White House

Trump Visit to Scotland Highlights Challenge to His Brand

“This weekend, President Trump will take a break from visiting heads of state in Europe and detour to this tiny village in Scotland — so he can visit a luxury golf resort named after himself.” the Washington Post reports.

“The side trip will allow Trump the president a chance to shine an international spotlight on Trump the brand… But the visit will also highlight a challenge facing many Trump properties since his election. They were built on the premise that the Trump name symbolizes lavish hospitality, but are now trying to survive in an era in which it represents the opposite of hospitality to many in the United States and abroad.”

Kavanaugh Actually Supports Special Counsel Authority

Benjamin Wittes: “If Kavanaugh’s writings on special counsel investigations really influenced Trump’s decision to nominate him, then Trump is a bigger fool than I have imagined. Kavanaugh’s writings on the subject don’t clarify all of his views on the subject of the Mueller investigation. But they clarify certain big things, and those things are really not good for Donald Trump.”

“Noah Feldman writes that ‘Properly understood, Kavanaugh’s expressed views actually support the opposite conclusion’ than the one to which many knees are jerking. Feldman is exactly right. In some respects, he actually understates the case.”

Giuliani Still Working for Foreign Clients

Rudy Giuliani “continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally and through his namesake security firm while serving as President Trump’s personal attorney — an arrangement experts say raises conflict of interest concerns and could run afoul of federal ethics laws,” the Washington Post reports.

“He has never registered with the Justice Department on behalf of his overseas clients, asserting it is not necessary because he does not directly lobby the U.S. government and is not charging Trump for his services. His decision to continue representing foreign entities also departs from standard practice for presidential attorneys, who in the past have generally sought to sever any ties that could create conflicts with their client in the White House.”

Trump Pardons Cattle Ranchers

President Trump “pardoned a pair of Oregon ranchers whose arson conviction became a focus for opponents of federal government land ownership,” The Hill reports.

“Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven, 49, were convicted in 2012 and sent to prison on arson charges. They had set a series of fires on their ranch that spread to federal land.”

“The Hammonds’ case became the inspiration for the 40-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. The organizers wanted to protest federal land ownership.”

Most of Trump’s Claims at Rally Were False

Washington Post: “We’re doing something new today: Analyzing every factual claim from President Trump’s campaign rally in Montana on July 5.”

“According to our analysis, the truth took a beating in Montana. From a grand total of 98 factual statements we identified, 76 percent were false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.”

“Here’s a breakdown: 45 false or mostly false statements, 25 misleading statements and four unsupported claims. We also counted 24 accurate or mostly accurate statements. False or mostly false statements alone accounted for 46 percent of all claims.”

Trump’s Club Members Invited to Air Force One Tour

“Some members of President Trump’s exclusive Florida clubs appear to have been invited to an Air Force One tour last year, according to an invitation obtained by BuzzFeed News which was cross-checked with records received through a Freedom of Information Act request.”

“Members would not confirm or deny that they actually attended, but the invitations would raise more questions about the blurry line between Trump’s administration and his family’s private businesses. Although past administrations have given Air Force One tours to friends, family, and even donors, in this case those attending would have paid Trump’s exclusive clubs thousands of dollars annually.”

Stephen Miller Gets Back at His Critics

From the Washington Post:

One night, after Miller ordered $80 of takeout sushi from a restaurant near his apartment, a bartender followed him into the street and shouted, “Stephen!” When Miller turned around, the bartender raised both middle fingers and cursed at him, according to an account Miller has shared with White House colleagues.

Outraged, Miller threw the sushi away, he later told his colleagues.

Jonathan Chait: “This account — which, again, comes from Miller himself — shows a high-level presidential adviser responding to a completely nonviolent and nonthreatening gesture by throwing away his own food. The story does not explain why throwing away his own sushi in any way advanced his cause.”

Trump Steps Up His ‘False Claims’

“Until this month, President Trump had not made more than 60 false claims in any single week of his presidency. He has now made 100 false claims in each of the last two weeks,” the Toronto Star reports.

“After shattering his old record by uttering an astonishing 103 false claims two weeks ago, an average of 14.7 per cent, Trump delivered precisely 100 false claims last week, an average of 14.3 per day.”

Trump Aides Endure Public Fury

Washington Post: “For as long as the White House has existed, its star occupants have inspired a voluble mix of demonstrations, insults and satire. On occasion, protesters have besieged the homes of presidential underlings, such as Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political strategist, who once looked out his living room window to find several hundred protesters on his lawn.”

“Yet what distinguishes the Trump era’s turbulence is the sheer number of his deputies — many of them largely anonymous before his inauguration — who have become the focus of planned and sometimes spontaneous public fury.”

Trump’s Rallies Get Extensive Airtime on Fox News

“President Trump’s campaign-style rallies have found a receptive audience at Fox News Channel, which unlike the other cable news networks often carries his speeches live and in their entirety,” the AP reports.

“Four times in the past few weeks, Fox has set aside its usual prime-time programming to air the president speaking live to supporters at events in South Carolina, Minnesota, North Dakota and West Virginia.”

What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?

Jonathan Chait: “The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility.”

”What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect. After all, treating a small probability as if it were nonexistent is the very error much of the news media made in covering the presidential horse race. And while the body of publicly available information about the Russia scandal is already extensive, the way it has been delivered — scoop after scoop of discrete nuggets of information — has been disorienting and difficult to follow. What would it look like if it were reassembled into a single narrative, one that distinguished between fact and speculation but didn’t myopically focus on the most certain conclusions?”