The Trump administration may target affirmative action in higher ed

President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka Trump, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday. AP/Alex Brandon

The top likely talking point for the day: The Trump administration is advertising for lawyers interested in working on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” apparently in defense of white applicants,  the New York Times reports this morning. Resources, it seems, would be redirected from the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division.

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A second talking point: An overhaul of the country’s legal immigration system co-authored by U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., is getting red carpet treatment at the White House on Wednesday, receiving a seal of approval from President Donald Trump that proponents hope can give the divisive proposal some momentum on Capitol Hill.

Perdue and his GOP colleague Tom Cotton of Arkansas want to cut legal immigration into the U.S. by half. The move, they said, would protect jobs for citizens already here – a contention disputed by many business leaders. The show starts at 11:30 a.m.

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White House chief of staff John Kelly begins his second day on the job today. But this may be his first big test. From the Associated Press:

A new lawsuit lays out an explosive tale of Trump allies, the White House and Fox News Channel conspiring to push a false story about Democratic leaks and an unsolved killing in order to distract attention from the Russia investigation that has been swirling around the president

 

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Fox by an investigator who had been looking into the killing of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff member who died in 2016 in what police say was a botched robbery. The investigator alleges that Fox quoted him as saying things he never said and was willing to show President Donald Trump its story before it was posted online.

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor and first cousin of U.S. Sen. David Perdue, announced a five-state RV tour on Tuesday. He wants to gather input on the 2018 farm bill. Sonny Perdue is apparently comfortable with his take on what the South wants. His tour will feature stops in five Midwestern states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.

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Teresa MacCartney, budget director for Gov. Nathan Deal, has sent out budget instructions Tuesday making it clear to state agency directors that the rising costs of pensions, transportation infrastructure and health care should prohibit any other new spending proposals for the upcoming year. So sayeth our AJC colleague James Salzer.

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We’ve heard the talk on the Republican side, but now we have a Democrat joining in. State Rep. Scott Holcomb of Atlanta has created a Twitter poll on this question: “I think Georgia needs to replace its antiquated & insecure voting machines that use Microsoft 2000 (so old) & have no paper trail. Agree?”

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Georgia Equality went with a familiar face for its Atlanta mayoral endorsement: Former city councilwoman Cathy Woolard, a longtime advocate for the gay rights group in the halls of the statehouse. Said executive director Jeff Graham: “We couldn’t have defeated all of the anti-gay legislation in the Capitol in recent years if it weren’t for Cathy.”

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State Rep. Tom Taylor, a Dunwoody Republican who pleaded guilty to a DUI charge last year, is facing a Democratic challenger next year. According to the Dunwoody Reporter, Michael Wilensky is a small business owner, trial attorney and president of the Ashford Chase neighborhood’s homeowners’ association. This is a race to watch: Taylor is chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee.

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U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, met with internal medicine residents at Redmond Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, according to the Rome News-Tribune. The congressman offered a hint of one area where Republicans may be headed next on health care: Allowing individual tax deductions for cost of insurance – something businesses are currently allowed to do.

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The left-leaning Let America Vote PAC has endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams in the race for governor. The group’s president, former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, had earlier stumped for the candidate in Georgia.

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A Tucson space company will conduct a low-altitude test launch of its Vector-R rocket on Thursday, the Florida Times-Union reports. The company sought, and won, passage of a bill in the Legislature earlier this year, lowering its exposure to liability lawsuits.

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Politico Pro, the politics site’s subscription-only cousin, reports that the state of Georgia has argued in a brief to the Supreme Court that Florida’s water wars lawsuit should be dismissed because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates hydroelectric dams on the Chattahoochee River, wasn’t named.  

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Republican U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter has scheduled no fewer than nine town halls in his coastal Georgia congressional district next week, according tot the tracking website the Town Hall Project. Compare that to the state’s other congressmen, who have not scheduled any other in-person or telephone towns for the August recess that are open to the general public, per that same website. 

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We’ll file this as an understatement. During a brief speech in Atlanta yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said of President Donald Trump, with whom he’s been feuding lately for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation: 

“The president can be very direct,” Sessions said. “Your job, Sessions, is to reduce crime in America and not let it go up.”

Read our colleague Christian Boone’s write-up here


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