Open Thread

The Open Thread for August 21, 2018

Adam Entous: “As Trump stepped up his public and private attacks on Obama, some of the new president’s advisers thought that he should take the extraordinary step of denying Obama himself access to intelligence briefings that were made available to all of his living predecessors. Trump was told about the importance of keeping former Presidents, who frequently met with foreign leaders, informed.”“In the end, Trump decided not to exclude Obama at the urging of H.R. McMaster.”

In the same interview, President Trump took another swipe at the Federal Reserve in an interview with Reuters, expressing concern that the central bank is raising interest rates after years of holding borrowing costs near zero.  Said Trump: “I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates, no. I’m not thrilled. I should be given some help by the Fed.”


A memo just released by the National Archives reveals that Brett Kavanaugh laid out in explicit language the questions President Clinton should have been asked about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the Washington Post reports.

Among the questions: “If Monica Lewinsky says that you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”

The memo to independent counsel Kenneth Starr also included this: “After reflecting this evening, I am strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship unless he resigns or confesses perjury. He has required the urgent attention of the courts and the Supreme Court for frivolous privilege claims — all to cover up his oral sex from an intern. He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you and the Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.”

Jonathan Swan: “The president’s contempt for mainstream polling and the media may come back to haunt him in November. Several top Republican operatives working on the midterm elections told me Trump’s fanciful “red wave” predictions could depress Republican turnout and, ironically, serve to make any blue wave even bigger.”

“One of those strategists told me he’s detecting something interesting — and concerning — from focus groups of Trump voters.”

Said the strategist: “We’ve seen it in focus groups, with Republican base voters, where you’ll come up with a hypothetical that the Democrats win, and people are like, ‘That’s not going to happen, that’s stupid.’ … They’re like, ‘Oh, to hell with this crap, we were told Trump wasn’t going to win. It’s bullshit.’”

He added: “I would rather Sean Hannity get on TV every night and go, ‘Oh my God, Nancy Pelosi could be Speaker and they’re going to impeach Trump. You better get out to vote.’”

A new Monmouth poll finds that just 30% say President Trump hires the “best people,” while a clear majority of 58% say he does not. Another 7% volunteer that the quality of his hiring choices have been mixed.

While 67% of Republicans say that Trump does hire the best people, a sizable minority of his fellow partisans either disagree (18%) or give a mixed response (11%). On the other hand, 93% of Democrats say that Trump does not hire the best people.

Meanwhile, Trump’s overall job rating stands at 43% approve and 50% disapprove.

New Hampshire Journal poll finds that 56% of all voters — and 40% of Republicans — believe a Republican primary challenge to President Trump in 2020 “would be a good thing.”

“President Trump’s overall approval in New Hampshire, 41% approving to 54% disapproving, mirrors findings from the national average of polls… But Trump’s approval among New Hampshire Republicans, 72%, was 10 points below his standing with the GOP nationwide.”

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, could be charged before the end of the month with bank fraud in his dealings with the taxi industry and with committing other financial crimes, the APreports.

“Absent a quick resolution, it’s believed that prosecutors would put off a decision on how to go forward with the case until after the election in compliance with an informal Justice Department policy of avoiding bringing prosecutions that could be seen as political and influence voters.”

Rep. George Holding (R-NC), who has won each of his three terms with more than 56% of the vote, told supporters that he is trailing challenger Linda Coleman (D), McClatchy reports.

In a fundraising email, Holding announced internal poll numbers that he says show him down three points.

Said campaign manager Carter Wrenn: “We want people to understand where we are. We don’t want people to take this election for granted. George has always won by a pretty comfortable margin. This is a completely different election.”

“Hillary Clinton is stepping back into the limelight ahead of the November midterm elections, helping to raise money for the Democratic National Committee in a series of fundraisers,” NBC News reports.

“The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee will headline three events — in San Francisco, Chicago and New York — for the DNC this fall to boost the party’s chances to seize control of the U.S. House and Senate.”

“The $43,000 phone booth that former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt installed in his office may not have been worth all the headaches it caused him,” the Washington Post reports.  “He only placed one phone call to the White House, newly released records from the agency show. It lasted five minutes.”

Jonathan Chait: “Throughout the Russia scandal, President Trump has acted flamboyantly guilty, most recently by comparing himself implicitly with Richard Nixon during Watergate, and dismissing informants as “rats.” And yet a weekend report in Axios confidently asserted that the president maintains a fully innocent state of mind: ‘Trump himself thought then and thinks now that he personally has nothing to lose because he personally did nothing wrong.’”

“How could reporters know what Trump ‘believes’ deep in his heart? They couldn’t. (Indeed, Axios since corrected the statement to report that it reflects what Trump ‘tells associates,’ rather than claiming definitive insight into his mind.) Yet this practice is extremely common within the news media. While they have dug up an extraordinary amount of incriminating facts about Trump, reporters have also repeatedly leaned into the most exculpatory interpretations of those same facts.”

First Read: “For all the attention to Rudy Giuliani’s ‘Truth isn’t truth’ comment… President Trump’s personal lawyer made an even more startling statement on the program. Giuliani declared that the Trump campaign representatives who met with Russians in that June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting (Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner) didn’t know they were representatives of the Russian government.”

“Let’s unpack Giuliani’s comments: One, he admits the purpose of that 2016 meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton (when their original explanation was Russian adoptions). Two, he says any campaign would have taken such a meeting (when past Democratic and Republican campaigns have said they never did). And three, Giuliani declares they didn’t know Natalia Veselnitskaya was connected with the Russian government. But we know that isn’t true.”

