The Open Thread for May 12, 2018

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned several witnesses about millions of dollars in donations to President Trump’s inauguration committee last year, including questions about donors with connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” sources with direct knowledge told ABC News.

Meanwhile, “the FBI warned four years ago that a foundation controlled by the Russian oligarch who allegedly reimbursed Donald Trump’s personal lawyer might have been acting on behalf of Russia’s intelligence services,” NPR reports.

“FBI Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro wrote an unusual column in the Boston Business Journal in April of 2014 to warn that a foundation controlled by Russian energy baron Viktor Vekselberg might be part of a Moscow spying campaign that sought to siphon up American science and technology.”

Don Blankenship (R), who lost his GOP Senate primary bid in West Virginia this week, “is actively plotting how to undercut” Patrick Morrisey’s (R) Senate candidacy, The Hill reports. Said adviser Greg Thomas: “He’s not going to sit back and let a corrupt carpetbagger highjack our party.”

“Cities across the country are turning down the opportunity to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, where President Trump is expected to be nominated for a second term,” The Hill reports.

“The cities that have rejected hosting duties insist Trump and today’s divisive politics are not factors in their decisions. They instead cite high security costs and disruptions in the normal flow of business and traffic. But Trump is almost certainly a factor in some cities’ decisions to opt out.”

White House chief of staff John Kelly told NPR that he has no regrets over taking his job.

Said Kelly: “No. I mean there’s times of great frustration, mostly because of the stories I’ve read about myself or others that I think the world of which is just about everyone that works at the complex. I wonder if it’s worth it to be subjected to that. But then I grow up and suck it up.”

He added: “In retrospect I wish I had been here from Day One. … I think in some cases in terms of staffing or serving the president that first six months was pretty chaotic, and there were people, some people, hired that maybe shouldn’t have. … I wish I’d been here from the beginning because I could have brought the organization from, you know, from day one.”

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson “said in a staffwide memo sent on Friday that the company had made a ‘big mistake’ by hiring President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to advise on the telecommunication giant’s deal to buy Time Warner,” the New York Times reports.

Said Stephenson: “Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged. There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports the company’s top lobbyist was forced into retirement.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) “plans to ask a federal financial watchdog to audit the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, opening a new front of GOP attack on the secretive probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to President Trump’s campaign,” the Washington Post reports.

“The pending request… appears to be mainly calibrated to force the disclosure of a three-page Justice Department memo spelling out the authorized scope of Mueller’s investigation.”

“They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing… They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills. They’re not bad people. They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws.”

— White House chief of staff John Kelly, giving his racist thoughts on immigrants, in a NPR interview.  Remember, the “grown up” in the White House might as well be a card carrying member of the KKK.

Today Trump offered a nothingburger plan on prescription drug prices. In doing so, he broke yet another one of his so-called “populist” campaign promises.  “President Trump vowed on Friday to “derail the gravy train for special interests” as he outlined what he called a comprehensive strategy to lower the cost of prescription drugs by promoting competition and pressing foreign countries to raise their drug prices to alleviate pressure on American consumers.

But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare or allow American consumers to import low-cost prescriptions from abroad…

But his proposals hardly put a scare into that system. Ronny Gal, a securities analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said the president’s speech was “very, very positive to pharma,” and he added, “We have not seen anything about that speech which should concern investors” in the pharmaceutical industry.  Drugmakers’ stocks jumped immediately after the speech, as did the stocks of pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” who Mr. Trump said had gotten “very, very rich.””

So the traitor Rep. Devin Nunes (R) has been attempting to discredit the DOJ and the Mueller Investigation and threaten both Attorney General Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein. Yesterday he and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) met with senior intelligence officials to discuss his subpoena for documents that could put an intelligence asset at risk.  That intelligence official is the source for some of the information on the FISA warrant to began the Russian investigation.  From the Washington Post:

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) backed away from an open confrontation with the Justice Department on Thursday after a private meeting with senior intelligence officials who said they could not give him top-secret information about an intelligence source who had aided special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Josh Voorhees reports that “Women keep winning. On Tuesday night, nearly two-thirds of the women running in congressional primaries won their nomination. Overall, female candidates snagged 27 of the 81 major party House nominations that were up for grabs in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and West Virginia. That continues a trend that began with the nation’s first primary in Texas this year and then seemed to stall a bit in the second, in Illinois later that same month…According to Gender Watch 2018, a project of the nonpartisan Center for American Women and Politics, 22 of the 31 women running in a House Democratic primary on Tuesday won the nomination. That means women will make up a majority of the party’s 40 congressional nominees in those states.”

“Donald Trump’s disgraceful personal behavior makes him a very tempting target. But there’s not much more that any Democratic can say about Trump that voters haven’t heard already,” writes Democratic pollster Brad Bannon in “A winning strategy for Democrats in 2020: populism, not Trump bashing” at The Hill. “To address Trump’s failure to help working families, Democrats should challenge his tax cuts for corporations, which have led to cuts in spending for education and health care. And to get there, the Democratic presidential hopefuls have an obligation to outline their approach to improve the economy for working families…A powerful populist economic message will attract voters. Personal attacks on Trump will distract people. It’s not enough for Democratic presidential candidates to bash Trump. Presidential hopefuls will also need to lay out their program for moving America forward. The same goes for Democratic Party leaders who want to turn out the party base to vote this year in the midterm elections.”

Paul Waldman: “There will probably be a blizzard of indictments, which will themselves tell much of the story of what Mueller has learned. He’ll also deliver a final report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation. Rosenstein could keep it secret, but the pressure to make it public, at least the parts that aren’t classified or covered by secret grand jury proceedings, will be overwhelming. In all likelihood, much of what Mueller has learned will be delivered to Congress, which will then tell the rest of us. And that’s not to mention investigations by other prosecutors like the U.S. attorney in New York, who is going after Cohen, or the congressional investigations Democrats will conduct if they take back the House or Senate.

And what will Republicans say when all that comes to a head? They’ve already been road-testing some of their excuses:

“Michael Cohen? Trump barely knows the guy.””

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

6 comments on “The Open Thread for May 12, 2018

  1. And on a local issue, this makes a whole lot of sense!!!

    So NCC, will pay an outside agency, because the current tax collection arm can’t do their job.They are roping the school districts in to share in the admin costs and they are already struggling for money.

  2. While John Kelly probably is a racist, he is stating a fact in pointing out that a majority of Latinx immigrants have low levels of education.

    From Wikipedia, which has a long entry on education in Mexico:

    “While over 90% of children in Mexico attend primary school, only 62% attend secondary school (“secundaria”). Only 45% finish high school (“preparatoria”).”

    When you label that “racism” it degrades the meaning of the term.

  3. “Pulling up the ladder”, so to speak, is what humanity has done since the beginning of organized society. People move into a certain area and create a situation that protects their sustainability in that area. In modern times it translates into laws and borders. it’s what is beginning to happen in Eastern Sussex County.

    • cassandram

      Not exactly “Shining City on the Hill” behavior.

  4. Probably not, but the transplants from New Jersey and New York are going to do it in Delaware and that’s just the way it is. Once you have established yourselves you create laws that protect your interests. In the case of the transplants into Sussex County it will be no more rubber stamping developments and moire regulations on things like chicken farms and agriculture….. “Pulling up the ladder”, “Early bird gets the worm” or whatever. I remember Rep Rich Collins when he used to go on the radio representing The Positive Growth Alliance and say things like how can you stop one person from developing their land when you allowed other people to develop their land? You got yours how come they can’t get theirs?

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