Surely some revelation is at hand;
May 29, 2019 10:28 AM   Subscribe

In a surprise public statement, Special Counsel Robert Mueller resigned from the DOJ and announced (NBC) that he does not believe it is appropriate to provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress, emphasizing, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” (Vox, full transcript).

Meanwhile, Trump has turned the full force of the government on perceived political enemies (NBC), wielding power in ways not seen in the United States in generations—if ever, House Democrats are ‘moving toward’ impeachment (Politico), and Trump's stonewalling of congressional investigations (Renato Mariotti, Politico) continue to fail at remarkable speed in the courts.

• Congressional Investigations Round-up:
White House Blasted By Legal Experts For Blocking Don McGahn Testimony: 'This Is What Mob Bosses Do' (Newsweek) ""It is absurd for President Trump to claim privilege as to this witness’s testimony when that testimony was already described publicly in the Mueller Report," [House Judiciary Chairman Nadler] said. "Even more ridiculous is the extension of the privilege to cover events before and after Mr. McGahn’s service in the White House.""

Nadler subpoenas former Trump White House aides Hope Hicks, Annie Donaldson (NBC News) "The subpoenas, which the committee had authorized last month, call on Hicks and Donaldson to produce requested documents early next month and for Hicks to testify June 19 and for Donaldson to appear for a deposition on June 24."

Judges fast-track court fight over Trump financial records (Politico) "Democrats have said they will suspend the deadlines in their subpoena for production of the Trump financial documents while the president’s appeal works its way through the courts."

The Perils and Opportunities of Mueller’s Testimony (Bob Bauer, Lawfare) "Mueller should testify, but expectations should be set realistically, and Congress should not suggest that it is overly dependent on that testimony in its assessment of the import of his findings or the next steps in responding to them."

Amash accuses Barr of selling Trump's 'false narrative' (Politico) Rep. Justin Amash continues speaking out (Threadreader, h/t) on the Mueller report, with a focus on AG Barr's efforts to deliberately misrepresent the investigation.

PSA: The Digital Public Library has converted the redacted Mueller Report PDF into a text-based EPUB version
• Impeachment Round-up:
Justin Amash (@justinamash) The ball is in our court, Congress. https://t.co/idpQo1xItH May 29, 2019

Impeach Trump? Most 2020 Democrats tiptoe past the question (AP) "The most vocal pro-impeachment candidates are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Obama housing chief Julian Castro." Following Mueller's announcement, the Guardian rounds up 2020 candidate reactions.

The Case to Impeach Trump for Bigotry (Osita Nwanevu, New Yorker) "“I think the strongest case is his bigotry and policy,” [Rep. Al] Green told me in a recent conversation. “We shouldn’t allow a bigot to continue to hold the highest office in the land."

Former GOP Rep. Tom Coleman: Trump, Pence are illegitimate. Impeach them (Kansas City Star)
• Disinformation Round-up:
The Next Maria Butina? 2020 Campaigns to Be Briefed On Counterintelligence Threat (CNN) • A doctored video of Nancy Pelosi shows social media giants ill-prepared for 2020 (LAT) • 2020 Candidates Aren’t Sure What To Do About Misinformation (Mother Jones) "Even armed with the truth, trying to dismantle a conspiracy can be a losing battle." • The Kremlin’s Strategy for the 2020 U.S. Election: Secure the Base, Split the Opposition (Daily Beast) "Americans may be on to the Kremlin’s tricks now, but Putin is getting a helping hand this time around: Conservative media and even the White House are spreading disinfo for him."
• Trade War Round-up:
Donald Trump Warns China Tariffs Could Rise ‘Very Substantially’ as US Isn’t Ready for Deal to End Trade War (South China Morning Post) US President uses press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to say he believes Chinese side is more eager to reach a deal; Spokesman for Beijing government complains US has been sending conflicting messages. • Trump's China Trade War Risks Damaging US Economy, Says OECD (Guardian) Intensification of tariff dispute also likely to knock almost $600bn off world economy • U.S. Beer Industry Blames Trump Tariffs for 40,000 Job Losses (Bloomberg)
IN OTHER HEADLINES:

Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science (NYT): "parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels."

Iran Sees No Prospect of Negotiations With U.S.: Foreign Ministry (Reuters) Trump said on Monday: “I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen.”

Another Top Trump Aide to Exit as Legislative Activity Dries Up (CNN) The departures of National Economic Council Deputy Director Shahira Knight and Office of Presidential Personnel aide DeStefano suggest that Team Trump's agenda will be focused more on resisting Congress than legislation or nominations (with Kushner and Mulvaney trying to grab all the portfolios they can) • Inside Trump’s hunt to fill one of the worst jobs in Washington (Politico) "The eventual pick will take on the hefty job of maintaining relationships with lawmakers even as Trump alienates them."

Abortion: Democrats and Republicans whip up voters on extreme state laws (Guardian) "Republicans lost the women’s vote by 19% in November’s midterm elections, enabling Democrats to take the House and flip several state legislatures. Two-thirds of women younger than 30 cast their ballots for Democrats. Independent women voted for Democratic House candidates by 56% to 39%."

Democrats Up Requirements For 2nd Round of Primary Debates (AP) The DNC is doubling its polling requirements to 2% in four approved polls and grassroots fundraising requirements to a minimum of 130,000 unique donors before Aug. 28. Today is the 860th day of the Trump administration. There are 29 days until the first Democratic primary debate and 525 days until the 2020 elections.

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posted by Little Dawn (1897 comments total) 127 users marked this as a favorite
 


Ideas: The Abortion Debate Is No Longer About Policy (Michael Wear, The Atlantic)
"This is what happens when the side with all the political power feels culturally embattled."

Abortion politics in 2019 is a morality play about what happens when one side has all the political power, yet feels culturally embattled. In this atmosphere, victories are not satisfying if they leave the other side with a foothold, a vestige of respectability. Cataclysmic discord lies ahead.

Abortion politics is no longer about policy wins, but about establishing dominance.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 AM on May 29 [26 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler/emptywheel.net on Mueller's public statement today: Mueller’s Emphasis: Russia’s Greater Than Two Efforts to Interfere In the Election
[Mueller] departed from the language of the report — which said the investigation “did not establish” a conspiracy — and said “there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.” The meaning is the same, but the emphasis is different. There was, obviously, a good deal of evidence that there was a conspiracy between Russia and people in Trump’s camp. Just not enough to charge.[…]

Now consider how he described Volume One, with that “insufficient evidence” language: “The first volume details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the trump campaign’s response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”[…]

Everything in Volume One is, by this description, an effort by Russia to influence the election. That means Mueller is treating the third part of the volume, describing the links between Russian-linked individuals and the Trump campaign, as “an effort emanating from Russia to influence the election.”[…]

He’s not saying Trump’s people conspired in that effort (though especially with Page and Manafort, the report is inconclusive on their willingness to participate). But he is suggesting that that outreach constitutes further “systematic efforts to interfere in our election.”
WSJ's Dustin Volz puts it more figuratively: "Mueller has turned into a jaded recording artist who is tired all his bandwagon fans want him to play only his latest Vol. 2 hits but refuse to appreciate the deep cuts on his more sophisticated Vol. 1 album"
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:44 AM on May 29 [16 favorites]


Mueller: “We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

That's fine. You don't need to provide additional information. You spent a few minutes on TV repeating what you said in the report, and suddenly everybody is talking about it like it's brand new. Imagine the power of spending hours repeating what you said in your report and answering questions about it.
posted by diogenes at 10:44 AM on May 29 [118 favorites]


Subpoena him, he's not under control of Barr now.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:44 AM on May 29 [75 favorites]


Mueller in brief:
* I could not charge him.
* If I had definitive proof he was innocent, I would have said so.
* If there was a clear lack of evidence of something, I would have said so, and DID - there was a lack of evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia
* Please note me not saying anything about Chapter II of my report and how I am not saying there is a lack of evidence of obstruction.
* Again, I am not allowed to charge him. No one in the Justice department could, and there are no sealed indictments.

Your move, Speaker Pelosi.
posted by andreaazure at 10:45 AM on May 29 [73 favorites]


The amount of ink/pixels dedicated to whether Mueller wants to be subpoeneaed, as if that matters as much as a fly fart in a hurricane, is making me twitch.
posted by phearlez at 10:48 AM on May 29 [15 favorites]


I'm just a dog on the Internet, but my read of Muller's statement, taken alongside his resignation from the DoJ, is that he's trying to manage expectations if he is subpoenaed and asked to testify. He's saying that there's not going to be any revelations beyond what is already in the report. Which is tantamount to saying "the decision to impeach shouldn't need to wait on my testimony".

There is certainly an argument to be made for him testifying in public just as a matter of spectacle and political theater; it's clear that very few people, in Congress or anywhere else, have actually read the report, and few are likely to. So to have him stand up and answer questions, even if all he does is cite chapter and verse from the report, is still useful. And it will keep public opinion focused on the report and on Trump's misdeeds that much longer into the election cycle.

But he seems to want to make it very clear that he has nothing held back, good or bad for Trump.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:49 AM on May 29 [33 favorites]


The Michael Wear piece in the Atlantic is not entirely terrible, but way too sympathetic to the anti-choice side of things by playing it right down the middle for "balance". A comparison is drawn between Governor Cuomo lighting the Empire State Building up pink and the Alamaba legislature running roughshod over their own procedures to silence opposition and pass a bill that itself deeply unserious as a piece of legislation. Yes, both of these things tie into narratives of cultural dominance and submission, but only one of them breaks past symbolism into the concrete nature of the actual laws.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:49 AM on May 29 [19 favorites]


Mueller gave the summary that he wrote but which was held back. There's a lot to unpack in it, and what it says is clear to any open-minded person who can read. There is nothing new in it to those who have been paying attention, but having the mystery figure of the actual Mueller say it gives it a new power and immediacy.

I hope it moves the needle on action, but I have my doubts. For years now, we've been at this point where everyone knows what went on, but either a) cannot do anything about it, or b) is cool with it for whatever reason. And both those answers are bad news for the republic.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:56 AM on May 29 [19 favorites]


@emptywheel
I've been informed that Maggie Haberman says my tweet thread includes only one true criticism (that Rosenstein, not Sessions, appointed Mueller).
That means she thinks it is NOT true that she left out that the Mueller Report said Hope had said no one would find the email.
She thinks it is NOT true that she left out several of Hope's lies about Carter Page and other Russian ties.
She thinks it is NOT true that by "cooperation" Trump meant for them to give false testimony edited by his personal lawyer.
She thinks it is NOT true that Hope didn't testify fully to HPSCI.
I did at least get a correction note!!
*Correction: May 28, 2019
An earlier version of this article misstated the individual who appointed Robert S Mueller III as special counsel. It was Rod Rosenstein, not Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general.
posted by scalefree at 11:02 AM on May 29 [29 favorites]


Politico: Mueller Statement Emboldens Some Dems On Impeachment
“The next step is for the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry to formally begin consideration of whether or not articles of impeachment should be filed,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the Judiciary panel and Democratic leadership, who has previously backed impeachment proceedings. “The opening of this inquiry will allow the committee to collect evidence, compel the attendance of witnesses, and decide how to proceed.”

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who sits on the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said on Twitter that Mueller’s statement “adds new urgency, putting it front & center before Congress & the American people. He's asking us to do what he wasn't allowed to — hold the president accountable.”[…]

In a statement Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) reiterated his vow to investigate the obstruction of justice allegations against Trump but stopped short of calling for impeachment proceedings.

“Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the president, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so,” Nadler said. “No one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”
And Senate Intel Vice Chair Mark Warner said only: "As the Special Counsel made clear today, it’s up to Congress to uphold the rule of law, and ensure this never happens again. Going forward, we must take steps to protect our democracy by passing legislation that enhances election security." (full statement)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:05 AM on May 29 [10 favorites]


MSNBC has been talking for the past half hour about a document they received from the Special Counsel's Office after Mueller's statement.

The weird document has no date, no header, and is not a response to a specific question. It has the following format:
Reporter: [question for Barr at the April press conference regarding Mueller's "articulated reason for not reaching a decision on obstruction of justice"]

Barr: [response to said question, including "He was not saying that but for the OLC opinion, he would have found a crime. He made it clear that he had not made the determination that there was a crime."]

Mueller: So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination --- one way or the other --- about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office's final position and we will not ocmmet on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.

Report: [relevant section of Mueller Report]
posted by pjenks at 11:06 AM on May 29 [22 favorites]


I'm actually impressed with Barr's work here.

He previewed the report falsely, but without making any precise lies. He managed to spin the Mueller Report into a non-story for many Americans. And, most importantly, he formally exonerated the President (because while there is a policy that you can't indict a President, there is no policy saying you can't exonerate him).

And now, we see that he wasn't lying to the reporters about Mueller's intent. It is completely true that Mueller would not "have indicted if not for the OLC opinion." Because Mueller was following the OLC opinion not to make a formal determination.
posted by pjenks at 11:15 AM on May 29 [14 favorites]


The weird document has no date, no header, and is not a response to a specific question.

That is incredibly odd. Curious to hear more details about how formally this was handed out.
posted by sallybrown at 11:17 AM on May 29 [7 favorites]


Barr has a lot of practice sandbagging and using technically truthful but highly misleading statements. He was literally hired for this reason. Honestly, it's the only competent hire they've made so far.
posted by odinsdream at 11:18 AM on May 29 [57 favorites]


both of these things tie into narratives of cultural dominance and submission, but only one of them breaks past symbolism into the concrete nature of the actual laws.

To be honest I think you're being generous: I think the piece is entirely in thrall to the idea that it is in some way proportionate to respond to hurt feelings by violating the bodily autonomy of a millions of human beings.

"they are already moving even further left on abortion—almost all of them are promising to pursue federal legislation that would codify Roe and override state-level restrictions" - seriously what the fuck are you talking about? Codifying a constitutional right that was established by a 7-2 majority of the US Supreme Court over 40 years ago, to prevent unlawful interference with that right? Left wing madness!

The piece seems like hypocritical tripe to me.
posted by howfar at 11:20 AM on May 29 [39 favorites]


Impeachment or censure. We've got to start the process in the House. It does NOT look good that Dems were elected and now they're saying that a crime was committed, but they won't move forward for political reasons. The president said he's not working anymore. The time for measured responses is way past done.
posted by es_de_bah at 11:24 AM on May 29 [27 favorites]




Mostly I think this is overdone, but Metafilter: The piece seems like hypocritical tripe to me is possibly the most evergreen version of that trope ever. I think the last decade has done a fantastic job of hammering home that there are things we should not in any way shape or form entertain as discussions. Bodily autonomy, the okay-ness of celebrating confederate traitors, being black in public: yes or no? Fuck all of it. If the media wants to both-sider it to death they need to do it without us.
posted by phearlez at 11:26 AM on May 29 [31 favorites]


Trump warns Roy Moore to back off Alabama Senate bid (By Caitlin Oprysko, Politico)
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:27 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


The piece in the NYTimes on climate change is sobering, but not in the way one might think:
However, the goal of political appointees in the Trump administration is not just to change the climate assessment’s methodology, which has broad scientific consensus, but also to question its conclusions by creating a new climate review panel. That effort is led by a 79-year-old physicist who had a respected career at Princeton but has become better known in recent years for attacking the science of man-made climate change and for defending the virtues of carbon dioxide — sometimes to an awkward degree.

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” the physicist, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council as the president’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies, said in 2014 in an interview with CNBC.
The only people who are in a position to put an end to this grotesque parade of ignorance and bigotry are sitting on their hands, doing nothing.

America is very ill.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:29 AM on May 29 [27 favorites]


To papaphrase Douglas Adams, this is clearly some new meaning of the word 'exonerated', which I've not previously encountered.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:35 AM on May 29 [37 favorites]


Trump Administration Separates Some Migrant Mothers From Their Newborns Before Returning Them to Detention:
Around Thanksgiving, Dr. Shelly said, Texas DFPS attempted to place a detained [migrant] woman’s newborn in foster care. The woman “cried for 72 hours straight,” Dr. Shelly told Rewire.News. The OB-GYN held the woman at the hospital for five days so that she could see a psychologist. (USMS standards usually allow for 48 hours in the hospital following vaginal delivery or 72 hours following a cesarean section.)

“I was worried she was going to hurt herself when they took her back to the detention center,” the doctor said. “Luckily in her case, they were eventually able to locate an aunt-in-law, her uncle’s wife, who lived in Chicago. But this wasn’t a blood relative, and it wasn’t someone she’d ever met before.”

USMS didn’t allow the woman to have visitors, not even the aunt-in-law who was going to take custody of her newborn, according to Dr. Shelly. The doctor said her colleague dashed back and forth between the waiting room and the patient’s room, taking photos of the aunt-in-law and the patient so they would have some idea of what each other looked like.

“When the nurses still thought the baby was going into foster care, they tried to help [the patient] memorize the name of the hospital,” Dr. Shelly said. “They were saying, ‘We have your fingerprints, we have your baby’s footprints. You have a legal right to your baby.’ In case she got deported without her baby, the nurses wanted her to know the hospital where she gave birth and understand that we had the records to prove this was her baby.”
Fuck every single human being who defends this Administration, or the American immigration system.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:45 AM on May 29 [185 favorites]


Joe Biden: {crickets}

@ericbradner: Joe Biden campaign spokesperson with a new statement: “Vice President Biden agrees with Speaker Pelosi that no one would relish what would certainly be a divisive impeachment process, but that it may be unavoidable if this Administration continues on its path.”

So not much of anything then. Nadler twisted himself up in knots trying not to say much while not getting ahead of Pelosi. Pelosi is set to give a pre-scheduled talk in about 15 minutes, so we’ll see if she can say nothing for a hour.
posted by zachlipton at 11:46 AM on May 29 [13 favorites]


The WaPo has their annotated transcript up of Mueller's statement. The most interesting take in there was about this paragraph:
At one point in time, I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The attorney general preferred to make that — preferred to make the entire report public all at once. And we appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public. And I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.
The annotations point out that it is a rebuke of what Barr said during his congressional hearing, Barr characterized Mueller's letter to him as "snitty" and that "I think it was written by one of his staff people." Mueller is clarifying for the record, I requested the introduction and executive summaries to be released to the public. The implication of the last sentence in the paragraph is that you can conclude that Mueller does question Barr's good faith in other respects.
posted by peeedro at 11:57 AM on May 29 [27 favorites]


Mueller's resignation also makes it clear that he is doing this for the country, that he will gain nothing by it either way, but the moral impetus is clear for Congress to act. I both appreciate and admire him for it, and just hope that Congress will grow their collective spines enough to do so.
posted by corb at 11:58 AM on May 29 [22 favorites]




From HuffPo: Twitter Users Refuse To Let Trump Distort Robert Mueller’s Comments

@BamaVoter:
I think "innocent on a technicality" will make a great 2020 campaign slogan 😂😂
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:10 PM on May 29 [31 favorites]


>no one would relish what would certainly be a divisive impeachment process,

I'm pretty sure whatever we were gonna do to nip divisiveness in the bud would ideally have started before the advent of Fox News, perhaps with the pre-emptive tarring and feathering of Rush Limbaugh about, what, thirty-five years ago? Anybody who wants to be President at this point better look like they have their ass-kickin' boots on, for my money.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:13 PM on May 29 [48 favorites]



The best case for Pelosi’s slow-walk has always been that her endgame is “look, we didn’t want to impeach, we wanted to get things done that help the American people, but they’ve closed off every other option but impeachment.” Biden’s statement in particular seems tailor-made as a step down that path. So I’m marginally more hopeful today than I was when I woke up this morning.

Also, I’m not sure if it got linked in the last thread but yesterday there was a statement/leak from McConnell’s camp that if the House does pass articles of impeachment the Senate will treat them only slightly more seriously than it treated Merrick Garland’s nomination – the plan is that there will be no TV-captivating trial, just a pro forma procedure capped off with a quick acquittal vote. I think that’s a mistake, and maybe a serious one. Part of reason there’s such a push for impeachment now is because of the impression that it will take a long time for the process to complete once the House weighs in. If the Senate is going on record that no, actually it’s going to be done in a week, then fuck it, let’s take as much time as we take. Lots of hearings. Lots of opportunities for contempt. Months upon months of new investigation. If the actual impeachment resolution doesn’t go to the floor until September 2020, that’s still plenty of time for the Senate to do its thing! McConnell already said they really only need a day anyway. Keep that ball in the House’s court for as long as possible.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:13 PM on May 29 [43 favorites]


Some idiot at DOE thinks he's much wittier than he is. Idiocracy was not a training manual.

@bjlefebvre
DOE now calling natural gas “freedom gas.” Not a joke. H/t @SStapczynski
[image, wall of text including the phrases "Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy" & "I am pleased to announce that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world".]
posted by scalefree at 12:15 PM on May 29 [16 favorites]


I am on record as saying impeaching Trump for obstruction of justice is a lost cause, because Barr successfully misrepresented the contents of the Mueller Report and gave GOP Congress members the cover they needed to continue with their obsequious toadying.

Maybe it is a lost cause but I do think the House needs to haul every witness listed in the report into the Capitol and get them to publicly repeat their testimony for the American public to hear. Every bit of testimony and vacillation and sweating and stammering those witnesses display is another nail in the Trump’s coffin. Force the GOP obstructionists to listen to every fact and face their constituents and explain how Trump’s behavior doesn’t constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.

