Quote of the Day

“The day Trump announced he was running, I admitted to a couple of Times editors that I’d watched eight seasons of The Apprentice and that we should do a story about it. They told me political reporters wouldn’t be writing about Trump. ‘We have enough candidates to cover,’ one editor said. ‘Let the TV writers do it.'”

— Amy Chozick, in her new book Chasing Hillary.

Romney Forced Into a Senate Primary

Salt Lake Tribune: “After 11 hours of political elbowing and shoving at the Utah Republican Convention — held appropriately at a hockey arena — delegates forced Mitt Romney into a primary election against state Rep. Mike Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race.”

“In fact, Kennedy — a doctor and lawyer — finished in first place at the convention with 51 percent of the vote to Romney’s 49 percent. The former GOP presidential nominee fell far short of the 60 percent needed to clinch the nomination outright.”

More Voters See Trump and GOP as the Same

A Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 43% of voters believe President Trump represents the majority viewpoint of Republicans in Washington, compared with 37% who said he does not.

That’s a net swing of 20 points from a August poll when 47% said Trump did not represent the viewpoint of most Republicans, and 33% said he did.

This is important: Trump promised to “drain the swamp,” but now voters see him as part of the swamp.

New York Senate Hinges on Tuesday Special Election

New York Times: “The intense scrutiny for a seemingly obscure seat is the result of a fragile deal that was recently brokered in which a group of breakaway Democrats who had long shared power with Senate Republicans agreed to return to the Democratic fold. That collaboration had helped give Republicans control of the Senate, despite Democrats holding a numerical majority, until early April, when the so-called Independent Democratic Conference agreed to return to the mainstream fold.”

“The deal gave the Democrats a chance to sweep the Legislature and governor’s office. There was just one hitch: two Senate seats that had previously been occupied by Democrats will be decided on Tuesday in special elections.”

Trump Vows That Cohen Will Not Flip

President Trump vowed on Twitter that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will not “flip” and cooperate against him in the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s connections to Russia, attacking a New York Times story as part of a “witch hunt” against him, the Washington Post reports.

He also slammed reporter Maggie Haberman and called a former aide quoted in the story as a “drunk/drugged up loser.”

Living Large In Oklahoma

The New York Times looks at EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s lifestyle back home and concludes his “political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.”

“Lobbyists and others in Oklahoma state politics who encountered Mr. Pruitt recalled him as a tough competitor who always had his eye on a higher office. Some called him a ‘Boy Scout’ who was stingy with his money, while others said privately that he had exuded a sense of entitlement — that rules did not apply to him.”

 

Lobbying Firm Contradicts Pruitt’s Denials

Poltico: “The prominent lobbyist whose wife rented a condominium to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lobbied the agency while Pruitt was leading it, contrary to his and Pruitt’s public denials that he had any business before the agency, according to a Friday filing by his firm.”

“The disclosure from the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen contradicts Pruitt’s public statement last month that the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, had no clients with business before the EPA, and comes hours after Hart’s resignation from the firm.”

Pressure to Release Comey Memos May Have Backfired

“For days, top Republicans in Congress demanded the release of James Comey’s memos about President Trump, threatening Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, with a subpoena if he failed to share the highly anticipated documents written by the former FBI director,” the New York Times reports.

“But if Mr. Trump and his allies believed that Mr. Rosenstein’s refusal would deliver a pretext to call for his firing, as Democrats asserted, his decision to quickly release all the memos late Thursday night foiled that plan. The memos leaked to reporters hours after being delivered to lawmakers in both parties.”

“And the seven memos, in which Mr. Comey methodically documented his interactions with the president in real time, did little to help Republicans undermine Mr. Comey’s credibility or expose contradictions with his best-selling, tell-all book. Taken together, the 15 pages of detailed notes largely back up the stories that Mr. Comey told in congressional testimony, in the pages of his memoir, A Higher Loyalty, and during numerous television and radio interviews.”

Ex-Stormy Daniels Lawyer Cooperating

“Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them,” the Washington Post reports.

“Shortly before the 2016 election, Davidson negotiated a confidentiality agreement with Cohen under which porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000.”

“Davidson also represented Karen McDougal, a Playboy centerfold, in the $150,000 agreement she struck in August 2016 with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., for the rights to her story.”

Sessions Warned He Would Quit If Rosenstein Fired

Attorney General Jeff Sessions “recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.”

Greitens Charged with Another Crime

“St. Louis prosecutors charged Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) with a felony for his use of a charity donor list for his 2016 political campaign, adding to the first-term governor’s legal woes,” the AP reports.

“The charge of tampering with computer data is in addition to an earlier charge alleging Greitens took and transmitted a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom he had an extramarital affair in 2015.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Now the House is considering a special session that may lead to Greitens’ impeachment. The new charge will give lawmakers more material to weigh as they decide how to proceed on that front.”

Judge Wants Cohen Response Before Ruling on Lawsuit

“A federal judge in California said that he needed to hear from Michael Cohen directly before deciding whether to issue a stay in a civil lawsuit involving porn star Stormy Daniels,” CNN reports.

The judge “gave Cohen’s attorney until Wednesday to file a declaration by Cohen himself indicating whether his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination could be at issue in the civil case due to an ongoing criminal investigation in New York.”

Trump Lied About Spending the Night In Russia

Former FBI Director James Comey wrote in one of his memos that President Trump claimed that he “didn’t stay overnight in Russia” during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 and instead returned to New York.

As Josh Marshall  points out, this “is the visit in which the ‘pee tape’ was purportedly recorded. There’s no evidence in the memos that that tape exists or that the President spent the night with prostitutes. But again, he clearly and repeatedly lies about the trip itself, specifically how long he was there.”

“There’s ample evidence that Trump stayed not one but two nights. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported out a detailed reconstruction of the trip based on FAA records, social media postings and interviews. They showed clearly that Trump flew from North Carolina to New York on the evening of November 7th (Thursday) and then proceeded on to Moscow overnight and arrived sometime early on November 8th (Friday). He overnighted in Moscow. He was in Moscow all of November 9th (Saturday), the day of the pageant, and departed for New York early November 10th. For the details of how we know these facts, see the Bloomberg article. It is forensic in its detail.”

“Clearly, Trump lied about not spending the night in Russia. It’s conceivable that he forgot he’d spent the night. But again, the whole idea is wildly implausible.”