NEW LOWS: A new CNN/SSRS poll finds President Trump’s approval at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet. “The slide follows a January bump in approval for the President, a finding that appeared connected to a bullish stock market and strong reviews for the economy. His new rating matches a December poll, which marked his lowest approval rating in CNN polling since taking office in January 2017.”
A new USA Today survey finds just 38% of Americans now approve of the job President Trump is doing as president while 60% disapprove. “What’s more, the intensity of feeling is hardening against the president. Now, the percentage who ‘strongly disapprove’ of him is more than double the percentage who ‘strongly approve,’ 39% compared with 16%.”
Weird, it's almost like Russia is trying to encourage us to start a disastrous war with North Korea that would permanently diminish American power in Asia https://t.co/QFuESh5ClA
— Matt Osborne (@OsborneInk) February 25, 2018
RUSSIA ATTACKED THE OLYMPICS. “Russian military spies hacked several hundred computers used by authorities at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” the Washington Post reports. “They did so while trying to make it appear as though the intrusion was conducted by North Korea, what is known as a ‘false-flag’ operation, said two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.”
Russian military spies reportedly hacked hundreds of computers at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Koreahttps://t.co/Ukw3BvJshT
— Axios (@axios) February 25, 2018
MISSOURI GOVERNOR MAY BE IMPEACHED. “The process of deciding whether to impeach scandal-plagued Gov. Eric Greitens (R) will begin as early as Monday in the Missouri House of Representatives,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-MO)_ spent Thursday and Friday reviewing which members of the Legislature’s lower chamber would be named to a special committee to investigate the charges against the embattled chief executive.”
CHINA NOW HAS A DICTATOR. Well, I guess they have one now, but past Chinese Presidents are term limited, with the Presidency rotated through the Party after each term expires. “China’s Communist Party (CCP) has proposed amending the country’s constitution to allow President Xi Jinping to serve a third term in office,” CNN reports. “When it goes into effect, Xi will be free to serve indefinitely as China’s head of state, the strongest indication yet he is intending to maintain power at the top beyond the two 5-year terms served by his predecessors for the past 20 years.”
Washington Post: “If China pushes ahead with the proposal, which seems likely, it could change the country’s political trajectory, securing Xi’s place as the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, who ruled for more than three decades through 1976.”
Republican Florida state Rep. Brian Mast revealed on Sunday that he had reversed his position on gun control and is calling for an immediate ban of AR-15s, the type of military-style assault rifle that was used to murder 17 at a school in Parkland, Florida.
DEATH KNELL FOR UNIONS AT SUPREME COURT? “The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a case that could shrink government unions and their campaign war chests by as much as two thirds, with potentially devastating consequences for the Democratic Party in a competitive election cycle,” Politico reports.
“The case, Janus v. AFSCME, challenges the money that public unions representing teachers, firefighters, nurses and other government employees collect from non-members to cover their share of collective bargaining costs. Democratic candidates and causes rely on these unions for more than $100 million in contributions every election cycle, and for armies of workers dispatched to staff phone banks and canvass neighborhoods across the country.”
PRIVATELY FUNDED EMBASSIES LEADING TO PRIVATELY FUNDED WARS? Stan Collender: “In one of the most frightening stories I’ve read since the start of the Trump presidency, the New York Times reported on Saturday that the administration is seriously considering paying for the new U.S. embassy it wants to build in Jerusalem with funds provided by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.”
“But the scariest part is the other things Trump might want to do this way. If privately funding an embassy is possible, what would stop Trump or some future president from raising funds to finance and conduct a war with mercenaries? An oligarch-like president with deep-pocketed friends would be able to ignore the checks and balances set in the Constitution and the legislative process to do whatever he or she (and they) wanted to do.”
CNN’s town hall on gun violence was the network at its best — and worst https://t.co/8FXtCqRJeI
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 25, 2018
NORTH KOREA OPEN TO MEETING WITH US. The North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics told South Korea that Pyongyang was “willing to have talks” with the United States, the Washington Post reports. “The statement did not make any mention of North Korea’s nuclear program or whether the dialogue would be about denuclearization. But still, this is the first sign of willingness from North Korea in years, and it comes when the Trump administration has been signaling an openness to talk without preconditions.”
FEINSTEIN FAILS TO GET DEM ENDORSEMENT. “The California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate contest on Saturday, an embarrassing rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate for a quarter-century, is facing an insurgent bid by fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León. Though De León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.”
MANAFORT TECH IGNORANCE LED TO HIS DOWNFALL. Ars Technica explains how evidence of Paul Manafort’s fraud was exposed because he didn’t know how to edit a PDF file — so he emailed Rick Gates to do it. “By sending these documents back and forth by email, Manafort and Gates made it easy for prosecutors to pinpoint exactly who changed the documents and when.”
MCDANIEL TO CHALLENGE WICKER? Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) says he will make an announcement early next week about his political future, WTVA reports. “McDaniel has said he has been looking at a run for the United States Senate in the GOP primary against incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). Qualifying for that primary ends March 1 at 5 p.m.
Recent CNN and USA Today polls show overwhelming support for stricter gun laws https://t.co/i3f0oXTAi9
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) February 25, 2018
“We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools. Period.” — NRA President Wayne LaPierre, on C-SPAN in 1999.
Dana Milbank on why the NRA is genuinely frightened. “To see the National Rifle Association boss speak this week at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference was to see a man in urgent need of mental-health intervention. He turned a conventional speech about guns (specifically, the need for more of them in schools) into a paranoid fantasy about a socialist takeover of the United States.
He saw a “tidal wave” of “European-style socialists bearing down upon us,” creating a “captive society,” eliminating “resistance,” making a “list” in a cloud database of those who spank their children, expunging the “fundamental concept of moral behavior,” controlling speech through “safe zones.”
LaPierre singled out three billionaire capitalists to blame for the socialist revolution: George Soros, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. But he saw conspirators everywhere in the government — Trump’s government: the FBI (with its “corruption” and “rogue leadership”), the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the intelligence agencies. He also blamed the Democrats, media, Hollywood, universities, classrooms, Black Lives Matter, elites and Keith Ellison.”
This is a powerful first-person account from a Parkland doctor who treated the wounded: https://t.co/cxxIQuh3uN
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) February 22, 2018
TRUMP BLASTED FOR HANDLING OF SCHOOL SHOOTING. Just one-third of Americans approve of the way President Trump has handled last week’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school, according to a new poll.
The CBS News poll released Friday finds just 33 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Fifty percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Trump has handled the shooting, and 17 percent said they didn’t know or had no answer.
The poll finds a strong partisan divide on Trump’s handling of the shooting. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans approve of the way Trump has handled the shooting, while just seven percent of Democrats approve. Among independents, 32 percent approve of Trump’s handling of the attack.
Eighty-four percent of Democrats disapprove of Trump’s response to the attack, and 45 percent of independents disapprove. Just 15 percent of Republicans disapprove of the way Trump has handled the shooting, according to the poll.
TRUMP WANTS HIS PERSONAL PILOT TO HEAD THE FAA. President Trump’s personal pilot “is on the administration’s short list to head the Federal Aviation Administration,” Axios reports. “Trump has told a host of administration officials and associates that he wants John Dunkin — his longtime personal pilot, who flew him around the country on Trump Force One during the campaign — to helm the agency, which has a budget in the billions and which oversees all civil aviation in the United States.”
— Axios (@axios) February 25, 2018