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The Trump administration made news this afternoon when it announced that it would actually do a thing it said it would do. Steve Bannon once worked for a company that sold digital swords, scepters and the like to fantasy video game players, which until today we assumed was /r/thedonald. And if we’re ever tossed in jail for being members of a free press, we’ll try to comfort ourselves with the knowledge that our imprisonment helped Jeff Sessions get in good with his boss. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 4rd, 2017:
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION NOT BEING NICE TO OUR EARTH MOTHER - Andrew Restuccia: ”The Trump administration will release a notice today outlining the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, two sources familiar with the issue said. The notice, which will be released by the State Department and transmitted by the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, will be the first written notice that the administration plans to pull out of the 2015 pact, which has won the support of nearly 200 nations. Trump announced in June that the U.S. will leave the agreement. Under the terms of the Paris deal, the U.S. can’t fully withdraw until Nov. 4, 2020 — one day after the next presidential election. The next president could decide to rejoin the agreement if Trump doesn’t win a second term.” [Politico]
JOHN KELLY’S THREE MONTHS OF EMPLOYMENT AT THE WHITE HOUSE IS GOING WELL - We wish him the best when he’s replaced with a car dealership air dancer with a Trump sign affixed to it. Glenn Thrush, Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan: ”Mr. Kelly cuts off rambling advisers midsentence. He listens in on conversations between cabinet secretaries and the president. He has booted lingering staff members out of high-level meetings, and ordered the doors of the Oval Office closed to discourage strays. He fired Anthony Scaramucci, the bombastic New Yorker who was briefly the communications director, and has demanded that even Mr. Trump’s family, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, check with him if they want face time with the president…. People close to Mr. Kelly said he resisted weeks of entreaties by the president, beginning in May, before finally agreeing to replace Reince Priebus out of a sense of soldierly duty. That he understands the sobering realities of his new deployment could be seen in his unsmiling mien while sitting next to Mr. Trump for a photo opportunity this week.” [NYT]
Haircut (and birthday!): Nick Wing (h/t Nick Wing)
For some reasons the NRA is threatening to, we swear to god, “fist” the New York Times. It might be “frisk” the New York Times, but we’re pretty sure it’s “fist” the New York Times. It also might be “fisk,” which is a blogging term we were unaware of. Please help us solve this.
TRUMP PROTESTERS DETERMINED TO SPOIL HIS GOLF GAME - Jake Lahut: “President Donald Trump’s lengthy planned vacation at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club will test the ingenuity of protesters hoping to disrupt his vacation — or at least take advantage of his presence to draw attention to their causes. Police say the road and shoulder directly outside the Trump National Golf Club are too narrow for people to safely congregate, forcing sign-bearing protesters to hang out down the road — and out of earshot — in a designated ‘free speech zone’ by the Clarence Dillon Public Library when Trump is in town. More creative ideas floated by groups like Indivisible and We the People have had to be tossed — such as releasing hundreds of orange balloons over the golf course (scrapped because of environmental concerns), spray painting the healthcare vote tally on the road leading up to the entrance (Somerset County fines), or flying a banner over the course (no-fly zone imposed by the Secret Service).″ [Politico]
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ABOUT THAT PROGRESSIVE BLOW UP - Progressive advocates and the Democratic Party got into a tussle this week ― because, let’s be honest, the sun rises in the east. Eliot: “The Hill [this week] published an interview with [DCCC chair Ben Ray] Luján in which he insisted that the candidates it supports aren’t subject to a ‘litmus test.’ … While those remarks jibed with the longstanding policy of both the DCCC and [the DSCC], it was the first time Luján was on the record saying as much…. Many liberal activists...viewed [it] as a disappointment and a missed opportunity to capitalize on the groundswell of progressivism in the Trump era…. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue and a coalition of progressive advocacy organizations, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund and EMILY’s List, published a ′statement of principles′ [opposing the policy].… Democratic Party officials, who asked to speak anonymously so they could discuss private conversations, expressed frustration and surprise…. Exacerbating these feelings, the officials said, was the involvement of multiple activists whom the officials claimed had previously signaled their willingness to tolerate, if not endorse, anti-abortion Democrats.” [HuffPost]
On health care, however… “In a sign that the Democratic Party is embracing more progressive health care ideas, eight Democratic senators announced Thursday that they were co-sponsoring legislation that would allow people 55 and older to buy in to Medicare. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare at 55 Act with the immediate support of Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Al Franken (Minn.). The bill, which would allow Americans aged 55 to 64 to purchase Medicare coverage, reflects the growing influence of progressive activists who are pushing for a single-payer health care system they dub ‘Medicare for all.’” [HuffPost’s Daniel Marans]
