Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 7, 2018

Are Republicans waking up?  Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), a top Republican lawmaker on the House Intelligence Committee, is ripping President Trump’s unsupported claim that the FBI inserted a spy inside his campaign, Politico reports.

Said Rooney: “What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? You know what I’m saying? It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true.’ … Maybe it’s just to create more chaos but it doesn’t really help the case.”

That comes on the heels of Paul Ryan finding a spine temporarily.  Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) sided with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) who had said that the FBI did nothing wrong by using a confidential informant to contact members of President Trump’s campaign as it investigated its ties to Russia, the New York Times reports.

And he warned that Mr. Trump should not try to pardon himself: “I think obviously the answer is he shouldn’t. And no one is above the law.”

“U.S. border agents made more than 50,000 arrests in May for the third month in a row… an indication that escalating enforcement tactics by the Trump administration — including separating migrant parents from their children — has not had an immediate deterrent effect,” the Washington Post reports.

“Arrests at the border this spring have jumped to their highest levels since Trump took office, and the reversal has left the president furious at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other aides who he believes aren’t doing enough to stop the trend.”

“A lawyer involved in several real estate deals that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating in his criminal case against President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has hired his own ethics adviser,” Reuters reports.

“Prosecutors have alleged that two of Manafort’s New York companies were part of a scheme to take tens of millions of dollars earned overseas and launder it in the United States, including through real estate investments.”

“Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing frustrated with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — and many are now publicly questioning whether he can hang on to his job amid the unending stream of scandals,” Politicoreports.

“Several GOP lawmakers said their patience was running thin after this week’s news that Pruitt sought to buy a used mattress from the Trump Hotel and inquired about securing a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife. And Pruitt’s circle of confidantes inside the agency appeared to be shrinking as well.”

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs and potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Trump,” CNBC reports.

“Since as early as April, Mueller’s team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust… Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones.”

“While it’s unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren’t previously disclosed to them.”

President Trump commuted the life sentence for Alice Marie Johnson, a drug offender championed by Kim Kardashian, the AP reports.

Washington Post: “President Trump’s acts of clemency so far have been scattershot, driven by television segments, celebrities, friends and White House advisers who have pressed their cases for pardons that include controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza and Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Richard B. Cheney.”

“The White House has assembled the paperwork to pardon dozens of people, two sources with knowledge of the developments tell CNN, signaling that President Trump is poised to exert his constitutional power and intervene, in some instances, where he believes the Justice Department has overstepped.”

“The administration has prepared the pardoning paperwork for at least 30 people.”

“A Cambridge Analytica director apparently visited Julian Assange in February last year and told friends it was to discuss what happened during the U.S. election,” the Guardian reports.

“Brittany Kaiser, a director at the firm until earlier this year, also claimed to have channeled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks. This information has been passed to congressional and parliamentary inquiries in the UK and US.”

“Amid intense scrutiny of contacts between Donald Trump’s inner circle and representatives of Vladimir Putin, Ivanka Trump’s name has barely come up. But during the campaign, she connected her father’s personal lawyer with a Russian athlete who offered to introduce Donald Trump to Putin to facilitate a 100-story Trump tower in Moscow,” according to emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

“There is no evidence that Ivanka Trump’s contact with the athlete — the former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov — was illegal or that it had anything to do with the election. Nor is it clear that Klokov could even have introduced Trump to the Russian president. But congressional investigators have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses about the interaction… and so has special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.”

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference,” CNN reports.

“Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a ‘national security’ issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, ‘Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?’ referring to the War of 1812.”

“The problem with Trump’s comments to Trudeau is that British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812. Historians note the British attack on Washington was in retaliation for the American attack on York, Ontario, in territory that eventually became Canada, which was then a British colony.”

LOL.  So if Kim says 30 years but no inspections, how much do you want to bet Trump will take it and declare himself the greatest peacemaker in the history of the planet?

Former Vice President Joe Biden “and a trusted inner circle have quietly been engaging a wider network of political allies to sketch the outlines of what a Biden 2020 candidacy might look like should he decide to run,” NBC News reports.

“Biden himself has only gone so far as to say he’s not ruled out what would be a third run for the White House. He’s also been adamant that while a decision won’t come until after the 2018 midterms, it shouldn’t linger much beyond year’s end — a timetable that would help to bring some order to what could be the largest Democratic presidential field in generations.”

“The Trump administration has put its search for the Justice Department’s No. 3 official” — which would oversee the Russia probe if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were to depart — “on the back burner after failing to persuade several candidates,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The department lacks permanent, politically appointed leaders to oversee at least five high-profile units, including the criminal, civil and tax divisions.”

Playbook: “Senate Democrats, forced by Republicans to stay in Washington during the August recess, are planning to try to turn the session into a referendum on Republicans’ handling of health-care policy.”

Said a senior Senate Democratic aide: “August will be health care month. Every time they say ‘nominations,’ we’ll say ‘lower premiums.’ When they say ‘appropriations process,’ we’ll say ‘bring down drug prices.’ Health care has been President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ biggest failure, and it’s the issue that’s top of mind for voters. We’re going to be relentless in pushing to prevent the Republican rate hikes that are set to land just before Election Day.”

Associated Press: “Trump’s fury with Sessions is so ever-present it has taken to darkening his moods even during otherwise happy moments. On Thursday, Trump was on Air Force One returning from a trip to Texas, reveling in both a successful day of fundraising and the heads-up he had received from economic adviser Larry Kudlow that the next day’s jobs report would be positive.”

“But when an aide mentioned Sessions, Trump abruptly ended the conversation and unmuted the television in his office broadcasting Fox News, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable.”

Lauren Arthur (D) won a Missouri state senate seat in the Kansas City suburbs by 19 points, in a district which backed both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney by 4 points, the Washington Post reports.

Arthur’s victory is the 42nd red-to-blue flip in state legislative races since the inauguration of President Trump.

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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for June 7, 2018

  1. The only reason Scott Pruitt survives is the unrelenting support of Big Oil and the oil states they control. Yeah, not so big coal as well. “Spygate” is rapidly going the way of “The Voter Integrity Commission”, a hoax, a fraud and a pathetic lie that P.T. Barnum couldn’t sell. As such surprised “Seb” Gorka has not declared it “bigger than Watergate!!!”.

    • oh man, remember plutonium one? or Qanon? wasnt Obama supposed to have been sent to Gitmo by now?

      I cant decide… When this all comes crashing down, the trumpites will either lose their shit and we’ll have a dozen little Wacos, or the majority of them will claim to never have been that into him in the first place…. good thing the internet never forgets.

  2. cassandram

    How many times have we seen that Biden story this year?

    On the other hand, Eric Holder was on 1A yesterday talking about redistricting, the current (sorry) state of the Justice Department and how own thinking about running for President.

    • Suspect 2020 will see Dem candidates by the dozen, including some that are way too old, Bernie and Joe come to mind.

    • delacrat

      Eric Holder. Obama’s AG, who could not bear to prosecute any of the Wall St. banksters that engineered the Great Recession and funded Obama’s 2008 election, might run for Prez himself.

      We must do better.

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