The Open Thread for April 18, 2018

The White House put further daylight between President Trump and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley as chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said she had gotten “ahead of the curve” in announcing new sanctions against Russia, the New York Times reports.  Said Kudlow: “She got ahead of the curve. She’s done a great job. She’s a very effective ambassador, but there might have been some momentary confusion about that.”

Bloomberg reports that Haley fired back at the criticism: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Haley should resign.  She now has no authority to speak for the administration.

Those of us who are not devotees to the Church of Bothsiderism like Chuck Todd have been aware of Fox News’ bad faith for 18 years now.

Fox News Channel says its management was unaware until it came out in court that host Sean Hannity shared a lawyer with President Trump, but that Hannity “continues to have our full support,” the AP reports.

Mike Allen: “Michael Cohen has spent his career making Donald Trump’s problems disappear. Now he’s the problem Trump can’t possibly make vanish.”

“Cohen, unlike Ivanka or the other kids, is the only person on earth intertwined in Trump’s professional, political, personal, legal and family life — the man with secrets few others hold. And, thanks to a court ruling yesterday, many of those secrets, reportedly recorded and emailed, are — or soon will be —in the hands of federal investigators.”

Said a former Trump campaign official: “The guys that know Trump best are the most worried. People are very, very worried. Because it’s Michael [effing] Cohen. Who knows what he’s done”

“A brewing fight between West Virginia GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship and national Republicans spilled into the open Monday when the coal baron compared Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell to Russians interfering in his state’s election,” Politico reports.

Said Blankenship” “McConnell should not be in the U.S. Senate, let alone be the Republican Majority Leader. He is a Swamp captain.”

He added: “The Russians and McConnell should both stop interfering with elections outside their jurisdictions. West Virginians are aware that McConnell cannot vote in their election. They want him to mind his own business and do his job. A job he has not done now for over 30 years. Balance the budget Mitch and stay out of West Virginia.”

“A leading Republican super PAC has booked nearly $50 million in midterm advertising to defend threatened suburban battlegrounds as part of a broader strategy to defend the party’s imperiled House majority,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC affiliated with outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced the advertising commitments on Tuesday, signaling more air cover was on the way as November draws near. The initial investment is directing $38 million in broadcast and cable television to 20 districts threatened with a Democratic takeover, with another $10 million in digital spots flowing to 30 targeted seats.”

Axios: “This is a huge ad spend for an outside group so early on in the election cycle, and the 50 districts targeted reveal which areas across the country that House Republican leadership are most concerned about come November. Most of the targeted districts align with the Cook Political Report’s “Republican Toss-Up” rating.”

“Senate Republican leaders are pressing ahead with plans for a floor vote on CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state as soon as next week, despite the prospect of his getting an unfavorable recommendation in committee,” Politico reports.

“After a confirmation hearing marked by contentious exchanges with Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) — one of 15 members of the minority who backed Pompeo to lead the CIA — became the fifth Democrat on the panel to announce he would vote no. Coupled with opposition from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), unified resistance to Pompeo from the committee’s 10 Democrats would deal him an unfavorable recommendation, but top Republicans are still vowing to ensure his confirmation.”

Wall Street Journal: “Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and Mr. Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of state, is in danger of receiving an unfavorable committee recommendation, over concerns that his past hawkish statements complicate his ability to conduct diplomacy. While the full Senate could still vote to confirm him, that would mark the first time in more than 70 years the chamber would have bypassed a committee to do so.”

“Gina Haspel, the nominee to lead the CIA and now the agency’s deputy director, is expected to face questions about her involvement in a post-9/11 interrogation program that detractors say amounted to torture. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said he would oppose her nomination over her role in the interrogation program, while Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.)—who was tortured while a prisoner of war in Vietnam—has asked for additional details about Ms. Haspel’s involvement. Several other Republicans have told The Wall Street Journal they have concerns about Ms. Haspel and haven’t decided whether to support her nomination.”

“Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change and his rising national profile — is angling to become the next House Democratic leader if Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats fall short,” Politico reports.

“Whether Democrats win the House majority or not, the affable Queens party boss and current Democratic Caucus chairman would have to first go through the party’s long-time septuagenarian leaders — Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn — who’ve shown no hurry to head for the exits. In fact, the three have already started sending strong signals that if Democrats take the House they’re prepared to beat back a younger generation clamoring for new leaders.”

HuffPost: “The House Ethics Committee was about to rule against Farenthold in its investigation into whether he sexually harassed members of his staff, used official money for campaign purposes and lied in previous testimony to the committee.”

