“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.”
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 26, 2018
“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.”
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) January 25, 2018
“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.”
Retiring Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent told fellow GOP members of Congress they should “cease and desist” with their conspiracy theories about the FBI and a secret society. https://t.co/pR7a2ipftr
— Roll Call (@rollcall) January 26, 2018
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.”
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).
Republican Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection amid a furor over his use of taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim lodged by an aide, and the national response to his describing the woman as his “soul mate,” Philly Inquirer reports. https://t.co/QBHPsTZZ98
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 26, 2018
“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.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 25, 2018
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.”
Let's be clear about what's happening right now.
On multiple fronts, it has fallen to Dems to defend the basic workings of our government against GOP efforts to pervert and manipulate them, all to shield Trump from accountability.
My new post:https://t.co/X8GrFbuEc3
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 25, 2018
“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.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) January 25, 2018
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.”