The Open Thread for January 26, 2018

“President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive,” the New York Times reports.

“The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.”

“President Trump’s immigration proposal to Congress will include a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants… more than twice the number of ‘dreamers’ who were enrolled in a deferred action program Trump terminated last fall,” the Washington Post reports. “The figure represents a significant concession to Democrats but is likely to produce sharp blowback among conservative Republicans.”

“Trump’s plan… also includes a $25 billion ‘trust fund’ for a border wall and additional security upgrades on both the southwest and northern U.S. borders. And the president will propose significant curbs to legal immigration channels, restricting the ability of U.S. citizens to petition for visas only for spouses and minor children and ending categories for parents and siblings. Both of those provisions are likely to engender fierce objections among liberal Democrats.”

The New York Times reports White House officials called the plan “extremely generous” but also a “take-it-or-leave-it proposal” by the president.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “blasted the idea of giving young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, a day after President Trump said he was open to the idea as part of immigration legislation being negotiated in Congress,” Bloomberg reports.  Said Cruz: “I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally. Doing so is inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us.”

“John Dowd, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, told the Daily Beast on Wednesday he will be the one to decide whether or not Trump sits down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. Dowd also said he hasn’t made any decision on whether or not an interview will happen.”  “Dowd noted that the president will only talk to Mueller if his legal team advises him to do so.”

LOL, Dowd.   If you don’t agree to an interview, then a Grand Jury Subpoena comes to your door.  Refuse that, and then the President is in contempt and will be jailed until he complies.

Special counsel Robert Mueller “is moving at a far faster pace than previously known and appears to be wrapping up at least one key part of his investigation — whether President Trump obstructed justice,” Bloomberg reports. “Mueller has quietly moved closer to those around Trump by interviewing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey in recent weeks, officials said. His team has also interviewed CIA Director Mike Pompeo, NBC News reported.”

“Those high-level officials all have some degree of knowledge about events surrounding Trump’s decisions to fire Comey and Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser.”

Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Courtland Sykes (R) has ignited a social media firestorm with a Facebook post in which he calls feminists “she devils” and expounds on how he wants his wife to cook his dinner, the Kansas City Star reports.  Sykes wrote that he rejects “radical feminism’s crazed definition of modern womanhood” and that he wants daughters who will be homemakers rather than “career obsessed banshees” or “nailbiting manophobic feminist she devils.”

Courtland wrote, “I want to come home to a home cooked dinner every night at six.” He expects Chanel to oblige, further stating that it had better be “one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives.”

Matt Bai: “Senate Democrats are right to worry that another shutdown might get in the way of that goal. Up to now, absent this shutdown business, Democrats have been looking at a midterm election cycle so promising that even Vladimir Putin couldn’t find a way to rig it.”

“But the longer this standoff looms, the more likely it is that the midterms will become all about immigration. And here the math isn’t nearly so favorable for Democrats, who champion immigration generally but rarely talk about the legitimate anxieties arising from porous borders.”

Timothy O’Brien writes about how he was sued by Donald Trump for libel in 2006 for a biography called TrumpNation and witnessed the future president testifying under oath:

Trump ultimately had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years about all sorts of stuff: how much of a big Manhattan real estate project he owned; the price of one of his golf club memberships; the size of the Trump Organization; his wealth; his speaking fees; how many condos he had sold; his debts, and whether he borrowed money from his family to avoid going personally bankrupt. He also lied during the deposition about his business dealings with career criminals.

Trump’s poor performance stemmed in part from the fact that he was being interrogated by shrewd attorneys wielding his own business and financial records against him. But there were lots of other things that went wrong as well.

Trump is impatient and has never been an avid or dedicated reader. That’s OK if you’d rather play golf, but it’s not OK when you need to absorb abundant or complex details. Lawyers typically prepare binders full of documents for their clients to pore over prior to a deposition, hoping to steel them for an intense grilling. My lawyers did that prior to my own deposition in the Trump lawsuit. But Trump didn’t appear to be well prepared when we deposed him, a weakness that my lawyers exploited (and that Mueller surely would as well).

