Josh Rogin of the Washington Post breaks the news that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have an even tougher job ahead of him now that “The State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned.” Joe Concha of The Hill tweets, “Peaceful and smooth transition of power...until it's not. Sorry, this is selfish.” Adds Ryan Cooper of The Week: “Holy crap.”
“Why an anecdote isn't data: A tale of a fact-challenged president, a veteran German golfer & claims of voter fraud.” That’s how Helen Branswell of STAT sums up the confusing voter fraud origin story President Trump shared with House and Senate leaders at a get-to-know-you reception on Monday. Or as Ken Schwencke explains it: “So: Trump was upset a German citizen couldn't vote while ‘Latin American’-looking people could? What?”
As reported by Glenn Thrush in The New York Times (25,000+ shares), the president relayed a story about German golfer Bernhard Langer, whom Trump described as a supporter, not being allowed to vote when he got to the polls, while others “who did not look as if they should be allowed to” were. Never mind that Langer’s daughter says he’s a German citizen and thus ineligible to vote in U.S. elections. Rebecca Sinderbrand of the Washington Post tweeted this particular quote from the article, which was retweeted by many: "The anecdote, the aides said, was greeted with silence, and Trump was prodded to change the subject by Priebus." Jared Hopkins of Bloomberg Businessweek looks on the bright side: “I guess it's better than being Happy Gilmore, right?”
Elsewhere, ABC News anchor David Muir interviewed the president on ABC’s “World News Tonight” Wednesday. The transcript, which Steven Ginsberg of the Washington Post calls “a must read,” is now online (17,000+ shares). A warning from Michael Pascoe of the Sydney Morning Herald: “Only read this if you're feeling strong.” So, what did we learn? “1. Violations of international law. 2. Fixation on and repetition of baseless claims about crowd size,” says Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace. Glenn Kessler, Fact Checker columnist for the Washington Post, wonders if we learned anything: “This interview is so filled with inaccurate and misleading statements by Trump I don't even know where to begin.” So we’ll end this segment with another movie reference, courtesy of the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri: “this is reaching norma desmond levels.”
“Remember when Hillary's ‘private emails’ were a deal-breaker for so many?” asks Matt Barone. Well, “Surprise, top Trump aides are using a private email server,” deadpans Jake Jarvis of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Nina Burleigh of Newsweek breaks the news that senior Trump administration staffers have active accounts on a Republican National Committee email system (61,000+ shares). The magazine’s Kurt Eichenwald points out that this is “the setup that destroyed 22 million emails under Bush.” Or as Jack Gillum of the Associated Press puts it: “New boss, same as the old boss #FOIA.”
In other news:
“This is deeply troubling: 6 reporters charged with felonies after covering DC inaug riots.” The New York Times’ Albany bureau chief Jesse McKinley and many others react to the news reported by Jonah Bromwich (67,000+ shares).
Sarah Rabil of The Wall Street Journal shares the “Big scoop” from colleagues Shalini Ramachandran, Ryan Knutson and Dana Mattioli that Verizon is exploring a combination with cable firm Charter Communications.
And we’ll wrap up on this note: As reported by NPR’s Bill Chappell, “The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s.”