BARACK’S BACK. In a pointed speech, former President Barack Obama not-so-subtly criticized President Trump for failing to denounce white supremacists and racists, NBC News reports.
Said Obama: “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”
New York Times: “Mr. Obama offered a stinging indictment of his successor, sometimes by name, sometimes by inference, accusing him and his Republican supporters of practicing a ‘politics of fear and resentment,’ cozying up to Russia, emboldening white supremacists and politicizing law enforcement agencies.”
It was a barnburner. God damn I miss him. He is, and probably will always be, the best President of my lifetime, if not of the last 80 years since Roosevelt. No question.
Here is the full transcript.
14 DAYS IN JAIL. George Papadopoulos, a once low-profile foreign policy campaign adviser whose offhand remark in a London bar helped trigger an FBI investigation into President Trump’s campaign, was sentenced to 14 days incarceration, the Washington Post reports.
New York Times: “He is the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced as part of the continuing investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller. Three others pleaded guilty or were convicted of felonies and await sentencing.”
In an interview, Papadopoulos told CNN that he doesn’t remember telling anyone on the campaign that Russia had damaging emails about Hillary Clinton, but “can’t guarantee” that he kept the bombshell from his campaign colleagues.
Obama just delivered his answer to Trump's authoritarianism:
Get out and vote like your democracy depends on it. Because it does.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) September 7, 2018
JAVANKA THINKS ITS KELLY, BUT COULD IT BE HUNTSMAN? Gabriel Sherman: “With Trump so far unable to execute a strategy to stanch the drip-drip-drip of damaging disclosures, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have taken the lead in getting control of the crisis. (The Washington Post reported that Trump said the only people he could trust were his family.) Earlier this week, they told Trump they were deeply troubled by the accounts in Woodward’s book and blamed Chief of Staff John Kelly for many of the leaks, an outside adviser close to them told me.”
Said Ivanka to her father: “He’s destroying your presidency.”
“According to three sources, Jared and Ivanka floated a theory on Wednesday that Kelly could be behind the Times op-ed. Under this scenario, the sources said, the op-ed was written by Zachary Fuentes, the deputy chief of staff, at the direction of Kelly. Jared and Ivanka have told people they suspect this because Kelly is the only one with an ego so large as to have convinced himself that he’s saving the country from Trump, which was one of the op-ed’s principal arguments. On Wednesday night, Ivanka and Jared laid out for Trump the theory that Fuentes might be the author.”
Slate: “Huntsman is an obvious suspect for several reasons. The article’s themes are classic Huntsman: effusive about conservative policies, blunt about low character. In 2016, he made the same points for and against Trump. The topic that gets the most space and detail in the piece is Huntsman’s current area, Russia… The prose, as in Huntsman’s speeches and interviews, is flamboyantly erudite. The tone, like Huntsman’s, is pious. And the article’s stated motive — ‘Americans should know that there are adults in the room’ — matches a letter that Huntsman wrote to the Salt Lake Tribune in July.”
“Like other suspects, Huntsman has issued a statement to deflect accusations that he wrote the Times op-ed. But the statement—actually just a tweet—doesn’t come from Huntsman. It comes from the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.”
Obama’s method of threading the needle on Trump and race is not 100% accurate, but I do think it’s the correct politics. https://t.co/ffRi3ouby2
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 7, 2018
DEAN TESTIFIES AGAINST KAVANAUGH. Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean “warned the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s could tilt the high court in President Trump’s favor,” Politicoreports.
Said Dean: “If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, I submit we will have the most pro-presidential powers Supreme Court in the modern era.”
He added: “With Judge Kavanaugh on the court, we should anticipate a majority that will find it increasingly difficult to discover any presidential actions which they do not approve.”
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) September 7, 2018
100 WOMEN COULD BE ELECTED IN NOVEMBER. David Wasserman: “In November, Americans could elect more than 100 women to the House for the first time in history — and put more new women in the House than in any prior election, a new race-by-race analysis shows.”
