Trump Backs Memo Disclosure

Friday, February 2, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 8.50.25 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The White House signaled that President Trump would allow a secret memo written by Republican congressional aides to be made public, despite fears from some in the West Wing that it could prompt the resignation of the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray.

  • Representative Devin Nunes once called fellow Republicans lemmings in suicide vests. As the main author behind the memo, it’s now the California Republican and House Intelligence Committee chairman who appears ready to blow things up.

  • Mr. Trump turned up the pressure on Democrats to come to an agreement with Republicans on protections for young, undocumented immigrants, asserting that opposition leaders talk a good game but care more about politics than actually resolving the matter.
  • The White House has grown frustrated in recent weeks by what it considers the Pentagon’s reluctance to provide Mr. Trump with options for a military strike against North Korea.
  • The State Department’s top career diplomat announced his resignation, contributing to an exodus of senior diplomats during the Trump administration.

  • The Justice Department has effectively shuttered an Obama-era office dedicated to making legal aid accessible to all citizens.
— The First Draft Team

A ‘Blue’ Florida? There Are No Quick Demographic Fixes for Democrats

Voters exited a polling place during early voting in late October 2016 in Miami. President Trump won Florida by 1.2 percentage points.

Voters exited a polling place during early voting in late October 2016 in Miami. President Trump won Florida by 1.2 percentage points. Max Reed for The New York Times

Democrats could be forgiven for dreaming about a “blue” Florida. It is diversifying as fast as Texas or Arizona, and the demographic composition of its electorate may be poised to shift even faster than anticipated.
As many as 300,000 people have fled to Florida from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. And a ballot initiative this November could return the vote to the state’s estimated 1.5 million discharged felons. At first glance, either tally of these two Democratic-leaning groups would seem to dwarf Donald J. Trump’s 113,000-vote margin of victory in the state in 2016.
But the reality for Democrats is that neither development is likely to fundamentally alter Florida’s political character heading into the 2020 election.
The main reason? The electoral effect dwindles after accounting for the relatively low turnout rates among these groups. More generally, even big demographic shifts that seem to favor Democrats could easily be swamped by other demographic shifts that do the opposite.
Read more »

Trump Boasts, Incorrectly, That His State of the Union Drew the Largest Viewership

A Republican group watched President Trump’s State of the Union address in Atlanta on Tuesday.


The president’s State of the Union address this year drew fewer viewers than eight other annual presidential speeches, including one of his own.

Michelle Obama, flanked by Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump, greeted Melania Trump at the White House in Washington last year.

Michelle Obama Reveals What Was in the Tiffany Box From Melania Trump. You Can Sleep Now.


It was one of the biggest mysteries in Washington since President Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017: What did Mrs. Trump give the departing first lady in a blue box?

About 25% of Trump’s Re-election Spending Continues to Go to Lawyers

By KENNETH P. VOGEL AND RACHEL SHOREYA Trump rally in December in Pensacola, Fla. The president’s re-election campaign entered the year with $32.3 million in the bank, reflecting an aggressive start to re-election fund-raising.

As the president looks ahead to the 2020 campaign, law firms responding to the Russia inquiry continue to receive payments from re-election committees.

An image from a computer simulation meant to train educators how to respond during a school shooting. By selecting commands on a keyboard, they can give instructions to virtual students.

School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst


New software funded by the Department of Homeland Security features a virtual school stalked by an active shooter.

A United States officer in 2016 at the entrance to the United States prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Ordering Guantánamo Kept Open Is One Thing, but Refilling It Is Another


Despite signing an order to keep the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, open, the president hasn’t solved problems that kept him from bringing new detainees there last year.

A free-speech rally at the University of California, Berkeley, last April. A bill in Congress would limit colleges’ ability to impose new restrictions on controversial speakers.<br /><br />

Republicans Tack a Conservative Campus Wish List to a Major Education Bill


The bill contains measures sought by religious schools and free-speech advocates, worrying some college administrators and gay-rights groups.

Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, insisted that neither he nor any other American officials went easy on the Russian spy chiefs in their recent meetings.

C.I.A. Director Defends Meeting With Russian Spy Chiefs


Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, pushed back on criticism of his meetings last week with two Russian spy chiefs, saying the focus was on combating terrorism.

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, Democrat of Massachusetts, is in his third term.

Fact Check: Democratic Responses to Trump’s State of the Union


Democrats mislead and leave out context about trade, health care and taxes in criticizing the State of the Union speech.

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
Dan McLaughlin in National Review:
“Many Republicans, like me, who are not comfortable with Trump would have been a lot easier to convert if the Trump of tonight’sspeech was the everyday Trump.”
Mr. McLaughlin found President Trump’s use of his guest’s inspirational stories during the State of the Union speech to be a sign of “weakness,” though the stories themselves were powerful reminders of “what a perilous world we still live in.” Over all, however, Mr. McLaughlin, a Trump skeptic on the right, was pleased to see the Republican president promote the benefits of tax cuts, solidarity with Iranian protesters and the need for compromise over immigration. Read more »
From the Left
Eric Levitz in New York magazine:
“It was a speech that attempted to articulate a more racially and ideologically inclusive version of Trumpism, while also making the case that immigrants are bringing crime and drugs to the United States.”
Before Mr. Trump’s comments on immigration, Mr. Levitz admits, he “endorsed a series of vague, but nonetheless bipartisan — if not outright Democratic — policy proposals.” But the “great unifier’s mask really slipped,” according to Mr. Levitz, when the president made a case against “chain migration.” Read more »
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