Thursday’s Mini-Report, 4.12.18

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Syria: “The U.S. now has blood and urine samples from last Saturday’s deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.”

* The island’s crisis is ongoing: “A single tree fell on top of a main power line in Cayey, Puerto Rico, causing a massive outage that left almost 900,000 customers in the dark as the U.S. territory is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.”

* Given what we know of his political career, this isn’t especially surprising: “Steve Stockman, a Republican former congressman from Texas, has been convicted of defrauding two conservative mega-donors and funneling their $1.25 million into personal and campaign expenses as part of what prosecutors have described as a ‘white collar crime spree.’”

* Literally zero Senate Republicans voted against Andrew Wheeler: “If embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt were to leave office, the reins of the agency could fall to a former Senate aide and coal mining lobbyist who was confirmed 53-45 Thursday afternoon to become second-in-command at EPA.”

* This is a weird story: “When Scott Pruitt wanted to refashion the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘challenge coin’ – a type of souvenir medallion with military origins that has become a status symbol among civilians – he proposed an unusual design: Make it bigger, and delete the E.P.A. logo.”

* I know this will sound like inside-baseball, but it matters: “White House budget director Mick Mulvaney won his fight to grab some regulatory power from the Treasury Department, with possibly major ramifications for the new tax law. Treasury and OMB released a joint “Memorandum of Agreement” on Thursday that gives the budget office significant new authority to review tax regulations before they take effect.”

* And in Vermont yesterday, Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed “a trio of gun-control bills into law, transforming the state from one of the most gun-friendly in the nation to one of the least.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report, 4.12.18