North Korea Defies Trump

“Hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for tough new action towards North Korea on Friday, the nuclear-armed dictatorship thumbed its nose at the Trump administration with the latest in a series of missile tests that Trump officials say could provoke a military conflict,” Politico reports.

“The test’s timing implied an act of calculated defiance by North Korea’s 33-year-old leader Kim Jong Un. It came a day before President Donald Trump’s 100-day mark and less than 24 hours after Trump warned of the potential for a ‘major, major conflict’ over Kim’s expanding nuclear capability.”

“The message seemed to be that two weeks of saber-rattling — which included military deployments and a visit by Vice President Mike Pence to the North Korean border ‘so they can see our resolve in my face’ — had failed to intimidate Kim.”

Trump Declares May 1 As ‘Loyalty Day’

President Trump proclaimed May 1 as “Loyalty Day” as a way to “recognize and reaffirm our allegiance to the principles” upon which America was built and express pride in those ideals, Fox News reports.

Said the proclamation: “The United States stands as the world’s leader in upholding the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice. Together, and with these fundamental concepts enshrined in our Constitution, our Nation perseveres in the face of those who would seek to harm it.”

‘A For-Profit Troll Circus’

Milo Yiannopoulos told Vanity Fair that he would be launching “a new media venture in the coming weeks with what he says is a $12 million investment from backers whose identities he is protecting.”

“The business, which will be called Milo Inc., will be even more focused on stoking the sort of ugly political conflict that’s closer to the surface than ever in these early months of the Trump administration. As Fox News remains busy with its latest scandal, Milo Inc. promises to be the latest incumbent in a growing far-right media sphere that is overwhelmingly populated with politically incorrect, and often jarring, provocations once considered verboten by conservatives.”

Trump Says Flynn Was Vetted by Obama

President Donald Trump shifted blame for the vetting of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn onto the Obama administration, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “When he came into our administration, for a short period of time — he came in — he was already approved by the Obama administration, and he had years left on that approval.”

He added: “Now, if somebody’s approved at the absolute highest level by the Obama or a previous administration, I mean, does anybody ever ask about them?”

U.K. Was Given Trump-Russia Dossier

“The UK government was given details last December of allegedly extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow,” The Guardian reports.

“Reports by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, on possible collusion between the the Trump camp and the Kremlin are at the centre of a political storm in the US over Moscow’s role in getting Donald Trump elected.”

“It was not previously known that the UK intelligence services had also received the dossier but Steele confirmed in a court filing earlier this month that he handed a memorandum compiled in December to a ‘senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form.'”

“The court papers say Steele decided to pass on the information he had collected because it was ‘of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election,’ that it ‘had implications for the national security of the US and the UK’ and ‘needed to be analysed and further investigated/verified.'”

Obama Notes Obamacare Is More Popular than Trump

Former President Obama hailed the political resilience of his signature health care law at a private event, pointing out that Obamacare is now more popular than his successor trying to repeal it: President Donald Trump, CNN reports.

“Obama also predicted that it will be challenging for Trump and fellow Republicans to make any sweeping changes to a law that now provides health insurance for so many people, as he remarked how difficult it was for him to get Obamacare enacted into law in 2009.”

Democrats Hold 9-Point Lead In Generic Ballot

A new CNN/ORC poll finds 50% of American voters would vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress while 41% would choose the Republican candidate if the election were held today.

“A lead that large, this far out, is not necessarily predictive, however — although it approaches the edge Democrats held early on in the 2006 election cycle when they won control of the House, it is also similar to their advantage early on in the 2010 cycle, which ended with a Republican takeover of the chamber.”

Kasich Opposes GOP Health Care Plan

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said that he’s opposed to the House Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Washington Examiner reports.

Said Kasich: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they pass something, but I’m not for it.”

Of President Trump, he added: “I happen to believe he doesn’t really care what the plan is.”

David Nather: “Take it for what it’s worth — this is coming from one of Trump’s former rivals. But Kasich still has a high profile in the GOP, and the more Congressional Republicans struggle to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the more likely it is that other Republicans could suggest it’s time to try something else.”

They’re Still Laughing at Trump

McKay Coppins: “Trump is a Queens-born billionaire who has spent his life chasing validation from elites who hold him in disdain. With each new benchmark he reaches, he holds out hope that it will finally quiet his chorus of haters. And when he realizes they’re still laughing at him, he acts out.”

“Consider, now, what Trump is likely seeing these days when he turns on his TV: presidential historians discussing the unparalleled failures of his first hundred days; polls showing an historically low approval rating; pundits depicting a presidency gripped by impotence. Given his recent history, an eruption was inevitable.”

Pence Avoids Internal White House Battles

Vice President Mike Pence “has delicately sidestepped the infighting, scandals and staff shakeups that have dragged down many of Trump’s aides, instead taking his cues from the president as he shapes one of the most consequential jobs in the world,” Politico reports.

“While many vice presidents angle for power inside the West Wing, Pence has defined his role narrowly. His thinking, according to those close to him, is that the vice president has only two constitutional duties – to serve as president of the Senate and to be prepared in case of the worst. The rest is up to Trump… Pence’s approach has allowed him to artfully navigate the warring fiefdoms that have emerged in the West Wing and stay in Trump’s good graces – even if it means he’s hasn’t amassed the influence, as many had hoped, to pull the president in a more conservative direction.”