FSRN Weekly Edition – February 17, 2017
- Trump blames the media, not substance of allegations, for Flynn’s departure
- Senate confirms EPA nominee as court orders release his emails with fossil fuel execs
- Trump nominee for Israel envoy echoes uncertainty on two-state solution
- Immigrant rights advocates piece together details on recent sweeps with little official information
- DACA recipient detained by ICE in Seattle, immigrant mother seeks sanctuary in Denver church
- U.S. Senate rolls back rule blocking people with mental health issues from buying guns
- Teen suicide rates hit 30 year high
Nearly four weeks into the Donald Trump presidency, before his freshman cabinet is even fully confirmed — the administration suffered its first high-level casualty this week. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
As we wrap up production, the Senate was headed for a vote on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Republicans on the The Environment and Public Works committee suspended quorum rules to advance his nomination to the Senate Floor this week. The push to move the vote to the full Senate came as a judge in Oklahoma agreed to an emergency hearing on a long standing records request for emails and other correspondence between Pruitt and fossil fuel company executives. In a Thursday afternoon hearing, the judge ordered the release of thousands of emails as Senate Democrats held the floor in a last ditch effort to delay the vote in order to review the documents.
Earlier this just as a two-year old open records request pertaining to his potential conflicts-of-interest goes to court. Democrats plan to hold an all-night debate session to hold the floor after Senate Republicans refused a request to delay the vote until after Thursday afternoon’s court ruling. FSRN’s Reaux Packard has more.
Contentious confirmation hearings extended beyond cabinet posts this week, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered the first country-level ambassadorship the incoming administration has tried to fill since taking office. Trump’s pick for envoy to Israel is Daniel Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer known for his hard line right-wing rhetoric, a long time financial supporter of Israeli settlement activity, a vocal opponent of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and a skeptic of the viability of a two-state solution.
The full scope of the recent nationwide immigration actions remains unclear. Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced they had detained more than 680 people, but officials have not updated that number since Tuesday. Meanwhile, reports from around the country indicate agents continue to make arrests in the context of what ICE calls ‘routine enforcement actions.’ But Immigrant rights advocates say the actions are a significant departure from what was common under the enforcement priorities of the Obama administration. Shannon Young has more.
Agents arrested at least two young men with authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, one in Seattle and another in San Antonio. They also arrested a woman in El Paso while she was at the courthouse seeking a restraining order in a domestic abuse case. And in Denver, a Mexican-born mother has taken sanctuary in a church instead of risking deportation at a scheduled check-in. Shannon Young has more.
The U.S. Senate rolled back a rule this week that blocked some people with severe mental health issues from buying a gun. The vote fell slightly off party lines, passing by a margin of 57 to 43. FSRN’s Reaux Packard has more.
The intersection of mental health and access to guns includes self harm. Suicide is at a 30-year high among all ages, and is currently the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Educators, families and communities are grappling with the same questions: Why? What drove my loved one to take their life? How could this have been prevented? FSRN’s Karin Argoud reports.