TPM Daybreaker

May 4, 2017

Top Stories


House GOP Pulls The Trigger On Thursday Vote To Repeal Obamacare

The Gist: After eight years of railing against the Affordable Care Act, dozens of symbolic repeal votes, and weeks of struggling to put together a viable alternative despite controlling every lever of government, Republican House leaders said late Wednesday afternoon that they have finally secured the votes needed to pass their own health care overhaul. It is expected to be a nail-biter of a vote, and last-minute defections are possible.

Comey Forcefully Defends Sending Letter On Clinton Emails Before Election

The Gist: FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that it makes him “mildly nauseous” to think announcing the discovery of new emails potentially related to the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. But he said that even in hindsight, he would make that same decision again.

Trump’s State Dept Taps Former Cadet Accused Of Multiple Sexual Assaults

The Gist: A staffer hired by the Trump administration for a prominent role in the State Department has been accused of sexual assault by five cadets at The Citadel military college, where he was a student, according to reports.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has shied away from investigating President Donald Trump’s conflicts-of-interest, but the congressman was quick to criticize former President Barack Obama for reportedly accepting $400,000 for a speech. Chaffetz said that Obama accepting that sum for a speech after vetoing a bill to curb presidential pensions shows “hypocrisy.”

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “You’re not hearing it a lot – or perhaps I’m just missing hearing it as clearly as I thought I would or should. But the new version of Trumpcare is actually worse than the old one. There’s every reason to think the number of people who lose coverage will be at least 24 million people and perhaps more. If you were worried about the fate of those 24 millions in the previous bill, worry more about this. “

Say What?!


“They do not have the big diverse populations that we have. They do not have the inner-city populations that we have.”

– Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) on Wednesday blamed America’s size, diversity and “inner cities” for its lack of universal health care.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “I am beginning to believe it may be the best thing to happen if the House passes this poisonous bill and takes the change in name to Trump Care and watches it get derailed in the Senate. Either way, the republicans will go home and tell their constituents that they got rid of their healthcare to the boos of the cheering crowds. This is so screwed up. The republicans tell us that they cannot go back home without repealing the ACA or they will be primaried. Well guess what? I would not be worried about being primaried but being opposed by any out spoken democrat that can talk to the people about not having healthcare.”

Related: Schumer Warns House GOPers Not To Walk Plank For Doomed O’Care Repeal Bill

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What We’re Reading


A Path to America, Marked by More and More Bodies (New York Times)

‘Straight Up Pork Barrel Politics’: How The Green Card Lottery Was Invented To Help The Irish (Washington Post)

Read More →

May 3, 2017

Top Stories


Message To Health Care Holdouts: Relax, The Senate Will Save You

The Gist: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the vice chair of the powerful Rules Committee, said his message to GOP moderates—who are hesitant to back the bill due to its deep cuts to Medicaid and rollback of protections for people with pre-existing conditions—is: “If you want the pressure off, kick it over to the Senate and let those guys deal with it for a while.”

Trump To Meet With Two Key House GOPers Opposed To O’care Repeal Bill

The Gist: President Donald Trump on Wednesday will meet with two House Republicans, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), two key Republicans who said this week that they cannot support the Obamacare repeal bill, CNN reported Wednesday morning.

Trump Goes After Clinton, Comey In Late-Night Twitter Attack

The Gist: President Donald Trump on Tuesday night bashed his FBI director, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton, after Clinton placed some blame on the FBI for her loss in the 2016 election.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


The Director of the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday endorsed President Donald Trump’s assertion that a “good” government shutdown could knock some sense into Washington, TPM’s Matt Shuham reported. After saying at a press conference that he shared the President’s frustration with the appropriations process, Mick Mulvaney said a “good shutdown” would “be one that fixes this town. One that drives the message back home to people that it really was as broken as they thought that it was when they voted for Donald Trump, and they trusted him — If that’s what is necessary to do to fix Washington, D.C., that would be a good shutdown.”

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “We are living in a new era of monopolies and one in which anti-trust enforcement is all but doesn’t exist. Monopolies provide bad service at high costs. They stifle innovation. We’re used to this kind of anti-sclerosis, anti-bigness rhetoric coming out of the tech world and Silicon Valley. But two of the biggest monopolists are Google and Facebook. Their monopoly power shows up in different ways. But they’re ways that are no less negative for the economy in general. As we’ll discuss in the coming days, there is also a growing body of hard evidence that the growth of monopolies is one of the drivers of wealth and income inequality.”

