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Sean Spicer demanded April Ryan stop shaking her head, recalling his recent “stop hitting yourself, Jonathan Karl! Stop hitting yourself!” and “LoserFromAFPSaysWhat?!?” controversies. Ivanka Trump attended a screening of “Hidden Figures,” despite the obvious jokes to be made about her dad’s tax returns. And the White House turned down the invitation for President Trump to throw out a ceremonial Opening Day first pitch, because the guy who had time to receive a Stone Cold Stunner somehow can’t take 20 minutes out of his schedule to toss a ball 60 feet. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 28th, 2017:
TRUMP ADMIN TRIED TO STOP SALLY YATES FROM TESTIFYING ON RUSSIA - Five bucks to the first Democratic campaign that releases a press release titled, “If This Administration Can’t Effectively Gag Internal Dissent, How Can We Expect It To Protect Us From ISIS?” Christina Wilkie and Marina Fang: “Lawyers for President Donald Trump tried to prevent former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on links between Trump campaign staff and Russian officials, according to correspondence first obtained by The Washington Post. In a series of letters last week, Yates’ lawyer, David O’Neil, accused the Trump Justice Department of trying to silence Yates by asserting that ‘all information Ms. Yates received or actions she took in her capacity as Deputy Attorney General and acting Attorney General are client confidences that she may not disclose absent written consent of the department.’” [HuffPost]
CONGRATULATIONS TO DEVIN NUNES FOR GETTING PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE FOR MORE THAN FIVE SECONDS - *America simultaneously googles “kevin nunez controvarsy”* Marina Fang: “Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Tuesday abruptly canceled all House Intelligence Committee meetings scheduled for this week, according to committee members, raising further questions on whether its investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s administration and Russia can proceed. ‘Not only [has] this investigation sort of had a shadow cast on it, but the committee has been put into suspended animation,’ committee member Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said on MSNBC, confirming previous reports that Nunes, the committee chair, had canceled the meetings. The move comes amid growing scrutiny over whether Nunes can lead an independent investigation into ties between Trump’s team and Russian officials.” [HuffPost]
@BraddJaffy: NBC News: GOP Rep. Walter Jones becomes the first House Republican to publicly call for Nunes to recuse himself from Russia investigation
RYAN/MCCONNELL AT ODDS OVER OBAMACARE - Matt Fuller: “[Republicans promised] Tuesday to rewrite and pass their health care law while also moving ahead with other agenda items…Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Tuesday following a scheduled one-hour GOP conference that stretched for almost double that time.When he was asked about a timeline for repeal ― health insurers will begin making decisions about offering plans in the next couple of months ― Ryan said he couldn’t lock into an “artificial timeline” because health care was ‘too important to not get right.’ … At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shot down the notion that the effort to repeal Obamacare would be revived this term. ‘We have the existing law in place and we’ll just have to see how that works,’ he said, applauding Trump and Ryan for their effort but lamenting that it came up short. ‘Sorry that didn’t work out,’ he said.” [HuffPost]
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will prevent the Freedom Caucus from mucking up Paul Ryan’s week: “House Freedom Caucus conservatives ...are divided over whether they should try to force a floor vote on a repeal-only bill with a procedural tool that could put their GOP colleagues in a bind. Several of the group’s most rock-ribbed conservatives are already setting in motion plans to file a so-called discharge petition. The legislative mechanism forces the chamber to vote on legislation — in this case, one of the group member’s Obamacare repeal bills — after it garners more than 216 lawmakers’ signatures.” [Politico’s Rachael Bade and Kyle Cheney]
NO BORDER WALL FOR NOW - But now all of the “illegals” are going to take our new coal jobs that are absolutely, for-sure going to be created! Alexander Bolton: “President Trump’s funding request for a border wall will likely be put on hold, Senate Republican leaders signaled Tuesday. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced at a leadership press conference that Trump’s supplemental funding request will wait until later in the year. He said the Senate and House leadership are very close to negotiating a bill to fund government for the rest of 2017. Adding a supplemental spending bill requested by Trump to pay for military activities and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would complicate the talks and should be dealt with at a later date, Blunt added... Blunt said the supplemental could be dealt with ‘at a later time.’” [The Hill]
Who’s got two thumbs and a bunch of future invites to last-day happy hours? “Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major overhaul of the party’s organization, which has been stung by recent crises — and the DNC has requested resignation letters from all current staffers. Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and they had been alerted to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC’s headquarters from scratch.” [NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald]
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TRUMP TRIES TO REVIVE DEAD THING, PROBABLY WON’T WORK - Coral Davenport: “President Trump signed on Tuesday a much-anticipated executive order intended to roll back most of President Barack Obama’s climate-change legacy, celebrating the move as a way to promote energy independence and to restore thousands of lost coal industry jobs. Flanked by coal miners at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Trump signed a short document titled the “Energy Independence” executive order, directing the agency to start the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s policies to fight global warming. ‘C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says?’ Mr. Trump said to the miners. ‘You’re going back to work.’ The order also takes aim at a suite of narrower but significant Obama-era climate and environmental policies, including lifting a short-term ban on new coal mining on public lands.” [NYT]
