What Now?! – 4/13/2019

During President Trump’s visit to the border at Calexico, California, where he told border agents to block asylum seekers from entering the U.S. contrary to U.S. law, Trump also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the U.S., the president would grant him a pardon, CNN reports.

Two officials briefed on the exchange say Trump told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.

President Trump confirmed that he was thinking of releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting that the idea should make liberals “very happy” because of their immigration policies, the New York Times reports. Trump’s comments come a day after his administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered.

Washington Post: “His tweets suggested that the plan, which immigration officials had rejected in November and February, was again viable.”

“When some of President Trump’s top national security advisers gathered at the White House Tuesday night to talk about the surge of immigrants across the southern border, they discussed increasing the U.S. military’s involvement in the border mission, including whether the military could be used to build tent city detention camps for migrants,” NBC Newsreports.

“During the meeting, the officials also discussed whether the U.S. military could legally run the camps once the migrants are housed there, a move the three officials said was very unlikely since U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants. The law has been a major limitation for Trump, who wants to engage troops in his mission to get tougher on immigration.”

Frank Rich: “When you invoke Roy Cohn, you have to specify which Roy Cohn. There’s the New York Cohn of the 1970s and ’80s, the Mob-connected fixer who enabled Trump’s rise, of course. But there’s also the earlier, Washington Cohn: the smear artist who abetted Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt to expose supposed Commies in the United States Army during the 1950s.”

“The brilliantly perverse achievement of Barr is that he combines both Roy Cohns in a single package. He’s a fixer for Trump, as evidenced by his unsupported conclusion that the Mueller report lets the president off the legal hook for his manifold efforts to obstruct justice. But Barr is also the McCarthy-era Cohn, sliming a ‘group of leaders there at the upper echelon’ of government agencies for spying without offering any specifics or evidence.”

“That said, Barr is more insidious than either Roy Cohn. The Cohn of the McCarthy era was the chief counsel to a Senate committee; the New York Cohn was a lawyer in private practice. William Barr is the attorney general — the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States. And he is just getting started in his career in non-enforcement.”

Politico: “In Pennsylvania last year, Republicans tagged Democrats up and down the ticket as socialists or sympathetic to socialism… The strategy was deliberate and coordinated, emanating from the state’s Republican Party chairman, Val DiGiorgio.”

“But come Election Day, Democrats flipped three House seats and 16 more in the state General Assembly. [Gov. Tom] Wolf easily won reelection, as did Democratic Sen. Bob Casey… The election in Pennsylvania serves as a case study of a campaign strategy that could prove critical to Trump’s reelection — or undoing — in 2020.”

Washington Post: “While much attention has focused on the question of whether the Trump campaign encouraged or conspired with Russia, the effort to target Sanders supporters has been a lesser-noted part of the story… That strategy could receive new attention with the release of Mueller’s report, expected within days.”

“Only recently, with the latest analysis of Twitter data, has the extent of the Russian disinformation campaign been documented on that social media platform… The Russian social-media strategy underscores a challenge that Sanders faces as he once again seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, this time in a crowded field.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Recode that the way President Trump uses Twitter has “cheapened the presidency.”

Said Pelosi: “He’s just being a freak, I mean, he’s just terrible. There’s more of a responsibility for a president to communicate his point of view, which we should respect, he’s the president of the United States, whether you agree with him or not, he has a point of view. But to use the office of the president as an attack vehicle … for his market, it seems to have worked.”

She also criticized the sometimes-obsessive coverage of Trump’s Twitter outbursts: “All they want to talk about is, how on Earth did he do 50 tweets in 48 hours? I think the press is an enabler of him… He makes assaults on them and they strengthen him by just talking about that and that’s what an authoritarian wants you to be talking about him.”

Click on this and read David’s entire twitter thread.

NBC News: “At least 60 companies of the Fortune 500 companies reported that their 2018 federal tax rates amounted to effectively zero, or even less than zero, on income earned on U.S. operations… The number is more than twice as many as ITEP found roughly, per year, on average in an earlier, multi-year analysis before the new tax law went into effect.”

“President Trump has spent the last few weeks trying to bend to his will what are arguably three of the federal government’s least political institutions – the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Reserve and Department of Justice,” Politico reports.

“Frustrated by the organizations’ deliberate pace and the substance of their decision-making, Trump has tried to remake them in his own image. He’s purging staffers who disagreed with him, or whom he felt were insufficiently loyal at DHS, and he hopes to stock the Fed with vocal political allies who can do his bidding on monetary policy.”

“Trump cares little about how such moves will be perceived, former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House say. They argue he always prefers to push the boundaries of what is possible, legally and otherwise. And in year three of his presidency, he’s pushing harder than ever before.”

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post: “If you have a bank that’s making $9 billion in profit in a single quarter, with a CEO who makes $31 million a year, and yet people who work for that bank can’t possibly make ends meet, something is very, very wrong. And that should be at the center of the campaign of every Democrat running for president.

A lot of people look at the presidential campaign and say, “Well, if the economy stays strong, then Donald Trump is in a good position to be reelected, but if it turns down, then he’s in big trouble.” But that’s a far too simplistic way to look at what the situation in the United States is today. The question isn’t whether the economy is good or bad; it’s whom the economy is really serving.”

President Trump told The Atlantic that he considered nominating his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, to be president of the World Bank in part because “she’s very good with numbers.”

Said Trump: “She’s a natural diplomat. She would’ve been great at the United Nations, as an example.”

Asked why he didn’t nominate her, Trump replied: “If I did, they’d say nepotism, when it would’ve had nothing to do with nepotism. But she would’ve been incredible.”

“Senate Republicans are getting tired of being caught off-guard by President Trump on key issues like health care and controversial nominees like Herman Cain, and say there needs to be more consultation from the White House,” The Hill reports.

“Trump’s allies say they often find out about the president’s plans on Twitter or through media reports, making it almost impossible to offer the White House any advice before major decisions are announced.”

Politico: “Last fall’s brutal confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation led to such bad blood that even old friends weren’t talking.”

“Then came an ugly, 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. Just last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) triggered the ‘nuclear option’ and weakened the Senate’s vaunted filibuster to steamroll over Democratic resistance to President Trump’s nominees — the third time in six years the majority party has unilaterally changed Senate rules.”

“To top it all off, the Senate has now failed to muster enough votes to pass a simple disaster-aid bill, something that was once routine and is a failure that will affect millions of Americans.”

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

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