Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 25, 2017

Paul Waldman: “We should be clear that this news is not definitive proof that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller. It may mean only that he is in the process of negotiating a deal to avoid prosecution, and that deal might or might not involve giving information on other figures in the investigation. But if Flynn is indeed cooperating, Trump is in big trouble.”

“That’s because if Flynn is cooperating, it can only be because he has information to offer Mueller on someone more important than himself. That’s how it works. And who is more important than Flynn? Only a very small number of people. Among those implicated in this whole affair, that group may consist of Jared Kushner and Trump, and that’s about it.”

“Which means we may be getting closer to answering a question I’ve been asking for a long time: Why was President Trump so intensely focused on protecting Michael Flynn?”

Preet Bhahara: “If you’re dead to rights, flipping on others and cooperating with the prosecution is the only sane and rational move. Also, prosecutors accept cooperation only if you can provide ‘substantial assistance.’ Higher up in the food chain.”

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Politico: “Pressure is mounting on congressional leaders to release the names of lawmakers who have secretly settled sexual harassment claims at taxpayer expense — a move that some members of Congress are loath to make. President Donald Trump told reporters this week that he believes Congress should disclose the settlements.”

“A handful of House members from both parties are calling on Republican leadership to do the same. And Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) proposed legislation Wednesday that would mandate public disclosure of sexual harassment settlements — and ban Congress from footing the bill for such deals in the future. Within a few hours of introducing his bill, DeSantis had been contacted by several Republican and Democratic lawmakers asking to sign on.”

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Politico: “The GOP has yet to resolve an internal clash over whether expiring tax cuts will really expire, potentially threatening the party’s push for a desperately-needed legislative achievement. On one side are the White House and top congressional Republicans, who argue that ultimately all the tax cuts in their plan will be extended, even the ones slated to lapse. But that’s exactly what the party’s small, but mighty, bloc of deficit hawks is afraid of.”

“And as the Senate steams toward a vote next week on its massive tax overhaul, the fight over the bill’s true sticker price may be the deciding factor for the bill. It was bad enough, in the deficit hawks’ view, that key provisions in the House bill expire in five years and that lawmakers already assume they’ll get extended. But their concerns multiplied after the revised Senate GOP tax plan proposed winding down a host of popular tax cuts for individuals after 2025. The tax cuts were made temporary to trim the official cost of the bill, but deficit hawks fear Congress will simply extend them — further adding to the government’s red ink.”

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Joan Walsh at The Nation: “Trump, accused of sexual abuse by 16 women and elected president anyway, endorsed a far-right Republican who’s been accused by nine women. Of course he did. Both men deny the charges against them. Trump never accepted the increasingly common belief that we need to at least listen to these women. He depicted his accusers as crazy, or too ugly for him to have assaulted; he threatened to sue them (and of course he did not). If he came out and said he “believed” Moore’s nine accusers, he’d be opening himself to questions about how all 16 of his own accusers could be lying.

Also, he has no conscience.

In a typically herky-jerky joust with the media, Trump said he does not believe the women who’ve come forward to say Moore preyed on them as teenagers (or the police and retail and security workers who said Moore was banned at the local mall for hitting on high-school girls). “If you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it,” Trump said. “He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.”

There’s a new GOP slogan: “Listen to the predators.””

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray “appointed the agency’s chief of staff, Leandra English, as the CFPB’s deputy director, establishing her as his successor when he steps down at the end of the day,” Politico reports.

“The move appears designed to thwart any move by President Donald Trump to name another temporary official to head the controversial agency… Trump will likely now have to nominate someone who must be confirmed by the Senate before he can oust English.”

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LOL. He is such a pathetic little insecure child. I call bullshit.

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“Days ahead of what should be a major moment for Ivanka Trump on the world stage, CNN has learned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a high-level delegation to support her amid reports of tensions between Tillerson and the White House.”

“A source close to the White House speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the thinner-than-past-years State Department delegation was absolutely being perceived and felt — by several key people there — as a snub, and that Tillerson’s management style and extremely tight inner circle have rubbed some in the administration the wrong way.”

