The Open Thread for May 6, 2018

Investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller have interviewed real estate investor Tom Barrack, one of President Trump’s closest friends and confidants, the Associated Press reports.

“One of the people who spoke to AP said the questioning focused entirely on two officials from Trump’s campaign who have been indicted by Mueller: Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s onetime deputy, Rick Gates.”

“A second person with knowledge of the Barrack interview said the questioning was broader, including financial matters about the campaign, the transition and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.”

“What too many lawmakers fail to see is this: If you don’t go on the record, your opinion doesn’t count. Worse, neither will your legacy. Refusing to publicly acknowledge your convictions simply affirms your unwillingness to act on them. And that is an indictment of you, not the president.”

— Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL), writing in the Washington Post, calling out Republican lawmakers who refuse to condemn President Trump.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds President Trump’s support among America’s union workers has dropped 15 points in just a year.  Trump’s support among union workers now sits at 47%, down from its all-time high of 62%.

A new Pew Research poll finds 57% of Americans find little or no common ground with Donald Trump on issues, but 41% say they agree with him on “all or nearly all” the issues.  The public’s assessment of Trump’s conduct as president is little changed over the past nine months, with 54% saying they don’t like the way he conducts himself as president.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bid to fend off a reelection challenge from the Democratic Party’s left flank, calling the California senator “one of America’s most effective champions for progress,” Politico reports.

“The endorsement — a rare intervention from Obama — served as the highest profile rebuke yet of state Sen. Kevin de León’s (D) long-shot effort to unseat Feinstein.”

New York Times: “No one is saying goodbye, not explicitly. The son and grandson of admirals, Mr. McCain ‘doesn’t like overt sentimentality,’ as his friend and former chief of staff Grant Woods put it. But his visitors are telling him they love him, how much he has meant to them — and together they are taking care of unfinished business.”

“The Republican senator encouraged the former Democratic vice president to ‘not walk away’ from politics, as Mr. Biden put it before refusing to discuss a possible 2020 presidential run. Mr. McCain is using a new book and documentary to reveal his regret about not selecting former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman as his running mate in 2008. His intimates have informed the White House that their current plan for his funeral is for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the service to be held in Washington’s National Cathedral but not President Trump, with whom Mr. McCain has had a rocky relationship.”

People close to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have told the White House that the ailing Arizona lawmaker does not want President Trump to attend his funeral and would like Vice President Mike Pence to come instead, NBC News reports.  Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush plan to be eulogists at McCain’s funeral.

That is going become more commonplace.  People do not want that piece of shit traitor performing his ceremonial duties as President, even at funerals. In his post-Presidency, if he is not serving a life sentence at Leavenworth, he will not be welcome at the Presidential Club events, like the opening of the Obama Presidential Library. I would imagine that President Obama is not going to want to return to White House to have his portrait displayed until Trump is out of there.   And I am not sure a portrait of Trump will ever be hung in the White House.

Investigators working with special counsel Robert Mueller questioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg as part of the probe into Russian election interference, the New York Times reports. They stopped the Russian billionaire at a New York-area airport earlier this year and wanted to search his electronic devices.

Vekselberg had attended President Trump’s inauguration as well as the December 2015 dinner in Russia that Michael Flynn took part in.

“As primary season kicks into high gear, Republicans are engaged in nomination fights that are pulling the party to the right, leaving some leaders worried their candidates will be out of a step with the broader electorate in November,” the AP reports.

“Primaries in four states on Tuesday, all in places Donald Trump carried in 2016, showcase races in which GOP candidates are jockeying to be seen as the most conservative, the most anti-Washington and the most loyal to the president. It’s evidence of the onetime outsider’s deepening imprint on the Republican Party he commandeered less than two year ago.”

Washington Post: “By virtue of her position, Sanders is inextricably bound in the mistruths of the Trump administration. She is a willing warrior for Trump, and her critics say she should be held accountable for his utterances — from the untruthful to the racist to the sexist. Since taking office, Trump has made more than 3,000 false or misleading claims, according to an analysis by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.”

