Trump to Host Arab Leaders for Sensitive Talks

President Trump “has accelerated his diplomatic efforts to broker peace among quarreling Arab monarchies, starting with an upcoming series of White House visits by leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates,” Axios reports.

“Sources with knowledge of the negotiations tell us they hope these separate meetings — hugely consequential in their own right — will lead to a peace deal over Qatar in late spring at a summit in Washington or Camp David. That could help end the longstanding dispute over its alleged support for terrorism and ties to Iran.”

Mike Allen: “Unlikely to score a big domestic victory heading into the midterm elections and his own reelection, President Trump is trying a new angle in his effort to broker a meaningful peace deal in the Middle East.”

Pruitt Says God Justifies His Environmental Policies

EPA chief Scott Pruitt told the Christian Broadcasting Network that his religious convictions led him to conclude that America should use coal freely.

Said Pruitt: “The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.”

Cornyn Rejects Proposal to Raise Age on Gun Buying

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the number two Republican in the Senate, criticized President Trump’s proposal to raise the minimum age for gun purchases, saying it wouldn’t save lives, The Hill reports.

Said Cornyn: “I think what we want to focus on is things that will actually save lives. That’s why I think the focus should be on the Fix NICS bill, which is the only bipartisan piece of legislation that can be signed into law.”

He added that a bill increasing the age limit on gun purchases would be “difficult to enforce.”

Gates Admits Lying About Rohrabacher Dinner

“Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates just admitted to lying to U.S. investigators about a March 19, 2013, meeting between his boss, Paul Manafort, and an unidentified U.S. congressman. Public filings show a meeting that day between Manafort and Dana Rohrabacher, a Russia-friendly Republican congressman from California,” Bloomberg reports.

Democrats Aren’t Rushing to Help GOP Fix Tax Glitches

“The glitches in the new tax law are starting to pile up,” Politico reports.

“Republicans would like to address the problems as soon as next month, as part of legislation needed to fund the government. But to do that, they’ll need assistance from Democrats, and it’s unclear they are in any mood to help. They were shut out of the process of writing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and may be looking for payback after Republicans steadfastly refused to allow them to fix hitches in the Affordable Care Act.”

“Some Democrats say they will want to widely reopen the law, as part of any effort to clean up the legislative miscues.”

Florida Lawmakers Back Age Limits for Assault Rifles

“Gov. Rick Scott (R) and top state lawmakers proposed on Friday the most significant move toward gun control in Florida in decades, backing new limits that defy the National Rifle Association but fall short of demands from survivors of last week’s school shooting,” the New York Times reports.

“Faced with massive protests, the Republican governor announced a plan to raise the minimum age to buy any firearm, including semiautomatic rifles, from 18 to 21. Mr. Scott also vowed to strengthen rules to keep weapons away from people who have mental health problems or injunctions against them for stalking or domestic violence.”

A New Revenue Stream?

This email made me laugh:

Love the site. I’ve been a paid member for two and a half years now. Renewing isn’t even a question. But may I make a suggestion for a new revenue stream? Advertise high blood pressure and anti-anxiety medications on the site. Every time I read something Trump or the GOP do, I get very angry. I could use a quick ad link to a site for a prescription to settle my nerves!

You’re going a great job serving our country by keeping facts alive.

This one helps keep me going:

Thank you very much for your work. I think in the old days (pre November 2016) it would be normal to check your site a couple of times a day. Now it’s probably hourly. It must be exhausting trying to keep up, but very much appreciated, especially the member updates.

If you’re a regular, become a member. You’ll get exclusive analysis, new features and no advertising — and you’ll be supporting a site you love.

Join for just $5 a month or $50 annually.

Congressional Hopeful Threatened to Kill Husband

Shannon Edwards (R), “whose affair with a Pennsylvania congressman led to his resignation — and who’s pursuing her own run for the U.S. House — is accused of threatening to kill her husband,” the AP reports.

“Her husband claims in court records Edwards made multiple threats to kill him, including saying she would use a steak knife or hire a hit man. He’s seeking a divorce.”

RNC Pays Trump Campaign’s Rent at Trump Tower

“Soon after the RNC came under pressure for paying legal bills for President Trump and his eldest son in the special counsel’s Russia probe, it started covering expenses for the president’s re-election campaign,” CNBC reports.

“The RNC is using campaign funds to pay Trump’s company more than $37,000 a month in rent, and to pay thousands of dollars in monthly salary to Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, John Pence, party officials confirmed this week. The rent pays for office space in the Trump Tower in New York for the staff of Trump’s re-election campaign. John Pence is the Trump campaign’s deputy executive director.”

The arrangement “is highly unusual but legal, and it appears the RNC disclosed it correctly.”

Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Lying

Rick Gates, a former top official in President Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, the Washington Post reports.

“The plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers and admitted crimes.”