Palmer Report: Donald Trump’s latest manufactured crisis goes off a cliff


Donald Trump and the GOP have spent the past several months desperately trying to exacerbate a crisis at the border – the fevered notion that any day now, a caravan of marauders is coming for us. Their campaign commercial from last year, which even Fox wouldn’t air, shows that they aren’t even trying to hide the bigotry anymore, but will freely embrace it if it will win them votes.




In many ways, this administration’s border policy embodies its worst tendencies – a disregard for human life and for national security, shameless use of the military for political purposes, a reckless waste of the budget, and staggering incompetence – as the administration has done little to actually prevent migrant crossing in the first place.




The family separation policy is finally being scrutinized by Congress in televised hearings. It’s easy to focus on the poor excuses DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is giving for ruining the lives of thousands of children and their families, but the horrors don’t stop there. Internal government documents reveal that Customs and Border Protection agents have been keeping a list of journalists who traveled to cover news stories about the traveling caravan – and not just a one-off incident, either. The DHS inspector general found it serious enough to open an inquiry on the matter.



As we wait for a full report, bear in mind that ICE and CBP have a consistent record of extralegal abuses, some of which predate this administration. Trump’s dislike of journalists who cast him in an unfavorable light is well known, and may have been the green light these organizations have been waiting for to further wield their power and keep us in the dark on a national travesty. This is a story that should be spanning the Sunday political talk show circuit and beyond, and then open a dialogue about further protecting the lives and rights of journalists if we are to remain a nation with a free press.



The post Donald Trump’s latest manufactured crisis goes off a cliff appeared first on Palmer Report.

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): ABC News’s YouTube Videos: R. Kelly bailed out of jail for the second time in two weeks; new accuser comes forward


From: ABC News
Duration: 03:05

Another woman — accused R. Kelly of having sex with her when she was 13 — came forward after the R&B singer’s explosive interview with Gayle King.

ABC News’s YouTube Videos

Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites)

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): ABC News’s YouTube Videos: Federal judge issues a new order against Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy


From: ABC News
Duration: 02:28

A California judge orders the Trump administration to track down separated migrant families; Homeland Secretary Kristjen Nielsen denies migrant parents were forced to deport without their children.

ABC News’s YouTube Videos

Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites)

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): ABC News’s YouTube Videos: A family complains about telemedicine call


From: ABC News
Duration: 02:02

The new technology uses robots to deliver a live video conference call with a doctor. Kaiser Permanente said the machine did not replace previous conversations including delivery of initial diagnosis.

ABC News’s YouTube Videos

Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites)

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Trump Investigations – Saved Stories from Michael_Novakhov (4 sites): Saved Stories – Trump Investigations: “Andrew McCabe” – Google News: CNN, New Yorker writer examine Trump-Fox News connection – Orlando Sentinel

CNN, New Yorker writer examine Trump-Fox News connection  Orlando Sentinel

The Sunday guest list will include Sherrod Brown, Connie Schultz, John Bolton, Liz Cheney, Adam Schiff, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Julián Castro and Jane …

“Andrew McCabe” – Google News

Saved Stories – Trump Investigations

Trump Investigations – Saved Stories from Michael_Novakhov (4 sites)

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“Trump personality profile” – Google News: Kimberly Guilfoyle rings in her 50th birthday at Mar-a-Lago with President Trump and Don Jr. – Daily Mail

Kimberly Guilfoyle rings in her 50th birthday at Mar-a-Lago with President Trump and Don Jr.  Daily Mail

Kimberly Guilfoyle turned 50 on Saturday and she celebrated the landmark birthday in some style by having dinner at the Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate with beau …

“Trump personality profile” – Google News

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Gutfeld: Investigating the Trump investigators on Capitol Hill


From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 13:49

What exactly are House Democrats doing during the day if they have time to run endless investigations into the president?

FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos

Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites)

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“former FBI agents power influence” – Google News: Alleged ‘stolen mandate’ in Akwa-Ibom: Does President Buhari, Osinbajo know the facts of the matter? – Vanguard

Alleged ‘stolen mandate’ in Akwa-Ibom: Does President Buhari, Osinbajo know the facts of the matter?  Vanguard

THE “sins” of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Akwa Ibom State, Barrister Mike Igini, is that he rebuffed the plot of very powerful politicians to buy him …

“former FBI agents power influence” – Google News

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“2016 elections and mental health” – Google News: Aspirants with over 80% disability may be able to study medicine – Hindustan Times

Aspirants with over 80% disability may be able to study medicine  Hindustan Times

In a move that could bring relief to thousands of aspiring doctors who are differently abled, the health ministry will test a candidate’s percentage of disability while …

“2016 elections and mental health” – Google News

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): CNN’s YouTube Videos: Van Jones asks 5 Democratic lawmakers about the future of their party


From: CNN
Duration: 10:53

CNN’s Van Jones sits down with five Democratic representatives to discuss President Trump, 2020 and the future of their party. #CNN #News

CNN’s YouTube Videos

Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites)

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Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (9 sites): MidweekPolitics’s YouTube Videos: After Trump, When Will US Be Respected Again?


