News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: New RUSSIA Stuff, Obama's Back, Snortable Chocolate and Much, Much More

Former U.S. President Barack Obama waves prior to delivering his speech during the 4th Congress of Indonesian Diaspora Network in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Good Monday Morning!

The President has no public events scheduled today.

RUSSIA: Trump Jr. met with RUSSIAN lawyer.

The latest news on the RUSSIA “scandal” involves the eldest son, Don Trump Jr. The New York Times is reporting that Trump Jr. met with a RUSSIAN person during the 2016 campaign who promised him damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The meeting also included son-in-law Jared Kushner and short-lived campaign manager Paul Manafort. The meeting took place weeks after Trump locked down the GOP nomination for president.

It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. But the people interviewed by The Times about the meeting said the expectation was that she would do so.

When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. said that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton.

If the situation was reversed, would the Clinton campaign turn away the RUSSIAN? I don’t think so.

According to the New York Times:

“After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

Trump Jr. “said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The 2012 law so enraged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he halted American adoptions of Russian children.”

“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.

The president’s legal team has said he was not involved and was unaware of the meeting.

And there you have it. I’ll let you decide if the latest episode in the RUSSIA scandal story has any meat to it. One thing I like to remind people of when the subject turns to the RUSSIA scandal is that no one thought Trump was going to win the election. Why would a foreign government seriously bother with him? He never led the general election polls, and the media was telling us it was a foregone conclusion Hillary would break the glass ceiling. And if this RUSSIAN lawyer had any information, what was it? When did it surface in the public realm?

How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

Former President Obama is back on the political circuit and will headline a fundraiser for redistricting later this week.

Obama’s appearance Thursday before a few dozen people at a closed-door event in the District on behalf of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) highlights the balance he is trying to strike as his party seeks to regain its footing at both the state and national levels. Obama does not want to cast “a long shadow,” in the words of Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, but he remains a central figure for a party that has yet to settle on a single strategy to combat President Trump.

According to foul-mouthed DNC chair Tom Perez, Obama wants to build the party’s bench, which is mighty nice of him as the party suffered tremendous losses during his presidency.

“Because tomorrow’s president is today’s state senator. And he knows that very personally,” said Perez. “When you lose 900 state legislative seats, those are people who could have been the next governors and senators and Cabinet positions, and that is something that he’s very committed to.”

Is redistricting the reason those seats were lost, or was it something else? My money is on something else.

NRDC chair Kelly Ward will not disclose how much money is expected to come from the fundraiser.

It’s time to regulate snortable chocolate, says Schumer.

Nanny state proponent Senator Chuck Schumer is looking to the feds to crack down on “snortable chocolate” powder.

In a letter Saturday, the New York Democrat asked the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the use of caffeine in inhalable food products such as so-called Coco Loko. It’s gotten buzz in recent weeks.

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, says there are too many unanswered questions about a product pitched under the innocent-sounding name of chocolate.

“This suspect product has no clear health value,” he said in a statement. “I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses.”

I had no idea such a thing existed. So what is Coco Loko?

“It promises feelings of well-being, mental focus, ecstasy-like euphoria and a rush of “motivation that is great for partygoers to dance the night away without a crash,” according to Orlando, Florida-based Legal Lean’s website. It notes that the claims haven’t been vetted by the FDA.

Founder Nick Anderson said he believes his snortable chocolate is safe.

McDaniel counters Perez: GOP “don’t give a sh!t about people”

DNC chair Tom Perez was directly called out for his profanity-laced tirade against the Republicans on Sunday’s  “Meet the Press.” RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel scolded Perez to his face for his remarks at an April event where he told the crowd “Republicans don’t give a sh!t about people.”

“With all due respect, when Tom’s saying Republicans don’t give a blank about anyone, when he goes around and says that about the other party. I know Democrats care about other people, we just have a difference of opinion on the path to get there,” Romney McDaniel said.

“But that type of rhetoric doesn’t bring people to our parties. We have to have reasonable discussions, have a dialogue, be respectful of each other, but share our opinions as to what the best path is to get to the same place we both want to go, which is a better life or our kids, for our grandkids,” she added.

Said Perez, “I meet people who are worried to death because this Republican repeal bill is not a health care bill. It’s a tax cut bill for the mega-wealthy, masquerading as a health care bill.” And then came the obligatory: “People will die.”

When Chuck Todd questioned Perez about whether he regrets his remarks, “Perez ducked the question and began to recite Democratic talking points about the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare,” writes The Blaze. Watch the exchange:

Other morsels:

Fire erupts in London’s Camden Lock Market

News outlets to seek bargaining rights against Google and Facebook

TV networks are purposely misspelling show names to avoid bad Nielsen ratings

Uh oh. Pollsters are screwing up again

Trump’s VA terminates 500, suspends 200 for misconduct

Long after protests, students shun the University of Missouri

Abby Lee Miller will serve prison sentence in California starting Wednesday

1 dead, 8 injured, including children, in shooting at gender reveal party

Baton Rouge officer sues Black Lives Matter over 2016 ambush of cops

Church of England votes to explore transgender services

Film studio donates $25K to replace Arkansas Ten Commandments tribute monument

That’s all I’ve got now — go beat back the angry mobs!