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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Trump lawyers seek to offer Mueller an interview in exchange for wrapping up probe: report

Source: The Hill

Attorneys for President Trump are reportedly considering asking special counsel Robert Mueller to set a hard end date for his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election as one of the preconditions for an interview with president.

While Trump's lawyers remain split on the terms of such a deal, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, they also want Mueller to agree to parameters on the scope of such an interview.

One idea being floated is that Mueller would agree to wrap up the probe within 60 days of interviewing Trump.

Trump has said he is "looking forward" to speaking with the special counsel's team, but his lawyers have repeatedly emphasized that he would only agree under certain conditions.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/377652-trump-lawyers-aim-to-offer-mueller-an-interview-in-exchange-for

The E.P.A Chief Wanted a Climate Science Debate. Trump's Chief of Staff Stopped Him.

Source: NYT

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, has killed an effort by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to stage public debates challenging climate change science, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, thwarting a plan that had intrigued President Trump even as it set off alarm bells among his top advisers.

The idea of publicly critiquing climate change on the national stage has been a notable theme for Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the E.P.A. For nearly a year he has championed the notion of holding military-style exercises known as red team, blue team debates, possibly to be broadcast live, to question the validity of climate change.

Mr. Pruitt has spoken personally with Mr. Trump about the idea, and the president expressed enthusiasm for it, according to people familiar with the conversations.

But the plan encountered widespread resistance within the administration from Mr. Kelly and other top officials, who regarded it as ill-conceived and politically risky, and when Mr. Pruitt sought to announce it last fall, they weighed in to stop him. At a mid-December meeting set up by Mr. Kelly’s deputy, Rick Dearborn, to discuss the plan, Mr. Dearborn made it clear that his boss considered the idea “dead,” and not to be discussed further, according to people familiar with the meeting. All spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to describe internal White House deliberations and meetings.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/climate/pruitt-red-team-climate-debate-kelly.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

Jesus H. Christ on a trailer hitch.

Star Wars costumes land at the DIA this spring

The force will be at the DIA May 20

Source: Curbed Detroit

Eager to find out how short a stormtrooper really is? Or if Chewbacca is just a big walking carpet? A special exhibit coming to the Detroit Institute of Arts will answer those questions and more.

More than 60 original costumes from the first seven movies land in the DIA in May with the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit. Visitors will also see more than 150 pieces and sketches documenting the creative process of the films, from vision to reality.

Visitors will get a close look at the costumes of characters including Queen Amidala, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Han Solo, X-wing Pilots, and Droids, including C-3PO and R2-D2.

Many videos will also be on hand for visitors to watch, showing the process of concept artists and designers, along with historic and cultural context from Smithsonian scholars.

More: https://detroit.curbed.com/2018/3/8/17095750/star-wars-costumes-land-dia-this-spring?utm_campaign=detroit.curbed&utm_content=entry&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Michael Cohen used Trump Org. email in Stormy Daniels arrangements

Source: NBC News

President Donald Trump's personal attorney used his Trump Organization email while arranging to transfer money into an account at a Manhattan bank before he wired $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, also regularly used the same email account during 2016 negotiations with the actress — whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — before she signed a nondisclosure agreement, a source familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

And Clifford's attorney at the time addressed correspondence to Cohen in his capacity at the Trump Organization and as "Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump," the source said.

Cohen has tried to put distance between the president and the payout, which has been the subject of campaign finance complaints.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michael-cohen-used-trump-org-email-stormy-daniels-arrangements-n855021?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma

Team Biden mulls far-out options to take on Trump in 2020

Source: Politico

Joe Biden knows that winning in 2020 would require a shoot-the-moon set of circumstances and luck. So his team is on the hunt for a moon shot.

Between stops on his book tour and in the ramp-up for what will be a heavy midterms campaign schedule, a tight circle of aides has been brainstorming a range of tear-up-the-playbook ideas for a White House run, according to people who’ve been part of the discussions or told about them.

On the list: announcing his candidacy either really early or really late in the primary process so that he’d define the field around him or let it define itself before scrambling the field; skipping Iowa and New Hampshire and going straight to South Carolina, where he has always had a strong base of support; announcing a running mate right out of the gate and possibly picking one from outside of politics; and making a pitch that he can be a bridge not just to disaffected Democrats, but to Republicans revolting against President Donald Trump.

They’ve also discussed an idea some donors and supporters have been pitching Biden on directly for months: kick off by announcing that he’d only run for one term. One person who’s pitched the idea said Biden would try to sell voters on “a reset presidency.” The former vice president would pick a younger Democratic running mate and argue that he’d be the elder statesman to get the country and government back in order post-Trump and be the bridge to the next generation.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/09/joe-biden-trump-2020-448222

Pro-Trump pastor: Stormy Daniels allegations 'totally irrelevant' to evangelical support for Trump

Source: The Hill

A member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board defended Trump over the controversy surrounding his alleged relationship with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, saying the allegations were “totally irrelevant” to evangelicals who support Trump.

“Evangelicals know they’re not compromising their beliefs in order to support this great president,” Pastor Robert Jeffress said on Fox News Thursday. “And let’s be clear, evangelicals still believe in the commandment ‘thou shalt not have sex with a porn star.’”

“However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him,” he continued.

Jeffress said evangelicals knew they “weren’t voting for an altar boy” when they voted for Trump and maintained they supported Trump for his “policies and strong leadership.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/media/377559-pro-trump-pastor-stormy-daniels-allegations-totally-irrelevant-to-evangelical

An Operative With Trump Ties Was Once Indicted on an Obscenity Charge

George Nader was accused of importing photographs of nude boys “engaged in a variety of sexual acts.” The 1985 charges were dismissed after key evidence was thrown out.