“For Giuliani to claim that Donald Trump Jr. — or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign — didn’t know Veselnitskaya and others were connected to the Russian government doesn’t pass the smell test. The facts don’t back it up.”

“Lanny Davis, an attorney for former longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, said he has been reaching out regularly over the past few months to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon,” Politico reports.

“Cohen has sent signals that he might cooperate in the investigations surrounding his former boss. The fact that his lawyer is talking frequently to Dean — who was name-checked by Trump on Sunday in the context of recent reports that White House counsel Don McGahn is cooperating with investigators — adds new hints that Cohen could be open to being a potential witness in any case against Trump.”

Former CIA director John Brennan said “that he is willing to take President Trump to court to prevent other current and former officials from having their security clearances revoked, escalating a battle over whether the president is misusing the power of his office to retaliate against opponents,” the Washington Postreports.

Said Brennan: “I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that.”

The Cook Political Report‘s Dave Wasserman tells Axios that the most under-covered aspect of 2018 is that “a blue wave is obscuring a red exodus.”

“There are 43 Republican seats now without an incumbent on the ballot. That’s more than one out of every six Republicans in the House — a record in at least a century, Wasserman says.”

Said Wasserman: “There’s a bit of over-caution, perhaps, on the part of the punditocracy, after what happened in 2016. But if anything most media could be under-rating Democrats’ potential to gain a lot of seats. They could be caught being cautious in the wrong direction.”

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

12 comments on “The Open Thread for August 21, 2018

  1. Great article. The State should try to stop trying to create “the big score” in business promotion/creation. (Bloom and Fisker)
    If 1/2 the monies that were sent to Bloom Energy, would have went to training and small business development, the State Of Delaware would be better off.

    • This comment completely ignores the political reality on the ground at the time. People by overwhelming majorities wanted state government to “do something” about the plummeting economy, which it had no tools to deal with. These were their attempts to “do something.”

      The lesson, which people like you are too dense to understand, is “be careful what you demand.”

    • cassandram

      Jack Markell agrees with you. And read the whole article before you respond. The biggest problem is that you have to play on the board provided to you. And as long as other states are contributing to corporate balance sheets, all the rest have to do the same to be in the game.

      The result is a market failure in which neither side is motivated to fix the problem. State and local policy makers can’t unilaterally opt out without potentially negative consequences for their constituents, while businesses have a fiduciary obligation to pursue these short-term direct incentives. Competition for jobs should not be seen to hinge on which government can write the biggest check to an employer but on the kinds of things that officials in Delaware and other states spend so much time on to make their communities places worth living in: the quality of schools, work force development programs, the transportation grid and other infrastructure, and the overall quality of life.

      • Yes, I read the same article. Jack was vying for a post with Hillary, if she was elected. Political cover your butt, spin game.

      • John Kowalko

        Jack Markell was the guiltiest of the guilty in giving massive amounts of money to major corporations without any strings attached or identifiable return on investment to the taxpayers. During his eight year tenure his Administration gave over $250 million to some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. Astra Zeneca, DuPont, Chemours, JP Morgan, Johnson Controls among others, some of whom built and man factories (not subject to any tariffs or surcharges for importing the finished product shipped back to American markets) in China. Literally hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in construction jobs to build those recently completed new factories and many thousands of Chinese hired there to man them. Dupont (Solar Panel manufacturing) Johnson Controls (Battery Mfg). Yeah Jack write another article attacking your favorite practice of taxpayer giveaways to corporations and take those articles and thoughts and bury them next to your “legacy” in Potters field.
        Representative John Kowalko

        • This is untrue, John. There were enough strings attached, and yardsticks unmet, that the GA could end this right now if it had the balls to do so.

          • cassandram

            Amen. And it would be useful to read Jack’s article here. He proposes an interesting solution.

  2. This was totally lying to the public. Natural gas is not a renewable energy, plain and simple. The State already had a failing record with Fisker. It is not green.

    All I’m saying is that the monies that we are giving, I’m sorry TAXED. Could have made a bigger dent, to help others. Training for jobs, incentives/loans for new small business, help for entrepreneurs.

    They originally said that it was going to cost $1.00, that is per Collin O’Mara. Your free to read it here.

    People need to know this, would love to find out how the vote went for this. If it was based on this document, then the Bloom Energy tax should be revoked. Plain and simple.

  3. Oh and currently, Delaware has 2 job openings at Bloom!

    • I agree with you about ending the Bloom experiment. Yet you still can’t seem to comprehend that the public overwhelmingly wanted something done to bring jobs to the state.

      The “lie” you cite was understood at the time — it was a way to bribe Bloom to come here despite the fact that the state had no money to do the bribing with. Bloom and Fisker were nearly simultaneous, and Fisker had NOT gone south yet because the federal government, at the GOP’s insistence, had not yanked its funding yet. Everyone who pays attention DOES know this. YOUR ignorance is no reason to drone on and on about this to a bunch of people who don’t care.

      Just fuck off already.

      • AL: Read question 11. This was Collin’s testimony, that the residential cost would be $1.00! This is what I believe that everyone who voted on this said yes, due to that number! It was a LIE!

        This is an open thread. Others read this (BD) and hopefully, people will get fired up about this!

        • Really? When will that happen, this “firing up” of which you speak? The folks at CRI already are fired up. At what point will you understand that the folks here are fired up about larger issues, and that you are pissing up a rainpipe here?

          As I stated, the missed benchmarks would allow the state to pull the plug on this. Ask your representative — who is that, by the way? — to do so.

          You are addressing the wrong audience. Rank-and-file Democrats are not the ones who count government pennies. The people who claimed to care about that were pre-Trump Republicans. I suppose a few of them are still obsessed with this. Why you insist on addressing people who DON’T care is a mystery.

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