From: MidweekPolitics
Duration: 03:52

–Audience Question: Will the US be able to regain respect from the international community after Trump is gone?

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Palmer Report: Just how far down the Trump-Russia rabbit hole did the CIA go?


“There’s gold dust in the chicken feed.” This is paraphrased from a LeCarré novel. It’s an old spy term that has now gone the way of satire, but it’s still applicable to Trump & Co. We’re all wondering if Jarvanka is selling us out, one patent, one state secret, at a time. The Chinese are reportedly partying at Mar-a-Lago like it’s 1999, and every Republican I can name seems to have taken a smiling picture with the “spa founder” from Jupiter, FL. You know, the one whose former massage parlors are accused of sex trafficking, and who specialized in bringing over Chinese executives to influence our figurehead – our prez who has gone viral with the Dunning-Kruger effect.




With talk that the Saudis, the Chinese and the Russians get the presidential daily briefing before our president does, another phrase comes to mind: With friends like these… So are we doomed? I highly suspect not. Because there’s gold dust in the chicken feed. Chicken feed is defined by the Spy Museum as, “Genuine, but not seriously damaging, intelligence knowingly provided to an enemy intelligence agency through an agent or a double agent to establish his bona fides.”




The intelligence community suspected Trump’s traitorous ties before he was elected. FISA warrants and our real friends abroad have been supplying intelligence since way before he became a serious candidate. Once the election was over and the Russian influence became crystal clear, there was only one thing to do. Put gold dust in the chicken feed.



We’re all getting impatient. The daily horror show just gets worse and worse till we’re almost numb to outrage anymore. I don’t know how much gold chickens***t we’ll ever be privy to, but I absolutely know it’s been put into the line. There’s a lot of talk of deza these days, the shortened Russian term for disinformation. This is essentially what the CIA does. It has departments and departments of chicken feed operations, and no, Mike Pompeo didn’t have the time to stop them all. If the FBI started looking into Trump before the election, I think it’s safe to conclude they had the CIA point out all their glittering “deposits.” This is the reason we don’t have action yet. Mueller is too busy with the gold rush.



The post Just how far down the Trump-Russia rabbit hole did the CIA go? appeared first on Palmer Report.

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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: Harvard Law Professor Predicts Jared Kushner Will Be Exposed as ‘Insatiably Greedy Benedict Arnold’ – Mediaite

Harvard Law Professor Predicts Jared Kushner Will Be Exposed as ‘Insatiably Greedy Benedict Arnold’  Mediaite

A Harvard Law professor tore into Trump son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner on Saturday, ultimately predicting Kushner will eventually be …

“Jared Kushner” – Google News

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“2016 elections and mental health” – Google News: Mayoral candidates differ on handling crime, economic development, CWLP – The State Journal-Register

Mayoral candidates differ on handling crime, economic development, CWLP  The State Journal-Register

Springfield’s two mayoral candidates — city natives who each have a long tenure of public *service* — don’t just disagree on what solutions the city should pursue …

“2016 elections and mental health” – Google News

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Palmer Report: Donald Trump’s rage spirals out of control


We have always known that Trump gives white supremacists comfort like no other president in modern times. But the release of new data from the Anti-Defamation League now makes it official: white supremacists are indeed thriving under Trump’s presidency. Their efforts to spread hate soared in 2018 with 1,187 propaganda distributions, compared to only 421 incidents in 2017. The propaganda included “everything from veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words, often features a recruitment element, and frequently targets minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community.”




Trump likes to pretend he is a great champion of civil rights while he takes shameless action to trample on them. Trump’s transgender military ban is a perfect example. This week ended with a federal court ruling that paves the way for his hateful ban to take effect. When Trump announced the ban in 2017, it was through a series of insulting tweets, complaining that the military “cannot be burdened.”




Yet candidate Trump sang a different tune. “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” he tweeted after the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. When he was considering a presidential run in 2000, Trump even told The Advocate that there is “no reason” why “gay people” cannot serve in the United States military.



