Rantt Rundown: Views From The Swamp
Day 461 of the Trump presidency
Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” slogan finally makes sense. Trump’s aim was clearly to drain it in order to make room for more swamp creatures.
Today, we have Budget Director and interim Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney. Apparently, when he’s not working overtime to render the CFPB ineffective, he’s bragging about pay-to-play. The New York Times reported:
WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
At the top of the hierarchy, he added, were his constituents. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” said Mr. Mulvaney, who received nearly $63,000 from payday lenders for his congressional campaigns.
This came as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Scott Pruitt was preparing to face questions on Capitol Hill from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee tomorrow. The topics of concern are over his misuse of taxpayer money, sketchy condo arrangement with a Washington lobbyist, and much more we won’t get into right now.
In other swamp-related news, HUD Secretary Ben Carson — who has been under fire for purchasing a $31,000 dining set with taxpayer money — proposed policies that will push low-income people out of federal housing.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed far-reaching changes to federal housing subsidies Wednesday, tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.
Carson’s proposals, and other initiatives aimed at low-income Americans receiving federal assistance, amount to a comprehensive effort by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to restrict access to the safety net and reduce the levels of assistance for those who do qualify.
- Veteran Affairs Secretary nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson has been facing allegations of fostering a toxic work environment, being drunk on the job, and overprescribing medication. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) told CNN that Jackson was known to hand out prescriptions “like candy” — so much so that he was known as “the candy man” in the White House. And today, there were even more allegations, including one about him wrecking a government vehicle. Here’s a full list of his allegations.
- French President Emmanuel Macron gave a rousing speech to the U.S. Congress that in many ways, served as a very clear rebuke of Trumpism.
- Rudy Giuliani has met with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN reported:
Rudy Giuliani, newly added to President Donald Trump’s legal team, met this week with the special counsel to discuss the potential of an interview with Trump, two sources told CNN.
The sources said the negotiations will continue, and one confirmed special counsel Robert Mueller was in the meeting.
Although Trump has previously said publicly he would like to do an interview with Mueller, the other source stressed that Trump’s willingness changed after the raid on his personal attorney Michael Cohen, describing the change as a “seismic shift” in the President’s thinking.
- Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen pled the fifth amendment in the Stormy Daniels case. CNN reported:
Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney for President Donald Trump, filed court papers Wednesday indicating he would assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination regarding his involvement in a hush money deal involving porn star Stormy Daniels and the President.
Cohen cited FBI raids of his residence, office and hotel room and the seizure of “various electronic devices and documents in my possession,” in his filing in US District Court in Los Angeles.
“Based upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my Fifth Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen said.
Cohen filed the declaration as part of an effort to have a civil lawsuit filed by Daniels put on hold. The judge in that case said last week that he needed to hear from Cohen directly before deciding on that request.
- A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from cutting funding to Planned Parenthood.
- President Trump’s Muslim immigration ban is being reviewed by the Supreme Court and key Justices seem skeptical.
- Although Republican won in Arizona’s 8th District in the special election on Tuesday, given how much the margin tightened, it’s yet another bad sign for the GOP.
- Kanye West went full MAGA.