President Tweets Nonsense, World Somehow Surprised

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Both Hillary Clinton and Kathy Griffin criticized President Trump this week — at last, some good news for the guy. Trump is planning on pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement — he’ll be in a stronger bargaining position when most of the signatories are below sea level. And we were asleep when Trump accidentally fired off that unplanned tweet last night, but are thoroughly peeved that our song, “Now Watch Trump Slip, Now Watch Trump Covfefe” hasn’t caught on with teens. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 31st, 2017:

EAT IT, EARTH - Congratulations to Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley on its stellar 2030s Pinot Grigio vintages. Alexander C. Kaufman: “President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, multiple outlets reported Wednesday. This would make the United States one of just three countries outside the historic pact to reduce planet-warming emissions. Trump pledged during his campaign to ‘cancel’ the deal, but delayed a decision for months amid a split in the administration on the issue. But in recent weeks, the camp opposing the accord seems to have convinced the president to abandon it ― despite few political advantages and harsh economic and diplomatic consequences. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he will make an official announcement on the Paris agreement ‘over the next few days’” [HuffPost]

MAKE AMERICA PREGNANT AGAIN - Also the title of Jeff’s debut R&B album. Check it out.  Laura Bassett: “A draft of the Trump administration’s new birth control coverage exemption has leaked, and it is far more wide-reaching than had been predicted. The new rule amends the Obama administration’s coverage requirement to allow any employer, school or insurance company to opt out of covering contraception due to any moral or religious objection, Vox reported Wednesday. Even massive for-profit companies with no religious affiliation will be able to deny birth control coverage to their female employees…. In the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration deemed birth control an essential health service and required most employers to cover the full range of contraceptives in their insurance plans at no cost to women. The rule carved out an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for religiously affiliated non-profits, but the Trump administration has decided that requiring anyone to cover birth control violates religious freedom.” [HuffPost]

Haircut: Ashley Alman (h/t Sam Stein), Sam Stein (h/t Elise Foley)

HE’S COMEYING TO GET YOU, POTUS - Eric Lichtblau: “Fired FBI director James Comey plans to testify publicly in the Senate as early as next week to confirm bombshell accusations that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into a top Trump aide’s ties to Russia, a source close to the issue said Wednesday…. Comey is unlikely to be willing to discuss in any detail the FBI’s investigation into the charges of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign — the centerpiece of the probe, this source said. But he appears eager to discuss his tense interactions with Trump before his firing.” [CNN]

The House intelligence committee approved subpoenas for Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen today.

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WHITE HOUSE TALENT POOL NOT GREAT - Great benefits! Meet and work with interesting people! Watch Sean Spicer clean Jared Kushner’s Berluti loafers with his tears! Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey: “President Donald Trump’s effort to fill hundreds of vacant jobs across the federal government has hit a new snag: Russia. Potential hires are paying close attention to the expanding investigations, which have now begun to touch senior Trump aides, with some questioning whether they want to join the administration. Four people who work closely with prospective nominees told POLITICO that some potential hires are having second thoughts about trying to land executive branch appointments as federal and congressional investigations threaten to pose a serious distraction to Trump’s agenda.… According to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, the White House has announced nominees for just 117 of the 559 most important Senate-confirmed positions.” [Politico]

On a related note, look who’s actually willing to come aboard! “The New York Times reported on Friday that Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who attempted to turn his links to the president into a lobbying career, is ready to join a new White House war room intended to sharpen the administration’s adversarial message. On Tuesday, Axios reported that David Urban, a longtime Republican lobbyist and former adviser to Trump’s campaign, could take over as White House chief of staff ― replacing Reince Priebus.” [HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal]

WHITE HOUSE REFERRING RUSSIA QUESTIONS TO OUTSIDE COUNSEL - This is also a great opportunity for Spicer to expand his briefing phrasebook beyond its only phrase, “The president’s tweet speaks for itself.” John T. Bennett: “In a strategy shift, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday for the first time referred a reporter’s question about the president’s actions in regard to the FBI’s Russia probe to an outside counsel. On Tuesday, Spicer jousted with several reporters during his daily briefing when they posed questions about Russia or a handful of ongoing congressional and federal probes. But a day later, during a briefing that lasted just under 12 minutes, Spicer signaled the White House has decided to let Trump’s private lawyers field those inquiries.” [Roll Call]