As long as the facts are just words on a page, Trump wins. Barr successfully cut out the heart of the report back in April. Mueller’s statement today shows that the key is getting the witnesses in front of Congress.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:16 PM on May 29 [26 favorites]


Biden’s statement in particular seems tailor-made as a step down that path.

I read Biden's statement as a nothing more than an excellent example of responding without actually saying anything. It allows you to assign any meaning you want to it.
posted by diogenes at 12:22 PM on May 29 [18 favorites]


Big Al 8000: I am on record as saying impeaching Trump for obstruction of justice is a lost cause, because Barr successfully misrepresented the contents of the Mueller Report and gave GOP Congress members the cover they needed to continue with their obsequious toadying.

Barr helped provide cover, yes, but cover is something only a few Republican senators actually desire at all, and you can count them on one hand. The minimum number of senators any president needs in the tank to avoid conviction is 36, and well over that many are in the Rudy Giuliani / Lynne Patton "Since when is it illegal to break the law? Riddle me that one libs!" mold now.

I think McConnell's glass-sipping "We'd fill it" routine captures the reality perfectly. He shortly afterward called that a "joke" but failed to explain if it was more in the domain of sarcasm (as in of course we'd never fill it, it's our solemn duty to leave seats open in election years) or hyperbole (we wouldn't just fill it right away, we'd have a hearing for a nominee first, it might take months, but yeah, we would fill it).

Anyway, in my view, the total impossibility of convicting Trump actually changes the whole definition of success and failure. So when someone says "impeachment is a lost cause" I read that as it being a political loser, which I certainly think is false. Otherwise it's like calling a pedal-based exercise machine "defective" because it will never transport you anywhere; maybe this particular machine was modified from an actual bicycle, but now that it's changed, the parameters have changed too, and the question "Should I buy/use this thing?" becomes one about health risks like injury versus health benefits like aerobics.

(And just to drive the simile into the ground, the correct answer is to buy and use it, but to pedal at a strong, steady pace, rather than as though you were running late to work and the machine could actually get you there on time.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:35 PM on May 29 [10 favorites]


@ericbradner: Joe Biden campaign spokesperson with a new statement: “Vice President Biden agrees with Speaker Pelosi that no one would relish what would certainly be a divisive impeachment process, but that it may be unavoidable if this Administration continues on its path.”

Aaaaag.

Don't send "divisive impeachment process" out as a frame.

Also... "if this Administration continues on its path"? That's not how accountability works. The past deeds are set, and they are more than enough to justify impeachment for anyone who actually cares to be a leader worthy of the name.

Anyone who wants to project caution, stability, and statesmanship, that's fine with me. Good timing is fine with me. Checking all the boxes is fine with me.

Laying conceptual groundwork for the opposition is not fine with me. Looking forward and not back and thus letting the moral hazard ride is a kind of complicity.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:01 PM on May 29 [40 favorites]


Barr characterized Mueller's letter to him as "snitty" and that "I think it was written by one of his staff people." Mueller is clarifying for the record, I requested the introduction and executive summaries to be released to the public.

Mueller's clarification that he wrote the letter himself and it wasn't one of his staff is a classy move, IMO, as well as a nice-yet-subtle dig at Barr.

So when someone says "impeachment is a lost cause" I read that as it being a political loser, which I certainly think is false. Otherwise it's like calling a pedal-based exercise machine "defective" because it will never transport you anywhere

I like this analogy a lot, although I am not sure I agree with the underlying conclusion, at least to a degree where I'd be comfortable saying that the Democrats (and whatever remains of the Never Trumpers on the R side) are wrong to not go forward with impeachment. They are doing the political calculus and have apparently found the results lacking, at least at the moment. I suspect they have people who know better than I how the public would react to an (unsuccessful) impeachment proceeding.

The only parallel we have in recent history is the Republican impeachment of (W.J.) Clinton, and it's widely believed to have hurt them in the subsequent election. I believe that 2020 is currently the Democrats' to lose—there's no way Trump can pull off what he did in 2016 again, absent something like a no-shit war that totally changes the game, or a candidate substantially weaker even than (H.R.) Clinton was—so taking a big gamble on impeachment, when it's pretty clear there's not enough votes to actually carry it through and have Trump basically frog-marched out of the WH, doesn't seem wise. Anything that carries with it the chance of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by substantially legitimizing him, and I think an unsuccessful impeachment would definitely do that—it'd look like the total exoneration that the Muller Report wasn't—should probably be avoided at this point.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:07 PM on May 29 [9 favorites]


I am on record as saying impeaching Trump for obstruction of justice is a lost cause, because Barr successfully misrepresented the contents of the Mueller Report and gave GOP Congress members the cover they needed to continue with their obsequious toadying.

And just to be ridiculously clear: the cover they need is not to the American People as a whole, but to the sliver of voters who need that fig leaf. The vast majority of MAGA folks either don't believe the Mueller report, or believe that even if true, it doesn't matter, for it served the Greater Good of getting Trump in and/or keeping Clinton out. This fig leaf is merely to enable folks who pay lip service to law and order to be able to say Trump didn't break the law.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:08 PM on May 29 [11 favorites]


Some international headlines that showed up on my Google feed:

"Mueller just told the world Trump is a criminal. Now congress must impeach him" The Independent (UK online newpaper)

"Robert Mueller speaks: I did my job - go do yours." Maclean's (Canadian magazine)

"Charging Donald Trump with crime wasn't an option for Mueller, nor was clearing him" CBC (Canadian Crown corporation national public broadcaster)
posted by porpoise at 1:12 PM on May 29 [26 favorites]


Fuck every single human being who defends this Administration, or the American immigration system.

I'm tired of being polite.

If you support Trump, you are a racist, even if only by walking by it.

If you support Trump, you cannot claim to be Christian, even if you go to church every week.

If you support Trump, you cannot claim to support democracy, because you tolerate Russia meddling.

I will be polite to you at the office or in social settings, but I feel no need to think of you as a decent human being.

Unfortunately, this extends to my family.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:15 PM on May 29 [118 favorites]


Impeachment or censure. We've got to start the process in the House. It does NOT look good that Dems were elected and now they're saying that a crime was committed, but they won't move forward for political reasons. The president said he's not working anymore. The time for measured responses is way past done.

Right now I've seen a CNN poll and a Morning Consult poll on impeachment. Morning Consult has support at 34% and CNN at 37%.

Folks do not want this yet. Let's game it out. First, given what we have now, the Senate will NOT vote to convict, so Trump will win. What will the "lesson" for the Republic be? That if you have control of the Senate, you can get away with anything. Furthermore, Trump is itching for this fight. He is at 41% or so nationally and he figures that if the Democrats go after him with an impeachment inquiry, he will bring that chunk of disaffected GOPers home. He is probably right--the Kavanaugh hearings were used for just that. Republicans turned out in big numbers last year. Dems turned out in even bigger numbers and won huge--without a single mention of impeachment. They ran on healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. Who ran the overall strategy? Pelosi.

She made some remarks at the Commonwealth Club in California after Mueller today. Her point was that we need a very convincing case to bring impeachment to the House.

What is the risk? Trump rallying his base and making his re-election about a woman who has been demonized for years by a media machine. The very strategy that worked in 2016.

We need to be careful. If we impeach and Trump is not convicted and wins, the message to wrongdoers and foreign governments will be interfere to your heart's content. If Trump loses an election, they will think twice.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:22 PM on May 29 [25 favorites]


I believe the attempted impeachment of Trump should proceed immediately for one simple reason. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is still alive and all the other democratic supreme court justices too. That could change in a missed heartbeat.

And having a president under impeachment investigations would be a damn good reason for blocking a president's supreme court justice appointments and making anyone pushing them through look completely nakedly corrupt in the eyes of the entire world.

The problem is that this is party level action and we have a loose collection of self-interested politicians who may or may not a give much of a fuck about the party (or country).
posted by srboisvert at 1:27 PM on May 29 [47 favorites]


If we impeach and Trump is not convicted and wins, the message to wrongdoers and foreign governments will be interfere to your heart's content.

How is that different than the current message? In what way are we currently conveying the message that there is a cost to interfering?
posted by diogenes at 1:32 PM on May 29 [76 favorites]


Somebody should write an impeach y/n wiki, so we don’t have to keep having the same argument.

I’m pro impeachment, because those televised proceedings themselves will help change opinion; maybe not of senators, but of the public. And because I think the long term loss to the union of not pursuing such obvious crimes is unacceptable.

Others are anti impeachment because they think the political cost of the senate voting against conviction is too great.

But none of this calculus has changed based on Mueller’s statement, so we are simply spinning wheels here.
posted by nat at 1:33 PM on May 29 [26 favorites]


the Senate will NOT vote to convict, so Trump will win. What will the "lesson" for the Republic be? That if you have control of the Senate, you can get away with anything.

This is already the lesson, right now, and as others have said, among people who will take a Senate's refusal to convict at face value, what lesson must they take away from a refusal from the House to even start?

Body language matters in real conversations. Metaphorical posture matters in political conversations. The House's current posture is one of a body that is unsure that Trump has committed impeachable offenses, even though he has.

If the House sends articles of impeachment over, that changes. Assuming there aren't a dozen GOP Senators with enough of a moral/patriotic compass to seal the deal -- and that's the safe bet -- then the conversation is a fight over whether the Republican Senate is complicit with a corrupt executive (which is the truth) or whether the Democratic House overreached.

But the thing is, we're already having that conversation right now. We will have to have this conversation if Democrats are going to do anything at all to hold Trump accountable, are going to investigate.

There just aren't that many moves in the impeachment process that take us to a problem we aren't already dealing with.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:33 PM on May 29 [23 favorites]


Politico on Scott Lloyd's* exit from the Trump administration: Former Trump Refugee Director to Depart HHS
Scott Lloyd, whose nearly two-year tenure leading the Department of Health and Human Services refugee office sparked lawsuits and congressional inquiries, will leave the Trump administration next week, HHS announced Wednesday.

Lloyd ran the refugee office for most of 2017 and 2018 as HHS was taking custody of thousands of migrant children separated from their families under the administration's zero-tolerance border enforcement policy. The administration struggled to reunite those families after a federal court order, and House Democrats this year have probed Lloyd’s role in the separations and whether his testimony before Congress was truthful.
* previously and previously, etc.

Splinter, more bluntly: Good Riddance to One of the Worst Members of the Trump Administration
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:34 PM on May 29 [11 favorites]


This is already the lesson, right now, and as others have said, among people who will take a Senate's refusal to convict at face value, what lesson must they take away from a refusal from the House to even start?

I'll never understand why the strength of this logic isn't compelling to so many.
posted by diogenes at 1:36 PM on May 29 [40 favorites]


And having a president under impeachment investigations would be a damn good reason for blocking a president's supreme court justice appointments and making anyone pushing them through look completely nakedly corrupt in the eyes of the entire world.

Do you really think McConnell cares? He straight up says he is playing partisan games. He would just describe the impeachment as a partisan ploy to weaken the president, and press forward.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:37 PM on May 29 [12 favorites]


Right, I don't understand the statement that it would be a good reason for blocking an appointment. The Democrats have no power to block such an appointment so whether they have a good predicate to do so is basically irrelevant? The appointment would go through, impeachment investigation or not.
posted by Justinian at 1:40 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


As long as McConnell is majority leader, nothing will change his patterns of behavior. Not norms, not ethical rules, not polls, not public pressure. Nothing. We're fooling ourselves if we expect an impeachment hearing to make any difference.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:41 PM on May 29 [19 favorites]


The choice:

"We in the House did our constitutional duty, had an impeachment hearing, and impeached the President for his high crimes and misdemeanors. The Republicans in the Senate have chosen to ignore all the crimes we and Special Counsel's office have uncovered. They prefer a lawless Republican dictatorship to a functioning democracy like the Founding Fathers wanted. That's why you must give us, the Democratic Party, control of the Senate."

or

"Those cowardly Democrats said I committed crimes, but they didn't even have the guts to impeach me! We will arrest them for Treason!"
posted by vibrotronica at 1:44 PM on May 29 [66 favorites]


The Democrats think there's some kind of "normal politics" that we can get back to by waiting on impeachment. Pretending that they will ever again be able to "get serious things done" again once "this" is all over. They fail to understand the level of danger our very system of government and laws find itself in. That's the only thing I can think of as a reason why they continue to slow-walk this stuff and keep writing and passing laws out of the House just so they can languish without Senate action. They're *already* not getting things done and they just tactically assume there's an end in sight that doesn't require going through a drastic restructuring of our previous political norms.

So many favors left to call in are just going to vanish. Their position in seniority is called into question. Their position as *white people* is called into question. Men close to them are "all the sudden" being dragged for things they had previously gotten away with unquestioned. Leaders of the party aren't being *respected* damn it. Fuck, AOC just walked in to their playhouse and kicked one of their Highly Respected Men in the balls. They're terrified.
posted by odinsdream at 1:45 PM on May 29 [27 favorites]


Nate Silver on what he sees as Pelosi's strategy here: By slowplaying, she's gradually making Trump look worse without it seeming terribly partisan. His approval rating is down, and Democrats still have plenty of optionality for how to proceed later.

Of course the underlying assumption is that his approval rating is actually down meaningfully and I'm not sure what Silver's basis for that is. His own model shows Trump's disapproval up about 1 point and his approval down about 1 point from the medium term average. Perhaps Silver sees this as a lasting change? Pelosi usually has good political instincts so I'd like to believe this is true but I'd want to see more data before buying this theory and it surprises me a little that Silver sees a pattern in such little movement.
posted by Justinian at 1:45 PM on May 29 [13 favorites]


those televised proceedings themselves will help change opinion

would those proceedings be thoroughly televised, though?
would those who have, up to now, made no effort to become informed about the investigations tune in? understand? care?

ironmouth's point about the propaganda value of all the pelosi-hating groundwork already accomplished in the conservopropagandasphere is well taken: all that pelosi seems frail/sick/old stuff has been running in parallel with clinton blinks/coughs/stumbles stories for years & the target audience has internalized it, judging from the energized contemptuous disgust with which certain co-workers respond to the mere mention of her name (or image).
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:46 PM on May 29 [4 favorites]


:How is that different than the current message? In what way are we currently conveying the message that there is a cost to interfering?

If Trump loses in 2020 the message is the voters will pummel you if you cheat. If the Dems do not get a conviction, his chances of re-election go up. He gets something to rally his base. Why not leave the question open until the support climbs to the point where 16 GOP members of the Senate agree he has to go? A charge of the light brigade has a huge downside for us and very little upside. Months of him hiding things helps. Note also that Dems never voted for impeachment for Nixon. The matter only got to a House Judiciary Committee vote. Why must we immediately go whole hog? If Mueller was not able to find a conspiracy, how will House managers prove it on the Senate floor to the point of convincing the American people?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:48 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]


wildblueyonder: This is already the lesson, right now, and as others have said, among people who will take a Senate's refusal to convict at face value, what lesson must they take away from a refusal from the House to even start?

Exactly when does a House decide to not impeach? If that point has already passed, then it's too late to start now, right?

That's the grand difference: a refusal to start is a black box more than it is a determination of non-guilt. To return to Schroedinger's cat, it's an unresolved quantum state. Yes, all sensible people know the thing resolves to a Senate acquittal, but the larger public doesn't. So the presumption (which I dispute) is that it's better to enter November 2020 with a set of voters who figure the president might be guilty than one that "knows" he's innocent because the Official Deciders said so.

Low-info people also probably don't know how easy or difficult it is for impeachment to even begin; how many are aware that a mere majority of the House impeaches, but two-thirds of the Senate is the conviction threshold? I've had to refresh the memories of some very politically-attentive people about those facts. So a nontrivial number of people may figure that the Democrats would all like to impeach but don't have whatever power is needed to do so (though unfortunately, a similar number also probably figure that conviction would be a sure thing if 100% of Democrats pushed for that, too).

All that said: My support for impeachment stems from pessimism. Trump is the incumbent, he has foreign interference, home-grown vote suppression, and currently adequate economic numbers on his side. It's the Democrats that need to gamble more than he does (and more than he will, because his sole move is to double down on the base).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:55 PM on May 29 [9 favorites]


And having a president under impeachment investigations would be a damn good reason for blocking a president's supreme court justice appointments and making anyone pushing them through look completely nakedly corrupt in the eyes of the entire world.

Do you really think McConnell cares? He straight up says he is playing partisan games. He would just describe the impeachment as a partisan ploy to weaken the president, and press forward.


No I don't think McConnell will care. Other people will though and there is the possibility that it makes McConnell's actions, current and past which until now have really only visible to people really interested in politics, very very visible.

Unlike most turtles I don't think McConnell will fare very well under a national spotlight.
posted by srboisvert at 1:56 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


Why not leave the question open until the support climbs to the point where 16 GOP members of the Senate agree he has to go?

Because that will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.

Look at the situation we have now, where all of the evidence that is likely to surface has come out, either via Mueller or via what we, the public have seen with our own lying eyes. McConnell has made it quite clear that any trial in the Senate will be as perfunctory as he is capable of making it; he can't just gavel in, declare "roll call vote, right now" and gavel out triumphantly, but it won't be much more than that. Mueller is not going to testify, let alone drop some super-secret atomic bomb evidence that will make everything crystal clear for everybody.

Can you name one Republican Senator who is likely to flip on this?

Let alone sixteen?

If we ever reach a point where unquestionable evidence will flip that many Rs, we'll know it, because we'll read in the morning paper that Trump hopped on a private jet and flew to Brazil in the dead of night. But we are not there now. We are also not going to get anything new that would convince even reluctant Senators to face the wrath of their state's Trumpoids.
posted by delfin at 1:57 PM on May 29 [17 favorites]


those televised proceedings themselves will help change opinion

How did that work for the GOP during the Clinton impeachment?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:57 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


Something that didn't get a lot of play from what I saw yesterday: Treasury bonds hit an inverted yield curve, which historically is a super consistent warning sign of a recession. (Explanation in the link.) I've heard a lot of other talk about an expected downturn for months--so much so that I've kinda stopped listening, 'cause it hasn't happened--but this seems like a real thing.

I wanted to share that here mostly for its own significance. As I'm not exactly well-versed on economics, I'd be interested if there's anything to debunk it.

I will add, though, since we're all speculating about what's keeping Pelosi...I feel like this is a stretch, but it's worth noting that an economic downturn is probably a game-changer. The question, of course, is when, because again I feel like it's been a long time coming and still isn't here, and even historically that treasury yield signal is a many-months-out sort of thing.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:58 PM on May 29 [17 favorites]


Oh, and we should also not forget the wins-no-matter-what mindset here for Trump: it's either "They never impeached, 'cause they're weak and they knew it would fail," or it's "They impeached and I was Totally Officially Forever Exonerated," because that's how he rolls. I feel like at some point people still have a responsibility to do what's right regardless of what the crazy blowhard spews from his propaganda mouth.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:01 PM on May 29 [31 favorites]


If Trump isn't removed from office by the election, I have no faith we're not going to have widespread election tampering and Trump "winning" by a wide margin come election day. The next two years are so are for all the marbles, and if we don't start acting like it, the past few years are going to look sunny and peachy by comparison. We need to remove Trump and beat the GOP so badly that they are broken. And then we need to move swiftly to fix gerrymandering, secure our elections, and pursue real criminal prosecution of the compromised GOP that took Russian money to put Trump in power.

I hope I'm being needlessly alarmist and wrong, but I don't think I am. As a child I used to read about WWII and think "how the hell did this ever happen to a country, taken over by a madman?" Now I get it. Really, it was a rhetorical question that did not need an illustration...
posted by jzb at 2:01 PM on May 29 [80 favorites]


Pelosi is set to give a pre-scheduled talk in about 15 minutes, so we’ll see if she can say nothing for a hour.

That is indeed what happened, yep. She was wearing her House Mace pin, and the moderator made a point to ask her about it. The Speaker spoke about its role as a symbol of power of the Speaker of the House. But then she didn't back it up.

On investigations and impeachment: "Where it will lead us, we shall see; nothing is off the table. But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case, that even Republican Senate, which at the time seems to be not an objective jury." She talked about how "35, maybe it's 38" out of 238 Democrats have come out for impeachment (that number has grown since she said this, and the event only started two hours ago), and the press fuses over them, and many constituents want it, but she wants to do what gets results. Which says to me that she's doing what she does really well, keeping careful count of votes, and that pressure on our Democratic reps to increase that number is one of the most effective tools we have, especially on days like today.

But there's a marked contrast here between how she talks about the power of the mace she wears and the way she talks about holding the President accountable. She spoke of unity and e pluribus unum and making progress on the issues where they have the most unity. But, as McConnell has shown, this is all about naked power, not unity, and it's her job to use the mace to lead us, not to seek unity.

She described how they're proceeding on three fronts: legislative, investigative, and litigation, and crowed a little about victories in the courts last week. But the image I took away was a sort of Potemkin Speakership: they are legitimately doing some of each of those things, but it never actually amounts to anything. This comes across in her language with statements like "we passed HR1." Well, yes, you did, great, but you know it's not actually law, right? Nobody, outside of the House, actually thinks its any real victory to pass bills in the House that aren't even considered in the Senate.

