John Kelly may not be done revamping White House staff

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today. 1) John Kelly's 2018 hirings and firings The Trump White House saw its share of staff shakeups in 2017. As 2018 begins, the second White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, may have more personnel shuffles on his mind. Politico's Eliana Johnson explains Kelly's mindset for what the White House should look like in the upcoming year. "There's been a lot of focus on some high-profile departures in the White House. A year into the Trump administration, I think we're going to see, not only departures, but also some forcible removals," Johnson says. 2) Year of the women in gubernatorial races? Beyond a possible blue wave, election experts have said 2018 may bring a record number of women elected to political office. And gubernatorial races are no different. As Washington Post's Karen Tumulty reports, 79 women so far are running for governorships. "It's going to test this proposition that social scientists have seen where voters are more comfortable with women in a legislative setting," Tumulty says. "It's pushing against the barriers to see women running, this many of them, to be the decider." 3) Trump and the GOP must still sell their tax plan The tax-reform plan is the law of the land now, but that doesn't mean Americans are sold on it. The most recent polling from CNN/SSRC this month shows only 33% are in favor of the proposal, with 55% opposed. That disapproval was up by 10 points from November polling. Wall Street Journal's Julie Bykowicz says she's watching how President Trump and the GOP plan to market the law now that it's passed. "We'll see if the President travels to different factories and states to sell this law, because it really remains deeply unpopular. You're already hearing about some groups that did a lot of advertising during the tax debate say that they're going to continue to put Continue Reading

There’s still little evidence that Russia’s 2016 social media efforts did much of anything

We’ve known for some time that the various investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election were looking at whether people associated with the campaign of Donald Trump had helped guide the Russians’ digital efforts. Back in July we explored the idea that the Russian efforts to tamp down turnout for Hillary Clinton or boost support for Trump could have benefited from internal campaign data. That idea was bolstered by a report from Yahoo News this week that investigators working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III were talking to staffers for the Republican National Committee who worked with the Trump campaign on voter targeting efforts. “They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate,” sources told Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff. This plays into a popular sense of how the 2016 campaign unfolded. The Russians launched hundreds of Facebook ads, reaching millions of people in critical swing states. They unleashed thousands of fake Twitter accounts, which got retweeted hundreds of thousands of times. The targeting of users on Facebook in particular was described in various news reports as appearing to be “highly sophisticated” — naturally raising the question of whether the Russians had been aided in their efforts. All of that, though, requires setting aside what we actually know about the Russian activity on Facebook and Twitter: It was often modest, heavily dissociated from the campaign itself and minute in the context of election social media efforts. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a series of examples of the sorts of ads purchased by the Russians in November. Many, as The Washington Post reported, focused on highlighting divisive cultural issues, like the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration. Of the 30 ads shared by the Democrats, six, viewed 1.2 million times in total, ran in Continue Reading

White House Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert & Palo Alto Networks Chairman and CEO Mark McLaughlin to Speak at the Cambridge Cyber Summit

CNBC and The Aspen Institute to host top business, government and cybersecurity leaders at unique one-day conference on October 4 in Boston Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and Washington, DC, August 23, 2017 – CNBC and The Aspen Institute today unveiled the first set of speakers for the second-annual The Cambridge Cyber Summit on October 4th at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, MA. This unique one-day summit brings together top technology leaders, CEOs and government officials to explore the latest in cybersecurity, with a particular focus on how the public and private sectors can work together to safeguard our economic, financial and government assets, while also maintaining convenience and protecting privacy. This year's slate of speakers represents many of the most influential leaders in the cybersecurity industry, including a keynote address by White House Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert. Other speakers include Catherine P. Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America; Mike Gregoire, CEO CA Technologies; Jason Matheny, Director, IARPA; Mark McLaughlin, Chairman and CEO, Palo Alto Networks; Joe Sullivan, CSO, Uber; as well as voices from the NSA, FBI, DHS, and foreign intelligence agencies. Additional speakers include: Dave Aitel, Founder & CTO, Immunity Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, Facebook John Carlin, Chair, Cybersecurity and Technology Program, The Aspen Institute; Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security Oleg Derevianko, Information Security Systems Partners (ISSP) Michael Fey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Symantec Dan Geer, CISO, In-Q-Tel Glenn Gerstell, General Counsel, NSA Andy Continue Reading

