The Russia investigation could be in serious trouble because of Twitter's uncompromising privacy policies
A heap of information about how Russia used Twitter to influence the 2016 presidential election is potentially lost forever due to the social media platform's uncompromising privacy policies, Politico reports. As investigators dive deeper into Kremlin efforts to swing the election in favor of President Trump, Twitter is unable to offer firm evidence due to the fact that the company mimics deletions and revisions to information made by its consumers and keeps no lasting record of data that has been intentionally erased.
Because of such rules, the platform is designed perfectly for malicious agents who want to cover their tracks, frustrated investigators say. Twitter "could not have built a more effective disinformation platform," said Johns Hopkins University strategic studies professor Thomas Rid.
If Twitter saved such information, "you can basically see when botnets appeared and disappeared, and how they shaped narrative around certain event," another analyst told Politico. Instead, Twitter "removes forensic evidence from the public domain, and makes the work of investigators more difficult and maybe impossible," Rid said.
Italy's interior minister wants to count the country's Roma population, expel those without citizenship
Italy's far-right anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has called for a census of the country's Roma community with the intention of potentially expelling those without citizenship, France 24 reports. "As for the Italian Roma, unfortunately one has to keep them at home," Salvini said in comments to a local television station in Northern Italy.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte slammed Salvini's remarks as going "too far" and the leader of the populist, Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, said such a census would be "unconstitutional," The Guardian reports. "The interior minister does not seem to know that a census on the basis of ethnicity is not permitted by the law," said Carlo Stasolla, the president of the Associazione 21 Luglio, which supports Roma rights.
Salvini described the count and subsequent expulsion of non-Italian Roma as being the "answer to the Roma question." Up to 180,000 Roma live in Italy, with about 43 percent holding Italian citizenship.
"We … recall that Italian Roma have been present in our country for at least half a century and sometimes they are 'more Italian' than many of our fellow citizens," said Stasolla. Jeva Lange
The school board in Richmond, Virginia, voted overwhelmingly on Monday night to drop the name of a Confederate leader from a local elementary school and rename it after the first black president. The 6-1 vote confirmed that J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School will be renamed Barack Obama Elementary School, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. "It would be pretty awesome to have an elementary school in Richmond named after Barack Obama," said Liz Doerr, the District 1 representative.
Quite a few schools across the country are named after Obama, although the Richmond elementary school will be the first in the state of Virginia. Last year, a school in Mississippi also swapped out a Confederate name for the name of the 44th president.
Not everyone was thrilled with the decision in Richmond. "I am disappointed that we did not honor a local hero," said Carol Wolf, who was involved in trying to rename the school in 2003. Other names under consideration included Henry Marsh Elementary, after Richmond's first black mayor, and Oliver Hill Elementary, in honor of a local civil rights attorney.
“And if we are honoring the Obamas," Wolf went on, "I would have preferred naming the school after Michelle [Obama] who was very active in this nation's schools."
Around 100 schools across the country still carry Confederate names, including 15 in the state of Virginia. Jeva Lange
President Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy made the front pages of New York City's two main tabloids, the New York Post and the Daily News, and neither newspaper seemed pleased with the policy's de facto separation of children from their parents. The Post, whose sister publication The Wall Street Journal condemned Trump's policy in an editorial Monday night, picked some cage imagery and cited the Bible. And unlike Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Post quoted Jesus, not one of his followers.
Suffer the Children - New York Post pic.twitter.com/kZ7H446BKf
— Nick Bryant (@NickBryantNY) June 19, 2018
The Daily News mostly lets the image do the talking.
Help - New York Daily News pic.twitter.com/zMTusPRl1u
— Nick Bryant (@NickBryantNY) June 19, 2018
Separating migrant children from parents as part of Trump's border policy is widely unpopular — a CNN/SRSS poll Monday evening confirmed that a sizable majority of Americans (67 percent) disapprove of the policy while 28 percent approve, but a majority of Republicans (56 percent) support "zero tolerance" and all it entails. That poll was conducted by phone June 14 among 1,012 adults, and it has a margin of sampling error of ±3.7 percentage points. The New York tabloid sample is two, but disapproval is 100 percent. Peter Weber
President Trump will meet with Republican House leaders on Tuesday ahead of a planned floor vote on two immigration bills, CNN reports. The White House officially supports both proposals: A more conservative bill written by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R), which is expected to fall far short of passing, and a compromise bill that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path to citizenship and put $25 billion toward border security and the border wall.
