News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: RUSSIA RUSSIA, Net Neutrality, FBI Honcho Confirmation and Much, Much More

A Sun Bear, native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, sleeps in a tree at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Good Wednesday Morning!

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

  • In the evening, President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Paris, France.

The RUSSIA beat goes on

Yesterday was a big day for the RUSSIAN collusion crowd. Here’s the sitrep: Donald Trump, Jr. released his emails pertaining to a meeting with a RUSSIAN person, set up as a favor to a music industry friend. The music industry friend referred to the RUSSIAN person as a Crown Prosecutor of RUSSIA, which sounds very important and Putin-connected. The phrasing was just a mix-up by the friend who is British — what he really meant is that she was a prosecutor.  Trump Jr. was told they have the goods on Hillary and want to share it as a sign of the RUSSIAN government’s support for Donald Trump’s campaign. The meeting took place, reportedly for 20 minutes. Kushner left the meeting after about 7 minutes. Manafort was on his phone most of the time and no “goods” on Hillary were presented, rather the RUSSIAN wanted to talk about the Magnitsky Act. (The Magnitsky Act comes right after the Logan Act in the Democrat-media’s 2016 presidential campaign dictionary of tricks.) The media and the Twitter lawyers have decided this is treason and evidence of collusion. You can decide for yourself if you agree with that assessment.

I am not a lawyer so I can’t say if meeting with a RUSSIAN under the puffed-up pretense of campaign dirt with no payout is illegal. The optics are very bad and have been and will continue to be exploited by the media and the president’s opponents who are still upset Hillary Clinton lost the election.

FUN FLASHBACK: Politico on January 11, 2017Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

As of today, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will look into the “matter” (LOL) — according to CNN. The Senate Intel Committee wants Trump Jr. to testify and wants documents from him. He told Fox News host Sean Hannity last night that he will cooperate with any and all investigations.

One issue that is being avoided by the media is the question of where these emails came from. I asked this yesterday in my Morning Briefing, but the question doesn’t seem to catch anyone’s interest. Who had these emails to describe their contents to the NYT and then ultimately give them to the New York Times to publish?

‘Day of action’ on net neutrality

America’s big tech giants are launching a “day of action” today to preserve the current net-neutrality rules.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Snapchat, along with an array of other websites and apps taking part in the “day of action,” believe a firehose of internet users can convince President Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Commission to abandon its plan to gut the rules. The tactic mirrors the web “blackout” deployed in early 2012 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which lawmakers dropped after receiving a flood of phone calls and emails.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has promised to reverse the rules. What is net neutrality? Very simply: it requires internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally, meaning they cannot prioritize different kinds of web traffic — say, faster video streaming over web-surfing or Twitter peacocking.

The number of high-profile websites taking part in the effort continues to expand. Amazon and Reddit were among the first household names to sign up. They’ve since been joined by Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as an eclectic mix of sites ranging from Yelp and Spotify to PornHub and Chess.com. Collectively, they touch millions of Americans every day.

“Our message reminds our members of their rights, and how the destruction of net neutrality would take away their freedom to choose what they do and see online,” said Elie Seidman, CEO of online dating site OkCupid.

Well, actually what it does is it takes away the ability of a businesses (ISPs) to decide how to market and sell their products. Internet users are free to do whatever they want online, they just have to pay for it. I have no love for the ISP industry and think the industry needs to be deregulated so the consumer is not hostage to their horrific customer service and outrageous pricing. At the heart of the issue is the question of whether or not the internet is a utility and requires the government’s regulation.

Confirmation hearing for FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

At 9:30 this morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its hearing on the confirmation of Trump nominee Christopher Wray.

Expect questions about how to deal with the RUSSIA investigation, the people/victims of the RUSSIA media-led investigation and plenty of other inflammatory questions. I also expect this to be an opportunity for the grandstanders on the committee to get in some zingers about Donald Trump, Jr. and anything else they want to use in their campaign commercials.

Here’s how the NYT describes Wray:

Former colleagues and friends describe Mr. Wray as a low-key straight shooter who is unafraid to take on tough cases. Mr. Wray, 50, spent years as a high-powered defense lawyer. According to financial disclosures, Mr. Wray has made $9.2 million since the beginning of 2016 as a partner with the law firm King & Spalding, where he has spent almost 12 years with the firm, representing major corporations and also New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

Before joining the private sector, Mr. Wray worked in the Justice Department. He started as a prosecutor in Atlanta and became associate deputy attorney general in Washington in May 2001, putting him at the center of the country’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks. As the head of the department’s criminal division from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Wray was responsible for investigating C.I.A. abuses of detainees, including the deaths of two men in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Wray graduated in 1989 from Yale University and received his law degree in 1992 from Yale Law School.

Tune into CSPAN for the latest developments of the hearing.

Senate to offer new healthcare bill on Thursday

Fresh off a giant vacation bitch-slap, the Senate will reveal a version of a healthcare bill on Thursday, The Hill is reporting.

The revised legislation will include concessions to centrists and conservatives designed to win the necessary 51 votes for passage.

Overall, however, it retains many of the core elements of the GOP’s previous measure, which was shelved last month after a group of Republican senators threatened to block it on the floor.The concessions include keeping in place taxes that would provide more revenue for tax credits and state funding to help low-income people buy insurance.

But the rollback of expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, a top priority of conservatives, is largely kept in place.

Sounds great.

“We’re going to do healthcare next week,” McConnell told reporters, noting that the reconciliation process he plans to use to pass it with a simple majority is time-limited. “Then we’re going to turn to other issues.”

There will be two drafts of the bill — one that is more free-market and one that is not.

Republicans will get two draft bills — one that includes an amendment sponsored by conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to allow insurance companies to sell plans that do not comply with federal regulatory requirements as long as they offer at least one plan that does and one draft that does not include it.

“I continue to believe that the consumer freedom amendment is the key to getting 50 votes and passing ObamaCare repeal,” Cruz said after lunching with pals and chatting about the legislation.

Good luck with that, Senator Cruz. The Senate already voted to repeal Obamacare when it didn’t matter. The fact that they will not do it now when it does is telling.

Other Morsels:

Virginia man pleads guilty to killing a bald eagle by shooting, running it over with an ATV

Confused pilot nearly lands on top of four planes at San Francisco’s airport

Washington man sends finger to IRS to protest taxes

Michigan governor signs laws banning female genital mutilation

Cop facing discipline after ‘mis-gendering’ transgender person on driving ticket

University Gives Grants For ‘Body Pride’ And ‘Self-Compassion’ Research

Nevada governor calls for state emergency over pot shortage

Amazon Alexa credited with saving mother, child during domestic dispute

This is the most watched You Tube video

Twinkle, twinkle, littlest star: Universe’s smallest star discovered

MS-13 gang member filmed, narrated teen’s killing, FBI agent tells judge

NYPD Officers Again Turn Backs to De Blasio at Slain Cop’s Funeral

Haiti to reform army after 20 years without

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