Well this is an exhausting ride. Damn. But the good news continues to flow and we continue to be strong in our determination to save our democracy. We are not alone. We have many allies. These dark days will pass and we will be stronger for getting through this.
Russia Russia Russia
There was so much chaos that the Russia stuff almost passed under the radar. But if you look carefully there was a lot and it is all pretty explosively bad for Trump. For example:
Guccifer 2.0, the supposed lone hacker of Democratic National Committee emails, just so happens to be an agent of Russian intelligence, the Daily Beast reports
The Guccifer 2.0 revelation is a big deal for a few reasons:
1) It piles on to the evidence that Russia attempted to interfere in the US elections.
2) It raises more questions about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, given the well-documented chats between Guccifer 2.0 and Trump adviser and surrogate Roger Stone.
3) Finally, it could mark a development in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, though Mueller’s office declined to comment for the Daily Beast’s story.
also, it turns out the coffee boy was in pretty tight with the group:
When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election, the young adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump made sure to seek approval from campaign headquarters.
“You should do it,” deputy communications director Bryan Lanza urged Papadopoulos in a September 2016 email, emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. “partnership with Russia.”
The exchange was a sign that Papadopoulos — who pushed the Trump operation to meet with Russian officials — had the campaign’s blessing for some of his foreign outreach.
Since Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts during the campaign and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump officials have sought to paint the 30-year old energy consultant as a low level volunteer whose outreach to Russia was not authorized by the campaign — and in some cases, was actively discouraged.
But emails described to The Washington Post, which are among thousands of documents turned over to investigators examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, show that Papadopoulos had more extensive contact with key Trump campaign and presidential transition officials than has been publicly acknowledged.
Among those who communicated with Papadopoulos were senior campaign figures such as chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn, who corresponded with him about his efforts to broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials, the emails show.
no wonder trump is panicking. It is pretty clear that Mueller doesn’t just want him to testify as a witness but as a suspect:
According to two sources, the areas that the special counsel investigators have indicated they want to pursue with Trump are the President’s role in crafting a statement aboard Air Force One that miscast Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, the circumstances surrounding that Trump Tower meeting as well as the firings of FBI Director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.One of the sources said the bulk of the topics conveyed surround the President’s actions with the Comey and Flynn firings.The focus on Trump himself in Mueller’s pursuits has alarmed and angered the President
John Dowd’s resignation as personal counsel to President Donald Trumpsent shivers across Capitol Hill today.The combination of Dowd’s resignation and the addition of attorney Joseph E. diGenova is taken as a sign of a more confrontational, combative approach by Trump. If true, things could get demonstrably worse for the president. The greatest danger of a scorched-earth approach is when you are standing on that earth at the time.
Also many big wins for us in the spending bill….
This Bill Had a Lot of Bad, But Also a Lot of Good Considering We Control Nothing…
Congress dealt a blow to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s school choice agenda in a tentative spending bill released late Wednesday, rejecting her attempt to spend more than $1 billion promoting choice-friendly policies and private school vouchers.
President Trump has long promoted and promised a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border — a pledge he made at the start of his presidential campaign that helped fuel his unlikely rise to the White House.
On Wednesday, Trump lost his best chance yet to secure funding for that promise and he won’t get another one for a long time.
you can read the whole list, I am just picking out some good ones for us that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle (i.e. aren’t be mentioned elsewhere in this diary)
The troops: All military personnel will get a 2.4 percent pay raise. (Civilian federal employees get a smaller 1.9 percent raise.)
Big Bird The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will get $465 million in federal funding. Appropriators also rejected Trump’s push to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities
The integrity of our elections: “While a Democratic push to win provisions protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III did not succeed, the bill does include hundreds of millions of dollars to combat potential interference from Russia or others in the November midterm elections,” Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner report. “The federal Election Assistance Commission will receive $380 million to dole out to states to improve their election-related cybersecurity. And the FBI is set to receive $300 million in counterintelligence funding to combat Russian hacking.”
