The Open Thread for 12/13/18

Nancy has been proven right yet again.  She knows all and sees all, and you best not come for her.

“House Republicans are struggling to come up with a strategy to fulfill President Trump’s demands that the lower chamber pass a funding bill that includes $5 billion for his promised border wall,” The Hill reports.

“By Wednesday evening, GOP leaders still had not settled on what vehicle they would use to fund the wall or if they would even take a vote this week to do so. Lawmakers in the House have until just Dec. 21 to avert a partial government shutdown, and are only scheduled to be working for four of those days.”

Playbook: “If the House somehow manages to pass it, the Senate will then fail to get 60 votes on that bill, which could — in theory — reset this process by the end of this week.”

“A shutdown remains very likely . It just doesn’t seem like a deal is in the works, or close to being thought about.”

“There are 13 days between the funding deadline and when Democrats take over the House. Pelosi could begin the 116th Congress by passing a stopgap to end a partial shutdown. At that point, it would fly through the Senate and Trump would have to sign it. There are plenty of Democrats and Republicans who think this is the most likely scenario at this moment.”

First Read: “To us, there’s a more fundamental takeaway to yesterday’s Thunderdome in the Oval Office: It appears Trump still hasn’t accepted his defeat from the midterms and what that means for his agenda beginning next year.”

“It was the same kind of ‘thumping’ that George W. Bush recognized back in 2006, and similar to the ‘shellacking’ Barack Obama admitted receiving in 2010. But Trump has yet to concede what really happened in the midterms and how that means divided government in 2019-2020.”

“And that divided government takes away leverage he might have in any shutdown fight. As Schumer explained to reporters after the meeting, if there’s a shutdown, House Democrats next year can pass a clean continuing resolution to fund the government — and dare Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to oppose it.”

James Hohmann: “It’s remarkably easy for people to get under Trump’s skin. Chuck and Nancy, as Trump refers to the Democratic leaders, needled him on the economy and the election. And his response illustrated why this was the first meeting between the three leaders in more than a year. Indeed, the president has rarely put himself in positions of being directly challenged over the past two years.”

There is no security argument, there is no terrorism link, there is no economic argument.  These Vietnamese refugees have been here 40 years and have integrated into our society.  They are not security risks.  So at this point it’s clear that Trump’s immigration policy is only about making America Whiter

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cleared a major hurdle in bid to be House Speaker, reaching a deal with Democratic rebels that includes stepping aside by 2022.

In a concession, the California congresswoman will also support a three-term limit for the top three House Democratic leaders. That means she would step aside no later than 2022 as party leader.

Let the wild speculation begin.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) is out of the running as a candidate to become President Trump’s next chief of staff, The Hill reports.

“The president discussed the position with the outgoing House Freedom Caucus chairman but told him that he needs him to remain in Congress.”

Washington Post: “The removal of Meadows from contention leaves a panoply of other potential contenders, including acting attorney general Matt Whitaker, whom Trump praised as he sat next to him Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia Saturday.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told CNN that he would decline if President Trump asked him to serve as the next White House chief of staff.

Said Santorum: “Look, it’s an honor even to be considered.”

“McCrae Dowless, the man whose ‘get-out-the-vote’ activities are the center of the election fraud investigation in North Carolina, told a local political campaign volunteer that he was holding onto 800 absentee ballots,” according to a new affidavit obtained by NBC News.

“In the signed statement, Kenneth Simmons said that he met Dowless at a local Republican Party meeting in the small town of Dublin. Dublin is located in Bladen County, the epicenter of the election fraud investigation involving absentee ballots. During that interaction, Simmons wrote, he and his wife saw Dowless with a large number of absentee ballots ‘in his possession.’”

Federal prosecutors said in a filing that the National Enquirer admitted to “working in concert” with the Trump campaign to pay off a woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump in order to squash her story, CBS News reports.

The company “admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

Politico: “Based on court documents and a plethora of media reports, Trump and his aides have worked for years with the tabloid to kill incriminating stories. AMI’s CEO David Pecker also had a decades-long copacetic friendship with Trump.”

“Legal experts say that could mean more legal peril for Trump, who has already been implicated in directing Cohen to work with the National Enquirer during the 2016 campaign to pay women in exchange for their silence about alleged affairs.”

British prime minister Theresa May has won a confidence vote in her leadership of the Tory party by 200 to 117, the Guardian reports.

New York Times: “But the victory celebration, if any, is likely to be short-lived. While Mrs. May survived to fight another day, her win did nothing to alter the parliamentary arithmetic that forced her this week to delay a critical vote on her plan for withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit.”

“She won only after promising that she would step aside soon after the Brexit agonies were over, according to reports from a meeting of Conservative Party lawmakers preceding the vote. That removed the generally unwelcome possibility that she would stand as party leader in the next general election.”

