Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 15, 2018

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood “filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children alleging ‘persistently illegal conduct’ at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit — to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events,” the Washington Post reports.

“She said a 20-month state investigation found that Trump had repeatedly violated laws that set the ground rules for tax-exempt foundations — most importantly, that their money is meant to serve the public good, and not to provide private benefits to their founders.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general found that former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the law enforcement agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by political bias, Bloomberg reports.  From the report: “While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”

“Former FBI Director James Comey, who famously criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using personal email, used his own personal email account and laptop to conduct FBI business,” the HuffPostreports.

“The DOJ inspector general’s report released on Thursday found that Comey’s use of a personal Gmail address was ‘inconsistent’ with FBI policy.”

Amy Walter: “In 2018, Democrats would like the spotlight to be trained on health care and tax reform. Specifically, they want to be talking about the rising cost of health care and a GOP crafted tax law that they argue is tilted toward the wealthy and big corporations over struggling middle class families. In fact, some of the lowest approval ratings for the president — and some of the largest advantages Democrats have had on the congressional ballot — came during the debates and votes on health care legislation and the tax bill.”

“Republicans certainly would like to see the president be more disciplined. But, the constant swirl and clamor also make it hard for even bad stories to stick around before they are swept off the front pages by something else. The consistently good economic news helps as well.”

“But, let’s be honest, we have no idea where that spotlight will be shining by November… One thing we do know, however, is that Trump will never be out of the spotlight. And, as such, opposition to or support for him is what will ultimately determine the outcome of 2018.”

President Trump “told G7 leaders that Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Russia invaded and then annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, leading to widespread international condemnation and sanctions. It also directly led to Russia being kicked out of the then-G8. Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Russia’s intervention in Crimea at the time saying that he had the right to protect Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine.”

“Republicans are floating a draft bill that would end family separations as the U.S. plans to reopen a tent shelter to house migrant children,” the Washington Post reports.

“A draft text of the Republicans’ bill also calls for visas for young undocumented immigrants known as ‘dreamers’ as well as billions in funding for President Trump’s border wall. Conservatives and moderates are reserving judgment on the legislation ahead of expected votes next week.”

NBC News: “The Trump administration has selected Tornillo, Texas, for the construction of tents to house the overflow of immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new ‘zero tolerance’ policy.”

“A Texas shelter housing child immigrants who are separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border is reportedly overcrowded, highly structured, and full of murals featuring President Trump,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The Casa Padre shelter in Brownsville was opened up to a group of journalists Wednesday for the first time since the Department of Homeland Security announced a controversial new family separation policy.”

MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff tweeted that visitors are almost immediately greeted by a massive Trump mural featuring a quote that reads, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

North Korean state media released new behind-the-scenes footage of President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un, showing Trump saluting a North Korean General.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted President Trump’s decision to halt military exercises with South Korea as part of the ongoing negotiations with North Korea, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “Suspending U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake. Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests—and it is a bad negotiating tactic.”

McCain also knocked Trump for calling the war games with South Korea “provocative” saying the president was “parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda.”

Former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said that an escalating trade war could wipe out the benefits of the Republican tax law passed last fall, the Washington Post reports.

Said Cohn: “If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Molly Ball: “On June 5, the biggest primary day of the year, 42 of the 48 candidates endorsed by Emily’s List, which supports pro-choice Democratic women, prevailed in races up and down the ballot in eight states, from governor to state legislature… The trend shows no signs of abating… The result is that women, many of them new to politics, will be the face of the Democratic Party in the first national election of the Trump era.”

“Why are all these women winning in spite of such obstacles? One reason is other women are campaigning, organizing and voting for them… Democratic strategists hope this crop of fresh-faced women will give the party an advantage in November, primarily by providing a contrast to President Trump. Female candidates, they say, will appeal to voters looking for change and be natural messengers for issues, such as health care and education, on which polls show women candidates tend to be more trusted.”

Mike Allen: “It took Little Rocket Man just seven months to go from President Trump calling him ‘a sick puppy,’ to ‘very talented’ during the post-summit press conference, to syrupy praise of Kim Jong-un during the president’s interview in Singapore with Fox News’ Bret Baier.”

“The shift is jarring but is part of the Trump modus operandi: People come in and out of favor with wind-shear-like abruptness. Anyone in Trump’s orbit knows they can be banished on a whim — but have a good chance of coming back.”

“There’s no nuance with Trump. He oscillates between extremes, embracing and banishing people, even without real changes in their behavior.”

