Daily Bread for 5.1.18

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of eighty-three. Sunrise is 5:47 AM and sunset 7:56 PM, for 14h 08m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous, with 97.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the five hundred thirty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets today at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Commodore George Dewey utters the now-famous words ” ‘You may fire when you are ready, [Captain] Gridley.’ Within six hours, on May 1, he had sunk or captured the entire Spanish Pacific fleet under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón and silenced the shore batteries at Manila, with the loss of only one life on the American side.”

On this day in 1954, Milton House opens as museum: “the 110-year-old hexagonal Milton House, ‘an architectural wonder when it was built in the Wisconsin wilderness,’ opened as a museum. The Milton Historical Society restored the old inn and filled it with antiques. Part of the restoration included reconstruction of the building’s circular staircase. The Milton Historical Society hosted more than 5,400 visitors in the restored Milton House’s first season as a museum, but the official opening was not held until the following year.”

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Michael S. Schmidt reports Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction:

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.

[Read the questions here.]

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscowfor the Miss Universe pageant.

President Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that it was “disgraceful”that questions the special counsel would like to ask him were publicly disclosed, and he incorrectly noted that there were no questions about collusion. The president also said collusion was a “phony” crime.

(If Trump thinks release of these questions disgraceful, then he should look to his own team for those leaking:

Concerned about putting the president in legal jeopardy, his lead lawyer, John Dowd, was trying to convince Mr. Mueller he did not need to interview Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Mueller was apparently unsatisfied. He told Mr. Dowd in early March that he needed to question the president directly to determine whether he had criminal intent when he fired Mr. Comey, the people said.

But Mr. Dowd held firm, and investigators for Mr. Mueller agreed days later to share during a meeting with Mr. Dowd the questions they wanted to ask Mr. Trump.

When Mr. Mueller’s team relayed the questions, their tone and detailed nature cemented Mr. Dowd’s view that the president should not sit for an interview.)

➤ Aliza Worthington contends Velshi And Ruhle Doth Protest Too Much: Sarah Kendzior On WHCD [White House Correspondents’ Dinner]:

➤ Helaine Olen describes  Trump’s creepy, autocratic obsession with loyalty:

The Post has published a devastating article on President Trump’s No. 1 criteria for serving in his administration. It’s not competence or experience or expertise in a subject. It’s loyalty — to him.

There is no way to sugarcoat the meaning of this, so here goes: This is how autocracies function.

As The Post reports:

Credentialed candidates have had to prove loyalty to the president, with many still being blocked for previous anti-Trump statements. Hundreds of national security officials, for example, were nixed from consideration because they spoke out against Trump during the campaign. But for longtime Trump loyalists, their fidelity to the president is often sufficient, obscuring what in a more traditional administration would be red flags.

There is one thing that gets checked thoroughly:

Since the early days of the presidential transition, however, the Trump team has been especially thorough in vetting job applicants for their loyalty to the president and his policies, with their social-media profiles and writings scoured for anti-Trump posts.

Even tepid comments in opposition could torpedo nominees, current and former officials said. Trump himself would sometimes ask if candidates were “Never Trump” or if they supported him during the general election, officials said. Having posted on social media with the hashtag “#NeverTrump” or having signed a public letter in opposition to his candidacy made the nomination a non-starter.

Any casual look at the literature studying autocracies demonstrates the degree to which this sort of behavior is one of their hallmarks. Autocratic leaders prioritize loyalty over competence, rewarding subordinates and others who demonstrate fealty with plum positions, access and multiple opportunities to profit, while turning a blind eye to blatant corruption. Those who are deemed disloyal are not just banished but jettisoned in humiliating rituals.

➤ Pat Ralph reports Steve Mnuchin suggested he was too cool to watch the eclipse — but a new photo shows him eating it up:

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was caught watching the 2017 eclipse in a photo the Treasury Department took.

ThinkProgress obtained the photo through a Freedom of Information Act request, and also got a hold of documents showing the US Mint procured viewing glasses for “VIPs and their staff” to watch the eclipse safely.

Mnuchin was at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Fort Knox, Kentucky on August 21 — just 142 miles from the path of totality that made for perfect eclipse viewing.

The former Goldman Sachs executive previously said the accusation that he took the trip solely to see the eclipse was absurd — because as a “New Yorker,” he was not interested in the event at all.

(Not just a taxpayer-funded excursion, but a taxpayer-funded excursion Mnuchin lied about.)

Saving Hellbender Salamanders:

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