Not letting this go
Early this year, President Donald Trump pulled then FBI Director James Comey aside at the White House and asked if he could drop the criminal probe of his ex-security adviser Michael Flynn, as Comey has said.
Now the continuing Flynn probe has reached the point where it is clear Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not about to let it go -- no matter the president's comfort zone.
It seems a Flynn lawyer told a Trump attorney this week that he can no longer discuss the probe involving foreign meddling in last year's election. This is taken as a sign Flynn may be ready to roll on others involved. But Trump attorney Jay Sekulow says: “No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president.”
Trump calls foul on ‘fool’
Getting called an “old lunatic” by Kim Jong Un’s North Korea prompted Trump to fire off one retaliatory tweet. He’s put four on the board so far in anger at the shade thrown his way by mouthy basketball dad LaVar Ball.
The latest volley was triggered by a wacky interview Ball gave to CNN on Monday. The take-away amid the head-spinning double-talk was that Ball didn’t think Trump deserved credit for getting China to cut loose his son and two other UCLA basketball players after they were arrested for shoplifting.
There were “others on the ground” who pulled that off, Ball suggested.
At 5:25 a.m. Wednesday, awake amid the pre-dawn quiet of Mar-a-Lago, the president of the United States responded:
“It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence — IT WAS ME,” Trump tweeted.
The president trashed Ball, a madcap self-promoter, as “just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.” King, the legendary boxing impresario, is a Trump supporter.
And that’s not all
Making the most of Twitter’s new 280-character per-tweet window, Trump kept on going.
“Just think ... LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!”
See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.
Oops! Obamacare signups surge
A surprise fact is running afoul of the Trump-Republican disparagement of Obamacare: Signups for the Affordable Care Act programs have surged in the first few weeks of open enrollment this year.
Nearly 2.3 million people signed up with Obamacare exchanges in the first 18 days, officials reported.
But Trump responded with a new vow of repeal, while carping about out-party Democrats and reassuring fans that the program is indeed a "disaster."
Janison: Changing channels
Trump and a nemesis — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — are among the players in skirmishes inside the Beltway over control of the internet and the airwaves.
Schneiderman complained the FCC, led by Trump-named chairman Ajit Pai, is hindering his probe into whether “fake” public comments are flooding into the agency to influence a decision on whether to end net neutrality rules. Pai on Tuesday endorsed such a move.
On another front, Pai has tacitly rebuked Trump for suggesting the revocation of broadcasting licenses from networks whose news coverage has displeased him. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
Par for the course
The White House said Wednesday morning that Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago resort, would have “a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.” He then headed to the Trump International Golf Club and spent almost five hours there.
It was Trump’s 99th day at a Trump property and 77th time at one of his golf courses since taking office, according to an NBC News count.
Say it ain’t Trump SoHo
The Trump Organization is ending its management of the Trump SoHo, which has lost customers because of the Trump name’s local unpopularity, The New York Times reported.
The property’s owners are paying a buyout to the Trumps to end the relationship and get the name off the hotel/condo high-rise. The decision to give it up was made by Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who run the business, along with a small group of senior executives, the report said.
Pass the bile
More than a third of Americans dread the thought of politics coming up at their Thanksgiving gatherings, while 2 in 10 are eager to go at it and 4 in 10 don’t care much either way, according to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
For the middle group, here are Thanksgiving talking points posted on social media by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on whether the GOP tax bill will help or hurt the middle class and by Donald Trump Jr. on the consequences for men accused of sexual harassment.
What else is happening:
- A self-thanking Thanksgiving call to U.S. troops --in which Trump gave himself credit for allowing them to "win" -- was "somewhat insulting," retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says.
- Former senior White House strategist Stephen Bannon is set to headline a campaign fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) next month in New York City.
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fierce critic of Trump, has long had a friendly relationship with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to emails obtained by Politico through a Freedom of Information request.
- Trump doesn’t like an idea NFL owners reportedly are considering for next year — to keep players in the locker room during the national anthem to avoid polarizing protests. “That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart?” Trump tweeted.
- Some police chiefs say the Justice Department is hurting, not helping, them by sharply scaling back an Obama-era program to rebuild community ties frayed by bias complaints, The New York Times reports. Rank-and-file groups, however, encouraged the new policy.
- Trump will meet with congressional leaders from both parties Tuesday to discuss how to avert a potential government shutdown at the end of the year along with other issues, including extending DACA.