Open Thread

The Open Thread for October 31, 2018

Aw, that’s cute.  The President thinks he can just issue an Executive Order overturning an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  LOL.  He told the bootlicking Jonathan Swan of Axios that he  plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil.   The problem with all that is that it is explicitly unconstitutional.  The 14th Amendment’s language is clear and provides citizenship for all those born in the United States.  The Supreme Court interpreted the Amendment in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898),[1] as guaranteeing birthright citizenship to children born in the United States even though their parents were not legal citizens at the time of the birth.

Never missing an opportunity to fellate Donald Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that he will introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship after President Trump suggested he could do so through an executive order, The Hill reports.  Said Graham: “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship.”  Again, Lindsey, you should know this since you went to law school, allegedly, but your bill would be unconstitutional on its face.  If you want to amend the Constitution, then craft an Amendment, get it passed by two-thirds of both houses (292 yes votes in the House and 67 in the Senate) and then ratified by three-fourths (38 out of 50) of the states.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the 14th Amendment is clear and that President Trump cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order, the Washington Post reports.  “He also said that Republicans did not like it when President Obama changed immigration laws by executive action and that reversing the Constitution would be a lengthy process.”

“The special counsel investigation into President Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone is pressing witnesses about Stone’s private interactions with senior campaign officials and whether he had knowledge of politically explosive Democratic emails that were released in October 2016,” the Washington Post reports.

“As part of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be intently focused on the question of whether WikiLeaks coordinated its activities with Stone and the campaign, including the group’s timing.”

“On Friday, Mueller’s team questioned Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former chief campaign strategist, about alleged claims Stone made privately about WikiLeaks before the group released emails allegedly hacked by Russian operatives.”

Sources tell ABC News that Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump, “quietly expanded his legal team in recent months, hiring prestigious Florida attorney Bruce Rogow, who will be Stone’s lead attorney on all matters related to the office of the special counsel and all constitutional matters, such as first amendment issues that may arise.”

“Stone’s legal team tells ABC News that last month their client voluntarily took two polygraph tests, which they claim will show Stone passing with flying colors on a spectrum of key issues covering areas of interest in the Mueller probe related o Stone.”

Pittsburgh does not want Donald Trump to visit in the aftermath of this weekend’s deadly terrorist attack that left 11 people dead. Jewish leaders told him he is not wanted. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto (D) said that this week is not a good time, as the families of the victims are focused on their loved ones’ funerals (which, in accordance with Jewish tradition, are happening very quickly). Their sentiments are undoubtedly prompted by a combination of at least three factors: (1) These folks don’t care for Trump anyhow; (2) They hold him responsible, on some level, for what happened (between his rhetoric and his lack of action on guns); and (3) A presidential visit is, pretty much by definition, a “look at me” moment that deflects attention from others, even if those others may be a little more worthy of focus.

Of course, Trump does not care about any of this. He relishes an opportunity to be in the limelight, and to look “presidential.”

Congressional leaders from both parties — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — have all declined invitations to join President Trump on his visit to Pittsburgh after the synagogue massacre last weekend, the Washington Post reports.

“Pittsburgh’s mayor and some Jewish leaders have pleaded for Trump to stay away as critics have said that both Trump and his administration have fueled anti-Semitism through their rhetoric before and after Saturday’s massacre.”

Bloomberg: “Outrage amid the Republican electorate over Democrats’ treatment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has dissipated, Trump aides and Republican pollsters say. After last week’s mail-bomb scare and synagogue shooting, President Trump’s approval rating fell, potentially jeopardizing key Senate races that his allies thought had turned his party’s way.”

“Trump will spend valuable time in the final days before the election on defense, traveling to states he won handily to try to shore up support for Republican candidates who strategists believed to be well positioned for victory a few weeks ago. Trump advisers have all but given up on keeping Republican control of the House and are now focused on saving the Senate, which will be crucial to confirm Trump’s judicial and Cabinet appointments.”

“Dairy giant Land O’Lakes is set to announce that it will no longer make financial contributions to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) after a gun-fueled massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue brought new attention to the Republican’s incendiary comments about race and association with white nationalism,” Bloomberg reports.

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) will not endorse his Republican primary rival Katie Arrington (R) in her bid for his 1st District seat, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.  Said Sanford: “Part of leadership, at times, means knowing when it’s best to keep quiet. To me, this is probably one of those times.”

During a U.S. Senate candidate forum Monday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would not commit to serving a full six-year term if reelected, Seven Days reports.

Said Sanders: “Right now, my focus is on the year 2018, but if you’re asking me to make an absolute pledge as to whether I’ll be running for president or not, I’m not going to make that pledge. The simple truth is I have not made that decision. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I may not run. I may. But on the other hand, I may not.”

Sean Trende: “As we learned in 2016, and in a less dramatic fashion in 2014, a late break in the races can alter the landscape substantially. This year, there are a lot of undecided voters remaining. Look at the most recent House polling from the New York Times/Siena: In some races, the leading candidates are at 43 percent (IA-3), 45 percent (UT-4, PA-10, NJ-3), and 44 percent (NY-11). Moreover, the trailing candidate is typically only behind by a point or two.”

“This adds up to a situation where a slight break in the undecideds toward one party or the other could be the difference between a healthy Democratic majority and a slim Republican one. My standard answer to how these races will break is to assume that, on average, they will converge on the president’s job approval, but there still is enough “wiggle room” in that political tendency to move things either way.”

“An alleged scheme to pay off women to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI for further investigation,” The Atlantic reports.

“The special counsel’s attention to this scheme—which was brought to the office by a woman claiming she herself had been offered money to make up sexual harassment claims against Mueller—and its decision to release a rare statement about it to reporters indicates the seriousness with which the office is taking the purported scheme to discredit Mueller in the middle of an ongoing investigation.”

“The special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a GOP activist named Jack Burkman ‘to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.’”

“President Trump has mocked Maxine Waters as a ‘low IQ person,’ and she has called for the president’s impeachment. But Republicans who work with the California Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee see something different: a rare deal-maker in a polarized Congress,” Politico reports.

“Waters, who would chair the committee if Democrats win the House, has shown a surprising willingness to work across the aisle and with industry groups, even helping to deliver White House-backed legislation to ease regulations and crack down on China.”

Said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK): “There are many, many things that Maxine and I are completely, diametrically the opposite on. But I have dealt with her enough on issues to understand she can see the whole picture. It is possible to negotiate with her and she’ll keep her word. That’s an important thing in Congress. Not everybody does that anymore.”

President Trump’s legal team “has prepared written responses to several dozen questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller but say they won’t submit them until after next week’s elections and only if they reach a broader agreement with Mueller on terms for the questioning,” Bloomberg reports.

“Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, said in an interview Monday that the answers relate only to whether Trump colluded with Russia during his presidential campaign. He said the legal team is still unwilling to answer any questions concerning obstruction of justice by the president.”

“Giuliani also said that a face-to-face interview with Mueller is ‘off the table’ for now but isn’t being ruled out completely.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for October 31, 2018

  1. cassandram

    One of the leaders of the fake news scheme to frame Mueller is on Twitter telling his followers that the first thing they need to do when the Rs win is to impeach Obama.

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