Jack Ohman goes on a raid with James Comey. Throw the book here.
Dan Morain, CALMatters: Antonio Villaraigosa is going beyond traditional Democratic sources of money in Hollywood, San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the Central Valley as he fights for his political life in the race for governor. This unlikely pairing of the big-city Democrat and farmers suggests that Villaraigosa sees central California as a path to one of the top two slots in the June primary election. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Will the second time be the charm for Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy? The three years ago, McCarthy’s bid to become speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed due to opposition from a conservative House bloc, calling itself the Freedom Caucus, that saw him as too centrist. Read more.
Tim Molina: It shouldn’t surprise you that the rich and powerful, led by cronies in Donald Trump’s administration, have tried to end net neutrality. In California, however, we have an opportunity to fight back. Read more.
Erwin Chemerinsky: Scooter Libby doesn’t deserve a pardon and neither will anyone who lies for Trump. Read more.
Sasha Abramsky: President Trump banned Syrian refugees. Now he bombs their tormentor. What’s the real strategy? Read more.
Takes on Trump investigation
New York Times editorial board: News reports point to a growing possibility that President Trump may act to cripple or shut down an investigation by the nation’s top law-enforcement agencies into his campaign and administration. Lawmakers need to be preparing now for that possibility because if and when it comes to pass, they will suddenly find themselves on the edge of an abyss, with the Constitution in their hands. Read more.
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg: Until now, President Trump personally was in jeopardy only if special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in Washington finds evidence that he knew about collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York can investigate potential Trump crimes in any area connected to Michael Cohen, a fixer known to have arranged payoffs to an adult film star who says she had an affair with Trump. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The forces of truth and justice may be closing in on President Donald Trump, but there is no reason to believe they can triumph without massive displays of outrage in the streets and at the polls. Read more.
Greg Sargent, Washington Post: A replacement for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could limit Robert Mueller’s probe by declaring certain areas off limits for the investigation. If President Trump does remove Rosenstein, his replacement would also have a great deal of discretion over whether – and how much of – Mueller’s determinations ever see the light of day. Read more.
Takes on Syria strike
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Israel and Iran, at the exact same time, seem to be heading for a High Noon shootout in Syria over Iran’s attempts to turn Syria into a forward air base against Israel, something Israel is vowing to never let happen. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: What principle is America trying to enforce in Syria? President Trump seems committed to the norm that chemical weapons attacks against civilians should bring kinetic consequences. That is superior to President Obama’s version, in which chemical attacks brought only unenforced threats. Read more.
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post: President Trump deserves credit for acting (now twice) when Barack Obama wouldn’t. He also deserves credit for getting U.S. allies to join us when Obama couldn’t. But let’s be clear: Friday night’s strikes did more damage to the United States’ credibility on the world stage than they did to the Assad regime. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: It’s too early to say for sure, but it could be that the free market will wind up doing what Congress refuses to do: tighten access to firearms and stand up to companies that make and sell assault-style weapons. Bank of America announced last week that it will no longer finance companies that make the kinds of combat-style semiautomatic rifles that have been used to such deadly effect in mass shootings. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump promised Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, that he would support legislation that would protect states that have legalized marijuana from a crackdown by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Yet given the president’s history of contradicting – even humiliating – top aides with out-of-the-blue policy pronouncements, it’s difficult to be confident that the White House has finally abandoned Sessions’ reefer madness. Read more.
(San Luis Obispo) Tribune: How many times must the cycle repeat? An abhorrent act by a Cal Poly fraternity is followed by widespread condemnation. Next comes suspension of the frat, followed by new rules aimed at curbing the offensive behavior and finally, rehabilitation. A year or two or three later, we repeat the entire process. The Cal Poly community – students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, alumni – should not have to put up with it. Read more.
Seattle Times: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s job is so straightforward, it is embedded in its name. Yet in recent months, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has set the agency on a path that strays far from this fundamental ethos. Through his actions, Pruitt has made it clear he is prioritizing the industries he is supposed to regulate above the environment he is entrusted to defend. Read more.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Carl Ferrer is suddenly singing a different tune. The chief executive of the online site Backpage spent years proclaiming his company’s innocence despite overwhelming evidence that it was facilitating child sex trafficking. Last Monday in Phoenix, 93-count federal indictments were unsealed against seven Backpage executives. But Ferrer was nowhere to be seen in the indictments because he’s now a cooperating witness and, on Thursday, entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy and money laundering. Read more.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: James Comey’s inexplicable handling of the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails is unforgivable. He made reckless and harmful disclosures and proclamations about the Clinton investigation while not whispering a word about the concurrent investigation into the Donald Trump campaign. Read more.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: I doubt James Comey wants these salacious details to be the main message of his earnest tome, in which he comes off as a somewhat tragic figure who, in striving for decency, makes errors of judgment that helped put the singularly indecent Trump in the White House. Yet the book’s most significant new information is about Trump’s obsession with the rumored tape. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: Where are the technologies transforming the way we deal with physical reality? Well, there is one area of physical technology, renewable energy, in which we really are seeing that kind of progress – progress that can both change the world and save it. Read more.
David Leonhardt, New York Times: Over the last few decades, Democrats have repeatedly reduced the deficit. They have raised taxes. They have cut military spending and corporate welfare. Some of them have even tried to hold down the cost of cherished social programs. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: President Donald Trump’s escalating trade confrontation with China could seriously harm Latin America The United States and China are Latin America’s top trading partners and major sources of investment. Read more.
Tweets of the day
So, the next question for Fox News to decide is whether Hannity should have disclosed his business relationship with Cohen in all of his “reporting” about the FBI raids of his office https://t.co/BTS0r0zCXw— Derek Cressman (@DerekCressman) April 16, 2018
Can't wait for Sean Hannity's next conspiracy board: pic.twitter.com/rXKYUBZfXa— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 16, 2018
Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018