Open Thread

The Open Thread for August 30, 2018

President Trump’s announcement of White House counsel Donald McGahn’s departure this fall “came as a surprise, including to McGahn,” the Washington Post reports.

Said one person close to McGahn: “He was surprised.”

“While it had been an open secret inside the White House that McGahn planned to leave after Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concludes, he had not discussed his plans directly with Trump.”

“In a rare warning from a leading Republican lawmaker, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) told President Trump to keep Don McGahn as the top White House lawyer,” Roll Call reports.

“Trump announced Wednesday that McGahn would leave his White House post this fall, but after the expected confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Grassley reacted to the announcement with his own tweet, expressing concern with the coming departure of an attorney who has urged the president to fully cooperate with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s Russia election meddling probe.”

Murray Waas: “In early February 2017, a senior White House attorney, John Eisenberg, reviewed highly classified intelligence intercepts of telephone conversations between then-National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, which incontrovertibly demonstrated that Flynn had misled the FBI about those conversations… It was after this information was relayed to President Trump that the president fired Flynn, and the following day allegedly pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal criminal investigation into whether Flynn had lied to the FBI.”

“These new disclosures … constitute the strongest evidence to date that President Trump may have obstructed justice… The president’s legal team has claimed that Trump did nothing wrong because he did not understand that Flynn was in criminal jeopardy when, according to the former FBI director’s testimony, he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn. The new information that Trump and others in the White House were aware that the intercepts revealed that Flynn had lied to the FBI directly contradicts those claims.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said that voters would “monkey this up” if they elect his opponent for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum (D), who would be the state’s first African American governor, the Washington Post reports.  Said DeSantis: “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.”

Ron DeRacist.  DeSantis is a full-blown white supremacist loon.  Raw Story reports that DeSantis is a co-administrator with Corey Stewart and Kelli Ward on a hate-filled Facebook group.

A new NBC News/GenForward survey finds 55% of millennials say they definitely or probably will vote in the midterm elections. while 25% are unsure and 19% say they probably or definitely will not vote.

Meanwhile, 59% of millennials would prefer a midterm outcome that leads to Democrats controlling Congress and just 17% of millennials approved of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president.

Also interesting: 60% of millennials have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party and 42% of millennials have a unfavorable view of the Democratic Party.

New York Times: “A historic upset overturned Democratic politics in Florida, as Andrew Gillum, the liberal 39-year-old mayor of Tallahassee, overcame several aggressive opponents to become the first black nominee for governor in the state’s history. He campaigned on a bluntly liberal message, calling for a single-payer-style health care system at the state level, and he earned Bernie Sanders’ endorsement and crucial financial support from mega-donors on the left like Tom Steyer and George Soros.”

“His victory caps a season of breakthroughs for African-American Democrats running for powerful governorships, including next door in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams could become the country’s first black governor, and in Maryland, where Democrats nominated Ben Jealous, a former president of the N.A.A.C.P.”

“Senate Republicans say they would like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to appoint a successor to late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who, unlike McCain, would support GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare,” The Hillreports.

“GOP lawmakers say they won’t have time to hold another vote to repeal the law in 2018 but vow to try again next year if they manage to keep their Senate and House majorities.”

Walter Shapiro: “Any generic Republican president (say, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio) would have slashed taxes, rolled back regulations and appointed conservative judges. But no honorable man or woman in public life would have … hang on, it’s a long list: Ridiculed a Vietnam POW. Lied compulsively about everything. Trusted felons like Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. Viciously and repeatedly attacked the integrity of the FBI, the Justice Department and the national security establishment.”

“Declared war on a free press. Cozied up to authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin. Kept secret what happened at the Helsinki summit. And continually treated Canada (yes, Canada) like a major enemy.”

“The list is far from comprehensive and skips pre-presidential actions like approving hush money for a porn star. But, to steal a line from Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, ‘Where’s the outrage?’”

President Trump tweets: “Martha McSally, running in the Arizona Primary for U.S. Senate, was endorsed by rejected Senator Jeff Flake….and turned it down – a first! Now Martha, a great U.S. Military fighter jet pilot and highly respected member of Congress, WINS BIG. Congratulations, and on to November!”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) responds: “Sorry, @realDonaldTrump. I made no endorsement in this race. I think the last endorsement I made was in the Alabama race.”

Washington Post: “Flake’s tweet included a photo of a $100 check that he and his wife wrote to Doug Jones, the Democrat who prevailed in the Alabama special election, over Republican Roy Moore. Moore, who was backed by Trump, faced accusations of pursuing teenage girls when he was in his 30s. The memo line in Flake’s check to Jones read: ‘Country over Party.’”

“President Trump asserted early Wednesday, without citing evidence, that Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked by China, and he said the Justice Department and FBI risked losing their credibility if they did not look into the matter,” the Washington Post reports.

That led to this rebuke of the President from the FBI:  “The FBI said Wednesday that it has no evidence Hillary Clinton’s private email server was compromised even though President Donald Trump tweeted a news report that alleged the Chinese had hacked it.  … An FBI official said Wednesday after the Daily Caller story and Trump tweet that the “FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised.”

“Lawyers for Paul Manafort suggested President Trump is making it harder for his ex-campaign boss to get a fair trial as they asked a judge to move his next case on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller out of a Washington, D.C. federal court,” CNBC reports.

His lawyers claim that Manafort has “become an unwilling player in the larger drama between Mr. Mueller and President Trump” — an association made worse by Trump weighing in on the trial.

“A second Trump Organization employee discussed a potential immunity deal with the federal prosecutors who charged Michael Cohen,” CNN reports.

“That employee ultimately did not receive immunity after prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York decided against granting such protection. The person was not called to testify before the grand jury.”

“The White House has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat,” BuzzFeed News reports

“President Trump, who levied extraordinary public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in recent weeks, has privately revived the idea of firing him in conversations with his aides and personal lawyers this month,” the Washington Post reports.

“His attorneys concluded that they have persuaded him — for now — not to make such a move while the special-counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign is ongoing.”

“But there is growing evidence that Senate Republicans, who have long cautioned Trump against firing Sessions, are now resigned to the prospect that he may do so after the November midterm elections — a sign that one of the last remaining walls of opposition to such a move is crumbling.”

ABC News: “As his residency at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London enters its seventh year, the self-styled cyber revolutionary – WikiLeaks’ founder and controversial publisher of some of the world’s most closely guarded official secrets – is facing a pair of converging crises that have left his allies fearing for his wellbeing and his safety.”

“Inside the embassy, he is living an increasingly secluded existence, having been stripped of his phones, computers and visitor privileges after running afoul of the very government that gave him asylum. Outside the embassy, he is embroiled in the global political scandal surrounding Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, with questions about his role in that drama being raised by friends and foes alike.”

“In more ways than one, the very walls protecting Assange also appear to be closing in.”

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

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