How your voices are making a difference: Karmic twists

Democrats flipped a Missouri House seat in a district that went for Trump by 28 points. (By a slim margin of 108 votes—3% of the total vote. Democrats can win even with heavy Republican gerrymandering, but we have to VOTE.)

After ruling that Pennsylvania congressional maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans and had to be redrawn, the Supreme Court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to delay redrawing the congressional lines, meaning the 2018 elections in the state probably will be held in districts far more favorable to Democrats.

The House ruled that U.S. lawmakers can no longer use taxpayer dollars to defend themselves in harassment cases, but must use their own funds—and must regularly report and make public any settlements. It also voted to prohibit sexual relations between lawmakers and staffers.

A flurry of emails released to the national security blog Lawfare under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the FBI “rank and file” reaction to Donald’s firing of James Comey was the opposite of the “grateful and thankful” one characterized by the White House (surprise). The 103 pages of emails released show a bureau shocked and devastated by the loss of a man who appears to have had the near universal respect and admiration of his agents. Comey’s firing appears to be at the center of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Donald obstructed justice.

In a highly unusual request likely precipitated by the GOP’s sensationalist release of cherry-picked information from the House Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign staffers, the New York Times has asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to unseal secret documents pertaining to wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release the Democratic rebuttal to Nunes’s memo, a ten-page memo that provides context and complete information to Nunes’s selectively curated memo designed to undermine Mueller’s investigation (though arecent Quinnipiac poll shows that it had little impact even on Republicans). Donald is balking at approving the release for being “overly political and long,” (at ten painful pages for the illiterate-in-chief), but not doing so would open a very suspicious can of worms.

The Justice Department backed Robert Mueller over Paul Manafort in a lawsuit filed by the indicted Donald campaign manager arguing that Mueller overstepped the parameters of his investigation. The Justice Department recommended dismissal of the case.

In Abu Dhabi, former president Bush began speaking openly and pointedly about Russia’s interference in our election, citing “pretty clear evidence that Russians meddled” in what seems a direct refutation of Donald’s denials.

Meanwhile in the former “family values” party, White House staff secretary Rob Porter is resigning following allegations from his two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse. Like his boss, Porter—whose background check for working in the White House was never completed, and who was there despite not having gotten security clearance—vehemently denies the allegations, with the staunch support of the self-confessed sexual-predator-in-chief. White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly defended Porter as a “man of integrity and honor”—and then hours later claimed to be shocked by the allegations, which the White House has known about since late last year (andapparently told staffers to lie about how he handled it).

Amid all this, Donald’s approval rating among women since his election has plummeted 10 points, and the percentage of women who “strongly disapprove” of him has jumped 12 points.

Republican Steve Wynn, who recently stepped down as RNC finance chairman after sexual harassment allegations, has now also stepped down as CEO of his casino resort company after many more employee allegations surfaced. Oregon GOP state senator Jeff Kruse resigned in the face of probable expulsion after allegations of sexual harassment of coworkers and staffers.

And number-one Donald superfan Chachi might be looking at his own #MeToo reckoning—Scott Baio’s former costar in the show Charles in Charge has filed as-yet-unreleased charges against him reportedly related to statutory sexual assault she’s publicly spoken out about several times before, and her testimony has been backed up by another cast member who also claims physical abuse.

In a karmic twist, one of the women who accused Donald of sexual harassment is running for a state house seat in Ohio. And after a clever teenager discovered a loophole in the Kansas electoral laws, more than half a dozen of his under-eighteen peers are running for governorof that state.

The White House is hemorrhaging staff again—Friday Rachel Brand, number three at the DOJ, announced she will be stepping down after nine months. To go work at Walmart. No, really. Brand is #2 in line behind Rosenstein overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation, and the person who would have taken over if Rosenstein is fired. And deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll, who has served in the White House for a whopping three months, has announced he will be stepping down to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, after Rep Tom Marino, the White House’s first nominee for the drug-czar job, withdrew from consideration last fall after a report revealed that legislation he sponsored helped make it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across America.

Donald’s child-dictator demand for a military parade has met resistance from lawmakers, who are balking at the multiple-million-dollar price tag.

In general uplifting world news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a rocket (and a Tesla roadster) into space and It. Was. Awesome.

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