The White House on Thursday “proposed a radical overhaul of the federal government that, if implemented, would transform the swath of agencies that manage Americans’ food, public education, social services and even air travel.
“Other presidents have met mixed success in their attempts to streamline government functions, but Trump administration officials said they intend to shake up what one called a ‘nonsensical’ bureaucracy.”
“But the 132-page plan … is silent on a critical question for federal workers and the unions representing them: How many jobs would be lost under the White House proposals? Skeptical employee union leaders promptly accused the White House of gutting programs to turn federal jobs over to the private sector.
“Many key recommendations—chief among them merging the Education and Labor departments and shifting food programs for low-income Americans to the Department of Health and Human Services—would require approval from Congress, where Democrats immediately assailed them as dead on arrival.” (Washington Post)
POLLS. A CNN poll (June 14-17; 1,012 adults; 3.7%) found that 42 percent of Americans “currently say that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, including 77% of Democrats … and only 9% of Republicans.”
“Where does that 42% stand in historical context? It’s a lot higher than support for impeaching Bill Clinton, which hovered around 29% through most of 1998, when he was impeached by the House of Representatives. It’s higher than the number who supported impeaching either Barack Obama or George W. Bush (around 29%-30% supported impeaching them, suggesting that 30% is roughly a baseline of pro-impeachment sentiment for a modern president).” (CNN)
Meanwhile, “even in an era of deep political division, Democrats and Republicans agree presidents should not pardon themselves. And if the nation’s chief executive ever does so, majorities of Americans in both parties believe Congress should impeach that president,” according to a new AP-NORC poll (June 13-18; 1,109 adults; +/-4.1%).
“Trump raised the possibility of a self-pardon on Twitter earlier in this month, writing: ‘As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?’
“By a wide margin, Americans believe Trump is wrong: 85% think it would be unacceptable for presidents to pardon themselves if charged with a crime, and 76% think Congress should take steps to remove a president from office if they did so.” (AP)
SESSIONS. “The Trump administration continues to reverse course on its messaging surrounding highly controversial US immigration policies following days of significant pushback.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday “seemed to contradict previous statements he had made about the practice of separating children from their parents after they have crossed the border illegally.
“Sessions said … that the administration ‘never really intended’ for families to be divided. … ‘It hasn’t been good and the American people don’t like the idea that we are separating families. We never really intended to do that.’” (CNN)
TRUMP TAKEOVER. Ron Brownstein: “[T]he fact that many Republicans drew the line only at a policy that experts have likened to child abuse is a powerful measure of how far Trump has already bent the party toward his “America First” vision, particularly on immigration. Even after Trump tried to alleviate the backlash over the policy on Wednesday, the larger question is whether the opposition he provoked represents just a solitary speed bump in his reconfiguration of the GOP around nationalist themes, or the beginning of a broader pushback. Today, the smart money would bet on speed bump.” (The Atlantic)
CLUB FOR GROWTH. “The anti-tax group Club for Growth has split with the prominent Republican advertising firm Jamestown Associates, a rare breakup in the tight-knit world of conservative politics that could have ripple effects for GOP candidates across the country.
“On March 20, Club for Growth President David McIntosh sent a memo to his staff effectively severing its relationship with Jamestown Associates, which it had previously endorsed at a time when mainstream Republican Party groups were blacklisting the firm.”
The memo “alleged that Jamestown Associates had promised prospective clients that hiring the firm would put them in line to receive an endorsement from the Club for Growth—a powerful imprimatur in Republican primaries that often precedes hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending. The organization also bundles contributions directly to its favored candidates.” (Politico)
POT LEGISLATION. “A bipartisan gaggle of lawmakers in Congress enthusiastically introduced a bill this month to leave pot alone in states where it’s legal—and they enjoyed the president’s endorsement and lots of press—but bipartisan leaders don’t have their back, so the measure appears to be going nowhere fast.
“Republican chairs of key committees in the House and Senate have no plans to schedule the bill for a hearing. … And moreover, the bill lacks support from Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat.” (BuzzFeed)
WASHINGTON STATE. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is scheduled to headline the Washington State Republican Party’s annual dinner on Sept. 12. (release)