What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential newsletter. Logging the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
by @matt_kiser

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Day 77: Filibustered.

1/ Senate Republicans deploy the “nuclear option” to clear the path for Neil Gorsuch. Republicans changed the Senate rules to bar filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, allowing Gorsuch’s nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote. The rule change fundamentally alters the way the Senate operates and will likely lead to the elevation of ideologically extreme judges if only a majority is required for confirmation. (New York Times)

  • The legislative filibuster will be at risk now that the Senate has gone nuclear. Since Mitch McConnell has loosened the rules for judicial nominees, he is certain to face intensifying pressure from conservative activists and Trump’s White House to do it again for legislation. (Washington Post)
  • Lawmakers once again choose partisanship over compromise. Even Republicans who voted with McConnell expressed regret. (Bloomberg)

2/ Democrats filibuster Gorsuch after Republicans fall short of the 60 votes needed to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote of Gorsuch. Mitch McConnell has vowed to change the Senate rules in order to break the filibuster and move to a final vote to confirm him by simple majority. (New York Times)

  • The Senate is poised for a historic clash over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Democrats are vowing to block a procedural vote to advance Gorsuch’s nomination. Republicans are expected to retaliate, changing the Senate rules to allow Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority. A final vote is not scheduled til Friday. (Washington Post)

3/ Devin Nunes temporarily steps aside from leading the House Intelligence Committee. The move comes as the House Committee on Ethics announced that Nunes was under investigation for “unauthorized disclosures of classified information.” Nunes blamed his decision on “left-wing activist groups” that filed accusations against him, which he called “entirely false and politically motivated.” (New York Times)

4/ Team Trump turns on Bannon. Here’s what Steve Bannon’s demotion tells us about the Trump White House. (Axios)

  • Trump was not pleased by the “President Bannon” puppet-master theme promoted by magazines, late-night talk shows and Twitter. (New York Times)
  • Kushner believes Bannon’s desire to deconstruct the government is hurting Trump. The onetime New York Democrat has clashed with the hard-right nationalist, as Kushner’s taken on an increasingly prominent role in the West Wing. Bannon complained that Kushner is trying to undermine his populist approach. (Politico)
  • Bannon threatened to leave White House after he was removed from the National Security Council. “It hasn’t all been fun, and I know he’s been frustrated,” a Republican close to Bannon said. (Fox News)
  • Republican mega-donor, Rebekah Mercer, urged Bannon not to resign, saying his role is a “long-term play.” (Politico)
  • Bannon calls Kushner a “cuck” and a “globalist.” The fighting between Kushner and Bannon has been “nonstop” in recent weeks and is an “open secret” that the two often clash “face-to-face.” (The Daily Beast)
  • Breitbart opens fire on Kushner. The news site published articles highlighting Kushner’s meetings with the Russian ambassador, questioning the ethics of his business dealings, criticizing his “thin resume in diplomacy,” and speculating about whether he is leaking negative stories about Bannon. (Media Matters)
  • Bannon to associates: “I love a gunfight.” After a series of high-level White House leaks portraying Steve Bannon as fed up with his job and ready to quit, Trump’s chief strategist has told associates the stories are “100 percent nonsense” and he’s playing for keeps. (Axios)

5/ The EPA moves to dismantle programs that protect kids from lead paint. The proposed cuts would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees. 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump prodded House Republicans to tweak the health care bill before leaving for spring break. The House Rules Committee will consider an amendment to the bill in an effort to show momentum toward a deal as lawmakers return home for two weeks. (Bloomberg)

7/ Ivanka Trump reached out to the president of Planned Parenthood seeking common ground. In a sit-down with Cecile Richards, the two talked about how the organization is being targeted by Republicans seeking to defund it. Richards made sure Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea to prevent it from being able to see Medicaid patients. (Politico)

8/ GOP senator believes Trump’s promise to build a border wall “was a metaphor for securing the border.” Trump has never referred to his campaign promise as a metaphor and repeatedly insisted and vowed the wall will be built. (The Hill)

9/ Trump on Syria’s Assad: “Something should happen” after this week’s chemical attack on civilians. Defense Secretary James Mattis will lead Trump through his options, including the potential consequences for military action. (CNN)

  • Tillerson: “No role” for Assad in Syria. The Secretary of State is considering an “appropriate response” to the Syrian government’s apparent use of chemical weapons. (The Hill)

10/ The CIA had information last summer indicating that Russia was working to help elect Trump. The briefing revealed a split between the CIA and FBI, where officials believed that Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed only at disrupting America’s political system – not at getting Trump elected. (New York Times)

11/ Twitter sued the federal government to block the unmasking of an anonymous account that had been posting critical messages about the Trump administration. Twitter said it could not be compelled to disclose the account holder’s identity. The company argued that the government’s request and reasoning were unlawful, and that uncovering the identity of the user would have “a grave chilling effect” on the speech of the many “alt-accounts” that voice resistance to government policies. (New York Times)

12/ Trump reflects on his “successful 13 weeks” in office. It’s been 11 weeks. (Talking Points Memo)

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