Democratic candidate for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio takes part in an immigration reform event on October 23, 2013 in New York City. De Blasio spoke in favor of comprehensive immigration reform at a campaign event held on the steps of City Hall. He is leading Republican challenger Joe Lhota in the polls ahead of the November 5 vote.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows Joe Lhota further narrowing Bill de Blasio’s lead — to, uh, 39 points. More noteworthy is that a bare plurality of voters say they don’t expect De Blasio to keep his campaign promises. Even among Democrats, only 53 percent believe De Blasio will be able to keep his promises. So, uh, no pressure, weguess?
Learning that Trump isn’t actually a “self-made man” significantly affects Americans’ opinions of him. Someone probably should have told them about his origins during the campaign
Large swaths of the public believe the Trump myth. Across three surveys of eligible votersfrom 2016 to 2018, we found that as many as half of all Americans do not know that he was born into a very wealthy family. And while Americans are divided along party lines in their assessment of Trump’s performance as president, misperceptions regarding his financial background are found among Democrats and Republicans.
… Using a 2017 University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, we found that believing Trump was not born “very wealthy” leads to at least a 5-percentage-point boost in the president’s job approval, even after considering the many factors that can influence public approval ratings. This shift is rooted in the belief that his humble roots make Trump both more empathetic (he “feels my pain”), and more skilled at business (he is self-made and couldn’t have climbed to such heights without real business know-how).
The HUD official who was holding things together under Ben Carson is out
A top Department of Housing and Urban Development official is leaving the agency Thursday following disagreements with other members of the Trump administration over housing policy and the White House’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money for Puerto Rico, according to five people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, second-in-command at the agency helmed by Ben Carson and widely regarded as HUD’s most capable political leader, is said to have grown frustrated by what a former HUD employee described as a “Sisyphean undertaking.”
Patenaude cited personal reasons when she submitted her resignation on Dec. 17.
It doesn’t sound like the Trump Organization had the tightest controls on illegal activity
In early 2015, a man who runs a small technology company showed up at Trump Tower to collect $50,000 for having helped Michael Cohen, then Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, try to rig online polls in his boss’s favor before the presidential campaign.
In his Trump Organization office, Mr. Cohen surprised the man, John Gauger, by giving him a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove that Mr. Cohen said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter, Mr. Gauger said.
Mr. Cohen disputed that he handed over a bag of cash. “All monies paid to Mr. Gauger were by check,” he said, offering no further comment on his ties to the consultant.
The Center for American Progress fired two staffers suspected of being involved in leaking an email exchange that staffers thought reflected improper influence by the United Arab Emirates within the think tank, according to three sources with knowledge of the shake-up. Both staffers were investigated for leaking the contents of an internal email exchange to The Intercept, but neither of the former employees was The Intercept’s source.
One of those fired, Ken Gude, was a senior national security staffer. He worked at CAP since 2003 and previously served as the progressive think tank’s chief of staff. The notion that he would have leaked the exchange just doesn’t square with his time at CAP, said one of the sources close to the situation.
At issue was an internal debate over how to frame CAP’s response to the murder of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was dismembered by Saudi Arabian officials inside the nation’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
The law does not require the Justice Department to release a report, and Mr. Mueller has been silent on the issue. Mr. Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William P. Barr, said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he wanted to release as much of what Mr. Mueller found as possible. But he said he needed to learn more about the report and the regulations that govern his releasing information from it before deciding what to do about disclosing the findings.
That answer did not satisfy leading Senate Democrats, who said on Wednesday that they would oppose Mr. Barr’s nomination unless he agreed to release the entire report Mr. Mueller produces, except for redactions of sensitive national security information.
The president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has suggested that in addition to potentially invoking executive privilege, the White House may seek to edit a report that will go to Congress “so we can correct it if they’re wrong.”
Mr. Barr said on Tuesday that he would not allow such a move: “That will not happen.”
Shortly after being sworn into office two weeks ago, Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) told his new staff: “I feel the aloha.”
He may be feeling less of that aloha this week, after some remarks he made drew controversy at an event for Asian American and Pacific Islander voters in Washington on Tuesday night.
At a reception intended to be a “celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the 116th Congress,” Case reportedly told the crowd that he was “an Asian trapped in a white body,” according to National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu.
He continued [in an apology email]: “I regret if my specific remarks to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense.”
