* Now we know that parts of “The Wall” along the Mexican border with Arizona have been breached by smugglers using saws and ladders. Apparently steel-and-concrete bollards are no match for power tools. Perhaps a moat with gators and snakes is actually the way to go.
* No one doubts the leverage of the U.S. on Ukraine. Lest we forget, Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Nothing less than sovereignty is at stake; nothing less than promised U.S. military aid could address it.
* BTW, for the 28th year in a row, the UN has voted overwhelmingly to condemn the American economic embargo of Cuba. Among the two countries abstaining: Ukraine.
* “He’s a terrible human being.”–That was Mick Mulvaney’s appraisal of Donald Trump a couple of years ago. Now he’s President Trump’s acting chief of staff. Some things you just have to work around.
* “I would love to go if I could.” That was President Trump responding to the invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the May 9 Victory Day Parade in Moscow, commemorating the allied victory over the Nazis. And what would keep Trump from accepting the invite to the annual parade that also shows off Russia’s military might? Officially, it’s inconvenient timing–because it would be “right in the middle of political season,” said Trump by way of explanation. Or maybe somebody got to him to explain how unhelpful the optics of a Russian military parade in the company of his handler, Vlad Putin, would look. Maybe John Bolton still has influence.
* To the surprise of no one, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has formally, and finally, landed in the Trump White House. The Trump acolyte and apologist will utilize her legal and media skills as part of the WH communications team as it pushes back against Democrats with “proactive impeachment messaging.” The only ones surprised are those who had her signing on for a regular gig with Fox News or being named president of Trump University.
* And look who else has joined the White House in an official capacity: Florida televangelist Paula White, of Without Walls International Church infamy. She’ll work in the Office of Public Liaison. Her role will be to advise the Administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs. In short, she’ll be a high-profile beacon to evangelicals, a key, however blatantly hypocritical, part of the Trump base. No surprise that this gospel grifter has been closely associated with the “prosperity gospel,” an assertion that God rewards believers with personal as well as financial success.
* “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.” That was California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s terse response to Trump after the president criticized his handling of wildfires and threatened to cut federal aid.
* Call it another day on the Trump campaign trail, just not as high-profile as the Alabama-LSU game. But there was a lot of overlap in President Trump’s weekend rally in Monroe, La. His chief cheerleader was Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy. Kennedy, an ongoing affront to that name, channeled Trump and vilified a common Democratic target. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to impeach (President Trump),” ranted Kennedy. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb.”
Can only imagine how that would have come out had Kennedy actually intended disrespect.
* Hopefully it’s not too late. Increasingly, Democrats have begun using the blunt-force word “bribery” instead of the Latin-shrouded “quid pro quo.” Even “tit for tat,” which Trump would ironically enjoy saying, is better. Bribery, officially an impeachable act, cuts constitutionally and viscerally to the quick amid the “high crimes and misdemeanors” applications and diversions over a whistleblower’s identity. Not even Lindsey Graham would want to defend “bribery.”
* White House press secretary–and uber toady–Stephanie Grisham has publicly derided “A Warning” by Anonymous as blatantly untrue and unfair. “Reporters who choose to write about this farce should have the journalistic integrity to cover the book as what it is–a work of fiction.” She also labeled the author a “coward.” Speaking of cowards, Grisham can’t even muster the guts–let alone a professional communicator’s executive branch responsibility–to face the public-surrogate press corps at what used to be regular White House briefings.