Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 23, 2018

“As of Thursday morning, President Trump was still ruminating on a rare upbraiding from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, continuing attacks against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and calling it ‘a complete & total disaster,’” NPR reports.

Tweeted Trump: “It is out of control, has a horrible reputation.”   He insisted judges “know nothing” about security and safety issues along the border and alleged they are “making our Country unsafe.”

President Trump said that the CIA did not come to a conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Axiosreports.

Washington Post: “Trump brushed aside the intelligence community’s assessment that the crown prince had ordered the killing and reiterated that Saudi Arabia was too valuable an ally to lose over the incident.”  Said Trump: “I hate the crime… I hate the coverup. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do.”  Yeah, he hates being caught.  Of course, the CIA did come to a conclusion, saying they believe with “high confidence” that MBS was behind the killing.

“President Trump warned on Thursday there could be a government shutdown next month over security on the border with Mexico, suggesting he could hold up negotiations if no more money is provided for a wall between the two countries,” Reuters reports.  Said Trump: “Could there be a shut down? There certainly could and it will be about border security, of which the wall is a part.”

Politico reports “President Trump is pressuring Republicans to obtain at least $5 billion for his border wall, far more than what Senate Democrats are prepared to give. Democrats in turn are considering pushes for legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller and the elimination of a citizenship question from the next census, according to people familiar with the negotiations.”

President Trump on Thursday threatened to close off the southern border, saying he would “close entry into the country” if immigration gets “uncontrollable,” The Hill reports.  Said Trump: “If we find that it gets to a level where we’re going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control.”

“Central Americans who arrive at U.S. border crossings seeking asylum in the United States will have to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed under sweeping new measures the Trump administration is preparing to implement,” the Washington Post reports.

“According to DHS memos obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday, Central American asylum seekers who cannot establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico will not be allowed to enter the United States and would be turned around at the border.”

Jonathan Chait: “Most of the public fascination surrounding the legal ordeal of President Trump has attached itself to whether (or, more accurately, how successfully) his campaign colluded with Russia. Much less attention has fixated on the question of Trump committing obstruction of justice in office.”

“This isn’t because obstruction is less serious an offense. Quite the opposite: It’s the very crime that drove President Nixon from office. Rather, it’s paradoxically because the obstruction is so public and naked that it’s been robbed of its mystery. The collusion question has enough hidden tangents to create some compelling drama about the outcome, even if the basic contours are clear. Collusion is more interesting than obstruction for the same reason that the romantic travails of Ross and Rachel are more compelling than those of two people in a porno.”

When asked by reporters on Thanksgiving what he’s thankful for, President Trump said that he is thankful “for having made a tremendous difference in this country,” The Hill reports.  Said Trump: “I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country’s so much stronger than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it.”

Washington Post: “Pelosi’s relentless honey-over-vinegar approach to dealing with political headaches — which she learned at the foot of her father, former Baltimore mayor Thomas D’Alesandro — has been critical to sustaining her grip on power since Democrats won the House majority this month.”

“She has personally courted disgruntled members in meetings and by phone while deploying her sprawling network to bolster her bid among both liberals and moderates, all but overwhelming her critics with her ability to outmaneuver them.”

“According to several aides involved in their discussions, Pelosi’s tenacity has rattled and weakened the ragtag group of rebel Democrats, mostly men, who have struggled to recruit a challenger.”

“By a 2-to-1 margin, Democratic voters want Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be House speaker in the new Congress,” according to a new Politico/Morning Consult survey.

“Far more Democratic voters (48 percent) want Pelosi to be speaker next year than say she shouldn’t be speaker (22 percent), a result that’s in line with a handful of other polls conducted in the wake of an historic Democratic victory in last week’s midterm elections.”

“Democrats are on the cusp of flipping 40 seats in the House, solidifying what many prognosticators had long anticipated: a blue wave,” the Washington Examiner reports.  More than two weeks after Election Day, TJ Cox (D) trails Rep. David Valadao (R) by just 447-votes in California’s 21st congressional district.

