Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Has Managed To Find $150k To Spend On Painting Part Of The Border Wall To Make It Prettier

President Donald Trump’s border wall is slowly, but evidently under construction. Despite not having full funding for his entire project, there are some developments underway — even if those endeavors are by private citizens.

True to form, Trump doesn’t just want any old wall. The grandiose president with real estate all over the world has a certain aesthetic he’d like to keep up, even if the intent is to keep those Latinos out.

The Trump administration is planning to spend your tax money to paint the border wall, so it’s prettier.

Credit: @RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted, “DHS informed Congress today that troops are going to spend the next month painting the border wall & “the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance.” A disgraceful misuse of taxpayer $$. Our military has more important work to do than making Trump’s wall beautiful.”

As we already know, Mexico is not paying for the wall, and now there’s extra money going toward making it look nice?

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According to CBS News, they got the confirmation by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the “Department of Defense was asked to conduct the ‘application’ of the paint, with CBP financing the paint and ‘associated materials.’ The estimated cost of the paint and equipment is approximately $150,000, the official added.”

The Pentagon said that “100 Active Duty Engineer personnel” will be in charge of painting the wall with “anti-climbing” coat.

Credit: @B52Malmet / Twitter

CNN is reporting that the paint will have an “anti-climbing” coat, but what in the hell does that mean? Will the wall be slippery, or perhaps if people try to climb it, they will stick to the wall, so it’s easier for agents to catch them? Who knows! The new paint will be applied on the wall of the Calexico West port of entry.

READ: Congress Won’t Let Trump Build His Border Wall So A Group Of Citizens Spent $22 Million To Build An Illegal Wall In New Mexico

After Years Of Fighting It, Trump Has Been Told By Judges That He Has To Turn Over His Tax Returns

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After Years Of Fighting It, Trump Has Been Told By Judges That He Has To Turn Over His Tax Returns

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President Donald Trump has been saying for years that he would release his tax returns, but he just kept putting it off. When he first began his presidential campaign, GOP and Democratic candidates insisted he release his tax information in a bid to be completely transparent. Trump always maintained that he was under an audit and would release them when the audit was complete. Well, the audit turned out to be one big lie, and when all was said and done, Trump still didn’t release his tax returns. In August, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office finally said enough is enough and sued to get Trump’s tax returns in order to see his financial dealings in particular concerning Stormy Daniels. You may recall the adult film star said she was paid to be quiet about her affair with Trump, and his former lawyer Michael Cohen confirmed it was true after his arrest. Trump, however, said it was all hoax, but the law is still the law, and we’re a little close to seeing Trump’s tax receipts. 

Today, a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court Appeals all ruled that Trump’s tax return isn’t protected just because he is the president and can still be investigated. So his lawyers have to turn over his taxes to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

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After reviewing historical and legal precedent, we conclude only that presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non-privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President,” Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann wrote, in an opinion joined by Judges Denny Chin and Christopher Droney, POLITICO reports. 

Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, will reportedly appeal this decision, which means it will now go to the Supreme Court. And you may recall, Trump has more friends at the highest court.

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“The decision of the Second Circuit will be taken to the Supreme Court,” Sekulow said, according to NBC News. “The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our Republic. The constitutional issues are significant.”

There are nine judges on the Supreme Court. After Trump’s appointee, Brett Kavanaugh was allowed to join the Supreme Court last year after he publicly testified that he did not partake in any sexual assaults in college. Now Trump has more conservative-leaning judges which could work in his favor when this tax case makes it to their courtroom. 

The matter at hand is that Cyrus Vance, head of the Manhattan D.A., wants to investigate whether Trump committed illegal acts when he allegedly paid off two women using campaign money. 

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If Trump is in the clear and did not use campaign money to keep two women quiet about an alleged affair, why is he trying to keep his financial records from being investigated? According to his lawyers, it’s not about that at all, it’s about protecting the president and future president’s from being indicted

The judges ruled that Trump’s taxes were fair game because the Manhattan D.A. wasn’t calling to subpoena the president, but rather his accounting firm.

Credit: @independent / Twitter

“This appeal does not require us to consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office, nor to consider whether the president may lawfully be ordered to produce documents for use in a state criminal proceeding,” the judges said in their ruling opinion. 

One of the many reasons why Trump is trying to keep his financial records secret is not because they may be incriminating but rather because they could show the fraudulent financial dealings of his father, their loss of billions, and perhaps their withholding of taxes. 

Earlier this year, the New York Times released stories that exposed Trump’s father, Fred Trump, paid “remarkably little in taxes to the Treasury Department,” back in the ’80s. The stories also showed how they became so-called giants in real estate. As Vox explained, “[The stories} also indicate some potentially illegal activity as Fred Trump sought to pass wealth tax-free to Donald and his siblings. The statute of limitations has passed, however, and Trump’s sister, a federal judge, abruptly retired in February, ensuring there would be no judicial ethics investigation either.”

Trump has yet to comment on the latest ruling concerning his taxes.

READ: President Trump Would Rather Sue California Than Release His Tax Returns

Trump Suffers Another Court Loss As A Federal Judge Blocks Rule Requiring Migrants Have Health Insurance

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Trump Suffers Another Court Loss As A Federal Judge Blocks Rule Requiring Migrants Have Health Insurance

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The Trump Administration has been working hard to limit who can and cannot come to the United States as a migrant. From policies that force migrants to ‘remain in Mexico’ while their claims are processed to separating families and locking them away, Trump has proved that cruelty is the point of his immigration policies.

The government, under Trump, has been moving to severely limit immigration to the US and a rule requiring immigrants secure health insurance within 30 days of arrival was one such rule that flew in the face of traditional American immigration policy.

A federal judge has, at least temporarily, blocked Trump’s xenophobic policy from taking hold.

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, has put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.

US district judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevented the rule from going into effect Sunday. It was not clear when he would rule on the merits of the case.

Seven US citizens and a non-profit organization filed the federal lawsuit on Wednesday, contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the healthcare ban immediately,” said Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at a hearing on Saturday on behalf of the plaintiffs.

“The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

The legal decision protects migrants from the anti-American rule change.

Judge Simon said the potential damage to families justified a US-wide ban. 

“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” his legal order read.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. The US healthcare system is complex, and has not generally catered to people yet to arrive there.

Trump’s proposed rule would of placed an undue burden on already marginalized groups.

The proclamation signed by Donald Trump in early October applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad, not those in the US already. It does not affect lawful permanent residents. It does not apply to asylum seekers, refugees or children.

The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the US unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs.

It is the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the US away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

The White House said in a statement when the proclamation was issued that too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country’s “generous public health programs” and said immigrants contribute to the problem of “uncompensated healthcare costs”.

Under the government’s visa rule, the required insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer and it can be short-term coverage or catastrophic. Medicaid doesn’t count, and an immigrant cannot get a visa if using the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies when buying insurance. The federal government pays for those subsidies.

Many pointed out the xenophobia behind the rule change and how it goes against American ideals.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration thinktank, 57% of US immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, compared with 69% of US-born individuals, and 30% had public health insurance coverage, compared with 36%.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy. About 1.1 million people obtain green cards each year.

“Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted,” said Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Earlier this year, the administration made sweeping changes to regulations that would deny green cards to immigrants who use some forms of public assistance, but the courts have blocked that measure.