Say What?!


“People can go to the state that they want to live in.”

– Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) told reporters Tuesday morning when asked if people with pre-existing conditions could be charged much more under the American Health Care Act.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “Without an acceptable replacement plan, Obamacare is not going away. Pushing repeal through reconciliation would be voting to literally take away money used by Americans to buy insurance forcing 20 million to lose their coverage. They don’t have 60 votes to change the insurance regulations in Obamacare, so the private insurance market would collapse and another 10 million would lose coverage. On top of that, hospitals across the country will be closing down. This would be a national disaster on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis. It would be the worst policy decisions in US history and the GOP would take 100% responsibility. It is economic and political suicide.”

Related: Leadership Loses Prominent GOPer’s Support On Obamacare Repeal

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What We’re Reading


Too Scared to Report Sexual Abuse. The Fear: Deportation. (New York Times)

How ESPN Became A Conservative Cause (BuzzFeed News)

Read More →

May 2, 2017

Top Stories


We’re Back To GOP Derp Square One On Key Obamacare Subsidies

The Gist:  In some ways, the conundrum surrounding crucial Obamacare subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, are a microcosm of the challenges facing Republicans. The years of their anti-Obamacare jihad are coming back to haunt them. Making the whole situation more treacherous is that they’re being led by a President known for throwing around bombastic threats with little concern about their effect. In this case, President Trump has only exacerbated anxiety that he would seek to sabotage the health insurance market in the name of political hard ball.

Trump Doubles Down On Claim That Jackson Could Have Prevented Civil War

The Gist: After praising Andrew Jackson in a Monday interview with the Washington Examiner, President Donald Trump on Monday night repeated his claim that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War.

Hannity Says ‘All The Lies You’ve Heard About Me Are Not True’

The Gist: Fox News host Sean Hannity closed his show on Monday night by saying that the “lies” about him are “not true” in an apparent attempt to push back on reports that he is planning to leave the network.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


Julie Kirchner, former director of anti-immigration group FAIR, will serve as ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security, where she’ll be tasked with providing assistance to immigrants who run into difficulties with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The appointment of individuals who have crusaded against the group or industry they’re now representing is a trend in the Trump administration, according to TPM reporter Allegra Kirkland. Current EPA head Scott Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA; Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been an outspoken critic of public schools; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been criticized for his record on civil rights.

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “Trump presented himself as the consummate alpha-male ball buster, someone who speaks and embodies the ethos of domination his most ardent supporters instinctively crave and believe in. In practice, he’s repeatedly adopted what might be termed the preemptive fail, not only talking tough but failing to achieve his aims but actually jumping ahead of the process and unilaterally backing down or saying a metaphorical ‘nevermind’ before the supposed confrontation even arrives. As the Mexicans seem to have concluded Trump is less a threat than a bullshit artist who caves easily and is best either ignored or treated with a stern, disciplined and unafraid response.”

Say What?!


“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

– Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said Monday that an amendment to the GOP’s American Health Care Act would require sicker people to pay more in insurance costs than people “who lead good lives.”

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “Whether he likes it or not, Trump appears to have deep financial ties to Russia and the surrounding areas. Many of those ties involve the corrupt oligarchs who emerged from the Soviet turmoil. Too many of Trumps campaign staff also received income from these same folks. Too much smoke, too much money, and too much greed for it to be clean. Someone is always skimming or angling for their cut. Add to that volatile mix the fact that Trump can never be second. He always needs to win, win big, and completely vanquish who he’s going against. No win-win scenarios allowed. It always Trump wins-you lose, unless you settle because it was a distraction. Everyone knows the drill by now – we would have won and won big! And when that doesn’t happen, it eats at him and he can’t let it go. Ever.”

Related: Trump To Speak With Putin Over The Phone On Tuesday

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What We’re Reading


The FBI Translator Who Went Rogue And Married An ISIS Terrorist (CNN)

Here, Finally, Is The Rap Musical Steve Bannon Wrote (Huffington Post)

Read More →

May 1, 2017

Top Stories


5 Points: Why The GOP O’Care Repeal Bill Terrified Moderates

The Gist: Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), the co-chair of the centrist Tuesday Group, says he and his colleagues have so many concerns about the core policies in the plan that Republicans should consider starting over. “We need to change the paradigm,” he told reporters Friday. “I think the bill has got too many problems, and they need to rework it from the center out.” Specifically, Dent and other holdouts cite the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid, rate hikes for older Americans, and insufficient protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But GOP leaders are not heeding his advice, and are instead vowing to keep trying to get the same Obamacare repeal bill to President Trump’s desk in the weeks to come. These are the not-yet-addressed concerns that will come back to haunt them.

