Democrats Skipping Meeting with Trump Supreme Court Nominee Tonight

From NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell:

New York Attorney General Joins Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office just sent out a press release announcing it would be joining a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s immigration executive order that was signed last Friday. The lawsuit was originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale University, the Urban Justice Center, and the National Immigration Law Center.

Schneiderman’s statement:

“As I’ve made clear: President Trump’s executive action is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American.

“That is why my office will be filing to join the federal lawsuit against President Trump and his administration. I’m proud to partner with these organizations to fight to permanently strike down this dangerous and discriminatory order.

“I will continue to do everything in my power to not just fight this executive order, but to protect the families caught in the chaos sown by President Trump’s hasty and irresponsible implementation – including pressing DHS and CBP to provide a full list of those still detained and allow them access to legal service providers.”

City of San Francisco Sues Trump Administration

Following up on the earlier story of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filing a lawsuit against the federal government, the City of San Francisco has filed a suit of its own. (Read the PDF of the complaint here) In this case, it targets the administration’s executive order on sanctuary cities, which would result in loss of federal funding for San Francisco.

According to the press release from City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office, “This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the executive order and a related federal statute. It requests a finding that San Francisco complies with applicable federal law and seeks to prevent the federal government from cutting funds to San Francisco.”



Senate Finance Committee Democrats Boycott Confirmation Votes

Happening this morning on Capitol Hill:

Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to show up to committee confirmation votes on Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price.

Democrats led by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden announced they would not participate in the session just as the panel was scheduled to vote.

Democrats suggested Mnuchin and Price misled senators in testimony to Congress and said they wanted more information.

At issue: in Mnuchin’s case, an explosive report from the Columbus Dispatch alleging he misled the Finance Committee on OneWest Bank’s practice of robo-signing on foreclosure documents.  More details from the story:

“Robo-signing” is the informal term for when a mortgage company employee signs hundreds of foreclosures, swearing they have scrutinized the documents as required by law when in fact they have not.

“OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents,” Mnuchin wrote in response to questions from individual senators, “and as the only bank to successfully complete the Independent Foreclosure Review required by federal banking regulators to investigate allegations of ‘robo-signing,’ I am proud of our institution’s extremely low error rate.”

But a Dispatch analysis of nearly four dozen foreclosure cases filed by OneWest in Franklin County in 2010 alone shows that the company frequently used robo-signers. The vast majority of the Columbus-area cases were signed by 11 different people in Travis County, Texas. Those employees called themselves vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, managers and assistant secretaries. In three local cases, a judge dismissed OneWest foreclosure proceedings specifically based on inaccurate robo-signings.

At issue in Price’s case is the revelation by company officials from Innate Immunotherapeutics that Price did in fact get an offer to buy company stock at a 12 percent discount, contradicting Price’s sworn testimony.   The value of the company’s shares has tripled since the offering.

Here’s the statement from Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

Democrats’ Legal Wars with Trump Administration Have Begun

A group of sixteen Democratic state attorneys general met in Florida over the weekend and issued a joint statement blasting President Trump’s controversial executive order which led to the detention of travelers from seven Muslim nations at airports throughout the United States:

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.

“Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country, and no president can change that truth.

“Yesterday, multiple federal courts ordered a stay of the Administration’s dangerous Executive Order. We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values.

“We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”

Federal judges in four states issued orders temporarily forbidding the removal of some individuals that were affected by the executive order which led to protests at airports across the country.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit this morning against the federal government seeking to invalidate President Trump’s executive order. (Read the PDF of the complaint.) In addition, Ferguson filed a motion for a temporary restraining order seeking to “temporarily bar enforcement of the Order nationwide.”

At a press conference, Ferguson said that Amazon and Expedia – tech companies both based in Washington state – would be filing declarations of support with the lawsuit. A Microsoft representative said that the company would also be supportive of the lawsuit. Both the lawsuit and the restraining order mention that the tech industry relies on skilled immigrants working under the H-1B visa program. The filings say the executive order would adversely impact the companies’ employees and in the case of Expedia, some of its customers, who are travelers with passports from the seven countries named in the order. The lawsuit also mentions that 230 students from the affected countries are currently enrolled at the University of Washington and Washington State University.

This is the first of what will likely be several lawsuits against the federal government regarding this executive order. The issue will probably eventually make its way to the Supreme Court.

