Quick Takes: Who Will Exit First, Kelly or Pruitt?

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continues to be mired in scandals. That led Trump’s chief of staff to offer some advice.

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told President Trump last week that Scott Pruitt, his embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, needed to go, according to two officials briefed about the conversation, following damaging allegations of ethical infractions and spending irregularities by the E.P.A. chief.

But Mr. Trump, who is personally fond of Mr. Pruitt and sees him as a crucial ally in his effort to roll back environmental protections, has resisted firing him, disregarding warnings that the drumbeat of negative headlines has grown unsustainable, and that more embarrassing revelations could surface.

If Kelly persists in telling Trump what he doesn’t want to hear, he very well could be the next one to exit the White House.

* Michelle Fabio reports that the Department Of Homeland Security is compiling a database of journalists and media influencers.

In today’s installment of “I’m Not Terrified, You Are,” Bloomberg Law reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject, “Media Monitoring Services.”

The details of the attached Request for Information, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.

* For heavens sake, this is no way to run a country.

[Trump’s] aides sometimes plot to have guests make points on Fox that they have been unable to get the president to agree to in person. “He will listen more when it is on TV,” a senior administration official said.

* This story is big news today, but pardon me if I suspect there is much more to it than we are being told.

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on seven of Russia’s richest men and 17 top government officials on Friday in the latest effort to punish President Vladimir V. Putin’s inner circle for interference in the 2016 election and other Russian aggressions.

The sanctions are designed to penalize some of Russia’s richest industrialists, who are seen in the West as enriching themselves from Mr. Putin’s increasingly authoritarian administration.

The action freezes the oligarchs’ assets and prevents any American entities or individuals from doing business with them or their business operations. It also restricts foreign individuals from facilitating transactions on their behalf.

They grow out of an oddly disjointed policy toward Russia on the part of the Trump administration: While President Trump continues to call for good relations with Mr. Putin, Congress and much of the rest of the administration are pushing through increasingly punitive efforts that are sinking relations with Moscow to lows not seen in years.

* Mary Jordan and Scott Clement report on a rallying nation.

Tens of millions of Americans have joined protests and rallies in the past two years, their activism often driven by admiration or outrage toward President Trump, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing a new activism that could affect November elections.

One in five Americans have protested in the streets or participated in political rallies since the beginning of 2016. Of those, 19 percent said they had never before joined a march or a political gathering.

Overwhelmingly, recently motivated activists are critical of Trump. Thirty percent approve of the president, and 70 percent disapprove, according to the poll. And many said they plan to be more involved politically this year, with about one-third saying they intend to volunteer or work for a 2018 congressional campaign…

A significant number — 44 percent — are 50 or older, and 36 percent earn more than $100,000 a year. Far more are Democrats than Republicans. An equal percentage are men and women. An outsize share live in the suburbs…

…83 percent of rallygoers and protesters say they are certain to vote [compared to 57% for non-protesters], according to the poll.

* Finally, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this affirmation from Jennifer Palmieri. Based on the examples she gave, it applies to men as well as women.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.