Trump’s lurid taped-mouth kidnapping claims seem to be completely made up

In Trump’s telling, the adhesive is sometimes blue tape. Other times it is electrical tape or duct tape.

In some instances, the descriptions are more salacious and graphic. “Human trafficking — grabbing women, in particular — and children, but women — taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying up their hands behind their back and even their legs and putting them in a back seat of a car or a van — three, four, five, six, seven at a time,” the president said in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 11. (A timeline of the president’s taped-women remarks appears below.)

With an eerie specificity, Trump has characterized these acts as commonplace.

Yet human-trafficking experts and advocates for immigrant women have said they are perplexed by this increasingly repeated story in Trump’s repertoire — and are at a loss for where he got his information. It was not from them, they say; in fact, they have no idea what he is talking about.

Is It Time to Regulate Social Media Influencers?
Cases of fraud are common in the multi-billion dollar influencer marketing industry. A “Cambridge Analytica moment” could be next.

The FBI’s New York branch was reportedly very pro-Trump in 2016. And now…

The @NewYorkFBI has started a food bank. “As you all know, the public does not realize the impact that a shutdown has on the FBI or on our families.”

NPR poll has Trump at 39 percent approval, and he’s significantly down among key supporters

Down significantly among suburban men, a net-positive approval rating of 51-to-39 percent to a net-negative of 42 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove. That’s a net change of down 18 percentage points;

Down a net of 13 points among white evangelicals, from 73-to-17 percent approve to 66-to-23 percent approve;

Down a net of 10 points among Republicans, from 90-to-7 percent approve to 83-to-10 percent

Down marginally among white men without a college degree, from 56-to-34 percent approve to 50-to-35 percent approve, a net change downward of 7 points.

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.

With Teachers’ Strike, L.A.’s Long Battle Over Charter Schools Comes to a Head
Charter schools have seen explosive growth in L.A., and now striking educators claim they’ve left traditional schools overcrowded and under-resourced.

Trouble within the prominent liberal think tank

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.

Turkey Reportedly Seeks Arrest Warrant for Knicks Center Enes Kanter
Kanter says he fears he’ll be extradited or even killed for criticizing Erdogan and backing Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric living in Pennsylvania.

What if we never get to see Mueller’s findings?

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.”

Any House Rep 2020

US Rep. Seth Moulton will travel to New Hampshire in two weeks to explore a run for president, writes @JamesPindell

Hard to recover from a gaffe that monumental

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.”

the national interest
the national interest
Trump Lawyer No Longer Denying Campaign Colluded With Russia
RIP, “No collusion.”

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.

Giuliani walking it way back

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.

The fact that ambrosia means “food of the gods” only makes this more terrifying

Scoop: Ambrosia, an “anti-aging” startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood, is now up and running in 5 cities, the founder told me today.

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

Could the shutdown shut down the Superbowl?

[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.”

According to Government Executive magazine, Isakson is one of eight GOP senators who have signed onto a measure U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is advancing to avoid government shutdowns in the future.

government shutdown
government shutdown
Coulter and Limbaugh Keep Pressure Up on Trump to Keep Government Closed
Who is Trump going to listen to? His conservative allies or everybody else?

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.

A tough ten-year challenge for Chris Hansen: Just over a decade after the end of To Catch a Predator, Hansen was arrested for bouncing a $13,000 check to pay for merch

Photo: TMZ
government shutdown
government shutdown
Pelosi Strongly Suggests That Trump Postpone State of the Union
There’s no reason the House should have to host Trump’s televised speech, particularly when he’s shut down the government.

A simple, if horrible, solution to crack down on the growing problem of fare evasion: The MTA estimates that 208,000 people ride the subway each day without paying

After four years of being switched off, emergency exit doors at some subway stations will start making those terrible alarm sounds again. #WeTheCommuters

Could a TSA Strike Be the Beginning of the End of the Shutdown?

social media
social media
AOC Will Try to Teach Her Democratic Colleagues to Be Good at Twitter
This may be her hardest task yet.

