Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 03 May 2019.
Low Intensity Conflict: Speaking of yesterday’s economic dislocation, Facebook and Instagram banned Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, InfoWars, and a few other right wing figures from their platforms. According to a statement released by Facebook, “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
There are still anti-fascist and black nationalist groups which remain on Facebook, although those groups have called for violence in the past. There are still Islamist groups who preach Islamic supremacy. There are still revolutionary communist groups and accounts on Facebook. The unequal application of Facebook’s policies is a clear sign that banning Alex Jones and others was a partisan move.
Being banned from Facebook and Instagram will severely limit the social reach of InfoWars, thus harming the company as a business. This is a great example of economic dislocation, especially for Jones, who remains a staunch supporter of President Trump.
Politics & Governance
Attorney General Bill Bar refused to testify before a House committee yesterday over objections on the questioning format. Later in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused AG Barr of lying to Congress. “What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi said.
Some Democrats are calling for AG Barr to be held in contempt of Congress over Barr’s refusal to release the full, unredacted Mueller report. “We will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-CA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. According to Nadler, Barr as “one or two more days” before contempt proceedings begin.
Previously, President Trump vowed to fight all subpoenas and resist cooperation with partisan House investigations. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas. These aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020,” Trump said last month.
These issues are set to go to the courts next, if the Democrats pursue recourse for noncompliance. To reiterate, contempt of Congress is considered a ‘stain’ on one’s record but there’s no real punitive effect. Should, however, Democrats take the Trump administration to court, then they’ll be seeking a court order to enforce compliance with their subpoenas.
Democrats’ pursuit of compliance is not an existential threat to President Trump or those in his periphery. And impeachment remains unlikely, according to Pelosi. This may play out in the courts, and then Trump officials can decide what to do if or when a judge issues an order to appear before House committees. That could take months or years. But I still believe the largest actual risk to the Trump presidency is playing out in the Southern District of New York, where the state attorney general’s office is reportedly investigating ‘Trump, Inc.’ with a fine-tooth comb.
Far Left Daily
“My biggest fear about 2020 is that I think the median American voter may want a boring center-left caretaker, when we need someone who can utterly destroy a far-right, illiberal insurgency.” – Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress
Both of President Trump’s picks for the Federal Reserve Board have now withdrawn. Herman Cain bowed out last month, and Stephen Moore withdrew his nomination yesterday. That’s two strikes for putting Trump loyalists on the Fed Board, as several Senate Republicans voiced opposition. That means two things: Trump still has no control or influence on Fed policies (like rate cutting), and the Federal Reserve, which is itself supposed to be an independent body, retains its independence from the president.
Strategic/Defense Situational Awareness
“We’re getting very close to a put up or shut up moment. Either you go all-in on Venezuela or you pretend it never happened.” – Former South American director on Trump’s national security council