Trump Can't Handle The Truth. Wonkagenda For Mon., May 14, 2018
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
As Robert Mueller's investigation moves deeper inside Trump's inner circle, Trump himself regularly bitches about Michael Cohen, sometimes as much as 20 times a day, and now gripes about a need for more "TV lawyers" to defend him on cable news. Yes, that's the problem. Not enough lawyers on TV.
Michael Cohen told businesses looking to get Trump's ear that he was "the president's lawyer," and that they needed to "hire" him while top lawyers at Squire Patton Boggs "paraded him around like a model" who could "call the boss at any time." [Archive]
After a story about sophisticated cyber fuckery and bribery by Qatar and the UAE went largely ignored last week, new reporting on the conflict is dragging Saudi Arabia into the mix. Last night Michael Avenatti threw even more gas on the fire by reminding everyone that Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn were both involved in meetings with a Qatari official during the 2016 Trump Tower meetings.
Doctors in VA hospitals are deathly terrified of killing patients if they have to use Jared Kushner's multibillion dollar digital overhaul of the VA, but we're sure the boy genius will figure out a way to make it work.
Rudy Giuliani is walking back comments he made (again) about Trump personally denying a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, telling CNN's Dana Bash, "Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president."
In an effort to stop the "crazy train of bullshit," White House aides weaned Trump onto Fox and Friends (so he wouldn't yell at Mike and Joe all day), but it's had the unintended consequence of Trump beginning and ending his days with Sean Hannity.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a small meeting of White House staffers that she is MAD at leaking leakers and the leaks they're leaking, with sources leaking to Axios that they'll often impersonate other staffers to "throw the scent off," and that "...working here is kind of like being in a never-ending 'Mexican Standoff'..."
Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a former lackey of Mike Flynn, now has a gig at the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions, but staffers are whispering about a shadowy campaign to ferret out leakers and people who aren't "loyal" to Donald Trump.
Trump's White House still hasn't apologized for a staffer saying John McCain was "dying anyway," and is instead doubling down by attacking leakers.
Erik Prince's billionaire friend Stephen Feinberg will oversee a review of US intelligence agencies. Last year Feinberg, Prince, and Steve Bannon pushed for an expansion of the war in Afghanistan using Prince's military contractors, so clearly this will all end well.
Ben Carson's new chief of staff is a 32-year-old former Uber driver, and people are complaining about his lack of experience in public housing policy. Then again, a former Uber driver would know more about poverty than anyone else Carson's hired.
Trump's minions are defending federal pay freezes and cuts to retirement while trying to bring in fresh new faces. Remember, civil service is a sacrifice...
The New Yorker has a deep dive on how Trump's war on the deep state has been killing the careers of federal workers whose only crime was doing their jobs.
A bill backed by big pharma that makes it harder for the DEA to intervene in the opioid crisis has come back to haunt all the politicians running in 2018 who sponsored or co-sponsored the bill.
Abdul El-Sayed is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, and the centerpiece of his platform is cheap and neutral municipal broadband.
Cities aren't letting their Amazon pitches go to waste, they're just using the same Powerpoint to court other businesses and tech companies. [Archive]
A new WaPo investigation of voter registration records has found suspicious fuckery by Virginia's election officials after two dozen people were assigned to the wrong districts, tipping the election in favor of the Republican candidate, and giving Republicans control of the the Virginia state House.
A daycare worker in Arkansas told kids to throw stones at four-year-old to teach him a lesson. It sounds bad, but remember Numbers 15:36: "And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses."
As the US opens its new embassy in Jerusalem later today, mass Palestinian protests are expected from people who are fed up with everyone and everything. In America, new polls show most Americans have mixed feelings about the embassy move, and Mitt Romney is pissed that "religious bigot" Robert Jeffers will bless the embassy. UPDATE: Israeli soldiers have killed 28 Palestinian protesters, and wounded another 1,000 as thousands of demonstrators gather at the Gaza border.
Not America is not happy with the the spastic, power-based style of the Trump administration, and the gutting of the federal bureaucracy is only exacerbating the damage overseas. [Archive]
Trade and foreign policy experts think that Trump's sudden backing of Chinese tech company ZTE is an attempt to save face amid concessions in his trade war, however defense experts continue to warn about cyber threats posed by ZTE.
Everyone on Trump's economic team has their own self-serving agenda, and the Chinese are just playing them for fools.
A number of Democrats are getting fed up with the cable news obsession with Trump-Russia and the endless scandals, so they've started reaching out to local news, and live-streaming on the web in order to bring attention to their policy proposals like child care, healthcare, college, and marijuana reform.
John Oliver 'splainered the ongoing social and economic crisis in Venezuela, and how ironfisted rule and corruption helped eliminate poverty until the oil markets tanked.
And here's your morning Nice Time!