Politico: “The Agriculture Department is moving nearly all its researchers into the economic effects of climate change, trade policy and food stamps – subjects of controversial Trump administration initiatives – outside of Washington, part of what employees claim is a political crackdown on economists whose assessments have raised questions about the president’s policies.”
Associated Press: “Trump was incensed by reports Tuesday that some of his closest former aides, including ex-communications director Hope Hicks, for whom the president has long had a soft spot, were being subpoenaed to testify.”
New York Times: “At this point in the Trump presidency, ‘Infrastructure Week’ is less a date on the calendar than it is a ‘Groundhog Day’-style fever dream doomed to be repeated.”
Roughly two years after the White House first came up with the idea of discussing, for all of seven days, the pursuit of a bipartisan agreement to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and broadband networks, President Trump more or less torpedoed those plans on Wednesday in a Rose Garden speech. In the process, he gave Democrats a helpful sound bite when he said he would not pursue a legislative agenda while under investigation by House committees.”
“He also gave them another opportunity to charge that Mr. Trump, who has promised to deliver on an infrastructure plan since his first days in office, doesn’t really care about working together on one at all.”
President Trump denied on Twitter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) description of his exit from a meeting with Democratic leadership earlier in the day.
Said Trump: “In a letter to her House colleagues, Nancy Pelosi said: ‘President Trump had a temper tantrum for us all to see.’ This is not true. I was purposely very polite and calm, much as I was minutes later with the press in the Rose Garden. Can be easily proven. It is all such a lie!”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told CNN that some of his Republican colleagues have sympathized with his recent statement that President Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.
Said Amash: “So people who are baffled by it, I wonder how carefully they read volume two because it’s there. There’s a difference between skimming the pages and actually reading it and understanding it.”
“Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared President Trump during a key meeting in Germany, putting the U.S. leader at a disadvantage during their first series of tête-à-têtes,” the Washington Post reports.
“The U.S. side anticipated a shorter meeting for exchanging courtesies, but it ballooned into a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues, said committee aides, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Tillerson’s seven-hour closed meeting with the committee.”
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) “has told friends and supporters in recent weeks that he plans to deploy with the Navy to the Middle East in the fall and hopes his fourth book will be published later this year,” the Kansas City Star reports.
“Greitens resigned from office a year ago next week, succumbing to an avalanche of scandals and criminal charges — including accusations that he engaged in violent and coercive sexual misconduct during a 2015 affair.”
“Something about Nancy Pelosi just gets under Donald Trump’s skin,” Politico reports.
“On Wednesday, for the third time in barely six months, a meeting between Trump, the speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blew up in a spectacular fashion.”
“And in each case, Trump handed Pelosi a huge gift, a priceless moment that helped unify the Democratic Caucus behind her at a crucial time.”
Washington Post: “Usually, when President Trump is really steamed, he vents his spleen over a morning of disjointed tweets — a slow-mo meltdown. On Wednesday, it was the live-action movie version — on fast forward.”
“A key congressional committee has already gained access to President Trump’s dealings with two major financial institutions, two sources familiar with the House probe tell NBC News, as a court ruling Wednesday promised to open the door for even more records to be handed over.”
“Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. The disclosures by these two banks haven’t been previously reported.”
“Sadly, the only job the president seems to be concerned with is his own. He threatened to stop working with Democrats on all legislation unless we end oversight of his administration and he had a temper tantrum for us all to see.”
— Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoted by USA Today, after President Trump walked out of a meeting today.
Geoffrey Skelley: “if Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wins the general election, their empty Senate seats could prevent Democrats from taking control if the chamber ends up split 50-50. That’s because their states are led by Republican governors, who would probably appoint a fellow Republican in their place. (Five other Democratic senators are running for president, but their states are led by Democratic governors who would appoint their Senate replacements, which means that their seats would almost certainly remain in Democratic hands.)”
Sen. Bernie Sanders inched closer to supporting impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying “it may be time” for the House Judiciary Committee to determine whether to start the process, Politico reports.
Said Sanders: “I do understand where House members are coming from. And you’ve got this guy who is refusing to respect the Constitution, equal powers, and is rejecting requests for members of the administration to come forward.”
He added: “So, you know, I think it may be time at least to begin the process through the Judiciary Committee to determine whether or not there are impeachment proceedings.”
The powerful DeVos family of West Michigan is ending its longtime support of Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), the libertarian Republican who has repeatedly clashed with President Trump, the Detroit News reports.
A federal judge in New York said Deutsche Bank and Capital One may hand over the President Trump’s financial records to Democrats in the House after the administration attempted to block the move, the Washington Post reports.
CNBC: “Deutsche Bank for years has been the main lender for Trump, whom other banks have avoided loaning money to because of his repeated bankruptcies. Capital One is in possession of financial records related to the Trump Organization’s hotels. Neither bank had opposed the subpoenas.”
“Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged with ripping off porn star Stormy Daniels, the client who made him famous,” the AP reports.
“Federal prosecutors say Avenatti took money Daniels was supposed to get from a book deal.”
Meanwhile, CNBC reports Avenatti was also indicted “on charges of trying to extort athletic shoe giant Nike out of tens of millions of dollars by threatening to go public with embarassing information about the company.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters support requiring background checks for all gun buyers, 94% to 4%.
Voters also support stricter gun laws in the U.S. by 61% to 34%. Republicans, gun owners and voters in households where there is a gun are the only listed groups opposed.
A new Quinnipiac poll finds 28% of American voters say abortion should be legal in all cases, while 32% say abortion should be legal in most cases and just 27% say abortion should be illegal in most cases and 8% say it should be illegal in all cases.
The survey also found that voters agree 65% to 27% with the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.