It’s Spring in Washington, so leaves are sprouting, flowers are blooming and the Pentagon is drawing up plans for a beautiful new war. Jared Kushner had to talk down a confused Trump, who was about to launch airstrikes against cereal today. And Devin Nunes stepped down from the House’s Russia probe, saying he wanted to try his hand at haplessly failing to do other things. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 6th, 2017:
Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!
WASHINGTON PREPARES TO UNBOX SHINY NEW ARMED CONFLICT - Michael Gordon: “Senior Defense Department officials are developing options for a military strike in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians on Tuesday, officials said on Thursday. The top-level consultations about military options involve Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as military officers at the United States Central Command.” [NYT]
TUFF TALK - Nick Robins-Early: “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday he sees no role for Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria’s future. Tillerson’s comments came two days after warplanes dropped toxic gas over the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 70 civilians. ‘There is no doubt in our minds, and the information we have supports that Syria, the Syria regime under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, are responsible for this attack,’ Tillerson told reporters…. President Donald Trump stopped short of calling for Assad’s removal on Thursday, but said that ‘something should happen’ with the Syrian president. ‘I think what Assad did is terrible,’ Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One. ‘I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity and he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen.’” [HuffPost]
Chris Hayes joins this week’s HuffPost Politics podcast to talk about his new book, “A Colony in a Nation.”
SENATE...ASPLODES!!! Michael McAuliff and Jennifer Bendery: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his fellow Republicans pulled the nuclear rules trigger Thursday, gutting the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees after Democrats blocked President Donald Trump’s conservative pick, Neil Gorsuch. Democrats argued that Gorsuch, a Colorado federal appeals court judge, was simply too conservative, and were nearly united in filibustering his nomination. They also criticized Republicans for the way they treated President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, who was denied both a hearing and a vote last year. ‘That name is the reason we are in this spot today,’ Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of Garland. ‘For the first time in the history of the Senate, for the first time ever, this Republican-led Senate refused to give this nominee a hearing and a vote. It had never, underline the word never, happened before.’ Republicans said the other side was making history of their own by carrying out the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. ‘We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster,’ McConnell said, moments before rattling off procedural speak that set the rules change in motion.” [HuffPost]
NO-NUKES DEAL HAD BEEN IN THE WORKS - Sam Stein: “[I]f the chamber had just waited another week or so, it could have been avoided. That’s according to one senator who was trying to broker a deal to stave off the nuclear option as recently as this week. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he had talks with about 12 to 15 fellow senators about preserving the filibuster in some form for Supreme Court nominees. While Republicans and Democrats couldn’t settle on the right formula for an agreement, he believed the impasse had more to do with scheduling than substance. ‘I think if you’d put 10 of us on a plane and sent us on a CODEL [congressional delegation] together to Afghanistan, by the time you came back you’d have had an agreement,’ Coons said. ‘Maybe that just proves I’m an optimist.’” [HuffPost]
WE HARDLY NUNE YE - Jessica Schulberg and Paige Lavender: “House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will step down, for the time being, from leading the panel’s investigation into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s team and the Russian government, he said in a statement Thursday. Nunes said he will have Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), with assistance from Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), lead the investigation in his place. The California Republican’s decision to step aside marks a victory for Democrats, who have alleged that Nunes, a close ally of the president, was unfit to oversee the probe. While Nunes described his recusal as temporary on Thursday, it’s not clear how he would return to the role.” [HuffPost]
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
THESE TWO TEAMS JUST DON’T LIKE EACH OTHER - Oops! They’re on the same team. Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey: “A Wednesday evening meeting between top aides to President Donald Trump and House Republican leaders turned heated when the White House officials exhorted Speaker Paul Ryan to show immediate progress on the GOP’s stalled plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The meeting was tense. At one point, according to three sources briefed on the meeting, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus suggested it could be detrimental to Ryan’s speakership if Republicans fail to pass a bill. Others disputed that characterization, saying the comments were not aimed specifically at Ryan but more broadly, as in: All Republican lawmakers’ jobs are in jeopardy if they don’t deliver.” [Politico]
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
STEVE BANNON MIGHT BE RIGHT ABOUT THIS - Team Jared, though. Asawin Suebsaeng: Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon has called the president’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner a ‘cuck’ and a ‘globalist’ during a time of high tension between the two top aides, several Trump administration officials told The Daily Beast. The fighting between Kushner and Bannon has been ‘nonstop’ in recent weeks, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s been an ‘open secret’ that Bannon and Kushner often clash ‘face-to-face,’ according to senior officials. One official said Bannon has lately complained about Kushner trying to ‘shiv him and push him out the door’ and likened him to a fifth column in the White House. ‘[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’…He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in ‘cuckservative,’’ the administration official told The Daily Beast.” [Daily Beast]
CAN THE BANNON MYTH DIE NOW? Reihan Salam: “Far from the evil genius invoked in various breathless magazine profiles, Bannon has proven hapless and flat-footed. His dreams of spearheading a bold challenge to America’s neoliberal globalist elite have been dashed, and he keeps losing ground to establishment favorites like Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, who might not be world-changing visionaries but do know how to get things done.” [Slate]
Mitt Romney to ride Rafalca all the way to the Senate!
