Now Trump wants to fight the Freedom Caucus AND the Democrats to get health care done. Fat chance!
The same week he announced he is "serious" about working with Democrats in Congress to pass legislation, President Donald Trump fired off a tweet Thursday morning vowing to fight them and the conservative House Freedom Caucus going forward. . . . How he plans to pass legislation through Congress without support from either Democrats or hardline conservatives remains to be seen.
President Donald Trump on Thursday went after members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus by name in a series of tweets questioning their support for his agenda. . . .
‘I Alone Can Fix It’
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said he does not want President Donald Trump to work with Democrats on new legislation for revamping the country’s health insurance system, commonly called Obamacare. . . .
Paul Ryan doesn’t want to work with Democrats on health care. They’re running out of options.
[NB: There you have it. Trump has absolutely no intention of working with Dems, but wants to use the threat of doing so to bring recalcitrant Repubs to heel.]
We are still getting mixed narratives about the secret documents Devin Nunes says he saw. What is clear is that he has desperately tried to shift the focus of his committee away from Trump-Russia ties to the supposed surveillance of Trump's people
Now we know the identities of the "whistleblowers." We know that they are WHITE HOUSE staffers who leaked information to Devin Nunes, who then cycled the material back to the White House as if it came from third parties. And we know that the materials involved foreign officials who were TALKING ABOUT Trump people. This is a far cry from "wiretapping" or "surveilling" them
Multiple anonymous officials told the Times that Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office who formerly worked for the House Intelligence Committee, helped provide Nunes with this information. . . .
Apparently, Nunes’s bombshell revelation may not even be that Trump officials had their communications intercepted — but merely that intelligence reports did not disguise their names, when they were invoked by foreign agents. It is difficult to understand why this is supposed to be outrageous. . . .
[March 27] In an interview Monday, Nunes told me that he ended up meeting his source on the White House grounds because it was the most convenient secure location with a computer connected to the system that included the reports . . . He added that his source was not a White House staffer and was an intelligence official.
Evidence is growing that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes engaged in an elaborate charade last week when he went to brief the president about what he spun as an alarming development: the U.S. government had spied on some of his top aides. . . .
Nunes' sources revealed: White House lawyer and Michael Flynn flunkie who Trump kept in place . . . National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster had informed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, that he’d be moving to another position on Friday, Politico reported. McMaster reportedly made the decision after receiving complaints from several career officials about the 30-year-old intelligence operative. … After they informed Trump of the situation Sunday, he overruled McMaster and told Cohen-Watnick he could stay put.
Put more bluntly: Members of the Trump White House selectively leaked classified intelligence that doesn’t actually support their boss’s claim to a credulous congressman who uncritically parroted the information in a press conference just hours later. . . .
[NB: What we don't know yet is who these guys talked to in the White House about these materials before contacting Nunes -- it certainly looks as if some senior people knew about them beforehand.]
. . . . Cohen-Watnick. . . is — per a blockbuster Politico report — a rather controversial figure. He’s a 30-year-old Trump loyalist who developed a close relationship with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner during the presidential transition. . . .
Was it Bannon? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/31/devin-nunes-is-just-the-errand-boy-in-thes-trump-russia-scandal.html
Spicey tries, fails
"I've commented on this yesterday and today. Your obsession with who talked to whom and when, is not the answer here, it should be the substance. The same way that when you guys post a story with eighteen anonymous sources, your obsession is the substance. It seems now, you continue to look at it through a backwards prism, which is who is it, who drove through what gate, who did they meet with, what were they wearing that day, as opposed to 'what was the underlying substance of this, did something happen, in the 2016 election, did leaks occur? We are not going to engage in actively, in that kind of leaking . . ."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced Thursday that it would invite the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review information discovered “in the ordinary course of business” related to a request two weeks ago. The announcement came minutes after the New York Times reported that two White House officials provided House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) with material . . .
Adam Schiff calls BS: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/adam-schiff-white-house-raises-profound-questions-with-intelligence-materials-revelations
Schiff: WH Raises 'Profound Questions' With Revelations About Intel Materials
“This looks nothing like a whistleblower case,” Schiff said during a press conference. “And again, I think the White House needs to answer: Is this instead a case where they wished to effectively launder information through our committee to avoid the true source of the information? That question the White House really needs to answer.”
A summary: this stinks!
It makes the White House look bad . . .
It makes Sean Spicer look bad . . .
It makes Trump look bad . . .
It makes Nunes look really bad . . .
It even makes Paul Ryan look bad. . . [read on]
Nunes keeps saying he cancelled the Yates hearing so he could schedule a Comey hearing. One itty bitty problem with that
There's a problem with Devin Nunes' invitation to FBI Director Comey—Nunes never sent it
More and more parts of the Steele dossier on Trump turn out to be verified
This could be huge
WSJ: Flynn Says He's Willing To Testify In Exchange For Immunity Deal
Mike Flynn tells the FBI he's willing to talk, but only for immunity. But you only get immunity if you deliver someone else higher up the ladder. And there's only one person higher up the ladder.
On the other hand: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/why-flynn-wants-immunity.html
The fact that Flynn and his lawyer have made his offer publicly suggests that he has nothing good to give the prosecutors (either because he cannot incriminate others or is unwilling to do so). If he had something good, Flynn and his lawyer would approach the prosecutors quietly, go through the proffer process in confidence, and reach a deal. Why? Because prosecutors have an interest in keeping their investigation secret, and Flynn’s lawyer knows that. The last thing Flynn’s lawyer would do if he thought he had the goods would be to go public, because that would potentially compromise the criminal inquiry and would certainly irritate the prosecutors, the very people Flynn’s lawyer would be trying to win over. Whiting speculates that Flynn’s attorney might have been “hoping that one of the Congressional committees will take the bait and grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony.”
[Trump] Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
Here's another aspect of the Russian hacking that hasn't been talked about much: voter rolls
The voter rolls are said to fit into this because of “microtargeting”. Using email, Facebook and Twitter, political advertising can be tailored very precisely: individual messaging for individual voters. . . . This would take co-operation with the Trump campaign, it is claimed. [read on]
Trump's Muslim ban hits another obstacle
Trump's Immigration Order Is Now Effectively Dead
Another broken Trump promise -- on trade
White House calls for changing, but not scrapping, NAFTA in draft letter
Interior Sect'y steps back from suggestion the Wall will be built on Mexican territory
No, Trump doesn't care about science
The problem with science is (a) it's bo-o-o-o-o-ring, (b) it's depressing, and (c) it often clashes with stuff you want to do.
Trump betrays the LGBT community
Trump raises nepotism to an unprecedented level
Key Priebus ally gets the axe
Did Bannon violate his ethics pledge?
6 reasons the Trump presidency is in shambles
To all those people who didn't think electing Clinton was worth the effort
Pence Casts Tie-breaking Vote To Defund Planned Parenthood
North Carolina tries to fix the disastrous HB 2 bill -- but doesn't go far enough
Big trouble in Fox World
Next week, according to sources, a grand jury in Manhattan will be hearing new testimony in a federal investigation of Fox News that had been led by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, until he was fired by Trump earlier this month. The case continues without Bharara, and people familiar with the investigation say the government is looking into a number of potential crimes, including Fox News’s alleged surveillance of journalists, and whether network executives misled investors by hiding Ailes’s sexual-harassment settlements. (A contender to replace Bharara is Ailes’s personal attorney Marc Mukasey — a choice that could have consequences for the investigation.) . . .[read on]