She does have an agenda, and took the time to talk about her three imperatives for our time: the "existential threat to our planet that the climate crisis poses," "the obscenity of income disparity," and good government ("which makes the other two possible"). And those are, indeed, huge imperatives we need to address, but when it feels like we have a daily emergency in the form of the President, it feels worse than useless to sit there and talk about legislation that's going nowhere.

One newsworthy bit from today is that Pelosi went much farther than I expected in talking about the doctored video of her, which she was clearly mad about:
“We have said all along, ‘Poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians.’ I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong,” she said, according to a transcript of the conversation provided by Pelosi’s office. “They’re lying to the public. ... I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election."

“For me, I’m in the arena, I’ve been the target all along,” Pelosi added. But “I wonder what they would do if (Facebook chief) Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t portrayed, you know, slowed down, made to look” drunk, she said. If it was “one of their own, would this be – is this their policy? Or is it just a woman?”
But as Farhad Manjoo writes today, regardless of what happens on Facebook, it was Fox that created the other misleading video that Trump tweeted and led an entire cross-platform propaganda campaign about her: Worry About Facebook. Rip Your Hair Out in Screaming Terror About Fox News

Toward the end, she was asked about abortion, and as part of that, offered a bit of a prayer for certain Supreme Court Justices: "This next year and a half may go by quickly, and everybody be in good health." A good sentiment, yes, but it also serves as a symbol for the House's lack of action right now. The country isn't in good health, and perhaps America, especially those most vulnerable to Trump right now, can't take another year and a half of this.
posted by zachlipton at 2:02 PM on May 29 [31 favorites]


those televised proceedings themselves will help change opinion

—How did that work for the GOP during the Clinton impeachment?


Well, for one thing, they re-took the White House two years later.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:02 PM on May 29 [29 favorites]


If we end up both with an impeachment and a SCOTUS resignation in close proximity to one another, I can see the beautiful rationalization now: "When it's an election year, it's best to leave court vacancies open and let the American people decide. However, if the president is under the cloud of impeachment, then a refusal to consider his nominations is tantamount to an acceptance that the charges against him are legitimate and perhaps true. Because all people, including the president, have the right to presumed innocence, we are therefore obligated to consider, and then to confirm, his nominee"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:03 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


> Alabama legislature running roughshod over their own procedures to silence opposition and pass a bill that itself deeply unserious as a piece of legislation.

Has anyone read the Missouri abortion bill, recently passed and signed? I've been reading Missouri General Assembly bills for almost 20 years, and I have never, ever seen anything even close to like it introduced, let alone passed.

Pages and pages of it read more like a half-baked sixth grade persuasive essay than anything even vaguely resembling a bill:
(6) In medicine, a special emphasis is placed on the heartbeat. The heartbeat is a discernible sign of life at every stage of human existence. During the fifth week of gestational age, an unborn child's heart begins to beat and blood flow begins during the sixth week;

(7) Depending on the ultrasound equipment being used, the unborn child's heartbeat can be visually detected as early as six to eight weeks gestational age. By about twelve weeks gestational age, the unborn child's heartbeat can consistently be made audible through the use of a handheld Doppler fetal heart rate device;
Missouri HB 126 bill page - full text as finally passed and signed.
posted by flug at 2:04 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]


> those televised proceedings themselves will help change opinion

How did that work for the GOP during the Clinton impeachment?


Ah, this old chestnut.

Did We Learn the Wrong Lesson From the Clinton Impeachment?
But one argument against going down this path is a purely political one: Voters will punish the Democrats if they seek to remove Donald Trump but fall short, thus making a second Trump term much more likely. This rests, largely, upon a belief that by failing to secure Bill Clinton’s conviction and removal by the Senate after impeaching him in December 1998, Republicans hurt themselves badly.

That belief, it turns out, is overblown—which should make Democrats think twice before relying on it to stonewall calls for impeachment.

Consider, first, the 2000 congressional elections. The president’s popularity remained high, Republicans had taken a beating in the press over the “failed” impeachment, and surely the American people would slap the GOP down for its overzealous impeachment effort, right?

Not so much. True, Democrats did grab four additional seats in the Senate. But the Republicans lost only one seat in the House, the body that had impeached Clinton. Among the twelve impeachment managers–the members tasked with taking the impeachment articles to the Senate and arguing for the president’s conviction–only James Rogan (R-California) lost his House re-election bid.

The damage to Republicans could have emerged elsewhere. But it didn’t. George W. Bush beat Clinton’s own vice president for the White House in 2000 and won re-election four years later. Republicans in 2002 picked up more House seats than they’d lost in 1998 and 2000. Most of the managers from the 1998 impeachment remained in the House; Lindsey Graham won election to the Senate.

That’s far less of a smackdown than conventional wisdom would have us believe.
Impeach Donald Trump
Democrats’ fear—that impeachment will backfire on them—is likewise unfounded. The mistake Republicans made in impeaching Bill Clinton wasn’t a matter of timing. They identified real and troubling misconduct—then applied the wrong remedy to fix it. Clinton’s acts disgraced the presidency, and his lies under oath and efforts to obstruct the investigation may well have been crimes. The question that determines whether an act is impeachable, though, is whether it endangers American democracy. As a House Judiciary Committee staff report put it in 1974, in the midst of the Watergate investigation: “The purpose of impeachment is not personal punishment; its function is primarily to maintain constitutional government.” Impeachable offenses, it found, included “undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.”

Trump’s bipartisan critics are not merely arguing that he has lied or dishonored the presidency. The most serious allegations against him ultimately rest on the charge that he is attacking the bedrock of American democracy. That is the situation impeachment was devised to address.
Why Democrats — and pundits — shouldn’t assume impeachment will backfire
But the parallels only go so far. As I wrote a while back, the timeline of Clinton’s impeachment seemed to work against Republicans. Having begun impeachment proceedings on the eve of the 1998 election, the initial backlash was instantly able to register at the ballot box and help Democrats score unexpected success in the midterm elections. Republicans then officially impeached Clinton on Dec. 19, 1998, and Clinton’s approval rating hit its highest mark ever — 73 percent — in a Gallup poll that was conducted starting that day.

But that timeline is not today’s timeline. Today, there is actually time for the impeachment proceedings to register with the American people. The process can take as little as a few months, meaning Democrats need not even let it linger into the 2020 calendar year.

And witness what happened to Clinton and his party as time moved on. While that 73 percent approval rating was his highest ever, it was really just a blip on the screen. Clinton’s approval had hovered in the 60s before impeachment began, and after it was completed, he spent the remainder of his presidency in the high 50s and low 60s.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:05 PM on May 29 [23 favorites]


It's the Democrats that need to gamble more than he does (and more than he will, because his sole move is to double down on the base).

I think this is where folks differ regarding rational analysis of these issues. Trump is polling super low right now. I agree with the poster above--This is the Dems election to lose. Why risk the worst outcome of all--Trump is acquitted in the Senate and then uses that to win re-election? Polling shows that fewer people want impeachment than support Trump. Those numbers ought to be sobering.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:06 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


We need to be careful. If we impeach and Trump is not convicted and wins, the message to wrongdoers and foreign governments will be interfere to your heart's content. If Trump loses an election, they will think twice.

I don't think there is any message to be sent to foreign governments in whatever political outcome Trump faces. Russia has already gotten what they wanted -- and probably more than they ever hoped for. Deterrence comes from the U.S. foreign policy and national security apparatus actually responding to Russian attacks in real time (as they reportedly did better at during the 2018 elections), not from cleaning up the blast damage 4 years later.
posted by AndrewInDC at 2:07 PM on May 29 [11 favorites]


Consider, first, the 2000 congressional elections.

Why not consider the 1998 elections? Those are the ones to use. The parallel House of Representatives elections saw a significant disruption of the historic six-year itch trend, where the President's party loses seats in the second-term midterm elections, as the Democrats picked up 5 seats in the House. Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory found that the 1998 election win for the Dems was directly related to the impeachment of Clinton. The House impeachment managers were specifically routed in that election.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:12 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


Something that didn't get a lot of play from what I saw yesterday: Treasury bonds hit an inverted yield curve, which historically is a super consistent warning sign of a recession.

Yes, this happened the last time Trump's trade-warmongering made the markets anxious. It's not an infallible indication, of course, but many economists currently think that Trump is risking a recession by escalating US-China trade tensions. And right now, the positive economy looks like the main factor protecting Trump from a backlash.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on May 29 [13 favorites]


The next two years are so are for all the marbles, and if we don't start acting like it, the past few years are going to look sunny and peachy by comparison.

The 2020 election is in less than 18 months.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


> Why not consider the 1998 elections? Those are the ones to use.

We're less than 4 years into Trump's Presidency, so the "six year itch" pattern doesn't apply. You just can't compare a lower turnout mid-term election to what will happen when Trump's name is on the ballot in 2020. The dynamics are much different when the target of the impeachment proceedings is bringing his opponents to the polls. Any downside risk you imagine has to be weighed against the rewards of giving the Democratic base something they're demanding.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:31 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


It's really striking to compare Congressional Democrats and their stance on Trump/impeachment to how they reacted to the Republican-led charge to defund ACORN in the wake of videos that were obviously doctored and edited.

ACORN, you will recall, was a community-based organization that was heavily involved in voter registration for low and moderate income families. In 2009, Breitbart operative James O'Keefe shot undercover footage of himself and an accomplice visiting several different ACORN offices and soliciting advice from low-level employees for how to get funds to engage in human-trafficking with underage girls, buy houses illegally and cheat on their taxes.

O'Keefe released heavily edited videos with all kinds of misleading lead-ins and segments, and, almost like it was planned from the get go, Republicans began calling for ACORN to be de-funded. Democrats who had previously worked with the org began distancing themselves from it. I recall a discussion here on MeFi about how the videos were pretty obviously doctored, but nevertheless, a bunch of Dems in the House and Senate "reached across the aisle" to vote with the Republicans in effectively destroying the organization in America.

Pelosi was Speaker at the time, and while she abstained from voting on the de-funding bill, she characterized ACORN's actions as horrible and declared that "any group that receives any funds from the federal government needs to have tough scrutiny applied to it."

Note that various ACORN employees were fired for what the videos "depicted" them doing or saying (or, in most cases not doing and not saying), and several independent actions found that no wrongdoing had taken place.

As usual though, the Republicans got what they wanted and got the Democrats to participate in an action that hurt the Dem base.

Now we see all this obvious evidence of wrongdoing by Republicans and far too many Democrats are all, "Crime, boy, I don't know."

Something's very wrong here, in my opinion. Then again, I'm a black man in America, which means I've had to make peace with the fact that most of my fellow Americans are pretty cool with me being summarily executed by the police on the mere suspicion of a crime, so my opinions on crimes and justice are probably a little off compared to those of the movers and shakers in this country.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:33 PM on May 29 [119 favorites]


One of Pelosi's kids tweeted an Onion article with the headline, "Pelosi says 'When I'm drunk, you'll fucking know it'" which for some reason really made me want to have a holiday dinner with their family
posted by angrycat at 2:36 PM on May 29 [52 favorites]


One of Pelosi's kids tweeted an Onion article with the headline, "Pelosi says 'When I'm drunk, you'll fucking know it'" which for some reason really made me want to have a holiday dinner with their family

The best (re)revelation of Kellyanne Conways attempt to slander Pelosi by suggesting she was dressed by stylists . . . was that her husband picks all her outfits. They do sound like a fun family ( i guess being super rich definitely helps but its by no means enough on its own).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:44 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


Roger Stone Associate Andrew Miller Agrees to Testify Before Mueller Grand Jury (CNN). (This is definitely a big factor in the timing of Mueller stepping down from the DoJ.)
An associate of Roger Stone has agreed to testify to special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury on Friday morning, his attorney and a Mueller prosecutor said in a court hearing before a federal judge.

The development shows parts of the Mueller investigation related to interference in the 2016 presidential election -- and the grand jury's work -- may still be alive.

Andrew Miller, Stone's associate, has fought testifying as he has challenged Mueller's authority since last summer after Mueller's team requested information from him about Roger Stone and WikiLeaks. Miller was held in contempt by Chief Judge Beryl Howell in Washington but will not be sent to jail at this time, the judge said. He lost his attempts at appeal.
Politico's Natasha Bertrand adds, “Miller's lawyer tells me that the only guidance they've gotten from Mueller's team on this is that they want to interview Miller "about his work with Roger Stone from 2016 to the present." & it is separate from the investigation that already occurred into Stone's WikiLeaks ties.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:45 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


Any downside risk you imagine has to be weighed against the rewards of giving the Democratic base something they're demanding.

Show me the polling on that. Because the polling on impeachment shows 48% of people oppose impeachment and only 34-37% approve. That says voters don't like it and it will cost us.

As for the "base" wanting impeachment, again, I'd love to see some polling on that too. And who is going to not vote against Trump because the Democrats did not impeach him? It would seem irrational and insane.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:49 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


It is increasingly clear that none of you read my report (Alexandra Petri, WaPo:)
Everyone who said things about the report said things like, “I liked the big page that was just black” and “It was very good how the redactions were color-coded” and “I liked that it said ‘The Mueller Report’ on every page” and nobody talked at all about the actual contents. The sheer lack of discussion of the election interference, which, again, we did find had majorly happened — there is no hope for you.

Someone spoke to me at length about how they loved the report and the green things that were cut out and the red things and the yellow things, and it slowly dawned on me that he had mixed up my report and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Anyway, this press conference is for those of you who did not read the book, which, I assume, is all of you. Please put on your listening ears.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:50 PM on May 29 [38 favorites]


When there's a big news day like today I occasionally read outlets on the other side of the aisle, just to test my own progressive views and stay true to the values of open inquiry. And then in an outlet that is considered at least semi-rational by those folks on the other side, I stumble on something batshit insane like this - "Mueller Just Proved His Entire Operation Was A Political Hit Job That Trampled The Rule Of Law" - for which the word "tendentious" is utterly inadequate.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:54 PM on May 29 [9 favorites]


I think all this talk of supporting impeachment and the polls missed an important distinction: impeachment investigations (the House doing their job) vs. impeachment proceedings (the Senate holding a trial).

I don’t support impeachment proceedings because if that were to happen right now, the Democrats would likely swing and miss the mark. We need formal impeachment investigations. The House needs to show their cards on this, because once they formally say “We are considering charges against Trump” a lot of his current stonewalling tactics will lose support from the judiciary. As long as the House is being coy, the judiciary can always defer to the executive branch. But once Congress formally acts, any potential Trump allies in the judiciary will be constrained by the constitution. They’ll have to defer to Congress’ power to impeach.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:57 PM on May 29 [12 favorites]


"We can't do the obviously right thing because it might damage our electability" is how the Republicans turned into slime mold dripping down 45's arse crack.

You have to draw the line somewhere. The President commiing a shit-load of crimes that an independent investigation says there is evidence for is a pretty thick line.
posted by Devonian at 3:04 PM on May 29 [24 favorites]


Posted by lord wolf: Something's very wrong here, in my opinion. Then again, I'm a black man in America, which means I've had to make peace with the fact that most of my fellow Americans are pretty cool with me being summarily executed by the police on the mere suspicion of a crime, so my opinions on crimes and justice are probably a little off compared to those of the movers and shakers in this country. posted by lord_wolf

That’s what I’ve been saying! It keeps getting deleted, so hopefully yours stays, but for a while now I’ve been saying Pelosi is starting to look complicit. We fought like hell to get the Dem wave elected, and she is flat out refusing to do her duty to investigate the executive. And she has never been a friend to the far left, or even the mostly leftist left. She’s not been a friend to women of color, or women of different faiths. I mean, imagine thinking you have the right to silence Her Majesty, our queen Maxine Waters. Or taking the side of hypocrites on the right going after Rep. Omar. She’s not willing to fight for abortion rights, or babies in cages, or rounding up brown folks just living their lives, or stopping cops from murdering black children and men, and I have to ask, what exactly does she think she’s accomplishing.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:10 PM on May 29 [37 favorites]


lord_wolf: It's really striking to compare Congressional Democrats and their stance on Trump/impeachment to how they reacted to the Republican-led charge to defund ACORN in the wake of videos that were obviously doctored and edited.

ACORN, you will recall, was a community-based organization that was heavily involved in voter registration for low and moderate income families. In 2009, Breitbart operative James O'Keefe shot undercover footage of himself and an accomplice visiting several different ACORN offices and soliciting advice from low-level employees for how to get funds to engage in human-trafficking with underage girls, buy houses illegally and cheat on their taxes.

O'Keefe released heavily edited videos with all kinds of misleading lead-ins and segments, and, almost like it was planned from the get go, Republicans began calling for ACORN to be de-funded. Democrats who had previously worked with the org began distancing themselves from it. I recall a discussion here on MeFi about how the videos were pretty obviously doctored, but nevertheless, a bunch of Dems in the House and Senate "reached across the aisle" to vote with the Republicans in effectively destroying the organization in America.


I honestly think that what is going on is not complicity but a kind of learned helplessness which is a hangover from the 80's, the Democrats in Disarray decade, and even before that, to McGovern in 1972. Think of the age of many Democrats in Congress, and all the Dem leadership, and then think back to the shellackings they took post-Carter because of all the (white) former Democrats stampeding to the Republicans. Add in 9/11 and two terms of Bush...I truly think that Congressional Democrats were terrified that if they didn't throw ACORN under the bus, Obama would be a one-term President and all the nascent Democratic gains would be clawed back once again. Because CUH-RUP-SHUN! CROOKED! THROW THE BUMS OUT!

Basically I think there is a feeling among a lot of the "old guard" that if Dems put a toe out of line and take any risk, the Republicans will come roaring back. I don't think it's true, but I think that old-guard Democrats have PTSD from the Reagan and Bush years.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:22 PM on May 29 [24 favorites]


Basically I think there is a feeling among a lot of the "old guard" that if Dems put a toe out of line and take any risk, the Republicans will come roaring back

I don't want to know what roaring back looks like if 2016 wasn't it.
posted by diogenes at 3:26 PM on May 29 [14 favorites]


> Show me the polling on that. Because the polling on impeachment shows 48% of people oppose impeachment and only 34-37% approve. That says voters don't like it and it will cost us.

As for the "base" wanting impeachment, again, I'd love to see some polling on that too.


Ask and you shall receive.

That poll is (a) a couple of weeks more recent than the two polls you cite, and (b) asks the question about impeachment in a much more neutral way, without language about removing Trump from office, which will naturally skew things more toward inaction given that beginning impeachment proceedings isn't in and of itself removing Trump from office.

That poll finds the split on to begin impeachment proceedings at 38% for, 42% against among all registered voters, with 70% of Democrats supporting.

And who is going to not vote against Trump because the Democrats did not impeach him? It would seem irrational and insane.

People stay home for a wide variety of reasons -- some rational, some not. We don't need to look any further than 2016 to know that. It was unreasonable for Democrats who were lukewarm on Hillary to stay home and let Trump win, yet here we are.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:28 PM on May 29 [13 favorites]


What about what Russia did?
posted by banshee at 3:32 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


It was unreasonable for Democrats who were lukewarm on Hillary to stay home and let Trump win, yet here we are.

Good thing we've learned our lesson about the downsides of constantly trashing female Democratic politicians for every real or imagined failings we can come up with!
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:32 PM on May 29 [35 favorites]


Yes, that bill of particulars against Nancy Pelosi upthread seems not to understand her role as a party leader...
posted by PhineasGage at 3:35 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


> Good thing we've learned our lesson about the downsides of constantly trashing female Democratic politicians for every real or imagined failings we can come up with!

Well, "we" certainly haven't, but this is way bigger than Nancy Pelosi, and speaks to the Democratic party strategy as a whole. She's the most visible anti-impeachment voice right now, but that doesn't mean that anyone taking a position for starting impeachment proceedings now is trashing Pelosi in particular.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:38 PM on May 29


The issue at hand is definitely bigger than the handful of people who purposefully halt progress on its resolution.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:57 PM on May 29


It's a running joke on politics/polling twitter that the response of every partisan to pretty much any event is "this shows that in order to be successful the Democratic party must adopt my preferred policy positions!". Regardless of event.

It's sad funny because it's true.

The point being that I'm not sure we've learned anything from 2016. Because the lessons learned depend on who you ask and strongly correlate with their prior beliefs. Leftists will tell you the lesson is we have to move left. Centrists will tell you the lesson is we have to move to the center. Pro-Clinton people will tell you the lesson is that primary candidates like Sanders need to be more careful about their attacks during the primary. Pro-Sanders people will tell you that the establishment needs to stop screwing progressives and putting their thumbs on the scales. Pragmatic incrementalists will tell you the lesson is that we should look towards someone like Biden as the best chance to beat Trump. The system is broken and needs major changes quickly types will tell you that the lesson is we need to look towards someone like Sanders/Warren to excite the base.

That the lesson we should all have learned comports so closely to most people's priors is surely a coincidence. Surely.
posted by Justinian at 3:58 PM on May 29 [36 favorites]


Paraphrasing Glenn Kirschner on MSNBC:
I'm going to make the controversial assertion that Mueller does not have to testify to Congress. For one, prosecutors do not testify. Judges inform juries around the country that the word of a prosecutor or a defense witness is not evidence. It's the testimony of the witnesses that counts. We don't need Mueller to testify what Don McGahn told him: it's in the report.
No. No no no. Mueller is not just a prosecutor. If the crime is obstruction of justice, Mueller is a victim. If the crime is obstruction of justice, Mueller is a crucial eyewitness.

