Afternoon Update (Some things I didn't get to the morning!):
Los Angeles Times Editors: "... Clinton, for all her faults -- and they range from a penchant for secrecy to a willingness to modify her positions to suit the popular mood to a less-restrained view of the use of military force than we are entirely comfortable with -- is vastly better prepared than Sanders for the presidency. She has The Times' endorsement in the June 7 California Democratic primary." -- CW
Dana Milbank eats his words. Literally, as they say.
Nick Gass of Politico: Donald Trump "said he has spoken with Rudy Giuliani about heading a commission looking at immigration problems in the U.S." CW: Excellent. I feel reassured now.
Kathleen Hennessey & Bradley Klapper of the AP: "Democrats may argue over whether places like Denmark and Norway are model societies. President Barack Obama is sure. Apparently well beyond concerns about being branded a socialist, Obama on Friday celebrated the five Nordic nations as examples of reliability, equality, generosity, responsibility, even personal happiness. As he welcomed the Nordic leaders to the White House, he owned up to thinking perhaps the small havens of social liberalism should take the reins every now and then":
This is on the official White House Website, a far cry from the days when President Obama was unwilling to ascribe Republican obstructionism to, um, Republicans:
Matters of Life and Death:
... Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The Obama administration finalized a new rule Friday mandating that health insurers provide transgender patients with coverage for services and access to facilities even if those services were not traditionally covered or required by their expressed gender, as well as separate guidance calling on public schools to let transgender students access the bathrooms and facilities of their choice. The two moves, both of which have been in the works for more than a year, reflect the Obama administration's push to affirm transgender rights as a central civil-rights question for the current era. And they sparked an immediate backlash from conservatives on the state and federal level, who described the new measures as government overreach." CW ...
... Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it has imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions. More than 20 American and European drug companies have already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world's leading pharmaceutical manufacturers is seen as a milestone." -- CW
... And Taxes. Rachel Bade of Politico: "House Republicans will start considering whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over accusations that he failed to comply with a subpoena and lied to Congress.... The House Judiciary Committee on Friday announced plans for two hearings over the next several weeks to examine the 'misconduct' of Koskinen. Republicans on the House Oversight Committee say the commissioner misled Congress about the status of sensitive emails regarding the IRS tea party scandal. Those documents were deleted during their probe of the scandal." CW: I don't think this has anything whatsoever to do with campaign season. Because Republicans are always sensible & everybody loves the IRS.
Not Helpful. Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Bill Clinton on Friday was forced -- once again -- to defend the 1994 crime bill he signed into law that has stoked the ire of protesters and dogged him and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. The former president, out stumping for his wife in Paterson, New Jersey, launched into a combative back-and-forth with an audience member, who pointedly asked Clinton, "Why did you put more people in prison?'" -- CW
Michael Barbaro & Megan Twohey of the New York Times: "The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades.... Their accounts -- many relayed here in their own words -- reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections." -- CW
Drumpf's Excellent Oppo Research Team. Olivia Nuzzi of the Daily Beast: "Roger Stone and his co-author Robert Morrow, along with Edward Klein, have produced books that amount to a treasure trove of opposition research for Trump. In hundreds and hundreds of pages they have revealed dark, personal secrets and transcripts of private conversations [Hillary] Clinton has had in the intimacy of her own home -- with family and friends and even with Steven Spielberg. Is anything they've written factual? Doesn't matter, really, when you've already accused Ted Cruz's dad of playing hacky sack with Lee Harvey Oswald and imagined a parade of Muslims celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001." CW: Read on.
Callum Borchers of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump on Friday denied that the voice of 'John Miller' on a 25-year-old recording obtained by The Washington Post is, in fact, his own. Appearing on NBC's 'Today' show, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee disputed a Post report that he posed as his own spokesman under a fake name during a 1991 telephone interview with a reporter -- something he did habitually for years, often going as 'John Barron' as well.... During testimony in a  lawsuit..., the real estate mogul was asked if he had ever used the name 'John Barron.' 'I believe on occasion I used that name,' Trump replied.... The liberal super PAC American Bridge posted a partial transcript of Trump's testimony Friday afternoon." A copy of the partial transcript is included in the story. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
When was this, 25 years ago? Wow, you mean you're going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago about whether or not I made a phone call I guess you'd say under a presumed name ... let's get on to more current subjects. -- Donald Trump, on the "Today" show, Friday
... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "Why are you asking me about stuff from 25 years ago, says the man who's made clear that one of his major lines of attack against Hillary Clinton will be over stuff her husband did in the 1990s. Her husband was the one who cheated, but hey, she was, says Trump, a 'nasty, mean enabler.' But while Clinton's response to her husband's actions is fair game as a campaign centerpiece, reporters asking Trump about his tawdry habit of pretending to be his own publicist is 'so low.'" -- CW ...
