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Morning Joe panel roasts ‘Donald Trump and the swamp creatures’ over latest corruption scandal

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough bashed the Trump administration’s consumer watchdog for laying out pay-to-play ground rules for banking lobbyists.

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director and interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told bakers and lobbyists that he expected campaign contributions from as a congressman — and the “Morning Joe” co-hosts were mortified.

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“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” said Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the U.S. House. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

The Republican former lawmaker did say that he met with constituents “without exception,” regardless of campaign support.

“Do you believe this quote?” Scarborough said.

“He just says it out loud,” co-host Willie Geist marveled.

Scarborough, also a former GOP lawmaker, said he stayed away from lobbyists during his time in Congress and instead tasked his staffers with taking those meetings.

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“I know it sounds stupid, but this is the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m not going, you know, I’m not sticking my neck out on the line because somebody gave me a check.”

Mulvaney’s remarks will surely be used against GOP candidates in the midterm elections and against Trump in his re-election campaign, Scarborough said.

“You start looking at these Cabinet members, the 30-second commercial, they’re going to have to be 60-second commercials or maybe 30-minute infomercials, if you combine what Mulvaney said with what’s happening at the EPA, with what’s happening across the entire administration,” Scarborough said.

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“This is a corrupt administration that talked about the president, talked about draining the swamp — this administration is the swamp,” he added. “You can’t find in recent American political history, another administration that has been as ethically challenged as this one.”

Geist agreed that Trump’s Cabinet officials had set a new standard of unethical behavior, and Democrats would surely turn their conduct into a campaign issue.

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“The ads will be, if you put (EPA administrator Scott) Pruitt in there with all the stories we’ve had over the last couple of weeks, if you have Ryan Zinke raising the flag while he’s in residence like he’s the Queen of England, it starts to sound very swampy,” Geist said.

Republican strategist Susan Del Percio said Mulvaney’s remarks were bad, even in context.

“We are now seeing like a poster of swamp creatures,” Del Percio said. “I mean that’s what I think it is — it’s Donald Trump and the swamp creatures.”

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GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy fumes at reporter for asking if he still believes Trump was paid by Putin

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House majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday was asked about his previous comments suggesting that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

"In 2016, you said then-candidate Trump was one of two people who are paid by Putin, the other being former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher," said Breakfast Media correspondent Andrew Feinberg. "Do you still believe that?"

"It was a joke. That's embarrassing that you would even ask that," McCarthy quickly shot back.

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A censure compromise is the GOP’s best option – but Trump is making it impossible: conservative columnist

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In an op-ed for the conservative outlet The Bulwark, Benjamin Parker argues that when it comes to censure as a "compromise" to impeachment, that potential compromise is a model that President Trump himself has taken off the table.

Just like during the Bill Clinton era, party members leading the impeachment effort know that they won't get the Senate votes to convict. "The censure compromise was an effort by the president’s defenders to end the impeachment process early. It failed in 1998 because Republicans were determined to demonstrate their fidelity to the rule of law and to enforce a high standard of conduct for public officials," Parker writes, adding that Democrats today find themselves in a similar position. "At this point, Trump’s defenders should be suggesting a censure measure as a possible compromise just as Democrats did in 1998. ... Even if a compromise on censure appears unreachable, the Republicans should make the offer on the off chance that it works."

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Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial

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The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.

Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.

"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.

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