Trump Campaign Going Up With $1.5 Million Ad Buy Promoting First 100 Days

The Gist: President Donald Trump’s campaign on Monday morning announced a $1.5 million ad buy to tout his first 100 days in the Oval Office. The buy includes a 30-second television ad and digital ads, the Trump campaign said in a statement unveiling the ad buy. The television ad promotes Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, claims that Trump has created jobs in the U.S., and touts his work to undo regulations passed under President Barack Obama.

Congress Reaches Deal To Fund Federal Government Through September

The Gist:  Congressional leaders on Sunday night reached a deal to fund the federal government through September, setting Congress up to vote on the legislation this week and avoid a government shutdown. Democrats appeared to be happy with the compromise funding measure, which will not include money to build a border wall.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


White House aide Sebastian Gorka, best known for his affiliation with a Nazi-linked knightly order and his harsh rhetoric about Muslims, is reportedly being forced out. According to TPM’s Allegra Kirkland, a flurry of new stories published over the weekend say his departure is expected within weeks.

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “A central challenge for President Trump was always that he started his presidency distinctly unpopular. He was a minority rather than a plurality, let alone a majority, President. And he began his presidency with deep and entrenched opposition. On the other hand, he had congressional majorities which should have given him or at least his party a relatively free hand. That didn’t happen. A big problem was that Trump didn’t have any legislation or even a plan of governance ready. He barely even had a government at all in the sense that most key jobs were left (and remain) unfilled. He proceeded to fritter away his first months in office with a mix of scandal, disorganization and legislative ineptitude.”

Say What?!


“There are refugee camps that are true concentration camps.”

– Pope Francis asserted that some migrant holding centers in Europe amount to “concentration camps,” even after Jewish groups urged him to stop using the loaded term.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “The Chelsea Clinton trolling is the most pointless and offensive stuff I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. I mean usually you offend someone with a comment or stance about something that matters. Chris Cillizza is a provoke – trolling his audience on sexist grounds. This is really not acceptable. How can the WaPo and the NYTimes allow their columnists to troll readers, critics and paying customers out in the public like that? The Chelsea Clinton stuff is sexist by design, why do these newspapers allow their employees to go after nobodies in public who have a reasonable reaction to their comments?”

Related: Priebus: Trump Considering Amending or Abolishing 1st Amendment

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What We’re Reading


A Tech Bro Charged Thousands for an Island Getaway That Turned Into The Hunger Games (Gizmodo)

Canada Fought The war On Science. Here’s How Scientists Won. (Vox)

Read More →

April 28, 2017

Top Stories


All Bark, No Bite: Trump Ain’t The Negotiator He Bragged About

The Gist: On the campaign trail, Donald Trump marketed himself as an expert negotiator who would draw on his years of cutting deals in the boardroom to deliver the best terms for the American public. Almost 100 days into his Oval Office tenure, this high-stakes, take-no-prisoners style has proven to be more of a hindrance than a help for the President—and failed to secure a single legislative victory.

The White House’s Creeping Fear About Michael Flynn

The Gist: Is the White House covering up? Of course they are. Maybe it’s because they know the truth is that explosive. Or maybe it’s because they simply don’t know what a real investigation would find.

Trump Says He Thought Presidency ‘Would Be Easier’

The Gist: In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, President Donald Trump acknowledged that being president is tougher than he had imagined. “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” he told Reuters. “This is more work than in my previous life.”

From The Reporter’s Notebook


President Donald Trump tried a new negotiating strategy on Thursday as the deadline to avert a government shutdown loomed, according to TPM’s Esme Cribb. In a scattershot tweetstorm, he accused Democrats — whose support Republicans need to pass a spending measure and keep the lights on — of “bailing out insurance companies,” “blocking” miners’ health care, “jeopardizing the safety of our troops” and “Politics!”

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “By going back to the repeal trough again and again, Republicans are allowing Democrats to plausibly argue in 2018 that Republicans will keep coming after your health care coverage as long as they’re in power. This is now demonstrably the case. With Republicans trying to do this again and again, Democrats will be able to say: They tried to take away your care, kill pre-existing conditions protections etc. And they’re going to keep trying. My moderate GOP opponent here, do you trust him/her?”

