The Open Thread for September 9, 2018

Politico: “Barack Obama went hard. Donald Trump hardly responded. Friday was the day Republicans and Democrats and pretty much every reporter and political obsessive has been dreaming of — the two presidents who couldn’t be more different, who are both the throbbing hearts of their own bases and the nightmare of the others’ — going head to head.”

“Six weeks before the midterms that are existential for both of their visions of the future, Obama unleashed for the first time with an indictment of Trump and Republicans that stopped just short of calling them traitors to the American ideal. Trump, who’s been swiping at Obama on Twitter and other appearances almost every chance he gets and months ago said Democrats who didn’t clap for his state of the union address had committed treason, made a joke about sleeping through it. A few hours later, he congratulated himself for the joke.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) acknowledged on Twitter that he “regularly” considers leaving the Republican party.  Sasse was responding to someone who said they left the Democratic party to become a “no party” voter and asked the GOP senator if he ever considered following suit.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has received 3,000 coat hangers, symbolizing back-alley abortions, from activists trying to persuade her to vote against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the AP reports.  Meanwhile, CrowdPAC has already raised more than $750,000 which will go to Collins’s Democratic opponent in 2020 should Collins vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

“The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro,” the New York Times reports.

“Establishing a clandestine channel with coup plotters in Venezuela was a big gamble for Washington, given its long history of covert intervention across Latin America. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile, and for turning a blind eye to the abuses military regimes committed during the Cold War.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “not truthful” when he denied knowing that he had received documents that Leahy said had been “stolen” from him and other Democrats, the Washington Post reports.

“Leahy said that emails disclosed during Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing this week buttress his case that Kavanaugh knew, or should have known, that he had received documents that Republican staffers took from a computer jointly shared with Democrats.”

Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “arrived at the White House this week armed with props aimed at flattering and cajoling President Trump out of shutting down the government at the end of this month,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ryan showed the president glossy photos of a wall under construction along the U.S.-Mexico border… McConnell brought an article from the Washington Examiner that described Trump as brilliantly handling the current budget process, and portrayed the GOP as unified and breaking through years of dysfunction.”

“Their message, according to two people briefed on the meeting: The budget process is going smoothly, the wall is already being built, and there’s no need to shut down the government. Instead, they sought to persuade Trump to put off a fight for more border wall money until after the November midterm elections, promising to try then to get him the outcome he wants.”

Barclays disagrees that the stock market would plummet if President Trump were impeached, Bloombergreports.

Writes William Hobbs, head of investment strategy: “We doubt that capital markets would collapse if President Trump’s administration was endangered, either electorally or indeed legally. The forward momentum of the world economy, and therefore its capital markets, has little to do with the actions of the White House, past, present or future, in our opinion.”

“Hey Mike and John, could you do me a favor? Create some libel laws that when people say stuff bad about you, you could sue them.”  — President Trump, quoted by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, to Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and John Thune (R-SD).

Donny, you haven’t thought this through. If we do that, you would be sued millions of times.  You would lose everything.  I would sue you.

“Michael Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, filed a status report Friday evening agreeing to tear up the original 2016 agreement with adult film star Stormy Daniels, in which Cohen arranged to pay her $130,000 to stay silent about her alleged affair with President Trump,” CNN reports.

Said Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti: “What they’re trying to do is they don’t want me to get a chance to depose Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. This is a hail Mary to try and avoid that, that’s my first guess.”

“Shera Bechard, a former Playboy Playmate who had a four-year affair with former RNC Deputy Chairman Elliott Broidy, says he subjected her to physical and sexual abuse and that he exposed her to herpes,” the HuffPost reports.

“These allegations are in a complaint that remains sealed under court order in a lawsuit filed by Bechard contending that Broidy ceased making payments on a $1.6 million hush money agreement. The complaint contains significant allegations about Broidy’s sexual and medical history and his relationship with President Trump.”

“Bechard says that Broidy called the president ‘an idiot, who could not even pronounce the names of countries correctly’ but that Broidy ‘admired Mr. Trump’s uncanny ability to sexually abuse women and get away with it.’”

“The 116th Congress could see the start of a two-year slugfest between two partisan heavyweights — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Politico reports.

“More gridlock, government shutdowns, and the potential impeachment of President.”

“Yet a Pelosi-McConnell-run Congress might also yield deals benefiting both parties — and Trump, who could claim credit for any bipartisan packages as he mounts an expected reelection bid in 2020. Both Pelosi and McConnell may push for a deal on infrastructure spending, for example, an agreement that would affect every state and congressional district. Trump would also gain politically from any such package. Trump could result from the faceoff.”

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

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