Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned this morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Spicer turned the daily press briefings from a give-and-take between reporters and a White House seeking to inform the public into a grueling battleground where journalists were constantly denigrated for diverting from the party line.”

As Scaramucci took questions from the press for the first time this afternoon, he downplayed the reports that there has been “friction” between him and Spicer and Reince Priebus.

Syracuse University Professor Anthony D’Angelo says Scaramucci’s lack of experience in communications could be a big issue, and “signals that President Trump appears to value loyalty and a certain star power over actual credentials for a communications job.”

Scaramucci once tangled on camera with CNN’s Chris Cuomo over the veracity of the science of climate change.

…he also hasn’t always been a Trump fan.

To wit: Scaramucci deleted tweets in which he previously criticized Trump hours after accepting his new job.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will replace Spicer as press secretary.

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway suggested that the team of lawyers investigating Russia potential meddling in the presidential election were Hillary Clinton supporters.

The National Review, a conservative publication, sides with progressive mayor de Blasio against Cuomo, (who the magazine says has an “edifice complex”), on the question of downstate bridge lights.

A Q train with 135 passengers on board derailed in Brighton Beach during this morning’s morning commute — the second derailment at that location in as many weeks, sources and transit officials said.

The reactions to the latest round of “who controls the subway” between Cuomo and de Blasio were a mixture of confusion, disbelief, and anger.

More than half of the participants from Long Island have dropped out of Start-Up NY, the state program that promises businesses “no taxes for 10 years” if they move to a college and create jobs, according to a Newsday analysis.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration spent $10,000 fixing up a vintage car previously used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sending it to an out-of-state auto shop that will soon feature it on a reality television show.

Gia Arnold, the former state Senate candidate who ran on a pro-Second Amendment platform, was sentenced to five years’ probation for possession of an illegal assault rifle. State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski could have imprisoned her for up to seven years.

The state Democratic Party will vote on Wednesday whether to demand that members of state Senate Independent Democratic Conference end their alliance with Republicans – or else no longer receive donations from the party or help from local clubs.

Less than a year after it started, the state Office for Information Technology Services has backed away from the outsourcing of its help desk, and will be once again have state workers assume many of those responsibilities. (Needless to say, PEF is pleased).

The New York Times is facing blowback on social media after publishing an essay by an African-American reporter who accused white women of racism for not ceding space on city sidewalks to black men.

Long Island Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi issued a press release about his prostate exam with the word “probe” in the headline.

Long Island Democrat David Calone, who narrowly lost a party primary a year ago, has decided against making a second try next year to take on Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Damage at the Erie County Fairgrounds is estimated to be in the millions of dollars. Twin twisters ripped trees out of the ground and damaged homes and roofs in the Southtowns. The National Guard has been called in to help.

The cleanup after the tornado that struck the Erie County Fairgrounds was well under way yesterday afternoon when a Cuomo aide asked that the cleanup be delayed until after the governor arrived, fair CEO Dennis Lang said. Lang’s response: “You’re kidding, right?” (A Cuomo spokesperson denied this occurred).

The state Republican Party has received an eye-popping $500,000 contribution from the venture capitalist brother of GOP chairman Ed Cox.

A former Jersey City zoning and fire inspector who served time in federal prison for corruption is now conducting inspections for the Mount Vernon Department of Buildings.

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie approaches the end of his time in office, his job approval rating stands at a dismal 16 percent among Garden State residents, a new Marist poll found.
As of yesterday, the legal minimum age of marriage in New York has been raised to 17.

Four hundred days after Philadelphia’s City Council passed the sweetened beverage tax, one of its most prominent champions has re-entered the fray. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running a new, pro-tax advertisement on television and radio.

Some students and staff at SUNY Cortland will get a chance to see what a Hollywood movie set is like next week. Actor William Fichtner will be on campus Wednesday to shoot scenes for “Cold Brook,” his new film.

Teachout Nominated For Democratic Committee Post

Zephyr Teachout, the former congressional and gubernatorial candidate, has been nominated for a post on the state Democratic Committee.

She would replace Doris Kelly as the representative for the 106th Assembly district.

“Doris Kelly was a friend and inspiration. I’m honored to be nominated to fill her vacancy, and look forward to working with Democrats across New York, and with the Progressive Caucus and rural Democrats in particular, to strengthen our party and put forth an agenda we can be proud of,” said Teachout in a statement.

Teachout ran last year for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, losing to Republican John Faso.