We need Mueller's testimony before a Congress attempting to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors. And no matter his reluctance, we need Mueller's testimony to be broader than the Special Counsel's former mandate. We need it to be as broad as Congress's mandate, which is as broad as necessary to do the job of Congress: investigating Presidential wrongdoing of any kind, whether prohibited by legislation or merely by the human conscience.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:00 PM on May 29 [30 favorites]


What would Mueller testify to as a witness? All the obstruction WAS IN PLAIN SIGHT. The issue is the decision - which only the House can make whilst Trump is a sitting President - to try him for obstruction.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:03 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


All the obstruction WAS IN PLAIN SIGHT.

All the obstruction that was in plain sight was in plain sight.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:06 PM on May 29 [33 favorites]


The question about whether Mueller should testify or not is sort of irrelevant. People still think Mueller will save us. He has now done all that is possible for him to do.

Sure, call him to testify... as one witness of many in an exhastive impeachment investigation/hearing.
posted by pjenks at 4:06 PM on May 29 [10 favorites]


It's a political game. The point of Mueller testifying would be getting the seriously bad stuff in the report stated succinctly for news soundbites to help sway opinion rather than buried in pages and pages of a document few people have time to read.
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:06 PM on May 29 [19 favorites]




It seems clear to me, given the fact that even Fox talking heads seemed to pay attention to the content of Mueller's report once he himself uttered those exact same words with his voice, that there is a very real benefit to having him testify.

The spectacle of Robert Mueller answering simple questions with scripted responses pulled from the language of the report itself is what we, as a nation, appear to require.

I hate that I'm advocating theater when the report is there for any & all to see, but our journalists, our congresspeople, and our citizenry (with notable exceptions) evidently need this in order to take the matter seriously.

I agree with Mueller. His report is his testimony. It should be sufficient. In reality, however- in this reality, it isn't.

Nadler said today: “Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so”

This was manifestly true the day the report was released. Nothing has changed between then and now except that Mueller read a book report of his own book to us from a lectern.

So be it. We must adjust what we do to meet what is needed and not wish it were otherwise.

Subpoena Mueller, even though he will surely die a little more inside as he is forced to participate yet further in this stupid, stupid, stupid crisis we're enduring.
posted by narwhal at 4:27 PM on May 29 [36 favorites]


Big Al 8000: The House needs to show their cards on this, because once they formally say “We are considering charges against Trump” a lot of his current stonewalling tactics will lose support from the judiciary.

Is there evidence those tactics have any judicial support now? And moreover that judges exist who are currently swayed but would change their mind under the circumstances of formal impeachment? I'm actually curious because my sense is this might not be the case.

Devonian: "We can't do the obviously right thing because it might damage our electability" is how the Republicans turned into slime mold dripping down 45's arse crack.

That is generous to Republicans, who in fact developed that relationship mainly because Trump is everything they've ever dreamed of (and to a lesser degree because he's good at dignity-wraithing). Some of them do pretend it's some agonizing tradeoff between electability and their true preferences, but only because they want to keep getting invited to the various cool kids' tables. In fact it's a win-win for them and thus it's not entirely comparable to the Democrats' present dilemma. (I'll grant it may have applied a few generations ago, back when Republicans were negotiating the degree to which they wanted to play footsie with white supremacists.)

That dilemma, in any case, is totally false. If this were a country that hungered for Joe Biden and despised the I-word as much as Individual-1 fears it, then the maximally correct action for Democrats would be to nominate Biden and forego impeachment. Otherwise you're saying "In order to fulfill our obligation to the principles of justice and decency, Donald Trump must get a second term." But in reality, refusing to have this cake is likelier to prevent the party from also eating it. (That metaphor always bugged me because of the inherent confusion with "have"...)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:30 PM on May 29 [4 favorites]


Why not leave the question open until the support climbs to the point where 16 GOP members of the Senate agree he has to go? A charge of the light brigade has a huge downside for us and very little upside. Months of him hiding things helps. Note also that Dems never voted for impeachment for Nixon. The matter only got to a House Judiciary Committee vote. Why must we immediately go whole hog? If Mueller was not able to find a conspiracy, how will House managers prove it on the Senate floor to the point of convincing the American people?

How do you suppose support for impeachment climbs while Democrats refuse to make the public case? Have you looked at polls prior to the impeachment inquiry into Nixon, vs just before he resigned? How do you suppose those numbers changed? Did people just change their mind on their own because reasons, or did seeing Nixon's crimes paraded on TV for 16 months have something to do with it? And who is talking about taking an immediate vote on impeachment?

For that matter, who is saying impeachment should be limited to only the issue of collusion in part I of the Mueller report?
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:32 PM on May 29 [39 favorites]


If Trump loses in 2020 the message is the voters will pummel you if you cheat.


If they don’t impeach him... like... the incentive structure right now is that he’ll be prosecuted when he leaves office, he won’t be prosecuted while holding office, and his approval ratings are in the tank and he’s on track to lose reelection.
He’s extremely incentivized to lie, cheat, steal, do anything to win 2020. Maybe jail his opponent. Maybe do something less extreme and bring a recount lawsuit to the Supreme Court. If he uses violence to win the election, there will be no consequences, no one will stop him because a piece of paper in a desk drawer in the OLC says the president can’t be indicted. Impeachment is currently the only thing that can change this situation and bring hard accountability.

I think we’re severely downplaying the power of impeachment and overemphasizing the power of senate conviction.
No president in history has ever been convicted but every president that was impeached has, at least had a permanent asterisk on their legacy and, at most, been considered an outright illegitimate president.
posted by cricketcello at 4:38 PM on May 29 [46 favorites]


Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ:

NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit.
posted by bluecore at 5:04 PM on May 29 [68 favorites]


What a petty fucking piece of un-American shit Trump is.
posted by odinsdream at 5:31 PM on May 29 [89 favorites]


Rick Santorum is on CNN saying that Mueller was unfair because he refused to say Trump was innocent, but was willing to say that he presumed the Russians were innocent.

(... until proven guilty in a court of law.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:34 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


The Miami Herald is staying on top of the Mar-a-Lago access scandal: Federal Prosecutors Demand Cindy Yang Records From Mar-A-Lago, Trump Campaign
Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., this week sent subpoenas to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, demanding they turn over all records relating to Republican Party donor Li “Cindy” Yang and several of her associates and companies, the Miami Herald has learned.[…]

One subpoena, issued by a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach, compels Mar-a-Lago to turn over all documents, records and communications relating to Yang, as well as 11 other people, one charity and seven companies affiliated with her, according to a person familiar with the investigation who asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe. The people named in that subpoena include Yang’s family members, former employees at her massage parlors and several donors to Trump Victory. Prosecutors were trying to serve the subpoena to Mar-a-Lago through a South Florida law firm, the source said.

The second subpoena, for Trump Victory, was served to attorneys at a Washington, D.C., law firm. It seeks campaign-finance records relating to Yang and her associates.
At least eight individuals and four companies associated with Yang have been named in the subpoenas.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:35 PM on May 29 [25 favorites]


To quickly recap some previous discussions of this:

• Nixon's approval plummeted during the impeachment process, and his successor lost the next election.
• Reagan's approval sank during the non-impeachment Iran-Contra investigation, but his successor did win the next election.
• Clinton's approval remained on the same rising trajectory it had before impeachment began, but his successor "lost" the next election.

That's the entirety of the comparable historical evidence we have. Maybe one concludes this is evidence that impeachment-scale hearings do hurt their target a bit, maybe one concludes it doesn't make much of a difference, but it certainly doesn't amount to any general evidence of backfiring. Basically, we don't really know what the public opinion effects would be in either direction, and anyone who believes otherwise is yet again making a type 1 error. So (IMHO) we might as well leave behind the evidence-less pragmatism and do the right thing.
posted by chortly at 6:20 PM on May 29 [35 favorites]


@Taniel:
Is everyone properly celebrating that ≈80,000 people across 2 states regained the right to vote this week? And that in the future thousands more will regain the vote years earlier than they would have otherwise (IF they ever would have)?
[...]
To spell something out: This is far beyond what FL did. Amendment 4 was SUPER-important, but it enfranchised *most* people post-sentence (& then the legislature narrowed initiative)

Here, CO & NV legislatures enfranchised *all* people ppl-sentence, AND ppl on probation & parole.
posted by zachlipton at 7:23 PM on May 29 [39 favorites]


The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan.

I had no idea that it is named after three generations of McCains with the same first name. If you're going to give someone the button to nuclear weapons, you may as well give it to a mentally stable genius who doesn't hold grudges.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:28 PM on May 29 [20 favorites]


The point of Mueller testifying would be getting the seriously bad stuff in the report stated succinctly for news soundbites to help sway opinion rather than buried in pages and pages of a document few people have time to read.

And that's the crux - we're in Reality TV America, and we have our reality TV president. Evidence of his many, many crimes is voluminous and easy to find. But we don't want to bother.

I totally disagree with whatever plan Pelosi may be running, but one of the reasons is that in a very real, very tangible sense, the only thing that matters is the headline. The ONLY thing that matters. Is the Headline. One of the two party leaders is aware of this.

That's the goal, that's the touchdown, that's the win. Get the Headline. How many corporate news orgs do you have to have to beat Fox? A lot of them. A whole hell of a lot of them. Impeachment proceedings now, get it done.
posted by petebest at 8:02 PM on May 29 [14 favorites]


Mueller Bows Out: What Does Congress Do Now? (Ben Wittes, Lawfare)
Congress’s current strategy is an incoherent muddle. While individual Democratic leaders may well have their eye on the ball, the aggregate output of disparate committee chairs has reflected no discernable strategy. [...] In other words, fighting over the redactions in the Mueller report is a legal slog; it risks doing institutional damage; and it’s not likely to produce much that’s useful—especially because much of the redacted information is, in any event, available already to congressional leadership.

The better approach, in my view, is to focus on live testimony from witnesses who supplied the material about President Trump’s conduct that Mueller made public in the report—mostly but not exclusively in Volume II. There are a lot of these witnesses. Congress could easily hold weekly hearings that would be riveting television. Who knows? They might even get what the president most values in the world: good ratings. The goal would be to focus public attention on the president’s abuse of the intelligence and law enforcement communities and his individual conduct with respect to Russia. Such hearings could develop new information. They could also enrich our understanding of the existing factual record. They would serve to publicly validate and elucidate Mueller’s findings and, critically, to shift those findings from the voice of Mueller himself to the voice of the president’s closest aides. Perhaps most importantly, they would create a sustained vehicle for focusing on Trump’s conduct—which is, and needs to be, the central issue.

[...] Boiling all of this down, what emerges are a few simple guidepost principles for effective post-Mueller congressional oversight:

* First, don’t focus on piercing the redactions in the report. Take the deal the Justice Department is offering and check out the almost wholly unredacted version on offer.
* Second, focus instead on highlighting the presidential conduct described in the unredacted sections. Congress’s specific role right now is in holding live hearings that put flesh on the dry narrative bones of the Mueller report.
* Third, focus litigation efforts—as the House is already doing—on obliterating the president’s claims that he gets to second-guess the legitimacy of Congress’s legislative purpose and then on establishing that there is no principle of testimonial immunity for White House aides.
* Fourth, defer executive privilege litigation to the extent necessary by agreeing to limit questioning of White House aides to matters specifically covered by the Mueller report. Litigate later, if need be, over additional testimony from these witnesses.

Proceeding in accordance with these principles would give coherence to congressional investigative efforts. It would avoid getting bogged down in the quicksand in which Trump has sought to mire these efforts.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:20 PM on May 29 [16 favorites]


Clinton's approval remained on the same rising trajectory it had before impeachment began, but his successor "lost" the next election.

Everyone knew Clinton was impeached for bullshit reasons and he was 20 points more popular than Trump.

Gore should've tied himself closely to the Clinton administration's accomplishments while making a distinction between them and Clinton's personal conduct. Choosing Clinton scold Joe Lieberman was buying into a narrative he did not have to and should not have. And he still won the popular vote.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:35 PM on May 29 [27 favorites]


Couple of points:

1) These things have to be boiled down to single issue sound-bites. We live in a Twitter/Slack world and if you have more than one point in a message it's all just a buncha blah blah blah. Hearings generate sound-bites, so do that.

2) Concentrating on the Mueller Report and its very circumscribed findings really constrains the discussion. For instance, how about the fact that Trump is all mobbed up? There is kompromat on that guy from a dozen differnt different directions. Any and all of them are impeachable. Election interference is just the tip of the iceberg.

Whether to impeach now, well, eh, I dunno. But to start impeachment inquiries is a no-brainer.
posted by sjswitzer at 8:39 PM on May 29 [11 favorites]


I found it concerning that Mueller apparently believes it is unconstitutional to indict the president. No one, outside of Barr and Giuliani, believes that to be true. DOJ policy? Fine. Unconstitutional? No way.

Also, his plea that he not be publicly questioned. Are you kidding me? You just finished an investigation into whether or not the president committed crimes. You don't think people have questions or want clarification? You didn't think this was going to be a part of the job?

Unfortunately, Mueller must be brought to the stand, because he must be made to spell out what he has decided he cannot openly say. Did you define obstruction in your report? Yes. Did you say Trump did x? Yes. Does that meet your definition of obstruction? Yes. Great! Thank you!

And his press briefing has had an impact. Conservative headlines have moved from "No collusion! Trump exonerated!" to "Not innocent?!" which is surely an improvement.
posted by xammerboy at 8:53 PM on May 29 [37 favorites]


I know that people are highly anxious, desperate, in fact, to predict the future, but can we stop trying to extrapolate the outcome of impeachment from a single-digit data set of highly dissimilar previous examples? It's madness. And it's maddening.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:08 PM on May 29 [25 favorites]


If Mueller's report was a cry for Congress to take up obstruction charges without being able to say as much, then surely his speech today was a cry for Congress to subpoena and put him on the stand. Make him reluctantly and with heavy heart articulate the evidence of obstruction and explain in great detail what standard practice would be were the subject not the President. If he believes his reputation requires him to play the reluctant martyr, so be it: drag him out and "force" him to do what he so clearly wants to be forced to do.
posted by chortly at 9:17 PM on May 29 [56 favorites]


can we stop trying to extrapolate the outcome of impeachment from a single-digit data set of highly dissimilar previous examples? It's madness. And it's maddening.

...Agreed, and can we do the same with Presidential elections in general? We've only had 58 total Presidential elections so far and only 45 Presidents. A third of them were elected before slavery was outlawed. Three quarters of them presided over less than 50 states. We've only had five Presidencies in which the World-wide Web existed and only three with social media.

And we're certainly in uncharted territory now. Let's do what's right instead of doing what worked in 1976.
posted by mmoncur at 9:30 PM on May 29 [43 favorites]


I was hoping to read a comment along the lines of chortly’s. Seems like Mueller is begging Congress to act, including bringing him and colleagues in for testimony. He knows it will have more weight than the written report. That’s why he spoke today.
posted by pmburns222 at 9:56 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


I think you're likely constructing a narrative which you want to be true in much the same was as the people who come up with stories about how Speaker Pelosi is actually running a super secret plan to impeach Trump. Mueller is reported to strongly believe he should testify privately. His public words today are that any public testimony will not go beyond what is in his report and that the report is his public testimony. The most straightforward and clear interpretation is to believe what the guy is saying that he wants to testify in private.

The only way to get from "multiple sources report that Mueller wants to testify privately" and "this is my report and I will not go further if made to testify publicly" to "PLEASE MAKE ME TESTIFY PUBLICLY I WANT TO SPILL THE BEANS" is, I think, motivated reasoning.
posted by Justinian at 10:41 PM on May 29 [20 favorites]


It’s decorative impeachment season, motherfuckers. As per usual, McSweeney’s is pretty on the money with their appeal to congress.
posted by misterpatrick at 10:43 PM on May 29 [27 favorites]


Please, Br'er Pelosi, don't fling me in that brier-patch.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:08 PM on May 29 [4 favorites]


The Mueller Syllogism:

1. If Trump were innocent, we would say so.
2. If Trump is guilty, we will say nothing.
3.
posted by Brachinus at 4:08 AM on May 30 [36 favorites]


Even though I have been very disappointed by NPR in recent years, I still have them on as background noise in the morning. I have, as of late, noticed that they are being much more likely to push back against the GOP/Trump cabinet people they have on the air. Someone was just interviewing one of Trump's staffers about the Mueller report and ended up making about five re-directs and "well, actually"'s on his statements during the interview, even talking over him at one point to do so ("well, actually not being charged is not the same as being exonerated for something but going on...") It's almost a hopeful sign.

Spotted elsewhere on the Internet - a Facebook acquaintance equated the Mueller report to the mirror of Erised.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:18 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


It’s decorative impeachment season, motherfuckers. As per usual, McSweeney’s is pretty on the money with their appeal to congress.

This is also good: If Conservatives Talked About Other Issues the Way They Talk About Climate Change
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:28 AM on May 30 [14 favorites]


Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X outvoted older generations in 2018 midterms < Pew Research Center

"Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers all set records for turnout in a midterm election in 2018. Turnout rates increased the most for the Millennial generation, roughly doubling between 2014 and 2018 – from 22% to 42%. Among Generation Z, 30% of those eligible to vote (those ages 18 to 21 in this analysis) turned out in the first midterm election of their adult lives. And for the first time in a midterm election, more than half of Gen Xers reported turning out to vote. While turnout tends to increase with age, every age group also voted at higher rates than in 2014, and the increase was more pronounced among younger adults."
posted by Harry Caul at 4:57 AM on May 30 [38 favorites]


Yesterday everyone in the media and politics were talking somberly about the merits and appearance of oversight and impeachment.

Right now the President is throwing a whiny-baby-tantrum on the White House lawn.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:46 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


I think you're likely constructing a narrative which you want to be true in much the same was as the people who come up with stories about how Speaker Pelosi is actually running a super secret plan to impeach Trump. Mueller is reported to strongly believe he should testify privately. His public words today are that any public testimony will not go beyond what is in his report and that the report is his public testimony. The most straightforward and clear interpretation is to believe what the guy is saying that he wants to testify in private.

Also a reminder is in order once again that Mueller is both a lifelong Republican and a career law enforcement guy. He will have to be subpoenaed to testify publicly because everything indicates he does not want voluntarily to go against either of his lifelong teams.

SO MAKE IT INVOLUNTARY.

Stop letting people without actual power dictate the terms of their participation in an investigation regarding national security and a possible treasonous attack on the fabric of democracy.

I couldn't care less what Robert Mueller wants. I care 100% about what Robert Mueller knows. Crack that head open in public.
posted by srboisvert at 5:53 AM on May 30 [44 favorites]


The weird logic here is that if more Americans were, um, readers, as opposed to Fox News viewers -- or even NYT readers! -- then we wouldn't be in a position where the lead author of a long report has to stand in front of a lectern and read verbatim from the assigned text. It's an extended demonstration of "if it's not on television, it didn't happen" and whatever Mueller himself prefers, he's going to have to do some more verbatim reading in front of the cameras.
posted by holgate at 5:54 AM on May 30 [25 favorites]


Morning tweets:
The Greatest Presidential Harassment in history. After spending $40,000,000 over two dark years, with unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation, highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!

Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax...And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media,.....

....say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist, this horrendous false acquisition, and he shouldn’t fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!
Of note: Mueller said explicitly yesterday that he would not have brought charges, Trump admits that Russia helped him to get elected, and 'fighting back,' in this context, means supporting Russian election interference and obstructing justice.
posted by box at 5:58 AM on May 30 [15 favorites]


I had nothing to do with

Russia helping me to get elected.


And as per usual, Trump own-goals in his own defense. He (unintentionally?) acknowledges that Russia did, in fact, help him get elected, whether he had a part in it or not. Which runs counter to his "I was elected because everybody loves me" or "Crooked Hillary was the beneficiary of Russia's meddling, not me" statements.

Not that it matters a whit to his base, but.

false acquisition

I got nothing here. Maybe he means to say false accusation?
posted by Rykey at 6:10 AM on May 30 [23 favorites]


I'm reluctant about Mueller testifying -- or to be precise, I'm ambivalent on the notion that it matters. And that's precisely because I think impeachment need to happen, and I can foresee multiple ways that his testimony just adds to excuses not to do so, where plowing ahead sans Mueller leaves multiple avenues open.

I can already picture the SNL skit about any public testimony... Their Robert de Niro take on Mueller reads a relatively damning excerpt. House Democrats say "Yes, and? Does that mean we should impeach? It can't look like it comes from us!" He gives an equivocal, "non-political" response. Democrats whisper-yell "Just tell us what to doooo!"

By contrast, the larger organized-crime connections that sjswitzer brought up are right there. Plus, the Epstein and Yang threads really need to be pulled at more, even if high-profile Democrats are caught up in it, as may be the case. And there's always emoluments! Framing the Kremlin stuff as the beginning and end of the president's unfitness is a tactic lending itself to the defenses we see now, that if there was no criminal conspiracy then any obstruction was just "fighting back".

(That said, I do respect the logic of picking one thing and sticking to it -- as it turns out, having every possible flaw has been a small advantage for Individual-1 because it means his opponents lose focus, and meanwhile the public is conditioned to categorize famous people into simple boxes -- "He can't be the corrupt one and the racist one, make up your minds!".)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:14 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


"I mean, there was the time I openly asked Russia to hack my electoral opponent on live television, but that was just locker room talk."
posted by delfin at 6:15 AM on May 30 [27 favorites]


I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.

