Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!
A number of reports suggest President Trump is in way over his head as president, and the way things are going, we give it a month until Trump calls for the gold standard to be reinstated because he likes the sound of it. Shinzo Abe’s face after shaking hands with Trump was reminiscent of an audience participant really glad to be done assisting a magic trick. And Betsy DeVos was blocked from entering a public school, which her office could easily spin as a demonstration of what she would like ALL school-age children to experience. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 10th, 2017:
See you in court...again...again: Meanwhile, White House reportedly is writing a new version of the Muslim ban. Maybe this time, they’ll just go ahead and include the racial slurs they left out of the original. Relatedly, it is also being reported that the administration won’t appeal the 9th Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
CNN MAKING A STAND: PEE INTEL STILL FLIMSY, OTHER STUFF TRUE - Friday Friday, gotta dump some news on Friday. Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez: “For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier prior to Trump’s inauguration. None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. But the intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier, according to the officials. CNN has not confirmed whether any content relates to then-candidate Trump…. Some of the individuals involved in the intercepted communications were known to the US intelligence community as ‘heavily involved’ in collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump, two of the officials tell CNN.” [CNN]
Spicer responds: “We continue to be disgusted by CNN’s fake news reporting.” [Ibid.]
TEAM OF RIVALS - And by rivals we mean, “politically amoral sycophants.” Jamie Gangel and Elise Labott: “Elliott Abrams, who served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, will not get the No. 2 job at the State Department, three Republican sources told CNN. But Abrams was nixed from the list of contenders after President Donald Trump learned of Abrams’ biting criticism last May of his fitness to become president, the Republican sources said. The President found out about Abrams’ outspokenness against Trump after meeting with him on Tuesday to consider him for the position, which would have made him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s deputy. The meeting went well, but Trump could not get past Abrams’ past criticism, the sources said. Abrams, Bush’s deputy national security adviser, had emerged as the top contender to become Tillerson’s right-hand man. ‘This is a loss for the State Department and the country and, for that matter, for the President,’ said one Republican source.” [CNN]
MASSHOLE VOTAH FRAAHD - If there ever is an infrastructure plan, and that seems increasingly unlikely, it’s safe to say that the Granite State will be lucky to get a few grand to repave a frontage road. Eli Stokols: “As soon as the door closed and the reporters allowed to observe for a few minutes had been ushered out, Trump began to talk about the election, participants said, triggered by the presence of former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who lost her reelection bid in November and is now working for Trump as a Capitol Hill liaison, or ‘Sherpa,’ on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The president claimed that he and Ayotte both would have been victorious in the Granite State if not for the ‘thousands’ of people who were ‘brought in on buses’ from neighboring Massachusetts to ‘illegally’ vote in New Hampshire. According to one participant who described the meeting, ‘an uncomfortable silence’ momentarily overtook the room.” [Politico]
Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
OUT LIKE FLYNN? - This could really cramp Michael Flynn, Jr.’s ascent up the alt-right social ladder. Sam Levine: “Democrats on Friday began calling for the removal of Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, over reports he discussed sanctions and cooperation with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before President Donald Trump was sworn into office. Top Trump officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, said last month that Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, talked simply to arrange a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. But according to a report published in The Washington Post Thursday, Flynn told the ambassador that Trump would ease sanctions on the country once he took office. At the time of Flynn’s call, former President Barack Obama was about to impose new sanctions on Russia for interfering in the November presidential election. The sanctions were imposed after intelligence officials concluded that Russia had interfered, with the goal of boosting Trump’s chances of winning. Officials told The New York Times that Flynn did not explicitly promise sanctions relief, but there was the suggestion that it would be possible.” [HuffPost]
THIS IS FINE - Alex Isenstadt, Ken Vogel and Josh Dawsey: “[I]t has become apparent, say those close to the president, most of whom requested anonymity to describe the inner workings of the White House, that the transition from overseeing a family business to running the country has been tough on him.Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals and personnel. And, when discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to ‘seem in control at all times,’ one senior government official said — or direct questions about details to his chief strategist Steve Bannon, his son-in-law Jared Kushner or House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump has privately expressed disbelief over the ability of judges, bureaucrats or lawmakers to delay — or even stop — him from filling positions and implementing policies.” [Politico]
PRESIDENT DOESN’T LIKE READING, pt. 432,679,110 - President still trying to figure out how you file retaliatory nuisance suits against an administrative body designed to do nothing but process legal actions. Cristian Farias: “Still reeling from an appeals court ruling that keeps his travel ban on ice, President Donald Trump posted an early-morning Twitter message Friday deriding the decision as ‘disgraceful.’ … More notably, Trump’s tweet cites the excellent Lawfare blog, which on Thursday night published a post by its editor-in-chief guiding readers on what the appeals ruling against Trump’s travel restrictions means. Long story short: Trump almost certainly didn’t read the post, in which its author, Benjamin Wittes, very clearly noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reached the correct decision ― plus his inescapable observation that the president’s executive order targeting Muslims was implemented with ‘incompetent malevolence.’” [HuffPost]
