The Open Thread for September 10, 2018

George Papadopoulos told ABC News that he floated the idea of a summit between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin at a campaign security team meeting on March 31, 2016. Jeff Sessions, now the Attorney General, later told Congress he shut down the idea of a summit at that meeting.

“Papadopoulos said there were mixed reactions to the summit idea among Trump’s advisers, but that many in the campaign supported his efforts, including Corey Lewandowski, the then-campaign manager, Sam Clovis, a senior aide, and Trump himself. He recalled Trump nodding his head when Papadopoulos proposed the meeting, but then appeared to defer to Sessions.”

Said Papadopoulos: “He was open to this idea. And he deferred, of course, to then senior Senator Jeff Sessions, who I remember being quite enthusiastic.”

Jonathan Swan: “Bob Woodward’s book hits the stands on Tuesday. Trump’s advisers have spent the past few days reading a PDF of the book, and the president now knows that some of his previously trusted White House aides play starring roles in Woodward’s narrative. Trump is privately furious at Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, and sources with direct knowledge of Trump’s thinking tell me it’s possible he publicly attacks Porter and Cohn this week.”

“The White House and top congressional Republicans want to push for a House vote on a second round of tax cuts ahead of the midterms in hopes of bolstering their economic pitch to voters – but they’re running into opposition within their own party,” Politico reports.

“GOP leaders conceived of the second tax bill as a messaging win that would put Democrats on their heels ahead of the midterms, forcing them to vote against tax relief for the middle class. But the concerns over the bill are largely flowing from the Republican side, mainly from members fighting to keep hold of seats in suburban districts where President Trump is most unpopular – and that are key to the GOP’s hopes of keeping their majority.”

Jonathan Swan: “My colleague Mike Allen, who’s covered a few midterm elections in his time, says it’s rare to see so much evidence of a trend accumulate so many months out, only for all the signals to be proven wrong… The signals look every bit as bad for Republicans as they did for House Democrats when they got wiped out in the 2010 Tea Party wave.”

Said one GOP operative: “Every metric leads you to one conclusion: The likelihood of significant Republican losses in the House and state/local level is increasing by the week.”

“The depth of losses could be much greater than anticipated and the Senate majority might be in greater peril than anticipated.”

President Trump’s friend and informal adviser Roger Stone called on him Saturday to fire “insubordinate hillbilly” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the HuffPost reports.  Stone also said Trump should axe Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“Rudy Giuliani’s feisty soon-to-be ex-wife Judith Nathan Giuliani is writing an explosive book about her estranged husband and his inner circle of powerful allies,” the New York Post reports.

“A source close to Judith said she has been in talks with at least three publishing houses about her book, which promises to lift the lid on the private side of President Trump’s prevaricating personal lawyer and the wealthy circles he operates in.”

President Trump said he “will not attempt to enforce a nondisclosure agreement blocking porn star Stormy Daniels from revealing details of her alleged affair with him,” ABC News reports.

Said Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti: “I have been practicing law for nearly 20 years. Never before have I seen a defendant so frightened to be deposed as Donald Trump, especially for a guy that talks so tough. He is desperate and doing all he can to avoid having to answer my questions. He is all hat and no cattle.”

Pointing to an anonymous column in the New York Times detailing resistance within the Trump administration, Steve Bannon said that President Trump is facing a “coup”, Reuters reports.

Said Bannon: “What you saw the other day was as serious as it can get. This is a direct attack on the institutions. This is a coup, okay.”

Washington Post: “Midterm campaign cycles traditionally have centered on the party in power. Opposition to former president George W. Bush’s Iraq War powered the 2006 Democratic wave, while a backlash to Obama’s health-care law fueled the 2010 Republican takeover.”

“But this year is shaping up differently. The Nov. 6 election that will determine control of Congress is likely to hinge on the president — the man and his rash actions, more so than his policies — to a remarkable degree.”

“The spike in Democratic enthusiasm that has Republicans fearful of losing their House majority is driven largely by opposition to Trump personally — his attacks on civic institutions, his impetuousness and the chaos that tornadoes around him — strategists on both sides say.”

“We are seeing tens of millions of dollars flooding into the state of Texas from liberals all over the country who desperately want to turn the state of Texas blue. They want us to be just like California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”

— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), quoted by CNN.

Playbook: “If you listen to President Trump, Republicans are poised to win big in the midterms, keep control in Washington and win in a landslide in 2020. Nothing to worry about, folks.”

“But that’s a stark contrast to the vast majority of Republican operatives who are increasingly raising the alarm bells that Republicans could lose control not only of the House but, potentially, the Senate.”

“There is a growing fear among GOP political operatives that Trump could depress turnout in the midterms by constantly telling his supporters that Republicans are going to do well in November and not ringing the alarm bells that they need to stave off a blue wave.”

“With a string of polls showing GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead slipping, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick showed up in Washington on July 25 to deliver an urgent plea to White House officials: Send President Trump,” Politicoreports.

“Patrick, who chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state, made the case that a Trump visit was needed to boost turnout for Cruz and the rest of the Texas Republican ticket.”

“The previously unreported meeting comes as senior Republicans grow increasingly concerned about the senator’s prospects in the reliably red state, with some expressing fear that an underperformance could threaten GOP candidates running further down the ballot.”

“According to multiple sources, Cory Booker has placed four staffers on the ground in Iowa, helping Democratic candidates, as he moves to position himself for a potential presidential bid,” the Guardianreports.

“Placing staffers on campaigns is a time-tested way for potential presidential candidates to test the waters in early-voting states while building necessary political infrastructure.”

Jonathan Swan: “President Trump was bluffing when he tweeted that he knows the successor to White House counsel Don McGahn, and instead he is vacillating about new legal leaders as he girds for open warfare with Democrats and Robert Mueller. The newest name on the president’s mind: Fannie Mae general counsel Brian Brooks, two sources with direct knowledge tell me. ”

“This is, by far, Trump’s most important current staffing decision. The climax of Mueller’s probe lies ahead. And the White House faces the possibility of impeachment proceedings — and certainty of endless subpoenas and investigations — if Democrats win the House in November.”

“Trump wants somebody who’ll be unquestioningly loyal — who’ll be ‘his guy’ and defend him on TV, said a source familiar with his thinking. (McGahn fulfills neither criteria: He’s independent-minded, TV-shy and makes no effort to disguise his contempt for Jared and Ivanka.)”

“President Trump is expected to declassify, as early as this week, documents covering the U.S. government’s surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the investigative activities of senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr,” Axios reports.

“Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for September 10, 2018

  1. And if you want more reason why GOP operatives have their hair on fire, there is a new Q Poll:

    Trump approval back to 38%
    Sessions approval at 17%
    55% approve of the job Mueller is doing
    57% Somewhat or very Dissatisfied with the direction of the country
    55% think that the anonymous OpEd re the Administrations Disfunction is true.

  2. The News Journal has a photo of the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk with this caption:

    “Hurricane Florence is causing stormy conditions and red flag warnings at Rehoboth Beach Monday morning. Rehoboth city crews removed trash cans and beach mobi-mats from the dune crossings as the surf reaches the boardwalk at high tide.” – The News Journal

    The problem is that Florence has nothing to do with the conditions we had this weekend and today. That’s quite an amateurish mistake from a major “news” outlet.

    • This is a result of the elimination of copy editors from the news flow. Newspapers have lost 2/3rds of their revenue in the past 15 years. Get used to it. Or you could always just get your news from Fox & Friends.

      The shore papers do a better job of covering the beach than TNJ does, and since you live down there you already know that.

  3. CNN has approval at 36%. All of his unfavorables are up too.

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