Open Thread

The Open Thread for August 17, 2018

MSNBC aired audio of a conversation between Omarosa Manigault Newman and Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, where they discussed a $15,000-a-month salary to work for the campaign as long as she didn’t say anything negative about President Trump.  The offer was made just days after she was fired from her White House job.

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair reports that Trump told advisers that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have Omarosa arrested.

A new CNN poll finds Brett Kavanaugh receives a cooler public reception than nearly every Supreme Court nominee for the last four administrations.

“Women are a driving force behind the tepid response, with fewer than three in 10 saying Kavanaugh ought to be confirmed.”

“Overall, 37% of Americans say they’d like to see the Senate vote in favor of his confirmation. Kavanaugh’s support is the lowest in polling dating back to Robert Bork’s nomination by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.”

FiveThirtyEight has launched its House forecast for this year’s midterm elections.  Democrats currently have a 75% chance to win control with an average predicted gain of 35 seats.

A new Mehlman poll (D) in Mississippi shows Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) edging challenge Mike Espy (D) 29% to 27%, followed by state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) at 17%.  The poll also showed Espy led in both runoff scenarios. He led Hyde-Smith 41% to 38%, and finished ahead of McDaniel, 45% to 27%.

A new Global Strategy Group (D) poll finds that Democrats have an eight point lead on a generic ballot among likely voters, 45% to 37%.

But that lead is grows to 12 points when it is explicitly framed as a choice between a generic Democrat who will provide a “check and balance on Trump” and a Republican who will “help Trump pass his policies and programs.”

The Democratic lead is 13 points – and also wider than the initial generic congressional ballot – when the framing is a Democrat who simply “opposes Trump” versus a Republican who will “support Trump.”

The Altantic: “You could list the scandals—from Robert Mueller’s probe to Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels, from Tom Price to Scott Pruitt to Ben Carson, from Bill Shineto Ronny Jackson to Jared Kushner, from the Trump Hotel to the Trump label, from Charlottesville to Ukraine—and while it would be very long, it would not (at least in the eyes of Trump’s supporters) be disqualifying. Politically speaking, the president is standing with his guns blazing in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and he’s not losing anyone. Miraculously, Trump remains on top; so far this year, Gallup has registered an approval rating among the members of his own party ranging from 81 to 90 percent. Despite it all, those numbers have barely budged.”

“How is such a thing possible? In part, it’s a symptom of contemporary politics—Barack Obama enjoyed similarly high approval ratings from Democratic partisans during his terms in office. And there’s some evidence that Republicans disaffected with Trump are ceasing to identify with their party, leaving only the president’s supporters behind. But Obama never endured a comparable string of scandals; the erosion of the GOP’s ranks doesn’t explain the fervency of those who remain.”

“Is it Trump—or something larger than Trump? Possibly, it’s both.”

President Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he expects Republicans to do “great” in the midterms and that he’ll be a difference-maker this fall by campaigning for candidates.

Said Trump: “As long as I can get out and campaign, I think they’re going to win, I really do. It’s a lot of work for me. I have to make 50 stops, it’s a lot. So, there aren’t a lot of people that can do that, physically. Fortunately, I have no problem with that.”

Asked if his campaign appearances might also mobilize Democratic voters, Mr. Trump said: “It may. But it energizes my people much more than it energizes them. I think the Democrats give up when I turn out. If you want to know the truth, I don’t think it energizes them. I think it de-energizes them. I think they give up when I turn out.”

The Washington Post notes that President Trump “confessed that his true motivation” for revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance was the Russia investigation.

Said Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “I call it the rigged witch hunt; it is a sham. And these people led it! So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

“You could be forgiven for having flashbacks to Trump’s interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in the aftermath of his firing last year of James B. Comey as FBI director. Then, as now, the White House offered a series of motivations for the crackdown on a person who was a liability in the Russia probe. Then, as now, it seemed clear what the actual motivation was. And then, as now, Trump appeared to go out and just admit the actual motivation.”

