* Perhaps you remember that a few months ago a memo was leaked that provided guidance to agents who put together the president’s daily intelligence briefing. In effect, it was the old KISS advice: “keep it simple, stupid.” The president preferred one-page memos with bulleted points, sans nuance. So it shouldn’t be surprising that is exactly what his so-called “tax plan” looked like.
* Steve Benen says it’s a joke…not a plan.
In fact, the document the White House released to reporters today is literally one sheet of paper, with roughly 500 words of text, printed on one side. For comparison purposes, note that the blog post you’re reading right now is longer than the president’s approach to tax policy.
No, seriously. The officials responsible for running the executive branch of a global superpower have had plenty of time to craft a half-way credible proposal, and they instead presented some bullet points that read like a wish-list from a president who can’t be bothered to think about policy details.
* In case you were wondering, the probe into whether or not the Trump administration collaborated with Russia to influence the 2016 continues. Apparently it just gained some gravitas.
The flagging U.S. probes into the Trump administration’s ties to the Kremlin are about to get an injection of fresh blood.
Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats have tapped April Doss, a former NSA lawyer, to join the committee’s investigation of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. election. Meanwhile, Rod Rosenstein, who was confirmed as deputy attorney general on Tuesday, will take the reins of the Justice Department’s sprawling probe into Trump’s Russia ties and Kremlin meddling.
The two veterans are poised to bring legal and intelligence heft to probes that have been hobbled by a shortage of technical expertise and a lack of political cover at the Justice Department.
* Carl Bernstein shared some interesting thoughts about where the investigation is heading.
* Minority Leader Pelosi is standing strong.
The White House is telling lawmakers that it will continue paying Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies, potentially defusing a bruising conflict between Democrats and Trump administration officials that had sparked a new round of shutdown fears in Washington Wednesday.
Three sources said the administration was spreading the word across the Capitol that it would continue to provide payments to help millions of Americans to afford health insurance. It was not immediately clear how long the White House planned to keep the money flowing.
On Tuesday evening, Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump’s budget director clashed in a phone call over the Obamacare subsidies threatening delicate bipartisan negotiations to fund the government, according to sources familiar with the matter. The solution to the row appears to be the status quo: Paying for the subsidies outside of the congressional spending process. That would give Trump some future leverage over Obamacare while allowing Democrats to say they’ve protected the law, if only temporarily.
The House minority leader told Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney that she cannot support a spending bill that doesn’t include a commitment to continuing the subsidies for Americans with low incomes, according to a high-ranking Republican source briefed on the conversation.
In case that is unclear, here’s the summary. Initially Mulvaney said the administration would continue funding the subsidies if Democrats would agree to funding for the border wall. Pelosi basically responded by saying, “No!” Mulvaney backed off on the border wall funding. Then Pelosi set her terms: either fund the subsidies or we walk.
* Finally, lots of us have been talking about the fact that Trump is feeding the swamp rather than draining it. There’s actually a web site for that. It’s called, “Drain the Swamp: 101 ways Donald Trump Failed. Go take a look.