WTF Community

Day 935

1/ The Trump administration made it harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefit programs to obtain permanent legal status as part of a new policy aimed cutting the number of legal immigration and reducing the number of poor immigrants. The new regulation makes it easier for federal officials to deny green cards and visa applications to legal immigrants who have received public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers, have low incomes, or little education, deeming them more likely to need government assistance in the future. Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a "public charge." (CNN / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

FBI agents raided Jeffrey Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean on Monday in a vivid display that the probe into his alleged sex trafficking ring is continuing despite his death.

A swarm of federal agents was seen fanning out across Little St. James in golf carts about 10:30 a.m.

“We were just trying to look at pretty fish and swim with turtles and here we are in the middle of an FBI raid,” said Kelly Quinn, the owner of Salty Dog Day Sails, who was running a sailing charter in the area.

“This has been something on our radar for years,” Quinn added. “We’re all really curious why it’s happening now.”

Two senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation confirmed that the FBI launched a search of Epstein’s private island home off the coast of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


The nation’s top law enforcement official on Monday accused the federal detention center where pedophile and accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died from an apparent suicide over the weekend of having “serious irregularities” that he said would be immediately investigated.

“I was appalled. And, indeed, the whole department was—and frankly, angry—to learn of the MCC’s [Metropolitan Correctional Center’s] failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Attorney General William Barr said. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and office inspector general are doing just that.”

Epstein was being held at MCC while he was awaiting trial, and as part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the New York facility is overseen by Barr and the Justice Department. Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, where Epstein was charged with child sex trafficking last month, suggested the attorney general was blurring those lines.


Thank you Massachusetts

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday that they planned to sue. It came hours after the administration announced broad changes to the way the government would enforce endangered species protections.


Another case where the states (or actually D.C. in this case) are pursuing Trump-related investigations that either parallel or extend federal-level probes.

Last month, [Stephanie Winston] Wolkoff received a subpoena from the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office, requesting documents related to President Trump’s inauguration, which Wolkoff had a heavy hand in planning. The $107 million event has been under investigation for months, including by federal prosecutors in New York and New Jersey, for profligate spending and questions about foreign donations. The latest subpoena appears to be probing potential self-dealing by the Trump Organization and members of the president’s family, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

Wolkoff complied with the request, according to these sources, by the July 26 deadline, which asked her to turn over records involving the inaugural event, the president’s family and associates, and expenditures by the inaugural committee that could shine a light on whether the nonprofit group provided private benefits to the Trump Organization. The attorney general appears to be particularly interested in payments being made through the inaugural committee to Trump-owned businesses, and whether there was a fair bidding process for contractors.

In response to a request for comment, Wolkoff said she signed a nondisclosure agreement and could not comment on any investigation, subpoena, or her cooperation. “If the [Presidential Inaugural Committee] wants to release me from this obligation, I would be able to speak freely without the fear of legal or financial repercussions,” she said in a statement. “Otherwise, I am regrettably unable to provide substantial comment.” Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office did not immediately respond.

The gulf between what Wolkoff knows and what she is publicly able to say can be measured in tens of thousands of documents, email exchanges, meeting minutes, and phone calls. She has, after all, known first lady Melania Trump for years, making her one of a small circle of confidants.

The subpoena issued by the D.C. attorney general focused in on potential self-dealing from the inaugural committee to Trump-owned businesses. That narrowed lens seems to stem, in part, from emails between Wolkoff, employees of the Trump Organization, members of the Trump inaugural committee, and the Trump family made public in news reports earlier this year. As I previously reported, both Wolkoff and Gates stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, a stone’s throw away from the White House, throughout the inaugural planning. In all, the Trump International Hotel was paid more than $1.5 million in inaugural funds.

The new subpoena represents a possible new avenue that could ensnare members of Trump world who have previously evaded charges, despite a number of investigations and probes across federal prosecutorial districts and committees on Capitol Hill.


DHS in a ‘Mad Scramble’ to Catch Up With Domestic Terror

“There were robust conversations before El Paso,” said one DHS official. “Then the dam broke.”

This is may NOT be the best way to win over farmers.

Farmers Hit Back as USDA Chief Sonny Perdue Mocks Those Harmed by Trump Trade War as ‘Whiners’

“He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”

Farmers Reel After Sonny Perdue Mocks Them As ‘Whiners’ Amid Trade War Bankruptcies

Minnesota Farmers Union president calls the agriculture secretary’s dig “very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise.”

Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture Tells Joke About Whining Farmers to Room Full of Farmers, Gets Boo’d

Farm Loan Delinquencies and Bankruptcies Are Rising

Farm Bankruptcy Filings Rise 13%

I may be sick. This is sick.

Here’s acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli saying on NPR this morning that the Statue of Liberty plaque should be changed to read, “give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.”

::sighs:: And then there’s THIS idiocy:


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