With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro
THE BIG IDEA: With so much attention on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena of Donald Trump Jr. and the House’s battles with President Trump over executive privilege, another consequential fight related to separation of powers has been playing out this week almost entirely under the radar.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly states that Congress shall declare war. Many lawmakers appear ambivalent about, or even resigned to, outsourcing one of their core job duties to the executive branch, especially when their party controls the White House.
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is not one of them. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is angry that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to commit that Trump will even consult with Congress before intervening militarily in Venezuela. Young is pushing for the Foreign Relations Committee, on which he sits, to schedule an immediate hearing to demand answers from administration officials regarding the possible use of military force in South America.
“Look, I acknowledge that there is a brutal socialist regime that the Venezuelans have been suffering under,” Young said in an extended interview about this issue. “I commend them and want to be supportive of Venezuelans for standing up for their freedom and for their basic human rights. But I think that it is the responsibility of the administration to explain their thinking as it relates to any plans to deploy U.S. forces to Venezuela.”
Young said the Trump team must answer “very basic” questions, such as: “What would our military's mission be in Venezuela? Would it be a stabilization mission or a humanitarian mission or some other sort of mission? Would we be seeking regime change? What would success look like militarily and then in the wake of military action? What legal authorities might the administration be considering to justify military force?”
The senator believes that the administration should seek authorization from Congress before putting boots on the ground. Young is not a dove in the mold of libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). He’s willing to use force, but he said he’s first and foremost an institutionalist.
Young was one of seven Republican senators who voted for the resolution to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-backed war in Yemen. It was the first time Congress has ever invoked the War Powers Act to rein in military action. Trump vetoed the resolution, and the Senate failed last week to override it.
-- Asked on the Sunday shows whether Trump believes he has the power to intervene against Nicolás Maduro without congressional approval, Pompeo declined to answer directly. “The president has his full range of Article 2 authorities, and I’m very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful,” he said on ABC. “Make no mistake, we have a full range of options that we’re preparing for. Diplomatic options, political options, options with our allies, and then ultimately, a set of options that would involve use of U.S. military.”
-- Trump himself has soured on deploying military resources to the region following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust Maduro last week. He’s complained that he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman and groused that national security adviser John Bolton wants to get him “into a war.” The events of April 30 have effectively shelved serious discussion of a heavy U.S. military response, current and former officials as well as outside advisers told my colleagues Anne Gearan, Josh Dawsey, John Hudson and Seung Min Kim.
-- But many key Republicans on the Hill remain open to using force. I wrote last week about the emergence of Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) as a leading proponent for deploying U.S. military resources in Venezuela. Others have also expressed support for the hard line being orchestrated by Bolton. “I don’t care about voting on the use of force,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Politico this week.
With characteristic understatement, Young replied when we talked: “I have read a couple of my colleagues’ statements as it relates to this issue in the press. They don't seem to align perfectly with my own views related to the need for Congress to fully vet any potential military action, but I have not had conversations to get clarity with respect to their thinking. … Most importantly, I've read the Constitution.”
-- Young’s experiences in the military and in the House were formative and inspired his focus on checking executive power over matters of war and peace. The 46-year-old enlisted in the Navy after high school. He won an appointment to the Naval Academy in Annapolis a year later. After graduating in 1995, he accepted a commission in the Marine Corps. He trained as a rifle platoon commander, served as an intelligence officer and left the service as a captain in 2000. “Over the course of my service, I had interactions periodically with colonels and generals,” he recalled. “I came to appreciate that they are impressive human beings but mortal and capable of error, just like the rest of us.”
Young rode the red wave in the 2010 midterms and joined the House as Republicans claimed a majority. “I was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and observed that many of my colleagues seem to accept as gospel, or without critical inquiry, oftentimes very vague and unsatisfactory explanations pertaining to the utilization or intended utilization of military force and the deployment of our nation’s finest,” the senator said. “I always found that overawe by members of Congress when they interact with professional military personnel – that sense of, oftentimes, intimidation – to be frustrating. Because our job is to oversee the military!”
As a junior House member at the start of this decade, Young focused on figuring out the war in Afghanistan and found himself struggling to get clarity from the brass on America’s strategy. “It was frustrating to me that I received unsatisfactory answers,” he said. “I began reflecting based on those personal experiences that over the past two decades we've had constant reminders of the party in the White House ignoring Congress when it comes to authorizing military force.”
When Young won a promotion to the Senate in 2016 – replacing Dan Coats, who is now Trump’s director of national intelligence, and defeating Evan Bayh, who was trying to win back his old seat – he decided to do something about it. “It was my intention to put Congress back in the driver's seat,” he said. “We just have been failing to do our job as an institution as it pertains to authorizing force and then formally ending said authorizations. … That lays the foundation for my interest in Venezuela.”
I noted to Young that the strongest opposition to U.S. military action against Venezuela seems to be coming from generals at the Pentagon. “That's not uncommon,” he said. “In the end, it's really not the military's decision. We should not give carte blanche to our men and women in uniform to make that call. We should give great respect and credence to their testimony because they are trained military professionals. But we mustn't forget that we have a civilian-controlled military.”
Young’s perspective recalls the former French prime minister Georges Clemenceau’s declaration after World War I that war is too important to be left to the generals.
-- The fight over Congress’s role in authorizing the use of military force is much bigger than Trump or any single president. Sen. Tim Kaine was one of Barack Obama’s closest allies in Congress. As governor of Virginia, he had offered a critical early endorsement of the young Illinois senator and then served as his handpicked chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But Kaine, elected to the Senate in 2012, stood up to Obama on war powers, publicly and privately, on principle.
Efforts to pass a new authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic State have perennially faltered over complicated divisions between and within the parties. Many Republicans frequently criticized Obama for arguing that he didn’t need to seek congressional authorization before supporting the bombings of Libya. But they’ve muted themselves during the Trump era.
Kaine, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2016, spent the past few years working with then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to pass a bill that would authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State without giving the president carte blanche to fight endless wars in the Middle East. But both Corker and Flake left at the end of the year.
