So is Trump gonna be impeached or nah?


Thursday, May 18, 2017
Sen. Ben Sasse (center), R-Nebraska, in workout clothes, talks to Sens. Tom Cotton (left), R-Arkansas, and Chuck Schumer (right), D-New York, on Capitol Hill Thursday. Credit:Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Trump Cries “Witch Hunt”: @realDonaldTrump breaks 17-hour Twitter silence

Author Talks Melania: What FLOTUS is really like, per a friend of a friend

Trump Impeachment or Nah?: The scandal’s moving fast, but…

Kate Bennett

What the White House is Talking About:
A day ahead of departing on his first trip abroad, and a day after a special counsel was appointed to investigate his campaign’s possible ties to Russia, President Trump welcomes Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to the White House. 

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:
Trump’s scheduled 3:45 pm joint press conference with Santos. It will be the first time POTUS has faced the press corps since the recent slew of controversies besieged his administration. 

Politico reports this morning that Sean Spicer’s role will be significantly downsized when Trump returns from his foreign trip — like, he’ll no longer do the daily on-camera briefing kind of downsized. But this kind of buzz has been going around for weeks, and the White House has repeatedly denied Spicer’s in trouble, so take it as you will. We’re still talking about it.

Also, Fox News founder Roger Ailes died this morning. 

Trump Cries “Witch Hunt”:
After 17 hours of Twitter silence — that’s an eon for him — the President greeted the morning with two tweets about the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel (which Trump spelled “councel”) and complaints about what he considers to be a grossly unfair investigation: 

Image credit: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter

TIME Cover This Week:
Trump and his administration won’t be able to shake this Russia thing, at least for the foreseeable future. TIME’s new cover is an illustration depicting Moscow essentially bleeding into the White House — it’s pretty captivating. It’s also the first time in a decade the magazine has used a solo image with no coverlines.
Watch this cool video of it getting made. 

Image credit: @TIME/twitter

“He Doesn’t Really Want to Go”:
So says this New York Times piece about Trump hitting the road for his nine-day journey with five stops. Guys, he’s a homebody. 

George W. Bush is Master of IDGAF and Photobombs:
Both of which were evident last night as the former president walked past a sports reporter live on the air on his way to his seats at a Texas Rangers game (they beat the Phillies 9-2). If you haven’t watched the clip, you should. Here’s a super-cute snippet from this morning’s Today Show where Jenna Bush-Hager says that basically every time she gets off a long plane flight, she checks her phone and her dad’s become an internet meme. 

Image credit: @dcarterruff/Twitter

And Dennis Quaid is Playing Him in a Movie!:
I’ve had a mad crush on Quaid since 1986’s “The Big Easy,” so I’m psyched the actor will play W. in Ryan Murphy’s highly anticipated “Katrina: American Crime Story.” It’s not set to air until 2018, but still.  

Author Holly Peterson Talks Melania Trump:
Last night, DC’s power women set — Heather Podesta, Tammy Haddad, Connie Milstein, Megan Murphy, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Penny Lee, Kelley McCormick, Juleanna Glover, Teresa Carlson, Kate Goodall, and more — toasted author Holly Peterson at The Jefferson for Peterson’s juicy new summer read, “It Happens in the Hamptons.” Someone described it to me as “think Downton Abbey, but in bikinis.” Ok, I’m in. I asked Peterson, a former longtime ABC News producer and journalist who’s covered everything from politics to parties, what she knows about the private side of Melania Trump, because the two are connected in that elite Manhattan social-swirl way that’s always been fascinating to me. 

“I have some very close female friends who are close to her. They adore her and are very loyal and discreet. They were with her throwing showers for her child, at her wedding, and by her side on election night. I think she’s a woman with natural elegance and clearly devoted to her son’s safety, well-being, and emotional growth and health. I, like everyone, do wonder if she’s happy with the first lady type of duties. I wish she would be just honest about what she’d like to do. Michelle said she was going to be “mom-in-chief” for a year, which I considered a genius line to give her some space and time. Melania could probably do a ton of good anywhere she likes, but I’m not sure she’s up for the hustle-bustle of getting people to listen and follow whatever her cause becomes. I think it might be smart for her to state that she will focus on mothering and the move for two years and speak after that about her goals.” Attention, East Wing ?.

Ivanka Trump’s Brand Under Fire:
A Chinese labor rights group has raised a flag against the Ivanka Trump brand, accusing the label of using two manufacturing companies that pay workers as little as $1/hour to make Ivanka-branded items. China Labor Watch sent Ivanka a letter outlining the harsh working conditions, which include 12.5-hour days, six days a week. Abigail Klem, who took over the helm of the Ivanka Trump brand after Ivanka joined the administration, told Bloomberg, “Ivanka Trump HQ is committed to only working with licensees who maintain internationally recognized labor standards across their supply chains. Our licensees and their manufacturers, subcontractors and suppliers must comply with all applicable local and international labor laws, and the legal and ethical practices set forth in our vendor code of conduct.”

