National News Roundup: Week 38 (October 8–14)

Still Life — A Boot on a Newspaper, by Ernest Blaikley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Preparing a draft on Sunday night, I turned to my editor and unironically said, “Oh wait, I’m not done with the Constitutional Crisis section yet, because I need to add a note about Larry Flynt under the Russia Investigation header.” As a friend of mine observed to me today, “This may or may not be the darkest timeline, but it’s sure as hell the weirdest.” (Although my money’s on both being true, for the record. I recommend comfort foods.)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a firefighter! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

The Russia Collusion Investigation was unfortunately pretty stymied this week:

  • What Russian Sanctions? Trump missed his own deadline for implementing Russia sanctions this week, deeply aggravating the members of Congress who drafted the sanctions bill. The sanctions, as you may remember, were designed to force Trump to punish Russia for tampering in the election, but since he so obviously benefited from said tampering it’s unsurprising that he dragged his feet on this. Still very frustrating, though.
  • Social Media Scarpering. This week we learned that Twitter deleted data that would be relevant to the Russia investigation, which is frustrating to say the least. But there was evidence that Facebook isn’t really cooperating either, and took down thousands of posts that could have helped the investigation to minimize their role. So, uh… thanks, guys. That was helpful.
  • Yes, That Larry Flynt Ad Really Happened. You didn’t have a Nyquil-induced fever dream; Larry Flynt really did take out a full-page ad in the Washington Post this week offering $10M for “information leading to the impeachment and removal from office of Donald Trump.” Putting aside how fascinating it is that the guy who literally runs Hustler finds Donald Trump distasteful, I haven’t yet heard anything about leads from the ad. I promise I’ll keep y’all posted.

This has really not been a good week on the Threat to Free Speech front:

But on the plus side, there is a new dark horse in the Why Is He Still President? corner:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • ACA Lawsuits. The silver lining to this past week’s ACA shenanigans is that there is already a growing pile of lawsuits filed on both executive orders and the subsidy announcement. The ACLU, Washington Attorney General, and California Attorney General are all suing Trump over rolling back the contraceptive mandate, arguing (probably correctly) that it violates the Establishment and Equal Protection clauses of the Constitution. Meanwhile, eighteen states and the District of Columbia are suing over the subsidies, seeking an injunction that would force the President to keep paying them. The National Governors’ Association issued a statement on the topic as well, indicating that they will be coordinating with Congress directly to facilitate a bipartisan fix on the subsidy issue. There are clearly a number of moving parts on the board already to try to fix both of these issues.
  • Animal Kingdom News. Homo sapiens is not exactly a shining star species right now, but several other members of the animal kingdom popped up in the news in better contexts! In particular, for your dose of warm fuzzies, you can read about this octopus who wanted to thank their rescuer in person. Erm, make that “in octopus.” Also, a duck in Devon got into a drunken bar brawl with a local dog. On the plus side, the duck pulled through! Which is my new catchphrase for annoying my editor. I’ve already used it on her four times.

And that’s what I have, in all its terrible and deeply strange glory. Daily news summaries like WTFJHT remain a very good idea for the foreseeable future. Here’s hoping that next week brings better tidings!

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