The House Freedom Caucus: The group of three dozen hard-line conservatives got rolled, as did Mick Mulvaney, the OMB director who used to be a member and took the lead in crafting the budget proposal Trump unveiled last month. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus, decried the deal because it funds Planned Parenthood, does not defund “sanctuary cities” and expands the national debt. He’s also mad that it does not “really” include money for the wall, and he doesn’t like stronger background checks for gun buyers. Many of the members in his caucus will vote no, but leadership does not need their votes. Meadows has Trump’s ear, but this again exposes the limits of his influence.
AND: The Congressional Research Service now must publish online all the reports it prepares for lawmakers. The Secret Service will be required to release an annual report on travel costs for people under their protection, specifically adult children of the president. This is designed to expose how much taxpayers are spending to safeguard Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump on their overseas business trips.
Congress’s budget deal doesn’t eliminate the Dickey Amendment; it only clarifies some parameters. This kind of approach has failed before: A previous executive order by President Barack Obama to attempt to boost the study of gun violence without getting rid of the Dickey Amendment didn’t lead to significant new research.
But it’s at least a potential start.
Buried in the massive $1.3 trillion spending bill that Congress is considering this week are strict new punishments against Russia, in what lawmakers and aides say is a message to President Donald Trump to reconsider his relaxed posture toward Moscow.
The legislation, which Trump was always expected to sign, includes restrictions that bar many federal agencies from engaging financially or otherwise with the Kremlin and its backers on a number of fronts. Lawmakers from both parties viewed those provisions and others as an opportunity to enshrine new punishments against Vladimir Putin’s regime at a time when the Trump administration has taken heat for its refusal to immediately and fully implement mandatory sanctions and other punishments.
The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that passed Friday morning and averted a government shutdown increases spending on clean energy and keeps the Environmental Protection Agency funded at current levels.
That’s despite the White House suggestion that Congress cut EPA’s budget by one-third and make drastic reductions in clean energy research.
It’s stunning how little Trump got of what was arguably his top priority.
There are some minor victories for Democrats — rejected cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, language explicitly allowing federal funds to be spent on research into guns, a minor fix of the existing gun background check system and “$380 million to dole out to states to improve their election-related cybersecurity.”
There were a few bipartisan accomplishments, including funding to fight the opioid epidemic and inclusion of the Taylor Force Act, which limits funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops supporting jailed terrorists and their families.
Thanks to his willingness to let Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior adviser Stephen Miller and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) lead him around by the nose and nix a DACA-for-the-wall deal, Trump will not get the wall he constantly promises to his anti-immigrant base. For someone who has the majorities in both houses of Congress, this negotiation reflects a shocking level of ineptitude on the president’s part. You wonder when he will start “winning.”
Another good thing about this bill? His base is FURIOUS at him about it. Ann Coulter argues that he is going to be impeached. The Drudge report people feel betrayed by the #fakeveto
Here is an article on how mad they are at him for getting rolled by Schumer and Pelosi
The ire at Trump poured in from across the internet, particularly from conservatives who have long argued that Trumpism was a real political ideology — one that this omnibus bill would violate. Unfortunately, the fans of Trumpism keep getting confronted with the realities of the man himself.
some sample mads from the MAGA crowd:
Ã¢ÂÂ I will never sign another bill like this againÃ¢ÂÂ
Yeah, because youÃ¢ÂÂll be impeached.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) March 23, 2018
It was 8 yrs ago today when. Obama signed the #affordablecareact into law. I was disappointed that day but I didnÃ¢ÂÂt give up the fight.
Today IÃ¢ÂÂm devastated after POTUS sold us out and signed the #OmnibusBill. Today, I give up. Today, IÃ¢ÂÂm done.
