Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
Today is almost certainly going to be all the James Comey hearings on the Trump-Russia ties, with a smattering of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
ANALYSIS: “Party leaders in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, typically don’t hold votes they’ll lose. So if Ryan starts saying that the House vote is delayed beyond Thursday or Friday — no matter the rationale he articulates publicly for the slowdown — it’s a good bet there are not 216 votes in the House for the bill.” (FiveThirtyEight)
NEWS: Former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden claims millennials are to blame for all the White House leaks because they don’t respect the government thanks to wikileaks. Also, they should cut their hair, get a job and pull up their pants, or something to that general effect. (Washington Post)
NEWS: Ryan’s making last minute changes to Republicare. Since the changes are being made to mollify those who are yelling “Obamacare 2.0!” it’s a good guess the bill won’t be getting any better. Among the things being included is a big tax subsidy for Trump’s core constiuency of older folks between 50 and 64 and repealing Obamacare’s taxes a year earlier. (Vox, Politico)
NEWS: Former VP Joe Biden is headed back to Washington DC to help rally the Democrats against Republicare. (Vox)
NEWS: Ivanka Trump will be getting a West Wing office since her role will be “expanding.” Except she won’t be an actual employee or be on the payroll. But she will get a security clearance. It’s… weird. (Politico)
NEWS: Roger Stone, former professional Trump toady and known crazy person, will probably be testifying in Congress for the Trump-Russia hearings at some point. That should be fun. (Politico)
NEWS: After FBI Director Comey stated that there was an investigation into the Trump-Russia ties, the White House released a statement saying “Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm there is NO EVIDENCE of Trump-Russia collusion and there is NO EVIDENCE of a Trump-Russia scandal. Obama’s CIA director said so. Obama’s Director of National Intelligence said so. We take them at their word.” (TPM)
NEWS: “Time and People magazine will not hold their glitzy, celebrity-filled party the night before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the magazines confirmed.” (Politico)
NEWS: “Contrary to a series of past statements on the issue, President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. military ‘should never ever have left’ Iraq in 2011.” (TPM)
NEWS: Remember Preet Bharara, the US attorney who was fired under somewhat shady circumstances by the White House a couple weeks ago? Turns out he might have been investigating Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, over stock trades. (ProPublica)
Confirmation Hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch
ANALYSIS: “So Gorsuch seems likely to be confirmed by the Senate, but the big question is how? Will Democrats filibuster his nomination, requiring 60 votes to cut off debate, as some senators — including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — have suggested? If so, can Republicans (with 52 seats in the Senate) find eight Democrats to vote for cloture (i.e., end the filibuster)? If not, will Majority Leader Mitch McConnell do away with the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations?” (FiveThirtyEight)
NEWS: “Two former students have accused Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch of telling their class that businesses needed to ask female job applicants about ‘their pregnancy and family plans,’ alleging that ‘many women’ manipulated maternity leave policies for their own benefit.” (Snopes, ALso: TPM)
NEWS: “One of the themes that developed on Day 1 of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s hearings is that Democrats plan to make an issue of what they say is the Supreme Court’s pro-business leanings. In their opening statements on Monday, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee argued that Gorsuch is likely to continue the trend.” (NPR)
Open Hearing on Russian Active Measures Investigation (FBI Director James Comey)
ANALYSIS: “That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarrassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama’s alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent.” (Lawfare)
NEWS: FBI Director James Comey said he has no information supporting Trump’s allegations that Obama and British intelligence agencies “wiretapped” him. NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers agreed with him. (TPM, TPM, Vox)
NEWS: “A few hours before FBI Director James Comey was scheduled to appear before a House committee about probes into Russia, President Donald Trump slammed coverage of his campaign’s ties to Russian officials as ‘FAKE NEWS’ in a series of tweets.” (TPM)
NEWS: “FBI Director James Comey on Monday confirmed the agency was investigating possible Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election including any links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow.” (Reuters, Also: NPR, Vox, Politico)
QUOTE: “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating, the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.” – FBI Director James Comey.
ANALYSIS: Lawfare has an update to their previous article about reading into James Comey’s responses during his hearing today. Based on their analysis, the White House had a very bad day today. Read it here.
NEWS: The official Twitter account for the president (@POTUS) spent the morning livetweeting baldfaced lies about the Comey hearing. (Vox)
NEWS: Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) asked if it was possible that the New York Times’ sources for their articles on the Trump-Russia ties had been Russian officials posing as White House staffers. (TPM) The GOP members of the panel spent a lot of time trying to cast doubts on the news at the hearing today. This question was just a slightly more ridiculous example of that.
ROUNDUP: Axios, a new news website, has a roundup of key points from today’s hearing. Read it here. (I’m still evaluating Axios for accuracy, honesty, bias, etc, but they seem okay so far.)
The house is on fire, Trump is running around with a box of matches, and the GOP demands to know who called the fire department.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) March 20, 2017
The Sean Spicer Show
NEWS: So, the White House had a bad day today. The revelation of an active investigation into ties betweent he Trump campaign and Russia seems to have knocked them for quite a loop. (Politico)
NEWS: Sean Spicer tried to claim that Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, actually had a “very limited role” in the Trump campaign. He also said that Trump’s golf outings were actually meetings because he takes phone calls when out on the course. He insisted that the FBI was wasting their time investigating Trump-Russia ties and that they wouldn’t find anything, and that no one in the White House had been interviewed by the FBI for the investigation. (Politico, Politico, Politico, Mother Jones, TPM, TPM, TPM)
NEWS: Spicer abruptly shut down today’s press conference after being asked about that whole “British Intelligence/wiretapping/Trump’s BS claims” mess he caused last week. (Media Matters)
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.