While Barack Obama is living his best life hanging out in tropical locales and wearing leather jackets, a gloomy group of Trump loyalists have put their heads together and concocted a plot to get revenge against the former president and members of his administration through an approach being described by one person as a "bag of crazy cats," Foreign Policy reports.
In the wake of The Washington Post's report that Trump gave highly classified information about the Islamic State to Russian officials during their visit to the Oval Office last week, members of Trump's inner circle held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to recover from the ongoing repercussions. A person with knowledge of the summit said the team is considering going after Obama's administration by accusing it of sharing sensitive information, too, launching an investigation into a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program called the Automated Indicator Sharing capability. That program gathers information from companies on possible cyberattacks, including malicious IP addresses and emails, that is then shared with foreign partners. The goal of the program is to "identify and block adversary methods that we've never seen before," DHS spokesman Scott McConnell told FP, but the Trump team suggests that the sharing capability can open up sensitive data to Russia and other non-allies.
The problem with this revenge plan is it "doesn't make sense," one former DHS official told FP, after bursting out laughing. "It seems ludicrous," said another former official, who added that the cybersecurity being shared is "beneficial for everyone to have, like, 'Hey, this Windows program has a bug.'" Beyond that, the information in the system is not highly classified but rather "indicators of an attack," the official said. "Nothing is going to be vital to national security." Aside from being "a bag of crazy cats," as the person with knowledge of the meeting judged the approach, Robyn Greene at the Open Technology Institute told FP it's a "massive distraction," and she doesn't understand "how they can draw the line between Trump sharing code-name information with the Russians and this." The White House told FP it is unaware of any meeting or talks. Catherine Garcia
First lady Melania Trump is getting a lot of flack for a Zara jacket she wore going to and from a center holding detained immigrant children that read "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, took umbrage at the idea that anyone would find the message inappropriate. "It's a jacket," she said. "There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe." Well, everyone is focusing on it, including President Trump.
On Thursday evening, Trump tweeted: "'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' written on the back of Melania's jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!" As anyone who was ever a teenager knows, when you go around saying you don't really care about something, it means you actually do, and that goes double when you have it emblazoned on the back of your jacket.
So, what is it? Was there "no hidden message," as Grisham claims, or was this a blatant commentary on the "Fake News Media?" I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U? Catherine Garcia
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Thursday evening that House Republicans are postponing until next week a vote on a compromise immigration bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young immigrants and fund President Trump's border wall.
This was the second time GOP leadership decided to delay the vote; they were supposed to vote on the proposal Thursday, then it was moved to Friday. Leaders felt they did not have the 218 votes needed to pass the measure, and were pressured to postpone the vote by conservatives already opposed to the legislation, Politico reports. Catherine Garcia
Conservative columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer died Thursday, just weeks after he revealed that he had an aggressive form of cancer. He was 68.
Krauthammer wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post, which garnered him a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and earlier this month he announced in a letter published in the Post that doctors told him his cancer had returned and he only had a few weeks left to live. "This is the final verdict," he wrote. "My fight is over." Krauthammer regularly appeared on Fox News, and over his career wrote for outlets across the political spectrum, including Time, The New Republic, and the Weekly Standard.
He was born in New York in 1950, and grew up in Montreal. During his first year studying at Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer had a diving accident that severed his spinal cord. He is survived by his wife, Robyn, and son, Daniel. Catherine Garcia
Sessions denies that immigration policies 'intended' to separate families even though he said the Bible justified it
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said that President Trump's administration "never really intended" to separate migrant families who cross the border without documentation.
Sessions told CBN News that he didn't feel he took "an extreme position," and defended his use of the Bible to justify detaining children away from their parents for an indefinite period of time. Sessions was criticized after he quoted scripture to explain why the family separations were absolutely necessary, saying the separations were simply a matter of enforcing the law, which the Bible condones.
"It hasn't been good and the American people don't like the idea that we are separating families,” Sessions said on CBN. "We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do, was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they have committed."
When Sessions first announced the zero-tolerance policy last month that would prosecute every adult who crossed the border illegally, he previewed the family separations. "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law," he said in May. He later stood by his statements, saying that "it is very biblical to enforce the law."
He additionally defended the administration's current hard-line immigration policies, which will continue to detain families together rather than separate children. "It's not indefinite really," Sessions said of the detentions, "because we can't hold and we will not be holding people for extended periods of time awaiting a hearing on asylum." Read more from the interview at CBN News. Summer Meza
The Trump administration has been given approval to house unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. military bases, an anonymous defense official told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The Department of Health and Human Services requested permission from the Pentagon to place up to 20,000 minors on military bases starting early next month, The Washington Post reported, an idea that officials have apparently been toying with for months. Officials requested "temporary beds" to be filled through the end of the year.
Unaccompanied minors have been housed in military bases before, the Post reports, like in 2014 when the Obama administration set up temporary centers on three military bases for about 7,000 children. This recent proposal left unclear why HHS is requesting so many beds, which could be located on bases in Texas and Arkansas where agency staffers visited last week. Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed support for the idea, defending it based on the military's past efforts to house refugees and victims of natural disasters.
Croatia locked up its spot in the World Cup Round of 16 on Thursday, thanks in part to a stunning mistake by Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero in the 53rd minute. In an attempt to pass the ball to his own defender, Caballero gave it straight to Croatia's Ante Rebić, who put the ball right back into the net.
"It's a howler, an absolute howler, on the biggest stage," the Fox Sports announcer groaned.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 21, 2018
Croatia's Luka Modrić scored his team's second goal in the 81st minute, with Ivan Rakitić contributing his own in the 92nd, ending the game with a score of 3-0. FiveThirtyEight gives Argentina a 33 percent chance of making the Round of 16 at this point, with Iceland the more likely team to advance from Group D with a 46 percent chance. Jeva Lange
The White House wants to push the Departments of Education and Labor together.
The Office of Management and Budget on Thursday proposed a merger of the two departments into one Department of Education and the Workforce, its first step under President Trump's plan to shrink the federal government. Federal food stamps would be relocated to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would be given a new name, among other proposed moves, ABC News reports.
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney cited redundancy in government agencies for this and future mergers. "If it's cheese pizza, it's [under the Food and Drug Administration], but you put pepperoni on it and it becomes a USDA product," he told The Associated Press. That's why the OMB suggested a single food safety agency within the Agriculture Department.
Most changes, including the Education-Labor union, would require congressional approval, per AP. Former President Ronald Reagan similarly thought to eliminate the Education Department but couldn't get Congress on board.
The merger was reported Wednesday in the trade publication Education Week. It's the first official move in Trump's executive order mandating the reorganization of the executive branch announced in March 2017. Kathryn Krawczyk