Open Thread

The Open Thread for May 18, 2018

Trump calls Immigrants Animals.  “President Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting on Wednesday, warning in front of news cameras that dangerous people were clamoring to breach the country’s borders and branding such people ‘animals,’” the New York Times reports.

”It was hardly the first time the president has spoken in racially fraught terms about immigrants, but it underscored his anger about unchecked immigration — the animating issue of his campaign and his tenure so far — and his frustration that he has not been able to do more to seal the nation’s borders.”

Trump supporters yesterday defended Trump, saying he was calling MS-13 “animals.” That’s not true. The comment comes in an interchange with a county sheriff in which the sheriff complains about how the state laws in California have made it harder for her department to work with ICE.  Here is the long exchange.  Watch the whole thing:

Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone.  Special counsel Robert Mueller has issued two subpoenas to a social media expert who worked for longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign, Reuters reports.  “The subpoenas were delivered late last week to lawyers representing Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter specialist Stone hired to work for an independent political action committee he set up to support Trump, Knut Johnson, a lawyer for Sullivan.”

“The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of President Trump’s campaign, has cut a plea deal with the Justice Department that requires him to cooperate with other criminal probes,” Reuters reports. “The guilty plea agreement, which is under seal and has not been previously reported, could add to the legal pressure on Manafort, who is facing two indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”

Cambridge Analytica Committed Treason.  A whistleblower told Congress that Cambridge Analytica used Russian researchers and shared data with companies linked to Russian intelligence, AFP reports.  “Christopher Wylie, who leaked information on the British-based firm’s hijacking of data on millions of Facebook users, told a Senate panel he believes Russian intelligence services had access to data harvested by the consultancy.”

Government Informant Met with Trump Campaign Officials.  The New York Times reports that “at least one” U.S. government informant met with Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election. That person met “several times” with campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.  “That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.”  President Trump tweets: “If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”

GOP Rebuffs Trump on Spending Cuts.  “Republican lawmakers are pushing back against President Trump’s request for Congress to cut $15 billion from programs including children’s health insurance and Ebola disaster relief, saying the vote could make them vulnerable to Democratic attacks in this year’s midterm campaign,” the Washington Post reports.  “A vote for the spending cuts could be helpful for House Republicans facing primary challenges from the right, but other Republicans, some facing tough midterm races, are balking, raising questions about whether the House will be able to pass the administration’s spending cut request at all.”

A Third Homeland Security Secretary?  “The White House is discussing possible replacements for Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, because Donald Trump is unhappy with how she is running the massive agency tasked with keeping the US safe,” Quartz reports.  “Names being discussed inside the White House include Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas, energy secretary Rick Perry, and Thomas Homan, the retiring head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of these people said. Cotton and Perry were also considered for the position previously.”

GOP Panicking about Barletta.  “Senior Republicans are sounding the alarm about Rep. Lou Barletta’s (R-PA) struggling Senate campaign in Pennsylvania, fretting that his lackadaisical, disorganized effort will hand a third term to incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), the Washington Examiner reports.  “Barletta has been a disappointing fundraiser and been too slow to ramp up a capable statewide campaign operation, his critics charge.”  Said one GOP strategist: “The sense is, nobody knows what the fuck he’s doing. He’s not really working it hard. It’s a sad thing, because people like Lou.”

Republicans in a Immigration Nightmare.  Playbook: “Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise have spent this week trying to get Republicans to not sign a discharge petition that would open the House floor to a wide-ranging immigration debate. As of now, it’s been a failure.”

“After the trio spent the morning making the argument that this was not the path to go down, two Republicans — New York Rep. John Katko and Michigan Rep. Dave Trott — signed it anyway. That Republicans are openly defying their own leadership is relatively stunning. McCarthy has made the argument that an immigration vote could cost Republicans the majority. That clearly isn’t resonating.”

“Republicans are in a box. The discharge petition is a bad look for a lot of conservatives, who rightly think that the process will lead to a bill that will be carried mostly by Democrats. But it’s a central part of how the House works… Make no mistake this is a mess for the GOP.”

Republicans fear a Trump Shutdown.  Politico: “Senate Republicans didn’t put too many questions to President Donald Trump when he joined them for lunch on Tuesday, but the party’s most vulnerable incumbent did make one big ask: Please, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller pleaded, don’t shut down the government over funding for a border wall before the midterm elections.”

“Picking that fight during an election season would hurt Republicans at the ballot box, Heller told Trump… Though Heller prefaced his request by heaping praise on the president, Trump was noncommittal. ‘We’ll see what happens,’ he told the group.”


A Screaming Match over China.  “Tensions between two top Donald Trump economic advisers spilled over during a recent trip to China earlier this month, resulting in what was described by administration officials as a ‘screaming match,’” the Daily Beast reports.

“The confrontation, which took place between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Peter Navarro, came during a very important stretch of trade negotiations for this White House. And it underscored the deep divisions that have developed within the president’s economic team over a key pillar of the president’s agenda.”

Boomers are Responsible for America’s DeclineSteven Brill: “The story of America’s tailspin is not about villains, though there are some. It is not about a conspiracy to bring the country down, nor did it spring from one single source… But there is a theme that threads through and ties together all the strands: many of the most talented, driven Americans used what makes America great—the First Amendment, due process, financial and legal ingenuity, free markets and free trade, meritocracy, even democracy itself—to chase the American Dream. And they won it, for themselves.”

“Then, in a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings, outsmart and co-opt the forces that might have reined them in, and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy.”

Polling Update.  A new SurveyMonkey poll finds just 13% of Americans said they would consider President Trump to be honest and trustworthy.

A new Vanderbilt poll in Tennessee finds that independent voters “have a significantly more positive view” of former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) than Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), as the race to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) continues to heat up.  Further, a majority of Republicans even say they have a favorable view of Bredesen.

A Bipartisan Ticket in Florida? Politico: “First, a poll showed that Florida Democrats might want an unprecedented bipartisan ticket in the 2018 governor’s race. Then came a legal analysis indicating it could, in fact, be done.”

“Now former congressman and 2016 Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is entering a new phase in his exploration of a potential bid for governor with former Republican Rep. David Jolly: Dialing for possible dollars, thinking about a campaign team and talking openly about the chance of hitting the trail.”

The Republican Jolly is a Never Trumper who has appeared often on MSNBC programs.


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

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