As usual, it’s been a busy week (*rubs bleary eyes*). So without further ado, President Trump:
- Calls new immigration ban (which his office released) a “watered down version of the first one.”
- Describes Hawaii judge whose court order halted the second ban because it biases against Muslims, as politically-motivated. “This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.”
- Promises to continue pursuing the ban; vows vengeance against the courts.
- Endorses Republican healthcare act, and, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, nonchalantly acknowledges that, despite campaign pledges, it will lead to significant coverage cuts.
- Works with conservative House Republicans to make the healthcare bill more to their liking–conceding changes that work against broader health coverage and in favor of states’ rights and federal cost-cutting.
- Meets with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who remains decidedly unimpressed.
- Claims that Britain’s GCHQ wiretapped Trump Tower. Britain remains unimpressed. Trump remains unapologetic.
- The NSA describes the claim as “arrant nonsense.” Fox News says there’s no evidence of the claim.
- Orders 46 US attorneys appointed by President Obama to resign immediately.
- Releases “skinny” (proto-) budget that, if enacted, would:
- Cut EPA funding by 31%, State Department funding by 29%, Agriculture and Labor Departments funding by 21%, Health and Human Services by 18%, Commerce by 16%; Education by 14%, HUD by 13%, the Interior by 12%, Energy by 6%, Justice by 4%, and NASA by 1%, to name a few.
- Cut all funding for the following agencies: African Development Foundation; Appalachian Regional Commission; Chemical Safety Board; Corporation for National and Community Service; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Delta Regional Authority; Denali Commission; Institute of Museum and Library Services; Inter-American Foundation; U.S. Trade and Development Agency; Legal Services Corporation; National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; Northern Border Regional Commission; Overseas Private Investment Corporation; U.S. Institute of Peace; U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
- Increase Homeland Security funding by 7% and Defense Department funding by 9%.
In other news,
- The American Care Act (Republican healthcare) continues to pass through House committees despite widespread criticism on both sides of the political spectrum; House Republicans intend to push swiftly for a vote.
- The House Intelligence Committee says there’s no evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump. The White House refuses to back down…or produce evidence.
- The Senate Intelligence Committee says there’s no evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump. The White House refuses to back down…or produce evidence.
- Kellyanne Conway memorably claims that your microwave could be spying on you. Late night tv hosts rejoice.
- The Central Budget Office finds that the Republican healthcare bill will remove coverage from twenty-four million people in the coming years. Many of those that will be affected voted for Trump.
- Two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return are revealed, with much showmanship from Rachel Maddow, and disclose that he paid taxes at roughly a 25% rate for that year, and claimed $103m in losses.
- National outcry as news sinks in that Trump’s budget would cut all federal funding for the arts and humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS and NPR), Meals-on-Wheels, 49 National Heritage Areas, 50 programs (and 3,200 jobs) within the EPA, and more; and would decrease funds for NOAA, climate change research, health research, small business incentives, the National Institutes of Health, low-income student aid, the Office of Science, teacher training grants, affordable housing, community development, UN peacekeeping, the World Bank, and others.
- Gen. Michael Flynn retrospectively registers as an agent of a foreign government for paid work that he was performing on behalf of Turkey both during the campaign and transition, and while he was National Security Advisor.
- Public silence about the REINS Act, which will undermine future government regulation efforts, continues. It is currently in the Senate, having passed the House.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to China for first visit. Tense, but promising.
- Robert Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser, admitted to having private conversations with a hacker (named Guccifer 2.0) who helped leak DNC info last year. “[The conversation] was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it,” Stone says. These conversations happened after the DNC leak, says Stone.
- A man dies while charging his iPhone in the bath.
- A BBC commentator is interrupted in a Skype interview first by one child, then by a second, then by his wife collecting the two children. A meme is born.
- Nationalist hairball Geert Wilders flounders in Dutch election.