January, 2017

Kasich to Offer a Different Path

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) “is publishing a book this spring that outlines his vision for an America based on tolerance and inclusion, which is expected to draw sharp contrasts with the state of the country under President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“The book, titled Two Paths: America Divided or United, builds upon the themes of Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, when he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination. Kasich delivered an uplifting, Reaganesque speech ahead of the New York primary entitled “Two Paths,” which was widely interpreted as an attack on Trump, then the front-runner.”

Quote of the Day

“It’s crazy. It’s crazy and it makes us look stupid when the White House is ill-prepared to put this kind of executive order out there.”

— Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an interview with Extra, on President Trump’s executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Kushner Unable to Control Trump

Vanity Fair: “And, according to a source familiar with the situation, Kushner’s influence on his boss may be flagging. Last week, Kushner spent 24 hours trying to broker a meeting between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The source said that Kushner was even considering flying to Mexico in order to convince Peña Nieto, who had butted heads with Trump over various issues, to travel to the White House. Ultimately, Peña Nieto agreed—a feat Kushner presented to his father-in-law on Wednesday night. It was his first real victory in the West Wing in his role as senior adviser, and it would be a major step toward turning one of Trump’s main campaign promises into a reality.”

“Less than 12 hours later, though, it all fell apart. After Peña Nieto reiterated that Mexico does not plan to pay for Trump’s proposed wall, Trump tweeted that if Mexico is ‘unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.’ Just like that, the meeting was cancelled.”

Said the source: “Kushner was fucking furious. I’d never once heard him say he was angry throughout the entire campaign. But he was furious.”

Trump Fires Acting Attorney General

President Trump relieved Acting Attorney General Sally Yates from her duties after she refused to enforce his executive order on immigration in court, the New York Times reports.

Trump declared that Yates had “betrayed” the administration.

The statement continued: “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

Homeland Security Chief Feuding with White House

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly “has clashed with the White House over staffing and other decisions in recent days, people familiar with the matter said, leaving the agency without a second-in-command as it tried to institute a new travel ban during a chaotic weekend at the nation’s airports,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Kelly hasn’t been able to name the deputy he wants at the agency, people familiar with the matter said, and he fought off attempts by the White House to put Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known as a hard-liner on immigration, into the position.”

Trump Faces Backlash from Own Appointees

Associated Press: “At least three top national security officials — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of directive until around the time Trump signed it. Leading intelligence officials were also left largely in the dark.”

“The blowback underscored Trump’s tenuous relationship with his own national security advisers, many of whom he met for the first time during the transition… Mattis, who stood next to Trump during Friday’s signing ceremony, is said to be particularly incensed… Tillerson has told the president’s political advisers that he was baffled over not being consulted on the substance of the order.”

Acting Attorney General Defies Trump

“Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, ordered the Justice Department on Monday not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration in court,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump has the authority to fire Ms. Yates, but as the top Senate-confirmed official at the Justice Department, she is the only one authorized to sign foreign surveillance warrants, an essential function at the department.”

Washington Post: “Yates’s view is perhaps unsurprising; she was second-in-command at the Justice Department under President Obama, held over until a new attorney general can be confirmed. Still, her announcement is remarkable for its defiance. It was not immediately clear who would defend the president’s order in the Justice Department’s place.”

Trump’s Voter Fraud Expert is Registered In 3 States

“A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election,” the Associated Press reports.

“Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show.”

Price Got ‘Privileged’ Offer for Stock in Company

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) “got a privileged offer to buy a biomedical stock at a discount, the company’s officials said, contrary to his congressional testimony this month,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The shares were discounted 12% off the traded price in mid-June only for investors who participated in a private placement arranged to raise money to complete a clinical trial. The company’s shares have tripled since the offering.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“To the best of my knowledge, both Nicolae Ceaușescu and Robert Mugabe have been entertained by Her Majesty the Queen, and I think most Members would concede that it is our duty and the right thing to do to make preparations now for receiving our friend, our partner, the leader of a long-established great democracy and our most important ally.”

— British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, quoted by the Press Association, defending the invitation to President Trump to speak to the House of Commons.

Obama Says He Supports Protests

In his first statement since leaving office, former President Obama said he supported the protests going on around the country over President Trump’s refugee ban, Politico reports.

Said Obama: “Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Trump Says Schumer Had ‘Fake Tears’

President Donald Trump accused Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of crying “fake tears” at a news conference criticizing his controversial executive order on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears. I’m going to ask him who is his acting coach.”

CNN has the video of Schumer at an emotional press conference.