The Open Thread for January 27, 2018

President Trump “pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation,” Foreign Policy reports.

“In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, recently fired FBI Director James Comey disclosed that he spoke contemporaneously with other senior bureau officials about potentially improper efforts by the president to curtail the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

Renato Mariotti: “As we learned Thursday in the New York Times, there was indeed a need to protect Mueller back in June, when Trump ordered the firing of special counsel due to ‘conflicts of interest’ that were not actually conflicts and appear to be thinly veiled excuses to get rid of Mueller. Trump also considered firing Rosenstein and replacing him with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the No. 3 Justice Department official, so she could oversee Mueller. According to the Times, Trump has wavered for months about whether he wants to fire Mueller, which is an ‘omnipresent concern among his legal team and close aides.’”

“This is an important piece of evidence because it comes after Trump fired Comey and learned that he was under investigation for obstruction of justice. It should be easy for Mueller to prove that Trump read or viewed legal analysis discussing the possibility that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey. Trump’s desire to fire Mueller despite knowing that firing a law enforcement official overseeing the Russia investigation could raise obstruction concerns is strong evidence that Trump’s intent was to obstruct the investigation. The excuses offered by Trump also bolster Mueller’s case, because they indicate that the president realized that firing Mueller to impede the investigation would be perceived as wrongful.”

Mike Allen: “These actions were taken in office knowing the whole world is watching for a cover-up. It’s the ultimate unforced error — and reason many around Trump fear him testifying.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), a rising star in the Democratic Party, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, Politico reports.

“Kennedy is a closely watched member of the House Democratic Caucus, not only because of his famous last name, but for his future ambitions. Many Democrats expect Kennedy to follow in the footsteps of his elders and run for Senate when a seat opens in Massachusetts.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his office “have interviewed at least one member of Facebook’s team that was associated with President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign,” Wired reports.

“Facebook and other social platforms have emerged as a key part of that investigation, not only because the company embedded staff with the San Antonio-based digital team working on Trump’s campaign, but also because it sold more than 3,000 Facebook and Instagram ads to fake accounts linked to the Russian propaganda group Internet Research Agency.”

“Casino mogul Steve Wynn has no immediate plans to relinquish his role as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in the wake of reports detailing decades of alleged sexual misconduct,” the Washington Post reports.

“A report by the Wall Street Journal published Friday included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at Wynn’s casinos or been told of his behavior, including allegations that he pressured some employees to perform sex acts.”

Matthew Yglesias: “President Trump’s first non-Fox television interview in a long time, conducted with CNBC’s Joe Kernen from Davos, Switzerland, is in many respects weirdly devoid of substance. And much of the substance that’s there consists of misstatements of fact.”

“But lurking in that is an important insight: Trump is holding the office of president, but he’s not doing the job of president. He seems to have no real idea what’s going on, even with his own signature policy moves.”

“Listening to him talk is interesting from an entertainment perspective (he did once host a popular television show), but it conveys no information about the world, the American government, or the Trump administration’s policies. If Kernen wanted to help his viewers understand what’s going on, he’d have been better off interviewing someone else.”

NBC News a useful interactive timeline to help better understand the key details and players involved in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Washington Post: “There are two bills in Congress, both of which have some Republican support, that would protect Mueller from being fired by Trump. But neither bill has been seriously considered by leadership.”

“Up until this point, Republicans had given Trump the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t launch a constitutional crisis. From their perspective, why take action and cause a confrontation with the president (and jeopardize their agenda) if they don’t absolutely have to?”

“Now they may now have to.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “opposes the immigration framework released by the White House — a potentially fatal blow for the prospective legislation in the closely divided Senate,” Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “This plan flies in the face of what most Americans believe.”

Jonathan Swan: “The White House framework on immigration reform that leaked yesterday — then was released early — is a non-starter those on the left, having spoken to progressive immigration leaders in close touch with top Democrats.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) “warns that Republicans are in for a beating in the fall elections if congressional races focus on the rhetoric and character of President Trump,” USA Today reports.

“Bush lambasted Trump’s erratic leadership style, obsession with Twitter and ‘racist’ comments that could cost Republicans control of Congress in November if they can’t distance themselves from the former reality TV star.”

Said Bush: “If the election is nationalized and it’s not about the economy, then we’ll lose.”

NBC News: “After years of high-profile debates over a border wall and a path to citizenship, the biggest obstacle to a bipartisan deal on DACA is quickly becoming legal immigration, an issue where President Donald Trump has presided over a monumental shift in the GOP’s approach. Both sides have given ground elsewhere. A new proposal by the White House on Thursday would cede significant ground on ‘Dreamers,’ with a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people brought to the United States illegally as children. It also asks for $25 billion for a wall, which Democrats (at least briefly) had already suggested they would fund to a substantial degree.”

“On legal immigration, though, the proposal puts them miles apart. It reflects a fundamental and growing ideological divide between Democrats and many Republicans who view immigration as a net good and Trump and his allies, who have depicted immigrants as an unwanted burden and threatening presence. The White House is currently demanding that a deal on DACA recipients eliminate the diversity visa lottery — which issues 50,000 green cards a year in countries with few immigrants to the United States — along with family immigration categories for siblings and parents.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for January 27, 2018

  1. Joe Connor

    sooo Apparently Karma was the guest of honor at a recent “Retirement part” in The IC’s office. Karma is a beautiful thing:)

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