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Donald Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer, starting a never-ending loop that reminds us of the phenomenon when two mirrors face each other and an infinite number of projected mirrors start suing each other. Amazon is purchasing Whole Foods; once the online retail giant finds a way to purchase conversations about where to have brunch, it will literally own Millennial life. And the president indicated on Twitter that he is, in fact, under investigation for obstruction of justice, reminding us once again we should probably update Miranda rights to include social media posts: “Anything you say or tweet ‘THIS’ above may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to a social media director. If you cannot afford one, a 23-year-old Vassar alumnus named Cody will be appointed to you.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 16th, 2017:
R-OH-NO-SENSTEIN - Sam Levine: “President Donald Trump seemed to confirm for the first time Friday that he’s being investigated for possible obstruction of justice and appeared to blame the Justice Department’s number two official for the probe. Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor in an investigation of alleged collusion between Trump associates and Russia in the 2016 election. Rosenstein made the appointment after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation for failing to disclose during his confirmation hearings that he met with Russian officials before Trump took office. Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in May after Rosenstein authored a memo advising him to do so.” [HuffPost]
CUBA NOT SO LIBRE FOR US, ANYMORE - We don’t know what’s worse, that this is a naked play to win votes in Florida or just an excuse Trump is using to spend some time at Mar-a-Lago. Mollie Reilly: “President Donald Trump announced in Miami on Friday that he will tighten rules governing travel to and trade with Cuba, marking a significant reversal of policies President Barack Obama implemented during his second term. These rules also mark the fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promises to dismantle Obama’s executive orders and to put pressure on the Raúl Castro regime…. Specifically, the new policy will again limit U.S. tourism to Cuba, which has boomed since Obama thawed relations with the island nation’s authoritarian regime in 2014. American tourists have been able to travel to the country on their own via what’s known as individual ‘people-to-people’ educational trips (something airlines have capitalized on by adding direct flights from the U.S. to Cuba), but they will now have to qualify for a visa under one of 12 authorized travel categories, which will be more intensely enforced. (Educational trips qualify under one of those categories but must be part of a guide-led group trip.)” [HuffPost]
TRUMP STILL HASN’T RELEASED HIS TAX RETURNS - Also, congratulations to the pro-business candidate on his SAG pension. Jill Disis and Cristina Alesci: “The government ethics office has released President Trump’s latest financial disclosure form. Trump reported $19.7 million in income from his luxury Washington hotel, which opened in September 2016. The figure covers income through April 15. The hotel has been a center of concern about conflicts of interest. The president reported $37.2 million in income from Mar-a-Lago, his private Florida resort. That was $7.4 million more than he reported on his previous financial disclosure filing, in May 2016. He reported $19.7 million in income from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, about $800,000 less than in the previous filing. Trump also reported $7 million in book royalties, and an $84,000 pension from the Screen Actors Guild.” [CNN]
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SCALISE STILL IN CRITICAL CONDITION - Not a fun report to read. Best wishes to the whip. Paige Lavender: “Doctors gave an update on the condition of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) Friday, saying he is still in critical condition from being shot on Wednesday. Dr. Jack Sava, director of trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, said the team working with Scalise is ‘encouraged’ by his progress. Sava called Scalise’s injury a ‘trans-pelvic gunshot wound,’ describing how a bullet entered his body near his left hip and traveled toward his right hip, causing ‘substantial damage to bones, organs and blood vessels.’ ‘We have controlled the internal bleeding and his vital signs have stabilized,’ Sava said during a news conference.” [HuffPost]
MANAFORT ALLY UNDER MICROSCOPE - Maybe, like his mentor, Rick Gates will continue to drum up business. Nicholas Confessore and Barry Meier: “Nearly everywhere Paul Manafort went, it seemed, Rick Gates followed, his protégé and junior partner. Mr. Gates survived Mr. Manafort’s purge last summer amid allegations that his mentor had taken millions of dollars from Kremlin allies, retaining a central role on Mr. Trump’s campaign and transition team. But Mr. Gates, 45, soon followed in Mr. Manafort’s footsteps once again: In April, amid new questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was abruptly forced out of a lobbying group formed to advance President Trump’s agenda. Now, Mr. Gates has been drawn into the burgeoning federal investigations into diplomatic and financial dealings between Russian interests and the president’s inner circle. In a newly disclosed memo, a lawyer for the Trump campaign ordered members of the president’s transition team to preserve records relating to five Trump associates, among them Mr. Manafort — already known to be a subject of the investigation — and Mr. Gates.” [NYT]
