Put me down as thinking Republicans will find a way to avert a unilateral, self-inflicted government shutdown. It’d make Newt Gingrich’s mid-90s shutdown look like an act of political genius by comparison. (It wasn’t and this would be way worse.)
Good morning. Here’s your rundown of what TPM’s editors are watching this morning.
There’s a very important article out this morning from McClatchy, one I’ve been waiting a very long time to read. The headline is that Bob Mueller’s probe is investigating whether Russia used the NRA to funnel money into the effort to elect Donald Trump. This news is not out of the blue.
A few interesting things to note about Bannon’s House testimony today, as described by Axios. Having started by saying he wouldn’t answer any questions about events during the transition or his time in the White House, Bannon flubbed and did discuss a key event: a conversation with Priebus, Spicer et al. about the Don Jr./Trump Tower meeting. Accident? That indisciplined? (The idea that privilege applies to the transition seems to be a complete nonstarter.)
Longtime TPM Reader BW has an interesting hypothesis about the chatter surrounding President Trump’s medical exam results.
From Reuters … Trump’s pumped he scored so high on a cognitive decline diagnostic test …
He blamed his three immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for failing to resolve the crisis and, a day after his doctor gave him a perfect score on a cognitive test, suggested he had the mental acuity to solve it.
“I guess they all realized they were going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on tests,” he said.
This was first flagged by Daniel Dale.
Keep an eye on what seems like an obvious emerging tension and possibly a problem for the White House when it comes to Steve Bannon.
As we know, President Trump and now the entire White House went to war with Steve Bannon, not only attacking him in the strongest terms but making sure he was cut off by the Mercer family, canned at Breitbart and frozen out at Fox News. Even for Trump – for whom no feud is ever truly permanent – it was a dramatic cutting of ties.
Definitely give this piece by Alice Ollstein a read. It’s not what the article is mainly about. But it’s another example of a key reality everyone should understand by now. John Kelly is really what amounts to Total Quality Trumpism, the same politics, in all its dimensions just with better impulse control and organizational discipline. He’s not some career professional doing the best he can to keep Trump normal. He’s all in. Definitely read this piece.
In the on-going tragedy of the expulsion and massacre of the Rohingya from Myanmar there’s a small part of the story which overlaps with our domestic discussion of the way social media platforms have been used to sow propaganda, hate speech, fake news and even become the tools of foreign intelligence organizations. It turns out that Facebook has been one of the primary channels for organizing the expulsion and the incitement of religious/ethnic hatred and vigilanteism which is a key part of it.
Much of the central role of Facebook, apparently, is tied to the fact that much of Myanmar until very recently had little modern media infrastructure. Then cell phones grew rapidly. So Facebook is a key way many people get their news. It’s a singular or near singular source of news to a far greater degree than in the developed world or many other parts of the developing world.