POLITICS
01/13/2017 06:05 pm ET Updated Jan 17, 2017

HUFFPOST HILL - Civil Society Implodes, Paul Ryan Dabs

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Donald Trump lost the popular vote, scored a sub-par Electoral College tally and now over 50 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance ― so the revolution is going real swell. Jason Chaffetz threatened the head of the Office of Government Ethics ― we guess he has to do something with all the extra time he previously spent looking his children in the eye. And another political controversy has erupted over a painting, but it’s unclear whether Duncan Hunter will employ his world-renown art-yanking skills to resolve the conflict. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 13th, 2017:

TRUMP HISTORICALLY UNPOPULAR - Yeah but wait until you see the crowd size at inauguration. Lydia Saad: “In Gallup polling conducted two weeks before Inauguration Day, President-elect Donald Trump continues to garner historically low approval for his transition performance, with 51% of Americans disapproving of how he is handling the presidential transition and 44% approving. Last month, the public was split on this question, with 48% approving and 48% disapproving. Trump’s 48% transition approval rating in December was already the lowest for any presidential transition Gallup has measured, starting with Bill Clinton’s in 1992-1993. Trump’s current rating only further separates him from his predecessors ― particularly Barack Obama, who earned 83% approval for his handling of the transition process in January 2009, up from 75% in mid-December 2008. Republicans’ rating of Trump’s transition has remained positive, with 87% approving in the Jan. 4-8 poll, similar to the 86% recorded last month. Very few Democrats approve, which has also been fairly steady, at 13% this month versus 17% in December. Meanwhile, his transition approval among independents has fallen from 46% to 33%.” [Gallup]

Oh wait, Trump doesn’t even have crowd sizes going for him: “President-elect Donald Trump has boasted (incorrectly) that there is nary a dress to be had in D.C. for inaugural balls, and that attendance at his swearing in will be ‘record-setting.’ However, bus permit applications for the weekend tell a different story. As of Friday, roughly 200 bus permits have been requested to park in Washington D.C.’s RFK stadium on Inauguration Day, a spokesperson for the District Department of Transportation confirmed to The Huffington Post. (A total of 393 have been granted within the entire district that day.) By contrast, nearly 1,200 tour bus permits that have been requested for the Women’s March on Washington the following day.” [HuffPost’s Catherine Pearson]

Errrbody gonna git druuuunk: “The D.C. government has announced 108 District restaurants, bars, and hotels will be able to sell alcohol until four a.m. from January 14-22.” [WJLA]

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE - S.V. Date: “Days after announcing that he would not be putting his business assets into a blind trust, President-elect Donald Trump is meeting with billionaire real estate developer Steven Roth who co-owns two of his buildings. Roth is to meet with Trump Friday afternoon, according to the schedule provided by spokesman Sean Spicer during a conference call with reporters Friday morning. Spicer did not immediately respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the nature of the meeting. CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, Roth has done business with Trump for decades. Vornado currently owns 70 percent to Trump’s 30 percent of two buildings: one in San Francisco and the other on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP ACCUSER COMING TO D.C. WITH A BIG SQUAD - Dana Liebelson: “When Cathy Heller, one of more than a dozen women who have accused President-elect Donald Trump of sexual harassment or assault, arrives in Washington next week to protest his inauguration, she won’t be alone. Heller plans to travel from New York City to D.C. with an Amtrak car full of supporters. The 63-year-old made news last fall when she came forward to allege that Trump tried to kiss her without her consent about 20 years ago, at a Mother’s Day brunch at his Mar-a-Lago estate. She has reserved an entire train car to bring people to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.” [HuffPost]

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THIS SHOULD TERRIFY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Voters who elected Trump largely are inclined to take his side in such disputes against congressional Republicans and traditionally conservative pressure groups, according to a new poll.” [HuffPost]

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING SEND DEMOCRATS INTO A RAGE - Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “Congressional Democrats raged against FBI Director James Comey on Friday after he and other intelligence agency chiefs provided legislators with a classified briefing on Russia’s involvement in last year’s presidential election. Interviewed by The Hill, Democrats said they were furious. ‘I’m extremely concerned,’ said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) said he had lost confidence in Comey, citing the last 15 minutes of the briefing as a tipping point but providing no details on what the FBI head or other intelligence officials said. ‘I’m disappointed, outraged — many of us are right now,’ Walz told The Hill. Comey upset both Democrats and Republicans by declining to comment on whether his agency is investigating reported ties between President-elect Donald Trump and the Russian government, sources inside the briefing told the Guardian. Democrats want Comey to look into the allegations, which the intelligence community has not proved but has flagged as important enough to share with Trump and President Barack Obama.” [HuffPost]

CHAFFETZ THREATENS ETHICS OFFICE - Super-ethical thing to do. Nick Baumann and Paul Blumenthal: “Walter Shaub, the head of the OGE, is ‘blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance,’ Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, wrote in a sternly worded letter to Shaub Thursday. Chaffetz, the Republican who announced last year that he wouldn’t be able to look his daughter in the eye if he endorsed Trump and then went on to vote for Trump, demanded that Shaub show up for a private interview on Capitol Hill as soon as possible — or else face a subpoena forcing him to do so. ‘He’s coming in,’ Chaffetz told Politico. ‘This is not going to be an optional exercise.’ Chaffetz noted in the letter that his committee has the power to reauthorize the ethics office. What Chaffetz didn’t have to say is that his committee could also push to shutter the office entirely. Earlier this month, House Republicans tried to gut another ethics watchdog, the Office of Congressional Ethics, before backing down.” [HuffPost]

