* Julie Hirschfeld Davis confirms that people close to President Trump really do appear to have leaked the Democratic delegation’s plans to travel abroad commercially, potentially endangering people’s safety:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California postponed an official trip to Europe and Afghanistan citing security concerns on Friday after President Trump grounded her military flight and divulged the itinerary, and White House officials leaked a secret plan for her and the lawmakers accompanying her to fly commercially.
“In light of the grave threats caused by the president’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement.
Mr. Hammill said that the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service had raised its threat assessment for the trip overnight after Mr. Trump announced in a letter to Ms. Pelosi on Thursday that he was revoking her use of a military aircraft to make the journey, which she was to have begun that afternoon. The update indicated “that the president announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip,” he said in the statement.
“This morning,” he added, “we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”
People close to Mr. Trump, who did not want to be identified because they said they did not have authorization to divulge Ms. Pelosi’s schedule, revealed late Thursday that she was planning to make the trip anyway, flying commercially. Word of the plan spread through the White House, and among those who had conversations about it was Mr. Trump himself.
Emphasis ours. We’re running out of ways to say, “just when you thought they couldn’t sink any lower…”
* Victoria Albert adds this crucial detail:
An aide to Pelosi told The Daily Beast that they got wind that the administration had leaked the delegations plans to travel to Afghanistan on commercial charter after their office was approached by reporters citing multiple administration officials asking about those plans. Pelosi’s office also explained that the State Department has to pay for the flights, even those done commercially, which is how the administration knew of the plans in the first place.
“Reporters citing multiple administration officials,” eh? If true, these reporters know exactly what happened.
* Ryan Goodman explains why the new BuzzFeed scoop suggests this scandal could be worse than Watergate: Any officials implicated in encouraging Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow project would expose them to Russian blackmail.
* Natasha Bertrand rounds up the statements from numerous Democrats who are now floating impeachment in the wake of the BuzzFeed story, and explains how this represents a real shift in the party’s response to Trump.
* David Lurie points out that if the BuzzFeed story is right, the first person calling for Trump’s impeachment should be GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, given that he induced Trump’s choice for Attorney General to say that suborning perjury is Obstruction of Justice 101.
* David Dorsen, a former Watergate counsel, explains the various ways we can ensure that the Mueller report does end up seeing the light of day.
* Joan Walsh gets at a deeper reason that Nancy Pelosi is stiffarming Trump’s State of the Union address: Pelosi understands the basic asymmetry between Democrats and a GOP that is captive to right wing media and a grievance-soaked base, and is reacting accordingly.
* Nancy LeTourneau catches Mitch McConnell making a particularly odious claim about Democratic efforts to make it easier to vote, and marvels at how blatantly Republicans act as if people voting constitutes a threat to their hold on power.
* Paul Krugman has a good piece pointing out an important development: Now that Democrats have regained ground on the state level, state governments are experimenting with new ways to tackle major problems in the face of our national nightmare.
I just want to add that Dems regaining ground in the states is also pivotal to future hopes of progress because it’s partly where the war for democracy itself will be waged, via state-level voting reforms. This is a key topic of my new book.
* Trump is now pushing a right wing media meme that “ranchers and farmers” (Real Americans!) near the border are worried about terrorism, because they’re finding “prayer rugs” (bad foreigners!) on their land. Steve Benen comments:
So, we’re supposed to believe some dangerous Muslims crossed the Atlantic, arrived in Mexico, carried their prayer rugs during their difficult journey across the border, and then left them in the American dirt.
As Steve notes, the presumption here -- that there’s something threatening about signs of Muslims praying -- is itself a pretty egregious problem, in addition to the superficial absurdity here.
* And the Des Moines Register reports that GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa is raising money off of the controversy over his remarks about white nationalism and white supremacy, proving once again that right wing grift is basically bottomless.