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Morning Briefing: More Congressional Sexual Harassers, More Damning Intel On the Trump Campaign

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 8, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 8, 2017 |

— In September of 2016, only weeks before Wikileaks would dump Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails, Donald Trump Jr. received an email containing a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents.

You think that might be something? I think that might be something.

Trump Jr. has said that he had no recollection of the email and said he did not act on it. I’m glad he said that, too, because he has a tendency to say things like that only to see evidence come to light showing very much the opposite. And if Mueller can prove that Trump Jr. did see the email, it not only shows that Trump Jr. lied, it shows that he knew it was a big enough deal to lie about. Also, lying doesn’t seem to work out real well for these people.

Investigators are currently trying to figure out who sent it.

— Elsewhere, the fiancee of George Papadopoulos — whom Trump insists was a “low-level” staff member, basically a coffee boy — is offering the first public defense of Papadopoulos.

“First of all, I would love George to learn how to make a coffee, because it’s absolutely out of his skills,” she joked. “George is a remarkable young man with incredible experience in the field of energy and oil policies. This experience led him to get into the campaign and to advise the president at only 28 years old.”

Mangiante said Papadopoulos “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for senior campaign officials. He was “constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign,” she added. That included direct communication with now-former senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, Mangiante said, adding that she had seen correspondence supporting the assertion.

She also said that Papadopoulos always acted with the blessing of the campaign.

And now another defense unravels for the Trump campaign.

— After Trump slurred during his Jerusalem speech and once again sparked concerns that Trump is not well either mentally or physically, Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that he would be receiving a physical in January and that the results would be released then. She also said that it was ridiculous to question Trump’s health based on slurring, apparently forgetting that Donald Trump questioned Hillary Clinton’s health throughout the entire 2016 campaign over much less. You might remember some of the ads and (Russian propagated) Facebook memes questioning her stamina. Trump was the king of making something out of nothing:

Related: In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Joe Scarborough openly questioned Trump’s mental well-being:

White House insiders tell Vanity Fair that Trump is “unraveling” mentally.

One of the president’s regular early-morning reads, the New York Daily News, editorialized last week that “the President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out.”

The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, who, along with The Post’s Robert Costa, has the best working relationship with this White House, described Trump’s recent behavior as “unmoored.” She told CNN, “Something is unleashed with him lately. I don’t know what is causing it. I don’t know how to describe it.” Haberman’s long history covering Trump makes her searing observations all the more troubling.

— Finally, in sexual harassment related news: I think the Franken resignation had the desired effect. No, Donald Trump is not going to resign, nor is Roy Moore going to quit his Senate race, but the GOP is now putting the screws to Blake Farenthold for using $84,000 in taxpayer money to pay off a sexual harassment settlement. The House Ethics Committee has established a subcommittee to investigate allegations of misconduct. Given the current climate, it may be difficult for Farenthold to survive this, and even if he does, there’s speculation that the GOP will run someone against him in 2018.

Meanwhile, another Republican representative, Trent Franks — who is one of the most anti-choice Representatives in Congress — has resigned amid rumors of sexual misconduct. It appears that Representative Franks asked two staffers if they would bear his child as a surrogate. Hey! That’s not appropriate workplace behavior!

Funny story: I swear to God the same thing happened to me, which I am just remembering. Back in my senior year of college, I worked as the weekend supervisor at the University library and my boss — who is a lesbian — asked me for my, well, you know. I gave it her, too. I met her with a brown paper bag behind a tree on campus. And then I moved to Boston. I’ve never heard a word since. I could totally have a 20-year-old kid running around somewhere. Weird!