The Open Thread for June 2, 2018

“President Trump announced on Friday that the summit meeting he had canceled with North Korea’s leader will be held after all, the latest twist in a nuclear-edged diplomatic drama that has captivated and confused much of the world,” the New York Times reports.

“The reversal followed an Oval Office meeting on Friday afternoon with a high-ranking North Korean envoy who delivered a personal letter from Mr. Kim to Mr. Trump.”

“Republicans are bitterly protesting the Trump administration’s decision to impose sweeping tariffs on U.S. allies — alarmed that the White House ignored their frenzied lobbying campaign and afraid that the party could suffer at the polls in November,” Politico reports.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “said months of intense negotiations between his country, the United States and Mexico imploded Tuesday when Vice President Pence demanded that any deal expire automatically in five years,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trudeau said he was prepared to travel to Washington this week to try to finalize a rework of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Pence, in the phone call, said a meeting would occur only if the ‘sunset’ provision was agreed to in advance.”

“A close friend of Jared Kushner has come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller for his proximity to some key meetings between Trump associates and foreign officials,” NBC News reports.

“Richard Gerson, a hedge-fund manager in New York, was in the Seychelles in January 2017, less than two weeks before President Trump’s inauguration and around the time Trump associate Erik Prince secretly met with Russian and United Arab Emirates officials, including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.”

“While in the remote Indian Ocean island nation, Gerson met with Prince Mohammed — also known by his initials as MBZ — and communicated with a Lebanese-American businessman with close ties to the UAE, George Nader, who had organized the Erik Prince meeting, according to text messages Gerson sent at the time and a person familiar with the meeting.”

“Investigators from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office recently interviewed former FBI director James B. Comey as part of a probe into whether his deputy, Andrew McCabe, broke the law by lying to federal agents — an indication the office is seriously considering whether McCabe should be charged with a crime,” the Washington Post reports.  “Lying to federal investigators can carry a five-year prison sentence, though McCabe disputes that he intentionally misled anyone.”

John Harwood: “President Trump has embarked on an unorthodox follow-up to cutting the taxes American families pay: raising the prices of goods they buy.”

“Higher prices will result directly from tariffs the White House plans to impose on steel and aluminum imports from allies such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union as well as other countries… But combined with additional tariffs against other imports from China and retaliatory steps by our trading partners, the measures Trump announced promise to make an impact. And mainstream economists across the political spectrum agree it will be negative.”

Said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican economist who advised President George W. Bush: “Unambiguously bad. The only question is how big.”

President Trump will go to Camp David this weekend but First Lady Melania Trump will not go with him, CNN reports.  It’s been 22 days since she was last seen in public.

Rhonda Hart, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed at a Houston-area school, told the Associated Press that during her meeting with President Trump he repeatedly used the word “wacky” to describe the shooter and the trench coat he wore.

She said she told Trump, “Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn’t be in the situation.”  Hart, an Army veteran, said she also suggested employing veterans as sentinels in schools. She said Trump responded, “And arm them?” She replied, “No,” but said Trump “kept mentioning” arming classroom teachers.

Said Hart: “It was like talking to a toddler.”

David Frum: “If you take seriously that the Trump presidency is a threat to American democracy, you’ll want also to take seriously the weapons that threat deploys. Donald Trump and his people will violate the decencies of ordinary life, no matter what Bee (or any other hate target of opportunity) may say or do. But by violating those decencies herself, Bee greatly eased the Trump people’s task of obfuscating their own such violations.”

“Here’s something to bear in mind: During Soviet times, the communist authorities expressed themselves in operatically vehement language. Non-communists were denigrated as hyenas, jackals, vultures, and other disgusting animals; as bandits, fascists, Nazis, and other enemies of humanity.”

“In response, Soviet dissenters developed their own language: factually precise, emotionally restrained.”

“There’s a lesson here. Donald Trump and the political movement behind him are empowered by ugly talk. Their own talk stands out less sharply in contrast…. Let Trump be Trump. Let decent people be decent.”

President Trump “broke with decades of protocol and commented publicly about the highly anticipated jobs report data 69 minutes before they were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” the Washington Postreports.

Treasury yields moved sharply higher within seconds of a Twitter post from President Trump that said he was “looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.”

“The jobs data come out once a month, and often can lead to massive buying or selling trends on Wall Street depending on how the information is received. It is extremely closely held and kept under tight control until it is released at 8:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is traditionally given the report the day before it is released, and it can often be shared with the president after that time. But the president – and other administration officials – never tip their hand about what the numbers reveal.”

Tim Miller: “The worst gaffe Mitt Romney made in 2012—the only one, I’d argue, that deserved sustained scrutiny—was his now-infamous remark that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government, believe they are victims, and, thus, will never vote for Republicans. Imagine if Trump had slipped Romney’s remark, verbatim, between his call-and-response screed about ‘animals,’ and the story about the imaginary San Diego mayor who wants him to build a border wall. Would the comment that the media made a defining issue in the 2012 campaign have even made it into the newspaper the next day? Would cable producers have bumped the wall-to-wall coverage of Roseanne for even a single segment?”

“The answer is obviously no. If the horrifying death toll of Hurricane Maria couldn’t break through, it’s hard to imagine that ‘what about your gaffes?!’ would have.”

“Through strategy, instinct, and horseshoe-up-his-ass blind luck, Trump has abused the media into grading him on the steepest of curves and giving him the benefit of the doubt when he has proven time and again he deserves nothing but the most extreme scrutiny.”

A new Fallon Research poll in Ohio shows Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) leading challenger Jim Renacci (R) by 14 percentage points, 48% to 34%.

In the governor’s race, Mike DeWine (R) leads Richard Cordray(D) by single digits, 40% to 34%.

President Trump “is pushing changes in immigration laws to make it easier to jail and quickly deport children who cross the border illegally. He also wants to make it harder to pursue asylum,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“To him, these are legal ‘loopholes’ that Congress needs to close to stop illegal immigration. But these proposals are even harder to enact than his controversial border wall, in the face of widespread Democratic and some Republican opposition.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for June 2, 2018

  1. cassandram

    Did you see the photos of the letter exchange? It’s as though the NKs know exactly how to play this guy, with a made-for-TV stunt letter and everything.

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