S**T IS GOING DOWN! Wonkagenda for Wed., May 1, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Robert Mueller was NOT happy after reading Attorney General Bill Barr's four-page book report on his damning Trump-Russia findings. Mueller was so pissed at his supposed friend that he took the unusual step of sending a sternly worded letter to Barr to let him know how angry he was. Mueller said specifically that Barr's letter "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions," and that Barr's letter "threatens to undermine" the "public confidence in the outcome of the investigation." With Barr set to appear before Congress today and tomorrow, the question on everyone's mind is whether or not Barr lied under oath, with some legislators calling for Barr to step down. [Morning Maddow]
Bill Barr will testify before the Senate Judiciary committee this morning! In his opening statement, Barr says he didn't do anything wrong, and attempts to frame his past statements about the Mueller report as NO COLLUSION, TOTAL EXONERATION, blah blah blah. Evan will be liveblogging Barr's masterclass in swamp logic, so come back for that!
Live at 9:30 a.m. ET: Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee www.youtube.com
A federal district judge in DC has greenlighted a lawsuit by congressional Democrats claiming Trump has been violating the Constitution's emoluments clause. The whole thing is probably going to end up in SCOTUS since Trump's DOJ is likely to appeal the ruling and say that the payments from foreign governments to Trump trash palaces aren't "bribes."
In what's likely an effort to change today's headlines, Trump has tweeted over 50 times this morning. Just before 5:00 a.m. Eastern, Trump began retweeting ALLEGED fireman who said they were voting for Trump (likely in response to the International Association of Fire Fighters endorsing Joe Biden). Upon closer inspection, it would seem that many of these accounts are bots and bullshit.
Yesterday Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer emerged from Trump's White House and said he'd agreed to a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but there still aren't any details about where the money will come from. However, Mick Mulvaney pissed all over it during an interview with Fox's "money honey" Maria Bartiromo, saying an infrastructure deal in 2019 was unrealistic.
The House Rules Committee held its first hearings on a "Medicare for All" bill proposed by Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The hearings were kicked off with heartfelt testimony from activist and ALS sufferer Ady Barkan, who told members, "We have so little time together, and yet our system forces us to waste it with bills and bureaucracy." Democrats used their time to point out how issues of cost were a red herring and lacked substantial evidence, though several moderates were skeptical of going all-in. Florida Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala -- a Clinton-era secretary of Health and Human Services -- later told CQ Roll Call that it was the "smartest hearings I've ever been in." As usual, Republicans struggled to to refute the nerds brought in to science the shit out of health care policy, casting a move to single-payer as an expensive end to the world as we know it. [Barkan Testimony]
Ady Barkan Complete Opening Statement (C-SPAN) www.youtube.com
Yesterday the House Armed Services Committee held hearings about the Feres Doctrine, a 1950s rule that bars service members and veterans from suing the federal government for for medical malpractice. Legislators heard heartbreaking testimony from Gold Star families and terminal service members who spoke about inexcusable stupidity. California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier later introduced a bill to amend the Federal Tort Claims Act, allowing malpractice lawsuits.
The Trump administration will send another 320 troops to the southern border to assist in the Mexican-Muslim anchor baby taco truck invasion. Rather than assisting CBP in throwing kids in baby jails, deployed personnel will transport migrants between baby jails, assist with legal functions, and dole out Pop-Tarts and MREs.
The Trump administration will keep the USS Harry Truman floating despite widespread opposition from Congress and military nerds. Legislators had opted to save oodles of Ameros and decommission the Truman 25 years early in light of new Chinese and Russian weapons that threaten to make older aircraft carriers useless, but the administration's fondness for obsolete crap from the old timey days prevailed. During confirmation hearings for the new Chief of Naval Operations and Marine Commandant -- both of whom are expected to sail through the confirmation process -- Adm. Bill Moran defended the use of the outdated carrier air wing with a karaoke rendition of Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone."