From Russia With Blood

This is Part Two of a BuzzFeed News investigation.Part One: Poison In The SystemPart Three: The Man Who Knew Too MuchPart Four: The Secrets Of The Spy In The BagPart Five: Everyone Thinks He Was WhackedPart Six: Holes In The InvestigationThe London square was still and cold when the body fell, dropping silently through the moonlight and landing with a thud. Impaled through the chest on the spikes of a wrought iron fence, it dangled under the streetlamps as blood spilled onto the pavement. Overhead, a fourth-floor window stood open, the lights inside burning.The dead man was Scot Young. The one-time multimillionaire and fixer to the world’s super-rich had been telling friends, family, and the police for years that he was being targeted by a team of Russian hitmen – ever since his fortune vanished overnight in a mysterious Moscow property deal. He was the ninth in a circle of friends and business associates to die in suspicious circumstances. But when the police entered his penthouse that night, they didn’t even dust for fingerprints. They declared his death a suicide on the spot and closed the case. A two-year investigation by BuzzFeed News has now uncovered explosive evidence pointing to Russia that the police overlooked. A massive trove of documents, phone records, and secret recordings shows Young was part of a circle of nine men, including the exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who all died suspiciously on British soil after making powerful enemies in Russia. The files reveal that Young lived in the shadow of the Russian security services and mafia groups after fronting for Berezovsky – a sworn enemy of the state – in a series of deals that enraged the Kremlin, including the doomed Russian property deal known as Project Moscow. British police declared the deaths of all nine men in Berezovsky’s circle non-suspicious, but BuzzFeed News can now reveal that MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, asked its US Continue Reading

Russia v. Health Care (and Everything Else)

For the moment, at least, Trumpcare may actually be dead—thanks only in small part to the “liberal media,” which see Russia, and pretty much only Russia, from their TV studios. Cable news was there to catch the drama of Senator John McCain casting his decisive vote on the GOP’s “skinny repeal” bill early Friday morning, in effect saving health insurance for millions of people. But, even as the vote was approaching, the pundits were still talking excitedly about the latest scandal in Trumpland—to the point where Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CN) tweeted, at 10:27 pm: Hey cable news: there’s actually REAL BREAKING NEWS affecting millions of Americans happening right now. Stop covering Scaramucci for a sec. And that’s how it’s been for months. Although the American public cares deeply about the fate of health care—in a recent Bloomberg poll, people overwhelmingly named it the most important issue facing the nation—it simply hasn’t been able to compete with the Trump-Russia saga for the media’s attention. “Russia is an easy, shiny thing to look at. It has intrigue; it has spies. It’s money; it’s behind the scenes; it’s what we don’t know,” Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told me. “I do think the media has done some good things,” he said, like “The New York Times digging into who was at that meeting with Donald Jr.” But the news media had less to do with Trumpcare’s downfall than Mitch McConnell’s miserable bills themselves. “It really died of its own weight,” Crowley said last week, referring to one of the Senate leader’s earlier, failed attempts to repeal Obamacare. “McConnell couldn’t buy off enough senators.” Maybe Mitch was short on money. But the real reason Trumpcare went down was the effort by thousands of citizens who have Continue Reading

For Trump’s defenders, White House turmoil is politics as usual

By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In Washington, the chatter about a deepening, Watergate-style crisis has engulfed the White House - and those conversations are echoed in big cities across the country and in a succession of headlines that seem to suggest almost certain doom for the young Trump administration. But for many Americans, including President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters, the "crisis in Washington" is not about possible missteps by Trump or questions over whether his campaign colluded with Russia. For them, it’s the latest egregious example of mainstream media bias and of Washington insiders desperate to preserve their status taking revenge on the New York celebrity businessman. In such an intensely polarized political environment that distrust of mainstream media will make it less likely that Trump supporters - and the Republican officeholders who rely on their votes - will abandon the president any time soon. "The more negativity, the more we're for him. It's backfiring on them," Arizona resident Nadia Larsen said of media reports about possible collusion with Russia or Trump’s conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey. Reports from the Washington Post and New York Times that Trump shared classified information with Russia’s foreign minister and pressured Comey to end an inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn have been met with skepticism by Larsen and many other Trump supporters. More credible, they say, is news from prominent conservative media outlets, from the Trump-friendly airwaves of Fox News to websites such as Breitbart. Those outlets have cast the allegations as an ideological attack by Obama administration holdovers or the revenge of the "deep state," a term used by the far right to refer to what they see as a deeply entrenched bureaucracy opposed to Trump. "The only news I watch is Fox, but the only news I watch and believe is whatever comes out of the Continue Reading

McCain at Security Summit: Trump White House Is in ‘Disarray’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said today that the White House is "in disarray" and added that the president often publicly contradicts himself.At the Munich Security Conference, McCain said the departure of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shows that the Trump's administration is "in many respects, in disarray," remarking that "they've got a lot of work to do." Ryan: Trump Could Lead 'Most Productive Congress and Presidency in Lifetime' Hannity: Trump Gave Media a 'Historic Beatdown' at Press Conference Krauthammer: Key to Trump-Russia Story Is 'Why Did Flynn Lie?' Flynn was asked to resign after information leaked regarding a call he made to a Russian envoy and the fact he was not fully truthful with Vice President Pence.McCain also said Trump's public statements do not always line up with his actions, suggesting that observers should watch what he does rather than what he says."The president makes statements [and] on other occasions contradicts himself," he said.McCain made similar comments earlier this week about the White House being in "significant disarray" when it comes to national security.Secretary of State Gen. James Mattis is also attending the global forum, and struck a more positive tone about his boss, assuring the Europeans that America will not shirk from leading the charge against threats from Russia and ISIS terrorists.He also said Trump supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, despite then-candidate Trump's calls to revise the alliance, saying that the New York Republican "espouses NATO's need to adapt to today's strategic situation."What do you think? Let us know in the comments below. Wallace: Trump's Press Conference Told DC 'I'm In Charge' Tony Shaffer: Obama Holdovers Withholding Intel From Trump Admin Ted Nugent and Kid Rock Floated as Potential GOP Senate Candidates Continue Reading

