The Open Thread for August 14, 2018

The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, “who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts,” the Washington Postreports.

“The termination marks a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. In the twilight of his career, Strzok was integral to two of the bureau’s most high-profile investigations: the Russia case, and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.”

New York Times: “Mr. Strzok became emblematic of Mr. Trump’s unfounded assertions that a so-called deep state of bureaucrats opposed to him was undermining his presidency.”

White House aides must regularly tell President Trump not to call foreign leaders at odd hours due to time zone differences, Politico reports.

Said a former NSC official: “He wasn’t great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn’t going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time. When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is.”

NBC News has obtained audio from Omarosa Manigault Newman, which she says is a recording of a phone call between her and President Trump one day after Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her from her senior White House position. The tape appears to show Trump having no idea that Newman had been dismissed by his Chief of Staff John Kelly.

TRUMP: “Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?

OMAROSA: General Kelly – General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.

TRUMP: No… I, I – Nobody even told me about it.


TRUMP: You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”

The White House is “looking into legal options to stop her from releasing more tapes and to punish her for secretly recording her conversation with Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly,” ABC News reports

President Trump responded to former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Twitter:

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said OK. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”

Bobby Goodlatte, the son of Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), announced he had given the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis (D), who is running for his father’s congressional seat.

He tweets: “2018 is the year to flip districts — let’s do this!”

Stephen Glosser, uncle of White House aide Stephen Miller, writes in Politico:

“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.“

“If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

HuffPost: “Carl Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer and big Donald Trump supporter, announced Saturday that he intends to run for Congress in New York’s 27th district. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who was arrested on charges of insider trading last week.”

Former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt explained on the Words Matter podcast how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) settled on Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Said Schmidt: “I have regret about that every day that I wake up. But what happened here was — that my idea, and McCain supported it, was that he was going to pick Joe Lieberman.”

He continued: “What happened though is Lindsey Graham went out, not maliciously, but he let the secrets spill, it leaked when he was talking to a group of activists in South Carolina, and within a very short period of time we had heard from Limbaugh from Hannity, directly from President Bush, from Karl Rove saying ‘you can’t do it.”

Politico: “Privately referred to by some colleagues as the ‘accidental senator’ because of his good fortune in drawing a deeply flawed GOP opponent in 2012, the first-term Indiana senator’s presence is often barely noticed in the Capitol. His heads-down style distinguishes him among a quintet of centrist Democrats scrapping to survive this fall.”

“Donnelly rarely gives news conferences and stays away from cable news. For years, he assiduously avoided reporters who blanket the Capitol hallways. Now, the burly 62-year-old is running for reelection like a city council candidate, highlighting small-bore accomplishments and projecting an agreeable demeanor that contrasts sharply with what comes out of the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue most days.”

“A verdict in Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial could come as early as this week, but it will hardly be the last word on his fate. A conviction would threaten to jail Manafort, 69, for the rest of his life. But he would have the option to appeal — or hope for a politically explosive pardon from President Trump,” Politico reports.

“Even if a jury acquits the former Trump 2016 campaign chairman on the tax and bank fraud charges that special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have detailed out over the past two weeks, Manafort is hardly out of the woods.”

“Most notably, the longtime GOP operative still faces a second federal trial slated to begin in mid-September in Washington. And that case, accusing Manafort of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent while lobbying for the government of Ukraine, could be even more challenging.”

New York Times: “Campaign finance was once famously dismissed by Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, as being of no greater concern to American voters than ‘static cling.’ But since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 opened the floodgates for unrestricted political spending, polls have shown that voters are growing increasingly bitter about the role of money in politics.”

“The issue is now emerging in midterm races around the country, with dozens of Democrats rejecting donations from political action committees, or PACs, that are sponsored by corporations or industry groups. A handful of candidates… are going a step further and refusing to take any PAC money at all, even if it comes from labor unions or fellow Democrats.”

“Rather than dooming the campaigns, these pledges to reject PAC money have become central selling points for voters. And for some of the candidates, the small-donor donations are adding up.”

Jonathan Swan: “It’s extraordinary enough to secretly record a White House colleague and then play the tape on television. But it’s even more stunning that the conversation happened in the Situation Room — the most secure area in the West Wing, reserved for the most sensitive conversations, many of them dealing with highly classified intelligence.”

”You have to lie and intentionally subvert the rules to get a recording device into the SitRoom, which is actually a group of several secure meeting rooms.”

“When White House officials enter the secure area — after getting buzzed in while a security officer watches through a keyhole camera — they immediately enter a lobby with a wall of lockers. They are required to put their phones and any other electronic devices, like Apple watches, in the lockers.”

New York Times: “The whole trajectory of Mr. Manafort’s life — from the son of a blue-collar, small-town mayor to a jet-setting international political consultant to Trump campaign chairman and now to prisoner in an Alexandria, Va., jail awaiting a jury verdict — is a tale of greed, deception and ego. His trial on 18 charges of bank and tax fraud has ripped away the elaborate facade of a man who, the story went, had moved the swimming pool at one of his eight homes a few feet to catch the perfect combination of sun and shade, and who worked for the Trump campaign at no charge to intimate that for a man of his fabulous wealth, a salary was trivial.”

“His trial also underscores questions about how someone in such deep financial trouble rose to the top of the Trump campaign, spreading a stain that has touched the president’s innermost circle. The formidable parade of more than 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits has further eroded the notion, advanced by President Trump, that the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, is on a ‘witch hunt.’

Rudy Giuliani said “that the president never had a conversation last year with James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, about ending the investigation into the fired national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, contradicting a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time,” the New York Times reports.

However, Giuliani’s statement “appeared at odds with his own previous comments… Last month, when pressed on ABC News by George Stephanopoulos about whether Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey he hoped he could see his way to ending the Flynn case, Mr. Giuliani interrupted him to say that Mr. Trump did not say that. ‘What he said to him was, “Can you give him a break?”’ Mr. Giuliani said in that interview.”

CBS News: “Critics of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico last year are launching a seven-figure campaign to mobilize displaced Puerto Rican voters ahead of the midterm elections – and planning big demonstrations in New York and Florida to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Maria.”


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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for August 14, 2018

  1. cassandram

    The GRIFTUS goes to war with Harley Davidson. I shouldn’t be, but am astonished that a President of the United States would work to undermine this iconic brand. Americans just don’t buy these bikes in the volume they used to, but he’ll stir up the grievance crowd to make sure that they sell as few of them as possible to other countries. In a lot of ways, Harley-Davidson is being specifically punished for being a global company, even though it is pretty clear that Americans don’t buy enough of this product to keep them afloat.

  2. cassandram

    Do you ever get the idea that the GOP can’t live without government support? — FL House candidate Terry Power lives in $500K home but applied for food stamps

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