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.
President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.
It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.NYT
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name for interfering in the 2016 US election, calling it a “direct attack” on US democracy.
“At Vladimir Putin’s direction, Moscow launched a brazen, multi-faceted influence campaign to undermine public faith in our democratic process and to distort our presidential election,” Nielsen said at George Washington University in Washington. “Although no actual ballots were altered by this campaign, make no mistake: This was a direct attack on our democracy.”
Nielsen continued that the administration “will not tolerate” such interference nor “let it happen again.”CNN
President Donald Trump and key House Republicans insisted on Wednesday that they don’t want a government shutdown before Election Day, although some conservative hardliners want a fight over border wall funding now.
Trump, though, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a shutdown after the midterm elections, and he continues to demand billions of dollars in additional funding for the controversial border wall project between the United States and Mexico, far beyond what Congress has approved.
Trump is set to meet with House and Senate GOP leaders this afternoon, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Both Ryan and McConnell have urged Trump — in public and private — to forgo a shutdown, arguing it would harm Republican prospects during the midterms.Politico
President Donald Trump defended himself against reporting in Bob Woodward‘s upcoming book that he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” — by claiming he has “never” used that term.
“The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions ‘mentally retarded’ and ‘a dumb southerner.’ I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!” Trump wrote in a tweet.
As we previously wrote here, that claim is false. And now, video has surfaced of Trump calling various people “mentally retarded” or just “retarded”.Mediaite
President Donald Trump, showing his outrage over Bob Woodward’s explosive new book, is ordering a real witch hunt in the West Wing and throughout his administration, asking loyal aides to help determine who cooperated with the book.
As the President publicly fumes on Twitter, he’s privately on a mission to determine who did — and didn’t — talk to Woodward, CNN has learned. Two officials who have spoken directly to the President say he is pleased with the denials offered by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
In Trump’s eyes, what makes or breaks aides who are reported to have made disparaging comments about him is how strongly they push back on the accusations.
But he is also taking note of the silence from several other former administration officials.CNN
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Alex Jones clashed Wednesday outside a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, with Rubio threatening to take care of Jones after the Infowars host touched his shoulder.
When Jones reached out to touch Rubio’s shoulder, the senator glared at Jones, warning him not to touch him again in front of a gaggle of reporters with cameras and notebooks.
“You’re not gonna get arrested man,” Rubio said after Jones said he had only “patted you nicely.”
“I’ll handle it myself,” Rubio said.The Hill
But the California Republican — who, along with his wife, Margaret, was indicted last month on 60 counts related to spending more than $250,000 in campaign cash for personal expenses that included vacations to Italy and Hawaii, dental work, and flying his family’s pet rabbit across the country — may face more scrutiny in the coming months for the “personal relationships” he had with at least five people on whom prosecutors have alleged he spent campaign donation money.Roll Call
“I hold Jeff Sessions in the highest regard. I appreciate his service to the nation,” Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill, as first tweeted by CNN.
Despite being the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s campaign, Sessions has become a recurring foil for the president, who often criticizes his attorney general for recusing himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.The Hill
Washington, D.C. may soon be littered with the political bodies of people who believed they could spin their way out of the impact of the new Bob Woodward book, Fear. I’ve been to the Washington rodeo enough times to know that Woodward’s methodical, grinding style of investigation doesn’t lend itself to escaping unscathed, especially for bad actors and loose cannons. Hell, as a young Department of Defense aide in 1990, I saw it up close when his book, The Commanders, led to the firing of USAF Chief of Staff Mike Dugan. He had tapes then, as he does now.
This week, it’s Donald Trump’s turn under Woodward’s political electron microscope, and the President’s hissy-fit reaction tells us how close Woodward’s work has struck. Trump knows his White House staff, up to and including his daughter, thinks he’s off the rails, a danger to himself and the country, and unable to execute the duties of a Waffle House manager much less the President of the United States.The Daily Beast