“The left-leaning ballot access group iVote will spend at least $5 million across swing states to elect Democratic secretaries of state — the latest front in the ‘voting wars’ that Democrats worried they have been losing,” the Washington Post reports. The states targeted: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. Only one of those states, New Mexico, has a Democratic secretary of state.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “convened his top political advisers in Washington on Saturday for a planning meeting that included a discussion of the feasibility and shape of a possible 2020 presidential campaign,” Politico reports.  “The Democratic socialist’s response to the series of presentations, according to multiple Democrats: I haven’t yet made a decision about 2020, but I still think beating Donald Trump is the most important thing for this country. And I want to be ready if I do decide to run.”

“A ‘draft’ campaign aimed at encouraging former Vice President Joe Biden to run for president could soon open a field office in Iowa, almost two years in advance of the 2020 Iowa caucuses,” the Des Moines Register reports.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is considering a second run for president in 2020 to take on President Trump, according to the Israel newspaper Maariv.

No.  No.  No.  No to all three.  Too old.   All three have LOST Presidential elections.  One has done it twice.  One is not even a Democrat.   No.  Someone under the age of a gazillion please.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “plans to release transcripts of its interviews with President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and others who participated in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer allegedly promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton,” the Washington Post reports.  In a recent Politico interview, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) predicted the Trump Jr. transcript would be “explosive” if released.

The Doomsday Clock is now two minutes to midnight, the closest it’s been to midnight since 1953. “The Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists assesses that the world is not only more dangerous now than it was a year ago; it is as threatening as it has been since World War II… To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger — and its immediacy.”

“A document that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s attorneys appear to have accidentally filed in court Wednesday suggests that federal investigators had an informant inside Manafort’s consulting firm who provided information about his financial dealings,” Politico reports.

This is a must read and a “must play with” interactive feature.

David Wasserman: “It’s easy for opponents of gerrymandering — the drawing of political boundaries for the benefit of one party or group over another — to argue what districts shouldn’t look like. All they have to do is ridicule the absurdity of the most bizarre patchworks ever woven to elect members of Congress.”

“But it’s much more difficult to say what districts should look like, because reformers can disagree on what priorities should govern our political cartography. Should districts be drawn to be more compact? More conducive to competitive elections? More inclusive of underrepresented racial groups? Should they yield a mix of Democratic and Republican representatives that better matches the political makeup of a state? Could they even be drawn at random? These concepts can be difficult to define and often stand in tension with one another.”

Wasserman hand-drew 2,568 new congressional districts for the entire country to illustrate the challenge.

“Republican senators are again talking up potential rule changes to make it easier for the chamber to move President Trump’s nominations, as well as spending legislation. But the necessary GOP unity  — much less broad bipartisan support — may prove elusive,” Roll Callreports.

“One idea being talked about by senators would curtail the need for the support of 60 senators to take up appropriations bills if there is bipartisan backing at the committee level. A second would reinstate a previous arrangement that reduced the amount of post-cloture debate time for most presidential nominations.”

“With only 51 Republicans in the chamber, it is far from clear that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could even muster the votes needed to advance any changes in precedent with only members of his own conference. But there is undoubtedly an appetite for some kind of change.”

Ryan Goodman: “If you direct your attention to the series of known cases when Trump officials have not told the truth to the F.B.I. and to Congress about Russian contacts, what emerges is a likely conspiracy on the part of Mr. Trump’s inner circle to mislead federal officials.”

“That’s where the stakes could not be much higher for the White House. Not only is it a crime to lie to federal authorities; it’s also a crime to encourage others to do so, whether or not they follow through with crossing the line of perjury.”

“We know that Trump campaign associates did not report to federal authorities their information about Russian efforts during the campaign, even after the F.B.I. urged Mr. Trump and his aides to alert the agency to any suspicious overtures. Far worse are the numerous instances in which Trump campaign officials either lied to federal officials or came perilously close.”

