* Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, Karoun Demirjian, and Seung Min Kim report that the “Find something we can use to attack the Mueller investigation” meeting at the White House went off without any thrown chairs:
Justice Department and intelligence officials briefed top Republican and Democratic lawmakers Thursday on a confidential FBI source who aided in the investigation of whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, attempting to defuse a partisan conflict over use of the source and the FBI’s reluctance to reveal information about the matter.
Reversing its earlier position, the White House allowed top Democrats to join Republicans for two meetings Thursday. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and White House lawyer Emmet T. Flood, recently made a point person for the special counsel’s investigation, also were also present for parts of the gatherings, though the White House insisted they made only “brief remarks before the meetings started to relay the President’s desire for as much openness as possible under the law.”
It was not immediately clear whether the Justice Department had provided information that would allay conservatives’ concerns, particularly those of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has pushed vigorously for information about the FBI’s source, or President Trump.
Remember that it was only under pressure that the Republicans allowed Democrats to come. Since this prevents Nunes from lying about what the evidence actually shows without being immediately refuted, I predict the Republicans are never going to mention this again.
* The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee highlights something important about that meeting:
And the degradation continues.
* Jacob Bogage reports that President Trump did something worthwhile today:
President Trump granted a posthumous pardon Thursday to boxer Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, who was convicted in 1913 for violating a Jim Crow-era law that made it illegal to transport a white woman across state lines “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”
“A truly great fighter,” Trump said in the Oval Office, where he signed the pardon in a ceremony attended by boxing legend Lennox Lewis, actor Sylvester Stallone and current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, among others who had advocated for Johnson’s pardon. “He had a tough life.”
Trump noted that a pardon for Johnson, whom he called “one of the greatest that ever lived,” had considerable support in Congress, including within the Congressional Black Caucus. The president said Johnson served prison time “for what many view as a racially motivated injustice.”
I’ll just note that if Barack Obama had issued this pardon, there’d be a 12-minute segment on “Hannity” tonight about how this is a slap in the face to every white American.
* The latest Gallup polling has Trump’s approval at 42 percent, but crucially, 41 percent disapprove of him strongly, compared to 26 percent who approve strongly.
* Sean McElwee explores the increasing racial liberalism of Democratic voters.
* Francis Wilkinson argues that the Republican assault on law enforcement goes back way before Trump.
* Robert Schlesinger explains the problem with Trump’s embrace of the “madman theory” on North Korea: When you’re also a one trick pony, it kind of loses its oomph.