“Having Corker and Flake gone really hurts because they were institutionalists,” Kaine said in an interview this week. “I could always count on Corker and Flake. If we didn't necessarily agree on the endpoint, we at least agreed that Article 1 oversight is critical. … They were not patsies for the president. They were supporters of the president, and they generally voted with the president, but they wanted to uphold the institutional role of the Senate. So we miss them. We really miss them.”
Kaine hopes that Young can pick up the torch. The two introduced a bill together in March that would repeal the authorizations for the use of military force (known as AUMFs) against Iraq that passed Congress in 1991 and 2002.
Kaine said he’s become pessimistic about rewriting the AUMF that passed immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because of strong resistance. “But this one should seem to be easy,” he said.
Young marveled that the resolution that authorized Desert Storm is still on the books. “These sorts of authorities, without a great stretch of the imagination, could be used in the future to justify military action,” said the senator, who went to law school after departing the Marine Corps.
-- Cully Stimson, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who studies these issues closely, applauded the Young-Kaine bill as long overdue. Stimson, a third-generation naval officer, noted that there are both American troops and members of the Islamic State who they are trying to kill that were not alive on 9/11. He added that half the members of the Senate weren’t there in 2002 when the last AUMF passed. “There’s a reluctance by some – because this really is serious business – not to repeal any AUMF willy-nilly. But Kaine and Young are not doing this willy-nilly,” said Stimson, who coordinated the Pentagon’s global detention policy and operations, including at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan, during George W. Bush’s administration. “It’s a matter of congressional hygiene and good housekeeping to tidy things up.”
-- Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho) got the gavel in January when Corker left town. His own worldview does not neatly fit into any of the traditional boxes like Jacksonian or Jeffersonian, nationalist or neoconservative, but the new chairman now finds himself refereeing intraparty debates about Trump’s national security policy. He leads a committee of heavy hitters. Of the 10 Republicans on his committee besides Young, five have run for president: Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul.
-- Risch’s spokeswoman confirmed that he and Young discussed Venezuela on Monday and said they will have more information to share in the coming days about a potential hearing. Young said the Idahoan has been receptive and responsive.
Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, spent nearly a decade working in the Senate, including two as Young’s national security adviser. Before that, he was a Blackhawk pilot and served on active duty in the Army for 15 years. “If Congress does not exercise its constitutional war powers muscles, they atrophy,” Bowman said. “A president certainly has the prerogative to act in some instances in which there is an imminent threat to the United States. However, in most cases, there is time for Congress to ask tough questions and fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities. … If a potential military endeavor is prudent, the administration should welcome tough questions.”
-- Kaine was less diplomatic than Young when discussing Pompeo’s refusal to promise that Trump would seek congressional approval before going to war in Venezuela. “It drives me nuts,” he said during an interview. “I represent the most military state in the country. I have a child in the military. And I took the same oath that Pompeo and President Trump took, which was to support and defend the Constitution.”
The senator, who sits on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, is even more disturbed about this week’s saber rattling against Iran and last year’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear accord. The senator said Trump is blundering the United States into a war with Tehran. Then he corrected himself. “I'd have to put ‘blundering’ in quotes because that makes it sound unintentional, and I'm not completely sure it's unintentional,” Kaine said. “I hope I'm wrong about this, but it well could be a mistake on the magnitude of the Iraq War if it leads into this set of provocations where we're backing away from growing diplomatic channels into bellicosity. … If you make diplomacy harder, you make war more likely.”
Kaine promised that he will do everything he can to stop an unnecessary war with Iran. “You take other things that I'm aware of that I can't tell you about because they're classified [and] I think the U.S. is in a position where we are basically a very strong actor poking a bees nest and when a bee comes out and stings us, this administration is going to say, ‘Oh, how dare Iran do that,'” he fretted. “I think this administration is trying to provoke Iran every way they can. And then if there is some military response of any kind, even an unplanned one by an Iranian-connected militia, then the Trump administration will basically say, 'How dare they do that!' and then they'll want to go in with overwhelming military force.”
-- Young has a different view of Iran than Kaine: He supports Trump’s containment strategy and sponsored a resolution this week commending the president for pulling out of the nuclear deal. “From the beginning, this deal enabled the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to have relief from sanctions without dismantling their nuclear program,” Young said. “Despite Iran’s collapsing economy, the Iranian regime has also decided it would rather pursue nuclear weapons instead of selling their excess uranium and heavy water to help its own economy. We must stand firm on our maximum pressure campaign and never permit the Iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon.”
-- Right after he finished his military service, Young spent 18 months as a legislative assistant for Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, who for decades was one of the country’s foremost voices on foreign policy. Being an L.A. is a junior role in a Senate office, but Young remembers it as his “dream job” and says he learned so much from watching the statesman work.
Young said he’s been reflecting on his mentor’s legacy since he passed away at 87 on April 28. The first-term senator said Lugar, who served six terms, was willing to make unpopular and difficult decisions when he believed they were in the best interests of the country. Although a supporter of Ronald Reagan, for example, Lugar led the Senate in overriding Reagan’s veto of legislation that imposed stiff economic sanctions on South Africa, which helped lead to the end of apartheid.
“He disagreed with the Reagan administration,” Young said, “and I think history's going to judge him very fondly for that position.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- “B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran have arrived at a major American air base in Qatar,” the AP reports. “Images released by the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday night. Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in ‘southwest Asia,’ the Air Force said.”
-- “This sense of an imminent Iranian threat marks a break from what U.S. officials had predicted just two weeks ago,” David Ignatius reports. “At that time, officials expected that Tehran would try to ride out Trump’s campaign of sanctions over the next 20 months, in the hope they would be removed by his successor. But last week, based on new information, the United States concluded that the Iranians had decided to reset their strategy now and were moving military equipment to prepare for action. It’s not clear whether this turnabout happened because U.S. sanctions were squeezing so hard that the Iranians couldn’t wait until January 2021, or because they concluded that Trump might be reelected. …
“U.S. officials have been particularly worried about a possible attack by Iranian proxies on the more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who are training Iraqi military forces and otherwise bolstering security in the country. … The Iranian-backed militias were said to have been especially worried after U.S. helicopters dropped flares near Camp Speicher in Iraq, near Tikrit, where some of the Shiite militias are based. The flares ignited fields of crops near the base, and the militias apparently feared that this might be a prelude to military action.”
