May 8, 2017

John Oliver is back in the net neutrality fight

J. Emilio Flores / Invision for the Television Academy via AP

John Oliver's last push for strict net neutrality rules arguably moved both the issue and his HBO show into the mainstream. Oliver revisited the issue Sunday night as the Republican-led FCC moves to scrap the legal foundation for those rules.

Why it matters: Oliver helped rally the troops when this battle was last waged in 2014, with some estimating that his segment drove 45,000 comments to the agency. He clearly hopes lightning will strike twice.

Worth noting: Oliver also got more personal in his attacks on the affable Pai.

  • "But the dangerous thing about Pai is he presents himself as a fun, down-to-earth nerd," the comedian said.
  • He mentioned Pai's giant Reese's-branded mug. "Yes, Ajit Pai is the kind of guy who has a fun, oversized novelty mug, and he is really proud of it," Oliver said, later adding, a (bigger) mug in hand, "Your mug's not that big."

Details: Oliver characterized FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's argument that the legal regime behind the current rules is unnecessary as "deeply disingenuous" and bought to direct members of the public to the page where they can comment in support of the rules. That page appeared to be malfunctioning early on Monday morning, leading some to speculate online that Oliver's plea had crashed that part of the FCC's website.

Go deeper

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Jim Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.