Coming To A Head. Wonkagenda For Thurs., Feb. 21, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
ICYMI: Robert Mueller MAY be wrapping up the Trump-Russia investigation, and that could mean any number of things. Politico notes that Trump has been curiously "buttering up" his new AG William Barr while simultaneously shitting all over the DOJ, however Maddow pointed out that the Obama administration left a trail of breadcrumbs behind just before they left office. HHMMMM [Morning Maddow]
A Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist has been arrested after he was found stockpiling a slew of guns and ammo and, according to federal investigators, plotting to murder journalists, politicians, and SCOTUS justices. Court documents show the man had also been stockpiling narcotics and steroids in order to carry out his killing spree. The arrest comes on the same day Trump again assailed the press, calling them "the enemy of the people."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will introduce legislation to block Trump's emergency declaration on Friday. Politico reports Pelosi has been sending a letter around urging people to support the resolution to be introduced by Rep. Joaquin Castro, and "move swiftly" to pass the bill arguing, "The President's decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated."
The House Oversight Committee has sent a letter to Trump's White House saying it's got internal notes taken by officials at the Office of Government Ethics that show Trump's lawyers giving the agency multiple different answers about Michael Cohen's hush money payments to porn stars. First there were no payments, then services were rendered, and then an (ALLEGEDLY) drunk Rudy Giuliani spilled the beans to Hannity, and House Oversight Elijah Cummings is having none of this MALARKEY.
According to Andy McCabe's new book, Mike Flynn broke Mike Pence's heart after Pence was presented with the intel that Flynn lied about discussing Russian sanctions with former Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. HE IS FOR SHAMED! :(
Public opinion on climate change is rapidly shifting now that people are experiencing the extreme weather conditions science bozos have warned about since forever, so Trump's White House has convened a panel to find out whether national security assessments concluding climate change poses a clear and present danger are true -- and tapped the dumbest mother fucker on Earth to lead the investigation. William Happer, A Idiot whose experience is in missile technology, thinks a healthy dose of smog is just what the body needs to get up and go!
A former Trump campaign official is suing to cancel the ridiculous NDAs Trump makes all his minions sign before reciting their loyalty oath to THE DONald. The suit alleges the NDAs are "unconstitutional and unenforceable" because they're public servants with an obligation to Lady Liberty, not President Pee Hookers.
Congressional Democrats say they have evidence a senior official at the Department of Education has tried to demote/remove acting inspector general Sandra Bruce to keep her from investigating an education accreditor that was stripped of its certification by the Obama administration for its role in rubber stamping for-profit colleges with ties to Betsy DeVos. Meanwhile, Betsy DeVos wants you to bow down and kiss her rings for donating her government salary to historically black colleges and non-profit groups.
The DNC released the new rules for the 2020 primary debates, and they're more confusing than an obscure Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Honestly, we're not even going to begin to summarize the processes, just know that it involves campaign cash, polling, and a random "undercard" if there's more than 20 candidates.
Democratic 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris went on The Daily Show and said she'd rather tell haters to kiss her black ass than apologize for prosecuting "people who molested children, people who raped women, [and] people who murdered other individuals." Harris also stated she believed in a border policy that "allowed people to come," adding, "We are a nation of immigrants. Look, if you are not Native American, your people are immigrants, well except for those who were kidnapped and brought over on a slave ship." [Full Video]
Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan tells CBS that he's the belle of the Never Trump ball, and that everyone forgets that his daddy was the first person to call for Nixon's impeachment. In the interview, Hogan calls Trump a potentially "weak" candidate for 2020, adding that he's being "approached from a lot of different people" and he hasn't "thrown them out of my office."
Roll Call has released its initial 2020 House race predictions and things look better for Republicans until you get into the details. Democrats might be defending more seats, but changing political landscapes in suburbia during a presidential election suggest Republicans stand to lose more than they gain (again).