Say What?!


“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

– President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would like to diffuse the standoff with North Korea over nuclear weapons with diplomacy, but he warned that “major” conflict is possible.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “I get that it sucks that not everyone can make $400K doing something ‘easy.’ There are major league pitchers who make more per inning thrown than I made in my first job out of college in a year. Capitalism is weird and sorta sucks in the ‘fairness’ department. But it’s actually a skill to be able to speak the way Obama does and his eight years (!!) as president of the United States is worth something, if not just bragging rights for a company to be able to say ‘we had Obama come speak to our people’ and I’m sure the employees love it. These companies are swimming in cash and they might as well pay up. I think this all is a lot less insidious than people make it out to be. His spokesperson said he’d make a variety of speaking engagements, including paid and unpaid. I’m not saying this as someone who loves WS or is a big defender of this sort of thing on principle but I am just so tired of hand-wringing about this issue when there are grifters and criminals and neo-Nazi sympathizers in the White House.”

Related: Elizabeth Warren Says She’s ‘Troubled’ By Reports Of Obama’s $400K Speaking Fee

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What We’re Reading


Cecile Richards To Ivanka Trump: Words Don’t Matter. Women Want To See Action. (Huffington Post)

Dogs Are Wearing Legwarmers Because We’re Not Having Babies. (Racked)

Read More →

April 27, 2017

Top Stories


House GOP Offers 1-Week Stopgap Funding Measure To Avoid Shutdown

The Gist: House Republicans on Wednesday night introduced a stopgap funding measure to keep the government open through May 5 while lawmakers work on a final agreement for legislation to fund the government through September.

Fox Host Jesse Watters Goes On Sudden Vacation After Ivanka Trump Comment

The Gist: Following criticism for a comment he made about Ivanka Trump on Tuesday night, Fox Host Jesse Watters announced Wednesday night that he will be on vacation for the rest of the week and the weekend.

Mnuchin Can’t Guarantee That Middle Class Won’t Pay More In Taxes (VIDEO)

The Gist: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday could not guarantee that middle class families would not pay more under the White House’s detail-free tax proposal.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


In a barrage of lawsuits, current and former employees of Fox News are alleging that the network and its top executives fostered a toxic culture of sexism and racism that percolated down through the ranks, as TPM’s Allegra Kirkland reported. It appears the beleaguered network is gaining a new level of sensitivity to public outrage. One day after Bill O’Reilly’s protégé Jesse Waters caused a mini firestorm with a crack about liking the way Ivanka Trump held a microphone up to her mouth, he suddenly announced he was taking a vacation. When O’Reilly went on vacation amid swirling sexual harassment allegations, he never returned to the network.

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “There are obviously sharply divergent opinions on NAFTA: what it did in the 90s and what it continues to do today. But I think most observers would agree that a precipitate withdrawal from the agreement would at least have severe short-term repercussions for all three economies, purely on the basis of the disruption of trade flows and businesses that are based on its being in place.”

Say What?!


“There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous.”

– President Donald Trump floated the idea of breaking up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, misidentifying it yet again as the court responsible for the nationwide injunction issued Tuesday against his executive order regarding so-called sanctuary cities.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “You are not going to get appreciable movement from the Trump base in the next few election cycles based on pushing a Democratic message. Even humiliating abject failure by Trump will likely have little impact (but some may result – GW Bush showed that failure can change some votes.) The pyscho-social petrification (putrification?) of this population look decades and has become highly insulated to any attempt at contact from outside the bubble. But certainly a long term strategy of de-conditioning them from the Bizarro World is needed for the long-term health of the nation. The authoritarian racist culture born of the slaveholding south needs to be eventually cleansed from the nation but that is a long term project. 150 years after the Civil War it is still not only alive, but powerful and becoming increasingly so.”

Related: After Canceling Speech, Ann Coulter Calls Berkeley ‘A Radical Thuggish Institution’

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What We’re Reading


The Republican Lawmaker Who Secretly Created Reddit’s Women-Hating ‘Red Pill’ (The Daily Beast)

The Best Thing to Eat Before a Workout? Maybe Nothing at All (The New York Times)

Read More →

April 26, 2017

Top Stories


Trump’s Trickle Down Tax Plan Is Already In Trouble In Congress

The Gist: President Trump will unveil Wednesday a proposal to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent—a change that would balloon the federal deficit by an estimated $2 trillion dollars over a decade. The plan will reportedly include additional cuts to the income tax rate paid by high earners and a tax credit for child care that would mostly benefit the wealthy, at further cost to the federal budget.

