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
A new poll from Gallup finds those surveyed give President Trump high ratings on his intelligence but lower ones for his ability to work with both sides of the political aisle.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans surveyed said they would characterize Trump as intelligent, the Gallup poll found, while 40 percent said they would not characterize him as intelligence.
Gallup said it has not posed the question on intelligence to U.S. voters frequently enough with past presidents to give enough historical context.
However, the polling giant asked a similar question in the 1990s, regarding former Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Bush and Clinton scored higher than Trump when voters were asked a similar question about intelligence.
The US Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Environmental Protection Agency aides have been dismissed or demoted as retaliation for questioning EPA Administrator Pruitt’s decisions and spending, two people in contact with the office tell CNN.
Kevin Chmielewski, a former deputy chief of staff to Pruitt, said he was interviewed for almost eight hours on Thursday.
A second person said they have been contacted by investigators but asked not to be named.
From The Hill
The Republican Party of Virginia is asking its supporters to sign a petition to boycott the restaurant that refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the weekend.
The Virginia GOP’s call comes just a few days after the owner of the “Red Hen,” a restaurant in Lexington, Va., asked Sanders to leave the establishment.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is digging deeper into Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the matter.
Prince, America’s most famous private military contractor, acknowledged last week that he “cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after falling under scrutiny amid questions about an alleged effort to establish a backchannel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, something Prince has vehemently denied.
ABC News has since learned that Mueller is also reviewing Prince’s communications, a sign that Mueller could try to squeeze Prince, as he has others, probing potential inconsistencies in his sworn testimony in an attempt to pressure him to turn into a witness against other targets of the investigation. In response to questions from ABC News, a spokesperson for Prince released a statement noting that Prince has provided Mueller with “total access to his phone and computer.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis learned in May from a colleague that President Donald Trump had made the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and scrambled to get his boss on the phone before a formal announcement was made. It wouldn’t be the last time he was caught off guard by a presidential announcement.
A month later, Mattis was informed that Trump had ordered a pause in U.S. military exercises with South Korea only after the president had already promised the concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Last week, Trump again blindsided and overruled his defense secretary by publicly directing the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch overseeing operations in space.
Is Media Ignoring the Biggest Scandal in Presidential History? Writer Behind Trump-Broidy Theory Explains
It has often been said, quite accurately, that President Donald Trumpis a master of the “Big Lie” theory. This is the concept that the larger a falsehood is, the more likely people will be to believe it, partly because it is difficult for the average person or even cynics in the news media to comprehend the brazenness of its dishonesty.
Over the past month, a story which, if true, would probably be the largest scandal of Trump’s presidency, has been slowly coming together in a way that is both shockingly outrageous and astonishingly clear-cut. However, the vast majority of the news media has almost completely ignored it.
I am referring here to what is likely the real story of former top GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, a former Playboy model’s $1.6 million payment for securing an abortion and covering up an affair, President Trump, our policy towards a foreign ally, and large defense contracts. To those very few who have already made all of the rather obvious logical connections, the most probable narrative feels like a movie too unbelievable to ever get made, but most of the media have inexplicably pretended that these are two unrelated stories, neither of which are particularly important on their own.
From USA Today
Sitting between a golf club, a national wildlife refuge and South Texas vacation beaches, an adult detention facility houses migrant parents who have only a vague idea of where their children are, while others wait to speak to their children since being separated from them under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
In a fact sheet published late Saturday, federal officials identified the Port Isabel Detention Center as the facility where thousands of families separated by the policy will be reunited, as well as from where they will be deported. About 1,200 adult detainees were inside as of Sunday, said a trio of attorneys who have spent the past three days interviewing more than 100 parents desperate to hear their child’s voice.
“I would say, at most, 5 percent of the people I spoke to had contact with their children,” said civil rights attorney Sirine Shebaya. “Even the people who did speak with their kids spoke to them once for a very quick phone call.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Pentagon is in “close alignment” with the Department of Homeland Security with efforts to utilize military bases to house undocumented immigrants along the southern US border.
The Department of Homeland Security has “come to us asking us to build temporary camps on two of our bases,” Mattis told reporters on board his plane at the beginning of a trip that will take him to Alaska, China, South Korea and Japan.
“We are in a logistics support response mode,” with DHS, Mattis said, adding that “details are still being worked out” with respect to how the Pentagon’s role in the operation will play out, while likening the response to the Defense Department providing housing to Vietnamese refugees rescued at sea in the years after the Vietnam War and for victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
“This is something that we can do again, whether it be refugee boat people from Vietnam, people that have been knocked out of their homes by a hurricane, absolutely it’s appropriate to provide logistical support however it’s needed,” Mattis said of his department’s role in the effort.