Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 7.10.19

 msnbc.com  07/10/2019 21:30:10   Steve Benen

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Damage control: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday defended his role in cutting what critics have called a lenient plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago and signaled that he has no intention to resign his post.

* Epstein’s newest accuser: Jennifer Araoz says she was 14 years old when a young woman approached her outside her New York City high school in the fall of 2001. The woman was friendly and curious, asking Araoz personal questions about her family, her upbringing, their finances. Soon she began talking to Araoz about a man she knew who was kind and wealthy and lived nearby. His name, the woman said, was Jeffrey Epstein.

* The unfortunate resolution: The British ambassador to the United States resigned Wednesday following leaked memos that showed he had called President Donald Trump insecure and incompetent. Sir Kim Darroch said in a statement that the fallout from the leaked communications … was making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.

* D.C.: President Donald Trump’s military-style July Fourth parade drained a special Washington, D.C., city fund designed to help pay for extra security and anti-terrorism measures during large events in the nation’s capital, the mayor said in a letter to the White House.

* A big development from last night: A federal judge late Tuesday refused to let Justice Department lawyers withdraw from a dispute over the citizenship question on the 2020 census form, in a case that continues after the Supreme Court’s ruling in late June.

* I hope you saw Rachel’s coverage on this last night: The poor treatment of migrant children at the hands of U.S. border agents in recent months extends beyond Texas to include allegations of sexual assault and retaliation for protests, according to dozens of accounts by children held in Arizona collected by government case managers and obtained by NBC News.

* Team Mueller, Part I: House Democrats are seeking to hear from two senior deputies to former special counsel Robert Mueller in closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill next week, the latest attempt to learn more about the Russia investigation in the face of Mr. Mueller’s vow to only discuss the facts laid out in his report.

* Team Mueller, Part II: The Justice Department is seeking to discourage Robert S. Mueller III’s deputies from testifying before Congress, potentially jeopardizing an agreement for two of the former prosecutors to answer lawmakers questions in private next week, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

* Blue slips have seen better days: The Senate on Tuesday confirmed another of President Trump’s nominees to the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, increasing the number of Republican-appointed judges on what is widely considered the country’s most liberal appellate court. Daniel Bress received party-line support in the 53-to-45 vote.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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