By Robert A. Vella
Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosselló has announced his resignation amid a controversy of his own making. Political activist Alexei Navalny has been jailed in Russia over a controversy created by authoritarian strongman Vladimir Putin. The House Judiciary Committee is pursuing former White House counsel Don McGahn in court for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. On the same day a federal court allowed the Trump administration to ban migrant asylum claims, another court blocked it. Trump vetoed congressional resolutions against his planned arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but he and his family face a marketing scam lawsuit in New York involving charges of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition. California has signed a deal with four automakers to bypass deregulation enacted by the Trump administration which will allow the state to maintain vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Finally, and quite amusingly, a fake presidential seal was displayed on the stage at a Trump speaking engagement Tuesday which mocked the president as an anti-democratic emperor and Russian puppet.
The governor of Puerto Rico announced late Wednesday that he will resign effective Aug. 2, amid intense pressure from inside and outside his government, after a series of leaked chat messages denigrating his opponents and Hurricane Maria victims triggered outrage from frustrated citizens who had taken to the streets for 13 consecutive days of protests.
Ricardo Rosselló had defied calls for his resignation as the island descended into upheaval. He lost support from nearly everyone in his ruling statehood party, and more than a dozen members of his administration had stepped down in recent days, including his chief of staff on Tuesday.
Putin opponent jailed
MOSCOW, July 24 (Reuters) – Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday, his spokeswoman said, ahead of a march he planned to lead in Moscow in protest at the exclusion of several opposition-minded candidates from a local election in September.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that the House panel will go to court this week to obtain requested grand jury material connected to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and to enforce a subpoena seeking the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting asylum claims from all eligible migrants arriving in the United States, temporarily thwarting the president’s latest attempt to stanch the flow of migrants crossing the southern border.
Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against a new rule that would have effectively banned asylum claims in the United States for most Central American migrants, who have been arriving in record numbers this year. It would have also affected many migrants from Africa, Asia and other regions.
The decision came on the same day that a federal judge in Washington, hearing a separate challenge, let the new rule stand, briefly delivering the administration a win. But Judge Tigar’s order prevents the rule from being carried out until the legal issues can be debated more fully.
Trump veto and lawsuit
President Trump has vetoed three congressional resolutions that would block his emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A federal judge on Wednesday said U.S. President Donald Trump and his adult children must face part of a lawsuit alleging they used their family name to promote sham marketing opportunities, but dismissed racketeering claims at the center of the case.
U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan said the plaintiffs, including investors in a Trump-endorsed business called American Communications Network, could pursue state law-based claims of fraud, false advertising and unfair competition.
But the judge dismissed claims under the federal racketeering law known as RICO because of a lack of evidence that the Trumps’ alleged misconduct was the proximate cause of, or directly related to, the investors’ alleged losses.
California signs deal
DETROIT (AP) — Four major automakers have reached a deal with California to increase gas mileage and greenhouse gas emissions standards, bypassing the Trump administration’s plan to freeze standards at 2021 levels.
Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen are parties to the deal with the California Air Resources Board, which had been at odds with the Trump administration for months. California has said it would exercise its powers to set more stringent pollution and mileage standards than the federal government has proposed.
The four automakers see the California agreement as “insurance” to provide some certainty to the industry and the state no matter who wins the 2020 presidential elections, according to a person familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because details of the negotiations haven’t been made public.
Fake presidential seal
At first glance, there was nothing unusual about President Trump’s introduction Tuesday at Turning Point USA’s student summit. In many ways, it mirrored the production style that has become synonymous with Trump’s campaign rallies.
Following a 12-minute video illustrating Trump’s rise to the presidency, music blared as the president’s name flashed across a giant screen in a bold shade of red. Trump took the stage and soaked in the raucous cheers from hundreds of young supporters packed inside the Marriott Marquis in Washington.
Charlie Kirk, Turning Point’s outspoken founder and executive director, was on his left. But the image on the screen to Trump’s right — captured in dozens of photos and videos from the event — is less familiar.
The image almost resembles the official seal of the president, but a closer examination reveals alterations that seem to poke fun at the president’s golfing penchant and accusations that he has ties to Russia. Neither the White House nor Turning Point knows how it got there or who created it.
The eagle has two heads instead of one — a symbol historically tied to empire and dominance. It closely resembles the bird on the Russian coat of arms and also appears on the flags of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. Its left talons, rather than clasping 13 arrows, appear to clutch a set of golf clubs.
One Washington Post reader noted a website that sells merchandise featuring what appears to be the same fake seal. In those images, the words on the parody eagle’s banner say “45 es un titere,” which in Spanish translates to “45 is a puppet.” On the official presidential seal, the eagle’s mouth holds a banner with the U.S. motto, “E pluribus unum” — out of many, one. The fake seal on the shop’s merchandise shows the eagle clutching cash in its right talons.