How Fox News’ Toxic Culture Is Finally Catching Up To It

The Gist: The claims have an eerie familiarity. An older, male Fox News higher-up would invite a young, female colleague to his office, make comments about her looks, and ask her out for drinks or to accompany him to a hotel. In some cases, he would forcibly kiss her, or explicitly ask for sexual favors. If she did not comply, her star at the network would be swiftly extinguished.

Trump, White House Go After Court Over Sanctuary Cities Ruling

The Gist: After a judge halted part of an executive order threatening to yank funding for sanctuary cities on Tuesday, the White House and Trump himself both blasted the judge.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that construction will “100 percent” begin on his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border “soon,” TPM’s Esme Cribb reported. “And we’re going to have the wall built. I mean, I don’t know what people are talking — I watch these shows, and the pundits in the morning, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “The wall gets built, 100 percent.”

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “What’s worth asking is this: Is this even envisioned as a foundation and non-profit? Or is Ivanka setting up something like a venture capital or private equity fund? i.e., one designed to make a profit? As is the case on many other fronts, Trump and his family ran the 2016 campaign not so much against Hillary Clinton but a looking glass Hillary Clinton which was actually what they aspired to be and do if they won.”

Say What?!


“We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

– Sen. Tex Cruz (R-TX) introduced legislation that would funnel any assets seized from Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as part of the United States’ criminal case against him.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “I hear and agree with you that there are many quite probable reasons to believe that there is a Russia connection of some sort. My issue is with the nature and scale of it. Is it really an all encompassing super scandal, or is it just a couple of underlings like Flynn and Manafort failing to properly register as foreign agents? There have been a blizzard of posted links that I have followed all hyperventilating about a super scandal, and they all seem to be coming from a circular pool of self supporting internet posters, twitter accounts, etc. I want to believe it, but I feel like I am in danger of falling down a rabbit hole of hype. I am a staunch empiricist by nature and have yet to see any solid proof of anything. A large amount of of hope is building up around the Russiagate scandal bringing trump (and repubs) crashing down. The total lack of any concrete evidence worries me. I hear excuses like “the FBI, CIA, NSA are crossing their ‘t’s and dotting their ‘i’s”, and “it would reveal too much spy craft”, or “these things take a long time, they are working on it”. For the record I think those could all be legit excuses, but if any of these amazingly serious charges are true there would be a real urgency to stop it as quickly as possible. Is it really possible that there are recordings of trump or Chaffetz or Page negotiating with the Russians (Putin) to totally sell out the country and the IC would be slow walking things? To put it another way, if it is known and provable that the President of the United States is Putin’s puppet what are they waiting for? From a security point of view there is very little I can think of that would be a bigger threat to the country.”

Related: Chaffetz: Flynn In Big Trouble For Taking Foreign Payments As Former Officer

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What We’re Reading


The Republican Lawmaker Who Secretly Created Reddit’s Women-Hating ‘Red Pill’ (The Daily Beast)

I Got Hacked So You Don’t Have To (GQ)

Read More →

April 25, 2017

Top Stories


Why Can’t Republicans Move On From Obamacare Repeal?

The Gist: Even as they face an insanely busy week when a government shutdown will need to be averted and President Trump would also like to unveil a tax overhaul plan, some GOP lawmakers—perhaps at the behest of White House officials seeking to save face ahead of the 100-day mark—are talking up the possibility of a new deal to revive legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Bill O’Reilly Emerges After Fox News Ouster: ‘The Truth Will Come Out’

The Gist: Ousted Fox News host Bill O’Reilly broke his silence on Monday evening in a podcast posted to his personal website, where he said that the “truth will come out” about his departure from Fox News.

State Department Removes Post Promoting Mar-A-Lago From Website

The Gist: The State Department on Monday removed a blog post promoting President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida following criticism from ethics advocates and Democrats, and questions from reporters.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


All 100 members of the U.S. Senate are scheduled to attend a briefing on the situation in North Korea this week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Monday. “The White House campus will play host to a briefing for all 100 U.S. senators on the subject,” Spicer said at the top of his daily briefing, referring to North Korea, TPM’s Matt Shuham wrote.

