Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday called President Trump a 'pathological liar,' while Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) reiterated that 'a few' Republican senators are concerned about the president’s mental health. The strong words from two high-profile senators came as Democrats attacked Trump’s travel ban and said that members of his administration should be investigated or have security clearances suspended for recent comments or conversations with Russian officials." -- CW ...
... Here's a Senator Who Is Not Polite to Trump. But Then He's an Independent. Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Sen. (I-Vt.) on Sunday said..., 'President Trump is backtracking on every economic promise that he made to the American people.'... 'He's appointing Wall Street bankers, the same people he told us he would oppose, to very high positions.... There's a whole lot of discussion about the racist, in my view, immigration policies of the Trump administration, which are based on anti-Muslim ideology, which are doing us enormous harm all over the world — something else is going on at the exact same moment,' Sanders said on NBC's 'Meet The Press.'... When asked if he thinks all of this is a 'shiny metal object' to distract and divide the public, Sanders responded: 'You got it.'... 'Meanwhile, he was going to clean the swamp. Remember that?' Sanders asked. 'Well guess who's running the swamp right now. The same exact Wall Street guys from Goldman Sachs who were there in the past.'... Sanders also reiterated his opinion that the president is 'delusional in many respects' and a 'pathological liar.'" -- CW ...
... Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Sen. Bernie Sanders bristled at the idea that liberal protests against ... Donald Trump all over the country are analogous to the protests and demonstrations that marked the beginning of the tea party movement. 'It's not a tea party because the tea party was essentially funded by the billionaire Koch brothers family,' Sanders said during an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd on Sunday on 'Meet the Press.' 'This is a spontaneous and grass-roots uprising of the American people.'" -- CW
Max Greenwood of the Hill: "... Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling for national security advisor Michael Flynn to be suspended and for his intelligence clearance to be revoked until U.S. officials fully review his contacts with Russia’s ambassador. 'The President and his National Security Advisor have given the Russians the impression that whatever they do, they are not to worry, because the Trump White House will not stand against their aggression,' Pelosi said in a statement on Saturday." -- CW
Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the author of the controversial executive order, said the administration was weighing several legal options after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday against reinstating the travel ban.... In unusually combative interviews on the Sunday morning television shows, Miller also refused to say whether Trump still has confidence in his national security adviser amid controversy over his communications with Russian officials. Miller also advanced false claims that widespread voter fraud undermined Trump’s performance in November’s election." CW: Worth reading to the end of the story.
Liam Stack of the New York Times: "The Trump administration has dropped the federal government’s challenge to a nationwide injunction issued last year that blocked the fulfillment of Obama administration guidelines stating that transgender students’ access to bathrooms and other gender-segregated school facilities was protected under existing federal civil rights law. The injunction was issued in August by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas as part of a lawsuit filed by more than a dozen states over the Obama administration’s position that Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, protects transgender students.... Oral arguments in that case were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, but on Friday, the Justice Department withdrew the previous administration’s challenge." -- CW
Anna Fifield of the Washington Post: "North Korea fired a ballistic missile Sunday morning, its first provocation since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States and one that sets up a test for the new administration in Washington. The missile was fired shortly before 8 a.m. local time from a known test site in North Pyongan province in the west of the country, not far from the border with China, and flew over the Korean Peninsula and into the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. The launch happened while President Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his golf resort in Florida. In a brief joint appearance after the news of the missile test, the two presented a united front. Abe called the test 'absolutely intolerable.' He said that in his summit with Trump at the White House on Friday the president 'assured me the United States will always stand with Japan 100 percent.'” -- CW
Julie Davis of the New York Times: Donald Trump's hosting of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago "was the latest reminder that Mr. Trump’s presidency is mixing his official role with the business that bears his name. Mr. Abe’s visit was the first of what Mr. Trump’s top aides say will be many in which he uses Mar-a-Lago ... as a setting for forging high-stakes relationships with important world leaders. That is likely to mean that the property — along with Trump golf courses nearby in Jupiter and West Palm Beach, where the president squired Mr. Abe on Saturday ... — will draw increased attention and prominence, with all the potential for additional profit that brings. Mar-a-Lago has doubled its initiation rate for new members, to $200,000." -- CW ...
... Herb Jackson of the Bergen County, N.J. Record, via USA Today: "A New Jersey congressman says a rarely invoked 1924 law could be used to examine ... Donald Trump's tax returns for possible conflicts of interest and Constitutional violations. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, has asked the committee’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, to order the Treasury Department to provide tax returns to the committee.... After privately examining returns — Pascrell is seeking 10 years' worth — the committee could decide to share them with the full House, which would in effect make them public. The 1924 law gives congressional committees that set tax policy the power to examine tax returns. It was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon's returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's handling of applications for nonprofit status. Trump said during the campaign he would not release his returns because he was being audited. After the inauguration, adviser Kellyanne Conway said he would not release them because the public did not care." -- CW
"Put Up or Shut Up, Mr. President" -- FEC Commissioner. Steph Solis of USA Today: "President Trump reportedly claimed during a meeting with lawmakers Thursday that out-of-state voters were bused into New Hampshire, costing him and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte a victory in the state. Now a Federal Election Commission official wants Trump to prove it.... Such an allegation would mean that thousands of people illegally voted in New Hampshire — a felony under New Hampshire law, commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said in a statement Friday afternoon. 'As a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I am acutely aware that our democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections,' she wrote in a statement. 'The President has issued an extraordinarily serious and specific charge. Allegations of this magnitude cannot be ignored.'" -- CW ...
