The Open Thread for May 21, 2017

According to a report Wall Street Journal, top Trump aides recently held an intervention to get him off Twitter:  “Mr. Trump’s aides have also been pressing for more restraint by the president on Twitter , and some weeks ago they organized what one official called an “intervention.” Aides have been concerned about the president’s use of Twitter to push inflammatory claims, notably his unsubstantiated allegation from March that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wiretapped his offices.  In that meeting, aides warned Mr. Trump that certain kinds of comments made on Twitter would “paint him into a corner,” both in terms of political messaging and legally, one official said.”

If the Twitter intervention happened a few weeks ago, Donald didn’t get the message. This week has been one social media misstep after another and he may have dug himself into an inescapable hole this time with his tweets confirming leaking intel and obstructing justice.

“Michael Caputo, who served as a communications adviser to the Trump campaign, has been asked by the House committee investigating Russian election meddling to submit to a voluntary interview and to provide any documents he may have that are related to the inquiry,” the New York Times reports.

“The House Intelligence Committee, which is examining possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, made its request in a letter on May 9. Mr. Caputo, who lives near Buffalo and spent six months on the Trump team, worked in Russia during the 1990s and came to know Kremlin officials. He also did work in the early 2000s for Gazprom Media, a Russian conglomerate that supported President Vladimir V. Putin.”

Washington Post: “Yet in all three races, Democrats have made a tactical decision not to turn the contests into a referendum on Trump’s alleged scandals and instead are focusing on policy decisions by the president and congressional Republicans.”

“Democratic strategists privately say that this might be the recurring theme through the November 2018 midterm elections. Democrats say that they have learned a lesson from the 2016 elections, in which House Democratic candidates relentlessly focused their campaigns on trying to tie Republican incumbents to the personal scandals of Trump or some of his more outlandish policy statements.”

“That strategy failed in almost spectacular fashion.”

New York Times: “The contrast between what Democrats in Washington are consumed by and what their candidates are running on illustrates an emerging challenge for the party as the president becomes ever more engulfed in controversy: For all the misfortunes facing their foe in the White House, Democrats have yet to devise a coherent message on the policies that President Trump used to draw working-class voters to his campaign.”

In a letter to the Trump Organization, Senate Democrats questioned whether the company remains “effectively a pass-through for income” that repeatedly puts the president in violation of the Constitution’s ban on accepting gifts or payments from foreign government officials or the U.S. government itself, Politico reports.

From the letter: “It defies common sense to believe that this type of arrangement resolves the President’s conflicts of interest. It also raises serious questions regarding how such an arrangement could credibly insulate the President from unending Emoluments Clause violations.”

“Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump’s administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master’s thesis on US security,” a CNN KFile review has found.

Erick Erickson: “Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with a Republican Party unable to govern. And congressional Republicans increasingly find themselves in an impossible position: If they support the president, many Americans will believe they are neglecting their duty to hold him accountable. But if they do their duty, Trump’s core supporters will attack them as betrayers — and then run primary candidates against them.”

“It is becoming ever clearer that Trump has the potential to cause more damage to the Republican Party than Obama did the Democrats. While there is no doubt the Democrats saw serious electoral setbacks under Obama, there remains a key difference here: Obama is deeply respected and liked by a majority of voters. Trump is increasingly disliked, and the Republicans who enable him are increasingly distrusted.”

“With a horde of vocal Trump supporters cheering on every inane statement, delusion, lie and bad act, the majority of the American people can be forgiven for thinking the GOP as a whole has lost its mind. The Republicans may soon lose a generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank and file with no ability to control its leader.”

“House Republicans barely managed to pass their Obamacare repeal bill earlier this month, and they now face the possibility of having to vote again on their controversial health measure,” Bloomberg reports.

“House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t yet sent the bill to the Senate because there’s a chance that parts of it may need to be redone, depending on how the Congressional Budget Office estimates its effects. House leaders want to make sure the bill conforms with Senate rules for reconciliation, a mechanism that allows Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority.”

Jonathan Swan: “Most WH officials I’ve spoken to privately this week are closer to being numb than panicked. Those who went through the campaign with Trump are numb to the crises and thought so many times before that this would be the one to break Trump. They’ve been wrong so many times before — the vast majority of Trump campaign staff, no matter their public posturing, thought Clinton would crush him.”

“They view their boss as completely undisciplined and self-destructive. They’re exasperated by him … They’re sick and tired of the media feeding frenzy. But even in their most frustrated moments, they’ll admit that Trump has got some special resilience that they can’t begin to understand. A coat of protection that almost seems supernatural to them.”

“It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”  — Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, quoted by the New York Times, on Donald Trump’s claim he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter.

“House Democrats have already raised more money in online contributions this year ahead of the midterms than they did during all of 2015, the most recently comparable year,” a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official told NBC News.

“The unusual fundraising haul is the latest sign that President Donald Trump is motivating Democrats in extraordinary ways as the party looks to win back the 24 seats it needs to retake the House of Representatives in next year’s midterm elections and put Rep. Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair.”

Andrew McCarthy for the National Review: “Comey is one of us. Lavrov and Kislyak are two of them.”

“There is no excuse for a president of the United States to run down an American for the consumption of our Russian adversaries – particularly an American who is fighting against Russia’s operations against our country. It is indefensible. If President Obama had a meeting with Iranian diplomats at which he insulted, say, former ambassador John Bolton in an apparent effort to ingratiate himself with our enemies, we would be ballistic – and justifiably so.”

“The problem with this incident is not that it makes more likely the possibility that Trump colluded with Russia. The problem is that it suggests that Trump isn’t distinguishing friend from foe, Americans from America’s enemies. I don’t care about the ‘Russia collusion’ narrative. I’m talking about a president who must know there is a more destructive narrative about his fitness, for which he cannot seem to stop providing ammunition.”

“The F.B.I. warned a Republican congressman in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics,” the New York Times reports.

“The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia.”


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

3 comments on “The Open Thread for May 21, 2017

  1. The Dems were warned about focusing on Trump’s scandals and personal behavior by the Italians who had to deal with and defeat Berlusconi, like usual they didn’t listen. Focus on Trump’s million and one policy failures. Sure, he’s made a shambles of the presidency, but what hits home is losing your job, having no healthcare and no hope because your country has been hijacked by the rich. More so than usual. On a lighter note fun to see Rohrabacher under suspicion, when a creep like that goes down it’s just plain fun.

  2. delacrat

    “…what hits home is losing your job, having no healthcare and no hope…” – wikwox

    True, but the dems can’t stop talking about the Russians, so forget about any attention to jobs, healthcare and any hope for what will benefit you.

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