Saturday, February 24, 2018

ENEMIES LIST

Trump loves to have enemies -- and when he doesn't have them he creates them
 
https://www.axios.com/trump-west-wing-leaks-john-kelly-future-6a657eb4-1447-4a4b-953b-9b4d9d8c11d9.html
When it comes to President Trump — and his trickle-down moods that drive the West Wing, his party, the nation — February 2018 is no different than February 2017: he’s still stuck on the exact same internal fights about trade, the same complaints about top staff, the same obsessive gripes about media coverage. . . . [read on]

For example: https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/23/trump-slams-mccain/
President Trump mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — without using his name — for his no vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, . . . Just two weeks ago, Meghan McCain told Politico that Trump had called her to say he would “back off” her cancer-stricken father.

The Hoax

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/23/muellers-scorecard/
“To date, Mueller’s team has brought more than 100 criminal counts against 19 different individuals. In four cases, the individuals pleaded guilty before the charges were made public. Thirteen of the individuals are Russian nationals involved in efforts to influence the 2016 election through social media. Four of the individuals facing or pleading to charges worked for or with Trump’s campaign team.”

Uh-huh: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/manafort-spox-confident-acquitted-new-charges
A spokesperson for President Trump’s former campaign official Paul Manafort said Friday that Manfort is “confident that he will be acquitted of all charges” after special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday filed a new indictment against Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates. . . .

https://slate.com/technology/2018/02/paul-manafort-couldnt-convert-pdfs-to-word-documents.html
Manafort Left an Incriminating Paper Trail Because He Couldn’t Figure Out How to Convert PDFs to Word Files 

Paul Manafort's very, very, very bad day

https://www.thedailybeast.com/rick-gates-flips-from-paul-manaforts-old-pal-to-robert-muellers-new-weapon
Rick Gates Flips From Paul Manafort’s Old Pal to Robert Mueller’s New Weapon

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/lift-up-your-heads-o-ye-gates/554162/
What Rick Gates’s Guilty Plea Means

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/manafort-superseding-indictment-unsealed-in-dc
Mueller Reveals New Indictment Against Manafort

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/here-are-the-new-details-in-the-case-against-paul-manafort.html
Here Are Today’s New Details in the Case Against Paul Manafort

[NB: Gates's plea deal is bad news for Manafort. But from what I hear they have an overwhelming case against Manafort already, just based on the paper trail. They didn't need Gates to make it. The deal with Gates makes it pretty clear that he is giving them evidence on other people besides Manafort.]

Trump says he wants Chief of Staff Kelly to make the decision on Jared Kushner's security clearance, and that he will stay out of it. But he also says, ominously, that he's sure Kelly will "do the right thing" . . .  Here's the problem: Rod Rosenstein (not the FBI, who do security vetting) makes it clear that there are some Major Problems with Kushner getting that clearance. And whose boss is Rosenstein?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/23/us/politics/trump-kushner-security-clearance.htm
Trump Says Kelly Will Decide on Kushner’s Security Clearance 

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/23/white-house-alerted-kushner-clearance-delayed/
White House Alerted Kushner Clearance Would Be Delayed 

Ha ha: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-security-clearance-933e7031c184/
Trump says security clearance process is actually too rigorous

Scenes from CPAC: the state of our political discourse

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/375262-trump-warns-dems-will-take-away-your-second-amendment 
Trump warns Dems will 'take away your Second Amendment'

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markjoyella/2018/02/23/trumps-biggest-boast-is-also-his-saddest-he-really-believes-the-news-media-need-him/#58daa2f87504
In the speech, Trump accused unnamed political rivals of committing "atrocities" . . .

