It’s All About The Trump, Jr.

Series Of Rapid-Fire Stories In The New York Times, Results In Scattered Reaction From White House, And Silence (At Least For A Day) From Trump, Sr.

The latest from the Times: prior to arranging a high-level meeting with a Russian lawyer, Donald Trump, Jr. was sent an email from a British publicist telling him the info the lawyer had “was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.” That’s attributed to “three people with knowledge of the email.”

While this does not prove Trump Jr. colluded with Russians (at least not yet.) It does however seem to show at least he kinda thought it’d be an OK idea, if the info had been more “meaningful.”

Trump, Jr. quickly lawyered up, hiring attorney Alan Futerfas, who is best known for representing organized crime families in New York. Futerfas quickly jumped in: saying Trump, Jr.’s only takeaway was “that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew.”

Keep in mind that a lot of the leaks here are coming from the White House. The most detailed of The Times’ string of stories is attributed to “three advisers to the White House…and two others…” We feel this fact will become extremely important in the next few days as the White House gets its messaging together, which will probably involve blaming someone else.

So far White House response has been uncharacteristically tame: only pointing out that Jared Kushner (who was also at the meeting) had previously fired the appropriate paperwork acknowledging his attendance.

Trump, Sr. so far has shown restraint, and has not spoken (or Tweeted) in defense of his son. That continued through his early-morning Tweets this morning at least up to time of publication of this newsletter. Curiously, Trump re-Tweeted Fox and Friends on Democratic obstruction, perhaps not noticing the Times’ story is prominently featured in the news “ticker” below it. See for yourself:

“I’m Not Sure It Has The Oomph To Make It”

That’s Republican Senator Orrin Hatch talking about Ted Cruz’ plan  to allow health insurers to sell pretty much any kind of plan they want, as long as they also sell at least one that complies with the health care law. Far right Republicans and the White House seem to be congealing around that amendment to the Senate’s bill, however, leading to hope in some circles that will lead to the entire bill’s demise.

But who knows? As usual, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rewriting the bill in secret, with an aim at showing it on Thursday, getting it reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office by Monday, and voted on before the Senate leaves at the end of next week, for a vacation that lasts through Labor Day.

Keep In Mind: CBO Chief Is Not An Obama Appointee

Congressional Budget Office Commissioner Keith Hall was appointed by George W. Bush, actually, so he’s hardly the Liberal nut-job radical Republicans are trying to make him out to be.

The reason we’re bringing this up is the Washington Post says the White House this week is going to start pushing “alternative facts” on health care, using analyses from Conservative think-tanks that conclude the CBO is biased and way off when it says 22-million people will lose health coverage because of the Senate bill.

Afghanistan Might Now Also Be “All In The Family”

The New York Times reports Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother, Eric Prince, had talks with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, about sending a mercenary force into Afghanistan, instead of U.S. troops.

Prince hasn’t been laboring in anonymity until now. He founded the security firm Blackwater, which became synonymous with flagrant excesses during the Iraq war.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are considering sending several thousand more American troops to Afghanistan in an effort to turn back the Taliban.

How U.S. Backed Iraqi Troops Won Mosul Back From ISIS

This fascinating Washington Post story is worth a look.

Consumer Protection Agency Trump Wants To Neuter, Ain’t Going Down Without A Fight

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, born out of the Dodds-Frank act Trump wants to reverse, and launched by Elizabeth Warren, is making it easier for groups of consumers to take big companies to court, instead of being stuck in arbitration. The measure, which is set to go into effect next year, is mostly aimed at bank and credit card companies. Right now, in order to get a bank account or credit card most consumers regularly sign away their right to sue.

Still, The New York Times is optimistic: “…as much as Republicans deplore the consumer protection agency, they may find it difficult to kill a rule that could have wide populist appeal.” To which we ask, are you kidding? What country are you living in? And who’s President?

Conservatives Count On Trump To Catch Them Up On Judges

Bloomberg has a look at just how far Conservatives can get with Trump simply filling vacant positions in Federal District and Appeals Courts. Those vacancies exist largely because Senate Majority Leader McConnell continuously obstructed court appointments made by President Obama.

This isn’t new stuff, but the Bloomberg report is very rich and well put together. The only thing we quarrel with is the article’s headline: “One Of The Biggest Reasons Republicans Stick With Trump.” Because Vice President Pence would fulfill their needs even better, probably.

We recommend reading the entire Bloomberg story. However, if you’re in a rush, this is the graphic that kind of sums the whole thing up:

Also Watch This:

Believe it or not, we found out about this from Breitbart. It’s a series of clips on Funny or Die featuring Democratic Senator Al Franken and David Letterman. It includes the quip: “Anyone who says [climate change] ain’t real is talking through his butt.” If that’s not enough to get you to watch…

You don’t need to watch the first one, which just explains what it is. The rest of the series starts here:

We will serialize them for you over the next several days, or you can watch them all at once on your own. Enjoy!

If Putin Had Sochi, Guess It’s No Surprise Trump Wants “His” Olympics

This Tweet came out of the blue just as we were going to publication this morning: