Open Thread

The Open Thread for March 19, 2018

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned President Trump not to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Reuters reports.  Said Graham: “The only reason Mr. Mueller could ever be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller. I pledge to the American people as a Republican, to ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference.”  He added: “As I have said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation.”

Talking Points Memo:   “Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that, contrary to Trump’s earlier tweet, McCabe’s firing was a “horrible day of democracy” and that he expected to “see considerable pushback” from Congress in response to Trump’s “designs” on Robert Mueller.  “I don’t know what the designs are on Mueller, but it seems to be building toward that,” Flake said, after referencing “firings like this happening at the top from the President and the attorney general.”

“And I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t,” he said. “We can’t, in Congress, accept that.”  […] “Talking to my colleagues all along, it was, ‘Once he goes after Mueller, then we’ll take action.’ I think that people see that as a massive red line that can’t be crossed.”  “I would just hope that enough people would prevail on the President now: Don’t go there,” Flake added.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.  So he just fired McCabe for allegedly lying, but now we caught Sessions in his third lie under oath.  Throw the Keebler Elf in jail.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 50% of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40% want a GOP-controlled one.  “That double-digit lead — typically a sign of strong Democratic performance for the upcoming election — is up from the party’s 6-point edge in January’s NBC/WSJ poll, which was 49% to 43%, though the change is within the poll’s margin of error.”

Democrats have consistently polled better than Republicans on generic Congressional ballots for months. According to RealClearPolitics’ generic ballot polling average, Democrats lead by 7.9 points. In December, RealClearPolitics had them up by about 13 points, but signs point to potentially major gains. Vox’s Andrew Prokop last year laid out how RealClearPolitics’ polling average has played out in actual elections:

  • 2002: Republicans +1.7, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2004: Tied generic ballot, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2006: Democrats +11.5, wave flips House to Democrats
  • 2008: Democrats +9, wave further increases Democratic House majority
  • 2010: Republicans +9.4, wave flips House to Republicans
  • 2012: Republicans +0.2, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2014: Republicans +2.4, gains in Republican-controlled House during national GOP wave
  • 2016: Democrats +0.6, minor change in Republican-controlled House

“For the second straight day, President Trump was unrestrained in his commentary about Robert Mueller’ expanding investigation, which is probing not only Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible links to his campaign, but also whether the president has sought to obstruct justice,” the Washington Post reports.

Trump tweeted, “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added… does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”

New York Times: “The attack on Mr. Mueller, a longtime Republican who was appointed F.B.I. director under a Republican president, George W. Bush, followed a statement by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer published Saturday calling on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation. Together, the comments raised the question once again about whether the president might be seeking to lay the ground to try to fire Mr. Mueller.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) urged President Trump and his lawyer to stop flailing at special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and to let the probe continue unimpeded, Politico reports. Said Gowdy: “When you are innocent… act like it. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.”

“When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit,” the AP reports.  “But that’s exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid.”

“I hear so many Republican senators grumble about Trump’s ethics, about his name-calling. … At some point Republican enablers in the House and Senate are going to say publicly what they’ve been saying privately. And that’s when things change and we see a president back off this kind of name-calling, not telling the truth, sending out these tweets, all that.”  — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), on Meet the Press.

Ryan C. Brooks: “Democratic strategists argue that there is a cost to the “churn-and-burn” fundraising strategy that outweighs the extra dollars it brings in. The cost of the spammy, fear-based communications, they say, is depressed and alienated voters and the public impression of the Democratic Party as just another arm of a cynical, dishonest establishment…“I think the DCCC’s email strategy is a wasted opportunity for Democrats. They have this expansive email list that they could be using to cultivate and motivate voters to flip congressional seats in 2018,” said Laura Olin, a Democratic digital strategist who’s worked with a host of progressives including Barack Obama’s digital team….“The thing is that fundraising campaigns from Obama, Warren, and Bernie showed us that we don’t need to use those scare tactics to raise money, and those tactics don’t make us lose our values by being inclusive, engaging, and honest rather than being alarmist and misleading,” said [Democratic digital strategist Matthew] McGregor.”

Jefferson Morley: In a large-scale study Sean McElwee, a co-founder of Data for Progress, Jesse H. Rhodes and Brian F. Schaffner of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Bernard L. Fraga of Indiana University  “studied the ballots of 64,000 voters in 2012 and 2016 and came away with a key finding: The number of voters who cast a ballot for Obama in 2012 and did not vote in 2016, or voted for a third-party candidate, outnumbered those Obama voters who pulled the lever for Trump…The Obama voters who stayed home, while generally liberal, were significantly less liberal on four of five key policy questions than the loyal Democratic voters who voted for both Obama and Clinton. In other words, more liberal policy positions were not sufficient to lure them to the polling booth…What made the difference for these non-voters was personal contact, or the lack thereof….“Only 43 percent of Obama-to-nonvoters reported being contacted by a candidate in 2016, compared with 66 percent of Obama-to-Clinton voters,” the authors say.”

Michael Tackett reports that White Evangelical Women, Core Supporters of Trump, Begin Tiptoeing Away” at The New York Times. “While the men in the pulpits of evangelical churches remain among Mr. Trump’s most stalwart supporters, some of the women in the pews may be having second thoughts. As the White House fights to silence a pornographic actress claiming an affair with Mr. Trump, and a jailed Belarusian escort claims evidence against the American president, Mr. Trump’s hold on white evangelical women may be slipping…According to data from the Pew Research Center, support among white evangelical women in recent surveys has dropped about 13 percentage points, to 60 percent, compared with about a year ago. That is even greater than the eight-point drop among all women…“That change is statistically significant,” said Gregory A. Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, who also noted a nine-point drop among evangelical men. “Both groups have become less approving over time.”

New York Times: “In the past year, Mr. Pruitt has emerged as a hero to President Trump’s supporters for his hand in rolling back environmental rules at an agency long disliked by farmers, the fossil fuel industry and the far right. And he has occasionally shocked his employees by criticizing the very agency he heads.”

“Now, people close to Mr. Pruitt say he is using his perch as Mr. Trump’s deregulatory czar to position himself for further political prominence — starting with a run for office in his home state of Oklahoma. He is widely viewed as a future candidate for senator or governor there, and Mr. Pruitt has made it known that if the president replaces his beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, he would be ready to step into the job.”

“Behind the scenes, Mr. Pruitt has spent time with major political donors. Last year he met with Foster Friess, a Republican fund-raiser, and with investors connected to Sheldon Adelson, the party megadonor, according to meeting records obtained by The New York Times. He also met with Steven Chancellor, an Indiana coal executive and Republican fund-raiser.”

Ruth Marcus: “In the early months of the administration, at the behest of now-President Trump, who was furious over leaks from within the White House, senior White House staff members were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements vowing not to reveal confidential information and exposing them to damages for any violation. Some balked at first but, pressed by then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the White House Counsel’s Office, ultimately complied, concluding that the agreements would likely not be enforceable in any event.”

”Moreover, said the source, this confidentiality pledge would extend not only after an aide’s White House service but also beyond the Trump presidency.“

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

17 comments on “The Open Thread for March 19, 2018

  1. cassandram

    So I don’t think I would take any bets that the Senatorial GOP will live up to their saber rattling this weekend.

    Senate looking to rubber stamp Trump appointees.

  2. cassandram

    And they are targeting employees who are not complete loyalists. Trump Admin. Purging Civil Servants Suspected Of Disloyalty

  3. Heard it argued that Trump’s barrage of NDA’s is both unconstitutional and unenforceable, it it’s proven they’ll have to put Trump on a suicide watch. Expect Graham to weasel away from his statement about Trump, he’s retracted dozens of statements after getting yelled at. Anybody order Comey’s book? Will not buy it but can’t wait for it to hit the shelves. Finally I would love to see FB investigated, they’ve let the trolls and bots run wild and unimpeded, if they were smart they’d launch a major crackdown on the troll patrol before it gets that far.

    • cassandram

      The FB thing is really interesting — because it seems that they knew Cambridge Analytica was doing this, and there is no way that what they were doing wasn’t a violation of the TOS. I think I’d bet a big Class Action lawsuit will bubble up.

  4. So many words and nothing said. While most of what you said is complete MAGAT bullshit, i find the part where you don’t even know the circumstances that gave W His presidency particularly amusing. Ill let others pick apart the rest of your piss-pants little rant. The thing that came accross most strongly is fear. You know this ends with trump in prison and your ideology in tatters.
    Nice try at advanced thought though.

    • Neither a reader nor a responder to Anono be. Saves a lot of time.

  5. No… I take one part of that back…. The most amusing part is how you cast YOUR LEADER, the president of the united states, who’s party controls the entire damn federal government, as a victim. Peak white man, right there.

  6. cassandram

    First off, that is alot of BS trying to convince people that folks who haven’t either skills or aptitude for running government should be graded on a pretty damn serious curve. I will remind you that if Obama or his people had exhibited any of the corruption, the disdain for rule of law, the utter disregard for taxpayers, the sheer incompetence that the GRIFTUS seems to engage with, you would have slit your wrists by now. As it is, all you got is this sorry business of an excuse for why they can’t manage to be more corrupt than Nixon.

    Second, you need a proper citation for this article. A link showing where it came from is in order.

    Third, this looks to me like you cut and paste someone else’s work. That is against the effort we try to put into complying with Fair Use rules (is ANYONE seeing the irony here???). If you didn’t, you need to produce the link that proves Fair Use. If not, we moderate this post.

    Get cracking.

    • Are you kidding me, there is so much name calling and misuse on this site it’s unbelievable. You block people, just because they don’t think like the demo rats!

      • cassandram

        It’s Frank Gaffney people. One of the vectors of serious Muslimphobia on the right. So, Fair Use is a thing. Those of us who run this blog could have legal trouble for not following it. Figure out how to edit your comment to Fair Use or we’ll do it for you. And the only thing you are being victimized by is your ignorance of the rules. Much like your beloved GRIFTUS.

        • YOU, have the power to edit. It’s not an option, for others. So, be my guest! For all I care delete it!

          • Nah, we’ll just ridicule it like usual. Lots more fun that way.

          • cassandram

            It’s been moderated. Repost if you want in accordance with Fair Use.

      • Demo rats? In the same sentence you complain about name calling?

        Did I miss something? Who have we blocked? (btw, this is our house. There are rules.)

        This line from Gaffney’s (Gaffney! LOL!) article is priceless: “There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.” Funny how that example escapes the GOP’s standard lone wolf/mental health excuse.

        And fair use matters. I’ve contacted bloggers and journalists for permission to post their work in its entirety. Them’s the rules.

        • whining about name-calling while being a MAGAt is particularly hilarious. I dont know what they expected to accomplish by committing fragrant plagiarism, but it clearly hasnt gone as planned.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: