POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - More Like Canned-afort

Paul Manafort was effectively sidelined by Donald Trump, allowing Manafort to spend more time with his семья. Staff changes in Donald Trump’s campaign are occurring with a regularity that would make late-1990s Destiny’s Child jealous. And whoever says bipartisanship is dead should find comfort in the fact that both Paul Manafort AND Tony Podesta can come together and enrich themselves by lobbying for a puppet regime.

ANOTHER STAFF SHAKE-UP IN TRUMPLAND - Christina Wilkie: “Donald Trump restructured his campaign leadership Tuesday in a desperate attempt to turn around his flagging presidential bid. The GOP nominee hired Steve Bannon, executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News, to be his campaign CEO and named Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster and Trump team adviser, as his new campaign manager. Bannon will oversee Trump campaign staff and day-to-day operations, while Conway will primarily focus on messaging, according to a press release issued Wednesday morning. Conway is also expected to travel with the nominee to rallies and speeches. ‘We’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November,’ Trump said in a statement.” [HuffPost]

Manafort/Trump tension, as illustrated by the taco bowl affair: “The taco bowl incident, trivial though it was, is one example. On Cinco de Mayo, Trump happened to be eating a taco bowl for lunch at his desk in Trump Tower. Manafort was in the office with other aides when a member of the family suggested they tweet a picture of Trump enjoying his ‘Mexican’ lunch. Manafort politely suggested that this might be seen as condescending and cautioned against it. The tweet went out. Trump himself was delighted by the resulting controversy. “The people who were offended were people we wanted to offend,” he later said.” [HuffPost’s Howard Fineman]

Breitbart reacts: “News that the Breitbart News Network’s top executive is temporarily leaving his post to effectively run Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has current and former staffers at the right-wing website both bewildered and irritated…’I don’t really have much to offer except that I would just say I’m stunned speechless,’ a current Breitbart staffer told the Washington Examiner...One source who is directly familiar with Bannon and the inner-workings at Breitbart said conversations they had with current and former staffers about the executive’s move to the Trump campaign have mostly been the same. ‘It’s surprising in that it’s something we’ve always joked about and then when it happened, everyone that I knew around Breitbart world had the same reaction. It was, ‘Oh, period, my, period, god,’ said the source.” [Examiner’s Eddie Scarry]

AETNA CEO THREATENED TO LEAVE OBAMACARE EXCHANGE OVER MERGER SCRUTINY - See, Mr. Bertolini *slaps x-ray on display light* what we have here is a textbook case of quid pro quo. Jeffrey Young and Jonathan Cohn: “The big health care news this week came from Aetna, which announced on Monday it was dramatically scaling back participation in the Affordable Care Act...just last month, in a letter to the Department of Justice, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said the two issues were closely linked. In fact, he made a clear threat: If President Barack Obama’s administration refused to allow the merger to proceed, he wrote, Aetna would be in worse financial position and would have to withdraw from most of its Obamacare markets, and quite likely all of them...Bertolini penned the letter, which The Huffington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, on July 5 ― 16 days before the Justice Department announced it would fight the Humana deal. The department had asked Aetna how, if at all, a decision on the proposed merger would affect Aetna’s willingness to offer insurance through the exchanges. Bertolini responded bluntly. Aetna supported the law’s goal to expand coverage and planned to increase its exchange offerings next year, in the hopes that the exchanges would stabilize as enrollment grew, he wrote.” [HuffPost]

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EARLIER: MANAFORT ILLEGALLY LOBBIED FOR FOREIGN CLIENT - For what it’s worth Manafort has a fabulous stainless steel range hood now. Jeff Horwitz and Desmond Butler: “Donald Trump’s campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy...Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000...Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych. People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.” [AP]

Expect Donald Trump to circle this article in permanent marker and start talking about it soon: “Bill Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal—at least, that’s a view Tim Kaine once held. Kaine’s remark—reported 14 years ago in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the aftermath of a state-level sex scandal—hasn’t drawn any attention thus far in the 2016 presidential cycle. But it suggests Hillary Clinton’s running mate at one point harbored reservations about the integrity of the man poised to become the country’s first first gentleman. Kaine commented on the Lewinsky scandal in 2002, when allegations of sexual harassment had rocked the Virginia House of Delegates. The speaker of the house, Vance Wilkins, was a Republican power broker who had just helped his party flip the House and build its majority after Democrats had historically controlled the chamber.” [Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff]

