Fox News nominates another member to the Trump administration.
Donald Trump has picked yet another talker from Fox News for a top administration job, proving once again that knowing things is not nearly as important as being on TV. On May 5, Trump announced he was nominating Mark Morgan, who briefly served as the head of Border Patrol in the closing months of the Obama administration, to be the new head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Morgan replaced Trump's previous nominee, Ron Vitiello, who was shitcanned for not being "tough" enough. It was a bit of a surprise that Trump didn't go with Matthew Albence, the guy he'd picked to replace Vitiello as acting head of ICE, but perhaps advisors thought Albence might face confirmation trouble over his 2018 statement to Congress that government baby jails were a lot like "summer camps" Thank goodness there's no such public record of insane comments to get Mark Morgan in trouble!
You know, other than in some of the 80 times since January Morgan has been on Fox News to defend Trump's immigration policies as the wisest, smartest ideas ever, including a January 14 visit with Tucker Carlson in which Morgan claimed he could simply look at immigrant kids and predict which ones would become gangbangers (all of them, Tucker).
Green Dreams are made of this. Who are we to disagree?
Washington governor and 2020 presidential candidate Jay Inslee has just published his comprehensive climate policy plan, a whopper of a proposal to restructure the US economy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and create millions of new jobs in the process. It's a doozy, at 15,000 words, but wow, even if he's not on the 2020 Dem ticket, could the nominee please promise to appoint Inslee as climate czar? The proposal, called the "Evergreen Economy Plan," invokes the New Deal, and is green AF, but doesn't actually use the phrase "Green New Deal," even though it overlaps a whole hell of a lot with the general GND framework. We shall Wonksplain, but first, let's get one thing very clear: Jay Inslee will not outlaw cows.
Paint It Black.
Donald Trump is not a man who thinks a lot about most matters of state. He doesn't know or care about the stupid details of little things like health care, diplomacy, or how tariffs actually work -- he keeps insisting that China pays them, not US importers. But the Washington Post reports there's one thing he really loves thinking about, in great detail: his big beautiful WALL, which he obsesses over like a creepy version of a little boy planning out his dream model train set. (Maybe a train to Dachau!) Trump keeps calling in officials tasked with building his dream and haranguing them about all sorts of details that he hopes will make WALL as cruel as possible -- as a deterrent to illegal border crossers, you know.
Do You LOVE THE LITTLE BABIES? How About The Moms? Lauren Underwood Forms Black Maternal Health Caucus
Looks like we've got a frontrunner for Legislative Badass of the Year!
In another prong of what's clearly a bid to win Wonkette's coveted Legislative Badass of the Year award, Rep. Lauren Underwood, the freshman Democratic congresswoman from Illinois, has taken a major step toward addressing what might be America's most horrifying public health crisis. Deaths from pregnancy complications for black women occur at four times the rate among white mothers, which is why, in April, Underwood launched a new congressional group, the Black Maternal Health Caucus, to focus attention and legislative action on the problem. Her co-chair in the caucus is Rep. Alma Adams (D-North Carolina); the two also introduced a resolution to declare a second annual Black Maternal Health Week.
The issue is a personal one for Underwood. In 2017, she lost a close friend, Dr. Shalon Irving, who died just three weeks after giving birth, at the age of 36. Irving was an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control whose death was featured in a major ProPublica/NPR report. She had studied the Third-World level of healthcare faced by many women right here in America; her death proved that the culprits you might assume -- poverty and lack of access to care -- didn't matter. It could happen to the woman whose profession it was to study it. It's damned unhealthy just to exist as a black woman in the Greatest Nation On Earth.
The best Mexicans are from Norway.
Donald Trump is expected to unveil his son-in-law's beautiful new plan to remake legal immigration in a speech this afternoon. The "merit based" immigration proposal isn't expected to actually get passed by Congress, but is more of a thing Republicans can point to and say, "See? We are common Elizabeth Warrens!" But Jared worked very hard on it, with lots of help from that nice Stephen Miller, and Trump told Jared he loves it. So it's a very good, very serious plan that Rs can rally around and accuse Democrats of refusing to support, which is the only thing that matters. And that is what counts for serious governance these days.
'Madam Speaker ... DID YOU BRING YOUR HANDCUFFS?'
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Attorney General CoverUp McJokes got some jokes!
Attorney General William Barr tried out a little contempt humor on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with interesting results.
He's been working on it, for his stand-up set.
The setting was the National Peace Officers Memorial Day service Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Barr and Pelosi were in the crowd waiting for President Donald Trump to arrive.