-- The trade war escalates: American and Chinese negotiators failed to reach a deal by midnight, so Trump has officially more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports. The two sides have agreed to resume negotiations today, but Beijing has also promised to respond with tit-for-tat tariffs. David J. Lynch and Damian Paletta report: “Robert E. Lighthizer, the chief U.S. trade negotiator, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ‘met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions,’ the White House said in a statement.”
- In Beijing, the Commerce Ministry said China “deeply regrets” Trump's decision and “will have to take necessary countermeasures.” This could involve state-backed boycotts of American products, tighter customs inspections and intensified tax audits of U.S. companies.
- Because the higher tariffs apply only to goods that leave China starting Friday — not to shipments already approaching American shores — officials still have time to work out a last-minute solution.
- Trump said yesterday that he received “a beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping and may speak to him by phone. Trump said Xi’s message was: “Let’s work together. Let’s see if we can get something done.”
-- As the talks resume today, the United States and China must confront their biggest obstacle: their clashing understandings of the past. Lynch reports: “China’s history as the victim of what its officials call ‘unequal treaties’ from the 19th century makes Beijing reluctant to accept terms that might be seen at home as foreign dictates. Trump has tried to reassure China by stating publicly that his goal is not to prevent its rise and that he blames his American predecessors, rather than Beijing, for the chronic U.S. trade deficit … From the outset of the trade dispute, which centers on China’s technology-acquisition policies, Trump administration officials have been determined to avoid what they see as the mistakes of the past. Previous U.S. presidents from both parties entered into dialogues and agreements with China without permanently resolving issues of trade-secrets theft and forced technology transfer, the administration said.”
-- The FBI has expanded its investigation into whether GOP donor and South Florida massage parlor entrepreneur Li “Cindy” Yang illegally funneled money from China into Trump’s reelection campaign. The Miami Herald’s Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, Caitilin Ostroff and Sarah Blaskey report: “Investigators obtained a federal grand jury subpoena Tuesday seeking records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who last year contributed a maximum $5,400 to [Trump's] reelection effort ... Yang came to Peranio’s workplace and helped her write the check, Peranio told reporters from The New York Times ... Peranio told The Times she didn’t ‘say no.’ … FBI agents based in West Palm Beach are trying to determine if Yang reimbursed Peranio for that contribution or delivered ‘anything of value’ to her over that period to benefit the Trump campaign. Reimbursing someone for a political contribution without disclosing the original source is illegal, as is making a contribution in someone else’s name.”
-- The FCC blocked state-owned telecom giant China Mobile from operating in the United States and from offering phone services to American customers over concerns that Beijing is using the company as a vehicle to spy on U.S. communications networks. Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the firm raised a “significant risk,” an assessment commissioners from both parties agreed with. (Tony Romm)
GET SMART FAST:
The Alabama Senate tabled a bill that could become the most restrictive abortion law in the country. A shouting match broke out after the state’s Republican lieutenant governor used a voice vote to table an amendment that would make exceptions in the bill for cases of rape and incest. But the Senate’s Republican majority is expected to soon approve the bill, which would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. (Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Ariana Eunjung Cha)
Three production companies said they will no longer film movies in Georgia if the state enacts a bill, signed by the governor this week, that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Hollywood studios spent $2.7 billion in the state last year. (Hollywood Reporter)
The U.S. has developed a secret missile that aims to kill only terrorists with no explosion, reducing damage and minimizing the chances of civilian casualties. The new weapon, a modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile, doesn’t explode but instead plunges more than 100 pounds of metal through cars and buildings to kill its target. (Wall Street Journal)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned that we're heading toward an inevitable recession and estimated the coming economic downturn could deprive the state’s coffers of $70 billion. Newsom said this recession will likely be more modest than 2007’s but “a little bit more intense” than the 2001 recession. (CNBC)
Chelsea Manning, who was jailed for 62 days after refusing to testify about her ties to WikiLeaks, has been released. Manning said her refusal to testify was an act of protest against grand juries in general. (Gizmodo)
A former government intelligence analyst was charged with leaking classified drone information to a reporter. Daniel Hale faces five charges and up to 50 years in prison after allegedly sharing information on drone warfare with the Intercept. (Rachel Weiner)
Security footage captured the moment an Argentine lawmaker and his adviser were ambushed by gunmen in Buenos Aires in broad daylight. The adviser was killed while the lawmaker is in critical condition. (Siobhán O’Grady)
Unlike President Barack Obama, Trump will not get to address Parliament while visiting Britain next month. Several British leaders, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Commons Speaker John Bercow, opposed a Trump speech, saying they wanted to avoid a diplomatic dispute over his “racism and sexism.” (HuffPost)
Ireland became the second country in the world to declare a national climate emergency. The decision was accepted by the nation’s government, including opposition parties, without a vote. (RTE)
Anna Sorokin, the woman who conned her way into elite corners of Manhattan society, is heading to prison. Sorokin swindled lenders and unsuspecting friends for years by pretending to be a German heiress. (Alex Horton and Herman Wong)
A Kentucky teenager who sued over a mandate to receive the chickenpox vaccine contracted the virus. Jerome Kunkel was banned from Assumption Academy following a chickenpox outbreak at the Catholic school that infected 32 students. But Kunkel was allowed to return to class Monday after contracting the disease last month. (Michael Brice-Saddler)
The United States saw the wettest 12-month period in recorded history. Droughts now affect only 2 percent of the country, but the excessive rainfall has triggered historic flooding, particularly in the central United States. (Jason Samenow)
One out of every 11,600 people in San Francisco is a billionaire, making it the city with the most billionaires per capita. New York City is in second place, with one billionaire for every 81,000 people. (Vox)
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- The GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. triggered an intraparty fight. Seung Min Kim and Karoun Demirjian report: “The sudden infighting threatened to undermine support for the Senate’s Russia investigation, which is the sole bipartisan probe in Congress into Russian interference in the 2016 election and has been widely praised as operating with little public drama. Much of the backlash against the decision by Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) to subpoena [Trump’s] eldest son came from GOP senators who are up for reelection next year and from those closely aligned with the president. The outrage was partially fueled by Trump Jr. and his own allies. … Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the intelligence panel, said the intense criticism of Burr was in part a misunderstanding of the focus of the committee’s investigation, which Rubio said is being inaccurately conflated with the special counsel probe.”
