President Trump is meeting with congressional lawmakers on Capitol Hill today as he faces bipartisan criticism over his decision to lash out at his own intelligence agencies over the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, while Trump was speaking at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their summit in Helsinki.
President Donald Trump: “I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion, at all. Everybody knows it.”
Trump’s comments infuriated both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain called them “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted, “It was nothing short of treasonous.” Trump’s own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said in a statement, that was reportedly not cleared by the White House, “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.” Even Fox News joined in the chorus of criticism, with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calling Trump’s comments “disgusting,” and Fox News anchor Bret Baier calling it “surreal.”
We’ll have more on Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin after headlines with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation. And we’ll go to Helsinki to speak with Sam Husseini, who was credentialed to cover the summit for The Nation magazine but was dragged out of the room before Monday’s press conference while he held a peace of paper that read “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.”
In San Diego, federal Judge Dana Sabraw has ordered a 1-week halt to the deportation of migrant families who have been reunited after being separated by immigration officials at the border. The ruling came after the American Civil Liberties Union raised concern about “mass deportations” following the reunification of migrant children and their parents, many of whom are seeking asylum in the U.S. In total, up to 3,000 children were separated from their parents, hundreds of whom may have already been deported.
Israel has further tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip, announcing Monday a suspension of all fuel and gas deliveries. This comes after Israel and Hamas brokered a ceasefire late Saturday, after the Israeli military launched the heaviest bombing assault on Gaza since the 2014 war, killing two children, and Hamas fired a series of rockets toward Israel, wounding four Israelis. Meanwhile, the Israeli Knesset has approved controversial legislation that would ban groups from entering schools if they are critical of the Israeli military. This is Avner Gvaryahu, executive director of Breaking the Silence, one of the groups that would be affected by the ban.
Avner Gvaryahu: “I can promise that we’re going to do whatever we can to fight against this dangerous government. And I’m pretty sure that the students that heard us last year and the principals and teachers that invited us will continue to do that and support our work. And as long as there will be an occupation, there will be soldiers who choose to speak out against it.”
In southern Iraq, massive protests are continuing, denouncing the lack of access to electricity, clean water and jobs in the oil-rich region. Police have cracked down on the mounting protests, firing live ammunition into the crowds. At least eight people have been killed. While Iraq’s oil sector accounts for 99 percent of the country’s exports, it represents only 1 percent of Iraq’s jobs, as the vast majority of the positions are held by foreigners.
Egypt’s Parliament has approved a law that could give senior military commanders immunity from future prosecution over the deadly crackdown following the 2013 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. More than 1,000 protesters were killed when soldiers opened fire on a sit-in in Cairo protesting Morsi’s ouster.
In Nicaragua, the Organization of American States says the death toll from mounting anti-government protests has risen to at least 273 people since the uprising erupted in April. Both opposition groups and pro-government forces have been accused of violence, including kidnappings and killings. On Monday, hundreds marched in the streets of Managua to demand justice for students killed Friday during an hours-long standoff at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua between pro-government forces and opposition protesters who had seized control of the university campus.
Nicaraguan protester: “Today, we’re here at this march after what happened at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, the massacre at the university on Friday, July 13, due to how the evil government attacked our brothers at the university. They attacked them in a cowardly way.”
The Nicaraguan government says the official death toll is 51, and accuses opposition protests of using violence to overthrow the elected leftist government. On Sunday, Nicaragua’s National Police accused the opposition of kidnapping, torturing and incinerating a police officer.
Thousands of Amazon workers in Germany, Poland and Spain are on strike today to protest poor working conditions. Today’s strike was timed to coincide with Amazon’s promotional holiday called “Prime Day,” which the company uses to try to drive sales.
Uber is under federal investigation for gender discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is probing Uber’s hiring practices, wages and other evidence of gender-based discrimination. The revelations of this probe were first reported by The Wall Street Journal and come only a week after Uber’s head of human resources, Liane Hornsey, resigned over her handling of racial discrimination claims within Uber.
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is facing more scrutiny over his family’s real estate empire, Kushner Companies. On Monday, 20 current and former tenants of a Kushner Companies-owned property in New York City filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming they were harassed into leaving their rent-regulated apartments so the Kushners could turn the property into luxury condominiums. The tenants say the Kushners used harassment like “loud and obnoxious drilling” and a “constant cloud of toxic smoke and dust” in order to force tenants out.
And the New York Police Department told the Justice Department that it will soon move forward with disciplinary proceedings against the police officers involved in killing Eric Garner, unless the Justice Department announces its own criminal charges by August 31. Eric Garner, an African-American father and Staten Island resident, was killed when police officers wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold exactly four years ago today.
On Monday, the NYPD criticized the Justice Department for the “extraordinary passage of time” in its investigation. The NYPD’s disciplinary proceedings would include officer Daniel Pantaleo, who applied the fatal chokehold, and sergeant Kizzy Adonis, one of the first supervisors at the scene. Officer Pantaleo is still an officer with the New York Police Department working paid desk duty, and he’s received multiple raises since Eric Garner’s death.