Thursday, May 18, 2017
COUNTDOWN TO IMPEACHMENT
► In today’s Washington Post — Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election — The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between President Trump’s associates and Russian officials. Robert S. Mueller III, a former prosecutor who served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013, has agreed to take over the investigation as a special counsel.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was part of this conversation on June 15, 2016.
► From The Hill — Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: report — Reuters reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, along with other advisers to Trump, had contact with Russians in at least 18 calls or emails during the last seven months of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump calls himself victim of ‘witch hunt’ — Says Trump: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” At the United States Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, the president abruptly diverted from his uplifting theme to complain that “no politician in history” had been treated “more unfairly” than him.
► Proving timing is everything, from NBC News — Pence creates PAC ahead of 2018, 2020 elections — Vice President Mike Pence filed the paperwork Wednesday for his own PAC — the “Great America Committee” — to aid his own future political interests. This is the first time a sitting vice president has formed such a separate political arm.
► In today’s Washington Post — The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump — Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started contacting consultants, shopping their résumés. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like.
ALSO at The Stand — AT&T Mobility faces strike Friday if contract deal not reached
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle federal judge says government can’t restrict legal help for immigrants — A federal judge in Seattle has temporarily blocked a Justice Department order that called on local nonprofit Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to stop some of its legal work. His ruling also applies to similar groups around the country.
ALSO at The Stand — Immigrant rights group sues DOJ after move to block legal aid
► From AP — Washington unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent — The state’s unemployment rate dropped last month to 4.6 percent, a rate that matches the state’s historic low rate last reached in June 2007. The state added 1,200 jobs in that timeframe.
► In today’s News Tribune — All state politicians are getting raises — State lawmakers haven’t finished an operating budget on time in eight years. They’re about to get raises anyway. On Wednesday, a citizen commission that sets elected officials’ salaries voted to increase Washington lawmakers’ pay by 2 percent each of the next two years. That adds up to roughly $2,000 per legislator between now and September 2018.
► In today’s Daily News — Inslee signs ‘shot-clock’ bill, puts deadline on environmental reviews — Industry groups often criticize the state for taking too long to permit major industrial projects, but a bill Gov. Jay Inslee signed Tuesday aims to speed the process.
► From the Seattle Transit Blog — Republicans set hearings on own incompetence — The state legislature set both the rate and method of motor vehicle depreciation, which did not change in ST3. If these state legislators would like to change what the voters approved, they must replace any transit funding they are cutting. Senator O’Ban’s investigation into the bill he voted for is an act of bad faith.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Congress renews debate over fate of 30,000 FAA workers — The debate over whether to remove more than 30,000 air traffic controllers and engineers from the federal payroll got underway in Congress Wednesday with testimony that efforts to modernize the aviation system have fallen short.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Aviation, took aim at glaring inconsistencies in a Republican proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system and called for focus on bipartisan agreement in the upcoming FAA reauthorization.
► In today’s NY Times — The best replacement for Obamacare is Medicaid (by Michael S. Sparer) — Conservatives and liberals buy into negative myths about Medicaid. But the system works and we should be expanding it.
ALSO at The Stand — Federal, state Medicaid cuts are the real ‘death panels’ (by Brendan Williams)
► From the NW Labor Press — ‘Right to work’ coming to the public sector — Public sector unions likely have between six to 13 months before paying anything at all to the union becomes strictly a voluntary decision for their members. Many public sector unions are getting ready by appealing to their fair share fee payers one-by-one to become full members.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Tax-exempt Freedom Foundation faces AG action over politicking (April 28, 2017)
► In the Chicago Tribune — More protests, tough questions at shareholder meeting of Oreo-maker Mondelez — It was deja vu all over again at the annual shareholder meeting Wednesday for Mondelez International, a global snack food company known for brands like Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers. Outside, union protesters again chanted their opposition to the company’s decision to slash hundreds of jobs from the longtime Nabisco plant on Chicago’s Southwest Side last year and move some production lines to Mexico.
► From the USA Today — Paid family leave is an elite benefit in the U.S. — While some of America’s largest companies now provide paid family leave, a new report shows corporate employees benefit most. Millions of Americans aren’t offered a single day off work following the birth or adoption of a child, and 1 in 4 new moms go back to work 10 days after childbirth.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Chris Cornell, leading voice for Soundgarden and Seattle grunge, dies at 52
► Sexual predator news from The Hill — Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a juggernaut, dies at 77
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.