“President Trump’s Twitter assault on the ‘so-called judge‘ who put a nationwide hold on the president’s executive order on immigration has motivated Democrats to challenge Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, on an important but elusive issue,” the Washington Post reports.
“Is Gorsuch independent enough, they ask, to stand up to the president who picked him?”
“As the legal battle over Trump’s immigration directive shows, Gorsuch’s nomination lands at a time when the Supreme Court is likely to be called upon to review what Trump already has shown to be a broad reliance on executive power.”
Read this story. Amazing the anecdotes from inside Trumpland.
From the story: “Mr. Priebus bristles at the perception that he occupies a diminished perch in the West Wing pecking order compared with previous chiefs. But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.”
More: “Cloistered in the White House, he now has little access to his fans and supporters — an important source of feedback and validation — and feels increasingly pinched by the pressures of the job and the constant presence of protests, one of the reasons he was forced to scrap a planned trip to Milwaukee last week. For a sense of what is happening outside, he watches cable, both at night and during the day — too much in the eyes of some aides — often offering a bitter play-by-play of critics like CNN’s Don Lemon.”
“Until the past few days, Mr. Trump was telling his friends and advisers that he believed the opening stages of his presidency were going well… But his opinion has begun to change with a relentless parade of bad headlines.”
Wall Street Journal: “When President Donald Trump introduced his Supreme Court pick on live television last week, he said Neil Gorsuch had ‘demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate’ by working in the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the Harvard Defenders. His affiliation with these volunteer programs — which offer law school students real-life legal experience representing prison inmates and the poor — helped give Mr. Gorsuch’s deeply conservative résumé a personal touch, and the groups were highlighted in news reports about his nomination.”
“But roughly three dozen students who participated in the two programs while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard Law School from 1988 to 1991 said they have no recollection of his involvement.”
President Trump said the process for coming up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act could stretch into 2018, a longer time frame than he previously indicated, Bloomberg reports.
Said Trump: “Maybe it’ll take till some time into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process. I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”
NPR: “Suddenly, people are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act than are against it.”
Los Angeles Times: “Presidents of all stripes and both major political parties have bent, massaged or shaded the truth, elided uncomfortable facts or otherwise misled the public — unwittingly or, sometimes, very purposefully.”
“But White House scholars and other students of government agree there has never been a president like Donald Trump, whose volume of falsehoods, misstatements and serial exaggerations — on matters large and wincingly small — place him ‘in a class by himself.’”
“Fresh challenges to President Trump’s court-frozen immigration order took shape Monday with two former secretaries of state claiming the White House was undermining national security and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies arguing it will keep the best minds from coming to America,” the Washington Post reports.
“The powerful new voices were added with another legal showdown coming as early as Monday. The suspension of the order, meanwhile, has allowed those previously banned more time to try to reach the United States.”
New York Times: “President Trump is barreling into a confrontation with the courts barely two weeks after taking office, foreshadowing years of legal battles as an administration determined to disrupt the existing order presses the boundaries of executive power.”
President Donald Trump said that he would not be opposed to using defunding as a “weapon” against states that want to be sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, ABC News reports.
Said Trump: “I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.
California pays more to the federal government than it gets back in services. So does a lot of blue states. It is the red states that are the takers. Don’t make us defund you, Mr. Trump.
Eric Bradner’s CNN Politics post, “Is anti-Trump furor papering over Democrats’ working-class woes?” includes this warning against spending too much time worrying about the white working-class: “Those working-class white voters aren’t the future of the party,” said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog DailyKos.com, which has already raised $400,000 for a Democratic candidate in the expected runoff for the US House seat in Georgia soon to be vacated by Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary…They’re lost. It’s a waste of time to try and win them back when there are so many core-Democratic-base who didn’t register or vote last cycle. Almost half the country didn’t vote, and the bulk of the non-voters were liberal-leaning people many of them now marching in the streets…So instead of trying to chase people trapped by Breitbart and its cohorts in conservative media, give them a reason to get excited about rallying around Democrats”…Moulitsas said red-state Democrats should forget using those votes to try to prove themselves as moderates…”The best chance they have to win in their tough states will be by riding this incredible wave of energy. It may not be enough, but pissing off the base certainly isn’t the better bet. You either ride in with the people who brought you, or go down fighting honorably,” Moulitsas said. “Pretending to be a ‘Republican, but a little less bad’ has never inspired a dramatic re-election victory.”
Political turmoil has been very, very good to “Saturday Night Live,” Variety reports.
“Overall, SNL viewership for the season to date is up 19% in adults 18-49 (3.5 vs. 2.9 rating) and up 22% in total viewers (10.6 million vs. 8.7 million) over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season. This marks the show’s strongest ratings performance in 22 years, since the 1994-95 season, according to NBC.”
“Sure, Trump doesn’t drink or smoke. But those were about the only health vices he avoided on the trail. He guzzled Diet Coke all day long. Fast food was a constant. The ‘three staples,’ in the words of one aide: Domino’s, KFC, and McDonald’s. Big Macs were served on silver trays in his private jet.”