Why no declaration of national emergency? This is an indication that President Donald Trump is serious. The US is into the 24th day of the government shutdown. There were no votes scheduled in Congress today nor any meetings between Trump and Democratic leaders on today's schedule aimed at ending the longest government shutdown in US history. Trump on Monday said he is standing by his demand for border wall funding. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested that Trump sign a stopgap spending bill to buy more time for talks, but Trump responded, "I did reject it." "I'm not interested. I want to get it solved. I don't want to just delay it. I want to get it solved," he said. How do we move forward?
A federal judge late Sunday stopped Trump's widely denounced attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) birth control mandate from going into effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia by issuing a preliminary injunction, but the fight to protect birth control throughout the entirety of the US continues, as the judge rejected a request to block the rules nationwide. The judge's ruling protects contraceptive coverage in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia. The ACA's birth control mandate requires that employer-provided health insurance plans include coverage for free or low-cost birth control. With its attempted rollback of the mandate, the Trump administration is seeking to dramatically expand so-called "religious exemptions" from the law and allow employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage for "moral" reasons.
Today, 32,000 Los Angeles educators walked off the job in the country's second-biggest school district. That means about 600,000 kids have no idea when they'll see their teachers again. This is the city's first teachers' strike in 30 years. But this strike isn't just focused on teachers' salaries. The debate is also about charter schools and public education and more money for their students. And while the LA walkout is the first major teachers' strike of 2019, it certainly might not be the last. What's at the crux of this issue?
According to the New York Times, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. Agents and senior FBI officials grew suspicious of Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president's activities before and after FBI Director James Comey's firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, reportedly helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry. What's going on here? Is the FBI investigation of Trump an overreach of the bureau's power when we account for the history of the FBI and its operations such as COINTELPRO?
Eugene Craig III — Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.
Dr. Jamilyah Parritt — OBGYN and fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health.
Glenn Sacks — Los Angeles Unified School District social studies teacher and United Teachers Los Angeles co-chair at his high school. He was recently recognized by LAUSD Deputy Superintendent Vivian Ekchian for exceptional levels of performance.
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: The Frozen Republic, The Velvet Coup, and America's Undeclared War.
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