Montana Millionaire Beats Up Reporter, Takes House Race Anyway; Trump Pushes NATO Allies Around
Montana injustice. It’s not like he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Trump-backing Greg Gianforte, the Bible-quoting Republican software millionaire charged with misdemeanor assault for body-slamming a reporter, will now join the U.S. House of Representatives. Gianforte got 50.8% of the vote to 43.4% for folk singer Rob Quist Thursday in a special election. A Fox News reporter who witnessed the assault on Wednesday said Gianforte grabbed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by the neck, slammed him to the ground and began punching him. “As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs,” reported Fox’s Alicia Acuna, “he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’” Jacobs had questioned Gianforte about the Republican health-care bill. Gianforte, who apologized for the outburst, replaces Ryan Zinke who is now Trump’s Interior secretary. Republicans indicated that they were unlikely to block Gianforte from taking office, despite the possibility of a criminal conviction in the coming weeks. His court date is June 7.
Bullying allies. Trump scolded European leaders at his first NATO meeting for not paying more for their defense. He wouldn’t say that an attack on one of the NATO countries in an attack on all of them, an important tenet for NATO members. Trump shoved the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a group of world leaders.
Kushner-Kremlin connection. Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russians are being examined as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, met in December with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and a banker from Moscow.
Muslim ban banned. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will take the Muslim ban case to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court upheld blocking Trump’s travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries. The once reliably conservative 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said Trump’s executive order “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” The ruling quoted Trump during the campaign when he called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”