“House Intelligence Committee Republicans have completed a draft report in their year-long Russia probe that states they found no evidence President Trump or anyone affiliated with him colluded with Russian officials to affect the outcome of the 2016 elections, a conclusion expected to incite backlash from committee Democrats,” the Washington Post reports.
“Republicans also determined that while the Russian government did pursue ‘active measures’ to interfere in the 2016 election, they did not do so with the intention of helping Trump’s campaign, contradicting the findings of the intelligence community.”
New York Times: “The decision to end the investigation with a conclusion of no collusion hands Mr. Trump a convenient talking point even before Mr. Mueller interviews the president and possibly other key witnesses.”
Meanwhile, in response to this naked corruption by the Nunes Committee and its attempt to cover up for Donald Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated in an interview with USA Today that “the special counsel is not an unguided missile. I don’t believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel.”
Here's everything you need to know about the Pennsylvania 18th special election => https://t.co/dQkWNBKMV0
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) March 12, 2018
“There’s a reason Trump said hardly anything about Republican candidate Rick Saccone during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night that was supposed to promote his candidacy,” Jonathan Swan reports.
“Trump thinks Saccone is a terrible, ‘weak’ candidate, according to four sources who’ve spoken to the president about him. Trump held that opinion of Saccone before leaving for the rally, and I’ve not been able to establish whether his time on the ground with the candidate changed his mind.”
Harry Enten: “History tells us it’s far more significant to look at the margin between Lamb and Saccone, not at who ultimately wins or loses. And if we’re only looking at the margin, it’s pretty clear that the result in Pennsylvania’s 18th could very likely end up being bad news for Republicans. … the race shouldn’t be close even if the national environment was neutral. Saccone should be winning by double digits.”
Incredible poll. Monmouth is a tier 1 pollster.
— Benchmark Politics (@benchmarkpol) March 12, 2018
Greg Sargent: “Prediction: If Republican Rick Saccone scrapes out a close win in tomorrow’s special election for a House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania, Donald Trump will claim it was all because of Donald Trump. But if Saccone falls just short, Donald Trump will claim it was all because Saccone didn’t sufficiently emulate Donald Trump.”
“But either way, it will be very bad news for Donald Trump. This isn’t just because this election is deep in the heart of Trump country. It’s also because the failure of the Trump/Republican argument to prevent this contest from being so close also carries ominous signs for the GOP this fall.”
— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) March 12, 2018
“The White House on Sunday vowed to help provide ‘rigorous firearms training’ to some schoolteachers and formally endorsed a bill to tighten the federal background checks system, but it backed off President Trump’s earlier call to raise the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 years old from 18 years old” the Washington Post reports.
“Responding directly to last month’s gun massacre at a Florida high school, the administration rolled out several policy proposals that focus largely on mental health and school safety initiatives. The idea of arming some teachers has been controversial and has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers lobby, among other groups. Many of the student survivors have urged Washington to toughen restrictions on gun purchases, but such measures are fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association, and the Trump plan does not include substantial changes to gun laws.”
McClatchy: “Ivanka Trump — a senior White House adviser who is doing everything from lobbying the Senate on tax policy to representing her father at a G20 summit of world leaders — will pull in more than $1 million a year from the family business that has continued to develop luxury resorts across the globe during the Trump presidency.”
“Some of those Trump-branded developments are hiring state-owned companies for construction, receiving gifts from foreign governments in the form of public land or eased regulations and accepting payments from customers who are foreign officials.”
“Ivanka Trump’s continued relationship with the businesses affiliated with the Trump Organization creates countless potential conflicts of interest prohibited by federal law and federal ethics standards as she works as a special assistant to the president. And just like her father, she is being accused of violating the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution that forbids government officials — not just presidents — from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.”
Meanwhile, “Donald Trump Jr. has a previously undisclosed business relationship with a longtime hunting buddy who helped raise millions of dollars for his father’s 2016 presidential campaign and has had special access to top government officials since the election,” the AP reports.
“The president’s eldest son and Texas hedge fund manager Gentry Beach have been involved in business deals together dating back to the mid-2000s and recently formed a company — Future Venture LLC — despite past claims by both men that they were just friends.
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) March 12, 2018
“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice is said to be close to completion, but he may set it aside while he finishes other key parts of his probe, such as possible collusion and the hacking of Democrats,” Bloomberg reports.
“That’s because Mueller may calculate that if he tries to bring charges in the obstruction case — the part that may hit closest to Trump personally — witnesses may become less cooperative in other parts of the probe, or the president may move to shut it down altogether.”
Meanwhile, “Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration,” NBC News reports.
“Qatari officials believe the meetings — as well as fallout from Qatari business dealings with Kushner — may have influenced President Trump’s public endorsement of a blockade of Qatar by its neighbors that began last year.”
"When you go to work in the White House, you divest yourself of your secrets for the same reason you divest yourself of your financial holdings: so people can’t blackmail you" – @AlyssaMastro44 https://t.co/WsrGUJ13tp
— Chloe Angyal (@ChloeAngyal) March 9, 2018
Playbook: “Yes, here we are again, government funding runs out in less than two weeks, and there’s more drama developing behind the scenes.”
“Things to keep an eye on: Will Republicans in Congress keep funding for the so-called Gateway Tunnel, a new tunnel between New York and New Jersey? President Donald Trump has threatened to veto any funding bill that includes money for the project, but House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is retiring, and it’s one of his top priorities. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also wants it built, and Republicans will need Democratic votes.”
