So, it’s not just Jared. The latest scoop from Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins at CNN is that the President pressured his staff to grant security clearance to Ivanka Trump against their recommendations (60,000+ shares). Steve Silberman says, “Note how easily this woman lies about her and her husband's security clearances. Her little face scrunches up as if she’s offended by the suggestion that they got special treatment (they did), and then she lets fly with BS. This whole family is a plague.”
Next up, Jonathan Weisman shares, “Two sentences to start your day: ‘People close to Trump privately predicted he will choose to seek a 2nd term in part because of his legal exposure if he is not president. Justice Department policy says that a president cannot be indicted while in office.’” At The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman explain how, In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen. Tweets Baker, “Six more checks to Cohen shed light on the parallel lives Trump was living as president of the United States — at once managing affairs of state while secretly paying the price of keeping his personal secrets out of the public eye.” Quinta Jurecic says, “I have been WAITING for this story—lining up the dates of Trump’s checks to Cohen with his activities on the given day. But this really takes the cake.”
Even from the reality show president, this one’s pretty “Unreal. One check reimbursing Michael Cohen for the criminal hush money scheme was dated on the day Trump leaned on Comey to lay off Flynn, and the other was dated on the day an aide confirmed that Trump lied about his son's collusion with Russia,” Greg Sargent highlights. And Justin Miller points out, “No one went on record to make the ludicrous defense that Trump paid Cohen out of his own pocket (for a felony) yet didn't know why. It’s that bad for Trump.”
Not exactly winning
Meanwhile, “I wonder how that trade war is going? *Checks @washingtonpost* Fuuuuu…” tweets Genetta Adams. You may remember that Trump promised to shrink the trade deficit. Instead it exploded, as David Lynch writes at The Washington Post. In fact, the merchandise trade deficit grew by 10% to $891.2 billion in 2018, making it the largest trade gap in the U.S.’s 243-year history. Catherine Rampell notes, “Trump is obsessed with trade deficits, (incorrectly) believing them a measure of who’s winning and who’s losing. Well, by his own measure, we must be ‘losing’ more.” Uh, America first?
Philip Rucker links to “Quite a @mffisher story here about how the New York Military Academy buried Donald Trump’s academic records under pressure from Trump’s rich alumni friends: ‘You need to go grab that record and deliver it to me.’” In his new piece for The Washington Post, Marc Fisher explains How Trump’s high school transcript was hidden (47,000+ shares), writing, “In 2011, days after Donald Trump challenged President Barack Obama to ‘show his records’ to prove that he hadn’t been a ‘terrible student,’ the headmaster at New York Military Academy got an order from his boss: Find Trump’s academic records and help bury them.” Which is why Nicholas Kristof files it under, “Hypocrisy watch.” Heidi Moore notes, “What is excellent about this Washington Post story is that it doesn’t focus on Trump’s grades per se; it focuses on the extent of his abuse of power, his lies and his coverups.”
And sure, it’s nice to be able to get by with a little help from your friends, but as Anne Gearan and Robert Costa of The Post report, Trump’s aides struggle to defend, explain his foreign policy statements, particularly since his foreign policy is “part nationalist, part conservative, part isolationist, part militaristic pageantry.” On Twitter, Gearan refers to it as “how the president’s mishmash of views complicates life and TV hits for his aides.”
A woman calling power to account
Switching gears, Newy Scruggs tweets, “Best Actor Oscar Goes To…” In a nearly 80-minute interview with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, R. Kelly breaks his silence and says all the women now accusing him of physical and sexual abuse are lying. Madhulika Sikka offers, “Such props to @gayleking on her complete professionalism and calm during the R. Kelly interview,” while Dan Zak tweets, “Iconic. A woman calling power to account; a man unable to deal with that.” Zak highlights this incredible photo. As Carrie Antlfinger says, “This interview with R. Kelly was certainly more dramatic than expected. Props to @GayleKing for the tough questions.”
No need to pay for it
Last month, Joseph Cox of Motherboard revealed that hundreds of bounty hunters had access to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint customer location data for years. But, as he now reports, “some people don’t even pay for this data at all.” In his latest, he explains how Stalkers and Debt Collectors Impersonate Cops to Trick Big Telecom Into Giving Them Cell Phone Location Data. Tweets Mike Balsamo, “Wow. Debt collectors & stalkers have been posing as law enforcement officers to trick big telcom companies into giving them real-time cellphone location data. In one case a guy looking to repo a car posed as a US Marshal and said a kid had been kidnapped.”
On being mortal
“Damn this a good read. @karaswisher on having a stroke while running a conference, and what happens when you become hyperaware of death.” Parmy Olson links to Kara Swisher’s new piece in The New York Times, Luke Perry Had a Stroke and Died. I Had One and Lived. Joanna Coles says it’s a “Brilliant column on being mortal,” and Don Van Natta (along with many others) calls it “An extraordinary piece of writing.” For more, be sure to check out Swisher’s Twitter thread, as she tweets, “I wrote this today on the train, but if you want to read more that I wrote at the time of my stroke, follow this thread.” Jim Sciutto sums it up: “This is both jarring and meaningful. In a phrase, life is short.”
Not The Onion
And Richard Currie of The Register has your headline of the day: Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster.
Here’s some news that will, unfortunately, most likely not surprise you: Teen who defied anti-vax mom says she got false information from one source: Facebook. Michael Brice-Saddler has that story at The Washington Post.
This may not surprise you either. Photos taken two days after the Trump-Kim Hanoi Summit show North Korea is rebuilding its long-range rocket site (47,000+ shares), as Carol Lee, Andrea Mitchell and Courtney Kube report in an exclusive for NBC News.
“Hello! FYI: ICE is apparently keeping an eye on anti-Trump, anti-ICE protesters in NYC. This is sorta important.” Tanvi Misra links to the scoop by Jimmy Tobias at The Nation, who found out that ICE Has Kept Tabs on ‘Anti-Trump’ Protestors in New York City. Tweets Tobias, “.@ICEgov, in other words, seems to be highly sensitive to the #AbolishICE movement in particular and left-leaning protests in general.”
Maxwell Tani and Asawin Suebsaeng of The Daily Beast report that Fox News Quietly Ditched Trump-Loving Sheriff David Clarke. Highlighting the part where a Fox source said, “His rhetoric became crazier and crazier and most shows refused to use him,” Joshua Holland wonders, “Was there a time when this guy wasn't completely bonkers?” Anyway, “Don't go away mad, David, just go away,” Andrew Cohen urges.
HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery brings it to our attention that, in a party-line vote, the Senate Confirmed a 37-Year-Old To a Lifetime Seat On a U.S. Circuit Court. That 37-year-old is Allison Jones Rushing, who used to work for the anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom and is now the youngest federal judge in the country. John Cassidy says it’s a “Quick reminder of why the GOP sticks with Trump. (This and they are scared of him.)”
He’s (not) running. In his latest column, Our Highest Office, My Deepest Obligation (23,000+ shares), Bloomberg’s Michael Bloomberg explains why he’s not running for president, and what he’s doing instead. For one, he’s launching “Beyond Carbon: a grassroots effort to begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy.”
In an exclusive for The Washington Post, Patricia Sullivan takes a look at what Amazon has to do in exchange for the $23 million in incentives from Arlington County. (Spoiler: Not much!)
Some good news. Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Is Coming to Netflix. Concepcion de Leon has the details at The New York Times.