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President Trump wondered “what can look so beautiful at 30?” while discussing Air Force One, recalling the time he told Howard Stern that 35 Is “Check-Out Time” for Airbuses. Trump’s approval rating is an abysmal 38 percent, suggesting his campaign strategy dedicated entirely to building a Trump TV audience hasn’t really changed. And Scott Pruitt, a longstanding ally of oil companies, was confirmed as EPA administrator, yet more proof for Jill Stein voters that there’s no difference between Hillary and Trump. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 17th, 2017:
Happy holiday weekend, everyone! @realDonaldTrump: The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
YES, A LITERAL DEPORTATION FORCE – As America continues its transformation into a dystopian YA novel. Garance Burke: “The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. Staffers in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said they had been told by colleagues in two DHS departments that the proposal was still being considered as recently as Feb. 10. A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for approval. The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. The document can be accessed at http://apne.ws/2l1Dj0k” [AP]
Hey, what is reality, anyway: “President Donald Trump’s administration labeled The Associated Press’s reporting on a leak ‘100 percent false’ on Friday morning, only to acknowledge less than an hour later that the story was based on a real document. The administration’s response mimicked Trump’s remark a day earlier that even if leaks coming out of the government are ‘real,’ the news is ‘fake.’ And it also fit into what appears to be a pattern of ignoring reporters’ requests for comment, only to push back quickly after stories are published.” [HuffPost’s Michael Calderone]
SENATE CONFIRMS PRUITT DESPITE DOCUMENT DUMP – Obama appointees, endangered animals both told to clean out desks. Alexander Kaufman: “The Senate narrowly confirmed Scott Pruitt as the new Environmental Protection Agency chief on Friday, despite Democrats’ calls to delay the vote until the release of a new trove of documents detailing the Oklahoma attorney general’s relationship with oil and gas companies. The 52-46 vote divided the Senate along party lines, with just two Democrats ― Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), who are up for re-election in states with big fossil fuel industries ― voting to confirm Pruitt. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) did not vote. Pruitt won the Senate’s approval the day after Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons of the District Court of Oklahoma County ordered his office to turn over more than 2,500 emails and other documents by Tuesday. The watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit against Pruitt earlier this month, alleging his office had violated Oklahoma’s open records law.” [HuffPost]
THAT MOMENT WHEN WE EXPAND VISA PROGRAMS TO FIND A NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR – *area man stares at laundromat corkboard, sees posting for security consulting gig on piece of paper with phone number tear offs.* Jeff Mason: “U.S. President Donald Trump, scrambling to find a new top security aide after firing his first one and being spurned by another candidate, said on Friday he has four people under consideration including acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg…. ‘General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA – as are three others,’ Trump said on Twitter, without naming the other candidates…. Former CIA chief David Petraeus was previously identified as a candidate by a White House official. Former U.S. National Security Agency head Keith Alexander and former supreme allied commander in Europe James Jones, who held the national security adviser post under former Democratic President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010, were also thought to be under consideration. Both are retired generals. Two others also thought to be in contention were former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who holds a senior post with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.” [Reuters]
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SCOTUS TO HEAR THREE CRUCIAL IMMIGRATION CASES – Lawrence Hurley: “The U.S. Supreme Court will decide three cases in coming months that could help or hinder President Donald Trump’s efforts to ramp up border security and accelerate deportations of those in the country illegally…. The most pertinent of the three cases in terms of Republican Trump administration priorities involves whether immigrants in custody for deportation proceedings have the right to a hearing to request their release when their cases are not promptly adjudicated…. The other immigration cases to be decided concern whether U.S. government officials can be sued over mistreatment of non-citizens in two separate contexts. One will decide whether the family of 15-year-old Mexican teenager Sergio Hernandez, who was killed while on Mexican soil by a U.S. agent firing from across the border in Texas, can sue under the U.S. Constitution…. The court hears arguments in that case on Feb. 21. The second is a civil lawsuit brought by immigrants, mainly Muslims, who were detained in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and claim they were mistreated.” [Reuters]