“Sanders said she first learned that Trump had reimbursed Cohen by watching Giuliani’s interview with Hannity. At another point in her briefing, she repeated her assertion that she does not intentionally mislead the public, but acknowledged that she is not always provided the most accurate or complete information about her boss.”

David Rothkopf: “There was a long pause on the other end of the line. Then, the guy said, in a very quiet voice, “Look…here’s the problem: We did it. We did it all.” It was clear his focus had shifted. He realized he was personally in trouble. He realized the company was going down.

The company of course, was Enron. The rest is history. But I’ll never forget that moment when the penny dropped and it became clear, something very very bad was happening at this place & that these guys were in way over their heads. That’s happening now throughout the West Wing. It is starting on Capitol Hill. The people who realize what’s happening may be able to save themselves, move to the right side of this story. Do some good. Those who continue to deny will only become collateral damage. Trump is the Enron of presidents.

He did it. He did it all. He did more than we know.

The penny is dropping. How you respond will define your careers, for some it may define whether you even have careers in the future. Or freedom. Or reputations. Time to wake up.”

“In the nine years before he ran for president, Donald Trump’s company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices and Trump’s own history as the self-described ‘King of Debt,’” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s vast outlay of cash, tracked through public records and totaled publicly here for the first time, provides a new window into the president’s private company, which discloses few details about its finances. It shows that Trump had access to far more cash than previously known, despite his string of commercial bankruptcies and the Great Recession’s hammering of the real estate industry.”

“Why did the ‘King of Debt,’ as he has called himself in interviews, turn away from that strategy, defying the real estate wisdom that it’s unwise to risk so much of one’s own money in a few projects?  And how did Trump — who had money tied up in real estate and buildings — raise enough liquid assets to go on this cash buying spree?”

Aides to President Trump “hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a ‘dirty ops’ campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal,” The Observer reports.

“People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to ‘get dirt’ on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.”

Add this to the Impeachment charges.   Also, mental note for the next Administration: cut off all aid to Israel.

Matthew Walther’s article in The Week, “Why a GOP midterm shellacking would be good for Trump” taps into another promising vein for Democrats — not just campaigns and candidates, but also rank and file Democrats — to mine. Walther, a conservative writer, is interested in helping Trump and the Republicans by ridding them of the burden of the unruly and chaotic House. But what Dems should do is change the last word of Walther’s title to “America,” and work the argument that a midterm shellacking would restore some neeeded balance and sanity to our politics, which just might appeal to some swing voters and moderate Repubicans. Focus groups often reveal a consistent group of voters who distrust any party having too much control. It’s one of those points that often gets taken for granted, but ought to be emphasized to create buzz that can translate into votes.

Alex Jones told his Infowars listeners that President Trump is part of an effort to fight against a sentient computer program that has decided to kill all humans.

Um, I vote to be killed by the sentient computer program.  It’s a better future.

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for May 6, 2018

  1. cassandram

    McCain publically uninviting the GRIFTUS to his memorial is pretty remarkable stuff. I know that dignitaries and their families get a say in the planning of high profile funerals or memorials, but telling the world that a sitting President of the United States is not welcome is a Big Deal. McCais didn’t redeem himself by inviting Pence, IMO.

  2. cassandram

    Is anyone listening to the Trump, Inc podcast by WNYC and ProPublica? This takes a look at business dealings and some of the intersection with governing. What you get out of this is that the Trump businesses were always shady, always at the verge of bankruptcy and in the main badly managed. On big thing that stuck with me was how the businesses were always open to dark money, money that needed to be laundered. The GRIFTUS probably has more interest and opportunity for shady money deals than ever.

  3. anon 1

    The Trumpster will be bankrupt when he is impeached..David Kay Johnston following the con man around for 30 yrs has written a book laying out in detail what a true grifter the Trump is.

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