Open Thread

The Open Thread for December 3, 2017

President Donald Trump in a tweet on Saturday said he fired his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because Flynn lied to the vice president — and the FBI.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump said in a midday tweet. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

The first part of the tweet immediately raised eyebrows. Why? Because it would suggest Trump knew more about Flynn’s lies than what he has said publicly. When Trump fired Flynn on February 13 he only said then it was because his Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. The Washington Post revealed the news that Flynn had lied to the FBI as well three days after he was fired.   But if Trump is now revealing that he knew Flynn lied to the FBI, a felony crime in and of itself, at the time of Flynn’s firing, on February 13; then that means he knew that on February 14, a day later, when he met with former FBI Director Jim Comey and ordered Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn.

And that means Trump has just admitted that he not only obstructed justice but he intended to obstruct justice.  The intent was the hard part to prove.  And Trump just provided all the evidence Mueller would ever need: The President’s own words.

“If that is true, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to fire Flynn?” asked Rep. Adam Schiff in a tweet. “Why did you fail to act until his lies were publicly exposed? And why did you pressure Director Comey to “let this go?”

Rep. Ted Lieu of California was even more direct and apparently couldn’t contain his shock, deciding to tweet using capital letters: “THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE,” he wrote.

Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, flat out said that any other president could have lost his job over the tweet. “Before we slipped into an alternate universe of unabashed corruption, this tweet alone might have ended a Presidential administration,” Shaub wrote.


“When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions,” the New York Times reports.

“But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.”


A new Washington Post-Schar School poll in Alabama finds Doug Jones (D) leading Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 47%. “The survey shows that allegations of improper sexual behavior against Moore, a former Alabama chief justice, hang heavily over a race that would favor a Republican under ordinary circumstances in this deeply conservative state.”



“In 2009, almost every Republican in Congress opposed a $787 billion stimulus plan in the midst of an economic crisis because they said it would cause a dangerous increase in the federal debt,” the New York Times reports.

Said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the time: “Yesterday the Senate cast one of the most expensive votes in history. Americans are wondering how we’re going to pay for all this.”

“Nine years later, during one of the longest economic expansions in American history, almost every Republican in Congress — including Mr. McConnell, now the majority leader — supports a tax plan that is projected to cause an even larger increase in the federal debt.”



Washington Post: “When Senate Republicans introduced their tax bill in mid-November, they faced competing interests: Some senators thought it wasn’t generous enough for working-class families. Others thought it didn’t deliver enough to business owners.”

“As Republicans moved closer to a final vote on the bill Friday night, they made several tweaks to the tax legislation. They announced more benefits for business owners, particularly wealthy ones, but they voted down a proposal by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to give low-income families a bigger tax break.”

“The disparate treatment underlined how the legislation — a massive rewrite of the individual and corporate tax code — has evolved since its first incarnation: What began as an effort that would favor wealthy individuals and corporations became, in many ways, even more tilted in their favor as the legislation made its way through the Senate.”


When Republicans vote for a bill that only 25% of Americans support, that tells you something about Republicans, not the 48 Democrats from Joe Manchin to Bernie Sanders who were united against it.  So whomever is criticizing the Democrats right now, when all rightful criticism should be pointed at Republicans, are idiots.  The bill is monstrously unpopular, and it will be hung on all the necks of every Republican in 2018.  That means the Democratic message against the bill worked.


David Ignatius: “At the center of this story is a mystery that will propel the rest of the inquiry: What was Trump so worried about that it made him deny contacts with Russia and denounce attempts to investigate those contacts? What was he afraid might emerge?

Was it the 30-year history of his dealings with Russian business and political leaders in his attempts to do big business deals, described in a recent column? Was it the help Russian operatives were offering in dishing dirt on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as documented in the email correspondence of Donald Trump Jr., and in Mueller’s plea agreement several weeks ago with campaign aide George Papadopoulos?

What was Trump afraid of? Week by week, more pieces of this puzzle emerge.”


Notice how Trump is having a lot of sleepless tweetfilled nights recently.  I wonder what is keeping the President awake at night.


Washington Examiner: “Wealthy Republican donors in the Northeast are closing their wallets, livid with the party for supporting a federal tax overhaul that penalizes their lifestyle and, in their view, abandons core tenets of conservative fiscal policy.

In gruff phone calls and angry emails, loyal GOP financiers have declined invitations to fundraisers and refused meetings with prominent Republican officials. The rejection has been especially acute in New York, a liberal bastion, but a major source of the party’s campaign cash.”


Trump hits his record-low approval and record-high disapproval again with Gallup. 33% Approve, 62% Disapprove


Lawrence Lessig sees some common ground among voters in a 2016 University of Maryland poll.

“Ninety-two percent of Americans (95 percent of Republicans/89 percent of Democrats) believe “the government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.”…Further, 85 percent (87 percent-R/84 percent-D) believe Congress “does not serve the common good” and 89 percent (89 percent-R/90 percent-D) believe “corporations and their lobbyists have too much influence.” Finally, 91 percent believe “big campaign donors have too much influence.” (90 percent-R/91 percent-D).

No statistician could look at those numbers and see any difference between Republicans and Democrats here. We do not have a government that represents us. On this, we are all essentially agreed…This unity might suggest hope. There is common ground to build upon. But the dynamics of American politics makes that building incredibly difficult.” Lessig names some candidates, including Beto O’Roark in Texas (challenging Ted Cruz for Senate) and Illinois gubernatorial candidate Daniel Bliss, who are ready to help lead the way to reforms that will check the power of monied lobbyists.”



Celeste Katz has a Newsweek profile of Randy Bryce, who is running to upset Speaker Paul Ryan in his Wisconsin congressional district. Entitled “Is Ironstache the New Bernie Sanders? Meet the Ironworker who wants to Bring White People Back to the Democratic Party,” Katz notes “While Bryce is a longshot candidate—the district is heavily Republican and preferred Trump by about 10 points last fall—Democratic Party leaders and operatives are now seeking to replicate his brand of bootstrap pragmatism and Heartland patriotism…On the trail, Bryce can talk not only about working with his hands, but about serving in the military. Fighting cancer. Caring for sick parents. Filing for bankruptcy. Being a single dad. (As one Entertainment Weekly wag put it, Bryce was “genetically engineered from Bruce Springsteen songs.” In the same vein, a strategist joked to Newsweek that Ward, the former Marine running in Virginia, “was basically created in a lab for other white men” who could potentially vote Democratic.)




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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for December 3, 2017

  1. This “fiscal conservative” lie can no longer be tolerated:

    “On the Senate floor Thursday, while arguing that the $1.5 trillion tax cuts bill that his committee has shepherded to the floor is good policy, Sen. Orrin Hatch said the nation can’t afford the Children’s Health Insurance Program unless other spending cuts are made.”

    Here are Hatch’s words:

    “But let me tell you something. We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. It has to be done the right way. But we—the reason CHIP is having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore. We just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.


    I happen to think CHIP has done a terrific job for people who really needed the help. I have taken the position around here my whole Senate service. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything. […]

    Unfortunately, the liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depend upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them. I’ve got to say I think it’s pretty hard to argue against these comments, because if you look it over, for decades now, we have been spending more than we have, building more and more federal programs, some of which are lousy, some of which are well intended, and some of which are actually good like the CHIP program.” [emphasis added]

    He’s talking about CHILDREN!

    The “deficit hawk” now has a spot next to the T-Rex in the Museum of Natural History. Actually, it should be placed next to the unicorn, since both are fictional creatures.

  2. There’s a special place in hell for Mormons.

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