“President Trump is learning a basic and painful lesson of Wall Street: Stocks also go down,” Politico reports.
“A global market sell-off accelerated Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging nearly 1,600 points at one point in roller-coaster afternoon trading. After a volatile session, the Dow ended down 1,175 points, or 4.6%, at 24,346. It was the largest ever single-day point drop for the Dow and it rattled both Wall Street and Washington, abruptly ending a remarkable period of placid markets where it often seemed the only direction was up.”
Financial Times: “A rout swept through European and Asian stock markets in the wake of the biggest sell-off on Wall Street in six years as a sudden burst of turmoil shattered the long period of calm.”
“Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath,” the New York Times reports.
“His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mr. Mueller as part of the investigation into possible ties between his associates and Russia’s election interference, and whether he obstructed justice.”
Wow. The budget deficit is abruptly soaring to levels not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis – levels that energized the Tea Party. The administration blandly blames the “fiscal outlook;” the bipartisan CBO says the new tax law cut revenue.
— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) February 4, 2018
Charlie Cook: “Republican hopes these days rest on two things. First, their deficit on the generic congressional ballot seems to have declined from 13 points in late December to about 5 points now… It’s plausible that passage of the tax-cut bill in December put a bit of starch in Republican voters’ shorts… The GOP’s second hope is that the economy will remain strong through the election and that at some point, President Trump and congressional Republicans will begin to get some credit for it.”
“But while these high hopes were emanating from last week’s Republican congressional retreat at The Greenbrier, data from individual races on both the district and statewide level reveal that the plight of Republicans actually appears to be even more difficult than it seemed last fall. This is particularly true with individual-race polling, but other indices such as candidate recruitment and campaign fundraising are sending ‘Danger, Will Robinson!’ messages. This is particularly true in the House, where there are quite a few GOP incumbents in competitive and potentially competitive races who are not raising the kind of money they will need if there is much of a Democratic wave at all.”
Axios: “House seats held by Republicans generally have significantly lower foreign-born populations than those held by Democrats, a likely indication of why the two parties are so far apart on immigration — especially in the lower chamber.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 73% of Republicans agreed that “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize President Trump through politically motivated investigations.”
“The poll findings show the influence Trump wields among Republicans, who have long reserved some of their highest levels of trust for the country’s law enforcement agencies.”
Garrett Graff: “We speak about the ‘Mueller probe’ as a single entity, but it’s important to understand that there are no fewer than five (known) separate investigations under the broad umbrella of the special counsel’s office—some threads of these investigations may overlap or intersect, some may be completely free-standing, and some potential targets may be part of multiple threads. But it’s important to understand the different ‘buckets’ of Mueller’s probe.”
“Right now, we know it involves at least five separate investigative angles.”
"The nonwhite share of the Democratic vote rose from 7 percent in the 1950s to 44 percent in 2012. Republican voters, by contrast, were still nearly 90 percent white into the 2000s."
This is a huge, underrated cause of our rising political polarization.https://t.co/rzl67E3U4l
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) February 5, 2018
“Before joining the Trump administration, the White House principal deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, called President Donald Trump ‘a deplorable’ and referred to the release of the Access Hollywood tape as ‘some justice.’” according to private messages independently obtained and verified by New York magazine.
“Shah, who worked at the Republican National Committee during the 2016 election, also asked an RNC colleague to dig up an old video clip of Trump that shortly afterward showed up in a Jeb Bush commercial.”
“The House Intelligence Committee voted to make public a classified Democratic memorandum rebutting Republican claims that the F.B.I. and the Justice Department had abused their powers to wiretap a former Trump campaign official, setting up a possible clash with President Trump,” the New York Times reports.
“The vote gives Mr. Trump five days to review the Democratic memo and determine whether he will try to block its release. A decision to stop it could lead to an ugly standoff between the president, his top law enforcement and intelligence advisers and Democrats on Capitol Hill.”
