POLITICS
05/25/2017 05:27 pm ET

The Body Slam Politic

Please don't body slam us
William Campbell via Getty Images

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Good luck ever getting a Hill reporter to write a puff piece about your dog if you’re the congressman who body slammed a journalist (well, actually, there’s always Matt Boyle). Though we really don’t like the idea of politicians body slamming us or our colleagues, we cheered ourselves up with the idea that someone last night got really deep into a Medium essay on how terrible it was that Greg Gianforte body-shamed Ben Jacobs. And President Trump celebrated a Rasmussen poll showing him with a 48% approval rating and dear, sweet Lord, we hope a framed version of this gets hung up in the West Wing alongside that “electoral landslide” map. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 25th, 2017: 

VOTERS GO TO THE POLLS IN MONTANA, NO MORE BODY-SLAMMING INCIDENTS TO REPORT - Alexander C. Kaufman and Daniel Marans: “Democrat Rob Quist, a populist progressive cowboy poet known for his career as a bluegrass singer, supports single-payer health care, legalizing marijuana and funding more arts programs in schools. Republican Greg Gianforte, a tech entrepreneur who moved to the state in 1995, is a hard-line social conservative who backs the deeply unpopular GOP bill to replace Obamacare and wants to turn over control of public lands to the state. Gianforte, who narrowly lost a bid for governor last year, is favored to win the seat that Zinke handily won re-election to in November. But Gianforte’s own strategists describe him as ‘basically an unpopular incumbent trying to get re-elected.’ ... The election took an unexpected turn on Wednesday evening, when Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs accused Gianforte of ‘body-slamming’ him…. It’s unclear how the election-eve violence may influence Thursday’s vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time trying to capitalize on it, demanding that Gianforte ‘immediately withdraw’ from the race.” [HuffPost]

Naturally, congressional Republicans have identified the real villains here: “Apparently, you can body-slam a reporter for asking a question and still have a place in the Republican Party…. ‘The actual act of what he did, there’s just no way to justify that,’ said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who then shifted blame onto liberals. ‘I understand the frustrations that people feel because we can’t hardly go to a town hall without it just being a total denial of free speech. The left has created enormous polarization in this country.’ … HuffPost asked nearly a dozen lawmakers about the CBO score on Thursday. No one threw any punches. And yet, when asked why Gianforte couldn’t show any such constraint, many of these lawmakers expressed disappointment with the reporters themselves. ‘What’s your question, do I think body slamming reporters is a good thing?’ Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said, laughing at reporters. ‘Ya’ll really are into this.’” [HuffPost’s Laura Barrón-López]

Check out this photo gallery of politicians not body-slamming reporters.

HOUSE GOP STILL HAPPY WITH THAT BILL STRIPPING 23 MILLION PEOPLE OF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE - Ahhhh, yes, who can forget that chapter from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” on the merits of covering one’s eyes and yelling at the top of one’s lungs, “YOU CAN’T SEE ME IF I CAN’T SEE YOU!!!”  Matt Fuller: “Republicans showed little remorse for passing the bill. ‘I said for weeks I had zero confidence in the CBO,’ Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) told HuffPost on Thursday. ‘You would never hire them to manage your retirement plan, so it came out exactly what I expected it to be.’ Marshall dismissed concerns that the CBO indicates it would become more difficult for people with pre-existing conditions to purchase insurance in states that waive certain Obamacare regulations and that those people would see their premiums ‘increase rapidly.’ ‘The CBO’s crazy,’ Marshall said, adding that sick people would be ‘even better protected with our legislation than they would before.’” [HuffPost]

Yeah, the GOP sales pitch for that bill is bull. “Wednesday’s report from the Congressional Budget Office ought to erase any lingering doubt about how Republicans are trying to change American health care. If they get their way, they will protect the strong at the expense of the weak ― rewarding the rich and the healthy in ways that punish the poor and the sick.” [HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn]

