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Donald Trump’s legal team ran into trouble in court again Monday over the president’s habit of accurately describing his Muslim ban. Trump reportedly falls for fake magazine covers, so maybe Democrats should send him a copy of Time marked Jan. 20, 2021, and see if he packs up his things and leaves the White House. And Republicans are considering huge budget cuts, though Hill aides say anyone cut off from food stamps would be eligible for soup personally ladled by Paul Ryan every year on their birthdays. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 15th, 2017:
REPUBLICANS LOOKING AT HUGE BUDGET CUTS - Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris: “House Republicans just voted to slash hundreds of billions of dollars in health care for the poor as part of their Obamacare replacement. Now, they’re weighing a plan to take the scalpel to programs that provide meals to needy kids and housing and education assistance for low-income families. President Donald Trump’s refusal to overhaul Social Security and Medicare — and his pricey wish-list for infrastructure, a border wall and tax cuts — is sending House budget writers scouring for pennies in politically sensitive places: safety-net programs for the most vulnerable. Under enormous internal pressure to quickly balance the budget, Republicans are considering slashing more than $400 billion in spending through a process to evade Democratic filibusters in the Senate, multiple sources told POLITICO.” [Politico]
KEEP IN MIND: Budgets like this one don’t actually cut programs, they just tell committees of jurisdiction to make cuts. In the recent past the committees have declined to do so. Also, Republicans don’t seem very confident lately in their quest to cut safety nets.
JUDGES MAY NOT BE AS STUPID AS TRUMP NEEDS THEM TO BE - Laura Jarrett: “For the second time in President Donald Trump’s young administration, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals pressed the Justice Department to explain the legality of his travel ban, this time with Trump’s record of campaign calls to ban Muslims from entering the US taking center stage.” [CNN]
J’recuse! “The White House said it is perfectly comfortable with Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading the search for the next FBI director, even though Sessions promised to recuse himself from all matters that may involve the 2016 presidential election…. Sessions was also involved in the decision to fire James Comey from the job.” [HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel]
HERE COMES ROD - Everyone totally trusts him, so this meeting definitely will be really fruitful. Sean Sullivan: ‘Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein will brief senators Thursday afternoon on the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director, the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Monday…. Plans for the briefing come as Democrats and some Republicans have been raising questions and concerns about President Trump’s decision to fire Comey. Trump and his aides have provided shifting explanations for Comey’s dismissal.” [WaPo]
Other than that, how was the play, Mr. Comey?
MEAN CONGRESSMAN COSTS LADY HER JOB - Rodney Frelinghuysen is the scion of an American political dynasty that predates the Revolutionary War, and we’re sure his ancestors would be very proud of him today. Nancy Solomon: “The most powerful congressman in New Jersey, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, wrote a fundraising letter in March to a board member of a local bank, warning him that a member of an activist group opposing the Republican worked at his bank. The employee was questioned and criticized for her involvement in NJ 11th for Change…. ‘Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome,’ said Saily Avelenda of West Caldwell, New Jersey, who was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel at [Lakeland Bank] before she resigned. She says the pressure she received over her political involvement was one of several reasons she decided to leave.” [WNYC]
GULLIBLE PRESIDENT IS GULLIBLE - Donald Trump definitely believes everything he watches on YouTube, right? Shane Goldmacher: “White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Donald Trump. Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter. Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it. The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life.” [Politico]
VOTING WHILE BLACK NOW SOMEWHAT LESS ILLEGAL IN NORTH CAROLINA - The only better news from the Tar Heel State would’ve been if SCOTUS repealed Duke. Cristian Farias: “The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a long-pending North Carolina case that could have produced the biggest voting rights ruling since the justices four years ago invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At issue in the case, North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, was a Republican-backed law that imposed a swath of restrictions on voters — including a voter ID requirement, reduced early-voting hours, and a prohibition on registering to vote and casting a ballot on the same day. The justices’ decision to not hear the dispute means, in effect, that all of these measures won’t be reinstated and can’t be enforced unless lawmakers pass a new law.” [HuffPost]
CONGRESS IS DISGUSTING - Nothing to see here! Move along, please! Maggie Severns: “POLITICO found that 28 House members and six senators each traded more than 100 stocks in the past two years, placing them in the potential cross hairs of a conflict of interest on a regular basis. And a handful of lawmakers, some of them frequent traders and some not, disproportionately trade in companies that also have an interest in their work on Capitol Hill…. In some cases, these very wealthy lawmakers own significant stakes in private companies that are affected by their legislative work.” [Politico]
