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Gene Lyons - Fake Tough: Bullying Loudmouth Numbskulls Mimic Trump

May 30, 2017 10:23 pm

Where I come from, sucker-punching or body-slamming an unsuspecting adversary isn’t the mark of a tough guy. It’s a punk move, a half-step above smacking a woman.

Not to mention that newly-elected Montana Republican congressman Greg Gianforte was the one surrounded by aides. Ben Jacobs, the Guardian reporter he assaulted, was on his own, doing his job asking questions—specifically, if the candidate supported the GOP healthcare bill.

Gianforte’s first move was to cast the reporter as the aggressor. That got him through the election. Even though an audiotape of the incident, not to mention an eyewitness account by Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna, both depicted an unprovoked attack that, had it happened in a Missoula bar, could have led to Gianforte’s arrest. The Gallatin County Sherriff later cited him for misdemeanor assault.

So naturally the loudmouth right-wing media began making excuses, if not downright lying about what happened. Rush Limbaugh rhetorically condemned the attack but quickly devolved into hero worship.

“This manly, obviously studly Republican candidate in Montana took the occasion to beat up a pajama-clad journalist, a Pajama Boy journalist out there,” Limbaugh told listeners. He described the reporter as “unacceptably, brusquely and rudely thrown to the ground like 125-pound dishrag.”

Studly. You’d think Limbaugh, who himself will never be mistaken for an NFL linebacker, would be embarrassed.


Trump's window for scoring early legislative victories is shrinking

By Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis May 30 at 7:21 PM

President Trump faces an increasingly narrow path to win major legislative victories before the looming August recess, with only two months left to revive his health-care or tax initiatives before Congress departs for a long break.

White House officials said Tuesday that Trump has become increasingly incensed that legislation is bogging down in the Senate, something they blame on Democrats. Trump wrote on Twitter that the Senate should change its long-standing rules and “switch to 51” votes to pass health-care changes and to vote on a tax bill instead of working to get 60 votes to end a potential filibuster. But the Senate is already trying to pass health-care and tax changes with just 51 votes, something it is unable to do because of splits within the GOP.

“The hardest thing now is figuring out what can get 51 votes in the Senate,” said Stephen Moore, who was a top economic adviser to Trump during the campaign and who has urged the White House to move more quickly.

Congress also faces an increasing number of legislative distractions that could further imperil Trump’s agenda. There is a big divide among Republicans over whether they can vote to pass a budget resolution in the coming months, and failing to do so could make it much more difficult to change the tax code. In addition, White House officials are now demanding that Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling before the August break — pressing members to take a difficult vote before they head back to their districts.


Trump Claims Democrats No Longer Want Carter Page's Testimony

Source: Roll Call

President tweets former adviser 'blows away' Democrats' case against him

Posted May 31, 2017 8:07 AM
John T. Bennett

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Democrats of resisting testimony from Carter Page, his former campaign adviser, because he “blows away” allegations they have made.

Page told the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee last Tuesday that he would testify as part of their probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But Trump now claims the minority has changed its mind about hearing from Page.

Trump alluded to uncited “reports” in claiming “the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee, has not responded to a Roll Call inquiry about whether Page will testify. On Tuesday, Page said that he learned from Schiff’s committee that he “might not be immediately afforded the opportunity” to address the committee.

Read more: http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-claims-democrats-no-longer-want-carter-pages-testimony/

Rep. Adam Schiff went to the Trump White House. It got weird.

30 MAY 2017 AT 18:11 ET

By Phil Willon

As a former federal prosecutor and the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank is one of Congress’ chief inquisitors into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election and President Trump’s campaign.

Schiff has met Trump twice. The first time was about 10 years ago, when the congressman and other House members visited Trump in New York when Trump was known mainly as a wealthy businessman and reality TV star.

The second time was in late March, months after Trump became president, and it was likely a little more confrontational. Schiff was invited to the White House to view classified documents that Trump said would help prove his claim that President Obama had ordered wiretaps at Trump Tower.

Schiff described that visit in detail during a talk with reporters just after he delivered the keynote speech at the California Democratic Party’s convention in Sacramento on May 20. And while a lot has happened since late March, Schiff’s story of his visit offers a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the Trump administration has dealt with the scrutiny that has been unrelenting since he took office.



The RawStory article built on the above article:

REVEALED: Trump gave classified info to Dem House intel staff as aides looked on in horror

30 MAY 2017 AT 17:58 ET


In late March, Schiff, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, came to the White House at the president’s behest to “view classified documents that Trump said would help prove his claim that President Obama had ordered wiretaps at Trump Tower”.