... The Caveman Club. CW: According to Politico's report, linked here yesterday, "''an uncomfortable silence' momentarily overtook the room" when Trump made his absurd allegation that 50 apparently invisible buses crossed state lines to unleash thousands of illegal voters upon the witless polling officials of New Hampshire. (How does that work? Did those Massachusetts liberals all vote in Nashua? Or did they sneak into polling places hither & yon?) In addition, "... Trump referred to [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren [-- who was not in the room --] several times as ['Pocahontas.'... Attending were: Sens. Joe Manchin [DINO], Heidi Heitkamp [DINO], Jon Tester [D-ish], Lamar Alexander [R], Chris Coons [D], Shelley Moore Capito [R], John Cornyn [R], Chuck Grassley [R-Cranky], Joe Donnelly [DINO] and Michael Bennet [D-ish].” That's seven U.S. Senators with "D"s after their names. And their idea of standing up to Trump when he lies, insults one of their colleagues AND insults Amerindians is "an uncomfortable silence." If one of these spineless critters represents you, call his/her office & bellyache about it. P.S. You may have noticed that once again it took a woman -- Ellen Weintraub -- to call out the Liar/Whiner-in-Chief.
Sam Levin of the Guardian: "US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over. Army veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river.... 'We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,' said Elizabeth Williams, a 34-year-old air force veteran, who arrived at Standing Rock with a group of vets late on Friday." -- CW ...
... The Trump Administration Already Is Criminalizing the First Amendment. Sam Levin: "The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists. The Guardian has established that multiple officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock 'water protector' movement in North Dakota.... The fact that the officers have even tried to communicate with activists is alarming to free-speech experts who argue that anti-terrorism agents have no business scrutinizing protesters.... Lauren Regan, a civil rights attorney who has provided legal support to demonstrators..., said all three contacts were made in recent weeks after Trump’s inauguration." Thanks to you, too, Jim Comey! -- CW
sought to hide from his colleagues and the nation a pre-inauguration discussion with the Russian government about sanctions that the Obama administration was imposing. 'It’s far less significant if he violated the Logan Act and far more significant if he willfully misled this country,' said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a telephone interview late Friday. 'Why would he conceal the nature of the call unless he was conscious of wrongdoing?'” CW: Um, isn't it treasonous to covertly collaborate with a foreign country to contravene U.S. policy? There's nothing wrong with criticizing international policy & publicly promising to change or undo it, but what Flynn (allegedly) did is of a much different order.Michael Flynn’s real problem isn’t the Logan Act, an obscure and probably unenforceable 1799 statute that bars private meddling in foreign policy disputes. It’s whether President Trump’s national security adviser
Elahe Izadi of the Washington Post: "Alec Baldwin hosted 'Saturday Night Live' this week, but the resident President Trump impersonator was nowhere to be seen during the show’s cold open. Instead, Melissa McCarthy reprised her unhinged, seething Sean Spicer character, which was last week’s most-talked about SNL moment — and an impersonation that reportedly unsettled the White House.... Kate McKinnon played recently-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions." -- CW ...
CW's "SNL" Conspiracy Theory: For the first time in decades, "SNL" has become must-watch TV. I had it on good authority that Lorne Michaels bussed thousands of Alabamians to voting booths in Rust Belt states:
CW: I'd be incensed if this is the way SNL portrayed, say, Elizabeth Warren. But Kate McKinnon's "Fatal-Attraction"ish Kellyanne Conway made me wonder if McKinnon hadn't captured the "real" Conway:
"I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me":
Meet Trump's "Security" Team. Jon Swaine of the Guardian: "A man who was fired from his job as a pilot on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, after the Guardian revealed that he was charged with a violent crime, was this weekend at the president’s estate in Florida, claiming to be part of his security team. Vincent Caldara ... suggested publicly that he was helping to provide security for Trump.... Caldara pled not guilty after he was charged with battery in Broward County, for allegedly driving his car repeatedly at Jeff Shanley, a former friend and business associate, in Pompano Beach in July 2015.... A witness told police he called 911 after seeing Shanley struck by Caldara’s vehicle for the final time. The police report said that Shanley was screaming at the time.... In a separate case still active in civil courts, Caldara is accused of severely injuring a woman in June 2014 by recklessly driving into her with his Harley Davidson motorcycle in Fort Lauderdale. The woman is suing Caldara and seeking a jury trial." ...
... CW: The Trump team appears to have let this (alleged) violent & unstable man near the leader of a U.S. ally. I'd like to know what kind of vetting process the Secret Service has for Trump's "security" personnel. Maybe they think Caldera is no threat as long as they keep him out of vehicles???
"Bowling Green Massacre," Ctd. John Amato of Crooks & Liars: "A new PPP poll shows that 51% of Trump supporters believe that two Iraqis perpetrated the fictitious 'Bowling Green Massacre.'" CW: And now, thanks to Sean Spicer Melissa McCarthy, Trumpbots will remember Muslim refugees for "the day they brought Old Dixie down."
Beyond the Beltway
Noah Remnick of the New York Times: "After a swelling tide of protests, the president of would change the name of a residential college commemorating John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century white supremacist statesman from South Carolina. The college will be renamed for Grace Murray Hopper, a trailblazing computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale. The decision was a stark reversal of the university’s decision last spring to maintain the name despite broad opposition. Though the president, Peter Salovey, said that he was still 'concerned about erasing history,' he said that 'these are exceptional circumstances.'” ...announced on Saturday that the university
... They Persisted. CW: Salovey is confused about the difference between preserving history and honoring an SOB by preserving a college in his name. It is useful to keep in mind that college presidents are politicians first, and students are not the constituency of greatest influence. The larger lesson here is that the student protesters' persistence eventually won the day. We should be inspired.