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President Trump appointed Chris Christie to an opioid commission the same day two former Christie aides got prison sentences for Bridgegate, proving the maxim that crime doesn’t pay unless you’re the person ultimately responsible for the crime. Trey Radel, the former congressman busted on cocaine charges, has published a memoir that delves into the forgotten concept of shame. And police stopped an out-of-control maniac hurtling toward the Capitol today, making us wonder where they were the night Trump addressed Congress…. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 29th, 2017:
U.S. INVADES LUXEMBOURG ...is a headline we might see someday because Trump misheard something while listening to Infowars in the shower. S.V. Date: “Overseas allies perplexed how a man as unschooled in world affairs as Trump could have ascended to a role traditionally regarded as the leader of the free world should look to the peculiar contours of the 2016 Republican primary campaign…. Trump made ― and apparently believed ― incorrect assertions about the numbers of undocumented immigrants coming across the southern border, the structure of the NATO alliance and its policies and the significance of trade deficits, among a host of many others…. ‘Every day you wake up, have a cup of coffee, or maybe you’re still lying in bed, and get on Twitter and figure out what the fucking crisis of the day is,’ said one former U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. [HuffPost]
GOVERNMENT LOOKING LESS SHUTDOWNY TODAY - Jordan Fabian: “The White House indicated Wednesday that President Trump could go along with a government funding bill that does not include money to begin building his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate Republicans are not planning on including the funds in a measure to keep the government funded beyond the end of April. ‘That is our request,’ press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday when asked if the wall funding is a deal-breaker for a must-pass spending bill. ‘We will continue to work with Congress on the rest of the [fiscal 2017] budget,’ he said.” [The Hill]
Republicans are mulling another try at voting on their Obamacare repeal bill next week, Bloomberg’s Billy House and Sahil Kapur report.
REPUBLICANS EXECUTING PERFECT SLOW-MOTION OWN GOAL - The House Freedom Caucus might do more to advance government health care than anyone since LBJ. Jeffrey Young: “The failure of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act could lead to an ironic result: the expansion of government-run health care…. Now that the federal effort to repeal and replace ‘Obamacare’ is dead, states that turned down those federal dollars to cover their poorest residents may revisit the idea to open up Medicaid ― which is jointly managed and financed by the federal and state governments ― to more people.” [HuffPost]
MAYBE TRUMP’S WEIRD DOCTOR WILL TREAT THEM FOR FREE - Trump supporters might be trading their health care for more #freedom. Alissa Scheller and Jonathan Cohn: “President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress want to undermine the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, they’re going to be wreaking havoc in the places their voters call home. In counties with just one or two insurers offering coverage through the law’s new exchanges, 54.5 percent of residents voted for Trump in 2016, while just 40.8 percent voted for Clinton, according to a Huffington Post analysis of election returns and data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Overall, among the roughly 62 million voters in those counties, 34 million cast ballots for Trump while 25 million went for Clinton.” [HuffPost]
The White House’s proposed cuts for legal aid also would hit Trump country hard.
TRUMP TALKS TO CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYS ‘CHUCK’ A LOT - Shane Goldmacher and Burgess Everett: “As President Donald Trump welcomed more than half the Senate to the White House on Tuesday night in one of his first big splashes on the Washington social scene, he gave a shout to a recognizable Democratic face in the crowd. ‘Chuck? I see Chuck,’ Trump said. ‘Hello, Chuck.’ The six words were the first the president had directed at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in person in more than two months.” [Politico]
Little scare on Hill today as the Capitol Police opened fire on a driver who allegedly tried to run over some officers just a couple blocks from the Capitol. A woman was arrested. [Reuters’ Ian Simpson]
DEVIN NUNES, WHAT R U DOING - Sam Stein and Jessica Schulberg: “Even some of Nunes’ Republican colleagues are puzzled by his handling of the situation. ‘The chairman and ranking member not talking with each other ― that’s bizarre on such an important issue,’ one GOP lawmaker said Wednesday. ‘I just can’t imagine myself and my counterpart, on something this important to the country, having zero communication.’ Nunes’ behavior, the Republican lawmaker continued, is making it appear as though he is ‘somebody who’s in essence working for the administration.’” [HuffPost]
TIME FOR SOME TRAFFIC PROBLEMS…IN JAIL - Amanda Terkel: “A judge sentenced two of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) former aides Wednesday for their role in the Bridgegate scandal in 2013. In November, a federal jury found Bill Baroni, who served as Christie’s top official at the Port Authority of New York, and Bridget Anne Kelly, who was the governor’s deputy chief of staff, guilty on charges of conspiracy and fraud. Baroni received a two-year prison sentence Wednesday, and Kelly got 18 months.” [HuffPost]