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/trump-americans-who-came-here-via-lottery-are-horrendous.html
Trump Calls Americans Who Came Here Through Visa Lottery ‘Horrendous’

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/23/17044744/trump-snake-speech-cpac
“The Snake”: Donald Trump brings back his favorite anti-immigrant fable at CPAC

https://thinkprogress.org/at-cpac-trump-makes-ludicrous-case-that-armed-teacher-wouldve-stopped-parkland-shooting-7ac1fe82df99/
Trump says armed teachers would be more effective at preventing school shootings than armed guards

More: https://www.vox.com/2018/2/23/17044770/trump-cpac-2018-speech
Donald Trump’s CPAC speech is a reminder that he’s not really in charge of his White House 

Trump's sad and pathetic obsession with being the biggest, the best, and the most

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/23/trump-cpac-speech-2018-what-happened
“My administration, I think has had the most successful first year in the history of the presidency,” he said. 

In other news . . .

The Cesspool

https://thinkprogress.org/eric-trump-free-speech-india-trip-1d0dd3f1c923/
Eric Trump says criticizing his family’s conflicts of interest infringes on their free speech

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/23/1744258/-Trump-stiffed-the-contractors-who-built-the-D-C-hotel-that-he-is-unconstitutionally-profiting-from
Trump stiffed the contractors who built the D.C. hotel that he is unconstitutionally profiting from

Don't believe for a second that Trump is going to stand up to the NRA or press them to accept reforms they don't like. Even his talking points on school shootings come straight from NRA Central

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1744138

Part of the role of a leader is to provide support and sympathy in cases of national grief. Trump. Just. Can't. Do. It

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/23/shooting-survivor-on-trump-never-been-so-unimpressed-with-a-person-in-my-life/
Shooting survivor on Trump: “Never been so unimpressed with a person in my life”



CNN calls out the NRA's monstrous accusation

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cnn-confronts-nra-claims-media-loves-mass-shootings
CNN Confronts NRA For Saying Media ‘Loves’ Shootings: ‘How Dare You?’

More: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/23/nras-dana-loesch-we-absolutely-do-not-have-responsibility-to-stop-gun-deaths/
NRA’s Dana Loesch: “We absolutely do not” have responsibility to stop gun deaths 

Ivanka is now doing U.S. foreign policy. Yikes

https://www.thedailybeast.com/ivanka-trump-struggles-with-winter-olympics-charm-offensive
But Ivanka seemed to have trouble conveying that message to her host, President Moon Jae-in, at a dinner in the Blue House, Moon’s residence and center of power in Seoul. While Moon talked of the need for “active dialogue” with the North—as seen at the Olympics, where the two Koreas marched as a unified team in the Opening Ceremony—Ivanka instead stressed a “maximum pressure campaign” on Kim Jong Un’s government. It’s a phrase that Moon has assiduously shied away from, particularly with hopes of a post-Olympics thaw. . . . 

Letting the theocrats pay for the Jerusalem embassy

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-considering-offer-adelson-fund-jerusalem-embassy

Bonus item: Good news for Native Americans, I guess. We are no longer a "nation of immigrants"

https://thinkprogress.org/nation-of-immigrants-2be7ad6e27b4/
In a move formalizing more than a year of hardline anti-immigration rhetoric from the White House, the agency responsible for overseeing both green cards and citizenship has wiped a key line framing the United States as a “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement. . . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Friday, February 23, 2018

I NEVER SAID WHAT I JUST SAID


Trump unleashes an epic, multi-part tweet in which he denies he ever said we should arm teachers . . . then says we should arm TWENTY PERCENT of teachers ("a lot")

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/966650397002813440
[Trump] I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC. What I said was to look at the possibility of giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot . . .

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/trump-i-never-said-arm-teachers-but-it-would-be-awesome.html
 . . . A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END! . . . Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT! . . . Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!
 
https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/22/flashback-quote-day-24/
“Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!”  
             — Donald Trump, on Twitter on May 21, 2016.

More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/prevent-shootings-trump-eyes-more-guns-schools

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/22/1743746/-Set-aside-how-stupid-it-is-for-a-minute-How-much-would-arming-teachers-cost
Set aside how stupid it is for a minute. How much would arming teachers cost?