As Maryland moves forward with gender-neutral IDs, state Republicans are throwing a hissy fit about gender identity. Proposed legislation would allow people to identify themselves with an "X" as opposed to male or female, prompting the state GOP leader to ask, "Are we going to call them X men...I understand you have people who have gone through changes, but they are either going one way or the other, they are not stuck in the middle." Sure they are: with YOU!
Cook County prosecutors have charged Jussie Smollett with ALLEGEDLY filing a false police report in Chicago last month, according to CPD Chief comms officer Anthony Guglielmi. Following two hours of grand jury testimony by two men initially classified as suspects, their attorney told reporters that they had received money from Smollet for their role in the ALLEGED hoax, and urged Smollet to "come clear." Smollett's defense attorneys say they will fight the charges and "conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defense." Early this morning Guglielmi tweeted that Smollett had been arrested, adding that Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson will brief reporters at 9AM CST.
Vox notes a curious passage in Andy McCabe's new book about Trump wanting to invade Venezuela as early as July of 2017 because "they have all that oil and they're right on our back door." The military has generally ignored Trump on this, as evidenced by the fact that we haven't invaded Venezuela (yet). Meanwhile, the US-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Gaudio says he plans to lead a convoy roughly 500 miles to the blockaded border to receive humanitarian aid. The New York Times has a heartbreaking story about the thousands of refugees trekking across the country for safe harbors in Peru and Ecuador.
As Haiti faces large protests due to years of corruption and economic mismanagement, eight people claiming to be on "a government mission," including five Americans, a Russian, a Serbian, and a Haitian national were arrested in Port-au-Prince with a large cache of weapons. The group was initially pulled over by local police for driving around without license plates, but they started mouthing off and were found to be carrying six automatic rifles, six pistols, two professional drones, satellite phones, a telescope, backpacks, gun vests, five different license plates, and a whole mess of documents. UPDATE: The Americans were former military, and have been sent home.
European allies fighting ISIS/ISIL/whatever in Syria and training US-backed Kurdish forces have "unanimously" told the US they "won't stay if you pull out," according to senior officials who are pretty confident the Turkish troops massing at the Syrian border are just going to run shithouse all over our Kurdish allies, kill everything that moves, then hand the whole country over to Vladimir Putin and Syria's child murdering dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Former CBS-turned-Fox News talking head Lara Logan is saying cusses about LIBRUHL (read: JEWWWWZ!) journalists running all the things in the news business. She then went on Hannity to defend her debunked story about Hillary Clinton's midnight mystery murder machine in Benghazi.
Under any normal circumstances I'm breathing hard when I have to take even 30 seconds to talk about Tucker Carlson, but I'm doubled over and #Scromiting in delight after And Now This got its hands on the lost interview Tuck-tuck did with Rutger Berman where Carlson loses his shit and says cusses after being called a "millionaire funded by billionaires." In a tweet addressing the audio Carlson calls himself "rude." BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Last night Tucker ran a segment on "#scromiting" -- the rare instance when a person gets so stoned they start vomiting -- during his show. Snopes did a piece on #Scromiting over a year ago and found that, while it's "Mostly True," large chunks are being blown out of proportion.
Sen. Kamala Harris's estranged father Donald wrote mean words in a Jamaican newspaper over the "controversy" surrounding Sen. Harris's joke about smoking weed last week. Politico notes that Harris was raised by her mom, and that her father would only comment that he intends to "stay out all the political hullabaloo" (well, aside from the #scromiting op-ed).
Sean Spicer is now a "special correspondent" for one of those mind numbingly useless entertainment teevee and gossip shows that needed to die a decade ago, and naturally his "interviews" are with Trump officials. For his second career failure, Spicer does a puff piece on Mike Pompeo where ... I'm sorry, I can't do this -- I'm going to #scromit!
And here's your morning Nice Time! IT'S MAYA THE POLAR PUPPER!
ASMR Dog Reviewing Different Types of Food #3 I MAYASMRwww.youtube.com
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Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.