July 28, 2017 Last Updated 8:11 am

Late Senate vote, profanity laced interview, has newspapers forced to make sensitive choices

Morning Brief: Catalonia moves closer to possible fall vote on independence from Spain, as Spanish economy shows signs of recovering, though unemployment is still at 17.22%

There will be quite a number of political reporters coming into work this morning bleary eyed after a long night covering the Senate’s late evening vote on health care. The vote took place so late (after 1:30 am) that only a handful of metro dailies on the West Coast were able to print the news in their morning editions.

That created quite a dilemma for most metro papers as they knew an historic vote would be taking place early in the morning, but well past deadline.

Luckily for them, the solution came in the form of Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s new communications director, who called The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza and gave a memorable interview.

That interview, though, presented some problems of its own: how to handle Scaramucci’s language choices. Some described it as profane, others colorful, but in the end both the Post and Times chose “vulgar” as the description.

But the Post and Times differed as to which profanity to publish, and which to omit. The Post and the Times, knowing that readers would be looking to see how they would handle it, decided to publish it all.

The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman:

Anthony Scaramucci’s Uncensored Rant: Foul Words and Threats to Have Priebus Fired

When Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, went on television on Thursday morning to compare himself and his adversary, Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, to Cain and Abel, it seemed to encapsulate the fratricidal nature of an administration riven by biblical rivalries. Cain, after all, killed Abel as they vied for God’s favor…

…Mr. Scaramucci, who has so emulated Mr. Trump’s style that colleagues privately call him “Mini-Me,” made clear in his conversation with The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza that he is trying to push Mr. Priebus out. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” he said. Mr. Scaramucci complained that Mr. Priebus had prevented him from getting a job in the White House until now, saying he “blocked Scaramucci for six months.”

In the same telephone call, Mr. Scaramucci disparaged Mr. Bannon. “I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand” on the president’s coattails.

The Washington Post, Jenna Johnson, Philip Rucker and David Nakamura:

White House tensions flare in the open as Scaramucci rips Priebus in vulgar tirade

The new communications director — Anthony Scaramucci, a flashy New York financier who brags that he and Trump “started out as friends” — has been trying to oust White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a foulmouthed campaign fueled by months of brewing animus. Scaramucci accused Priebus of leaking to the media about behind-the-scenes maneuverings and his own personal finances, but his broader intent is to purge senior advisers and low-level staffers who he suspects are not adequately loyal to President Trump…

…Scaramucci’s anger toward Priebus was burning long before he joined the White House this week.

After the election, he sold his company, investment fund SkyBridge Capital, in preparation for a job in the White House, only to be blocked by Priebus. Scaramucci was later shuffled into a position at the Export-Import Bank, where he plotted his next move. Last week, Trump surprised Priebus, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and others by announcing that Scaramucci would become the next White House communications director — news that prompted press secretary Sean Spicer, Priebus’s closest ally, to resign.



Things are not going quite the way the Kremlin had hoped. Surely by now, they had to figure, they would have gotten their compounds back, and had sanctions lifted. Instead, the Congress has actually passed tougher sanctions, and the White House has received strong pushback on their plans to hand back the two compounds back to the Russians.

So, this morning, the Russians hit back.

Politico, David M. Herszenhorn:

Russia punches back at sanctions, tells US to cut diplomats

The Kremlin swiftly retaliated Friday against new sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress, ordering a cut in the number of American diplomats in Russia and suspending use by U.S. diplomats of a beach house and storage facilities in Moscow, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.

In hitting back so quickly, Russia did not even wait to see if U.S. President Donald Trump might veto the legislation by Congress, apparently calculating that, even if he disagreed with the bill, the political climate in Washington would make a veto virtually impossible.



While the news out of Washington continues to drown out all other news, that does not mean that there are not major developments elsewhere. We all know that in the UK the most important news remains Brexit, but in Spain there are several stories that are overshadowing anything going on in the US: Catalonia’s continued moves towards an independence vote, government scandal, and the economy.

El Pais, Pere Rios:

Catalan parliament closes in on ‘fast-track’ independence process

The Catalan government’s plans to secede from Spain took a step forward on Wednesday after the regional parliament approved reforms to its statutes that will allow laws to be approved after a single reading, meaning legislation required for the holding of the October 1 independence referendum could be fast-tracked with little or no debate…

…Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to lodge an appeal before the Constitutional Court after the Friday Cabinet meeting, which would suspend the law approved on Wednesday for a maximum of five months. That said, Puigdemont believes that nothing can now delay the momentum of the independence referendum, which is set to be approved at the September 6 session in the Catalan regional parliament.

Marketwatch, Jeannette Neuman:

Spain’s unemployment rate drops to 17.22%

Spain’s unemployment rate fell to 17.22% in the second quarter of 2017, the country’s statistics agency said on Thursday. The second-quarter unemployment figure is a decline from the 18.75% the statistics agency reported in the first quarter.

Robust economic growth since the country emerged from a deep recession in 2013 created more jobs. Spain’s economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.2% in 2015 and 2016 and economists expect growth to top 3% again this year, outpacing most major eurozone countries…

…Still, Spain’s unemployment rate remains among the highest in Europe and many of the jobs being created are temporary contracts, rather than permanent.

The New York Times, Peter S. Goodman:

Spain’s Long Economic Nightmare Is Finally Over

For most of the last decade, Spain has suffered as an extreme example of the economic carnage that has assailed the 19 nations sharing the common European currency. Its astonishing levels of unemployment, which peaked at 26 percent, stood as a prominent marker of the desperation inflicted by the implosion of its real estate investment bubble, combined with the global financial crisis.

Now, Spain’s economy has returned to its pre-crisis size, according to data released by the government on Friday. This seemingly puts the finish to one of the worst economic catastrophes to play out in Europe in the years since World War II. It suggests that the continent, still grappling with formidable, even existential challenges, has finally achieved recovery.

El Pais:

Reactions to Spanish PM’s day in court: “impertinent,” “incompetent” and “a liar”

Political reaction to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s court statements on Wednesday was swift and scathing. Soon after the Popular Party (PP) leader walked out of the courthouse where he had testified as a witness in the long-running Gürtel trial, involving widespread political graft, all the opposition parties issued their views on this unprecedented event…

…Pedro Sánchez, secretary general of the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main opposition group in Congress, said that “it is a dark day for democracy” when a head of government has to testify in a corruption case. In a long statement that he read out at party headquarters, Sánchez concluded that Rajoy “has just one way out: to tend his resignation to the king.”

“Mr Rajoy, out of democratic dignity, you must resign.”

The Spain Report:

Justice Ministry Shuts Down Spain’s Court Intranet LexNET After Massive Permissions Breach Discovered

Spain’s official court intranet system, known as LexNET, was shut down urgently on Thursday afternoon after lawyers pointed out a breach in the permissions system that allowed any lawyer in the country to see the files and folders of any other lawyer in the country, related to any case in the courts system.

LexNET is the system through which Spanish lawyers receive court notifications about the status of their client’s cases, and to file documents with courts related to criminal, civil and administrative cases.

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