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This week marks the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s”, the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars,” and, even more incredibly, 10 years to the day in 2027 when President Dwayne Johnson decided to relocate the nation’s capital to a Dave and Busters in Fort Lauderdale. President Trump’s prejudiced Ramadan message was preoccupied with terrorism, and unless this year’s Christmas message explicitly mentions the myriad OSHA violations suffered by Santa’s elves, we’re not going to change our assessment. And John Boehner said Trump has been “a complete disaster,” further solidifying our belief that the best move CNN could make right now would be an hour of primetime featuring Boehner, Maxine Waters and an open bottle of pinot noir. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 26th, 2017:
YOU CAN HATE JAMES COMEY AGAIN - Dana Bash, Shimon Prokupecz and Gloria Borger: “Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email was fake — created by Russian intelligence — but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process. As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over — without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch — while at the same time stating that Clinton had been ‘extremely careless’ in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.” [CNN]
Hillary Clinton is still alive, according to this this major profile in New York.
THEY WENT TO JARED, DOJ EDITION - Maybe he’ll get a legacy consideration at the minimum security prison his father was incarcerated in. Matt Zapotosky, Sari Horwitz, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous: “Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said…. FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.” [WaPo]
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HAPPY RAMADAN TO THE HATERS AND LOSERS - Antonia Blumberg: “President Donald Trump released a statement in honor of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, on Friday. “’On behalf of the American people, I would like to wish all Muslims a joyful Ramadan,’” the president wrote. Unsurprisingly, much of his message focused on terrorism. He continued: ‘America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace.’ Trump’s statement diverged from Ramadan greetings released in previous years by President Barack Obama, who spoke about celebrating and honoring the contributions of Muslims to American society.” [HuffPost]
Hearts and minds: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years. Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.” [Reuters’ Yeganeh Torbati]
BOEHNER: HELL NO YOU CAN’T (GOVERN)! - Hopefully he’ll get relaxed enough with that red wine to let us know what he thinks about Kevin McCarthy. Mary Clare Jalonick: “Former House Speaker John Boehner says that aside from international affairs and foreign policy, President Donald Trump’s time in office has so far been a ‘complete disaster.’ Speaking at an energy conference Thursday in Houston, Boehner praised Trump for his approach abroad and his aggressiveness in fighting Islamic State militants, according to the energy publication Rigzone. ‘Everything else he’s done (in office) has been a complete disaster,’ the Ohio Republican said, according to the publication. ‘He’s still learning how to be president.’ … Boehner said he doesn’t want to be president. ‘I drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. I golf. I cut my own grass. I iron my own clothes. And I’m not willing to give all that up to be president,’ he said.” [AP]
JESUS, THE PRESIDENCY REALLY IS JUST HIS SIDE HUSTLE - Eric Lipton, Steve Eder and Ben Protess: “The tournament that opened Thursday at Trump National Golf Club represents a milestone in a strategy that has propelled golf to the center of the Trump family’s fortune…. The prominence of the tournament here, the Senior P.G.A. Championship, heightens the buzz around the Trump clubs, which, despite their relatively modest footprint in the golf industry, have become attractions for their proximity to the presidential family…. Just four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has visited his family-owned golf clubs 25 times, giving them the kind of media exposure that advertising could never buy. Six of those visits have been to the Virginia course while the P.G.A. marketed tickets to the event. And this week, Mr. Trump courted the senior P.G.A. club professionals in town by arranging a private tour of the White House, despite promising in his ethics plan that ‘the Office of the Presidency is isolated from the Trump Organization.’” [NYT]
AUMF YOU HAPPY SOME LAWMAKERS CARE ABOUT ENDING PERPETUAL WAR? Jennifer Bendery: “Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban. It would give Congress new oversight over military action against those groups and over the countries in which U.S. bombings can take place. It would also repeal old AUMFs still in effect. The senators paired up on a similar bill in 2015, and it went nowhere. There’s no clear indication that this latest incarnation will have success, either…. Their problem isn’t that they lack ambition, or are making a weak case. After all, many lawmakers don’t like that the White House currently can use a sweeping 2001 AUMF to justify military action against al Qaeda or ISIS anywhere, anytime, without congressional oversight. Their problem is, outside of a motley crew of rank-and-file lawmakers, nobody particularly cares.” [HuffPost]
SHERIFF CLARKE IS TERRIBLE, PT. 385,112,752 - Why can’t we go back to the days when the biggest hucksters on the right were televangelists with bad facelifts and not people in charge of whether people die in jail from dehydration? Daniel Bice: “Sitting on the tarmac at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Jan. 15, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. sent a text message to one of his captains after a brief verbal exchange with a passenger. The sheriff explained in the text what should be done when Riverwest resident Dan Black got off the plane. ‘Just a field interview, no arrest unless he become an asshole with your guys,’ Clarke wrote Captain Mark Witek. ‘Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?’ ‘Follow him to baggage and out the door,’ Clarke continued. ‘You can escort me to carousel after I point him out.’” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
The Post deciphers all of the flare on Clarke’s uniform: “11. A pin from the National Rifle Association. Clarke has been a proponent of the organization for some time, including starring in an ad for the NRA…. 21. A pin depicting a baby’s feet (’the precious feet’), signifying support for the antiabortion movement.” [WaPo’s Philip Bump]
IT WILL BE FUN HEARING TRUMP TALK ABOUT THIS - And by fun, we mean “deeply, deeply alarming.” Colin Wilhelm: “Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló … [traveled] to the U.S. Capitol this week to make his pitch [for statehood] as a plebiscite on the island’s political status looms…. [H]e acknowledged he had no assurances from Congress or the White House that they would honor the result of a vote that fulfills a campaign pledge of his for statehood…. Even if the Justice Department were to approve ballot language, Congress has shown little interest in adding a new state. Republicans worry that Puerto Rico would consistently send Democrats to the House and Senate. And the commonwealth would bring the baggage of a massive debt crisis and sky-high unemployment.” [Politico]
EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS - Including the culture of violence against journalists. Andy Campbell: “A Texas Tribune reporter snapped a photo of Abbott showing off his target sheet on Friday, after which the governor ‘jokingly’ pointed to the bullet holes and threatened the media. ‘I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,’ Abbott said, according to reporter Patrick Svitek. Abbott was on a victory lap at a shooting range after signing a bill on Friday that significantly reduces the fee for a license to carry a handgun in Texas. His office says the new law ‘strengthens the 2nd Amendment,’ but critics worry that the state is going too far with various gun measures.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a cat hopping like a rabbit.
BREITBART TRAFFIC TANKING - It turns out the audience for a black crime vertical isn’t as large as some people thought. Tina Nguyen: “With its former chairman Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist and plans for an ambitious international expansion, Breitbart was supposed to be on its way to becoming a media behemoth in the Trump era, one with unparalleled access and a passionate audience…. As of May 26, 2017, according to Alexa.com — the same web-ranking analytics company that Breitbart drew its numbers from in January — Fox News is the 64th most-trafficked site in the country. Huffington Post is at 60. Buzzfeed is at 50. The Washington Post, on the strength of a series of eye-popping scoops, is at 41. Breitbart is in 281st place.” [Vanity Fair]
- The Tour de France for toddlers.
- Celebrate “Star Wars’” 40 birthday with the original trailer.
- A brief history of Western philosophy.
@aedwardslevy: at least it’s Thanksgiving weekend
@nice_mustard: JARED KUSHNER: [gets a high five and it shatters every bone in his hand] oh jeepers
@LoganDobson: Friday before Memorial day is an all-time great news dump day. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t announce we’ve annexed Canada or something
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