On the state committee, Teachout would be a prominent critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is the defacto leader of the state party.

Moody’s Finds Benefit In Increased Tax Cap For Counties

A report released Friday by Moody’s found good news for local governments with the state’s tax cap coming its closest to a 2 percent rise since it took effect in 2012.

Allowable tax levy growth for local governments will reach 1.84 percent, up from 0.68 percent.

The cap is tied to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. Inflation has largely been flat for the last five years, leading to largely flay growth in property taxes as a result.

“The allowable property tax levy increase is credit positive because it provides revenue-raising flexibility for issuers in the state,” the report found. “Property taxes make up a large portion of operating revenues for many issuers, usually comprising the first or second largest source of revenue. Any ability to increase this revenue source allows for greater budgetary flexibility.”

New York typically has the highest property taxes in the country.

But while taxes have broadly been kept low, municipalities have called for changes that would make it easier to budget within the cap.

Labor Spends To Oppose Con Con

A coalition of disparate groups formed to oppose the constitutional convention referendum this November reported raising $635,300 toward that effort, according to a campaign filing made public this week.

The bulk of the group’s money came from a variety of deep-pocketed labor unions, with influential labor organizations like 1199/SEIU contributing $250,000 alone. Other groups like the New York State United Teachers union gave $50,000 and the Civil Service Employees Association contributed $50,000, as did AFSCME. Other public workers union, the Public Employees Federation, gave $10,000.

The money was given to New Yorkers Against Corruption — a wide-reaching coalition that in addition to unions also includes organizations like the Conservative Party and the Rifle and Pistol Association and environmental conservation groups.

In its filing, the group reported spending $246,410 on advertising and consultants, ending the filing period with $323,489 in cash on hand.

The group was formed to oppose the coming convention referendum, which is put before voters every 20 years. The concern from these groups is provisions enshrined in the current constitution — such as labor rights or environmental protection laws — could be scaled back at a convention.

At the same time, opponents of a convention argue wealthy special interests could swing control of a convention.

For now, proponents of a convention have not spent as heavily as those opposed.

The campaign committee backed by the state bar association supporting a convention reported $5,000 in cash on hand.

GOP Super PAC Sets Up Shop In NY-22, NY-24

From the Morning Memo:

A super PAC supportive of Republicans has opened field offices in two upstate congressional districts ahead of what are expected to be battleground races next year.

The Congressional Leadership Fund has opened an office in the 24th congressional district, currently held by Rep. John Katko, and in the 22nd district, which was won last year by Rep. Claudia Tenney, both Republicans.

The field offices are part of an emphasis the super PAC is placing on field work, recruiting volunteers from college and high school campuses, with 12 offices open across the country and the goal of ultimately opening 30 offices nationally by next November.

The offices are expected to field on-the-ground researchers as well as trackers.

TV and mail efforts are also expected in the races.

“Congressman Katko and Congresswoman Tenney are results-oriented leaders who are working tirelessly in Congress on behalf of their communities,” said Courtney Alexander, a spokeswoman for the CLF.

“With sixteen months until the midterms, CLF is implementing field operations in both districts to engage voters in a meaningful way and share what these Republican members of Congress are doing for their constituents when it comes to the issues that matter most.”

Senate Dems Urge DEC To Ban Fracking Waste Disposal

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic lawmakers in the state Senate on Thursday sent a letter urging the Department of Environmental Conservation to end the disposal of tracking waste in New York.

The letter, sent by Sens. Brad Holyman and Liz Krueger and signed by 11 of their conference members, urged the DEC to take up the ban through regulations that would adopt the broad strokes of a bill sponsored by Hoylman.

The regulations, supporters say, are aimed at prohibiting the disposal of gas and oil drilling waste and the close what they say is a loophole in disposal requirements. The concern has been the waste ends up in wastewater treatment facilities, landfills and as part of a de-icing agent on roadways.

“We are concerned that, despite New York State’s ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, and the widespread evidence of the danger posed to public health by fracking, gas and oil drilling waste from fracking sites is ending up in our communities,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

The Cuomo administration in 2015 moved to administratively ban hydrofracking.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo for his promise to protect New Yorkers from the danger of tracking,” the letter states, “and urge you to fulfill that promise by ensuring protection from potentially hazardous fracking waste.”