DNC Candidates Join Airport Protest

HOUSTON – “Sign me up for the Resistance,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg told an auditorium full of Democratic Party insiders and activists on Saturday afternoon. Several hours later, he and three other candidates running for leadership positions in the Democratic National Committee were in the middle of a protest at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to protest the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement.

DNC chair candidates Tom Perez, Pete Buttigieg and Jaime Harrison speak to protestors outside Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Photo credit: David de Sola)

They joined a crowd of approximately one hundred people that had gathered outside Terminal E, the international arrivals terminal, joining similar protests that broke out at airports across the country.  As was the case at other protests, according to Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti, a group of local lawyers was present. They had gathered there to offer potential legal assistance to travelers who might be affected by the executive order. Though the crowd at Houston wasn’t as big as other airports, the city itself is the fourth biggest destination in the world for refugee resettlement, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Also on the scene were former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, as well as Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo. Buttigieg, Perez and Harrison are candidates running to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Durazo is running for reelection to her current post.  All four were in Houston on Saturday for a regional forum sponsored by the DNC for candidates running for leadership positions ahead of the party’s election scheduled to take place at the end of February.

“I think it’s great that we have the organization and infrastructure, the activity and activism, and the heart and soul to stand up to what Donald Trump is doing,” Durazo said in an interview. “We have never seen this many protests, this many demonstrations in the numbers, in the consecutive days of activity, from Saturday the Women’s March, to Philadelphia, to tonight. It’s unfortunate that the reasons are Donald Trump is signing these executive orders and because he’s so hell-bent on violating our constitutional rights.”

DNC Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo speaks to protestors outside Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Photo credit: David de Sola)

Tom Perez took advantage of his fluency in Spanish and addressed protestors and local media in both languages. “Somos los Estados Unidos, no somos los Estados Divididos.” We are the United States, not the Divided States. It is worth noting one dynamic from the election which probably played a part in Saturday’s protests: the urban-rural split between liberals and conservatives. Because liberals tend to concentrate in large cities, many of which have international airports, that is probably one reason why these protests were able to organize and mobilize so quickly, even in a historically conservative state like Texas.

“We knew this would be a day of reckoning when Donald Trump assumed the Oval Office,” he told protestors. “We didn’t know it would come this fast. Lady Liberty has taken a few body punches, but the American people will fight back.”

Photo credit: David de Sola

Harrison cited the famous quote by Pastor Martin Niemöller, as well as a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham City Jail: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the actions and words of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

“We are that shining beacon on a hill,” Harrison said during an interview. “We will get back to that point once [Donald Trump] is no longer president.”

“Resistance is not futile, resistance is necessary. We cannot allow this man to destroy this great nation, to destroy the reputation that it’s had for generations.”

Pete Buttigieg and Jaime Harrison join the crowds protesting the Trump administration’s executive order. (Photo credit: David de Sola)

Buttigieg, who at one point acted as an Arabic-English interpreter for a newly arrived family and the crowd gathered outside the terminal, said during an interview, “Every time there’s another outrage, there’s going to have to be another response.”

“We have to make sure it’s not just reactive to what they do. We got to make sure that we’re building a proactive agenda around freedom, around fairness, around protecting families, and around our future.”

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog Chairman Candidates

Here’s the field for the second DNC forum. Note that this will be the first appearance by the last four names at the bottom of the list.

Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho
Raymond Buckley, New Hampshire
Pete Buttigieg, Indiana
Keith Ellison, Minnesota
Jehmu Greene, Texas
Jaime Harrison, South Carolina
Honorable Tom Perez, Maryland
Peter Peckarsky, Wisconsin
Sam Ronan, Ohio
Vincent Tolliver, Georgia
Robert Vinson Brannum, Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “DNC Forum Houston Liveblog Chairman Candidates”

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Vice Chair Candidates

The Field of Candidates for Vice Chair:
Michael Blake, New York
Melissa Byrne, Pennsylvania
Mitch Ceasar, Florida
Maria Elena Durazo, California
Liz Jaff, Washington, D.C.
Lorna M. Johnson, California
Latoia Jones, Washington, D.C.
Grace Meng, New York
Rick Palacio, Colorado
Adam Parkhomenko, Virginia

Liz Jaff notes that some DNC members don’t know what the vice chair does
Says it is time to rethink the role.

Maria Elena Durazo: We need to do a better job electing the most progressive candidates to office. We did it in California.

Mitch Caesar: This is an opportunity. We don’t have White House or Congress.
We have movement here that is genuine. Need to be part of it, not coopt it.
Need to bring everybody to the table.
So many people were so confident we couldn’t lose this election, and here we all are today.

