U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Conflict of Interest


attribution: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy


Boy… that escalated quickly.

This week—the “most successful13th week of any 11-week-old presidency, ever—saw tensions rising in the White House.

In the West Wing, an uncivil war is being waged between the totally unqualified and grossly inappropriate factions of @realDonaldTrump’s inner circle.

On the side of “good” is Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushnerfresh back from a tour in Iraq; on the dark side, Steve Bannon.

By all appearances and indications, Kushner is winning the battle—with his outsizedportfolio and influence growing, as Bannon’s shrinks.

But Bannon isn’t about to go down quietly; he still has a few cards left to play.

Although this all makes for good entertainment, the truth is, it doesn’t really matter who prevailswe, the people, are sure to be on the losing end.


Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Roundtable: Danielle Pletka (American Enterprise Institute), Helene Cooper (New York Times), Rich Lowry (National Review) & David Brooks (New York Times).

Face The Nation: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; Former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell; Former Obama National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Former Bush Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Advisor Frances Townsend. Roundtable: Ruth Marcus (Washington Post), Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review), Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post) & Michael Duffy (TIME).

This Week: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Tom Friedman (New York Times) Roundtable: Republican Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, Democratic Pollster Cornell Belcher & “Independent” Strategist Matthew Dowd.

Fox News Sunday: National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster; Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Roundtable: Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Democratic Strategist Mo Elleithee, Republican Strategist Lisa Boothe & Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); Roundtable: Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Former Obama Communications Director Jen Psaki, Former Sen. Rick Santorum & Vali Nasr (Brookings Institution).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with Google product manager Tristan Harris about the addictiveness of smartphones (preview); an interview with Chobani Founder/CEO Hamdi Ulukaya about his decision to hire refugees (preview); and, an interview with “Japan’s Babe Ruth” Shohei Ohtani (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday-Friday: Reruns.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: Your Moment of Them: The Best of Roy Wood Jr.;  Tuesday: Your Moment of Them: The Best of Ronny Chieng;  Wednesday: Your Moment of Them: The Best of Desi Lydec;  Thursday: Your Moment of Them: The Best of Hasan Minaj.


Donald Trump Jr. nominated Pizzagate conspiracist Mike Cernovich for a Pulitzer Prize.

On Tuesday, the son of the president of the United States suggested that an alt-right blogger who promotes conspiracies like “white genocide” and PizzaGate should “win the Pulitzer.”

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his praise of the media personality Mike Cernovich after crediting Cernovich with “breaking” the story that former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, asked intelligence agencies to “unmask” the names of Trump transition officials caught up in foreign surveillance. Cernovich further alleged Rice then sent the unmasked names to a handful of top intelligence officials.

Observers have slammed the Trump White House for promoting Cernovich’s “story,” with Kellyanne Conway tweeting a Cernovich blog post Monday and calling his appearance on 60 Minutes a “must-see ratings bonanza.”


His brother Eric defended the siblings against charges of nepotism.

Eric Trump said that he and his siblings “might be here because of nepotism” but would not have sustained that status if they “weren’t competent.”

“We’re not still here because of nepotism,” he said.

“You know the one thing, Don, Ivanka and I never let him down really in any factor of life,” he said. “And I think it’s one of the reasons that we’re as innately close as we are.”

Eric Trump said that eight years ago, he and his brother “would have been too big of question marks” for their father to do “the presidential thing” and turn over the family company.

“I think hopefully we earned our stripes,” he said. “And I think that’s ultimately why we’re in the seat we’re in.”

And, last but certainly not least…

Ivanka Trump tried to redefine herself.

White House staffer Ivanka Trump responded to critics Tuesday by saying she did not know what they meant when they said she was “complicit” in her father’s presidency.

“You hear the phrase ‘complicit’ – that Jared and Ivanka are complicit in what is happening to the White House. Can you just weigh in how you feel about that?” CBS’ Gayle King asked Trump. “There have been articles, there have been parodies. What do you think about that accusation?”

“If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Trump said, using a definition that does not describe the word “complicit.”

That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

– Trix

One thought on “Sunday Talk: Conflict of Interest

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