This is notable as the first time Trump has conceded that Russia interfered in the election on his behalf. The media immediately picked up on this, hence his follow-up performance for reporters outside the White House. He's realized he screwed up and is now throwing as much dust into the air to obscure it.

Vox's Aaron Rupar has a thread with video clip highlights:
—Trump calls members of Robert Mueller's team "some of the worst human beings on Earth."
—Trump flatly denies a tweet he posted just an hour earlier, now claims "Russia did not help me get elected."
—Asked about report that Navy was asked to move a ship named after John McCain during his recent trip to Japan, Trump denies involvement, but goes on to trash John McCain
—TRUMP: "There is nobody -- ever -- been more tough or difficult for Russia than Donald Trump."
—TRUMP: "Some day you ought to read a thing called Article 2. Read Article 2. Which gives the president powers that you wouldn't believe. But I don't even have to rely on Article 2. There was no crime."
It's instructive to watch Trump in action here. Although he's clearly angry and scared, he still tries to work the crowd of reporters (shaking the hand of one of them, thanking him for being fair). He even concluded with a long rant about immigration as something to distract the media and his base from Mueller's public statement yesterday.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:24 AM on May 30 [32 favorites]


Yesterday I stayed at my brother's house, and we were home alone. Normally when we are together, our siblings, spouses and children are there, and though it's over several days, we do stuff, eat a lot, and generally have fun. This is the first time for ages I saw my everyday brother. He even worked.
He's a smart person, he thinks about stuff, he earns money, he loves his family. He rides his bike and has fun with his friends. He follows the news very, very superficially. He does not read long form articles in the paper, even as he subscribes to a progressive paper. He sees the news, but then he shifts to sports or movies. In his own words: his vote goes to people who want to tax the rich, but that's where it ends. Policy details are beyond his interests.

This was a long introduction to a short point: Mueller needs to be on the news, not in a report. Normal hard-working good people do not spend time thinking about politics. They are interested, but they prioritize differently.
posted by mumimor at 6:39 AM on May 30 [57 favorites]


Cool, cool.
Key allies who share intelligence with the United States could soon be dragged into the middle of Attorney General Bill Barr's politically-charged Justice Department review of how the Russia investigation began.

President Donald Trump has said he wants Barr to look into the role key intelligence partners, including the United Kingdom and Australia, played in the origins of Russia probe. He has said he could raise the issue with the British Prime Minister Theresa May during his state visit next week and suggested he may ask her about his accusation that Britain spied on his 2016 presidential campaign.

In describing the scope of Barr's mission to declassify and study the pre-election Obama-era intelligence, among several other topics, Trump told reporters, "I hope he looks at the UK and I hope he looks at Australia and I hope he looks at Ukraine."
posted by chris24 at 6:48 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


This is notable as the first time Trump has conceded that Russia interfered in the election on his behalf.

Honestly, I think this is reading a bit more into this than is warranted. It's definitely sloppy syntax from an ignorant, deteriorating mind, but I think idiomatically this isn't the first time I've heard people say "I had nothing to do with Presumedly Counterfactual Thing X" (whether or not Presumedly Counterfactual Thing X was actually a real thing that they may or may not have been involved in).

I loathe speaking in even the mildest defense of this raging asshole, in any way, but I think this may be being interpreted as a psychological slip-up leading to a Gotcha! because we want it to be, when it's really just more verbal diarrhea from someone who couldn't rhetoric his way out of a wet paper sack.

Or maybe I'm just overly cynical and skeptical this morning. We still need to ITMFA.
posted by jammer at 6:51 AM on May 30 [22 favorites]


We now have conclusive proof regarding why the administration sought to put the citizenship question on the census:
WASHINGTON — Thomas B. Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country.

But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision. - nyt
posted by odinsdream at 6:56 AM on May 30 [92 favorites]


Read the article, it's fascinating how many things this actually explains.
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


I think that people in general and perhaps Republicans in particular would believe Mueller saying something happened (even if he were only reading from the report) more than they would if a Congressperson were saying it. I don't think Mueller has the taint of partisanship as much as politicians, and even with Trump's trashing of him I think he would have more influence with the general public. The Democrats read the report out loud, that didn't seem to make any waves in the media at all.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 7:09 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


In addition to his bizarre blustering about Mueller and Russian interference, Trump ranted incoherently about impeachment at length:
Aaron Rupar: Trump reveals he has absolutely no clue how impeachment works, says, "I can't imagine the courts allowing it." (The courts have nothing to do with impeachment, which is the domain of Congress.)

ABC News Politics (w/video): "I don't see how. They can because they're possibly allowed ... I can't imagine the courts allowing it," Trump says when asked if he will be impeached.

"To me, it's a dirty word, the word 'impeach.' It's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word*," he adds
* Note that psychologically, people with a conservative mindset react more strongly than the liberal-minded to terms connoting sickness and disgust. Trump is also implying that anyone who uses this shibboleth is dirty, filthy, and disgusting, too.

The Atlantic's Yoni Applebaum (Impeach Donald Trump) appreciates the dire implications of Trump's ignorance: "I am genuinely alarmed that no one seems to have explained to the president of the United States the basic principles of impeachment as a constitutional mechanism. So here’s a small refresher."
—The president “can’t imagine the courts allowing it.” But the Framers quite deliberately vested the power of impeachment in the House, and of trial in the Senate. “The courts” have no role to play here whatsoever.
—The president says, "It's high crimes AND misdemeanors, not high crimes OR misdemeanors.” Which is true! But it’s not a dual requirement, it’s an eighteenth-century legal term of art.
—He insists “there was no high crime, and there was no misdemeanor.” But not all impeachable offenses are statutory crimes; not all statutory crimes are impeachable offenses. The president is making a basic category error here.
As a legal strategy, Trump might as well be citing Moon Law. As propaganda to confuse and demoralize the American public, this bafflegab might be his only recourse.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:16 AM on May 30 [35 favorites]


I loathe speaking in even the mildest defense of this raging asshole, in any way, but I think this may be being interpreted as a psychological slip-up leading to a Gotcha! because we want it to be, when it's really just more verbal diarrhea from someone who couldn't rhetoric his way out of a wet paper sack.

Why did he delete it, then?
posted by Etrigan at 7:16 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


This all makes me think about the Pelosi 'self-impeachment' line, which is that he's losing his shit / decompensating in this middle state of being obviously impeachable but not-yet-facing-impeachment, and that it's actually more reassuring for a narcissist to be confronted than to have a confrontation left hanging. But that's a big fucking gamble.
posted by holgate at 7:25 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Why did he delete it, then?
That tweet doesn't seem to have been deleted, it's still up for 2 hrs now. Unless there's something else about how Twitter works I don't understand.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:26 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Why did he delete it, then?
That tweet doesn't seem to have been deleted, it's still up for 2 hrs now. Unless there's something else about how Twitter works I don't understand.


Looks like he did delete it (all the coverage I saw on Twitter was "He deleted it, but here's a screenshot"), but then reposted it, perhaps to thread?
posted by Etrigan at 7:29 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Rufous-headed Towhee heehee: I don't think Mueller has the taint of partisanship as much as politicians, and even with Trump's trashing of him I think he would have more influence with the general public.

The problem is that Mueller is like the somewhat-in-denial family member of an alcoholic. His preferred outcome is that the person get treatment, but the last thing he wants is to confront that person, or anyone else. Instead, he figures, it simply can't go on like this. They'll hit rock bottom on their own and that will make them see reason. I don't have to make any waves.

Lots of people envisioned him as stepping in and saving the republic; he envisions the same thing, with a disembodied Someone Else instead of himself. There was a surprising shakiness in his voice yesterday. So I don't know what happens if he's asked to read from the report on television and what the impact is, because he's going to be scared of the idea that he is the one who makes the impact.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:38 AM on May 30 [16 favorites]


Potential answers to to burning questions:

1. Why does Pelosi not want to start Impeachment hearings?

She may fear that it will be difficult to sustain for a year and a half, and wants to wait to start until there are exactly as many months left to the election as it will take to complete the hearings. What that time frame might be is open to question, of course. This strategy would not work if she openly admitted it.

2. Why does Mueller want to testify on private?

He might feel free to speculate, to advise on how to dig for more dirt than his constraints allowed, and to give details that he distrusts giving publicly for perception reasons. The House could invite him to testify in private, and if unsatisfied with his testimony, subpoena him to testify publicly.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:43 AM on May 30 [6 favorites]


Why did he delete it, then?
That tweet doesn't seem to have been deleted, it's still up for 2 hrs now. Unless there's something else about how Twitter works I don't understand.

Looks like he did delete it (all the coverage I saw on Twitter was "He deleted it, but here's a screenshot"), but then reposted it, perhaps to thread?


The deletion/republishing has been attributed to removing the typo/brain shart that was "false acquisition" and replacing it with "false accusation"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:44 AM on May 30 [9 favorites]


Trump thinks the courts might save him from impeachment. It doesn’t work like that. (Aaron Rupar, Vox)
The president is profoundly confused about the Constitution.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:49 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


I'm surprised how many smart people on Twitter think Trump's "I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected" is a game changer. It's going to be out of the news tomorrow. His spokespeople will explain "what he really meant," and we'll be talking about whatever crazy thing he's saying or doing as I'm typing this.
posted by diogenes at 8:16 AM on May 30 [15 favorites]


scalefree: DOE now calling natural gas “freedom gas.” Not a joke.

US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as 'molecules of freedom' -- Press release from department said increasing export capacity is ‘critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world’ ( Luke O'Neil for The Guardian, 29 May 2019)
Mark W Menezes, the US undersecretary of energy, bestowed a peculiar honorific on our continent’s natural resources, dubbing it “freedom gas” in a release touting the DoE’s approval of increased exports of natural gas produced by a Freeport LNG terminal off the coast of Texas.

“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,” he said.
Tastes great with a side of Freedom Fries (Wikipedia). Trolling the libs, or just a super patriot (pic of Mad Magazine page from 1968, which reminds us that self-proclaimed PATRIOTS are still as scared of Those Others as they are today).

Anyway, while everyone focuses on the "freedom gas" and "molecules of freedom" bits, no one seems to be covering the fact that the company said it would be the fifth-largest producer of LNG globally, and DOE recently approved the new plant for exports (Marissa Luck for Houston Chronicle, May 29, 2019). This does nothing for US energy security, so it's like the DOE is issuing a press release for a US company exporting coal overseas. Except this is "clean energy." Except it's not all that clean, if you look at the lifecycle costs (Reuters, 2011):
Burning LNG in power plants produces roughly 40 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared with black coal. This is based on a series of studies that compared the total lifecycle emissions of both fuels based on extraction, production, shipping and burning in power plants overseas.
So yeah, DOE press release for US product shipping overseas, supporting increased global emissions. Can you smell that freedom?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 AM on May 30 [9 favorites]


The president is profoundly confused about the Constitution.

Trump was in full-on sales mode this morning. What he was selling is the idea that the impeachment process depends on an imaginary checklist that is impossible to satisfy. He was making the process, if and when it happens, feel arbitrary, illegitimate, and repulsive to the people who pay attention to what he says. Aaron Rupar isn't new at this, he should know that Trump wasn't expressing confusion, he was creating confusion.
posted by peeedro at 8:21 AM on May 30 [21 favorites]


We now have conclusive proof regarding why the administration sought to put the citizenship question on the census: (nyt)

Holy shit. It's not often you see an actual smoking gun memo. I think this might make the citizenship question a bridge too far for Roberts, who generally prefers that conservative policies have a veneer of respectability or at least the fig leaf of proper procedure.

Also, please let this be the first of many family members of Republican operatives going public with the ugly truth behind their policy goals.
posted by jedicus at 8:25 AM on May 30 [56 favorites]


> The president is profoundly confused about the Constitution.

> TRUMP: "Some day you ought to read a thing called Article 2. Read Article 2. Which gives the president powers that you wouldn't believe.

I wonder if he has any idea at all about what's in Article 1, and how he would feel if someone told him what was in there.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:26 AM on May 30 [11 favorites]


I'm surprised how many smart people on Twitter think Trump's "I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected" is a game changer. It's going to be out of the news tomorrow. His spokespeople will explain "what he really meant," and we'll be talking about whatever crazy thing he's saying or doing as I'm typing this.

A lot of people have been saying all along that the argument was going to "evolve" something like: "There was no communication with Russia!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia, but not by important people!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia by important people, but it wasn't about interference in the election!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia by important people about interference in the election, but not by Trump himself!" --> "Okay, Trump did it, but he didn't know it was a crime" --> "Okay, he knew it was a crime, but...", ad infinitum. This is another thing that changes the game. It doesn't end the game, but it means the Overton Window is moving, just a little.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on May 30 [19 favorites]


Holy shit. It's not often you see an actual smoking gun memo. I think this might make the citizenship question a bridge too far for Roberts, who generally prefers that conservative policies have a veneer of respectability or at least the fig leaf of proper procedure.

Eh, I wouldn't be so sure. In Shelby, there was evidence that lawmakers from at least one state used explicitly racist language when discussing voter suppression laws, and he still ended up leading the charge in gutting the VRA.

Don't count on Roberts to make the right decision, especially when it can be used to disenfranchise voters, and doubly so when those voters are PoC.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:33 AM on May 30 [19 favorites]


Let's do the time warp, but this time with Barr lying to, or at least misleading, Congress:
In Mueller’s telling, a Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted guided his investigation and informed his decision not to reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice.

[...] “Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us … that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction,” Barr told a Senate panel in early May.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:34 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]


Concentrating on the Mueller Report and its very circumscribed findings really constrains the discussion. For instance, how about the fact that Trump is all mobbed up? [...] Election interference is just the tip of the iceberg.

Agreed and this is the strategy I would like to see the Democrats pursue in the near term, not rushing for an impeachment hearing based on the election interference / Russia angle alone. Sure, I think that's more than enough for impeachment, but the American public doesn't seem to agree, and there's no way it'll generate enough public pressure to get the required number of Republicans to cave.

But broadening the scope of the Congressional inquiries from pure election interference to more general questions about the President's vulnerability to influence, via the Trump Organization and other business dealings, compromising personal conduct, etc., could be an amazing shitshow, in the best possible way. Trump will claim it's a witch hunt, but of course he already does that to literally everything; he doesn't have much dry powder there.

In particular I think there is a key voting demographic who are supportive of Trump but likely to be disgusted by his personal conduct, and the more airtime that's focused on the depths of his debauchery and immorality, the more you can peel off those voters. Not in the sense of actually flipping them to Ds, but if you keep beating the drum that Trump is pretty much literally the Antichrist, they might just decide to stay home in November '20. And that's a win: every pro-life Evangelical who just gets disgusted with politics and keeps their god-bothering ass indoors is a victory for the forces of secular civilization. So let's get cracking on those pee tapes and condomless porn-star sex; the media—even Fox—will never be able to resist giving that saturation (snicker) coverage.

And to anticipate a likely response: no, I don't think that this is just more of the same, and no, I don't think that every potential Trump voter already knows this and has decided to go Trump uber alles. Again, we're not trying to convince anyone to go pull the other lever come Election Day; it's just about instilling fatigue in Trumpistan, of producing enough sex/lies/tape to keep the media 100% focused on how much of a shitbag he is, of making that the entire public narrative about him, and getting as many of his supporters to just stay the fuck home.

It might also drive him totally insane, too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:39 AM on May 30 [20 favorites]


Conservatives Stunned by Mueller Suggesting Trump Is Not Innocent (NYTMag)

What so vexed the right about Mueller’s curt affirmation of his previous conclusions? The answer, as we’ll see, seems to be that they believed their own propaganda about what Mueller had (and had not) found. Presented even briefly with reality, their minds have reeled in shock.

The preface is what Mueller believes; that he was never going to charge Trump with a crime. Further, that the role of SCO was to provide all the evidence for Congresss to decide that. To be fair - I don't think any of us were aware that Mueller was never going to charge Trump (and: *bonus opinion unlocked!* that's bullshit, yo. But he gave his bullshit reasons so whatevs).

By all indications, the conservative intelligentsia has failed to read the report and believes the misleading spin emanating from the president and his loyal attorney general. Shortly after Mueller finished speaking, National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke complained, “Investigators are supposed to look for evidence that a crime was committed, and, if they don’t find enough to contend that a crime was committed, they are supposed to say ‘We didn’t find enough to contend that a crime was committed’ … If a person doesn’t have enough evidence that someone committed a crime to contend that a crime was committed, he is obliged to presume his innocence.”

Of course. But the explanation for this apparent paradox, which apparently hasn’t crossed Cooke’s mind, is that Mueller does have evidence that Trump committed crimes. Pages and pages and pages of evidence, in fact.


Following are several examples of the leading conservative lights of Turmplandia and their apparent befuddled amazeballment. Next up: Everyone's favorite Dersh!

Dershowitz proceeds from his confusion to complain that Mueller’s insinuation that Trump committed high crimes could only be resolved through “a full adversarial trial with a zealous defense attorney, vigorous cross-examination, exclusionary rules of evidence, and other due process safeguards.” That process is called impeachment.

Dershowitz is describing the reason why Mueller is leaving the decision to prosecute the crimes he discovered to Congress. Because Dershowitz cannot surrender his belief in Trump’s innocence, he sees Mueller as carrying out an unfathomable Kafkaesque travesty, rather than a straightforward application of the system of processing presidential crimes.


All-in-all a good article to a) Get outside the MeFi bubble and virtually visit the vipers' dens of DeepTrump srs people who are srsly thinking Trump's great, b) a breakdown of why these supposedly intelligent people would get to this point three years in and not have a clue as to what Trump-Russia is about, and c) a preview of the many, many, many people who will appear after one of several things happen to state, apparently truthfully, that they had no idea Trump was so bad.

All of them are stinging indictments of America, but hey. We yam who we yam.
posted by petebest at 8:44 AM on May 30 [25 favorites]


Mueller simply must testify - as of about 10 minutes ago i would have been happy to have him literally read from his report but now i think even he would have to admit that the report alone is insufficient to satisfy congressional oversight:

@realdonaldtrump: Robert Mueller came to the Oval Office (along with other potential candidates) seeking to be named the Director of the FBI. He had already been in that position for 12 years, I told him NO. The next day he was named Special Counsel - A total Conflict of Interest. NICE!

That part wasnt addressed in the report, right?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:44 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


Yeah Bannon told Trump to tell him "no" because he knew Meuller was a no nonsense guy who would not bend to Trump's corruption and would probably crack open the Russia thing to boot.

Remember back when competent evil versus demented asshole was a talking point? Man, it seems like it was 50 years ago.
posted by petebest at 8:52 AM on May 30 [6 favorites]


it's just about instilling fatigue in Trumpistan, of producing enough sex/lies/tape to keep the media 100% focused on how much of a shitbag he is

Honestly I don't have any idea why this hasn't been the ongoing narrative already. It isn't even like there was any need for new info to do this, Trump's been a scumbag his whole life and there've been reports showing this since at least the 80's. Keep bringing up every scummy thing he's done loudly and repeatedly and make him deny it, since you know he'll take the bait. Just go after him non-stop until people are sick of hearing his name. That's what the Republicans did to Hillary when there wasn't much other than her being a woman and a Clinton to go on while Trump has a full history of scandal and corruption. I mean Biden ain't gonna do that since he's busy chasing centrist unicorns, but that shouldn't stop others from doing it.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:54 AM on May 30 [9 favorites]


we'll be talking about whatever crazy thing he's saying or doing as I'm typing this.

Trump will be delivering graduation remarks later today to the US Airforce Academy. It's a safe bet they'll be nuttier than a squirrel's breakfast.

As for how Trump takes advantage of the 24-hour newsvortex, the New Republic interviewed veteran Washington Post editor Barry Sussman about this: The Watergate Editor on How Trump “Leads the Press Around by the Nose” (TNR)
The problem is the media have allowed Trump to set the agenda. When he changes the subject, they change the subject. They follow him wherever he goes. He leads the press around by the nose. That was even true on the Russia investigation. How many weeks did we go, months, where there were front-page stories questioning whether Trump would even testify? Imbeciles like Giuliani were getting press attention as though they had something to say, when all they were doing was trying to stretch things out and humiliate the press. That’s my main difficulty, not only with the Russia investigation but with everything else.[…]

[T]he press doesn’t stay with the story long enough. It’s again a case of them being led around by the nose by Trump. If his taxes show the kind of fraud that some people think could be there, and the press writes about it, that’s not a one-day story. That’s not a two-day story. It’s a story that they have to get into, dig deep, and actually it’s dealt with properly, incrementally.

If they write what they find and keep finding more, then Trump won’t be able to change the subject and it will take effect.
In addition, Sussman is naturally a first-rate expert on Nixon's downfall and perceptively contrasts his case with Trump's as far as how impeachment really played out.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:55 AM on May 30 [29 favorites]


New Hampshire has just abolished the death penalty, 21st state to do so.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:57 AM on May 30 [70 favorites]


A lot of people have been saying all along that the argument was going to "evolve" something like: "There was no communication with Russia!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia, but not by important people!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia by important people, but it wasn't about interference in the election!" --> "Okay, there was communication with Russia by important people about interference in the election, but not by Trump himself!" --> "Okay, Trump did it, but he didn't know it was a crime" --> "Okay, he knew it was a crime, but...", ad infinitum. This is another thing that changes the game. It doesn't end the game, but it means the Overton Window is moving, just a little.