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “As you can see, White House officials were telegraphing a less confrontational stance – metaphor wall money. But Trump himself couldn’t help caving even more aggressively, apparently openly discussing where the White House assumes it will end up, which is getting nothing at all. So White House officials pitch new bargaining position; Trump, allowed to talk, says no let’s just lose completely. “

Say What?!


“Sean’s not the victim of a bait and switch. It’s not like he met President Trump on his first day. He knew what he was getting into.”

– Josh Earnest, formerly White House press secretary in President Barack Obama’s administration, said on Sunday that he does not “feel a ton of sympathy” for Sean Spicer, his counterpart in President Donald Trump’s White House.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “The concept that trump and members of his team are compromised tools of Russia/Putin/Oligarch mobsters, etc (take your pick) has taken on a life of its own. While it is clear that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election, what is not clear is to what degree (if any) that anybody on the U.S.A. side of the equation played in that interference. Every day now I hear new claims about underlings flipping for the FBI, indictments for serious crimes or treason are just around the corner, the ‘golden shower’ dossier is true, there are multiple recordings picked up by the IC of trump (and underlings) colluding with Russia on the election, etc. I have even seen the theory the Jason Chaffetz kept the whole Benghazi witch hunt rolling at the behest of Russia for bribes or blackmail. It has reached a fever pitch. This is a rotten scandal the likes of which have never been seen before!!! It goes deep with the major players of the republican party!! Any day now the other shoe will drop!!! Any day!!!!!!…….??? I must admit I am guilty of consuming each of these pronouncements with excitement. Everybody would feel vindicated in their disgust with the whole rotten mess of the 2016 election and its ongoing aftermath. I want it to be true, but is it? I follow all the links, read the articles and twitter feeds and lots of people have 100% backed the Russian collusion theory. It is addictive reading this stuff and I am guilty of over indulging in it myself too.”

Related: Report: Senate Intel’s Understaffed Russia Probe Is Moving At Snail’s Pace

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What We’re Reading


Dogs Are Doggos: An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers (NPR)

Inside the Trump Marriage: Melania’s Burden (Vanity Fair)

Read More →

April 24, 2017

Top Stories


Welcome Back! GOP Congress Returns To Resume Kabuki Dance Of Governance

The Gist: After a two-weeks of being berated by their constituents at raucous town halls—and watching Democrats come close to flipping two solidly red districts in Kansas and Georgia—members of Congress return to DC Monday. With few legislative accomplishments under their belts so far, they now face a government funding deadline, a debt ceiling increase, demands from the White House to take another swing at repealing Obamacare, and the daunting, likely impossible task of overhauling the tax code by August.

WaPo: Trump Won’t Fire Sean Spicer Because He ‘Gets Great Ratings’

The Gist: President Donald Trump has said that he will not fire White House Press Secretary because the spokesman “gets great ratings” for his daily press briefings, the Washington Post reported on Sunday evening.

Obama To Deliver First Post-Presidency Speech In Chicago

The Gist: Former President Barack Obama is set to hold the first public event of his post-presidential life in the place where he started his political career.

From The Reporter’s Notebook


President Donald Trump on Friday said that efforts to avoid a government shutdown are “going very well,” TPM’s Esme Cribb reported. “Now, we have government not closing. I think we’ll be in great shape on that, it’s going very well,” Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Obviously that takes precedent.”

Agree or Disagree?


John Judis: “To get its economy moving, France would presumably have to convince the Germans to change their current practices, which hold down consumer demand and labor costs, creating a huge trade surplus at the expense of France, Spain, and Italy, among other countries. That would require, as Macron seems to be proposing, a new fiscal-monetary pact that would have to be initiated, as before, by the EU’s two leading countries, France and Germany. With such a pact, Macron’s Nordic economic model might work. So, theoretically speaking, Macron’s strategy is not crazy. But would it work? There might be a chance if the Germans were willing, and they might be willing if the Social Democrats were able to lead a majority coalition after this September’s election. But Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are currently leading in the polls. If Le Pen has suffered from Trump’s unpopularity, Merkel had undoubtedly benefited from it. And Merkel is much less likely to make serious concessions to Macron and France.”

Say What?!


“New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative.”

