The Open Thread for April 25, 2018

“The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is examining allegations that President Trump’s nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department oversaw a hostile work environment as the White House physician and allowed the overprescribing of drugs,” the New York Times reports.  “They have also received claims that Dr. Ronny Jackson drank too much on the job.”  Playbook: “Shouldn’t this alarm us? The president’s physician should not be drinking at all while working.”

President Trump said that he “is standing behind Ronny Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, but suggested his embattled nominee should drop out because of what Trump characterized as ‘ugly allegations‘ that have surfaced,” the Washington Post reports.  Said Trump: “I don’t want to put a man through a process like this. It’s too ugly, and it’s too disgusting.”

The New York Times also quotes Trump: “The fact is, I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a number of politicians?”   Karen Tumulty: “Oh, Trump still insists he supports the well-liked doctor, but make no mistake about it: Jackson has been shown the door.”

“Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was interviewed by the FBI twice while he was working as a political consultant for a Ukrainian political party — several years before he was named a top adviser to Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“The information raises fresh questions about how closely the Trump campaign vetted staff members and whether Manafort and Gates told officials about their interactions with the FBI.”

“Fired FBI Director James Comey has retained former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as one of his personal attorneys, bringing in a heavy-hitting former prosecutor, close friend and longtime colleague to help him navigate his dramatic role as a potential witness in the investigation of President Trump’s campaign and potential obstruction of justice,” TPM reports.

Asha Rangappa: “Pat Fitzgerald was also the special counsel appointed by Comey who investigated and charged Scooter Libby. This is going to be goooood.”

“A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday delivered the toughest blow yet to the Trump administration’s efforts to end deportation protections for undocumented immigrants known as ‘dreamers,’ ordering the administration to continue the Obama-era program and — for the first time — to accept new applicants,” the Washington Post reports.

Vanity Fair: “Things have been different since the raid. With no office to occupy, Cohen goes to the gym and restaurants. He watches television and meets with his lawyers. His e-mail signature still reads Michael D. Cohen, Esq., Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump. His moods oscillate along with the news cycle and the time of day…. There are moments when he is convinced that he is collateral damage in the Mueller probe and that he will beat this. There are times when he is overwhelmed by the mounting legal bills he already faces, and how they could balloon if he is indicted.”

Said one person close to Cohen: “He is really confused. He doesn’t know what they could charge him with, but he’s on the edge of his seat.”

“It’s a state that is not allowing him much sleep. According to a source familiar with the situation, Cohen broods at night, pacing in his hotel room, worrying about how his legal nightmare is impacting his family. He wonders if there are people within Trump’s orbit who might have wanted to see him go down.”

EPA chief Scott Pruitt “faces a make-or-break moment on Thursday, when he’s slated for a pair of congressional hearings, but he’ll be heading to the Hill without the full backing of the Trump White House,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Two sources familiar with Pruitt’s preparation for the hearing say that the EPA has turned down an offer from the White House to help prepare the administrator for what is sure to be a bruising few hours of questions about the ethics and government spending controversies that have dogged him of late.” White House official characterized the EPA’s response as “get lost.”

Politico: “Scott Pruitt’s wall of GOP support developed some new cracks on Monday, with three key Senate defenders calling for hearings into the embattled EPA administrator’s recent controversies. The three, including staunch Pruitt ally Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), all said they supported hearings by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to look into the former Oklahoma attorney general’s actions.”

“White House officials are cautioning Republican lawmakers and other conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt… in a sign that administration support for the embattled EPA chief may be waning,” Bloomberg reports.

“The warnings come as several top GOP lawmakers have stepped forward to publicly criticize Pruitt in recent days, marking a dramatic turn of fortune for one of the most conservative members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet who has been heralded for dismantling Obama-era regulations.”

President Trump called North Korea’s leader a “very honorable” person and expressed hope their meeting will occur “as soon as possible,” The Hill reports.  Said Trump: “He really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing.”

Washington Post: “By asserting that the government would not be able to ‘flip’ Cohen, Trump invited a question: If the Russia probe is the ‘witch hunt’ the president says it is — and if he is as innocent as he so often proclaims — what incriminating evidence would Cohen have on Trump that would give him leverage to flip?”

“It was only the latest instance of the president adopting a posture vis-a-vis his legal troubles that is both combative and defensive — and, perhaps unwittingly, seems to assume guilt.”

“Trump accused the FBI of going rogue by seizing Cohen’s records. He went to court to try to deny investigators access to his communications with Cohen. And he threatened to fire Justice Department officials, protesting overreach. Again and again, many legal experts say, the president has taken the steps of a subject who has something to hide, creating the appearance of a coverup even if there is no crime to cover up.”