“Also Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the House Freedom Caucus leader who is close to President Trump, tweeted over the weekend that the funding bill should cut off money for so-called sanctuary cities. This is a nonstarter for Democrats and could be a serious issue if the Freedom Caucus digs in on it.”
Trump is increasingly making big decisions (tariffs, North Korea) without telling staff. He's gone rogue: https://t.co/hRjGLtW2Lv
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 12, 2018
Politico: “Every time it seems the president has zeroed in on an issue, and appears determined to see it through — guns and immigration are just the two latest examples — he moves on to something else. And Congress, which isn’t designed to respond swiftly to national events and the wishes of the White House even in the least distracted of circumstances, simply can’t keep up.”
“The constant whiplash of priorities is getting on lawmakers’ nerves.” Said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “It’s unbelievable to me. The attention span just seems to be … it’s a real problem.”
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 12, 2018
“White House officials were alarmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ struggle to answer basic questions about the nation’s schools and failure to defend the administration’s newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday,” CNN reports.
“Though DeVos was sworn in to her Cabinet position 13 months ago, she stumbled her way through a pointed 60 Minutes interview with CBS’ Lesley Stahl Sunday night and was unable to defend her belief that public schools can perform better when funding is diverted to the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers. At one point, she admitted she hasn’t ‘intentionally’ visited underperforming schools.”
Josh Marshall: “In many ways, having sex with a porn star is on-brand for Donald Trump. He spent decades playing up a reputation as a billionaire playboy. These stories seem to have stirred discord in Trump’s marriage. They’re hard to square with his current role as the darling of conservative evangelicals. But they play to the tough guy, dominant and hyper-masculine image he likes to portray. He’s boasted for years about his purported sexual prowess and the Access Hollywood tape and the subsequent string of accusations of various kinds of sexual misconduct confirmed his role as a sexual predator.”
“But Daniels apparently says something different. I’m told that in her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper Daniels suggests that Trump, how to say this, likes it when women aren’t nice to him, treat him in perhaps denigrating ways.”
“I think that would be very much off brand for Trump. It also puts in sharper relief why he and his lawyer seem to be fighting so hard to keep Daniels’ story under wraps.”
Trump so far has put himself in a worse bargaining position with North Korea than Obama was at the start of the Iran talks. https://t.co/XWiIDHtq2h
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) March 12, 2018
Jonathan Swan: “While senior officials and cabinet secretaries were struggling to keep up — and many eventually threw up their hands when they realized they couldn’t keep track of what was going on with tariffs and North Korea — Trump was careening around the building, acting as his own chief of staff, chief strategist, cable news producer, and communications director all rolled into one.”
“Sources who’ve spoken with the president in the past few days describe him as ‘giddy’ — a man who has finally fully indulged his itch to break free of John Kelly’s restraints.”
Top Trump official John Kelly ordered ICE to portray immigrants as criminals to justify raids. https://t.co/DQxlCBjjt8
— The Intercept (@theintercept) October 19, 2017
Kansas City Star: “Every other state requires some combination of a judge’s order, parents’ permission, premarital counseling or proof of pregnancy. Some flat-out prohibit marriages so young. But in Missouri, brides and grooms as young as 15 can marry with no more than the single approving swipe of their parent’s pen, even if the other parent objects.”
“Even children ages 14, 13, 12 or younger can marry in Missouri, as it remains one of 25 states with no minimum age requirement, although at 14 or younger, a judge must approve. But 15? One signature. The result: A review of some 50,000 marriage licenses shows how Missouri’s lax law has for years turned the state into a destination wedding spot for 15-year-old child brides, often rushing to get married.”
I wrote about the women’s march, and why someone trying to lead a diverse political movement would associate with the Nation of Islam https://t.co/y8O6pJg2B8
— T'Challah 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) March 11, 2018
“Most people outside the black community come into contact with the Nation of Islam this way—Farrakhan makes anti-Semitic remarks, which generate press coverage, and then demands for condemnation. But many black people come into contact with the Nation of Islam as a force in impoverished black communities—not simply as a champion of the black poor or working class, but of the black underclass: black people, especially men, who have been written off or abandoned by white society. They’ve seen the Fruit of Islam patrol rough neighborhoods and run off drug dealers, or they have a family member who went to prison and came out reformed, preaching a kind of pride, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurship that, with a few adjustments, wouldn’t sound out of place coming from a conservative Republican. The self-respect, inner strength, and self-reliance reflected in the polished image of the men in suits and bow ties can be a powerful sight.”
“The legitimacy of an election is only as good as the reliability of the machines that count the votes,” according to The New York Times editorial board. “And yet 43 states use voting machines that are no longer being made, and are at or near the end of their useful life. Many states still manage their voter-registration rolls using software programs from the 1990s. It’s no surprise that this sort of infrastructure failure hits poorer and minority areas harder, often creating hours-long lines at the polls and discouraging many voters from coming out at all. Upgrading these machines nationwide would cost at least $1 billion, maybe much more, and Congress has consistently failed to provide anything close to sufficient funding to speed along the process…Elections are hard to run with aging voting technology, but at least those problems aren’t intentional. Hacking and other types of interference are. In 2016, Russian hackers were able to breach voter registration systems in Illinois and several other states, and targeted dozens more. They are interfering again in advance of the 2018 midterms, according to intelligence officials, who are demanding better cybersecurity measures.”
— Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) March 12, 2018