Stephen Miller’s Uncle Denounces Trump Aide in Withering Essay

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

Trump administration officials have faced no shortage of critics in the mainstream media, but seldom have those criticisms come from members of their own family. (Strategist Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, has repeatedly inveighed against the president but has, to date, spared his wife in his diatribes). However, such is the fate of White House aide Stephen Miller, whose uncle has penned a withering indictment of his nephew and his sadistic immigration policy.

“Let me tell a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration,” begins David S. Glosser in Politico. “It begins at the turn of the 20th century in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus.”

Glosser then proceeds to trace his family’s history, from its persecution in Eastern Europe to its ascension in the United States—first selling goods from a horse and wagon in the coal town of Johnstown, Pa., and generations later as the owners of a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores. The Glossers’ is a distinctly American story, replete with hardship and discrimination, but one that would have likely been impossible under the kinds of restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.

“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” he writes. “I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses—the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants—been in effect when [my great-grandfather] Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom.”

In one of the essay’s more annihilating passages, Glosser all but renounces his sister’s son, questioning how he could align himself with a far right that sought his family’s destruction less than a century ago.

“The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the ‘America First’ nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees,” he continues. “Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.”

Glosser is also careful to note the president’s own descendants fled torment in Europe for a better life in the United States. (Trump’s grandfather reportedly evaded proscription in the German army, while his mother’s family sought to escape the destitution of rural Scotland). Melania Trump’s parents were naturalized just last week, beneficiaries of an immigration mechanism the president aims to deny thousands upon thousands of would-be Americans.

“No matter what opinion is held about immigration, any government that specifically enacts law or policy on that basis must be recognized as a threat to all of us,” Glosser concludes. “As free Americans, and the descendants of immigrants and refugees, we have the obligation to exercise our conscience by voting for candidates who will stand up for our highest national values and not succumb to our lowest fears.”

Read the essay in its entirety at Politico.

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Video Captures Yemeni Schoolchildren Moments Before U.S.-Backed Bombing

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As funeral ceremonies for the 51 Yemenis—including 40 young children—massacred by the latest U.S.-backed Saudi bombing took place in the war-torn district of Saada on Monday, cellphone footage captured by one of the murdered children just moments before the coalition’s airstrike hit shows the dozens of kids excitedly gathered on a bus for a long-awaited field trip celebrating their graduation from summer school.

“By backing the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

According to CNN—which obtained and publishedthe footage on Monday—most of the children on the bus were killed by the Saudi airstrike less than an hour after the video was captured.

This is just the latest horrific attack on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition, which has received explicit military and political backing from the United States. Images sent to Al-Jazeera by Yemen’s Houthi rebels suggest that Mark-82 bomb—which is manufactured by the massive American military contractor Raytheon—was used in the strike, though the photos have yet to be independently verified.

Watch the footage (warning, the video is graphic):

According to the Houthi Health Ministry, 79 people in total and 56 children were wounded in the attack, which quickly drew condemnation and demands for an independent investigation from international humanitarian groups, the United Nations, and a small number of American lawmakers.

“By backing the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Facebook. “We must end our support for this war and focus our efforts on a U.N.-brokered cease-fire and a diplomatic resolution.”

As Al-Jazeera notes, the U.S. “has been the biggest supplier of military equipment to Riyadh, with more than $90 billion of sales recorded between 2010 and 2015.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has enthusiastically continued the long-standing U.S. policy of backing the Saudi regime no matter how many innocent people it slaughters in Yemen, openly applauding the kingdom for buying so much American weaponry.

Ahead of Monday’s funerals for the dozens of children murdered by the Saudi-led coalition last week, images on social media showed Yemenis digging graves in preparation for the ceremonies.

As Philly.com‘s Will Bunch noted in a column on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition’s school bus bombing forced the corporate media—which has almost completely ignoredthe humanitarian crisis in Yemen—”to pay at least a little bit of attention.”

“It shouldn’t have taken so long,” Bunch wrote. “This blood is on America’s hands, as long as we keep sending the bombs that kill so many Yemenis, and as long as we give the Saudis our unqualified diplomatic support in a messy regional conflict. And yet there’s been no public debate about the murky U.S. role out of this, and no clarification from the White House or the Pentagon over what we hope to accomplish by our support of the mayhem.”

“If the American people can take back control of what is being done in our name,” Bunch concluded, “maybe we can finally begin washing away this spreading moral stain.”

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ICE Brazenly Lies About Crashing Van Carrying Mothers Separated From Their Children

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Recent Polling from the Pew Research Center indicates a plurality of Americans now hold an unfavorable opinion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A new report published Wednesday helps illuminate why.