[NB: Simple. We'll just take it out of current school funding. They have plenty of money anyway.]

More: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/the-absurdity-of-armed-educators/553961/
The Absurdity of Armed Educators

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/trumps-proposal-to-arm-teachers-would-endanger-students-of-color.html
Arming Teachers Would Endanger Students of Color

https://thinkprogress.org/arming-teachers-dangerous-myth-1b6311fa85c2/
Research proves arming teachers won’t make students safer

https://www.thedailybeast.com/teachers-well-quit-before-trump-makes-us-carry-guns
Teachers: We’ll Quit Before Trump Gets Us to Carry Guns

Idiot-in-Chief: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-school-military-base-78144ae04b49
Trump says a school ‘is frankly no different’ than a military base

The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun . . . uh . . . maybe

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sheriff-school-officer-never-went-inside-to-confront-gunman
Sheriff: School Officer Never Went Inside To Confront Gunman

When Congress banned assault weapons

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/22/the-real-reason-congress-banned-assault-weapons-in-1994-and-why-it-worked/

Trump is trying hard to rehabilitate the image of the NRA: Great patriots! Of course they will support reasonable, moderate gun control

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-people-dont-understand-nra-officials-patriots 

Of course they will: https://thinkprogress.org/nra-spokeswoman-dana-loesch-misleads-cfe14f8b3f08/
Dana Loesch deceives shooting survivors about the NRA’s real positions 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/nra-the-media-loves-mass-shootings
NRA: The Media Loves Mass Shootings 

[NB: See, in this world, the NRA are the patriots, and the press are nation-hating enemies of freedom. Just so you know.]

The same NRA that ran these ads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtGOQFf9VCE

http://www.businessinsider.com/nra-dana-loesch-new-york-times-video-2017-8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqhyWd0ZqNs 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuNe5fXfxQ

We hear these stories regularly, so it may come to nothing -- but now we learn that Trump wants to get rid of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cnn-pentagon-mulling-options-move-mcmaster-out-white-house
Trump’s frustration with McMaster became public over the weekend when Trump criticized him on Twitter. Trump was likely responding to McMaster’s remarks about the “incontrovertible” proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. . . . [read on]

In other news . . .

The future of energy

https://thinkprogress.org/coal-plants-now-shutting-down-faster-under-trump-than-obama-4da9d4554ec0/
Reality sets in for the coal industry: Trump is powerless to save it

More: https://thinkprogress.org/carbon-emissions-decline-with-renewables/
Renewables, not natural gas, were main driver behind drop in U.S. power sector emissions in 2017  

The Cesspool (thanks to RR for the link)

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07/jared-kushner-qatar-666-fifth-ave
Is Jared Kushner Punishing Qatar Over a Soured Real-Estate Deal?

More: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-ambassador-mar-a-lago-donation-e5018c63fb43/
Trump ambassador pick made a big donation to Mar-a-Lago gala right after he was nominated

18 governorships are in play for the Dems this year

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/22/democrats-pick-18-governorships-year/

One more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/missouri-gov-eric-greitens-indicted-for-taking-nude-photo-of-woman-without-consent
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Indicted for Taking Nude Photo of Woman Without Consent
 
Get angry

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/americas-voting-systems-are-still-dangerously-vulnerable-to-hacking.html
America’s Voting Systems Are Highly Vulnerable to Hackers. And we’re doing nothing to protect them. . . .

The vise tightens

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/22/32-new-charges-filed-manafort-gates/
32 New Charges Filed Against Manafort and Gates  

More: https://www.vox.com/2018/2/22/17042594/paul-manafort-gates-mueller-indictment

Hush money?