Politico: “Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP. The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears. They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain.”

“They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan. And each time they watch another of their own go down, they wince, try to move on.”

Washington Post: “As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man, one who defied the odds to win the presidency and who has magnetically drawn the party’s power bases to himself.”

A new Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) leading challenger Lou Barletta (R) by a stunning 17 points, 44% to 27%, with 28% still undecided.  In the gubernatorial race, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) leads challenger Scott Wagner, 48% to 29%

In an interview with Fox News, President Trump dismissed North Korea’s human rights violations and Kim Jong Un’s atrocities against his own people.

Said Trump: “Hey, he’s a tough guy. When you take over a country — a tough country, tough people — and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator.”

When pressed further, Trump responded: “Yeah, but so have other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

Michael Cohen “is facing mounting pressure from two active federal investigations, contending with skyrocketing legal bills and planning to change lawyers in the near future,” the Washington Post reports.

“Amid his escalating legal concerns, Cohen is feeling neglected by the president, his longtime patron for whom he has long professed his loyalty.”

“Cohen is under intensifying scrutiny from federal prosecutors in Manhattan who are examining his business practices, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, who is continuing to investigate episodes involving Cohen.”

“Two of the most visible members of the Trump administration are planning their departures, the latest sign of upheaval in a White House marked by turmoil,” CBS News reports.

“Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are both heading for the exits… Sanders, who has become a confidante of President Trump since the departure of former communications director Hope Hicks, has told friends that she plans to leave the administration at the end of the year…. Shah is also considering his exit, but he has not yet settled on an exact date.”

“Several other lower-level positions in the communications department left vacant in recent weeks are likely to remain unfilled, with more departures expected in the coming weeks.”

“Two British political operatives were in regular contact with the Russian ambassador in London while they campaigned for, and met with, Donald Trump in the United States in 2016, a review of emails and social media posts shows,” CNN reports.

“Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore were prominent figures in the 2016 campaign for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.”

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

20 comments on “The Open Thread for June 15, 2018

  1. Boom!

    A federal judge Friday revoked the bail of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and ordered him taken into custody after he was accused of tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against him.

    • When is Hillary going to jail, for deleting emails and have security info on a personal computer??

      • you’re adorable.

      • Mitch Crane

        Probably when Dear Leader Trump declares Martial Law

      • Right after they arrest Trump for using unsecured cell phones. All enemy agents have to do is sit outside the White House — or they would, if your Dear Leader wasn’t giving them the information directly.

  2. cassandram

  3. The word you’re looking for is “you’re,” a contraction of “you are.” I told you you didn’t want me copy editing your comments, because there are errors in nearly every one of them.

    When you’re on a blog that caters to smart people, you shoot yourself in the foot when you spell badly.

  4. No you don’t. You do it because you don’t know any better, and now you’re trying to cover it up. How Trumpian of you.

    • Yep, don’t know any bitter, thank goodness there is a former professional like your selve that can correct us, none righters. Oh, I didn’t vote for Trump. And how were those pork chops???

  5. Even your so-called humor is sadly lacking. What leads someone like you to parade his ignorance before more intelligent people on an almost daily basis without apparent embarrassment? Are you too dumb to realize how dumb you are?

    • And you classify yourself as intelligent? What proof?

      • I said “more intelligent,” quite correctly, as every single person who comments here is more intelligent that you.

        You suffer from what’s known as the Dunning Kruger effect. Look it up.

    • delacrat

      Well, at least anono has never uttered anything like this.

      June 12, 2018

      “Medicare for All” is actually a poor model for universal health care;”

      • Have you ever read anything substantive on the issue? Because my guess is no. Every discussion of “Medicare for All” talks about how you would have to adjust the current two (2) forms of Medicare to make it “for All” in a meaningful way. And none of them are in total agreement.

        “Medicare for All” is a fine slogan, but it’s meaningless as policy because you couldn’t just throw open the doors to everyone without modifying the system. Read up on it if you want me to take you seriously.

        You’re a sloganeer, without evidence of analysis behind it, which makes you a good left-leaning analog for Anono. Stop asserting you’re not a lightweight asshole and prove it.

        • And, just to be clear, I’m for universal health care, and as a slogan, I support “Medicare for All” as an easier way of saying “Single Payer.”

          But I’m also for intelligent discussion, which you always fail to provide.

  6. “And God said, ‘I’m sending my other son to the United States because they need a God to run the country now. Call him Dear Leader, after the Kim family in Korea. That way you can avoid the troubled mind that accompanies thinking’”

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