Presidents are supposed to lift up Americans and make us feel unified and proud. Trump does the opposite. He is aloof on his best days and divisive on his worst. Under a reign of hatred and hypocrisy, Trump inspires white supremacists to advertise their bigotry and step up their recruitment. Even more disturbing than the new data is where things appear to be headed. There is every reason to believe that this ugly trend will continue as long as our amoral president remains in the Oval Office.



The post Donald Trump’s rage spirals out of control appeared first on Palmer Report.

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“trump russian candidate” – Google News: The 10 personas of Donald Trump in a single speech – Washington Post

The 10 personas of Donald Trump in a single speech  Washington Post

From victim to bully and auditor to rebel, the president’s performance at CPAC captured his unorthodox presidency.

“trump russian candidate” – Google News

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“trump electorate” – Google News: The ways, and means, of Richard E. Neal – Berkshire Eagle

The ways, and means, of Richard E. Neal  Berkshire Eagle

Even after 30 years on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts awaits his defining moment. It’s coming. The new House Ways and Means …

“trump electorate” – Google News

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“Donald Trump” – Google News: Former Fox News editor who killed piece on Trump payments to Stormy Daniels joins reporter in calling for network NDAs to be lifted – Business Insider

Former Fox News editor who killed piece on Trump payments to Stormy Daniels joins reporter in calling for network NDAs to be lifted  Business Insider

Former Fox News editor Ken LaCorte is calling for for NDAs to be lifted at the network to allow a full discussion of a story he killed.

“Donald Trump” – Google News

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Donald Trump | The Guardian: Trump attacks ‘Wacky Nut Job’ Ann Coulter over border wall criticism

  • President insults hard-right commentator and former ally
  • Official: budget to include request for more wall money

Donald Trump will be making a significant request for border wall funds and seeking money to stand up his “Space Force” as a new branch of the military in the White House budget being released next week, an administration official said on Saturday.

Related: SXSW: Warren tells tech audience plan to break up giants is ‘like baseball’

Related: Trump’s private talks with Putin may contain clues to his Russia romance

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

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Palmer Report: Donald Trump launches berserk attack on Ann Coulter, gives something away in the process

In general, we try to ignore Ann Coulter as much as possible. She says horrible things that are calculated to bring her free negative publicity from the left, thus endearing her to the right, which drives the very profitable sales of her racist and xenophobic books. But now Donald Trump has gone and dragged Coulter into the picture in a way that, for once, is worth talking about.


Ann Coulter has written a number of books about how Donald Trump’s racist border wall fantasy is going to magically make everything perfect. When Trump initially caved on his wall, Coulter lashed out at him, because she had to, in order to retain credibility with her racist audience. This prompted Trump to double down on his wall after all, shutting down the government. But this was a disaster, so he caved again, and instead launched a “national emergency” that he knew wouldn’t go anywhere.




Coulter is a flaming bag of crap, but she’s not stupid. She knows Trump isn’t building a wall. More importantly, she knows that even Trump’s deluded racist base is starting to figure out there will never be a wall. So she keeps lashing out at him. This has left Trump in the surreal position of attacking Coulter, even though she’s very popular with his base.




Trump posted this deranged fantasy on Twitter this afternoon: “Wacky Nut Job Ann Coulter, who still hasn’t figured out that, despite all odds and an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight), I am winning on the Border. Major sections of Wall are being built and renovated, with MUCH MORE to follow shortly. Tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended (captured) at the Border and NOT allowed into our Country. With another President, millions would be pouring in. I am stopping an invasion as the Wall gets built. #MAGA”



Of course not one word of Donald Trump’s Twitter rant is true, aside from the “Wacky Nut Job” part. But what matters here is that, rather than continue to seek Ann Coulter’s approval, he’s now trying to throw her under the bus, even though they have the same base. Some of their shared base will side with Trump, while others will side with Coulter. Either way, Trump will lose at least some supporters over this. But we suppose he’s in too desperate of straits to care anymore.



The post Donald Trump launches berserk attack on Ann Coulter, gives something away in the process appeared first on Palmer Report.

