- Devin Nunes finally recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, after showing his partisan loyalties to the White House in breaches of classified info, and complaints filed against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
- Steve Bannon: Puppetmaster and government deconstructionist Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council. This might be a ploy, a distraction, or simply a palliative for Donald’s critics, but either way it’s not a bad thing. (Unless you factor in that he was replaced with Rick Perry.)
- Susan Rice. This may seem like an odd “positive” to cite, but consider that the trumped-up (pun unavoidable) accusations Donald and conservatives are levying against a national security adviser doing exactly her job is one of the clearest signs yet that Donald is terrified as the Russian noose tightens around his neck–and he’s desperate to do anything he can to divert attention from his own potentially illegal, treasonous actions.
Here’s the short story: Rice is “accused” of asking intelligence agencies to “unmask” (or remove from redaction) the names of American citizens incidentally captured on surveillance of known Russian actors. To draw a comparison, let’s say that the FBI captures a conversation between a known foreign operative and an American citizen who is offering to procure weapons for an enemy nation. Normally the name of Americans inadvertently captured are “masked” to respect their privacy, but in a case like this, of course the name of the American in question would be of great, acute, extremely germane interest to national security and intelligence. Is it a kook making empty promises, or a true threat to our national security: an American selling weapons to our enemy?
That’s the well-established (and quite common) precedent Rice would have followed if indeed she did ask for the unmasking to the president and a very limited group of direct security advisers of Americans colluding with Russia in interfering in our elections. Here’s an excellent and more in-depth explanation in The Atlantic, and one in the NYTimes.
But the short story is, how damning facts were revealed is of far less importance to ongoing criminal investigations into the Trump administration than the actual info revealed, and Donny can try his hardest to redirect, but our intelligence agencies will continue to “unmask” any involvement he and his associates may have had in colluding with Russia. And that’s good news indeed that you can cheerfully share with anyone who tries to fan up an argument based on this White House-distributed distraction propaganda.
- Health care: Thanks to constant pressure from citizens like you, plans by Mike Pence and the far-right Freedom Caucus for a draconian new health care plan that would have allowed states to opt out of the coverage requirements imposed on insurers — including mental health, maternity services, and substance abuse services, and to also opt out of the law’s requirement that insurers cover people with serious diseases and pre-existing conditions–died another death this week. If your MoCs are the moderate Republicans being “blamed” for resisting substandard health care “reform,” call and say thank-you!
- Donald’s conflicts of interest: In a scathing letter, a major investment fund fired its elite law firm, Morgan Lewis, for its role in enabling Donald Trump to use the presidency to line his pockets by approving his flimsy attempt to imply that he had divested himself of his business interests.