-- White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said it was “bad form” for Burr to subpoena Trump’s son without informing him.
-- The judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case ordered the Justice Department to give her access to unredacted portions of Bob Mueller's report. Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn reports: “U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a one-paragraph order gave the U.S. attorneys handling the Stone case until Monday to provide her with portions of Mueller’s report that deal with Stone ‘and/or “the dissemination of hacked materials”’ that were leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign to the detriment of Hillary Clinton. Jackson said she wants to review in private those blacked-out sections of the Mueller report as she weighs several motions from Stone’s lawyers requesting access as part of a larger bid to dismiss the case.”
-- Maria Butina, the Russian agent who cultivated close ties with the National Rifle Association to advance Moscow's interests, tells NPR the only thing she did wrong was failing to register as an agent of the Kremlin at the DOJ. In her first interview with an American outlet since pleading guilty, Butina said she was aware that Russian politician Alexander Torshin was sharing information she fed him with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and claims that she was not part of a Kremlin effort to influence the 2016 election. “Absolutely not … I don't know anything that was going on with the elections rather than the media reports,” she said.
-- Nancy Pelosi said she agrees with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s assessment that Trump’s stonewalling of congressional investigations presents a “constitutional crisis.” Felicia Sonmez reports: “Pelosi signaled Thursday that lawmakers may vote to hold more Trump administration officials in contempt. ‘In terms of timing, when we’re ready we’ll come to the floor,’ she said when asked about the timing of a vote by the full House on whether to hold [Attorney General Bill] Barr in contempt. ‘And we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time. And he wants to do it as soon as possible, and so do we.’”
-- A judge scheduled a hearing next week on Trump’s lawsuit to block his accounting firm from complying with a congressional subpoena, fast-tracking the dispute over the president's financial records. CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Kate Sullivan report: “A hearing is now scheduled for May 14. Previously, the case was set up so that [Judge Amit] Mehta, a nominee of [Obama], would consider it in multiple stages, beginning next week — which could have lengthened out the legal fight and held off Congress from getting the records.”
-- The Trump team’s new strategy against House Democrats is essentially a dare to impeach the president. The New York Times’s Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt report: “Confident that there are not enough votes to remove him from office through an impeachment trial in the Senate, Mr. Trump and his advisers have chosen the path of maximum resistance, calculating that they can put the Democrats on the defensive in a fight that is politically useful for the president. … ‘If it’s an impeachment proceeding, then somebody should call it that,’ said Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers. ‘If you don’t call their bluff now, they’ll just keep slithering around for four, five, six months.’ … Democrats recognize what’s going on. ‘Trump is goading us to impeach him,’ [Pelosi] said at a Cornell University event in Manhattan this week. So far, they have neither taken the bait nor backed off.”
TARGETING POLITICAL RIVALS:
-- Rudy Giuliani is encouraging Ukraine to push for inquiries into sensitive U.S. political issues in the hopes that anything Kiev might find will benefit Trump. The Times’s Ken Vogel reports: “Mr. Giuliani said he plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump. … ‘There’s nothing illegal about it,’ he said. ‘Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.’”
-- Trump said former secretary of state John Kerry should be prosecuted for discussing the Iran nuclear deal with officials from that country after leaving office. Felicia Sonmez reports: “The president raised the issue during a freewheeling exchange with reporters after an event on health care at the White House. … Trump has long accused Kerry of holding ‘illegal’ meetings with Iranian officials and has argued that the former secretary of state violated the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government without authorization. Thursday appears to be the first time Trump has publicly acknowledged that he asked members of his administration to examine whether they could prosecute Kerry.”
-- “Exactly whom Trump may have discussed this with would be of interest,” Aaron Blake notes. “Just last week, [Barr] struggled with a question from Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) about whether Trump or the White House had requested any specific investigations. … And as we saw in the Mueller report, Trump hasn’t always been terribly careful about overstepping the boundaries between the presidency and the Justice Department when it comes to political allies and adversaries.”
-- Kerry spokesman Matt Summers emails that Trump should “focus on solving foreign-policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater”: “Everything President Trump said today is simply wrong, end of story. He’s wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN:
-- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein bid adieu to DOJ in a ceremony dominated by allusions to the Mueller probe. Devlin Barrett reports: “Former White House counsel Donald McGahn was on hand for the ceremony, as was current White House lawyer Emmet Flood. Also in attendance were Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and former attorney general Jeff Sessions. While [Jeff] Sessions and [Bill] Barr, sat on the stage with Rosenstein, former acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, who also served with Rosenstein, stood in the back of the Justice Department’s Great Hall, largely unnoticed by the hundreds of current and former law enforcement officials there. … At one point Thursday, a video montage showed images of Rosenstein with his family, and his co-workers, to the theme music of ‘Band of Brothers,’ a miniseries about an Army company that suffered heavy casualties in World War II.’ ‘Things were often a bit not normal,’ Sessions said, to laughter from the audience.”
-- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was disbarred. Keith L. Alexander and Rachel Weiner report: “The D.C. bar’s decision came after the court’s disciplinary committee issued a report in March that recommended Manafort be disbarred because of crimes 'involving moral turpitude.' In a four-page decision Thursday, the court ruled that because of Manafort’s convictions, 'the mandatory sanction imposed by statute is to disbar him from the practice of law.'”