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“crime and terror” – Google News: Mothers send sons to Somalia to avoid knife crime – The Guardian

Mothers send sons to Somalia to avoid knife crime  The Guardian

British teenagers are being sent by their parents to Somalia, itself recovering from a series of terror attacks, because of concern that the police cannot protect …

“crime and terror” – Google News

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mikenov on Twitter: Trump Investigations: Trumpistan Today – RECENT POSTS: Palmer Report: Er… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/03/recent…

Trump Investigations: Trumpistan Today – RECENT POSTS: Palmer Report: Er… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/03/recent…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, March 9th, 2019 9:20pm

mikenov on Twitter

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Palmer Report: This just keeps getting worse for Jared Kushner

For Jared Kushner, the more we learn about details related to his top secret security clearance, the worse things seem to get. Since Democrats took over the House Oversight Committee in January, they have been asking the White House to provide the records related to Kushner’s top secret security clearance. They are particularly interested in records relating to the fact that Kushner was denied the highest levels of clearance until Trump ordered that it be granted. This past week the White House declined to provide those documents. Normally this would have forced the committee to issue a subpoena, which likely would have led to a drawn out legal fight between the committee and the White House.


In a stunning twist of events however, we learned Friday that documents detailing the year-long security clearance process for both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump had already been leaked to the committee by someone from inside the White House. Axios reported that the House Oversight Committee had already obtained the documents in question, including the timeline of events and the people involved, into how the top secret security clearances were ultimately granted to both Kushner and Ivanka Trump.




Congressman Ro Khanna, a member of the House Oversight Committee, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show Friday night to speak about some of the information and concerns related to this issue. During the interview with guest host Joy Reid, Khanna noted that both former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn were so opposed to Kushner being granted top secret clearance, they felt it necessary to document their reasoning in contemporaneous memos. Khanna doesn’t believe that the committee has a copy of those memos yet, but it is certainly within the power of the committee to subpoena either McGahn and/or Kelly to testify as to their concerns and the contents of the memo.




Khanna seemed particularly alarmed about Jared Kushner’s relationship with the Saudis in general, and his closeness to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in particular. He pointed to the fact that Kushner has access to the president’s daily briefing, which includes lists of Saudi dissidents. He also pointed to reporting that Kushner allegedly provided these lists to MBS.



What were the reasons Jared Kushner was originally denied top secret clearance? Why was it necessary for Kushner to modify his disclosures so many times? Why were McGahn and Kelly so opposed to Kushner being granted top secret clearance? Has Kushner been providing the Saudis with American intelligence in return for their financial support of his real estate empire? These are likely only some of the questions the House Oversight committee is interested in. As of Friday we know they are much closer to finding those answers than either Kushner or the White House would like.



The post This just keeps getting worse for Jared Kushner appeared first on Palmer Report.

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“trump as samson” – Google News: At&T Com (T) Market Valuation Declined While Lord Abbett & Company Trimmed by $8.65 Million Its Stake; Enterprise Prods Partners L (EPD) Holder Samson Capital Management Has Trimmed Holding by $335,496 as Market Valuation Rose – The FinReviewer

At&T Com (T) Market Valuation Declined While Lord Abbett & Company Trimmed by $8.65 Million Its Stake; Enterprise Prods Partners L (EPD) Holder Samson Capital Management Has Trimmed Holding by $335,496 as Market Valuation Rose  The FinReviewer

Lord Abbett & Company decreased its stake in At&T Inc Com (T) by 4.46% based on its latest 2018Q4 regulatory filing with the SEC. Lord Abbett & Company …

“trump as samson” – Google News

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“trump anxiety” – Google News: Opinion: The Children Of Undocumented Immigrants Live In An Emotional Prison – BuzzFeed News

Opinion: The Children Of Undocumented Immigrants Live In An Emotional Prison  BuzzFeed News

Most ninth-grade children say goodbye to their parents in the morning without a second thought, knowing they’ll see them again when they get home. Not Carlos …

“trump anxiety” – Google News

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“trump anxiety” – Google News: Opinion: For Children Of Undocumented Immigrants, Every Kiss Goodbye Could Be The Last – BuzzFeed News

Opinion: For Children Of Undocumented Immigrants, Every Kiss Goodbye Could Be The Last  BuzzFeed News

Every day they see news of immigration raids, or hear stories about peers whose parents were deported. They live knowing theirs could be next.

“trump anxiety” – Google News

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“Elections 2016 Investigation” – Google News: Companies like SNC-Lavalin must be monitored for shady donations across Canada, B.C. watchdog says – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

Companies like SNC-Lavalin must be monitored for shady donations across Canada, B.C. watchdog says  ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

Dogwood notes the scandal-ridden engineering firm donated to the ruling party in B.C. at the same time it was being awarded large public contracts.

