Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 17, 2018

“President Trump’s lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller are hurtling toward a showdown over a year-long investigation into the president’s conduct, with Mueller pushing to write up his findings by summer’s end and Trump’s lawyers strategizing how to rebut a report that could spur impeachment hearings,” the Washington Post reports.

“The confrontation is coming to a head as Trump and his allies ratchet up their attacks on the special counsel probe, seizing on a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general that castigated FBI officials for their conduct during the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation.”

“Federal prosecutors in New York revealed on Friday that they had pieced back together shredded documents found during search-warrant raids in April targeting Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney,” Politico reports.

“Lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan also said they’d managed to download the contents of one old BlackBerry found in the raids, as well as messages from encrypted apps, including WhatsApp and Signal, found on newer phones. ‘Approximately 731 pages of messages, including call logs,’ were found on those apps and were turned over to Cohen’s lawyers on Friday to be reviewed for potentially privileged materials like attorney-client communications, as well as ‘highly personal’ information, prosecutors said.”

“Democrats will hold their 2020 national convention in mid-July — two weeks earlier than the party’s 2016 event, a move Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says ‘will not only allow for a unified party, but will ensure that our nominee is in the strongest position to take on Donald Trump or whoever the Republican nominee may be,’” ABC News reports.

“The DNC has also narrowed down the potential sites for their 2020 conventions, and are considering eight potential host cities: Atlanta, Birmingham, Denver, Houston, Miami Beach, Milwaukee, New York and San Francisco.”

“As the Trump administration imposes tariffs on allies and rivals alike, provoking broad retaliation, global commerce is suffering disruption, flashing signs of strains that could hamper economic growth. The latest escalation came on Friday, when President Trump announced fresh tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, prompting swift retribution from Beijing,” the New York Times reports.

“As the conflict broadens, shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for crucial raw materials are rising. At factories from Germany to Mexico, orders are being cut and investments delayed. American farmers are losing sales as trading partners hit back with duties of their own.”

Andrew Sullivan: “It seems so long ago now. Almost immediately after Trump took office, the denial of reality began. The president’s and his spokesperson’s insistence that his inauguration crowd was the biggest in history — and certainly bigger than Obama’s — belied what everyone could see with their bare, lyin’ eyes. At the time, I wondered whether the president was psychologically unwell. Three thousand lies later, we have a fuller picture.”

“The president believes what he wants to believe, creates a reality that fits his delusions, and then insists, with extraordinary energy and stamina, that his delusions are the truth. His psychological illness, moreover, is capable of outlasting anyone else’s mental health. Objective reality that contradicts his delusions is discounted as “fake news” propagated by “our country’s greatest enemy,” i.e., reporters. If someone behaved like this in my actual life, if someone kept insisting that the sea was red and the sky green, I’d assume they were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. It’s vital for us to remember this every day: Almost no one else in public life is so openly living in his own disturbed world.”

Jennifer Duffy: “As the political universe fixates on the battles for control of Congress, little attention is being paid to the 36 gubernatorial contests on the ballot in November. But, the stakes for control of governorships are high given that most of the Governors elected this year will be in office during redistricting in 2021. And, races are starting to become engaged and more interesting.”

“Governors’ races are not immune to mid-term election trends. Just as the party in power loses seats in the U.S. House and Senate, it also loses gubernatorial seats… Given the near historic number of seats Republicans hold and mid-term trends, it would seem that they have nowhere to go but down. They are playing defense this cycle, while Democrats are working to put as many GOP-held seats on the board as possible.”

The Cook Political Report has updated its race ratings.

Catherine Rampell has a great case study on how President Trump’s tariffs on washing machines isn’t working.

“When you aggregate all those price increases across the 10 million washers sold annually in the United States, consumers will collectively pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for each job supposedly created or saved. Which is many multiples of what factory workers typically earn.”

“And it’s not even clear how safe their jobs are at this point, given the rest of Trump’s trade agenda. After all, his tariffs didn’t stop with washing machines.”

