The Open Thread for August 13, 2018

Omarosa Manigault Newman released a recording on NBC News in which she says White House chief of staff John Kelly can be heard allegedly threatening her when she was fired.

In the clip, a voice said to be that of Kelly can be heard urging Newman to agree to a “friendly departure” from the White House so that she can “go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”

Playbook: “This is allegedly from the situation room in the White House. Again, let that sink in. An adviser to the president brought a recording device into the situation room to record the chief of staff.”

“Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water. You don’t know that you’re in that situation until it just keeps bubbling and bubbling. … I will say this to you: I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation. They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is, how difficult it is for him to process complex information, how he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impact our country.”

— Omarosa Manigault Newman, in an interview with NBC News.

President Trump “is pulling numbers out of thin air when it comes to the economy, jobs and the deficit,” the AP reports.

“He refers to a current record-breaking gross domestic product for the U.S. where none exists and predicts a blockbuster 5 percent annual growth rate in the current quarter that hardly any economist sees. Hailing his trade policies in spite of fears of damage from the escalating trade disputes he’s provoked, Trump also falsely declares that his tariffs on foreign goods will help erase $21 trillion in national debt. The numbers don’t even come close.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — who was born in Iowa — told the San Jose Mercury News that his visit to Iowa “was focused on helping Democrats retake the House in 2018, including by winning competitive races,” but he also said he isn’t ruling out a presidential run in 2020.

Said Swalwell: “Right now my focus is to win at home, earn my way back to Washington to represent my constituents, help other candidates win so we can change the country, and then I’ll make decisions after November about my future.”

Boston Globe: “The midterms are still three months away, but Democrats — who lack a clear leader after their rout in 2016 — are desperate to rally around someone who can defeat the president the next time around. Warren sates that appetite with her nationally known profile, devout liberal following, and strong presence near the top of some key polls — even though she claims not to be running.

“But anointing a front-runner for the party nomination, more than 18 months before the Iowa caucuses and 834 days before the election?”

Said former Gov. Michael Dukakis: “That’s a killer. Speaking from experience, the one thing you don’t want to be is a front-runner or a potential front-runner.”

New York Times: “Walker is still Wisconsin’s governor, still harboring national ambitions, and Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans have only grown more divided over Mr. Trump and the state’s place in national politics.”

“Those dynamics are now on display as Wisconsin prepares for a major primary election on Tuesday: Mr. Walker’s bid for a third term is at stake; Wisconsin Democrats’ desire to deal blows to Trump Republicanism is intense; Republicans are deeply concerned about their future hold on state government; and the very identity of the state, which swings between progressivism and conservatism, feels up for grabs.”

Rudy Giuliani told CNN that it would take some sort of extreme action — like pointing a gun at someone during an investigation — for President Trump to obstruct justice.

Said Giuliani: “There are people who argue that he could never obstruct justice. I think that’s too far-fetched an argument and we don’t have to make it.”

But then he contradicted himself: “I think now our argument is that when he exercises his power as president… then it becomes really really questionable if it becomes obstruction of justice.”

“Kellyanne Conway responded to claims from former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman that she was offered ‘hush money’ by saying that everyone in the West Wing has signed non-disclosure agreements, which she described as a completely normal practice,” Politico reports

Los Angeles Times: “A man recently sworn in as a United States citizen had failed to disclose on his naturalization application that he had been arrested, but not convicted, in California on rape and theft charges. Shusterman, then a naturalization attorney, embarked on a months-long effort to do something that rarely happened: strip someone of their American citizenship.”

Said Shusterman: “We had to look it up to find out how to do this. We’d never even heard of it.”

“Forty years later, denaturalization — a complex process once primarily reserved for Nazi war criminals and human rights violators — is on the rise under the Trump administration. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services team in Los Angeles has been reviewing more than 2,500 naturalization files for possible denaturalization, focusing on identity fraud and willful misrepresentation. More than 100 cases have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible action.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told NBC News that he no longer recognizes the Republican Party.

Said Kasich: “The Republican Party has never been for protectionism. The Republican Party doesn’t support a notion that families shouldn’t be held together. The Republican Party never supported the notion that we should ring up debt and put our kids so much in debt by doing things that are not responsible.”

