Morning Briefing: Mondays, Amirite, Kushner?
— Today, Jared Kushner will meet behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions about his contacts with Russians. Whatever else you might want to say about Kushner, his lawyers are better than anyone else’s in this Administration. It’s a closed-door session; it’s not under oath; and Kushner put out an 11-page statement this morning detailing his side of the story, and we won’t be able to watch the other side (undoubtedly, there will be leaks, but leaks are not as explosive as actual video footage of Kushner lying).
The gist of the 11-page statement from Kushner is, “I did not collude,” and he went on to characterize the many meetings with various Russian officials as routine. He said he also did receive an email from Guccifer, which he said was an attempt to extort him; Guccifer wanted 52 bitcoin in exchange for not revealing Trump’s tax returns (Kushner, on the advice of the Secret Service, ignored the email). The business with his security clearances, he says, was all a huge misunderstanding, and as for the June 19th meeting, he said he didn’t really know what it was about, Russian adoptions were discussed, and he texted his assistant to get him out of the meeting. Blah blah blah.
There are lots of lingering questions, of course, including why did Kushner get a $285 million loan from a bank known for Russian money laundering right before election day; why didn’t Kushner find it odd that all these Russians wanted to talk to him; why are there real-estate links between Paul Manafort and Kushner’s Dad; and what’s the real story behind the attempt to set up back channel communications with Putin?
The important thing here is to get Kushner on the record, insist that he air out as many details as possible, and wait for the leaks to contradict his stories and fill in the omissions.
— The Republicans are expected to vote on a health care bill tomorrow. No one, it seems, has any idea what bill will be voted on, including most Republicans. None of the bills are expected to pass, but you never know with the Republicans, and Trump is using Twitter to put pressure on the GOP.
If Republicans don't Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
— Tuesday the House is also expected to vote to not only level a fresh set of sanctions against the Russians, but do so in a way that Donald Trump can’t undo them without Congressional approval, which is fairly emasculating for the POTUS. It’s also expected to be voted in with a veto-proof majority, meaning the bill will be enacted whether Trump signs it or not. It’ll be interesting to see if Trump signs it anyway. He’s lashing out at the GOP for the bill.
It's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2017
Protect you from what, Donald? Huh? Huh?
— Trump was very active on Twitter this weekend, mostly fuming with a bunch of garbage tweets attacking Hillary Clinton, fake news and the Russian witch hunt. More of the same, really.
So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
Drain the Swamp should be changed to Drain the Sewer - it's actually much worse than anyone ever thought, and it begins with the Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
— Yesterday, during the morning talk show rounds, Anthony Scaramucci cited an anonymous source who said that if the Russians had meddled in our election, they’re smart enough that it never would have been detected. Minutes later, he revealed his anonymous source was Trump. Scaramucci is clearly not very good at his job, his slick talking ways notwithstanding, and given his history of siding with more moderate candidates, liberal and anti-Trump positions, it’s pretty clear he’s just an opportunist who will exploit any situation he can find to further his own interest. He’ll be fine for a few weeks, but I think once Trump realizes that Scaramucci is more interested in himself than protecting the President, Trump’s going to turn on him, too.
— Speaking of Scaramucci, there was a lot of fun comparisons between him and fictional characters this weekend, though this one has risen to the top:
I still think that Lorne Michaels should bring Chris Kattan back to play him next season:
With Scaramucci in, maybe Lorne Michaels can bring back Chris Kattan. pic.twitter.com/HlrXKtWuc5— pajiba (@pajiba) July 21, 2017
— Briefly, Donald Trump basically accused the NYTimes of aiding terrorists this weekend, based on a completely phony story from Fox & Friends. The NYTimes has demanded that Fox & Friends retract the story and apologize. It really was an unfair and completely bullshit story.
— I do have to say that, the story I’m most interested in this week, is what will become of Jeff Sessions. Trump hates him; the liberals hate him; and it’s obvious he lied under oath. Will Trump use that as a pretext to fire Sessions so he can hire a new AG who will fire Mueller? Any other A.G., I have to think would’ve resigned by now, but Sessions seems to be hankering for a showdown with the President. He’s a terrible, terrible no good racist garbage person, but he also may be the only man preventing Trump from firing Mueller.
— Finally, here’s something to put you in a better mood after all that dour news.
Liev Schreiber is an awesome dad for this! 😍 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/NzrE0wc9jF— Common Gay Boy (@CGBPosts) July 22, 2017