We are about two and a half weeks away from Trump patiently explaining "Crazy Nancy and her Angry Democrats are not legally allowed to impeach me, because the gold fringe on the flag in the House of Representatives indicates that their only jurisdiction is over ADMIRALTY law" to a gaggle of bemused reporters.
posted by delfin at 9:00 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


Julian Assange is not doing well in prison ("WikiLeaks' Assange too ill to appear via video link in U.S. extradition hearing", Reuters)

“He’s in fact far from well,” Assange’s lawyer, Gareth Peirce told Westminster Magistrates’ Court. She earlier told Reuters he was too ill to attend the hearing by videolink.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who was presiding over the case, added: “He’s not very well.”

... Britain’s Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on individual prisoners. However, a government source said that although Assange was on the prison’s health wing, he was eating normally and was receiving the same diet as other inmates.


And in related news, Federal judge Emmet Sullivan who is trying the Michael Flynn case has given a deadline of tomorrow for the DoJ to hand over redacted parts of the Mueller report relating to Flynn. Wheeeee.
posted by petebest at 9:08 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


Tom Scocca: Nobody Knows What’s Going to Happen
It’s true, and important to remember, that individual pieces of the Trump situation have happened before. The George W. Bush administration’s effort to bring about the invasion of Iraq was as thorough a set of lies as anything Trump has said, and the death toll from it was considerably higher; Iran-Contra was an unambiguous conspiracy with foreign powers to flagrantly break the law; Ronald Reagan occupied the office in a state of mental decline that left him unable to separate fact from fiction; John F. Kennedy appointed his own brother as Attorney General; Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon was a more blatant and destructive abuse of presidential power than any of the obstructions Trump has come up with so far.

But false cynicism is just another form of false innocence now. No other president has ever combined this full suite of features—endless partisan antagonism, an anti-majoritarian base, mental decline, functional incompetence, financial corruption, personal corruption, misuse of authority, nepotism, constant lying—with the powers of the modern imperial presidency, a disciplined and purely factional party, and committed mass-media propaganda operations to back them up. Even Nixon tried to do his scheming behind closed doors, with a sense that the system would turn against him if it witnessed his worst. Trump assumes his own impunity, and defies the system to do anything about it.

And the system, as written and ratified, says that the thing to do is impeachment. This is why impeachment exists. If you believe impeachment can’t work, why would you believe anything else could?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:29 AM on May 30 [47 favorites]


Thursday morning blackmail edition. Hartford Courant, Lembo says threat by Cigna CEO to leave Connecticut kills public option health legislation, though insurer denies ‘anything like that’, in which Connecticut's public option bill is dead and the state's Comptroller says Cigna threatened to move their headquarters out of the state if the legislature passed it.
posted by zachlipton at 9:56 AM on May 30 [12 favorites]


Concentrating on the Mueller Report and its very circumscribed findings really constrains the discussion. For instance, how about the fact that Trump is all mobbed up? [...] Election interference is just the tip of the iceberg.

How about the fact that Trump is named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the extensive factual exposition of the Cohen guilty plea and that Trump and his attorneys have confirmed and not disputed that Trump participated in and directed a criminal conspiracy to commit not just campaign violations that Trump contends are not illegal, but undisputably illegal acts including: Wire fraud, mail fraud, and tax fraud? It is undisputed that Trump directed Cohen to fraudulently structure and mischaracterize the Stormy Daniels NDA payment reimbursement for the express purpose of tax evasion and directed Cohen to draft and wire or mail fraudulent attorneys fee statements deliberately mischaracterizing the reimbursement as being a payment for fees for legal services rendered, in installments, with a true-up payment to account for Cohen's income tax that he would owe when he and Trump both lied to the IRS about the nature of the payment.

Indictment of a vast criminal enterprise by catching its leaders submitting fraudulent attorney's fee invoices is literally the plot of one of the most popular legal thriller novel and films ever made, for crying out loud. It's the plot of a Tom Cruise movie, yet nobody seems to have noticed it because, what, the sex and campaign finance angles are just too distracting? The most famous mobster in history was taken down by nailing him for tax fraud, and here we have the President undisputedly having committed tax fraud - with himself and his lawyers offering up the tax fraud as an explanation for why it shouldn't be considered a campaign finance violation. I mean come on. Where is anyone on this? And why wasn't Cohen charged with it?

Maybe there are problems with my theory. I don't know. I think I'm a fairly smart and knowledgeable person and a competent lawyer, and I've given a lot of thought to it. And I've run it by people who know the relevant criminal statues and procedures a lot better than I do - former federal prosecutors among them. But maybe I'm missing something.
posted by The World Famous at 10:10 AM on May 30 [62 favorites]


Here are the reactions to Mueller's statement from the top Dem primary candidates:

Fortune has published an up-to-date guide—Trump Impeachment: Where 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand

Here are some more responses from the second-tier candidates:

CNN, this morning (w/video): Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper: “I think we have to begin an impeachment inquiry ... I think it’d be crazy not to do it, to be quite honest. We have to go out and try to get the facts”

Julián Castro, with video of his MSNBC appearance yesterday: Congress has a constitutional duty to hold Donald Trump accountable if he broke the law. Robert Mueller's report made it abundantly clear: the ball is now in Congress's court—it's time to begin impeachment proceedings.

Beto O'Rourke, also with video of his MSNBC appearance yesterday: For more than a year, I have said I would vote to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Today's statement by Special Counsel Robert Mueller only added to the urgency. Congress must act.

Kirsten Galliband started a petition: Robert Mueller made himself clear: He expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to finish what he couldn't. We need to begin impeachment hearings. Add your name if you agree

Joe Biden: {crickets}

Still—his spox's wishwashy statement doesn't count. Maybe he genuinely believes in running a national unity campaign that can't afford to support impeachment hearings. If so, he's listening to readers of The Federalist, not Democrats (70% of whom favor impeachment according to a May 1st NPR/PBS/Marist poll).
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:16 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


How about the fact that Trump is named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the extensive factual exposition of the Cohen guilty plea

Trump was not named as an uninfected co-conspirator by the Grand Jury in the Cohen matter. The Watergate Grand Jury voted on and found Nixon to personally be a co-conspirator whom they did not indict.

The political fact is that Trump is helped, not hurt by the inevitable failure of the Senate to remove him.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:18 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


The Vox article on Trump's understanding of impeachment (or lack thereof) lays out a scenario that, on one hand, seems implausible, but at the same time scares the living shit out of me.

The article suggests Trumps "appeal to the Supreme Court" notion comes from a book, which suggests a President could wait until the SC affirms the Senate's decision. Setting aside, for a moment, that's not how this works, it plays out two different ways for me.

Good: If a Senate conviction/removal from office occurs, then the majority of the Senate, including GOP members, voted him out. The notion that he could count on The People to rise up is a bit diminished. It's clear that for the GOP in the Senate to show any moral strength, it would be when they are convinced they are more likely than not to be voted out by their constituents should they do otherwise. In that sense, the Senate would be a proxy for the people.

Further, I have a hard time believing the SC is so partisan at this point that it would effectively invent a step to the impeachment process out of whole cloth.

Bad: It's still a constitutional crisis. It could go either way. It removes a barrier to other checks on him. He may say "I'm postponing elections for two years because of all of this nonsense--the investigation 'paused' my time in office," and there is a chance the court would go along with it.

It also further entrenches in the minds of Trump supports the illegitimacy of anyone who isn't Trump. They can shop for an answer. I'll go so far as to say they might really do the rioting in the streets.
posted by MrGuilt at 10:19 AM on May 30


@BarakRavid [click to see photo]: Bibi with the map signed by Trump. Check out what Trump wrote next to the Golan Heights

He's drawn an arrow and written the word "Nice."
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 AM on May 30 [11 favorites]


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides in person over a presidential impeachment trial. There is nothing else for the courts would do. If 2/3 of the Senate votes to convict, they swear in the VP immediately, then go through the other charges and also decide whether to permanently bar the convicted person from government service.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:26 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


BuzzFeed, Hamed Aleaziz, Trump Is Considering Denying Asylum To Migrants Who Travel Through A Third Country
The Trump administration is considering a proposal that would bar asylum for those who transit through a third country, a potential major escalation in the administration’s attempts to deter asylum seekers, according to sources close to the administration.
...
Language in the proposal, which was described to BuzzFeed News, claims that migrants coming to the US transit through not just one country but through multiple countries in which they can seek some protection but do not make themselves available to that option despite their fears.

It includes an additional limitation on eligibility: those seeking asylum will be found ineligible if they have entered or attempted to enter the US after failing to apply for asylum or other protections in any country that is not the country of origin for the migrant and that they went through to get to the US.
...
DHS officials have raised concerns about the policy, which has been described as overly broad, including whether it would cover people who traveled through airports in other countries and pointing out that other countries do not offer full asylum protections.
posted by zachlipton at 10:36 AM on May 30 [8 favorites]


Tech giant brings software to a gun fight (WaPo):
On its website, Salesforce.com touts retailer Camping World as a leading customer of its business software, highlighting its use of products to help sales staff move product. A Camping World executive is even quoted calling Salesforce’s software “magic.”

But behind the scenes in recent weeks, the Silicon Valley tech giant has delivered a different message to gun-selling retailers such as Camping World: Stop selling military-style rifles, or stop using our software.
posted by kingless at 10:37 AM on May 30 [32 favorites]


My fervent hope is that, if Pelosi never pulls the impeachment trigger, then after Trump is booted from office in 2020 and a Dem is President, some of these prosecutions can actually move forward when he’s a civilian again.

Obstruction of Justice? Here’s the Mueller files, and you’re not President any more, chump, so you can be indicted.

Income tax evasion. Fraud. Money laundering. Suborning perjury. Witness tampering.

I have to believe there will be some measure of justice, in the end.

(Please don’t point out that the criminals of the Bush Jr. era — the war profiteers, the torturers, the wiretappers, the records-destroyers, the banksters — were never brought to justice. Let me have my hopes.)
posted by darkstar at 10:59 AM on May 30 [11 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler/emptywheel.net plays Devil's/Pelosi's advocate to explore potential reasons to hold off on impeaching Trump:

Two Factors That May Change the Impeachment Calculus, Part One: To Enforce a GOP Subpoena Covering a Trump Lie to Mueller
[W]ith Cohen, it will be very easy to show that Trump’s pardon offers led to a witness providing false testimony in response to a Congressional subpoena (false testimony made possibly only through parallel obstruction on the part of Trump’s business).

In other words, Cohen is a fairly strong case proving Trump successfully suborned perjury.

So with Cohen, there is all new evidence of Trump-related crimes: Trump’s sworn lies about Trump Tower Moscow to Mueller mirrored by Trump Organization’s defiance of a Republican issued Congressional subpoena on precisely that topic.
Two Factors That May Change the Impeachment Calculus, Part Two: Criminalizing a Roger Stone Pardon
All of which is to say, even assuming Friday’s testimony [from Andrew Miller] doesn’t lead to new charges, unless Trump finds a way to pre-empt Stone’s trial, it will mean some of the most damning information about Trump’s involvement in what Mueller didn’t charge as conspiracy but which by most definitions would count as “collusion” will get aired less than a year before the 2020 election.

Given how rock solid that Stone indictment is, there are just two ways to avoid that: for Stone to flip on Trump or others (though prosecutors are unlikely to give Stone a deal without vetting his claims after the way Paul Manafort abused the process, and it would be too late to flip on Assange). Or for Trump to pardon Stone.[…]

The political hit from a Stone trial — and the kind of pardon-related obstruction that Barr himself conducted to kill the Iran-Contra investigation — might well be enough for Trump to prefer the political hit of pardoning Stone. Democrats have one way of altering that calculus to ensure the Stone trial — with all the damning details of Trump’s actions it’ll reveal — happens as scheduled.
This isn't to say Wheeler's convinced herself about holding off on impeachment: "In my opinion, Democrats have to start that process, in part to have a ready response as Trump’s increasingly authoritarian approach to governing violates more and more foundational norms."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:00 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


"Folks do not want this yet."

Bluntly, "folks" will want whatever they're told to want, and rationalize it to themselves afterwards, just like they have always done. Right now they're being told not to want impeachment yet, nor indeed to want any direct action whatsoever, by Democrats who I can only assume do not want impeachment, nor any direct action whatsoever. If impeachment were a process that was already beginning, or certain to begin, suddenly many "folks" would claim to support it. "Folks" are flexible in that way.
posted by hyperbolic at 11:10 AM on May 30 [41 favorites]


CBS This Morning (w/video) has begun a rollout of Barr's campaign to publicly undercut Mueller:
NEW: Attorney General Barr tells @JanCBS he “personally felt” Special Counsel Robert Mueller “could've reached a decision” on obstruction of justice by President Trump.

More on @CBSEveningNews tonight and @CBSThisMorning Friday. #CTM
(Incidentally, I find it interesting that Barr has figured out that CBS is the most Trump-leaning of the three major networks and has gone to them rather than a Murdoch outlet.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:20 AM on May 30 [11 favorites]


Tinfoil hat department:

I decided to go ahead and follow Trump's exhortation to read Article II, since it's been a while. In general there is nothing particularly surprising there. It is hard for me to understand where he was coming up with the stuff about "gives the president powers that you wouldn't believe." It's mostly stuff about how he can't get a raise while in office, how electors are chosen, the oath of office, and of course the stuff we regularly hear about in terms of commander-in-chief and making treaties and appointing people (with Senate confirmation) and of course removal via impeachment.

The one piece that surprised me was the follow-on stuff after the State of the Union bit in Section 3: "he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper"

The alarmist in me gets very nervous with the idea of Trump being aware of having the power to adjourn Congress until he feels different, and worried that this might be what he had in mind this morning. I would not at all mind being talked down from this.
posted by nickmark at 11:28 AM on May 30 [39 favorites]




NEW: Attorney General Barr tells @JanCBS he “personally felt” Special Counsel Robert Mueller “could've reached a decision” on obstruction of justice by President Trump.


Since he's Attorney General, he has authority to change the DOJ policy that prohibited Mueller from doing so and directing Mueller to go ahead with it. Oh, he's not doing that? I see.
posted by The World Famous at 11:36 AM on May 30 [26 favorites]


Thanks, Doktor Zed, for the links to the Marcy Wheeler pieces. My problem with all of this is the complexity of all this. Is there a simple set of short bullet points anywhere, laying out the exact crimes Trump has clearly committed? Without that, there's no hope of explaining to and persuading the generally inattentive public...
posted by PhineasGage at 11:41 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


PSA for megathread-only MeFites: What I Learned Trying To Secure Congressional Campaigns is an article by Maciej Ceglowski (MeFi's own) that sits right at the intersection of tech, politics, and frustration. There's also a MeFi thread discussing it. It may cause you to tear your hair out, or inspire you to adopt a local campaign yourself ... who knows?
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:44 AM on May 30 [8 favorites]


In a messaging war, does Mueller's quiet honesty stand a chance against Trump's lies? (Eric Boehlert, Daily Kos)
The grim media reality is that in a messaging duel between a quiet, honorable professional like Mueller who strives to be fair, versus a loud propaganda machine that feeds off lies like the Trump White House, the loud liars often enjoy the upper hand.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:47 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


nickmark: I went ahead and googled "president ajourn congress example" (the last word was suggested to me. The first hit was a Quora discussion, pointing out that the ability to call congress into session is moot since the congress meets year-around, last time was under Truman. No president has ever adjourned congress. I found another explanation.

The search also called up the notion someone had of Obama adjourning congress so he could make some recess appointments (to get out of some deadlock), but it seemed like a fringe notion.

The general tone is that POTUS only has that power if first, congress is in an extraordinary session, and second, there is dispute between the houses as to whether they need to adjourn. I'm sure it could be finagled somehow. However, it doesn't seem like it would prevent Trump from impacting regularly scheduled sessions. I don't think he can effectively dissolve congress.

But, we've seen all sorts of in-case-of-emergency powers used to bypass checks and balances, so who knows?
posted by MrGuilt at 11:49 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


The alarmist in me gets very nervous with the idea of Trump being aware of having the power to adjourn Congress until he feels different, and worried that this might be what he had in mind this morning. I would not at all mind being talked down from this.

That's exactly what he means.
posted by odinsdream at 11:57 AM on May 30 [12 favorites]


The general tone is that POTUS only has that power if

Yeah, if there's anything this timeline has taught us, it's that "general tones" and "norms" and "interpretations" are completely irrelevant now.
posted by Rykey at 11:59 AM on May 30 [8 favorites]


Is there a simple set of short bullet points anywhere, laying out the exact crimes Trump has clearly committed? Without that, there's no hope of explaining to and persuading the generally inattentive public...

The answer to this question is inherently complicated. Because 1) Do you want people to cite criminal code and lost individual counts like a prosecutor would, or something less formal/more arguable? 2) Do you want info only about Trump himself, or about others who may have crimes on his behalf as well? 3) Do you include non-criminal but impeachable offenses?

I've personally made two attempts to answer this question, with different sets of assumptions. One is my every updating list of impeachable offenses...

- He's obstructed justice by firing and trying to intimidate the head of the FBI, trying to fire the special counsel, and by dangling pardons to prevent testimony against him. (Proved by Mueller)

- His campaign helped spread false propaganda originating in Russia, and failed to report what they knew about Russia's efforts to help elect Trump, including the fact that they were sabotaging his political opponents by stealing and publishing their private communications. (Mueller found insufficient evidence that any of this violated the law, but he proved it did happen.)

-He is violating the emoluments clause, and as a result is receiving bribes from foreign powers. (This is being litigated in civil suits.)

- He has politicized the Justice Dept by demanding investigations of rivals and castigating the attorney general for prosecuting members of his party. (Probably not illegal since it would be a crime only the president could commit, but definitely an abuse of office)

- He conspired to violate campaign finance laws with Michael Cohen. (Documented by SDNY)

-He has implemented cruel and illegal policies against asylum seekers and refugees (many of these policies are being stopped by the courts)

- He has undermined our national security by leaking intelligence to Russian agents, refusing to take responsibility for military engagements, and neglecting diplomacy. (Again probably not illegal) but definitely an abuse.

This is in addition the the general "unfit for office" arguments about his lying and indifference to the law.

My more detailed attempt to answer is here.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:00 PM on May 30 [73 favorites]


Barr's CBS exclusive makes perfect sense; the company's slant has been clear for a while: On CBS During Election Season, Viewers Watched Trump’s America in Prime Time (Slate, Nov. 29, 2016)
It was March, in the heat of the presidential primary season, when CBS debuted Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders—the network’s newest serving of paranoid procedural comfort food, this time with a globetrotting twist. Its storylines and scenes were xenophobic in conception and fearmongering in execution: American women kidnapped in rural Thailand; a young man’s kidney mysteriously stolen in an Indian slum; a dark-skinned man intimidating an American child on vacation. They fit neatly with campaign rhetoric that exaggerated the dangers lurking outside America’s borders, and for the escapism-seeking viewer compelled by such nativism, the series likely struck a chord. [...]

Relative to its competitors, CBS’s audience skews older and whiter; the mandates for inclusivity at the likes of ABC, Fox, and the CW simply don’t apply to the channel where variety means coming up with a new version of NCIS.
What's more: Those ages 55 to 64 averaged 3 hours 14 minutes of TV time per day, and those ages 65 and older averaged an hour more (4 hours 14 minutes) per day. People who were not employed, which includes people of all ages who did not work for pay, watched TV for an average of 3 hours 49 minutes per day. The majority (80.2 percent) of people ages 65 and older were not employed; this group watched TV for an average of 4 and a half hours per day. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 2018)

Newscasts and news programs have to do a better job of informing and educating the public, because they provide the main source of news for the average person. We're always linking to newspapers and magazines, and political-news websites, and real-time Twitter outrageousness, but that stuff is not breaking through to most people. It's live TV, and Facebook nonsense: Elderly, conservatives shared more Facebook fakery in 2016 (AP News, Jan. 9, 2019)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:10 PM on May 30 [15 favorites]


Associated Press has updated its Stylebook (which many other news organizations also use) to urge reporters to stop being quite so vague about racist actions:
Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.

Examples: Mississippi has a history of racist lynchings, not a history of racially motivated lynchings. He is charged in the racist massacre of nine people at a black church, not the racially motivated massacre of nine people at a black church.
posted by adamg at 12:13 PM on May 30 [101 favorites]


nickmark, that notion alarmed me, too -- especially since recess appointments would mean it would aid, not hinder, McConnell's goal of packing the courts. But thinking on it some more, wouldn't any attempt at this require a Senate vote to adjourn early, which would in turn need to overcome a Democratic filibuster? And I would hope that the few remaining GOP moderates would have no truck with essentially dissolving congress for up to 18+ months. (Relatedly, if this were to happen somehow, would there be any mechanism for either house to reconvene on their own?)
posted by Rhaomi at 12:21 PM on May 30


Also, recess appointments would expire with the next Congress per the SCOTUS decision from Obama's term that limited the practice, so it would actually be counterproductive to the goal of a permanent conservative judiciary (although I suspect it would be extremely appealing to Donald Trump, who surely has no qualms about letting the entire country burn to ash the second he’s out of office).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:30 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


OUAT, just for the record, your site is one of the awesomer things to come from these MegaThreads, so thank you.
posted by petebest at 12:32 PM on May 30 [43 favorites]


Noted Reasonable Person Trey Gowdy: "Trump Should Let Himself Be Indicted" (source is FoxNews, but linked via politicalwire because FoxNews)

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News that President Trump should consider opening himself up to being indicted for obstruction of justice.

