The Morning Briefing: DACA Dinner, Unmasking and Much, Much More
Good Thursday Morning.
Here is what's on the President's agenda today:
- In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Fort Myers, Florida. The President will then arrive in Fort Myers, Florida, and will participate in a briefing on Hurricane Irma.
- Later in the morning, the President will depart Fort Myers, Florida, en route to Naples, Florida. The President will then arrive in Naples, Florida, and will visit with individuals impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- In the afternoon, the President will depart Naples, Florida, for Fort Myers, Florida, en route to Washington, D.C.
- The President will then arrive in Washington, D.C. and will return to the White House. In the evening, the President and First Lady Melanie Trump will host the White House Historical Association reception and dinner.
What happened at the DACA dinner last night?
There are conflicting accounts but according to President Trump's dinner guests, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the dinner participants "agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."
However, WH spox Sanders countered the Democrat duo's statement and said "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to." Who knows what really happened, but here's something that absolutely happened: sources say that the menu consisted of "Chinese food and chocolate pie for dessert." CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!
Legislative aide Marc Short backed up Sanders' statement and said that any claim about the wall funding being excluded was "intentionally misleading."
Schumer's communications director tweeted that Trump agreed to leave out funding the wall in the DACA deal but would continue to pursue it in other ways.
Ted Cruz and the porn video
Apparently, Senator Ted Cruz's Twitter account "liked" a porn tweet a few days ago and now we have a multi-day news story. The media is very focused on the details. Did Cruz do it? Did an intern? Was it an accident? Anyone in their right mind would know that Senator Cruz would not "like" a porn tweet on his Twitter account. The media hate his guts and have people who do nothing all day long but watch his Twitter account. The porn "like" was either an accidental "like" or some intern thought he was on his private account. Good grief. Why is this such a big deal?
"It was not me," Cruz said in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash in Washington, calling the mishap "an honest mistake." Cruz reiterated the message from his office and said they had since identified the staffer, but refused to name the individual. "I promise you, the staffer feels terrible," he said.
"It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent, it was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action," Cruz said Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. He added: "We're dealing with it internally but it was a mistake, it was not malicious conduct."
Susan Rice admits to unmasking
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice told the House Intelligence Committee the she requested the unmasking of Trump associates because of a meeting at the Trump Towers with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE's crown prince, traveled to New York during the transition period in December 2016 and reportedly met with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
According to CNN, the Obama administration felt "misled" by the UAE, which was why Rice requested that Trump associates' names be unmasked.
A senior Middle East official acknowledged to CNN that the UAE did not inform the US of the crown prince's visit in advance but denied that the UAE had misled the Obama administration. The official said that the December Trump Tower meeting was merely part of an effort to build a relationship with the incoming administration.
Here are some responses to Rice's testimony from the Committee members:
"I didn't hear anything to believe that she did anything illegal," Republican Florida Rep. Tom Rooney told CNN of Rice's testimony.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is one of the lawmakers spearheading the House investigation, told the Daily Caller "nothing that came up in her interview that led me to conclude" that she made inappropriate unmasking requests.
"She was a good witness, answered all our questions," Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican who took over leading the House Russia investigation after Nunes stepped down, told CNN. "I'm not aware of any reason to bring her back."
I guess that's settled.
Historical picture of the day
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!