The fellas might not be going back to work: “Robert Murray, owner of the world’s largest private coal company, said this week that he’s told President Donald Trump he can’t single-handedly revive the coal business. ‘Can the coal industry be brought back?’ Murray ― a major Republican donor who asked to move a court date last year so he could attend Trump’s formal nomination at the Republican National Convention ― told The Columbus Dispatch in an interview published Sunday. ‘The answer is, I’ve suggested to President Trump that he temper his expectations.’” [HuffPost’s Alexander Kaufman]
LOOK, YOU TRY FINDING A GOOD SAFEHOUSE IN THIS MARKET - Is it just us, or is Paul Manafort the guy we should go to when we find ourselves owing North Korea a lot of money? Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein: “Paul J. Manafort...has engaged in a series of puzzling real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years. Real estate and law enforcement experts say some of these transactions fit a pattern used in money laundering; together, they raise questions about Manafort’s activities in the New York City property market while he also was consulting for business and political leaders in the former Soviet Union. Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three homes in New York City, paying the full amount each time, so there was no mortgage. Then, between April 2015 and January 2017 – a time span that included his service with the Trump campaign – Manafort borrowed about $12 million against those three New York City homes: one in Trump Tower, one in Soho, and one in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Manafort’s New York City transactions follow a pattern: Using shell companies, he purchased the homes in all-cash deals, then transferred the properties into his own name for no money and then took out hefty mortgages against them, according to property records.” [WNYC]
YOUR BROWSER HISTORY SOON TO BE ON SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER - And you thought it was bad when those AdChoices ads kept offering to sell you 64 oz Nutella jars. Dana Liebelson: “The Republican-led Congress is jamming through a measure to overturn the Obama administration’s rules that would have banned telecom and cable companies from sharing customers’ personal information, including web browsing history, without their consent. The House is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday. Its companion passed the Senate last week on a 50-48 vote, largely on party lines. If the House passes the bill and President Donald Trump signs it into law, internet service providers will win a regulatory victory. But advocates say consumers can kiss network privacy goodbye. ‘ISPs will be able to sell your personal information to the highest bidder...and they won’t have any real obligation to keep your personal information secure, either,’ said Gigi Sohn, who served as counselor to former Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler from November 2013 to December 2016.” [HuffPost]
ICYMI: Matt Ferner’s harrowing report on the investigation into a Florida inmate’s “boiling” death and how investigators may have omitted key details.
FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT IVANKA TRUMP IS AS CULPABLE AS ANYONE - But… her moderating influence! Amanda Terkel: “Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos held an event at the National Air and Space Museum Tuesday, promoting the administration’s support for young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They even appeared with astronaut Kay Hire and showed the movie ‘Hidden Figures,’ a story about the achievements of African-American women at NASA...If Trump gets his way, his budget will eliminate the $115 million NASA Office of Education. The popular NASA initiative provides internships, enrichment programs, camps and scholarships for young scientists, and tries to get more underrepresented communities into STEM.” [HuffPost]
SEC NOMINEE’S WALL STREET RECORD SCRUBBED FROM BIO - Zach Carter: “For years, the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell touted the achievements of its partner Jay Clayton in a lengthy biography displayed on its website. Clayton, one of the most powerful attorneys on Wall Street, had worked on everything from the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to Goldman Sachs’ bailout to mortgage fraud settlements with several major financial institutions. But then President Donald Trump nominated Clayton to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency tasked with policing Wall Street misconduct. Clayton’s bio all but disappeared from the Sullivan & Cromwell site ― trimmed from more than 800 words to less than 30.” [HuffPost]
SEAN SPICER, BOY, I DUNNO - As if April Ryan hasn’t been through enough, facilitating White House meetings with the CBC and all. Paige Lavender: “White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday demanded a journalist stop shaking her head while he answered a question during the daily press briefing. April Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked Spicer how the administration would work to revamp its image amid investigations of potential ties to Russia, mentioning a report that Trump officials tried to stop former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying on links between Trump’s campaign staff and Russian officials…’It seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,’ Spicer argued later. Ryan interrupted to further question Spicer, and as their exchange continued, the press secretary ordered Ryan to stop shaking her head while they talked.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a toddler meeting a robot.
MORE LIKE AMERICA’S PASS-TIME - “President Donald Trump will not participate in the longstanding tradition of presidents throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at Washington Opening Day games due to a scheduling conflict. Trump, who was inaugurated on Jan. 20, was extended an invitation by the Nationals but declined, a team spokesman told ESPN. Washington opens its season on Monday against the Miami Marlins. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush threw out ceremonial first pitches at Nationals games previously.” [Sports Xchange]
- Spiders: they’re everywhere.
- Making the cubanos from the movie “Chef.”
- Side-by-side comparisons of historical subjects and their recreations in film.
@Mobute: Trump’s breathy-earnest storytime voice when he sells things he doesn’t understand is very soothing—like Beatrix Potter describing a murder.
@ashleyfeinberg: Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into Lincoln Chafee’s many crimes, Russian speech....
@singernews: I love D.C. tradition of Repubs and Dems swapping talking points when the majority changes hands, as if the notes are nailed to the podiums.
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