He continued: “The Republican Party has never believed that we should walk away from our allies who have helped us keep the peace since World War II. These positions, they don’t even resemble the Republican Party.”

Associated Press: “The November midterms are on pace to shatter records for political spending. While more than $1 billion raised so far nationally is helping finance battlegrounds that are poised to decide control of Congress, restless donors aren’t stopping there — they’re also putting cash into races and places they never have before to help underdog Democrats.”

“All are places where Democrats are outraising their Republicans opponents — a feat that while perhaps not changing the conventional wisdom about their chances, is succeeding in giving their campaigns unusual viability.”

Associated Press: “Trump, who is loath to admit to sleeping — let alone taking time off — has spent his week away mixing downtime and golf rounds with meetings and dinners, intent on projecting the image that he’s been hard at work.”

“Not that it was his idea to leave Washington anyway, he contends.”

Said Trump: “We’re renovating the White House, a long-term project and they approved it years ago. And I said, ‘Well, I guess this would be a good place to be in the meantime.”

He added: “I miss it. I would like to be there, but this is a good way of doing it.”

“On Christmas Eve 1998, five days after the House impeached President Bill Clinton, Brett Kavanaugh urged his boss — Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel — not to pursue a criminal indictment of Mr. Clinton until after he left office,” the New York Times reports.

“Judge Kavanaugh, now President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, delivered the advice in a private memorandum made public on Friday by the National Archives in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.”

NBC News: In vowing to remain on the ballot for his re-election race this fall — despite facing insider trading charges — New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins joins a not-so-exclusive club of lawmakers who have refused to resign even after being indicted.”

“Unfortunately for Collins, members of that club almost always meet an unhappy fate.“

“Most lawmakers in a similar situation initially vowed to fight, but wound up quickly caving in to bad press and resigning. A handful managed to win re-election only to have to give up the seat later after being convicted.”

Frank Bruni: “There are problems with impeaching Donald Trump. A big one is the holy terror waiting in the wings.”

“That would be Mike Pence, who mirrors the boss more than you realize. He’s also self-infatuated. Also a bigot. Also a liar. Also cruel.”

“To that brimming potpourri he adds two ingredients that Trump doesn’t genuinely possess: the conviction that he’s on a mission from God and a determination to mold the entire nation in the shape of his own faith, a regressive, repressive version of Christianity. Trade Trump for Pence and you go from kleptocracy to theocracy.”

Jonathan Karl asks Kellyanne Conway: “Omarosa was the most prominent, high-level African-American serving in the West Wing on President Trump’s staff. Who now is that person?”

Washington’s “jungle primary” — in which the first and second place finishers in any primary, regardless of party, proceed to the general election — didn’t get as much attention as those in California since there weren’t really any chances that either party would get shut out of the general election entirely. (Another reason is that counting votes by mail just takes longer.)

But as Sean Trende noted back in 2010 and 2012, jungle primary results appear to have a strongly predictive quality of how the two parties will do in the general election.


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

9 comments on “The Open Thread for August 13, 2018

  1. First of all,
    Anono, XYZ, RSE, GHE, WTF, and the rest…. how was Unite The Right 2? The evil Media made it look like there were only 11 of ya, but we all know the truth.

    Speaking of insane idiots. dont know how ‘news” this is, but it’s news to me.
    TL:DR, the whole Qanon thing… in addition to being most likely started as a way to troll dopy MAGAts… is not even an original fake conspiracy. I cant WAIT to hear how Wu Ming was secretly laying the groundwork for the great revolution.

  2. cassandram

    Charlie Pierce, I think, has the best take here on the Omarosa mess: Omarosa Is Just Another Clown Leaping Out of the Car.

    For an entire administration who has demonstrated its blatant disregard for our national security — and then to brags about it on national television just that proves lack of character and integrity just qualifies you to work for this GRIFTUS.

  3. How’s that 401K?

  4. cassandram

    GOP candidate for AG drops out of the race.

    That’s odd, but of a piece for the GOP this cycle it seems. The GOP can still put up someone to replace her, though.

  5. Isn’t Mike Pence vulnerable to charges stemming from the 2016 campaign?

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