The Open Thread for April 24, 2018

“John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, chaired a nonprofit that has promoted misleading and false anti-Muslim news, some of which was amplified by a Russian troll factory,” an NBC News review found. “The group’s authors also appeared on Russian media, including Sputnik and RT News, criticizing mainstream European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron.”

Fox News: “Clinton is starring in the Republican Party’s 2018 midterm strategy. With no Democrat to attack in the White House for the first time in nearly a decade, Republicans are betting big that the ghost of Clinton will serve them well in 2018.”

“Even if she avoids the spotlight moving forward, the Republican Party plans to evoke her early and often in key congressional races, particularly in regions Trump won, which feature most of the midterm season’s competitive races.”

“Internal polling and focus groups conducted by Republican campaigns find that Clinton remains one of the most unpopular high-profile Democrats in the nation, second only to Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.”  Internal polling of the Republican base.   This type of tactic though may serve to further anger the Democratic, Independent and even Republican women who marched twice now into showing up at the polls.  To the right and the Bernie Left, Hillary is never running for anything ever again.  Find someone else to hate.

First Read: “Don’t bet on Democrats continuing their streak of special-election victories in districts/states Trump carried when Debbie Lesko (R) faces off against Hiral Tipirneni (D) on Tuesday in the race to replace former Rep. Trent Franks, (R-AZ).”

“But maybe the bigger story tomorrow, at least when it comes to judging if the political winds are still blowing at the Democrats’ backs, will be looking at the ultimate margin of Lesko vs. Tipirneni in this district Trump carried by 21 points in 2016. In the eight major contests of 2017 and 2018, Democrats have outperformed Hillary Clinton’s margin in these same districts/states by, on average, about 12 points… So Democrats keeping the race to single digits would match that average over-performance.”

Said the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman: “Really anything above ~41% in #AZ08 (R+13 PVI) would be consistent w/ Dems on track to win the House or a statewide AZ race.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity “is linked to a group of shell companies that have spent $90 million buying hundreds of homes across the U.S through the help of foreclosures and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development,” the Guardian reports.

Axios: “Some of the property purchases were financed utilizing mortgage assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development — and Hannity was a vocal supporter of Ben Carson to head the agency without disclosing that connection. These revelations surrounding Hannity’s property holdings highlight the ethical issues between his journalistic work and his personal entanglements with the Trump administration.”

Guess how much money in loans HUD helped him get?  $17.9 million to fund the purchases by insuring the loans under a National Housing Act program.

Jonathan Swan: “The Pompeo confirmation process has been revealing — and has shown the White House how difficult it will be for Trump to get anybody confirmed should he fire any more cabinet secretaries. It was only a little over a year ago that the Senate voted 66-32 to confirm Pompeo as CIA chief; and now his vote is down to the wire.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that “he will support CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his confirmation vote to be the next secretary of state, the second Democrat to back the nominee increasing his chances of being confirmed by the chamber,” CNN reports.

“President Trump personally intervened to convince a committed Republican naysayer to back Mike Pompeo for secretary of state, possibly securing the backing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a favored adviser whose committee vote, if not his ultimate confirmation, seemed in grave jeopardy,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who pledged to oppose Pompeo the day after he was nominated, tweeted about Trump’s outreach and his newfound support for Pompeo on Monday just moments before the committee vote started, seemingly saving face for the nominee, who was expected to fail the panel vote but secure the support of the full Senate later this week.”

A congressional report finds the wealthiest Americans will benefit the most from President Trump’s tax deduction for owners of “pass-through” businesses, NBC News reports.

“The deduction, which ranges up to 20 percent, will shower $40.2 billion in tax breaks on owners of pass-throughs — largely businesses owned by an individual or a partnership, or those ‘S’ corporations that kick income and losses to shareholders for tax purposes — in 2018, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated. The provision was included in the larger overhaul of tax rates enacted in December.”

“The Supreme Court has so far had little to say about Donald Trump’s time as president, even as the nation has moved from one Trump controversy to another. That’s about to change,” the AP reports.

“The justices’ first deep dive into a Trump administration policy comes in a dispute over the third and latest version of the administration’s ban on travel from some countries with majority Muslim populations. Opponents of the policy and some lower courts have labeled it a ‘Muslim ban,’ harking back to Trump’s campaign call to keep Muslims from entering the country.”

Washington Post: “It is the first time the court has considered the merits of a policy that has consumed the administration since its start, and raises deep questions about the judiciary’s role in national security issues usually left to the political branches.”

“Senate Democrats have continued to run circles around their GOP opponents in the race for cash ahead of 2018, putting them in a strong position to ride the developing blue wave to victory and boosting their slim chances of winning Senate control,” TPM reports.

“With less than 200 days to go to until the 2018 elections, all ten of the Democratic senators running in states President Trump won have major campaign cash advantages over their GOP opponents… The party is also in strong financial shape to seriously contest four GOP-held seats after some impressive hauls by non-incumbents.”

Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. economy slowed down in the first quarter. That isn’t a surprise, but considering the stimulus hitting the economy it counts as disappointment.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) got the go-ahead from Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to suspend state law so the governor can call a special election to replace former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) as soon as possible, the Texas Tribune reports.

Nate Silver: “Trump’s approval rating has been between 40.0% and 41.1% for 55 consecutive days in our tracking. It really doesn’t move very much at all. And it’s not like there hasn’t been news during this period.”

The RNC spent more than $224,000 at President Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in March, the Daily Beast reports.   “The expenditures, which were for rental and catering fees, were to cover the costs of an RNC fundraiser there early in the month. It was, far and away, the largest amount that the committee has spent at that specific Trump property (in January, the RNC spent $62,700 at Mar-a-Lago) and it is a reflection of how the president’s private business holdings continue to be intertwined with his political activities.”

According to the New Jersey Globe, in the Republican stronghold of Morris County, New Jersey, the local Republican Party raised just $58,335 at an event at the Trump National Golf Club that cost them more than $64,000 to put on. A full $30,000 of that was getting Fox News ‘funnyman’ Greg Gutfeld as their speaker.   The party committee now has just $13,956 in their warchest.

“Federal agents ignored President Trump’s pledge to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children by sending a young man back to his native Mexico, the first such documented case,” USA Today reports.

Associated Press: “In a break with tradition, Trump invited no Democratic members of Congress or journalists, said a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the arrangements.”

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

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