President Trump presented his proposed 2020 budget Monday, which includes $8.6 billion to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, more than six times what Congress approved for border projects in each of the past two years.
The budget also includes an almost 5 percent increase in military spending while calling for cuts to domestic spending, including for both Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years, as well as to federal student loan programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Funding for the Environmental Protection Agency would be slashed by 31 percent, and the Interior Department’s budget by 14 percent, while providing over $900 million in law enforcement funding for the agency, which would be directed toward border security. Democrats blasted the budget; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The cruel and shortsighted cuts in President Trump’s budget request are a road map to a sicker, weaker America.”
We’ll have more on the 2020 budget with investigative reporter David Cay Johnston later in the show.
The New York Times is reporting the New York Attorney General’s Office issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization’s real estate dealings. The probe was reportedly spurred by Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month, in which Trump’s former lawyer and fixer asserted that Trump regularly inflated his assets in official documents. Cohen provided lawmakers with copies of statements that were submitted to Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is President Trump’s largest lender and loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump Organization for real estate projects even as other banks refused to do so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The Washington Post she is not planning on launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying, “He’s just not worth it,” and that impeachment is too divisive. She called Trump “ethically and intellectually unfit” for the presidency but said Congress would require an overwhelming and bipartisan reason for impeachment. In response, Washington congressmember and Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal said that congressional investigations should determine the appropriate course of action, and that evidence of a “consistent pattern of abuse of power, [or] of obstruction of justice” would be grounds for impeachment. Meanwhile, Michigan Congressmember Rashida Tlaib is expected to introduce articles of impeachment this month.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced Monday he would no longer seek a fifth term, after weeks of popular protests demanding the ailing president step down. He has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. Algerians took to the streets to celebrate the news.
Protester: “It’s a good thing, but only if they change the government completely. If they bring someone just like him, it’s not worth it. They have to change the whole government.”
Critics of the ruling government warned that Bouteflika’s announcement that the April election would be postponed could signal his intention to stay in power through 2019 or beyond. His announcement, read on air by a newscaster, also said a new constitution would be put to a referendum. Protests are expected to continue until he leaves office.
The U.N. has found that 2018 was the deadliest year yet for Syrian children since the start of the conflict in 2011. UNICEF says that fighting caused over 1,100 verifiable child deaths, but that the actual toll was likely much higher. UNICEF’s executive director warned in a statement Monday, “Today, there exists an alarming misconception that the conflict in Syria is drawing quickly to a close—it is not.” Fifty-nine children have been reported killed in Idlib in recent weeks, and another 60 have died as they made their way to a camp in northeastern Syria. The dire warning from the U.N. comes as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they are fighting the final territorial enclave of the Islamic State in the town of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
Renowned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is currently in jail in Iran on spying charges, has received a new sentence for 33 years and 148 lashes, according to a Facebook post by her husband. The sentence means she is now facing 38 years on combined charges. Sotoudeh, who previously served three years in prison after representing political activists and campaigning against the execution of juveniles, was arrested last June as she worked on behalf of women protesting the law mandating the wearing of headscarves in public.
In the Colombian region of Cauca, indigenous activist Alexánder Cunda was killed by unidentified gunmen on Friday. His murder is the latest in a surge of attacks on indigenous and rural movement leaders in the region. At least 20 activists have been killed so far this year in Colombia, according to local reports.
Nearly 1.5 million Puerto Ricans are seeing cuts to their food stamp benefits, including hundreds of thousands of children and elderly people. The Trump administration has refused to extend additional emergency disaster funding for the island, as residents recover from 2017’s devastating hurricanes. A plan that would increase food stamp benefits has received bipartisan backing, but it’s unclear when or if the legislation will pass.
The Washington Post reported Trump told White House officials in September he thought Puerto Rico was misusing federal funds and that he wanted to withhold any additional recovery assistance from the island.
Senator Bernie Sanders condemned the cuts, tweeting, “Puerto Rico needs food assistance funding due to the hurricanes which devastated the island. Some 1.4 million U.S. citizens will face large cuts to their food assistance benefits, 230,000 will lose the benefits entirely. We must act now to end this crisis.”
A day after audio of Fox News host Tucker Carlson using explicitly misogynistic language was circulated online by the group Media Matters for America, the nonprofit posted new audio recordings of Carlson making racist and homophobic remarks, attacking Iraqi people, black people, LGBT people and immigrants. The comments were made on a radio program called “Bubba the Love Sponge Show” between 2006 and 2011. This is Carlson speaking in 2006.
Tucker Carlson: “Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate, primitive monkeys. … But I just have zero sympathy for them or their culture, a culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks.”
The recordings also reveal Carlson saying white men “created civilization” and that immigrants should “have something to offer,” such as “being hot or smart.” On Sunday, audio was posted of Carlson calling rape shield laws “totally unfair,” defending underage sexual encounters if the minor is a male and the adult is a woman, and describing women as “extremely primitive.” In response to the uproar, Carlson has dismissed criticism of the recordings as “mob” attacks. Fox News has yet to comment.
A growing number of countries and airlines have grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts following Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 people on board and came just five months after an Indonesian Lion Air flight of the same model killed 189 people. Twenty-five airlines have taken the planes out of service since the disaster. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said Monday they would continue to operate flights on the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The union representing American Airlines told flight attendants Monday they do not have to work on those flights if they have safety concerns.
Facebook temporarily took down ads by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, which called for the breakup of big tech companies, including Facebook. The ads, which directed supporters to a petition for Warren’s recently announced anti-trust proposal, read, in part, “Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google. We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.” Facebook later restored the ads.
Senator Warren tweeted in response to the news, “Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor. #BreakUpBigTech.”
As the 2020 Democratic primary heats up, the Democratic Party has announced it will host its 2020 National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July. Wisconsin had been a reliably blue state for presidential elections since 1984 but voted for Donald Trump in 2016. DNC Chair Tom Perez said of the decision, “This is a statement of our values. The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people.” The Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August 2020.
And U.S. Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin died by suicide last Thursday at the age of 23. Catlin, who won a silver medal with her cycling team at the 2016 Olympic Games, was a graduate student in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford and died in her residence on the university’s campus. Catlin was one of a set of triplets. In addition to cycling, she was an accomplished violinist. Her family reports that she seemed to change after two accidents at the end of last year, one of which resulted in a concussion. Speaking to The Washington Post, her father said, “She was not the Kelly that we knew. She spoke like a robot. … [S]omehow her thinking was changed and she couldn’t see beyond, I guess, her depression. After her concussion, she started embracing nihilism.” Her family says she first attempted suicide in January and that the family narrowly stopped her death by calling the police after receiving an alarming email. In a post for the website VeloNews last month, Kelly Catlin wrote, “[M]ost of the time, I don’t make everything work. It’s like juggling with knives, but I really am dropping a lot of them. It’s just that most of them hit the floor and not me.”
Last month, another Stanford graduate student, 26-year-old Ziwen “Jerry” Wang died by suicide. Wang was a fifth year Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering.
You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.