Tuesday News: Comrade Trump

PRESIDENT REVEALS HIGHLY CLASSIFIED MATERIAL TO RUSSIAN DELEGATION VISITING OVAL OFFICE: President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump's disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. "This is code-word information," said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies."

LGBT STUDENTS AT MUCH HIGHER RISK OF BULLYING, NEW REPORT SAYS: The picture was bleaker for gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Thirty-four percent of students who identified as LGBT complained of bullying, compared to 19 percent who identified as heterosexual. "It's a high number and a disproportionate number in comparison. We still have a lot of homophobic bias and it plays itself in schools," said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Those students are singled out and isolated and harassed." Shakeshaft lamented the Trump's administration decision earlier this year to rescind Obama-era guidance on the use of bathrooms and other facilities for LGBT students, which she said helped them feel safer. When rescinding the guidance the Education and the Justice departments said such decisions should be left to the states.

RUSSIAN ALLY SYRIA ACCUSED OF MASS KILLINGS AND HOLOCAUST-STYLE CREMATIONS: The State Department said on Monday that it believes about 50 detainees are being hanged each day at the Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes' drive north of Damascus. Many of the bodies are then burned in the crematorium "to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place," said Stuart Jones, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, accusing President Bashar Assad's government of sinking "to a new level of depravity." The latest accusations have cast a shadow over Syria peace talks in Geneva, where Syrian government and opposition representatives sat down separately with the U.N. envoy as talks on the war-torn Mideast country got underway on Tuesday.

NC'S REPUBLICAN LEADERS PLAN NEW VOTER ID LAW AFTER SUPREME COURT REFUSAL TO LIFT STAY: Roberts cautioned Monday that the rejection of the appeal is not a comment on the court's view about the substance of the law, which prompted North Carolina GOP officials to call for a renewed effort to pass voter ID legislation. "All North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the common-sense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote," Moore, R-Cleveland, and Berger, R-Rockingham, said in their statement. "We think that voter ID is eminently fair for everyone," state Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said. "No way does anyone want to suppress the vote. We want to make sure more people vote, want to make sure that they have the chance to vote legally." Hayes said state lawmakers will likely pick elements from voter ID laws in other states that have survived legal challenges to craft new legislation for North Carolina, although it's unclear how quickly they will act.

LINDSAY GRAHAM URGES TRUMP TO CHOOSE FBI DIRECTOR FROM WITHIN THE RANKS: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said selecting an FBI agent to lead the agency would allow the nation to “reset.” He dismissed as less desirable at least two of the 14 candidates under consideration, ex-FBI agent and former Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate. “It’s now time to pick somebody who comes from within the ranks, or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on Day 1,” said Graham, R-S.C. “The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created,” Graham said, adding: “I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all ... but we don’t know all the evidence yet.”



If anyone wants to stand up for LGBT students

If anyone wants to stand for LGBT students, or LGBT and equal rights more broadly, there's a good chance next month with the Equality March. It's the last of the big protest marches I know of scheduled for DC that kicked off with the Women's March in January, continued with the Standing Rock March in March, the Tax March, the Scientist March, and Climate March in April, and this Equality March coming up in June.

If recent news has done anything, it should strengthen one's resolve to keep standing up to this administration. Half way into his first year, it's a good time to keep their narratives in check. They've removed LGBTQ questions from the census, they've passed executive orders that reduce protections for our community, they're looking at health care policies that would be heavily discriminatory, and so much more.

If you've never been to an LGBTQ march or pride event, please consider yourself officially invited! We need everyone we can get on June 11th in DC (there's a march in Elizabeth City and in Charlotte too if you can't make it up there).

I've been to more protests and marches than I can count across this state, but somehow have never been to one in DC. This is one calling me though. I hope it's calling you too! http://www.equalitymarch2017.org/

Progress has been made over the past decade in the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion, access, and justice, but there’s still so much more to be done – especially since the progress we’ve achieved is currently being threatened by increased hostile rhetoric, discriminatory policies, and violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable in our communities.

We will use the Equality March, and sister events across the country, to give voice to our concerns, and to support, uplift, and bring attention to those in our communities who are targeted due to immigration status, ethnicity, religion, skin color, gender, and disability. We affirm and celebrate that we are a mix of diverse communities.

DC pride is the same weekend, the day before, so that's something to do while up there too. I'll be hitting up some museums while in the area too. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is new since my last DC trip so it's a must see.