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Anthony Scaramucci is the new White House communications director, which is perfect because what this fine-tuned machine really lacked was a guy with a henchman nickname like “The Mooch.” Sean Spicer will soon be liberated from telling Trump’s lies and be able to spend more time lying about things of his own choosing. And the Democratic Party has a new slogan, replacing its previous one, “Welp!” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday July 21st, 2017:
WHITE HOUSE SHAKEUP - Wake us when Trump fires himself. Glenn Thrush: “Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, after denouncing chaos in the West Wing and telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director…. Mr. Scaramucci founded the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital and is a Fox News contributor. He is known for his spirited on-air defense of Mr. Trump.… The resignation is a serious blow to the embattled White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought Mr. Spicer into the West Wing despite skepticism from Mr. Trump, who initially questioned his loyalty…. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has grown critical of both Mr. Spicer and Mr. Priebus, whom he regards as party establishment figures who operate out of self-interest.” [NYT]
Watch HuffPost’s video roundup of Spicey’s greatest hits.
Huckabee Sanders to continue getting back to you on that. “Sarah Huckabee Sanders will replace Sean Spicer as White House press secretary…. Sanders, who had served as principal deputy press secretary, had frequently substituted for Spicer during daily briefings since May.” [HuffPost’s Mollie Reilly]
WaPo helpfully compiled a history of people leaving, or never making it into, the Trump administration.
Yeah, sure, dude
CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS, COMIN’ RIGHT UP! - Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger: “Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort. Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.” [WaPo]
Strongly worded statements to the rescue. “The top Democrats on the congressional panels investigating Russia’s election meddling are warning President Donald Trump not to attempt to pardon his campaign aides whose alleged ties to Moscow are now under investigation. The statements by Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Mark Warner of Virginia follow reports, including in The Washington Post, that Trump’s legal team is exploring the possibility of pardons.” [Politico’s Austin Wright]
THE ONLY THING THAT CAN STOP TRUMP IS TRUMP - Prepare yourself for this to get worse. Ryan J. Reilly: “Democrats who hope that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election could bring an end to Donald Trump’s presidency may want to consult a constitutional scholar. Congress could always impeach the president. But short of that, Trump’s job offers him sweeping protections from the types of accountability that normally apply to regular citizens…. While his position as president may allow Trump to dodge legal accountability, the Russia probe has already had an effect on his political standing. That could ultimately be where the real consequences lie. A preemptive move like pardoning his son would spark massive criticism and cement the belief in many Americans’ mind that whoever received a pardon broke the law. In a similar vein, Trump himself had proclaimed that pleading the Fifth Amendment was an admission of guilt.” [HuffPost]
THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS - Maria Tsvetkova and Jack Stubbs: “The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show. The documents show that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, successfully represented the FSB’s interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in northwest Moscow between 2005 and 2013. The FSB, successor to the Soviet-era KGB service, was headed by Vladimir Putin before he became Russian president.” [Reuters]
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FOR YOUR ‘THIS WAS ONLY BAD WHEN OBAMA WANTED IT’ FILE - Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo: “The Trump administration has brought a Qaeda suspect to the United States to face trial in federal court, backing off its hard-line position that terrorist suspects should be sent to the naval prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, rather than to civilian courtrooms…. For years, Republicans portrayed civilian trials as a weakness in Mr. Obama’s national security policy. His plan to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in New York fizzled amid controversy. Since then, however, federal prosecutors have consistently won convictions and lengthy prison sentences for foreign terrorists and helped glean crucial intelligence.” [NYT]
HUFFPOST EXCLUSIVE: 200 IS LESS THAN 756 - Nothing gets past us. Jonathan Cohn: “Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as much as $200 billion over 10 years, according to reports in Bloomberg and The Hill…. The Better Care Reconciliation Act, the proposal that Senate leaders are trying to bring to the floor next week, would take $756 billion out of Medicaid over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill would also reduce tax credits for people buying private insurance on their own, bringing the total reduction in federal spending to $1.2 trillion. Putting something like $200 billion of that back into health coverage isn’t nearly enough to blunt the effects.″ [HuffPost]
Revenge of the nerds. “Every economist who has previously served as director of the Congressional Budget Office has signed a letter registering ‘strong objection to recent attacks’ on the agency. The letter, sent Friday morning and addressed to congressional leaders, does not specify who has been making those attacks. But only one political party is attacking the CBO right now ― and only one party has so brazenly questioned the agency’s methods to draw this kind of response from such a distinguished, bipartisan group of economists. It’s the Republicans, because they don’t like what the CBO has been saying about GOP proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” [HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn]
‘WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO ‘“BETTER”’ - Look out, Dangerous Donald ― here come the Dems! Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein: “House and Senate Democrats this coming week are poised to unveil a new government platform geared around populist policy suggestions. And it won’t be done under a banner that evokes thoughts of Papa John’s pizza. The party’s slogan, according to numerous sources, is set to be ‘A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.’ ... Myriad observers noted that the phrase sounded uncomfortably similar to the famous, longtime ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John’s’ corporate ad slogan.″ [Daily Beast]
Former 18-term Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) is dead at 92.
THIS IS GROSS - In addition to the obvious, this can’t possibly go over well with all those really old Arizonans. Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski: “US Senate candidate Kelli Ward, who is challenging Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in the state’s 2018 Republican primary, said Thursday that she hopes Sen. John McCain will step aside as quickly as possible following the news this week of his brain cancer diagnosis. Ward, who failed in her effort to unseat McCain during last year’s primary, also floated the possibility that she would be appointed to McCain’s seat should he resign.” [CNN]
Another letter for Trump to ignore. “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the top cops in 18 other states and the District of Columbia urged President Donald Trump to uphold protections for young undocumented immigrants, also known as Dreamers, who came to the U.S. as children. They also vowed to help defend the policy against lawsuits from other states opposed to the program.” [HuffPost’s Mollie Reilly]
HUFFPOST BUS TOUR CANCELS STOP IN PYONGYANG - Yeganeh Torbati and Se Young Lee: “The U.S. government will ban Americans from traveling to North Korea due to ‘the serious risk of arrest’ after an American student was jailed while on a tour and later died, the State Department said on Friday…. North Korea has detained two Korean-American academics and a missionary, a Canadian pastor and three South Korean nationals who were doing missionary work there. Japan says at least several dozen of its nationals are being held in the country.” [Reuters]
AT LEAST IT’S HOTTER SOMEPLACE ELSE - You’re wearing a suit right now, aren’t you? Jason Samenow: “On Friday, the 24 million-plus inhabitants of Shanghai witnessed the temperature skyrocket to 105.6 degrees (40.9 Celsius), its hottest day ever recorded. The Chinese city, which has more people than any in the world, has tracked temperatures since 1872…. This record high temperature in Shanghai is one of several all-time heat records set this summer around the Northern Hemisphere.” [WaPo]
- This is what a rocket launch looks like from space.
- In honor of Sean Spicer, here’s a definitive ranking of people in bunny costumes.
- Some pretty impressive wedding dresses made out of toilet paper.
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