Over 2,000 former Justice Department officials are now calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign, after he intervened to reduce the sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone. The Federal Judges Association has called an emergency meeting as the fallout over Barr’s actions mounts.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over Roger Stone’s case, is holding a conference call today to discuss the status of the case, two days before he is due to be sentenced. Last year, Stone posted a photo on Instagram of Judge Berman Jackson with crosshairs near her head. Last week, Trump also attacked Judge Berman Jackson on Twitter. Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for D.C., responded in defense of Berman Jackson, “Public criticism or pressure is not a factor.”
Mike Bloomberg has qualified for the next Democratic debate, after receiving 19% in a national NPR, ”PBS NewsHour” and Marist poll. He needed at least 10% to qualify. The Democratic National Committee was recently widely condemned for overhauling its debate requirements to eliminate the need for candidates to obtain a significant number of small donations. Bloomberg has poured over $400 million of his own money into his campaign. The debate will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucuses. Bloomberg is not on the ballot in Nevada. Senator Bernie Sanders leads in the same poll with 31%.
In related news, Bloomberg is coming under fire yet again for his past remarks. This time, the former New York City mayor can be seen telling an audience at Oxford University in 2016 that farming requires less “gray matter” than working in the “information economy.”
Michael Bloomberg: “I can teach anybody, even people in this room — so, no offense intended — to be a farmer. It’s a process, see. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. Then we had 300 — you could learn that. Then you had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow, and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. One point, 98% of the world worked in agriculture; today it’s 2% in the United States. Now comes the information economy. And the information economy is fundamentally different, because it’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze. And that is a whole degree level different. You have to have different skill sets. You have to have a lot more gray matter.”
The now-viral video comes as Bloomberg is facing a barrage of criticism over his past comments and actions on policing, race-based housing discrimination, and sexual harassment and discrimination at his company. A 1998 lawsuit details an interaction with a female employee he shouted at in front of others after she expressed trouble finding a nanny. Bloomberg allegedly yelled, “It’s a fucking baby! All it does is eat and shit! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black, who doesn’t even have to speak English, to rescue it from a burning building!” In another incident, Bloomberg allegedly told a pregnant employee to “kill it.” And in another lawsuit, in which an employee accused her superior of rape, Bloomberg was asked in a deposition what evidence would be necessary in the case. He responded, “I guess an unimpeachable third-party witness.” He said there would be no way of knowing who is telling the truth in a rape case. The cases were detailed in a recent report by The Washington Post.
Calls are mounting for the resignation of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance as 40 more women accuse former Columbia University OB-GYN Robert Hadden of sexual assault. The accusations follow recent revelations by Evelyn Yang, wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, that Hadden assaulted her when she was pregnant. Cy Vance let Hadden off with a plea deal in 2016 that enabled him to avoid jail time. Evelyn Yang was attacked just six weeks after Hadden had been arrested in another case but was allowed to return to his practice. The total number of Hadden’s accusers is now around 70. The allegations include vaginal examinations without gloves, forceful touching and forced oral sex. Joining the call for Cy Vance to resign are all 12 members of the New York City Council Women’s Caucus. Co-Chair Carlina Rivera said, “There’s a long history of District Attorney Vance’s office failing to effectively prosecute other powerful white men.” This, as jury deliberations begin today in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York. We’ll have more on that story after headlines with New York magazine’s Irin Carmon.
In Pakistan, a suicide bomb attack at a religious rally in the northern city of Quetta has killed at least eight people and wounded at least 16 others. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
In Mexico, the brutal killing of a 7-year-old girl has triggered more protests in Mexico City as anger mounts over the epidemic of murdered women and girls. The girl, Fátima, was kidnapped last week. Her body was found by authorities wrapped in a plastic bag. Her killing came just two days after a 25-year-old woman, Ingrid Escamilla, was murdered and mutilated by her boyfriend. This is one of the protesters Monday. She is a resident of the neighborhood where 7-year-old Fátima lived.
Josefina Meza Mendoza: “That’s why we voted for this president, for this president who was going to end corruption. But what has the president done? Pure blah, blah, blah, and his airplane. Leave the airplane alone already. Start thinking about the poor people, and leave the airplane alone.”
The second-strongest non-tropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean is wreaking havoc in towns across the United Kingdom. British authorities have issued over 300 warnings as “bomb cyclone” Dennis has produced 80-foot waves and winds reaching up to 90 miles per hour. The record rains and flooding disrupted air and train travel and killed at least two people. Amid the catastrophic weather event, the British Environment Agency will reportedly announce homeowners should no longer expect to be protected from major floods because they will be seen as inevitable due to the worsening climate crisis.
Back in the United States, residents of Mississippi are bracing for more heavy rains, as historic flooding from the swollen Pearl River has affected hundreds of homes. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency as the Pearl River crested Monday at its third-highest recorded level.
California is set to apologize this week for the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Lawmakers are expected to pass a resolution Thursday apologizing for supporting the “unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese Americans.”
In Virginia, state senators rejected a ban on assault weapons after four Democrats sided with Republicans to defeat the ban in committee. The measure would have prohibited the sale of magazines that hold over 12 rounds, and some semi-automatic guns, including AR-15-style assault rifles, which have been used in the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam called for gun control reforms following last May’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach that killed 13 people. Virginia Democrats, who took control of the Legislature in November, have passed other gun control measures, including universal background checks, limits on handgun purchases to once a month, and a red flag bill allowing authorities to confiscate guns from individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others.
The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection as it faces hundreds of lawsuits for sexual abuse. Several states have changed their laws to temporarily remove statutes of limitations on sexual abuse, which previously protected organizations like the Boy Scouts. At least 12,000 cases of abuse at the hands of Boy Scout masters and volunteers have been identified.
Over 150 youth climate activists with the Sunrise Movement took over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Monday to hold a teach-in on the Green New Deal and to call on lawmakers to immediately adopt the measure. Twenty teenagers, one as young as 13, were arrested during the demonstration. This is a student protester speaking at the action.
Gus Demerath: “No matter who you are, you have a place at the table. That’s why I ask my senators to co-sponsor this Green New Deal. I don’t want any change in five, 10, 20, 50 years; I want it fucking now!”