“President Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations,” Bloomberg reports.

“Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest.”

“Now, flight records obtained by Bloomberg provide to-the-minute details, from wheels down to departure.”

Politico: “A conscious effort by Trump to mislead the FBI director could lend weight to the allegation—contained in a largely unverified private research dossier compiled by a former British spy in 2016—that Trump engaged in compromising activity during the trip that exposed him to Russian government blackmail.”

“It has also likely caught the eye of special counsel Robert Mueller, legal analysts say. False statements to Comey about the trip could demonstrate that Trump has ‘consciousness of guilt,’ according Pete Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor who worked for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of national security-related leaks during the George W. Bush administration.”

“That could bolster a legal case against Trump.”

New York Times: “A study published on Monday… is the latest to suggest that Trump voters weren’t driven by anger over the past, but rather fear of what may come. White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.”

Said author Diana Mutz: “It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel. It’s not a threat to their own economic well-being; it’s a threat to their group’s dominance in our country over all.”

“Losing a job or income between 2012 and 2016 did not make a person any more likely to support Mr. Trump… Neither did the mere perception that one’s financial situation had worsened. A person’s opinion on how trade affected personal finances had little bearing on political preferences. Neither did unemployment or the density of manufacturing jobs in one’s area.”

Politico: “Getting Michael Cohen to rat out President Donald Trump may not be as simple as it sounds. Although Trump’s detractors are rooting for Trump’s personal attorney to ‘flip’ on the president and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller to escape a potentially harsh prison sentence, legal obstacles make it difficult for lawyers to expose their clients’ guarded secrets.”

“Even if Cohen is determined to break his confidences with Trump, legal ethics might deter federal prosecutors from coaxing him to betray his professional confidences with Trump, legal veterans and experts say.”

Sean Hannity’s real estate venture bought houses through a property dealer who was involved in a criminal conspiracy to fraudulently obtain foreclosed homes, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

New York Times: “The Trump team was so impressed with Nunes that, according to the transition official, it considered bringing him into the administration. A few weeks after the election, the congressman traveled to Trump Tower, where, according to transition officials, he and Trump discussed the possibility of his becoming the director of national intelligence and overseeing an ambitious reorganization of the intelligence community. But Trump ultimately decided to shelve those plans and appoint as director a less disruptive figure, Dan Coats, a former Indiana senator. Besides, with Pompeo leaving Capitol Hill for Langley, Trump’s circle believed that Nunes would be even more valuable to the administration if he remained in Congress, running the Intelligence Committee.”

“Some 17 months later, that looks to have been a remarkably prescient decision — as Trump appears to have been able to influence Nunes to a remarkable degree.”

“The network of groups affiliated with billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch are taking a new look at which Republican candidates to support this year,” The Hill reports.

“The groups still plan to spend up to $400 million on politics and policies this election cycle, but they’re deeply frustrated by what they view as the GOP’s refusal to take up major legislation ahead of the midterm election.”

“Some of the network’s donors privately tell us that the House majority looks like a lost cause, potentially accelerating the movement of money toward protecting the Senate majority.”

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

7 comments on “The Open Thread for April 25, 2018

  1. Jason330

    Sargent: Trump’s deep unpopularity is a big and important story, and we should talk more about it.

    The Media:… But first let’s talk to these five guys in Michigan who still really love Trump.

    • The key words there are “may be,” as in “it’s our speculation.” That’s why nobody outside the toilet bowl of right-wing (fake) meida is talking about it.

      Why would we be interested in the affairs of a private citizen rather than those of the president, especially when there is far more evidence of actual money laundering by Trump?

      Also, why are you so scared of Hillary Clinton?

    • cassandram

      The other key word is Townhall, which is a known vector for fake news. HRC is not the corrupt President of the United States. But the misogyny runs deep with you people — you have nothing to run on, no accomplishments to claim, so keep on trying to work your HRC boogeyman.

      • It’s amazing how many Townhall-type sites there are in conservoworld, until you realize that a willingness to believe stuff just because it’s what you want to hear is exactly what advertisers are looking for.

  2. Delaware Dem: I give you and Blue Delaware, a great deal of credit for what you just did on the other post.

    Respectfully yours.

    • Yes, I suppose I should explain. I shut down the comments on the Meredith Chapman article and deleted some really offensive and evil comments from trolls who were just here to slut shame the dead. I also deleted comments replying to those comments or quoting them, so no offense to those whose innocent comments were deleted. That article has been linked to by many other “news” aggregation sites (hence all those pingbacks Anono. No, I was not collecting links to all the articles linking to it). That was the doorway for all those evil trolls.

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