Keep Firing, A**holes. Wonkagenda For Mon., April 8, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Kirstjen Nielsen has been quit-fired after Trump bitched and moaned about wanting someone who could be tougher on all the anchor babies leading the Mexican taco truck invasion of the southern border. According to gossip mongers, Stephen Miller has been pulling the strings behind the scenes, pushing Trump to "You're Fired" Nielsen and institute even more racist and hardline immigration policies. Last night Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement calling the firing of Nielsen "deeply alarming," while Trump shitposted about closing the southern border (again). In the meantime, Trump has tapped Kevin McAleenan, a hardline CBP commissioner instrumental to Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, to head up DHS until he replaces him with someone like like Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, or Kris Kobach.
Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney went on Fox to say that congressional Democrats will never get their hands on Trump's tax returns because people already voted on Trump not releasing his tax returns (we did?), plus he's still under audit (is he?), and called efforts to get Trump's tax returns a "political stunt." At the same time, Trump's TV lawyer Jay Sekulow was on a different channel blithering whataboutism, apparently unaware that every other presidential candidate has released their tax returns prior to the election.
There are even MORE schedules from acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that show him meeting with greaseballs from the energy industry. Among the details Bernhardt tried to hide were a keynote address for an energy lobby at Trump's DC trash palace, meetings with oil executives, and a conservative lobbyist who wants to water down the Endangered Species Act. A full Senate vote for Bernhardt could come as early as this week.
Some rightwing asshole has been arrested and charged with threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. Hours before the threat, Trump repeated his attacks against Omar during his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Totally legal, totally cool.
The Senate Republicans tapped to create TrumpCare have no interest in making Republicans "the party of healthcare." Despite warnings from veteran strategists, Trump's White House and the House Freedom Crazies are eager to make healthcare an issue in 2020, even if it kills them.
Lesser known freshman Democratic House members are posting massive fundraising numbers, and that's bad news for prospective Republicans hoping to retake the House in 2020. Many Democrats easily banked over a half-million in Q1, spooking the hell out of Republican strategists. Meanwhile, astronaut and Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly hauled in an astonishing $4 million in his bid to take on Sen. Martha McSally, signaling Democrats were only just getting started in 2018.
Aspiring swamp creatures shut out by the DCCC have created a new website to crowd fund for potential Democratic insurgent candidates. The DCCC has barred vendors and campaign consultants from working for primary opponents as a way to protect incumbents and hold the Democratic majority in the House, but hardcore progressives want to hunt down every last Blue Dog in every swing district, even if they effectively shoot themselves in the process.
Your B. Barry Bamz says he's "concerned" about the new "circular firing squad" some progressives have created, arguing, "When that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens. ... You can't set up a system in which you don't compromise on anything. But you also can't operate in a system where you compromise on everything; everything's up for grabs. That requires a certain amount of internal reflection and deliberations."
Trumpian Florida man Rep. Matt Gaetz is probably rethinking his rumored Senate run in Alabama after former college football coach Tommy Tuberville announced #HesRunning in 2020 to try and unseat Democrat Doug Jones. The Hill reports that Sean Spicer has been advising Tuberville, which honestly seems like a the biggest waste of money in the history of politics. PERIOD.
Mike Pence spent the weekend trying to con farmers in flyover country into supporting the tariffs that are driving them to suicide. In addition to massive flooding throughout the farm belt, Trump's trade war has spiked the price of food throughout the country, but fret not farmers! The TV talking head in charge of Trump's economic policy says the US and China have "a lot of teleconferencing" with Chinese trade officials this week, and they're getting "closer" to a deal that could end Trump's trade war. Yay.
Trump's NAFTA 2: Milk Mafia Boogaloo seems even more likely to die after a Mexican official said attempts to reopen negotiations were "as good as killing it." House Democrats argue they won't vote for the deal due to its vague protections for auto workers and massive carve outs for big pharma, but Mexican officials say the labor rights dispute is already being dealt with by the Mexican Senate. Mexico's new populist presidente, Manuel Lopez Obrador, has previously hinted the deal would die unless Trump releases his tariffs on Mexico's steel and aluminum industry. On top of all that, Axios gossips that Republicans fear Nancy Pelosi will "slow walk this thing to death" in order to make Trump look like a bigger failure in 2020. Womp Womp.
As Israelis get ready to head to the polls tomorrow, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has amped up his usual conservative rhetoric, claiming he'll annex West Bank settlements if he's re-elected. Critics say Netanyahu has engaged in blatantly racist rhetoric against Arabs and Palestinians, and risks creating an apartheid state. Here's a handy 'splainer of the overall political landscape Israeli voters face tomorrow.
Michael Cohen's attempt to give House Democrats TAPES in exchange for a letter telling a judge that he's a good boy appears fruitless after Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior member of the House Oversight Committee, told Roll Call, "If he wants to come forward with materials, that's his decision — but it would be without any strings attached." Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, says they didn't mean to "imply any quid pro quo regarding Mr. Cohen's willingness to cooperate," they simply want everyone to know that he's a good boy who started helping investigators looking into Trump World (after he got caught being a scumbag).
Former White House counsel Don McGahn sat down for a Mexican lunch with Sen. Mitt Romney and a bunch of Republican Senate aides and gossiped about all the times he was yelled during his time as a Trump minion. McGhan talked less about Trump-Russia and more about court packing, describing Trump's management style as a "hub and spokes model" where a bunch of idiots are all assigned to the same crap because Trump is paranoid.
R. Kelly's lawyer is dragging Michael Avenatti and Jussie Smollett into the ALLEGED cult leader and singer's sprawling sex crimes defense. Avenatti is already serving as a witness, having turned over a VHS tape that supposedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl in the early 1990s, but Kelly's lawyer argues that prosecutors can be bullied -- kind of like in the Jussie Smollett case -- and Avenatti regularly bullies people, therefore you must acquit! In a related story, Kelly put on a 28-second show for about 100 fans, then spent 30 minutes taking selfies. Fans reportedly paid as much as $100 to see the allegedly broke singer.
No longer locked into a frozen hellscape of dirty, yellow snow, Chicagoans got drunk and started shooting each other this weekend, leaving 24 people shot, including a mass shooting that injured two kids on the South Side.
A Florida man was arrested after ALLEGEDLY
trying to break into cars in the jailhouse parking lot moments after he was released.
John Oliver 'splainered how people in mobile homes are being screwed as the super rich buy up the industry and jack up their rent in order keep poor folks in trailers that are worth less than trash.
Mobile Homes: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time! IT'S SARPER DUMAN and his kitties!
"We are working for our new composition with the pianist cat: "2 hand 2 paws"😂😹🎹🎶"www.youtube.com
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