What Now?! – 5/24/19

THE TRUMP TANTRUM DAY 2. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her Democratic colleagues Thursday that President Trump “wants to be impeached” so that he can be vindicated by the Senate, NBC News reports. Pelosi also called Trump’s actions “villainous.”

Pelosi then said in a press conference Thursday that Donald Trump needs “an intervention” after his latest “temper tantum” at the White House, ratcheting up her criticism of a president she says is not fit for office, Politico reports. Said Pelosi: “I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

She added: “What goes on there? Who’s in charge? And he says he’s in charge. And I suspect that he may be. And I suspect he may be even more since yesterday, because I don’t think that any responsible assistant to the president of the United States would have advised him to do what he did yesterday.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) blasted President Trump as “an erratic, helter-skelter, get-nothing-done president,” as a war of words spilled into a second day over an aborted meeting on the nation’s infrastructure, the Washington Post reports. Schumer said “the show” put on by Trump on Wednesday was intended as a “coverup” of his administration’s inability to work with Congress on legislative priorities such as infrastructure. Said Schumer: “If he were smart, he’d sit down with us. We want to do this, and he’s incapable of it.”

Trump then held a deranged press conference where he repeatedly attacked Pelosi and her supposed lack of intelligence, once again claiming that he was calm and a very stable genius. You can tell when Trump knows he has been made to look like a fool by someone. He goes nuts on that person, this time it’s Pelosi. Also, if you have to say you were extremely calm repeatedly throughout the day, and then demand your aides back you up in a live press conference, chances are you were not and are not calm.

“President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News,” the Washington Post reports.

“President Trump ordered all intelligence agencies late Thursday evening to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, delegating significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence documents as the attorney general sees fit,” CNN reports.

“Barr is working closely with the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the origins of the Russia investigation — an effort the President had long demanded.”

“Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues,” the New York Times reports.

“The new charges were part of a superseding indictment obtained by the Trump administration that significantly expanded the legal case against Mr. Assange, who is already fighting extradition proceedings in London based on an earlier hacking-related count brought by federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia.”

The Daily Beast called it a “stunning escalation of the Trump administration’s war on the press.”

I have no tears for Assange. He is a Russian asset who attacked the United States and installed a fellow Russian asset as our President. I hope he dies in prison.

First Read: “By telling Democrats that he won’t work on items like infrastructure until they end their investigations into him, President Trump on Wednesday took ownership of Washington’s gridlock.”

“That’s a dangerous place for any American president, especially one facing re-election a year from now. In fact, it’s pretty similar to when Trump took ownership of a government shutdown in that meeting last December with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.”

“It’s a given that it’s more difficult to get things done in Washington when there’s divided government… Trying makes it easier to at least share the gridlock. Not trying, however, makes you own it.”

“The federal agency that oversees the care of unaccompanied migrant children acknowledged to CBS News on Wednesday that a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died in its custody on Sept. 29, 2018. The child’s death had not been previously reported.” “She was the first of six migrant children to die in U.S. custody — or soon after being released — in the past eight months.”

Washington Post: “In a May 8 internal memo… Shanahan lays out the criteria for when Pentagon officials may provide congressional offices or committees information they request about operational plans and orders.”

“The memo was shared widely inside the Pentagon but was sent to key lawmakers only after inquiries by The Post. It outlines a half-dozen guidelines, including requirements that military officials and political appointees evaluate whether the request ‘contains sufficient information to demonstrate a relationship to the legislative function.’ The memo urges Defense Department officials to provide a summary briefing rather than a requested plan or order itself.”

“The memo appears to have been inspired by concerns that lawmakers, who have security clearances, will not safeguard military plans. It calls on officials to assess “whether the degree of protection from unauthorized disclosure that Congress will afford to the plan is equivalent to that afforded” by the Pentagon.”

Los Angeles Times: “Current and former military officers have urged the White House not to pardon service members and security contractors implicated in war crimes, warning that forgiving their offenses would send a dangerous signal to U.S. troops and potential adversaries.”

“The possibility that Trump could issue pardons has brought a flood of opposition from current and former high-ranking officers, who say it would encourage misconduct by showing that violations of laws prohibiting attacks on civilians and prisoners of war will be treated with leniency.”

Pete Buttigieg accused President Trump of using his “privileged status to fake a disability” to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War, CBS News reports.

Said Buttigieg: “This is somebody, who I think it is fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was a child of multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.”

“Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared President Trump during a key meeting in Germany, putting the U.S. leader at a disadvantage during their first series of tête-à-têtes,” the Washington Post reports.

“The U.S. side anticipated a shorter meeting for exchanging courtesies, but it ballooned into a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues, said committee aides, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Tillerson’s seven-hour closed meeting with the committee.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told CNN that some of his Republican colleagues have sympathized with his recent statement that President Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.  Said Amash: “So people who are baffled by it, I wonder how carefully they read volume two because it’s there. There’s a difference between skimming the pages and actually reading it and understanding it.”

“The Trump Administration will provide $16 billion in a new round of farm-aid payments to compensate for losses from the U.S. trade war with China, Bloomberg reports. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that China is targeting President Trump’s political base with its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products and that the president won’t let farmers “bear the brunt of that.”

“Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk has been charged with bribery for trying to solicit a position in the Trump administration from former campaign manager Paul Manafort in exchange for $16 million in loans,” Axios reports.

“Shortly after Donald Trump’s 2016 election, Paul Manafort wrote to Jared Kushner to ask the incoming administration to consider giving a ‘major appointment’’ to Manafort’s banker,” Bloomberg reports.

Replied Kushner: “On it!”

“That email exchange, which was admitted as evidence during Manafort’s tax-fraud trial last year, gained new significance Thursday with the unsealing of a federal indictment in New York. The new filing accused the banker, Stephen Calk, of extending loans to Manafort as part of an effort to bribe his way into a plum administration job.”

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

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