Thursday ReadsPosted: January 18, 2018
I’ve been struggling with a chest cold and now my sinuses are acting up. This seems to be the story of my wintertime life now. Anyway, I’m not sure how coherent this post will be.
Here are the big stories I’m seeing this morning.
Trump is doing everything he can to sabotage any bipartisan agreements in Congress that would keep the government from shutting down. He’s also hitting back at John Kelly for his remarks to Democrats and Fox News yesterday. Read a brief summary of Kelly’s crimes at Axios: John Kelly risks a Steve Bannon moment.
Late last night, a few hours after Fox News aired Bret Baier’s interview with John Kelly, a source close to the president told me Trump would explode when he saw what his chief of staff said. The source — who has spent a lot of time with Trump — predicted the president would hate the interview because Kelly came off as the mature professional who patiently educated an uninformed Trump, and helped him see the light and evolve on “The Wall.” [….]
What Kelly said that crossed Trump:
“As we talked about things — where this president is and how much he wants to deal with this DACA issue and take it away — I told them that, you know, there’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through as a campaign [sic]. And I pointed out to all of the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed. But this president, if you’ve seen what he’s done, he has changed the way that he’s looked at a number of things. … So he has evolved in the way he’s looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”
The moron’s Thursday morning tweets:
And finally, Trump doesn’t want children’s health care to be included in a continuing resolution.
Putting CHIP in the mix was the only way Republicans could hope to get any Democratic votes for the CR. It looks like the moron really wants a government shut down.
The Washington Post: Trump Upsets Republican Strategy to Avoid Shutdown.
President Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House….
With a possible government shutdown looming this weekend, the House had planned to vote late Thursday on a stopgap spending bill that would keep government funding flowing to Feb. 16 as delicate negotiations continue to protect young, undocumented immigrants brought illegally as children from deportation.
Republican leaders have spent the week pressuring Democrats to vote for the spending bill, arguing that opposing it would effectively block a six-year extension of the children’s health program, attached to the spending bill as a sweetener for lawmakers in both parties.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said on Wednesday that it would be “unconscionable” for Democrats to oppose funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program with a “no” vote on the short-term spending bill.
But Mr. Trump’s tweet appeared to give Democrats a ready excuse to oppose the measure: the president wants the health program severed from the spending bill.
Blaming a shutdown on the Democrats won’t work. Republicans control the government, and the “president” can make exceptions to pay the military and other essential services.
Doctors who don’t work for Trump are pushing back on Ronny Jackson’s characterization of the moron’s health as “excellent.”
The New York Times: Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say.
Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Mr. Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.
Dr. David Maron, the director of preventive cardiology at Stanford University’s medical school, said Wednesday that it was alarming that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.
Dr. Maron said he would “definitely” be worried about Mr. Trump’s risk for having a heart attack if the president were one of his patients. Asked if Mr. Trump is in perfect health, Dr. Maron offered a blunt reply: “God, no.”
Other cardiologists also disputed Dr. Jackson’s rosy assessment of the president’s heart health. Several said Mr. Trump’s goal should be to get his LDL below 100, or even under 70. He has a real risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially considering his weight and lack of exercise, they said.
Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said that it is impossible to ignore the dangers of the president’s elevated cholesterol levels when providing an overall assessment of Mr. Trump’s health.
“That’s a really high LDL,” Dr. Topol said. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.”
He added: “I would never use the words ‘excellent health.’ How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”
Read more expert opinions at the NYT link.
Dana Millbank at The Washington Post: Is Trump’s doctor okay?
Examining the White House physician’s briefing on President Trump’s physical, I was alarmed — not about the president’s health, but the doctor’s.
Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was so effusive in extolling the totally amazing, surpassingly marvelous, superbly stupendous and extremely awesome health of the president that the doctor sounded almost Trumpian. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” he said, repeating “excellent” eight times: “Hands down, there’s no question that he is in the excellent range. . . . I put out in the statement that the president’s health is excellent, because his overall health is excellent. . . . Overall, he has very, very good health. Excellent health.”
And just how excellent is His Excellency’s excellent health, doctor? “Incredible cardiac fitness,” was Dr. Jackson’s professional opinion. “He has incredible genes. . . . He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, making a rare house call to the White House briefing room, offered a second opinion. “He is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, he has evidence of heart disease, and he’s borderline obese,” Gupta pointed out, citing Jackson’s own findings. “Can you characterize that as excellent health?”
Dr. Ronny must have gotten a pretty good brow-beating before he went out to face the White House press corps.
That’s probably not coming from a legit “WH senior advisor,” but it sure sounds like the moron in chief.
Here’s some interesting news on the Russia story.
The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.
FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.
It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.
It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.
Read the rest at the link. This might be a good time to reread that big scoop by Ruth May at the Dallas Morning News in December: How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns. Also check out this Twitter thread:
Read the rest of the thread on Twitter.
That’s all I have the strength for right now. What stories are you following today?