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DeVos Opposes Trump Order That Will Rescind Obama Guidance on Transgender Students, but Caves to Sessions

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DeVos Faced With Decision of Openly Defying President or Resigning

Discussions within the Trump administration over the language of the draft executive order expected to be issued Wednesday by President Trump, which reverses guidance on protections for transgender students, got heated in arguments between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to senior officials in the administration. The executive order would rescind the guidance issued last year by the Obama administration, which directed that transgender students be able to use the restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

A senior official confirmed to NCRM that a piece published Wednesday by the New York Times detailing the disagreement between the Education Secretary and the Attorney General was accurate.

The paper reported that three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions in the administration over the executive order said that Secretary DeVos initially resisted signing off on it, telling President Trump that “she was uncomfortable with it.” Sessions, who has a long history of opposing equality rights for the LGBTQI community, fought her on the issue, pressuring her to back down and relent. According to one official, the order needed to come from both executive departments and Sessions was angry as he would be unable to move forward without Ms. DeVos’ approval. 

Trump backed the attorney general and DeVos was faced with a decision of either openly defying the president or resigning. The Justice Department refused to comment as did a spokesperson for the Education Secretary Wednesday morning. Though the order from Trump is expected to be signed and then released later Wednesday, sources are telling the New York Times and NCRM that the two secretaries were still disputing the final language.

According to a draft of the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration cites ongoing litigation and confusion over the Obama directives as a reason for telling schools to no longer obey the guidance, which was sent to public school districts in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter last year.

“School administrators, parents and students have expressed varying views on the legal issues arising in this setting,” the Trump draft says. “They have also struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy and guidance” in the Obama orders.

The draft also contains language stating that schools must protect transgender students from bullying, a provision Ms. DeVos asked be included, one person with direct knowledge of the process said. “Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment,” the letter says.

While on the campaign trail last year the president had signaled that he supported the rights of transgender people saying that they should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” but later flip-flopped to toe the GOP line. In Tuesday’s press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the “president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue,” a stance endorsed and advocated for by the conservative Christian right movement.

The issue over transgender rights has also caused conflict on Capitol Hill as well, one congressional source telling NCRM that some prominent Republican lawmakers are actively advocating that the party move away from social issues that “are toxic,” instead focusing on economic and foreign policy issues.

Sessions wants set a firm policy particularly since Thursday the Justice Department will need to lay out its legal stance in a filing deadline in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a transgender male Virginia high school student, Gavin Grimm.  Grimm had sued the Gloucester County Virginia School Board in 2015 after the school board ruled that he was banned from using the boys’ bathroom and told him he could use a separate bathroom in a converted janitors closet.

The Obama administration had rejected that decision as unacceptable and discriminatory siding with Grimm. The Times also noted that the department is eager to move quickly in laying out its legal position on transgender policy to avoid confusion in cases moving through the courts.

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Trump to Give Long-Delayed Court-Ordered Sworn Testimony to NY Attorney General in Real Estate Pricing Probe

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Donald Trump is scheduled to appear before lawyers in the Office of the New York Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday morning to give sworn testimony in her probe of his real estate pricing practices.

Trump’s long-awaited deposition was originally scheduled for January 7, according to the subpoena he received, Insider reports, but he has successfully managed to push it back more than seven months. Similarly two of his adult children had their depositions pushed back, and then pushed even further after the recent death of their mother, Ivana Trump.

“Trump allegedly misstated property values to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans,” Insider reports. The former president “is scheduled to be grilled in person in Manhattan on what James has alleged is a decade-long pattern of financial misstatements on documents used by the Trump Organization to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans.”

READ MORE: Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’

Fox News adds: “It’s unclear at this time if the former president will be willing to answer all the questions that the lawyers pose him or if he could be asserting his Fifth Amendment right.”

Trump “has also called the investigation by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, a politically motivated witch hunt,” The New York Times reports.

“He repeated his criticism on his Truth Social account. ‘In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history!’ he wrote. ‘My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!'”

READ MORE: ‘Incredibly Dumb’: Former Federal Prosecutor Mocks Eric Trump for Telling NY AG ‘We Are Prosecuting You’

Wednesday’s deposition marks the third harrowing day for the Republican politician, conspiracy theorist, white nationalist, and, some say, “con man” and “cult-like” figure.

Monday morning FBI agents executed a valid legal search warrant, signed by a federal judge, and confiscated ten cartons of documents which Trump’s press secretary acknowledged included confidential “paper.”

Tuesday a federal appeals court upheld a ruling made by a Trump-appointed lower court judge that allows the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to be granted access to his tax returns.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’

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Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”

“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.

READ MORE: ‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.

Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”

Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”

And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.

Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”

READ MORE: ‘Sitting President Asking for Civil War’: Parscale Blames Trump for Insurrection – Says His ‘Rhetoric Killed Someone’

“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.

Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:

“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”

“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”

“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”

Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”

 

 

 

 

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‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.

Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.

But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.

“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.

“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.

READ MORE: ‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.

We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”

Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.

Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.

“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.

“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”

“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”

“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”

Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”

“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.

Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”

 

 

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