I’ve finally come up with a name for this roundup of news stories I’ve been writing.
You probably know that in D.C. they call the President’s Daily Briefing the “PDB.” Well, I figured that might work here, too. Only, this is your “Politics in Polite Company Daily Briefing.”
I know. I left out some initials. But I’m hoping you’ll work with me.
Anyhow, so in today’s PDB we are talking the continuation of the fallout from former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony. First, the president’s attorney threatened to sue Comey for revealing “privileged conversations.” That’s laughable considering the president tweeted about them himself. Vox has an amazing piece where they interviewed 10 legal scholars who basically say the same thing.
Senator Diane Feinstein has asked the Columbia University professor that Comey asked to give his memo to the press for the original memo received from Comey. That’s not surprising given there is an ongoing investigation.
Also, because we’re in a reality TV world right now, the ratings for the Comey hearing show 19 million people watched the hearings on television. Millions more watched online.
Trump’s response to a reporter’s question during a press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis was bizarre. Trump disputed the Comey testimony, would not say if he had taped Comey, and said he would testify under oath “100 percent.”
NPR is reporting Muller was reportedly on a short list to be FBI director—this makes no sense to me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You know who had a bad day yesterday? Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who gave this statement on the situation involving Qatar where we have more than 10,000 troops stationed:
…only to then sit in the Rose Garden and hear Trump contradict him. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (Shrug emoji is getting a workout today.)
Visa Waivers: A Romanian journalist asked about visa waivers and President Trump said they hadn’t discussed it. Immediately, Romanian President Iohannis corrected Trump to say the issue was discussed. What is this about? Well, to travel to a European country you currently don’t need a visa. That’s because we have a visa waiver system: They let in our folks without a visa for 90 days and we do the same for Europeans.
But there are five Eastern European countries we’ve excluded, even though those countries are members of the European Union. It’s been hotly discussed in the EU with some proposing they revoke visa-free travel for Americans, so it is unsettling that Trump wouldn’t remember discussing it.
Journalists targeted: A year ago NPR lost two of its journalists to an attack in Afghanistan. NPR has now discovered their journalists were targeted. This is a heart-breaking piece but I think it is worthy of your time because it gives you a perspective of what risks journalists take to document history.
Disastrous Dinner Speech: During the Rose Garden press conference Friday, President Trump finally said the magic words committing the U.S. to Article 5 of the NATO agreement. I’ve written about NATO before but basically this is the provision that is at the core of the NATO alliance:An attack on one country is considered an attack on all. It has only been invoked once—following 9/11. However, given increased aggression by Russia, our allies were hoping we would reaffirm commitment to Article 5 during his speech at NATO in May. Foreign Policy has this troubling article about that trip–with descriptions from those in the room of Trump’s “disastrous dinner speech.”
This tweet/story will have people aflutter in Washington:
Future elections talk: She had a pretty strong week so, of course, Politico is asking the question: Is California Senator Kamala Harris running for president?
Eric Trump Foundation: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reportedly is looking into the Eric Trump Foundation following the explosive Forbes report.
Ever wanted to live in France? Politico Europe has an interesting article about how French President Emmanuel Macron is “trolling” Trump with a Make the Planet Great Again website that helps scientists and students find opportunities in France. As I said in my piece about climate change, it’s not surprising that Macron sees this as an economic opportunity to bring the best scientists to France. Anyhow, the website helps you figure out how to immigrate to France if this is all too much for you and you’d like to wait out the Trump years with Macron and the most delicious macarons.
Speaking of immigration: A heartbreaking first-person narrative from Jessica Colotl –a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) eligibility recipient—who recently had her status revoked.
Kansas: The Washington Post has a write-up about the Kansas tax bill and questions whether the Tea Party is dead in Kansas.
Also, federal proscedutors have indicted the man accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla at an Olathe Bar in February on federal hate crime and firearms charges.
“Girls Run the World” Awards: Yesterday, I saluted the women of both parties in the Kansas Legislature for coming together to pass a tax bill. Today, the award goes to Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill for the following during the Senate Finance Committee meeting:
And finally, your cocktail party conversation starter: The Atlantic has a fascinating story analyzing why teenagers have stopped getting summer jobs.
Happy Weekend, Everyone!