On Capitol Hill, highly chaotic confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh began Tuesday, as protesters repeatedly interrupted the proceedings.
Linda Sarsour: “This is a mockery and a travesty of justice! This is a travesty of justice! We will not go back! Cancel Brett Kavanaugh! Adjourn the hearing!”
Protester: “We need you to be a hero! Be a hero! Cancel this hearing!”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is President Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Democratic senators on the committee also repeatedly interrupted Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley to ask him to halt the hearings and allow time to pore over information contained in a last-minute dump of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the White House Counsel’s Office. The Trump administration is also withholding more than 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s records on the basis of presidential privilege. We’ll have more on the first day of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings after headlines.
The Trump administration says it will end all U.S. funding for UNRWA, the U.N. agency that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinians. The move is seen as an effort to undermine Palestinians’ right to return to the lands they were displaced from by Israeli settlers. This is chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Saeb Erekat: “So now this is an American political decision, added to their decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, move the embassy, consider the settlements legal, refuse the two-state solution of '67. So, actually, this is the program and the agenda of Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu. The United States may have the right to say, ’We don't want to give taxpayers’ money.’ But who gave the U.S. the right to approve the stealing of my land, my future, my aspiration, my capital, my Aqsa Mosque, my Holy Sepulchre Church? They have no right whatsoever.”
In immigration news, nearly 500 children remain separated from their parents, more than a month after a court-imposed deadline mandating the Trump administration reunite all children immigration officials forcibly separated from their parents at the border. Court papers filed Thursday reveal 497 children are still in U.S. custody. Twenty-two of the children are under the age of 5. California Congressmember Barbara Lee slammed the administration for failing to reunite the children and their parents, tweeting, “This is government sanctioned child abuse. It’s a violation of human rights. And it’s another stain on our nation’s soul.”
A highly anticipated book by longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward depicts the Trump administration as an out-of-control operation, with Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly calling the White House a “crazytown.” Among the revelations in the book, Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly said Trump has the understanding of a “fifth or sixth grader.” And Trump reportedly said his decision to finally condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year was “the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made.” Trump had previously refused to condemn the white supremacists, instead claiming there was “violence on both sides.” The book is titled “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
In business news, Amazon has become the second-ever U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value. The first was Apple. Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is now the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $167 billion. Later in the broadcast, we’ll take a look at what’s behind Amazon’s wealth, and the labor conditions for the more than 500,000 Amazon workers.
In California, lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at guaranteeing full and equal access to the internet, in a major rebuke to the Trump administration’s rollback of federal net neutrality laws. If California Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill into law, California will become the fourth state to enact a net neutrality law since the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, eliminated Obama-era rules last year.
In Mexico, a television reporter was assassinated last week in the city of Cancún, making him at least the eighth journalist assassinated in Mexico so far this year. Javier Enrique Rodríguez Valladares worked as a cameraman and reporter for the local station Channel 10. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
In Japan, the worst typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years has swept through the archipelago, killing at least 10 people and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Typhoon Jebi knocked out power for at least 2 million people and forced the closure of hundreds of schools and businesses in Kyoto and Osaka.
In Iraq, security forces killed at least five people in the southern city of Basra as widespread demonstrations continue over the lack of basic services, including clean drinking water, in the oil-rich region. Residents say the security forces opened fire on a funeral procession Tuesday for a protester killed on Monday. This is Mahdi Ali, a relative of the slain protester.
Mahdi Ali: “We were attending the funeral procession of the martyr who died yesterday, and security forces opened fire on us. And they used tear gas to disperse protesters, therefore provoking protesters who were angry over the death of their brother. Protesters then tried to storm into the building of the provincial government, and they were confronted with bullets and tear gas. Down with the political parties!”
Prisoners are striking from Florida to Washington as the national prison strike heads into its third and final week. Prisoners in at least 13 states are participating in work stoppages, sit-ins, commissary boycotts and hunger strikes to demand better conditions, fair pay for work, access to education, greater rehabilitative services and the right to vote. This is Ronald Brooks, speaking in a video recorded at Angola prison in Louisiana.
Ronald Brooks: “We are anti-slavery and are organizing to transform our ghettos into communities, and our jails and prisons into places of human redemption, healing, higher learning, that enable us to be productive in our communities and wherever our feet touch the land.”
Meanwhile, in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, four immigrants have reached the 14th day of their hunger strike. This is Murat Azaniez, an immigrant from Russia who says he will keep hunger-striking until he is released. He spoke to Democracy Now! from the detention center Tuesday.
Murat Azaniez: “I’m in critical condition now. I’m weak critically. For me, very hard to even reach the sink or shower.”
And in Massachusetts, primary voters headed to the polls Tuesday. Boston City Councilmember Ayanna Pressley made history by defeating 10-term progressive Democratic Congressmember Michael Capuano. She’s now slated to be Massachusetts’ first-ever African-American congressmember. Pressley was endorsed by New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives. She ran on a platform of abolishing ICE—that’s the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—and speaking for prisoners behind bars. She’s also been outspoken about being a rape survivor. She solidly defeated Michael Capuano despite his long progressive record, including voting against the Iraq War and supporting Medicare for all. This is Ayanna Pressley in her victory speech Tuesday night.
Ayanna Pressley: “While our president is a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man, the conditions which have made the 7th CD one of most unequal in America was cemented through policies long before he ever descended the escalator at Trump Tower.”
In another upset, emergency room doctor Jon Santiago defeated Democratic progressive state legislator Byron Rushing. And Rachael Rollins won the Democratic nomination for Suffolk County district attorney on a platform of criminal justice reform, including ending cash bail for low-level offenses. And in more election news, in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will not run for re-election next year.