-- “He founded ‘Students for Trump.’ Now he could face jail time for impersonating a lawyer,” by Politico Magazine’s Ben Schreckinger: “According to the federal government, at the same time he was building a nationwide political network and serving as one of the most visible young faces of Trump’s populist movement, [John] Lambert was also posing online as a high-powered New York lawyer, eventually making off with tens of thousands of dollars in fees he stole from unwitting clients seeking legal services. Lambert’s rise to prominence and recent indictment offer a cautionary tale of an ambitious young man caught up in Trump’s allure — a get-rich-quick fantasy of the American dream — who allegedly managed to create his own reality on the internet, only to have the real world come barging in.”
-- Trump nominated former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan to permanently lead the Department of Defense. Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne report: “Shanahan has served as acting defense secretary since his predecessor, Jim Mattis, resigned late last year over policy differences with the president. Shanahan was recently cleared by the Defense Department inspector general of allegations that he was partial to his former employer while serving in the Pentagon’s No. 2 job under Mattis. Shanahan ‘has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense, and he will continue to do an excellent job,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.”
-- Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is promoting oil and gas drilling despite resistance from Capitol Hill. Juliet Eilperin reports: “Bernhardt, who took office a month ago, said he was committed to carrying out Trump’s plans to expand fossil-fuel production on public lands. … Congressional Democrats have been pressing Bernhardt, who appeared before a House spending panel Tuesday and will testify before the House Natural Resources Committee next week, to factor climate change into the department’s decisions about energy development on public lands and in federal waters. But he emphasized that Interior was not legally obligated to curb the nation’s carbon output, even if it had to assess the environmental effects of its leasing programs. ‘The law requires us to analyze those things,’ he said, referring to the greenhouse gas emissions stemming from a leasing decision. ‘It doesn’t say if there is an additional contribution, you should not go forward at all.’”
-- Chris Christie has co-founded a property investment fund seeking to profit off a tax break for low-income areas known as opportunity zones included in the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. The Wall Street Journal’s Konrad Putzier reports: “Mr. Christie and his partners in the fund are hoping to raise about $150 million. … Although Mr. Christie’s name doesn’t appear in the fund’s brochure, people involved say he serves as a senior adviser. His wife, a former business development executive at the investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co., is the fund’s executive vice president. … He joins a small but growing list of former government officials looking to cash in on the opportunity-zone program by raising funds and charging a fee to invest in the designated areas.”
WATCHING NORTH KOREA:
-- U.S. authorities seized a North Korean coal ship allegedly violating international sanctions just hours after Pyongyang launched a pair of short-range missiles. Devlin Barrett and Jeanne Whalen report: “Justice Department officials Thursday confirmed that the vessel, the Wise Honest, was approaching U.S. territorial waters in American Samoa, in coordination with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Coast Guard. … The 17,601-ton, single-hull bulk carrier ship is one of North Korea’s largest, and U.S. authorities said it was part of a network of North Korean vessels illicitly shipping coal from that country and bringing back heavy machinery in violation of U.N. and U.S. sanctions. … Separately on Thursday, U.S. military officials conducted a scheduled launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an Air Force facility in California. … Trump told reporters Thursday that the U.S.-North Korea relationship ‘continues, but we’ll see what happens. I know they want to negotiate. They’re talking about negotiating, but I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate.’”
-- Trump and Kim fought their own subordinates while in the process of trying to achieve a historic disarmament deal. John Hudson and Josh Dawsey have a great tick tock: “In April, Kim demoted his point man for the nuclear talks, Kim Yong Chol, rebuking a prominent hard-liner and former spy chief who exasperated U.S. negotiators with his stubborn demands and aloof demeanor, two State Department officials said. Trump also has battled with his top advisers to preserve a positive atmosphere for a deal. On Tuesday, Trump told South Korea’s president in a phone call that he supports aid for North Korea to ease food shortages, despite the concerns of some U.S. officials that it might ease internal pressure on the regime.”
-- As part of nuclear negotiations before the February summit in Hanoi, Kim requested the United States send “famous basketball players” to North Korea. ABC News’s Tara Palmeri reports: “The request was made in writing, officials said, as part of the cultural exchange between the two countries, and at one point the North Koreans insisted that it be included in the joint statement on denuclearization. The North Koreans also made a request for the exchange of orchestras between the two countries. … Basketball diplomacy has been tossed around in the past as a way to breakdown roadblocks with Kim, who is a diehard basketball fan. Since boarding school in Switzerland, Kim has said he loves playing basketball and would wear a Chicago Bulls sweatshirt and Nike sneakers.”
-- North Korea’s latest missile tests showcase the country’s growing weaponry capability. Reuters’s Josh Smith reports: “North Korea’s second missile test on Thursday signals it is serious about developing new, short-range weapons that could be used early and effectively in any war with South Korea and the United States, analysts studying images of the latest launches say.”
-- It was impossible to ignore the racial divide during the World Series champion Boston Red Sox’s visit to the White House yesterday. Several players, all of them Latino or African American, chose to skip the event. David Nakamura and Ashley Parker report: “Of the dozen players who [attended], only one — outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent — is a minority. Manager Alex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico, also [skipped] the event. … The Red Sox have sought to play down the split, but the cleaving of the team along racial lines has symbolized an era in which Trump — who has sowed, and exploited, deep divisions in American society — has forced the nation to confront fundamental questions of identity, transforming what had once been feel-good ceremonies at the White House into pitched moments of cultural reckoning.”
-- The White House ceremony itself largely steered clear of politics. Toluse Olorunnipa and Cindy Boren report: “Under a light drizzle, Trump walked out onto the South Lawn of the White House flanked by Boston players Chris Sale and J.D. Martinez. … Trump didn’t reference the missing players, instead congratulating ‘all of the coaches and players of the Red Sox’ on their ‘incredible victory’ over the Los Angeles Dodgers last fall. … Other than congratulating himself for rebuilding the military, Trump didn’t veer into any of the thorny political topics that often capture his attention even during routine White House ceremonies.”
