Thursday, March 23, 2017, 8:00am

The Trumpster Fire (3-23-17)

The Trumpster Fire: Gallup Daily, 3-23-17

GALLUP DAILY: Real Unemployment 9.2% (-0.2) | Gallup Good Jobs 45.3% (+0.1) | Engaged at Work 33.0% (-0.4) | Economic Confidence 7 (-1) | Consumer Spending $98 (-14) | Trump Approval 40% (+1)

Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.

Hold onto your butts, folks, today’s supposed to be the big Republicare vote and things are getting weird and ugly with that bill. There’s a pretty good chance Devin Nunes will continue to tap dance all over his own weiner today, too. Seriously, I have no idea what’s going on with that guy.


NEWS: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was asked today if he got his information from the White House, and he didn’t deny it. Which may or may not mean anything, but it does sort of seem like the kind of rumor you’d try to shut down if you could.

  • RELATED: “House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Thursday that his decision to go to the press and to the White House with fresh intelligence reports before going to his own committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, was ‘just a judgment call.'” (TPM)
  • NEWS: After House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) big revelation yesterday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called a select committee to take over the investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election. That doesn’t mean we’re going to get one, by the way. Just means he’d like to see one. (TPM)
  • NEWS: Nunes apologized to the rest of the House Intelligence Committee today, behind closed doors, after his debacle yesterday, but it’s apparently not clear what, exactly, he was apologizing for. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said, “Adam Schiff first raised the issue, ‘Why didn’t you tell me, why didn’t you go through channels here within the SCIF, a secure area where we do our business.’ After a few minutes, Devin Nunes did apologize in a generic way.” (TPM, Also: Mother Jones, Reuters)
  • NEWS: Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings has called for an investigation into Nunes. Which, again, doesn’t mean we’ll get one, just that he’s asking for one. (Politico)
  • GOOD READ: “Nunes was describing the process through which, surveillance experts believe, a significant number of Americans wind up in a National Security Agency database every year, and possibly have their names appear in subsequent intelligence reports.” (Politico)
  • UPDATE: Now Nunes isn’t sure whether Trump or members of his transition team we’re actually “incidentally collected” during surveillance. He has to wait for documents he requested from the intelligence committee. (ABC News) I suspect someone clued Nunes in on how much trouble he’d just caused.
  • NEWS: “Former Vice President Joe Biden sided with Republican Sen. John McCain on Thursday in calling for a select committee to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s associates and Russian officials during the presidential campaign.” (Politico)
  • EXPLAINER: Vox has an overview of the mess Nunes has caused. Read it here.
  • ANALYSIS: Lawfare writes “It’s Time for a Select Committee on Russia (Also, We Told You So),” and makes the case that Nunes is specifically acting to provide cover to the White House.

NEWS: Word broke yesterday evening that the FBI has information that indicates that Trump campaign folks communicated with Russians, possibly to coordinate releasing information damaging to the Clinton campaign during the election. (CNN)

  • NEWS: Yesterday Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he’d seen evidence that was “not circumstantial” that indicated that the Trump campaign had been colluding with Russia. (TPM)
REPUBLICARE NEWS: Republicans worked late last night to make Republicare even more nightmarish in the hopes of getting the House Freedom Caucus to vote yes. In particular, they worked to dismantle the “10 Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” which covers things like emergency services, hospitalization, preventative care, etc. Since they’re rushing this so hard, no one knows what the effect of such a thing might be. Folks are doing some educated speculation, saying it might collapse the individual insurance market, raise the cost of the bill, and more.

Negotiations were ongoing this morning, with Trump meeting again with the House Freedom Caucus, still trying to whip votes.

UPDATE: “President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus to amend the Republican Obamacare replacement bill ahead of an expected vote later Thursday.” (Politico)

UPDATE: Republicare seems to be at an impasse. The House Freedom Caucus wants less coverage, others want more coverage, and the two don’t seem to be finding any way to meet in the middle. (Vox)

UPDATE: The CBO has updated their cost estimate of Republicare. They now say the bill will reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years instead of $337 billion, and 24 million people will still be without insurance by then. So it saves less money and folks still don’t get insurance. (Politico)

NEWS: “Israeli police say they have arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers in the U.S.” (AP, Reuters)

  • RELATED: “American Jewish groups said they were simultaneously relieved and anguished at the news Thursday that authorities had arrested a young Israeli man for making threats to Jewish schools and facilities in recent months.” (Washington Post)

NEWS: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is super mad that his alma mater, Texas A&M, just elected its first first openly gay student body president. He claims the student stole the election and that it was only given to him because he’s gay. (AP)

NEWS: Hawaii lawmaker Beth Fukumoto says she was pressured to give up her post as House Minority Leader in the Hawaii state legislature because she criticized Trump. She’s quit the Republican party and joined the Democrats. (AP)

NEWS: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is threatening to have the Democrats filibuster the Gorsuch nomination. (TPM, NPR, Reuters)

GOOD READ: “But one group has shown nothing but unbridled enthusiasm for the president’s actions thus far: the over 380,000 members of r/The_Donald, one of the thousands of comment boards on Reddit, the fifth-most-popular website in the U.S.” (FiveThirtyEight)