According to the Times, the documents Trump intended to show Schiff were the same he showed Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) two weeks prior in yet another bizarre White House meeting. It was all above-board — until Schiff’s staff director, who is well-known for attending all of the representative’s meetings, was initially barred from entering White House grounds.

After Schiff’s staff director, Michael Bahar, was eventually let onto the grounds, Schiff received another piece of strange news: that the president wished to speak with him in the Oval Office.

“The president got up from behind his desk and shook hands and said ‘hello’. He was very personable and said I did a good job,” Schiff told the Times. “He said, ‘Are you getting everything you need?’ and I said, ‘Well, no, actually I’m not.’”



Putin Echoes Trump Argument On Russia Investigation: It's Dems' 'Fiction'

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM Published MAY 30, 2017 4:46 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed President Donald Trump’s argument against the investigation into his country’s possible collusion with Trump’s campaign and associates, calling it Democrats’ excuse for losing the presidential election.

In an exemplary tweet Tuesday morning, Trump wrote that the federal and congressional Russia investigations were “a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election.”

Hours later, the French newspaper Le Figaro published an interview with Putin, which had taken place Monday, in which the Russian leader called allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election “fiction,” driven by “desire of those who lost the U.S. elections to improve their standing by accusing Russia of interfering.”

“[P]eople who lost the vote hate to acknowledge that they indeed lost because the person who won was closer to the people and had a better understanding of what people wanted,” he added.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/putin-gop-language-russia-investigation

Democratic poll: Party has a shot in sleepy South Carolina race

By David Weigel May 30 at 2:44 PM

The Democrat running for Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s vacant South Carolina House seat claims to be putting it into play, with an internal poll showing him 10 points down in an environment where Republicans are less likely to vote.

A poll from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, completed on May 25 and obtained by The Post, has Democrat Archie Parnell down by 10 points to Ralph Norman, a state legislator making his second run at the rural and suburban seat. That’s a six-point bump for Parnell since March, when he began running TV ads, and it’s closer than the margin in Mulvaney’s last few races or the last presidential elections in South Carolina’s 5th District.

Mulvaney, the first Republican to win the district, won his elections while a Democrat was in the White House. In a Trump-era election, ALGR finds Democrats more interested in voting, twice as likely (5o percent to 26 percent) as Republicans to call the election “very important.” Just 42 percent of the district’s voters back the American Health Care Act, which the pollster described as the bill “to repeal and replace” the current health-care law. Fifty percent of voters opposed it.

Parnell’s campaign hopes that the numbers could do what only happened belatedly in Kansas and Montana — get national Democrats to swoop in with funds. Parnell, a former corporate tax attorney, raised about as much money as Norman and avoided a two-round primary, while Norman triumphed in a bitter runoff that was not called for days. Unlike Montana’s Rob Quist, who ran as a populist but got caught flat-flooted by opposition researchers and some policy questions, Parnell has run as a pragmatist who wants to check the House Republican agenda. Unlike Quist, Parnell has been able to campaign without a Republican tracker filming his moves. Unlike Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat whose runoff also occurs on June 20, Parnell has not been the target of a single negative spot.


Trump to interview Pistole for FBI director: USA Today

Source: Reuters

Tue May 30, 2017 | 1:45pm EDT

President Donald Trump is expected to interview John Pistole, the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, to replace James Comey as head of the FBI, USA Today reported on Tuesday.

Pistole, who served as deputy director of the FBI from 2004 to 2010, was to meet with the Republican president at the White House, the newspaper reported, citing a former colleague of Pistole.

Pistole would replace Comey, who was fired as he led an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. The May 9 dismissal prompted an outcry from Democrats and some Republican lawmakers and raised questions about whether the president was trying to interfere with the investigation.

The week after Comey was fired, reports emerged that Trump had asked Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who has seen a memo of the conversation written by Comey.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-fbi-idUSKBN18Q25Y

Three Mile Island, site of 1979 nuclear accident, to close in 2019

Source: Reuters

Tue May 30, 2017 | 12:06pm EDT

By Scott DiSavino

Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island power plant will close in 2019, forty years after it was the site of the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history, as low natural gas prices make the costs of atomic energy uncompetitive, its owner said on Tuesday.

The plant's name has been synonymous with public fears over the risks associated with nuclear power since the plant suffered a partial meltdown in 1979, sparking sweeping new rules for handling emergencies at nuclear sites.

No one died during the 1979 meltdown and a federal review found minimal health effects in the 2 million people who lived near the central Pennsylvania plant, situated about 180 miles (300 km) west of New York City.

