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Live Blog

Here is your live blog for the day.

Good Monday morning.

Here is what's on the president's agenda today:

  • The president receives his intelligence briefing
  • President Trump has lunch with the vice president
  • The president announces the nominee for associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Tonight's the night

At 9:00 p.m. ET, President Trump will announce his nominee to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Rumors are swirling and hysteria is in the air as we enter one of the craziest weeks in the political universe. According to reports, four names are at the top of Trump's list: Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge. Whoever gets the nod will be subject to an epic trashing and intrusive investigation. It will be quite a spectacle. The most important thing to remember about the nominee is that one millisecond after this person is confirmed to the court, Roe v. Wade will be overturned and women will have to conduct their own abortions in back alleys with hangers and unsanitary blunt instruments. True story.

The Sunday schlock shows were all about the SCOTUS. “Beyond the procedure, beyond the gamesmanship, it is a life-and-death important decision to be made by this court on so many issues,” Dick Durbin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The Hill explains:

While Trump and his allies have downplayed whether the president is looking for a justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade — the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide — Democrats have argued the point is moot because the judge will come from a list prepared by the Federalist Society and another conservative group, the Heritage Foundation.

"I've never seen a president of the United States, in effect, make himself a puppet of outside groups and choose from a group of right-wing fringe ideologues that are prepared on this list," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) clucked on "This Week."

You can be absolutely assured that at least one outside group gave President Obama a list for his SCOTUS freaks. He just didn't publicize this fact. But it's standard operating procedure. How would any president have the necessary familiarity with all the qualified lawyers in America to select a nominee otherwise? Durbin's remarks, and others making a similar case, are playing on the ignorance of the public about how things happen in the political industry and pretending it's a BIG DEAL. Outside groups influence all administrations. Why do you think the groups exist in the first place?

Get your popcorn ready for tonight. I'll be up watching-- the Twitter-mania following the announcement will be lit.

Related:

Trump adviser says two Supreme Court candidates are tougher sell

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones says he could vote either way on Trump's SCOTUS pick

Rescue resumes for children trapped in Thailand cave

Over the weekend, four children were rescued from a cave in Thailand where the group has been stranded for more than two weeks. Eight children and their coach remain trapped in the sinewy caverns. Time is running out for the rescue operation as forecasts predict more rain, further flooding the cave. CNN reports that the rescue operation is in gear once again, according to a Thai navy official.

"The operation has begun and it is ongoing at the moment," the navy officer told CNN. He said Monday's mission involved the same divers who carried out Sunday's treacherous operation, which took nine hours and led to the rescue of four boys.

Pray for these boys and their coach.

Related:

How doctors will determine shape of boys after 16 days trapped in a dark cave

Lefty predators continue stalking campaign

On Saturday, an unhinged #resistor lady shouted down Steve Bannon while he was at a bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, and then refused to leave the store when asked. The owner of the bookstore subsequently called the cops to remove the lady. Former Hillary Clinton associate Philippe Reines tweeted out the name and address of the bookstore so more unhinged #resistors can disturb the business and accost customers, all because the owner wanted the disruptor removed from his private property. I don't blame him. Who would want to come into this bookstore and into a hostile environment? Zero tolerance for disruptive #resistance shenanigans, I say.

“Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn’t. And I said, ‘I’m going to call the police if you don’t,’ and I went to call the police and she left. And that’s the end of the story,” Nick Cooke, the owner of the store, told the Richmond Dispatch. Reines sprung into action.

“You have some very fine people on both sides. They may want to contact the store as many did after Sarah Slanders™️ was asked by the owner to leave the Red Hen restaurant. For convenience I copied & pasted the store’s ‘Contact Us’ page,” Reines said.

“Presumably they post their contact information on the World Wide Web in the hopes people contact them. Hence the name ‘Contact Us.’ That’s all. It’s not like I Tweeted Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number.”

So Reines believes that the owner of the restaurant should have the right to refuse service to Sarah Sanders but a bookstore owner does not have the right to remove a customer who is harassing another customer from his property. The new normal.

Related:

Protesters confront Mitch McConnell outside restaurant

Thousands Shut Down Major Chicago Highway In The Name Of Gun Control

Remind me who the conspiracy theorists are again?

Never Trumpers and progressives have been howling about the wacky (but well-documented) "conspiracy theory" that malefactors in the Obama FBI and DOJ tried to prevent the election of Donald Trump, continued to undermine the administration once Trump was elected and then lied and covered up their treachery to congressional oversight investigators. If you think that's a crazy theory, have I got something for you.

New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait weaves a real whopper. He asks about the upcoming Trump/Putin meeting: Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly would have been bugged. There is not much else in the public record to describe his visit, except Trump’s own recollection in The Art of the Deal that Soviet officials were eager for him to build a hotel there. (It never happened.)

Trump returned from Moscow fired up with political ambition. He began the first of a long series of presidential flirtations, which included a flashy trip to New Hampshire. Two months after his Moscow visit, Trump spent almost $100,000 on a series of full-page newspaper ads that published a political manifesto. “An open letter from Donald J. Trump on why America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves,” as Trump labeled it, launched angry populist charges against the allies that benefited from the umbrella of American military protection. “Why are these nations not paying the United States for the human lives and billions of dollars we are losing to protect their interests?”

Read the whole thing, if you dare.

RUSSIA investigation round-up

Details emerge on Justice Department meeting with reporters on Manafort

Giuliani confirms WH contested Mueller interview with John Kelly

Mueller’s ‘Pit Bull’ Arranged Meeting With Reporters To Discuss Manafort Investigation

Your daily WTF:

eBay pulls 6-year-old McDonald's cheeseburger and fries from auction after bidding hits $150

Marines help wounded Marines to helicopter to be evacuated from battle scene at An Hoa, South Vietnam on July 9, 1965. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)

Other morsels:

Trump tweets video montage of people saying he couldn't win presidency

Michelle Wolf in July Fourth salute: 'God bless abortions and God bless America'

89 people have been killed in landslides in Japan, millions evacuated from nearby areas

US soldier killed in 'apparent insider attack' in Afghanistan ID'd

Top UK official in charge of Brexit quits in fresh blow to May

Tater sez: CNN’s Stelter blasts Trump-Hannity relationship: 'Let's just underscore how weird this is'

Ex-Planned Parenthood head: Women like Ocasio-Cortez are proof 'the future is Latina'

Funny. HA HA. Bill Maher Goes After Trump’s Manhood, Alleges The President Has A ‘Microd*ck’

Jilted Former EPA Aide With Sordid History Takes Full Credit For Pruitt’s Resignation

China behind North Korea’s latest behavior, Graham says

Pompeo pushes back after North Korea calls US ‘gangster-like’

Slain Capital Gazette reporter charged shooter, colleague says

South Carolina governor vetoes $15.7 million from budget over funding for abortion providers

California wildfire burns 30,500 acres, destroys 72 structures: What we know

LOVE THIS. England fans invaded a London IKEA after win

A GIRL CAN DREAM. Report: Hillary Clinton could make a comeback, battling Trump

More South Texas land owners getting letters on border wall

UK woman poisoned by same nerve agent as Russian spy dies, police say

Homeowners come home to ash and rubble as wildfires ravage California

And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!

 

President Trump just announced his SCOTUS pick- Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

Here are 5 things to know about Brett Kavanaugh.

5 Things to Know About Trump's Supreme Court Pick, Brett Kavanaugh

And a little more SCOTUS conjecture.

How much of this is happenstance, how much wishful thinking, and how much is stage-managed by the White House to build anticipation?