White House

Trump Urged Native Americans to ‘Just Do It’

“In late June, President Trump hosted a group of Native American tribal leaders at the White House and urged them to ‘just do it’ and extract whatever they want from the land they control,” Axios reports.

“The exchange turned out to be an unusually vivid window into the almost kingly power that Trump sees himself as holding, and which he has begun describing with increasing bluntness… The chiefs explained to Trump that there were regulatory barriers preventing them from getting at their energy.”

Replied Trump: “But now it’s me. The government’s different now. Obama’s gone; and we’re doing things differently here. So what I’m saying is, just do it.”

Commerce Secretary Concealed Ties to Putin Cronies

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position,” NBC News reports.

“Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, that was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle.”

New York Times: “Details of these arrangements surfaced in a cache of leaked files from Appleby, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, which administered some 50 companies and partnerships in the Caymans and elsewhere connected to Mr. Ross.”

Russia Funded Investments Through Kushner Associate

“Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal,” the Guardian reports.

“The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.”

Lewandowski Declined Job Offer from Trump

Daily Beast: “Trump had asked if he wanted a job that would place him in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across the way from the West Wing… According to two people who spoke with Lewandowski, he ‘strongly’ considered taking the gig, in hopes of getting to serve Trump in an official capacity once more. However, he came to the conclusion that the job wasn’t senior enough, telling friends that it was ‘beneath him.’”

Trump Has Worst Approval Rate of Modern Presidents

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a majority of Americans say President Trump “has not accomplished much during his first nine months in office and they have delivered a report card that is far harsher even than the tepid expectations they set for his tenure when he was sworn into office.”

“Trump has an approval rating demonstrably lower than any previous chief executive at this point in his presidency over seven decades of polling. Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans — 37% — say they approve of the way he is handling his job… The president’s disapproval rating has reached 59%, with 50% saying they strongly disapprove of the job he is doing.”

“He is the only president dating back to Harry S. Truman whose approval rating at this point in his presidency is net negative — by 22 points. The next worst recorded in that time was Bill Clinton, who had a net positive of 11 points by this time in his presidency.”

Bush 41 and Bush 43 Worried Trump Is Destroying the GOP

“President Trump is not a favorite in the extended Bush household. Former President George Bush considers him a ‘blowhard,’ only interested in feeding his own ego. Former President George W. Bush, his son, thinks Mr. Trump fans public anger and came to office without any understanding of the job,” the New York Times reports.

“And both worry that Mr. Trump has blown up a Republican Party that they spent two lifetimes building, a party that was once committed to removing boundaries to trade and immigration, promoting democracy and civil society and asserting a robust American leadership role in the world, according to an author who has interviewed them.”

These comments are from a new book: The Last Republicans.

Trump Bodyguard Faces Questions About Moscow Trip

“One of President Trump’s most trusted confidants, a security chief who served as his sounding board for nearly two decades, will face questions from congressional investigators next week about Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow,” the Washington Post reports.

“The excursion is at the center of some of the most salacious allegations contained in a now-famous dossier, which contains unverified charges that Trump has vehemently disputed.”

Corker Blasts Trump’s ‘Inappropriate’ Remarks

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is firing back at President Trump over his push for the Justice Department to investigate Democrats and Hillary Clinton, The Hill reports.

Said Corker: “President Trump’s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate.”

He added that the president’s remarks “not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.”

Sean Spicer’s Secret Harvard Fellowship

Harvard Crimson: “Sean Spicer was publicly offered a Visiting Fellowship here at the Harvard Kennedy School—and then allowed to speak entirely off the record.”

“During his time on campus, Spicer had closed-door forums with select faculty and fellows, spoke in a few chosen classes, and attended invite-only meals with selected groups of students. In total, 11 events over three days, all off the record, none open to the general student body or public. Not a single word Sean Spicer spoke during his Visiting Fellowship at Harvard was on the record, nor could a single word could be heard without an explicit invite.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Frank Bruni: “It hit me this week, around the time when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was blithely seconding Chief of Staff John Kelly’s Civil War revisionism, that I missed Sean Spicer.”

“I missed the panic in his eyes, which signaled a scintilla of awareness that he was peddling hooey. I missed the squeak in his voice, which suggested perhaps the tiniest smidgen of shame.”

“He never seemed to me entirely at home in his domicile of deception; she dwells without evident compunction in a gaudier fairyland of grander fictions. There’s no panic. No squeak. Just that repulsed expression, as if a foul odor had wafted in and she knew — just knew — that the culprit was CNN.”

Sessions on the Hot Seat Again

First Read: “In a normal Washington, the attorney general would be out after this — especially since this isn’t the first time he’s been accused of misleading under oath. (Sen. Jeff Sessions would have already called for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.) But in our politically paralyzed Washington — where the Trump White House and Senate Republicans are probably loathe to have confirmation hearings for another attorney general — Sessions might be able to survive if he begs for forgiveness.”

Trump Nominates Club Members to Plum Posts

A USA Today review finds that Trump has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration.

“Presidents often name campaign donors and close allies to administration posts, particularly prized diplomatic postings in cosmopolitan European capitals, such as Paris and London, and the tourist playgrounds of the West Indies. But never in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.”

Kushner Turns Over Documents to Special Counsel

Jared Kushner “has turned over documents in recent weeks to special counsel Robert Mueller as investigators have begun asking in witness interviews about Kushner’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey,” CNN reports.

“Their questions about Kushner signal that Mueller’s investigators are reaching the President’s inner circle and have extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions taken at the White House by high-level officials. It is not clear how Kushner’s advice to the President might relate to the overall Russia investigation or potential obstruction of justice.”