-- A retired U.S. Foreign Service officer was convicted of hate crimes after threatening Arab American Institute President James Zogby and other employees. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “W. Patrick Syring, 61, of Arlington, was found guilty by a federal jury in Washington, D.C., of threatening staffers based on their race and national origin … Syring, who served two tours in Beirut during his 25-year State Department career, pleaded guilty in 2008 to violating civil rights laws related to messages he left with AAI during the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. ‘The only good Arab is a dead Arab,’ Syring said in a profanity-laden voice-mail message in July 2006, which he followed up with emails accusing Zogby of ‘promoting the interest of Hezbollah, Hamas and Arab terror’…After completing his sentence on his first conviction, Syring resumed his contacts with AAI employees, sending more than 700 emails from 2012 to 2017 containing nearly identical language and culminating in five death threats, prosecutors said.”
-- Classmates of Kendrick Castillo, the student killed during this week's school shooting in suburban Denver, stormed out of a vigil for him to protest what they called the politicization of his death. The students argued that two of the vigil’s speakers, Colorado Democrats Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow, were using Castillo’s death to promote gun control. (Deanna Paul)
-- The school shooting suspects, identified as Alec McKinney and Devon Erickson, are expected to appear in court today. Corey Hutchins, Deanna Paul and Moriah Balingit report: “McKinney, who is under 18, is also set to learn whether he will be charged as an adult. One close neighbor whose child shared voice lessons with Erickson described the 18-year-old suspect as a young man from a nice family who was immersed in theater.”
-- Lawyers for the second suspect are asking that the court use the pronoun “he” when referring to their client. McKinney was assigned female at birth and now identifies as male. (Washington Examiner)
-- Police in Montgomery County, Md., say they're investigating a video of a white officer using the n-word. Jennifer Barrios and Dan Morse report: “During the roughly 12-minute body-cam video, which begins with the unidentified officer driving to the scene — a McDonald’s parking lot in the White Oak section of Silver Spring around 10:30 a.m. Thursday — the officer can be heard laughing and attempting to make light banter with the group of young African American men, who were lined up along the outside of the restaurant. Toward the end of the video, the officer says, 'Y’all n-----s been tryin’ to something.' Someone on the video can be heard calling her a 'racist,' and the officer indicates she was repeating something a person in the group had told her.”
-- Anita Hill says that, in light of the #MeToo movement and Joe Biden’s presidential bid, it is understandable why his role in the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings is being debated again. But now, she writes in an op-ed for the New York Times, it's time to talk about how to end sexual violence: “If the Senate Judiciary Committee, led then by Mr. Biden, had done its job and held a hearing that showed that its members understood the seriousness of sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence, the cultural shift we saw in 2017 after #MeToo might have began in 1991 — with the support of the government. If the government had shown that it would treat survivors with dignity and listen to women, it could have had a ripple effect … Instead, far too many survivors kept their stories hidden for years. Thousands of women and many men have shared with me their stories of being sexually harassed since my testimony 28 years ago. These stories are especially troubling because they are so common. Yet they had long gone unseen, with the public viewing behavior from sexual extortion to sexual assault as a personal issue to be dealt with in private.”
-- Bernie Sanders’s memos to himself from his time as mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the mid-1980s depict a brutally honest man on the cusp of middle age, agonizing over the prospect of failure. Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy has an amazing story that will help you understand Bernie better: “Sanders did not keep a regular journal, and the mostly undated memos are scattered haphazardly amid his other work. But based on their contents, they were largely composed in the run-up to Sanders’ unsuccessful 1986 campaign for governor, at a pivotal juncture in his career. By early 1985, he had won three elections for mayor, and he had steered the city on a decidedly leftward course, taking on cable companies and developers and cultivating a national and international profile. But as Sanders considered his own future, he fretted over whether his time in Burlington would be a stepping stone or the end of the road.”
-- Health care, climate change and education are the three topics that Iowa voters bring up most often when Democratic presidential candidates take questions in the state. The Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannestiel reports: “Cable news staple topics, like Russia and presidential impeachment, rarely were brought up — just a couple of times. The questions also represent diverse concerns. Questions touched on nearly four dozen other topic areas. … In Muscatine, [Sanders] was asked about the need to address racial disparities in the U.S. health care system. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was pressed in Ames about the best way to transition into an expansive new health care system without triggering a recession. And, in Clinton, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was asked about the rising suicide rate among farmers.”
-- With an eye toward 2020, House Democrats advanced a bill to protect people with preexisting conditions and bar the Trump administration from granting states waivers that would sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Mike DeBonis reports: “Next week, the House will vote on a package of seven health-care bills, several of which would reverse administration actions that Democrats have described as efforts to sabotage [the ACA]. The votes come as Trump recently renewed his vow to repeal the 2010 law and directed the Justice Department to support a lawsuit aimed at invalidating the law entirely — including its popular protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions.”
-- Pete Buttigieg is the only top 2020 contender who is still not offering health care to his staffers. NBC News’s Josh Lederman reports: “Instead, Buttigieg is providing a monthly stipend to workers to buy insurance on their own through the Obamacare exchanges, his campaign said, with plans to offer health care in the future.”
-- Self-help author Marianne Williamson said she has qualified for the Democratic primary debates. Williamson’s campaign announced she has hit the 65,000-donor threshold laid out by the DNC. But she has not yet scored at least 1 percent in three qualifying polls, meaning she could still miss the debate stage if more than 20 candidates meet at least one of the requirements and the DNC is forced to use its tiebreakers to determine the participants. (Politico)
-- Andrew Yang, a relatively unknown presidential candidate, has been drawing big crowds and raising a surprising amount of money and has earned an expected spot on the Democratic debate stage. Holly Bailey profiles him: “A Taiwanese American entrepreneur, lawyer and philanthropist from New York who launched his long-shot bid for the presidency more than a year ago, Yang is barely a blip in most national polls, where his support ranks between 1 and 3 percent. But Yang has become something of a below-the-radar phenomenon in the crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.”
