Mike Allen summed it up perfectly in an Axios article today on President Donald Trump’s Twitter acknowledgement that he is being investigated for obstruction of justice while Vice President Mike Pence lawyers up in anticipation of an inspector calling: “In the moment, it's impossible to process how consequential, historic and bizarre these dribs and drabs are that we're being barraged with all day.”
We may not know how these moments will translate into future history, but it is hard to ignore that growing, gnawing sense that any judgments rendered on this moment in time will be less than kind to an agenda currently being ramrodded through while we stand transfixed by the metastasizing scandal seeping out of 166 Pennsylvania Avenue. (For an excellent refresher on where we are and how we got here, read this WaPo piece.) While it’s often a losing battle to try to keep each fresh hell – climate/net neutrality/immigration/environment/health care/dealer’s choice – fresh in mind, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has an incisive analysis of one administration initiative that will hold currency for generations: judicial appointments. With more than 130 opportunities to pack courts with jurists who can reflect and impact American society through impartial, reasoned opinions – or who mirror far right viewpoints – it seems as though, by cribbing directly from Federalist Society recommendations, the president is choosing the latter course. Try to make it through the excerpts of testimony by John Bush and Damien Schiff – and then think about the fact that they are ages 52 and 37, respectively. Enjoy the weekend!
Philadelphians: In an unusual early-evening session that underscored just how down-to-the-wire the vote was, Philadelphia City Council finally reached consensus on Rebuild, Mayor Jim Kenney’s $500 million initiative to overhaul municipal buildings and public spaces. For citizens who have had to make do with libraries in disrepair, rec centers more like wreck centers and playgrounds that resemble danger zones, this is the first step forward.
Pennsylvanians: It’s a small step forward, to be sure, but the pension reform bill signed into law this week does represent forward movement on a multibillion-dollar threat that has only been growing in size and urgency since lawmakers first created the crisis by changing pension formulas in 2001, voting to raise the payout rate and cutting in half how long it would take to become eligible for a pension.
Josh Shapiro: The state’s attorney general continues to put distance between the office and the Kane era. This week alone, he took legal action against dozens of unlicensed contractors across the commonwealth and joined with other attorneys general to probe the role and responsibility of drug companies in the opioid crisis.
Kris Hart: The 34-year-old Montgomery County native was all set to announce his candidacy to become the GOP nominee for governor – until WHYY’s Dave Davies pointed out to him that he didn’t meet the state’s residency requirements for the position.
Mike Stack: A double dose of bad news for the lieutenant governor this week: a Senate bill that would allow gubernatorial candidates to choose their own running mates picked up steam in the PA Senate; and he got a Democratic challenger for next year: Aryanna Berringer, an Iraq War veteran from Westmoreland County.
Barbara Hafer: the former state treasurer pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a far-reaching pay-to-play case.