Open Thread

The Open Thread for 12/7/2018

“Three new court documents are scheduled to emerge Friday that could shed new light on what Donald Trump’s former top aides have been telling — or not telling — federal investigators,” NBC News reports.

“A federal judge in New York has ordered that prosecutors for the Southern District of New York and the Special Counsel’s Office have until 5 p.m. Friday to deliver sentencing memos designed to detail Michael Cohen’s cooperation in their ongoing investigations.”

“And special counsel Robert Mueller is also due to file a document spelling out what his team previously referred to as the ‘crimes and lies’ that led them to cancel a cooperation agreement with Paul Manafort.”

“Republican officials had early warnings of voting irregularities in North Carolina congressional race that are now the subject of probes,” the Washington Post reports.  In the days immediately after the GOP primary, aides to Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), who lost the race, told the state party’s executive director that they believed fraud had occurred. GOP officials did little to scrutinize the results, instead turning their attention to the general-election campaign.

“Over a thousand absentee ballots from likely Democratic voters may have been destroyed in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District last month as allegations of fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate mount,” The Hill reports.

Said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman: “You’re looking at several thousand, possibly 2,000 absentee ballot requests from this most recent election. About 40 percent of those, it appears, at this point may not have been returned.”

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, told CNN that he supports a new election if allegations of fraud in the 9th congressional district race are proven true and it impacted the outcome of the race.

Said Woodhouse: “This has shaken us to the core. We are not ready to call for a new election yet. I think we have to let the board of elections come show their hand if they can show that this conceivably could have flipped the race in that neighborhood, we will absolutely support a new election.”

Dan McCready (D) withdrew his concession in a North Carolina congressional race that has been roiled by accusations of fraud, the Washington Post reports.  McCready also called on rival Mark Harris (R) “to tell the American people exactly what he knew and when he knew it.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “is considering a push to enact term limits on Democratic committee chairs ― a move meant to help her secure the votes to once again be House speaker,” the HuffPost reports.

“According to two Democratic sources, Pelosi held a meeting with one of her holdouts Tuesday, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), and offered to support term limits for chairs in exchange for his vote for her as speaker.”

“While Perlmutter was noncommittal, the move could be a significant concession for Pelosi ― one that would anger many senior members in the House Democratic Caucus but also provide a pathway for newer members to move up in Congress.”

The Atlantic: “When the report will hit is the question. That it will hit, and that it will contain at least some new problems for President Donald Trump and those close to him—especially as House Democrats take the majority—seems certain.”

“But while most organizations, political or otherwise, might take the time to prepare for this kind of slow-moving train, the Trump White House is all but winging it. According to a half-dozen current and former White House officials, the administration has no plans in place for how to respond to the special counsel’s findings—save for expecting a Twitter spree.”

Dana Millbank: “Bush’s funeral was so powerful a renunciation of his current successor because it was a celebration of character. Friendship was invoked 21 times by his eulogists. Loyalty, 10. ‘Honor,’ ‘integrity,’ ‘dignity,’ ‘decency’ and inner peace all recurred. Certainly, Bush could be a fierce partisan and a brutal politician (remember Willie Horton?), but his service in World War II — he was shot down over the Pacific — left him with lessons that fueled his generation’s greatness: The opposition is not the enemy. There are causes greater than self. Political defeat is not the worst thing. And American leadership in the world is indispensable.”

“Trump, for whom no cause is greater than self, must have struggled to sit through 90 minutes of something that was not all about him. Rather, it was all about what he is not.”

John Harris: “The service was replete with praise for the 41st president that could, with just the slightest nudge of interpretation, be heard as implied rebuke of the 45th president. But only implied, never explicit—this, unlike almost everything else in American politics today, was not about Donald Trump.”

“And yet it very much was.”

The only thing that places Beto in the same “establishment lane” as Biden is that former Obama campaign operatives want him to run.   But Beto’s appeal is that he garners support from both establishment types and progressives and liberals and moderates, coupled with a charisma and following reminiscent of Obama.  It is a combination no other 2020 candidate has, not even Bernie Sanders, who, while having a following, does not appeal to all sections of the party, and in fact he is not even part of the party.   It is something Bernie’s supporters in the punditry recognize, hence the coordinated attacks on Beto this week.

