Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 2.21.18


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Quite an event: “ ‘We want change! We want change! We want change!’ That was the chant roaring from the crowd gathered in front of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, for the #NeverAgain Rally on Wednesday – one week after the worst mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history.”

* An unexpected new angle: “Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.”

* Republican governance in Wisconsin: “The state Assembly voted Tuesday on party lines to reject a proposal to require universal background checks for gun purchases in Wisconsin, opting instead to offer funds for armed guards in schools and crack down on ‘straw purchasing.’”

* The right move: “President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Indian Health Service, an insurance broker named Robert Weaver, withdrew from consideration for the job, a top agency official told tribal leaders Wednesday, according to a person present at the gathering.”

* VA drama: “The White House has given Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin the green light to quash an internal rebellion among conservative foes of his leadership, he told Politico late Tuesday.”

* I hope you caught Rachel’s segment on this: “The White House said on Tuesday that the work status of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, would not change because of upcoming changes to the security clearance process.”

* A missed opportunity: “Vice President Pence departed for a five-day, two-country swing through Asia earlier this month having agreed to a secret meeting with North Korean officials while in South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. But on Feb. 10 … the North Koreans pulled out of the scheduled meeting, according to Pence’s office.”

* It looks like Trump’s in-laws took advantage of the same policy he’s so eager to kill: “The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards.”

* Steve Bannon “sold his stake in Cambridge Analytica – the controversial data firm Donald Trump’s campaign employed to reach voters with hyper-targeted online messaging – in April, as required by his ethics requirement. But Bannon only notified the government of the sale in November, three months after he had left the White House and one month after McClatchy asked him whether he still had an interest in the company. He was fined for the late report about the sale, joining a growing number of Trump administration officials who have been fined for late ethics filings.”

* A story worth watching: “The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Tuesday an investigation of Rep. John Duncan Jr, a scion of a Tennessee political dynasty who announced his retirement in July. Duncan, a Republican, came under fire that month after reports that his campaign paid his son, John Duncan III, almost $300,000. In the five years since the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct. Those payments were made in monthly installments of $6,000 recorded as salary expenses, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 2.21.18