Good morning. Today is May 2, and these are the stories I am watching this Thursday.
FROM THE RIGHT
Fox News reports: Barr to skip House hearing, could face subpoena, contempt charge… After Wednesday’s contentious day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr informed the House Judiciary Committee that he would not testify Thursday as scheduled, prompting threats of subpoenas from Democrats and a possible contempt citation. Democrats have vowed to hold the hearing anyway, leaving open the possibility of the spectacle of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., gaveling a hearing with an empty chair reserved for Barr. A key sticking point was that Nadler wanted to have House Judiciary Committee staff — rather than members of Congress — question him on his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. But DOJ officials said members should conduct the inquiry, and it was unclear why Democrats did not propose having staffers provide questions to members during the hearing.
The rift between Barr and Congressional Democrats was the backdrop for a tense day of testimony Wednesday where the attorney general accused the lawmakers of using criminal justice process as “political weapon” ahead of the 2020 presidential election and declared the Justice Department’s role in the Russia probe controversy “over.” President Trump, in an interview on Fox Business’ “Trish Regan Primetime,” praised Barr’s testimony but said lawmakers treated him “differently” than anyone else.
MY TAKE: Barr is perfect for Trump.
Also…Rep. Omar believes US ‘bullying’ has contributed to Venezuela chaos: Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, suggested Wednesday that the United States could be partly to blame for the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela, saying the policies of the Trump administration had “kind of helped lead the devastation.” Appearing on “Democracy Now,” a news program broadcast on PBS, Omar was asked to weigh in on what the host described as a “U.S.-supported coup attempt” against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. “A lot of the policies that we have put in place [have] kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela and we have sort of set the stage for where we are arriving today,” she said. “This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”
MY TAKE: The Devil. That’s all that comes to mind.
FROM THE LEFT
AXIOS reports: Debuting at #1 on two N.Y. Times bestseller lists —”Paperback Nonfiction” and “Combined Print & E-Book Best Sellers,” coming May 12:
The edition sold 42,000 copies last week, according to NPD BookScan (which reflects about 85% of print sales), and more than any other nonfiction book. (AP)
At #11 on the Times combined list: Another edition of Mueller’s report, with an introduction by Alan Dershowitz, published by Skyhorse. Be smart: Week 1 includes preorders. Week 2 will tell us about sustained interest.
MY TAKE: Point to take away…Americans loves fiction novels.
ALSO…”Liberal Democrats’ goal of transforming the U.S. health-care system into a single, government-financed model would be ‘complicated, challenging and potentially disruptive,'” the Congressional Budget Office warned in an analysis yesterday, per the WashPost’s Amy Goldstein.
Why it matters: “The report says the government would have to figure out how to pay for virtually all of the nation’s $3.5 trillion in annual health-care expenditures, inheriting the nearly half now absorbed by private employers and consumers.”
MY TAKE: Liberal programs don’t work, how many reports do we need until people will get it… we can’t afford to give away stuff for free.
FROM THE MIDDLE
The WSJ reports: House suspends deadline for banks on Trump documents. A lawyer for the House of Representatives agreed to suspend its deadline for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to turn over financial documents related to President Trump and his family until a court settles their legal effort to block the subpoenas.
MY TAKE: Drip, drip, drip, drip… the flood is coming soon.
ALSO…Jerome Powell signals no need for rate cuts. Officials at the Federal Reserve agreed to hold their benchmark interest rate steady and noted some key economic activity had slowed during the first quarter. They also noted how inflation was running below the central bank’s 2% target, a potentially troubling development if it persists.
MY TAKE: A Trump tweet slamming the Fed is on the horizon.
ALSO…Venezuela’s opposition held talks with the government on ousting Maduro. Secret talks between the country’s opposition and members of Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle took place in recent months, in an ill-fated bid to get the president to leave power and install a united interim government. But the negotiations broke down.
MY TAKE: Assassination plans are in the works, make no mistake about it.