“President Trump started by bragging about how great border security is going under his watch. That, by the way, is with no wall. If it were truly the case, as the president said, that border security is better than it’s ever been, what’s wrong with another year of the same funding? If things are going so great, why does he have to threaten to shut down the government for his $5 billion wall? It makes no sense.”

— Sen. Chuck Schumer, quoted by NBC News, arguing that President Trump lives in a “cocoon of his own mistruth” and that he and Nancy Pelosi “had to puncture that cocoon and he threw a temper tantrum because of it.”

Michael Cohen has been sentenced to 3 years in prison on Wednesday on charges involving campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and lying to Congress in a New York federal court, Axios reports.

According to the Washington Post, Cohen told the judge he’s lived in “personal and mental incarceration” since he started working for Trump.

He’ll have to report to prison on March 6.

“Michael Cohen, the former lawyer and fixer for President Trump, is willing to reveal publicly what he knows about his former client once Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is complete and findings are released,” Bloomberg reports.

Said lawyer Lanny Davis: “There will come a time after Mr. Mueller is done with his work that Michael Cohen will be sitting in front of a microphone before a congressional committee and what he has to say about the truth will be judged by the members of Congress listening and then will be up to people to decide whether he has got the facts or not.”

James Hohmann: “It seems a safe bet that confrontation will trump conciliation in Washington over the next two years. The bases in both parties want their leaders to be fighters, even as the plurality of Americans want politicians to seek common ground. It’s hard to see how average Americans watch spectacles like yesterday’s and conclude anything other than that Washington is broken. If yesterday was a harbinger of what’s to come, the president who prides himself as a dealmaker isn’t going to make many big deals.”

“Divided government will either make Trump look weak and ineffective — or give him a useful foil to run against in 2020. Frankly, it could cut either way. Or both ways. Will voters blame Trump or Democrats? It’s plausible that many swing voters will adopt the a-pox-on-both-your-houses mentality.”

“Dysfunction could set the stage for another change election. Trump carried the mantle of change in 2016, and he’ll try to seize it again in 2020. Whether he succeeds will depend on whom Democrats nominate to challenge him.”

Associated Press: “The Opportunity Zone program promoted by Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner — both senior White House advisers — could also benefit them financially.”

“Government watchdogs say the couple’s financial interests underscore the ethical minefield they created two years ago when they became two of the closest advisers to the president without divesting from their extensive real estate investments.”

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James (D) told NBC News that she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Trump, his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.

Said James: “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate will vote this month on a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system that has proven deeply controversial within the Senate Republican ranks, the Washington Post reports.

McConnell said the decision to put the bill — which eases some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders while implementing initiatives aimed at lowering recidivism rates — comes “at the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation” secured by several senators.

ProPublica: “Had the billions in budget reductions occurred all at once, with tens of thousands of auditors, collectors and customer service representatives streaming out of government buildings in a single day, the collapse of the IRS might have gotten more attention. But there have been no mass layoffs or dramatic announcements. Instead, it’s taken eight years to bring the agency that funds the government this low. Over time, the IRS has slowly transformed, one employee departure at a time.”

“The result is a bureaucracy on life support and tens of billions in lost government revenue. ProPublica estimates a toll of at least $18 billion every year, but the true cost could easily run tens of billions of dollars higher.”

“The cuts are depleting the staff members who help ensure that taxpayers pay what they owe. As of last year, the IRS had 9,510 auditors. That’s down a third from 2010. The last time the IRS had fewer than 10,000 revenue agents was 1953, when the economy was a seventh of its current size. And the IRS is still shrinking. Almost a third of its remaining employees will be eligible to retire in the next year, and with morale plummeting, many of them will.”

CNN: “He toyed with, but wouldn’t commit to, ‘full cooperation’ with prosecutors, according to court filings. He refused to tell them about crimes for which he hadn’t been charged. He wouldn’t meet with them about ‘other areas of investigative interest.’ With officials in the state attorney general’s office, he provided only corroboration for what they already knew, and with the state tax department, only what investigators could have obtained with a subpoena or two.”

“But there is one probe in the Manhattan US Attorney’s office for which President Trump’s former personal attorney has proved helpful, according to court filings and people familiar with the matter: The investigation of the Trump Organization. That probe, and Cohen’s participation in it, poses one of the most significant threats to the President’s family business.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for 12/13/18

  1. I am critical without offering an alternative, which is a dick move. But I try to at least be consistent. Top props to Pelosi. She just neutered the 2022 gop mid term stradegy and allowed the possibly incumbent party to run as reformers. Chuck fucking Schumer, take note.

    • Delaware Dem

      I want a new leader too, but more importantly, a new generation of leaders, to take charge. But that generation is not yet ready in the House to take charge, so this 2 to 4 year transitional period is perfect.

      • “… so this 2 to 4 four year transitional period is perfect.” – Delaware Dem

        If the Pelosi Dems accomplish peanuts like Obama did in his first 2 year transitional period, expect another not so perfect transition.

  2. Paul Ryan turns out to be just as self-centered and narcissistic as the president.

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