Nate Silver: “We’re moving CA-21 to Lean D. Obviously going to be very close, but these late ballot updates keep coming in on pace with what Cox (D) would eventually need to win by a couple tenths of a point.”

“The date had been picked, the location too, and the plan was penciled in: President Trump would be whisked from the White House to Camp David on a quiet winter Saturday to answer questions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team,” the AP reports.  “But as the Jan. 27, 2018, date neared and Mueller provided the topics he wanted to discuss, Trump’s lawyers balked. Attorney John Dowd then fired off a searing letter disputing Mueller’s authority to question the president. The interview was off.”

A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi state law that sought to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, while issuing a stinging rebuke of “controlling” male lawmakers who “gaslight” the public into believing they care about women’s health, CNN reports

Said Judge Carlton Reeves: “As a man, who cannot get pregnant or seek an abortion, I can only imagine the anxiety and turmoil a woman might experience when she decides whether to terminate her pregnancy through an abortion. Respecting her autonomy demands that this statute be enjoined.”

“Anger over President Trump’s steel tariffs is pushing Europe and China to rip up one of the most sacrosanct unwritten rules in international trade policy: Don’t question national security,” Politico reports.  “Brussels and Beijing on Wednesday launched explosive cases at the World Trade Organization, in which they will argue that Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, imposed in May, cannot be justified on grounds of national security, as the White House claims. The EU and China were joined in their protest by Mexico, Norway, Russia and Canada.”

“The six-fold attack on Trump is a landmark departure from the orthodoxy of trade diplomacy as countries have traditionally shied away from challenging restrictions justified by national security concerns, for fear that such a case could blow up the entire global trading system.”

“President Trump this week presided over an explosive meeting on a new Cabinet order granting the troops deployed at the southern border the right to use lethal force to defend border patrol agents,” Politico reports.

“Several White House aides and external advisers who have supported the president’s hawkish immigration agenda attended the Monday meeting, which devolved into a melee pitting two of Trump’s embattled aides, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, against other attendees.”

Cook Political Report: “Republicans are fairly confident they will win, though they acknowledge that the race has closed and Hyde-Smith is ahead by just five points… There hasn’t been a public poll released in the race since the middle of October.”

“The biggest unknown in this race is the degree to which voters are engaged enough to head to the polls. They are certainly being bombarded with ads across all media platforms, but they are also thinking about Thanksgiving, college football, Black Friday bargains and holiday decorating. Where does going to the polls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving fit on that list of priorities?”

“The odds of Hyde-Smith winning this contest are far greater than of Democrats pulling an upset, but observers might be surprised by how close the margin ends up being. The race will remain in the Lean Republican column.”

Washington Post: “In the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew Whitaker received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career… In its application to the IRS for status as a tax-exempt organization, the organizers reported that the group would study the impact of environmental regulations on businesses.”

“In that incarnation, the group took no action and ‘only existed on paper,’ one man named in IRS filings as a board member told The Washington Post. Another named in a state filing as a board member said he never agreed to be on the board.”

President Trump “finally submitted a set of written responses to Robert Mueller, signaling that he was done for good with the special counsel’s questions. But Mueller is far from done with him,” Politico reports.

“The special counsel still wants to question the president over his actions while in the White House — Tuesday’s answers only covered Russian hacking during the 2016 election. It’s a fight that could result in a historic subpoena and eventual Supreme Court ruling, pulling a defiant Trump into a legal squabble that could set groundbreaking precedent for presidential investigations for years to come. Depending on how the battle plays out, House Democrats may even try and pounce and launch impeachment proceedings.”

“Things could get explosive fast. Next comes the perilous round of negotiations between Trump’s lawyers and Mueller’s prosecutors covering topics like Trump’s intentions when firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. That line of questioning — which Trump says he shouldn’t have to answer — is tied to Mueller’s ongoing obstruction of justice investigation.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for November 23, 2018

  1. Democrats need to be ruthless on fixing voting. They’re paying a steep price for neglect.

    Exactly. And this goes further than other proposals, and included making Washington DC and Puerto Rico states to start countering the small states with outsized voting power.

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