POLITICS
03/03/2017 04:47 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Jason Chaffetz Undoubtedly Preparing 11-Hour Grilling Of Mike Pence

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

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Mike Pence used a private email address to discuss security matters while governor, though Republican security experts close to the situation tell us, “BLAAAAARHG THE CLINTON FOUNDATION!!!! *vomits into boot*.” Thanks to terrible Democratic messaging, “guys who shook Sergey Kislyak’s hand” is now the “guys who shook Sinatra’s hand” of politics. And President Trump tweeted out a picture that popped up on Reddit, snaked its way through Gateway Pundit and finally landed on Drudge. The incident recalled that famous scene in “All the President’s Men” when Woodward and Bernstein took down the president by posting a “this is the future that liberals want” meme that was straight fire. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 3rd, 2017:

PENCE USED PRIVATE EMAIL AS GOV, INCLUDING TO DISCUSS SECURITY MATTERS - BRB, we’re trying to develop an 11-dimensional BENGHAZI acrostic. Tony Cook: “Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues. Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges. Cyber-security experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer. Furthermore, advocates for open government expressed concerns about transparency because personal emails aren’t immediately captured on state servers that are searched in response to public records requests.” [Indianapolis Star]

GOP TRYING TO FIND COHESION ON OBAMACARE REPEAL - Matt Fuller: “House Republican leaders are hoping recalcitrant conservatives in their party who claim they can sink those efforts won’t be willing to cross President Donald Trump…. During a closed-door conference Thursday morning, GOP leaders did everything they could to circle, underline and highlight anything they interpreted as clues that the president supports them. They went so far as to cut up clips of Trump’s speech and tie his vague words to specific components of their plan. In the House GOP leadership edit of Trump’s address, for instance, ‘tax credits’ become ‘advance refundable tax credits’ ― a controversial cornerstone of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s replacement plan that conservatives say is nothing more than another monthly welfare check. The leadership response is less focused on the policy, however, and more on raw power. Their message to their colleagues at Thursday’s gathering: Whatever you may think of the plan, Trump supports it. And that’s all you should need to know.” [HuffPost]

THE ANATOMY OF A TRUMP TWEET - Sam Levine: “President Donald Trump attempted to call out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday by highlighting a meeting over a decade ago between Schumer and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump tweeted the image after it appeared in a Reddit thread Thursday and was shared by a number of conservative pundits, including an editor-at-large for Infowars.com, a site that promotes conspiracy theories. The picture also appeared on Gateway Pundit, which has also promoted conspiracies, as well as on conservative site, The Drudge Report. The photo appears to be from 2003, when Putin made a public appearance at a New York City gas station that had recently been bought by Russia’s Lukoil. Schumer responded to Trump by highlighting the absurdity of his comparison, noting that Sessions denied having contact with Russia’s ambassador while he was under oath.” [HuffPost]

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LAKES ALREADY GREAT, NO NEED TO MAKE THEM GREAT AGAIN - AKA, good luck with that buyer’s remorse, Rust Belt voters. Garret Ellison: “The White House is proposing to slash Environmental Protection Agency funding that pays for Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97 percent, according to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. The potential cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s initial 2018 budget proposal, detailed in a U.S. Office of Management and Budget ‘passback’ to the EPA that outlines drastic cuts to an agency Trump has called a ‘job killer’ and promised to reduce to ‘tidbits’ as a candidate. The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA’s total budget by a quarter. Specific program cuts were reported by the Oregonian and have been confirmed by other news agencies like the Detroit Free Press.” [Michigan Live]

IT’S ALMOST LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE IS FILLED WITH SYCOPHANTIC OPPORTUNISTS - And yet, Katrina Pierson is not yet employed there. Christopher Massie, Nathan McDermott, and Andrew Kaczynski: “Sebastian Gorka, a top counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, frequently criticized Trump’s approach to foreign policy during the 2016 presidential campaign, at one point saying Trump was ‘full of bluster’ on the issues but had ‘no depth.’ In his current role as deputy assistant to the president, Gorka has become one of Trump’s most prominent cheerleaders, frequently hitting the radio airwaves to defend the president’s policies and public statements. Gorka’s work for Trump goes back as far as 2015, as federal election commission filings showed that Gorka was paid $8,000 that October to be a policy consultant for the Trump campaign. But a CNN KFile review of Gorka’s public comments throughout the presidential campaign shows that even after his work for Trump, the former Breitbart national security editor offered stinging critiques of his future boss’ rhetoric on key foreign policy issues from terrorism to Russia and China.” [CNN]