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1743512
RNC is using a 'slush fund' to pay Trump's former bodyguard $15,000 per month for 'consulting'

A lot of the trouble with Trump's presidency comes back to WH Counsel Don McGahn not doing his job

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/how-don-mcgahn-has-become-the-worst-white-house-counsel-ever.html

Imagine if this judge was appointed by Obama, donated to Hillary, and worked on her campaign

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/22/trump-appointed-judge-refuses-recuse-dossier-case/
 
Trump blames movies for mass shootings, says we need . . . a rating system?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-maybe-they-have-to-put-a-rating-system-on-movies

It's like a frat party

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/lock-her-up-chant-cpac-2018
‘Lock Her Up’ Chants Return To CPAC 15 Months After 2016 Election
 
Bonus item: This WH press flack DOES NOT want to talk about Stormy Daniels. At all

https://thinkprogress.org/raj-shah-trump-stormy-daniels-77b31436eabf/
“Last week the president’s personal lawyer acknowledged a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. Is the president aware that his lawyer paid that kind of money to a porn star to buy her silence? Does he approve of that?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked deputy press secretary Raj Shah . . .

“I haven’t asked him about it, but that matter has been asked and answered in the past,” Shah said . . .

No, not since he acknowledged this last week, this is the first time we’ve had a chance to ask about it, so can you go back can we find out if the president approved?” Karl replied.  

But Shah wouldn’t even commit to asking Trump about it. “I haven’t him asked that. I haven’t asked him about that,” Shah reiterated.  

“But will you ask him about it, Raj?”  

“I’ll get back to you.”

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Thursday, February 22, 2018

CRAZY TALK


Trump wants his Attorney General "Jeff Session" to investigate Obama for allowing Russian meddling

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/21/trump-russia-meddling-obama-jeff-sessions-418424

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-investigate-dems-russia-jeff-session

Meanwhile, in the real investigation, Mueller is honing in on Manafort

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/02/21/mueller-ups-the-ante-on-paul-manafort/ 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/new-charges-manafort-gates-mueller
 
More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/21/17036634/paul-manafort-sealed-charges

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/manafort-investigated-for-promising-wh-job-for-personal-loan.html
Mueller Investigating Whether Manafort Promised a White House Job in Exchange for a Personal Loan

Trump holds a "listening session" on gun control. But did he really listen?

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-listening-session-students-parents-school-shootings

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-tells-shooting-survivors-solution-to-your-problem-is-more-guns-in-school

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/21/1743577/-At-emotionally-raw-White-House-listening-session-Trump-reminded-himself-to-say-I-hear-you


In other news. . . .
 
Remember all those bigger paychecks Trump promised?

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/21/paychecks-tax-law-poll-417884

More: https://thinkprogress.org/disney-unions-file-federal-complaint-bff5b8caa0fc
Workers allege Disney withheld $1,000 bonuses until employees agree to lower wages  

The Cesspool

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/21/17031706/donald-trump-jr-india-conflict-of-interest
Donald Trump Jr.’s tour through India is staggeringly corrupt

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-jr-india-nonsense-family-profiting-presidency
Trump Jr. In India: ‘Nonsense’ That Family’s Profiting From Presidency

End "chain migration"!

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/21/melania-trumps-parents-rely-chain-migration/
Melania Trump’s Parents

Hard to believe that VA Sect'y David Shulkin will survive

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/shulkin-stay-va-wh-support
Shulkin Will Stay At VA With WH Support Despite Travel Abuse, Staff Rebellion

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/21/va-secretary-david-shulkin-has-green-light-to-purge-dissident-staffers-report/
VA Secretary David Shulkin has green light to purge dissident staffers: report

Bad Bernie

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/21/bernie-sanders-trump-russia-interference-420528
Bernie blames Hillary for allowing Russian interference . . . The senator and his top political adviser also denied Mueller's assertion that Russian actors backed his campaign.

[NB: It's a bad sign when Bernie ends up sounding like Trump.]

