The Open Thread for September 8, 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team “has approached the White House about interviewing staffers who were aboard Air Force One when the initial misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower was crafted,” CNN reports.

“The special counsel’s discussions with the White House are the latest indication that Mueller’s investigators are interested in the response to the Trump Tower meeting… Mueller’s questions could go to the issue of intent and possible efforts to conceal information during an obstruction of justice investigation.”

First Read: “What’s particularly striking about yesterday, however, is the reaction from GOP congressional leaders, as well as rank-and-file Republicans: They were livid, and they communicated that outrage to reporters. So what ultimately incensed them (at least publicly and so quickly) wasn’t Charlottesville, or Arpaio, or DACA – it was Trump agreeing to a three-month increase of the debt limit.”

“Then again, it’s not like Ryan, McConnell and other Republicans weren’t warned. Ever since Trump captured the GOP nomination in 2016, there have been three political parties in Washington – the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and Trump Party. And yesterday was the Trump Party flexing its muscles.”

James Hohmann: “Another key reason Republican leaders are mad: Trump has once again humiliated Paul Ryan.”

The damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey and the harm looming in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma prompted the Department of Homeland Security to cancel a series of nationwide raids targeting thousands of undocumented immigrants, NBC News reports. The series of raids were set to take place over five days beginning September 17th in what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was touting internally in an agency-wide memo as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE.”

Robert Dallek: “Eight months into Donald Trump’s presidency, it is impossible to imagine him unifying the country behind his leadership. To be sure, the issues today are vastly different from those Roosevelt faced. Indeed, the calmer waters Trump sails on as president—calmer by any measure, for all the challenges—should make the task easier. He inherited an economy that was in decent shape and a country that faced no existential threats from the outside, whatever the ongoing dangers posed by terrorism.”

“Instead, Trump offers a master class in how not to be president. He has deepened skepticism about his suitability for the highest office by raging at opponents, decrying the media as enemies of the American people, dismissing as disloyal those who are in any way critical, and offering distorted versions of reality on virtually every subject, starting with the claim that the first 100 days of his administration were the most successful in history. His ignorant and offhand approach to foreign policy—first and foremost, his seemingly deliberate attempts to weaken and even threaten NATO—has dismayed America’s allies and emboldened its enemies. A special counsel has been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the election, reminding Americans of the process that drove Richard Nixon from office.”

“Trump would do well to study Roosevelt and, surely, Lincoln, along with other presidents, to grasp how they sought (or failed to seek) broad popular unity. It says something fundamental about the man that no one imagines he would actually do this. The problem is not just that it would take work. The larger problem is that he has no interest in the goal.”

Stephen Bannon criticized the response of the Catholic Church to President Trump’s plan to end DACA after the decision was condemned as “reprehensible,” CBS News reports.

Said Bannon: “They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. That’s– it’s obvious on the face of it.”  He added: “I totally respect the pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”

Politico: “With Congress set to lift the debt ceiling into December as part of the deal, Trump floated the idea that the next time Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, it could be the last. He said conversations should happen over the next three months, according to people in the room.”

“Schumer said such a move could not be accomplished now, but indicated he would talk to his caucus about considering structural changes to the debt limit in December, a conversation Trump supported.”

Matt Bai: “Trump is not a guy who resents illegal immigration because it’s unsafe for the country and unfair to the hardworking, law-abiding immigrants who embrace our laws and ideals and who give up everything they’ve known for their children’s future. Trump is a guy who resents immigrants, period. He is a neo-nativist. His ‘America first’ actually means ‘Americans only.’”

“But Republicans, in particular, have a choice to make. They can hold firm to the traditional conservative argument, or they can allow their party to be transformed by Trumpism. They can stand up for our essential identity as a nation of immigrants, or they can blame outsiders for all that ails the society.”

“I think there’s going to be a rebellion against everybody, not just leadership. If we get to December and we’ve not repealed Obamacare, don’t build the wall… it’s not going to be pretty.” — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), quoted by Axios.

Mike Allen: “It’s now possible that Trump’s biggest legislative wins this year will be more spending and raising the debt cap — the exact opposite of what Tea Party Republicans came to D.C. to do.”

“This was a seminal moment for Republican congressional leaders. They left the Oval having watched the titular leader of their party side with Dems, right in front of them. They watched their carefully laid plans — using Harvey funding as leverage to push through a long-term debt ceiling extension — blow up in their faces.”

Said one GOP official: “He fucked us.”

Stan Collender: “There are two key and immediate implications. The first is that the wall is less likely to ever be funded. No matter how much Trump rants about it and bellows in the future, congressional leaders are almost certain to consider the wall to be much less important to the president than he’s saying. The wall is now more likely to be thrown in as a sweetener to get Trump to agree to something than considered a must-have element of any agreement.”

“The second is that congressional leaders are now more likely to be take all of Trump’s other wants with at least a grain (if not a whole shaker) of salt. Everything will be assumed to be totally negotiable.”

Politico: “In calls with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning, Trump raved about the positive news coverage it had received, according to people familiar with the calls, and he seemed very pleased with his decision. Trump specifically mentioned TV segments praising the deal and indicated he’d been watching in a call with Schumer, two people said. And he was jovial in a call with Pelosi and agreed to send a tweet she asked for about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, these people said, while also mentioning the attention the deal had gotten. He indicated to both leaders he would be willing to work together again.”

Said one person familiar with the calls: “He seemed super upbeat.”

“Several influential House conservatives are privately plotting ways to use the legislative calendar this fall to push their hard-line agenda — including quiet discussions about possibly mounting a leadership challenge to House Speaker Paul Ryan,” the Washington Post reports.

“The group has gone so far as to float the idea of recruiting former House speaker Newt Gingrich or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum as potential replacements for Ryan (R-Wis.) should there be a rebellion. The Constitution does not require that an elected member of the House serve as speaker.”

“While the chances that a non-House member could mount a credible threat to Ryan are exceedingly slim, the fact the group has even toyed with the idea underscores their desire to create trouble for GOP leaders if they believe their demands are not being addressed.”

“Donald Trump is presiding over a Republican Party that is divided over his presidency and the central issues that powered his successful 2016 campaign,” according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Key finding: “Republicans who voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 primary approve almost unanimously of the job he is doing as president, with some 98% backing him. But his approval rating among Republicans who voted for other primary candidates stands at 66%.”

“Asked how they felt about social changes of recent years that have made the U.S. more diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles, 63% of Trump primary voters said they were uneasy with the social changes, compared with 35% of Republicans who supported other GOP candidates in the primaries.”

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3 comments on “The Open Thread for September 8, 2017

  1. One of the dominant traits of today’s Republicans is the widespread assumption they will always be in power, closely followed by their fantasy that the majority of Americans approve of them and their increasingly far right goals. Notice Mark Meadows of the “Freedom Caucus” now threatens rebellion if they don’t get their way and the even more absurd proposal to replace Ryan with the fossilized Newt Gingrich. As ever there is no attempt what so ever to work with the Dems or even with each other. Combined with Trump it has upped the bar for dysfunctional government to dizzying new heights.

    Looks like Chuck N Nancy’s BFF is out to nullify the democrats again.

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