The DC: Withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and... ⚧️ Should anti-discrimination laws protect gay and trans employees?
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by Causes | 10.8.19
Welcome to Tuesday, October 8th, Western and Eastern medicines...
The Trump administration has announced it's withdrawing forces from Northern Syria ahead of Turkey’s planned invasion of the region.
The announcement followed a call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey’s military incursion into Northern Syria is ostensibly to prevent a return of ISIS in the area. It comes at a time of strained relations with the U.S. after Turkey was excluded as a partner in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program because of its acquisition of a Russian missile system and a broader crackdown on political opponents by Erdogan following a failed coup in 2016.
The White House statement said that “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area” because France, Germany, and other European nations refused to take back captured ISIS fighters who originally came from their countries.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a key Trump ally in the Senate and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called on the president to reverse the decision and said he plans to introduce bipartisan legislation with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to sanction Turkey if necessary:
On the Radar
Reprieve on Tax Returns
A federal appeals court has granted President Trump a temporary hold over releasing his tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney.
Earlier in the day, a federal judge dismissed Trump’s efforts to prevent his tax returns from being turned over to a New York grand jury.
For now, Trump’s tax returns will remain private, pending a review by a three-judge panel of the court.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D) had sent a subpoena to Trump’s longtime accountants, Mazars USA, as part of an investigation into payments made in the last weeks of the 2016 campaign to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
Trump had claimed that the presidency granted him absolute immunity from criminal investigations, a position backed by the Department of Justice.
U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero dismissed Trump’s “extraordinary" claim that any occupant of the White House enjoys "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind."
The Latest: A Second Whistleblower?
The lawyer representing the whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s conversation with Ukraine's president sparked the impeachment probe told ABC news that he’s now representing a second whistleblower with “firsthand knowledge” of the July 25 phone call.
Attorney Mark Zaid said both anonymous officials have full projection under a law meant to protect whistleblowers from being fired in retaliation for their revelations of wrongdoing.
If this information is correct, it would undercut one of the arguments Trump and his allies have used to try and discredit the first whistleblower: that he (or she) relied on secondhand information – or hearsay - from other White House officials. Note: there is no requirement that whistleblowers have firsthand information.
Trump on Sunday tweeted that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and House Speaker Nancy (D-CA) should be impeached over their handling of the whistleblower investigation.
Under the Radar
Anti-Discrimination Laws & Gay and Trans Employees
The U.S. Supreme Court begins its new season this week, hearing arguments on whether the definition of “sex” in Title VII protections includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone at work on the basis of sex.
SCOTUS will hear three related cases, all involving the same basic question: Can your boss fire you because you are gay or transgendered?
“An expansion of the scope of Title VII will massively increase church-state conflict,” said Luke Goodrich, a lawyer at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious legal group.
Aimee Stephens, who was fired for being trans, said "it would be nice if our rights were formally protected, that we have the same basic human rights as everyone else. We are not asking for anything special."
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in D.C.
- At 1:00pm EDT, the president will have lunch with the vice president.
- At 2:00pm EDT, the president will receive his intelligence briefing.
- At 4:30pm EDT, the president will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Edwin Meese.
The House of Representatives: In
- The House will return Tuesday, October 15th.
- The Senate will return Tuesday, October 15th.
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And, in the End…
It's National Fluffernutter Day.
In 1913, Massachusettsans Amory and Emma Curtis invented the "Snowflake Marshmallow Creme." And during World War I, the pair published a recipe for the "Liberty Sandwich": bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow cream.
You're it. (It's also American Touch Tag Day),
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