Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.
Hm, I’ve forgotten how to process good news?
- Months after reportedly placing himself on the National Security Council without Trump’s full understanding of what that meant, enraged boil Steve Bannon has finally been removed from his position on the NSC by Michael Flynn’s replacement, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Bannon, as well as, coincidentally, an anonymous “senior white house official,” claimed that he was brought on to “de-operationalize”—what?—the NSC, and now that that’s done—what?—he’s merrily on his way. This is definitely not a “setback” for Bannon, this anonymous senior white house official, who is certainly not Steve Bannon, tells the Times. [New York Times]
- Today, Trump appears to have learned that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a murderer. Soon after the administration signaled that it would ease off on the Assad regime, Trump declared the ensuing chemical attack that killed at least 72 people “unacceptable,” and said it’s possible that “my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.” He declared that the attack “crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many many lines.” That statement, coupled with UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s harsh criticism of Russia’s actions in Syria and warning that the US could “take action,” signaled that the administration is open to military engagement against Assad—although Trump wouldn’t say definitively, and it seems pretty doubtful that they have a reasonably well-developed plan for how to do that and not start World War III. [New York Times]
- In addition to maybe starting a war, today the president called Bill O’Reilly a “good person” and accused former national security advisor Susan Rice of criminal activities with no evidence. Happy Sexual Assault Awareness Month! [New York Times]
- Neil Gorsuch, whose contentious Supreme Court nomination is poised to permanently erode the Senate, was found to have plagiarized passages in his book and an academic article. [Politico]
- Here’s a fun, relaxed update on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities. [Washington Post]
- Trump hasn’t totally fucked up in Israel yet. [Politico]
- Germany is poised to pass a bill clamping down on fake news. [The Hill]
This has been Barf Bag.