Grace Meng: Because of this president, many people at JFK so Americans with green cards and man who served with US army 10 years not separated from his family.
Momentum for 2017, 2018, and 2020 elections.  Our job to provide infrastructure so our state parties and candidates have tools and resources to run for office and increase turnout.

Latoia Jones: We need them (marchers) more than they need us.
We have to recruit them, engage them and train them. When we do that, we win.

Adam Parkhomenko: When someone steps up with a good idea or movement, it’s a good idea to work with them.
Ready for Hillary worked because people felt invested.
All this money spent on TV, if we could invest it locally..

Melissa Byrne: I’m running for Vice Chair of the Resistance
Need to make sure every senator votes “Hell, no!” on all the nominations.
Need to make sure Democrats introducing legislation.
When they try to build that wall, we are right there tearing down that wall.
We are the Resistance, we are going to win!

Rick Palacio: We need to afford Donald Trump and Republicans the same benefits they gave President Obama.
We need to be the Resistance as Democrats, oppose all these nominees.
Stand up for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Stand up with our LGBT brothers and sisters.
Stand with our brothers and sisters in Labor as well.

Lorna Johnson:
We’re in touch with the young people

Maria Elena Durazo: Extraordinary movement in Phoenix. Registered tens of thousands of new voters in the heat of the summer.  What moved them was fact we were out to create more just equal society, and we gave them freedom to talk about it in their terms.
We gave them space to talk about it for themselves. I didn’t pretend to speak for them and nobody else should. Create space for people to speak for themselves and say it in their words.

Liz Jaff: Look at our panel. Lot of young people running for office. The press needs to talk about that. The chair candidates are great. They need to talk to us. We are millennials running to be their vice chairs.
Bunch of Bernie, Hillary and Obama people got 1,500 young people to sign up to run for office.

Michael Blake: talk about technology… People want to be involved. Have to start listening towhat’s going on.  Young people believe in our vision.
Don’t sit there on Facebook or Instagram. Get out there and mobilize. I refuse to sit on the sidelines while we have a demagogue in the White House.

Grace Meng: Tech increasingly important.  Work with sttes and state legislators to make sure our voting rolls are current.
Future Forum – ask DNC chair candidates to provide line item in DNC budget to trget youth and millennial generation, and technology.

Melissa Byrne: As only Bernie alum up here, connecting tech with young people was because we were able to connect with them on key issues.
Connecting offline is where you really build power.
Want to work with DSCC and DCCC to undo their email program. How many of you have gotten “the sky is falling” messages?

Mitch Ceasar: Lot of areas we need to win, but also lot of areas we need to lose not so badly.
We win in South Florida. Central Florida is a swing area. We lose in North Florida. If we did a little better there, our odds would increase.
We need to have a southern strategy.
The DNC needs to invest in the South. The South is there to be picked up on, it is there to be gained from. Use this as an opportunity.
I don’t like losing to Republicans, I’ve done that before. But I don’t like losing to THIS GUY.

Adam Parkhomenko: The sad part is we have to keep asking this question.
Howard Dean talked about this as the outsider, came in, won.
Key here – stick to the rules in the charter.  Saw this in the primary.
DNC needs to be resource to the states.
I did anything and everything I could during 2 and a half months I was at DNC to help Georgia.
We have state parties with no money. State parties like Kentucky that got into debt because they decided to double down.
Kansas – best election in years.
Alaska – took back the House.
Every officer elected should play a role to raise funds for state party partnership.

Lorna Johnson: The system is broken and needs to be rebuilt, from grassroots up.
State and local levels have been ignored during non-election years.
Funding – so we can have year round program.
Need transparency and accountability for the funds that we raise.
In order to get legislative seats, must get out the vote. Local voting is important.

Rick Palacio: DNC lost focus. Turned into a machine which large sums of money went to state parties to elect president every 4 years.
Rebuild our state parties.
Strengthen our parties, empower them to recruit local candidates.
Unacceptable for Republicans to go unchallenged anywhere, even if it’s solid red county or district.
We’re going to grow from inside out, not from top down.

Grace Meng: It is incredibly important, local candidates feel like they have no support.
As we build toward reform, one of our big challenges redistricting: have to make important strides before tackling topic of 2020 presidential elections.

Liz Jaff: we don’t provide tools, resources or data
Want more people to run for office.
We’re closing off information and data, people get upset and move away from the party.
Need to make that information a lot clearer.
This is about crowdsourcing information.
Competition makes us better.

