'Who's Gonna Pay For It?' Wonkagenda For Fri., May 17, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
A federal judge has ordered the release of transcripts showing Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn talking with the Russian ambassador in December of 2016 AND with Trump's then personal attorney John Dowd about cooperating in the Trump-Russia investigation. The judge also revealed that Flynn flipped on Trump World and told prosecutors that people connected to the administration and/or members of Congress tried to lean on him, and get him to STFU. On top of ALL THAT, the judge says he's considering releasing the audio of Flynn's conversations. LORDY! There ARE tapes!
Florida's Washington County was one of the two counties hacked by Russia in the 2016 election. The crazy Ivans were able to make off with a database of voter registration files. Now both Democrats and Republicans are pissed at the FBI and DHS for trying to keep the information a secret, and that they couldn't guarantee the Russian's didn't screw with anything -- only that there was "no evidence."
House Intel Chair Adam Schiff says Bill Barr's constant stonewalling is leaving the committee with "no choice" but to start nailing Barr's balls to a chair. Yesterday Schiff sent a letter to Barr demanding a dozen specific documents that Barr thinks is overly broad. Schiff now says he'll release a transcript of Michael Cohen's closed-door testimony next week.
In a softball interview with Fox News, Barr flaps his jowls about his investigation into the Trump-Russia investigation being necessary because reasons. In a separate interview with the WSJ, Barr says HIS investigation is different and super legit because it might create new rules about government fuckery.
Trump (or Dan Scavino) apparently figured out what happened to HER EMAILS while watching Fox and Friends this morning.
Engineers are trying to figure out how to build Trump's "big" and "beautiful" wall, but he keeps micromanaging. Trump no longer wants steel slats (or peaches?), and has instead told engineers the wall should be a steel bollard fence painted black so that it gets ungodly hot, and covered in spikes. Officials tell WaPo that Trump keeps complaining that the designs look "ugly," with one DHS official saying, "He thinks not only can the wall be effective, it doesn't have to be an eyesore."
Florida officials are freaking out about an administration plan to literally dump about a hundred immigrants a week in two heavily Democratic Florida counties. State Republicans are pissed at what Trump has called his "sick idea." At a presser, the Palm Beach County Sheriff said ICE officials used the term "family units" to describe all the people they intended to shove onto a street corner without food or shelter.
Trump's judicial nominees can't seem to say if Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided. Instead of giving an answer to a simple question, they hem and haw and bullshit about going down a slippery slope. THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER TO THIS FUCKING QUESTION!
The Government Accountability Office says Ben Carson broke the law when he ripped off Uncle Sam for a $31,561 dining room table and $8,000 dishwasher for his office at HUD.
The administration has killed its own awful proposal to lower prescription drug costs after advocacy groups pointed out that it would probably kill a bunch of old people. On the other hand, the House just passed an expansion to the ACA aimed at lowering prescription drug costs, blocking the administration's "junk insurance" rules, and restoring an outreach program that encourages people to get Obamacare. As usual, the Tea Party crazies are throwing a tantrum, complaining that Democrats are trying to help people instead of making some quick cash.
DC is not happy Trump is trying to screw with the annual Fourth of July celebration. The city's mayor, Muriel Bowser, and numerous public officials are scrambling to hash out the awful logistics of moving the whole shebang from the Mall to the Potomac River, and loudly grumbling that Trump's turning the Fourth of July into a YUGE pain in the ass and MAGA shitshow.
Later today administration officials will brief members of Congress about all the saber rattling it's doing around Iran. The WSJ reports that the US and Iran are misunderstanding each other's actions, and making increasingly dramatic moves in a tit-for-tat type game. This follows the administration's constant stonewalling about foreign policy moves in Venezuela and North Korea. Politico reports Bolton's death grip over foreign policy has started pissing off other members of the administration who aren't very gung-ho about starting yet another war, and they're worried Bolton is purposely backing Trump into a corner. When reporters asked Trump whether the US was going to war with Iran yesterday, Trump replied, "I hope not."
Trump's plan to save America from his own stupid trade war is to call broke farmers patriots as their crops rot in the fields. While the administration mulls over another bailout for farmers (that it's actually going to two Brazilian crooks), Trump is expected to beg Japan to buy all the food that would have gone to China, but the Japanese don't seem too receptive because Trump keeps making threats about auto
taxes tariffs. Remember, farmers, you're not being shitcanned, you're being "sacrificed."
The second-on camera press briefing at the DOD this year was conducted by Gene Simmons of KISS. Simmons talked about being the child of a Holocaust survivor, rambled on about #Merica, and choked up when he remembered how the teevee used to stop talking at night. The whole thing is very fuckbonkers. [Video]
And here's your morning Nice Time: OTTERS!
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