President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.” He added: “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
Meanwhile, in his hatefest in Tampa, in an attempt to defend voter ID laws, President Trump “wrongly claimed that shoppers need to show photo identification to buy groceries,” the AP reports. Said Trump: “If you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture.” Wrong. Who wants to guess the last time Trump went into any store or market or liquor store to buy anything? Had to be the early 80’s. Talk about being an out of touch elitist.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) August 1, 2018
Margaret Sullivan: “Hostility toward the media at Trump rallies is nothing new. It infected the presidential campaign and has marred every raucous gathering of supporters since the election. But on Tuesday night in Tampa, the extreme aggression dropped the basement floor another level. This was a new low. And a scary one at that.”
Jim Acosta shared this video: “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.”
A new Monmouth poll in Ohio’s 12th congressional district finds the special election race a toss up: “Different voter models suggest that the race could go either way.” Tory Balderson (R) edges Danny O’Connor (D) by 44% to 43% among all potential voters – that is voters who have participated in an election since 2010 or have newly registered to vote.
A standard model that looks like a typical midterm voter pool also shows Balderon barely ahead, 46% to 45%. A lower turnout model where only the most reliable voters show up, shows Balderson ahead 49% to 44%. However, in a Democratic “surge” model akin to turnout patterns that have been seen in many special elections held since 2017, O’Connor is just ahead, 46% to 45%.
Meanwhile, in Texas, a new Texas Lyceum Poll finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leading challenger to O’Rourke (D) by a hair, 41% to 39% among likely voters. That’s well within the survey’s margin of error of 4.67 percentage points.
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in a possible presidential race, 44% to 37%
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has handed off three cases involving U.S. lobbyists who failed to register as foreign agents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York https://t.co/YqNsgYVnE2
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) August 1, 2018
“The White House is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States, picking up where President Trump left off in 2017 in scaling back a program intended to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people,” the New York Times reports.
“This time, the effort is meeting with less resistance from inside the Trump administration because of the success that Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy adviser and an architect of his anti-immigration agenda, has had in installing allies in key positions who are ready to sign off on deep cuts.”
Gabriel Sherman: “The appearances have attracted the wrong kind of notice. ‘Trump thinks he’s saying too much,’ one Republican close to the White House told me. Another Trumpworld figure elucidated: ‘Trump likes that Rudy is a fighter. He knows there’s a give and take. The give is Rudy is going to fight for him. The take is that you’re going to get some crazy, too.’”
”The crazy on show in the last few days has given ammunition to his West Wing critics. Two of his most vocal detractors are Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn. ‘Kelly has been trying to get rid of Rudy for two months,” one outside adviser to the White House told me. ‘And Don McGahn hates Rudy with intensity of 1,000 burning suns.’”
Republicans have not given themselves any margin for error in the timing of their drive to place Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court https://t.co/GhLeMSJPTZ
— Daily Intelligencer (@intelligencer) August 1, 2018
“Members of a president’s party often avoid mentions of the president during a midterm election year, but 2018 is proving to be an exception,” according to an analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.
“President Trump was referenced positively in 14.8% of federal election ads (amounting to over 27,000 ads) in the past two months, whereas President Obama was mentioned positively in less than 1% of federal election ads aired during the same time period in 2010 and 2014. Even George W. Bush in 2002, whose approval ratings were sky high in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, was mentioned positively in a smaller share of federal ads (13.9%).”
“Trump was also referenced negatively in fewer ads than Obama was in 2010 and 2014 during the same summer time period (June 5 through July 29). Trump gets a negative mention in 9.7% of airings, while Obama was mentioned in a disapproving way in 16.1% of ads in 2010 and 26.6 percent of ads in 2014. George W. Bush, however, was mentioned negatively in almost no ads in 2002 and in less than 5% of ads in 2006.”
“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Trump about obstruction of justice,” sources close to the White House tell ABC News. “The president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.”
“According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 1, 2018
Wall Street Journal: “Trump administration advisers are debating measures that might bring Chinese negotiators to the table. Some are pushing the president to apply tariffs as high as 25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports, up from an original proposal for 10%.”
“The White House won’t make a final decision until at least late August on those tariffs, which are likely to target consumer goods and food as well as machinery components. Advisers are justifying the steeper tariffs, in part, to make up for the rapid depreciation of the yuan in recent months. Since May 30, the yuan has fallen 6% against the dollar.”
