Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 6, 2017

The Intercept published a report based upon a leak of a classified report by the NSA, indicating that Russian military intelligence had attempted to hack into “at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election.”

“The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.”

The document is real because the FBI immediately arrested the leaker of the document, due to the sloppiness with which the Intercept published the report (hey, it’s Glenn Greenwald’s outfit, so we can’t expect much).

Axios: “The NSA leaves no room for doubt for who carried out the attack by pointing the finger at Russian military intelligence — specifically, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). That stands in stark contrast to Putin’s denial that Russia has ever engaged in hacking the U.S. election at the state level.”

First Read: “For a presidency that’s already in crisis — see his 36% job-approval rating per Gallup or this Thursday’s upcoming testimony by former FBI Director James Comey — the last 24 hours or so have been extraordinarily horrendous for President Trump.”

“For starters, there was his out-of-context shot at London’s mayor after the terrorist attack on the city Saturday night (before playing a round of golf). Then there were his tweets this morning that called his revised travel ban “watered down” and “politically correct,” potentially undermining his administration’s legal defense that the ban doesn’t discriminate against Muslims. And then there’s this stunning Politico article — that Trump deliberately failed to include language in his recent NATO speech reaffirming the alliance’s Article 5 provision.”

“Four and a half months into Trump’s presidency, it’s easy for political observers to become numb to every controversy and crisis coming from the White House. But this bears emphasizing: This is a president who, day after day, is destroying his credibility.”

Politico: “When President Donald Trump addressed NATO leaders during his debut overseas trip little more than a week ago, he surprised and disappointed European allies who hoped—and expected—he would use his speech to explicitly reaffirm America’s commitment to mutual defense of the alliance’s members, a one-for-all, all-for-one provision that looks increasingly urgent as Eastern European members worry about the threat from a resurgent Russia on their borders.”

“That part of the Trump visit is known. What’s not is that the president also disappointed—and surprised—his own top national security officials by failing to include the language reaffirming the so-called Article 5 provision in his speech. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump doing so and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told the New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.”

FiveThirtyEight launched an aggregator that tracks how Americans are responding to a standard poll question about how they would vote in a congressional election between a generic Democrat and a generic Republican. This question turns out to be highly predictive of national seat gains and losses—and, per FiveThirtyEight, the Democratic party is currently in better position for midterm gains than any other minority party since their data begins in 1942.

President Trump “is lashing out at Democrats for allegedly stalling his appointments and agenda, but it’s his own administration that is frequently sitting on the necessary paperwork for nominees,” Politico reports.

“It’s unclear exactly why the Trump White House has been so slow to officially submit some nominees’ paperwork, but it comes amid broader struggles by the new president to vet senior officials and staff his administration.”

“President Trump, after days of lashing out angrily at the London mayor and federal courts in the wake of the London Bridge terrorist attack, faces a convergence of challenges this week that threatens to exacerbate the fury that has gripped him — and that could further hobble a Republican agenda that has slowed to a crawl on Capitol Hill,” the Washington Post reports.

“Instead of hunkering down and delicately navigating the legal and political thicket — as some White House aides have suggested — Trump spent much of Monday launching volleys on Twitter, unable to resist continuing, in effect, as his own lawyer, spokesman, cheerleader and media watchdog.”

The Washington Post says most of Trump’s voters are not working class: “Observers have often used the education gap to conjure images of poor people flocking to Trump, but the truth is, many of the people without college degrees who voted for Trump were from middle- and high-income households. That’s the basic problem with using education to measure the working class.”

“In short, the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a ‘coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters’ just doesn’t square with the 2016 election data. According to the election study, white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters. That’s a far cry from the working-class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined.”

Mike Allen: “White House officials convey a sense of gloomy doom when they talk about fired FBI Director Jim Comey’s public testimony on Thursday. They know his aw-shucks rectitude, combined with real-time written recollections, guarantee riveting testimony. Their hope is that it’ll be more atmospherics than substance — how he felt, as opposed to any new facts about what President Trump said or did.”

“Here’s the problem with that hope: Even if Comey didn’t have a single new thing to say (unlikely, given his habit of writing memos about his conversations with the president and perhaps his aides), the rat-tat-tat of already-reported, tough-to-explain facts is astounding.”

McKay Coppins: “As the blast radius of the Russia investigation continues to expand, Donald Trump is facing an unnerving new reality: The fate of his presidency may now hinge on the motley, freewheeling crew of lieutenants and loyalists who have long populated his entourage.”

“Last week, a subpoena for Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was approved as part of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference with the presidential election. With that, Cohen was added to a range of Trump allies who are reportedly entangled in the investigation—from outer-orbit figures like Roger Stone and Carter Page, to more visible senior advisers like Michael Flynn and Boris Epshteyn.”

“Sources close to the president say there is growing concern in the White House about what skeletons may emerge as investigators comb through a coterie of aides, past and present, who would have done virtually anything to win favor with Trump.”

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds most Americans oppose President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, 59% to 28%.

“The reactions also break down sharply among partisan lines, though Republicans are not as united in support of the withdrawal as Democrats are in opposition of it. A 67% majority of Republicans support Trump’s action, but that drops to 22% among political independents and 8% of Democrats. Just over 6 in 10 independents and 8 in 10 Democrats oppose Trump’s action.”

Good news from the Supreme Court yesterday: “The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down 28 state House and Senate districts in North Carolina because they violated the rights of black voters. But the justices rejected the court’s order to redraw the districts and hold a special election.The action by the justices Monday sends the matter back to the lower court, which could order new districts in time for the regular cycle of elections in 2018.Democrats hope new district maps will help them break the Republican stranglehold on the state legislature…

A panel of three federal judges in North Carolina that struck down the districts as illegal racial gerrymanders had ordered the drawing of new districts in time for special elections this year. But the Supreme Court blocked the order for the new districts. The matter is back in the hands of the lower court.”

“The Kushner family real estate company is seeking a $250 million loan to pay back Chinese investors in a New Jersey luxury tower but finding some major U.S. banks wary of the controversies around its White House links and the visa program used to attract the investors,” Bloomberg reports.

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for June 6, 2017

  1. delacrat

    ” Trump got more of his voters to turn out than Clinton did.

    ….Clinton was hurt dearly by the voters who decided not to vote.” [emphasis added]

    Despite outspending Trump 2 to1 AND having the corporate press on her side AND running against an unpopular opponent, she still lost b/c she was a really terrible candidate.

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