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Martin Longman: “Michael Flynn has so much criminal exposure it’s almost ridiculous, including things as potentially serious as conspiracy to kidnap, perjury, and obstruction of justice. He has to worry about those charges, plus a long list of problems with disclosure forms involving his lobbying work, background checks, and compliance with military rules and regulations. And he’s reportedly worried that his son will wind up with a lengthy jail term, as well. To significantly reduce all that exposure, he’s going to have to tell a pretty compelling story to Robert Mueller’s prosecutors.

It’s true that plea negotiations could still break down, but they’ve almost certainly begun. The chances are now very high that Flynn will be testifying against the president of the United States and that his testimony will be the basis for a criminal referral of some sort to Congress from the office of the special counsel.

This also has to be of concern to Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, because they’re missing the chance to be the first cooperating witnesses, and are therefore losing the opportunity to reduce the amount of time they’ll be spending in prison.

The floodgates could now open, but even if they don’t it’s beginning to look like a worst-case scenario for Trump. It would be hard enough to try to explain why he fired an FBI director for refusing to drop an investigation of a man now facing a dozen or more indictments. But if that man becomes the star witness against Trump, it will be impossible to defend against the central obstruction of justice charge.”

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health care crisis is looming in the states, thanks to Congressional Republicans.

“Officials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that a crucial health insurance program for low-income children is running out of money for the first time since its creation two decades ago, putting coverage for many at risk by the end of the year.

Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for CHIP, as the Children’s Health Insurance Program is known. Nearly 9 million youngsters and 370,000 pregnant women nationwide receive care because of it.

Many states have enough money to keep their individual programs afloat for at least a few months, but five could run out in late December if lawmakers do not act. Others will start to exhaust resources the following month.”

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Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight.com: “A Change Research survey released Thursday found Democrat Doug Jones leading Republican Roy Moore 46 percent to 43 percent ahead of Alabama’s special Senate election on Dec. 12. The survey is just one of many to show that the allegations of child molestation and sexual misconduct against Moore have really eroded his support. Not only that, but the first few polls released after the allegations became public on Nov. 9 may have understated his problems. He seems to have fallen even further since then.

The average of surveys fielded after the first accusations shows the race exactly tied.  […] Let’s take a look at the three pollsters — Change ResearchGravis Marketingand Strategy Research — that conducted at least two surveys after the allegations. Change Research’s first post-allegations poll, conducted Nov. 9-11, had Moore at +4 points. As we noted above, its Nov. 15-16 survey had Jones at +3. Gravis Marketing showed an identical 7-point shift toward Jones, going from Moore +2 on Nov. 10 to Jones +5 in its Nov. 14-15 poll. Strategy Research, meanwhile, went from Moore +6 in its poll ending on Nov. 13 to Moore +2 in its poll ending on Nov. 21.

If these later surveys in Alabama are a truer reflection of where the race stands, Jones may actually have an advantage. An average of Alabama polls conducted over the past week, for instance, gives Jones a 47 percent to 43.5 percent lead.”

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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for November 25, 2017

  1. Can’t wait for Mueller to spill Flynn’s beans. Be it Kushner or Trump, any will do. Am surprised that the government paid off sexual accusers of politicians, at some point the list or part of it will come out. Should be fun and I’ll bet surprising. Doug Jones seems to be beating the odds in Alabama, than again Moore is beyond pathetic as a candidate, waiving a gun around or not.(and the stupid hat gets me as well). As for “Tax Reform” it’s looking more and more like a national version of the failed Kansas “Experiment” of huge tax cuts for business coupled with the 40 year old lie that the economy would boom as a result. It never did, it never will and just like Kansas government services are already being ravaged to pay for it. Failure to act on SNAP is just the beginning.

    • cassandram

      I’m not surprised they paid out on sexual harassment charges and not surprised that they have conspired to keep the payouts secret. They should make the list of those accused know and how much was paid out. And start getting rid of those who they had to make settlements for.

      • It surprised me because it’s a guaranteed jaw dropper for most Americans, surprised it has remained hidden.

  2. I’ve never supported term limits, but Conyers is a good argument for a mandatory retirement age.

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