Trump After Dark: Zuck and Cover edition


For one day, at least, another billionaire shared scrutiny in Washington.

With President Donald Trump publicly raging over an FBI raid of his personal attorney’s offices, a contrite Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, took center stage on Capitol Hill. Zuckerberg faced a battery of questions from 44 senators, POLITICO’s Quint Forgey and Aubree Eliza Weaver report, uttering two important words: “I’m sorry.”

“Zuckerberg took responsibility for what happened with Cambridge Analytica  the British political consulting firm that collected the personal information of more than 80 million Facebook users and used it to influence voter opinions — and acknowledged his company’s shortcomings in its response.”

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he added. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Wall-to-wall coverage of Zuckerberg’s testimony didn’t really diminish the swirl around the president. Or do much to rein him in. The White House announced today that Trump iscanceling a planned trip to Latin America, ostensibly to deal with a potential military action against Syria.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI loomed large, though.

Between an all caps tweet from Trump and the White House making thinly veiled threats about firing Mueller there were numerous signs both public and private about precisely what was on the president’s mind, POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia reports.

“A GOP operative close to the White House told POLITICO: “The all caps tweet, that’s the primal scream. That’s the war cry.”

The operative added: “He’s losing his shit. We’re at a different level now.”

Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:

DAGGER OUT FOR DAG?: CNN reports that President Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who almost certainly was responsible for approving yesterday’s raids on the offices of President Trump’s personal attorney.

COHEN’S COLLAR: The Washington Post reports that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance law violations.

LONG DECEMBER: The New York times reports that President Trump told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mueller’s investigation needed to be shutdown in December — the second known instance in which he talked about it.

WHAT YOU XI, NOT WHAT YOU GET: Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to reduce auto tariffs, but the move, portrayed as a win by President Trump, is not a clear cut win and echoes past failed promises by China to open its auto markets.

POMP THEM FOR INFORMATION: CIA Director Mike Pompeo trashed Democrats, and Hillary Clinton in particular, when he was a member of Congress but now he is asking Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry for advice as he awaits Senate confirmation to the State Department.

WEL-NESS CHECK: President Trump ordered a top-to-bottom review of government welfare programs, directing agencies to raise the requirements for food stamps, Medicaid, rent subsidies and other programs.

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