In the run up to the failed healthcare bill, Donald Trump sent his budget director Mick Mulvaney to deliver a message to fellow South Carolinian, Congressman Mark Sanford. Here's what Mulvaney said, Sanford recounted to The Post and Courier:
The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted 'no' on this bill so he could run against you in 2018.
Marco Rubio confirmed Thursday that Russia targeted his campaign team both during the election in July 2016, and as recently as Wednesday.
My campaign was targeted with IP addresses in Russia…Yesterday at 10:45AM a second attempt was made again against former members of my campaign team, again targeted from an IP address in Russia
The attacks were not successful, according to Rubio, who spoke at the second half of the Senate Intel Committee hearing on Russia's influence in the presidential election last year.
This morning, one of the witnesses, Clint Watts, a senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute's program on national security, said that Rubio had "suffered from" Russian attempts to knock down competition in the presidential election. Rubio looked taken aback and started whispering with an aide.
The New York Times reported today that Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis are Devin Nunes' sources at the White House who allegedly revealed incidental collection of Trump team communications by American intelligence agencies.
- Cohen-Watnick is the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council. He was brought into the White House by now-fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Politico reported earlier this month that Flynn's replacement, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, attempted to move Cohen-Watnick to another position after the CIA "saw him as a threat," but was overruled by Trump himself after Cohen-Watnick appealed to Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
- Ellis is a lawyer in the White House Counsel's Office — his current titles include: Special Assistant to the President, Senior Associate Counsel to the President, and Deputy National Security Council Legal Advisor. He has a Nunes connection through his former position as general counsel to the House Intelligence Committee. The press release announcing his appointment to the White House stated that he is currently an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.
A big jump in revenue from streaming services allowed the overall revenue of the music industry to grow 11 percent last year, to $7.7 billion in retail sales ($5.3 billion wholesale, up 9.3 percent), according to the industry group RIAA. And, for the first time, streaming services accounted for half of all digital music revenue.
On the flip side, paid downloads saw their biggest-ever decline, down 22 percent in 2016, to $1.8 billion. And, as RIAA chief Cary Sherman notes, the music business is still half of what it once was.
Data: The Recording Industry Association of America; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios
As excited as we are about our growth in 2016, our recovery is fragile and fraught with risk. The marketplace is still evolving, and we've experienced unexpected turns too many times before. Moreover, two of the three pillars of the business — CDs and downloads — are declining rapidly. It remains to be seen whether growth of the remaining pillar will be sufficient to offset the losses from the other two. Much rides on a streaming market that must fairly recognize the enormous value of music.
Here are a couple other key other stats from the report:
- Paid subscription music was the fastest growing category, more than doubling, to $2.5 billion and accounting for roughly 1/3 of the total U.S. music industry.
- Sales of physical music — aka CDs and records — fell 16 percent, to $1.7 billion.
Priebus, Bannon and Kushner all said they needed Walsh on the outside because it became abundantly clear during the healthcare debate that the administration was getting hammered with no air support. They needed an outside group to pressure recalcitrant members and the ads never came.
All three denied that Walsh was fired. Bannon said she had to convince him to let her leave.
Priebus said she'd been a star for them and they needed her to make sure the outside group could be effective. They expressed confidence that the Walsh outside group — she'll be working with former senior campaign aide Brad Parscale and Pence confidant Nick Ayers — would work effectively with the other outside group sponsored by the Mercers.
The Trump administration can't legally coordinate with these groups but Walsh's presence will signal to donors that here's a blessed place to park their cash.
As we left Priebus' office, CNN's Jim Acosta asked a senior administration official to respond to the persistent rumor that Priebus' is the next head to roll. The official emphatically said "he's not next."
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos compared school choice to using ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft instead of a taxi, while giving a speech on Wednesday at the Brookings Institution (full transcript here):
Just as the traditional taxi system revolted against ride-sharing, so too does the education establishment feel threatened by the rise of school choice. In both cases, the entrenched status quo has resisted models that empower individuals.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House Republican lawsuit against Obamacare's cost-sharing reduction subsidies will go forward, but that the Trump administration can use its "discretion" to keep paying the subsidies until the lawsuit is resolved. "We don't want to drop the lawsuit because we believe in the separation of powers," Ryan told reporters this morning at his weekly press briefing.
Why it matters: Insurers say they need those payments — which cover subsidies for low-income Obamacare customers — to stay in the marketplaces for next year. Ryan said that's up to the Trump administration: "While the lawsuit is being litigated, then the administration funds these benefits. That's how they've been doing it, and I don't see any change in that."
When might that change? Ryan said it could take "months." The Trump administration still has to decide whether to stop fighting the lawsuit. The ideal way to address the payments, Ryan said, is "to repeal and replace Obamacare, and have that transition occur where these markets are stabilized." And where is that? Nowhere, per Jonathan Swan.
Starting now, when a user replies to another person's (or people's) tweet, their username won't count toward Twitter's signature 140-character limit as it has since the beginning of the service.
Why it matters: Over the last couple of years, Twitter has attempted to boost its stagnating user growth by tweaking its product to make it easier to understand for new users and easier to use for existing ones.