According to the Texas Observer, which cites a police report and interviews with four passengers, an ICE contractor crashed a cargo van in San Marcos, Texas, last month. The van was transporting eight Central American mothers who had been separated from their children as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The vehicle was rendered inoperable and multiple women were injured, yet the agency repeatedly denied that the accident took place.

“The crash occurred as the group was leaving a Sunoco gas station just off Interstate 35,” writes the Observer’s Gus Bova. “The van’s driver was an employee of Trailboss Enterprises, an Alaska-based company that provides transportation for ICE in Central and South Texas. The driver failed to come to a stop and T-boned an F-250 [Ford truck] that was entering the gas station, police said. The mothers told the Observer the impact slammed them against the seats in front of them, resulting in headaches, dizziness, nausea and injury to one woman’s leg, which began swelling immediately.”

The mothers’ statements are nothing less than harrowing. Dileia of Honduras, who did not want to give her full name for fear of reprisal from U.S. officials, told the Observer, “The crash was really strong, like maybe we were going to flip.” Another mother, Roxana, added, “We were all trembling with shock from the accident; my whole body hurt.” Each of the women said they were not instructed to put on their seat belts.

“For nearly three weeks, ICE denied the crash happened and ignored requests for information,” writes Bova. “The Observer was first alerted to the crash the day after it occurred by immigrant rights activists in Austin. The next day, Leticia Zamarripa, an ICE spokesperson, denied the incident twice. ‘Your sources misinformed you,’ Zamarripa wrote on July 20. ‘There was no crash.’ ”

After the magazine obtained an accident report, an ICE spokesperson issued a statement calling the incident a “fender bender.” The report itself notes that the vehicle had to be towed.

Ultimately, the incident is merely the latest in a long string of atrocities from the newly empowered federal law enforcement agency. Just last month, HuffPost revealed that ICE is “effectively partnering” with domestic abusers in order to “keep their victims from seeking help from law enforcement and the judicial system.”

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Department of Justice Raises Pointed New Questions in AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

In June, following a grueling six-week trial, a federal court approved AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner for approximately $85 billion in cash and stocks. At the time, critics cautioned that the ruling could trigger a wave of mergers that punish consumers and consolidate wealth among the corporate class. In a brief filed Monday, the Justice Department went one step further, claiming the trial judge disregarded “[the] fundamental principles of economics and common sense.”

“U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon had ruled for the companies, saying the government didn’t come close to proving its claims that the deal would yield higher prices and less competition in the pay-TV industry,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Brent Kendall. “But the Justice Department … said the judge ignored the fact that corporations will do what they can to maximize profits and instead accepted without reservation the testimony of defendants’ executives.”

During the trial, the federal government argued that the acquisition amounted to a media monopoly, with AT&T dominating not only the distribution of paid-TV services but its top content as well. (Time Warner owns both HBO and the Turner networks, two of cable television’s crown jewels). AT&T and Time Warner countered that their companies complimented one another, and that it was incumbent on them to merge in a market where more and more viewers are cutting the chord.

In a 172-page decision, Leon ruled in the multinational’s favor. But as the Journal reports, transcripts from the trial contain several “unusual moments.” They include: “Judge Leon’s raising apparent concern about the Justice Department’s use of younger attorneys, and an AT&T lawyer talking about a contribution toward a fund for the unveiling of a painting commemorating the judge.”

The Journal also suggests that Leon went out of his way to shield AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson from the Justice Department’s legal team, upbraiding one attorney for attempting to question him about an appearance on CNBC in 2016. “Don’t pull that kind of crap again in this courtroom,” the judge reportedly warned.

A former attorney for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Leon was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by then-president George W. Bush in 2001.

AT&T was defiant amid news of the Justice Department’s filing. “After a long trial, Judge Leon weighed the evidence and rendered a comprehensive … decision that systematically exposed each of the many holes in the government’s case,” its general counsel, David McAtee, said in a statement. “There is nothing in DOJ’s brief today that should disturb that decision.”

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

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American Conservatives Tied to Pro-Trump Trolls in Macedonia

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

In November 2016, days before and weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, two stories about the proliferation of fake news went instantly viral. The first, published by BuzzFeed on Nov. 3, explored how teenagers in the Macedonian town of Veles had successfully duped Trump supporters by building websites with domains such as TrumpVision365.com and USConservativeToday.com. The second story, published by The Washington Post on Nov. 20, profiled a pair of 20-something writers who ran a similarly lucrative operation out of Long Beach, Calif.

What neither outlet reported at the time, and what is now becoming clear, is that these professional trolls were working in close coordination with each other for the better part of six months—right through Trump’s stunning upset victory.

