“The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged,” the New York Times reports.
“In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.”
“The exposure on campaign finance laws poses a challenge to Mr. Trump’s legal team, which before now has focused mainly on rebutting allegations of collusion and obstruction while trying to call into question Mr. Mueller’s credibility.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told ABC News that the publicly available facts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe indicate President Trump’s actions are “beyond the stage” of what led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.
Said Murphy: “The president has now stepped into the same territory that ultimately led to President Nixon resigning the office. President Nixon was an unindicted co-conspirator. Was certainly a different set of facts, but this investigation is now starting to put the president in serious legal crosshairs and he should be worried and the whole country should be worried.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 9, 2018
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) told ABC News that the language federal prosecutors are using to refer to President Trump in an indictment against Michael Cohen makes it sound as if they might have corroborating evidence that Trump violated campaign finance law.
Said Christie: “The language in the sentencing memo is different from what we’ve heard before. The only thing that would concern me if I was the president’s team this morning about this sentencing memo is the language.”
He added: “The language sounds very definite. And what I’d be concerned about is, what corroboration do they have?”
What if, and hear me out here, what if Jared is actually dumber than junior? https://t.co/R0zdvxZsC8
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 9, 2018
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CBS News that President Trump might “face the real prospect of jail time” after prosecutors indicated last week that he directed illegal payments during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Said Schiff: “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”
Mueller’s memos and the lies of Trump’s lieutenants—Tonight’s sentencing documents offer the clearest sign yet of how investigators are encircling the president. https://t.co/SBuaBKfRTZ
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 8, 2018
Former Nixon White House lawyer John Dean told CNN he thinks Congress will have “little choice” but to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump following a Friday evening court filing involving Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
Said Dean: “In his allocution, he implicated Trump directly. And he was doing it, his instructions, that’s why the payments were made and they were for his benefit.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told ABC News that President Trump pardoning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort would be a “terrible mistake,” and that doing so could possibly “trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended.”
Said Rubio: “I think that would be a terrible… I really do. I believe it’d be a terrible mistake. Pardons should be used judiciously. They’re used for cases with extraordinary circumstances.”
But if the state board votes to rerun the election, the only way for Harris to be removed from the ballot would be if he moved out of state
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) December 7, 2018
“A little over a year from now, millions of Californians will be mailed their ballots on the same day that Iowans head to their famous first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. They could start mailing them back before New Hampshire holds its first-in-the-nation primary in 2020,” NBC News reports.
“Meanwhile, Texans will likely have a chance to vote early, too — even before Nevada and South Carolina, which typically round out the earliest portion of the primary calendar.”
“The explosion of early voting and reshuffling of the primary calendar in 2020 could transform the Democratic presidential nominating contest, potentially diminishing the power of the traditional, tiny and homogeneous early states in favor of much larger and more diverse battlegrounds. That would be a boon to the best-known candidates with warchests sizable enough to compete in big states early.”
Marcy Wheeler: “Speculation has been building for months about the report that special counsel Robert Mueller is obligated to write under the regulation governing his appointment. When will it come out? Will Rudolph Giuliani really write a ‘rebuttal’ on President Trump’s behalf? Can the acting attorney general — whom Trump seems to have named to the job in a bid to exert more control over Mueller — or his replacement prevent the report from being made public, effectively burying whatever the investigation has found?”
“But Mueller has already been submitting his report, piece by piece, in indictments and other charging documents. He has hidden it in plain sight in the court dockets of individuals and organizations he has prosecuted. Many of those court papers have included far more detail than necessary to prove the culpability of defendants who have agreed to plead guilty. This isn’t just legal overkill on Mueller’s part — it’s the outlines of a sweeping narrative about the 2016 election.”
House Democrats should spend less time rehearsing the tasks they will inherit with power, and more time making sure they arrive there in 2020 with the right kind of presidential leadership. @ed_kilgore writes https://t.co/j3S02zaVHz
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) December 9, 2018
New York Times: “Rep. Beto O’Rourke has emerged as the wild card of the presidential campaign-in-waiting for a Democratic Party that lacks a clear 2020 front-runner. After a star-making turn in his close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, Mr. O’Rourke is increasingly serious about a 2020 run — a development that is rousing activists in early-voting states, leading veterans of former President Barack Obama’s political operation (and Mr. Obama himself) to offer their counsel and hampering would-be rivals who are scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future campaign staff.”
“Advisers to other prospective Democratic candidates for 2020 acknowledge that Mr. O’Rourke is worthy of their concern. His record-setting success with small donors would test the grass-roots strength of progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. His sometimes saccharine call to summon the nation’s better angels would compete with the likely pitch of Sen. Cory Booker.”
“And his appeal to some former Obama advisers — and, potentially, his electoral coalition of young people, women and often infrequent voters — could complicate a possible run for former Vice President Joe Biden, who would aim to win back many of his former boss’s constituencies.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie praised Confederate States President Jefferson Davis effusively in a 1995 speech, calling him a “martyr to ‘The Lost Cause’” and an “exceptional man in an exceptional age,” CNN reports.
Wilkie, who delivered the speech in front of a statue of Davis at the US Capitol during an event sponsored by the United Daughters of Confederacy, also said that while he was “no apologist for the South,” viewing Confederate “history and the ferocity of the Confederate soldier solely through the lens of slavery and by the slovenly standards of the present is dishonest and a disservice to our ancestors.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 9, 2018
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reluctance to hold a vote on a popular criminal justice bill has angered top Republican senators and created an unusual rift with a longtime GOP ally, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa,” the AP reports.
“Grassley has spent years working to build a coalition around the bill and is pushing for a year-end vote. Grassley says more than two-thirds of the Senate supports it. But McConnell is refusing to bring the legislation forward in a standoff that’s dividing the Republican majority and putting President Trump on the spot.”
“For the 85-year-old chairman of the Judiciary Committee, this is not the way Senate is supposed to operate. Grassley was expecting some deference from McConnell after delivering on Trump’s judicial nominees — including two now on the Supreme Court. Trump backs the criminal justice bill, too, but McConnell says it’s divisive.”
“Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, issued a video Friday saying he would ‘wholeheartedly support’ a new election if evidence emerges that criminal activity swayed the outcome of the Nov. 6 race, the Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports Harris paid more than $525,000 to a political consulting firm at the center of a probe of possible absentee ballot fraud in the race.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN she believes Donald Trump, Jr. lied to the committee on at least two occasions, which would constitute a felony.
Said Speier: “I don’t really want to go into it at this point, but I think there’s at least two occasions where he lied to the committee.”