It’s his move, guys
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Phil Mattingly, Eli Watkins and Manu Raju give us the rundown on the President’s talks with with congressional Democrats yesterday: Trump walks out of shutdown meeting, calling talks ‘total waste of time’ (87,000+ shares). Referring to one very specific detail in that piece, Seth Masket says, “I’m inspired by the bravery of the person who insisted on anonymity when revealing what kind of candy Trump offered Pelosi and Schumer.” As Christopher Orr tweets, “GOP today: Trump may have left the meeting in a fury because you didn't immediately accede to his unpopular demands. But it's really on you, Democrats, because you were not sufficiently appreciative of the fact he brought Butterfingers.” Also Baby Ruth bars and M&Ms!
But at Bloomberg, Shannon Pettypiece and Margaret Talev point out that, For Trump, Storming Out of a Meeting Is a Signature Ploy. Talev calls it “The ‘why’ behind ‘bye-bye.’” As Pettypiece says, “It’s his move, guys.”
Here’s hoping migrants at the border won’t have any common industrial tools handy, because in that case, something else might be a “total waste of time,” too. The exclusive from Julia Edwards Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff of NBC News, a DHS test of a steel slat prototype for the border wall showed it could be sawed through (106,000+ shares). “L’Oops!” as Jack Wallen tweets. Quentin Hardy thinks, “Wall made of Red Vines looking better.” “$5.7 billion in taxpayer money - and a government shutdown - for this?” says Phil Williams.
Also, new from AP’s Nomaan Merchant, As Trump visits border, Texas landowners prepare wall fight. “Rather than surrender their land, some property owners are digging in, vowing to reject buyout offers and preparing to fight the administration in court,” he writes. Tim Mak calls this one a “Story to watch.”
You, sir, are no Roger Ailes
Meanwhile, Trump Thinks He’s His Own Best Messenger. Where Does That Leave Bill Shine? That’s the question Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman tackle in their new piece for The New York Times about the former Fox News executive and current White House deputy chief of staff for communications. Michael Tackett calls it, “When the communications director is the Maytag repairman.” “This doesn't sound like its going super well,” notes Michael Learmonth.
Gabriel Snyder says, “What may just save American democracy is that everyone in the Trump White House is too busy trying to make the case that they are, if you think about it, the *real* victim here.” Also worth pointing out, “Two years in, we’re still explaining Trump,” tweets Jacob Kornbluh.
Stomach-churning shutdown consequences
Beyond all the DC drama and stagecraft, the shutdown is having real consequences. As The Hill’s Emily Birnbaum reports, the FDA says most food inspections are being halted amid shutdown (60,000+ shares). “Hope you planted your victory garden in 2016,” tweets Caille Millner. Particularly since Laurie McGinley and Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post explain that reduced inspections ‘put our food supply at risk.’ It’s not a good time to be someone who eats food, but on the other hand, “It's a good time to be E. coli on lettuce,” as Carolyn Johnson notes. “2018: Never tweet. 2019: Never eat,” tweets Ed Yong. At this point, though, “eh what the hell, go for the romaine,” advises Jim Aley.
More alarming news, this time from Stuart Leavenworth of McClatchy, Training for firefighters, contracts all delayed as West gets ready for fire season.
And at The Washington Post, Heather Long, David Lynch and Renae Merle take a look at how the shutdown is hurting small businesses: ‘This is ridiculous’: Small-business owners can’t get loans as shutdown enters Day 20. Tweets Peter Wallsten, “Banks and business owners are learning that, without a functioning federal government, parts of the economy are essentially frozen. Important reporting here.”
What about the federal workers who aren’t getting paid as the shutdown drags on? Well, the Coast Guard has some helpful financial planning tips for them. As Dan Lamothe of The Washington Post reports, Coast Guard families told they can have garage sales to cope with government shutdown (250,000+ shares). Aso try babysitting or serving as a “mystery shopper.” In other words, “This is beyond appalling,” as John Keilman says.
Russia investigation updates
“The government is shut down but the White House just hired 17 lawyers to assert executive privilege. Five more to come!” James Cobb links to the reporting by Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, A beefed-up White House legal team prepares aggressive defense of Trump’s executive privilege as investigations loom large.
Katelyn Polantz and Laura Robinson of CNN have identified Alston & Bird as one of the law firms involved in the mystery Mueller subpoena case. They note that Alston & Bird “has previously represented Russian interests, including working for a Russian oligarch and a contractor of the Russian government.”
The latest on 2020
Alexander Burns of The New York Times reports that Tom Steyer, Billionaire Impeachment Activist, Won’t Run Against Trump. Tweets Burns, “He chose a campaign manager, conducted polling & hired Deval’s top adviser ... before telling aides this week he wouldn’t run. Instead: pumping $40 million more into impeachment crusade this year.”
