What Now?! – 2/23/19

Michael Cohen “met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president’s family business and about a donor to the inaugural committee,” the New York Times reports.

“While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.”

“If prosecutors concluded that Mr. Cohen’s information was truthful and valuable, they could ask the judge who sentenced him to reduce his prison term.”

This is why old people in politics all need to go. There should be a 70 year old mandatory retirement age for Senators and Representatives.

This is why I hate all Baby Boomer politicians. They are are all in their 60’s and 70’s and have no urgency. They have, at best, 20 years of life left and they literally do not care about climate change because they will be dead before the affects are truly felt. They just want to to suck everything dry and they do not care about their children and grandchildren. Worst generation ever.

Washington Post: “Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, would succeed Nikki Haley, who left her post at the United Nations at the end of last year.” “President Trump originally said he would nominate Heather Nauert to be his next U.N. ambassador, but she withdrew from consideration earlier this month.”

Nate Silver: “So as Sanders launches his 2020 campaign as a candidate with both formidable strengths and serious challenges, his biggest problem might seem to be that there’s more competition for his base this time around, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others also competing for the leftmost part of the Democratic electorate. An equally big problem for Sanders, however, is that voters this time around have more alternatives to Hillary Clinton — left, right and center — to choose from.”

“Roughly one-quarter of Sanders’s support in Democratic primaries and caucuses in 2016 came from #NeverHillary voters: people who didn’t vote for Clinton in the 2016 general election and who had no intention of doing so.”

The New York Times interviewed more than two dozen of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) former staff members and found that many “say she was not just demanding but often dehumanizing — not merely a tough boss in a capital full of them but the steward of a work environment colored by volatility, highhandedness and distrust.”

“The senator feared sabotage from her own team: In an email, she once raised the prospect of an in-house mole. She and her top confidantes could complicate the future job opportunities of some staff members who sought to leave, former aides said, sometimes speaking to their would-be employers to register her displeasure. And Ms. Klobuchar frequently suggested that her aides were preventing her from greater standing in Washington and beyond, former staff members said.”

“She was known to throw office objects in frustration, including binders and phones, in the direction of aides, they said. Low-level employees were asked to perform duties they described as demeaning, like washing her dishes or other cleaning — a possible violation of Senate ethics rules.”

“Prosecutors have begun presenting evidence to a grand jury in Washington in their probe of whether former interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lied to federal investigators,” the Washington Post reports.

“The closed-door deliberations are focused on Zinke’s decision not to grant a petition by two Indian tribes to operate a commercial casino in Connecticut… Witnesses before the grand jury have been asked whether anyone influenced Zinke’s decision to rebuff the tribes’ casino petition.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller will not deliver his report to the Justice Department next week, a Justice Department official told The Hill.

Philip Bump: “President Trump has benefited enormously from the frog-in-hot-water nature of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign and possible overlap with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.”

“America has been waiting for Mueller to present a document that ties all of this together — eager, in part, for evidence proving the president’s guilt, or exonerating him, on charges that he and his campaign worked with the Russians. As people have awaited the outcome, the slow accretion of malfeasance that Mueller has already uncovered has faded into background noise. It has allowed Trump to lump every new revelation into a big snowball labeled ‘no collusion,’ parroting the same refrain as the snowball grows. Meanwhile his opponents, waiting for a smoking gun, are happy to keep looking forward as well.”

“New York state prosecutors have put together a criminal case against Paul Manafort that they could file quickly if the former chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign receives a presidential pardon,” Bloomberg reports.

“New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is ready to file an array of tax and other charges against Manafort… something seen as an insurance policy should the president exercise his power to free the former aide. Skirting laws that protect defendants from being charged twice for the same offense has been one of Vance’s challenges.”

New York Times: “They resumed their investigation in recent months, and a state grand jury began hearing evidence in the case… The panel is expected to wrap up its work in the coming weeks and prosecutors likely will ask the grand jurors to vote on charges shortly thereafter.”