The White House refused to invite Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) to the signing ceremony for a bill he sponsored, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports. “At least two people close to the matter confirmed that the White House invited all the Republican and Democratic lawmakers who worked on the bill — except for Casey.”
Los Angeles Times: “Harris won’t say whether she’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. But nearly everyone thinks she will.”
“Her first — and perhaps greatest – challenge is introducing herself to American voters outside of California who know little about the 53-year-old beyond early comparisons to President Obama. And Harris needs to move fast. Her political rivals – in the GOP and within her own party – are already trying to put their own, less flattering stamp on Harris.”
”The branding effort portrays her as a Beltway outsider, a progressive with a compelling personal story and a tough former prosecutor who won’t shy from President Trump’s attacks.”
Trump's impotence to stop the Mueller probe is driving him batty: https://t.co/xc9QIVDkYH
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) August 1, 2018
Pew Research: “Over the course of an eventful first 18 months in office, President Trump’s approval ratings have remained remarkably stable. There has also been a wider gap between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of Trump than for any other U.S. president in the modern era of polling.”
“Four-in-ten Americans approve of Trump’s job performance while 54% say they disapprove, according to a Pew Research Center survey in June. Trump’s approval ratings have hardly moved in surveys conducted by the Center this year, and his current rating is nearly identical to the 39% who said they approved of his performance in February 2017, shortly after his inauguration.”
“Arms control experts confirm to NBC News that both satellite photos and U.S. intelligence show North Korea is continuing to produce ballistic missiles and work on its missile program, even after the historic June summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The experts point specifically to a July 7 satellite photo that shows activity consistent with missile production.
Trump tried to defend Paul Manafort by … comparing him to Al Capone https://t.co/Akv4PaUkxj
— Vox (@voxdotcom) August 1, 2018
Benjamin Wittes: “It isn’t every day that the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledges formally that the President of the United States lied in a speech to Congress. But that’s how I read a letter I received a few days ago from the department’s Office of Information Policy in connection with one of my Freedom of Information Act suits against the department.”
“No, the Justice Department letter does not come out and say what it clearly means: that President Trump, early in his tenure, was untruthful both about the role of foreigners in terrorism and terrorism-related crimes and about Justice Department data on the subject.”
“But that is what the letter says if you read between the lines.”
“Tom Steyer has set plans to spend at least $110 million in 2018, making the billionaire investor the largest single source of campaign cash on the left and placing him on a path to create a parallel party infrastructure with polling, analytics and staffing capabilities that stand to shape and define the issues the party runs on in November,” Politico reports.
“Steyer is building out an operation that’s bigger than anyone other than the Koch Brothers — and the billionaire and his aides believe the reservoir of non-traditional voters he’s already activated could become the overriding factor in House and other races across the country. Yet Steyer’s oversized role also stands to position him squarely against Democratic Party leadership, which has shown little appetite this fall for pursuing one of his signature causes: impeachment.”
“The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, seeming to contradict herself in the span of eight words https://t.co/nX4JvMXGrN
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) August 1, 2018
Coming soon: Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward.
Washington Post: “The expected tenor of the book is underscored by its unsettling cover, an extreme close-up of a squinty-eyed Trump depicted through a gauzy red filter. The hush-hush project derives its title from an offhand remark that then-candidate Trump made in an interview with Woodward and Post political reporter Robert Costa in April 2016. Costa asked Trump whether he agreed with a statement by then-President Barack Obama, who had said in an Atlantic magazine interview that ‘real power means you can get what you want without having to exert violence.’”
“At first Trump seemed to agree, saying: ‘Well, I think there’s a certain truth to that. . . . Real power is through respect.’”
“But then he added a personal twist: ‘Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word: Fear.’”
Politico: “According to half a dozen former administration officials and people close to the administration, Woodward was never officially granted access to the White House or to the president, and the communications department did nothing to help him in researching or writing his book.”
“The result is what often happens in Trumpworld: Senior officials acting as lone wolves concerned with preserving their own reputations spoke to Woodward on their own – with some granting him hours of their time out of a fear of being the last person in the room to offer his or her viewpoint.”
Said one former official: “It’s gonna be killer. Everyone talked with Woodward.”