“The committee gave Farenthold a heads-up about its coming decision… By stepping down, Farenthold was able to avoid whatever punishment the committee would have handed down.”

A new Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll in Pennsylvania finds Democrats lead Republicans on the generic ballot across the state, 47% to 38%.  Other key findings: 55% of Pennsylvania voters disapprove of President Trump’s performance, while 39% think he’s doing a good job.

Former Playboy Playmate Barbara Moore told the Daily Mail how President Trump “cheated on his pregnant fiancée Marla Maples – who later became his second wife – during a steamy six-month affair.”

“Moore met Trump three months after she became Playboy‘s Miss December centerfold – and claims the president was a ‘great lover’ and a true ‘gentleman’. The pair embarked on a passionate love affair which saw Moore spending time with the billionaire at Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower behind Maples’ back.”

Chicago Tribune: “On Monday night, Patti Blagojevich appeared on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ which airs on Fox — said to be Trump’s favorite news source. Carlson started the interview by asking her what ‘her pitch’ would be to the president for pardoning her husband.”

Said Blagojevich: “My husband is probably the only person in the entire history of the United States who is serving any kind of sentence for simply asking for campaign contributions.”

The disgraced governor was a contestant on Trump’s program “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010 as he faced charges that he tried to sell off President Obama’s Senate seat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “said he opposes a White House attempt to cancel billions of dollars in federal spending from last month’s 2018 appropriations bill, likely dooming the effort,” Bloombergreports.

President Trump’s campaign “paid more than $66,000 to the law firm that represents Keith Schiller, his former longtime bodyguard,” NBC News reports.

“Schiller, who left a White House job in September, testified to the House Intelligence Committee in November that someone made an offer to send five women to Trump’s hotel room in Moscow in the lead-up to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant…. Schiller painted the incident in a light favorable to Trump, saying he turned down the offer on Trump’s behalf, treated it as a joke and no women ever came, as far as he was aware.”

Schiller is also paid $15,000 a month by the Republican National Committee.

President Trump wanted to endorse House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan but is being advised not to back a candidate in the race, ABC News reports.

“A source close to the White House said Trump’s advisors are concerned that the endorsement could complicate the contest, and Trump’s future relationship with the next GOP leader should his preferred candidate lose or decide not to run.”

Francis Wilkinson: “Some civil war talk is likely a product of bothsidesism — the desire of pundits and reporters to find symmetry in increasingly asymmetrical political parties. Republicans have accommodated themselves to chaos and corruption so surely the Democrats must be ready to combust, too.”

“Except that the Democratic Party is not much like the Republican Party. As Lara Putnam and Theda Skocpol wrote in a much-discussed article about surging grassroots Democratic action in suburbs and small cities, sightings of a Democratic Tea Party, let alone a smash-everything Trumpist-style rampage, are largely chimerical. The movement against Trump is led by plenty of level-headed people, especially women.”

“The chaotic divider of America will remain a uniter of Democrats as long as he is in office. If there is a Democratic civil war to come, it is off in the distance — hopefully a brighter place — in which Trump and his coterie have met whatever fate awaits them.”

A new Triumph Campaigns poll in Mississippi finds Mike Espy (D) and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) neck and neck in the special election to replace Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), 33% to 33%. They are followed by Chris McDaniel (R) at 13% and Jason Shelton (D) at 6%.

The special election will not have party primaries and is likely to go to a runoff.

In head-to-head matchups, Hyde-Smith leads Espy, 42% to 36%, while Espy leads McDaniel, 43% to 24%.


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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for April 18, 2018

  1. Yep, let’s get more Democrats to ruin this state even more! Looking good, NOT!

  2. That’s all you have to say? How sad. You really don’t have anything to say, do you?

    • Why do YOU care? You don’t like Democrats anyway AND they can’t do any for you.

      • I care about intelligent discussion. I’m still trying to goad you into one. Don’t you have anything to say other than “Democrats bad?” If you don’t have anything to say, why do you insist on saying it? Do you really think you’re going to persuade anybody at a liberal/progressive blog by simply repeating over and over, “Democrats are bad!” I’m wondering what business you were in that takes so little brains or creativity to succeed at.

      • Also, about “doing something for me.” That’s not why I’m interested in politics. Good government is about doing something for everyone, not me personally. Perhaps that’s why you’re such a failure — you can only think in terms of what people can do for you.

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