Open Thread

The Open Thread for March 18, 2018

“Andrew McCabe — the former FBI deputy director just fired by the attorney general — kept personal memos regarding President Donald Trump,” the AP reports. “[T]he memos are similar to the ones maintained by former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last May.  Comey’s series of notes detailed interactions with Trump that Comey said unnerved him.”

Axios reports that McCabe has met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and has turned over memos detailing interactions with President Trump.  “McCabe’s interview with Mueller’s prosecutors apparently included what he knows about former FBI director James Comey’s firing. The memos include corroboration by McCabe of Comey’s account of his own firing by Trump.”

“Any obstruction of justice argument would center on Trump’s firing of Comey. McCabe has signaled that he will be corroborating Comey’s account, and with contemporaneous, detailed notes.”

Jeffrey Toobin: “If you wanted to tell the story of an entire Presidency in a single tweet, you could try the one that President Trump posted after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the F.B.I., on Friday night.”

“Every sentence is a lie. Every sentence violates norms established by Presidents of both parties. Every sentence displays the pettiness and the vindictiveness of a man unsuited to the job he holds.”

“Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, on Twitter, responding to a tweet from President Trump.

President Trump’s lawyer “called on the Justice Department to immediately shut down the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, in the wake of the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe,” the Washington Post reports.

“Attorney John Dowd said in a statement that the investigation, now led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, was fatally flawed early on and ‘corrupted’ by political bias.”

Said Dowd: “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

“This is 5-alarm fire. We simply just can’t dismiss the election on Tuesday to local events… It’s about these larger issues of this toxic political environment we find ourselves in.” — Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), on CNN.

Facebook issued a statement: “We are suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories, including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook. Given the public prominence of this organization, we want to take a moment to explain how we came to this decision and why.”

Axios: “Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with the Trump campaign leading up to the 2016 election, claimed to have developed personality profiles on every American — but it’s unclear where that data came from. It has become a focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Robert Mueller’s probe.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan tore into President Donald Trump on Saturday for celebrating the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.  Brennan: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

David Kurtz: ““I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey,” McCabe alleged.  Think about that for a moment. The former No. 2 at the FBI is suggesting the President of the United States improperly fired the FBI director and then endeavored to discredit his top deputy, a key witness to that wrongdoing, in a conspiracy that culminated with the deputy’s firing by the attorney general of the United States.

If that doesn’t take your breath away …

Whether McCabe lacked candor or otherwise committed a firing offense, the Justice Department is in a shambles 14 months into the Trump presidency, with no end in sight.”

Joshua Mound on how Democrats can win both the “missing Obama millions” and the Obama-to-Trump voters.  “The belief underlying Hillary Clinton’s electoral strategy was that she was free to court white suburban moderates because Trump’s racism would translate into high support and turnout from African Americans and Latinos. But the election results proved otherwise. For decades, the Democratic Party has taken black voters—and voters of color, more broadly—forgrantedbelieving that they had nowhere else to go. But as 2016 showed, they did have somewhere else to go: home. …

The white voters for whom racism trumps all are lost to Democrats. So there’s no sense, morally or politically, in the Democrats’ returning to Sister Souljah–style racial pandering to whites. But by combining racial and cultural progressivism with an economic platform that’s equal parts Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter, Democrats can turn out Obama voters who stayed home in 2016 and win back some Obama-Trump voters.”

Jason Sattler tells Democrats to get angry at Trump and the GOP, not our own candidates.  “If Democrats believe the more fevered warnings they’ve been making — that Trump is a historic threat to democracy, that the GOP Congress is more interested in obstructing justice for him than investigating him, that two more years of this will fry what’s left of our nerve endings — the upcoming elections aren’t just elections. They are a national emergency: the only possible way to put a keen eye on corruption, the Census and foreign intrusion in our elections.

That isn’t to say Democrats shouldn’t make demands on their candidates and run competitive primaries. There are more than 110 GOP-held districts that are more Democratic than Pennsylvania’s 18th. Few nominees will triangulate to the degree Lamb has. But in a historic crisis such as what we face now, differences of opinion shouldn’t be read as differences of principle. And true anger needs to end up focusing on defeating Republicans whenever there’s a chance to defeat Republicans.”

Lee Drutman, Larry Diamond and Joe Goldman wonder if Trump is giving authoritarianism a bad name.  “But a year into the Trump administration, Americans are rejecting authoritarian alternatives to democracy. In a new survey by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, we found that the percentage of Americans who expressed support for a “strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with elections or Congress” fell to levels not seen since the mid-1990s. In particular, young people overwhelmingly reject authoritarian rule, despite concerns about a rising generation retreating from democracy (raised most prominently by Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk).

Mr. Trump is almost certainly giving authoritarianism a bad name. Support for authoritarian rule declined most among Democrats and young people, while significantly increasing among Republicans.  So when it comes to American authoritarianism, perhaps the problem isn’t so much Mr. Trump as it is hyper-partisanship.”

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

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