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.

Some of You Haven’t Heard of This Meme and It Shows
An easy, but good meme.

She’s been saying this for the last two years

Theresa May looking strong in Downing Street saying to MPs live on the 10pm News: “It is time to come together to get Brexit done.”
supreme court
supreme court
Supreme Court Unanimously Sides With Workers in Trucking Arbitration Decision
Sometimes legal “textualism” can produce progressive results.

Beto O’Rourke seems to have been reading some Raymond Carver recently

The husband of Oregon governor Kate Brown cleaned a national-park bathroom and sent President Trump the bill

A heavy American toll among the dead in Syria today

BREAKING: US says 2 troops and 2 American civilians among those killed in suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State in Syria.

Whither the conservative “young guns”?

Kevin McCarthy seriously throwing Paul Ryan under the bus in local radio interview on Steve King: “I knew that I watched past leaders did not act and I just felt I don’t care if it hurts me or not, I just gotta do the right thing.” (on KERN radio yesterday evening)

Putin gets another win

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.

Democrats are getting serious about raising wages for workers across the country

Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, a long-shot plan that comes as the party tries to bill itself as a champion of the working class.

The proposal to hike the U.S. wage floor from the current $7.25 will likely fail in the GOP-held Senate even if it gets through the Democratic-controlled House. However, the new House Democratic majority sees the measure as a message that it wants to lift low-wage workers and boost the economy — and an effort to focus on its policy priorities amid the longest government shutdown ever.

The Raise the Wage Act, backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and several declared or prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, would hike the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 through annual increases. It would also end provisions that in some cases allow employers to pay workers under age 20 and employees with disabilities less than the wage floor.

Theresa May finally wins a vote

BREAKING: Theresa May’s government survives Labour’s no confidence vote by 325 votes to 306, majority 19. Her premiership lives to fight another day.

The Senate tried, and failed, to stop the administration from removing sanctions on a Russian oligarch

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.
life in pixels
life in pixels
Facebook Doesn’t Need to Fool You
Is the #10YearChallenge meme a conspiracy to steal your data?

Trump is losing the shutdown

As a consequence of the shutdown of the federal government, do you feel more negative or more positive toward President Trump? (via PBS/Marist poll)

62% more negative
29% more positive
6% neither

Don’t call it a comeback

Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert prevailed in a bankruptcy auction for the U.S. department store chain with an improved takeover bid of roughly $5.2 billion, allowing the 126-year-old retailer to keep its doors open, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Lampert’s bid, boosted from an earlier $5 billion offer, prevailed after weeks of back-and-forth deliberations that culminated in a days-long bankruptcy auction held behind closed doors. The billionaire’s proposal, made through his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc, will save up to 45,000 jobs and keep 425 stores open across the United States.

government shutdown
government shutdown
If TSA Workers Go on Strike, Trump Might Relish the Chance to Play Reagan
It’s unclear if Trump could follow Reagan’s strategy for defeating striking air traffic controllers. Unpaid TSA workers might be tempted to try him.
YouTube Bans Dangerous Pranks Like the ‘Bird Box Challenge’
YouTubers are no longer allowed to risk or make anyone fear for their lives.

The CEO of WeWork, recently valued at $47 billion, has a questionable side hustle

Mr. Neumann has made millions of dollars by leasing multiple properties in which he has an ownership stake back to WeWork, one of the country’s most valuable startups. Multiple investors of the privately held company said the arrangement concerned them as a potential conflict of interest in which the CEO could benefit on rents or other terms with the company.

select all
select all
Instagram Influencer Un-Cancels Infamous Creativity Tour
Caroline Calloway is back, baby.

Watch out for literal fake news in D.C. today

Did T-Mobile try to bribe Trump?

Last April, telecom giant T-Mobile announced a megadeal: a $26 billion merger with rival Sprint, which would more than double T-Mobile’s value and give it a huge new chunk of the cellphone market.

