What Now?! – 1/31/19

President Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials, calling them “extremely passive and naive” about the “dangers of Iran” and pushing back on their assessments of the Islamic State and North Korea during a congressional hearing, the Washington Post reports.

“In tweets, Trump offered what amounted to a rebuttal of testimony on global threats provided to the Senate on Tuesday by a panel of top officials from his administration.”

“Trump was most pointed in his pushback on the assessment of Iran. During testimony, officials said that Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and was in compliance with an agreement forged during the Obama administration from which Trump subsequently withdrew the United States.”

Chris Cillizza: “This is, of course, shocking.”

Why did he do this?  Because the Intelligence community directly contradicted him.   The Washington Post has more on U.S. intelligence officials directly contradicting President Trump before Congress yesterday: “None of the officials said there is a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Trump has considered declaring a national emergency so that he can build a wall.”

Stripes: “Their analysis stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s almost singular focus on security gaps at the border as the biggest threat facing the United States.”

“The intelligence assessment, which is provided annually to Congress, made no mention of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, which Trump has asserted as the basis for his demand that Congress finance a border wall. The report predicted additional U.S.-bound migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with migrants preferring to travel in caravans in hopes of a safer journey.”

Politico: “If Stone is gagged, his contingency plan is already in place. He’s got a well-known First Amendment attorney on his legal team who represented the rap group 2 Live Crew against obscenity charges in the early 1990s. And Stone has designated a pair of close friends as spokesmen in the event he and his lawyers are told to stop talking. Until then, Stone won’t stop chattering.”

Gallup: “As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history came to an end, Gallup polling suggests that the Republican Party’s image has suffered more than the Democratic Party’s. The GOP’s favorability rating fell to 37% from 45% in September. At the same time, Americans’ favorable views of the Democratic Party remained stable at 45%.”

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Americans trust Democrats more than President Trump on border security, 50% to 41%. That is up from a 49% to 44% Democratic advantage two weeks ago.  “Both findings are rare since the issue has almost always favored the GOP.”

A new Morning Consult poll finds just 31% of voters support shutting the government down again to force Congress to appropriate money for the wall, while nearly twice that many, 58%, oppose another shutdown.

Meanwhile, President Trump has suggested that he could declare a “national emergency” to avert a shutdown but still build the wall — but that, too, is unpopular. A narrow, 51% majority opposes declaring an emergency, which is supported by 38%.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Tuesday found that 56 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, when asked whom they would support for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, didn’t offer up any name at all. In other words, the field right now appears to be pretty wide open.   Of those who stated a preference….

Biden 9, Harris 8, Sanders 4, O’Rourke 3, Warren 2, Booker 1, Klobuchar 1.

Washington Post: “Before announcing his presidential ambitions this week, former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz secretly undertook a months-long effort to prepare an independent presidential campaign against the nation’s two-party political system, deploying more than six national polls and laying the groundwork for paid advertising that could debut in the next two months.”

However, given the rocky start of his book tour, Schultz aides now say he may not make a decision on running until summer or fall.

The biggest beneficiary of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s decision not to run for president may be Sen. Kamala Harris, who is the only high-profile presidential candidate from California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“Since California’s primary will be held on March 3, 2020 — far earlier in than in many past election cycles — it could have an outsized impact on whom the party’s nominee will be.”

First Read: “Right now, we have seven candidates who have declared or who have filed paperwork, and it already feels a bit, well, crowded. Part of that is due to Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand announcing early, and staking claims to their lanes.”

“And part of it is due to the fact that Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke have the name ID, potential resources and ability to wait on a decision, thus freezing the rest of the field.”

“If you’re not in early, and if you’re not Biden, Sanders, O’Rourke or a billionaire like Mike Bloomberg, it becomes harder and harder to differentiate yourself and your candidacy.”

Washington Examiner: “From the outside, Texas appears troubling for President Trump in 2020 because of demographic changes that have featured a steady climb in the population of Hispanic voters.”

“But actually, the leftward drift, first evident in 2016 when Trump won Texas by less than 10 percentage points, is a byproduct of sharp opposition to the president in Texas’ burgeoning upscale suburbs that are dominated by whites, according to Texas Republican strategists.”

Financial Times: “The discussions between the US and Russian presidents occurred at the 19th-century Colón theatre in the Argentine capital, as world leaders and their spouses or guests were streaming out of the building. Mr Trump was accompanied by Melania Trump, his wife, but no staff, while Mr Putin was flanked by his translator. The four of them sat at a table and were among the last to leave.”

