Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
There’s a lot of excitement around FBI Director James Comey’s confirmation of an investigation into the Trump-Russia ties yesterday. We’ve got articles crowing about it and hailing the end of the presidency and Rep. Maxine Waters tweeting “Get ready for impeachment.”
Settle down, folks. Even if this Congress scrounges up the necessary shred of integrity to do it, impeachment is a long, hard road that doesn’t necessarily end with Trump booted out of office. Remember that we impeached Bill Clinton, too.
Plan for the long haul. We’re gonna be here for awhile.
OPINION: “The ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director calling him a liar.” (New York Times)
NEWS: Forbes has an exclusive on Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop singer and businessman, and one of the richest dudes in Russia, dishing on his close, personal relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump family. Emin’s father, Aras Agalarov, had a bunch of business with Trump, too. The article basically boils down to “Trump is friends with these rich Russians and did business with them,” which does fly in the face of Trump’s claims that he had no dealings in Russia just a bit, but it doesn’t really amount to much overall. (Forbes)
NEWS: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be skipping a meeting with NATO foreign ministers to see China’s president, who’s coming to the US. Then Tillerson’s off to Russia later in April. (Reuters, AP)
GOOD READ: “To appreciate how shocking President Donald Trump is to modern German sensibilities, consider the ‘America First!’ slogan that so cheers his supporters. Then ponder how Germans—and indeed voters across Europe—would react if an avowed law-and-order nationalist were to seek the office of Bundeskanzler with the slogan: ‘Germany First!'” (The Economist)
NEWS: “Fox News Channel has pulled legal analyst Andrew Napolitano from the air after disavowing his on-air claim that British intelligence officials had helped former President Barack Obama spy on Donald Trump.” (AP)
NEWS: During yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out that Roger Stone, professional Trump toady, had contact with one of the Russian hackers responsible for the DNC hacking. Roger Stone, the guy who bragged up his contacts with Guccifer 2.0, responded with, “I had no contacts with Russians. This one has been manufactured by the intelligence service with a nice assist from Soros and Brock.” (TPM)
ANALYSIS: The Washington Post takes a look at some of the questions yesterday’s Comey hearing left us with, including whether or not there should be a select committee or independent commission to investigate Trump, the hit to Trump’s credibility, and more. Read it here.
NEWS: Russia is using “bots,” or automated programs running through fake accounts, to push pro-Trump, right wing news and propaganda to Twitter, Facebook and probably other social sites. This shouldn’t be news if you’ve been paying attention – Twitter is so infested with the damn things that most of the trending hashtags are unreadable. What is news is that the FBI is investigating it. (Media Matters, McClatchy, TPM)
NEWS: “Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.” (New York Times, Also: TPM)
- NEWS: “Britain joined the United States on Tuesday in banning passengers traveling from airports in several Muslim-majority countries from bringing laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices on board with them when they fly. The U.K. ban applies to six countries, while the U.S. ban applies to 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries.” (Washington Post)
NEWS: The Guardian was planning on moving shop to a building owned by Jared Kushner – yes, that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Dude owns a lot of property, it’s not a big deal that the Guardian was going to rent a building he owned. But, their staff pitched a hissy about it, citing the fact that leakers might not give them information if they were in a building with ties to Trump, and also the commute apparently sucks. So the deal was abandoned. (Buzzfeed News)
NEWS: Trump hit the Hill this morning to whip support for Republicare, which just rolled out some changes to make the uber-conservative Freedom Caucus more happy with the bill. Included in the changes are making the bill’s tax credit more generous for people age 50-64, accelerating the repeal of Obamacare’s taxes, and bigger benefits for older and disabled Medicaid recipients while overall curbing growth for Medicaid. (TPM)
- NEWS: At his meeting with GOPpers this morning, Trump threatened that if GOP representatives don’t vote for Republicare, they might lose their seats in 2018. (TPM)
- NEWS: Vox has the full text of the amendment Ryan added to Republicare late last night. Read it here.
