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Trump

Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones. This whole article is amazing. Here’s a small portion:

“It
would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law,
to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It
would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient
evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to
believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign
power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign
intelligence one.

Former officials pointed to longstanding laws
and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival
for political purposes.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama
administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any
independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin
Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither
President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance
on any U.S. citizen.”

But a senior White House official said that
Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on
Saturday to secure access to what Mr. McGahn believed was an order
issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some
form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates.

The
official offered no evidence to support the notion that such an order
exists. If one does, it would be highly unusual for a White House to
order the Justice Department to turn over such an investigative
document, given the traditional independence of law enforcement
matters.”

White House requests Congress investigate whether Obama administration abused power

Trump flashes anger over Sessions recusal, Russia stories in tense Oval Office meeting

The Conspiratorial Game of Telephone in Bannon’s Rag that Made Left, Right, and POTUS Go Crazy

Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim

Mr.
Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his
allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to
knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I.
broke the law, the officials said.

A spokesman for the F.B.I.
declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice
Department, also declined to comment.

Mr. Comey’s request is a
remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law
enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s
truthfulness.

It’s literally pay to play at Mar-a-Lago

It’s
a nice setup for those who want some government favor and can afford a
six-figure check. And it’s a nice setup for Donald Trump.

Jeff Sessions, who couldn’t possibly have anything better to do this weekend, was greeting guests at a gala.

Trump sons, planning expansion of family business, look to leverage campaign experience

The
company says it has signed at least 17 letters of intent with potential
developers. It is targeting an array of cities such as Austin, Dallas,
St. Louis, Nashville and Seattle — and Trump Jr. said the campaign
proved useful in forging relationships with potential new connections.

“I met people along the way that would be awesome partners,” he said.

Yet another person connected to Trump and Russia has died: Alex Oronov. Oronov was connected to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, whom you might remember from his colorful threats to the Daily Beast over their coverage of Ivana Trump’s abuse claims.

Last
week I wrote about Michael Cohen and his extensive network of personal
and business relationships in the Ukrainian-American emigre community.
One of those was a man named Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness
concern in Ukraine. Oronov was a partner in the ethanol business Cohen
and Cohen’s brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago. Oronov
is Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. Today we learned that Oronov apparently
organized that ‘peace plan’ meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP
Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater. About four hours ago Andrii Artemenko,
the Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to New York with that ‘peace
plan’, went on Facebook to announce that Alex Oronov has died.

Oronov reportedly lived in one of Trump’s Florida condos.

Keystone pipeline won’t use US steel despite Trump pledge

Trump campaign applies to trademark ‘Keep America Great!’ as his 2020 campaign slogan

Trump’s long history of racism is well documented, but this moment from Don Cheadle is just… wow.

(@DonCheadle tweet)

Immigration

Trump to unveil new immigration ban on Monday.
Here’s the weird part: “Employees at DHS were instructed to work from
home on Monday morning.” Are we planning for a Reichstag fire, or do we
just not want anyone at work to answer the phone?

Trump admin. plans expanded immigrant detention. We’ll have the best internment camps, big league, lots of federal contracts, with bonus slave labor.

(@Luvvie tweet)

After Decades In The U.S., NY Immigrant With Years-Old Pot Conviction Faces Deportation

Deportation of grandmother leaves a San Diego military family reeling

Clarissa
Arredondo, 43, is the mother of Adriana Aparicio, whose husband is a
Navy veteran working as a contractor in Afghanistan. The couple has two
daughters, 2 and 3, and Arredondo, who came to the U.S. more than 25
years ago, helped take care of them.

Congress

Some GOP lawmakers’ block-everything mentality could imperil big-picture plans

Across
the Capitol, there’s a new generation of Republicans who have risen to
power since the GOP last attempted to enact a sweeping agenda that would
overhaul big pieces of the economy such as the health-care and tax
systems. Quite simply, there aren’t many Republicans around with muscle
memory of what it’s like to craft large pieces of legislation that rely
almost entirely on votes from their side of the aisle.

The problem
is particularly acute in the House, where just 60 Republicans — a
quarter of their caucus — have ever served in the majority with a GOP
president.

Moreover, more than 160 House Republicans are getting
their first taste of working with a Republican president. Their entire
legislative careers until now have been dedicated to stopping an
administration’s actions.

Cabinet & Federal Appointees

Sessions Will Submit Amended Testimony, Address Senators’ Questions on Monday. Get your popcorn ready.

Home Alone in the Trump Administration

President
Trump has appointed fewer than three dozen of the top 1,000 officials
he needs to run the federal government. Worse, he doesn’t think that’s a
problem.

The president seems to have lost interest in the
nomination process after making his cabinet and Supreme Court picks,
people involved in the transition say. Now, he’s trying to pass off his
inattention as some kind of plan. “In many cases, we don’t want to fill
those jobs,” he said on Fox News this week. “What do all these people
do? You don’t need all those jobs.”

The Washington Post has a handy tracker for positions requiring Senate confirmation.
Trump keeps complaining that Congress is dragging its feet on
confirming his nominees, but there are currently 517 positions he hasn’t
even nominated.

The Curious Case of Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s New Terrorism Guru. He’s advising on national security but doesn’t appear to have security clearance.

Even Scott Pruitt thinks the not-yet-public proposed EPA budget cuts are too much.

Under Trump, an Already Depleted I.R.S. Could Face Deep Cuts.
It’s madness to cut the agency that’s in charge of bringing in money,
unless perhaps Trump doesn’t like the fact that they expect money from
him and his friends.

Trump’s budget proposal includes steep cuts to NOAA, surprising no one. Still, that’s depressing.

Trump’s neglect of the CDC while China is experiencing a bird flu epidemic has set up the US for a health crisis

This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World.
‘“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant
invasion to destroy Western civilization.’ It really is stunning; steel
yourself before reading this.

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