IS IT MUELLER TIME? First Read: “[C]ount us among those who believe that the silence from the Russia probe is about to end. For starters, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi have been talking about upcoming indictments against them.”
CNN: “President Trump is acting like he knows something about the Russia investigation that the rest of America has yet to learn.”
Politico: “Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. insist they aren’t worried about special counsel Robert Mueller. But half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has started to set in that Mueller is about to pounce after his self-imposed quiet period, and that any number of Trump’s allies and family members may soon be staring down the barrel of an indictment.”
“Adding to the unease is a spate of anonymously sourced media reports suggesting Mueller’s self-imposed quiet period that started about two months before 2018 Election Day is about to transition into a Category 5 hurricane.”
GOP senator says out loud what everyone knows they believe and are working to achieve, that voting should be more difficult if you're a Democrat:https://t.co/6VIUX2IGgG
If there's one lesson Republicans learned from this election, it's that voter suppression works.
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) November 16, 2018
ABRAMS CONCEDES BUT WILL PURSUE VOTER SUPPRESSION LITIGATION. Stacey Abrams (D) ended her run for Georgia governor as the state prepared to certify the election, but she said she would not concede the contest to Brian Kemp (R), the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
Saying the law “allows no further viable remedy” for her bid for governor against Kemp, Abrams announced a new voting rights group that will file “major” litigation against the state over electoral issues.
Abrams laced her speech with critiques of Kemp, a former secretary of state who she said was “deliberate and intentional in his actions” to suppress the vote.
In every election from 1992 through 2018, there were more women candidates in Democratic primaries than in Republican ones. https://t.co/5Yfxwzi9FV
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) November 17, 2018
HOW PELOSI COULD AND WILL WIN. This is all theater. There is no one skilled enough to face the Senate GOP and Trump, but these conservative five boys want their show. So this is how it will end.
Playbook: “There are 48 days until Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to face a floor vote for the speakership, and she is facing resistance like never before. If you talk to Pelosi and her staff, she’ll be the speaker. If you talk to the rebels — the 20 or so Democrats who want her out — they say they will take their opposition to the floor and block her from returning to the speakership.”
“But here is how Pelosi could hang on: Most everyone says she would win handily if she just simply says when she’d leave. Pelosi has said she wants a “transitional” speakership, but if she gave a date certain — ‘I intend to serve until ____’ — she’d win without much hassle, according to supporters and opponents. Of course, that would be close to a last resort. And there certainly are other ways she could win. But several ‘NeverPelosi’ers’ say it would be hard to oppose her if she says she’d leave at a date certain in the next two years.”
NBC News: “While Pelosi is remains the heavy favorite to be her party’s choice when House Democrats hold their leadership elections in less than two weeks, the hurdles for her are higher than many expected.”
The right’s continued reliance on conspiracy theories points to a deeper, party-wide psychosis: The GOP has built a movement around blaming black and brown Americans, immigrants, and feminists for its constituents’ economic woes. https://t.co/KLbFASAnbz pic.twitter.com/fYvpLN8Uo9
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) November 14, 2018
THE TRAITOR JULIAN ASSANGE INDICTED. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing — a development that could significantly advance the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and have major implications for those who publish government secrets,” the Washington Post reports.
“It was not immediately clear what charges Assange would face. In the past, prosecutors had contemplated pursuing a case involving conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act.“
Congressional districts in Orange County, Calif. in 2016 and in 2018 pic.twitter.com/TWRQ1pPzS4
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) November 16, 2018
REAGAN ORANGE COUNTY IS NOW BLUE. The latest vote tabulations show that Gil Cisneros (D) leapfrogged Young Kim (R) to take a 941-vote lead in the battle for California’s 39th district, erasing a 3,900-vote advantage that Kim held election night, the Orange County Register reports.
“Democrats now lead in every Orange County congressional race and stand positioned to sweep Republicans from power in all four Orange County GOP-held seats the party targeted this election… The historic shift has shocked the county’s Republican leadership, which as recently as 2017 insisted none of the area’s GOP House seats were in danger of flipping.”