But for T-Mobile, one hurdle remained: Its deal needed approval from the Trump administration.

The next day, in Washington, staffers at the Trump International Hotel were handed a list of incoming “VIP Arrivals.” That day’s list included nine of T-Mobile’s top executives — including its chief operating officer, chief technology officer, chief strategy officer, chief financial officer and its outspoken celebrity chief executive, John Legere.

They were scheduled to stay between one and three days. But it was not their last visit.

alexandria ocasio-cortez
alexandria ocasio-cortez
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Like in American History? Historians Weigh In
Shirley Chisholm? Joshua Reed Giddings? FDR?
government shutdown
government shutdown
The Longer the Shutdown Lasts, the More It Hurts the Economy
Even the White House’s own economic adviser is warning about the damage inflicted by the never-ending shutdown.

As long as Pence doesn’t call ISIS the “JV team,” nobody in conservative media will care

On day ISIS is claiming responsibility for the deadly attack in Syria, Vice President Pence said in speech at State Department a few minutes ago “The caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated.”

In a way, it’s surprising that Mike Tyson hasn’t played more of a role in the Trump presidency

When a frustrated adviser once tried to convince President Trump to consider a strategic plan, the president launched into a story about his friend Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight boxing champion.

What he’s saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Trump said, echoing a famous Tyson quote.

I had asked the adviser whether Trump ever expressed frustration that his West Wing lacked enough of a plan for the crises ahead.

“He gets frustrated when there is a plan,” the adviser said.

“He’s not a guy who likes a plan. … There’s an animosity towards planning, and there’s a desire to pick fights that have nothing to do with us.”

Most Americans Don’t Know How Much Facebook Knows About Them
Per a new survey, odds are you haven’t seen the detailed psychographic profile Facebook has on you — and you’d be uncomfortable once you did.

Trump continues not to know what Democrats want or need

I think yesterday’s debacle, of swing district House Dems turning down an invitation to the White House, has been underplayed. This WH is just uniquely bad at getting inside the heads of the opposition party. Doesn’t understand that it has its own base, incentives.

The better move would be to delay the State of the Union until never

Citing furloughs at DHS and Secret Service, Pelosi asks Trump to delay this month’s State of the Union until AFTER the government is reopened, per @FoxReports @arogDC

Gillibrand is IN

A bloody reminder that ISIS is by no means extinguished in Syria

 The Islamic State claimed responsibility Wednesday for a suicide blast in Syria’s U.S.-patrolled city of Manbij, marking the first such attack since President Trump said American forces would be withdrawing from the country because the militant group had largely been defeated.

A statement published by the militants’ unofficial news agency, Amaq, said the attacker used an explosive vest to target coalition forces. The agency presented no further evidence for the claim.

Photographs from the area appeared to show bodies and blood trails strewn across the ground. It was not immediately clear whether U.S. personnel were in the area at the time. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 19 people were wounded or killed in the blast. A Kurdish news agency said at least 10 people were injured, locating the attack at the site of a popular restaurant. 

Chris Christie’s new tell-all sounds fun

Christie: Trump has a “revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia.”
the national interest
the national interest
If Only Obama Had Done the Things Obama Actually Did
Some on the left have repeated their complaints about Obama’s supposed failures so many times, they’ve forgotten everything he actually accomplished.

A plum gig for AOC

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has officially gotten a slot on House Financial Services: A New York Democrat who will rail against Wall Street on key panel

Trump now literally has blood on his hands

The back of Trump’s right hand was covered with an adhesive bandage during a Thursday trip to McAllen, Texas, with blood visibly seeping through the dressing. His hand was similarly bandaged again on Monday as he departed for a trip to New Orleans.

Armchair medics studying photos that circulated online this week leapt to dramatic conclusions. But the White House said on Tuesday that Trump sustained the injury while playing with his 12-year-old son. “The President was having fun and joking around with his son Barron and scratched his hand,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told POLITICO.