“Elections 2016 Investigation” – Google News

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mikenov on Twitter: Trump Investigations: All Saved Stories In Brief – 250 – 4:30 PM 3/9/201… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/03/all-sa…

Trump Investigations: All Saved Stories In Brief – 250 – 4:30 PM 3/9/201… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/03/all-sa…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, March 9th, 2019 8:32pm

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“trump as danger to National Security” – Google News: Massage madam selling access to Trump creates ‘massive’ risk to national security: intelligence expert – Raw Story

Massage madam selling access to Trump creates ‘massive’ risk to national security: intelligence expert  Raw Story

If the alleged madam of a prostitution-front Florida massage parlor is indeed selling the Chinese access to the president, one intelligence expert noted, the story …

“trump as danger to National Security” – Google News

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“Putin and American political process” – Google News: China’s GDP growth could be half of reported number, says US economist at prominent Chinese… – South China Morning Post

China’s GDP growth could be half of reported number, says US economist at prominent Chinese…  South China Morning Post

US economist Michael Pettis of Peking University says China GDP is overestimated as bad debt is not written down.

“Putin and American political process” – Google News

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Palmer Report: Erik Prince just threw Donald Trump Jr and Stephen Miller under the bus


First rule of criminal conspiracy and bad things happening- when everyone denies having been somewhere at a given time and claims that is not correct, then they’re shown to have been part of that meeting, something nefarious is likely afoot.




The latest example is Erik “Dark” Prince, mercenary soldier and brother of Education Secretary Betty DeVos. Prince, who has denied any involvement in the Trump 2016 campaign and previously testified that he had “no formal role” in such campaign, apparently did set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr, Stephen Miller and a UAE lobbyist after all. In a stunning interview with Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, Prince looked like a deer caught in the headlights when Hasan pressed him on why he did not disclose the 2016 meeting to the House Intelligence Committee. What did Prince claim? That “perhaps they got the transcript wrong.”




This is the same Prince who coincidentally ran into the Russians in the Seychelles for another meeting. Prince stunningly claimed he told Congress about his Trump Tower meeting, even though it is not in the transcript of his testimony. This is the latest of now hundreds of “coincidences” with people meeting with Russians and others to discuss issues and matters during the campaign, and then lying brazenly to Congress and to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The House committees must immediately bring Prince back before them to probe his lies to Congress, and Junior once again should be hauled before Congress before he is indicted.



In the meantime, Erik Prince should have no contracts to provide private military forces to the United States or on our behalf. Based on the public docket, we know that there are dozens of sealed indictments in the District of Columbia tied to the Mueller investigation; we just don’t know whose names are on them. Given this confirmation of more coincidental meetings and conduct, one must wonder if at least one of those has a prince on it – Erik Prince.



The post Erik Prince just threw Donald Trump Jr and Stephen Miller under the bus appeared first on Palmer Report.

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Saved Stories – 1. Trump: Investigations Multiply Into Trump’s Business Dealings – WAMU 88.5

Investigations Multiply Into Trump’s Business Dealings  WAMU 88.5

With Democrats in control of the House, predictions of further scrutiny into President Trump’s finances are becoming a reality. Several different House …

Saved Stories – 1. Trump

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Just Security: Recap of Recent Pieces on Just Security (March 4-8)

U.S. Lethal Force and Civilian Causalities

Russia Investigation and Hush Money Investigations

Congressional Oversight: House Judiciary Committee Investigations

Congressional Oversight: Security Clearances

Homeland Security

International Justice Mechanisms: Universal Jurisdiction

Israel and Gaza Fence Shootings

European Union, Counterterrorism, and Freedom of Expression

Colombia

United Nations

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Just Security

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“organized crime and intelligence” – Google News: The Real Rogue Unit: Cash ‘parcels’ to minister, spying on media and infiltration of anti-Zuma movement highlighted in report on SA spy agency – Daily Maverick

The Real Rogue Unit: Cash ‘parcels’ to minister, spying on media and infiltration of anti-Zuma movement highlighted in report on SA spy agency  Daily Maverick

The long-awaited high-level review panel report on the activities of the State Security Agency (SSA) highlights a plethora of alleged rogue intelligence …

“organized crime and intelligence” – Google News

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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Transgender Service Ban Nears Implementation

On March 7, Judge George Russell III of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland issued a stay of the preliminary injunction in Stone v. Trump, removing, in the government’s view, the sole remaining obstacle to the Defense Department’s implementation of a policy prohibiting transgender individuals from serving in accordance with their gender identity (the “Mattis policy”). Under the new policy, only those transgender Americans who are willing to live in accordance with their assigned gender rather than with their gender identity will be permitted to join and continue to serve, with the exception of currently-serving transgender service members who underwent gender transition and had their official gender markers in the military personnel system changed while the prior policy permitting transgender individuals to serve in accordance with their gender identity (the “Carter policy”) was in effect.