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NO FACTS EVEN BETTER THAN ALTERNATIVE FACTS - Juliet Eilperin: “The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses…. Across the vast breadth of the government, agencies have traditionally provided the public with massive data sets, which can be of great value to companies, researchers and advocacy groups, among others. Three months ago, there were 195,245 public data sets available on www.data.gov, according to Nathan Cortez, the associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, who studies the handling of public data. This week it stood at just under 156,000.” [WaPo]
CALLISTA GINGRICH SCORES SWEET FREE PAD IN ITALY - Sadly for Newt, Vatican City doesn’t have a zoo. Jeff Zeleny and Caroline Kenny: “Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is the preferred nominee to be the next ambassador to the Vatican…. An administration official said the decision to nominate Gingrich has been made but the announcement has taken longer than expected pending approval from the Office of Government Ethics.” [CNN]
Mo Brooks wants mo power. “GOP Rep. Mo Brooks announced Monday morning that he will run in Alabama’s special Senate election later this year…. His entry adds another challenger to the field against Sen. Luther Strange, a Republican who was appointed to the Senate by former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley after then-Sen. Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. attorney general. Strange is running to keep the seat.” [Politico’s Daniel Strauss]
SURELY TRUMP HAS A PLAN TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THESE BABIES - Laura Bassett: “President Donald Trump announced the details Monday of his unprecedented international anti-abortion policy, which drastically expands the ‘global gag rule’ that past Republican presidents have placed on U.S. health assistance funds…. The policy applies the anti-abortion rule to $8.8 billion in global health funding furnished by the State Department, USAID and the Department of Defense, instead of only $600 million in family planning funding. This means that a clinic receiving U.S. assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP TO TAKE ANOTHER STAB AT THAT WHOLE ‘POLICY’ THING - It’s going to be confusing when all the Interstate highways are renamed “Trump Boulevard.” John Wagner: “President Trump will outline his ‘vision’ in the ‘next several weeks’ of an infrastructure package that relies heavily on state, local and private money to make good on a promised $1 trillion in new investments over the coming decade, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Monday. Trump’s pledge to rebuild the country’s roads, bridges and airports was a key campaign promise that has been on the back burner in the early stages of his presidency as he has pursued health-care legislation and outlined a tax-cut package, both of which remain a long way from completion.” [WaPo]
DEMS PONDER NOVEL ‘BEING LIBERAL’ STRATEGY - David Weigel: “As Democrats grow more bullish on winning coming special elections and midterms, a number of scrappy organizations are trying to encourage and crowdfund primary challenges to move the party to the left. The launch of Justice Democrats and We Will Replace you, which got copious attention at the start of the year, have finally led to some actual campaigns, with cues from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.” [WaPo]
BLACK DEMOCRATS LOOKING TO 2018 - Alexander Burns: “By moving swiftly into the most contentious midterm races, these candidates aim to cement their party in forceful opposition to Mr. Trump and to align it unswervingly with minority communities and young people. Rather than muting their differences with the Republican Party in order to compete in states Mr. Trump won, like Georgia and Florida, they aim to make those distinctions starker…. The determination to compete in 2018 may run deeper in the black community, where the sense of political exclusion is even more acute. With the end of the Obama administration, there are few black Democrats in senior positions of power: just two black Democrats in the Senate and no black governors of either party. A third black senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, is a Republican.” [NYT]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - The Architect of the Capitol installed new ramps to help adorable ducks waddle into the Capitol’s reflecting pool.
WE ALL NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER, KELLYANNE - Never be clean. Never be clean. Never be clean. Jonah Engel Bromwich: “The hosts of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ said on Monday that the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway complained extensively about President Trump in private conversations with them before he was elected. Mika Brzezinski said during Monday’s broadcast that she heard Ms. Conway denounce the candidate in private after promoting him on television. ‘She would get off the air, the camera would be turned off, the microphone would be taken off, and she would say “Blech, I need to take a shower,” because she disliked her candidate so much,’ Ms. Brzezinski said of Ms. Conway.” [NYT]
- Hogwarts offers free tuition.
- The X-Files opening credits set to the Golden Girls theme song is too perfect.
- Pizza man delivers piping-hot heroism to broken-down Amtrak train.
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