Trump Blocks Dem Memo, Another Resignation

Dead Letter Office: President Trump last night blocked the release of the Democratic rebuttal to a memo from House Intelligence Committee Republicans that claimed anti-Trump bias in the FBI’s Russia investigation.

The President’s lawyer, Don McGahn, said in a letter to the committee that the President would consider releasing the memo after revisions because it “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.”

Trump released the Republican memo despite objections from the FBI and Justice Department, then claimed it exonerates him in the Russia investigation. The Democrats say the Republican memo was intentionally misleading.

Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, a Democratic member of the committee, tweeted that Trump is “interested in protecting himself and derailing the Russia investigation.”

Swamp News: A second White House employee resigned yesterday after being accused of domestic abuse by a former wife. Speechwriter David Sorensen quit after the accusations came out in a news report. The former wife, Jessica Corbett, told the FBI about incidents of abuse when she was interviewed for Sorenson’s background check.

This came just one day after the departure of Staff Secretary Rob Porter for the same reason. President Trump had nothing but praise yesterday for Porter, who’s been accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives and a former girlfriend. “It was very sad when we heard about it,” Trump told the White House Press.

It was another messy day with Chief of Staff John Kelly even offering to resign for bungling the Porter matter. The NY Times reports that Kelly offered to step down, without formally offering his resignation.

The President said about Porter, “We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House and we hope he has a wonderful career.”

The president did not mention the women who accused Porter of physical and emotional abuse. Trump said of Porter, “He also as you probably know he says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent.”

There is documentation and photographic evidence that what Porter’s accusers say is true, but having been accused of sexual impropriety himself by 19 women — all of whom Trump has called liars — Trump sides with the men who deny it. That’s what he did with the failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of mashing on teenage girls. Trump said, “He de totally denies it. He said it didn’t happen, and you know you have to listen to him also.”

In the case of Rob Porter, there was enough evidence against him to hold up his security clearance, even though he was dealing with the government’s biggest secrets every day

Over at the Justice Department, the #3 official, Rachel Brand, says she’s leaving after just nine months in her position. She’s taking a big job with Walmart, but her departure has caused buzz that there must be some other reason tied to Trump’s battering of the Justice Department and FBI. Brand would have been the next in line to oversee the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation if Trump were to fire #2 Rod Rosenstein.

Money, Money: The wild ride isn’t over for the stock market. After taking a 600-point dip yesterday, the Dow Jones swung back into the black to close up by 330 points. That leaves it down by fiver percent for the week.

Interestingly, gains and losses are increasingly referred to by percentage rather than gross points. With the Dow well above 20,000 it had its biggest one-day point loss in history this week, but not its biggest loss by percentage.

Jeff Sommer writes for the NY Times that the current turbulence was inevitable after the market’s calm and steady rise. He says, “What is safe to say is that the market has entered a new, troubling phase. The current turmoil may turn out to be blissfully brief, but it makes sense to be ready for the worst.”

The Obit Page: Reg Cathey, the character actor with a baritone voice who gained notoriety in the HBO series “House of Cards” and “The Wire,” has died at age 59. No cause of death was given. In “House of Cards” Cathey played the owner of a barbecue pit that was a refuge for the scheming politician Frank Underwood.

Five Rings: The North and South Korean Olympic teams marched together as one squad in the Olympic opening ceremonies last night, getting the biggest cheer of the night. They carried a simple white flag with a blue silhouette of the two countries joined as one.

Second biggest hit: Togo’s Pita Taufatofua, a cross country skier, carried his country’s flag shirtless and slathered with coconut oil in the 22-degree air. He could get away with being shirtless anywhere.

Of course, a cross country skier from Tonga doesn’t stand a chance, and certainly not skiing against anyone from Norway, the all-time Winter Olympic champion country. They’ve won 329 medals since the first winter games in 1924. They don’t use coconut oil.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
 
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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