“Facebook is preparing to announce that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November’s midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.
“It has been unable to tie the accounts to Russia, whose Internet Research Agency was at the center of an indictment earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 election, but company officials told Capitol Hill that Russia was possibly involved.”
So yeah, the Russians are still targeting our elections and the Trump administration is like, whatever: https://t.co/0poUT0RQNB
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) July 31, 2018
A poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government is run, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. This is undisputably true.
The Baby Boomer Generation, the worst generation in all history, must be forcibly removed from politics. In fact, if an officeholder was born before 1960, they should be forced to resign.
The same AP-NORC poll finds “57% of young people between the age of 15 and 34 say they are doubtful that people of different political views can come together and work out their differences, and less than 1 in 5 hold out hope that these political divisions will heal over the next five years. Just 1 in 10 have felt positive or excited about the state of the country in the past month, and about 7 in 10 say American politics are dysfunctional.”
“But many young people believe that negativity may fuel action by their generation. Sixty-two percent believe that their generation is motivated to make positive changes in the U.S., and 63% of young people say that voting in the 2018 midterms will allow their generation to effect real change in the government.”
President Trump again threatened a government shutdown over his border wall in a tweet: “I don’t care what the political ramifications are… and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a Government Shutdown.”
However, a senior GOP official tells Jonathan Swan that the tweet was not “intended to signal a change in timing on the shutdown. The working understanding among senior staff is that he’ll wait until after the elections to have the shutdown fight.”
We just published, to our knowledge, the most complete set of Russian troll tweets available.
— Micah Cohen (@micahcohen) July 31, 2018
“FiveThirtyEight has obtained nearly 3 million tweets from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. To our knowledge, it’s the fullest empirical record to date of Russian trolls’ actions on social media, showing a relentless and systematic onslaught.”
They’re uploaded to Github so that anyone can explore the data for themselves.
Murray Waas: “Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides — provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice.”
“Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work, would then decide on turning over that report to Congress for the House of Representatives to consider whether to instigate impeachment proceedings.”
“I have learned that a confidential White House memorandum, which is in the special counsel’s possession, explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides—his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn—that Flynn was under criminal investigation.”
— David Dayen (@ddayen) July 30, 2018
“White House chief of staff John Kelly told staff on Monday that President Trump had asked him to remain in his post through the 2020 election, White House officials said, a request that comes as tensions between the two men have eased in recent months,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Kelly told staff he agreed to the president’s request.
Pew Research: “Americans appear to be more engaged with this year’s midterm elections than they typically are. Not only do about half of registered voters report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting, up from 40% in 2014, but turnout has surged in the 31 states that already have held their congressional primaries – particularly among Democrats.
Playbook: “In recent days, the general consensus among Republican operatives and aides seems to have shifted, and most people we talk to say that the GOP will lose the House, if the election were held today. Of course, the election is three months from now, but the political picture has darkened for the GOP.”
Rudy Giuliani told CNN that two days before the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton there was a planning meeting to prepare that meeting. It included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and others.
That meeting would have been on June 7th, the same day Donald Trump teased an upcoming speech — which ultimately never happened — where he would reveal new information on the Clintons.
Josh Marshall: “If nothing else, it suggests that the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date. And then there’s Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy. As we know, Gates is now a cooperating witness. Big problem for the Trump Team, if he was at such a planning meeting.”
President Trump said he is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani anytime, saying that he believes it is always better to meet with adversaries, the Washington Post reports. Said Trump: “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want.”
A new Emerson College poll in Wisconsin finds that Tony Evers (D) leads Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the race for governor, 48% to 41%, with 7% of voters still undecided.
A new Siena poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) continues to hold a dominant lead over primary challenger Cynthia Nixon (D), 60% to 29%. Key finding: “Ms. Nixon is running hard to the governor’s left, but she continues to trail Mr. Cuomo badly among self-identified liberal Democrats, 57 percent to 35 percent, a gap perhaps as ominous to her chances as the top-line margin.”
A new Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) leads Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%, a net shift of about 4 points in the Republican’s favor since the firm’s last poll in February when the race was a dead heat. Said pollster Brad Coker: “It’s going to be a slugfest. Nelson is hoping for a blue wave, and Scott is counting on Trump motivating his base of voters. Rick Scott has yet to have a landslide win. So I don’t anticipate him winning by a big amount if he does win.”
New evidence suggests North Korea is working on one or two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a research facility in Sanumdong, which is on the outskirts of Pyongyang https://t.co/mTzaJoC5u7
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 31, 2018
“U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States,” the Washington Post reports.
“Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one, and possibly two, liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang.”
The Trump administration has a new plan to cut taxes for the rich by $100 billion. https://t.co/OrrIy79AiT
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 31, 2018
“The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives,” the New York Times reports.
“Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities.”
Said Mnuchin: “If it can’t get done through a legislation process, we will look at what tools at Treasury we have to do it on our own and we’ll consider that.”
A former Trump Organization executive told CNN that it is “impossible” Donald Trump would not have known about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Said Barbara Res: “Impossible, in my opinion, based on my experience working with Trump and everybody that worked with Trump. Something major, something newsworthy, something press-worthy would always go before Trump.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 31, 2018
President Trump “lashed out at the powerful political network started by billionaires Charles and David Koch after it broke with a tradition of backing Republican candidates by declining to support the party’s pick against a vulnerable Democratic senator in North Dakota,” Bloomberg reports. Tweeted Trump: “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”
He added: “Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn.”
Daily Beast: “Giuliani seems to have developed an impenetrable construct: Create something that is not a federal offense, and then deny his client committed that nonexistent federal offense.”
Jonathan Cohn: “Although ‘collusion’ per se might not violate federal law, at least outside the context of antitrust, conspiracy to commit some other federal crime would be. Organizing an effort to hack into and expose Clinton’s emails ― or to violate campaign finance regulations, by accepting help from a foreign agent ― would fall into those categories, just to take two purely hypothetical examples.”
“But whether Trump technically violated this or that provision of the federal code is in many respects beside the point, at least when it comes to whether Congress, at some point, should impeach him and remove him from office. ”
“The key thing to remember is that impeachment is not about punishing or deterring crime in the way that, say, a law against fraud or assault is. It’s about removing officials from office because they are unfit or undermining the democratic workings of government.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) July 31, 2018
“While Democrats are crying foul after Republican leaders angled to limit disclosures of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s past work, one of the GOP senators whose vote may be pivotal to his confirmation says she’s just fine with it,” Bloomberg reports.
“Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters Tuesday that she has no objection to a decision late Friday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, to leave out of a federal document request all the paperwork and emails from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary to President George W. Bush.”
Jeffrey Toobin: “At some point in the process, all four of these nominees—Haynsworth, Carswell, Bork, and Ginsburg—seemed like shoo-ins for confirmation, much as Kavanaugh does today. And yet they were all defeated. And the Justices who took their places were closer to the judicial and political mainstream. To be sure, the analogies to Kavanaugh’s case can be overdrawn. The most obvious difference is that Democrats controlled the Senate when Nixon and Reagan made their nominations. And Nixon and Reagan were less right-wing than Trump has been, at least when it comes to judicial nominations. Trump and his allies can be expected to fight furiously for Kavanaugh precisely because Blackmun and Kennedy turned out to be more moderate than many anticipated.”
“Still, the current Republican margin in the Senate (owing to John McCain’s absence) is just a single vote, and Kavanaugh’s long paper trail, both as a judge and as a Republican political appointee, gives Democrats a great deal of material to exploit. Most of all, they need to remember that fighting Supreme Court nominees, even against formidable odds, can succeed—and produce a better Court than anyone might have expected.”