Open Thread

The Open Thread for August 31, 2018

Jonathan Chait: “Deep in a Politico report about President Trump’s attempt to build support for firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump loathes for recusing himself from the investigation of a campaign he was part of, is a striking artifact of Trumpism. The president’s swelling complaints against Sessions include the fact that he ‘doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers’ and that Trump ‘can’t stand his Southern accent.’”

“Conservatives have spent decades depicting liberals as coastal snobs…. Given the attention they have lavished on such picayune details as John Kerry’s failure to properly order cheesesteak properly, it’s not even possible to imagine what they would do with direct evidence of a president disdaining his attorney general’s University of Alabama law degree and regional accent. Imagine one of those scenes from a ’90s action movie where the bad guys are wearing night-vision goggles in the dark, and then suddenly faced with blinding light.”

“But as is so often the case, the accusation that was made falsely against Democrats turns out to be true of Trump. For all his vaunted populism, he is filled with contempt for average people in general and his own supporters in particular.”

A new Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Suffolk University poll in Wisconsin finds Tony Evers (D) leading Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the race for governor, 46% to 44%.  In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) leads challenger Leah Vukmir (R), 50% to 42%.

A new Siena College poll in New York’s 22nd congressional district finds challenger Anthony Brindisi (D) leading Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), 46% to 44% among likely voters.  Said pollster Steven Greenberg: “In a district with 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats, Tenney is barely holding her own.”

A new Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) leading challenger Lou Barletta (R), 47% to 34%.   In the governor’s race, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) leads Scott Wagner (R), 52% to 35%.

Democrats also lead Republicans by nine points in the generic ballot, 48% to 39%.  Key finding: “Nearly half (54%) of the state’s registered voters say they are ‘very interested’ in the 2018 elections. Voter interest is related to both political party and political ideology. At the moment, more Democrats (60%) than Republicans (53%) or independents (33%) say they are ‘very interested.’ More self-described liberals (62%) than conservatives (53%) or moderates (51%) say they are ‘very interested.’”

“Sergei Millian remains one of the enduring mystery figures of the ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections,” ABC News reports.

“The obscure Belarusian-born businessman and naturalized American citizen once boasted about his past work pushing Trump properties to Russian buyers and aggressively sought to get close to the Trump team both during and immediately after the campaign. He sought to befriend a half-dozen key Trump advisers, ABC News has learned, and attended Trump’s inauguration and posted volumes of pro-Trump tweets.”

“Congressional investigators have been trying for months to serve him a subpoena for testimony – but their process servers cannot find him.”

“Federal investigators have provided ample evidence that President Trump was involved in deals to pay two women to keep them from speaking publicly before the 2016 election about affairs that they said they had with him:” the New York Times reports.

“But it turns out that Mr. Trump wanted to go even further.”

“He and his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, devised a plan to buy up all the dirt on Mr. Trump that the National Enquirer and its parent company had collected on him, dating back to the 1980s… The existence of the plan, which was never formalized, has not been reported before.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS News that he found President Trump’s response to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) death “disturbing,” with the president ignoring reporters’ questions about his passing in addition to the White House flag lapse.  Said Graham: “It pisses me off to no end, and I let the president know it.”

And Graham will be back to fellating Mr. Trump in a day or so.

President Trump, without offering any evidence, accused NBC News of “fudging” his May 2017 interview that came days after he fired then FBI Director James Comey and in which he cited the federal Russia investigation, Reuters reports.

New York Times: “Mr. Trump often griped that he wanted to get rid of Mr. McGahn, but the president never seemed willing to follow through on it. The president asked Rob Porter, then the staff secretary, several times last year if he would be willing to take over for Mr. McGahn, an idea supported by several of his aides and his children.”

“But Mr. Porter told the president that he did not believe he was qualified for the role, felt it was the wrong fit for him and preferred focusing on policy, those briefed on the discussions said. He has since left the White House amid accusations of spousal abuse.”

“President Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges,” the Washington Post reports.

“Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.”

“The willingness of Republican senators to turn on Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the result of a furious lobbying campaign from President Trump, who for the past 10 days has been venting his anger at Sessions to ‘any senator who will listen,’” Politico reports.

”Trump hasn’t been pushing his case just with Republican senators: He’s worn down his lawyers, too, according to two Republicans close to the White House. Though they once cautioned him that dismissing Sessions would feed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, these people say, Trump’s legal team has become increasingly convinced Mueller will make that case regardless of whether the president fires Sessions or leaves him in place.”

Peter Hamby: “The hype emerging from the Democrat’s campaign points to something rather obvious: O’Rourke is good at this, way better than most of the Democrats sniffing around the next presidential race from the boring hallways of Capitol Hill. Whether he wins or loses his race—and yes, even if he loses—O’Rourke should be included in every conversation about the 2020 Democratic primary. That’s because, unlike most of the paint-by-numbers politicians in his party, O’Rourke actually understands how politics should be conducted in the Donald Trump era: authentic, full of energy, stripped of consultant-driven sterility, and waged at all times with a social-media-primed video screen in mind. O’Rourke is making a bet that running on his gut and giving voters a clear choice against Cruz, rather than just a mushy alternative, offers not just a path to victory in Texas but an antidote to the entire stupid artifice of American politics in the Trump era.”

“The most appealing thing about O’Rourke is both delightfully uncomplicated and extremely powerful: he talks about politics like you and your friends do.”

The Atlantic: “Earlier this month, as all eyes were on the courtroom dramas unfolding in Virginia—where President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman was just convicted on bank- and tax-fraud charges—and in New York—where the president’s longtime personal lawyer pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and implicated Trump in a crime—the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was in London, seeking out new information about the former British intelligence officer and Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele.”

“According to two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels, Devin Nunes, a California Republican, was investigating, among other things, Steele’s own service record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with a U.S. Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. To that end, Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies—MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.”

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

7 comments on “The Open Thread for August 31, 2018

  1. Trump hits 60% disapproval.

    • Let’s understand who is in the 40% approving or indifferent to Trump.

      It’s the so-called “#Resistance”

      Including none other than Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Shumer (“D”-NY)

      Chucky just fast-tracked 15 of Trump’s Federal court judges, presumably as “payback” for McConnell’s stalling on Merrick Garland.

      From the Huffpost article, “It would have taken only one Democratic senator to say “no” to letting the nominees through this week, but none did.” Not Elizabeth Warren, Sanders…..Carper

      “#Resistance” ? #Assistance is more like it.

    • 60%? Interesting to note the hatred of all things Trump is solidifying.

    • Wow; no riots in the streets, no concerns in the Middle East, economy is doing great, trying to control the illegals coming across the border. You just don’t like him!

      Obama, 2017

      • There are plenty of concerns in the Middle East, the economy is overheated and nobody but old white turds care about the immigrants.

        We not only don’t like him, we’re going to put him in jail where he belongs.

      • Six out of ten say never again for Trump and more coming every day. Suggest you run and hide now and avoid the rush.

      • The DJIA is not the economy for most people.

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