Michael Blake: have to make it easier for everyone to vote.
Can’t s silently by while restrictive policies on the vote.
Should support open primaries. Anyone that wants to vote that should be able to.
Should embrace change, change makes us better party.
Engage all of the time.

Michael Ceasar: We are at crossroads.  Have to search soul and decide whether primaries or caucuses way to go.
Last 8 years, had Dem in White House, decisions were made for us.  We don’t have the White House anymore

Melissa Byrne: What you can do today on local level is knock on a door, build a community. Have 10 friends come over, talk about issues important to your community, go hit 20 doors and talk to people.
In elections, you work backwards.  Figure out all benchmarks you need to accomplish today.
Pay interns $15 an hour – no more unpaid internships.

Rick Palacio: Colorado has 64 counties, 3 organizers. They divide up the state.
Encouraging them to run for office. People who volunteer on campaign are perfect candidates to run for office.
Ask people who don’t want to run for something to make phone calls or write letters to elected officials.
Encourage people to do something simple like have a house party. Invite friends and neighborhood organizations to come in and start spreading the word.
Community engagement meetings is how we do it in Colorado. Encourage other state party chairs to do the same.


Latoia Jones: We have a connection issue. We’re not connecting with young voters, etc.
Need to hear what they’re saying.
In Georgia, we moved the needle. I have done this work.

Mitch Ceasar: I’ve done everything from raise money to organize campaigns to media.
I was one of originators of Florida Recount case in 2000.
I drew ire of Rush Limbaugh by name.
I’m here because I care about party and philosophy we share.

Maria Elena Durazo: Courage of workers at Trump hotel who voted for forming unions and voted against him as president inspired me.

Michael Blake: King said we remember the silence of our friends

Melissa Byrne: Protested Trump in Philly because he had audacity to show up in sanctuary city.

Lorna Johnson: We all want transparency, state party funding, and to be included. The question is implementation.

Grace Meng: Want transparency and accessibility to the budget.  Support candidates so we can increase accessibility to our candidates and increase local turnout. Diversity and inclusion – where we put or money is where priorities lie.

Rick Palacio: When we don’t stand up for one another, no one else will.
Now is not the time for us to be fighting amongst ourselves. Rebuild party from inside out.
The next 4 years going to be long, and we’re not going to win anything sniping at others’ heels.

Liz Jaff: We need to get stuff done. DNC is toolkit for the people. Democrats have never been stronger, more sexy. Donald Trump coming for you.

Adam Parkhomenko: Spent career investing and growing grassroots of our party.  I’m a workhorse. Spoken with 400 DNC members now. I’ve heard a lot, heard you want to see more respect for state parties, real funding for state parties, heard you want to win more downballot elections, heard you want a partner at the DNC.  I want to be that partner, make sure you have someone there for you.


DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Sheila Jackson Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
(D) Texas

We are Ann Richards… We are Barbara Jordan. We are Lloyd Bentsen
We are Democrats in Texas

I call to order recognition at JFK Airport, an Iraqi interpreter who was coming to get a liver for family.  Someone decided to alter the values of America

Who are you? You are a social democratic engineer

The man who sits in high place wants to deny the DNA evidence that freed the Central Park Five.

Urges people to call their senators to vote no on Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

DNC Forum Houston Liveblog – Steve Beshear

Steve Beshear
(D) Former Governor of Kentucky

“I am a Democrat. That’s a boast, not a confession.”
“Our problem lies not with core beliefs of the Democratic Party. Our core values are as relevant as they’ve always been.”
I know how a Democrat can win in a red rural state.
Our experience in Kentucky worth looking at.
How did I do it? The reason really simple: feelings are as important, if not more important than facts on the page.
I proved to the people of Kentucky that I cared about them, cared about their families, cared about their future.
We are the party of growth and opportunity. We are the party that respects and fights for personal freedoms. We are the party that led the fight for Civil Rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights.

Donald Trump and GOP tapped that frustration into a change election.
This was not repudiation of Democratic values, it was expression of discontent for way things are. They wanted change.
Voters will soon realize Donald Trump one of those leaders. Nor are Republicans in Congress who alternate between looking other way on Trump harsh proposals or proposing harsher ones.

If we can’t agree on basic principles, we don’t stand a chance in 2018 or 2020.
In order to regain confidence of American people, we don’t just have to grab their minds. Let’s go out there and gain their hearts.