GREAT LEADER WILL NOT BE DISRESPECTED – The president is going to be pretty surprised to learn how many people in the government wrote mean things about him. Maggie Haberman and Yamiche Alcindor: “A top aide to President Trump’s housing secretary nominee, Ben Carson, was fired and led out of the department’s headquarters by security on Wednesday after writings critical of Mr. Trump surfaced in his vetting, according to two people briefed on the matter. Shermichael Singleton, who was one of the few black conservatives in the Trump administration, had been working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development since Jan. 23 as a senior adviser. He was preparing a cross-country tour for Mr. Carson, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this month. But according to the two people briefed, Mr. Singleton’s background check had not been completed. As it was being finished this week, Mr. Trump’s advisers turned up public writings by Mr. Singleton that appeared during the later stages of the campaign in which he was deeply critical of the candidate. ‘My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,’ he wrote in The Hill in October 2016.” [NYT]
SPICEY’S GETTING SOME HELP – Someone’s got to keep the Super Soaker filled up. John Wagner and Philip Rucker: “Mike Dubke, a veteran Republican media strategist, has been hired as the White House communications director, potentially providing some relief for its embattled press secretary, Sean Spicer, who’s been holding down both jobs. With the appointment, which a White House official confirmed Friday, President Trump is reaching outside his circle of trusted campaign aides to try to bolster his messaging operation. Dubke is founder of Crossroads Media, an Alexandria-based firm with political and corporate clients.” [WaPo]
KUSHNER PUTTING PRESSURE ON CNN – How do you keep a straight face while claiming that the network that employs Chris Cuomo is too hard-hitting? Keach Hagey and Damian Paletta: “Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, met with a senior Time Warner Inc. executive in recent weeks and expressed the administration’s deep concerns about CNN’s news coverage, according to a White House official and other people familiar with the matter. In a meeting at the White House, Mr. Kushner complained to Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications at CNN’s parent Time Warner, about what Mr. Kushner feels is unfair coverage slanted against the president, the people said. The Trump administration’s hostile posture toward the news media, especially CNN, has been evident in the president’s own statements and those of his press secretary and top aides. On Thursday, Mr. Trump lashed into CNN once again at a news conference, calling it ‘very fake news’ with expert commentary that is ‘almost exclusively anti-Trump.’” [WSJ]
TRUMP AT HISTORIC LOWS IN GALLUP TRACKER – America is increasingly sympathetic to Trump U patrons. Sarah Westwood: “President Trump’s approval rating fell to 38 percent on Friday after a week of turmoil that included the departure of his national security adviser and the public airing of tensions between the intelligence community and the West Wing. The Gallup poll found that 56 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump’s performance in office. Trump’s predecessor survived more than two years before his job approval hit such lows. Former President Barack Obama saw his approval rating decline to 38 percent in August and October 2011 amid a bitter debt ceiling fight in Congress that saw the U.S. credit rating downgraded.” [Washington Examiner]
No snowballs in the Senate this winter, sadly: “Area residents might remember this as the winter without a winter. As we inch closer toward actual spring, February — a month known for its big snowstorms — has a chance to conclude with the longest warm spell in recorded history. And the month is likely to rank among the two warmest.” [WaPo’s Ian Livingston]
PROFILES IN COWARDICE – La la la they can’t hear you. David Weigel: “According to the Town Hall Project, which collates information about public town halls, there are no availabilities in Utah — where every federal officeholder is a Republican — over the coming week. That’s not a fluke. Just 19 Republican members of Congress have scheduled traditional town halls over the week-long recess. Several more, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have listed ticketed events or ‘office hours;’ a few more have announced tele-town halls, which allow constituents to lob questions without risking a ‘YouTube moment.’” [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s a hedgehog getting a bath.
PRO TIP: DON’T TRUST ANYTHING – That the Trump administration hasn’t already been caught up in some kind of game show-related spycraft is incredible. Oliver Holmes: “An Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the killing of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in Malaysia was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank, Indonesia’s national police chief has said, citing information received from Malaysian authorities. Tito Karnavian told reporters in Indonesia’s Aceh province that Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in pranks. He said she and another woman performed stunts which involved convincing men to close their eyes and then spraying them with water. ‘Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer,’ Karnavian said. ‘She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents.’” [Guardian]
– A guy built a robot that can train people to defeat Donald Trump’s handshake.
– Why a convicted cannibal was released from jail.
– That time someone tried to prove that George Washington was descended from Odin.
@libbycwatson: you just know a bunch of the most annoying journalists are gonna put “enemy of the american people” in their bios now
@JGreenDC: We love you too!
@eveewing: Tr*mp complaining about these leaks is like the boyfriend who says the problem isn’t that he cheated, it’s that you looked at his phone
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