MICHAEL FLYNN POSSIBLY BREAKS LAW - It’s OK, though, because he saw a report on NewsNowFast.poo that Hillary Clinton once underwent reiki healing with Saddam Hussein ― truly she is the real criminal. Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel, Susan Heavey and Emily Stephenson: “Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held multiple phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States announced retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, two people familiar with the issue said…. Whether Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak discussed those sanctions is unclear. An 18th-century U.S. law, the Logan Act, bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that are in disputes with the United States.” [Reuters]

But because nothing matters anymore, neither does this. Republican voters have decided to believe Trump on Russia over literally every piece of available evidence, a new poll shows. [WaPo’s Aaron Blake]

GET READY FOR SCHRÖDINGER’S OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT - Republicans won’t be able to sleep tonight over the excitement of kicking millions off their insurance! Matt Fuller: “Without a single Democrat voting in support, the House narrowly advanced a budget blueprint on Friday intended to be the eventual vehicle for gutting Obamacare…. Most Republicans, though not everyone, agree they will need to replace Obamacare with something once it’s gone ― which is why Republicans are planning to delay the date of enactment on a repeal for a good long time.” [HuffPost]

Republican governors really don’t want Congress to take away all that Obamacare Medicaid money.

PEOPLE TAPPING HOT AIR TO LIGHT THEIR HOMES - The internet of things is terrifying, not as terrifying as Donald Trump, but terrifying. Jeremy Olshan: “IFTTT — which stands for ‘if this, then that’ — allows users who know nothing about coding to create cause-and-effect algorithms.... I asked IFTTT how many people have set up algorithms to track Trump. ‘We have just under 1,000 people using IFTTT to keep up with Donald Trump tweets,’ spokeswoman Anne Mercogliano replied. The most popular Trump algorithms automatically email his tweets to users, or post them in intracompany message boards like Slack, she said. Some IFTTT users have set their lights to blink whenever Trump tweets, Mercogliano said. Putting the president-elect’s social stream of consciousness to productive use, others link IFTTT to banking services like Qapital to have small sums of money move into their savings accounts every time Trump fires off a new tweet.” [MarketWatch]

Here’s a video of Ben Carson laughing maniacally.

JOHN LEWIS NOT MINCING WORDS ABOUT TRUMP - And he’s skipping the inauguration. Matt Ferner: “Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) does not consider the presidency of Donald Trump ‘legitimate,’ he said in an interview with NBC News that appeared Friday. ‘I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,’ Lewis told Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s ‘Meet The Press.’ ‘I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.’” [HuffPost]

Steve Harvey met with Trump for some reason Friday, and the president-elect immediately put him on the phone with Ben Carson, the other black guy he knows.

BIDEN DID TELL US OBAMA WAS ‘CLEAN’ - Paul Blumenthal: “Scandal has consumed the final four years of every two-term president in modern history ― George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon. Barack Obama’s administration is the exception. While there were some minor scandals and resignations during Obama’s eight years in office, wrongdoing never fully occupied his presidency. None of it even directly touched the White House. There were no grand juries investigating his aides. There were no impeachments. There were neither convictions of White House staffers, nor pardons to protect government officials…. President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, is set to enter office with unprecedented conflicts of interest related to his business empire, already setting the tone for a very different administration.” [HuffPost]

HERE’S A BIG HEAPING SLICE OF ‘OH’ -  Peter Hermann and Aaron C. Davis: The U.S. Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration said Friday he will be removed from command effective Jan. 20 at 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president. Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the midst of the presidential ceremony — classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan. “The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. Guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting Washington during the inauguration.” [WaPo]

HOO BOY, THAT DOJ REPORT ON CHICAGO COPS - Kim Bellware and Ryan J. Reilly: “The Chicago Police Department regularly violates citizens’ civil rights, routinely fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct and poorly trained officers at all levels, according to a sweeping Justice Department probe of the nation’s second-largest police department…. The report comes after a bruising year for the Chicago police and a violent one for the city: More than 750 people were killed last year. Meanwhile, CPD solved fewer than one-third of all murders — less than half the national average. Allegations of abuse, torture and corruption have dogged the CPD for nearly a century.” [HuffPost]

HuffPost broke out the lowlights from the report, which you should read if you want to get upset.

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog helping other dogs.

SURE, WHY NOT, ANOTHER PAINTING CONTROVERSY - Philip Kennicott: “Last week, a little-known tradition of modern presidential inaugurations brought unwanted attention to the St. Louis Art Museum. Since Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, an American painting has served as a backdrop during the inaugural luncheon, at which members of Congress play host to the newly installed president. When Donald Trump is made the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, George Caleb Bingham’s ‘The Verdict of the People’ will be the chosen painting, hanging on a partition wall behind the ceremonial head table in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall…. A Change.org petition, which criticizes ‘the use of the painting to suggest that Trump’s election was truly the “verdict of the people,” when in fact the majority of votes...were cast for Trump’s opponent’ has more than 3,000 signatures.” [WaPo]

COMFORT FOOD

- Because nothing is less obnoxious than homeless chic, here’s how to live in a storage unit.

- Bad teenage poetry come true: stars are being stolen out of the night sky.

- Why not: a bunny playing Jenga

TWITTERAMA

@thisisjendoll: America II: Just when you thought the government had disgusted you as much as possible, they’ll DISGUST YOU EVEN MORE!

@MEPFuller: If your takeaway is “Wow, only 9 GOP defections, we were so right that this was never in trouble,” I can’t really help you.

@Mobute: i hope every “DEPLORABLE ____” account on here is actually a  sophisticated moscow-designed bot made by that “slugheads!” guy from goldeneye

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