Trump's attempt to raid military coffers for his war on Central American asylum seekers threatens two super important US air bases that have been ravaged by natural disasters. The Air Force needs $1.2 billion to make serious infrastructure repairs at Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, in addition to another $366 million to keep 80 percent of fighter craft up in the air (and that's on top of an additional $3 billion for new toys). Congress has promised to deliver the money, but the deadline is today, and outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has already warned that a failure to deliver would result in a cascading series of expensive clusterfucks as resources and projects get mothballed.
The rumor mill off the Hill is that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is getting ready to announce #HesRunning. Bullock has been making some big hires over the last few weeks while he tours early primary states. On Friday, Montana Public Radio reported Bullock recorded SOMETHING at Carpenters Union Hall in Uptown Butte, but attendees were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. [The chatcave finds this very ANGERMAKING and says STOP IT. NOBODY ELSE GETS TO ANNOUNCE, IT'S TOO LATE, THE END, IT'S DONE. GAH ANGER!]
If you ask Republicans, the number of Democrats declining to run for Senate shows a recruiting problem among leadership, but political wizards note that the party has been holding its cards very close to the chest and pointing to the GOP's staggering 2018 losses as proof that it's actually Republicans who are running scared in 2020.
A former college sportsballer player, Ted Gradel, is among the challengers taking on Illinois freshman Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood. Gradel is hoping his recent six-figure cash haul, sportsball bonafides, and white privilege will convince the Chicago suburbs he's more qualified than Underwood, a registered nurse, to talk about healthcare. Underwood is currently sitting on a huge war chest, and the fortune tellers rate the race as a "toss-up."
The special election to replace the late Rep. Walter Jones in the the North Carolina Third Congressional District is headed to a runoff between the two Republican candidates. Eventually, one of those two fools will face former Greenville Democratic Mayor Allen Thomas.
Police in North Carolina are trying to determine why someone walked into classes at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and began shooting, killing two people, and injuring four others. HOT TAKE: The fact that school shootings have now become minor stories due to their increasing frequency is deeply troubling, and suggests WE HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM!
Ninth-grade students at a posh high school in the DC suburbs put on blackface and now the principal, police, and local politicians are pissed. The incident is only the latest in a series of escalating racist behavior. Fun Fact: The school sits smack in one of the wealthiest areas of the country, and is down the road from Justice Rapey McPrivilege. Figures.
Shit is going down in Venezuela. After Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for the military to overthrow the country's dictator, Nicolás Maduro, violence broke out across the country, with some videos showing armored vehicles driving into crowds of Guaidó supporters outside of a military base. With the US military guarding against Russian fuckery, ISIS fuckery, and taco trucks on the southern border, it's unlikely the US will be invading with anything other than harsh language -- which is why the Trump administration made stupid threats about sanctions and embargoes (IN ENGLISH) to Cuba. Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on CNN to say Maduro was being pressured by Russia to stay in the country and fight Guaidó, then made his own rather empty threats. It should be noted that military uprisings against Venezuela's socialist dictators have been a common occurrence for about 20 years, and this is a complicated issue dividing both the left and the right -- even Tucker Carlson is confused!
Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison for jumping bail. At the trial, Assange's attorney claimed he was afraid he'd be ultimately kidnapped by the US and sent to Gitmo, but the judge wasn't buying it and noted Assange used his "privileged position" to insult the British court system and forced the British police to spend almost $21 million to secure the Ecuadorian embassy where he'd squirreled himself away.
The California Highway Patrol rescued a baby sea lion from the busy 101 yesterday. A CHiP officer even snapped a photo of the lost little critter, and IT'S ADORABLE!
Randy Rainbow has a brilliant song breaking down all the "Hucka-speak" and horseshit Trump World has been hurling since the release of the Mueller Report.
BARR! - Randy Rainbow Song Parody www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: BABY GOATS!
Reluctant Cat Babysitter & 23 Goat Kids www.youtube.com
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