BUT DID TRUMP SAY WHICH CHINA? We’d love to know just what Xi Jinping said to spook Trump into backing down. Ben Blanchard and Steve Holland: “U.S. President Donald Trump changed tack and agreed to honor the ‘one China’ policy during a phone call with China’s leader Xi Jinping, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing which brooks no criticism of its claim to self-ruled Taiwan. Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of Taiwan and saying the United States did not have to stick to the policy, under which Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it. A White House statement said Trump and Chinese President Xi had a lengthy phone conversation on Thursday night.” [Reuters]
TIME FOR SOME INTERSECTIONAL TRUST FALLS - Democratic retreat time! Jennifer Bendery and Laura Barron-Lopez: “Trump isn’t even talking about infrastructure anymore. That’s left House Democrats with even less to work with, as they game out their strategy for the next four years, and even more reason to fight…. ‘So far, we haven’t seen anything from the administration that would justify any kind of cooperation,’ [Pelsoi] told reporters. ‘The president said he’s going to renegotiate [the North American Free Trade Agreement]. Take action, we can work with you on that. We have seen nothing from them.’” [HuffPost]
NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM, I SWEAR - Daniel Marans: “President Donald Trump said that he is still deciding whether to move the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, suggesting he is open to abandoning a controversial campaign promise. ‘I’m thinking about it. I’m learning the issue and we’ll see what happens,’ Trump told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Haaretz reported. ‘It’s not an easy decision. It’s been discussed for so many years. No one wants to make this decision, and I’m thinking about it seriously.’ As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy, including in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September.” [HuffPost]
WHY THE NORDSTROM THING IS A BIG DEAL - Paul Blumenthal: “It also shows that the president is incapable of emotionally disconnecting himself from his family’s brand-driven financial interests ― and that this incapacity has trickled down to his staff. It reveals the fiction of any separation the president maintains from his Trump Organization while it is headed by his adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. Further, members of the president’s staff appear to believe that it is their jobs, as paid representatives of the president, to defend his personal and his family’s private business interests rather than the interests of the American people. There appears to be no conception in the White House that the family business is separate from the business of government.” [HuffPost]
DEVOS NEARLY MISSES OUT ON CHANCE TO SEE AN ACTUAL SCHOOL - She didn’t even have time to replace all the science books with bibles and eugenics pamphlets. Sam Sweeney: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was physically blocked by protesters from entering Jefferson Academy in SW, D.C. Friday morning. This was her first visit to a public school. The protesters created a barrier to the entrance of the school, and began shouting…. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was physically blocked by protesters from entering Jefferson Academy in SW, D.C. Friday morning. This was her first visit to a public school. The protesters created a barrier to the entrance of the school, and began shouting…. She did eventually make it into the school.” [WJLA]
Betsy DeVos also learned an important lesson this week: Never tweet.
SNOWFLAKE UPDATE - Libertarian votes for Good Ol’ Boy jackboot guy. David Weigel: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a libertarian-leaning Republican who has clashed with newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on drug policy and criminal justice reform, said in an interview that Democrats secured his vote for Sessions by attacking the longtime Alabama senator’s record on race. ‘In some ways, the Democrats made it much more certain that I would vote for him by trying to destroy his character,’ Paul said Thursday in an interview with The Washington Post and Roll Call for C-SPAN’s ‘Newsmakers’ series. ‘I think it’s very upsetting that they didn’t choose to go after him on particular issues, like civil asset forfeiture, where they might have been able to persuade someone. They chose to go after a man’s character.’” [WaPo]
Quote of the day: ““Apparently there’s a big underground movement of right-wing bodybuilders ― thousands. Their plan is to surface spectacularly this April, in a choreographed flash demo on the Mall. They’ll be totally nude, but wearing MAGA hats. Goal is to intimidate Congress with pure masculine show of youth, energy. Trump is said to know, will coordinate with powerful EOs….’” [The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a blind therapy dog enjoying the snow.
LePEN CHEERS - Jim Waterson and David Perrotin: “Russia Today is hiring extra staff for its French-language website ahead of the country’s presidential election, as well as preparing to launch a French-language TV station by the end of the year, in another sign of the Kremlin-backed channel’s increasingly global influence. Job advertisements seen by BuzzFeed News show the media organisation is hiring extra French-language staff with a requirement that they are able to start as soon as possible…. RT’s French operation currently employs just 15 people but it is understood to be close to filling the open vacancies and claims it has seen substantial growth in traffic.” [BuzzFeed]
- Man plays duet with washing machine.
- Inside a cargo ship cabin during a major storm.
- Cows really enjoy the accordion.
@Bro_Pair: Apart from becoming mired in unsuccessful legal battles and plunging his boss’s approval ratings below freezing, Steve Bannon is a genius
[to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby”]
Asking to speak with your boss or whoever’s in charge
Shouts at her dog
@aparnapkin: When Trump does anything not incompetent, it’s like yeah the outhouse still “works” but it’s up to the lid in feces, so your call
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)