News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Montana Muscle, Eye on Jared, Leakers I.D.'d and Much, Much More

Greg Gianforte celebrates his win over Rob Quist for the open congressional seat in Montana. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)

Good Friday Morning.

Here’s what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
  • The President will then participate in the welcome ceremony for G7 leaders.
  • The President will then participate in the reception for G7 leaders.
  • In the afternoon, the President will participate in the G7 luncheon and working sessions.
  • In the evening, the President and First Lady Melania Trump will attend the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra concert.
  • The President and the First Lady will then participate in a dinner hosted by President Sergio Mattarella of Italy.

Thug Life

Greg Gianforte won the Montana special election yesterday, a mere 24 hours after he was accused of and charged with beating up a reporter for The Guardian.

Just 24 hours after being charged with assault for allegedly body-slamming a reporter in his Bozeman campaign office, Republican Greg Gianforte has won the special election for the U.S. House seat in Montana, The Associated Press has projected.

The media and the Democrats took advantage of the situation, spending a chunk of the news cycle denouncing Gianforte (appropriate) and designating him a Trump proxy (ridiculous) for the violence. Violence against anyone is unacceptable, but that’s something about which I’ve been consistent. On the other hand, the media and the Democrats are flexible on the use of violence in the service of perceived injustice. Trashing universities, punching people who are designated Nazis, assaulting people for voting for Trump, shooting police officers — these are all acts of violence that have originated from perceived injustice about which the elites are less judgmental. But perhaps Gianforte felt his safe space was violated? Or maybe he felt he was being “othered” or “alienated” by media elite forces and acted out? Of course, this is absurd — but those are the rules of the left and this is what it looks like when everybody gets to take a page from the grievance handbook. Do they really want everyone to play by the same rules? We have nothing left but force when we live in a word that grants authority and approval to individual subjective perceptions of injustice. This is why we have a social contract.

Gianforte apologized for his behavior at his victory party.

“When you make a mistake you have to own up to it, that’s the Montana way,” Gianforte said. “Last night I made a mistake… That’s not the person I am and it’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.”

“Rest assured, our work is just beginning, but it does begin with me taking responsibility for my own actions,” he added. “You deserve a congressman who stays out of the limelight and just gets the job done.”

Gianforte’s supporters remain supportive of the victor and even “get” his behavior.

“We whole-heartedly support Greg. We love him,” said Karen Screnar, a Republican voter who had driven all the way from Helena to support Gianforte. Screnar said she and her husband have known Gianforte for the better part of a decade. After Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault, Screnar said she was only “more ready to support Greg.”

We’ve watched how the press is one-sided. Excuse me, that’s how I feel. (They’re) making him their whipping boy so to speak through this campaign,” Screaner said. “There comes a point where, stop it.

It seems the elites have overplayed their hand.

Tag, you’re it

Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is under investigation by the FBI as part of the Russian/election investigation, according to reports.

The Washington Post said Thursday that authorities were looking into a “series of meetings” held by Kushner and Russian operatives in December. Kushner’s meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a banker from Moscow gave investigators pause due to the “extent and nature of his interactions” with the Kremlin, The Post reported, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Both The Post and NBC News reported that Kushner has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry,” Jamie Gorelick, one of his attorneys, said in a statement.

The meeting among Kushner, the Russian ambassador, and the banker from Moscow caught the eye of the Senate Intelligence Committee in March. Kislyak reportedly orchestrated the meeting between Kushner and Vnesheconombank CEO Sergey N. Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank’s management team, Bloomberg reported last year.

Just another chapter in the book of “casting a cloud of suspicion” manual. The leaking needs to stop and maybe there is some good news because…

Leakers identified?

CBS News is reporting:

[According to] two sources that three leakers of classified information at the White House have been identified and are going through a process at the Office of Government Ethics, which will result in their firing.

CBS doesn’t lead their story with this information — it’s at the end of the piece. Instead, the story is titled “White House considers restructuring communications staff.”

Officials within the Trump White House believe leaks of Mr. Trump’s conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are a “deliberate attempt” by officials who are holdovers from President Obama’s administration and are trying to damage the Trump presidency.

Is that so?

FBI to Chaffetz: No Comey diary for you

The FBI is refusing to turn over former Director James Comey’s “detailed notes” on meetings with President Trump. Did Chaffetz ask for Comey’s notes about his conversation with Loretta Lynch after she met with a twice-failed presidential candidate’s husband on an Arizona tarmac when the candidate was under investigation?

I hope so.

The FBI on Thursday declined the request of the chairman of the House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, for the memos maintained by former FBI Director James Comey detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump.

In a letter, the FBI cited the appointment of a special counsel as the reason for its decision to withhold the documents.

“On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced the appointment of former FBI Director and Department of Justice official Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special counsel investigating Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential election,” said the letter, signed by Gregory Brower, the assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs. “In light of this development and other considerations, we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated.”

The FBI said it would “update this response as soon as possible.”

Writes John Sexton at Hot Air:

Chaffetz has already responded to the FBI letter. He writes that he has no desire to “impede or interfere” with Mueller’s investigation and that his investigation will focus on “the independence of the FBI, including conversations between the President and Comey and the process by which Comey was removed from his role as director.” He continues, “The records being withheld are central to those questions, even more so in light of Comey’s decision not to testify before the Committee at this time.”

Chaffetz then requests documents which he says are “outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation” be turned over to the committee by June 8th. Specifically, he requests “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of communication between Comey and any White House employee up to the president since last September.

Despite concerns about information leaking out of the committee, Congress does have oversight of the FBI. We’ll see how this shakes out.

Final morsels:

Parents sue San Diego school district alleging anti-Islamophobia campaign favors religion

34 companies that may be closing their doors

Black beauty masks lead to charges of racism

Man crashing into whorehouse with stolen truck

New formula for Trix cereal disgusts cereal enthusiasts

Enjoy your three day weekend and go beat back the angry mob!