Obama says Trump violated ‘core tenet’ of democracy with election ‘hooey’ – as it happened – The Guardian

Summary

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation forming a special committee to investigate the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. Efforts to form a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission into failed, but Pelosi had long committed to forming a select committee to investigate the attack instead.
  • Donald Trump went off on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. The former president blamed him for losing two Senate seats in Georgia and “making the Republicans the minority in the Senate”.
  • Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and Joe Biden have met at the White House. “I’m delighted, really delighted to be here once again in the White House, and with the president of United States,” Rivlin told reporters. Biden meanwhile sought to reassure Rivlin that the US would maintain a hard line against a nuclear Iran, as the White House works to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal.
  • In an op-ed for Yahoo News, Biden touted the bipartisan infrastructure deal. It lacks many of the key provisions boosting efforts to fight climate change, improve childcare and health care that his and Democrats’ original proposal contained, but Biden said Americans should be “proud” of what it does include.

– Maanvi Singh and Vivian Ho

Updated

‘Where you live determines everything’: why segregation is growing in the US

Lois Beckett

As the United States has become more diverse, it has also become more racially segregated, according to a new nationwide analysis from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

More than 80% of America’s large metropolitan areas were more racially segregated in 2019 than they were in 1990, the researchers found, even though explicit racial discrimination in housing has been outlawed for half a century. The levels of residential segregation appeared highest not in the American south, but in parts of the north-east and midwest: the most segregated metropolitan area in the US according to the study is New York City, followed by Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Stephen Menendian, the lead author of the new report, spoke to the Guardian about America’s decades-long failure to integrate, and the evidence of segregation’s damage to individual people – and to democracy.

Your report argues that racial residential segregation is the “the deep root cause” of systemic racial inequality in the US. Why is that?

It’s not a mystery: where you live determines everything. Your proximity to jobs. The quality of your environment. Where you go to school, whether you’re surveilled and harassed by the police.

The racial wealth gap is primarily based on differences in home appreciation values: Black families historically had homes that did not appreciate and often went down in value. Segregated housing creates segregated schools: 75% of students in primary and secondary schools are assigned based on where they live. The racial impacts of the criminal justice system are rooted in racial segregation. With Covid, the neighborhoods that were hardest hit in the first wave of the pandemic were typically Black segregated neighborhoods. In California, the neighborhoods that were hardest hit last summer were Hispanic communities with had a lot of multigenerational households and frontline workers.

How harmful is racial segregation for non-white residents?

Home values are twice as high in highly segregated white neighborhoods as in segregated neighborhoods of color. Poverty rates are three times greater in highly segregated neighborhoods of color. Life expectancy is starkly different. Every outcome that matters in life is shaped by environment. That’s what we mean by structural racism. It’s not about racial prejudice. It’s about the system and environment in which we live.

Read more:

Victory for Facebook as court dismisses lawsuits seeking to split company

Kari Paul and agencies:

In a significant blow to US regulators’ attempt to rein in big tech, a federal judge has dismissed lawsuits brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and a broad coalition of state attorneys general.

The US government and 48 states and districts sued Facebook in December 2020, accusing the tech company of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors and seeking remedies that could include a forced spin-off of the social network’s Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services.

But on Monday, the US district judge James Boasberg ruled that the lawsuits were “legally insufficient” and didn’t provide enough evidence to prove that Facebook was a monopoly. The ruling dismisses the complaint but not the case, meaning the FTC could refile another complaint.

“These allegations – which do not even provide an estimated actual figure or range for Facebook’s market share at any point over the past 10 years – ultimately fall short of plausibly establishing that Facebook holds market power,” he said.

The FTC had alleged Facebook engaged in “a systematic strategy” to eliminate its competition, including by purchasing smaller up-and-coming rivals such as Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The New York attorney general, Letitia James, said when filing the suit that Facebook “used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users”.

Boasberg dismissed the separate complaint made by the state attorneys general as well. In that dismissal, he said the attorneys general waited too long to challenge Facebook’s 2012 Instagram purchase and the 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp, which they accused of being monopolistic.

Critics are calling the rulings a major setback in the quest to break up the behemoths of Silicon Valley.

“This decision makes it clear that we can’t sit back and hope that the courts save us from big tech monopolies,” said Evan Greer, the director at digital rights group Fight for the Future.

