Good Monday morning to you Politicos reading this morning. As you have probably noted by my extended absence totaling six days (lol), I will tell you that I was in a remote location that didn’t have WiFi. So not only is this the beginning of a week in politics, it’s the return of the Morning Guide to Politics to Braeden Politics Life. Let’s jump in.
Scaramucci goes at it on SOTU with Jake Tapper
On CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, incoming White House Comms Director Anthony Scaramucci went at it with Tapper on a variety of issues, making for a pretty entertaining 25 or so minutes. Scaramucci and Tapper discussed infrastructure and health care legislation, a secret person who shall not be named, high school football, and the president’s age (sarcasm). Seriously though, they talked about major legislation, Russia, Trump’s PR strategy, and more. It shaped up to be a profound interview for Scaramucci, who up until now wasn’t a vocal figure in the administration. The ascent of a new comms director should also be followed with the mourning of a White House hero: Press Sec. Sean Spicer has resigned. Taking over will be Deputy Press Sec. Sarah Huckabee Sanders as Press Sec. immediately, but then again she was doing a lot of the briefings already.
Sidenote: Spotted under the cloak of darkness: Sean Spicer steals a junior staffer’s mini fridge. Courtesy of Newsweek.
- “He basically said to me, ‘Hey you know, this is, maybe they did it, maybe they didn’t do it,'” Scaramucci said when asked about Trump’s belief (or lack thereof) that Russia did in fact interfere in our election
- “The mainstream media position on this, that they interfered in the election,” Scaramucci said. “It actually in his mind, what are you guys suggesting? You’re going to delegitimize his victory?” Scaramucci is repeating the idea that the Russian hack scandal is a conspiracy perpetuated by the liberal media because they want to delegitimize President Trump’s victory
- “A person that’s going to be super, super tough on Russia is President Donald J. Trump,” He said on Russia. The real test on that however is not going to be words but actions. The Senate passed 98-2 a Russian sactions bill that is poised to also pass the House overwhelmingly, the only obstacle now is the President and the pen that is in his hand. Everyone is speculating as to whether or not he plans to veto the legislation, I suppose only time will tell
- “The President is thinking about pardoning nobody,” Scaramucci said. “The President is not going to have to pardon anybody because the Russian thing is a nonsensical thing.” That response comes after a strange tweet by the President over the weekend about his pardoning powers. Rumors are circling around Washington that the President has taken a sudden interest in his ability to pardon and has been asking others about that power’s extent
Um.. what was that? This is some Nixonian level stuff we’re dealing with here. I imagine this is what Nixon’s Twitter feed would be like if he had Twitter.
- Trump to take a ‘dummy run’ to UK
The U.K. government invited U.S. President Donald Trump for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May in a “dummy run” ahead of an official visit, the Daily Mail reported.
Trump will be offered a state visit next year, but only if his low-profile trip is a success, the newspaper said.
The dummy visit is in response to concerns that Trump’s visit could be a disaster and his unorthodox approach to protocol — or his eccentric behavior — could embarrass the Queen.
May from her side wants to avoid upsetting Trump as she is keen to broker a good post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. His visit is likely to trigger demonstrations.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan last week called for plans for a Trump state visit to be scrapped altogether, the Sun reported. “State visits are different from normal visits and, at a time when Trump has many policies that many in Britain disagree with, I’m not sure it is appropriate to roll out the red carpet,” Kahn said.
- New York Times asks Fox News for apology over ISIS story
The New York Times on Sunday took the unusual step of requesting an apology from a competitor, asking “Fox & Friends” to retract a report that the Times was to blame for the 2015 escape of an ISIS leader. Fox subsequently updated the story on its website with the NYT letter.
“I am writing on behalf of The New York Times to request an on-air apology and tweet from Fox & Friends in regards to a malicious and inaccurate segment ‘NY Times leak allowed ISIS leader to slip away,’” wrote Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the Times.
The “Fox & Friends” report, which aired Saturday, apparently spurred a tweet by President Donald Trump: “The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, al-Baghdadi,” the president wrote later Saturday. “Their sick agenda over National Security.”
In her request, Rhoades Ha added: “Neither the staff at Fox & Friends, nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm relevant facts, nor did they reach out to The New York Times for comment.”
Later Sunday, Fox attached the New York Times letter to its original story and issued this statement: “The FoxNews.com story was already updated online and Fox & Friends will also provide an updated story to viewers tomorrow morning based on theFoxNews.com report. For all of their concern about accuracy, the New York Times didn’t reach out to anyone at Fox News until Sunday afternoon for a story that ran Friday night.”
A U.S. raid in May 2015 led to the death of Abu Sayyaf — a close associate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — as well as the capture of his wife, Umm Sayyaf, and a trove of documents and laptops.
The raid in eastern Syria was disclosed the next day by Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “This is very useful, very important intelligence that we were able to collect,” a Defense official told POLITICO at the time.
Rhoades Ha pointed out that Fox News reported on the raid on May 17, 2015.
Additional details were reported in a New York Times article in June 2015.
Fox’s claim that the Times sabotaged U.S. efforts with its reporting originated with a statement from Gen. Tony Thomas, who told Fox that the published report caused a lead to the ISIS leader’s whereabouts to go dry. “That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” said Thomas, who leads the U.S. Special Operations Command.
The Times claims the pertinent material was actually disclosed by Carter in his public statement and stated that the Pentagon did not object to its article.
Speaking on background, a Fox News executive slammed Rhoades Ha for seeking the apology only on Sunday afternoon and for alerting reporters at the same time.
- Trump threatens GOP on Obamacare
President Donald Trump on Sunday evening again called on Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, adding in a veiled threat that the “repercussions will be far greater” than lawmakers might expect.
“If Republicans don’t Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!” the president stated on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Since Trump took over, Republicans have been working in fits and starts to alter or discard the Affordable Care Act. Last week, Republicans in the Senate failed to garner enough votes to pass their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, but may try again this week.
Earlier in the day, Trump went after members of his own party, saying Republicans “do very little to protect their President.”
The president also criticized The New York Times and the Washington Post on Sunday night.
That’s all for today, we’ll be back tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out our other posts.