Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 16, 2018

President Trump told CBS News that the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — is perhaps the country’s “biggest foe globally right now.”

Said Trump: “Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”  He added: “I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills.”

President Trump also told CBS News that he hadn’t thought of pushing Russian President Vladimir Putin to extradite the dozen Russian officials charged with hacking Democratic email servers.  Said Trump: “Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.”  He added: “And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC too. The Republican National Committee. But we had much better defenses. I’ve been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn’t. I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked.”

Jonathan Swan: “To the extent that Trump does confront Putin over meddling at tomorrow’s summit in Finland with Vladimir Putin — and the president has publicly promised to — it’s not with any genuine seriousness or enthusiasm, the sources say. It’ll be purely for domestic/media consumption.”

Masha Green: “The mere fact of the meeting, followed by a joint press conference with the American President, will be a demonstration of power for Putin. He needs to deliver nothing else. If, however, he is also able to nudge Trump toward a verbal acknowledgment of the legitimacy of Russia’s interests in its old sphere of influence—something that Putin will almost certainly bring up in conversation, making Trump likely to parrot an attitude he instinctively understands—Russians will perceive it as Putin restoring Russia’s superpower status.”

“Putin may also suggest a deal whereby the United States pulls out of Syria. Being able to make such an announcement would make Trump feel like the dealmaker he longs to be. To Russians, it would look like they had won the war. If any deal happens, though, it will be merely an accidental substantive bonus attached to a performance designed to be empty.”

Josh Marshall: “Benjamin Netanyahu worked laboriously mobilizing all his influence in Washington to persuade Donald Trump to meet Vladimir Putin.”  This is not terribly surprising. And it dovetails with Adam Entous’s New Yorkerarticle from a week ago which explained how the Russian collusion story fits together with other parts of the story focused on the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel’s interests are simple: a post-conflict Syria in which Iran has as little role as possible. No role is not possible. But Israel’s focus is to keep Iranian forces or Iranian proxies several tens of miles back from Israel’s borders at a minimum (50-60 kilometers, this article says). The other just as critical goal is to keep Iranian missiles and air defense systems from anywhere on Syrian soil.

To achieve these aims, Israel needs Russia. Entous’s article argued that UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel each want a rapprochment between the US and Russia because only that will make possible or give Russia an interest in pushing back or restraining Iran, most specifically in Syria. Europeans fear, apparently correctly, that the idea is to trade Russian assistance with Iran for regularizing Russia’s gains in Ukraine and ending sanctions.”

The Russian foreign ministry published the full transcript of foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Larry King.  In the interview, which aired on RT, Lavrov said the United States requested the one-on-one meeting between President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin before their formal talks next week in Helsinki.

As part of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s new Showtime series, current and former Republican lawmakers endorsed a fake program to train and arm children as young as four years old.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) “this year reported a profit from a private equity fund that owns a health care group servicing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, including facilities that hold immigrant families with children,” Politico reports.

“In his most recent statement of economic interests, the multi-millionaire Illinois Republican governor disclosed earnings from a fund that owns Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit health care provider that has millions of dollars in government contracts with jails and prisons across the country, including immigrant detention centers.”

The Guardian: “Theresa May has revealed that Donald Trump advised her to ‘sue the European Union’ rather than negotiate with the 27-country bloc, in a private conversation that the US president referred to during his visit to the UK on Friday.”

“The prime minister was asked on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show what the ‘brutal’ Brexit negotiating advice was that Trump had talked about in their joint press conference outside the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat.”

“Six weeks after winning an overwhelming victory among California primary voters, Senator Dianne Feinstein suffered an embarrassing setback Saturday night as the state Democratic Party officially endorsed her rival for election this November,” the New York Times reports. “Kevin de León, the Democratic leader in California’s State Senate, won the support of the party leadership despite an effort by Ms. Feinstein to convince the party not to offer an endorsement.”

Washington Post: “In a 29-page indictment Friday, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III blamed specific officers in the Russian government for the 2016 hacking of Democrats, answering one of his investigation’s central questions while highlighting another he must still explain: Were any Americans involved in the conspiracy to interfere in the race for the White House?”

“As Mueller faces the task of resolving that piece of his inquiry — as well as his examination of whether President Trump has sought to obstruct the probe — people familiar with the investigation said the special counsel is pushing to wrap up a significant portion of his investigative work by the end of summer.”