Highlights from the CNN town hall on gun violence

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/the-most-powerful-moments-from-the-extraordinary-cnn-townhall-on-the-parkland-school-shooting.html
 
The kind of people they are

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-congresswoman-mass-murderers-end-up-being-democrats
GOP Congresswoman: Many Mass Murderers ‘End Up Being Democrats’

The right wing troll factory is claiming that white people are getting beat up at showings of "Black Panther"

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/21/trolls-are-claiming-that-theyre-being-beaten-at-black-panther-screenings/

Bonus item: Sometimes the headlines write themselves

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trevor-noah-rips-florida-lawmakers-for-taking-on-porn-not-guns
Trevor Noah Rips Florida Lawmakers for Taking on Porn, Not Guns

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

THE CROONER

Trump's golden oldies: when in trouble. . . . attack Obama! 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-tweets-obama-quote-on-voter-fraud-cast-blame-russia-meddling 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/20/17032210/trump-obama-rigged-election-russia  

More: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/trump-why-didnt-obama-stop-the-russia-hacking-i-abetted.html
Trump: Why Didn’t Obama Stop the Hacking That I Abetted? 

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/20/1743067/-Trump-claims-he-s-been-tougher-on-Russia-than-Obama-Total-fake-news
Trump claims he's been tougher on Russia than Obama 

I believe in Ockham's razor. When you have an administration that won't call out Russia for election meddling, and that won't do a damn thing to prevent it happening again, the simplest explanation is that they welcome it, and WANT to see it happen again 

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/20/state-officials-arent-told-election-threats/
State Officials Aren’t Being Told of Election Threats 

More: https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/trumps-week-end-meltdown-created-big.html
Trump's week-end meltdown created a big question he can't answer

Colonel Sanders holds a press briefing. Here's what happened 

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/20/1743205/-Sanders-conducts-first-briefing-in-a-week-speeds-through-Russia-shooting-and-nonsense
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, after delaying for over an hour and a half, rushed onto the stage and began reading a statement on the shooting at Parkland, Florida, at “Flight of the Bumblebee” speed.  . . . She then announced that Trump would have a series of “listening sessions,” that would include students and parents from schools that had experienced shootings, schools that hadn’t experienced shootings, local politicians, state politicians, and law enforcement—all of which will take an undisclosed number of weeks.  

When the QA session began, the first question was why Trump continued to insist that Russia had not meddled in the election. Sanders insisted that Trump “has acknowledged it multiple times before. During the transition. At a press conference in Poland, and … in Poland.” She also insisted that Trump hasn’t said that Russia didn’t meddle—despite almost countless examples of Trump saying exactly that. Sanders insisted that what Trump said was that the Russian interference didn’t have an impact, and that it was “very clear” that the Trump campaign didn’t collude—both of which are statements unsupported by a single lick of evidence, but which Sanders was careful to repeat multiple times.  

When asked about sanctions, Sanders launched into her claim that Trump … “Has been tougher … far tougher on Russia than Obama.” How exactly, Sanders cited the budget Trump sent out that had more money for defense “which Russia won’t like” and increased shipments of US energy to Europe “which Russia won’t like.” She also insisted that Trump had imposed sanctions … in the sense that he hadn’t repealed the sanctions put in place by Obama. And that he’s taken away property … in that he hasn’t given back the properties that Obama took from the Russians. Which proves that Trump “Has been tougher on Russia in one year than Obama was in eight.” . . .

Asked again why Trump hadn’t imposed the sanctions passed by Congress, Sanders improbably said that it wasn’t that simple, they couldn’t impose sanctions, because Russia hadn’t done anything wrong—this two minutes after acknowledging that Russia had interfered in the election, which was the subject of the sanctions. Sanders spent a good deal of her hyper-speed conference trying to walk back statements that Trump made over the weekend, mostly by ignoring them and citing things said by other officials or with nothing at all. 

