News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is 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.
Former independent counsel Ken Starr said Sunday that “we’re much closer to getting the truth than we were before” former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to several federal crimes and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” whether President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s changing statements on the implications of Manafort’s plea deal suggest that the President’s legal team will soon go after Manafort, Starr said that Manafort’s previous proximity to Trump could result in “more delicate” treatment than Giuliani’s previous attacks on Mueller.
“I think that the Trump White House and the lawyers are taking a page from the Clinton playbook: Attack the prosecutor,” Starr said. “This is more delicate because now you have someone very close to the President, at least for a while, the campaign manager. I think you’ve got to be very careful.CNN
FEMA Administrator Brock Long on Sunday would not say whether he agrees with the Puerto Rican government-backed assessment that credited hurricanes Irma and Maria with nearly 3,000 deaths on the island last year.
“It’s hard to tell what’s accurate and what’s not,” Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”
He noted that counting storm deaths is not a part of the purview of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, except for when calculating funeral benefits put forward by the agency. Disagreements over the official death toll in Puerto Rico, he said, may stem from differences in opinion over what constitutes a storm-related death.Politico
Bob Woodward’s new best-selling book portrays Donald Trump’s White House in a state of chaos. The president is under fire for claiming Democrats inflated the death toll from Hurricane Maria. And Trump’s former campaign chairman is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Congressional Republicans say ignore all those distractions: The booming economy is the only thing that will matter to voters in November.The Hill
RT, Russia’s state-backed international broadcaster, aired an exclusive interview with the two Russian men accused of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the English town of Salisbury. The two suspects denied all involvement, claiming to be tourists interested in Salisbury Cathedral.
This interview could have been simply one more episode in the fierce narrative battle between British and Russian authorities. However, this does not appear to have been the case, according to the latest research from the “Reframing Russia” project, which looks at the state broadcaster’s efforts to reshape Russia’s external image. The data suggest that — for RT, at least — this broadcast backfired.Washington Post
Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed on Sunday “there was a point in time” when he and President Donald Trump seriously discussed pulling U.S. military dependents out of South Korea — a move that would have been widely seen as a precursor to military action on the peninsula.
The South Carolina Republican said that at the time, “it looked like nothing was going to happen, there was no dialogue going” with North Korea about its nuclear program, adding that “once you start moving dependents out of South Korea, that is a signal to everybody that we’re running out of time.”
Graham cautioned on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to North Korea,” but he said the Trump administration’s renewed diplomatic talks have de-escalated the situation and bought time for denuclearization to be achieved peacefully.Politico
Can you smell it?
That pungent, stinging reek in the air is a fear-drenched river of flop sweat rolling off Trump and his professional defenders. For Team Trump’s endless attempts to change the subject, toss out shiny distractions, beef with NFL players, boast about Trump’s self-graded A-plus hurricane responses and whine about the hated media, Robert Mueller landed a very big fish Friday.
By securing a cooperation agreement with Paul Manafort, Mueller unlocks a Pandora’s Box of crazy-making trouble for this White House and this President.NY Daily News