Dress Like the First Daughter:
Wow, talk about an awkward segue. Sorry, but yesterday’s White House roundtable helmed by Ivanka to discuss ways to combat human trafficking was the first time we’ve publicly seen her in a while. However, she wore a ‘meh’ outfit: blue sweater, white slacks. (I’m sort of intensely curious as to why she dresses for meetings in the West Wing like she might be going to a garden party after? But I digress…) The sweater looks as though it could be this number from J. Crew, a label she’s been wearing a lot lately. But it’s the diamond necklace that’s got me like, a-ha! It appears to be the $2,720 “Montmarte Diamond Drop Y Necklace” from her fine jewelry line, which is being discontinued. Cheggit: 

Image credits: (top left) screenshot from event feed; (top right) Olivier Douliery/Getty Images; (below) ivankatrumpfinejewelry.com

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who yesterday appointed a special counsel to investigate whether there was collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, will brief the Senate in a closed-door session today at 2:30 p.m. ET.

What America is Talking About:
Lucky Charms has announced a limited-run all-marshmallow box for 10,000 contest winners.

What It’s Like to Work at the White House Right Now:
It’s a stressful job with long hours, an unpredictable boss, and the constant fear you’ll be fired. And you just so happen to get a front-row seat to history. We’re starting to hear what it’s like for staffers inside the White House, and it doesn’t sound fun.

Trump “likes everyone always being on thin ice,” one staffer told Time. “The good news is that if you don’t like a decision, there’s a good chance the President will come up with a new one if he watches enough ‘Fox & Friends,'” said another. “Everyone is walking around saying, ‘What is next?'” one told Politico. And one thing you’re reading and hearing time and time again: Staffers have to read his tweets to keep up with him, and they’re crossing their fingers he tweets less.

What’s your experience like? What are you hearing from your WH friends? Is it better than what’s being reported? Worse? I’m on Confide and Signal, or if Spicer is still checking phones for those, we can always meet for a drink (far from the White House). Hit me up, my Twitter DMs are open, and we can go off the record.

So Is Trump Gonna Get Impeached or Nah?:
Our Zach Wolf wrote the impeachment guide you’ve been looking for. For as fast as this scandal is moving, with multiple daily ~bombshells~, impeachment remains a long process, and we’re not close. “It would take a unified Democratic Party and a groundswell of defecting Republicans to impeach Trump,” he wrote. “There’s no evidence we’re anywhere close to that.”

Chaffetz Can’t Find Comey:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, invited fired FBI Director James Comey to testify before the House Oversight Committee next Wednesday, but he said he hasn’t actually gotten ahold of him yet. “I don’t have his number,” he said last night on Fox News. “I used to be able to text with him every once in a while but he doesn’t have his government-issued phone.”

Young Repubs Mostly Likely to Switch Parties:
Pew tracked how voters’ party identification changed between December 2015 and March 2017 and found nearly 80% stayed the same, about 10% changed parties and the rest changed parties but came back.

Credit: Pew

There were, however, two groups that saw larger rates of defection. Republicans aged 18-29 had the largest rate of party change, with 23% becoming Democrats, followed by Democrats aged 50-64, 14% of whom became Republicans.

Credit: Pew

Senators, They’re Just Like Us:
They wear workout clothes and have friends with opposing political views! I’m obsessed with our cover photo today of Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, in workout gear, chatting with Senate colleagues Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York. Getty photographer Mark Wilson snapped a couple of other shots. Here are Sasse and Cotton with John McCain, R- Arizona:

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

And here they are with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also in workout clothes:

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In these tumultuous times, I think it’s a good idea if our elected officials get a good morning workout in to stay sharp.

ClickHole Goes Right-Wing:
The Onion spin-off that pokes fun at the #Content #Industrial #Complex and sites like BuzzFeed is now parodying right-wing clickbait with a new name and logo with an eagle. PatriotHole describes itself as “a loud light in the darkness” and “the only viral media site brave enough to SCREAM about REAL Americans.”

Credit: ClickHole

“PatriotHole indeed bravely pushes forward into new and louder truth territory tomorrow,” ClickHole editor-in-chief Matt Powers told me in an email Wednesday. “We have a full slate of content that only the most fervently patriotic Americans will dare to click on.”

My fav article so far is “This Might Not Be ‘Politically Correct’ Enough For You Overly Sensitive Social Justice Warriors, But All Of The Planets Are Men.”

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COVER/LINE is where politics meets pop culture. From CNN’s Hunter Schwarz and Kate Bennett, this daily newsletter is the must-read lunch date in Washington and beyond.
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