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- Thousands of immigrants in cities along the U.S.-Mexico border are waiting for their asylum applications to be reviewed while they are exposed to haphazard conditions. The AP’s Elliot Spagat, Nomaan Merchant and Patricio Espinoza report: “The Associated Press visited eight cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and found 13,000 immigrants on waiting lists to get into the country … In some cities, days pass without anyone being processed, the AP found. In San Diego, up to 80 are handled each day, but the line in Tijuana, across the border, is the longest anywhere — about 4,800 people. Each day at each crossing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials alert Mexican counterparts how many people they will take — a system that U.S. authorities call metering. Then the keeper of the list lets immigrants know who can go into the U.S. for asylum interviews. It is impossible to predict how many. Migrants pick their route based on a best guess of which city will offer the fastest crossing, and which will offer the safest stay in the meantime.”
-- The Department of Housing and Urban Development said more than 55,000 children — all of whom are legal U.S. residents or citizens — could be displaced under Trump’s plan to evict undocumented immigrants. Tracy Jan reports: “The proposed rule, published Friday in the Federal Register, would tighten regulations against undocumented immigrants accessing federally subsidized housing to ‘make certain our scarce public resources help those who are legally entitled to it,’ HUD Secretary Ben Carson said last month. But the agency’s analysis of the rule’s regulatory impact concluded that half of current residents living in households potentially facing eviction and homelessness are children who are legally qualified for aid. … Current rules bar undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing subsidies but allow families of mixed-immigration status as long as one person — a child born in the United States or a citizen spouse — is eligible. The subsidies are prorated to cover only eligible residents. The new rule, pushed by White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, would require every household member be of ‘eligible immigration status.’”
-- An ethics watchdog asked a federal agency to share any documents related to former White House chief of staff John Kelly and his newest employer, Caliburn International, which operates the nation’s largest shelter for unaccompanied migrant children. CBS News’s Graham Kates reports: “The nonpartisan organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) cited public reaction in its request for the documents. … ‘While in government, Kelly was directly involved in implementing the family separation policy, and he now works for a for-profit operator of child detention centers, Caliburn, that has reaped substantial financial benefits from that very policy, ‘ wrote CREW attorney Nikhel Sus.”
-- A new study found the number of college-educated Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has risen more than 150 percent in the past 19 years. NBC News’s Suzanne Gamboa reports: “Mexican immigrants with a bachelor’s degree rose from 269,000 in 2000 to 678,000 in 2017, an increase of 409,000, according to the report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, and Southern Methodist University’s Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. That makes Mexicans the fourth largest group of college-educated immigrants in the country, after people from India, China and the Philippines, according to the study, which looked at highly skilled Mexicans in Texas and the rest of the nation.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump started the day early by defending his administration’s actions against China:
Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner - there is absolutely no need to rush - as Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products. These massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2019
After an earlier release said the Boston Red “Socks” were coming (it's Sox), the White House incorrectly identified the championship the team had won:
First, the White House calls them the “Red Socks.” Now, they seem to be the “World Cup Series Champions” pic.twitter.com/oiZztyufs5— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) May 9, 2019
A Republican senator up for reelection next year slammed his own state's senior senator over the subpoena of the president's son:
I agree with Leader McConnell: this case is closed. The Mueller Report cleared @DonaldJTrumpJr and he’s already spent 27 hours testifying before Congress. Dems have made it clear this is all about politics. It’s time to move on & start focusing on issues that matter to Americans. https://t.co/11THs9LE0j— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) May 9, 2019
The founder of the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA said senators like Tillis could face primary challenges if they don't back the president and his family:
Conservatives are watching closely how @SenThomTillis responds to his North Carolina colleague @SenatorBurr’s senseless targeting of @DonaldJTrumpJr.— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 9, 2019
Primaries will not be kind to Republicans who stand silent as government power is a abused to harass the President’s family.
From the White House press secretary's dad:
A former Obama White House speechwriter mocked Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder and former publisher of the New Republic, after he suggested the social media giant should be broken up:
If Chris Hughes really wants to break up Facebook, he should just call it The New Republic and put himself in charge.— Zev Karlin-Neumann (@zkarlinn) May 9, 2019
(Not bitter or anything...)
A CNN reporter shared this look at a 2020 candidate catching a flight:
Ok this Gate 35X bus ride has legit turned into a mini town hall. Man wants to know why she’s going to Kermit, W Va. She says she has a new opioids bill out, and wants to hold big pharma execs liable pic.twitter.com/FwOXRsfDeV— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) May 9, 2019
A former Obama adviser shared these observations about a Buttigieg interview:
Two things strike me about this video. One if that @PeteButtigieg is fluent in Spanish, which seems useful. The other is that he can eat tacos without apparently dropping any on his white shirt-which I personally find almost impossible.— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 9, 2019
Hillary Clinton marked the anniversary of the birth-control pill as reproductive rights are once again debated in the country:
The FDA approved the very first birth control pill 59 years ago today, and the world opened up for women.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 9, 2019
Reproductive freedom is simply the foundation of women’s ability to achieve their dreams.
We have to continue defending it. #ThxBirthControl
-- “Cindy McCain’s life without John,” by Roxanne Roberts: “Gone and yet not gone. The McCain legacy looms large, so much so that Republicans continue to praise his service and statesmanship even as [Trump] obsessively punches at his ghost. Before, Cindy was the elegant if aloof political spouse, standing on the side while her husband held the spotlight. Now she doesn’t have to worry about saying something that could damage her husband’s political career — and, despite the sadness of the past two years, she is a woman at ease with herself. … Cindy is now the keeper of John’s flame, a surrogate for her husband’s vision, values and principles for a fractured Republican Party.”
-- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban systematically undermined his country’s education system, but a Budapest university stood defiant — and it was founded by George Soros. The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer reports: “The university is widely considered the country’s most prestigious graduate school—it’s been a training ground for presidents, diplomats, and even members of Orbán’s own inner circle. But that inner circle had turned against the institution that had nurtured it and now sought to chase the school from the country’s borders. … Hungary once had some of the best universities in postcommunist Europe. But Orbán’s government has systematically crushed them. His functionaries have descended on public universities, controlling them tightly. Research funding, once determined by an independent body of academics, is now primarily dispensed by an Orbán loyalist. … The effort to evict CEU rattled liberals across the world. … The fate of the university was a test of whether liberalism had the tactical savvy and emotional fortitude to beat back its new ideological foe.”