Florida city commissioner launches racist petition to remove Representative Rashida Tlaib, is now facing calls for her own resignation

A Florida city commissioner is under fire after calling Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who made history as one of the first Muslim members of Congress, a “danger” who might “blow up” the U.S. Capitol. 

The comments were made by Annabelle Lima-Taub, a city commissioner in the south Florida city of Hallandale Beach, in the aftermath of Tlaib saying she wanted to “impeach that motherf—-,” a reference to President Donald Trump.

Lima-Taub signed an online petition that aimed to remove Tlaib from office and wrote a message about Tlaib on her personal Facebook page, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Proudly signed,” Lima-Taub wrote, according to a screen grab of the post. “A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and [I] would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”

Is he a Russian agent? Sure, but I wouldn’t say he’s doing his job effectively

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed claims that President Donald Trump has been working on the Kremlin’s behalf as he attacked Congress and the American media for undermining the U.S. leader.

“It’s hard for me to comment on what is happening in the U.S. surrounding accusations that President Trump is effectively a Russian agent,” Lavrov said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

He accused American media of “lowering their journalistic standards” in coverage of the issue and denounced U.S. lawmakers for challenging Trump’s right to conduct foreign policy. “This right is under attack from Congress and this doesn’t make these attacks constitutional or less illegal.”

The only part of Manafort’s entire day that did not involve colluding with Russia was when he ate a sandwich

Most tragic effect of the shutdown so far: no MLK Jr. Day break for lawmakers

Senate and House leaders said Tuesday they will cancel the Martin Luther King Day recess unless there is a sudden resolution to the 25-day partial government shutdown, which appears unlikely given a breakdown in high-level talks. 

Steve King’s Road Map for Racist Republicans
The fallout from King’s comments isn’t just turning the GOP against him. It’s showing future racist politicians how to avoid his fate.

The university system is missing out on a diverse pool of transfer students coming from community colleges

report being released today by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation finds that the more competitive colleges are in admissions, the less likely they are to admit transfer students from community colleges. And indeed most of those admitted as transfers to competitive colleges are coming from other four-year institutions, not community colleges, the report finds. This is despite evidence in the report that community college students who enroll do succeed and are more likely than those admitted as freshmen to be from underrepresented minority groups, from low-income backgrounds or to be veterans of the U.S. military.

California’s public universities are barred from considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions. But large shares of the transfer students admitted at the most competitive UC institutions (Berkeley and UCLA) are from minority groups. If federal courts reviewing the challenge to Harvard’s affirmative action programs impose similar limits, the community college strategy could still be a viable way to promote diversity.

Chris Christie Dishes About Jared Kushner Beef in New Book
In new book, Chris Christie says Kushner isn’t over Christie’s role in prosecuting Kushner’s father for blackmailing his brother with a sex tape.

Roku bucking the anti–conspiracy-theory trend with their decision to host Alex Jones and Infowars

Roku may have given itself a brand safety issue. The streaming service has added Infowars, the live show hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as a channel. Jones was in the news on Jan. 11 for losing a legal battle to Sandy Hook shooting victims’ families, forcing his company to turn over documents.

On Jan. 14, Roku users tweeted their concerns at the company. One tweet from @DanielMadison78 asked, “Hey @Roku, what’s with you adding Infowars to your platform?” In a now-deleted tweet, Roku’s support account replied with a link to the channel.

Roku adding Infowars comes six months after platforms banned Alex Jones. On Aug. 6, Apple, Spotify and Facebook separately but shortly after one another banned Infowars. Twitter finally did later. These decisions come after increasing pressure from reporters like CNN’s Oliver Darcy, questioning how Infowars was abiding by Facebook’s terms of service when they repeatedly shared false news. Even though these platforms banned Infowars, other pages and contributors to the network have appeared on the sites since the bans.

Karen Pence worked at the anti-gay school when Pence was in Congress, and their daughter Charlotte also attended school there

Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, started at a job this week teaching art at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia. It’s not a school where everyone is welcome. In a “parent agreement” posted online, the school says it will refuse admission to students who participate in or condone homosexual activity. The 2018 employment application also makes candidates sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the “unique roles of male and female.” 

“Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites,” says the application. 

The application says that the school believes “marriage unites one man and one woman” and that “a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.” The application asks potential employees to explain their view of the “creation/evolution debate.” 

In Virginia and dozens of other states, it is legal for private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual and gender identity.

Zinke is “glad to be out of the swamp,” despite still being under investigation for potential ethics violations

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has landed his first job since resigning from the Trump administration.

Artillery One, an investment firm that focuses on industries like energy and financial technology, said Monday that Zinke is its new managing director.

Under President Trump’s ethics pledge for administration officials, Zinke cannot lobby on Interior Department matters for five years and cannot lobby Trump administration officials through the rest of the administration.

government shutdown
government shutdown
Trump Recalls 50,000 Furloughed Employees Who Now Get to Work Without Pay
The administration’s furlough plans are now turning into Swiss cheese as exceptions are made for services that seem politically essential.

A historically tough day, in a tough week, in a tough year for Theresa May

Photo: The Telegraph

Opposition research is important

CNN legal analyst Areva Martin thought she was talking to a white man Tuesday while appearing as a guest on David Webb’s SiriusXM radio show.

When Webb, a frequent Fox News contributor and host on Fox Nation, said he considered his qualifications more important than his skin color when applying to jobs in journalism, Martin accused him of exercising white privilege.

“David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege. This whole long conversation, I don’t have time to get into — ”

But there’s a problem with that sentiment, as Webb quickly pointed out: “Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped,” he responded. “I’m black.”

Which is more compelling: to pursue the movie rights or federal law-enforcement reform?

SCOOP: a DEA agent allegedly married into the mafia and proceeded to launder $7 mln in drug proceeds to Colombia, adopting the same tastes of the cartels he was targeting. Feds are investigating whether he compromised undercover operations @AP @JimMustian

Given the stress levels of the White House office environment, maybe it’s in Christie’s best interest that Kushner held onto his grudge

In his soon to be published book, Let Me Finish, Christie unleashes both barrels on Trump’s son-in-law, who remains a senior White House adviser with responsibilities for Middle Eastern peacesentencing reform and “American Innovation”.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

Even for a White House that has generated an extraordinary cornucopia of hypercritical kiss-and-tell books, Christie’s is exceptional for its excoriating description of events at which he was present. As he points out in Let Me Finish, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian ahead of publication on 29 January, none of the other authors “has known Trump for as long or as well as I have – or was right there in the room when much of this occurred”.

2020 elections
2020 elections
Kirsten Gillibrand Says She Will Run for President
The New York senator made the announcement on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
equal rights amendment
equal rights amendment
Virginia Could Soon Place the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution
The Old Dominion would be the 38th state to ratify the ERA, which is enough if Congress and the courts decide to set aside a ratification deadline.
Poll: Majority Backs AOC’s 70 Percent Top Marginal Tax Rate
Some pundits deemed Ocasio-Cortez’s plans for soaking the rich “radical.” Forty-five percent of GOP voters say it sounds about right.

Russia continues to be one of the few areas where Senate Republicans break with Trump

In rebuke to admin, Senate votes 42-57 to keep alive measure seeking to block Trump effort to ease sanctions on Russian companies tied to oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Still faces hurdles to pass Senate, but vote comes just a couple hours after Mnuchin lobbied GOP senators at lunch
The Most Worrying Things About Trump’s New Attorney General Pick
William Barr has spoken out against Roe v. Wade and has a bad record on civil rights.

Trump is dug in on the wall, making it hard to imagine how this thing ends

More Trump from today’s call: “We’re going to win. We’re not going back until it’s over. We’re going to build this wall. It’s going to happen. I’ve been promising. It has nothing to do with a campaign promise. It has to do with the fact that we need this for our country.”
If You Could Play Any Sport, Which One Should You Choose?
(I don’t think it’s football or baseball.)