There are currently four active lawsuits across the country challenging the policy: Stone v. Trump, in the District of Maryland; Doe 2 v. Shanahan, in the District of Columbia; Karnoski v. Trump, in the Western District of Washington; and Stockman v. Trump, in the Central District of California. Prior Lawfare coverage of the litigation can be found here.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rendered judgment vacating the preliminary injunction in Doe 2 v. Shanahan, and the Supreme Court subsequently granted a stay of the preliminary injunctions in Karnoski v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump. This left in place only the preliminary injunction in Stone v. Trump. In the order granting the stay in Stone, Judge Russell wrote that the district court “is bound by the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the nationwide preliminary injunctions [in Karnoski and Stockman] in their entirety” and that he could not narrow the scope of the injunction to just the plaintiffs before him because the Supreme Court “implicitly rejected” that option in the other two cases. The judge assessed that he could not “materially distinguish Plaintiffs in this case from those for whom the Supreme Court rejected a narrow tailoring of the stays,” and he therefore had no choice but to grant the government’s motion for a stay.

The day after Judge Russell’s ruling, the government filed a notice with the district court in D.C. stating that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan now “plans to release a Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) formally implementing the new policy in the near future.” Attorneys for the plaintiffs in Doe 2 contend that, despite what the government says, the injunction in D.C. remains in place because the D.C. Circuit has not yet issued its mandate, as the period for the plaintiffs to seek rehearing en banc has not yet run. The 21-day window in which the plaintiffs may request rehearing opened on March 8, when two judges on the D.C. Circuit panel released full opinions in support of the per curiam judgment the court issued in January.

Judge Robert Wilkins of the D.C. Circuit wrote a concurring opinion focusing on the plaintiffs’ failure to provide evidence that the Mattis policy amounts to a blanket ban on service by transgender individuals because it requires personnel to serve in accordance with their biological sex. In his view, the district court was wrong to treat the Mattis policy as indistinguishable from, and equally constitutionally problematic as, the president’s July 2017 tweets and the first Presidential Memorandum issued in August 2017, which categorically banned service by transgender individuals (except those grandfathered in during the Obama Administration). Judge Wilkins noted that “intemperate contemporaneous statements by policymakers, departures from normal procedures, and adoption of policies unsupported or contrary to data can be considered evidence that invidious discrimination was a ‘motivating factor’ in the decision” to ban transgender people from service and that “the course of events leading up to the 2017 Presidential Memorandum had more than a whiff of the stench of arbitrariness and of a ‘bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.’” In contrast, he said, the Mattis policy was crafted following an independent study of the issue by a panel of senior military and civilian experts and was supported by a detailed report laying out the study group’s methodology and findings.

With the procedural defects fixed, the lawfulness of the policy then turns on whether in substance it enacts an unconstitutionally discriminatory regime. In Judge Wilkins’s view, the district court’s judgment that the policy likely is unconstitutional was based on an unproven assumption about what it means to be transgender. The district court, he said, erred in failing to draw a distinction between identifying with a different gender from that assigned at birth and wanting to live in accord with that gender, and ignoring the possibility that some transgender individuals would be willing, and under the Mattis policy are able, to serve in their assigned gender:

Plaintiffs acknowledge that the term transgender is often defined to include persons who identify with another gender but who do not wish to live or work in accordance with that preferred gender, but they blithely dismiss that definition with the argument that any “broader meaning [of transgender] is irrelevant to this case.” Appellee Br. 23. How so? Plaintiffs want us to ignore the fact that they did not present evidence showing that all transgender persons necessarily “live” or “work” in their preferred gender rather than their biological sex. There were no findings below describing what it means to “serve in one’s biological sex,” let alone findings that all transgender persons either currently serving or applying to join the military must suppress who they are to “serve in their biological sex” and are unwilling or unable to do so. Instead, Plaintiffs want us to adopt the position that transgender persons who desire to serve in their biological sex are not really transgender, at least for the purpose of this lawsuit. But we cannot simply substitute Plaintiffs’ ipse dixit for evidence.

Because, under the Mattis policy, transgender individuals “may identify as they wish with their preferred gender while complying with the service requirements applicable to the DEERS gender marker for their biological sex,” the policy does not target all transgender people and categorically prohibit them from serving. The district court was therefore wrong “to conclude that the Mattis policy was not a substantive change from the 2017 Presidential Memorandum” and to maintain the preliminary injunction on the basis of that conclusion.

