What Now?! – 3/4/19

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told the Bowling Green Daily News that he will vote in support of a resolution to block President Trump’s emergency declaration. Said Paul: “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress. We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing.”

Axios: “Paul’s vote, along with the votes of Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Thom Tillis, gives the Senate the majority necessary to block Trump’s national emergency.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) denounced President Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall, saying that Trump violated the Constitution by moving forward with the executive action, The Hillreports.

Said Amash: “I think the president is violating our constitutional system. And I don’t think Congress can grant legislative powers to the president by statute.” He added: “You can’t just pass a statute that says, ‘The president now has appropriations power and bypass Congress.’ I don’t think that’s allowed under our constitutional system.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CBS News that a Russian lawyer’s 2016 offer of damaging information on Hillary Clinton to members of the Trump campaign amounts to “direct evidence” of collusion.

Said Schiff: “I think there is direct evidence in the emails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump. They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing form the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts and furtherance of that.”

He added: “That to me is direct evidence. But there’s also abundant circumstantial evidence.”

Michael Cohen’s legal team is trying to find drafts of a false statement he made to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project in 2017 “that would reflect who edited what, and turn them over to lawmakers,” the Washington Post reports.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told ABC News that “it’s very clear” that President Trump obstructed justice.

Said Nadler: “1,100 times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’ He tried to protect Flynn from being investigated by the FBI. He fired Comey in order to ‘stop the Russia thing,’ as he told NBC News. He’s dangled pardons, he’s intimidated witnesses in public.”

Nadler also told ABC News that his committee will be issuing document requests on Monday to “begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.” Said Nadler: “Tomorrow, we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people and individuals from the White House to the Department of Justice, Donald Trump, Jr., Allen Weisselberg, to begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.”

New York Times: “A dual citizen of Saudi Arabia and the United States had been imprisoned in the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh for about a week when he heard a knock on his door.”

“Guards dragged Walid Fitaihi, a Harvard-trained physician, to another room, according to a friend who took down the prisoner’s detailed account of his treatment. Dr. Fitaihi told the friend he was slapped, blindfolded, stripped to his underwear and bound to a chair. He was shocked with electricity in what appears to have been a single session of torture that lasted about an hour.”

“His tormentors whipped his back so severely that he could not sleep on it for days, his friend said, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals. The doctor had described the physical abuse, in general terms, to his relatives as well, a person close to them said.”

Politico: “Facing a rapidly changing voter base, anti-Trump fervor and a more motivated Democratic Party, the state GOP is moving earlier than ever to prepare after watching two House members lose in 2018 and another half-dozen win by fewer than 5 points.”

“The party has set new fundraising goals and placed field staffers in Dallas and Fort Worth nine months earlier than in the last election cycle to facilitate more engagement with voters, with plans to expand the early hiring to other major metro areas to stanch bleeding Republican support in the suburbs.”

Politico: “While the lion’s share of media attention is focused on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Democratic hopefuls from Elizabeth Warren to Kamala Harris to Michael Bloomberg are quietly making early, behind-the-scenes moves that underscore the state’s sway: Warren has moved quickest to establish state-level campaign infrastructure, while Harris dropped into Nevada this weekend and Bloomberg, as well as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, have met with the influential Culinary Union in the past week.”

“The activity highlights the 2020 opportunity available in Nevada, which operatives described as wide-open and waiting for a candidate to stake a strong claim to the state.”

Los Angeles Times: “The moving of California’s 2020 presidential primary to March 3 — nipping at the heels of the four traditional early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — is the latest bid to play with the calendar in hopes of gaining more electoral relevance. This will be the fifth time since 1992 the state has moved its presidential primary. It’s bounced from June, March, February and back again.”

“The perpetual tinkering underscores how California just can’t seem to shake its political inferiority complex.”

New York Times: “But Mr. Trump’s offer was essentially the same deal that the United States has pushed — and the North has rejected — for a quarter century. Intelligence agencies had warned him, publicly, Mr. Kim would not be willing to give up the arsenal completely. North Korea itself had said repeatedly that it would only move gradually.”

“Several of Mr. Trump’s own aides, led by national security adviser John R. Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thought the chances of a grand bargain for total nuclear disarmament were virtually zero. Some questioned whether the summit meeting should go forward.”

“Mr. Trump disagreed. He had taken to showing what he called Mr. Kim’s ‘beautiful letters’ to visitors to the Oval Office, as evidence he had built a rapport with one of the world’s most brutal dictators. While some in the White House worried Mr. Trump was being played, the president seemed entranced — even declaring ‘we fell in love.’”

“Lawmakers are investigating whether President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was involved in any discussions about possible pardons — which they view as a potentially ripe area of inquiry into whether anyone sought to obstruct justice,” the Washington Post reports.

“Cohen has said publicly he never asked for — and would not accept — a pardon from Trump. But people familiar with the matter said his knowledge on the topic seems to extend beyond that statement.”

John Cassidy: “In any Presidential race featuring an incumbent, the contest is ultimately a referendum on the performance of the sitting President, and that person typically wins… But, of course, Trump isn’t a typical incumbent, and the Democrats are optimistic that they can deny him a second term. One way to turf him out would be for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to submit a report to the Justice Department that is so damaging and probative it convinces enough Republicans to abandon him for an impeachment trial in the Senate to succeed. But the smart money in Washington is betting this isn’t going to happen, and the Democrats’ Plan B appears to be to torment Trump all the way to Election Day with congressional hearings of the sort we saw this week. Already, the Senate Intelligence Committee has announced plans to question Cohen again, on Wednesday, and, eight days later, to question his sidekick on the Trump Tower Moscow deal, Felix Sater, a convicted felon who once took part in a stock-fraud scheme orchestrated by mobsters.”

“That will only be the start. The House Intelligence Committee is planning to call many of the Trump associates whom Cohen mentioned in his testimony, including Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. The House Democrats are also gearing up to look into all aspects of Trump’s record, including his other business dealings, his tax affairs, and his now defunct charitable foundation.”

Said House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings: “All you have to do is follow the transcript. If there were names that were mentioned, or records that were mentioned during the hearing, we want to take a look at all of that.”

House Speaker Jose Oliva (R) repeatedly described pregnant woman as a “host body” in an interview with CBS News.

Said Oliva: “As technology moves along, a human body can exist outside of its host body earlier and earlier. And so then one has to think, until what time does the host body have veto power over this other life? … The question is: What is the value of that life? And is it subordinate to the value of its host body?”

The Orlando Sentinel reports Olivia later apologized.

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

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