We’re at the, “You’re all adults,” stage of the Trump administration
“We are getting crushed!” Mr. Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, after watching some recent coverage of the shutdown, according to one person familiar with the conversation. “Why can’t we get a deal?”
Mr. Trump has told them he believes over time the country will not remember the shutdown, but it will remember that he staged a fight over his insistence that the southern border be protected. He wants Democrats to come back to the table agreeing with his position on a wall, and he does not understand why they have not.
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, the White House is in a moment of transition as West Wing staff members become acclimated to the leadership style of a new chief of staff. Mr. Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, has told aides he has no plans to duplicate the type of chain-of-command structure preferred by John F. Kelly, the retired Marine general he replaced. Nor did he want to limit anyone’s access to Mr. Trump.
“You’re all adults,” Mr. Mulvaney told the White House staff members in attendance, according to an administration official in the room. “You all have relationships with him.” Mr. Mulvaney said he was not interested in managing those relationships himself.
Rudy Giuliani to @ChrisCuomo: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign. I have not. I said the president of the United States,” adding that Trump “didn’t commit a crime.”
House passes bill to fund government through early February; Senate expected to look the other way
The House passed a Democratic-backed emergency disaster relief bill on Wednesday that includes an amendment funding the federal government through early February.
The bill passed in a 237-187 vote, with six Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the measure, which would reopen parts of the government and fund them through Feb. 8.
The legislation introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) would provide $12.1 billion in disaster relief funding for areas impacted by Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires, as well as other areas impacted by natural disasters last year.
The measure is not expected to be taken up in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to not bring any spending measure to reopen the government to the floor unless President Trump has signaled he will sign it.
A new study suggests global disapproval of Trump cost the U.S. $3 billion in lost exports
Holding other things constant, a country’s exports are higher if its leadership is approved by the importer; ‘soft power’ promotes exports. The soft power effect is statistically and economically significant; a one percent increase in leadership approval raises exports by around two-thirds of a percent … I conservatively estimate that the >20 percentage point decline in foreign approval of American leadership between 2016 (the final year of Obama’s presidency) and 2017 (Trump’s first year) lowered American exports by at least $3 billion.
If Pelosi does manage to delay the State of the Union, it would save us from Stephen Miller’s American carnage-fest rhetoric
My colleague @kaitlancollins adds some context: Stephen Miller and other WH speechwriters have been working on the SOTU address for weeks. An administration official said they were prepared to craft it around the government shutdown, targeting Democrats, if it was still closed
[Georgia Senator Johnny] Isakson voiced a new worry that’s making the rounds here. Feb. 3 is bearing down on the city.
“We’ve got a Super Bowl coming to Atlanta, Ga., in about three weeks. The biggest tourism event in the world this year. What if the largest airport in the world, that’s going to bring people to the largest football game in the world, goes out of business because the TSA strikes?” Isakson asked. “Then you’ve just cost millions of dollars to the United States of America, my home city of Atlanta and others.”
A new study suggests that if all fossil fuels were cut from the economy immediately, there’s around a 2/3 chance we would stay under a relatively benign 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately. The lifespan for power plants was set at 40 years, cars an average of 15 years and planes 26 years. The work also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption, which is responsible for significant global emissions.
The study found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, factories, vehicles, ships and planes – from now on are replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is a 64% chance of staying under 1.5C.
Christopher Smith, of the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “It’s good news from a geophysical point of view. But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”
Three terabytes of data were leaked relating to ongoing FBI investigations
It amounted to millions of files, many on sensitive FBI investigations, all of which were left wide open on a server with no password, accessible to anyone with an internet connection, Forbes can reveal.
[Security analyst Chris Vickery] said the FBI files contained “all sorts of archive enforcement actions” dating back seven years (the earliest file creation date was 2012). The documents included spreadsheets with agent-filled timelines of interviews related to investigations, emails from parties involved in myriad cases and bank transaction histories. There were also copies of letters from subjects, witnesses and other parties involved in FBI investigations.
Asked if the FBI had comment on the leak of case files, a spokesperson for the law enforcement body said in an emailed statement: “Adhering to Department of Justice policy, the FBI neither confirms nor denies any investigation.”
A big break for the Ukrainian billionaire who allegedly paid Paul Manafort $10 million a year in lobbying fees
BREAKING: Senate GOP defeats Dem measure to enforce sanctions against companies controlled by Russian oligarch OLEG DERIPASKA. Dems needed 60 votes, only got 57, even after GOP defections. Sanctions now all but certain to be lifted this week pursuant to TRUMP administration deal.