TRUMP ADMIN TARGETING PRESS OVER LEAKS - Amazing that a guy who once pretended to be his own spokesman has a less-than-esteemed attitude of the fourth estate. Sam Levine: ”Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday that the Department of Justice plans to crack down on leaks coming from the department and intelligence community…. Sessions also said the department is reviewing its policy on media subpoenas. ‘We respect the important role the press plays and will give them respect, but they cannot place lives at risk with impunity,’ he said…. Sessions noted that the department has tripled the number of active leak investigations compared to the number at the end of the last administration.” [HuffPost]
BUT HIS EMAILS!!!! No doubt Trump will call for the Veep to be jailed. Tony Cook: “It took nearly six months after he left the governor’s office, but Vice President Mike Pence and his legal team say they have now provided Indiana officials with all emails from his personal AOL account involving state business…. Previously, Pence had only provided some of his AOL emails to the state, and those he did provide were in paper form, making them difficult to search…. Pence’s use of personal email accounts for state business first came to light in March, when IndyStar obtained nearly 30 emails that showed Pence corresponding on homeland security and public safety issues. The state withheld an undisclosed number of additional emails because they were considered too sensitive for public release.″ [Indianapolis Star]
Rich guy sues GOP for not screwing the poor. “A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act he’s suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering. Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren’t going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.” [Virginian-Pilot’s Bill Bartel and Scott Daugherty]
YEAH, THIS WILL GO OVER GREAT - Attacking a super-popular tax break to finance cuts for rich people and corporations is a truly winning political formula. Colin Wilhelm: “Despite promises from the Trump administration in April that it would ‘protect the homeownership…deductions,’ multiple sources tracking tax reform said that the cap on the mortgage interest deduction — currently set at the interest on up to $1 million of mortgage debt — could be lowered in tax reform…. No final decision has been made yet, as Republicans work during Washington’s sleepy days of August to craft a reform plan that would be politically palatable and meet the criteria for the budgetary maneuver they plan to use to bypass Democrats who could hold up a bill in the Senate. But lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction would help offset tax cuts for individuals and businesses.” [Politico]
THE MOST STEVE BANNON-Y STEVE BANNON STORY YOU’LL READ THIS WEEK - Shawn Boburg and Emily Rauhala: “Stephen K. Bannon had already been successful in Hollywood and on Wall Street when he flew to Hong Kong in mid-2005 to learn more about a promising new opportunity. A start-up called Internet Gaming Entertainment, or IGE, had found a novel way to make millions of dollars each month in the exploding online video game industry. Working from the 19th floor of a skyscraper in Hong Kong, the company sold virtual goods for real money — magical swords and capes and other accoutrements that granted video game players power and access in more than a dozen popular online role-playing games. There was one problem, though: The companies that owned and operated these fantasy games prohibited what IGE was doing, and even considered it illegal. Several IGE executives told The Washington Post that they thought Bannon could help change that. Bannon agreed to become the company’s vice chairman.” [WaPo]
SPICEY GOING HOLLYWOOD - Emily Smith and Marisa Schultz: “Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer today signed with renowned attorney Bob Barnett, who represents a host of top politicians and TV news personalities, as he negotiates a big TV deal. Sources say Spicer signed with Barnett and Michael O’Connor of Williams & Connolly Thursday after taking meetings with all the major TV and news networks including NBC, CBS and Fox News last week. The former press secretary had also been courted by all the top Hollywood talent agencies, but sources said he chose Barnett, who is based with Williams & Connolly in Washington D.C. because of his track record with politicians and TV correspondents. Michael O’Connor is a partner at the firm.” [Page Six]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a cat and its adopted baby hedgehogs.
IN DEFENSE OF THE DUMP WHERE THE PRESIDENT LIVES - Jenna Amatulli: “The president might have lived in dumps, but that was before moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After Donald Trump allegedly called the home of every president since John Adams a ‘dump’ this week, leading architects confirmed to HuffPost what most of us have known since childhood. ‘The White House is a treasure...It symbolizes freedom, democracy and opportunity,’ Thomas Vonier, president of the American Institute of Architects, said. ‘It embodies our humility as a nation and the humility we expect of our elected representatives.’ ‘It’s been modified, improved and preserved with great care for generations.’ [HuffPost]
- Trump toilet paper features the commander-in-chief’s tweets.
- Elephant versus goose: It’s on.
- The Obamas are replying to wedding invites from strangers. Our question would be which side of the aisle they’d sit on.
[Logs onto Twitter]
People talking about fisting the NYT
[Logs off Twitter]
@peitridishes: my new strategy to avoid being approached on the sidewalk is to start carrying a clipboard and wear a bright vest that supports a good cause
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