A new investigative report from BuzzFeed, in conjunction with the Organized Crime and Reporting Project, finds that the bogus political outlets traced to Veles were “not started spontaneously by apolitical teens,” but by prominent Macedonian media attorney Trajche Arsov, whose American associates include Ben Goldman and Paris Wade. Goldman and Wade are the founders of a conservative website called Liberty Writers News; Wade is currently running for a seat in the Nevada Assembly on the Republican ticket.

The investigation also reveals that Arsov has employed one Alicia Powe, who currently writes for the Gateway Pundit—“a site that frequently traffics in falsehoods and conspiracy theories.” (The Trump administration granted the publication a White House press credential in February 2017).

How a tiny town in the Balkans with a population of less than 50,000 came to be a booming misinformation hub is less confounding than it might appear. As BuzzFeed observes, just under half of Macedonia’s youths face unemployment, and the lure of Google Adsense dollars has proven “transformative.” Publishing flagrantly spurious clickbait, with such headlines as “Obama’s Ex-Boyfriend Reveals Shocking Truth That He Wants to Hide From America,” allowed contributors to “[buy] new cars” and “spend wildly at local clubs.”

In Goldman and Wade, Arsov found two natural partners. After first insisting he only knew of the pair from The Washington Post’s reporting, Arsov admits that their publications shared each other’s stories on Facebook, on pages that have subsequently been deleted. Earlier this year, the social media network announced that it would be improving the integrity of the site by expunging “financially motivated ‘inauthentic’ content,” per BuzzFeed. (What, precisely, Facebook deems inauthentic remains an open question. On Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to clarify remarks about whether he intends to provide a platform for Holocaust denialism).

According to Macedonian officials, none of the Americans tied to these sites is presently under investigation, although the probes are “still in a very early phase.” At least one of the 13 Russians indicted by Mueller in February for alleged interference in the 2016 elections traveled to Macedonia in the months prior to the launch of the country’s first U.S. politics site.

“It’s not clear that anyone involved in the Veles fake news operations broke the law,” note the authors of the report. “But what is clear is that the powerful forces of Facebook, digital advertising revenue, and political partisanship gave rise to an unlikely global alliance that increased the spread of misleading and false news in the critical months before Election Day.”

Read the full report at BuzzFeed.

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Trump Official Lobbies for British Ultranationalist at Breitbart’s Request

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

Last month, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell made headlines when he suggested he aimed to empower the far right across Europe, drawing the ire of critics at home and abroad. Yet a new Reuters report reveals he’s hardly an outlier within the Trump administration.

According to the international news agency, Sam Brownback, a former Kansas senator and governor, who currently serves as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, lobbied Britain’s envoy to the U.S. to release infamous ultranationalist Tommy Robinson following his 13-month conviction for contempt of court. What’s more, Brownback appears to have acted at the behest of Breitbart, the far-right news site whose former chairman, Steve Bannon, previously served as Trump’s senior White House adviser.

“[Brownback] told British envoy Sir Kim Darroch at a meeting in June that Breitbart ‘people’ had contacted him about Robinson’s imprisonment,” writes Reuter’s Mark Hosenball, citing a British government source. “Brownback told Darroch that British authorities should be aware that the website was making noise about the case. … Three pro-Robinson campaigners said there were multiple direct contacts between Brownback, his aides, people connected to [Breitbart] and other groups protesting his imprisonment.”

Born Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Robinson is the founder of the English Defence League, a British organization whose mission statement claims it aims to “lead and inspire against global Islamification.” It also professes to “stand for the right of English people to their own country over and above people from elsewhere.”

Robinson, a self-styled journalist and activist, was arrested in May after shooting videos outside a courthouse in Leeds that related to a child molestation case. (The recordings were in violation of British law entitling the accused to a fair trial.) As the Guardian’s Owen Jones wrote at the time, “[Robinson] is no martyr to freedom of speech, just a career criminal with a history of mortgage fraud, football hooliganism and assault whose craving for publicity put a critical court case at risk.”

Brownback is not the only Trump official to come to Robinson’s defense. In an interview with British journalist Theo Usherwood, Bannon himself called the far-right demagogue a “good guy” who has “got to be released from prison.”

What the former White House aide had to say off camera was more revealing still. Usherwood, who was quick to point out that Robinson had broken the law, claims Bannon spat out the following upon the conclusion of their interview: “Fuck you. Don’t you fucking say you’re calling me out. You fucking liberal elite. Tommy Robinson is the backbone of this country.”

Neither Brownback nor the U.S. State Department has commented on the Reuters report as of this writing.

