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 discussing whatever you want.
From The Hill
Fox News host Sean Hannity is linked to a group of shell companies that have spent $90 million buying hundreds of homes across the U.S through the help of foreclosures and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The Guardian reported Sunday.
More than 870 homes in seven different states have been purchased over the past decade, ranging from large mansions to rentals for low-income families, according to the newspaper.
The U.S. softened its position on sanctions against Russian metals giant United Co. Rusal, sparking a record plunge in aluminum prices.
For the first time, the U.S. Treasury discussed a path for lifting the sanctions on Rusal, saying it would provide relief if Oleg Deripaska relinquished control. It also extended the deadline for companies to wind down dealings with the Russian aluminum producer by almost five months.
Authorities say the suspect in a quadruple homicide at a Waffle House in Nashville has been arrested.
Metropolitan Nashville Police announced Monday on Twitter that 29-year-old Travis Reinking was taken into custody not far from his apartment. Photos posted by police in Nashville showed him clothed and in a police car.
The White House and (almost all) Senate Republicans hope to confirm Mike Pompeo this week as Trump’s new Secretary of State. But, according to multiple sources involved in the vote counting, Pompeo’s fate is still not entirely certain with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee set to consider his nomination on Monday afternoon.
From The Hill
President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, overshadowed much of the conversation surrounding Robert Mueller‘s investigation on Sunday, as Trump’s legal team reportedly prepares for Cohen to cooperate with federal investigators.
Political analysts note that there is likely incredible pressure on Cohen, who the The New York Times also reported has been the target of Trump’s criticism for years.
Trump on Saturday insisted Cohen will remain loyal to him even after the FBI raided the lawyer’s office, home and hotel room earlier this month.
From The Daily Beast
The Republican National Committee spent more than $224,000 at President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in March, according to newly filed FEC reports. The expenditures, which were for rental and catering fees, were to cover the costs of an RNC fundraiser there early in the month. It was, far and away, the largest amount that the committee has spent at that specific Trump property (in January, the RNC spent $62,700 at Mar-a-Lago) and it is a reflection of how the president’s private business holdings continue to be intertwined with his political activities.
President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations.
Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest.
President Donald Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers, multiple sources inside and outside the White House told CNN, as Trumpreturns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration.
“He uses it a lot more often more recently,” a senior White House official said of the President’s cell phone.Sources cited Trump’s stepped-up cell phone use as an example of chief of staff John Kelly’s waning influence over who gets access to the President. During the early days of Kelly’s tenure, multiple sources said, Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard — a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. Kelly has less insight into who Trump calls on his personal cell phone.
Not exactly news but an article that I found interesting…
This dance between administration politics and televised religion is new, and is built on a connection between Trump’s message and the Christian TV worldview that runs deeper than it might first appear. It also offers a different kind of answer to the puzzle of why an impious man who can barely manage to pay lip service to actual Christian belief earned a higher percentage of the white evangelical vote than predecessors including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—and why, if anything, his bond with those voters appears to be growing stronger.