Trump, though, has wavered on the compromise bill that his staff helped negotiate. "Just the slip of the tongue by the president and you can blow this whole thing up," said one Republican aide. Politico writes that "in reality" Trump will arrive at the immigration meeting and "get an earful about the family-separation issue." Jeva Lange
The Trump administration has a policy for separating migrant kids from their parents, but not reuniting them
In May, the Trump administration rolled out a program it had been testing since last summer to charge everyone crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without proper documents with illegal entry, even asylum-seekers, a policy that "ends up systematically separating families because children can't go with their parents who are being detained by the U.S. Marshals," BuzzFeed News' Adolfo Flores explains. "But people charged with illegal entry go before a judge within days or weeks of their detention and are usually sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor. There appears to be no set procedure for what happens with parent and child after that."
Once the children are separated, they are handed over to the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) "and treated as though they traveled to the U.S. alone," The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer adds. "No protocols have been put in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them. Immigration lawyers, public defenders, and advocates along the border have been trying to fill the void."
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Danielle Bennett told BuzzFeed News that "reunification typically does not occur until the removal stage of the process," and "the logistics of the reunification are made on a case-by-case basis." She declined to provide any statistics or give any examples of children successfully reunited with parents, saying, "We don't have any metrics to provide at this point and we wouldn't proactively give examples of this." Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen doesn't seem clear on some details, either.
Reporter: Why is the government only releasing images of the boys being held? Where are the girls & toddlers?
Nielsen: I'll look into that pic.twitter.com/aWZ7UoehEr
— POLITICO (@politico) June 18, 2018
Stephen Colbert highlights the absurdity of Trump blaming Democrats for his own family-separation policy
The big political story is still President Trump's policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, plus Trump's continued insistence on falsely blaming the Democrats. The Late Show highlighted the absurdity of Trump's talking point with a parody of his Monday morning news conference featuring Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees, who also blamed the Democrats for his murderous machete rampages of teen campers.
Stephen Colbert read one of Trump's tweet blaming the Democrats and imagined a cheer to go with his "WIN!" coda: "'Two, four, six, eight, who do we incarcerate? Kids! Gooooo into the cages.' Yeah, ended sad, didn't it," he said. "There are two things wrong with this. One, if it was a law, Republicans are in control of everything — they can fix it. Second of all, it's not a law. This is a policy. It's just another scoop from your chum bucket of cruelty." Trump defended his policy at a Space Force announcement Monday, saying the U.S. "will not be a migrant camp" and "will not be a refugee holding facility." "No, it will be the all-baby reboot of The Shawshank Redemption," Colbert said, and he had a movie poster.
"Not everyone in the administration blames this policy on the Democrats; some say the policy doesn't even exist," Colbert said, specifically pointing to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Others, like Stephen Miller, tout it loud and proud. Fox & Friends is happy to call a "cage" a "security pen," and Border Patrol says the "cage" description is accurate but uncomfortable-making. "Oh, it's accurate — that's what's making them uncomfortable," Colbert said. "Trump's defenders are wrong, and they are bad, but it's important to give the Devil his due — he's a sponsor. So it's time for our new segment, 'The Devil's Advocate.'" Do not watch the last minute or so if you are on hallucinogenic drugs. Otherwise, the video's below. Peter Weber
"On Saturday I was in Houston to play Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in what we called the Blobfish Basketball Classic, and just like a blobfish, the game was ugly, sloppy, and within moments, we were gasping for air," Jimmy Kimmel recalled on Monday's Kimmel Live. "We played one-on-one, it took almost an hour to get to 6 points — which would be a lot if this was a World Cup soccer game but it was not. When we agreed to play to 11, I didn't realize that meant 11:00."
"The game was very rough, there were nothing but fouls the whole game long," Kimmel said. "I have bruises all over my body — he kept poking me with his hooves." Six thousand people turned out to watch the game, which Gus Johnson and Isiah Thomas announced, and thankfully, Kimmel Live edited down the contest to a brisk 14 minutes. Kimmel even got in some policy questions among his trash-talking, and they raised $80,000 for charitable causes. You can watch the condensed action — or whatever — below. And don't miss Guillermo's wicked hook shot. Peter Weber