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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


Robert Mueller has been given the greenlight to dig up dirt on Paul Manafort's Russian and Ukrainian fuckery. [Archive]

Trump's White House isn't denying that Trump invited Vladimir Putin to swing by for a sleepover when he congratulated the dictator for stealing his last election.

Jill McCabe is responding to threats and criticism that accuse her and her husband of being conspirators in an elaborate plot to ... whatever it is Trump thinks they did.

A GoFundMe page for Andrew McCabe's legal defense fund has stopped accepting donations after reaching over $530,000. In a statement, McCabe thanked people for the outpouring of support, and stated the money will be put towards "taking a stand against the unfair way [he has] been treated."

In responding to criticisms that she's the leakiest faucet inside Trump's White House, Kellyanne Conway said, "Leakers get great press. And one day...I will have my say. So that will be very, very fascinating. I will have my say."

Fearing a backlash from his base after failing to get Mexico to pay for his stupid wall, Trump's Justice Department is imposing quotas on immigration courts in order to speed up deportation processes. [Archive]

The DHS Office on Women's Health scrubbed information on breast cancer and reproductive health, as well as insurance info for poors who use Obamacare. Have you tried NOT getting cancer?

The EPA is moving to scrap Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards after auto makers bitched about the lagging sales of gas-guzzling suburban war machines.

The guy who helped create the Trump tax cuts (for the super-rich) has been tapped to be Steve Mnuchin's number two at the Treasury Department.

Trump's lawyers, desperate to keep Stormy Daniels from getting up on the witness stand, are attempting to enforce arbitration clauses in their ALLEGED hush money contract.

Lawyers for Trump are also appealing a ruling by a state Supreme Court Justice that will allow a defamation suit by Summer Zervos to move ahead.

Someone in Trump's White House declared yesterday to be World Autism Awareness Day, even though Trump is an anti-vaxxer with a tinfoil toupée.

Scott Pruitt's temporary townhouse was the site of multiple GOP fundraisers while Pruitt was living there, but nobody invited Pruitt to the money parties while he lived there, so it's all good.

Trump's White House is investigating whether Scott Pruitt engaged in any kind of less-than-legal fuckery while living dirt cheap in the home of an energy lobbyist.

John Kelly WAS mulling over "You're Fired"-ing Scott Pruitt, but Pruitt's been such a loyal and effective minion that Trump wants to keep him around.

The FEC is poking around Ryan Zinke's former PAC after it failed to disclose $600,000 in small, nameless contributions last year -- contributions that seem to have been funneled into DC-based hatchet men.

A relatively obscure Florida man has oozed into the K Street swamp and bubbled up to become one of the most powerful lobbyists thanks to his 30 year connection to Trump.

Loudmouth attention whore Rep. Matt Gaetz brushed off the curious brown smudges from his nose and told Politico all about how Obama is the Soviet Satan, and how Trump is Orange Julius Caesar.

Democrats are rebuilding their political operations from the ground up by funding tech start-ups that focus on voter participation, online polling, activism, advertising and mobilization.

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty won't run for reelection. Rep. Esty is facing criticism for protecting a staffer accused of sexual assault and harassment while she simultaneously called for the heads of fellow Congressmen.

The Justice Department is suing California over a law that restricts Uncle Sam from buying and selling public land that could hurt state interests.

The Interior Department is rethinking plans to more than double the fees for entry into national parks after the public commenting system was inundated with people complaining that Ryan Zinke is a grifty asshole.

Teachers in multiple states are protesting against pathetically low wages and a lack of benefits, and they've adopted Twisted Sister tunes as their anthem. Rock.

The State Department is reporting a steep decline in the number of foreign visas granted to Not Americans, but it's unclear if people are avoiding the US, or if the US is telling people to get lost.

China is using US-created rules to take the moral high ground in Trump's trade war.

The United Nations is getting ready for John Bolton by bringing in a former Obama official to serve as the the undersecretary general for Political Affairs, but Not America is justifiably bitchy and skeptical.

A kid who ran to the cops in fear of MS-13 will be deported to El Salvador...where MS-13 reigns supreme. Thanks, Trump.

A new study has found that more than a third of college students don't get enough food and lack secure housing. The report cites the rising cost of college and the growing enrollment of low-income students, coupled with many schools' refusal to admit the problem.

There's growing concern in Washington's business and power circles that Trump's tweets are screwing up the tech sector, opening up deep wounds in the economy.

And here's your morning Nice Time! A ring-tailed possum couple!

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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