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This is a wild, amazing story. The head of LULAC, the Latino civil rights group, sent President Trump a letter basically endorsing Trump’s immigration plan. Apparently no one else in the organization, not staff or the board, had any idea what he was doing. Alice Ollstein has the story.

Seems Wise

One notable thing is that at least as of a few minutes ago, the White House had not released an embargoed version of the speech. That means that in most cases even though the text doesn’t get posted all the anchors and reporters know what’s coming. The point of the speech is to create some sense of drama and anticipation, whether the President is normal or not. So leaving some surprises actually makes a lot of sense. Of course, there’s the danger there could be some terrible, dangerous surprises. So who knows?

It's Getting Worse on North Korea

There were hints earlier today that President Trump was going to have something ‘surprising’ about North Korea in the State of the Union and that it might be surprising on the conciliatory side. That would be surprising. More recent reports suggest that Trump will make some dramatically confrontational statement on the topic, which is of course very bad but not terribly surprising.

Now comes word that the proposed Ambassador the White House announced late last year, to generally positive response, won’t be nominated after all. He didn’t toe the White House’s antic, war-mongering line. So he’s out.

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The Hidden F-U in the White House Russia Sanctions Response

Here’s another one of those developments which is both jaw-dropping and somehow entirely predictable. You’ve likely seen the reports that the Trump administration violated the spirit though probably not the letter of the new Russia sanctions law by simply deciding not to impose any sanctions. But the law also mandated that the administration produce a list of “senior political figures and oligarchs” in Russia. These individuals were not to be sanctioned themselves. But the list is meant to impose some stigma and, more importantly, serve as an implicit signal about which individuals might be sanctioned in the future.

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Trump Wants To PROSECUTE Mueller?

Howard Fineman reports:

Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

“Here’s how it would work: ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won’t be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'” said one Trump adviser.


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) digs up a two-year-old radio interview of current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt warning of the dangers of a President Trump… and springs it on Pruitt at today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Watch:

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Introducing "Sum-Ups"

I want to introduce you to a new feature we’re going to be regularly publishing. It’s one that I’m very focused on and stems from thinking I’ve done about how heavy news consumers, particularly consumers of news about politics and public policy, read news. The feature is called a Sum-Up and it’s purpose is to give you a brief yet comprehensive update on news on a particular topic on a fixed schedule once a week.

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Close Friend Identifies Trump as a Pathological Liar

Before more time goes by, I wanted to flag this item from Jonathan Swan’s Axios newsletter. An item entitled “White House Perjury Panic” explains that the President’s aides and lawyers are terrified of his doing an interview with Robert Mueller or his investigators. That seems wise. But in the piece there’s this passage …

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Trump’s Black Unemployment Boast

President Trump has been out bragging that “because of my policies” the African-American unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level ever. This appears to be technically true. But I thought it made sense to give some context for the nonsensical nature of this claim.

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