I generally check out on the weekend, for sanity’s sake. I still read the news and whatnot, but during the week, I wallow in it. On weekends I just dip a toe in and then go back to whatever TV show I’m binging.
I’m starting to wonder if that’s the best tactic, because the weekends – normally quiet and largely free of major news – have been pretty busy since Trump took office. For a guy who takes the weekend off, he sure generates a lot of garbage to sift through on Saturdays and Sundays.
So, there are three big stories that happened this weekend that you should know about, along with one minor story that’s mostly just kind of funny.
The first big thing you should know is that the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that craps all over Trump’s travel ban. The Associated Press got their hands on a draft memo from the DHS that said that citizenship is an unlikely indicator of terrorism activities and that very few people from the countries in Trump’s travel ban had actually come here and done anything. You already knew that if you’ve been paying any kind of attention.
The spokesperson for the DHS said that the report was incomplete because other intelligence agencies hadn’t weighed in on it yet, but didn’t deny that that was what the report said.
The second thing you should know about is that Representative Darrell Issa, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, joined the calls for a special prosecutor to look into the Trump/Russia ties. A special prosecutor situation would be like when Kenneth Star looked into President Bill Clinton’s diddling around, back in the early 90s.
We definitely need an investigation, but there’s been an awful lot of arguing about what kind of investigation. Congress has trotted out all kinds of suggestions, from special bipartisan commissions to the House and Senate Oversight Committees to nothing at all because, one assumes, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are scared they’ll be implicated if they investigate too thoroughly.
(McConnell might get in trouble because he basically shut Obama down when Obama wanted to announce the Russia/Trump ties just before the 2016 election, but I think Paul Ryan is in the clear. So far.)
The third big thing is that Trump announced he’s skipping the White House Correspondents Dinner. This is news because he’s the first president to skip a WHCD since Reagan in 1981, and he skipped because he’d just been shot and was still recovering. This is more of a “this is what kind of guy Trump is” story than anything. Trump rather famously has zero sense of humor, and back in 2011 when he last attended a White House Correspondents Dinner, Obama just absolutely roasted him, and Trump was super mad about it. This is an example of sour grapes, poor losership, and pettiness, mostly.
Finally, the smaller but kind of funny story is that Sean Spicer targeted his staff for leaking, which then leaked. So, last week Spicer had a planning meeting with his staff, and someone leaked information from the meeting. Spicer called the whole staff back in to chew them out, announce new, heavy-handed measures to prevent leaks which included having their phones randomly checked, warned them not to leak about all that, and then they went out and leaked the whole thing.
Spicer’s having a rough week.