is not along its infamous San Andreas fault.
Jeffrey E. Epstein, a billionaire New York financier long accused of molesting dozens of girls, was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors, an extraordinary turn of events in a long and sordid criminal case.
Mr. Epstein, 66, had avoided federal criminal charges in 2007 and 2008 in a widely criticized plea deal whose lenient terms continue to roil the Justice Department and are facing new scrutiny in the #MeToo era.
The plea deal that protected Mr. Epstein from federal charges was signed by the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, Alexander Acosta, who is now President Trump’s labor secretary.
In February, a judge in Florida ruled that the prosecutors led by Mr. Acosta violated federal law when they failed to disclose Mr. Epstein’s nonprosecution agreement to his victims.
WASHINGTON — Police in Washington, D.C., will be on alert Saturday for possible clashes between right-wing groups and counter-protesters holding demonstrations in the nation’s capital. A “Demand Free Speech” rally is planned for Freedom Plaza, just a few blocks from the White House.
Hours before the rival rallies, there was already an extremely heavy police presence at Freedom Plaza. Police say they’re hoping for safe and peaceful demonstrations. That’s not what happened last week in Portland, Oregon, when clashes broke out between rallies by right-wing groups and counter-protesters.
One of the groups involved in the Portland demonstration was the so-called Proud Boys, who have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and banned from Facebook. The Proud Boys are expected to attend Saturday’s demonstration.
U.K. envoy rips Trump
Britain’s ambassador in the United States has described President Donald Trump and his administration as “inept” and “uniquely dysfunctional”, according to leaked diplomatic memos published by the Mail on Sunday.
Ambassador Kim Darroch reportedly said Trump’s presidency could “crash and burn” and “end in disgrace”, in the cache of secret cables and briefing notes sent back to Britain seen by the newspaper.
The paper said the most damning comments by Darroch described Trump, who was received by Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to Britain just last month, as “insecure” and “incompetent”.
Amash on GOP
Newly independent Rep. Justin Amash, the only congressional Republican to have publicly argued that President Donald Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct, told CNN that high-level party officials have thanked him behind closed doors for his stance on impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“I get people sending me text messages, people calling me, saying ‘thank you for what you’re doing,'” Amash told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a wide-ranging interview on “State of the Union” Sunday. “They’re not saying it publicly. And I think that’s a problem for our country, it’s a problem for the Republican Party, it’s a problem for the Democratic Party when people aren’t allowed to speak out.”
Mexico targets migrants
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – A convoy of Mexican state and municipal police trucks roared along the U.S.-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez to confront cartel gunmen, past National Guardsmen patrolling the banks of the Rio Grande River for migrants trying to cross into the United States.
“We should be with them, not here. We’re soldiers,” one of three guardsmen in a green camouflage uniform grumbled to himself within earshot of a Reuters reporter. He was frustrated that orders kept him from going to back up police in the shootout with gangsters.
The National Guard is a new security force that was created by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to bring down record homicide rates. But now it has been tasked with patrolling the border to placate President Donald Trump, who has demanded Mexico stem the flow of U.S.-bound Central Americans that pass through the country or risk tariffs on Mexican goods.