No tanks, Mr. President
Trump isn’t winning general applause even on his own side of the aisle for his ambition to hold a grand military parade and display in the streets of the nation’s capital.
The president has fixated on the idea since attending France’s Bastille Day celebration, the annual show in Paris of marching soldiers, armored vehicles and military aircraft flyovers.
Staunchly pro-military Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said a “Soviet-style hardware display” would be “cheesy.” It would be better to focus on the people who serve, he said. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) didn’t salute the idea either.
“I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” he told reporters. “America is the most powerful country in all of human history. You don’t need to show it off.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), an Army veteran, said he doesn’t “believe that we should have tanks and nuclear weapons going down Pennsylvania Avenue,” but favors a “greater celebration” honoring soldiers and veterans.
D.C. officials had practical concerns: Tanks would cause brutal damage to the asphalt. But Trump told his military chiefs he wants a parade, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the Pentagon is working on options. See Newsday’s story by Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
New White House turmoil
Rob Porter, who had a low public profile but a key White House role as Trump’s staff secretary, resigned amid allegations of physical and mental abuse by his two ex-wives, Figueroa Hernandez reports for Newsday.
Porter’s exes told their stories to the online news outlet DailyMail.com. In a statement read by press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Porter said, “these outrageous allegations are simply false,” but that he had decided to leave.
Sanders said Porter was not pressured to resign and had the “full confidence” of Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whom he worked closely with.
Shutdown suspense in House
Senate leaders announced a bipartisan $400 billion budget deal to keep government open past Thursday. It meets Trump’s call for higher spending levels for the military and a Democratic wish list for domestic programs. But it does not address immigration.
Despite Trump’s declaration Tuesday that he’s willing to have a shutdown, Sanders Wednesday welcomed the agreement.
Less certain is what will happen in the House, where the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), spoke all day on the floor opposing it because it does not include a fix for DACA, and some conservative Republicans condemned it for increasing the deficit.
See Tom Brune’s story for Newsday.
Janison: Trump’s straight man
During the previous administration, the president usually spoke with caution, while his vice president occasionally said strange things. These days, the roles seem reversed, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Vice President Mike Pence plays the straight man while President Donald Trump sneers and jeers in various directions. Pence talked tough about North Korea at the start of his Asia trip without the Trumpian “Rocket Man” and “fire and fury” threats. But he doesn’t shy away from the role of partisan attack dog.
Why isn’t market applauding?
Trump tweeted his pique over the stock market’s recent swoon amid strong economic news:
“In the “old days,” when good news was reported, the Stock Market would go up. Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!”
Traders have been worried about an overheating economy triggering inflation and higher interest rates, noted CNBC.
Sorry, not a BOMBSHELL
Trump got excited Wednesday morning at a report about the FBI agents who shared indiscreet texts about presidential politics in 2016 and 2017.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis,) suggested a Sept. 2, 2016, text from Lisa Page to Peter Strzok — “potus wants to know everything we’re doing” — indicated then-President Barack Obama was interfering in the Hillary Clinton investigation.
Trump tweeted: “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”
One key problem with Johnson’s take is that FBI Director James Comey had shut down the Clinton probe almost two months earlier. Sources told CNN and The Wall Street Journal that the texts referred to growing evidence of Russian election meddling. Obama’s concern was no secret — he eventually took it public.
Urge middle path on Mueller
Trump’s associates are urging him to strike a compromise with special counsel Robert Mueller over the ground rules for in-person questioning, Politico reports.
While most of Trump’s lawyers are reportedly advising against an unrestricted interview, all-out stonewalling could trigger a Supreme Court battle that many legal experts and Trump allies believe Mueller would win.
What else is happening
- Christopher Steele, author of the Russia dossier, is a hero to those who believe he sounded alarms about Trump’s Moscow ties and a hired gun who carried out a political smear job to the president’s defenders. The Washington Post has an in-depth look at the British ex-spy’s role.
- The Homeland Security cybersecurity official in charge of protecting U.S. elections from hacking says the Russians successfully penetrated several states’ voter registration rolls before the 2016 presidential election, NBC News reports.
- Russia has been expanding its influence in Libya while the Trump administration remains unsettled about a policy for the country, which has also become an ISIS haven, The New York Times reports.
- Climate change may not be such a bad thing, EPA chief Scott Pruitt told a Las Vegas TV station. “We know humans have most flourished during times of what, warming trends. ... Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018? That’s fairly arrogant.”
- California officials say they will block the transportation through its state of petroleum from new offshore oil rigs, a move meant to hobble the Trump administration’s effort to vastly expand drilling in U.S. waters.