Trump Extorts New York On Twitter, Just Right There, Right Out In The Open
Did we not just get done impeaching the motherfucker? Yes, we did, and impeachment is forever. But now that lunatic is out there on Twitter trying to extort the state of New York, demanding personal favors in exchange for federal government action. It's quid pro quo all over again, only this time you don't have to spend ten minutes READING THE TDJ@4QRPPPPPPPP5T, thanks to Twitter's 280-character limit.
He just ... he just tweeted it out. In preparation for a meeting with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about suspending the state's residents from the Trusted Traveler Programs, which allow speedy entry at most highly-traveled northern border points, Donald Trump just demanded that the state stop suing him.
Clearly he's trying to give former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub a stroke. (God forbid!)
If you're looking for a sign that the wheels are all the way off our government, THIS IS IT.
In Trump's batshit State of the Union address, he vowed to make sanctuary cities bend to the immigrant-bashing will of the federal government, and the very next day Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf fired off a nastygram to New York notifying it that its residents were immediately barred from enrolling in the Trusted Traveler Program.
See, eight months ago, New York enacted a "Green Light Law" which bars the Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing driver's license information without a warrant. Which makes everyone safer because it cuts down on the number of unlicensed drivers on the road and allows undocumented residents to interact with the state government without fear of their immigration status being revealed. But according to Chad Wolf, this is all part of a plot to allow scary brown gang members to rape white girls and flood the suburbs with fentanyl.
Furthermore, on a daily basis, ICE has used New York DMV data in its efforts to combat transnational gangs, narcotics smuggling, human smuggling and trafficking, trafficking of weapons and other contraband, child exploitation, exportation of sensitive technology, fraud, and identity theft. In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids. In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission. ICE also needs New York DMV information to safeguard Americans' financial and intellectual property rights.
IP rights? Really? REALLY?
This is all bullshit, of course. As New York Attorney General Letitia James pointed out in the lawsuit filed Monday, participation in the TTP programs requires an FBI background check, which will turn up any criminal information in the state's possession because the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services does share info with the federal government.
Moreover, TTP applicants need a valid passport and do not have to present a driver's license to be eligible for the program. The "Green Light Law" simply prevents the ICE storm troopers from trawling through New York state's records to locate non-criminal immigrants so they can be rounded up and deported.
Wolf's position that suspending New York's 19 million residents from TTP is both legal and will somehow promote public safety was difficult enough before Trump's tweet. As James argued in her suit, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) which created the TTP mandates that "the international registered traveler program includes as many participants as practicable. Applicants can only be excluded based on a specific determination that "the individual presents a potential risk for terrorism, criminality (such as smuggling), or is otherwise not a low-risk traveler." And despite what Tucker Carlson shouts every night, being a resident of the state of New York does not count as an individualized determination of dangerousness.
But as usual Trump's tweet cuts the legs out from under his own government's facially nonsensical legal rationale. Wolf is out there arguing that he has to exclude New Yorkers to protect America from scary MS-13 rapists trying to steal their intellectual property, and Trump is announcing that the state "must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment [sic], start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes" if it wants to get back into the program.
Leave aside the ethnically coded insult to Governor Cuomo's brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo. Leave aside that the guy who just repealed the Waters of the United States rule to make it easier for polluters to poison our streams is talking about "cleaning itself up." Forget that New York's tax rate has absolutely nothing to do with border security or immigration. Trump is explicitly admitting that his administration is wielding TTP access as a negotiating tool to get New York to drop its suits against Trump and its administration. That is on its face illegal.
It would be illegal even if Trump were simply trying to wield the power of the federal government to get New York to drop cases challenging federal immigration and tax laws. But he's not, of course. He's talking about the many lawsuits against the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation, and to gain access to Trump's personal and business tax returns. Which in any other administration would result in immediate impeachment. Walter Shaub is exactly right — Trump is trying to extort one of the United States for his own personal political benefit.
This is a national emergency! And the fact that Letitia James isn't about to be extorted by anybody, much less an orange shitgibbon with a Mussolini complex, doesn't make it better.
But these days, you take what you can get.
[State of New York v. Chad Wolf, Complaint, with Wolf Letter as Exhibit 1]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.