... Josh Marshall of TPM: "Muslim-smashin', Mexican-bashin' tough guy Donald Trump seems to have been caught red-handed denying that he impersonated a non-existent spokesman to tell reporters how awesome he is.... Trump denied this notwithstanding the fact that he admitted to doing this in a legal deposition years ago. The story was bubbling all day. But when The Washington Post (attack organ run by Trump Arch-Nemesis Jeff Bezos) confronted him with the deception on the phone, he first went silent on the reporters and then hung up. When the reporters called back they were told Trump wasn't available." -- CW
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump said Friday that he doesn't believe voters have a right to see his tax returns, and insisted it's 'none of your business' when pressed on what tax rate he himself pays -- a question that tripped up Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Mr. Trump made the comments in an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' as he continued to try to answer questions about his change in explanations over the last year about why he won't release the taxes." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.) ...
... Gail Collins: "There's a great way for Donald Trump to grab the high road in this presidential race. All he has to do is announce he's going to pay for the campaign himself.... If Donald Trump announced he was going to keep special interests out of his campaign by paying for the whole damn thing himself, we would be so impressed that the tax return issue would completely disappear." -- CW ...
... Not Going to Happen. Julie Bykowicz of the AP: "The billionaire presidential candidate who prides himself on paying his own way and bashed his competition for relying on political donors now wants their money -- and lots of it. Donald Trump ... recently hired a national finance chairman, scheduled his first fundraiser and is on the cusp of signing a deal with the Republican Party that would enable him to solicit donations of more than $300,000 apiece from supporters. His money-raising begins right away." -- CW ...
... Ari Melber of NBC News: "... the new money Trump raises ... can also go directly into Trump's pocket, reimbursing him for his personal spending in the primaries.... That is because Trump almost never directly donates funds to his campaign. He has only spent about $317,000 of his own money outright. The rest of his personal spending is structured as a loan to the campaign, which now owes Trump $35.9 million.... After this article was published Friday, Trump said... 'I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back for the nearly $50 million dollars I have loaned to the campaign.'" CW: If you believe that, I've got a bridge to Queens I'll sell you for less than $50 million dollars.
CW: Steve M. agrees with me: Trump's flip-flops, or whatever they are, represent a strategy, not a flaw. And they work. "[Thurs]day we had this headline from CNN: 'Trump: Muslim Ban "Just a Suggestion."' At the same time, Trump was telling Fox's Greta Van Susteren that the Muslim ban isn't a suggestion -- he intends to impose it, if only temporarily. But lots of people heard what they wanted to hear -- fans still expect the ban, while centrist journalists and GOP Establishment figures got to say that that was all a lot of overheated rhetoric we shouldn't think about anymore." -- CW
Marie's Guide to Making Billions (out in paperback soon) -- Buy Trump for what he's worth & sell him for what he says he's worth.
There's that guy who'll walk into the bar and say anything to get laid. That's Donald Trump right now to a T. But it's all of us who are going to get fucked. Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, Thursday ...
... Steve M.: "Judging from his latest column at CNN.com, [David] Gergen's almost ready for some hot Trump action.... He's definitely going to go to bed with Trump, as will much of the rest of the mainstream punditocracy." -- CW ...
... Gene Robinson: We are witnessing "a shameful parade of quislings. The most galling surrender may have been that of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who says he will support the nominee even though Trump cruelly ridiculed him for being shot down and captured during the Vietnam War. McCain's military service was a profile in courage; what he's doing now is not." -- CW
CW: Sheldon Adelson has an op-ed in the WashPo endorsing Donald Trump. I accidentally forgot to link it, & I'm sure I won't remember.
Beyond the Beltway
Megan Cassidy of the Arizona Republic: "A federal judge ruled& that ... Maricopa County[, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio] and three of his top aides violated a federal court order meant to curtail racial profiling in his agency, according to a ruling issued Friday. The civil contempt-of-court ruling from U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ... held Arpaio in contempt on three counts.... Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan was found in contempt on two counts, and retired Chief Brian Sands and Lt. Joe Sousa each were found in contempt of one." -- CW
Wesley Lowery, et al., of the Washington Post: "George Zimmerman wanted to sell the gun he says he used to kill Trayvon Martin. He finally found a website where he could do it, and the gun has gotten a lot of bids. Two were for $65 million. It seems likely that the bidding on UnitedGunGroup.com has been taken over by bogus buyers. The first $65 million bid was made by 'Racist McShootFace,' according to the Associated Press. It has since been taken down. Zimmerman ... listed the Kel-Tec PF-9 on UnitedGunGroup.com on Thursday after another website, GunBroker.com, pulled out, saying it wanted 'no part' in the sale of a firearm whose use in the fatal 2012 shooting sparked a nationwide debate over race relations and 'stand your ground' laws.... Todd Underwood, owner of UnitedGunGroup.com, confirmed that the gun was listed on his site, which Underwood called a 'pro-Second Amendment community' that was created this year after Facebook banned private gun sales." -- CW
Jonathan Gilbert of the New York Times: "A judge in Argentina on Friday indicted former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other officials on charges of manipulating the nation's Central Bank during the final months of her administration. Mrs. Kirchner and the officials are accused of entering into contracts to sell the Central Bank's dollars at below-market rates during her presidency in order to shore up the Argentine peso." -- CW