White House

Trump Hires Bill Shine to Oversee Communications

Bill Shine, who was the co-president of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, has officially joined the Trump administration as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications, CNBC reports.

Shines “had resigned from Fox in May 2017, trailing the departure of Fox’s ex-chairman, Roger Ailes, who resigned 10 months earlier after being accused of sexual harassment by a former host. Less than a month before Shine resigned, evening talk-show juggernaut Bill O’Reilly was removed from the network amid his own allegations of sexual harassment.”

BuzzFeed News quotes a senior Fox News executive: “It’s extraordinary that the president of the United States could hire someone like this. This is someone who is highly knowledgeable of women being cycled through for horrible and degrading behavior by someone who was an absolute monster.”

White House Aides Will Stay for Confirmation Fight

“Top White House officials worn out from the chaos of the Trump administration and eyeing the exits in the coming weeks are now considering staying on through the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice,” three White House officials and two outside advisors tell ABC News.

”White House counsel Don McGahn, Legislative Affairs director Marc Short and Domestic Policy director Andrew Bremberg have told colleagues in the days following Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement that they plan to stay on staff through the confirmation process.”

Pruitt Lobbied Trump to Replace Sessions

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “directly appealed to President Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead,” CNN reports.

“In an Oval Office conversation with Trump, Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling the President he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office.”

“Advisers quickly shot down the proposal, but it came at a time when Trump’s frustration with Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation had resurfaced.”

Michael Cohen’s Prisoner’s Dilemma

Adam Davidson: “Many people assume that Cohen has an enormous amount of information that could shed light on Trump’s relationship with Russia, suspicious business activity, and, possibly, corruption in office. Cohen, after all, received millions of dollars from companies seeking his help in influencing Trump’s Administration. Cohen also held meetings with some of these new clients in Trump Tower. It would be a dramatic shift in Trump’s approach to business to allow his subordinate to profit from his name without some benefit to himself. It seems reasonable to imagine that Cohen may well have information that could damage, or even destroy, Trump’s Presidency. Yet what Cohen, in fact, knows remains a mystery.”

“Trump, for his part, has enormous power to punish or reward Cohen. As President, Trump can pardon him or use the full law-enforcement power of the federal government to punish him.”

“We are witnessing a grand, public Prisoner’s Dilemma, in which each man could, theoretically, destroy the other. Or, perhaps, they could work together to explain away any troubling information that comes out of the investigation of Cohen’s files. They can’t talk privately, because every interaction is likely to be scrutinized. Instead, they speak to each other through the media.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I am a liberal Democrat in politics, but a neutral civil libertarian when it comes to the Constitution. But that is not good enough for some of my old friends on Martha’s Vineyard. For them, it is enough that what I have said about the Constitution might help Trump. So they are shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life on Martha’s Vineyard.”

— Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, writing in The Hill, on being discriminated against for defending President Trump.

Trump’s White House Has Seen Record Turnover

Associated Press: “According to the most recent filing, 141 staffers who worked for the president at that point last year are gone, with 138 new arrivals. The figures don’t include those who arrived and departed during the year — like short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci — or those who departed before June 30, 2017. Some 61 percent of Trump’s senior-most aides have left the White House. Only Bill Clinton’s 42 percent comes close for the last five administrations.”

Judge Sets Hearing for Flynn

“A pair of legal filings suggesting that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is almost-but-not-quite ready to set a sentencing date for former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn have prompted a federal judge to order Flynn and lawyers for both sides to make an unexpected trip to court next week,” Politico reports.

“The hearing set for next Tuesday would be the first court appearance for Flynn since last December, when the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief appeared in a packed courtroom to plead guilty to one felony count of making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., about his lobbying during the presidential transition on a United Nations resolution critical of Israel, and about his lobbying work favorable to the Turkish government.”

Michael Cohen’s Shredded Documents Put Back Together

BuzzFeed News: “When the Department of Justice announced this month that investigators had pieced together records found in a shredder belonging to the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, critics, legal experts, and journalists feverishly speculated about what they might contain.”

“Now, BuzzFeed News has obtained documents reconstructed by the FBI. A close examination shows that the records are a combination of documents that prosecutors already had, handwritten notes about a taxi business, insurance papers, and correspondence from a woman described in court filings as a ‘vexatious litigant’ who claims she is under government surveillance.”

Michael Cohen Breaks His Silence

In his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Michael Cohen strongly signaled to ABC News his willingness to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York — even if that puts President Trump in jeopardy.

Said Cohen: “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.”

Troubles Ahead for the Trump Foundation

Adam Davidson: “Barring an unexpected change, the Donald J. Trump Foundation will be defending itself in a New York courtroom shortly before this fall’s midterm elections.”

“On Tuesday, the judge in the case, Saliann Scarpulla, made a series of comments and rulings from the bench that hinted—well, all but screamed—that she believes the Trump family has done some very bad things.”

How Fox News Became Trump’s Bullhorn

“In 2011, Fox News announced that a new guest would appear weekly on ‘Fox & Friends,’ its chummy morning show… It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” the New York Times reports.

“Seven years later, the symbiosis between Donald  Trump and his favorite cable network has only deepened. Fox News, whose commentators resolutely defend the president’s agenda, has seen ratings and revenues rise. President Trump views the network as a convenient safe space where he can express himself with little criticism from eager-to-please hosts.”

“Now, the line between the network’s studios and Mr. Trump’s White House is blurring further. Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president who helped create the look and feel of the channel’s conservative programming, is expected to be hired as the president’s new deputy chief of staff, overseeing communications.”

The One Area Where Trump Listens to Advisers

Washington Post: “In most other realms, Trump is quick to reject norms and resist the established order. Where previous presidents zigged, the 45th almost always wants to zag. But not when it comes to the Supreme Court. So far, at least, Trump is taking direction from his counselors, including two with deep roots in Washington’s conservative network: McGahn and Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society to informally advise on judicial nominations.”

“Since before taking office, Trump has strategized with McGahn, Leo and others about aggressively filling federal court vacancies to permanently shift the judiciary to the right. The pace has been historic — and, for conservatives, the outcome has been an undeniable success.”

Michael Cohen Weighs His Place In History

Vanity Fair: “Earlier this week… a woman chased him down the street, shouting at him that he could be a hero if he cooperates with the government and brings President Trump down. Last week, another person attempted to get a message to Cohen, saying, ‘Please let him know that he could go down in history as the man that saved this country. I think his family would be so proud of him. Even people like me that were disgusted with the things we heard on those audio recordings, would totally forgive him.'”

“Cohen’s friends have been whispering encouragements, too, particularly after the president distanced himself from Cohen earlier this month by telling reporters that he ‘liked’ Cohen, in the past tense.”

Said one person close to Cohen: “He’s frustrated. Washington is actively pushing him away as opposed to protecting him or welcoming him back in, when, at the same time, he has all these people telling him that he could change the course of the midterms, or 2020.”