Let’s file this under “takes one to know one”: According to a report from the AP’s Garance Burke, Gregg Phillips, Trump’s voter fraud expert, is registered to vote in three states. Phillips is, as Amy Fiscus of the Los Angeles Times reminds us, “The guy whose unsourced tweet prompted Trump's incorrect voter fraud claim.” On the news that Phillips is registered to vote in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump is doing the math: “Just 2,999,999 more voters until Gregg Phillips identifies them all.”
“Holy moly,” tweets Joe Miller of the BBC. Monday night, acting AG Sally Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s immigration order. This news was quickly followed by the announcement that Trump had fired her. “This is what principled patriotism looks like. Alas, she'll soon be replaced by a racist Trump toadie,” notes Robert Mann of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Calling Yates’s order a “remarkable rebuke,” Michael D. Shear, Mark Landler, Matt Apuzzo and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times draw a parallel to the “Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon fired his attorney general and deputy attorney general for refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor in the Watergate case.”
Which brings us here: What did they know, and when did they know it? According to a report in POLITICO by Rachael Blade, Jake Sherman and Josh Dawsey, senior House Judiciary staffers worked with Trump aides to draft the immigration order without telling Republican party leaders about it. “Holy hell, if true,” tweets Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed. “Fascinating detail if House Judiciary staffers really had to sign NDAs to work with the Trump team on immigration,” points out John Hendel of Communications Daily. “How long before Ryan and McConnell get the memo that Trump is not their ally?” asks Heidi Moore, while CBS News’ Andrew Cohen wonders, “How much more humiliation will GOP leaders in Congress tolerate before they do more than whine about process?”
Up is down, nothing is real, etc.
That’s Financial Times’ Jake Groven’s assessment of Steven Perlberg's scoop in BuzzFeed that Gerry Baker, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, had instructed editors to stop describing countries in Trump’s immigration ban as “majority Muslim.” Or as Kevin Roose of Fusion sees it, “The Trump administration doesn't need to steamroll the media if the media steamrolls itself.” Baker and Dow Jones soon followed up, with a memo to staff and an email to Perlberg (who worked for the Wall Street Journal before joining BuzzFeed News). “So Baker says not to call them Muslim-majority countries, then WSJ email to BuzzFeed says it will continue to do so,” tweets Fortune’s Matthew Ingram. Got that?
Unprecedented Dangers to American Democracy
“Lede for the new @TheAtlantic cover story needs a trigger warning,” cautions Matt Haber. In How to Build an Autocracy (45,000+ shares), “David Frum dials it up to 11,” says Blake Hounshell of POLITICO. The “stunning essay on the unprecedented dangers to American democracy,” as Steve Esack of The Morning Call describes it, was posted a week early by the magazine, because it “seemed too important,” editor Scott Stossel says. “Long, complex and scary, but worth reading from beginning to end,” Michelle Rafter tweets.
And the winner is…
Ariane de Vogue and Pamela Brown of CNN report that Trump will bring Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, the two judges considered to be finalists to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, to Washington ahead of the White House announcement. It’s hard to escape the reality TV overtones. David Lidsky of Fast Company tweets, “you know who'd be a great press sec'y? Jeff Probst.” Switching franchises, Caroline Preston asks, “Which one will get the rose?” Sure, but what about the poor runner up? “This is painful,” says Lois Romano of the Washington Post. “One goes home empty handed?”
“Copy, paste, confirmation.” That’s the Washington Post’s Dan Zak making a long story short of reports that Trump’s education secretary nominee Betty DeVos appears to have plagiarized sentences and phrases in her written responses to questions from the Senate panel. The news surfaced after her nomination cleared the Senate committee.
"But what does @nytdavidbrooks really think?” queries the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Memoli, referring to The Republican Fausts, David Brooks’ recent article in the New York Times. Hard to tell, what with such subtle commentary as “It will cost them their soul.”
And finally, important news about the Trump administration’s first military raid: “Almost everything went wrong.” In Sunday’s Yemen raid, two Americans—a Navy SEAL and an eight-year-old girl—died, report Robert Windrem, William Arkin, Courtney Kube and Charlene Gubash for NBC News.