Thursday’s Mini-Report, 4.13.17

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Afghanistan: “U.S. forces dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in a strike against ISIS in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, according to Pentagon officials. The U.S. dropped a GBU-43 bomb, nicknamed the ‘mother of all bombs,’ on ISIS fighters and tunnels and caves used by the terror group in the country’s Nangarhar province, officials said. It was dropped from an aircraft.”

* On a related note, neither the White House nor Donald Trump himself would say specifically whether the president directly authorized today’s mission.

* A deadly mistake: “An airstrike by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the United States, the military said on Thursday.”

* Russia scandal: “Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.”

* I wonder what he knows about the Cuban Missile Crisis: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday said U.S. relations with Russia could have recently hit an ‘all-time low’ as the two world powers clash over a sarin gas attack in Syria.”

* Mar-a-Lago: “Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers. Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports – a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.”

* With regards to North Korea, Trump said yesterday, “[G]oing it alone means going it with lots of other nations.” I haven’t the foggiest idea what that means.

* Border Patrol: “For the past several years, the U.S. Border Patrol has struggled to fill its ranks with agents who meet its standards. Now, under orders from President Donald Trump to swiftly recruit thousands of new employees, the agency is contemplating changing some of its hiring requirements.” Among the biggest changes is scraping a rigorous polygraph exam, which Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello said many applicants have failed.

* Iowa: “With one stroke of a pen, Gov. Terry Branstad is poised to make Iowa one of the friendliest states for gun owners. Lawmakers have passed a bill that many say is the most comprehensive and broadest piece of legislation on gun rights the state has seen. The legislation would, among other things, allow citizens to use deadly force if they believe their lives are threatened and to sue local government officials if they think gun-free zones have violated their Second Amendment rights.”

* The scuttlebutt surrounding Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s possible retirement is growing louder.

* GAO: “The Government Accountability Office will investigate whether members of President Donald Trump’s transition team followed federal guidelines and ethics rules during the presidential transition, following complaints lodged by Democratic lawmakers in November.”

* North Carolina Rep. Larry Pittman (R): “A day after setting off one firestorm, a Cabarrus County lawmaker set off another Wednesday by calling Abraham Lincoln ‘the same sort (of) tyrant’ as Adolf Hitler.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.