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President Trump was visited by the president of Colombia and thankfully didn’t make any public comments about how Penn is a much, much better school with much, much more beautiful students. Roger Ailes died, marking the end of a man whose tenure atop of the Putnam County News & Recorder was rife with controversy. And news broke that Kevin McCarthy said last year he believes the Russians are paying Donald Trump — a development that until Trump we thought would ruin someone’s career but then Trump happened and literally nothing matters. This is HUFFPOST HILL for May 18th, 2017:
DEMOCRATS’ GREAT WEEK BEING RUINED BY JOE LIEBERMAN - Joe Lieberman was to the Senate what that guy who was way too needy about his gluten intolerance was to your wedding. Ali Vitali: “President Donald Trump said he is ‘very close’ to choosing a new FBI director with at least one senior White House official putting the odds of a selection as early as this Friday at ‘better than 50-50’. Speaking to reporters at an off the record lunch, and reiterating the comments on camera moments later, Trump called former Sen. Joe Lieberman his top pick. Multiple officials tell NBC News that Lieberman is the current ‘frontrunner’ for the job…. On Wednesday, Trump met with Lieberman, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and former top FBI official Richard McFeely. Lieberman demurred when asked by MSNBC if he would accept the job should it be offered.” [NBC News]
A senior Democratic Senate staffer floats the idea to us that senators will vote for Lieberman out of a very passive aggressive form of spite: “To be honest, since everyone who gets close to Trump sees their reputation go down the toilet, some Democratic Senators may be only too pleased to vote for him,” the aide writes. “It will be the sendoff we never got to give him when Obama let him off the hook in 2009.”
That aide also writes: “The entire democratic caucus thought we could finally be rid of Joe Lieberman…. NOOOOO!!”
Another senior Democratic Senate aide framed it to us somewhat more charitably: “Pretty much anything would be a step up from No Labels.”
@markseibel: Feinstein says Lieberman doesn’t have experience to run FBI. She says right person is Andrew McCabe. Politics and law enforcement don’t mix
TRUMP IS NOT MAD. THIS IS FUNNY TO HIM ACTUALLY - Igor Bobic: “President Donald Trump on Thursday denied asking former FBI Director James Comey to scuttle an investigation, and said the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election is detrimental to the U.S. state of affairs. ‘I believe it hurts our country terribly because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country,’ Trump said in his first public remarks about the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to probe the Russian controversy.” [HuffPost]
No, this is funny to Trump, really. He’s definitely not mad online.
Oh. “Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, told senators on Thursday that he knew President Trump planned to fire James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I. before he wrote a memo outlining the reasons for his dismissal, according to three Democratic lawmakers who were in the briefing.” [NYT’s Matthew Rosenberg and Rebecca R. Ruiz]
WHAT D.C. PROGRESSIVES ARE TALKING ABOUT TODAY - You know, aside from impeachment. Nancy Scola: “[A] small collection of non-partisan tech upstarts will Thursday call on the DNC to toss its exclusive digital-tools-plus-data contract with NGP VAN, the progressive company that has held it for a decade. The challenge to VoteBuilder, as DNC’s system for keeping tabs on voters known, reignites long-simmering Democratic data wars. But the new petition, called ‘Unlock the VAN,’ is complicated by being led by a Los Angeles-based non-partisan firm — NationBuilder — that has celebrated its use by Republicans. But it isn’t about ideological purity, say signers. It’s about unleashing the best tools…. The DNC, for its part, seems resistant. ‘Data is the crown jewel of the Democratic Party and we have a duty to protect it,’ said communications director Xochitl Hinojosa, via email, when asked about the push. ‘We are in the business of electing Democrats and not bending over for consultants who want to make a buck.’” [Politico PRO]
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ROGER AILES: HE DEAD - Thoughts and prayers to whatever exists after we depart this vale of tears. Michael Calderone, Sam Levine and WIlla Frej: “Roger Ailes, who spent decades advising political candidates and presidents about the power of television in American life before building Fox News into a media juggernaut ― and who left that network last summer following multiple allegations that he pressured female subordinates to have sexual relationships with him ― has died. He was 77…. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman tweeted Thursday that Ailes had experienced complications from a blood clot last week while in Palm Beach, Florida…. Jarring new details are still coming out about the toxic workplace culture he allegedly fostered for women and people of color. There are several ongoing lawsuits, and federal investigators are still determining whether 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company led by the Murdoch family, properly notified investors about payments to Ailes’ accusers.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP CAMPAIGN HAD 18 UNDISCLOSED CONTACTS WITH RUSSIANS - Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel: “Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters. The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.” [Reuters]
Flynn isn’t exactly being warm toward the Senate intelligence committee.
