For a farcical few hours on Friday, it seemed that President Trump was going to veto the budget bill that he and his White House negotiated with Congressional Republicans and Democrats because Fox & Friends told him to. President Trump tweeted that he’s considering a veto on the $1.3 trillion spending bill that passed through Congress early this morning because of “the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL.”
Well first off, President Trump has rejected every deal that has been offered to him to give him his beloved wall funding in exchange for protecting Dreamers and DACA recipients, as recently as last weekend. Second, it was President Trump that totally abandoned the DACA recipients in the fucking first place when he canceled the program. He then has held them hostage for over six months demanding his precious wall. The Democrats have given him his precious wall funding, and still he rejects the deal, wanting more and more putative and discriminatory legal immigration provisions (remember the shithole countries remark?).
The President then held a news conference yesterday afternoon, where he did not take or answer any questions, hence it was only a news statement, where he announced he would sign the deal, but he was not happy, and would never sign a bill like that again. To which every one in the world, including Anne Coulter, said, “You’re right, because next year you will be impeached.”
Jonathan Swan: “Trump is doing what he used to do at Trump Tower. He’s waking up, watching cable news, making phone calls, watching more cable news, having some meetings, taking more calls (sometimes from cable news hosts and guests), watching more cable news. And improvising all the way.”
Maggie Haberman: “Really wish more people would stop convincing themselves there’s a grand plan at work. Newt Gingrich had a line about how Trump gets up every day not knowing what he’s doing to do. It’s true.
Bolton at NSC is a gut-check moment for America in the Trump era. https://t.co/IBqmaoOr1g
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) March 23, 2018
“When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election, the young adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump made sure to seek approval from campaign headquarters,” the Washington Post reports. Emailed deputy communication director Byran Lanza: “You should do it,” while emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. “partnership with Russia.”
“The exchange was a sign that Papadopoulos — who pushed the Trump operation to meet with Russian officials — had the campaign’s blessing for some of his foreign outreach.”
Trump is pissed off about the omnibus because Democrats got most of what they wanted: https://t.co/TOIIFPLZKo
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) March 23, 2018
“Days after a woman accused U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual impropriety, two Moore supporters approached her attorney with an unusual request,” the Washington Post reports.
“They asked lawyer Eddie Sexton to drop the woman as a client and say publicly that he did not believe her. The damaging statement would be given to Breitbart News, then run by former White House strategist Stephen Bannon.”
“In exchange, Sexton said in recent interviews, the men offered to pay him $10,000 and promised to introduce him to Bannon and others in the nation’s capital. Parts of Sexton’s account are supported by recorded phone conversations, text messages and people in whom he confided at the time.”
The Guardian obtained “the blueprint for how Cambridge Analytica claimed to have won the White House for Donald Trump by using Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“The 27-page presentation was produced by the Cambridge Analytica officials who worked most closely on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.”
“A former employee explained to the Guardian how it details the techniques used by the Trump campaign to micro-target US voters with carefully tailored messages about the Republican nominee across digital channels. Intensive survey research, data modelling and performance-optimizing algorithms were used to target 10,000 different ads to different audiences in the months leading up to the election.”
Meanwhile, “the political action committee founded by John Bolton, President Trump’s incoming national security adviser, was one of the earliest customers of Cambridge Analytica, which it hired specifically to develop psychological profiles of voters with data harvested from tens of millions of Facebook profiles,” the New York Times reports.
Andrew Sullivan: "We have become numb to it, but we should never forget how our president is a man who revels in his own cruelty. Revenge is not a dish best left cold for him. It’s the reddest and rawest of meats." https://t.co/REmG8I7TFC
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) March 23, 2018
Andrew Sullivan: “I worry that the more Trump is opposed and even cornered — especially if he loses the House this fall — the more dangerous he will become. If Mueller really does have the goods, and if the Democrats storm back into congressional power, then Trump may well lash out to protect himself at all costs. We know he has no concern for the collateral damage his self-advancement has long caused in his private and public life. We know he has contempt for and boundless ignorance of liberal democracy. We know he is capable of anything — of immense cruelty and callousness, of petty revenge and reckless rhetoric, of sudden impulses and a quick temper. We also know he is commander-in-chief, who may soon need the greatest distraction of all.”
“War is coming. And there will be nothing and no one to stop him.”
First Read: “There’s also been a common theme among the recent and not-so-recent White House departures: Trump has humiliated these people out the door. He announced dumping McMaster via a tweet; he fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by Twitter, too; and months ago, he got rid of former chief of staff Reince Priebus on the tarmac.”
Jonathan Swan: “The reason John Kelly and White House communications officials insisted late last week that McMaster wasn’t going anywhere for now — despite a Washington Post story saying he was done — was because the president told them to say that. And they genuinely thought he’d take some time to ease McMaster out.”
“An administration source told me that the aides thought Trump probably believed that in the moment.”
Said the source: “He’s impulsive. He makes snap decisions but they’re weird snap decisions … He publicly ruminates for six months and then says: ‘I have to do this right now.’”
Trump wants a line-item veto. One problem: it’s unconstitutional. https://t.co/mmzL4qka3S
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 23, 2018
“President Trump’s decision to abruptly fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster surprised senior White House aides who had been preparing a single statement announcing the departure of multiple top Trump officials,” Politico reports.
“White House chief of staff John Kelly and other top aides were waiting for inspector general reports that they believed would deliver devastating verdicts on Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who have both been accused of racking up extravagant expenses. They were also debating whether several senior White House aides, including McMaster, should go with them.”
Good news: Bolton is not a neoconserative. Bad news: he's something worse. https://t.co/3qWFQByewH
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 23, 2018
“A lawsuit filed by D.C. and Maryland against President Trump over his alleged business conflicts has been expanded to include Trump in his personal capacity as a businessman, which means that a summons has been sent to perhaps the most famous address in Washington: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” WAMU reports.
“The attorneys general for both states argue in a lawsuit that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which in part bans public officials from receiving gifts and payments from foreign governments without approval from Congress.”
“In the midst of a Cabinet shake-up and a possible staff upheaval, President Trump considered firing his chief of staff earlier this month and not naming a successor,” NBC News reports.
“Trump has mused to close associates about running the West Wing as he did his business empire, essentially serving as his own chief of staff… In conversations with allies outside the White House, the president envisioned a scenario in which a handful of top aides would report directly to him — bypassing the traditional gatekeeper position.”
White House counsel Don McGahn “is expected to step down later this year, though his resignation is contingent on the president finding a replacement and several other factors,” Politico reports.
“McGahn, according to two of the sources, has signaled interest in returning to the Jones Day law firm where he previously worked and reprising a role he had during the 2016 campaign by handling legal matters for Trump’s re-election.”
NEW on NBC: our report finds House Intel has no or incomplete information about 81% of known contacts between Trump officials and Russian-linked figures https://t.co/VsCB4LSAiy
— The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) March 22, 2018
The RNC has put $281,250 into the special election to replace former Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), “the first financial commitment by either national party in a district that has voted reliably Republican since being drawn in 2011,” the Washington Post reports.
“The RNC declined to comment on the investment, but Arizona’s 8th District was not necessarily seen as a potential Democratic pickup. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won just 37% of the vote in the district — worse than her showing in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which Democrat Conor Lamb just won in a squeaker.”