Why is the housing market in a slump despite a strong economy? Because when something can't go on forever (in this case, a divergence between incomes and home prices), it won't.https://t.co/6EzTbXXYg6
— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) November 15, 2018
The housing market is a leading indicator. The economy may be booming right now, but it is slowing down and will enter recession in mid to late 2019. CNBC Commentator Jim Cramer has been warning investors for weeks about a manmade slowdown in the U.S. economy, fueled by the two-pronged pressures of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and the Trump administration’s tariffs. Now, high-profile CEOs are worried about growth slowing so drastically that it could actually hurt the economy, he said.
MAYBE TRUMP WANTS A LAME DUCK SHUTDOWN AFTER ALL. Washington Post: “President Trump did not commit Thursday to avoiding a partial government shutdown next month if lawmakers don’t give him money to build a border wall, a top Republican senator said, raising the potential for a high-stakes budget battle as the GOP prepares to lose its grip on Congress.”
KASICH TO RUN AS INDEPENDENT? My thinking has shifted on this, whether a Kasich Independent run helps or hurts Trump. I used to think it would help him win. Now I think it might guarantee his loss, just so long as Democrats don’t nominate Bernie Sanders.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told the Columbus Dispatch that he remains undecided about another presidential run, but that the midterm election results could suggest a greater opening for an independent or third-party candidate.
Said Kasich: “I know everybody’s wondering how I’m going to make a decision, when I’m going to make a decision. I don’t know, but what’s most important to me is that I can have a voice that can be a healing voice for the country.”
Quartz: Melania Trump incurred $174,000 in hotel bills during her trip to Toronto last year, though she did not stay overnight. That’s separate from $18,000 for her advance team. https://t.co/0RFbWnJzOf
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 16, 2018
How does one spend $174k in one day in one hotel and not even spend the night?
ACOSTA WINS. A federal judge granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Trump a week earlier, CNBC reports.
Axios: “In his ruling, Judge Timothy Kelly is setting a precedent that future White House administrations and other elected officials need clear evidence of a security threat or operational burden created by reporters’ actions in order to have the justification to revoke a press pass.”
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 16, 2018
GRAHAM TO HEAD SENATE JUDICIARY. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) plans to trade his Senate Judiciary Committee gavel to lead the Finance Committee next year, he said on Friday — leaving Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in line to replace him as chairman, Politico reports.
“Grassley’s move to Finance wasn’t a given, since the Judiciary panel has played an outsized role in the successful confirmation of more than 80 of President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench. That number could include future Supreme Court justices beyond Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in the next Congress, heightening the influence of the Judiciary chairman.”
McClatchy: “Graham is poised to become the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, giving him both influence and exposure — and a new, politically risky stature as a Democratic target.”
McConnell sets up votes on worst of Trump nominees, gives the finger to Jeff Flake over his threats https://t.co/90kFlUMTbp
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) November 16, 2018
TRUMP IS SO PARANOID HE IS NOW QUESTIONING THE LOYALTY OF PENCE. Yes, Vice President Pence, the most bootlicking Vice President in history. At a news conference last week, President Trump publicly asked Mike Pence to be his running mate again in 2020. But in private, the New York Times reports, Trump doesn’t seem so sure.
“In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?”
“Mr. Trump has repeated the question so many times that he has alarmed some of his advisers. The president has not openly suggested dropping Mr. Pence from the ticket and picking another running mate, but the advisers say those kinds of questions usually indicate that he has grown irritated with someone.”
Trump's effort to destroy the Mueller investigation is officially doomed: https://t.co/HQvySnDQKM
And guess whose fault it is!
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) November 16, 2018
DICK CHENEY AIDE NOW A TARGET OF MUELLER. “Dick Cheney’s former top national security aide has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, two people with knowledge of the probe tell the Daily Beast. It’s the latest sign that Mueller’s probe has expanded beyond the narrow bounds of Russian interference in American politics.”
“Mueller’s team has been looking into the communications and political dealings of John Hannah, the former Cheney adviser who later worked on Trump’s State Department transition team. This includes interactions with Lebanese-American businessman and fixer George Nader, who brokered meetings between foreign dignitaries and team Trump, and Joel Zamel, a self-proclaimed social media guru with deep ties to Israeli intelligence.”