Trump Orders Media Blackout at Several Agencies

“The Trump administration has instituted what it described as a temporary media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants,” the AP reports.

“Similar orders barring external communications have been issued by the Trump administration at other federal agencies in recent days, including the Agriculture and Interior departments.”

Spicer Defends Trump Lie About Illegal Votes

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended President Trump “for continuing to claim that millions of people voted illegally in the November election, despite numerous fact-checks and other studies that have debunked the theory,” Politico reports.

Said Spicer: “The president does believe that, he has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have presented to him.”

Huffington Post: “All of this creates a conundrum for the press. How are reporters supposed to cover someone who believes in demonstrable lies, least of all a president?”

Federal Deficit Expected to Soar Over Next Decade

“After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to begin swelling again, adding nearly $10 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that reveal the strain that government debt will have on the economy as President Trump embarks on plans to slash taxes and ramp up spending,” the New York Times reports.

“The new deficit figures will be a major challenge to congressional Republicans, who were swept to power in 2010 on fears of a swollen deficit and who have made controlling red ink a major part of their legislating under former President Barack Obama.”

Trump Narrows Justice Search to Three

President Trump has narrowed his first Supreme Court nomination down to three finalists with Tenth Circuit judge Neil Gorsuch and Third Circuit judge Thomas Hardiman emerging as the frontrunners while Eleventh Circuit Judge Bill Pryor remains in the running but fading, Politico reports.

Trump will meet today with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to discuss his coming Supreme Court choice.

Conway Allegedly Punched Man in the Face

Kellyanne Conway “allegedly punched a tuxedo-clad man at an exclusive inauguration ball just hours after the new commander-in-chief was sworn in,” the New York Daily News reports.

“Conway, who serves as President Trump’s senior counselor, apparently stepped between two men after they got into a scuffle at the invite-only Liberty Ball on Friday evening… But the two men wouldn’t break up the fight and Conway apparently punched one of them in the face with closed fists at least three times, according to the stunned onlooker.”

Dayton Collapses During State of the State Address

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) “slurred his words and fainted briefly near the end of a 45-minute State of the State speech Monday night at the Capitol,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Several people nearby, including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, caught him as he lurched forward, struck his forehead on the lectern and then sank toward the floor in the House chambers in St. Paul.”

Trump Will Keep Comey as FBI Director

FBI Director James Comey “told his top agents from around the country that he had been asked by President Trump to stay on the job running the federal government’s top law enforcement agency,” the New York Times reports.

“A decision to retain Mr. Comey would spare the president another potentially bruising confirmation battle. It also would keep Mr. Comey at the center of the F.B.I.’s investigation into several Trump associates and their potential ties with the Russian government.”

Nate Silver, Then and Now

“The ‘fundamentals’ models, in fact, have had almost no predictive power at all. Over this 16-year period, there has been no relationship between the vote they forecast for the incumbent candidate and how well he actually did.”

— Nate Silver, writing in FiveThirtyEight on March 26, 2012.

“Reporting largely ignored the importance of economic conditions and other ‘fundamentals’ that implied a potentially close race.”

— Silver, writing in FiveThirtEight on January 23, 2017, criticizing media coverage of the 2016 campaign.

Price Proposed Another Bill to Benefit His Investments

“Three months after investing in four companies with manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary introduced legislation that would directly benefit those companies,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The proposed House legislation by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — which would have made permanent an expiring tax deduction for Puerto Rican facilities — didn’t pass… The bill nevertheless marks another instance in which Mr. Price was involved in legislation that could have benefited his stock holdings.”