'Go In' And 'Do Whatever.' Wonkagenda For Tues., Aug. 21, 2018
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Trump sat down with Reuters to ramble about "perjury traps" and dodge Trump-Russia questions. He called his administration a smooth running machine (it's not), and said he could "go in" and "do whatever" to the Trump-Russia investigation (he can't). Trump then blamed the investigation for ruining America, and said it "played right into the Russians -- if it was Russia -- they played right into the Russians' hands."
Trump also complained about the Fed raising interest rates, and accused China and the EU of manipulating their currencies. US stock prices promptly jumped off a cliff.
Later today Microsoft will reveal that it took control and shut down a Russian operation to spoof websites of prominent Never Trump conservative think tanks, the US Senate, and Microsoft's own products. The hack was caught very early and doesn't seem to have done any damage, but highlights the need to for cyber security policies not guided by incompetent geriatrics.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to know if John Bolton ever told anyone at the White House about his history with ALLEGED Russian spy Maria Butina in the wake of a video showing Bolton and Butina at an NRA roundtable sponsored by the Russian Right to Bear Arms. No, not BEAR-arms, bear arms.
An undocumented immigrant detained by ICE while taking his pregnant wife to the hospital for a scheduled C-section actually was wanted in connection with a 2006 murder in Mexico, according to a warrant.
With US commanders in Iraq saying US advisers will "stay as long as needed," there's new concern from the Pentagon about a sudden drop in Iraqi refugees coming to the US who served as interpreters or aides to US soldiers. Just how X-Treme does vetting need to be?
NICE TIME! The US Army is reinstating at least three dozen immigrant recruits who were promised a pathway to citizenship if they enlisted.
ICE did something good! A 95-year-old man living in Queens believed to be the last known Nazi collaborator living in the US was detained and deported to Germany. Good riddance!
Trump held a thing to honor ICE agents at the White House, however he had trouble with Adrian Anzaldua, an agent who caught 78 undocumented immigrants in the back of a truck. Trump couldn't pronounce his name, so he said the guy "speaks perfect English," and humiliated him. He then called the CBP the "CBC" about a dozen different times because he's a very stable genius.
There's new scrutiny over Scott Pruitt's super secret phone booth after the EPA revealed a five minute phone call between Pruitt and the White House in late January. Was it about becoming AG? Superfund sites? Environmental regs? Was it ... COLLUSION?
The DOJ is suing Ivanka Trump's former business partner, Moshe Lax, for engaging in a complex shell game of tax fuckery to hide tens of millions in tax liabilities from Uncle Sam. PR reps for Ivanka maintain she saw nothing, and there was no collusion.
Republicans have announced that they don't really care about those three shady Mar-a-Lago members guiding VA policies, and are accusing Democrats calling for an investigation of suffering from "Trump derangement syndrome."
Three more current and former Navy personnel have been indicited in the ongoing "Fat Leonard" bribery scandal. For those of you playing along at home, we're up to 32 defendants with 20 guilty pleas for crimes that range from cash payoffs to boozy parties with Thai hookers. [Background]
The DOJ has released email and phone transcripts of RBS bankers joking about the "total fucking garbage loans" they were trading just before the banking industry collapsed in 2008 as part of a $4.9 billion settlement. One even noted that the fraudulent loans that crippled the global economy were being pushed by "every possible ... style of scumbag," and it was "like quasi-organised crime." Good thing those guys went to jail, amirite?!
New reporting from the Texas-based Victoria Advocate shows Bro-caucus member and disgraced former Rep. Blake Farenthold tried to guide a federal contract to a Texas port authority business that later hired him for a lobbying gig shortly after he was forced out of Congress for being one of the fugliest and griftiest douchenozzles in DC.
Senate Democrats are about to throw down on new voter suppression laws in half-a-dozen battleground states designed to keep minority voters away from the polls. You gotta fight for your right to vote!
Republican congressional candidates are ditching town halls in the hope that they won't be seen getting bitched out by a room full of their constituents. :(
A number of Republicans from traditionally red districts are being caught in the undertow of the potential #BlueWave, and many are being forced to run actual reelection campaigns for the first time in over a decade. Poor babies!
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner has been overheard on tape joking with supporters, "the Russians are going to help me win," and saying "If I have to use Paul Manafort, I will." HAHAHA, it's funny because he's accused of subverting US democracy, committing large-scale financial fraud, and possibly treason! LOLOL! [Video]
Obama has endorsed Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker. At the end of the day, Pritzker's not Rauner, so ... [Video]
Super rich conservative Foster Friess is trying to buy his way into becoming Wyoming's governor, but all that dark money, the private plans, and an army of cloned staffers may not be enough to sink his entrenched Republican primary opponents.
For the first time the Pentagon is reporting that the Chinese have been practicing long-range bombing runs against US targets in the South Pacific, potentially giving them complete access to nuclear triad delivery systems. Good thing we have such a great relationship with the Chineseses, right?
Afghan security forces rescued 150 hostages from Taliban fighters in Northern Afghanistan. This move comes as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has proposed a conditional cease-fire through Nov. 20, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
Just in case you were wondering what to do with your dual-Canadian citizenship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth just opened a pub, The Queen's Head, on the Royal Navy's future flagship aircraft carrier. FYI: The FS Charles de Gaulle has four pubs.
Russia is planning its largest war games since the fall of the former Soviet Union. The Kremlin says its 40-year-old missiles, diesel-powered tanks and ships will play with a bunch of bootleg Chinese toys, provided they don't break down or explode prematurely.
The Daily Beast has a great story on the murder of three Russian journalists in Africa who were investigating the shady business of Russian mercenaries and oligarchs in the Central African Republic.
Here's an op-ed from a 17-year-old kid who attended DefCon explaining how insanely easy it is to hack election systems with only a minimal amount of programing knowledge. Do you want Gary Johnson for life? Because this is how you get Gary Johnson for life!
Omarosa is your new #Resistance leader or something. Don't know, don't care.
Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart rescued two goats from the N line train tracks in Brooklyn to a farm sanctuary refuge in Watkins Glen, New York.
And here's your morning Nice Time! BABY GORILLAS!
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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.