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From The Reporter’s Notebook
White House press secretary Sean Spicer cracked down on leaks from his own office by telling staffers to hand over their phones for a “phone check” during a meeting which itself was then leaked to the media, according to a Sunday report by Politico. TPM’s Esme Cribb wrote that Spicer met last week with communications staffers to express his frustration over ongoing leaks, Politico reported, citing unnamed sources in the room. He told staffers to place their phones on a table for a “phone check” of whatever devices staffers were carrying at the time, including both government-issued and personal phones, according to the report.
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: “Needless to say, there’s nothing untoward about setting up a business in Ukraine. And there’s nothing untoward or uncommon about foreign buyers or emigres buying up New York City real estate. There’s virtually no political instability to worry about and the prices basically only go up. But Cohen’s ties to Ukraine seem extensive. He also appears to move quite a lot of money in his own right – not just in deals he’s managed for Trump. And if Artemenko is telling the truth (by no means a certainty), he started discussing plans with Artemenko for a ‘peace deal’ to bring peace to Ukraine and lift sanctions on Russia in the early stages of Trump’s campaign.”
“I think it says a lot about Donald Trump’s base and their education level. I don’t want to insult anyone, but I think you should know what the Russian flag is. They are one of the world’s major powers, and it’s a pretty easily recognized flag.”
– When President Donald Trump took the stage Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he was greeted with cheers, chants of “USA,” and dozens of Russian flags. Two young, progressive activists purchased tickets to the conference, and handed out nearly 1,000 flags to attendees as a prank.
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: “I really don’t understand how civil and labor rights crusader Tom Perez is ‘establishment’ but ‘Member of Congress since 1991’ Bernard Sanders isn’t. They are both part of the political establishment. That’s a good thing. Experience is a good thing! Knowledge is a good thing! We are seeing right now the pitfalls of having inexperienced, ignorant, un-curious people running out institutions… I also refuse to let him claim Keith Ellison. Ellison is liked and well-respected by his peers and by both centrist and more progressive Democrats. He behaved with grace and magnanimity immediately despite what must have been extreme disappointment and embraced his friend. People supporting trade have done a really crappy job of selling it. In their defense, it’s hard to sell it to people who refuse to appreciate nuance in issues. It’s easy to yell, ‘Make it in America.’ Harder to discuss the fact that Americans in general don’t want to pick tomatoes, or that we cannot “make it here” and have $10 t-shirts, etc. If the trade war with Mexico comes which I expect (immediately after construction starts on ‘the wall’ and the border adjustment tax goes into effect), I have a feeling Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California are gonna see first-hand how much they BENEFITTED from trade. And perhaps this is one of those issues that people have to experience how bad wanton protectionism is to believe it, rather than just have intellectuals tell them it will be bad via policy white papers.”
Related: Perez: Democratic Party Unity ‘Is Donald Trump’s Greatest Nightmare’
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What We’re Reading
The Psychology of Effective Protest (The Atlantic)
How Barry Jenkins Made Magic With “Moonlight” (BuzzFeed)