Ainsley Earhardt proudly recalled on Fox & Friends that the U.S. defeated “communist Japan” in World War II while trying to defend America’s greatness.

Said Earhardt: “We defeated communist Japan… We’re the most generous country in all of the world. Yes, we have our faults, but because of this country, this world is definitely a better place. We are great.”

Heather Long: “First, there’s the Trump factor. This is a personality-driven election. In places where Trump is popular, candidates are focused on acting like Trump’s BFF. In places where he’s not, candidates promote themselves as the anti-Trump. Second, when the economy is good, it takes a back seat. People start thinking of other issues like education, health care and immigration. This is particularly true for the most critical swing group this year: college-educated white women. Third, there’s a noticeable gender gap in how men and women are approaching this election.”

“Still, strategists on both sides tell me they are advising their candidates to talk up the economy more, despite how unusual this year is.”

“President Trump’s military parade this fall is shaping up to cost $80 million more than initially estimated,” CNBC reports.

“The Department of Defense and its interagency partners have updated their perspective cost estimates for the parade… The parade, slated for Nov. 10, is estimated to cost $92 million… An initial estimate last month pegged the prospective cost for the parade at $12 million.”

Steve Brannon “is forming a group to try to sell voters on a midterm message that they should support Republicans to defend the Trump agenda and save the president from impeachment,” the New York Times reports.

“The group, Citizens of the American Republic, is Mr. Bannon’s new vehicle after he was pushed out of the White House last summer and then parted ways with the conservative website Breitbart.”

“Mr. Bannon declined to describe his donors or how much money the group has raised. One person close to the group said that Rebekah Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who supported Mr. Bannon’s previous political efforts but broke ties with him months ago, has no role.”

President Trump’s lawyers “are preparing to oppose a potential subpoena from Mueller for a Trump sit-down by drafting a rebuttal that could set off a dramatic fight in federal courts,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Rudy Giuliani: “We would move to quash the subpoena. And we’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.”

Giuliani added that Trump’s attorneys are ready to “argue it before the Supreme Court, if it ever got there.”

Washington Post: “The timing of the announcement suggested that the president may also have been trying to distract public attention from saturation media coverage of accusations in Manigault Newman’s new book that Trump made racist statements before he took office that were captured on tape.”

”After Sanders’s briefing Wednesday, the White House released the written statement from Trump bearing the date July 26 — before quickly releasing an identical statement with the date removed. That led some of Trump’s critics to conclude that he had made the decision on Brennan’s security clearance weeks ago but that the White House strategically delayed an announcement for maximum political benefit.”

John Brennan: “Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do — and what they actually did — to win the election. While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services.”

“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.”

“The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”

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

6 comments on “The Open Thread for August 17, 2018

  1. Most of the new developments down here in Sussex County are paying exorbitant water bills to a company called Tidewater Utilities. In order to get around this cost, people are having wells dug just for the purpose of watering their lawns. I think it costs around $4,000.
    Here is the deal though; people are watering their lawns way too much. I guess they figure they need to get their money’s worth out of the well or something. Without exception, every one of these wells that I have come across has been detrimental to the homeowners’ lawn.

    Two to three times a week and that’s it. Water longer but less often, and don’t water right before it’s time to cut it….If you want to piss off the guy who cuts your lawn, water it right before he gets there.

    • Or right after he starts for an even better reaction!

    • We have also experienced way above normal rain fall in the region as predicted by the climate change models. People cut grass in the rain all the time in Florida.

  2. cassandram

    John Atkins gets his sentence.

    Judge Paul Wallace sentenced Atkins to a year in prison, suspended for level 4 home confinement until a level 3 GPS is available, which he will wear for a year. He is also prohibited to own any weapons for a period of five years and will undergo a mental health evaluation. Judge Wallace also told Atkins to avoid anyplace where the victim may be. If he violates his sentence he could be back in prison.

    Not enough, I’m thinking.

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