The Knicks center fears extradition for his support of a cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Mike Flynn was allegedly offered $15 million to help bring to Istanbul
Turkey said it would seek the extradition of a prominent NBA player, part of a global hunt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched to capture supporters of a Pennsylvania-based cleric he accuses of fomenting the 2016 coup that nearly swept him from power.
Prosecutors in Istanbul allege that Enes Kanter, a Turkish center for the New York Knicks, belongs to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization, and have sought government help to publicize an arrest warrant for Mr. Kanter through Interpol, a Turkish official said Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Mr. Kanter, who has been playing in the NBA since 2011, calls himself a “servant” of Mr. Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. But the basketball player denies the organization of Mr. Gulen has had any involvement in terrorism-related activity. Mr. Gulen has denied playing any role in the failed coup.
Mr. Kanter said he would refrain from traveling outside the U.S. for fear of being arrested, and therefore wouldn’t accompany his team to London, where the Knicks are scheduled to play the Washington Wizards on Thursday.
we’re now in week four of this infernal government shutdown, with no end in sight. some people, including Republican elected officials, are speculating that the most likely breaking point will come when the government workers most visible to a lot of americans – the TSA – finally gets upset enough about working without pay to go on strike. do you think this might actually, eventually happen?
If this drags on much longer, it could be a race between a strike and simply enough TSA workers quitting their poorly-paid jobs to shut down normal airport procedures.
it’s a possibility. we do know that many TSA agents are already calling out of work, and i would expect that the number of sick-outs to increase as the shutdown drags on. this is a loud moment for organized labor generally, and that could, in turn, embolden TSA agents who are tired of being asked to work for free.
Their union (AFGE) has gone to court to seek relief against the involuntary servitude involved in this situation, and could win, though a similar suit filed by the IRS workers’ union was rejected earlier this week.
TSA agents are already badly paid, which I think is important to remember
Yes. They’ve gone from badly paid to not being paid at all.
so far, though, there hasn’t been a huge dropoff in service. and there are certainly risks to a strike – a highly inconvenienced public may not be on the tsa’s side, and, as ed wrote today, trump could try to have his reagan-air-traffic-controller moment
there are definitely risks. but with unemployment this low, and TSA pay already poor, i’d argue that TSA agents don’t have that much to lose
While I think Trump may be tempted to play Reagan here, it’s important to remember the Patco strike Reagan broke was simply part of a collective bargaining dispute. In this case, you’ve got unpaid workers versus an unpopular president forcing an unpopular government shutdown to get an unpopular border wall.
i would also argue that TSA agents may benefit from some leverage due to the role they play in the nation’s security theater
yes, I think more likely, trump just caves.
Trump is not in a good position to say we just don’t need airport screenings, given his constant claims that America is being overrun with terrorists from other countries.Plus, in the Patco case you had military air traffic controllers who could be quickly brought in as scabs. Not clear who would do the screenings and how they’d be paid if TSA struck.
I don’t exactly trust the trump administration to figure out any kind of logistical solution
I’m sure Stephen Miller’s got it all figured out.
is the TSA the only group of federal workers you can conceive of that has this kind of leverage right now? what if, say, food inspectors walked off the job?
TSA occupies a unique position. it’s not that they’re more important to a functional society, but that agents are meant to be there to prevent acts of terrorism. we can argue all day whether TSA is really useful to that endeavor, but that’s the stated justification in any case
plus, they could very easily grind airport operations to a halt
As time goes on, though, and federal services continue to languish, we could see more “recalls” of furloughed workers like the big 36,000-person IRS recall that happened earlier this week, spurred by Trump’s promise that people will get their tax refunds. The more this happens, the more workers will be put in the terrible position occupied by TSA employees now.
America’s role in the ruinous Yemen war appears to be more significant than the government has admitted
When the Pentagon announced last November that it was ceasing aerial refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft operating in Yemen, the move appeared to be a major step back from U.S. support for the war there. But newly obtained documents reveal that the United States has also been training coalition military personnel from the United Arab Emirates for the air war in Yemen.
The documents underscore the continuing frustrations for critics of the war, including those in Congress, over the lack of transparency around U.S. military support for a war that has killed thousands of civilians and pushed the country to the brink of famine.