Said Gowdy: “I’d take my chances with 12 reasonable minded fellow citizens than I would the House Democrats.”

He added: “You can waive any right you have. You have the right to remain silent, but you can talk to the police if you want to. You have a right to a jury trial, but you can plead guilty if you want to. I’ll bet the president has a right to say, go ahead, indict me. If you have enough — the Supreme Court’s never said that I can’t be indicted. This is DOJ. I’m the head of DOJ. I run the executive branch. If you have enough to indict me, go ahead and do it. At least you’ll have some clarity.”


So there's some more point-of-view from the Magaverse. Sure, just plead guilty to obstruction, what could they possibly do to such an innocent man. Blab all about your crimes because justice?
posted by petebest at 12:45 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


In addition to OUAT's list, Jon Cryer laid it out well on the Tweet machine the other day.
posted by Dashy at 12:46 PM on May 30 [9 favorites]


Hiring your relatives and forcing the issue of security clearances to them is another thing that I'd think fits in the probably not illegal but an abuse of office column.
posted by XMLicious at 1:20 PM on May 30 [15 favorites]


We now have conclusive proof regarding why the administration sought to put the citizenship question on the census:

The ACLU has now filed this with both the district court, which will take it up next week, and the Supreme Court, which is currently considering the case. Rick Hassen goes into detail on the strange procedural situation of essentially handing new evidence to the Supreme Court in a case where there isn't time to send it back down for further proceedings.

I want to quote one more bit from the Times story that wasn't in the pullquote:
At the time, the study’s sponsor was considering whether to finance a lawsuit by conservative legal advocates that argued that counting voting-age citizens was not merely acceptable, but required by the Constitution.

Mr. Hofeller’s exhaustive analysis of Texas state legislative districts concluded that such maps “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” and would dilute the political power of the state’s Hispanics.
We talk about racial demographics and polls so much, and Trump does it all the time, that statements like this don't immediately register as how shocking they really are. We often reduce white supremacy down to Nazis committing attacks and using slurs, but this is white supremacy on an institutional scale: the power of the state being used to reduce the political power of non-white people, and the person working to make that happen wrote that down as the explicitly intended result of the policy, and then everyone went to make it happen.
posted by zachlipton at 1:21 PM on May 30 [62 favorites]


Nevada Democratic Governor Sisolak vetoes bill that would pledge Nevada's support to winner of national popular vote, reject Electoral College

For fuck's sake. I saw a National Popular Vote project post on Facebook this week suggesting readers write the governor to urge him to sign the bill. There were hundreds of comments on the post, all haranguing him to veto it. Now, I may not have paid close enough attention in the past, but I have never seen that many reactions to NPV posts on Facebook, and what comments there are typically are pretty supportive of the mission and goal. Frankly, my spidey-sense kicked in and I wondered about whether the comments might be from bots or some other concerted and nefarious effort. Very disappointing outcome.
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:33 PM on May 30 [7 favorites]


God this quote:
Cathy Garnaat, a Republican who supported Amash and the president said she was upset about Amash’s position but wanted to hear his reasoning. She said that she will definitely support Trump in 2020 but that Tuesday night was the first time she had heard that the Mueller report didn’t completely exonerate the president.

“I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn’t heard that before," she said. "I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated."
And as much as this is a Fox News problem, it also proves the point that if Democrats don't act like the president has done something wrong, people will listen to his tweets and reasonably conclude that he hasn't. There has been a massive failure of all of our institutions to truly communicate what the Mueller report said, in a way that people will actually notice and pay attention to. There weren't catchy viral videos with 50 million views or tumblr memes or whatever we do now to disseminate information.

Or on a related note, let's ask a TV critic: James Poniewozik, Why Robert Mueller Should Testify on TV:
But if [Mueller] honestly believes there was nonpartisan value in investigating the integrity of our elections and of the presidency, then there are good reasons for him to detail out the findings where people will notice them:

Because People Don’t Read

God bless Mr. Mueller for his quaint faith in his fellow citizens, but let’s be honest. This is America. We wait for the movie, or the TV adaptation.
...
You can choose not to tell your story in the format people actually pay attention to. You do not get to choose whether it will be told. If there’s interest enough, as Mr. Mueller has now seen, it will be told for you, incompletely, selectively and to someone else’s tastes.
posted by zachlipton at 1:41 PM on May 30 [63 favorites]


WaPo, Trump prepares to threaten Mexico with new tariffs in attempt to force migrant crackdown
President Trump is preparing to threaten Mexico with new tariffs as part of an attempt to force the country to crack down on a surge of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States, according to three administration officials who described the “big league” statement Trump teased to reporters Thursday morning.

Trump is planning to make the announcement Friday but some White House aides are trying to talk him out of it, arguing that such a threat would rattle financial markets and potentially imperil passage of the USMCA trade agreement, according to these officials, who requested anonymity in order to discuss internal administration plans.
Emphasis on that USMCA detail. Because this is happening at the same time:

@byrdinator: Three people familiar tell @Phil_Mattingly and me that USTR is sending its statement of administrative action for Trump's renegotiated NAFTA to Congress this afternoon, giving House Democrats just 30 days to negotiate with the administration over text of the implementing bill.

@byrdinator: PELOSI is not happy: She says in a statement that Trump starting the clock on USMCA with draft statement of administrative action "is not a positive step. It indicates a lack of knowledge on the part of the admin on the policy & process to pass a trade agreement."

So it seems Trump is threatening Mexico with new tariffs at the same time his administration is demanding that Congress immediately pass a deal that would limit tariffs on Mexican goods.
posted by zachlipton at 2:05 PM on May 30 [11 favorites]


Mr. Hofeller’s exhaustive analysis of Texas state legislative districts concluded that such maps “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” and would dilute the political power of the state’s Hispanics.

If they had stuck to "be advantageous to Republicans", then SCOTUS could do their all-is-fair-in-love-and-partisan-gerrymandering thing. But explicitly mentioning race may make it harder for SCOTUS to look the other way.
posted by Jpfed at 2:19 PM on May 30 [10 favorites]


It would also help if Mueller were about 30% less obfuscatory in his verbiage. Yes, if you unravel the double-negatives and read between the lines, he is clearly implying Trump obstructed justice but that he’s untouchable because of DoJ policy. But he surely could have said so far more clearly than he did, such as:

“This investigation found numerous instances of the President engaging in behavior that would have led this office to file a criminal indictment for Obstruction of Justice, were it not for the DoJ interpretation of the Constitution that prevents us from doing so.

Because an impeachment process in Congress is the sole Constitutional venue where consequences for a President engaging in such behavior may be considered, our investigation is barred from further action, so now brings these facts to Congress for their review.”

A statement like that is crystal clear, doesn’t require parsing, can’t be spun, but still maintains the professionalism of the Special Prosecutor.

If requiring Mueller to testify before Congress can get us closer to that kind of statement on TV, or even an unobfuscated “Yes” in response to a Dem Congressperson asking a question framed that way, then it would be worth it.
posted by darkstar at 2:19 PM on May 30 [38 favorites]


With my community college students, I could get a lively discussion going by just mentioning the change in Cardi B and Offset's status. The maybe third of the class who knew REALLY knew made sure to explain to their perplexed neighbor who Cardi B and Offset were and whether they were together and whatever. So then the neighbor who maybe doesn't give a shit knows all about Cardi B and Offset and whatever and maybe has an opinion.

But Trump and Russia? These are students who are not in the pro Trump demographic, but I could never get anything going, ever. No one student was like OH YEAH DID YOU HEAR when I would drop a reference or two and while I'm sure other teachers have different experiences, I've had two years now I guess of no student excitedly frothing at the mouth about the latest evidence of blah blah Trump blah. Just a wall of silence.

I mean, I remember marching around in 1989 in Portland with people who had Barbara Bush's decapitated head in paper mache on a stick. I'm not trying to say, 'kids these days' but more like society WTF have we lost our ability to be outraged.

There weren't catchy viral videos with 50 million views or tumblr memes or whatever we do now to disseminate information.


My students get a lot of their information from The Shade Room on Instagram
posted by angrycat at 2:24 PM on May 30 [27 favorites]


Who's ready for some Thursday Good News? (It is Impeachment Thursday, after all.)

Well. It's NRA-related. And the good news is that the news is bad for the NRA, or perhaps their money-scrubbing "advertising agency" that's suing, and being-sued-by them. Wonkette picks up the story:

Well, of course, it all starts with money. Specifically, the NRA's sudden realization, first revealed by the New Yorker, that the New York Attorney General was not joking about forcing the NRA and its charitable foundation to tell the truth about how it was spending its hundred of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Why it never occurred to the NRA that they needed to comply with federal and state law by disclosing the millions of dollars in business with board members is a mystery for another day. The fact of the matter is last summer the leadership had a come to White Jesus moment -- after which, they set about righting their books.

The largest single recipient of NRA largesse was advertising firm Ackerman McQueen (AMc), which netted $40 million in gunbux last year alone. AMc produces NRATV and cuts checks to its on-air "talent" including Loesch and Oliver North. ... when the NRA came asking for details of North's contract with the advertising company, ... AMc refused, sparking an avalanche of litigation and recrimination that threatens to bring down the entire enterprise.

Briefly, the NRA sued AMc for North's contract details and North responded by calling up the NRA and telling them to ditch Wayne and drop the lawsuit or else he'd spill the beans about all the gun organization's financial shenanigans. Allegedly.

The NRA responded by dumping North for Your Confederate Granny, only to have all North's documents mysteriously wind up published online. So now the world knows about Wayne's extravagant clothing and travel spending, which they managed to keep off the NRA's books by charging it to an AMc credit card. We also know that the NRA spent more than $97,000 on lawyers every single day in 2019. Last week the NRA sued AMc again, this time for breach of contract and fiduciary duty for dumping the internal NRA docs online

... AMc responded in a heavily redacted countersuit ... the media company would like $100 million please -- $50 million for the NRA's breach of contract, plus $50 million for punitive damages.


No mention of the Russian money funneled into the NRA for Trump advertising. Yet.
posted by petebest at 3:00 PM on May 30 [33 favorites]


Because People Don’t Read

Robert Mueller’s Sense of Duty Illuminates His Tough Choices (David Priess, Lawfare)
Even though he drew the line short of opining about the president’s actions, he found a way to fulfill a greater duty to the country while not violating his more direct duty as special counsel. [...] So why not lean forward here, too, and give a wink or a nod to testifying?

I suspect that here, as with the choice to write a detailed report, Mueller may have in mind a sense of greater duty to the country: accepting legitimate legislative branch oversight of the executive branch, which can come in the form of a subpoena. Mueller may prefer not to testify, but he would probably not refuse to show up if Congress demanded his presence. [...] He didn’t say that he would refuse to provide information to the elected representatives of the American people—just that, in doing so, he’d stay within the four corners of the report itself.

Although Robert Mueller is not a political actor, he’s been around the game long enough to understand Washington better than most, to anticipate others’ moves and to prepare for contingencies. Imagine if he had appeared eager to testify, or if he had simply left it as an open question. For the first time in more than two years, he would have opened himself up to understandable claims of being political, by seeking to do something outside his core duty, and to a barrage of hypercharged presidential tweets. At a minimum, any apparent desire to appear before Congress would risk shrinking the American people’s healthy confidence in his work.

The situation would be quite different if he were compelled to testify—even if only to read aloud, in heavily watched televised hearings, the many damning pieces of evidence and disturbing conclusions in the text of the report. Mueller would be seen as a reluctant witness, having made clear he’d rather remain in private life than spend another minute in the spotlight.

What better way would there be to fulfill a wider sense of duty than to see to it that American voters and their representatives hear the report’s words about what the president has done without pushing to do so?
posted by Little Dawn at 3:12 PM on May 30 [14 favorites]


It's an extended demonstration of "if it's not on television, it didn't happen" and whatever Mueller himself prefers, he's going to have to do some more verbatim reading in front of the cameras.

I may be piling on a bit, but... This.

One of Metafilter's inherent biases is that this is a highly text-based community. We make, parse and accept arguments like it's 1935. We think in paragraphs here.

Most Americans -- most humans -- don't analyze things like that. It's not that they are dumb or uneducated or whatever, it's just that textual criticism is a relatively new and acquired mode of decision-making. And if we want to get the Current Constitutional Crisis taken seriously, the medium has to be appropriate to the audience.

I think Dem leadership also fails to recognize this problem and that's a big part of why they're pathetically, dangerously failing to connect with the people.

Make Mueller testify. Make sound bites happen. He obviously is longing to be dragged before the committees. Do it, now.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:18 PM on May 30 [90 favorites]


Dan Pfeiffer: A Plan to Win the Impeachment Fight
First, Democrats need a message. They need a concise and compelling argument for what Trump did wrong, how his misdeeds connect to the lives and concerns of voters, and why this merits the extraordinary response of impeachment.

My suggestion for that message is:
Donald Trump has abused his power to hide multiple crimes and massive corruption. He has used the Presidency to punish his enemies, reward his friends, and enrich himself at the expense of the American people. No one is above the law, not even a rich politician.
This narrative (or one like it) needs to be repeated over and over again by every Democratic Member of Congress and talking head. The Democratic SuperPACs should run ads. The grassroots organizations should be delivering this message at the door, on the phone, and in townhalls. The Democratic presidential candidates should make it part of their message. No voter should be confused about why this is happening and what is at stake.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:33 PM on May 30 [32 favorites]


I'm a litigator. I know lawyers who have worked with Mueller. They characterize him as having absolute integrity and being one of the best litigators they've ever known.

No litigator I know would hear a witness state that "the report is my testimony" and decide, therefore, not to put the witness under oath in deposition ask deeper questions than the document specifically addresses. Even if the report were presented as a sworn declaration under oath - which it is not - no responsible or even marginally-competent litigator would accept that instead of testimony. Robert Mueller would never in a million years accept that as a basis to decide not to put a witness under oath and have them testify in person, subject to questions about the meaning and basis for what is written in the report. He and every litigator I know would take "the report is my testimony" as a dare and immediately insist on testimony. Now, members of Congress are incredibly bad at examining witnesses. They do it for grandstanding point-making and almost never in a way that helps to learn facts or obtain actionable evidence. But this? This is an invitation. This is Mueller begging to be subpoenaed to testify. This is Mueller begging to sit under lights and cameras and perhaps not tell what he knows and believes, but at least state the reasons why he believes the DOJ and White House prohibit him from disclosing more. And every second that goes by without a subpoena is wasted time, because there will be a fight over it and that fight will take time. The United States is currently at the mercy of House of Representatives lawyers, very few of whom are experienced litigators and who we can only hope understand what's being laid out before them.
posted by The World Famous at 3:50 PM on May 30 [89 favorites]


John Hickenlooper is on MSNBC responding to archive footage of Kurt Vonnegut claiming to be his real father
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:00 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


It would also help if Mueller were about 30% less obfuscatory in his verbiage. Yes, if you unravel the double-negatives and read between the lines, he is clearly implying Trump obstructed justice but that he’s untouchable because of DoJ policy. But he surely could have said so far more clearly than he did

"Unindicted co-conspirator" would've been nice.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:00 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Angrycat is this where you mean your students get a lot of their news from? How should we feel about this?
posted by PhineasGage at 4:18 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


darkstar: “This investigation found numerous instances of the President engaging in behavior that would have led this office to file a criminal indictment for Obstruction of Justice, were it not for the DoJ interpretation of the Constitution that prevents us from doing so...."

A statement like that is crystal clear, doesn’t require parsing, can’t be spun, but still maintains the professionalism of the Special Prosecutor.


His opinion is that it would not because it would not be professional to use the authority of law to actually, literally accuse a person who cannot be prosecuted and hence no right to a trial to clear his name. I don't think I agree, but that's his reasoning.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:25 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano: Robert Mueller believes Donald Trump "committed a crime" (Salon)
"Effectively, what Bob Mueller said is: 'We had evidence that [Trump] committed a crime, but we couldn't charge him because he's the president of the United States,'" Napolitano said Wednesday on Fox Business following the news conference. "That opens the door for the Democrats to pounce."

[...] Napolitano on Wednesday said Mueller's remarks were "180 degrees" from those made by Attorney General William Barr, who stated in a March 24 letter to Congress that the special counsel's findings were "not sufficient to establish that the president had committed an obstruction of justice office."
I need to channel Bill Hicks for a moment and ask everyone to strap in:
In response, Fox Business host Stuart Varney asked Napolitano, "Is it that bad?"

"I think so," Napolitano said. "I think basically [Mueller is] saying the president can't be indicted, otherwise we would have indicted him. And we're not going to charge him with a crime, because there's no forum for him to refute the charges. But we could not say that he didn't commit a crime. Fill in the blank, because we believe he did."

The special counsel's news conference was "hurtful to the president," Napolitano added.
And there's more in the video, with Napolitano also talking about 'fodder for the conspiracy side.' Sure, someone pops in and tries to reframe with, 'but Mueller also said he did not make a determination, as to whether the President did commit a crime, so that indicates they couldn't prosecute anything, because they didn't have the evidence of it, that it wasn't there, I know there were 11 instances, but that's a political decision to impeach' (somewhat paraphrased) but Napolitano rallies back with how the evidence is 'remarkably similar to Nixon and Clinton,' and then lays out a few similarities between Trump and Nixon and Clinton.
posted by Little Dawn at 4:28 PM on May 30 [10 favorites]


Trump is planning to make the announcement Friday but some White House aides are trying to talk him out of it

Update: trying to talk him out of things just means he does it on his own schedule

@realDonaldTrump: On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,......at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.

The migrants he is describing are asylum applicants, who are entitled to protection under US and international law.
posted by zachlipton at 4:36 PM on May 30 [41 favorites]


Are tariffs on Mexico legal under NAFTA?
posted by reductiondesign at 4:41 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]


North Korea's Kim Jong Un carrying out purge after Hanoi summit collapse.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second U.S.-North Korea summit in February, holding them responsible for its collapse, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday.
While one can't reasonably say their deaths are as much Trump's doing as Kim's, this is the kind of thing that certainly can happen in foreign affairs when when you simply don't care about the effects your actions may have.
posted by Justinian at 4:59 PM on May 30 [36 favorites]


Just a reminder that Mexico is our number two source of imported goods, after China, and those goods span the gamut of industries. A 5% tariff is a direct 5% tax hike on US consumers of these goods, and will drive countless businesses into the ground.
posted by darkstar at 5:00 PM on May 30 [28 favorites]


Trump is slapping (likely illegal) tariffs on Mexican goods in another blow to an increasingly fragile expansion and a bunch of diplomats from NK were brutally murdered because of our cavalier foreign relations under Trump and... it's just another Thursday. Sometimes it's worth taking a step back and realizing what has become commonplace.
posted by Justinian at 5:00 PM on May 30 [33 favorites]


Take a big, deep whiff of those molecules of freedom (Alexandra Petri, WaPo:)
Do you smell that? That aroma, like many spoiled eggs congregating in a hot locker room? That is the wonderful, pleasing scent of American freedom!

A statement from the Energy Department, which I am not making up because satire has been overfished and is now extinct, described natural gas as “molecules of freedom.” In the statement, Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes noted that “increasing export capacity . . . is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy."

The statement also included the profound remark from Steven Winberg, the assistant secretary for fossil energy, that he was happy "the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world.”

So inhale fearlessly! Feel free, too, to light some of that freedom on fire, if you want. Nothing says freedom like setting something dangerously ablaze. Four cheers for CH4! Whenever methane gas is released, that smell, that aroma, is — freedom. Specifically, American freedom, the best kind that there is. That is why people love to sit with me in enclosed spaces that I swiftly perfume with nothing short of Truth, Justice and the American Way, especially if my lunch has been rich in beans. It has never been so critical, as Benjamin Franklin entreated, to “fart proudly.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:01 PM on May 30 [17 favorites]


I could swear he declared a victory in negotiations for "new NAFTA but we're not calling it NAFTA" like two weeks ago. How does this intersect? Does he even remember that whole thing?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:04 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


The Guardian has a preview of Siege: Trump Under Fire: Bannon Described Trump Organization As 'Criminal Enterprise', Michael Wolff Book Claims—Former White House adviser says financial investigations will take down president in sequel to Fire and Fury
In a key passage, Bannon is reported as saying he believes investigations of Donald Trump’s financial history will provide proof of the underlying criminality of his eponymous company.

Assessing the president’s exposure to various investigations, many seeded by the special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian election interference, Wolff writes: “Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise.”

He then quotes Bannon as saying: “I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part.”[…]

In Siege, Wolff quotes Bannon saying investigations into Trump’s finances will cut adrift even his most ardent supporters: “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”
Bannon is probably Wolff's only reliable source, but this quote will only infuriate his former boss.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un carrying out purge after Hanoi summit collapse.

"Everything Trump touches dies."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:14 PM on May 30 [16 favorites]


I could swear he declared a victory in negotiations for "new NAFTA but we're not calling it NAFTA" like two weeks ago. How does this intersect? Does he even remember that whole thing?

