Paranoid Trump Searches For Spies. Wonkagenda For Wed., May 23, 2018

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

Michael Cohen's business partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant known as "The Taxi King," has agreed to help prosecutors in state and federal investigations into Cohen's sketchy business deals after facing a litany of white collar charges, and potential life in prison.

Gabe Sherman sat down with pathological liar and Nixonian "rat-fuck" Roger Stone to talk about Trump's scorched Earth tactics on Trump-Russia, and noted they've concocted a scheme to frame the Russia investigation as a false-flag operation in order to delegitimize intel agencies, that way they can blame everything on Obama and John Brennan.

This morning, Trump has been railing on Twitter about "the deep state" and "spygate" and a bunch of other nonsense.

Tomorrow John Kelly will join Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy for a tea party briefing on Trump-Russia evidence from the DOJ with FBI Director Christopher Wray and DNI Director Dan Coats. The meeting won't include any Democrats because nobody asked them.

Elliott Broidy has sent a subpoena to the AP for reporting about his shady billion dollar quid-pro-quo business deals with Qatar. The AP sent him copies of his leaked emails, but attorneys for Broidy want the originals, hoping that they can scrape them for metadata to reveal who hacked the grifty bastard.

As Michael Cohen prowled The Swamp, he made sure to trash talk Corey Lewandowski every chance he got.

John Kelly will oversee a purge of the White House comms department after Trump interrogated a staffer who made derogatory remarks about Sen. John McCain. During an orientation session for recent hires yesterday, Kelly clarified that the staffer, Kelly Sadler, was merely stating a fact when Sadler commented, "[McCain's] dying anyway."

After a briefing with congressional legislators about the security of the 2018 elections, Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen stated she doesn't believe that Russia tried to help Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but a DHS spox later clarified Nielsen's comments with an electoral college map, and a picture of Trump's inaugural crowd.

Congress passed a measure to roll back Dodd-Frank provisions that were put in place in the fall out of the 2008 financial crisis. The new rules exempt small banks from the "Volcker rule," and allow big financial institutions to skirt regulatory oversight. What could possibly go wrong (again)?

Jared Kushner's prison reform bill cleared the House yesterday, but it's likely to die in the Senate as a bipartisan group of senators led by Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin continue to insist on the inclusion of sentencing reforms instead of a bill that will help Jared's dad get a job.

Reporters for the AP, CNN and E&E News were barred from an EPA event on toxic chemicals in drinking water. Reporters say that they were physically removed by security, but were later admitted to an afternoon session. EPA Director Scott Pruitt has criticized the AP for "yellow journalism" after it reported on toxic waste sites in the Houston area that were flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

A new Fed survey has found that 40 percent of Americans don't even have $400 to cover emergency expenses, and another 25 have no retirement savings or pension. Thank goodness for those Trump tax cuts (for the super rich), amirite?

BEHOLD! Mick Mulvaney, who built his career attempting to destroy the social safety net, has a smartass op-ed in WaPo hypocritically accusing Democratic leadership of attempting to cut spending on CHIP.

A number of House Republicans are rallying to defend Paul Ryan from a growing chorus on the hard right by arguing that he has a plan. It's not a good plan, but it's a plan.

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath beat establishment-backed Lexington Mayor Jim Gray for the Democratic nomination in Kentucky's 6th.

Establishment-backed Lizzie Fletcher defeated activist Laura Moser for the Democratic nomination in the Texas 7th by 68 to 32 percent.

Progressive candidate Stacey Abrams won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Georgia last night by a staggering 76 percent, setting the stage for her possibly becoming the the first black female governor.

Former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez secured the Democratic nomination for governor in Texas, making her the first Latina AND openly gay gubernatorial candidate to win major party nomination in the great state of Texas. After securing her win last night Lupez commented, "I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle. Please, tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle."

New polling and analysis suggests that, despite Trump's dismal chances in 2020, Democrats hoping for a "blue wave" still have long way to go before they can start surfing to November.

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of a transgender teen who sued the Gloucester County School Board for the right to use the boys' bathroom.

A Florida man was confused when the city of Lake Worth sent out an emergency alert warning of a zombie outbreak.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston has begun to rebuild ... on the very same floodplains that saw houses washed away a few months ago.

Over fears that Kim Jong Un is masterfully trolling the Trump administration, Trump is walking back denuclearization rhetoric ahead of the North Korea summit on June 12, telling reporters yesterday, "There's a very substantial chance that it won't work out, and that's OK."

Meanwhile, the DPRK says it's closing down its remote Punggye-ri nuclear test site. It's been widely reported that the site is no longer capable of supporting nuclear testing, and had to be dismantled anyway.

The racist dickhead in Manhattan who was publicly shamed on social media for threatening to call ICE on Spanish-speaking restaurant employees tweeted an apology for being so racist. There's still no word on which PR firm he hired to clean up his image.

Lesley Stahl was speaking at the Deadline Club Awards with Judy Woodruff and recalled a conversation she had with Trump about attacking the press. “I said, you know that is getting tired, why are you doing this — you’re doing it over and over and it’s boring,” Stahl said. “He said you know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Mark Zuckerberg vowed to get back to European lawmakers who peppered him with questions he didn't answer yesterday.

And here's your morning Nice Time! A pangolin!

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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 in a gutter taking photos.


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