“In March, ahead of foreign service officers’ performance reviews, or ‘employee evaluation reports,’ the State Department sent out an email, signed off on by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and recently shared with BuzzFeed News, reminding managers of best practices.”

“Most of the points were straightforward… Point nine, however, told raters and reviewers to ‘avoid gender normative language,’ and reads, ‘It is disappointing that a few raters last year mentioned female employees’ baking skills, which, among other things, wasted space that could have been used to discuss the employee’s precept-linked accomplishments and potential for future advancement.’”

Well, guess what was on Russian TV?  “Russian state TV is celebrating after seeing the recent report that Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea belongs to Russia because the people there speak Russian.

Trump’s statement, which parrots the Kremlin’s talking points on Crimea, was widely interpreted in Russia as an official declaration by the U.S. that Russia was justified when they illegally invaded Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine.  The ignorant proclamation made by Trump was quickly turned into propaganda and touted by Russian state TV hosts Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov, who triumphantly reported on the remarks Friday.

“Krym nash, Trump nash!” Skabeeva declared to the audience, which in English means “Crimea is ours, Trump is ours!””

“A company run by former officials at Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm brought down by a scandal over how it obtained Facebook users’ private data, has quietly been working for President Trump’s 2020 re-election effort,” the Associated Press reports.

Martin Longman:  “It’s pretty desperate for the president at this point, which is clear from the fact that his lawyer is seriously considering becoming a cooperating witness against him and his former campaign chairman just spend the first night of, probably, the rest of his life in prison. But, it’s okay because he’s referencing the wrong IG report to exonerate himself from any wrongdoing. It’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen. A report that looks at the FBI and DOJ’s performance in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails and has absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump is supposed to somehow clear Donald Trump because it doesn’t say he did anything wrong.  […]

And, as embattled as he is, his solution is to salute North Korean generals and make more apologies for Vladimir Putin. He wants to have Kim visit him in the White House and have a meeting with Putin, he wants to end joint military exercises with South Korea and is telling our European partners that Crimea belongs to Russia and Russia should be readmitted to the G7. He’s telling anyone who will listen that Kim has a winning personality and runs his country like a champion.

He’s fucking crazy, folks. This is not going to end well.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for June 17, 2018

  1. Mitch Crane

    As political VP of Delaware Stonewall PAC, and on behalf of President Peter Schott and the Board, here are the candidates whose endorsements were announced at our packed and successful Rehoboth Beach fundraiser .Thank you to Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester for her inspirational keynote. Congratulations to honorees State Representative Bryon Short and CAMP Rehoboth and thank you to US Senator Tom Carper for his remarks.

    Incumbents who have filed for re-election to date were considered based on their voting record. Non-incumbents who have filed were considered based on their returned questionnaires. (Incumbents noted by *)

    Attorney General- Kathy Jennings
    State Auditor- Kathy McGuiness
    State Treasurer- Colleen Davis

    State Senate 2- Bobbie Cummings
    Senate 3- Tizzie Lockman
    Senate 4- Laura Sturgeon
    Senate 6- Dave Baker
    Senate 10- Stephanie Hansen*
    Senate 11- Bryan Townsend*
    Senate 17- Trey Paradee
    State Representative 2- Stepephanie Bolden*
    3- Helene Keeley*
    6- Debra Heffernan*
    7- Joe Daigle
    9- Debbie Harrington
    12- Krista Griffith
    14- Pete Schwartzkopf*
    15- Valerie Longhurst*
    16- Jakim Mohammed
    17- Melissa Minor-Brown
    18- David Bentz*
    19- Kim Williams*
    20- John Bucchioni
    21- Mike Ramone* (the only Republican)
    22- Renee Taschner
    23- Paul Baumbach*
    24- Ed Osienski*
    25- John Kowalko*
    26- John Viola*
    31- Sean Lynn*
    36- Don Allan

    • Chronic Annoyance

      Pretty good list except for auditor. Guess Stonewall didn’t consider experience necessary in that endorsement.

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