“Democratic rising star Beto O’Rourke’s team has been fielding calls from senior operatives who worked on President Barack Obama’s campaign in the pivotal states of Iowa and New Hampshire as the Texas congressman considers running for president in 2020,” CNBC has learned.

“While people close to O’Rourke insist that the discussions have not led to any hires, a former senior Obama administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it is clear O’Rourke will have the consultants in place to help guide him if he chooses to make a run for the White House.”

President Trump “is still looking for a new United Nations ambassador. He has no deputy national security adviser. His attorney general and EPA administrator are serving in an acting capacity, and his constant badmouthing of his chief of staff and Secretary of Homeland Security has undermined their authority,” Politicoreports.

“The president once openly signaled plans to revamp his cabinet and staff after the midterm elections, calling it a ‘very customary’ act — and his aides acknowledged that big changes might be coming. But while he demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after last month’s midterm elections, the once-breathless anticipation of his next personnel move has stretched into a long and awkward waiting game.”

New York Times: “Advisers close to Ms. Warren say she has privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with progressive activists, particularly those who are racial minorities. Several outside advisers are even more worried: They say they believe a plan should be made to repair that damage, possibly including a strong statement of apology.”

“The advisers say Ms. Warren will have to confront the issue again if she announces a presidential campaign, which is expected in the coming weeks, and several would like her to act soon.”

“Publicly, at this point, the senator isn’t second-guessing her actions.”

Rolling my eyes.  The Hillary Clinton of the 2020 race may be Elizabeth Warren.  This whole episode screams inauthenticity coupled with tone deafness.

“The Senate is on the verge of an extraordinary rebuke of Donald Trump’s foreign policy, underscoring a bipartisan willingness to encroach on the president’s powers as commander in chief. From forcing Trump to impose sanctions on Russia to raising questions about his nuclear trigger finger, lawmakers are repeatedly asserting themselves in an area long dominated by the executive branch,” Politico reports.

“And now the fury is so great on Capitol Hill over the Saudi murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — and the Trump administration’s tepid response — that senators are deliberating over whether to pull U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.”

“That senators have allowed the debate to even reach this stage is itself a reproach to Trump, who has downplayed evidence implicating the powerful Saudi crown prince suspected of masterminding the killing.”

Vanity Fair: “They’re beginning to think about whether Mike Pence should be running again,’ one source said, adding that the advisers presented Trump with new polling that shows Pence doesn’t expand Trump’s coalition. ‘He doesn’t detract from it, but he doesn’t add anything either.’”

“Part of what’s driving the debate over Pence’s political value is Trump’s stalled search for a chief of staff to replace John Kelly. According to a source, Kelly has recently been telling Trump that Pence doesn’t help him politically. The theory is that Kelly is unhappy that Pence’s 36-year-old chief of staff, Nick Ayers, has been openly campaigning for Kelly’s job.”

Said one source: “Kelly has started to get more political and he’s whispering to Trump that Trump needs a running mate who can help him more politically.”

Don’t run Joe.  My rule is no one over 70.   Time for the Baby Boomers to stand down and for a new generation to come forward.

Politico: “Senators came to a bipartisan agreement this summer to provide $1.6 billion for 65 miles of a beefed-up barrier along the Southwest border… But now the two parties can’t even agree on whether the $1.6 billion is for Trump’s wall or not.”

“That has led Chuck Schumer to argue that the bill gives Trump zero dollars for the ‘wall’ and instead provides for ‘border security,’ even as some progressives urge the Senate to abandon the deal. In the face of Schumer’s stance, Republicans are defending the $1.6 billion pact as giving the president exactly what he’s requesting, worried that may be all that can get through the Senate and that anything more would lead to a shutdown just days before Christmas.”

“During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club, Victorina Morales has made Donald Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo,” the New York Times reports.

“Because of the ‘outstanding’ support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.”

“Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.”

Zack Beauchamp: “These power grabs highlight one of the most disturbing facts about American politics today: The Republican Party has become institutionally indifferent to the health of democracy. It prioritizes power over principle to such an extreme degree that it undermines the most basic functioning of democracy.”

