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.
President Donald Trump is getting frustrated with his administration’s own demands for border wall funding.
In a private meeting regarding the wall Monday, Trump fumed to senators and his own staff about the $1.6 billion the Senate is planning to send him this fall, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Trump wants the full $25 billion upfront and doesn’t understand why Congress is going to supply him funds in a piecemeal fashion — even though that’s how the spending process typically works.
“He’s focused on border security. And like all presidents, he wants it done now. But we’re part of the legislative process, it’s slower and deliberate,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who met with Trump.
US President Donald Trump’s mooted Space Force, which he suggested will be a “separate but equal” branch of the military, is vital to maintaining a tactical advantage over geopolitical adversaries, according to analysts and members of the US military.
Speaking at a space policy event at the White House Monday, Trump insisted that “we must have American dominance in space,” and announced he is “directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.”
“We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force,” he said. “Separate but equal, it is going to be something so important.”
Space, he said, is “going to be important monetarily and militarily. We don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us. We’ve always led — we’ve gone way far afield for decades now.”
Amid President Trump’s headaches confirming cabinet secretaries, from neophyte Rex Tillerson to conflict-prone Scott Pruitt to unprepared Betsy DeVos, all of whom squeezed through, Wilbur Ross was a tonic. With his blue power suit and decades of dealmaking, he had the look and the résumé of a commerce secretary. And unlike his boss, Ross promised to divest from almost all his holdings upon entering government, drawing bipartisan praise en route to an easy confirmation. “You have really made a very personal sacrifice,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “Your service has resulted in your divesting yourself of literally hundreds of millions of dollars.” In November 2017, Ross confirmed in writing to the federal Office of Government Ethics that he had divested everything he promised.
But that was not true.
From The Hill
More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church signed on to a letter Monday condemning Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border.
In the letter, the group of churchgoers, including clergy and church leadership, accuse Sessions of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church.
They note in the letter that Sessions is a member of Ashland Place United Methodist Church, in Mobile, Ala.
A dispute between two political families escalated Tuesday as Donald Trump Jr. canceled plans to raise money for the eldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Donald Trump Jr. decided to withdraw from a fundraiser for Texas land commissioner George P. Bush in New York City next week after Jeb Bush criticized President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
From The Daily Beast
Erik Prince, the founder of private security company Blackwater, has found himself embroiled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
During the campaign, Prince reportedly met at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., operative George Nader, and social media specialist Joel Zamel to discuss a potential pro-Trump social media influence operation. He also met with Russian sovereign wealth fund manager Kirill Dmitriev during the transition period—a meeting reportedly planned to set up a backchannel between the Trump administration and Russia. Those revelations raise questions about his relationship to the Trump administration—questions Mueller is reportedly investigating.
Prince, a billionaire and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has also lobbied for a massive overhaul of the way the Afghanistan War is being prosecuted, pushing for increased reliance on private contractors to train Afghan troops to fight the Taliban. Prince was also recently the subject of an in-depth Washington Post report about the work his security company Frontier Services Group is doing in China. The report quoted critics saying Prince’s work runs counter to American interests in Asia.
This is Prince’s first on-the-record interview in months.
By Rick Wilson from Spectator USA
Nationalist populism is always an angry journey, but images of Nuremberg rallies, of rage-filled speeches by Maximum Leaders, and of revolutions in the streets, colour the broad conception of how autocratic and despotic regimes rise. The cinematic versions are full of smoke, noise, and the short, sharp shocks of the Revolutionary Guard seizing the radio station, the airfield, the Central Bank.
The reality is often more prosaic, more bureaucratic, and begins not with the Grand Guignol of nights filled with broken glass, long knives, or roundups of groups on the wrong side of power. Banal, bureaucratic, and a slow escalation from drudgery to horror is more the tale.
From The Hill
President Trump capped a speech on Tuesday in which he repeatedly railed against illegal immigration by embracing the American flag.
Trump gave a speech before the National Federation of Independent Business, during which he discussed immigration at length, including his “zero tolerance” policy that separates families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump concluded his speech by praising small business owners, saying, “We’re doing well as a country, and you are the ones truly who are making America great again.” He then hugged the flag as he walked off stage.
A Tuesday Bonus Note from the “Pop Quiz” File
Go take the Pew Research Center quiz and let us know your score in the comments. While you are at it, look at the breakdown of scores by political party and trust in the media. Fascinating stuff…