Barr approached Pelosi, shook her hand and said loud enough to be overheard, "Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?"
Who knew he was into that kind of thing? Oh well, even attorneys general who do cover-ups for criminal presidents gotta get their rocks off, and who are we to judge!
That's a reference to Barr's refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas related to special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Yes, Associated Press, we got it.
A smiling Pelosi let Barr know the House Sergeant at Arms was present at the ceremony, should any arrest be necessary, according to a person who witnessed the exchange and described it on the condition of anonymity.
We think Pelosi won that round, don't you think?
Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren just keep making us love them more and more, what with being terrible mean nasty women, the way all good Americans should be. Yr Wonkette is ready for a Warren/Harris or Harris/Warren ticket RIGHT GODDAMN NOW, please and thank you!
Oh, we suppose you want to know what they did, huh? Well, fine, though really if you all just paid closer attention we wouldn't have to spell it out for you. But then we wouldn't be paid to write political fart noises, either, so you just keep not having already heard stuff, OK?
For starters, Kamala Harris had this perfect reply to Daily Mail reporter Emily Goodin, when Goodin asked whether Harris was tired of being talked about as a great VP choice:
Knock you over with a feather!
No sooner had we published our second-to-last piece, on Adam Schiff's House Intelligence Committee requesting documents from Trump lawyers and lawyers representing Trump's fucked up family, than the White House had fired off yet another letter, this time to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, telling him to take all his investigations and fuck right off.
Not only does White House Counsel Pat Cipollone -- yet another real lawyer who's decided his own professional reputation can fuck right off, because everything Donald Trump touches turns into a gaping hole of sadness and failure -- write that Judiciary doesn't have the right to investigate Trump's crimes, because its investigation is "duplicative" of what Robert Mueller investigated, and laughably assert that Mueller's investigation cleared Trump of all Russian and obstruction crimes based on the legal standard of "Because Bill Barr Said So," Cipollone also asserts something we've heard approximately 1,000 times in the last 24 hours. (Emphasis ours in all forthcoming block quotes.)
Lost in the Committee's legally indefensible rush to recommend a contempt citation is the reality that the Committee has not articulated any proper legislative purpose for pursuing inquiries that duplicate matters that were the subject of the Special Counsel's inquiry. Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized "do-over" of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice.
Under the circumstances, the appropriate course is for the Committee to discontinue the inquiry discussed in the March 4 letter.
LOLOLOLOLOL, what lawyerly bluster for a letter full of such dogshit! (Worth noting that Jerry Nadler's reaction was approximately the same, though he said it nicer.)
No, really, please let us know.
A federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, has decided to keep a 19-year-old in detention after prosecutors presented evidence that the lad may have been intending to commit an act of mass murder. Michael Graves is charged with buying and building illegal weapons, and an FBI agent testified Graves had posted numerous comments to social media calling for violence against minorities and referring to stockpiling guns and ammunition. But wait, how is this all that difference from Christopher Hasson, that Coast Guard Nazi guy who stockpiled weapons, and beyond that, wrote about wanting to commit mass violence to bring about a white homeland, and even had a target list of enemies he wanted to shoot? Another federal judge said that was disturbing and all, but planned to let Hasson out on bail because federal prosecutors never charged him with anything more serious than drug and gun possession crimes, never mind a court document asserting he was a domestic terrorist. (Domestic terrorism is not a "crime.") Fortunately, a higher court ruled Monday that Hasson will remain in jail until his trial, too.
No, we're not arguing Michael Graves should be released. Just that there seems to be a hell of a lot more evidence that Hasson had violent intentions and how the hell could any judge have even considered freeing him?
Oh, they have them already? Ahead of the game!
Over the course of the Trump administration, a running theme has been that it's very hard to find real lawyers willing to represent America's Shittiest Client. He lies to them, he doesn't pay them, he doesn't do what they say, and as we saw yesterday in the courtroom of DC District Court Judge Amit Mehta, they have to make the silliest arguments, the kind that would have gotten them laughed out of their law school classrooms. But a few real lawyers have signed up for the task, and pretty much every one of those real lawyers has ended up doing untold damage to their professional reputations in the process.
We'd feel sorry for them, but that's not how our heart works.
On that note, some of those lawyers might just get to be the latest invitees to the House Democrats' subpoena party, because some of those lawyers may have, knowingly or not, helped Trump commit crimes just a tiny, as anybody in his orbit is apparently expected to do.
Oh, what a lovely war!
