Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
I had an all-day workshop yesterday so we’ll start out with a recap of Thursday, then move on to whatever’s happening today. Probably you should brace yourselves. If things go badly in the next little bit, we could be at war with North Korea this weekend.
THURSDAY: GCHQ, the British spy agency, spotted links between the Trump campaign and Russia back in 2015. They alerted our agencies, which, along with several other Western spy agencies, started keeping an eye on the connections. Meanwhile, we dropped a MOAB on an ISIS tunnel network in Afghanistan. We don’t seem to know yet if that actually accomplished anything. We accidentally killed more allied fighters in Syria, which is like the third time we’ve done that, and Assad is claiming that the chemical attack that kicked this whole mess off is “100% fabricated,” because of course he is. North Korea is apparently getting ready to do another nuke test, which Trump says China is going to stop, but in case they don’t, we’re thinking about “pre-emptive action.” Trump signed a bill that will let states cut off federal funding for clinics that do abortions (like Planned Parenthood), and we found out that Paul Manafort borrowed a crapton of money from Trump on the day he stepped down from the Trump campaign. (WTFJHT)
NEWS: Two more towns – both in Massachusetts – have filed suit against the Trump administration over the executive order that cuts off funding to “sanctuary cities.” (NPR)
NEWS: Everyone is interested in Paul Manafort because he may be one of the linchpins that ties the Trump campaign to Russia. The Ukrainian authorities are especially interested in him due to his connections to the ousted pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych. (NPR)
- RELATED: Meanwhile, every time Carter Page opens his mouth, he gets himself – and the Trump campaign – in more trouble. (TPM)
- NEWS: Former CIA acting Director Mike Morell says that Trump is making things worse with North Korea. Basically North Korea is like a cat. It misbehaves for attention. When you react too much to the misbehavior, you reinforce it. Trump is reinforcing it. (Politico)
NEWS: We appear to have managed to kill at least 36 militants in yesterday’s MOAB strike, which seems like… not a lot, for a bomb that size and all the accompanying pomp and circumstance, but hey, what do I know? (Politico, AP)
NEWS: Trump officials are meeting next week to decide if we’re sticking with the Paris climate change agreement or not. (Politico)
NEWS: The Trump administration is refusing the release the White House’s visitor logs, which, while not illegal, is yet another weird action that raises questions about Trump and his White House. Why doesn’t he want anyone to know who’s coming to see him? (Politico, Washington Post)
NEWS: “A private prison company announced Thursday it has won a $110-million federal contract to build in Texas the first new immigrant detention center under the Trump administration.” (AP)
NEWS: “Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Friday that he believed the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner intentionally left off dozens of meetings with foreign officials on his application for a top secret security clearance.” (TPM)
QUOTE: “The reality – and this data and information comes from those who directly run elections – is that the state and local election officials, and specifically the secretaries of state across the country that looked into it, find that fraud happens. It’s not widespread. It’s not an epidemic. But where it happens, it needs to be identified and prosecuted.” – Matthew Masterson, Republican-nominated chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, discussing voter fraud. (TPM)
NEWS: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has picked Candice Jackson to serve as the deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Civil Rights. Back in college Jackson complained about being discriminated against for being white because she couldn’t join a class that provided math help to minority students. (TPM, ProPublica)
ANALYSIS: “Why did Pompeo give a big speech attacking Wikileaks and Russia and specifically not only accepting the reality of 2016 election tampering but calling it out aggressively? […] I see a more general effort by the generals and other traditional Republican hawks in the administration to accomplish what amounts to a forced Trump rebrand.” (TPM EdBlog)
NEWS: “As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.” (Washington Post)
BASICALLY FLUFF: Professor Allan Lichtman was one of the few who predicted that Trump would be elected president. Now he’s predicting Trump will be impeached. (Washington Post)
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.