“Mr Trump’s aides characterized the Putin encounter as one of several ‘informal’ conversations that Mr Trump had with his counterparts that evening… The accounts of people familiar with the conversation said it appeared longer and more substantive than the White House has acknowledged.”

“Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is currently quoting $200,000 and the use of a private jet for domestic speaking engagements,” CNBC reports.

“Engagements outside the United States could cost considerably more.”

“Haley’s lucrative fee propels her into a league populated by U.S. presidents, former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, former first lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

“Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign hasn’t officially launched yet but it’s already melting down,” Politico reports.

“Two-and-a-half weeks after she told CNN she had decided to run for the White House—an announcement that even her own staff didn’t know was coming, after weeks of debating the timing of the rollout—the 37-year-old congresswoman has struggled to contain the chaos.”

Politico: “Democrats are ruling out the idea of negotiating on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, skeptical that Trump would actually provide a permanent fix for the young undocumented immigrants after he previously rejected just such a deal. Meanwhile, top Republicans also doubt an expansive agreement could be put together in the next three weeks.”

“The fading prospects of the negotiation mean Trump is likely to receive only a fraction of the $5.7 billion he’s been seeking for his southern barrier in any deal, if one can be put together at all by Feb. 15. Then he would have to decide whether to unilaterally move funds around by declaring a legally dubious national emergency or embrace another debilitating shutdown.”

Washington Post: “Republicans intent on averting another government shutdown sought Tuesday to expand border security talks to dealing with U.S. debt and other issues as lawmakers operated with no clear signal from President Trump on what he would accept.”

“Senate Republicans are signaling they will do just about anything to prevent a second shutdown after the White House was widely seen as badly losing the political fight over the closure that ended with President Trump’s retreat on Friday,” The Hill reports.

“Republicans are in no mood to be dragged back into another partial closure in mid-February, the deadline to get a deal on spending for roughly a quarter of the government.”

Said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), modifying a well-known quote: “There certainly would be no education in the third kick of the mule.”

“Michael Bloomberg looked alot like a traditional presidential hopeful on Tuesday with a well-attended speech in New Hampshire, a factory visit and a walking tour of local businesses. But he didn’t sound much like a Democratic candidate,” Politico reports.

“Other than his sharp criticisms of Donald Trump on climate change, the government shutdown and the president’s governing style, the New York billionaire seemed intent on testing the limits of how far he could deviate from Democratic Party orthodoxy.”

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

46 comments on “What Now?! – 1/31/19

  1. When different arms of a government, say law enforcement or the military, decide to align themselves with one political entity or ideology over another within a state, it historically has led to unrest and division within that state.
    What’s being done to Roger Stone and how it is being done, is highlighting the division. If you applaud the way that the FBI executed the arrest of Roger Stone then you are a product and example of the division.

    • No. The group sent to Stone’s house had three tasks. One was to establish a perimeter. Another was to search the house. And the third was to arrest Roger Stone. You didn’t know this. So for you, posting was simply an avenue to advance your ignorant screed. You have a big enough task improving yourself that you really have no time to criticize others.

      • @Paul: Ignorant screed…lol. Maybe you can enlighten me then.
        Sixty six year old man with his even older wife and little dogs that pose no threat. No weapons, no passport. Can’t even swim. Why did they point assault rifles at him again? Why the helicopters? Why the boats? Why CNN?
        If he was such a flight risk and so dangerous, then why did the judge just let him go.

        I’ve been hearing that CNN arrested Roger Stone and bought the FBI along for backup….lol.

        • “brought”

          • im sure you have been hearing that. You clearly only consume right wing out-rage porn. That doesnt even make sense.
            Oh, CNN arrested Roger stone! Real Zinger ya got there!

        • Where are you Paul? I’m waiting for you to enlighten me.

          • I know you would like nothing better than to get a response to your mere taunting. Too bad, I told you once what I thought. The choice to ignore what I shared was yours alone. But I do have a question for you: why is the judge considering gagging Stone? Let’s see how parse that (as if you know enough to be truly clever.)

            • The judge said publicly why she is considering “gagging Stone”. I’m not sure the point of your question. I do like the way that you answered a question with a question though. Even if your question has no point…Keep up the good work.