CHAFFETZ STEPPING DOWN EARLY - This way he can spend more time with his family who will help him get to the bottom of Hillary’s emails. Paige Lavender: “Chaffetz, whose term was set to last until 2019, confirmed the news in a letter to constituents, saying his last day will be June 30. The news comes less than a month after Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, announced he would not seek re-election or ‘be a candidate for any office in 2018.’ He also hinted in an interview with Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he was considering leaving before the end of his term. While he left open the possibility of running for governor of Utah in 2020, Chaffetz said he wants to spend more time with his family. Sources told Politico that he is considering joining Fox News.” [HuffPost]
POSSIBLY THE MOST TRUMPIAN STORY THIS WEEK - Guess the president’s trip to Toledo, Spain, will have to be called off. Jack Moore: “President Donald Trump has canceled a planned visit and speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada in Israel after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter on top of the UNESCO-listed site. Instead, Trump will now deliver a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It comes after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) regulation that prevents helicopters landing at the summit of the Masada site, according to Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster. Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable car up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether.” [Newsweek]
THIS IS NOT THE KEGGER PAUL RYAN WAS PROMISED - Amber Phillips: “On Thursday, at a weekly news briefing during a week that has been anything but normal, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) tried desperately to steer his small slice of Washington back into some normalcy…. It was in vain. At news conferences, reporters get to ask questions. And after Ryan was done talking about what he wanted to talk about, reporters immediately started asking him about the half a dozen massive news stories from the past 12 hours alone that, taken together, raise even more questions about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.” [WaPo]
KEVIN MCCARTHY, NEVER CHANGE - Our take: 1) Kevin McCarthy probably doesn’t have any hard evidence because he’s always too busy taking selfies at fundraisers. 2) Like everyone else, Kevin McCarthy is a human with two eyes and probably believes there are ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. 3) Kevin McCarthy is so, so bad at all of this. Adam Entous: “A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. ‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,’ McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.” [WaPo]
The dateline on that piece: “KIEV, Ukraine”
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s some solid goat content.
WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE - Solid — and by that we mean completely depressing — man-on-the-street stuff from AP. Steve Peoples, Bill Barrow and Thomas Beaumont: “President Donald Trump’s loyal backers say they don’t know, don’t believe or don’t care about the explosive revelations that forced the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Republican campaign…. ‘I tuned it out,’ said 44-year-old Michele Velardi, a mother of three sons, during a break from her job at a Staten Island hair salon. ‘I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.’ … die-hard Trump supporter Joseph Amodeo, 19, incorrectly praised the president for raising New York’s minimum wage, something enacted by Democrats in the Legislature. The college student had little understanding of the Trump administration’s deepening political struggles, but he offered a stern message to Trump’s critics.” [AP]
- A ceiling… made of bees.
- A guide to the your next big Netflix binge.
- The origins of Juicero.
@OKnox: I’m thinking there’s probably some sympathy among alums of Bill Clinton’s White House for the kids in Trump’s WH who will have to lawyer up.
@jessesingal: Liberals: BernieBros are Literally Hitler
Lefties: Liberal journalists are Literally Hitler
Literally Hitler: Things are going well
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