“There are various factors that could alter Mueller’s efforts and timeline, most notably whether the standoff over an interview with Trump is resolved or ends up being litigated in court.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained that National Security Adviser John Bolton was pulled from a planned appearance on CNN because the network “disrespected” President Trump.  Said Sanders: “Instead of rewarding bad behavior, we decided to reprioritize the TV appearances for administration officials.”

“Prince Charles and Prince William were unwilling to meet Donald Trump on his visit to Britain, leaving the Queen to greet the US president alone,” the Sunday Times reports.  “The first two in line to the throne let it be known during informal discussions about the arrangements for the president’s four-day trip that they did not want to take part.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “and her emissaries have been reaching out to key Democratic officeholders in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina — three states early in the presidential primary calendar — making introductions and offering help in the midterm campaign. Altogether, her moves are among the most assertive steps taken by any Democrat to prepare for 2020,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. Warren, 69, now leads a small advance guard of Democrats who appear to be moving deliberately toward challenging President Trump. Former Vice President Joseph Biden wielding a political network cultivated over decades, has been reasserting himself as a party leader, while Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have emerged as fresher-faced messengers for the midterms. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the runner-up in the 2016 primaries, has been acting like a candidate as he considers another race.”

“All five have been traveling the country, raising money for Democrats and gauging the appeal of their personalities and favorite themes.”

Those aren’t the only five.  While “[n]o mayor has ever sprung directly from City Hall to the White House,” as Politico reports, “that historic streak stands to be tested in 2020, with at least three Democratic mayors mulling presidential campaigns: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

Internal survey data shows that one year after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey “agents say they have less confidence in the ethics and vision of the bureau’s new leadership,” the New York Timesreports.

“The survey results further undercut one of the explanations that President Trump and his aides gave for firing Mr. Comey and replacing him with Christopher Wray. Mr. Trump said the bureau was in turmoil and agents had lost confidence in Mr. Comey.”

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

29 comments on “The Open Thread for July 16, 2018

  1. Here we are, six months after the first indictment of thirteen Russian “hackers” , and now the Justice Department has indicted the second batch of “hackers”, and still the Mueller probe hasn’t fingered Putin in any of these indictments.

    Putin had to know, had to be involved somehow, right? I think the reason there has been no indictment of Putin is because it would highlight the absurd futility of the path the Justice Department is taking. None of these people will ever show up to answer for these indictments. There will never be a trial. It’s all for show, all politics.

    One defendant from the first batch of Russians actually did answer the summons and surprised Mueller’s team. The defendant’s lawyers showed up and requested their rightful discovery and the Mueller team balked and asked for an extension, which a judge denied. Mueller’s bluff was called and he had nothing.

    • I think it is super adorable that you think you have been told all Mueller knows.

      Cohens takedown of Trumpkin gun humpers would be gold if it wasn’t so horrifying. The head of the Gun humpers of America or whatever it’s called endorsed public execution of people praying (as long as they’re muslims) and spousal rape.

    • delacrat

      If US citizens, instead of Russians, had uncovered and disclosed the conniving going on in the DNC to steal the nomination from Sanders, they would not be called “hackers”, they’d be called whistleblowers.

      • Sanders will never be president. Get. Over. It.
        Every instant you waste complaining about that is time you’re stealing from Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive candidates who have an actual future. There are people out there actually trying to change the party you spend so much time whining about.

        • delacrat

          If anything is “stealing from Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive candidates”, it’s the 24/7 Russia hysteria.

          • oh, ok. Because a desire to kick out bootlicking dems who prop up a traitor president in no way boosts enthusiasm for progressive candidates who would hold that mound of skin tags accountable.

            Joker over here would rather keep pissing his pants over how an old white man was “cheated”, than push for a real agenda by supporting women of color. It’s all so transparent.

      • cassandram

        Let’s not forget that the people who were caught stealing in 2016 were the Sanders people who were accessing info they should not have from the HRC campaign. He had to fire people and agree to additional monitoring before he got VAN access again. On the other hand, no one has uncovered any conniving to steal anything from Sanders. They found plenty of snarky eyerolling in emails towards him and his campaign. Nothing else.

        • The information was not “uncovered.” It was stolen, so we would call them “criminals.”

  2. cassandram

    While the GRIFTUS is meeting with his Russian handler today, let’s remember why the GOP is so silent about about of this: How Putin’s oligarchs funneled millions into GOP campaigns

    • Probably the same reason the DNC is so quiet about the $400 M that Bill Browder laundered into their coffers.

