What Now?! – 8/3/19

President Trump said that he will not nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be Director of National Intelligence, just days after announcing plans to tap the GOP congressman to replace Dan Coats, The Hill reports.

New York Times: “The announcement, made on Twitter, came after questions about his qualifications and whether he had exaggerated his résumé.”

Said Trump: “Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people… John has therefore decided to stay in Congress.”

“The White House is planning to block Sue Gordon, the nation’s No. 2 intelligence official, from rising to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Dan Coats steps down this month,” the New York Times reports.

“The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.”

“President Trump has told his advisers that he wants to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the November 2020 presidential election,” NBC News reports.

“The president’s advisers are now scrambling to meet his election-year deadline, which has exacerbated tensions between officials at the Pentagon and the State Department over the timing of withdrawal and whether it should be completed.”

Yamiche Alcindor of PBS asked President Trump about pulling his nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be Director of National Intelligence:

ALCINDOR: What does this withdrawal by Ratcliffe say about the White House vetting process? This is at least the second time someone you announced as a leader of an agency has to withdraw.

TRUMP: The press does the vetting for me and it’s much cheaper that way.

Jonathan Chait: “When he was running for president, Donald Trump threatened to single out Amazon for retribution. He is carrying out that threat. The White House has ordered the Defense Department to reexamine a $10 billion cloud-computing contract ‘because of concerns that the deal would go to Amazon,’ the Washington Post reports.”

“It’s not yet possible to prove that Trump is directing this decision as punishment for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Post. And proof may never be found. Trump’s Mafia style of management, which the Mueller report chronicles, is designed to avoid leaving a paper trail that would incriminate the boss. (The report shows Trump, among other things, using buffers to carry out his illegal orders and chiding his lawyer for taking notes.)”

“But Trump is also not smart or subtle enough to leave any doubt about his intentions. He has made it abundantly clear both that the Post is the source of his hatred of Amazon, and that his policy grounds for punishing Amazon are pretexts.”

“President Trump on Friday seemed to make light of new reports that a Baltimore home owned by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was burglarized hours before Trump started attacking him on Twitter last weekend,” the Washington Post reports.

Tweeted Trump: “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah E. Cummings was robbed. Too bad!”

“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing Conservative Party has a lost a special election, leaving it with a wafer-thin working majority in Parliament of just one vote,” the AP reports.

“Johnson says Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. But Parliament is likely to try to thwart his plans.”

Associated Press: “China’s government has threatened unspecified ‘necessary countermeasures’ if Trump’s planned tariff hike goes ahead.”

“The Commerce Ministry said Trump’s announcement is a violation of his agreement with President Xi Jinping in June to revive negotiations aimed at ending their fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology ambitions.”

“The ministry said if the U.S. measures took effect, ‘China will have to take necessary countermeasures to resolutely defend its core interests.’ The statement issued Friday continued, ‘All the consequences will be borne by the United States.’”

“President Trump resisted giving Beijing advance notice of his intent to slap a new 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods in an Oval Office meeting before he announced the duties,” Bloomberg reports.

“The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the U.S. and Russia ripped up on Friday,” the AP reports.

“Washington and Moscow walked out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race. The U.S. blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty. It said that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the United States and its allies, particularly in Europe.”

Weeks after “send her back” chants erupted at one of President Trump’s rallies, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) fired back by posting a photo of herselfand Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Africa.

Said Omar: “They said ‘send her back’ but Speaker Speaker Pelosi didn’t just make arrangements to send me back, she went back with me.”

Two of Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez’s (D-NY) top staffers are leaving her office, The Intercept reports.

“Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff, and Corbin Trent, her director of communications — who, through their work with Justice Democrats, have been alongside Ocasio-Cortez since her primary run — will leave the lawmaker’s office.”

“The news comes just as a drawn-out fight between House Democratic leadership and the progressive wing of the party — which at times put Ocasio-Cortez’s staffers in its crosshairs — seemed to be smoothing over.”

U.S. employers added 164,000 jobs to the payroll in July and the unemployment rate remained the same at 3.7 percent, the Labor Department announced Friday.

These stats put the average job growth for the past three months at 140,000, down from 233,000 in the last three months of 2018. July saw average hourly wages increase by eight cents to $27.98.

Rep. and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY) says he doesn’t expect Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment to last much longer. “That’ll change. I think more and more members are going to decide that the role of Congress right now, the proper role, is impeachment.”

Engel himself announced his support for impeachment only days ago. He is among the highest ranking members of the Democratic caucus to do so. He faces two primary challengers, each of whom is focusing on his comparatively hawkish foreign policy stances.

“Kris Kobach is using a nonprofit group he advises to raise money for his U.S. Senate campaign, and legal experts say one recent fundraising push likely ran afoul of federal campaign finance laws,” the Daily Beast reports.

“On Thursday, Kobach sent a fundraising appeal to an email list maintained by We Build The Wall, a 501(c)(4) advocacy group currently attempting to build a wall on the southern border using private funds. Kobach is on the group’s advisory board and serves as its general counsel.”

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

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