Morning Roundup

Jack Taylor/PA Wire via ZUMA

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May says that Brexit talks may have reached an impasse. But both sides always say things like this when they’re under pressure from their local constituencies to look tough. Probably best not to take it too seriously.
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denies this, but the New York Times reports that last year he suggested making secret recordings of his conversations with President Trump after the White House was in chaos over the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Allegedly, he then tried to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit. UPDATE: I initially misread the Times piece to say that Rosenstein had actually made recordings of Trump. He never did, and several sources now say his suggestion was only a sarcastic remark anyway.
  • In other Trump news, the declassifier-in-chief has backed down on his order to declassify a bunch of documents related to the Russia investigation. Why? “DOJ…agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release.” Uh huh.
  • And in yet other Trump news, a couple of days of being restrained and presidential regarding the Kavanaugh affair was all he could take.

In other words, Kavanaugh did nothing wrong; Dr. Ford is probably lying; and this is all a plot by the radical left-wingers in the Democratic Party to destroy Trump. The usual.

  • Southern California has suffered through 87 consecutive days of high smog. “Regulators blame the dip in air quality in recent years on hotter weather and stronger, more persistent inversion layers that trap smog near the ground. They’re also planning a study into whether climate change is contributing to the smog problem, as many scientists expect, due to higher temperatures that speed the photochemical reactions that form ozone.”
  • John Dowd, one of Donald Trump’s former personal lawyers, tried to use funds from the White House legal defense fund to help pay legal fees for Paul Manafort and Richard Gates. “In both cases, the president’s advisers objected to the lawyer’s actions over concerns it could appear aimed at stopping the two former aides from cooperating with investigators.” Ya think?
  • The Senate is still negotiating with Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney over the terms of her testimony. The Senate wanted Monday, Ford wanted Thusday, and apparently the Senate is now offering Wednesday. However:

The senator added that Republicans are not inclined to agree with Ford’s lawyers that she should only be questioned by lawmakers — not an outside counsel. “We’ll do it on Wednesday, we expect the accuser before the accused, and we do intend to have the counsel do the questioning,” the senator said, summing up the Republicans’ stance.

The party is assenting to two of the terms Ford’s lawyers laid out in a Thursday evening call with staff from both parties, the senator said: limiting the hearing to one camera and ensuring that Kavanaugh is not in the same room as her.