Source: The Atlantic

A political operative who frequented the White House in the early days of President Trump’s administration, George Nader, was indicted in 1985 on charges of importing to the United States obscene material, including photos of nude boys “engaged in a variety of sexual acts,” according to publicly available court records. Nader pleaded not guilty, and the charges against him were ultimately dismissed several months after evidence seized from Nader’s home was thrown out on procedural grounds. “Mr. Nader vigorously denies the allegations now, as he did then,” a lawyer representing Nader said.

Nevertheless, the indictment raises questions about what the White House knew, if anything, about Nader’s past while senior officials were meeting with him. The Trump administration is already under fire for failures to vet members of the president’s inner circle. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nader’s name has surfaced in recent days with reports that he is a cooperating witness in Robert Mueller’s investigation.


According to federal court documents, the charges brought against Nader in 1985 stemmed from a package delivered to his company, International Insight. The package, which was opened by a U.S. Customs inspector on suspicion that it had been imported illegally, contained two pictures and two magazines that depicted nude boys, according to the court ruling. It also included a film, four magazines, and an advertisement, materials that “depicted nude boys engaged in a variety of sexual acts.” The Customs inspectors soon obtained a search warrant for Nader’s home to seize both the materials in the package as well as any “other photographs, magazines, writings and documents which are evidence of violations of” two federal obscenity laws.

The government argued that the search was justified because Nader, “a suspected pedophile, was likely to seek to contact children.” But, 18 months later, the court ruled that the latter part of the warrant was impermissibly general, and threw out additional evidence that had been seized from his home. The evidence that was discarded included material that was described in the court ruling as obscene.

Read more: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/an-operative-with-trump-ties-was-once-indicted-on-an-obscenity-charge/555233/

Democrats Are Considering Dropping Superdelegates Altogether

Source: BuzzFeed News

Democratic officials are considering a new proposal to effectively eliminate all superdelegates, a move that would go beyond recommendations put forward late last year by the commission tasked with making the party's presidential nominating process more fair.

Under the current system for choosing a Democratic nominee, around 700 people called “superdelegates” are entitled to their own delegate to award to the candidate of their choosing, regardless of votes cast — making up about 30% of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the party’s nomination. These superdelegates include members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic elected officials, and "distinguished" party leaders like former presidents and vice presidents. Superdelegates were a major point of contention during the 2016 primary — with many supporters of Bernie Sanders arguing the system unfairly favored Hillary Clinton.

The Unity Reform Commission, formed by Sanders and Clinton to review the party’s nominating process, has since proposed a new system to effectively reduce superdelegates by about 60%: Elected officials and distinguished party leaders would remain “unpledged” superdelegates, able to cast their vote for any candidate. The remaining superdelegates, namely the 447 members of the DNC, would have their delegates “bound” to the their state’s primary or caucus vote. (In the case of a second round of voting at a Democratic convention — historically a rare occurrence in the party’s presidential nominating process — all superdelegates would be unbound.)

The 21 members of the Unity Reform Commission agreed upon the superdelegates proposal at a meeting in early December, following four lengthy gatherings over the course of seven months. Those recommendations then moved to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, where members were given a period of six months to put forward a set of final proposals.Democratic officials are considering a new proposal to effectively eliminate all superdelegates, a move that would go beyond recommendations put forward late last year by the commission tasked with making the party's presidential nominating process more fair.

Read more: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/democrats-are-weighing-a-proposal-to-eliminate?utm_term=.bxZEAWKXm#.ct3NpP3LM

Tillerson says talks, but no negotiations with NKorea

Source: AP

DJIBOUTI (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson drew a distinction Friday between “talks” with North Korea and “negotiations,” arguing that President Donald Trump’s willingness to chat with Kim Jong Un shouldn’t be construed as anything more than that.

The stunning announcement that Trump had agreed to a meeting with the North Korean leader raised questions about what had changed after months of Tillerson and other Trump officials insisting the conditions weren’t right for negotiations with Pyongyang. Tillerson said that Trump has been open to mere talks and a meeting with Kim “for some time,” and had decided on Thursday that “the time was right.”

“In the president’s judgment, that time has arrived now,” Tillerson told reporters in Djibouti during a trip to Africa.

Tillerson did not define the precise difference between talks and negotiations, and it was unclear what there was for the two countries — still technically at war — would have to discuss if not a deal to address concerns about the North’s nuclear weapons program. Ostensibly, they could hold preliminary conversations to see if there’s enough common ground and good will to proceed to formal negotiations.

Read more: https://apnews.com/1fcf8a62cb7f4e15b0b39213368b0315

Progressive group targets Illinois Dem in tough primary over immigration

Source: The Hill

A major progressive group’s political action committee has launched a new digital ad that targets Rep. Dan Lipinski’s (D-Ill.) record on immigration issues.

MoveOn.org Political Action's five-figure ad buy, which was shared first with The Hill, features a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program criticizing Lipinski for voting against the Dream Act in 2010 and voting for border wall funding in 2006.

Egle Malinauskaite, who lives in Lipinski's district, calls on voters to support his primary challenger, marketing consultant Marie Newman, in the March 20 primary. The minute-long ad will target Latino voters in the Chicago-area district and will run on several social media platforms through the primary.

Last November, Lipinski said he’d support a DACA bill if it came up in the House. While discussing that he’s been working with lawmakers on a compromise that includes DACA and strengthened border security, he said he wouldn’t support a border wall, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/377548-progressive-group-targets-dem-lawmaker-in-tough-primary-over-immigration

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