But Kamala Harris is set to toss her hat into presidential ring, sources tell Doug Sovern of KCBS Radio. They say that she’ll announce her candidacy on or around Martin Luther King Day, probably at a campaign rally in Oakland.
And then “.@AlxThomp breaks the Sanders campaign sexual harassment story,” tweets Ryan McCarthy. Alex Scott Thompson of POLITICO reports that Robert Becker, a top Sanders 2016 adviser, has been accused of forcibly kissing a subordinate, the latest complaint about a hostile environment for women on the campaign.
In The newspaper that #MeToo missed, Jennifer Robison of Columbia Journalism Review writes, “At Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, allegations of misconduct were met with little change—and a big payout for the man in charge.” Betsy Morais tweets, “‘I’ve never been so embarrassed in a professional setting.’ The story of Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Review-Journal as reported by @_JRobison is one of harassment, unequal pay, and intimidation.” Brian Duggan adds, “This is a must-read piece of journalism about Nevada’s largest news organization by @_JRobison. Details of inexcusable behavior and more. Bravo.”
Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeed News understands that BBC Journalists Have Been Told To Stop Saying “BBC Understands” Because It’s “Slightly Pompous.”
The editorial staff at Refinery29 has announced it’s unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East.
Of The Atlantic essay Weight Loss Is a Rock Fight, adapted from Tommy Tomlinson’s forthcoming book, “The Elephant in the Room,” Adrienne LaFrance says, “This is so good. Beautiful, vivid, really worth your time.” Tom Lasseter agrees, tweeting, “Good lord, this essay by @tommytomlinson about weight and losing weight and not losing weight, and the terror between, is astounding.” Adds Jennifer Engel, “I don't know @tommytomlinson. This is not a friend favor thing. This is me genuinely wanting to read this book, admiring his bravery and his writing from afar and fascinated just how same kind of different this struggle is for men/women.”
Karolina Waclawiak of BuzzFeed News tweets, “The response to @annehelen’s millennial burnout piece has been massive! We asked readers to share their own burnout stories to keep the conversation going.” Read Anne Helen Petersen’s follow-up story, Here’s What “Millennial Burnout” Is Like For 16 Different People.
Sarah Zhang says, “This is such an incredible bit of sleuthing. Scientists found mysterious blue particles in a 1000-year-old woman’s dental plaque, only to realized they had stumbled into a forgotten history of female scribes.” Read about that in her piece for The Atlantic, Why a Medieval Woman Had Lapis Lazuli Hidden in Her Teeth (57,000+ shares).
Moving on (literally), “This was lovely and I want everyone to know I'm growing as a person by NOT blowing a gasket at the inevitable responses from people using this as an opportunity to say my hometown sucks.” Jaya Saxena is referring to Moving to New Orleans from New York City, by Jami Attenberg for Curbed. Tweets Will Leitch, “As usual, @jamiattenberg is right about everything.” And Jesse Hardman offers, “Thx to @jamiattenberg on reminding me why I too once left NYC for New Orleans to thrive instead of survive. I still miss having to wave to all my Lower 9 neighbors as I made my way home every day.”
GQ frank ocean right here
Miles Marshall Lewis links to the new GQ cover, Frank Ocean on Making His Instagram Public, His Skincare Routine, and Moving to NYC, which is an interview by Emmett Cruddas and Vegyn, co-hosts of the Apple Music show Blonded Radio. As Yohana Desta notes, “today’s good soft energy is frank ocean talking about skincare.”
- Heidi Przybyla of NBC News reports that House Democrats are now asking questions about Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
- In case you were wondering, Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics, as Trip Gabriel explains in this New York Times story.
- Rick Scott blindsides DeSantis on his way out, write Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon of POLITICO. Caputo summarizes on Twitter, “An ‘inconsiderate’ Scott leaves DeSantis camp fuming at the way, they say, the former guv frustrated & slighted his successor —from 11th hour appointments to throwing a rival inaugural ball to hosting a party at the Gov Mansion after DeSantis fam moves in.”
- Betsy Woodruff and Asawin Suebsaeng of The Daily Beast found out that Steve Bannon Angled for a Job Lobbying on Behalf of E-Cigarette Giant Juul.
- In an exclusive for Vice News, Tess A. Owen explains How Parkland created a rush to arm teachers and school staff across the country.
- Maybe not too earth-shattering, but a new study has found that people older than 65 share the most fake news, reports Casey Newton of The Verge.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that A’s draftee Kyler Murray will not play both football and baseball.
- And we’ll sign off here, because...ugh: Anna Silman of The Cut reveals, Green Book Director Used To Flash His Penis As a Joke.