The best people. Just the best. “A longtime associate of President Trump’s family, who organized golf tournaments on the president’s courses and planned his son Eric’s wedding, will soon oversee billions of federal dollars as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office. Lynne Patton had been working as a senior adviser and director of public engagement at HUD for several months before Ben Carson, the department secretary, recommended her for the new role, a person close to Mr. Carson said. Before that, Ms. Patton had no experience in housing policy.” [NYT’s Yamiche Alcindor and J. David Goodman]
LAWYER LAWYERS UP - Welcome to the Möbius strip of jurisprudence. Philip Rucker and Rosalind S. Helderman “Michael Cohen, who for years has served as President Trump’s personal attorney, has hired a lawyer of his own to help him navigate the expanding Russia investigation. Cohen confirmed Friday to The Washington Post that he has retained Stephen M. Ryan, a Washington-based lawyer from the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery who has experience prosecuting criminal cases as an assistant U.S. attorney. Cohen’s hiring of Ryan as his personal lawyer was first reported by Katy Tur of NBC News. Cohen’s decision is the latest indication that the Russia probe overseen by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is intensifying and could end up focusing on a number of Trump associates, both inside and outside the White House.” [WaPo]
WELL, GOP OPPOSITION TO TRUMP HAS TO START SOMEWHERE - Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “Indiana is one of a handful of states with bipartisan representation in the U.S. Senate. Earlier this week, one of its senators voted for the first portion of President Donald Trump’s much-publicized arms deal with Saudi Arabia. It wasn’t the Republican. Freshman lawmaker Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) has tried to use his influence so far in the Senate, including his role on the foreign relations committee, to urge the Saudis to be less brutal in their bloody U.S.-backed fight against pro-Iran rebels in Yemen ― all the while respecting their decades-long partnership with Washington and condemning Iranian adventurism. In doing so, he’s modeled a new kind of humanitarian advocacy on the GOP side of the aisle, signaling that compassionate conservative internationalism can survive in the age of Trump. “ [HuffPost]
PENCE SHAMED REPUBLICANS TO TEARS ABOUT THEIR RELUCTANCE TO SNATCH PEOPLE’S HEALTH CARE - Tim Alberta: “With the American Health Care Act breathing its last — that is, until Pence resuscitated it over the ensuing weeks — the vice president pleaded with his fellow tea partiers to reconsider their opposition. When they held their ground, the vice president let loose an uncharacteristic flash of anger. ‘I was the Freedom Caucus before the Freedom Caucus existed,’ Pence told them, his voice rising, according to multiple people who were in the room. ‘Don’t try to tell me this bill isn’t conservative enough.’ It was the most animated they had ever seen him. And it worked: After Pence abruptly exited the meeting, and several grown men had broken into tears because of the tension present in the room, a chorus of Freedom Caucus members informed Chairman Meadows that they would now support the legislation if a vote were held.” [Politico]
SORRY, SICK CHILDREN. OUR CALENDAR IS WAY FULL - Noam Levey: “Major physician groups, hospitals, consumer advocates and organizations representing millions of patients with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other serious illnesses have been pleading with Republican leaders for months to open up the process and listen to their concerns. This week, a group of more than 15 patients groups — including the American Heart Assn., the March of Dimes, the American Lung Assn. and the American Diabetes Assn. — asked McConnell’s office to meet with them next week, proposing any time between Friday and June 22. A representative from McConnell’s office told them staff schedules were too busy, according to representatives of several of the organizations.” [LA Times]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s Jay-z being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Barack Obama. What did you do today?
LONG ISLAND IS A HOTBED OF TIMELY HUMOR - See, like that thing Trump said! Get it?? Rachel Uda: “A sign marking the Crooked Hill Road exit on the Sagtikos Parkway was defaced to read ‘Crooked Hillary,’ officials said…. The sign was reported to the State Department of Transportation Wednesday morning and corrected later that day, according to a DOT spokesman.” [Newsday]
- Firing up a real Bat Signal to honor Adam West.
- Explore radio waves on your browser.
- Learn to operate a rowboat, for your dignity’s sake.
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