Quick Takes: Shulkin Out, Jackson In

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* We’re on a pace of about one-a-week for White House firings/resignations. As has become standard with Trump, today’s came via twitter.

* Just when he’s having a hard time finding lawyers, Trump finds himself facing yet another lawsuit.

A lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by refusing to divorce himself from his businesses cleared a critical hurdle Wednesday when a federal judge in Maryland refused the Justice Department’s plea to dismiss it. The decision could allow the plaintiffs to scrutinize the Trump Organization’s financial records for payments from foreign entities and others possibly seeking to influence the White House.

* Jonathan Chait thinks he knows why Trump is obsessed with Amazon.

President Trump is determined to find some way to hurt Amazon, reports Jonathan Swan. “He’s obsessed with Amazon,” a source tells him. “Obsessed.” Swan details the economic arguments that Trump has rehearsed with the many people who have been exposed to his arguments against Amazon. Trump is reportedly “worried about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business,” and believes “Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers” and “has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.”

Well, sure, Trump probably believes those things, and some of them are even true. (Not the Post Office part, which Swan explains is a falsehood Trump clings to despite it having been explained to him, but the brick-and-mortar part.) But Trump doesn’t hate Amazon because of some old-economy “fixation with 1950s life,” as the story posits. Amazon is the outlet for his hatred of the Washington Post.

* Someone in the White House (cough—Miller—cough) keeps looking for ways to punish immigrants. Here’s the latest:

Immigrants who accept almost any form of welfare or public benefit, even popular tax deductions, could be denied legal U.S. residency under a proposal awaiting approval by the Trump administration, which is seeking to reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States.

According to a draft of the proposal obtained by The Washington Post, immigration caseworkers would be required to consider a much broader range of factors when determining whether immigrants or their U.S.-citizen children are using public benefits or may be likely to do so.

Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments, considering them a “public charge.” But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other “non-cash public benefits.”

The changes would apply to those seeking immigration visas, or legal permanent residency, such as a foreigner with an expiring work visa.

* A Russian front organization has lost its voice.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had his ability to communicate with the outside world cut off, the Ecuadorian government announced Wednesday.

Assange, an Australian who was granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year, has been camped out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the last six years, where he initially took refuge from being extradited to Sweden on rape charges. (Swedish prosecutors dropped those charges last year, but he still faces arrest in the UK.) Since then, he has been something of a thorn in the embassy’s side, with not infrequent clashes between Assange and embassy staff.

Ecuador said the decision came after Assange breached a written agreement signed in 2017 not to send out messages that interfere in other countries’ business.

* Finally, I think a little parody is in order today.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.