Congress is leaving Washington for a two week “spring break” to head to their home districts from April 7-23. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten one single break from Trump’s destructive agenda since he was inaugurated.
Every day some fresh horror is unleashed from the White House. On Thursday evening, Trump launched a missile attack on Syria — without congressional approval. Now is not the time for senators and representatives to rest and normalize Trump’s dangerous overreach.
Congress To Discuss War Stuff After Spring Break In Cabo
Jared Kushner reportedly won an argument against Steve Bannon over whether to attack Syria, so apparently Bannon is now Senior White House Cuck. President Donald Trump has painted a picture of a world that is a total mess, so he decided to refocus that picture by blowing it up a little. And Mitt Romney might run for Senate ― or at least he might be interested in using borrowed capital to purchase the Senate, fire its entrenched management and then discard it in bankruptcy for a tidy profit. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 7, 2017:
LOL MERRICK GARLAND – Jennifer Bendery and Cristian Farias: “The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Friday, ending an ugly, weeks-long fight between Democrats who demanded a different nominee and Republicans who changed the rules to go around them entirely. Gorsuch was confirmed, 54 to 45. Sens. Joe Manchin ( .), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) were the only Democrats who voted with Republicans to support President Donald Trump’s court pick. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) missed the vote. Following the vote, the Supreme Court announced that Gorsuch would be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the nation’s 101st associate justice in a private ceremony on Monday. Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch clerked as a young lawyer, will administer a public oath later at the White House…. The rules change means that majority parties will no longer have to concern themselves, at all, with the opinions or votes of minority party members for any presidential appointments.” [HuffPost]
@seungminkim: McConnell confirms he had a convo with @MittRomney about running for Senate. But “I’m an Orrin Hatch supporter.”
‘AMERICA FIRST’ BUT ALSO YEMEN, IRAQ AND SYRIA – S.V. Date:“The lives of American troops in Syria to fight the Islamic State may have just gotten more dangerous, with President Donald Trump’s missile strikes potentially making them the targets of the Syrian military as well. ‘Hopefully that was in the forefront of the president’s and his military commanders’ minds when they decided to do this,’ said Luke Hartig, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama. The dozens of cruise missiles launched into Syria on Thursday night also mark the latest military escalation by a commander-in-chief who had promised fewer such engagements, not more of them, on the campaign trail. Since taking office 11 weeks ago, Trump has ramped up military involvement in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. In Yemen, where the United States previously had little presence, he expanded a bombing campaign after a botched special forces raid ended in the death of a Navy SEAL and dozens of civilians. Meanwhile, troop levels in both Iraq and Syria have increased as well.” [HuffPost]
A smattering of lawmakers offered a smattering of mild criticisms of Trump’s Syria strike
PUNDITS LOVE WAR – Nick Wing: “On cable news, Trump’s decision to take action was nothing short of heroic. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said Friday morning that ‘Donald Trump became President of the United States’ the moment the bombs started dropping…. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius was similarly excited about Trump’s airstrikes. ‘In terms of the credibility of American power, I think most traditional Washington commentators would say he’s put more umph, more credibility back into it,’ Ignatius said on MSNBC Friday morning, arguing that former President Barack Obama had disappointed many people by failing to ‘enforce the red line’ in Syria. To MSNBC’s Brian Williams, the images of U.S. ships launching missiles into the night sky were downright awe-inspiring. ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons,’ he said on Thursday, misappropriating a line from the late singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.” [HuffPost]
OOPS? “JUST IN: Syrian warplanes take off from air base hit by U.S., carry out strikes in Homs countryside – Syrian observatory for human rights” [Reuters]
RUSSIA MAD! David Filipov and Anne Gearan: “Russia on Friday condemned a U.S. missile strike against Syrian government forces as an attack on its ally and said it was suspending an agreement to minimize the risk of in-flight incidents between U.S. and Russian aircraft operating over Syria…. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the risk of confrontation between aerial assets of the U.S.-led coalition and Russia has ‘significantly increased’ after President Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians.” [WashPost]
HOW A WORLD WAR STARTS – From David Wood’s story earlier this week about increasing aerial tensions between U.S. and Russian planes in Europe: “One false move by a hot-dogging Russian pilot could send an American aircraft and its crew spiraling 20,000 feet into the sea. Any nearby U.S. fighter would have to immediately decide whether to shoot down the Russian plane. And if the pilot did retaliate, the U.S. and Russia could quickly find themselves on the brink of open hostility.” [WashPost]
Hear David Wood talk barrell rolls and intercepts on “So That Happened,” the HuffPost Politics podcast.
