News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time.
From Washington Examiner
Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a blurb published Thursday alongside President Trump’s Time 100 list of most influential people page that his ability to distress the media and political world is “not a bug but a feature.”
The man who was once a rival of Trump in the primary run for 2016 Republican presidential candidate — including calling Trump a “sniveling coward” for insulting his wife — wrote a glowing summary of why Trump deserves to be on the list of most influential people of 2018.
Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.
FORTUNE editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf introduces the magazine’s annual list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders: “If 2018 becomes the year that the United States finally begins to tackle its disease of gun violence … it will be due not to the good sense of elected officials, but rather to the courage, tenacity, and sheer eloquence of students.”
The top five: The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools; Bill and Melinda Gates, cofounders, The Gates Foundation; The #MeToo Movement; South Korean President Moon Jae-in; and Ken Frazier, Merck CEO.
The 47-hour journey in Morocco was already drawing congressional scrutiny and criticism from outside groups because of the lack transparency over why Pruitt was in the country and what he was doing while he was there.
The fundraising totals are just the latest indicator of a November nightmare developing for Republicans: a toxic stew of poor presidential popularity, intense Democratic enthusiasm, and a chunk of incumbents whose FEC disclosures show they don’t understand how much trouble they could be in for in this political environment.
From The Hill
White evangelical support for President Trump has reached a record high, according to a new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Seventy-five percent of white evangelical respondents in the poll said they view Trump favorably, while just 22 percent said they view him unfavorably.
A U.S. judge expressed skepticism on Thursday as a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort sought to convince her to dismiss charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
From The Hill
The federal judge who presided over a case surrounding one of the FBI’s most notorious scandals in recent years chided conservative media personalities Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh for trying to tie special counsel Robert Mueller to the episode.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times on Wednesday, retired U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner rebuffed suggestions by Hannity, Limbaugh and others that Mueller was complicit in the wrongful imprisonment of four men to protect the identity of Whitey Bulger, a former gangster and FBI informant.
The Justice Department’s inspector general issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. regarding its report that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied under oath about disclosing sensitive information to the media, the Washington Post reports.
The big picture: McCabe’s situation has been extremely politicized — notably, with President Trump not shy to voice his displeasure about him — but now, the allegations against him have been placed in the hands of nonpartisan federal investigators. In short, it’s difficult to read anything from this development alone: this referral could mean McCabe gets charged with a crime, but it also could mean that he avoids charges completely.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort stemmed in part from his suspected role as a “back channel” between the campaign and Russians intent on meddling in the election, a Justice Department lawyer told a judge.
The disclosure by U.S. prosecutors came Thursday during a hearing on whether Mueller exceeded his authority in indicting Manafort on charges of laundering millions of dollars while acting as an unregistered agent of the Ukrainian government. Manafort’s lawyers say those alleged crimes have nothing to do with Mueller’s central mission — to determine whether anyone in the Trump campaign had links to the Russian government.
From Washington Post
Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a combative former prosecutor and longtime ally of President Trump, told The Washington Post on Thursday that he has joined the president’s legal team dealing with the ongoing special counsel probe.
“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said in an interview.