– President Donald Trump on Sunday claimed that his approval numbers are “very good,” though a poll released the same day shows that Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president approaching their 100-day mark in office since 1945.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “As far as whether science can be thought of separately from partisan politics, I would contend that it cannot be. In a democracy, people get to decide how to vote based on their beliefs, and they are free to form those beliefs based on objective observations of the world (science) or superstition or peer pressure or ignorance or any combination of these, and we accept that as the price of democratic forms of government. What we can’t allow is our government CLAIMING to be making decisions based on objective science, while in reality using “pseudo-science” to manufacture the appearance of objective, science-based policy decisions. These techniques include reliance on corporate-backed “research findings”, “creation science”, “the bell curve”, or simply the assertion of “uncertainty”. When politicians or administrators attempt to use these forms of “fake rationality” to justify their actions or position, all true scientists must push back, hard. And since it is almost always conservative Republicans who use these tactics, it’s unavoidable that science-oriented people will be aligned with Democrats, and that this will be confused with “partisanship”. On the few occasions where Republicans support spending on basic science, it’s usually tied to spending in their district (or toward a donor’s business), or to gain popular support by funding a “cure” for cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.”

Related: Britain Could See Its First Full Day Without Coal

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What We’re Reading


Journalist Describes The Loneliness And Leakiness Of Trump’s White House (NPR)

Not Everyone Is Meant To Have A Book Club (BuzzFeed)

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April 21, 2017

Top Stories


Winning! Trump, GOP Congress Are 0-4 On Major Campaign Pledges

The Gist: Republicans may now hold the House, the Senate and the White House, but their failure to mobilize early and follow through on long-held campaign pledges has political observers wondering: can a unified GOP government actually govern?

O’Reilly Lawyers Mistakenly Send Strategy Emails To Politico

The Gist: Emails between ousted Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his legal team obtained by Politico on Thursday reveal that O’Reilly’s lawyers felt they could save O’Reilly’s job at Fox News by showing that liberal groups were pressuring companies to pull advertising from O’Reilly’s show.

Trump Complains About The ‘Ridiculous Standard Of The First 100 Days’

The Gist: Fewer than 10 days out from the 100-day mark of his presidency, Donald Trump on Friday morning blasted the “ridiculous standard of the first 100 days.”

From The Reporter’s Notebook


First daughter and adviser to the President, Ivanka Trump announcedthat she is publishing a book about women in the workplace and will set up a charitable fund with part of her advance and book earnings, TPM’s Kristin Salaky reported. “In light of government ethics rules, I want to be clear that this book is a personal project,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I wrote it at a different time in my life, from the perspective of an executive and an entrepreneur, and the manuscript was completed before the election last November. Out of an abundance of caution and to avoid the appearance of using my official role to promote the book, I will not publicize the book through a promotional tour or media appearances.”

Agree or Disagree?


Josh Marshall: “In many ways, there’s a much, much more important story going forward about the fact that the people deciding O’Reilly’s fate had known for many years about his behavior and happily tolerated it. But why would O’Reilly think that this email amounted to anything? I would submit that in this final moment, O’Reilly was duped by the ‘war on christmas’, liberal media bias dumbshit victimology racket he had been selling on his show for two decades: comically melodramatic, victim-preening nonsense aimed at whipping up feelings of resentment and rage. In other words, he was deluded in these final moments of his cable TV existence by his own racket! His goose had long been cooked. But this was his final undoing. “

Say What?!


“Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific – a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born.”

– After Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioned the authority of a U.S. federal judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” to block the President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the Justice Department pointed out that Sessions was right both on his geography and his argument for the ban’s legality.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive


From a TPM Prime member: “Words have consequences. During the rest of 2002 the situation with the DPRK deteriorated, with more tough talk from Bush, and then his 14 November decision to suspend oil shipments to North Korea (a principal form of aid) as punishment for not giving up its weapons ambitions. Why he did this is unclear. The sites were still shutdown. There had been no movement toward restarting their nuclear program. Apparently he wanted Kim to make a statement renouncing their right to having nuclear weapons, it they wanted them, something that it was clear they would not do. And so, on 12 December, the DPRK announced it was withdrawing from the Agreed Framework – and the rest is history. The successful shutdown the the DPRK nuclear weapons program was destroyed by anti-diplomacy by an immature, conceited, belligerent GW Bush. He wanted to act out the part of “tough guy” and we got a nuclear armed North Korea.”

Related: North Korea Warns Of ‘Super-Mighty Preemptive Strike’ Against United States

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What We’re Reading


A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor (The New York Times)

Anita Hill: Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and how to stop companies that tolerate harassment (The Washington Post)

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