“In the long run, the GOP’s turn against democracy could well be a greater threat to the American experiment than anything President Trump has done.”

John Harwood: “Beyond his legal problems, Donald Trump suddenly faces rising odds of becoming the first president to seek re-election during economic recession since Jimmy Carter.”

“Until now, Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has loomed as a singular threat to further erode the president’s standing… But the uncertainty on display in gyrating financial markets this week has darkened expectations for Trump’s last two years. In the fourth quarter of 2018, forecasters already see growth slowing from the 4.2 percent and 3.5 percent recorded in the second and third quarters, respectively.”

Mother Jones finds evidence which suggests that the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign may have illegally coordinated campaign ad spending.

“The two purchases may have looked coincidental; Red Eagle and AMAG appear at first glance to be separate firms. But each is closely connected to a major conservative media-consulting firm called National Media Research, Planning and Placement. In fact, the three outfits are so intertwined that both the NRA’s and the Trump campaign’s ad buys were authorized by the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell.”

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

23 comments on “The Open Thread for 12/7/2018

  1. The Beto attacks are so familiar – the foot soldiers are definitely in lock-step. I think that’s because they view him as a threat, as they should. Beto cuts into a lot of candidates’ bases. I just wish we wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes of deliberately trying to damage candidates in order to lift up other candidates.

    I haven’t settled on a candidate. I have people I like, but want to hear more. As usual, I will support the Dem nominee. The stakes are simply too high.

    In addition to policies I support, we need a candidate who can:

    1. Create excitement/energy that pulls air-time away from Trump
    2. Energizes all Dems – especially minority voters (especially black women)
    3. Brings in voters who don’t keep up with politics, but who tend to follow the energy

    We will need every vote, given all the Republican voter suppression and outright cheating.

    • What also seems familiar is the “coordinated” attacks on criticism. Who are these “foot soldiers?” Are we already vilifying people who arent in LOVE with Beto?

      There is 100% nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism about any candidate. Especially BEFORE they have even announced, when the entire concept of them running is speculation.
      If a candidate’s potential supporters cant answer criticism from their own party, from people who just need to be sold on it a little more, before the candidate toss their hat, they have no chance against the united GOP.

      Rather than suggest critics/skeptics of _______ are helping the GOP, why not have an answer for said criticism? Let’s take Beto… what other than “He’s so much like Obama” doe she have going for him? What’s his progressive cred? “He can deliver Texas” is not a good argument imo. that is at best, a VP qualification. That said, I can be immediately sold on him as VP.

      • Hey, I’ve always been 100% pro vetting. 🙂

        I like Beto (so far), but I don’t have a favorite. And I’ll point out that responding to attacks isn’t the same as launching them. I get why people are doing it – he’s a threat to other candidates’ bases. That said, I think these attacks only succeed in elevating him – which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

    • RE Vanella

      It’s because his politics are bad

  2. Is there a reason why Google doesn’t do something with the graphics on their logo for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ?

    • google it.

      • Lol, I did. There seems to be a whole lot of speculation that it is because they don’t want to offend anyone , but no official announcement from Google or anything.

        • I have never understood the point of this bullshit. The only reason to remember a day of national humiliation is to call forth feelings of revenge when the government feels them necessary.

          Move the fuck on. Am I supposed to get worked up about the Japanese again? Or the Germans? I understand that most people act like puppets, but it’s disgusting to see them tying the strings to their own arms.

  3. I think it’s just about remembering the people who died on that day that shaped history, and if Google can recognize every other national whatever day , it seems like they could recognize Pearl Harbor Day as well….Or not. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m just curious to the reasoning behind the snub.

  4. RE Vanella

    The two Os are mushroom clouds.

  5. This guy finally have found the “right” or left party. He’ll make a perfect Democrat!

    • If you knew how to read, you’d know he tried to run for office as a Democrat and was rejected. He ran as a Republican and won the nomination. I’d assume anyone over the age of five could do that math, but you probably can’t, so I’ll help you out: Republicans like him, Democrats don’t. Live with it.

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