The Open Thread for June 4, 2018

Rudy Giuliani told ABC News that the president’s legal team is “leaning toward not” recommending he participate in an interview with the team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  Said Giuliani: “We’re leaning toward not. But look, if they can convince that it will be brief, it would be to the point, there were five or six points they have to clarify, and with that, we can get this long nightmare for the American public over.”

Giuliani also told ABC News that President Trump “probably does” have the power to pardon himself.  However, Giuliani added, “I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another. Other presidents have pardoned people in circumstances like this, both in their administration and sometimes the next president even of a different party will come along and pardon.”

Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told CNN: “I think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself, I think it is almost self-executing impeachment. Whether or not there is an argument that is not what the framers could have intended.”

“President Trump appears prepared to unravel 70 years of pain­staking effort that the United States has led to build an inter­national system of trade based on mutually accepted rules and principles,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ever since an agreement on trade emerged in 1947 from the ashes of World War II, presidents of both parties have pushed this system as a way to strengthen alliances and promote the expansion of democracy and prosperity in Europe and Asia.”

“But with Trump’s decision last week to enact aluminum and steel tariffs against U.S. allies in Europe and North America, he is subverting previously agreed-­upon trade pacts. The result is a brewing trade war with Canada, Mexico and Europe, which are expressing shock and bitter frustration while enacting tariffs of their own on a bevy of American products.”

The CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker finds the 2018 midterm elections looks like a toss-up contest for control of the House, as the Democrats would most likely get 219 seats if the election were today (just one more than the 218 needed for a majority) and the Republicans 216.

With a margin of error of nine seats on the model, control is totally up for grabs.

“This would amount to a sizable gain for Democrats, who currently hold 195 seats (including vacant seats) – yet it just barely puts them in position to take control, given the deficit they have to make up. But it’s not yet the massive “blue wave” that some pundits have speculated will sweep the Democrats to a comfortable majority, despite their high-profile wins and strong turnout in recent special elections.”

Jonathan Swan: “In 500 days, Trump’s hijacking of the formerly conservative GOP is complete — an astonishing accomplishment. The majority party in America is fully defined by his policies, his popularity with the base, his facts-be-damned mentality, his ability to control and quiet virtually all Republican elected officials.”

“Trump has wiped out a large portion of Obama’s legacy. He’s exited the Paris climate deal; signed major tax cuts, especially for corporations; confirmed an ultra-conservative Supreme Court justice and record numbers of circuit court judges; deregulated like crazy; exited the Iran deal; exited the TPP trade deal; repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate; and moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel’s capital.”

“New hardline immigration enforcement is in place, including separating children from parents of illegal immigrants.”

Axios points out that Trump “commands the second highest ‘own party’ approval rating of any president at the 500 day mark since World War II, behind only President George W. Bush, after 9/11.”

Dana Milbank: “Former Obama White House official Ben Rhodes, in his forthcoming memoir, tells of a moment of doubt the first African American president had after the election of Donald Trump on a campaign dominated by white grievance. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” President Barack Obama said in the passage, first reported this week by Peter Baker in the New York Times. I hate to say it, but I think the former president was correct.

Ten or 20 years from now, America will be much closer to the majority-minority nation it is forecast to become in 2045. A racist backlash to a black president wouldn’t matter as much.”

That’s why racist whites are flipping the fuck out now. Soon, they will be a minority and are fearful they will be treated as they have treated minorities. They have guaranteed, through their election of Trump and their continued racism, that they will be.

Leonard Pitts is not feeling sorry for Roseanne Barr.

“For over a month now, I’ve felt like a man caught in a feedback loop, doomed to joust till the end of time with readers upset with me for writing that I would boycott the hit reboot of Roseanne Barr’s eponymous sitcom because of her support for that sentient sack of racism and misogyny who serves as president. People who don’t value equality, I wrote, “— and I’m sorry, but if you support [Donald] Trump, then no, you do not — have nothing to say to me.”

