The Strange Phenomenon of Voter Self-Suppression

From the moment the president announced the creation of a panel to examine voter fraud and elections, voting-rights advocates warned that the real purpose of the commission was to suppress lawful votes. Then a series of reports from around the country over the last two weeks played directly into those fears, as voting officials in several states said citizens had been calling and asking to have their registrations canceled, rather than turned over to the commission as part of a huge request for data. Instances popped from Florida to Washington state and North Carolina to Colorado.

The good news is that so far there don’t actually seem to be that many cases of voters actually canceling, with most of them concentrated in Colorado—though nearly 4,000 people have withdrawn there, enough to swing a close election. Yet even if the scale of the problem is not great, the phenomenon of Americans willingly surrendering one of their most fundamental political rights in order to protect their privacy is a worrying one that touches on the future of voting in the United States as well as the question of how public records like voter rolls should function in the internet age.

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Trump’s Voter-Fraud Commission Has Its First Meeting

In charging that the commission is aimed at suppressing votes, critics have noted that it was created to answer a illusory problem of illegal voting; its de facto leader, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has a history of attempting to disenfranchise legitimate voters and wrote in a recently divulged email that he wants to enact stricter registration requirements; and the methods it appears to be considering are both methodologically unsound and risk exposing private data.

Cancellations by privacy-minded citizens represent extremely effective voter suppression: Simply by requesting …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Trump Trains His Sights on Mueller’s Investigation

President Trump is exploring steps to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into the president’s campaign and business dealings, inching the country closer to uncharted constitutional waters.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump’s private legal team is scouring the backgrounds of Mueller and his prosecutors for potential conflicts of interest and damaging information to be used against them. According to the Times, that research is part of a broader effort by Trump to curtail and discredit the former FBI director’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The Times’s account depicted a president who is increasingly angered by the sprawling Russia investigation that has become a central feature of his young presidency. Trump displayed flashes of that anger during a lengthy interview Wednesday with the Times, in which he flitted between channeling his ire towards Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, as well as James Comey, the former director of the FBI ousted by Trump in May.

Trump’s lawyers defended their investigations of Mueller’s team as part of an effort to ensure he stays within the lines prescribed to him by the Justice Department. “The fact is that the president is concerned about conflicts that exist within the special counsel’s office and any changes in the scope of the investigation,” Jay Sekulow, the second-in-command of Trump’s private legal team, told the Washington Post. “The scope is going to have to stay within his mandate. If there’s drifting, we’re going to object.”

The Post and Times reports drew a swift reaction from members of the legal community, especially among former Obama administration officials. “If Mueller is fired, will any high-level DOJ officials resign in protest?” asked Preet Bharara, the former Manhattan …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Area Boss Regrets Hiring Decision

Today in 5 Lines

During a news conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will continue to serve in his position “as long as that is appropriate,” a day after President Trump told The New York Times that he never would have nominated Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the nomination of Christopher Wray for FBI director. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley threatened to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, if they don’t show up to testify before the panel on July 26. On Twitter, Senator John McCain thanked his well-wishers for their support and added that he’ll “be back soon,” following the news that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin introduced a new version of the Dream Act, which would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Today on The Atlantic

Visible Weaknesses: James Fallows explains how President Trump’s interview with The New York Times on Wednesday highlighted four of his greatest flaws.

Careful What You Wish For: Ronald Brownstein argues Republicans are still focused on Reagan-era policies that shrink government even though their voters have grown more tolerant of federal spending that supports “people like them.”

Trump vs. the Economists: President Trump continues to defend the widely anticipated steel tariff against China. But economists and U.S. businesses warn he could kick off a damaging trade war. (Annie Lowrey)

Coming tomorrow: The first episode of Radio Atlantic will be available by tomorrow morning, July 21, including the world premiere of Jon Batiste’s full “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Our hosts, Jeffrey Goldberg, Alex Wagner, and Matt Thompson, will talk …read more

Source:: <a href= target="_blank" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Area Boss Regrets Hiring Decision” >The Atlantic – Politics