Special Counsel Robert Mueller “has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort’s current spokesman, an aggressive tactic that suggests an effort to add pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman,” CNN reports.
“The subpoenas seeking documents and testimony were sent to Melissa Laurenza, an attorney with the Akin Gump law firm who until recently represented Manafort, and to Jason Maloni, who is Manafort’s spokesman… It’s unclear what specific information the Mueller investigators believe Laurenza and Maloni may have. But issuing subpoenas to a lawyer of someone under investigation is unusual, in part because it raises potential attorney-client privilege issues that prosecutors tend to try to avoid. Maloni, as a public relations representative, doesn’t have the same attorney-client privilege protections.”
Meanwhile, “President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has agreed to sit down for a transcribed interview with the Senate judiciary committee, as investigators continue to dig into his attendance at a 2016 meeting where he was promised Russian dirt on the Clinton campaign,” CNN reports.
“After weeks of discussions, Trump Jr. has agreed on a date to be interviewed by the panel in private.”
Lawfare: “The evidence of criminality on Trump’s part is little clearer today than it was a day, a week, or a month ago. But no conscientious member of the House of Representatives can at this stage fail to share McConnell’s doubts about Trump’s fundamental fitness for office. As the Trump presidency enters its eighth month, those members of Congress who are serious about their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution” must confront a question. It’s not, in the first instance, whether the President should be removed from office, or even whether he should be impeached. It is merely this: whether given everything Trump has done, said, tweeted and indeed been since his inauguration, the House has a duty, as a body, to think about its obligations under the impeachment clauses of the Constitution—that is, whether the House needs to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal inquiry into possible impeachment.”
“It’s not a hard question. Indeed, merely to ask it plainly is also to answer it.”
Opinion | On disaster relief, Republicans go beyond hypocrisy https://t.co/sX3LP8dggP
— Alan Abramowitz (@AlanIAbramowitz) August 29, 2017
The Gallup daily tracking poll finds President Trump’s approval rating among people aged 18 to 29 has reached a new low of 20%. Overall, Trump’s approval rate is a dismal 35% to 60%.
A new Pew Research survey finds that just 31% of Republican voters say they agree with President Trump on all or nearly all issues, while an additional 38% agree with him on many, but not all, issues. In contrast, 77% of Democrats report virtually no agreement with Trump on issues. In views of Trump’s conduct as president, 46% of Republicans express mixed feelings, while 19% say they do not like his conduct; 34% say they like the way he conducts himself as president. Among Democrats, 89% have a negative view of Trump’s conduct. Overall, Trump’s approval rate is a dismal 36% to 63%.
A new Harper Polling survey in Alabama finds Roy Moore (R) just ahead of Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the Republican primary runoff, 47% to 45%.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) August 29, 2017
A federal judge dismissed Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, CNN reports. Wrote Judge Jed Rakoff: “Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States. In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.”
“Storms are natural events, but floods are usually man-made disasters.” https://t.co/JXDweYVGrP
— POLITICO Magazine (@POLITICOMag) August 29, 2017
David Brooks: “Conservative universalists are coming to realize their party has become a vehicle for white identity and racial conflict. This faction is prior to and deeper than Trump.”
“When you have an intraparty fight about foreign or domestic issues, you think your rivals are wrong. When you have an intraparty fight on race, you think your rivals are disgusting. That’s what’s happening. Friendships are now ending across the right. People who supported Trump for partisan reasons now feel locked in to support him on race, and they are making themselves repellent.”
“It may someday be possible to reduce the influence of white identity politics, but probably not while Trump is in office. As long as he is in power the G.O.P. is a house viciously divided against itself, and cannot stand.”
Hillary Clinton will soon embark on a three-month book tour to promote her memoir What Happened. Said Clinton in a statement: “In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now, I’m letting my guard down.” Mike Allen: “And this time, she’ll go to Wisconsin.”
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 29, 2017
“The Trump administration has not decided whether it will accept aid from Mexico to help victims of the hurricane that has devastated swaths of Texas and overwhelmed emergency responders,” HuffPost reports.
“Asked if the Trump administration’s assessment is that there is no need for assistance from Mexico, the White House referred HuffPost to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which punted to the State Department, which directed questions back to FEMA.”
Trump addresses Hurricane Harvey victims in Corpus Christi: "what a crowd, what a turnout" https://t.co/fTaKZEzyEz
— Vox (@voxdotcom) August 29, 2017
What follows is the Trump pool report from the designated press pool that is following the President during his disaster visit to Texas.
“He stood on a raised platform of some type. Couldn’t tell if it was a step ladder or not. But he was not on a truck. Spoke into a microphone. “I love you, you are special, we’re here to take care of you. It’s going well.”
“What a crowd, what a turnout.”
Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. The message was services are coming and Texans will be OK. “Texas can handle anything,” POTUS said. “We are going to get you back and operating immediately,” he told the crowd (this contradicts the “Long haul” Sen. John Cornyn has publicly discussed and the caveat from FEMA administrator long moments earlier that it’s going to be a slow process).
Twice in the last four days the White House put out official photo press releases featuring Trump in a hat his campaign is selling for $40 pic.twitter.com/HcsLMwdo2r
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) August 29, 2017
President Trump said that “the understaffing of the executive branch under his administration has been a conscious choice as part of a larger effort to shrink government, pushing back against conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who told Fox News that the federal government is short on manpower,” Politico reports.
Stan Collender: “In theory, providing funds for Hurricane Harvey relief should be quite easy. Fiscal 2018 begins on October 1 and some type of funding — either individual appropriations or a continuing resolution — will have to be enacted by then to avoid a government shutdown. In other words, there’s an almost must-pass-and-must-sign legislative vehicle already in the works that can be used for Hurricane Harvey and adding those funds should make the CR even easier to enact.”
“Except that’s not the case.”
“President Trump’s vow that he’ll veto the CR and shut down the government if money for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico isn’t included is still in effect. In fact, it’s noteworthy that he hasn’t yet withdrawn or modified that threat in the face of the Harvey-caused destruction.”
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 29, 2017
“In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean,” the AP reports. “The aggressive missile launch — likely the longest ever from North Korea — over the territory of a close U.S. ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.”
Richard Haass: “The fact that NK took the provocative step of launching a missile over Japan raises the possibility that it cannot be assumed to act responsibly vis-a-vis anyone, including ourselves. Such an assumption is essential if we are to place our faith in deterrence. If we cannot make such an assumption, and if arms control fails to deliver, then a preventive strike becomes a serious option, notwithstanding its high risks and potential costs.”
Trump can't pardon his way out of the Russia investigation. 10 legal experts explain why. https://t.co/lT2Cr7574k
— Vox (@voxdotcom) August 29, 2017
Politico: “Just like that, the 2020 retail campaigning for president began right here in a strip-mall campaign headquarters Monday, when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed up for what he called ‘the most important race in the country.’”
“He was talking about the Manchester mayor’s election. Joyce Craig, the Democratic candidate, invited him to join her for an afternoon that also included a speech to the Manchester Young Democrats and a fundraiser. Garcetti worked the crowds, introduced himself as ‘Eric,’ and took a bumper sticker and put it on the back of the black SUV he was driving around in.”