NEWS: “A Kremlin spokesman has said a U.S. intelligence committee is ‘confused’ after it heard testimony from FBI Director James Comey about an investigation into the Russian ties of President Donald Trump’s associates.” (AP)
NEWS: Heritage Action for America, a conservative think tank, still hates Republicare. (TPM)
NEWS: Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was laundering money for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, according to Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, who says he has the documents to prove it. It looks like Manafort may have laundered anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to potentially millions, if the documents pan out. (TPM, Washington Post, New York Times)
QUOTE: “I have spoken directly with the President and other senior officials about this. He doesn’t know these gentlemen. He didn’t work with them. You know, Sean Spicer, our press secretary, addressed this at length in his briefing yesterday, and he’s absolutely right.” – Kellyanne Conway, referring to Carter Page and J.D. Gordon and their contacts with Russians. Note that both Carter and Page have spoken as though Trump were aware of what they were doing. (TPM)
NEWS: Tomi Lahren, the conservative commentator, is in dutch with the Blaze, her employer, for professing to be pro choice. She’s been suspended and will probably be fired/driven out. (TPM)
NEWS: “There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower. But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama, and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money-laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower in New York.” (ABC News)
- OPINION: “On the one hand this may seem like guilt by association. Trump has a bunch of buildings. Some tenants must be crooks. But the context is important. When you start piecing together the Trump story, basically everywhere you look, whether it’s residents in his Trump-branded buildings, or his business associates or investors in his projects, Trump is – there’s simply no other way to put it – tied up with it not just Russians but in many cases Russians tied to the criminal underworld and money laundering.” (TPM EdBlog)
ANALYSIS: “House Republicans introduced their health care bill, the American Health Care Act, only two weeks ago. During that relatively short interval, President Trump’s approval ratings — which were never very good — have become a little worse. Is that just a coincidence?” (FiveThirtyEight)
ANALYSIS: FiveThirtyEight has eight charts detailing the ways the GOP could change healthcare in America. Check ’em out here.
NEWS: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday shot down prospects for major parts of President Donald Trump’s budget, rejecting proposed cuts to foreign aid and medical research.” (AP) Dude, when even Mitch McConnell can’t behind something…
NEWS: “The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a former top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board served in violation of a federal law governing temporary appointments. The 6-2 ruling limits the president’s power to fill vacant government posts while nominations are tied up in partisan political fights.” (AP)
NEWS: “President Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday adding human exploration of Mars to NASA’s mission.” (AP)
NEWS: “The U.S. government skipped Tuesday’s meeting of a regional human rights body that was examining the Trump administration’s travel ban and its approval of the Dakota Access pipeline.” (AP)
NEWS: “Desperate to lock down votes for their health care overhaul, House Republican leaders are seeking to shift more than $2 billion in Medicaid costs from upstate New York counties to the state government – a proposal Democrats quickly labeled the ‘Buffalo Bribe’ and the ‘Knickerbocker kickback.'” (AP, Also: Politico, Vox)
FACT CHECK: Donald Trump told the audience at his Monday night rally, “Many of our best and brightest are leaving the medical profession entirely because of Obamacare.” The AP fact checked that statement. Read it here. (Hint: Not only is it not true, we’ve actually gained almost 200,000 doctors since Obamacare took effect.)
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 21, 2017
AMUSING?: Senator Flake asked an infamous Reddit AMA question of Neil Gorsuch at the hearing today: “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?” So. Yeah. That’s a thing that happened. (Mother Jones)
NEWS: A bunch of GOP lawmakers are sticking by Trump’s wiretapping BS, despite all evidence to the contrary and common sense. (Politico)
OPINION: “The mere fact of an FBI investigation isn’t proof that the Trump administration has actually done anything illegal. But the fact that there is an investigation at all shows the suspicions are at least serious enough to warrant a full investigation. And in this case, the FBI’s suspicions are supported by a lot of information that’s already in the public record.” (Vox)
GORSUCH HEARING: SCotUSBlog has their afternoon roundup and liveblog of the hearing. Politico has a roundup of key moments from today’s hearing, and NPR has five insights into Gorsuch from today’s hearing, as does Mother Jones.
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.