Meanwhile, “Republican leaders are acknowledging that the FBI disclosed the political origins of a private dossier the bureau cited in an application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, undermining a controversial GOP memo released Friday and fueling Democratic demands to declassify more information about the bureau’s actions,” Politico reports.
Could a stock market decline tank Trump’s approval rating? https://t.co/M8uZC6Fjis
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 5, 2018
Former Rep. Michele Bachmannn (R-MN) told a radio host show that after much prayer, she has decided that God does not, in fact, want her to make a bid for U.S. Senate.
Said Bachmann: “I considered it for quite a long time. From the very first day when Al Franken had announced his resignation from the U.S. Senate, I went before the Lord and it became very clear to me that I wasn’t hearing any call from God to do this.”
Josh Marshall thinks that Devin Nunes is coordinating with the White House and makes a pretty good guess about who he’s probably working with. “You don’t need to look long to find the probable point of contact between Nunes and the White House. Michael Ellis is Senior Associate White House Counsel, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Council Legal Advisor. He’s an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve. Before he went to work at the White House Counsel’s office he served as Nunes’ General Counsel on the House Intelligence Committee.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) February 6, 2018
“The New York Times notified the Justice Department on Monday that it is asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to unseal secret documents related to the wiretapping of Carter Page, the onetime Trump campaign adviser at the center of a disputed memo written by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee,” the New York Times reports.
“The motion is unusual. No such wiretapping application materials apparently have become public since Congress first enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978.”
“But President Trump lowered the shield of secrecy surrounding such materials on Friday by declassifying the Republican memo about Mr. Page, after finding that the public interest in disclosing its contents outweighed any need to protect the information. Because Mr. Trump did so, the Times argues, there is no longer a justification ‘for the Page warrant orders and application materials to be withheld in their entirety,’ and ‘disclosure would serve the public interest.’”
“Shall we can that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.” — President Trump, at a speech in Ohio, calling out Democrats who did not applaud at this State of the Union.
The President of the United States calls his political opponents treasonous for not clapping enough during his State of the Union speech. This is the same person who had his campaign conspire with America’s greatest enemy to win an election. This is the same person who, by his official actions, is protecting America’s greatest enemy from any retaliatory consequence from that enemy’s attack on America. Donald Trump is the traitor and we all cannot wait to see him literally hang for it.
“The Supreme Court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to delay redrawing congressional lines, meaning the 2018 elections in the state probably will be held in districts far more favorable to Democrats,” the Washington Post reports.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt called Donald Trump an “empty vessel” on the Constitution and rule of law in a February 2016 interview with a local Oklahoma radio show, CNN reports.
Said Pruitt: “I think he’s an empty vessel when it comes to things like the Constitution and rule of law. I’m very concerned that perhaps if he’s in the White House, that there may be a very blunt instrument as the voice of the Constitution.”
Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes: “We have both spent our professional careers strenuously avoiding partisanship in our writing and thinking. We have both done work that is, in different ways, ideologically eclectic, and that has—over a long period of time—cast us as not merely nonpartisans but antipartisans. Temperamentally, we agree with the late Christopher Hitchens: Partisanship makes you stupid. We are the kind of voters who political scientists say barely exist—true independents who scour candidates’ records in order to base our votes on individual merit, not party brand.”
“This, then, is the article we thought we would never write: a frank statement that a certain form of partisanship is now a moral necessity. The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates.”
“We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to do as Toren Beasley did: vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former).”
Charles Blow: “Donald Trump will destroy this entire country — its institutions and its safeguards, the rule of law and the customs of civility, the concept of truth and the inviolable nature of valor — to protect his own skin.”
“We are not dealing with a normal person here, let alone a normal president.”
“This is a damaged man, a man who has always lived in his own reality and played by his own rules. When the truth didn’t suit him, he simply, with a devilish ease, invented an alternate reality. There were no hard and fast absolutes in his realm of rubber. Everything was malleable, and he had an abundance of gall and a deficit of integrity to push everything until it bent.”