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TRAVEL BAN ONCE AGAIN SLAPPED DOWN IN APPEALS COURT - Can we say it was schlonged? That it was schlonged in appeals court? Cristian Farias: “In yet another setback for the Trump administration, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday refused to lift a nationwide injunction that halted a key provision of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on six predominantly Muslim nations. The ruling is the most bruising the White House has suffered in its attempts to defend the ban, as it was rendered by 13 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit — which deemed the case important enough to skip the usual three-judge process that the vast majority of cases go through. U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote that the text of Trump’s executive order, which was challenged in courts across the country for targeting members of a particular faith, ‘speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.’” [HuffPost]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS TRYING TO KEEP DUMPSTER FIRE FROM GETTING TOO OUT OF HAND - Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan: “House Republican leaders, facing a serious time crunch this fall, are already plotting ways to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September — a real possibility given partisan divisions over spending priorities. Speaker Paul Ryan in a closed-door GOP conference meeting Thursday morning laid out the legislative calendar, showing lawmakers they’re approximately four months behind schedule in the appropriations process for 2018, in part because President Donald Trump’s budget landed later than usual…. House Republicans can’t agree on their own budget blueprint for next year, clashing internally over cuts to entitlement programs and safety net initiatives such as food stamps and housing aid, all while trying to create space for tax reform and a big defense spending increase. In addition, they still have to find money for Trump’s priorities, including the hugely controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico.” [Politico]

NOMENTUM - We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors, namely falling asleep during the roll call at Third Way board meetings. Rebecca Ballhaus: “Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, once a leading contender for FBI director, on Thursday withdrew himself from consideration for the post in a letter to President Donald Trump, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest. The former Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate works at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Mr. Trump retained earlier this week to serve on a team of private attorneys representing him in the broad special-counsel probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election. ‘I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner,’ Mr. Lieberman wrote in the letter dated Wednesday, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He thanked Mr. Trump for inviting him to discuss ‘the possibility of being nominated’ as FBI director.” [WSJ]

MULLER RUSSIA PROB BIGFOOTING ALL THE OTHER RUSSIA PROBES - We like to imagine that Mueller’s probe strides into the crime scene and tells the scrappy local congressional probes that they’re taking over and that it’s going to be by the books from here on out, see. Ryan J. Reilly: “Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation of potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government will hold up congressional probes that were looking into whether Trump affiliates colluded with foreign entities to interfere with the 2016 election, a letter from the FBI indicated on Thursday. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had requested a copy of memos that former FBI Director James Comey reportedly made to memorialize conversations with President Donald Trump…. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week named Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to lead the investigation, and the FBI told Chaffetz on Thursday that it couldn’t immediately provide a copy of Comey’s memos.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP, WHAT ELSE, ATTACKS LEAKERS -  MIchael D. Shear and Steven Erlanger: “President Trump condemned ‘leaks of sensitive information,’ responding on Thursday to a complaint by Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, over disclosures of details from the investigation into Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005. ‘The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling,’ Mr. Trump said in a statement. ‘These leaks have been going on for a long time, and my administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security.’ … [T]wo dimensions of the latest controversy are new: The disclosures in this case are about a terrorism investigation led by a foreign ally, and the British government has brought its complaints to a receptive audience.” [NYT]

TRUMP BASHES NATO ON ITS BIG DAY - The wake for Tony Soprano’s mother comes to mind. S.V. Date: “President Donald Trump on Thursday publicly scolded European allies for taking advantage of U.S. taxpayers by failing to spend enough on defense ― while in private reportedly breaking with them over how to treat Russia, the country that worked to help get him elected. ‘NATO members must fully contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,’ he said at a ceremony intended to mark the alliance’s solidarity in responding to the 9/11 attacks on America. ‘Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,’ Trump said. ‘This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years.’” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a child who just wants to chill.

A GRATEFUL NATION THANKS WHOEVER HACKED HARVARD’S NEWSPAPER - Just read this. You’ll be glad you did. Bryan Menegus: “Today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to the venerable Ivy League institution he famously dropped out of, revisiting his old dorm room and giving a commencement speech to the graduating class of 2017. To commemorate the social networking titan’s return to his alma mater, the website of Harvard’s 144-year-old newspaper (or whomever gained control of it) ran as its frontpage story: ‘MARK ZOINKERBURG AT IT AGAIN.’” [Gizmodo]

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