WOE UNTO SEAN SPICER AND HIS GUM-FILLED TUMMY - We’re not doctors, but we’ll wildly speculate that the gum seals all the ulcers. Ben Terris: “The longest-serving communications director for the Republican National Committee is a guy who spent years preaching the virtues of free trade and arguing for a kinder, gentler appeal to immigrants — stances that have been all but vaporized by Donald Trump...Even when he is not speaking, it works on overdrive, churning through sticks of Orbitz cinnamon gum, which he chews and swallows whole. Notwithstanding his line of work, the man just can’t stand a gross-feeling mouth. ‘Two and a half packs by noon,’ said Spicer. ‘I talked to my doctor about it, he said it’s no problem.’ … at Connecticut College...the seeds of his contentious relationship with the press had already been sown…’I am writing in response to the article in the April 26 edition of the Voice in which my name was ‘misspelled,’ ‘ he wrote to his school paper in 1993. While the paper had told him it had been unintentional, he believed ‘that it was a malicious and intentional attack.’ The paper had called him ‘Sean Sphincter.’” [WaPo]

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY NOT EXACTLY ON BOARD THE TRUMP TRAIN - Seriously, is this the guy you want undermining elections in Latin America? Nahal Toosi: “Interviews over the past several months with current and former intelligence officials and intelligence experts revealed significant trepidation about the notion of a Trump presidency — an uneasiness that the Republican nominee’s latest comments are likely to exacerbate. Several sources cited Trump’s unpredictability, his harsh rhetoric about Muslims, his vocal support for torture and his suggestions that he’d go after terror suspects’ families as causes of concern, even among the most hawkish elements of the intelligence world. ‘The wholesale slaughter of families of terrorists — it is understood as a war crime,’ an Army intelligence officer told POLITICO. ‘You can see how emotionally it might seem like a satisfying’ thing to say, ‘but no matter how much you might wait to raze and salt the earth ... people understand the right versus wrong component of it.’” [Politico]

Cool!Donald Trump will bring Michael Flynn ― a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who was paid by a Russian state-funded television network to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala ― to his first national security briefing on Wednesday. Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and high-profile adviser to Trump, has attracted attention since he was pushed out of government in 2014 for criticisms of what he says is the Obama administration’s failure to confront ‘radical Islam,’ his role as an analyst on the Russian network RT, and his embrace of Trump.” [HuffPost’s Jessica Schulberg]

On that note, here’s a Ron Johnson update: “Johnson, of Wisconsin, said at a Wausau campaign stop that he trusts Trump with the United States’ nuclear arsenal. Pointing to controversial remarks on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have both said Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear launch codes. When asked about the topic on the campaign trail, Johnson said Clinton’s use of private a private email server while secretary of state has disqualified her from the presidency.” [WPR]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a chicken in pants.

TODAY IN ‘GREAT MOMENTS IN PUNDITRY’ - Ben Shapiro, rehabilitating his reputation the way one should. Andy Campbell: CNN’s Brianna Keilar was being serious when she asked whether Trump’s promises to become even more aggressive amid his campaign staffing shakeup was a good plan.’I mean, as you probably know, I think Donald Trump’s a turd tornado, but I also understand that he has no capacity whatsoever to control himself and be this staid politician that everyone wants him to be,”’Shapiro replied. ‘Telling him to double down is not necessarily terrible strategy. If he’s gonna go down, he’s gonna go down being Trump.’ Keilar couldn’t handle Shapiro’s verbal diarrhea. ‘A what tornado?’ she asked. ‘A turd tornado.’ ‘What is that?’ ‘Well, it’s like a sharknado. Except with poop,’ Shapiro said, leaving Keilar to laugh her ass off.” [HuffPost]

MINNESOTA REPUBLICAN STICKS UP FOR LAID OFF CONSTITUENT - Rep. Tom Emmers (R-Minn.) wants Delta Airlines to give Greg Staffa another look. The former Farmington, Minnesota resident got fired in 2010 by Northwest Airlines after the company merged with Delta Air Lines and cut employees. Staffa told HuffPost in 2010 that he wouldn’t have been fired if he hadn’t essentially been demoted because the company blamed his weight for a workplace injury. He told his story with a website: www.becauseimfat.com. He won a court ruling, but didn’t get his job back. “His court decision was never acted on by Northwest. It was simply ignored,” Emmers said in a July letter to Delta, all these years later. “Mr. Staffa has been ignored for far too long.” Looks like he will continued to be ignored, at least by Delta, according to a company statement to HuffPost Hill on Wednesday: “Delta will establish a dialogue with  Rep. Emmer’s office in regards to his letter. While Delta’s sympathies are with this former employee, this personnel matter was closed in 2009 in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement that governed the Northwest workplace at the time.” Sad!

COMFORT FOOD

- A map approximating the location of every cargo ship in the world.

- More Harry Potter content is coming your way.

TWITTERAMA

@jbarro: By September, Trump’s campaign is going to be run by Mike Cernovich and Pepe the Frog, with Putin as campaign chairman.

@SykesCharlie: Trump’s campaign has now entered the Hospice Phase. He knows he’s dying and wants to surround himself with his loved ones. #BreitbartCEO

@ryangrim: So basically Trump is now a fringe third party vanity candidate who happens to be the GOP nominee.

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