Another broken promise and a legal snag: Trump’s not tracking foreign payments at his hotels

When serious questions arose during the transition over Donald Trump’s potential for violating the Emoluments Clause as president, Trump promised to avoid legal trouble by donating all his business profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. Pause here—are you sitting down, dear reader? Okay: the Trump organization hasn’t really been tracking such foreign payments and thus is poised to break another Trump promise, not to mention put him in legal jeopardy, reports NBC:

The Trump Organization does not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity,” according to a new company pamphlet. The policy suggests it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business.

That policy matches what several sources told MSNBC — Trump Organization employees are not soliciting information about whether reservations or business is from a foreign government.

Democratic Rep. Elijah

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Psst, rural voters: you’re getting screwed in Trump’s budget

Last November, a Politico article titled “Revenge of the rural voter” quoted a Democratic operative acknowledging that Hillary Clinton lost rural voters 3 to 1. If she had only lost them 2 to 1, the source added, the election “would have broken differently.”

Now rural voters stand to lose big in the budget proposed by the guy they placed their faith in, writes Jose DelReal of the Washington Post:

Rural Americans stand to lose billions of dollars in federal assistance to support infrastructure and economic development in their communities, according to an analysis of the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget. Many of the programs for elimination provide direct services to rural areas where Trump is most popular.

The White House would slash rural housing subsidies, mortgage loan guarantees, programs that maintain clean water and other utilities and independent agencies that support job training programs. In many cases, states would

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Distinguishing between Trump and his campaign staff on collusion won’t shield Trump from obstruction

The media has focused in on one key moment in Tuesday’s House Intelligence hearing, when former CIA director John Brennan told lawmakers he saw intelligence indicating contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia that was “worthy” of further FBI scrutiny.

“I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials,” Brennan told GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy during the intelligence hearing.

Tellingly, Gowdy later pressed a point that Donald Trump has repeatedly made himself—attempting to delineate between the actions of the candidate himself and his campaign staff in regard to collusion with the Russians.

Gowdy: Did you see evidence of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors?

Brennan: I saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine

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Drop dead, America: Trump’s billion-dollar budget cuts to medical research and disease prevention

The Trump administration’s proposed budget isn’t just unconscionable for how inhumane it is, it’s a sweeping effort to hamstring science, setting back lifesaving advances in both medical research and treatment that will inevitably make our nation sicker and result in unneeded deaths.

Here’s a brief look at the chopping block:

  • National Institutes of Health—$6 billion cut
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—a 17 percent cut of $1.3 billion
  • Food and Drug Administration—a 31 percent cut, from $2.7 billion to $1.89 billion (supposedly offset by increased fees from drug and device makers)
  • Planned Parenthood—barred from Medicaid funding or any other Health and Human Services program
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—at least a 20 percent cut over the next two fiscal years, as a part of overall cuts in Medicaid funding

The CDC director had some immediate thoughts to share about the budget:

Trump’s broad and targeted campaign to stymie the Trump-Russia probe and blunt media reports

Last week, White House aides originally tried to dismiss the conversation in which Donald Trump urged former FBI director James Comey to end his Michael Flynn probe as simply Trump being Trump—that’s just the way he speaks, one senior official said. But with Monday’s Washington Post report that Trump also tried to separately persuade two senior intelligence officials to publicly deny the links between his campaign and Russia, what we have now is a broad and targeted campaign by Trump to stymie the investigation into his campaign accompanied by an effort to sow doubt in the minds of Americans.

In response to that effort, intelligence officials—including Comey, director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, and director of the National Security Agency Adm. Michael Rogers—are diligently and loudly ringing alarm bells for all of us to hear. Trump may be one of the most impulsive presidents in our history, but he is laser focused

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Cartoon: Democracy is not partisan

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Flynn lied to Pentagon officials about his Russia contacts, says top Democrat

Rep. Elijah Cummings released a letter Monday charging that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about his contacts with Russia when he sought to renew his top-secret security clearance last year. The New York Times writes:

Mr. Flynn, who resigned 24 days into the Trump administration, told investigators in February 2016 that he had received no income from foreign companies and had only “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals, according to the letter. In fact, Mr. Flynn had sat two months earlier beside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a Moscow gala for RT, the Kremlin-financed television network, which paid Mr. Flynn more than $45,000 to attend the event and give a separate speech.

His failure to make those disclosures and his apparent attempt to mislead the Pentagon could put Mr. Flynn in further legal jeopardy. Intentionally lying to federal investigators is a felony punishable by up

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