COVFEFE-GATE - Jordan Fabian: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday offered a cryptic explanation for President Trump’s incomplete, misspelled tweet that went viral overnight. ‘The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,’ Spicer told reporters…. Shortly after midnight, Trump tweeted, ‘Despite the constant negative press covfefe.’ The message unleashed a torrent of reactions from Twitter users who tried to define the term — or simply made fun of it. “ [The Hill]

This could be interpreted as good news for Sean Spicer? “Most Americans think President Donald Trump hurts his own cause when he speaks on behalf of the White House, according to a new Monmouth University survey. Sixty-one percent say Trump does more to hurt than help the presidency by speaking out, with just a third of those polled seeing his statements as mostly helpful. White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, two of the president’s most prominent surrogates, fare better.” [HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards-Levy]

LEAN IN, GURRRL - This isn’t as good as the “Jerk Challenged By Ex-Wife For Reelection” story that crops up in one of America’s municipalities every few years, but still. Kristina Peterson: “Former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford is considering mounting a challenge to the Republican who beat him last fall. So is his wife. Mr. Ashford and his wife, Ann Ferlic Ashford, haven’t decided yet which spouse will take on GOP Rep. Don Bacon, who is representing their swing district based in Omaha, Neb. They have, however, consulted their friends, three children and assorted Democratic officials in both Nebraska and Washington for advice on who is best for the challenge…. The couple, who have been married almost 25 years, said they are consulting, but not pressuring, their children. All five family members are on a text message chain through which they send frequent dispatches.” [WSJ]

WE’RE SO SCREWED - Igor Bobic: “Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) told a constituent last week that God can solve the problem of climate change if the global phenomenon truly exists. The 66-year-old Republican, who is a climate change skeptic, made the remark at a town hall in Coldwater, Michigan, on Friday. ‘I believe there’s climate change,’ Walberg said, according to a video of the exchange obtained by HuffPost. ‘I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.’ … ‘Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.’” [HuffPost]

DAILY CALLER NOT GREAT: REPORT - To be fair, the “Flagrantly racist, conservative word vomitorium” scene is pretty crowded right now. You gotta stand out somehow. A.C. Thompson: “On May 14, The Daily Caller, a popular conservative website, published a news story about recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Led by prominent white supremacists and anti-Semites, the protesters, some carrying the battle flag of the Confederacy, expressed their anger over the city’s plans to remove a large monument to Robert E. Lee…. The story, it turned out, also carried some critical omissions: It didn’t disclose that its author, Jason Kessler, is supportive of white supremacist groups, and on the day of the march had himself made a speech to the protesters in which he praised fascist and racist organizations, thanked a prominent Holocaust denier, and declared the beginnings of a cultural ‘civil war.’” [ProPublica]

AWFUL PERSON DUMPED FROM AWFUL PROGRAM IN WAKE OF AWFUL DECISION - Now do the rest of CNN. Maxwell Strachan: “CNN has decided to end its decade-long relationship with Kathy Griffin as a result of the comedian’s controversial photo shoot, in which she held a prop that resembled the bloodied head of President Donald Trump. Griffin has been a regular feature of CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage since 2007, when she first co-hosted the festivities with Anderson Cooper. Griffin initially defended the photo shoot with celebrity photographer and director Tyler Shields as a work of art when the photos were first released Tuesday. Later that night, as the criticism grew louder, she apologized and said she had asked Shields to take down the photo. ‘I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong,’ she said.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two dogs fighting water from a hose in slow-motion.

RICH PEOPLE SETTLING DOWN IN KALORAMA HEIGHTS - And here you are trying to scrape together some dollars for a down payment on that Trinidad one-bedroom. Krissah Thompson, Kathy Orton and Emily Heil: “Looks like former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are putting down deeper roots in Washington: After renting a Kalorama home for their post-White House stint, the couple have purchased the eight-bedroom, nine-and-a-half-bath home for $8.1 million, according to property records. The Obamas have said they plan to remain in D.C. while their younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school at Sidwell Friends. After leaving the executive mansion in January, the family settled into a rental home owned by Bill Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart and his wife, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, an 8,200-square-foot home that was built in 1921 and renovated in 2011.” [WaPo]


- Drone surfing looks awesome.

- We never thought of Rube Goldberg machines as dramatic until we watched one be narrated on Japanese TV.

- Comparing an iPhone 7 plus to a movie camera.


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