SESSIONS DOESN’T WANT TO HARSH YOUR BUZZ AS MUCH - America’s attorney general, perhaps suddenly realizing the benefits of having marijuana’s calming properties readily available, is being less of a narc. Burgess Everett: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has privately reassured some Republican senators that he won’t deviate from an Obama-era policy of allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws. Sessions has rattled both libertarians and liberals in ordering a review of the hands-off pot policy under President Barack Obama. But Sessions provided some private assurances to senators before he was confirmed that he was not considering a major shift in enforcement, despite his opposition to the use of marijuana…. [S]ince he was confirmed, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said administration officials have left him with the impression there is no big policy change coming. ‘Nothing at this point has changed,’ Gardner said.” [Politico]

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan’s staff is having difficulty with its new office dog, per this email it sent around the Hill: “We have a dog in our office (Nico), who is learning how to walk on the linoleum floor….. and he is terrified of it. I know this is an odd request, but does someone have a four legged pal that can show him the ropes?” [From a reader on the Hill]

‘WITCH HUNT’ AT FEDERAL AGENCIES - Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel: “Washington career civil servants say the clampdown appears designed to try to limit the flow of information inside and outside government and deter officials from talking to the media about topics that could result in negative stories…. Several officials in different agencies who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said some employees fear their phone calls and emails may be monitored and that they are reluctant to speak their minds during internal discussions. In addition, the sources say that limits imposed on the flow of information have blindsided cabinet-level officials on some major issues and led to uncertainty among foreign governments about U.S. policy.” [Reuters]

AHHHH, YES, THE OL’ ‘MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR HAS TO BE A WEE BIT LIBERAL’ MOVE - LOL, remember when Mitt Romney was pro-choice? Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “Governor Charlie Baker is pledging to boost state funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Massachusetts if his fellow Republicans in Washington push ahead with a plan to slash the flow of federal dollars to the organization. Massachusetts’ five Planned Parenthood clinics stand to lose a total of about $2 million a year, from a budget of $21.5 million, if the federal cuts take place. That money does not go directly from the government to Planned Parenthood; it is paid through Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides health coverage for low-income Americans. The Republican proposal would effectively block Medicaid patients from receiving women’s health services such as cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception from Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars are already restricted from being used to pay for abortions. But some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, want to defund the nonprofit because it provides abortions.” [Boston Globe]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some turkeys holding a seance.

THIS STORY IS SOMEWHAT RELATED TO OUR POLITICS AND WE WANT TO DIE - Jenna Amatulli: “Arnold Schwarzenegger is apparently not returning to ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ as host, according to a recent report from Empire magazine. He cited President Donald Trump’s involvement with the project as the reason. ‘I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity,’ Schwarzenegger told the publication. ‘But under the circumstances I don’t want to do it again.’ The actor and former governor said the decision had nothing do with the show, but rather the people who came up to him and said they wouldn’t watch because of Trump. ‘Everyone I ran into came up to me and said “I love the show...but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump’s name, I’m outta there!”’” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Needy basset hound is needy.

- An eagle equipped with a GoPro hunts a fox.

- History’s greatest catch.

TWITTERAMA

@JZdziarski: I’m pretty sure the characters from You’ve Got Mail exhibited better opsec than the current administration.

@SimonMaloy: Trump could try explaining why everyone around him lies about meeting with Russians

or he could tweet dumb pictures he got from Jim Hoft

@YAppelbaum: Rick Perry jokes he’ll one-up Zinke’s horse by arriving for his first day at DOE “on a single-stage rocket,” per pool

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