— Amy Kremer (@AmyKremer) March 23, 2018
Congratulations @realDonaldTrump on virtually guaranteeing losing the House in 2018, alienating 70% of your supporters, getting stuffed in a locker by the Democrats, and exploding an already unsustainable national debt. #Omnibus
— Doctor Jesse KellyÃÂ® (@JesseKellyDC) March 23, 2018
I’m beginning to question Stormy Daniel’s taste in men. #omnibus
— Elvis Trump (@Elvis_Trump) March 23, 2018
Not everyone was mad though. Here is Schumer’s communications director, Matt House
I, for one, am tired of all the winning.
— Matt House (@mattwhouse) March 23, 2018
Great Election News
In a remarkable twist of karma, health care could defeat Republicans at the polls this November.
Democrats, meanwhile, know they have a winning issue on their hands. Progressive operatives note that 2019 premiums are supposed to be announced in October — just a few weeks before the election. Given that last year’s premium increases were rightly attributed to Trump’s sabotage — and that voters tend to blame the party in power anyway for what is right or wrong with their health care — that could provide more ammunition for the Democrats in their final attacks right before voters head to the polls.
From special elections over the past year, we know health care has been a powerful motivator for Democratic voters. In his razor-thin win in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, Democrat Conor Lamb decisively won the health care vote. Polling uniformly shows Americans trust the minority party in Congress over the majority on health care.
the Rs are so scared of us Republicans make six-figure investment in deep-red Arizona district
The Republican National Committee has put $281,250 into the special election to replace former congressman Trent Franks, the first financial commitment by either national party in a district that has voted reliably Republican since being drawn in 2011.
The RNC declined to comment on the investment, but Arizona’s 8th District was not necessarily seen as a potential Democratic pickup. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won just 37 percent of the vote in the district — worse than her showing in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which Democrat Conor Lamb just won in a squeaker.
The Cook Political Report rates the Arizona 8th as “safe” for Republicans, and Democrats seemed to write off the district after scandal-plagued former state senator Steve Montenegro lost last month’s Republican primary to former state senator Debbie Lesko. The election to replace Franks, who resigned after it was revealed that he had urged an employee to bear his child as surrogate mother, is on April 24.
Even Democratic nominee Hiral Tipirneni has portrayed Lesko as a heavy favorite. In a poll by Lake Research Partners for Tipirneni’s campaign, the Republican held a 14-point lead, and 59 percent of likely voters in the district said that they approved of President Trump. But after Lamb’s surprise victory, it appears Republicans aren’t taking anything for granted.
Good. Waste your money is Arizona. We are going to OWN November!
We, the People, Continue to Fight for our Democracy
The lawsuit — filed by the attorneys general in Washington, D.C., and Maryland — alleges that Trump is violating the clause, which prevents elected officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments without Congress’s approval, WAMU reported.
The lawsuit is filed against Trump in his “official capacity and in his individual capacity,” according to the Washington, D.C., radio station
YouTube, a popular media site for firearms enthusiasts, this week quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the U.S. gun-control debate.
YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms. The video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced intense criticism for hosting videos about guns, bombs and other deadly weapons.
Support for tougher gun control laws is soaring in the United States, according to a new poll that found a majority of gun owners and half of Republicans favor new laws to address gun violence in the weeks after a Florida school shooting left 17 dead and sparked nationwide protests.
The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that nearly 7 in 10 adults now favor stricter gun control measures. That’s the strongest level of support since The Associated Press first asked the question five years ago. The new poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action.
Finally, Bolton getting named national security advisor is for sure a bad thing, but please keep in mind the very limited power of his new role.
the National Security Advisor is a staff position in the Executive Office of the President and does not have line or budget authority over either the Department of State or the Department of Defense, unlike the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, who are Senate-confirmed officials with statutory authority over their departments;
the National Security Advisor is able to offer daily advice (due to the proximity) to the President independently of the vested interests of the large bureaucracies and clientele of those departments.
Today should be a BEAUTIFUL day with marches all around our country of wonderful amazing energized folks who want to protect our kids and our lives. These times are scary and stressful but they also are amazing. The American people are on the rise! ❤️