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White House efforts to distract Trump from Russia are literally laugh-out-loud ineffective: report

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President Donald Trump takes a moment before taking the stage during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

President Donald Trump’s staffers have been trying to temper his obsession with the Russia probe, and the reporting on it, by starting his days with phone calls to outside legal advisers.

Those 6:30 a.m. calls are timed to give Trump some perspective on the case before he watches morning news shows and give him a sense of his legal team’s strategy for pushing back against the scandal engulfing his administration, three senior White House officials told the Washington Post.

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So how’s that working out?

“Asked whether the tactic was effective,” the Post reported, “one top White House adviser paused for several seconds and then just laughed.”

The newspaper reported that Trump’s frustration with the investigation often erupts in rants to aides about TV news commentary or insults against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

He publicly rants in all caps on Twitter about the probe, which he angrily dismisses as a “WITCH HUNT” or “HOAX,” while also ripping President Barack Obama for not doing enough to stop Russian election interference.

The White House is trying to keep the Russia probe from stopping its agenda, although the Trump administration still hasn’t quite found its footing on governance.

“Interviews with 22 senior administration officials, outside advisers and Trump confidants and allies reveal a White House still trying, after five months of halting progress, to establish a steady rhythm of governance while also indulging and managing Trump’s combative and sometimes self-destructive impulses,” the Post reported.

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In the meantime, they’re trying to distract the president and lift his spirits by “trotting him around the country” to rallies like this week’s in Iowa, the newspaper reported, and planning some trade announcements and foreign trips next month.

Those efforts are also aimed at boosting Trump’s support with his base, which is showing signs of losing some enthusiasm.

“This is not astrophysics,” said chief strategist Steve Bannon said. “You solidify your base and you grow your base by getting things done. That’s what people want to see.”

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Trump’s Amy Coney Barrett pick for Supreme Court might backfire: analysts

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President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he would nominate Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat. Trump made his pick official during an event at the White House Rose Garden.

“As Amy has said, being a judge takes courage. You are not there to decide cases as you may prefer, you are there to do your duty, and to follow the law, wherever it may take you. That is exactly what Judge Barrett will do on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

He continued: “No matter the issue, no matter the case before her. I am supremely confident that Judge Barrett will issue rulings based solely upon a fair reading of the law. She will defend the sacred principle of equal justice for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed.”

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2020 Election

Senate Dems blast ‘corrupt’ nomination of Amy Coney Barrett: ‘This entire process is illegitimate’

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President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court -- and Democrats were livid.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) linked the nomination to the Affordable Care Act and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to eliminate health care for millions in the middle of a pandemic," Schumer wrote. "Democrats are fighting for Americans' health care."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, ripped the nomination for coming so close to the election.

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Amy Coney Barrett: Religious conservative US Supreme Court pick

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated Saturday to the US Supreme Court, is a darling of conservatives for her religious views but detractors warn her confirmation would shift the nation's top court firmly to the right.

A practising Catholic and the mother of seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and a young son with Down's Syndrome, Barrett is personally opposed to abortion, one of the key issues dominating the cultural divide in the United States.

As a federal appeals court judge since 2017, she has taken positions backing gun rights and against migrants, women seeking abortions and former president Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform that Republicans have been trying to dismantle for years.

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