Federal district court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has ruled that President Trump can't block people from his Twitter feed, because it amounts to viewpoint discrimination, which violates the First Amendment. The ruling marked a victory for the Knight Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven people blocked from Trump's account after they expressed opinions contrary to the president's in replies to Trump's posts. Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account on Twitter a key platform for promoting his agenda, announcing policies, and attacking critics. Buchwald said the Twitter accounts of Trump and other government officials are public forums, so it is unconstitutional for Trump and other government officials to prevent people from replying to their tweets.
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the right of companies to make workers sign arbitration contracts preventing them from joining together in class-action lawsuits seeking better pay and work conditions. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the conservative 5-4 majority, said that it was "clear" that the contracts are valid under federal law encouraging arbitration over litigation. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reading her dissent from the bench in a sign of strong opposition, called the majority opinion "egregiously wrong," saying it would lead to "huge underenforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers," and force millions of workers into "arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts." She urged Congress to address the issue to protect workers.
After extensive trade negotiations, Washington and Beijing said in a joint statement over the weekend that China will buy more American exports. "To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services," the statement said. "This will help support growth and employment in the United States." The statement did not specify the quantity or timeline of the increase, nor did it say whether China would be exempted from President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs. Rather, the "United States will send a team to China to work out the details."
President Trump reported a reimbursement to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in his latest financial disclosure that appears to cover the $130,000 Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. That payment was made days before the 2016 presidential election to ensure Daniels' silence on her claim that she had an affair with Trump more than a decade earlier. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, and he denied knowledge of any payment to her until recently acknowledging he had paid Cohen a retainer fee to cover the handling of "false and extortionist accusations." The new disclosure acknowledges that Cohen was reimbursed for expenses between $100,000 and $250,000, but doesn't specify for what.
First lady Melania Trump underwent surgery for a "benign kidney condition" yesterday, her office announced. Mrs. Trump, 48, is expected to remain at Walter Reed Military Medical Center for the rest of the week, the first lady's office said. The "embolization procedure was a success and there have been no complications," White House officials said. The surgery was one of the most serious medical procedures performed on a first lady since Nancy Reagan's mastectomy in 1987, reports CNN. "The first lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere," the White House said.
At least 11 people were killed and dozens more injured when suicide bombers targeted three churches in between services in Surabaya, Indonesia, earlier today. The attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State and were perpetrated by members of a single family, the mother and two daughters at one church and the father with three sons at the other two. At least three of the attackers were killed; early reports do not make clear the status of the other four or the ages of the children involved. The explosions were timed within one minute of each other at different locations. This is the deadliest terror attack in Indonesia since 2005.
President Trump gave a hero's welcome to three Americans freed by North Korea when they arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., early this morning. North Korea released the men, Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak Song, during a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in preparation for a summit with Trump to discuss Pyongyang's denuclearization. The White House praised the release as a "gesture of goodwill." "We want to thank Kim Jong Un, who was really excellent," Trump said. "The fact we were able to get them out so soon was a tribute to a lot of things including a certain process that is taking place right now."
President Trump has announced that he would announce his decision on whether to preserve the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow. "I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00 p.m.," he tweeted. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the deal, which suspends punishing economic sanctions in exchange for Iran's commitment to curbing its nuclear program. Trump has called the Obama-era agreement a disaster that would not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and vowed to scrap it unless it can be improved. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hinted that Tehran would respect the accord even if the U.S. doesn't. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the U.K., France, and Germany were committed to preserving the deal.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, has reportedly told friends he does not want President Trump at his funeral. Instead, The New York Times reported yesterday citing an unnamed source close to the McCain family, the senator would prefer the presence of Vice President Mike Pence, his former congressional colleague. The Times report says McCain's wishes have been communicated to the White House. The senator's final book, a memoir, is due to release this month.
Iowa's Republican-controlled legislature passed the nation's tightest limit on abortion, outlawing it after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That often happens before a woman even knows she is pregnant, at about six weeks. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican and an abortion opponent, has not said whether she would sign the bill into law. State Sen. Rick Bertrand (R) said proponents created the bill to "take a run at Roe v. Wade" now that President Trump has restored the Supreme Court to full-strength with the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland spokeswoman Becca Lee said the legislation "weaponizes fetal heartbeat" with an "intentionally unconstitutional ban on 99 percent of safe, legal abortion."
The New York Times reported yesterday that it had obtained a list of at least four dozen questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump for his investigation into ties between Trump's campaign and Russia, and possible obstruction of justice. The questions focus on Trump's firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top campaign officials and Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, and Trump's treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The questions also address discussions with Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, regarding a Moscow real estate deal. Trump's lawyers wrote down the questions, and the Times got the list from someone outside of Trump's legal team.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has offered to denuclearize his nation in exchange for a formal end to the Korean War and a promise that the United States will not invade, a representative of the South Korean government said Sunday. South Korea also reported Kim pledged to shut down his nuclear test site in May. "I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us, but when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific, or at the United States," Kim reportedly told South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Steny Hoyer (D-MD) urged a Democratic candidate for Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District to “get out of the race” to make way for a more moderate and centrist candidate. Candidate Levi Tillemann, formerly an Obama Energy Department official, secretly recorded the meeting with Hoyer, who told him to drop out because the decision for candidate Jason Crow to be the Democratic favorite was “made early on by the Colorado delegation.” The conversation came after months of pressure from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which allegedly denied Tillemann and other Democratic candidates in the Sixth District primary resources such as polling data and email lists for fundraising. A spokesman for Hoyer said “we do not comment on private meetings. Mr. Hoyer supports Crow and donated to him last year, but he hasn’t engaged in the race since then.” This is not the first time the DCCC has been accused of stifling progressive candidates.
With tensions rising quickly on the Korean peninsula, China is calling for calm and urging all parties to avoid "provocative actions." President Trump spent part of yesterday on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with North Korea dominating the conversation. Trump has long called on China to rein in its unruly neighbor. According to Chinese state media, Xi told Trump China is strongly against any action that would violate UN Security Council resolutions and added that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue can only be solved if all parties take responsibility and work together.
President Trump will tell North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their upcoming summit that economic sanctions relief will not happen unless the country dismantles its nuclear arsenal. “When the president says that he will not make the mistakes of the past, that means the U.S. will not be making substantial concessions, such as lifting sanctions, until North Korea has substantially dismantled its nuclear programs,” a senior administration official told the newspaper. Kim announced Friday that the country would cease conducting nuclear and missile tests, and Trump tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. was “a long way from conclusion on North Korea.” CIA Director Mike Pompeo also visited Pyongyang in March to meet with the North Korean leader, who pushed a “phased agreement” with concessions on both sides, according to the Journal.