Exelon Corp, the U.S. power company that owns the Middletown, Pennsylvania, power plant, said it will close by Sept. 30, 2019, unless the state adopts rules to compensate the company for benefits Exelon says nuclear power provides.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nuclear-threemileisland-idUSKBN18Q1SH


Source: Newsweek

BY CHRIS RIOTTA ON 5/30/17 AT 12:46 PM

Donald Trump doesn't seem to mind that less than half of the country supports his presidency. The president shared a photo on Twitter Thursday that showed him clapping in front of an American flag with his most recent poll numbers from the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports, which placed his approval index at 48 percent. Trump wrote: "Thank you for your support. Together, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" But by Monday, it seemed Rasmussen's score of Trump's young presidency was plunging, dipping to 44 percent upon his arrival back to Washington after his first trip abroad since assuming the Oval Office. That figure is much closer to virtually every other poll as of recent, which places Trump’s popularity among voters at nearly 42 percent, according to Gallup's three-day rolling average.

Even Fox News scored the president’s approval ratings last week at just 40 percent. The network’s analysis showed white voters and Americans without a college degree—two demographics crucial to Trump’s base during the 2016 election—were beginning to sharply disapprove of the president’s overall performance more than ever before.

Trump's tanking support in even right-leaning polls comes as his presidency has been enveloped in a Russian scandal that simply won’t go away, with former FBI Director Robert Mueller now leading a special counsel’s investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. Trump has repeatedly and furiously responded to the allegations on Twitter throughout his tenure in Washington, resulting in the majority of Americans also expressing their disapproval with his social media use, according to various polls.

Trump is reportedly establishing a "war room" within the White House to fight the accusations against his campaign and his administration’s ties to Russian oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin operations. He’s also reportedly planning yet another shakeup of his administration, following the resignations of several major aides and staffers, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Monday’s announcement of White House Communications Director Michael Dubke’s departure.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-approval-ratings-impeachment-odds-white-house-russia-scandal-617650

Stripping away the illusion: Trump has no backstop

By Jennifer Rubin May 30 at 10:31 AM

For more than four months, Republicans and Democrats anxious about President Trump’s inexperience, rotten judgment and defective temperament could tell themselves, “Well there are people around him to prevent disasters.” What the latest — and most jaw-dropping — of all the mini-scandals within the larger scandal involving Trump’s team and Russia has told us is that the supposed steady hands on the tiller are either part of the problem or utterly useless when the chips are down.

News that the princeling with a massive portfolio, Jared Kushner, while President Barack Obama was still in office, allegedly sought a “back channel” to Russia, using Russian communication systems, confirmed what Trump critics have long suspected: Kushner is a 30-something billionaire with zero government experience who is either laughably naive, mixed up in Russian shenanigans or both. He’s a focus of the special investigator’s inquiry and was, we have learned, one of those rooting to fire FBI Director James B. Comey. In short, if he were anyone but the president’s son-in-law, he’d be thrown under the bus, and rightly so. He defied common sense and every protocol in trying to run his own secret Russia channel — secret from the U.S. government. As former CIA and NSA director Michael V. Hayden said, “This is off the map. I know of no other experience like this in our history, certainly within my life experience. . . . What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea?”

In other words, Kushner may prove to be a serious liability for the president, not a helpful sounding board in a White House under siege. Even if cleared of any wrongdoing, Kushner has shown himself to be witless, if not corrupt. We therefore can take no solace in knowing he is there to talk sense to the president. He’s among Trump’s weakest links (even when one considers how totally unprepared he is to carry out a list of tasks so enormous they’d sink the most esteemed White House veteran.) But the generals, we still have the generals! Right? Eh, not so much. Once again we have seen generals debase themselves by lending their considerable credibility to the president.

Just as he did in vouching for the president on conveying code-word classified information to the Russians — first denying it, and then insisting it was no big deal (“wholly appropriate”) — national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster once again came out to defend ludicrously inappropriate conduct. On one hand he said Kushner’s Russia outreach was not anything he was involved in (because Kushner was seeking to cut out the Defense Department!), and then he sought to dampen the outrage. “We have back-channel communications with a number of countries. So, generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner,” said McMaster. This is weak bit of misdirection given that the sort of back-channel communication he had in mind is conducted by the U.S. government (not a president-elect) and is not conducted using Russian communication channels (thereby giving Russia, but not the United States, a record of a call that can be leaked, distorted or manipulated). McMaster continued, “No, I would not be concerned about it.” Without ever really blessing this conduct, McMaster once again used his own considerable prestige to defend something, the contours of which he may not even know. Inexplicably, he puts in the role of two-bit political flack.

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