That stand brought rebuke from a number of Trump voters, including a certain Florida senator. It also drew reproof from non-Trump voters, who lectured me about cutting off an avenue of understanding and for acting as if a vote for Trump was a de facto vote for racism and misogyny. (Which, by the way, it was.) […]

There is no mystery here. Trump is president because Obama was, and because there were many people for whom that fact was apocalyptic. It’s no coincidence David Duke loves this man, white people chant his name to taunt black ones and hate crimes spiked during the campaign.”

Kathleen Parker: “Roseanne Barr’s appeal has so long eluded me that her further fall from disgrace has failed to dislodge even the slightest pebble of pity, though pitiful she is. It seems too facile to call her merely racist, which her recent tweet about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett plainly establishes. Barr said Jarrett was the result if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby,” amusing approximately no one.

Who thinks like this?

Racists, that’s who. …

Frankly, after Barr’s screeching, crotch-grabbing (no wonder she likes Trump) massacre of the national anthem in 1990, as well as anti-Semitic comments and her subsequent remark about Rice, she didn’t deserve another shot at America’s laugh track. …

Inadvertently, the incident also highlighted who Jarrett is: a strong, intelligent, well-educated, service-driven, thoughtful, warm and charming woman of historic significance. One hopes that Jarrett, whom I count as a friend, is also impervious to the Barrs of the world. Regrettably, these include the current president, who rose to office on the racist “birther” myth about Obama’s origins and was elected despite a long history of moral turpitude and alleged sexual abuse.”

Stephen Marche on Canada’s dawning realization that their lousy friend … has dropped the “friend” part.

“Being close to the United States is sort of like having the world’s lousiest friend. In the ordinary course of business, it belittles you, ignores you, takes you for granted. When it needs you, when it’s in the middle of an emergency, it shows up expecting you to drop everything. Then, the moment it has what it wants, it forgets you ever existed.

Canadians are used to dealing with an unpredictable and occasionally insane neighbor to the south, but Thursday’s announcement that the United States would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union was a true friendship dealbreaker. American foreign policy is becoming a study in how to lose friends and alienate people, how to turn ancient allegiances into fraught conflicts for the vaguest of possible motivations.”

In her article, “Millennials take on Trump in the midterms: Younger candidates are flooding Democratic congressional primaries — and winning” at Politico, Elena Schneider writes, “At least 20 millennial Democratic candidates are running in battleground districts, a leap over previous cycles that could remake the party’s generational divide. “I don’t recall a cycle with anything close to this number of younger candidates in recent times,” said Ian Russell, a Democratic consultant who served as the deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Notably, younger candidates who actually have a good shot at winning – raising money, running professional campaigns.” And not a minute too soon for those who are concerned about the aging universe of Democratic office-holders. “Currently, the average age of a member of 115th Congress — nearly 58 years old in the House and nearly 62 years old in the Senate — is among the oldest of any Congress in recent history, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. The youngest member of Congress, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), will turn 34 in July.”

Politicians of both parties are getting pretty creative in doing end-runs around the traditional media obstacle course, writes Sydney Ember in “Never Mind the News Media: Politicians Test Direct-to-Voter Messaging” at The New York Times: “Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, both running this year, have started podcasts, with humanizing names like “Canarycast” and “Plaidcast.”…

Representative Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat making a long-shot bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is streaming his entire campaign live on Facebook. And many other politicians are now routinely Instagramming and Facebooking, tweeting and Snapchatting…These media methods have obvious appeal: Politicians can appear accessible but remain insulated from the press. They are also not altogether new. President Trump eschewed traditional television advertising during the 2016 campaign and can now overshadow even his own party’s message at the drop of a tweet. And many politicians have long made a practice of ducking reporters.” Ember notes also that Sen. Elizabeth Warren also deployed a little media jiu-jitsu when, “last year, after she was blocked from reading a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor, she live-streamed herself reading the letter instead,” and got great coverage.


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

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