    • I’m sure you would whole-heartedly approve of the exact same tactics were they to be deployed in response to a random phone tip that a 15yo black male has 1/1000th of an ounce of marijuana tucked inside a pair of sneakers locked in the attic crawlspace… And if the domestic military police wound up killing half the occupants in the house when they flash-grenaded their way inside, you would undoubtedly be saying “They should’ve just followed the commands from the officers!”

      GTFO here with your nonsense… No one here is fooled into thinking you give one actual fuck about these tactics except that they were used against one of your Dear Leader’s closest political confidants.

      • @Prop Joe: Jesus Christ, another one spouting out something he knows nothing about. I’ve come out against the trigger happy increasingly militarized police for well over a decade on every political blog I’ve ever commented on. I used to go by “fightingbluehen” I’m sure the comments are archived somewhere.

        • The problem is yours, then. You of all people should know that Roger Stone got no special treatment. You’re just upset because cameras were there — just as African Americans, with a much better claim of innocence, have gotten upset when cameras showed how they’re routinely treated — and because he’s on “your side,” though why you’re siding with Russia is something you’ll have to explain.

          By the way, the bias in the FBI is pro-Republican, which is why the New York office was feeding Rudy Giuliani material he had no right to during the campaign. So, while I agree with you, your eyes are crossed if you think the “single party” that dominates law enforcement is the Democrats.

          You should take up day drinking. It would make you no stupider than Fox News does, and would probably be a better time, at least until it’s time to fix dinner.

  2. cassandram

    Bullshit. Stone got the same treatment as anyone about to be arrested and who is at risk of destroying evidence. It is telling that your handlers have you out here focused on defending white privilege (they should have called for him to come in would not be a thing you would defend for OJ, let’s say) rather than being outraged that your president and his minions invoked a whole bunch of bad actors to try to win that office. *That’s* where the division is and what this entire administration has been about.

    • BTW, OJ was allowed to turn himself in but he didn’t show up, hence the infamous low speed chase where they eventually caught him with $8,000, a loaded handgun, and a fake goatee.

      • cassandram

        And OJ said he wasn’t running. So wonder why we don’t believe that.

  3. OJ? Are saying that someone accused of a process crime should be treated like someone accused of a double murder? Also, if Roger Stone was going to destroy evidence, don’t you think he would have done that earlier and not two years into the investigation?

    • Treating him like a simple killer would be too kind. Dude is a traitor. He’s an enemy of America, he’s an enemy of democracy, he allies himself with terrorists (proud boys) and you’re whining about his “rights”. He’s luckk CNN was there so he didnt “fall down the sidewalk”

    • Joe Connor

      “Process crime” is made up BS. The dude stands accused of threatening to kill a witness FFS!

      • in before… “oh, that was just Roger bein Roger! yeah, he’s got a temper, but he’s really just a fun guy who loves a good 3 piece! You dont now him like I do! I’ll tells ya, this mean old Mueller! He’s the REAL thug! Always goin after good, honest men like Roger Stone and John Gotti!”

  4. nathan arizona

    OJ wasn’t running? He wasn’t exactly slow-driving to the police station. Anyway, Roger Stone got what he deserved and I hope he gets a lot more of it.

  5. nathan arizona

    It’s very likely I did miss the point (if you’re referring to me). I thought Cassandra was saying OJ was not refusing to turn himself in. I said it seems like he was. Maybe I’m still being obtuse. Or possibly Cassandra wasn’t being clear. Please explain.

    • cassandram

      When OJ finally got out of the car, he was telling people (and subsequent to that too) that he was not running from the police that day.

      Which, of course, he was. But no one takes OJ at his word for that, unlike the amazing credulousness towards Roger Stone here.

    • OJ SAID he wasn’t running…. just like Roger Stone SAID he wouldn’t obstruct justice. Yet RSE believes Roger Stone, but is sure that OJ was lying…. Cassandra asked why…. hinting that the answer is that RSE is a magat boot-licking racist who believes a self-proclaimed villain but not a black man (even though, yes.. both men are guilty) Shit, Roger Stone is all but going “IF i did it”

  6. nathan arizona

    Ok. Thanks. I see what you folks are saying. But doesn’t this just mean it was/is wrong to believe either one of them? OJ because he did run, Stone because he’s an asshole and shouldn’t be believed about anything. Maybe my obtuseness continues.

    • Cassandra’s point wasn’t about the guilt or innocence of Stone or OJ. It was about who RSE believed.

  7. nathan arizona

    But wouldn’t he have been correct to believe OJ would run since thats what he did? (Maybe I’m being more obsessive than obtuse.)

