Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News that Nancy Pelosi can’t support border wall funding because of the Jan. 3 floor vote for House Speaker. Said Mulvaney: “She cannot be seen by her party as being weak on negotiating with Donald Trump.”
He added: “The vice president and I met with Leader Schumer last Saturday, the last time we sat down face-to-face, and my gut was that he was really interested in doing a deal and coming to some sort of compromise. But the more we’re hearing this week is that it’s Nancy Pelosi who’s preventing that from happening.”
LOL at the weak sauce from the White House, trying to put a wedge between Pelosi and Schumer. All Democrats are against the wall. Why? Watch this video from Beto O’Rourke:
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 28, 2018
Playbook says Trump has blown the Trump Shutdown: “President Trump had an empty Washington and the captive attention of the media the last eight days. Why wasn’t he on TV blasting Congress for inaction every single day?” He could’ve said: “I’m the only guy who can sign a bill into law, but Congress has gone home.”
“Why didn’t Trump instruct GOP leadership to keep Congress in town until they got a deal? … If he believes his position is the right one, why not try to highlight that? Some of his closest allies on Capitol Hill and in D.C. are wondering this.”
Also curious: “If the White House is so concerned about Pelosi, why has Trump not spoken with Pelosi since Dec. 11? That’s 18 days without contact between the president and the incoming speaker during a federal government shutdown. The White House has not reached out to Pelosi’s staff to try to schedule a get together.”
I’ve seen a lot in my travels over the last 40 years but this stopped me in my tracks. Thank you to this young man for serving our country and thank you to the elders that welcomed him home with such honor. God bless our military and God bless America! #militaryfamilies pic.twitter.com/CsblOQmLqt
— Bob Tallman (@tallman_bob) December 21, 2018
“New Jersey prosecutors have collected evidence that supervisors at President Trump’s Garden State golf club may have committed federal immigration crimes — and the FBI as well as special counsel Robert Mueller have played part in the inquiry,” the New York Daily News reports.
New York Times: “About two-thirds of Republicans returning to the House for the 116th Congress this week have never experienced the exquisite pain of being on the outs in an institution where the party in charge is totally in charge. Majority control runs the gamut from determining the floor agenda to determining access to the prime meeting space. It will be a rude awakening for many who have known only their exalted majority status.”
Time does some digging and produces more evidence Paul Manafort was working for Russia during the 2016 campaign https://t.co/rxijacgmhv
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 29, 2018
Time: “When the U.S. government put out its latest sanctions list on Dec. 19, the man named at the top did not seem especially important. Described in the document as a former Russian intelligence officer, he was accused of handling money and negotiations on behalf of a powerful Russian oligarch. The document did not mention that the man, Victor Boyarkin, had links to the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.”
“A months-long investigation by TIme, however, found that Boyarkin… was a key link between a senior member of the Trump campaign and a powerful ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
“Boyarkin told Time this fall that he was in touch with Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in the heat of the presidential race on behalf of the Russian oligarch.”
Said Boyarkin: “He owed us a lot of money. And he was offering ways to pay it back.”
A White House spokesperson told Bloomberg that President Trump hasn’t ordered the Pentagon to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, “contradicting reports last week that he’s directed the military to pull 7,000 soldiers out of a conflict he’s long criticized.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 28, 2018
Said Costello: “I don’t really know how to make sense of it because I don’t think he can do this even if he wanted to. It probably violates NAFTA. I don’t think he’ll have much if any support in Congress. Nor do I think logistically he’d be able to implement it.”
He added: “And when you start throwing out vacuous threats like this, people stop taking you seriously in terms of how you go about negotiating.”
Garrett Graff: “We have rapidly entered a territory of the worst-case scenario for the United States here, where the thing that you most try to avoid in politics is a situation where the head of state of your country can be blackmailed by a foreign power or foreign adversary.”
“We now know that [the Russians] actually did have, for the last two years, compromising material and potential leverage on Donald Trump, which is that Russia knew that Donald Trump and his campaign and his associates had been lying about the extent of their business dealings with Russia, and that the Trump Tower Moscow project was both more serious and continued longer than they had said publicly.”