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Trump Weighs Drastic Measure to Lower Gas Prices Ahead of Midterms

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Less than four months from the midterm elections, the Democratic Party enjoys an eight-point lead in a generic congressional vote, and Donald Trump’s approval rating hovers around 42 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s weighted polling average. Meanwhile, the average price of unleaded gasoline sits at $2.89 per gallon, up 63 cents from one year ago. Now the Trump administration is considering tapping into the country’s strategic reserve of crude oil to prevent those numbers from rising any higher before November.

“No decision has been made to release crude from the 660-million-barrel stockpile, known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but options under review range from a 5-million-barrel test sale to a larger release of 30 million barrels, said the people who requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations,” reports Bloomberg’s Ari Natter. “An even larger release is possible if it were to be coordinated with other nations.”

As Natter observes, Trump has voiced his frustration with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in recent months as only he can—by railing against the intergovernmental petroleum group on Twitter.

“The oil stockpile, which was created in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo sent prices skyrocketing and forced Americans to ration gasoline, is mainly meant to be used in emergencies,” continues Natter. “But it has been tapped in the past to bring down domestic gasoline prices, such as by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, as well as to fund unrelated domestic legislation.”

Read the full report at Bloomberg.

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Obama Officials Are Living Large in Trump’s America

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

Since departing the White House in January 2017, Barack Obama has kept a conspicuously low profile, surfacing briefly to condemn the Trump administration’s violation of the Iran nuclear deal and offer a few, inadequate words about its child separation policy. During that time, he has grown fabulously wealthy, inking a $65-million book contract and a Netflix television deal while delivering speeches to Wall Street firms for several hundred thousand dollars a pop.

But the former president is hardly the only member of his administration to cash in on his time in office. As HuffPost’s Zach Carter and Paul Blumenthal report, numerous Obama officials are “riding out” President Trump’s term by enriching themselves through consulting and lobbying deals, many at “scandal-fraught” organizations.

One such official is former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. When he’s not denouncing child detention camps as “immoral and un-American” while simultaneously dismissing calls to abolish ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as “about a serious as the claim that Mexico is ‘gonna pay for the wall,’ ” Johnson serves on the board of directors at Lockheed Martin—the country’s single biggest weapons manufacturer and a corporation that has incurred $767 million in fines for assorted misconduct since its formation in 1995. While Johnson’s precise level of involvement at the defense contractor is uncertain, HuffPost reveals he earned as much as $290,000 as a Lockheed Martin director last year.

Melody Barnes, previously Obama’s Domestic Policy Council director, has proscribed the Trump administration for showing “virtually no respect for constitutional principles, or often, basic human decency.” But she too works for a defense contractor accused of criminal wrongdoing, in this case by the Department of Justice over accounting irregularities in Booz Hamilton’s dealings with the federal government. HuffPost reports that Booz Hamilton has received as much $63 million in contracts from ICE, the government agency that has made headlines for allegedly denying essential care to pregnant women in their custody and telling asylum seekers, “Don’t you know that we hate you people?”

Then there’s Timothy Geithner, Obama’s Treasury secretary and current president of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus. That firm is the owner of a money lender called Mariner Finance, which according to a damning new Washington Post report, preys on the country’s most vulnerable. As one former branch manager put it, “it’s basically a way of monetizing poor people.”

Geithner, who has blamed predatory lenders for their role in the 2008 financial crisis, declined to comment on the article, but Mariner Finance LLC documents indicate the company has $561 million in total assets.

There are countless more examples: Former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, former White House press secretary Jay Carney and Obama’s original Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro have all found lucrative second lives in the private sector.

“Elite Washington is comfortable with what it calls ‘the revolving door’―the movement of government officials into lobbying, contracting or consulting jobs where they can exploit government connections for profit,” conclude HuffPost’s Carter and Blumenthal. “But much of what passes for normal in Washington is considered grotesque in the rest of the country. If the Trump administration weren’t bumbling between different crimes against humanity, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting nostalgic for the era when these folks ran the free world.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu Is Cozying Up to Europe’s Worst Authoritarians

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

“Europe needs to decide whether it wants to live and prosper, or it will disappear.” Those words belong not to former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon or the chairwoman of the ultranationalist Alternative for Germany, Frauke Petry, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who shared them with his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, in Budapest last year. As Noa Landau argues in Haaretz, this was not merely a prescient glimpse of Israel’s “systematic warming” to the Visegrád Four but an abandonment of the governing principles upon which it claims to pride itself.