-- Trump’s former ghostwriter, Charles Leerhsen, wrote an op-ed for Yahoo that details his experiences with the president while working on his book “Surviving at the Top” from 1988 to 1990: “What was it like for him to lose more than $1 billion in a decade? Was he perpetually ashen-faced with fear? Or smirking at the thought of outwitting the IRS ‘for sport,’ as he said in a Wednesday morning tweet? … Right in the middle of this period, I can tell you that the answer is that he was neither. Except for an occasional passing look of queasiness, or anger, when someone came into his Trump Tower office and whispered the daily win/loss numbers at his Atlantic City casinos, he seemed to be bored out of his mind. I tend to see my time with him — the first part of it, anyway, before things started going bad in a hurry — as his ‘King Midas’ period. I never said this to him; if I had, he probably would have thought I was suggesting he enter the muffler business. But there was a stretch of months when everything he touched turned into a deal.”
-- “They Got Rich Off Uber and Lyft. Then They Moved to Low-Tax States,” by the New York Times's Kate Conger: “[Brian] McMullen, 33, is part of an exclusive club: the semiretired tech millennial who left California after getting rich. Like many in this group, he is a newly minted multimillionaire who became wealthy by working for high-profile San Francisco start-ups like Uber and Lyft, which are now about to go or have just gone public. Once their wealth was assured, these tech workers quit the companies and fled California, which has the nation’s highest state income tax, at more than 13 percent, to reside in lower-tax states like Texas and Florida, where there is no personal state income tax. … In fleeing California, these millennial millionaires are following a well-worn tradition. Over the years, many who made a fortune off Silicon Valley skedaddled to lower-tax locations where they could better protect their wealth.”
-- ProPublica, “Listen to TurboTax Lie to Get Out of Refunding Overcharged Customers,” by Justin Elliott and Meg Marco: “The makers of TurboTax have long been luring customers into paying for a service that they promised the government they’d give away for free. Now they’re lying to customers to avoid giving refunds. … TurboTax’s Free File product is created and run by the company. It is offered as part of a deal between the tax software industry and the government. The deal is specifically designed to keep the IRS from creating its own free online filing system. Several people gave us recordings of their calls.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Delta told workers to save up for football, beer and video games instead of joining a union. It didn’t go well,” by Eli Rosenberg: “The posters included messages targeting the price of the dues that company workers would be paying if the union formed. ‘Union dues cost around $700 a year,’ one noted. ‘A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.’ The other, with a picture of a football, was framed similarly. … In the charged world of social media, in which talk about socialism and the evils of unfettered capitalism percolates in the conversations of an invigorated left, the posters fell with a thud. ‘You know what sounds fun @Delta,’ Rick Smith, a liberal podcaster, tweeted. ‘Health care. A living wage. Dignity. Respect. A voice on the job. Safe working condition. Retirement security. $700 Is a great investment once you look at all you benefit from.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Beto O’Rourke says Cory Booker's federal gun-license plan may go ‘too far,’” from Fox News’s Paul Steinhauser: “O’Rourke says that Booker’s new proposal to mandate the federal licensing of all gun owners goes too far. … ‘I don’t know that we need to take the additional step of licensing every single firearm to every single owner,’ [he said] … The former three-term congressman from El Paso — who’s a proponent of universal background checks for gun sales, an assault weapons ban, and so-called ‘red-flag’ laws to remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others — explained that ‘I come from, just like New Hampshire, a very proud gun-owning state. People who use firearms responsibly for hunting, for self-protection, for collection.’”
Trump and the first lady will participate in a celebration of military mothers.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
During his CNN town hall, former FBI director Jim Comey said he thinks the attorney general is acting “less than honorably” and “continues to talk as if he is the president's lawyer.” “He's an accomplished and very smart person who had nothing to lose in taking this job but his reputation, but I really — it doesn't make me happy to say this, but I think he has lost most of his reputation with the way he has conducted himself,” Comey said. (CNN)
-- Trump slammed Comey after his CNN appearance, suggesting that he watched:
James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history. He brought the FBI down, almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED, but the FBI will regain greatness because of the great men & women who work there!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2019
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- It look like we’ll have a rainy weekend. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Showers and storms today keeps our Friday streak of suboptimal weather going, but we may also add another rainy weekend to boot. Sunday and Sunday night may be close to a washout. Sorry, mom, it’s a stationary front setting up shop over our region, and it may encourage several waves of low pressure to ride along it.”
-- The Nationals beat the Dodgers 6-0. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- As state spending on combating the opioid economic soars, Maryland officials said the epidemic fueled by fentanyl deaths is starting to show signs of slowing. Erin Cox reports: “Though the annual death toll remains record-breaking — and more than four times higher than just nine years ago — the rate of increase is the slowest single-year jump since 2011, according to a first-of-its-kind state report released Thursday. Opioid-related deaths increased by 8.2 percent in 2017 and by 70.4 percent in 2016, the report said. ... Statewide, Maryland is expected to spend $672 million on opioid-related initiatives this fiscal year, the report said — $242 million more than it will spend building schools. Next fiscal year, opioid-related spending will rise to $747 million. ... As recently as July, Maryland public health officials had labeled the surge in fentanyl deaths “staggering.” But annual fentanyl deaths did not increase as quickly in 2018 as they did previously — rising 17.1 percent last year, compared with a 42.5 percent spike the year before. 'We remain alarmed by the high toxicity, portability, difficulty of detection, low price, and wide availability of synthetic opioids,' the report said. The official death toll will be released by public health officials in July.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Seth Meyers can't imagine what Donald Trump Jr.'s hair would look like if he only had access to prison shampoo:
Stephen Colbert wasn't surprised that Trump encouraged the shooting of immigrants at the border:
The Class of 2019 at the University of Colorado at Boulder turned its graduation ceremony into a snow fight:
For graduation in Colorado, you need:— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) May 9, 2019
A cap, gown, and... snow goggles. pic.twitter.com/O1o4uq6YE6
And people were shocked at the number of eggs a man being interviewed by a Fox News reporter was about to eat: