President Donald Trump is confident he will ultimately convince Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) to vote to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the president's pick to be the next secretary of state. Trump told reporters that Paul "is a very special guy" who has "never let me down."
But Paul has pledged to oppose the nomination, on grounds that Pompeo is too favorable toward military intervention in the Middle East. Paul grilled Pompeo at his confirmation hearings last week, castigating the would-be secretary of state for continuing to support a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan—contrary to Trump's position.
"The president has been very specific at times on this and he said it's time to get out of Afghanistan," said Paul. "Some here worry you're going to be too much in agreement with the president, I worry you're going to be too much in disagreement with the president."
CNN reported that Trump called Paul yesterday and asked him to give Pompeo another chance:
Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill that Trump called him a "few minutes ago" and asked for him to meet with Pompeo and he will.
"I'm open to meeting right now and we'll see what happens in the meeting," he said with a smile, adding that no date had been set for the meeting.
Meanwhile, the president is touting Pompeo's involvement in recent efforts to bring North Korean President Kim Jong-Un to the negotiating table. According to The Washington Post:
Pompeo did help set the table for those negotiations to commence, when Kim and Trump meet in a yet-to-be-determined location. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that the meeting would take place "in the coming weeks" and that "hopefully that meeting will be a great success."
Earlier Wednesday, Trump praised Pompeo for breaking the ice between the two countries, noting that the CIA director "got along with [Kim] really well, really great." Pompeo returned to Washington with enough assurance that North Korea was prepared to negotiate over the future of its nuclear weapons program that the White House decided summit talks were worthwhile, according to the people familiar with the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
It's possible Trump is attempting to signal to Paul that Pompeo has abandoned his past as a torture-defending hawk and is ready to play the role of peace-seeking diplomat. Assuming that Paul proves immune to such overtures, Republicans will need to convince at least one Senate Democrat to vote for Pompeo in order to get him confirmed. Currently, it's unclear whether any of them will break ranks.
"This was beyond free speech," Fresno President Joseph Castro said, according to The Fresno Bee. "This was disrespectful."
But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and American Civil Liberties Union of North America both say it's a mistake for the university to investigate Jarrar for merely saying something offensive about Bush.
"If Fresno State administrators are reviewing her based on this political speech, that is troubling," said ACLU staff attorney Abre Connor.
And Ari Cohn, an attorney at FIRE, said, "The desire to see someone fired because they said something you disagree with or was offensive to you is childish and unproductive and it needs to stop."
Tax Day is now officially over—for real this time. The IRS had to extend the deadline for U.S. residents to file taxes by one day after the website crashed on Monday, leaving many people incapable of completing their civic duty. Technical problems were apparently responsible for the glitch, which caused a "planned outage" error message to appear at IRS.gov.
"IRS teams worked hard throughout the night," said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. "We are back up and running."
Thank goodness for that.
- Tamika Mallory, one of the co-presidents of the Women's March, wants people to boycott Starbucks because the Anti-Defamation League is assisting with the coffee company's anti-bias training. The ADL is a Jewish civil rights and anti-hate group. "The ADL sends U.S. police to Israel to learn their military practices," said Mallory in a tweet. "This is deeply troubling." Women's March leadership has previously been accused of anti-Semitism.
- Don't presume Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un will necessarily be "fruitful."
- Washington state transportation officials apologized for accidentally telling commuters: "U SUCK."
- FIRE scored an important victory over Joliet Junior College, which had attempted to punish a student for distributing socialist pamphlets.
- Protesters heckled James Comey during a book tour stop in New York City on Wednesday.