Trump and his attorney general can’t get their immigration story straight.
The president tweeted this morning blaming the policy of separating out the parents and children of undocumented immigrants at the border on “bad legislation passed by the Democrats.” As Toronto Star reported Daniel Dale pointed out, this is a flat-out lie: The policy is discretionary.
Also this morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who pressed him on the separation. Sessions at first deflected, saying “most are not infants. Most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently.”
Like Trump, Sessions tried to dissemble by saying there is a legal obligation behind the policy. But at a crucial moment, he admitted it was driven by the policy goal of sending a “message” to potential immigrants and asylum seekers:
Hewitt: Can’t we have facilities where parents remain united with kids?
Sessions: Well, we can, we’d be glad to work at that, and actually, to keep them as close as possible, and then they’re deported. But the law requires us to keep children in a different facility than we do for adults. And every time somebody, Hugh, gets prosecuted in America for a crime, American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children. We don’t want to do this at all. If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We’ve got to get this message out. You’re not given immunity. You have to, you will be prosecuted if you bring, if you come illegally. And if you bring children, you’ll still be prosecuted.
Hewitt: I understand the message.
Hewitt is not the only one who understands the message. The meaning of the policy is clear, whether Trump wants to own it or not.
June 06, 2018
New thread in Russia investigation entangles Ivanka Trump.
Until now, Donald Trump’s favorite daughter has avoided the shadow cast by the ongoing investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. But BuzzFeed has broken a story that Ivanka Trump connected her father’s lawyer Michael Cohen with a Russian wrestler Dmitry Klokov, who tried to orchestrate a meeting in 2015 between candidate Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“There is no evidence that Ivanka Trump’s contact with the athlete — the former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov — was illegal or that it had anything to do with the election,” BuzzFeed notes. “Nor is it clear that Klokov could even have introduced Trump to the Russian president. But congressional investigators have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses about the interaction, according to two of the sources, and so has special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according to the other two.”
For his part, Klokov denies sending emails to Cohen (despite the fact that copies of these emails have been viewed by BuzzFeed). “I don’t understand why you ask me about this,” Klokov complained in a text message to BuzzFeed. “I’m weightlifter, not a political.”
Many details of the story remain murky but the new facts solidify some key narrative points in the Russia investigation: the Trump Organization was hungry to set up a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Trump’s family and cronies competed to help facilitate this deal, and Michael Cohen served as a liaison agent between outside interests and the Trump family. Whether or not there was any wrong-doing remains to be established but we are getting a clearer picture of why Russia was so important to the Trump family even as the head of the clan ran for president.