Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 9, 2018

Washington Post: “The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.”

Martin Longman: “Voters are already pissed off that the government is not doing enough, but this move by the Trump administration is going to set people’s hair on fire.

It’s really, really, really bad politics for the Republicans, and I can’t say I am all comforted by that because we’re talking about people’s lives. And we’re talking about the lives of everyone with a preexisting condition, not just people with histories of addiction. We’re also talking about access to affordable health care for healthy people. Trump and the Republicans were probably at their lowest point in the polls when they were trying last year to toss more than 20 million people off their health care. Doing it this way isn’t going to be more popular.”

“President Trump said Russia should be readmitted to the Group of Seven leading economies, breaking with other world leaders who have insisted Moscow remain ostracized following its involvement in the 2014 Crimean crisis,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s comments, made as he was departing to Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have the potential to further upend talks with other world leaders. U.S. officials believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and part of this year’s G-7 summit was supposed to focus on protecting democracies from foreign meddling.”

Jonathan Chait: “One of Russia’s principal foreign-policy goals for decades has been to split the United States from is allies. Whether by accident or by design, President Trump appears intent on bringing that dream to fruition.”

“The most immediate theater of Western disarray is today’s G7 meeting in Canada. Trump has been fomenting a trade war, hurling wild and largely groundless accusations at America’s allies… Western trade partners have attempted to reason with Trump’s demands, but the problem is that the basis for his beliefs and actions is entirely fantastical. If your neighbor is irate that you let your dog run loose in his yard, you can pacify him. If he’s irate that you are reading his thoughts through his tinfoil hat, there’s nothing you can do except disengage. And that is what they are doing.”

NBC News reports that China may try to spy on President Trump’s talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Singapore.

“U.S. officials are concerned China has recruited informants among the waiters and other staff in Singapore’s restaurants and bars, who are paid to eavesdrop on American customers and report back to their Chinese handlers.”

“Officials also expect electronic surveillance of the summit meeting sites. Americans will sweep for bugs in rooms at the Capella Hotel that could be used for side discussions, and could erect tents inside hotel meeting rooms to block any concealed cameras from viewing classified documents.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday filed a new, superseding indictment against former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort that also charged Russian citizen Konstantin Kilimnik, CNBC reports.

BuzzFeed News: “The superseding indictment — which includes charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice — stems from attempts to contact and communications with people identified in a June 4 filing from the special counsel’s office as D1 and D2.”

French President Emmanuel Macron “threatened to join with other world leaders to issue a rare rebuke of the United States at a global summit here this weekend, drawing immediate and sharp replies from President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“Macron said Trump could be excluded from joining with other leaders in a joint declaration of unity at the end of a global summit here, a very unusual move that was meant to isolate Trump’s recent burst of trade threats aimed at numerous U.S. allies.”

Said Macron: “The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be. Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”

Rudy Giuliani “has yet to genuinely affect the course of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe despite being a near-constant presence on TV since he became President Trump’s lawyer,” Bloomberg reports.

“For example, Giuliani told several media outlets that he wants to see secret FBI documents related to the origin of the Russia investigation, including the use of a confidential informant. So he asked for the documents — informally. The answer? No response from the Justice Department or Mueller. The incident illustrates how nearly two months after joining Trump’s legal team, Giuliani isn’t yet seen as a power player with the legal authority to go up against Mueller’s team of career prosecutors.”

“The special counsel’s accusation this week that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, tried to tamper with potential witnesses originated with two veteran journalists who turned on Mr. Manafort after working closely with him to prop up the former Russia-aligned president of Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.

“The two journalists, who helped lead a project to which prosecutors say Mr. Manafort funneled more than $2 million from overseas accounts, are the latest in a series of onetime Manafort business partners who have provided damaging evidence to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Their cooperation with the government has increasingly isolated Mr. Manafort as he awaits trial on charges of violating financial, tax and federal lobbying disclosure laws.”

Politico: “The president — who claimed in 2016 that he was self-funding his campaign so he couldn’t be ‘controlled’ by donors, even though he ultimately raised most of his funds from outsiders — has developed a new ease with the donor class and is spending significant time away from the White House fundraising from them. Trump has attended eight events for the political groups supporting him in 2018, an uptick from the five he attended the previous year, and he has crisscrossed the country to Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.”

“Federal law enforcement officials secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records this year in an investigation of classified information leaks. It was the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump,” the New York Times reports.

“The seizure — disclosed in a letter to the reporter, Ali Watkins — suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.”

NBC News: “Among registered voters of all political stripes, two-thirds (67 percent) say that the country would be better off if more women were elected to political office, while just a quarter of voters (24%) disagree. But it’s among Democrats that the pro-female candidate sentiment is most overwhelming. Nearly nine-in-10 Democrats (87%) say the country would be better off with more women in office, while 10 percent disagree.”

“Yet among Republicans, just 49% say the country would be better off with more women in office, while 38% say they disagree with that statement.”

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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for June 9, 2018

  1. cassandram

    PayGo only makes sense if it means that the tax scam gets rolled back, we adjust tax brackets so that the middle class pays less and the rich pay more, and we lift the cap on Social Security. Otherwise appealing to budget discipline when the GOP is rapidly emptying the Treasury into the pockets of the wealthy is just silly.

  2. cassandram

    And then there’s this bullshit: Adam Putnam’s office stopped concealed weapons background checks for a year because it couldn’t log in

    The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system, the investigator learned. The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.

    So. Lots of people in FL who are ineligible for concealed carry just might have a permit. And the official in charge of this office thinks he should be the Governor of Florida.

    • Which is why I refuse to visit Florida. Arizona, either, and I used to love to vacation there.

  3. elizabeth allen

    How about all races of children being held in cages,in our country.? Torn from parents like puppies, cannot be permitted to be NORMAL in our country. . MSNBC reports Sessions and Trump dumping children in cages is against ALL law, and morality. (Family values),
    No its a war crime isnt this what Nazis did? Violation of internationAL LAW humane war crime, occuring now, IN OUR NAME! Where is democratic leadership. Sen. Markey saw this treatment, but refused admittance to the facility. If a US Senator can not enter those buildings who can? Reporters not permitted. Markey spoke out..But where are the top leaders of the Democratic Party, State and Federal?

    Why are we not in the streets, on our feet and stop this war crime! Trump calls humans “animals”, children are animals? Are we going to sit this out, and just blog about it, talk to our friends about it…OR do something about it.

    Roll Call reports Nancy Pelosi has $29million…really think she and her wealthy cohorts give a damn about you? All these candidates must be questioned as to what vote they would take should that issue come up. Reporters aren’t doing it…its up to us. We have to do

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