In Landau’s telling, the linchpin of this burgeoning alliance is the migrant crisis engulfing Europe and the Middle East. Both Poland and Hungary, which are led by far-right governments, have advocated for screening centers within their border, while European Union leadership has balked at such measures. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have ostensibly center-right governments, but the former has made no secret of its distaste for migrants, and the latter’s president, Milos Zeman, is a fervent Trump supporter with a long-reported history of Islamophobia.

“Israel has been exploiting this internal, complex and delicate European dissent in recent years in order to change the way decisions about its politics are made in the EU,” Landau contends. “Observers in Brussels point to a chilling effect created by the alliance between Israel and the V-4 on the ability to issue joint statements in the name of all 28 EU members.”

Netanyahu has already seeing returns on his diplomatic investment. In May, Israel successfully thwarted the EU from condemning the United States’ relocation of its embassy. According to the Times of Israel, objections by “Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania helped Jerusalem stop the statement.”

As the embassy incident reveals, it’s not just V-4 nations that Netanyahu is cultivating. Israel has developed ties to Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Cyprus and Greece, many of whose democracies are comparatively weaker to those in the rest of Europe. Fueled by Chinese investment in the region, Berlin is “preparing for the possibility that states in Central and Eastern Europe may leave the EU and set up a European-Asian autocratic union,” writes Landau.

The development would appear to suit Netanyahu just fine. Not only has he lent support both tacit and explicit to some of these countries, but he’s done so at a time when at least one has attempted to exculpate itself of its crimes during World War II. On Monday, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum joined Yad Vashem and Israeli Holocaust scholars in denouncing an Israeli-Polish statement on Poland’s role in Shoah, claiming it “does not secure a future for Holocaust education, scholarship and remembrance.” (In January, Poland passed legislation that would make accusing the country or its people of complicity in the mass exterminations a criminal offense).

All of these maneuverings point to a single conclusion: Netanyahu, who narrowly defeated the Labor Party’s Isaac Herzog in 2015 after appealing to his country’s worst instincts, and who counts the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among his closest allies in the region, has openly embraced authoritarianism.

“Israel has traditionally preferred strengthening ties with specific countries, but in the past, it recognized the importance of its ties with the EU, in terms of common interest and values,” warns Dr. Nimrod Goren of Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. “In recent years there has been a change, and the ties with the Visegrad group reflect this well. The choice of these countries attests to Israel’s moving away from the values of a liberal democracy.”

Read Landau’s analysis in its entirety at Haaretz.

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The Trump Administration’s Family Reunification Plan Is a Fiasco

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Jacob Sugarman.

When the Trump administration instituted its “zero tolerance policy,” which prosecutes immigrants for entering the country illegally and separates parents from their children as a means of deterrence, critics argued it was not simply cruel and immoral but ill-conceived. Less than two weeks after the president formally ended the practice of family separation via executive order, and days after a federal judge imposed multiple deadlines for reunification, their worst fears have come to fruition.

According to a New York Times report published Thursday, administration officials are scrambling to meet the court’s demands, with as many as 3,000 children’s lives hanging in the balance. Overseeing the gargantuan undertaking is the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has relied on identification bracelets, registration numbers and “careful logs” to track its clients’ movements. But as the Times reveals, the office has been routinely subverted by Customs and Border Protection.

“In hundreds of cases, Customs agents deleted the initial records in which parents and children were listed together as a family with a ‘family identification number,’ according to two officials at the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the process,” writes the Times’ Caitlin Dickerson. “As a result, the parents and children appeared in federal computers to have no connection to one another.”

For its part, HHS maintains that these measures were not part of a “deliberate attempt to obfuscate, but a belief that it made more sense to track cases separately once a group of migrants was no longer in custody as a family unit.” Similarly, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman insists that, “Not only is it categorically false that DHS destroyed records, but the opposite is true: DHS personnel has worked hand-in-hand with HHS personnel to share clear data in the most useful formats possible for HHS.”

Nonetheless, multiple HHS officials claim that these records have disappeared or been trashed, and that they are vital to identifying family members who are sometimes thousands of miles apart.

Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, appears all too ready to blame anybody but the administration for its self-inflicted crisis. “Any confusion is due to a broken immigration system and court orders,” he told the Times. “It’s not here.”

On Friday, lawyers for the Justice Department asked Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California to extend his court-imposed deadlines, arguing that federal DNA testing, along with the necessary research into a parent’s fitness as a legal guardian, could delay the reunification process. Officials had responded to Sabraw’s original order by instructing border patrol agents to present migrants seeking asylum with one of two options: “Leave the country with your kids—or leave the country without them,” per an NBC report.

The Trump administration has until July 26 to reunite the children it forcibly separated from their parents. For boys and girls five and under, of which there are approximately 100, the deadline is this Tuesday.

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