Looks like John Bolton may get that war with Iran he's always wanted! Ever since he was a little wee mustache in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton has wanted a war with Iran like some little girls want a pony. And now that he's Donald Trump's national security adviser, well by golly, it's time, especially now that troublesome peacenik hippies like Jim Mattis and HR McMaster are gone. (Generals are such pussies!) So how close to a shooting war in Iran are we? That's the wonderful thing about foreign policy in the Trump era -- we may not know until the bombs start falling! Depends who the guests on Fox News are over the next few days.
No matter if he says he doesn't have to go, he has to at least TRY to poop before the hearing starts.
At last! An agreement has been made! Donald Trump Jr. will testify for the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors (boooooooooo) sometime in mid June-ish. Because that's how it works when you are Donald Trump's son, apparently. For all the rest of the humans who are Americans, if you get a subpoena from Congress, the "agreement" you make is that you go and sit your ass down and you answer Congress's questions, or you get held in contempt of Congress. But Junior gets concessions!
As the New York Times reports, there was almost no "agreement." His lawyers had taken to quill and parchment on Tuesday and pennedeth a letter that said the royal Uday would certainly NOT be sitting in a room with DEMOCRATS who were running for president who thought they were free to ask him questions, just because they're United States senators on the Intelligence Committee. Au contraire!
But they got it worked out, we guess.
The terms of the compromise include an appearance by Mr. Trump in mid-June, with the questions limited to about a half-dozen topics and the time limited to no longer than two to four hours, according to the person familiar with the discussions. Another person familiar with the agreement, who would not be identified, said the scope included more like a dozen topics.
According to a person completely unfamiliar with the discussions, a person Wonkette completely made up out of the blue just now, Junior also requires the following things, if His Preciousness is to appear:
It's a nice day for some class treason!
Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Walt's brother Roy (the one with business sense), is scheduled to testify this morning at 10:00 Eastern on CEO compensation and income inequality before the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Maxine Waters. You should tune in! Or whatever the -in verb is for watching a webcast.
Ms. Disney isn't at all uncomfortable about trading on her famous name to draw attention to what she happily calls the "insane" gap between executive pay and average worker compensation. She's even called out the pay package for Disney CEO Bob Iger, who got $65 million last year in pay and bonuses -- she says she likes Iger just fine as a human being, but come on, nobody needs that much money.
Welcome to checks and balances, motherfuckers!
Last week, we told you about a hearing that was to happen today, the first major court test in the war between Congress and the Trump administration over whether Congress is actually a co-equal branch of government that's allowed to do things. It was regarding the lawsuit Trump and his company filed against their own accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, to keep it from complying with Elijah Cummings and the House Oversight Committee's lawful subpoena of Trump financial records and tax records. It's a legitimate subpoena, not least because Congress absolutely 100 percent has the power to conduct investigations and oversight, and also because this specifically goes to the question of whether the president has committed crimes, has unlawfully benefitted from his office, and that little nagging question of whether he is under the influence of a FUCKING HOSTILE FOREIGN POWER.
The DC district court judge on the case, Amit Mehta, had signaled that he was already done with this shit, would hear the case on a fast-tracked schedule, and that he would be ready to rule at the end of the hearing today. Ultimately, he decided not to do that, but assured all parties that he wasn't going to dilly-dally either. Let's pencil his ruling in for next week, maybe?
The hearing was LIT, y'all. Trump's lawyers had argued in a filing yesterday that please, your honor, let's not fast-track this lawsuit, because -- we are not kidding -- they've just had a lot going on and couldn't possibly be ready to argue this case today. The judge heard that request and responded with judge words that read to our layman's ear like "LOL!"
Once they were off, you almost had to feel sorry for Trump's attorneys, because really, what the fuck were they going to say? But don't feel sorry for long, because they're the dinguses who agreed to represent President BrainStupid in the first place.
Bill Nye has had it with you jerks who keep ignoring science, OK? The popular teevee personality and science educator capped off one of John Oliver's excellent deep-dive infocomedy segments on "Last Week Tonight" this weekend with an important message: The climate crisis has driven him to cuss. That's what happens when you combine an existential crisis and widespread denial with premium cable.
Let a thousand position papers bloom!
Julián Castro continued the hot trend of 2020 campaigns with Big Ideas, releasing his "People First Education" plan Monday like some kind of common Elizabeth Warren. It has several elements in common with education plans already out there, like calling for universal pre-K, increased funding to fix education infrastructure, and free tuition for public universities, community colleges, and vocational schools. And like Warren, Castro also wants to tackle the student loan debt mess, albeit with a slightly different mechanism. Let's put on our poindexter spectacles and take a look!
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