Judge Wilkins—responding to his colleague, Judge Stephen Williams, who would have reached the merits of the constitutional issue and ordered the district court to dismiss the case as a matter of law (more on that below)—also explained why he believed it was correct to limit the ruling to the above conclusions and remand to the district court for discovery and further proceedings. “Having found adequate non-constitutional reasons to vacate the preliminary injunction,” Judge Wilkins wrote, “it is inappropriate to seek out constitutional questions to decide in order to reach the same result.” There remain significant factual disputes in the case, including what the purpose of the policy is, “how the Mattis Plan impacts transgender service members who must comply with the service requirements for their biological sex,” and the extent to which Wilkins’s distinction between those who identify as transgender and those who wish to live in accordance with their gender identity actually maps onto reality, and those facts potentially influence the constitutional analysis. Accordingly, the case cannot, in Wilkins’s view, be dismissed as a matter of law at this time. Judge Williams, Wilkins said, goes too far in concluding, essentially, that “the government is immune from all discovery explaining the operation and purpose of its military policies”: “It is one thing to defer to the government’s justification for military policy; it is quite another not to require the government to explain fully, under oath, that justification. The former custom of deference is reasonable, but the latter is imprudent.”

Judge Williams concurred in the result, but wrote separately because he believes that “the record and the law require dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims,” and that the district court made “wholly mistaken assumptions about the nature of constitutional review of military personnel

policy.” Specifically, Judge Williams said, the “highly intrusive examination of the mental processes of the civilian and military leadership of a coordinate branch of government” that the district court seemed willing to permit is inappropriate under prevailing separation-of-powers doctrine.

In his view, the Mattis policy is not a “ban” but rather a policy that allows transgender service member to serve, “like all other Service members,” in the gender they were assigned at birth. “The Mattis policy—by declining to make the same accommodations for gender transition as the Carter policy—does not translate into a “transgender ban, and no amount of discovery will change “this fact.”” The question in the case, therefore, is:

whether the Constitution requires the current administration to reinstate a policy created by the previous administration allowing certain transgender individuals to serve in their preferred gender rather than their biological sex, as all service members have for decades . . . For those transgender persons for whom the value of serving otherwise than in their biological sex exceeds the value of being in the military, of course, the policy thwarts their wish to serve. The Constitution does not compel the military to yield to their preference.

Because the Mattis policy does not effectuate a blanket ban on service by individuals who identify as transgender but rather discriminates on the basis of a medical condition, gender dysphoria, there is no constitutional deficiency. It was well within the military’s competence and authority, Judge Williams concluded, to decide that experiencing gender dysphoria renders an individual unsuited to the particular hardships of military life and that allowing transgender individuals to undergo transition or merely serve in accordance with their gender identity would cause excessive disruption to military readiness and unit cohesion. Citing various Supreme Court precedents, including Orloff v. Willoughby, Loving v. United States, Goldman v. Weinberger and Rostker v. Goldberg, Judge Williams noted that “the Constitution itself requires” deference to the military’s and the president’s judgment in such matters.

He also discussed the various contexts in which the military maintains sex-distinctions—physical fitness testing, berthing and bathing facilities, grooming and uniform standards—and noted that the Defense Department study underlying the Mattis Policy found that “‘clear sex-differentiated lines’ preserve unit cohesion by, among things, protecting reasonable expectations of privacy, avoiding unfairness (or perceptions thereof), ensuring physical safety, and minimizing leadership challenges that would otherwise arise.” He also emphasized that the “Supreme Court has expressly acknowledged the (rather widely shared) understanding of a key premise of the military judgment: that, in the military setting, physical differences between men and women . . . are enduring: The two sexes are not fungible.” (Internal modifications and quotation marks omitted.) The plaintiffs’ preferred policy permitting any transgender individual, not just those who undergo surgical and hormonal transition, to change their official gender marker, Judge Williams says, “would demolish the military’s sex-based standards.”

Given the sensitivity of the judgments and the military’s particular competence to make them, it is inappropriate, in Judge Williams’s view, for the judiciary to interfere: “The military’s decision to “proceed cautiously” was thus reasonable. We cannot, after all, substitute our own assessment for the Executive’s predictive judgments on matters of “national security.” (Internal citations and quotation marks omitted.)

