Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 3.28.18

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Russia scandal: “The FBI says that during the 2016 campaign Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with a Manafort associate who had an ongoing relationship with Russian intelligence, according to court documents filed late Tuesday by prosecutors for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”

* This seems outrageously wasteful: “The Justice Department inspector general announced Wednesday that he will examine a series of controversial applications to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, along with the Justice Department’s relationship with a former British intelligence officer who provided information for those requests.”

* California: “Responding to public outcry over a police shooting in which an unarmed black man was killed in his own backyard in Sacramento, Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California said Tuesday his office would step in to oversee the investigation.”

* I shudder to think what language Trump would use to describe the country of Liberia: “President Trump said Tuesday that several thousand Liberians who have been living in the United States under a temporary immigrant status will have one year to return to their country or they will face deportation.”

* Drama: “A fierce internal rivalry is unfolding at the White House over the communications director job, with some aides warning they will quit depending on whom President Donald Trump chooses to fill the post.”

* More drama: “The White House is poised to give its budget office greater control over some of the Treasury Department’s regulations, handing budget director Mick Mulvaney a victory in a months-long power struggle with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to three sources familiar with the discussions.”

* Hmm: “The Environmental Protection Agency has signed a deal to test technology from an Israeli company whose executives were twice granted access to EPA chief Scott Pruitt at the request of Republican Party donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.”

* Something’s the matter with Kansas: “Kansas schools that refuse to allow teachers to carry guns could be held legally responsible in the event of a tragedy under a proposal drafted after last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school.”

* Foot traffic in the stores actually went up, not down: “While Dick’s Sporting Goods faced boycott threats after taking a stance on gun control, data suggests that the initial wave of anger hasn’t been backed by action.”

* I will confess to being very confused about the current state of this policy: “When a federal judge in Seattle holds a hearing Tuesday over President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, she will face an odd question: Does the Trump administration even have a policy banning transgender troops right now? No, not in writing. Not anywhere, technically.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.