Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
We’ve got a number of smaller stories cooking this morning, including Susan Rice and the Gorsuch nomination, but word’s just breaking that Bannon’s been kicked off the National Security Council, so that might be our big story for today.
NEWS: Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley held the floor for just over 15 hours yesterday, from about 6pm yesterday to 7am-ish this morning. This was not actually part of the Democrats’ filibuster, but just Merkley taking advantage of debate time in spectacular fashion. I think he was just, y’know, warming up for the real filibuster. (The Oregonian)
NEWS: Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is backtracking a bit on separating families at the Mexican border, saying that he won’t separate mothers from their kids unless “the situation requires it,” whatever that means. (AP)
ANALYSIS: “President Trump has sent a stern warning to Xi Jinping that if China does not help us with North Korea, it will be bad for China and the U.S. will act on its own. Although sounding tough, the President may be dooming his meeting with Xi to just another round of failure on North Korea.” (CFR, DefenseNews.com)
EXPLAINER: The Democrats have found enough votes to launch a filibuster against the Gorsuch nomination. Now the Republicans have to find enough votes to change Senate rules so that 51 minimum votes will confirm Gorsuch, which might be tricky, because the “nuclear option” is a bit controversial on the Republican side. FiveThirtyEight explains how this works and what’s expected to happen the next few days. Read it here.
NEWS: Republicans still aren’t getting anywhere on Republicare. Moderates are blaming the conservative faction, the conservative faction is blaming moderates, and nothing is moving. Pence and Republicans are supposed to meet again today on healthcare, but mutterings on the Hill indicate folks think the meeting is a waste of time. (Axios, Washington Post) Me.
- ANALYSIS: The House can’t pass a health care bill without moderate Republicans, says FiveThirtyEight. Read it here.
- NEWS: “Deep divisions cut short Republican hopes for a quick revival of Obamacare replacement legislation on Wednesday, as Congress prepared to leave town for a two-week recess without a deal to end party infighting.” (Reuters)
NEWS: The Freedom Caucus wants in on the tax reform bill. “The head of the ultra-conservative group said Monday evening that lawmakers need to see the draft of a tax overhaul bill before it’s leaked to the media — which is what happened on the health care repeal bill. That measure failed in large part because it was written by leadership, and Freedom Caucus members felt they had no input.” (Politico)
POLL: 65% of Americans surveyed in a new Politico/Morning Consult poll are against a government shut down, saying that Congress should take all necessary steps to avoid one. (Politico)
NEWS: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Russia for meetings next week. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Marco Rubio (R) say he should also meet with Russian activists while he’s there. (Reuters)
NEWS: North Korea did another missile test yesterday, and the Trump administration has ratcheted up their rhetoric, saying stuff like “all options are on the table,” and “we’re done talking to North Korea.” (AP, TPM)
- ANALYSIS: When it comes to North Korea we’re talking a big game, but our policy towards them doesn’t seem to be backing that up. (Vox)
OPINION/ANALYSIS: Josh Marshall has a few thoughts on the Susan Rice situation: “With a bit of informed speculation I suggested that what likely happened is that Mike Flynn protege Ezra Cohen-Watnick was freelancing and started his own ‘review’ of surveillance intercepts of the Trump transition, took his findings to the White House Counsel’s office only to get told to stop since lawyers would have seen the dangerous (to the White House) business he was up to.” (TPM EdBlog)
NEWS: “Twenty-two companies so far have pulled ad buys from Fox News’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ amid allegations of sexual harassment against host Bill O’Reilly, according to a report by Yahoo News.” (TPM, Yahoo News)
NEWS: Bids for the border wall were due Tuesday and a few of them are public now. (TPM)
ANALYSIS: “The growing number of allegations about President Trump’s links to Russia sounds really incriminating. But would any of them actually be illegal?” (Vox)
EXPLAINER: “The gravest danger facing Obamacare now is not legislative action — it’s executive inaction. Fortunately for the millions who rely on the Affordable Care Act, the states can save the health care law from ‘exploding.’ But they need to move fast.” (Vox)
NEWS: Neil Gorsuch appears to have plagiarized chunks of a book he wrote ten years ago. (Washington Post)
FACT CHECK: Trump had a joint press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Trump said that more had been accomplished in the last six weeks than had been done in years, regarding the fight against ISIS. This is pretty big mischaracterization, by which I mean it’s another one of Trump’s BS brags. The AP has the details.
GOOD READ: “It’s the U.S. leader who is seen as an unpredictable wild card and a skeptic of free-trade deals – And it’s China that is casting itself as a champion of rules-based global trade.” (AP)
NEWS: Customs and Border Protection says that the number of people caught trying to sneak across the border is continuing to drop. (NPR)
NEWS: “A coalition of 17 U.S. states filed a legal challenge on Wednesday against efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to roll back climate change regulations, deepening a political rift over his emerging energy policies.” (Reuters)
NEWS: The New York Times scored an exclusive interview with Trump, and he used it to make a bunch of ridiculous claims and defend fellow sexual assaulter Bill O’Reilly. (New York Times)
- ANALYSIS: “Donald Trump often professes to be doing battle with the mainstream media, frequently lambasting it as ‘fake news’ and specifically calling out the ‘failing New York Times’ by name. But for a clearer view of how Trump actually feels about major media institutions, it’s more useful to look at what he does.” (Vox)
- NEWS: “Last week, President Donald Trump declared April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This week, he took time in a New York Times interview to defend Bill O’Reilly, a man who has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment.” (Vox)
- EXPLAINER: “Susan Rice, President Obama’s final national security adviser, has all of a sudden become public enemy No. 1 in Trumpworld. In a Wednesday interview with the New York Times, President Trump suggested that she had criminally misused classified information for political purposes.” (Vox)
FACT CHECK: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made a whole pile of BS claims about clean coal. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker goes over his claims and explains (with lots of pretty charts) how they’re BS. Read it here.
GOOD READ: The Atlantic writes, “The new attorney general makes it clear that when it comes to abuses in local policing, Americans are now on their own.” Read it here.
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.