POLITICS
07/10/2017 06:47 pm ET

From Russia With Love…And Also Adoptions

Sure, DJ, sure.
Mike Segar / Reuters

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Donald Trump Jr. fessed up to meeting with Russian go-betweens, so presumably President Trump will soon task Jared Kushner with being his new oldest son. Rex Tillerson was given an award at an oil and gas industry event, but no one has the heart to tell the guy that it was actually intended for “Moonlight.” And a random person started a “Draft The Rock” website, but don’t make anything of it until the “Smell what Iowa is cookin!” exploratory campaign. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 10th, 2017:

TRUMP JR. LAWYERING UP - Karen Freifeld: “Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, has hired New York lawyer Alan Futerfas to represent him in connection with Russia-related investigations, the lawyer and Trump Jr.’s office said on Monday. Futerfas, a sole practitioner who specializes in criminal defense, would not say when he was retained or whether he had any input into the statements Trump Jr. made over the weekend about a meeting with a Russian lawyer.” [Reuters]

The only problem is that people found about it, the White House says. “White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election, saying the only thing ‘inappropriate’ about the encounter was that details leaked to the press. ‘The only thing I see inappropriate about the meeting was the people that leaked the information on the meeting after it was voluntarily disclosed,’ Huckabee Sanders said during an off-camera White House press briefing on Monday.” [HuffPost’s Paige Lavender]

GOP CAMPAIGN VETERANS STUNNED BY TRUMP JR.’S ACTIONS - If history has taught us one thing, it’s “thing X shocks GOP campaign veterans” is a pretty damn high bar. Igor Bobic: “Veterans of several Republican presidential campaigns say they would never have taken a meeting like the one attended by Donald Trump Jr. last year in June, just weeks before his father officially became the GOP presidential nominee…. ‘I’ve been involved in 9 presidential campaigns...never happened, never would happen for all kinds of reasons,’ said GOP consultant John Weaver, who advised the White House bids by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Rick Tyler, a former top aide to the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz Texas, said he would have called the FBI if approached by a foreign agent from an adversarial nation like Russia. ‘Senior presidential campaign officials don’t take meetings with nameless people. Doesn’t happen,’ Tyler said.” [HuffPost]

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AS IF JARED KUSHNER’S WEEK WEREN’T ALREADY OFF TO A BAD START - We’re sure he has enough bearer bonds stashed away in some Swiss bank somewhere to live a perfectly nice exile in some warm country without an extradition agreement with the U.S. Ben Walsh, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher: “Not long before a major crisis ripped through the Middle East, pitting the United States and a bloc of Gulf countries against Qatar, Jared Kushner’s real estate company had unsuccessfully sought a critical half-billion-dollar investment from one of the richest and most influential men in the tiny nation, according to three well-placed sources with knowledge of the near transaction…. Qatar is facing an ongoing blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and joined by Egypt and Bahrain, which President Trump has taken credit for sparking. Kushner, meanwhile, has reportedly played a key behind-the-scenes role in hardening the U.S. posture toward the embattled nation.” [The Intercept]

TRUMP’S VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION TRYING TO DIAL DOWN THE INSANE - Only by a little, to be sure. Sam Levine: “President Donald Trump’s commission on election integrity has told states to temporarily hold off on transmitting the data it requested about voters due to an ongoing lawsuit accusing the panel of violating federal law. The Electronic Privacy Information Center is seeking a temporary restraining order to block the commission from collecting data, alleging that the panel is violating the 2002 E-Government Act by not undertaking a required privacy impact assessment. A judge in Washington, D.C., federal court is currently considering EPIC’s request. White House officials have said the commission is not bound by the law because it is not a federal agency as defined by the law…. Andrew Kossack, the designated federal officer for the commission, on Monday wrote to election officials and asked them not to transmit voter data until a judge ruled on the temporary restraining order.” [HuffPost]

 

PROTESTERS DESCEND ON SENATE - How can you chant “Flake, where are you?” and not immediately realize that “Flake Flaked!” is a much better chant? Ryan Grenoble: ”[P]protesters...descended on lawmakers’ offices to let their displeasure be known. An initial crowd estimated at around 100 protesters split into smaller groups once inside the building, with each subgroup seeking out the offices of specific senators, some of whom are positioned to cast critical swing votes on the legislation. A group of around 20 protesters visited the office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), where they proceeded to enter and chant against what their signs termed ‘Trumpcare.’ Ten later sat on the floor outside Flake’s office, where they chanted ‘Kill the bill’ and ‘Flake, where are you?’” [HuffPost]