Krauthammer: Trump Should ‘Attack’ Entrenched DC Bureaucracy

Opposition to President Trump from entrenched bureaucracies throughout numerous federal agencies is one of the "main conservative arguments against big government," according to Charles Krauthammer.Such bureaucracies, composed of civil service employees rather than government appointees that change with each new president, are alleged to be the source of critical leaks like the ones that led to the departure of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Ryan: Trump Could Lead 'Most Productive Congress and Presidency in Lifetime' McCain at Security Summit: Trump White House Is in 'Disarray' Coal Miner Who Spoke Alongside Trump: I'm Excited, He Kept His Promise These groups of otherwise permanent employees "develop [their] own interests," Krauthammer said on "The First 100 Days."He explained that it is very difficult to stem ideological opposition coming from these employees who do not require Senate confirmation.Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Krauthammer said, opposed government unions for that reason: bureaucrats could have the power to undermine the agenda of a sitting president.He noted the leaks from the intelligence agencies that contributed to Flynn's ouster, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency employees that tried unsuccessfully to lobby against newly-confirmed administrator Scott Pruitt.This is a "chronic issue," Krauthammer said, advising Trump to use the energy of a new presidency to go ahead and "attack it."What do you think? Let us know in the comments below. Judge Jeanine: Obama 'Leftovers' Are Behind Leaks and Must Be Prosecuted Krauthammer: Key to Trump-Russia Story Is 'Why Did Flynn Lie?' Hannity: Trump Gave Media a 'Historic Beatdown' at Press Conference Continue Reading

‘Stupid S***’: JPMorgan Chase CEO Says DC Gridlock Has Hurt the Economy

Trump Defends Don Jr.-Russian Lawyer Meeting: 'Most People' Would Have Attended Media Ridicule Photo of Evangelicals Praying Over Trump Meghan McCain: Trump White House Must Come Clean on All Russia Contacts JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon unloaded on Washington, D.C., gridlock during an earnings conference call today.Dimon said Capitol Hill lawmakers need to "get their act together" and reform U.S. infrastructure, education and corporate tax structure to remain competitive in the world.Dimon, who is a member of President Donald Trump’s business council, said the Trump administration could make major breakthrough in those areas, but America has become one of the most "bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet.""It's almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid s*** we have to deal with in this country," Dimon said. Michelle Malkin: Putin Would Have Benefited More From Clinton Presidency Presidents Trump and Macron Shook Hands for a Really Long Time AP Stylebook Instructs Writers Not to Use Words Like 'Pro-Life,' 'Refugee' & 'Terrorist' On "The Story" tonight, Guy Benson said Dimon's frustration is understandable, since Republicans hold the House, Senate and White House, yet they don't have any significant legislation to show for it.He noted, however, that it is difficult to get things done in our country by design."Our founders designed the Constitution and fashioned it this way on purpose. Other countries have a majority rule parliamentary system, and we don't in a constitutional republic," Benson said. "I think that usually that's a feature, not a bug, of our system, although it can be abused."Alex Conant said Dimon's remarks about Washington gridlock highlight why Trump won the election."Now we have a president who is shaking things up and trying to get things done," Conant said.He said that Dimon was right to put pressure on lawmakers - Continue Reading

Lewandowski: Dems Want Russia Scandal to Never End Because They Lack Message

Religious Freedom Law Firm Demands ABC News Retract Story Calling Them a 'Hate Group' Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Democrats will push the Russia collusion narrative for as long as they can because they have no message."The Democrats never want it to end because they have no message, they have no narrative, they have no leader," Lewandowski told "Fox & Friends."His comments come in the wake of renewed scrutiny of the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia after a meeting came to light between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.The meeting was a dud, according to Trump Jr., and produced no meaningful information. He remarked that the recent reaction to the meeting is "a little bit ridiculous and overplayed," but said he would have done things differently.The president defended his son, calling him "a great person who loves our country.""If you asked right now, 'Who is the leader of the Democratic party?' there is no consensus," Lewandowski said.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been the "greatest asset to the Republican party in the last thirty years," besides maybe Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the former campaign manager added.Lewandowski stated Democrats are afraid that President Trump will be successful in fulfilling campaign promises on taxes, infrastructure, healthcare, and other issues. 'Stupid S***': JPMorgan Chase CEO Says DC Gridlock Has Hurt the Economy Media Ridicule Photo of Evangelicals Praying Over Trump Hannity: Democrats & the Media Are Colluding to Destroy Trump Continue Reading