White House

Trump Attacks Sessions for Not Investigating Democrats

“President Trump attacked his own attorney general on Wednesday, asking in a Twitter post why Jeff Sessions has not been investigating Democrats for Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“In his tweet, Mr. Trump revived his offensive on Mr. Sessions, whom he once called ‘beleaguered,’ and continued his days-long Twitter comments on the ongoing special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling. It was the latest instance of the president publicly criticizing federal law enforcement.”

Ex-Trump Bodyguard Paid $15K a Month by RNC

“When President Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller decided to leave his White House job last fall, many in the West Wing wondered how the president would manage without his personal security chief-turned-confidant, who had been working for Trump nearly 20 years,” NBC News reports.

“As it turns out, Schiller didn’t go very far. Within weeks of leaving his job as director of Oval Office operations, Schiller’s private security firm, KS Global Group, began collecting $15,000 a month for ‘security services’ from the Republican National Committee.”

How Trump Could End Up Diminishing His Own Power

Politico: “So far, all signs have pointed to Trump’s refusing the interview request, which would almost certainly force [Robert] Mueller to issue a grand jury subpoena to compel the president to talk. If this comes to pass, and the president refuses to comply with such a subpoena, the country will be in unchartered constitutional territory, and the courts will need to intervene. But history shows that when courts intervene because a president is trying to shield his own conduct, the deck is stacked against him. If Trump isn’t careful, he will end up shrinking his own authority—and diminishing the presidency for years to come.”

Kushner Resists Losing Access to Classified Info

Jared Kushner “is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access… In the talks, Mr. Kushner has insisted that he maintain his current level of access, including the ability to review the daily intelligence briefing when he sees fit.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I don’t want to be glib but you can see the poorest of the poor and there is still a smile on a face… I know some of the most successful businessmen in the world, and some of them are the most miserable people in the world.”

— Donald Trump Jr., in an interview on CNBC, during a visit to India to help sell luxury apartments featuring his family’s name.

Donald Trump, Then and Now

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the front page of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security.”

— Donald Trump, on Twitter this morning.

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

— Trump, on the Access Hollywood tape in 2005.

Mueller Charges Dutch Lawyer In Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged a new defendant in the Russia investigation, this time involving Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan, who is accused of making false statements.

The false statements came when Mueller’s team was asking questions about Van Der Zwaan’s work representing the Ukraine Ministry of Justice.

The Kyiv Post reported last year that Van der Zwaan is “the Russian-speaking son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan.”

Not That Different Than George W. Bush

“If they squint hard enough, Republicans looking at President Trump can almost see George W. Bush,” the New York Times reports.

“Government spending and the debt are soaring, provoking grumblings about fiscal recklessness. Taxes were slashed at the expense of balanced budgets. Thousands of additional troops have been deployed into war zones half a world away. And with the exception of some highly specific tariffs, international trade remains free and unfettered.”

“For all the ways Mr. Trump has defied and flouted the norms of his office, many policies that he has approved are downright ordinary by the standards of modern Republican administrations.”

Just Like Nixon’s Last Days

Former Nixon speechwriter David Gergen told CNN that President Trump’s erratic tweeting “reminds me very much of the last days of President Nixon when he became deeply, deeply insecure, lashed out in all sorts of ways and didn’t remain focused on the job at hand. But this, I’m afraid, has been President Trump’s pattern for some time.”

He added: “I don’t know why he is so insecure. It certainly suggests that as Mueller closes in more, that there is he very much does not want us to know, and he is very afraid that Mueller is going to get there.”

Inside Trump’s Miss Universe Gambit

Jeffrey Toobin looks back at Donald Trump’s decision to hold the 2013 Miss Universe competition in Moscow.

“Trump has long viewed his businesses as mutually reinforcing, with all the products—from hotels to steak, vodka to golf resorts—complementing one another… Today, the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow looks like a harbinger of the Trump campaign and Presidency, featuring some of the same themes and characters. Miss Universe represents a paradigmatic example of Trump’s business style in action—the exaggerations that teeter into lies, the willingness to embrace dubious partners, the hunger for glamour and recognition.”