FLASHBACK: Sebastian Mourdock: “In 2013, when a sarin nerve gas attack left more than 1,400 dead outside Damascus, President Barack Obama went to Congress to get approval to strike. In a whip count from ThinkProgress, 183 Republicans were against bombing the country. Only 12 Republicans, including then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), sided with the president to launch a strike. Ultimately, Congress did not appear to approve the strike, with 243 Congressional members swaying towards voting ‘No.’” The vote never happened. [HuffPost]
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BANNON AND KUSHNER LEAK BATTLE – Gabriel Sherman: “Two sources close to [Steve] Bannon told me the former Breitbart executive chairman argued against the strike — not because of its questionable constitutionality, but on the grounds that it doesn’t advance Trump’s America First doctrine. … Bannon’s position lost out to those inside the White House, including Jared Kushner, who argued Trump needed to punish the Assad regime. … While the press has covered it as a personality feud, Bannon allies say the rift is about policy differences. ‘The press is calling it fighting, we call it debating,’ Bannon told an associate, according to a source. On a board in his West Wing office, Bannon keeps a list of promises Trump made to populist voters. Kushner, whose portfolio has ballooned in recent weeks, seems much less interested in keeping those promises. … Despite his waning influence, Bannon recently told an ally that he won’t quit. If Trump wants him out, he’ll have to fire him.” [NY Mag]
MORE OF THAT – Ashley Parker, Robert Costa and Abby Phillip: “[T]he ultimate argument against him, said one person with knowledge of the situation, is that ‘Bannon isn’t making ‘Dad’ look good.’ … Bannon and his populist allies view Kushner’s circle with growing suspicion, worrying aloud that the group — whom they dismiss as ‘the Democrats,’ ‘the New Yorkers’ or, simply, ‘Goldman’ — are pushing Trump in a ‘Democrat Lite’ direction. Kushner’s allies, meanwhile, label Bannon’s crowd as ‘the Bannonites,’ ‘the Nationalists’ or ‘Breitbart,’ the name of the incendiary conservative website he previously ran. … Trump, for his part, enjoys a somewhat chaotic management style and so far hasn’t aligned entirely with either camp. Aides say one moment the president will praise Bannon and sound out nationalist themes. The next, he’ll see a headline about ‘President Bannon’ and grimace.” [WashPost]
STILL MORE PALACE INTRIGUE – Carol Lee, Peter Nicholas and Michael Bender: “President Donald Trump is considering a major shake-up of his senior White House team, a senior administration official said Friday. Mr. Trump is unhappy with the infighting among his top advisers and is determined to see it end, the official said. In recent days, he has talked to confidants about the performance of chief of staff Reince Priebus and has asked for the names of possible replacements.” Wait it’s Reince who’s infighting? [WSJ]
KEEP IT COMING – Katy Tur: “Source close to Bannon says things are very bad for him in WH right now. Allies are telling him to ‘lay low’ and wait out the storm.” [Twitter]
OH YES THAT’S THE STUFF – Marc Caputo: Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Friday that embattled presidential adviser Steve Bannon should be completely ousted from the White House because he has un-American views. ‘I think it would be welcome news for the nation,’ Ros-Lehtinen, who cheered Bannon’s recent removal as a National Security Council principal, said on the ‘Fernand Amandi Show’ on 610-WIOD in Miami.” [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Enjoy this piece about how it’s basically immoral to be rich.
THE GEORGIA SPECIAL ELECTION IS A CESSPOOL – Paul Blumenthal: “A Republican Party super PAC funding Islamophobic ads against Jon Ossoff, the Democratic House candidate in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, is funded by undisclosed dark money and big corporations with lobbying operations in Washington.Congressional Leadership Fund raised $4.5 million in the first three months of 2017, according to new disclosures. The super PAC, which is closely linked to Republican Party leadership, has already spent $2.4 million against Ossoff in the Georgia special election to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.” [HuffPost]
BERNIE SANDERS THINKS IT MIGHT BE GOOD FOR DEMOCRATS TO WIN ELECTIONS – Can you imagine? Somebody tell Jim Clyburn about the one in Montana. Ryan Grim: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning a national tour to give a boost to progressive Democratic candidates and energize activists in areas of the country that the party has long neglected, sources familiar with the planning told The Huffington Post. He will be joined on the road by prominent Democratic Party officials, including Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez. Details of the tour are still being worked out, but Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, would have no shortage of potential whistle stops.” [HuffPost]
DELANEY DOWNER – In his budget outline last month, Trump proposed entirely eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which since the 1980s has helped millions of poorer Americans pay utility bills…. Keith Wilson, a disabled former woodworker in Wendell, Minnesota, said he received heating assistance several years ago, but stopped after getting approved for Social Security disability insurance because of arthritis and back problems that left him temporarily unable to walk. “I’ve only applied for it when I needed it,” Wilson said. “If we didn’t need it, I would let other people use it.”… Wilson, 60, said his household income declined again after his partner died last year. He’s going to apply for heating assistance again. “Right now I can’t even afford car repairs,” he said. [HuffPost]