Judge Williams also disputed Judge Wilkins’s characterization of the August 2017 Presidential Memorandum as having a stench of arbitrariness and animus, arguing that there was nothing unusual or suspect about the change of policy in the Trump Administration. He particularly emphasized the fact that former defense secretary James Mattis postponed implementation of the Carter Policy before President Trump ever weighed in, suggesting that the president was following the defense department’s lead when he tweeted in July 2017 that transgender individuals would be barred from serving.

Judge Williams then listed the steps to promulgation of the Mattis Policy: (1) “The President himself called for a comprehensive study”; (2) “Secretary Mattis ordered a comprehensive study”; (3) “The Department of Defense understood the panel of experts that Secretary Mattis convened to have conducted a comprehensive study”; (4) “The Department’s report and recommendations were, in fact, comprehensive—and contrary to the President’s initial policy decisions”; (5) “When transmitting the proposed policy to the President, Secretary Mattis confirmed that the review was independent”; (6) “In the same transmittal, Secretary Mattis asked the President to “revoke” his initial policy directives”; and (7) “The President acknowledged Secretary Mattis’s “independent judgment,” and “revoke[d]” his initial policy decisions.”

Reviewing that process, Judge Williams said, makes it clear that the Mattis Policy reflects the military’s independent, professional judgment, not animus, as the plaintiffs allege.

Furthermore, even if the motive behind Trump’s July 2017 tweets could be questioned, the Supreme Court, Judge Williams said, has made clear that lower courts must “uphold the [challenged] policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds . . . [F]or all the reasons discussed above, the Mattis policy can easily be understood to have arisen out of perfectly legitimate considerations.” (Internal citations and quotation marks omitted.) There is therefore no basis for the district court to direct further discovery into the executive’s decision-making process and judgment should be granted for the government as a matter of law. In Judge Williams’s view, the plaintiffs cannot prevail regardless of what information they might obtain in discovery, so “the wisest course is to terminate the litigation now.”

In a brief appendix, Judge Williams also asserted that “a majority of the plaintiffs unquestionably lack standing” because they are covered by the Mattis Policy’s grandfather clause for transgender service members who began the process of changing their gender marker under the Carter Policy, and “[a] military policy that does not apply to plaintiffs, but “makes them feel like second-class citizens,” does not give rise to a judicially cognizable injury.” Additionally, he criticized the “highly unusual,” “modern” remedy of the nationwide injunction, which goes beyond addressing “the plaintiff’s particular injury” and does not comport with the “properly limited” role of the courts.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

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Palmer Report: Donald Trump’s balancing act is backfiring on him

“President” Donald Trump has a love / hate relationship with the portion of the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech. He loves that it gives conservatives, Republicans, and people who think like him the freedom to voice their views. He hates that it does the same for Democrats, progressives, and anyone else who has opinions that differ from his.


He voices these contradictory beliefs on a fairly regular basis, when in typical Trumpian fashion he also proves to be completely oblivious to his own hypocrisy. Most often we see this when he rants about “fake news,” which we’ve all come to know means any news that Trump doesn’t like, including opinion pieces that don’t gush about his brilliance, business success, or large hands, or factual articles where Trump isn’t presented as the clearly defined “winner.”




We also see Trump’s anti-First Amendment tendencies when he claims that journalists are “the enemy of the people,” when he threatens to take away broadcasting licenses from certain media outlets, or when he prohibits specific journalists from covering a given event, such as he recently did in Vietnam during his meeting with Kim Jong Un.




During his now infamous CPAC speech this past weekend, however, Trump decided to change things up a bit and went in a different direction. Rather than trying to force those on the left to sit down and shut up, he proposed an executive order that would guarantee free speech at colleges and universities, therefore guaranteeing conservatives the right to freely state offensive views. This lines up with right-wing fears that institutions of higher learning are indoctrinating the children of good Christian Americans into the evils of progressivism and liberalism. Without an executive order from Trump, conservatives would be helpless to do anything other than nervously wring their hands and pray their own children don’t succumb to the temptations of evil.



Donald Trump appears unable to comprehend that any order he implements – whether it’s an order against “fake news” or an order bolstering free speech – would apply equally to all people and all groups. Anything designed to silence what Trump sees as “fake news” would apply equally (for example) to Fox & Friends, or Sean Hannity. Any executive order designed to guarantee conservatives the right to auditorium space and time at a local college would guarantee the same right to every other group as well. The system established by our founding fathers was designed to ensure balance; that’s why Trump has to work so hard to tilt the odds in his favor.



The post Donald Trump’s balancing act is backfiring on him appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

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