      • cassandram

        Bill Browder is specifically on the side of the US here. And the list of Americans who should come clean about laundering stupid amounts of money to the DNC and RNC is pretty big. It is ONLY the GOP that is taking money from known associates of a country that is hostile to us,

        Whatabouism FAIL.

      • The only evidence of that is Vladimir Putin’s word. You, sir, are a traitor.

  3. Why was my reply to delacrat’s comment deleted. Did I break a rule?

    • If you disagree with what I have to say, I will gladly debate the issue with you. No need to just delete my comment.

  4. cassandram

    The GRIFTUS stood in front of the world and told everyone that he believed Putin’s claim that they did not undermine our elections. He told the world he believed Putin over his own intelligence agencies.

    DEFINITELY NOT America first, it looks like.

    • Would you believe the word of an “intelligence agency” whose finest sent texts like:

      “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk…it’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40”

      • cassandram

        More Whatabousim FAIL.

        The President of the United States stood in front of TV cameras looking like a cowed subordinate to a country that continues to have hostile intentions towards us. Disavowing the work of his own intelligence agencies. Disavowing any American security interests here. Remember how all of you claimed that Obama was apologizing to other countries for our behavior? That is exactly what the GRIFTUS did today.

        • I was glad to see him apologizing for the sham that Mueller is perpetrating. A complete joke of an investigation. Flushing taxpayer money down the drain because Democrats just can’t get over having their asses handed to them.

          • cassandram

            While you are delighted to see an American President apologize for the American justice system at work (let’s think about how Americans would have been treated if the tables had been turned), here’s another thing your president can apologize for: Russian woman charged with spying for Moscow by ‘infiltrating’ NRA

            So it’s official. The modern GOP doesn’t know truth from fiction; does not know moral from immoral — they just know they are supposed to win. It doesn’t matter that you are specifically hurting our democracy. The only thing that you know is that if the next Democratic President did one iota of the groveling this man does to Russia is that you are prepared to see *that* as wrong. Not because the country might be at risk, but because a Democrat did it.

            I’m tired of the hypocritical and bad faith posts you make here. And you may not be here making them for long.

            • That’s rich. The current biggest danger to our democracy is idiots like Strozk and Mueller trying to overturn elections because they didn’t like the results. Even a whiff of impeachment and the crowds down on the mall in DC will make the women’s march look like preschool. They won’t be carrying stupid pink hats either.

              • cassandram

                No one is overturning an election. But law enforcement (the overwhelmingly Republican law enforcement) is doing its job in tracking down how the Russians worked to help GRIFTUS get elected. That help is illegal, BTW. And no one is even talking about overturning an election yet. Meaning that you *STILL* can’t address the real issue at hand. Probably because FOX Noise hasn’t told you what to say yet.
                Given the the fact that your party has transformed into the VichyGOP, they are no longer working for Americans, but like Trump are working for themselves and the Russians.

                Still. No one is worried about you people showing up at the Mall. Law enforcement has seen how many time y’all throw them under the bus. And there aren’t enough of you.

                • Most of the key people involved in the investigation are Republicans. But I suppose you have to remember that Trump supports are not Republican. Trump is as close to being 3rd party as we have ever had in the this nation. For some it’s to be celebrated, the triumph of individual over party. For others, this is probably a cautionary tale. The party with all it’s warts, does provide some service in the vetting of those who stand for office. There is a fine line between a populist leader and cult leader. When the party fails it’s constituents they abandon the party (and you get a Trump). The party must reflect the values of it’s members but it also has to balance passion is a modicum of realism.

                  Of course, I shouldn’t be the one touting the benefits of the party since I don’t belong to one.

          • cassandram

            And here’s a hint. If you can only respond with more whataboutism, you’ll be done.

    • Trump said the exact same thing about the DNC servers that got my comment deleted yesterday. Trump definitely believes Putin over SOME of our “six ways from Sunday” intelligence people, and rightly so. And let’s face it, whatever he said would have been politically spun against him.

      • cassandram

        Funny how you assume that this liar is always straight up with you. Te DNC servers are a red herring. Always have been. A fully imaged copy and certified copy of those servers exist at the FBI’s office, Quantico and Ft. Meade. If all you got is Fox noise disinformation (which you already know is disinformation) you may just get deleted. Because you do know better.

  5. Trump’s a traitor, there’s still no telling what he gave away to Putin. Other than lip service of course.

  6. nathan arizona

    Both kinds of lip service, probably.

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