IVANKA TRUMP MET WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD - Apparently Ivanka Trump forgot that she is the daughter of the current head of the Republican Party. Annie Karni: “The first daughter requested a sit-down with Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood and a vocal surrogate for Hillary Clinton on the 2016 campaign trail, to talk about an organization that is being targeted by Republicans seeking to defund it because it provides abortions, among other women’s health services like cancer screenings…. But the strategic outreach hasn’t seemed to earn Ivanka Trump much public goodwill. Since Ivanka Trump’s sit-down with Richards, what started as a cordial relationship has soured — and any effort on the part of the politically savvy first daughter to back-channel to the nonprofit has transformed into a bitter battle since Ivanka Trump assumed an official administration post.” [Politico]
PREET-Y BRUTAL STUFF HERE - Hell hath no fury like a prosecutor scorned. Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum: “Nearly a month after he was fired by the Trump administration, Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney in Manhattan, remains mystified by the circumstances of his ouster, saying he had never been told why President Trump changed his mind about wanting him to stay on. In his first interview since he was forced out, Mr. Bharara said this week that his firing was part and parcel of what he characterized as the chaos that has defined some of the administration’s decisions. He called it ‘a direct example of the kind of uncertain helter-skelter incompetence, when it comes to personnel decisions and executive actions, that was in people’s minds when this out-of-the-blue call for everyone’s resignation letter came.’” [NYT]
THE SECRET SERVICE CAN’T AFFORD THE TRUMPS - Nicholas Fandos: “Eleven weeks into the Trump presidency, the Secret Service is grappling with how to constrain the rising costs and unexpected strain that have come with protecting a new first family as large, mobile and high-profile as any in modern American history. To keep up, dozens of agents from New York and field offices across the country are being temporarily pulled off criminal investigations to serve two-week stints protecting members of the Trump family, including the first lady and the youngest son in Manhattan’s Trump Tower…. And in Washington, agency leaders are already negotiating for tens of millions of dollars in supplemental funding to help offset the sky-high costs of securing Trump Tower and other high-profile family assets like Mar-a-Lago in Florida. It is a figure that will only continue to rise.” [NYT]
HOW TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES AND THE ‘ACCESS HOLLYWOOD’ TAPE - Katherine Rosman: “Presidential biographies are a staple of children’s book publishing, and of classrooms across the country. Nonfiction for children is a surging category, particularly in light of a Common Core mandate that schools put greater emphasis on it in their curriculum. Publishers like Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic and Time for Kids chronicle stories like the rise of Mr. Obama from Illinois state senator to president, or the political legacy of the Bush family, interspersing those accounts with facts about presidential history. The books hit bookshelves every four years, usually long before historians and writers of nonfiction for adults weigh in. But the story of Donald J. Trump posed a unique set of challenges.” [NYT]
MIKE COFFMAN IS AFRAID - HuffPost’s Matt Fuller: “Rep. Mike Coffman asks what outlet I’m from. I tell him Huffington Post. He refuses to talk to me and says I’m ‘not a legit journalist.’” [Twitter]
- Baseball player has very bad day.
- Stalker Spider-Man menaces his ex-girlfriend.
- America’s only touring black rodeo
- Who said it: my soulcycle instructor or an existential nihilist?
@FanSince09: Your middle name plus the last name of the person responsible for 9/11 is your Bush family name
NEWSPAPERS: “But have you even heard the perspective of Trump supporters?”
ME: “I have a Jewish last name and am on the internet, so yes.”
@robinthede: America is on a four-year walk of shame from what we did late at night on November 8, 2016.
@HayesBrown: Back in my day a filibuster used to mean you had to hold the floor
hold the floor
hold the floor
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)