Part 360 DEC Comments July 20 2017 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at Diversity Plaza, 37th Road Between 73rd and 74th streets, Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Parks Department’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro joins City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Councilman Ben Kallos and Rep. Carolyn Maloney to break ground on the East River Esplanade sea wall reconstruction, East River Esplanade, East 88th Street, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., de Blasio will tour capital improvements made under the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program at P.S. 136, 201-15 115th Ave., Jamaica, Queens.

At noon, de Blasio will visit a mobile speed camera unit near William Cullen Bryant High School, 49th Street between Newtown Road and Broadway, Astoria, Queens.

At 2:30 p.m., de Blasio visits businesses, DredSurfer Grill, 16-27 Seagirt Blvd., Far Rockaway, Queens.


Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers are reportedly exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons.

Trump is asking his advisers about his power to pardon his staff and family. He even wants to know if he can pardon himself.

Mueller meanwhile is probing possible money laundering by Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the election.

Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, according to the law that authorizes Mueller’s probe. If he tried, he could set off a chain-reaction that would throw the Justice Department into upheaval.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he had no immediate plans to resign and would serve as long as is “appropriate,” despite Trump’s expression of regret about appointing him.

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, most Trump voters haven’t budged in their support of the president, with 88 percent of those surveyed saying they’d cast their ballots for the Republican candidate again if America were to go back in time to Election Day.

Post-election, Trump’s two oldest sons – Don Jr. and Eric – are reportedly known to chafe at the shift in attention to brother-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to the president with an office in the West Wing.

Financier and Trump confidant Anthony Scaramucci is set to become the next White House communications director. He’ll fill the position vacated by Mike Dubke, who resigned from his post in late May.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s attorney for the probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia, is taking a reduced role at the White House.

There is at least one approved device and scores of experimental treatments being tested that could improve the odds of longer-term survival for patients with the type of extremely aggressive brain cancer afflicting U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Despite his cancer battle, McCain vowed to return to the Senate, leveling fresh criticism at the Trump administration and aiming a good-natured dig at Republican and Democratic colleagues shaken by news of his diagnosis.

Now that U.S. Senate Republicans have failed in their attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare and cut Medicaid, the House GOP is pushing a budget that aims to do all that and then some, which, like their health care reform plan, will negatively impact New York.

Actor Jason Bateman said that the show plans on tackling Trump in the upcoming season of “Arrested Development.”

With subway riders calling for an end to their commuting nightmare, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio are pointing fingers over who should pay for the fix.

Cuomo, who in the past has touted his control over New York City’s subway system, doubled down on his argument that New York City, not the state, is responsible for funding upgrades to its beleaguered subway system.

“The state has put in more money than ever before in the history of the state, and it’s the city’s legal obligation to be funding it, even though we stepped in on a moral level,” Cuomo told reporters.

The NY Post opines: “Naturally, the scheme to light up the city’s bridges turns out to be yet another murky Cuomo mess.”

Cuomo’s hand-picked MTA chairman Joe Lhota gave a quick history lesson of the history of the authority, explaining that the city owns the assets of MTA sub-agency New York City Transit and the state only stepped in to fund the first capital plan in 1981 because the city’s finances were a mess and the subways were a disaster.

Cuomo arrived in Western New York yesterday evening after two confirmed tornado touchdowns. He addressed the crowd, stating: “As long as we haven’t lost human life, we are ahead of the game.”

An event that was meant to be an easy photo op for de Blasio yesterday ended with him getting an earful from a Queens local who lambasted him about his trip to Germany last month.

More >

Caucus Meeting With Ex-AG Holder Postponed

A meeting between members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and former Attorney General Eric Holder has been postponed after the influential labor union Hotel Trades Council raised concerns.

Holder, the first black U.S. attorney general, was due to meet with the caucus on Friday to discuss his work with the online booking site Airbnb, which had hired him last year to conduct a review of discrimination among hosts.

Caucus Chairman Nick Perry informed members in an email obtained by Capital Tonight Thursday evening.

“Please be advised due to logistical concerns, the Caucus meeting scheduled for Friday, July 21st has is being postponed,” Perry wrote in the email. “Updates will be shared when available.”

Holder was also expected to discuss redistricting reform efforts, part of a project with former President Obama.

The meeting with Holder, however, had drawn scrutiny from HTC, a politically key labor union that has supported efforts to curb Airbnb’s expansion in New York.

The union had indicated it would picket the meeting with Holder were to discuss Airbnb-related policy. State lawmakers have recently backed a provision that banned short-term advertising of rentals.

