News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: CNN Spanks Itself, SCOTUS Watch, Kislyak Bounces and Much, Much More

(AP Photo/Ric Feld,File)

Happy Monday Morning.

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

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
  • In the afternoon, the President and First Lady Melania Trump will welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
  • The President will then meet with Prime Minister Modi. Later in the afternoon, the President will give joint statements with Prime Minister Modi.
  • In the evening, the President and the First Lady will have dinner with Prime Minister Modi.
  • The President and the First Lady will then participate in the departure of Prime Minister Modi.

Crackdown at CNN: new rules needed to reign in their Russia/Trump “reporting”

CNN had to pull an article published on Friday claiming a link between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Kremlin-controlled bank (THE RUSSIANS).

“On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” the news organization said in a statement.

“That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”

Did not meet CNN’s editorial standards? Oh, it met their editorial standards, just not their legal department’s standards.

And this is not the first of CNN’s reporting fumbles. Peter Hasson at The Daily Caller writes:

The network was forced to rewrite a story earlier this month that claimed former FBI Director James Comey would refute Trump’s claim that Comey had informed him three separate times that he was not the subject of an FBI investigation. In fact, Comey’s testimony confirmed Trump’s account. All four bylines, including that of anchor Jake Tapper and chief political analyst Gloria Borger, were originally removed from the rewritten story but were later added back in after an inquiry from The Daily Caller.

But now the hammer is coming down.

“No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas],” said the email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“This applies to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions,” the email added. “I will lay out a workflow Monday.”

A source “close” to CNN told BuzzFeed the incident was a “massive, massive f–k up and people will be disciplined.”

Guess who’s coming to dinner…or not

This year, the White House declined to host an iftar dinner marking the completion of the month-long fasting ritual observed by Muslims.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the White House did not host an iftar dinner to commemorate Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Instead, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania released a statement on Saturday wishing “warm greetings” to those celebrating Eid al-Fitr, an important holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

“Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity,” they said. “Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.”

The secretary of State also declined to host a reception.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also broke with decades of tradition by rejecting a request by the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host a reception marking Eid al-Fitr, according to two administration officials familiar with the decision.
Since 1999, Tillerson’s five Republican and Democratic predecessors have hosted either an iftar dinner to break the fast during Ramadan or an Eid al-Fitr reception at the end of the monthlong holiday. Many diplomatic posts overseas also host events during the Ramadan month of fasting and prayer.

Supreme speculation

Eyes are on the Supreme Court this week as the court finishes its last day of the session on Monday with a possible decision on the Trump travel executive order on the horizon. In addition, there is chatter that that Justice Kennedy could announce his retirement.

The Supreme Court usually saves their most important decisions for their final day, and CBS News’ Paula Reid says it’s very likely they have come to a decision and they make that decision public on Monday. The justices met Thursday for their last scheduled private conference of the session.

The White House has asked the Supreme Court to allow it to go ahead and actually start enforcing this policy and hear arguments about in the fall. The Trump administration believes the Supreme Court is its best hope of having this policy upheld after two lower courts blocked, it saying it’s likely unconstitutional.

And there’s more: we could be bracing for a future SCOTUS confirmation hearing.

Meanwhile, there are rumors swirling that Justice Anthony Kennedy, age 80, could announce his retirement. Kennedy is often the “swing vote” on the court, and if he retires, Mr. Trump could push the court toward a conservative direction for decades to come.

But it’s far from certain that any announcement is coming. Sources tell CBS News the White House and the other justices are in the dark about Kennedy’s plans.

He’s 80; it’s time for retirement.

Report: Firm behind salacious Trump dossier has ties to Hillary Clinton, Democrats

Paul Sperry at the New York Post has the scoop on a scandalous memo peddled and ultimately published about President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the panel identifying who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House.

Why so evasive?

Fusion GPS describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But congressional sources say it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda.

“These weren’t mercenaries or hired guns,” a congressional source familiar with the dossier probe said. “These guys had a vested personal and ideological interest in smearing Trump and boosting Hillary’s chances of winning the White House.”

Read the entire article.

We won’t have Sergey Kislyak to kick around anymore

Sergey Kislyak, the most famous RUSSIAN diplomat in the history of the world, will be leaving the Washington, D.C swamp for his native Russia.

Kislyak will leave in his wake a series of investigations tied to talks he had with Trump aides during and after the 2016 campaign. His departure will complicate any potential attempts for him to testify for any of the probes.

The exit is especially surprising because Kislyak was reportedly planning to instead come to New York for a counterterrorism position with the United Nations.

Kislyak has worked as the RUSSIAN ambassador to the U.S. since 2008.

Bloomberg launches contest for cities to bypass Trump administration

Nanny stater and gun grabber Michael Bloomberg is holding a contest designed to incentivize cities to “bypass” the Trump administration.

Entrepreneur and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to launch a $17 million contest to incentivize U.S. cities to bypass policymaking in Washington under the Trump administration, according to the Associated Press.

Thirty-five cities will win $100,000, while four other cities will get $1 million. The grand prize is $5 million for one city.

But maybe there is an upside: Bloomberg’s contest “is aimed at pushing mayors across the country to tackle issues on their own, without federal help.” What’s not to like about encouraging cities (and states) to handle their own issues? As long as their solutions don’t include federal tax dollars and constitutional violations, of course.

Bloomberg’s incentive comes as many leaders of U.S. cities find themselves concerned about policies put forth by the Trump administration, in particular the issue of climate change.

Cities across the U.S. pledged to meet the goals set by the Paris climate accords after Trump announced his intention to pull the U.S. out of the nearly 200-nation deal earlier this year.

The projects involved in the contest would likely focus on issues important to Bloomberg, such as climate change, opioids, and gun control.

The courts will certainly (hopefully) stop any Second Amendment innovations, but if folks want to live in a state with astronomical electricity costs (low income families hardest hit!) for the sake of the climate industry, good for them.

Other morsels:

Witches cast disturbing ‘binding’ spells against Trump as part of ‘the resistance’

Jewish pride flags banned at Chicago gay pride march

Prada sells $185 paper clip

Chelsea Manning gets float spot in NYC pride parade

Kasich’s website hacked with ISIS propaganda

Sen. Mike Lee explains his opposition to the Obamacare replacement

Miley Cyrus is a “genderless spirit”

Burned Koran and bacon left at mosque

UCLA Institute: ‘Trumpism Consolidates Power Through White Supremacy’

Why Broadway’s ‘1984’ audiences are fainting, vomiting and getting arrested

That’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!