Congratulations To Presidential Archnemesis Jared Kushner

Good luck, guy!

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President Trump’s inability to staff the Pentagon has raised an existential question: If there’s fighting in the war room, but no one is around to hear it, is there ― truly ― no fighting in the war room? Trump joked that Jared Kushner is now more famous than he is, so presumably Kushner will soon be tasked with defaming himself. And an author of the torture memos has been given a job in the Department of Transportation. We guess The Hague should be put on notice that things might be going south fast at American weigh stations. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 6th, 2017:

SENATE GOP HOPEFUL ABOUT OBAMACARE REPEAL - Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 589,581,600 times, er.... Burgess Everett, Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn: “After two weeks of increasingly dour assessments from Republicans on the party’s stalled healthcare efforts, Senate Republicans emerged from more than two hours of meeting with a fresh burst of optimism that they could actually pass a bill to repeal and replace the health law. Sen. Lindsey Graham went into Tuesday’s party lunch predicting that the Republican effort to gut Obamacare was ‘more likely to fail than not.’ He emerged singing a different tune: The health care overhaul he heard about contains ‘promising proposals’ and he was for holding a vote this month after the Congressional Budget Office weighs in and the party’s idea are put into legislative form. ‘Now I say promising, but I don’t know what it looks like legislatively…the key word is promising,’ Graham said. ‘There better be [a vote this month], because this is not like fine wine, it does not get better with age.’” [Politico]

It might be wise to get blackout drunk on Thursday: “President Donald Trump may live-tweet fired FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated Senate testimony on Thursday, pursuing a habit that frequently causes trouble for his administration. Trump will weigh in ‘if he feels the need to respond’ to anything Comey says, The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported on Tuesday.” [HuffPost’s Marina Fang]

RIP, Jared: “Jared Kushner, a top White House aide and Trump’s son-in-law, also attended the meeting. Trump joked during the gathering that his aide ‘has become much more famous than me.’ Trump, through laughter, added: ‘I’m a little bit upset about that.’” [CNN’s Dan Merica and Elizabeth Landers]

FAKE NEWS: ONE HELLUVA DRUG - We’re going to be so pissed if World War Three starts because of something posted on RealNewsNow.biz. Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz: “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say. Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.” [CNN]

TORTURE MEMO AUTHOR GIVEN JOB IN TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT - Ryan J. Reilly: “President Donald Trump will nominate a former George W. Bush administration official who authored legal memos authorizing interrogation techniques widely regarded as torture for a job in the Trump administration. Steven G. Bradbury, the former acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, will be nominated general counsel to the Transportation Department, the White House said Monday night. He’s now a private lawyer at the Dechert LLP firm in Washington, specializing in regulatory enforcement, rulemaking and judicial review of agency actions, according to the White House…. Bradbury, along with John Yoo and Jay Bybee, were the key authors of documents that came to be known as the ‘torture memos’ ― legal opinions that approved the use of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’” [HuffPost]

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OLD SOLDIERS DON’T DIE, THEY JUST...WERE NEVER HIRED IN THE FIRST PLACE - Wow, full employment is impacting the government in all sorts of ways. Vera Bergengruen: “Four months into his presidency, Donald Trump has filled only five of the 53 top jobs at the Pentagon – the slowest pace for nominations and confirmations in over half a century. Several of his high-profile picks, including Navy and Army secretary nominees, have had to withdraw because of their business entanglements. In other cases, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has clashed with the White House, which has blacklisted national security and defense leaders who publicly disagreed with Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to several current and former defense officials…. The investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials is also scaring off people who had been on the fence about joining the administration.” [McClatchy]

AHHHHHH, YES, THE DELICATE GAME OF CHESS THAT IS DIPLOMACY - Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “President Donald Trump escalated a spiraling Middle East crisis on Tuesday morning in tweets attacking Qatar, which hosts 10,000 American troops at the largest U.S. military base in the region. Beginning a little after 8 a.m., the president put out three statements criticizing Qatar and praising neighboring countries ― including Saudi Arabia ― for their moves to isolate the nation in recent days.” [HuffPost]

We’re all going to die: “The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was stunned Tuesday when told by reporters about President Trump’s tweets on Qatar. Asked for his reaction, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) first said he hadn’t seen the tweets. Told by a reporter that Trump accused Qatar of being a state sponsor of terrorism, Corker responded, in a notably lower register, ‘The president?’” [The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel]

SESSIONS IN THE DOG HOUSE - Did somebody say… Attorney General Mitt Romney? Christina Wilkie: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to answer a question on Tuesday about whether President Donald Trump still has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. ‘I don’t have a comment on that,’ Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing, when asked to describe the president’s confidence in Sessions. Pressed further, Spicer said, ‘I have not had that discussion with [Trump], and if I haven’t had a discussion about a subject, I tend not to speak about it.’ Spicer’s non-answer follows a New York Times report on Monday that describes Trump’s growing frustration with his attorney general, whom the president reportedly blames for the escalation of an FBI probe into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted his frustration with the Justice Department’s adjustments to his first travel ban ― changes that were aimed at trying to convince federal judges to uphold the ban. Trump had, of course, approved those changes when he signed the revised executive order.” [HuffPost]

ALLEGED SOURCE BEHIND INTERCEPT NSA/RUSSIA STORY ARRESTED - Ryan J. Reilly: “A government contractor in Georgia was arrested this weekend after a classified National Security Agency report was leaked on an alleged cyberattack attempt by Russian military intelligence officers on a voting software company and local election officials. Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old federal contractor for Pluribus International Corp. who had a top secret security clearance and was working at a government agency, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday at her home in Augusta, Georgia, according to the Justice Department…. The affidavit states that an ‘Intelligence Community Agency’ was contacted by a ‘News Outlet’ about an upcoming story on May 30. The news outlet gave the agency a copy of the May 5 document, and the agency ‘determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed out and hand-carried out of a secure place,’ the affidavit states.” [HuffPost]

The Trump administration seems to be following Obama’s lead on arresting sources, HuffPost’s Michael Calderone observes.

FORMER NC GOVERNOR: ‘NON-CITIZENS’ DEFEATED ME - A noun, a verb and voter fraud. Julia Craven: “If anybody can hold a grudge, it’s former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R). During a speech at the state Republican Party’s annual convention on Saturday, McCrory took the opportunity to once again claim that he lost his re-election bid in November because of voter fraud. ‘I know for a fact that we had a lot of non-citizens that were voting,’ McCrory said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, voter ID would have stopped it. Keep it a clean bill, stay with a voter ID law and get that passed.’” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a bulldog watching a horror movie.

WALL STREET JOURNAL GETTING TIRED OF TRUMP - Your move, OAN News. Ryan Grenoble: “The paper’s generally conservative board laid into Trump on Tuesday, making a strong case for the president to lay off his ‘pointless personal feuding.’ The president is both seriously damaging U.S. interests and undermining his own agenda, the editorial argues.  Exhibit A in its argument: Trump’s tweets following the terror attack in London over the weekend. He lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whom he accused of inventing a ‘pathetic excuse’ for the city’s increased police presence. In reality, Khan was merely telling citizens they had ‘no reason to be alarmed’ by the added law enforcement officers.” [HuffPost]


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