It’s not a dream
President Donald Trump played another round of “Let’s Make a Deal” with the Senate and House Democratic leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, over a Chinese food dinner at the White House Wednesday night.
They agreed, the Democrats said, to put into law the protections for young immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally that were in the now-rescinded Obama DACA order. They also are to come up with new border-security measures. A statement from Schumer and Pelosi said Trump isn’t insisting that his Mexican border wall be part of that package, though he still wants it funded.
For a bill to spare the Dreamers from the threat of deportation to succeed, it would need some votes from the Republican majorities, too.
Earlier in the day, Trump met with lawmakers from both parties, including Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), about a proposed tax code overhaul and DACA. See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.
No 'deal' yet
Trump reacted early Thursday to news coverage of the meeting by tweeting: "No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."
But then he added:
"Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....
"...They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own -- brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,"
The matter of the proposed border wall sounds like it will be treated separately.
From the White House early Thursday: "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."
Donald Trump loves the Second Amendment. But what about the First?
The White House took the unusual step Wednesday of suggesting ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill should lose her job for calling the president a “white supremacist” and “bigot” in an exchange with other Twitter users.
“That’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The sports network doesn’t like its personalities stirring political controversy. After a series of social media incidents, it canned baseball commentator Curt Schilling for a demeaning post last year about transgender people.
ESPN said Hill got a talking-to after her tweets at Trump “and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
But the White House’s call for a critic’s firing is stunning — particularly when the president himself is a serial over-the-top tweeter who repeatedly has cried “racist” at former President Barack Obama and others, most of them African-American.
Trump remains unapologetic about his comments about last month’s white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He told Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only Republican African-American, that the perception of his remarks was not “what he intended,” according to Scott.
Scott’s meeting with Trump was arranged after he criticized the president, saying Trump had “compromised” his “moral authority” in blaming “both sides.” Scott called that “a sterile perspective” that ignores the history of what minority communities have faced from “hate groups.”
Scott told CBS News he hoped Trump would meet with people of different backgrounds who have faced discrimination.
The take-away: Kicking Comey
This week brings us another episode of Everyone Hates Jim Comey.
Hillary Clinton, whose new book offers a long list of who and what she blames for losing, said on NBC’s “Today” show that she still would have won if not for Comey revealing in the campaign’s last days a brief reopening of the email investigation.
Meanwhile, for three straight days now from the White House briefing room, press secretary Sanders has egged on the Justice Department to look into prosecuting the fired FBI director, claiming he broke the law by leaking information and giving false testimony to Congress.
The recycled trashing from Trump’s side comes as CNN reports Justice is preventing Senate investigators from interviewing two top FBI officials about the dismissal. That suggests special counsel Robert Mueller could be looking into the circumstances behind it. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
Two Flynns under probe
Michael G. Flynn, the son of fired national security adviser Mike Flynn, is now under scrutiny in Mueller’s investigation of possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, NBC News reported.
The younger Flynn worked closely with his father, whose connections to foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey, are under investigation both by Mueller and Congress.
Capitol Hill investigators are also looking into whether the elder Flynn, before and during his brief tenure in the Trump White House, secretly promoted a plan by private business interests to build U.S.-Russian nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
More Democrats have signed on to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a single-payer health care system called Medicare, while some Republican senators are still hoping for a vote on a last-chance bill to repeal Obamacare, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.
At the White House, press secretary Sanders called the Vermont senator’s plan “a horrible idea” — and buttressed her argument by pointing to Bernie Sanders’ defeat by Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
“America doesn’t support it or Bernie Sanders would be sitting in the Oval Office right now. He pushed these ideas forward during the campaign. They were rejected, not just by America, but by Democrats,” she said.
What else is happening
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, ABC News reported. The request for the plane, which costs roughly $25,000 an hour to operate, was eventually withdrawn.
- Trump plans to travel to the Naples and Fort Myers areas on Florida’s Gulf Coast Thursday to observe the disaster response to Hurricane Irma.
- Schumer said Trump got it backward in calling for tax cuts to be accelerated because of Irma and Harvey. “We’re about to add billions to the deficit to rebuild parts of our country. ... That makes it even more important that tax reform be fiscally responsible and deficit-neutral. Not tax cuts,” Schumer said.
- Trump was interested in Schumer’s idea to permanently eliminate the debt ceiling. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t sound likely to come on board.
- Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer and former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who went to prison for giving secrets to WikiLeaks, will both be Harvard political fellows this fall. Trump once suggested Manning deserved to be executed.
- The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $600 million modification to a previous contract to buy two commercial 747 jetliners and convert them for use as Air Force One. Trump last December criticized an earlier plan to design the new presidential planes from scratch.