Biden op-ed: bipartisan infrastructure deal is something to be proud of

In an op-ed for Yahoo News, Joe Biden touted the bipartisan infrastructure deal:

After weeks of negotiations, a bipartisan group of United States senators forged an agreement to move forward on key portions of my American Jobs Plan — a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure that will create millions of good-paying jobs and position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century…

This deal is the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century. Economists of all stripes agree that it would create good jobs and dramatically strengthen our economy in the long run.

But the deal also represents much more. It is a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this agreement. But that’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus — the very heart of democracy. When we negotiate in good faith, and come together to get big things done, we begin to break the ice that too often has kept us frozen in place and prevented us from solving the real problems Americans face.

I will continue working with Congress to pass the remainder of my economic and clean energy agenda….

There is plenty of work ahead to finish the job. There will be disagreements to resolve and more compromise to be forged. But this is a deal the American people can be proud of.

The bipartisan package that Biden has now endorsed lacks many of the key provisions boosting efforts to fight climate change, improve childcare and health care that his and Democrats’ original proposal contained. His message that this package won’t be the only infrastructure legislation and that Democrats can pass a more progressive agenda via the reconciliation process, without Republican support has proved a tough line to toe.

Updated

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and Joe Biden have met at the White House.

“I’m delighted, really delighted to be here once again in the White House, and with the president of United States,” Rivlin told reporters. “Of course, I want to repeat what we know very well, Israel has no greater friend and ally than the United States of America.”

He mentioned that both countries don’t agree on everything but share the values of democracy and liberalism, according to pool reporters.

Biden meanwhile sought to reassure Rivlin that the US would maintain a hard line against a nuclear Iran, as the White House works to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. “What I can say to you is that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch,” Biden said at the meeting, per the AP.

Updated

‘Heat dome’ in Pacific north-west breaks records as Portland braces for 115F

Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco, Dani Anguiano in Portland and agencies report:

Seattle, Portland and other cities in the Pacific north-west broke all-time heat records over the weekend, with temperatures soaring well above 100F (37.8C).

But forecasters said Monday could be even worse, with the mercury possibly hitting 110F (43C) in Seattle and 115F (46C) in Portland. The high temperatures could continue on Tuesday in some areas.

The extreme weather was caused by an extended “heat dome” parked over the Pacific north-west. The days-long heatwave was a taste of the future as climate change reshapes global weather patterns, said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health.

Isis Macadaeg, age 7, plays in a spray park at Jefferson Park during a heat wave in Seattle, Washington.
Isis Macadaeg, age 7, plays in a spray park at Jefferson Park during a heat wave in Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Karen Ducey/Reuters

People hand out water to those who might need it and invite them to their nearby cooling center for food and beverages, in Seattle on Sunday.Photograph: Karen Ducey/Reuters

“This event will likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heatwaves in the recorded history of the inland north-west,” the National Weather Service said. “Heat will not only threaten the health of residents in the Inland Northwest, but will make our region increasingly vulnerable to wildfires and intensify the impacts to our ongoing drought.”

Officials in Portland shut down light rail and street cars due to the high temperatures, districts halted summer school bus service and people braced for possibly the hottest day of the scorcher.

The high heat was straining the city’s power grid and overhead wires that propel the Max trains, so service was being suspended through Tuesday morning. “The Max system is designed to operate in conditions up to 110F. Forecasts show it will likely only get hotter,” the agency said in a statement.

The streets were mostly empty in south-east Portland during the hottest part of the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. Restaurants with outdoor tables that would normally be packed were deserted and ice cream shops and food trucks across the city closed their doors for the weekend, as some reported temperatures of 106F in their kitchens.

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Today so far

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation forming a special committee to investigate the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.
  • Donald Trump went off on senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.
  • The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is expected to file charges against the Trump Organization soon.

Updated

Pelosi introduces legislation to form Capitol commission

Efforts to form a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission into 6 January US Capitol riot may have failed, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long committed to forming a select committee to investigate the attack. Today, she introduced legislation forming that committee.

Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles)

JUST IN: @SpeakerPelosi has introduced legislation to form a select committee to investigate the 1/6 Insurrection.

Committee would be 13 members total- 8 chosen by Pelosi.. 5 by McCarthy.

A Pelosi aide tells @CNN she is seriously considering a Republican for one of her 8 picks.

June 28, 2021

It appears that Democrats are planning to take action on removing statues of Confederate leaders in the US Capitol.

Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree)

It takes a federal law to get rid of statues of Confederate leaders in the Capitol. The House will vote on this plan later this week https://t.co/hYpCwCBo44 https://t.co/k0wSsB7Wuk

June 28, 2021

Obama condemns Trump election ‘hooey’

This weekend, we had former attorney general William Barr calling Donald Trump’s election fraud claims “all bullshit”. Today, we have former president Barack Obama calling them “a whole bunch of hooey”.

