National News Roundup: Week 23 (June 25-July 1)

Well this week… happened; it was mostly a mixed bag at best. There was a lot of fighting back against terrible news, and some good news in its own right, which some weeks is the best we can hope to see. Resistance is how progress is made; we’ll try again next week.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This news continues to contain multiple headlines each week outside my area as a legal generalist — still a lawyer, not a spy! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We saw some concrete movement on The Russia Collusion Investigation, though a lot of it got buried under tweets about what’s-her-name.

Thankfully that’s the only front to see movement this week, which is probably for the best.

Your “Normal” Weird:

  • Trump TIME. Your weekly Trump weirdness is that he apparently hung a forged TIME cover of himself in several properties around the world. Even more bizarrely, Trump has been on the cover of TIME for real about fourteen times (as TIME helpfully reminds us), and several of them were perfectly flattering covers — so he didn’t even need to forge anything. I don’t even want to speculate about what would make someone with several real covers to choose from do this, on the grounds that I think it would kill brain cells to try. But, uh. That guy’s our President for another 3.5 years.
  • Bona Fide Relationships. You may remember that the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the travel ban last week, which went into effect this past Thursday. As part of implementing the ban, the Trump administration issued guidelines on what constitutes a ‘bona fide relationship’ with a person or entity in the United States. Their definitions contain a major oversight that I find baffling — namely, it ignores the millions of kids living in kinship placements in the United States; those arrangements by definition involve a child in the custody of other family members, and frequently are not “formalized” through adoption for a variety of reasons. Since the definitions are otherwise fairly broad, I can only imagine that the lack of a custody-based exemption is an oversight rather than a malicious omission, but it’s still likely to impact grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins of U.S. residents who need to travel home to one of the six countries on the ban list for any reason. The rules also omit nonprofits dedicated to helping refugees resettle from the list of ‘entities’ that count, which does seem intentional (as well as heartless). All in all, it’s a strange and arbitrary list that seems almost like they simply made up rules on the fly, and it’s not surprising that it’s already being challenged.
  • Weird Politician Behavior Roundup. This has been a super weird week for political behavior, even by our modern standards. The splashiest headline is Chris Christie closing New Jersey beaches due to a government shutdown, and then being photographed on one of said closed beaches. Incredibly, Christie’s response to being photographed was to say “That’s the way it goes.” But in addition to Christie’s crusade to be the country’s least popular governor, Jason Chaffetz is leaving the House to join Fox News mid-term. Given that Chaffetz is the current chairperson of the House Oversight and Government Reform, I really cannot stress enough how strange of a move this is — it’s like a police chief who’s investigating the mayor of his city for kickbacks suddenly leaving mid-investigation to become an ESPN announcer. That said, though, Chaffetz also randomly announced this week that he thinks Congresspeople should get housing stipends because their salaries are insufficient, so your mileage may vary on that one all around. Oh also, Trump had about a million distracting and obnoxious tweets, but at this point that’s not even news anymore.

The Bad:

The Good:

And that’s this week’s national news! Happy fourth, everyone. I’m Jake Tapper, and nothing makes sense anymore.

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