Tilting Toward Trump

Thursday, October 26, 2017Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 10.42.26 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • There is zero appetite for the Never Trump movement in the Republican Party of today, said one super PAC adviser. And for some Republican lawmakers who are uncomfortable supporting hard-edged nationalism and grievance politics, the solution is to get out altogether.
  • Growing rifts between old-guard conservatives and President Trump’s new-wave populists are roiling the Republican Party, with a once-in-a-generation bill to cut taxes emerging as their best hope for unity.
  • When Jeff Flake railed on the Senate floor against the conduct of his president and his party, much of what he said had roots in his Mormon upbringing.
  • For all the talk of the White House chief of staff as a moderating force, John F. Kelly has strong feelings about patriotism and immigration that mirror those of his boss.
  • On Twitter, Julian Assange said he had been approached before the 2016 election by the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, a data group that had worked for Mr. Trump, but he did not disclose what help was being sought.
  • A lawyer for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid for research that was included in the dossier that sought to link the Trump campaign and Russia.
— The First Draft Team

What to Know About the Dossier of Trump Research and Who Paid for It

By KENNETH P. VOGEL
After Donald J. Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Fusion GPS was hired on behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee by their law firm, Perkins Coie, to try to unearth damaging information about him.

After Donald J. Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Fusion GPS was hired on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee by their law firm, Perkins Coie, to try to unearth damaging information about him. Damon Winter/The New York Times

The so-called Steele dossier of research into President Trump’s connections to Russia is back in the news, with the revelation that it was at least partly funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
What is the dossier?
It is a 35-page collection of research memos written by Christopher Steele, a respected former British intelligence agent, primarily during the 2016 presidential campaign. The memos allege a multifaceted conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to help Mr. Trump defeat Mrs. Clinton. The memos also detail unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes, among other claims about Mr. Trump’s businesses.
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A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on J.F.K. Assassination

By PETER BAKER AND SCOTT SHANE

With permission from President Trump, the federal government on Thursday will begin releasing the final documents on the 1963 killing of John F. Kennedy.

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, last week in Washington.
FACT CHECK

Trump Falsely Denounces Jeff Flake by Calling Him a … Democrat?

By LINDA QIU

The Arizona Republican’s conservative credentials notwithstanding, the president said he initially assumed Senator Jeff Flake was a Democrat.

People protesting President Trump’s executive order on health care in La Jolla, Calif., this month.

Siding With Trump, Judge Clears Way for Trial Over Health Subsidies

By ROBERT PEAR

A federal judge in San Francisco rejected states’ claims that consumers would be drastically harmed by the president’s order to end cost-sharing payments.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, at a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday.

U.S. Targets Terrorist Financing With New Round of Sanctions

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

The fresh round of sanctions was unveiled by Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, as he embarks on a four-country trip to the Middle East.

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, spoke Wednesday with reporters on Capitol Hill after announcing he would not run for re-election.

Trump Keeps Focus on Retiring Senators, Who Had ‘Zero Chance of Being Elected’

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

Senator Jeff Flake told CNN that he could not “run the kind of race that I would be proud of and win in a Republican primary at this time.”

The Kennedy Assassination Files: Decades of Doubts and Conspiracy Theories

By LORI MOORE

With the last of the sealed government papers on the 1963 killing expected to be made public, here’s a look back at over 50 years of swirling questions.

Scott Brown at Trump Tower in New York last year. He revealed on Wednesday that he was cautioned by the State Department about comments he made while on an official trip to Samoa.

Scott Brown, U.S. Envoy to New Zealand, Faced Inquiry for Remarks to Women

By CHARLOTTE GRAHAM

Scott Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, acknowledged calling guests at an event in Samoa “beautiful” and said the State Department cautioned him on his behavior.

The term pork barrel spending has been around for well over 100 years. It means using government funds on local projects that are primarily used to bring more money to a specific representative’s district.

The Unhealthy Politics of Pork: How It Increases Your Medical Costs

By DHRUV KHULLAR

A study shows how lobbying and political dynamics can change congressional and hospital behavior — and raise costs.

Representatives Peter T. King of New York, Devin Nunes of California and Ron DeSantis of Florida, all Republicans, announced new investigations on Tuesday in Washington.

Courting Democratic Ire, Republicans Open New Obama-Era Inquiries

By NICHOLAS FANDOS

The House Judiciary, Intelligence and Oversight Committees announced a pair of new investigations into Obama administration actions connected to Hillary Clinton.

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has said he is trying to create a more level playing field for traditional and online media.

F.C.C. to Loosen Rules on Local Media Ownership

By CECILIA KANG

The Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, said in a congressional hearing that the agency would vote to roll back cross-ownership rules.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
The editors of The Weekly Standard:
“We are left to conclude that Trump and his confreres wanted Flake defeated merely because Flake has said critical things about Trump. We expect this sort of vanity from Trump — it’s his brand and he owns it — but not from grown-up Republican officeholders and commentators.”
The editorial board of The Weekly Standard notes that it is puzzling why President Trump and his “celebrity allies” such as Stephen K. Bannon and Laura Ingraham were so keen on unseating Mr. Flake from his Arizona seat. After all, the editors note, while he may differ with the president on immigration and trade, “his views on foreign policy and national security are closer to Trump’s than, say, Lindsey Graham’s.” They conclude that the president and his defenders cannot abide a person who praises the leader when he’s right, and criticizes him when he’s wrong. Read more »
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From the Left
John Nichols in The Nation:
“The measure of responsible Republicanism in these times cannot be made with words — not even with words so powerful as those employed by Jeff Flake on Tuesday afternoon. Deeds are required.”
Mr. Nichols has no faith that the other members of the Republican Party will heed Mr. Flake’s call to speak out against the president. Moreover, Mr. Nichols believes that Republicans of conscience cannot just articulate their resistance to the president, they must take action. If the president is truly as dangerous as we have been told, “he should be checked and balanced by Congress.” Read more »
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