January 26, 2017

Top Stories

Trump: Researcher Who Found No Widespread Voter Fraud Is 'Groveling'

The Gist: In an interview with ABC News' David Muir that aired on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump defended his debunked claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election and attacked the author of a study who found that there is not widespread voter fraud in the United States.

Texas GOP Rep. Slams Trump's Wall: It's 'Unnecessary' And Too Expensive

The Gist: After President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive action ordering the construction of a wall along the United States' border with Mexico, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) issued a scathing statement criticizing Trump's order.

Office That Protects Whistleblowers Fires Warning Shot Across Trump's Bow

The Gist: The Office of Special Counsel, an agency that protects whistleblowers in the federal government, on Wednesday issued a reminder that any non-disclosure agreements or policies on employee communications must include language notifying federal employees of their whistleblower rights.

From The Reporter's Notebook

President Donald Trump can't bring back torture even if he wanted to, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told reporters during the Republican retreat Wednesday, TPM's Lauren Fox reported. "Those issues are settled law. Congress has spoken," Thune said. "When it comes to enhanced interrogation techniques and that sort of things, my understanding is–I haven't seen the new executive action and what's being proposed– but my understanding is that they're going to examine some of those issues, but with regard to torture, that's banned. The Army Field Manual makes that very clear."

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "Trump can't be mocked. It takes him apart. The Wall was always about Trump's dominance politics brand. Democrats should hit on that front. Don't even get into an argument over the nonsense about making Mexico pay on layaway. That's nonsense. Everybody knows it. Insisting on this obvious fact to Trump's face will just drive him harder into more bluster and nonsensical argument, insisting on the truth of what is palpably ridiculous."

Say What?!

"Would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire. Now, with that being said, I’m going with Gen. Mattis. I’m going with my secretary, because I think Pompeo is going to be phenomenal, I’m going to go with what they say."

- President Donald Trump said that "people at the highest level of intelligence" had told him within the past 24 hours that torture "absolutely" works.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "Trumps is doing the same thing with vote fraud as he did with birtherism. It worked last time, and if we don't think through careful counter measures it will happen again. Basically, he repeats the same bald faced lie over and over so that people who want to believe it eventually do. He does not need us to believe it, just his base. Clearly, from the birther thing you can see that counter facts are not an adequate response. We tend to respond to his false assertions with fact about the assertions. I think that will fail. We need to address the messenger not the message. That means go directly after his insecurity about not having the popular vote. Make it clear that he looks weak, wimpy, pathetic. Elizabeth Warren is the only person Dem or Rep who seems to have been able to do this effectively so far."

Related: Trump: I'll Order Probe Into Voter Fraud, Voting By 'Those Who Are Illegal'

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What We're Reading

How Ultrasound Became Political (The Atlantic)

Giving Up On Being Healthy (BuzzFeed)