After a tight race against Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, President Obama’s Labor Secretary Tom Perez, has won the election for DNC chair. In a sign of party unity, Perez called Ellison to the stage after his win and appointed him deputy chair. “We don’t have the luxury, folks, to walk out of this room divided,” said Ellison.
According to administration officials, President Donald Trump wants to increase defense spending by $54 billion. He is expected to explain further details of his budget plan during a joint address to Congress on Tuesday. Most agencies, other than those involved in security, will see their budgets decreased to make room for the 10% increase in defense spending.
Each year, the White House Correspondents Association hosts a dinner, attended by the president and the media. It also includes a presidential roast. This year, President Trump, who has declared the news media "the enemy of the American people," won't attend the April event.He's not alone. Bloomberg and Vanity Fair aren't holding their lauded, hot-ticket event party, while CNN may give the dinner a miss. Of course, now that Trump won't be in attendance, the media may reconsider its RSVP. There's even an effort by Zach Braff and fans to get Alec Baldwin to stand-in for the notoriously thin-skinned president.
Via Twitter, which is quickly becoming the official White House mouthpiece, President Trump called on the FBI to find the leakers in its ranks. Part of a tweet sent out on Friday morning read: “They can’t even….. Find the leaders within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”
Richard Spencer, the alt-right leader who made headlines pre-election with his “Hail Trump” chants at an alt-right conference in D.C., was expelled from CPAC on Thursday. Spencer had received credentials to attend the event, but when a staffer saw him in the room, they were quickly rejected. Dan Schneider, of the American Conservative Union, said the alt-right is “a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks. They are anti-Semites. They are racists.”
The White House chief digital officer is among six White House staffers who have resigned after being unable to pass an FBI background check. Gerritt Lansing, who previously served as the head of the digital department at the RNC, is said to have left on February 9, by his own accord. A source said the issue with the background check had to do with investments. President Donald Trump's director of scheduling, Caroline Wiles, also failed the FBI screening.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has said she thinks the Senate Intelligence Committee could subpoena President Trump’s tax returns as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect that we would,” Sen. Collins said, adding: “We’re not going to exclude anyone from our review.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has launched a service that purports to call out fake news about Russia. On Monday, the Foreign Ministry’s site began posting “examples of publicans, retranslating false information about Russia.” The posted documents don’t actually point to what is false in the articles, but rather feature a red stamp that reads “FAKE” above “this article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality.”
President Trump has been prodded a number of times to address the rising incidence of anti-Semitic threats and actions in the United States. Most of those questions received an angry response from the President. When visiting the Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, the President addressed the rise in anti-Semitism: “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
The state of Texas has tried unsuccessfully to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. A federal judge in the Western District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction allowing for 30 health centers and 12,500 Medicaid patients to continue to receive funding. The judge said the state failed to substantiate the claim that the organization “violated medical or ethical standards related to abortion procedures.”