TIME FOR SOME TRAFFIC PROBLEMS…IN THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC - Marina Fang: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will lead a commission to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday at a White House event on the issue. Christie has long spoken in personal terms about the need to fight drug addiction. During his presidential campaign in 2015, he recounted the story of a law school friend who died after battling an addiction to prescription painkillers, a moment that went viral.” [HuffPost]
SPICER LEARNING ABOUT SEXISM AND RACISM FOR THE FIRST TIME - Sam Levine: “White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to accusations of sexism and racism after he repeatedly told senior journalist April Ryan to stop shaking her head during Tuesday’s press briefing…. Spicer said that Ryan was a tough reporter and he was ‘astonished’ at the accusation. He insisted that he treats the White House correspondent no different than male colleagues in the briefing room…. Spicer disputed that he was being patronizing.” [HuffPost]
WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE WALL, HUH? This is as well-thought-out as the American Health Care Act. Joel Gehrke: “President Trump’s long-promised southwest border wall shouldn’t be built on the American side of the line, according to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. ‘The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall,’ Zinke told the Public Lands Council, according to E&E News. ‘The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.’” [Washington Examiner]
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DELANEY DOWNER - Rexnord Corp. has posted layoff notices inside its Indianapolis ball bearings factory where the company is stopping production so it can be done more cheaply in Mexico. Rexnord has planned to lay off its 300 workers at the plant since last year, but President Donald Trump, who has said repeatedly he would stop American firms from shifting production abroad, criticized Rexnord’s plans in a tweet that raised expectations he might intervene. ‘Evidently, Rexnord must not have read that,’ said Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents workers at the closing factory. [HuffPost]
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WROTE THIS TWEET, WHICH IS UNTRUE AND DUMB AND WEIRD - “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” [Twitter]
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MIKE PENCE IS TERRIFIED OF LOSING CONTROL - You know who doesn’t sweat this stuff? People who trust themselves. Ashley Parker: “Now, as second lady, Karen Pence, 60, remains an important influence on one of President Trump’s most important political allies…. Friends and aides, meanwhile, say she is the Pence family ‘prayer warrior,’ a woman so inextricably bound to her husband that even then-candidate Trump understood her importance and consulted her in critical campaign moments…. The Pences were married in a Roman Catholic church in 1985 but later became evangelical Christians. In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.” [WaPo]
MELANIA TRUMP DOING STUFF - Carol Morello: “In a rare public appearance, first lady Melania Trump took part in a ceremony Wednesday to give the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award to 13 recipients who are political and social activists in their countries. Among the women recognized were a human rights activist from Yemen and a Salesian nun from Syria, two nations whose citizens would not get U.S. visas under President Trump’s revised executive order on immigration. Another recipient was an activist from Iraq — a country that was dropped from a list of seven Muslim-majority countries affected by the original executive order.” [WashPost]
BREXIT IS HERE - Your vacation to England and France just got more annoying. Anushka Asthana, Heather Stewart and Peter Walker: “Theresa May has told parliament that she accepts Brexit will carry consequences for the UK, as a letter delivered to Brussels began a two-year countdown to Britain’s departure from the EU. The prime minister made a speech on triggering article 50 minutes after the European council president, Donald Tusk, confirmed he had received notification. He declared that ‘the UK has delivered Brexit’ nine months after a bruising referendum campaign. [The Guardian]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Have you ever seen Lasagna Cat?
AARON SCHOCK DRAMA! The Downton Abbey Downfall just never gets old. John Bresnahan: “Lawyers for indicted former Rep. Aaron Schock claim one of his aides — who was secretly working as an FBI informant — broke the law by stealing information from the Illinois Republican’s personal and congressional files.” [Politico]
Trey Radel has a memoir out, by the way.
- Firefighter rescues cat stuck up a tree. No, really.
- A ranking of the top Trump-related SNL skits so far.
- The stupid, probably false historical reason men only use one suit button.
@aparnapkin: The nice thing about having a stressful ride to therapy is the session writes itself
@morninggloria: I Thought I’d Muted You: A Play In Three Acts
@kashanacauley: Someday we’ll be lucky enough to have a president who wants to create more jobs in the ska industry.
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