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

29 comments on “The Open Thread for January 26, 2018

  1. I don’t think there is a wide ranging appetite for what Mueller is doing right now. It’s obvious that it’s purely political, and with economic growth and unemployment numbers looking good, not to mention the record high stock market, there is just not the political atmosphere needed to keep this investigation moving forward.

    it’s also looking more and more likely that the previous administration colluded with the Clinton campaign, and eventually weaponized government processes in order to subvert the incoming administration…A big no, no, to say the least.

    We will probably never know what actually happened because deals will be made. Politicians aren’t interested in seeing people punished, there is no money in that. What they are interested in is capitulation. If you start seeing the current administration getting what it wants with little opposition, then you know a deal has probably been cut.

    I’ve been thinking about this, and although it doesn’t really sit right with me, I have come to realize that it is probably a good thing overall that top politicians are above or exempt from the law in the end.

    • “it is probably a good thing overall that top politicians are above or exempt from the law in the end.”

      Appreciate you sharing that one… I thought the piece about Missouri GOP Senate candidate Courtland Sykes would be the most ass-backwards, ignorant piece a **** I’d read today, but poor ol’ Courtland finishes in second to you.

    • That is completely nuts. Also, what Prop Joe and bamboozer said.

  2. And there’s your bull excrement of the day.

    • Instead of trying to destroy Trump’s character(Hillary ran on that and lost), maybe the Dems should offer up something more, like some good ideas possibly.

      • cassandram

        Yeah, well, this is Kimmel, not the Democrats and Kimmel is doing this for the entertainment. Which is what he gets paid for. Too bad your boy provides so very much of it,

        • Yeah, right. Just a little entertainment that happens to be on the night of the State of the Union. Kimmel, like 90% of media, is now just an extension of the Democratic Party.

          • Entertainment like bringing Bill Clinton’s accusers to a Presidential debate? You mean, like that?

  3. Sorry , but I don’t think having Loretta Lynch, or James Comey (not officially politicians, but are nonetheless), or Hillary go to jail, is good juju. Politics in this country is already divisive enough.

    • Interesting choice of names.

      Your entire first comment basically said, “Leave Trump alone! But let’s look at Obama colluding with Hillary to weaponize (lol!) the government to subvert poor Donny.” We see you.

      • I didn’t imply, “leave Trump alone”. I said there is no appetite for it politically speaking. Plus there was obviously no Russian collusion at any level or there would be charges already after over a year of investigations.. There seems to be mounting evidence against Comey, Lynch, and Hillary, and certain members of the FBI, though.

        • cassandram

          All of that mounting evidence is just on Fox News, which needs you to believe that American low enforcement is failing. It took two years from the break-in before Nixon got his. But since Mueller is already in plea talks with multiple actors, there is some there there.

    • cassandram

      Yeah, we see you. If you are doing the wrong thing you should be called out on it and pay your dues. The system shouldn’t give pols a pass. All that does is make sure that the political elite get to do what they want with no accountability. I get you have a soft spot for fascism, but most Americans do not.

  4. Right, I’m a fascist. Maybe you should look into what happens in countries where the rulers jail the opposition.

    • cassandram

      Perhaps you should take a look at countries that don’t rein in governments that are “above the law”.

  5. There is no “wide ranging appetite for what Mueller is doing”, because the idea that Russia could flip a US election is as plausible as the idea that “economic growth and unemployment numbers are looking good,”.

    And “record high stock market” just means the leaches are getting fat, not that the patient is recovering.

    • Also, African American unemployment is at a record low, and those fat leaches that you speak of are going to start buying stuff.

      • cassandram

        Which means I get to point out now that the U6 number is still too high and even higher for African Americans.

      • The leaches are always “buying stuff”; …stuff like, politicians, real estate bubbles, stock bubbles, crypto-beanie baby bubbles. . Stuff that screws anyone who needs to work for a living.

    • I do agree with you about the plausibility of the Russians influencing the election… It’s absurd. I know the Russians didn’t influence my vote. How about you guys… pandora? cassandra? bamboozler? Prop Joe? Did the Russians influence your vote… Were you “hacked”?

  6. Of course the russians influenced you RSE, you are just too dumb to realize it.

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