For example, she was asked about Trump’s tweet that the FBI failed to stop the Parkland shooter because they were too involved in Russia investigation, Sanders launched into a much-repeated statement that a “deranged individual” that made the decision to take the lives of 17 other people, completely failing to answer the question about Trump’s attack on the FBI.

And after first repeatedly insisting that Trump had acknowledged that Russia interfered in the election, Sanders came back with multiple uses of the word “hoax,” again insisting on the twin pillars of Trump denial: No effect on outcome, no collusion....

[NB: So the new line is that Trump never said the story of Russian meddling was a "hoax" -- not true -- that he always said that Russia meddled -- not true -- and that he meant that the story that Trump's people had colluded was the hoax. Uh-huh.] 

More: https://thinkprogress.org/sanders-trump-russian-meddling-fbi-parkland-a48302ba58c9/
Sanders had no response to the reporter’s follow-up question about why, if Trump takes Russian meddling so seriously, he hasn’t then implemented sanctions approved by Congress. . . . 

Mueller's totally fake investigation racks up two more guilty pleas -- with Gates coming up
 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/law-firm-associate-pleads-guilty-mueller-lying  

http://time.com/5163450/richard-pinedo-russia-investigation-robert-mueller-guilty-plea/ 

More: https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/20/17031766/mueller-indictments-alex-van-der-zwaan-paul-manafort
What the latest Mueller indictment tells us about his strategy 

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-van-der-zwaan/553793/
Mueller’s Latest Plea Deal Puts Pressure on Paul Manafort
 
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/20/17031772/mueller-indictments-grand-jury
All of Robert Mueller’s indictments and plea deals in the Russia investigation so far 

When he is feeling threatened, Trump attacks, often wildly and in self-destructive ways. After his weekend tweetstorm calling out multiple enemies inside and outside his administration, Trump picks this moment to attack one of the women who have accused him of assault. In the process he misrepresents her accusation, then uses the false version to "disprove" her claims

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-attacks-woman-who-accused-him-in-2016-of-sexual-assault 

More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-helps-put-the-spotlight-back-his-women-accusers   

In other news . . .

Trump is claiming almost unlimited war powers

https://www.thedailybeast.com/whats-inside-trumps-secret-war-powers-memo
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed a senator in a recently-revealed letter that President Trump considers himself to possess inherent constitutional authority to launch military action without any act of Congress, a sweeping assertion that appears to resurrect from the early George W. Bush years the most imperial notions of the presidency. Now a group comprised mostly of former Obama administration attorneys is suing to force disclosure of a seven-page Justice Department document they believe codifies the broad legal claim . . .

The fight over Jared's security clearance

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/20/kushner-resists-losing-access-classified-info/
Jared Kushner “is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets,” the New York Times reports. “Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive . . .Mr. Kushner has insisted that he maintain his current level of access, including the ability to review the daily intelligence briefing when he sees fit.”

A look back: https://politicaldig.com/john-kelly-gives-trump-ultimatum-kushner-ones-gotta-go/
[Sept 30, 2017] John Kelly Gives Trump Ultimatum: It’s Him Or Kushner, One’s Gotta Go

The fever swamp of crazy, hateful far-right conspiracies goes after the Parkland kids -- some even saying they should be in jail! And Donald Jr. promotes the smears

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/20/pro-trump-media-launch-attacks-on-student-survivors-of-florida-school-shooting_partner/

DJ: https://thinkprogress.org/donald-trump-jr-smear-campaign-parkland-massacre-3ca5eb03f50c/

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/02/escalating-right-wing-smear-campaign
Escalating Right-Wing Smear Campaign Against Parkland Kids Seems To Be Organized And Coordinated

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1743151
National Review weighs in on Parkland survivors: 'We shouldn't let young people make policy'
 
A civics lesson

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/02/parkland-kids-travel-tallahassee-see
Parkland Kids Travel To Tallahassee To See Legislators Refuse To Consider Assault Weapons Ban
 