Perry in an email sent earlier this week to caucus members said the meeting with Holder was meant to be informational.

“As legislators, it is our responsibility to make informed decisions on policy,” he wrote in the earlier email. “And as a Caucus of fifty-six Members from all across the State of New York, we must allow for information-sharing so that we can work to achieve a consensus among our membership that runs the spectrum.”


O.J. Simpson appeared before a Nevada parole board today and was granted parole; he could be released as soon as October 1.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to stay in his job a day after President Trump upbraided him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, saying he and his Justice Department colleagues intend to continue to serve “as long as that is appropriate.”

The FBI has turned over 7,000 new documents from Anthony Weiner’s private laptop to the State Department as part of a watchdog group’s lawsuit related to last year’s Hillary Clinton email case.

Following an election that had one of the largest gender gaps in history, women are more likely than men to say they are paying increased attention to politics, according to the latest national survey by Pew Research Center.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has joined a nationwide group urging U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep federal protections for college sexual assault victims.

Marc Molinaro, the Republican county executive of Dutchess County who is mulling a potential run for governor in 2018, did what few elected officials in New York dare to do: call out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for mishandling the MTA.

A jury has found Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills guilty on five of six counts against him in his corruption trial.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defined the conflict over changing the health care laws in Washington as a class struggle, saying it’s all about the rich versus the rest.

Reps. John Faso and Chris Collins seem at odds over whether the Faso-Collins amendment can proceed as a stand alone measure.

Trump, who is very wealthy, appears to think that heath care coverage can cost $12 a year – or maybe $15 a month?

…actually, even in the most affordable states, most 21-year-olds pay much more than $12 a month simply for their premiums.

NYPD Officer James Frascatore, who is accused of using excessive force against retired tennis star James Blake, has turned down a plea deal that would have kept him on the job and only cost him a few vacation days, instead opting for an administrative trial.

Both of New York’s U.S. Senators have signed on to a bill that would criminalize any attempt by Americans to boycott Israel.

The DREAM Act is back.

New Jersey Transit is weighing whether it can pursue disciplinary action against train engineers after a manpower shortage forced dozens of ride cancellations this week amid summerlong track work at New York’s Penn Station, an agency official told lawmakers.

Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney lined up a Democratic sponsor for a bill that targets her political rival, after a lackluster response from her own party.

NYC pet lovers are barking mad over a little-known city rule that makes dog-sitting for cash illegal unless it’s done by a licensed kennel.

Queens Rep. Grace Meng, a DNC vice chair, is taking an upstate tour this summer, and organizing bus trips of volunteers and elected officials from her borough to travel to GOP held districts.

E.J. McMahon: “Last week, (Cuomo) staged a series of upstate ribbon-cutting events in which he touted an economic turnaround in the region. Today brought a reality check: the monthly state Labor Department jobs report, which showed weak year-to-year private employment growth in upstate’s largest metro areas.”

Defense lawyers again are the beneficiaries of Albany politicians’ continuing run-ins with corruption accusations, new campaign finance filings show.

Local officials, environmental advocates and residents demanded that the EPA take more action to clean up the Hudson River from contamination by General Electric during a meeting in Saratoga Springs last night.

The Erie County Fairgrounds and adjacent Buffalo Raceway sustained serious damage when a mid-day storm tore through Western New York.

The $45 million redesign of Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport will begin in late August.

Judge Lifts Restraining Order That Would Stop WNYCPC Veto

An appellate judge in Western New York will consider reversing a temporary restraining order which among other things, prohibits the governor from vetoing a bill that stops the collocation of the region’s children and adult psychiatric centers. A state Supreme Court justice signed the injunction last week.

Attorneys will have to show cause why the TRO should or should not be vacated on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the restraining order will NOT be in effect until the hearing.

A hearing in regards to the actual lawsuit, which calls to stop the state from moving the children’s center from West Seneca to Buffalo, is scheduled for the next day. The attorney for the coalition suing the state said because the two hearings are so closed together, they’re not sure it’s worth fighting the appeal.

“The judge did not do anything substantively with the underlying relief we are seeking from the court, which pleases us,” Steve Cohen, of the HoganWillig Law Firm, said. “With signatures supporting the children psychiatric center rolling in every day to Assemblyman (Mickey) Kearns and Senator (Pat) Gallivan, we are more confident than ever that we will ultimately prevail.

The latest ruling also means work to merge the campuses can resume.