“But the impending surge is being driven entirely by Democrats: The number of Republican women in the House is actually poised to decline.”
Barack Obama’s crucial insight into the crisis of American democracy https://t.co/tHqIkQ4Jxk
— Vox (@voxdotcom) September 7, 2018
YES, TRUMP DOES TALK LIKE THAT. New York Times: “As President Trump tries to refute the portrayal in the latest attention-grabbing book, he has not only denied saying the things attributed to him, he has denied that he has ever said anything like them. The problem for Mr. Trump is that, in some cases at least, the record shows that he has.”
“In particular, Mr. Trump has denied that he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘mentally retarded’ or a ‘dumb Southerner,’ as the book reports. ‘I said neither, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a great thing,” the president wrote earlier this week.”
“But, in fact, Mr. Trump has used the phrase ‘mentally retarded’ on recorded radio shows that have been unearthed this week. And in a previously unreported incident, a journalist who used to interact with Mr. Trump during his days as a real estate developer in New York said this week that he even used the phrase ‘dumb southerner’ to describe his own in-laws.”
We may not get an update in the Russia investigation until post-midterms. But Mueller won't stop working – & experts say he's closing in on the parts of the probe w/ the biggest potential impact for Trump. So what's left on his to-do list? @FiveThirtyEight https://t.co/fbewMuP4am
— Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux (@ameliatd) September 7, 2018
TRUMP WANTS DOJ TO INVESTIGATE ANONYMOUS OP ED. President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the identity of the author of an anonymous New York Times opinion piece, the AP reports. He said that he believes the opinion piece critical of his leadership is a “national security” issue. When asked if he would take any action against the Times, Trump says “we’re going to see, I’m looking at that right now.” He added: “We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about also where he is right now.”
Washington Post: “It is unclear what law he believes was broken.”
"The real threat to American democracy comes not from self-aggrandizing Trump officials who take to the press to burnish their legacies, but from the president’s authoritarian impulses," argues @AdamSerwer: https://t.co/aw8MkeIp9G
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) September 7, 2018
MANAFORT SEEKING A PLEA DEAL IN SECOND TRIAL. “Paul Manafort’s lawyers have talked to U.S. prosecutors about a possible guilty plea to avert a second criminal trial set to begin in Washington this month,” Bloomberg reports.
“The negotiations over a potential plea deal have centered on which charges Manafort might admit and the length of the sentence to be recommended by prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller… Manafort already faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case.”
TRUMP ORG CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS UNDER INVESTIGATION. “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone in the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws, in a follow-up to their conviction last month of Michael Cohen,” Bloomberg reports.
“The inquiry, not previously reported, shows that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t intend to stand down following the guilty plea from Trump’s longtime personal lawyer.”
“Central to the inquiry will be longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who has already provided narrow cooperation with authorities over Cohen’s activities and hush agreements… It’s not clear whether Weisselberg is a focus of the continuing inquiry.”
The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s the congressional Republicans protecting him. https://t.co/BvWluMUkpl
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 6, 2018
DEMS WILL GET TRUMP TAX RETURNS IF THEY WIN THE HOUSE. “Democrats are vowing to get their hands on President Trump’s tax returns if they are able to win back the House majority in November,” The Hill reports. Said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ): “I’m definitely going to bring it up if we don’t have them by then — that’s a definite.”
“The Democrats contend existing law empowers the tax-writing committees to access a president’s tax history. If the House flips, they say they’ll use their gavels to move swiftly to do just that.”
TRUMP APPROVES OF GIANFORTE’S VIOLENCE AGAINST THE PRESS. President Trump appeared to make light of Rep. Greg Gianforte’s (R-MT) assault on a reporter last year at a rally in Montana, Politico reports. Said Trump: “I’ll tell you what: This man has fought — in more ways than one — for your state. He has fought for your state. Greg Gianforte. He is a fighter and a winner.”