NEWS: “Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department used its oversight authority to push for fundamental changes in the way local law-enforcement agencies interact with the communities they serve. Now under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the federal government seems poised to pull back on that kind of enforcement — pleasing police officers but worrying activists.” (FiveThirtyEight)

NEWS: “The Republican-led Senate has voted to undo Obama-era regulations that would have forced internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask customers’ permission before they could use or sell much of their personal information.” (AP)

NEWS: Jay Clayton, Trump’s pick for SEC and former Goldman Sachs lawyer, says his Wall Street work won’t affect him running the SEC at all. He will definitely be fair and unbiased, for sure. (AP)

NEWS: Hungary loves it some Donald Trump and can’t wait to meet him and work with him. Worth noting, Hungary’s the country that sent us Sebastian Gorka, the Hungarian nazi working for Trump, and also Hungary built their own wall and is looking to make their country great again, too. (AP)

ANALYSIS: The AP takes a look at the way Trump’s White House handled ethics concerns for two different aides in similar situations and determines that Trump’s uneven leadership is a big detriment to the way his White House runs. Read it here.

GOOD READ: Mother Jones has five questions they’d like to see asked of Sonny Perdue, Trump’s pick for head of the USDA. The involve the effects of climate change on our food and water supply, worker safety, farmer’s rights in the marketplace, and more. Read them here.

  • NEWS: “Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Agriculture, sailed through his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday with a mix of folksy charm and forthright answers — and few, if any, hardball questions hurled his way.” (Politico)

NEWS: Donald Trump did an interview with Time yesterday and it was pretty wild. He said, among other things, “Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not,” and basically insinuated that reality didn’t apply to him. (Mother Jones, TPM, Politico, Vox)

NEWS: “The Trump administration will approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by Monday, reversing one of former President Barack Obama’s most politically charged environmental decisions, according to two sources with knowledge of the plan.” (Politico)

NEWS: “China said on Thursday the United States should respect its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), after CNN reported China had warned a U.S. bomber it was illegally flying inside China’s self-declared zone in the East China Sea.” (Reuters)

NEWS: “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has directed U.S. diplomatic missions to identify ‘populations warranting increased scrutiny’ and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups, according to diplomatic cables seen by Reuters. He has also ordered a ‘mandatory social media check’ for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by the Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening.” (Reuters)

NEWS: “The top U.S. general in Europe [Army General Curtis Scaparrotti] said on Thursday that he had seen Russian influence on Afghan Taliban insurgents growing and raised the possibility that Moscow was helping supply the militants, whose reach is expanding in southern Afghanistan.” (Reuters)

EXPLAINER: Vox takes a look back at the last 24 hours and offers a roundup and overview of the craziness that’s happened. Read it here.

NEWS: The U.S. investigation of Trump’s former campaign “chairman,” Paul Manafort, started digging around in Cyprus earlier this year. Cyprus is known as a great place to get some money laundering done if you’re a Russian billionaire. (AP)

FACT CHECK: Trump turns rumors and whispers into his own personal reality. (AP, Politifact)

OVERVIEW: The AP has a pretty good overview of the hot mess caused by Trump’s Twitter tantrum where he claimed Obama was illegally wiretapping him. Read it here.

NEWS: So, Trump did that deal where he leased the historic post office near the White House and opened a hotel in it, back before he became president. People cried foul after he got elected because there were specific rules in the lease about elected officials leasing it, plus it’s now a hotspot for foreign dignitaries to stay, since the president owns it. The General Services Administration (GSA) was checking in to see if the hotel was now violating the terms of its lease, and they say it does not. (NPR)

  • RELATED: The reason why it doesn’t is because the feds brokered a deal where Trump maintains ownership, but won’t receive any profits while he’s in office. (Politico)

NEWS: Last year as the election was heating up the RNC paid a private intelligence firm to dig up dirt on the Clintons. This particular firm is run by ex-CIA agents and has close affiliations with an ex-Russian spy. When called on this, the RNC lied about who they were paying for what. They’re finally admitting to what they paid for now, though. (Politico) I have no idea what to make of this, folks. I assume this was all above board, but the lying and Russians being involved makes the whole thing look hella shady.

NEWS: “Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Thursday unveiled a bipartisan bill to slap Iran with new sanctions because of the country’s ballistic missile development, support for U.S.-designated terrorist groups and human rights violations.” (Politico, Also: Reuters)

NEWS: Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 has appeals hearings in April and May, but the ban’s still facing legal challenges even if it makes it through those hearings. (Politico)

NEWS: “President Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday, overcoming strong opposition from Democrats.” (Politico, Also: Reuters)

NEWS: White House aide Sebastian Gorka, Hungarian nazi and guy who wants to fight you on Twitter, is trying to say that the attack that happening in London that was carried out by a UK citizen, yesterday, justifies Trump’s Muslim ban. (TPM)

NEWS: “Well, we all knew this was coming, but Rep. Bob Goodlatte has been passing around a draft of a bill to move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress. Specifically, it would make the head of the Copyright Office, the Copyright Register, a Presidentially appointed position, with 10-year terms, and who could only be removed by the President.” (TechDirt) TechDirt is an opinion blog, but they generally link to good sources, so they’re worth a read.


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