Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Last Call For Keeping Kids in Camps

The Trump regime is still refusing to reunite stolen migrant kids with their parents, and if anything, they're planning to separate more kids and put them in even bigger camps because frankly, nobody's going to stop them.

A tent camp for migrant children in the desert outside El Paso will expand to accommodate a growing number of Central American children crossing the border, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.

HHS, the federal agency tasked with caring for migrant children and teenagers in U.S. custody, said it would more than triple the size of its camp at the Tornillo-Guadalupe Land Port of Entry from 1,200 beds to as many as 3,800.

The Trump administration established the camp in June as a temporary shelter because its facilities elsewhere were running out of space. That occurred at the height of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” prosecution initiative, a crackdown that separated about 2,500 migrant children from their parents.

Widespread condemnation forced Trump to reverse course and stop the separations, but since then, HHS has taken in greater numbers of underage migrants. The number of families illegally crossing the border jumped again in recent weeks, according to border agents and administration officials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is scheduled to release its latest arrest totals Wednesday.

Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said the need for emergency capacity was the result of the latest surge at the border, not the administration’s decision to separate families during the crackdown this spring.

“ ‘Family separations’ resulting from the zero tolerance policy ended on June 20, 2018 and are not driving this need,” Wolfe said in a statement.

HHS officials have “worked round the clock to add beds or add shelters to avoid any backup” at the border,” Wolfe added. He said the agency has 12,800 minors in its custody, the highest number ever. Minors spend an average of 59 days in HHS custody, up from 51 days in 2017.

HHS has used the Tornillo site primarily to house older teens, channeling younger children in its custody to more “permanent” sites among the approximately 100 shelters where migrant children are housed.

So more kids will separated from their parents, thousands more, and kept in hell camps in the hot Texas sun, because the Trump regime needs not only a deterrent for people crossing into America, they need a deterrent for Americans themselves.  After all, we already have people fleeing federal food programs because they know ICE will use information to target them, and finding out banks are freezing accounts of suspected non-citizens while the regime is openly calling citizenship of Hispanics into question.

Pretty soon, they won't wait for an answer.

Here's the best part.  With Hurricane Florence on the way, it turns out Trump took $10 million in FEMA funding to pay for the new camps.

President Donald Trump’s administration cut nearly $10 million out of FEMA’s budget in order to fund ICE’s immigration detention centers, according a budget document obtained by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and disclosed on Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

As Maddow reported, Merkley’s staff believes these Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) transfers were made earlier this summer, right before the start of hurricane season.

Merkley, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, acquired the previously undisclosed document, which shows $9.8 million was diverted from FEMA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to pay for more “detention beds” and “ICE’s transportation and removal program.”

Maddow said a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson did not dispute the authenticity of the document when contacted about it, but said the money had not come from the agency’s “disaster and recovery response efforts.”

Merkley disputed that claim in an appearance with Maddow on Tuesday, noting the budget document he obtained shows $9.8 million was transferred to ICE from FEMA’s response and recovery budget.

That's $9.8 million that won't go to people in the Carolinas, who will need that response and recovery effort from FEMA by this time next week.

Oh well.

Papers, please.

First they came for the undocumented immigrants...

The Turtle's Revenge

With GOP control of the Senate actually looking like it may be in play in November, Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to keep Senate Democrats from being able to campaign against their Republican challengers, even if that means remaining in session all the way through October as he tries to get as many Trump judges confirmed as possible before the music stops.

Traditionally, the Senate hits the road in October of an election year. But the Senate is throwing tradition out the window this year.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to keep the chamber in session for a significant portion of October if not four entire weeks, costing Democrats key campaign trail days and allowing the Senate to continue its work into the fall, according to five Republican officials. The Kentucky Republican wants to keep cranking through as many lifetime judicial nominations and executive nominations as he can with his majority in the balance and the GOP still with the unilateral ability to confirm President Donald Trump’s picks.

Moreover, the Senate GOP has only two members who are considered vulnerable in the election: Ted Cruz of Texas and Dean Heller of Nevada. Democrats, meanwhile, are defending 10 seats total in states that Trump won in 2016, with at least four considered extremely competitive.

The House is expected to head home for the rest of the election season after passing a spending bill later this month. But with the Senate’s unique role confirming the president’s nominees and little political downside to staying in session, McConnell plans to forge ahead into October after slashing the August recess down to little more than two weeks.

“I plan to be here, yeah. Why wouldn’t we be?” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). “You see anything that’s traditional these days? … they don’t need more than a couple of weeks to campaign.”

They may not even get that.   I fully expect McConnell to keep the Senate in session through Friday, October 26th, leaving Democrats with at most 11 days to campaign, while their Republican challengers will have had in some cases up to three months to criss-cross the states they are trying to win in.

Of course, the best way to beat the Turtle at his own game is simply not to show up to play.  Dems should ditch and tell Turtle to go screw off.  Yeah, McConnell plans to confirm dozens of Trump-selected federal judges to lifetime appointments. So the worst-case scenario there is Dems give in to a package deal to quickly confirm the judges en masse only for McConnell to make them stay anyway and take several slow, ugly votes on House GOP packages on abortion, Obamacare, and more GOP tax cuts.

It's not going to be pretty when it happens, so expect it, and don't get suckered in, Dems.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

The Washington Post is confirming Friday's Bloomberg News article that Paul Manafort is indeed in talks with Robert Mueller's team for a plea deal ahead of imminent jury selection in his federal trial next week.

Days before in-person jury ­selection is set to begin in his second trial, President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is in talks with the special counsel’s office about a possible plea deal, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to ­describe the conversations, cautioned that the negotiations may not result in a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is prosecuting Manafort for alleged money laundering and lobbying violations.

But the discussions indicate a possible shift in strategy for Manafort, who earlier this year chose to go to trial in Virginia, only to be convicted last month in Alexandria federal court on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. He had derided his former business partner, Rick Gates, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against Manafort.

“I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence,” Manafort said in February.

The specifics of Manafort’s current negotiations with prosecutors were unclear, including whether he would provide any information about the president.

However, Manafort’s willingness to engage in talks could be a setback for Trump, who in the past has praised his former campaign chairman for his unwillingness to cooperate with the special counsel.

Prosecutors “applied tremendous pressure on him and . . . he refused to ‘break’ - make up stories in order to get a ‘deal,’ ” the president tweeted last month. “Such respect for a brave man!”

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni and Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment. Manafort’s attorneys, Kevin M. Downing and Thomas E. Zehnle, did not immediately return calls for comment.

As I said on Friday:

This could be Manafort fishing for a pardon now, but it's a dangerous game, ask Michael Cohen, who's going to be in jail for quite some time, about that.  Still, Republicans probably want the Manafort trial to go away ASAP rather than a long drawn out trial smack in the middle of midterm campaigns, and Manafort knows it.

So Manafort does have some leverage.  Remember, this trial is all about Manafort's connections to Trump, not just tax fraud and other white collar crimes...and Manafort is going into this already being a convicted felon.  Daily news coverage on this going into October is definitely going to have an effect on Republicans.

They want this trial gone.    They can do it the easy way with a full Trump pardon, or the ugly way and Manafort cuts that deal (or the really ugly way, where Manafort is on trial for the six weeks leading up to the elections with a nasty verdict right before the midterms for Democrats to seize on.)

We'll see what happens, but whatever the decision is, it'll happen this week.


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