Spy vs Lie. Wonkagenda For Fri., May 18, 2018
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today, but first, A BABY RHINO!
Trump and Co. have engaged in a scorched Earth campaign to find out who was ratting them out to the FBI during the 2016 campaign. Trump is calling this "Bigger than Watergate (true), and while Devin Nunes continues to creep around in the shadows, Rudy Giuliani has been stealing the spotlight, and appeared on Hannity (again) last night to tell Trump a bedtime story and deliver the right-wing talking points. This morning, Giuliani was on CNN and admitted doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.
A new report by Buzzfeed shows emails and texts from Michael Cohen working with sketchy snitch and criminal Felix Sater to set up a Trump Tower in Moscow just before the 2016 RNC as a way to ingratiate themselves both with Donald Trump and with Russian oligarchs. [LawFare Podcast]
Three people have come forward to say that Michael Cohen's missing financial information isn't exactly missing, it's been restricted from certain law enforcement agencies. Interesting...BUT WWHHYYYY?
Paul Manafort's former son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, has flipped after cutting a plea deal with Mueller's team, according to a new report in Reuters that speculates he'll spill the beans on Manafort's Russian financial fuckery. [Morning Maddow]
A Canadian firm owned mostly by Qatar is in talks to give Jared Kushner a bailout from his beleaguered Manhattan building. It's not a conflict of interest, his interest has created a conflict. [Morning Maddow]
Despite concerns about her sketchy past with the Bush-era torture program, the Senate confirmed Gina Haspel to head the CIA by a vote of 54 to 45. Interestingly enough, Claire McCaskill had a change of heart at the zero-hour and voted "No." Huh.
Later today the Trump administration is expected to announce a scheme to cut federal funding for clinics that provide abortions or refer women to abortion clinics.
Trump defend using "animals" to describe undocumented immigrants by saying he was referring to MS-13, adding, "I refer to them as animals. And guess what -- I always will." This morning, Trump tweeted (as usual) that the press misinterpreted his tweets (we didn't).
All right, nerds, here's your big, fat polling round-up, including a poll that says nobody reads Trump's tweets.
White House staffers are holding fast as they wait for heads to roll over the constant stream of leaks.
Paul Ryan is still trying to squash a legislative uprising within the GOP ranks in fear that Kevin McCarthy and the Tea Party crazies forcing an immigration vote that's destined to fail would give Democrats a bunch of ammo on the campaign trail.
Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Mia Love are spearheading efforts to force Trump and his DHS to reconsider the elimination of visas for the spouses of H-1B holders, and they've got a third of the House to sign on too.
Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks is blaming climate change on rocks and dirt falling into the ocean. This dumb bastard is thinking of displacement, which Archimedes found in 212 B.C., and is not at all relevant. Quit your bullshit.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is still debating a new AUMF that could limit the president's ability to drop boots on the ground, with the main concerns centering around the sunset of operations, and the expansion of new counter-terrorism operations into nation-states. TL;DR: The Senate is trying to stop Trump from starting a freedom war.
The House Appropriations Committee blocked Trump's move to lift barriers on shady Chinese tech company ZTE over concerns that they bake backdoors into their phones for the Chinese government to spy on people.
One week after being warned about Jared Kushner's plan to use software described as a life threatening clusterfuck, the VA has decided to greenlight a $10 billion non-compete contract to overhaul digital medical records. Remember, civil service is a sacrifice!
Gay hatin' Jesus freak Tony Perkins has been appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom; now he'll tell gaymosexuals in Not America not to "eat the poo poo."
In a new interview with WaPo, Mitch McConnell admits the Senate is "absolutely" in play this year, noting a particular concern in Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.
Vulnerable Democrats aren't interested in picking fights with Trump as they actually have shit to do, and don't have the luxury of "executive time."
Concerns about voter turnout have forced Democrats to double down in Orange County, and remind people that "in order to be heard in November, you have to vote in June. Welcome to the jungle (primary)!
The DCCC is a little worried that BADASS Amy McGrath might win the primary in Kentucky's 6th, and leave the boomers with sads. Here's our primer on the race!
Emily's List has been pulling strings in Florida congressional races. It just endorsed Donna Shalala for Florida's 27th District, and helped Shalala's former primary opponent, former judge Mary Barzee Flores, jump into the race in the Florida's 25th.
A Georgia gubernatorial candidate who's been riding around the state in a self-declared "deportation bus" found himself broke down on the side of I-75 after water got into his gas tank. Naturally, he blames Antifa super ninjas.
Poor Trump-loving racist Aaron Schlossberg's humiliation continues this morning in a new complaint by Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. There's also been other lighthearted chicanery, like changing his law firm's Google listing to a Spanish restaurant.
Former spy Sergei Skripal has been released from the hospital, so let's see how long it takes for Putin's minions to surface again.
Trump is begging North Korea not to pull out of a proposed summit next month, offering "very strong" protections and the promise of lots of money, but he's also threatening to call up his old friend, Ben Ghazi, if Kim Jong Un bails.
The Pope wrote a 10,000 word nastygram denouncing the financial industry, stating that it was impossible to ignore the fact that it's a "...place where selfishness and the abuse of power have an enormous potential to harm the community." Jesus Christ, what a communist.
Staffers inside Fox News are grief-stricken with the announcement that Suzanne Scott was named as the first female CEO. One staffer tells Gabe Sherman, "They kicked Ollie North out and put in a prayer room. We’ve got a new trans policy. You’re not allowed to be transphobic. ...People’s heads are blowing up." Don't worry, guys, she's apparently still enforcing the miniskirt-rule. [Archive]
Sinclair is courting current and former Fox News talking heads to create a Trump TV news network that could feature Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Greta Van Susteren.
Tucker Carlson doesn't understand the difference between MS-13 and Charles Manson.
A New York appeals court has denied a stay in Summer Zervos's defamation suit against Trump, giving Zervos's lawyers the go-ahead to start discovering all the old tapes of Trump playing grab-ass.
California Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia will be removed from all her committee assignments after a sexual harassment investigation found that she had behaved inappropriately with staffers.
Here's an interesting story on Eric Greitens from the New Yorker's Phil Klay that details how Navy SEALS tried to warn that Greitens is a showboat and a fraud.
Bill Gates was talking to a group of people at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and revealed that he had to describe the difference between HIV and HPV to Donald Trump. You'd think he would have known that one at least. [Chris Hayes]
Siberian authorities working with the FBI arrested a man in connection with "The Dark Overlord," a hacking group that's been running around the web doing B&E's and holding schools, hospitals, and Netflix hostage for Bitcoin.
FCC Chairman and corporate-controlled piece of shit Ajit Pai met with AT&T in Barcelona shortly after AT&T gave Michael Cohen a big fat check for "insights" into Trump world.
Take a moment to watch Seth Meyers's writer Amber Ruffin address the resurgence of racism!
And here's your morning Nice Time! BABY GOATS!