“Republicans are ending the 115th Congress in an all-too-familiar spot: standing on the sidelines while President Trump picks a fight they wanted to avoid as he ignores what they consider major conservative accomplishments,” the Washington Post reports.
“On back-to-back days last week, Trump hosted large bipartisan gatherings that were meant to be valedictory, year-end statements of success with an $867 billion farm bill and a sweeping overhaul of federal prison laws. For a Congress that struggled to find significant legislation with sweeping Democratic and Republican support, these bills provided a road map for how things might work in the next two years of divided government.”
“Instead, Trump used each ceremony as an opportunity to denounce Democrats for opposing his multibillion-dollar demands for U.S. taxpayer money to fund a southern border wall, launching Washington into its third partial shutdown this year… Republican lawmakers, unable to deliver the president’s top priority despite all-GOP control of government for two years, mostly hid from the spotlight.”
“House Republicans say more investigation is needed into decisions made by the FBI and the Justice Department in 2016 as they brought an unceremonious end to their yearlong look at the department’s handling of probes into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails and Donald Trump’s ties to Russia,” the AP reports.
“The wrapping up of the congressional investigation, done in a letter and without a full final report, was a quiet end to a probe that was conducted mostly behind closed doors but also in public as Republican lawmakers often criticized interview subjects afterward and suggested they were conspiring against Trump.”
Most of the men and women making these policies will be long dead before the worst of their decisions, a legacy of salting the earth, come down on the rest of us. https://t.co/oIqF1ixH0w pic.twitter.com/PAkAjtN8eR
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) December 28, 2018
New York Times: “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is eyeing Baltimore or Atlanta as a possible base of operations for her likely 2020 presidential bid and is close to bringing on a top aide to run her campaign.
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has completed a detailed review of her writings and political record to identify potential vulnerabilities, and her aides have been scouting headquarters near Boston.l
“Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been interviewing possible campaign managers, as well as strategists who could run his Iowa caucus effort.”
“And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been reaching out to more women than men for campaign roles, though she is expected to pick a man — her current top aide — to manage a campaign likely to be based near her upstate New York home.”
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) December 29, 2018
Washington Post: “The president once viewed him as a loyal soldier and confidante, brainstorming on policy in the Oval Office and commiserating about Democratic attack dogs by phone. But Trump also has joked about some of Pruitt’s missteps… On more than one occasion, they said, the president congratulated [acting EPA Administrator Andrew] Wheeler for not attempting to buy a used mattress from the Trump Hotel, a move Pruitt once tried.”
“Outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) finally certified the victory of Rep.-elect Jared Golden (D) in the state’s 2nd Congressional District on Friday, nearly two months after the Nov. 6 election — but not without taking one last dig at the state’s new ranked-choice voting process, which he and other state Republicans have long refused to accept,” the HuffPost reports.
“In the photo of his certification, the governor appears to have written ‘stolen election’ next to his signature, referring to his complaints about ranked-choice voting.”
Trump signs executive order to freeze pay for federal workers while gov is still shut down https://t.co/V5YvsPsgx0
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) December 29, 2018
Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that Democrats next week will not seat a North Carolina Republican amid allegations of election fraud in the state’s 9th Congressional District, the Washington Postreports.
Said Hoyer: “Given the now well-documented election fraud that took place in NC-9, Democrats would object to any attempt by Mark Harris to be seated on January 3. In this instance, the integrity of our democratic process outweighs concerns about the seat being vacant at the start of the new Congress.”
Raleigh News & Observer: “A surprise court order triggered a last-minute move Friday by Gov. Roy Cooper to continue the state election board’s probe of fraud allegations in the 9th District congressional race, even as Harris demanded to be named the winner.”
Elizabeth Drew: “An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.”
“Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short. A significant number of Republican candidates didn’t want to run with Mr. Trump in the midterms, and the results of those elections didn’t exactly strengthen his standing within his party. His political status, weak for some time, is now hurtling downhill.”