    • Whew, buddy…. Maybe a bit obsessive.

      Rse trusts Roger Stone and not OJ. This is because he is a MAGAT, which makes him a racist, and probably thinks any black man did whatever the cops say he did… In this case, the person happened to be guilty and fleeing and his proclamations of innocence were as transparent and pathetic as Roger Stone’s.

  8. nathan arizona

    I just get fascinated by arguments about what words and sentences actually mean, how they can be taken various ways, what people might be saying between the lines, etc. Anyway, you’re following right along.

    On the race issue, sounds like you folks are saying (or implying) that somebody who did not trust post-murder OJ would necessarily be a racist. I don’t agree. I do think it’s likely that RSE is a racist, based on his posts. But I don’t think the OJ stuff proves it. I get that you’re saying RSE’s assumed mistrust of OJ back then would probably have been racist since he posts racist things now, but still don’t think mistrusting OJ was racist in itself.

    • @nathan arizona, please show me one racist comment that I have ever posted, “now” , or at any time. It is my opinion that you are without integrity….Disgraceful.

    • cassandram

      It is the language that helps to reinforce the two-tiered (at least) system of justice we perpetuate. It is that language that defines the expectations — Stone should have been politely asked to come in quietly vs. the occupation style policing that is routine for black and brown suspects. The language communicates the expectation for justice in these instances — Stone should be afforded every opportunity to cooperate with justice while others are routinely presumed to be always arrayed against it and therefore dangerous. RSE is absolutely here defending white privilege. No doubt about that.

      • It has nothing to do with color. It has to do with politics. This was political theatre designed to manipulate the minds of ill-informed people, and I believe it has already backfired and hurt Mueller’s cause.

        • cassandram

          It is a white supremacy issue as you pretty thoroughly demonstrate here.

        • Let’s review some of Mr. “It has nothing to do with color” RSE’s greatest hits.

          fightingbluehen says:
          March 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

          You guys first thought Zimmerman was some old retired conservative white guy. Admit it.
          Now the president is particularly upset because the victim was black like him.

          There are times to make political hay, and times when politics and bias should be left out. I think the president will have to explain his words.

          *Note: No one wrote that they thought that, and when asked to prove his claim, he couldn’t. But look at who’s inserting race into the topic.

          fightingbluehen says:
          March 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

          “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon”

          What exactly does the President mean by that statement? Can you imagine if the president was white, and he said the same thing about some white kid who was killed? What kind of idiot says something like that?

          More race injection.

          fightingbluehen says:
          March 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

          Jason, I heard the presidents remarks on the radio with no commentary. I instantly picked up on the racist implication of the statement. You can see that from my first comment on this thread which was written before Gingrich made his statement.

          LOL! He instantly picked up on the racist implication!

          This is why we call you out. You have a history.

          • Thought the President’s comment was divisive back then, and I still do. What if Trump said: “I particularly feel bad about the death of this white boy because he’s white like my son”

  9. nathan arizona

    RSE: I admit I didn’t go back and check. I guess I was extrapolating from things I did remember you saying. Defining just what is racist can be tricky. Also, I did say “likely,” not definitely.

  10. nathan arizona

    Cassandra: Thanks for addressing the issue.

  11. nathan arizona

    Cassandra: the thanks was for your first post today. As for the most recent, I think absolutism can be dangerous. I doubt that you’re the only one who can define racism.

    • cassandram

      Which was not my claim, right? But there is a very big difference in being engaged in a conversation about the justice of a white person being attached to the label of “racist” and a conversation about the injustice of living with structural and policy-based racism on the daily. And those of us living with it would count as being Subject Matter Experts.

  12. This is borderline defamation. I’m out.

  13. nathan arizona

    I think many conservatives we call racist really don’t consider themselves to be. We see implications in their political views that they don’t see. They do the same wth us. But I also think a lot of conservatives truly are racist and are looking for ways to rationalize it and pretend they’re not. There’s no way I can know what’s in RSE’s head. In fact, I can only argue with points of view he expresses.

    • cassandram

      Which quite bypasses my own point here, but perhaps you are addressing someone else’s point and they will jump in. I don’t much care about whether someone considers him or herself to be racist. I do care about the racist policies and structures these folks (and so-called liberal or progressive allies) support and live by. It is the latter that is racism from where I sit. Again, the persistent argument of who we label racist is, quite frankly, of interest only to white people.

  14. nathan arizona

    Fighting bad policies is good.

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