FIXING HEALTH CARE MAYBE NOT A CRAZY IDEA - Jonathan Cohn: “At least a half-dozen Senate Republicans have now signaled they would like to work with Democrats on a health care bill. And on Monday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to his counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying his party was eager to join talks ― so long as the topic was repairing Obamacare, rather than repealing it…. McConnell and his allies might want to give the possibility of a bipartisan bill more serious thought anyway ― if not for the sake of the people who depend on the ACA for coverage, then for their fellow Republican lawmakers who would like to keep their jobs.″ [HuffPost]

GOP HEALTH CARE BILL WAY MORE RUSHED THAN ACA - Audrey Carlsen and Haeyoun Park: “Republican lawmakers have had far fewer days of public activity on their health legislation in the first six months of this Congress as compared with the same period eight years ago when Democrats wrote the health care law, according to a New York Times analysis…. The Times counted the number of days that the five House and Senate committees directly involved in drafting legislation held public hearings or markups, as well as floor activity such as debates and consideration of amendments, in both chambers…. Eight years ago, Senator Mitch McConnell, who is now leading the repeal effort in the Senate, complained that the Affordable Care Act was ‘being written behind closed doors, without input from anyone.’ But so far, Republican lawmakers have had just nine days of public activity on the repeal bill, compared with 43 for the Affordable Care Act during the same six-month period.” [NYT]

C’MON, REX TILLERSON - Droopy McOilSleep is not exactly the world’s most keen politician. Rebecca Shapiro: ”Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accepted a lifetime achievement award on Sunday from the World Petroleum Council. According to Bloomberg, the former Exxon CEO lavished praise on the industry he worked in for decades, calling it ‘extraordinary’ and filled with ‘remarkable’ people. ‘I miss all of you,’ Tillerson said. ‘I miss you as colleagues, I miss you as partners, I miss you as competitors, I miss the healthy debates, the collaboration, the breakthroughs that were achieved.’ Tillerson’s warm comments were in stark contrast to reports about his work at the State Department. A recent National Review article detailed how Tillerson has scaled back operations across the globe, fired half of the department and failed to hire replacements in key positions, like the ambassador to South Korea.” [HuffPost]

 

REPUBLICANS INCREASINGLY DISTRUSTFUL OF BOOK LEARNIN’ - One day, this country will get itself correct and only read Jack Welch management books. Carroll Doherty, Jocelyn Kiley and Bridget Johnson: “While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views…. A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.” [Pew Research Center]

So things are going OK for Chris Christie: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) auditioned Monday for a hosting gig with WFAN, a popular New York-area sports talk radio station. The governor...fielded multiple angry calls throughout the program, just hours after a poll showed his approval rating at a dismal 15 percent…. One Jersey resident, who identified himself as John from Montclair, told Christie he thinks the governor has done a ‘horrible job’ in office. ‘You lost twice, John,’ Christie said, referring to his own electoral victories in 2009 and 2013. ‘So that shows how much you matter. You went 0 for 2.’” [HuffPost’s Mollie Reilly]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a baby kangaroo.

THIS IS STUPID AND MEANS NOTHING BUT WE STILL ENJOY THIS - Anyone can file an FEC form, but we still find this storyline compelling. Robin Eberhardt: ”A campaign committee has formally filed to draft actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for president. ’Run the Rock 2020,′ the name of the official organization, was filed on behalf of Johnson with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Sunday, according to FEC records…. The paperwork was filed by a man named Kenton Tilford under a West Virginia address. Tilford’s connection to Johnson and his motivation for filing the organization is not clear. Johnson has long joked about a White House bid, playing a buff Obama on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and standing in front of podium labeled ‘The Rock Johnson 2020’ on the show in May. But he revealed earlier this year that his run is ‘a real possibility.’” [The Hill]

COMFORT FOOD

- Angry Finnish man scares off bear.

- Portuguese news anchor has the most epic intro.

TWITTERAMA

@krissybri: Watching House Hunters

Husband: I sell snow cones out of my garage.

Wife: I’m a stay at home mom.

Budget: $950K

@KimBhasin: Carrots have never made a soup better. Carrots have never made a soup worse. Carrots are just there.

@bourgeoisalien: My only fear is that I’ll die before I’ve had the chance to read and be angered by every tweet ever written.

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