Ron Brownstein: “Bernie Sanders’s entry into the 2020 race amounts to a big stone in a lake: It will generate ripples that touch every other candidate. But his own path to the nomination remains rocky unless he can attract a broader coalition than he did in 2016.”

“Whether or not Sanders claims the nomination himself, his bid could have a big impact on which candidate eventually does. Sanders will hurt contenders whose support overlaps with his, reducing the pool of voters available for those who are targeting the same groups most drawn to him, particularly young people, the most liberal activists, and independents who participate in Democratic primaries. That dynamic would most obviously affect Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, but could also potentially weaken former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, who’s mulling a bid. Yet it could simultaneously benefit the candidates with the least demographic and ideological convergence, a list that ranges from African American Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker to such relative centrists as Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden, if he joins the field.”

“Sanders’s entry could also influence his competitors’ assessment of the earliest primary states, by causing other candidates to view the New Hampshire contest as a regional showdown between him and Warren.”

Molly Ball: “The field is likely to be the largest in either party’s history, there’s no front runner in sight, and the stakes could hardly be higher. It’s not just that many Democrats argue Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy. The party’s very identity is up for grabs, as a vast and historically diverse crop of candidates brings big new ideas to a demanding, divided base.”

“As much as they would like to move away from white male dominance, some rank-and-file Democrats worry that doing so would hurt the party’s chances against Trump. They fear that a woman or nonwhite candidate would be damaged by Trump’s sexism and race-baiting. And to the party faithful, winning is everything.”

“More than anything—more than policy or charisma or age or race or gender—Democratic voters say they care about whether a candidate can beat Donald Trump.”

Sasha Issenberg: “O’Rourke is now on the precipice of running for president with ‘losing Senate candidate’ as the most impressive line on his résumé. It was how he chose to run that campaign last year that sets him apart from his potential Democratic rivals. O’Rourke cast aside the hard-won heirlooms of Barack Obama’s campaigns: a vogue for data science, the grooming of a professional organizing class and a dedication to the humanism of one-on-one tutelage. Instead, his campaign followed principles that more closely resemble what Silicon Valley types call ‘hyperscale’—a system flexible enough to expand at exponential speed, paired with an understanding that getting big quickly can excuse and justify all kinds of other shortcomings.”

“In political terms, it amounted to a massive bet on a strategy of mobilizing infrequent voters instead of trying to win over dependable ones. National campaign strategists are paying close attention to how O’Rourke did it: Few candidates have committed as fully, if a bit recklessly, to the belief that a monomaniacal focus on large-scale turnout is the most powerful tool Democrats have to capitalize on their latent numerical majority in the United States.”

“A Democratic group seeking to persuade former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke to run for president will launch mobilization efforts on college campuses nationwide to coincide with what they believe will be his entry into the race by month’s end,” Reuters reports.

“A judge ruled Thursday that federal prosecutors — among them, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — broke federal law when they signed a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed it from more than 30 of his underage victims,” the Miami Herald reports.

“U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra, in a 33-page opinion, said that the evidence he reviewed showed that Jeffrey Epstein had been operating an international sex operation in which he and others recruited underage girls — not only in Florida — but from overseas, in violation of federal law.”

“Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami, helped negotiate a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution.”

Politico: “Of course, every state is in better economic shape than it was during the Great Recession, but California has enjoyed its renaissance while pursuing policies Republicans associate with economic ruin. It has an $11-an-hour minimum wage, scheduled to rise to $15 by 2023. Its unusually aggressive implementation of Obamacare since 2013 has reduced its uninsured rate from 17 percent to just 7 percent.”

“Its ambitious clean energy and climate policies in many ways inspired the Green New Deal; the state is committed to generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, and its stringent fuel-efficiency standards help explain why it’s home to half the nation’s electric vehicles. In general, California is flourishing while pursuing the exact opposite of the policies Trump is pursuing in Washington.”

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

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