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Morning Briefing: The Last Hellacious 24 Hours in Politics Condensed into Bullet Points

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 7, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 7, 2017 |

Good morning everyone! How are your hangovers? Good, good. Glad to hear.

— Donald Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege yesterday to avoid talking with the House Intelligence Committee about a conversation he had with his father. Donald Trump Jr. is not an attorney, and neither is his father. However, Trump Jr. claimed he could use attorney-client privilege because there was a lawyer in the room at the time.

That’s now how attorney-client privilege works. Also, what are you trying to hide, Lil’ Don? Trump Jr. also said that he didn’t see any problem with exchanging private Twitter messages with Wikileaks because he considered it a private news organization, just like CNN or NBC. Uh huh. Sure.

Donald Trump Jr. is not a very smart man.

— Speaking of Don Jr., the Republican takes on Al Franken’s probable resignation are starting to come together. The responses fall into two camps. Donald Trump Jr. represents the camp who says that Franken waited too long, which is HOLY SHITBALLS IRONIC given the sexual harassment allegations leveled against his father.

Trump Jr. tweeted that after he gave testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee about inappropriate contacts with Russian officials. Self-awareness continues to elude the Trumps.

The other camp is represented by Newt Gingrich, and this is the argument you make because you cannot support Roy Moore and claim the moral high ground, and also because Newt Gingrich asked for a divorce from his wife while she was recovering from cancer surgery.

Oh by the way, Gingrich: You pushed to remove Bill Clinton — who received 44 million votes from the American people — from office while you were having an affair. What happened to popular vote?

— It’s hard to say what’s going on with the tax bill right now. The House is trying to reconcile their bill with the Senate’s, and Paul Ryan is insisting that he didn’t agree to the terms Susan Collins demanded in the Senate version. If he doesn’t agree to them, does that mean Susan Collins will withdraw her support? And is that enough? Who else will bail? Meanwhile, every day they seem to find something else wrong with a bill they drafted on the fly in the middle of the night, including a provision that would have cost corporations $300 billion. No one knows what this is going to look like when the House and Senate finally settle on a bill.

We do know, however, that Paul Ryan has it in his head to start on entitlement reform after the tax bill is passed. He’s trying to convince Donald Trump to start gutting Medicare and Social Security, which is another thing that Susan Collins promised us wouldn’t happen.

We also know that Chuck Grassley has apparently been pushed aside, and he’s not exactly thrilled about it.

— A little over two months after 58 people were killed and over 500 were injured in a shooting in Las Vegas, the House has passed a bill to make it easier to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

— My wife runs the largest Jewish organization in our state, so I don’t talk about Israel for fear of saying the wrong thing. But I will tell you this: Mattis and Tillerson were not on board with Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol. The Palestinians have already signaled that they will pull out of the peace process, and the area is preparing for violence.

Speaking of which, on Morning Joe this morning, they were not talking about Donald Trump’s dentures during his speech yesterday, but comparing his manner of speaking to the way he spoke 3 years ago or 10 years ago or 30 years ago, and they are convinced the man is suffering from dementia. Maybe. But it’s striking how much more lucid he was 30 years ago. He talked like a human being (a privileged, narcissistic human being, but a human being all the same):

Also, his teeth were a little more misshapen than they are today, so maybe he does wear dentures. But compare the way he spoke then to the way he speaks now. It’s striking.

You can’t blame it on the booze because the man doesn’t drink.

— MSNBC contributor Sam Seder has been offered his job back, and he will accept. He was fired a few days ago because right-wing troglodyte Mike Cernovich surfaced an old tweet from Sedar, who was making a clearly satirical joke 9 years ago.

The tweet was as follows: “Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene.”

That’s a bad joke. We’ve all made some really bad jokes. But it’s a slippery goddamn slope if Mike Cernovich can start going through journalists’ old tweets as a means to get them fired, especially given the things that Mike Cernovich has said himself.

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— Finally, in case you missed it yesterday, here’s a nice story:

I’d love to believe he could win, but I also recognize that, uh, he’s running against a woman who won in Kentucky probably because of her opposition to gay marriage. It’s probably an uphill battle, but good for him. I hope he kicks her ass.