Speaking at his first virtual fundraiser since the 2020 election, Obama said Trump violated “that core tenet that you count the votes and then declare a winner”.

“What’s been called ‘the big lie’ suddenly gains momentum,” which in turn has fueled moves by Republican-controlled legislatures to reduce access to voting and gain more control over voting operations, Obama said.

“Here’s the bottom line. If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now, what we are going to see is more and more contested elections … We are going to see a further de-legitimizing of our democracy,” he said.

Updated

New York prosecutors gave attorneys for Donald Trump 24 hours today to respond with any last arguments as to why criminal charges should not be filed against his family business, the Washington Post reported.

If you’ll recall, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating the Trump Organization for some time now for “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct”, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.

Politico is reporting today that Ronald Fischetti, an attorney representing the former president, said the charges were related to alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks. The charges had nothing to do with Trump himself, any allegations made by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen or by adult film star and director Stormy Daniels.

Vance and his office did not return requests for comment to Politico.

Former president Donald Trump went hard at his former attorney general William Barr this weekend after an upcoming book excerpt was published in the Atlantic revealing that Barr thought Trump’s election fraud claims were “all bullshit”.

Trump snarked a bit at senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who had urged Barr to come out publicly against the election fraud claims, referring to him as “another beauty”. But today he released another statement all about McConnell, blaming him for losing two senate seats in Georgia and “making the Republicans the minority in the Senate”.

“Had Mitch McConnell fought for the Presidency like he should have, there would right now be Presidential Vetoes on all the phased Legislation that he has proven incapable of stopping,” Trump said in the statement.

‘Checking the boxes’: why Biden is losing the voting rights fight

For months, Joe Biden and other Democrats have raised alarm about efforts to restrict the vote. Republicans have succeeded nonetheless.

Republicans in Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Arkansas and Montana have enacted new legislation that impose new barriers to voting. The successful Republican filibuster last week – which stalled the sweeping voting rights legislation, the For the People Act – only underscored how Democrats have failed.

Activists told the Guardian it did not feel like Biden and Democrats were meeting the moment and treating the fight for voting rights with the urgency it deserved.

“They’re checking the boxes,” said Cliff Albright, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter. “They’re not acting like we are facing an existential crisis. That’s the problem. It’s from the top down.”

Martin Pengelly

A familiarly staggering report from Ben Jacobs, late of this parish, for Vice News.

In short, a rightwing group, the American Principles Project (APP), is aiming to influence legislation in the states on hot-button Republican issues, stoking the culture war in a determined push on trans rights and other such subjects.

And its president, Terry Schilling, told Jacobs he wants to make the APP the “NRA for families”.

“There are 130m families in America,” Schilling said. “That’s a lot of people. I don’t need all 130m; I need a million signed up and engaged. And if we can do that, we can have an impact on legislation, political races, campaigns and elections – you name it.”

The National Rifle Association has found trouble of late but there’s no doubting its example as a group which has come to utterly dominate its chosen subject and indeed hold captive a vast chunk of the local, state and national political class.

Ben’s full piece is here.

And here’s more on the NRA, from Peter Stone:

Martin Pengelly

The Fox News anchor Chris Wallace made headlines of his own on Sunday, by pointing out to a senior Republican that he and his party recently voted against $350bn in funding for law enforcement.

“Can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?” Wallace asked Jim Banks, the head of the House Republican study committee.

The conversation … did not proceed smoothly for Banks.

Here’s our story:

And here’s a bonus interview with Wallace, by David Smith last year:

Summary

  • Joe Biden calls for a federal investigation into the sudden condo collapse in the Miami suburb of Surfside.
  • Bipartisan and reconciliation: we’re officially in the complicated next phase for the proposed almost $1tn bipartisan infrastructure, which is a lot of legislating. Joe Biden got himself in hot water by saying he wouldn’t sign the bipartisan bill that he negotiated with Republicans over infrastructure unless they passed the reconciliation bill put forth by Democrats about social infrastructure issues. Biden had to backtrack a bit, and senate minority leader applauded him for delinking the two bills, but at today’s White House press briefing, Jen Psaki indicated that Biden would very much like to sign both bills.
  • In a victory for transgender rights, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case regarding transgender students and gender-appropriate bathrooms, thereby upholding a decision made by a lower court.