What Now?! – February 20, 2020

“The Pentagon’s top policy official is expected to depart his post soon,” CNN  reports.

“John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, lost support among senior national security leadership and has been asked for his resignation… Rood is the Pentagon’s top policy official and oversees aspects of the Pentagon’s relationship with US allies and partners.”

“Rood was involved in certifying to Congress that Ukraine had embarked on significant reforms to justify its receipt of $250 million in security assistance. That certification undermined one of the justifications — concerns about corruption in Kiev — that some members of the Trump administration made to defend blocking aid to Ukraine.”

Actual treason now. Hang the bastard.

“President Trump offered to pardon Julian Assange if he agreed to cover up the involvement of Russia in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee, which were later published by WikiLeaks, a London court was told Wednesday,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Lawyers acting for Assange have argued that the Australian should not be extradited to the U.S. because the case is political not criminal.”

“Attorney General William Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department,” the Washington Post reports.

“So far, Trump has defied Barr’s requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday if Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigations.”

Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec addressed the rumors: “The Attorney General has no plans to resign.”

Rick Wilson calls bullshit: “With Bill Barr’s transparently obvious leaks, we’ve reached the apotheosis of weapons-grade, ratfuck gaslighting.”

“In two articles in the last 24 hours, Bill Barr—and don’t buy the bullshit of ‘people close to’; I’d bet good money it was Barr himself—has told The Washington Post and the Associated Press he’s considering resigning due to President Trump’s  tweets.”

“This is a pile of horseshit so tall it could leave orbit. Bill Barr is doing nothing of the sort, and the press should know better.”

“A bill that would effectively decriminalize polygamy and dispel fears of prosecution for plural marriage among consenting adults sailed through the Utah Senate on Tuesday,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“As President Trump seeks a second term in November, Americans’ interest in voting is growing faster in large cities dominated by Democrats than in conservative rural areas,” according to an analysis of Reuters/Ipsos national opinion polls.

“If the trend lasts until Election Day on Nov. 3, it would be a reversal from the 2016 election when rural turnout outpaced voting in urban areas, helping Trump narrowly win the White House.”

Aaron Blake: “By this point, it’s no secret that President Trump’s pardons have been significantly more self-serving than those of other presidents. While his predecessors have lodged controversial pardons — no question — Trump is simply on another level. Not only has he pardoned his allies, but he has often pardoned people who cozy up to the powerful people around him, whether via Fox News or some other method.”

“But there’s another key aspect of Trump’s pardons that shouldn’t get lost: In many cases, there are significant similarities between the pardon recipient and Trump — or at least Trump’s depiction of himself.”

Politico: “Report after report has shown that nonvoters nationwide prefer Democrats over Republicans. But new data from the Knight Foundationsuggests that if every eligible adult voted in 2020, Democrats would likely increase their popular vote lead from the 2016 presidential election—but still lose the electoral college.

“In the closest battleground states, more nonvoters say they’re likely to support Trump, if they vote, than support the Democratic Party’s nominee. And that could have serious implications on the two major parties’ traditional approaches to getting people to the polls on Election Day.”

A new Politico/Harvard survey finds the vast majority of Americans rank cutting health care and prescription drug costs as their top priorities heading into election season, regardless of party affiliation.

Roughly 80% of those surveyed ranked “taking steps to lower the cost of health care” as “extremely” or “very” important, including 89% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans. Reducing prescription-drug costs saw similar support at 75%, with majorities in both parties ranking it as extremely or very important.

In addition to clearing his record, President Trump’s pardon of former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik also cancels out $103,300 in restitution that Kerik still owed the Internal Revenue Service as part of his sentence, the New York Daily News reports.

The most unpopular qualities for a presidential candidate from the new NBC/WSJ poll:

  • Socialist: 67%
  • Heart attack in the past year: 57%
  • Older than 75 years old: 53%
  • Self-funder: 41%
  • Under 40 years old: 40%
  • Gay or lesbian: 27%
  • Woman: 14%

President Trump is expected to name Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, to be the acting director of national intelligence, the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Grenell, whose outspokenness throughout his career as a political operative and then as ambassador has prompted criticism, is a vocal Trump loyalist who will lead a group of national security agencies often viewed skeptically by the White House.”

Axios: “In Grenell, Trump would have an unwavering loyalist overseeing the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. Grenell supported Trump during his 2016 campaign and has close ties to Trump’s inner circle and the political network surrounding the White House.”

“Economic advisers to the White House have suggested President Trump propose a new minimum tax on corporations as part of his election year ‘tax cut 2.0’ package, hoping to address criticism that the 2017 tax law allowed many of the country’s largest firms to virtually eliminate their federal tax burden,” the Washington Post reports.

“The idea, which is part of preliminary discussions and has not been officially endorsed, could attempt to blunt criticism from Democrats that the GOP tax law allowed many large corporations to wipe out their federal corporate taxes altogether. The plan could also help generate revenue that might be used to offset the impact of new, middle class tax cuts. Trump has promised he would roll out a middle class tax plan before the 2020 presidential election.”

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

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