A primer on the Second Amendment

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/20/clarence-thomas-selectively-edits-the-second-amendment/

Trump wants to reduce judicial independence

http://prospect.org/article/democracy-unchecked-trump-spurs-state-lawmakers-curb-judges%E2%80%99-powers

The problem with bots

https://slate.com/technology/2018/02/russian-bots-were-active-after-the-florida-shooting-and-the-latest-mueller-indictment.html

More: https://thinkprogress.org/russia-facebook-texas-propaganda-90df7b54ec61/
 
They're still trying to kill Obamacare

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/20/17031640/short-term-insurance-trump-obamacare 

More: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-administrations-latest-attack-on-obamacare-would-cost-taxpayers-millions-63e8ca98b45c/
Trump administration’s latest attack on Obamacare would cost taxpayers millions

The assault on Planned Parenthood

https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/2/20/17008402/trump-planned-parenthood-abortion-birth-control-alliance-defending-freedom

Damn, Donald Jr. is dumb

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/20/lets-see-what-donald-trump-jr-is-doing-in-india/
[In India] “You go through a town, and I don’t mean to be glib about it, but you can see the poorest of the poor, and there is still a smile on a face,” Trump Jr. told CNBC on Monday about his perception of India’s impoverished community. “You say hello. It’s a different that you don’t see in other parts of the world, where people walk around so solemn, and I think there is something unique about that, that doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

No, don't look to Mitt Romney for any great courage in opposing Trump -- now that he has political ambitions again

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/trump-romney-endorse-utah-senate-417111

More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/20/17031658/mitt-romney-trump-endorsement
Mitt Romney said he wouldn’t accept an endorsement from Trump. Monday night, he did. 

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/20/so-much-for-mitt-romney-being-the-cure-for-donald-trump/
So much for Mitt Romney being the cure for Donald Trump

Why did Trump endorse Romney?

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/20/trump-endorsed-romney/
"He could either endorse Romney, stay silent, or oppose the man he likes to say ‘choked like a dog’ in the 2012 election. Either of the latter two options would have resulted in cable news blaring “Utah rejects Trump” headlines after an eventual Romney win. Now Trump can claim credit for Romney’s victory, and be on the side of a winner."  

The Cesspool

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-no-foreign-deals-pledge-came-asterisk
Trump’s ‘no foreign deals’ pledge came with an asterisk 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/trump-is-no-longer-bothering-to-conceal-his-corruption.html
Trump Is No Longer Bothering to Conceal His Corruption

The melting poles

https://thinkprogress.org/record-arctic-temperatures-85b0c287a78b/ 

Trump's world, and the real world

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/965932714141650946
"Republicans are now leading the Generic Poll, perhaps because of the popular Tax Cuts which the Dems want to take away. Actually, they want to raise you taxes, substantially. Also, they want to do nothing on DACA, R’s want to fix!"

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/20/democrats-lead-generic-ballot-15-points/
A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters prefer Democrats in control of Congress by 15 points, 53% to 38%, including independent voters by 47% to 36%. For comparison, the FiveThirtyEight polling average shows Democrats with a 48.3% to 39.7% lead.

Another one

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/20/17034262/kentucky-special-election-linda-belcher
Democrats just flipped a Kentucky state legislature seat in a district Trump won by 49 points

No surprise here: Trump likes the gerrymandered map of Pennsylvania that the courts just rejected

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-endorsement-pennsylvania-gerrymandering-9c259f7aaea9/

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/20/trump-pennsylvania-redistricting-417116
Trump: Pennsylvania Republicans should appeal redistricting to the U.S. Supreme Court 

Trump praises a book he hasn't read about a religious faith he doesn't have

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/965780052167286784
"[A] very interesting read . . ." 

Bonus item: Fox World's totally insane solutions to school shootings

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trevor-noah-parkland-students-know-more-than-fox-news-about-guns

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