More than a week after ordering the illegal assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the Trump administration has failed to offer up a viable justification.
Last week, President Trump began making the claim, without a shred of evidence, that Soleimani had been planning imminent attacks on four U.S. embassies. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper went on CBS’s Face the Nation and admitted he hadn’t seen any intelligence to back Trump up: “I didn’t see one with regards to four embassies.” Esper did say he shared the president’s view “that there probably could be additional attacks against embassies,” so as long as the bar for starting a war is “a vague feeling,” we’re all set.
Taking another swing on CNN’s State of the Union, Esper said the administration had “exquisite evidence” that embassies were under imminent threat, evidence which could only be shared with the bipartisan Gang of Eight in Congress. A great try, but congressional leaders are also allowed to say stuff on television: House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff said the group was shown no evidence at all, let alone the exquisite kind, about potential attacks on four embassies.
The Pentagon has undermined the president’s key claim about why he ordered the strike, and the head of the State Department refuses to make the case to Congress at all. As impeachment and the Senate trial retake the center of focus in the next few days, it bears constant repeating that President Trump ordered a reckless, illegal act of war, and no one has been able to explain why it was necessary.
Season 2 of The Wilderness has arrived.
In episode 1: What’s the path to victory in 2020? Host Jon Favreau takes us on a deep dive into how 2018’s Blue Wave shapes the race against Donald Trump and the road to 270.
In episode 2: How can grassroots organizers flip a red state? We talk to women who are trying to turn Pennsylvania blue and defeat Susan Collins, and sit down with a group of disaffected Democrats outside of Philadelphia.
Get equal parts terrified and inspired, right here→
The U.S. has shipped asylum-seekers to Guatemala, often without telling them where they’re headed. It’s the first time the U.S. has sent asylum-seekers to a “safe third country” (read: an incredibly poor country that’s plagued with gang violence), and it’s going disastrously. Migrants have been put on planes with no information about where they’re going, or what to do when they arrive. Those who don’t immediately apply for asylum upon reaching Guatemala City are told to leave the country within 72 hours. Families with young children are among the asylum seekers who have been deported to Guatemala, where they face the same violence and threats they initially fled.
A right-wing Wisconsin judge has found the state’s elections commission in contempt of court for not removing thousands of voters from the rolls. Last month a conservative group convinced Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy that up to 209,000 people should be tossed from the voter rolls because they may have moved. He denied a request from the elections commission to put the decision on hold while it sought an appeal, and has now said the commission will face fines for each day it fails to begin deactivating voter registrations. As you might expect, the affected voters come disproportionately from Democratic strongholds like Milwaukee and Madison. Getting those voters re-registered will be crucial work ahead of the 2020 election, for those mulling a trip to a swing state.
Four gun-control bills have advanced in Virginia’s General Assembly, one week after it banned firearms in the state capitol itself. The bills on their way to the state Senate would require background checks on all gun purchases, allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from those deemed a risk to themselves or others, let localities ban guns from certain events and government buildings, and limit handgun purchases to one per month. None of it would be possible if Democrats hadn’t flipped the legislature. Ready to take it national?