I'm sure someone in the White House has tried at least once to remind him that NAFTA is still in place and doesn't allow the sanctions he's threatening, and that USMCA wouldn't allow them, either. Maybe that person even got more than one or two words into the first sentence of telling him that before giving up.

"Mr. President Trump, um . . . nevermind."
posted by The World Famous at 5:15 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


These new taxes on products from Mexico will mean food prices will go up. Food security will go down. The wellbeing of American workers and their families — and their children, especially — is being put at risk, because Trump can't cope with the existence of non-white people. When will Dems act to stop this tyrant?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:19 PM on May 30 [16 favorites]


It has been a while since I studied this, but the Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power to impose import tariffs. Congress has delegated that power to the President to a limited extent (although expansively interpreted by Trump), which is why Trump is able to pull this malarkey. But Congress can withdraw or restrict its delegation of this authority (if it can pull itself together and function, which...who knows).
posted by sallybrown at 5:19 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


These new taxes on products from Mexico will mean food prices will go up.

Combine that with the nation's breadbasket looking to fail spectacularly this year.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:23 PM on May 30 [26 favorites]


When will Dems act to stop this tyrant?

I honestly do kinda wonder if Pelosi isn't waiting for exactly this sort of thing. Not the threat, but the reality, when it starts hurting the economy as a whole. But I also wonder how much of this is bluster.

He's thrown these firebombs and walked them back before, and there's been a correlating drop and recovery in the stock market. This time he waited until the markets were closed for the day. Maybe he/his goons walk it back before they open tomorrow?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:24 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


WaPo, Louisiana’s Democratic governor just defied his party and signed an abortion ban into law: "State lawmakers voted 79 to 23 on Wednesday to pass the bill, with the support of more than a dozen Democrats. They rejected amendments that sought to make the law more lenient, including one that would have added an exception to the ban for cases of rape and incest."

WaPo, Hundreds of minors held at U.S. border facilities are there beyond legal time limits
Many of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children being held in overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol facilities have been there beyond legally allowed time limits, including some who are 12 or younger, according to new government data obtained by The Washington Post.

Federal law and court orders require that children in Border Patrol custody be transferred to more-hospitable shelters no longer than 72 hours after they are apprehended. But some unaccompanied children are spending longer than a week in Border Patrol stations and processing centers, according to two Customs and Border Protection officials and two other government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the unreleased data. One government official said about half of the children in custody — 1,000 — have been with the Border Patrol for longer than 72 hours, and another official said that more than 250 children 12 or younger have been in custody for an average of six days.
NYT, New Democratic Debate Rules Will Distort Priorities, Some Campaigns Say. This is mostly lower-tier candidates upset that they may not be able to satisfy the 2%+130K donor threshold for the September debate, and I can't say I care a lot if Michael Bennett is unhappy (some mid-tier candidates may be a little more right to complain), but there's a really interesting lesson here about unintended consequences: the rules mean a lot of money ends up going directly to Facebook in the form of ad buys.
But campaign after campaign said the party’s donor requirements are skewing the way they allocate resources, forcing them to choose between investing in staff or pouring more money into ads on sites like Facebook, where prices are soaring to dizzying new heights. Two campaigns said digital vendors are currently quoting them prices of $40 and up to acquire a new $1 donor.

Democratic digital strategists said the unprecedented chase for small donors was encouraging poor habits aimed at simply stirring up internet interest or spamming existing email lists unsustainably, while also driving up the price of finding donors for down-ballot Democrats.
NYT, Unhappy With Findings, Agriculture Department Plans to Move Its Economists Out of Town, in which the Department of Agriculture wants to ship the Economic Research Service out of Washington as political appointees express frustration that the service's research conclusions contradict administration policy.

Meditaite, Bill O’Reilly: Trump Told Me Mueller Hates Him Because He Refused to Refund $15k Country Club Deposit, in which Bill O'Reilly claims that Trump called him up last night to whine that Mueller has a vendetta against him because Trump turned Mueller down for the FBI Director job and because he still holds a grudge over the country club deposit Trump wouldn't refund. So that's all very stable and normal.
posted by zachlipton at 5:45 PM on May 30 [18 favorites]


I put together an Excel sheet with the vote counts for the winners and losers in the elections of each of the United State Senators.

First question: How many votes did the Democrat candidates receive (as winners or losers) and what were the corresponding numbers for the Republicans and Independents?

Of the 99 elected members of the Senate [McSally not being elected], the cumulative votes that the Democrats received in their last election (2014-2018) is 111,902,239 (54.0%). The two Independents (both of whom caucus with the Democrats) received an additional 528,098 votes (0.3%).

The corresponding number for the Republicans is 94,686,683. (45.7%)

The discrepancy is due to the fact that in populous states Dems either win large (California, New York), or lose small (Texas, Florida). Republicans win big in many of the low population states.

For this analysis, I counted only the top two candidates. I did not count (and maybe should have) the losing Democrats in California which had two Democrats on their final ballots and I didn't include totals for the losing candidates if they were not in the top two vote-getters (e.g., Democrats in Maine).

A slightly different question is: How many votes did the winners get among those who currently occupy the Senate. The percentages are roughly the same. The Republicans received 57,432,949 (45.5%) and the Democrats 68,240,158 (54.1%). The Independents, who caucus with the Democrats received 528,098.

tldr: the Senate is gerrymandered by its nature.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:48 PM on May 30 [21 favorites]


From the Daily Beast, "Team Trump Now Wants Mueller to Testify Before Congress in Hopes of a Grilling."

From the article:
“If they allow [GOP Reps.] Meadows and Jordan and few of the others there, they’ll eviscerate him more than they did Michael Cohen,” said Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney during and after the Mueller probe. Giuliani said it would be “emotionally satisfying to have” Mueller testify and that “in terms of the politics of it, I would love to have him testify. I think he’s afraid to.”

"Joseph diGenova, an informal legal adviser to the president, echoed those sentiments. “I think it would be really wonderful if Bob Mueller were to testify. I hope he does. I hope he has a respirator with him when he does it,” he said in a brief interview."

Uh, really guys? Are ya'll sure about that?
posted by cosimoilvecchio at 5:49 PM on May 30 [28 favorites]


A remarkable Twitter conversation:

AOC: If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check. I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress. At minimum there should be a long wait period.

Ted Cruz: Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC. Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?

AOC: @tedcruz if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down. Let’s make a deal. If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc - just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists - then I’ll co-lead the bill with you.

Ted Cruz: You're on.

We'll see if actions follow words.
posted by galaxy rise at 5:55 PM on May 30 [105 favorites]


And here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with Ted Cruz.
posted by reductiondesign at 6:12 PM on May 30 [18 favorites]


Wolff quotes Bannon saying

I just feel the need to point out, again, that the words "Cambridge Analytica" did not occur in Mueller's report. Even though Cambridge Analytica did all the digital media for the Trump campaign, and reached out to Julian Assange offering to help organize the email dumps. Even though Bannon used to run Cambridge Analytica. Even though Cambridge Analytica stole Facebook information from 87 million users while Bannon ran it. And also did popularity polling on Vladimir Putin, in the US, in 2014. When the IRA started operatng, and when Cambridge Analytica was also doing testing on slogans like "drain the swamp." Even though they worked with Russian researchers and briefed Russian executives about the American election. Even though Flynn worked for them. Ecen though they were also echoing Russian activities around the Brexit vote. Even though their post-Bannon CEO was caught on tape offering to help manipulate an election by using Ukrainian models to get kompromat.

Mueller said not one word. Which means Mueller did not clear Steve Bannon of jack shit. Mueller DID refer out a bunch of unspecified cases to other prosecutors, though.

Do not believe one word Bannon says, especially if he says it to Michael Wolff. Even if it is what you want to hear.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:27 PM on May 30 [23 favorites]


> Ted Cruz: You're on.

If that were to somehow, magically, actually happen, it would be the greatest thing Twitter has done for the world.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:34 PM on May 30 [29 favorites]


“If they allow [GOP Reps.] Meadows and Jordan and few of the others there

Meadows isn't on House Judiciary. Sorry, Rudy.
posted by holgate at 6:59 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Uh, really guys? Are ya'll sure about that?

Schiff: 'There’s been an epidemic of cowardice in the GOP' (Politico)
The California Democrat told Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a question-and-answer session that GOP lawmakers had come up to him privately to “express their deep concerns and worries” about the Trump administration and offer bits of encouragement as Schiff’s committee forges ahead with its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. “But I’m, frankly, exhausted by the private misgivings,” Schiff said. “People need to speak out.”
posted by Little Dawn at 7:00 PM on May 30 [19 favorites]


ted cruz is free to be conciliatory on this point because he knows that there isn’t the tiniest sliver of possibility that mitch mconnell would let such a bill come to a vote in the senate
posted by murphy slaw at 7:05 PM on May 30 [21 favorites]


Whenever methane gas is released, that smell, that aroma, is — freedom. Specifically, American freedom, the best kind that there is. That is why people love to sit with me in enclosed spaces that I swiftly perfume with nothing short of Truth, Justice and the American Way, especially if my lunch has been rich in beans. It has never been so critical, as Benjamin Franklin entreated, to “fart proudly.”

I love fart jokes as much as anyone and I literally have a bumper sticker on my car that says “I F❤️ BIOGAS”. I am delighted (in a horrified way) to discover that I work for a freedom utility. But I am duty bound to pedantically remind everyone that methane is odorless. And that smell is not added until the gas is received by the local utility (freedom companies like mine); CH4 in the interstate pipeline is not odorized.
posted by nickmark at 7:05 PM on May 30 [29 favorites]


Do not believe one word Bannon says, especially if he says it to Michael Wolff.

Unquestionably. The issue is why Bannon dropping such an inflammatory quote like this to Woolf. Suggesting Trump's not as rich as he claims is verbotten in Trumpland. Does he think he has no more bridges there left to burn, or did he decide that his new quasi-fascist nationalist program in Europe is his meal ticket (spoiler: that's not working out so well either)? Or is he just an inveterate trash-talker who thinks chaos is a ladder? In any case, he needs watching.

Ted Cruz: You're on.

Why does AOC think she can politically survive making common cause with Ted Cruz, one of the most devious men on Capitol Hill? Cruz, already universally despised in the Senate, has little to lose with this DOA legislative team-up. AOC, on the other hand, simultaneously risks pissing off the entrenched Dem establishment (who were expecting a lobbying paycheck) and alienating her constituents for trying to strike a deal with a cockroach collective wearing a human suit.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:06 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


AOC's from the Brand New Congress school of thought. She's doing things a different way because what we've done to-date hasn't worked. Ted Cruz is still in fucking power. If she can *either* make a clean bill somehow magically happen and show it die, OR show Cruz out to be a lying piece of shit, those are favorable outcomes.
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 PM on May 30 [65 favorites]


Plus, these strange bedfellow things happen from time to time. Ted Kennedy did it a lot, I seem to recall Russ Feingold, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:18 PM on May 30 [13 favorites]


If she can *either* make a clean bill somehow magically happen and show it die, OR show Cruz out to be a lying piece of shit, those are favorable outcomes.

There is virtually no chance of the first possibility. The Senate wouldn’t piss on Ted Cruz even if he were on fire. AOC will only be diminished by association. As for the second, everybody knows that fact, and it hasn’t helped Dems dislodge him or convinced Repubs to drop him. The best realistic outcome is that this team-up will annoy Trump and Breitbart.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:25 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Why does AOC think she can politically survive making common cause with Ted Cruz

She doesn't risk anything, she's in an ultra safe district, one of the safest in either party. Her only fear of losing her seat is whether Pelosi and Hoyer try to primary her out with a blank establishment white guy or revive Joe Crowley's career. Otherwise she can more or less hold that district the rest of her life.

It's a little twitter moment both of them can point to and say "see I can even find something with him/her!", knowing that nothing would ever come of it. It'd never pass either house, if it ever even got a vote in either. Hell, they can't even introduce it together, they're not even in the same house of Congress. Not every tweet is life and death.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:29 PM on May 30 [21 favorites]


She's doing things a different way because what we've done to-date hasn't worked.

The problem is, when you're being all different, some of what you learn is that people did a large proportion of things the way they did for good reasons. Maybe you will have a breakthrough, but you're counting on doing the right things different and not the wrong things.
posted by ctmf at 7:36 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Her only fear of losing her seat is whether Pelosi and Hoyer try to primary her out with a blank establishment white guy or revive Joe Crowley's career.

That’s a real threat. The Hill, earlier this year: Some Dems float idea of primary challenge for Ocasio-Cortez

“What I have recommended to the New York delegation is that you find her a primary opponent and make her a one-term congressperson,” the Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told The Hill. “You’ve got numerous council people and state legislators who’ve been waiting 20 years for that seat. I’m sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:38 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Threatening to primary her is a “real threat”, I guess, but actually doing it, in her district? I can’t imagine how they think that might work.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:50 PM on May 30 [9 favorites]


It's good to want things.
Meanwhile, the Congresswoman is tending bar somewhere in Queens tomorrow: AOC returning to her bartending roots to advocate for raising minimum wage for restaurant employees and other tipped workers (The NY Daily News)
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:50 PM on May 30 [23 favorites]


North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second U.S.-North Korea summit in February, holding them responsible for its collapse, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday.

3 weeks ago: Secretary Pompeo (grinning): "Just as President Trump gets to decide who his negotiators will be, Chairman Kim will get to make his own decisions about who he asks to have these conversations"

He knew weeks ago and thought it was hilarious.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:51 PM on May 30 [29 favorites]


AOC - Cruz is congressional kayfabe.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:54 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


AOC - Cruz, if it were to happen, and it won't, would immediately be touted as Trump keeping one of his campaign promises by crossing the aisle.
posted by The World Famous at 7:58 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Trump just announced his own Brexit with Mexico:
Business leaders reacted with dismay to Trump’s statement Thursday that he would impose a new 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico beginning June 10 to force the Mexican government to take more aggressive actions to prevent Central American migrants from crossing its territory en route to the United States.

If the administration determines that Mexican authorities have not done enough in response, the tariff would automatically jump to 10 percent on July 1 and then continue rising in 5 point increments at the start of each subsequent month until it reaches 25 percent on Oct. 1, according to a White House statement.
This is an insane plan that will cause economic havoc for both the U.S. and Mexico. It may also be the wake up call conservatives need that Trump is unhinged.
posted by xammerboy at 8:16 PM on May 30 [23 favorites]


This proposal between AOC and Cruz is the dumbest thing to freak out about all year. AOC won't give away the store. She's not gonna give away anything. Either she gets what she wants or she walks and makes Cruz look like the dipshit he is. Yes, obviously McConnell will never let it get to the floor; that's no reason to give up legislating. And in either case, she gets the credibility of having tried to work with the other side to get shit done.

If AOC goes down in a primary for working with Ted Cruz on a law that should already be on the fucking books while we've got a Democratic governor in Louisiana signing an abortion ban, the Democratic party is already dead and deserves to be treated as such.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:20 PM on May 30 [56 favorites]


I’ve underestimated AOC too many times at this point to sit here and think I know better about how this will turn out with Cruz. I’m sure she’s gamed this out in every direction. As has Cruz. Thing is, Cruz has grossly miscalculated his odds of success before and I haven’t seen AOC do that yet.
posted by sallybrown at 8:25 PM on May 30 [18 favorites]


I don't understand this discussion at all. I thought it was a cute Twitter moment - see, even a legislator on the "far left" and a skin suit full of cockroaches can agree that the congressperson-lobbyist revolving door is bad.

If they each introduce a bill in the House and Senate respectively, it will die in committee or markup, never get a vote, but they will each get to point to it as (further) evidence that they are opposed to lobbying. If not, whatever, maybe they blame each other for poison pills in the draft text. It's a nice moment, but not in the top 100 burning issues - it falls well below "Freedom Gas" on the seriousness scale.

I thought it was just more evidence for AOC's social media savvy, that she made a moment out of potential agreement across the political divide that Bad Thing is Very Bad.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:41 PM on May 30 [41 favorites]


Haven’t seen this posted yet:

Via dKos, Republicans for the Rule of Law are airing this ad next week during Fox and Friends, outlining the case for Obstruction, and calling on Republicans to stand up to Trump.

Should make for interesting Executive Time tweeting!
posted by darkstar at 8:47 PM on May 30 [45 favorites]


It may also be the wake up call conservatives need that Trump is unhinged.

We used to wait for Trump to pivot to statesmanship. We surely this’d. And waited some more and again to this’d until finally we figured out there would be no pivot.

We should go now to the place where we have figured out that there’s no call coming that will wake up conservatives to the predicament they’ve landed us in.
posted by notyou at 9:53 PM on May 30 [23 favorites]


It's not that they don't know that he's unhinged; they know he's unhinged, they just don't care so long as they got their tax cuts and keep getting their judicial appointments.
posted by Justinian at 9:56 PM on May 30 [30 favorites]


North Korea’s special envoy to the US, who was credited with paving the way for nuclear talks with Washington, has reportedly been executed over the failure of the recent summit between North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and Donald Trump.

The South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying that Kim Hyok-chol and foreign ministry officials who conducted working-level preparations for February’s doomed Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, were executed in March.

The paper said Kim Yong-chol, a senior official who had been US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s counterpart in the run-up to the summit,had been subjected to forced labour and “ideological education”.
posted by xammerboy at 10:17 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Via dKos, Republicans for the Rule of Law are airing this ad next week during Fox and Friends, outlining the case for Obstruction, and calling on Republicans to stand up to Trump.

This is good.
posted by mumimor at 3:16 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]




they’ll eviscerate him more than they did Michael Cohen...

You mean the grilling where serious idiot and lifelong criminal Michael Cohen somehow came out looking smarter and more honorable than any of the Rs who “eviscerated” him? Yes, please try that with Mueller.
posted by chris24 at 3:52 AM on May 31 [49 favorites]


It is good. And I'd wager that Speaker Pelosi knows a whole lot more than we do about the strategy of actual American Republicans to make this case.
posted by Sublimity at 4:00 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


I'd wager that Speaker Pelosi knows a whole lot more than we do about the strategy of actual American Republicans to make this case.

Expand on your theory here.
posted by diogenes at 4:36 AM on May 31 [12 favorites]


Meanwhile, the Congresswoman is tending bar somewhere in Queens tomorrow: AOC returning to her bartending roots to advocate for raising minimum wage for restaurant employees and other tipped workers

If I was in New York I'd take the day off and visit every bar in Queens. I'd probably do that anyway but today I'd have a reason.
posted by srboisvert at 5:24 AM on May 31 [13 favorites]



Threatening to primary her is a “real threat”, I guess, but actually doing it, in her district? I can’t imagine how they think that might work.


Admittedly I am a fanboi, but based on her charisma and momentum, I imagine this would be meaningless... it would fire up her supporters, prove the mendacity and complicity of the dem machine, and she could run as a Socialist or independent and still keep the seat forever.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:28 AM on May 31 [10 favorites]


This morning NPR aired a story on Trump's Mexican tarriffs that was notable for wholly accepting the Republican framing that it was about "illegal immigration," when many of the migrants are seeking to claim asylum. Although asylum got mentioned, alleged journalist Steve Inskeep never mentioned that same is legal under US law, regardless of whether the claimant entered the US legally.

Nor did he seem to remember NPR's own reporting that the Border Patrol has deliberately stifled legal channels for claiming asylum at ports of entry and is locking up those who attempt to do so. Instead, he allowed his intervewee to use the word "crisis" without noting that the Administration created said crisis. Feh.
posted by Gelatin at 5:50 AM on May 31 [39 favorites]


Pelosi on Kimmel:
“[Here’s] why I think the president wants us to impeach him,” Pelosi explained. “He knows it’s not a good idea to be impeached, but the silver lining for him is, then he believes that he would be exonerated by the United States Senate, and there’s a school of thought that says, if the Senate acquits you, why bring up charges against him in the private sector when he’s no longer president? So when we go through with our case, it’s got to be ironclad.”
So impeach for the impeachable crimes that are not crimes that can be prosecuted. Impeach him for lying to the public about his business deals with Russia and his caging kids without a plan for reuniting the families. Then make explicitly public plans to have him arrested and jailed after his presidency ends for obstruction. Censure him at least.
posted by xammerboy at 6:00 AM on May 31 [32 favorites]


I get the sense when I listen to NPR that they've been so beaten down with charges of being a liberal organization that they're terrified to do their job.
posted by xammerboy at 6:05 AM on May 31 [19 favorites]


I get the sense when I listen to NPR that they've been so beaten down with charges of being a liberal organization that they're terrified to do their job.

Which means the Republicans' decades-long propaganda campaign on the "liberal media" myth worked. And that means the Democrats are failing badly in presuming -- somehow, after the media's awful performance in the 2016 election alone -- that the media is even interested in being fair, let alone "balanced" (which itself is slanted and favors lies by treating them the same as the truth).

Democrats and liberals need to insist loudly that the media do its job, and not let them get away with their usual "if both sides criticize us we must be doing something right" sophistry.
posted by Gelatin at 6:16 AM on May 31 [34 favorites]


Breaking news from the Qatari-backed Middle East Eye: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Approves Turkish Offer for Joint S-400 Study Group—In call with Turkish president, Trump agrees to body to find ways to cohabit Ankara's purchase of F-35s and Russian missile system
US President Donald Trump has accepted an offer to form a joint technical study group with Turkey to investigate Washington's concerns over Ankara's purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile system, Middle East Eye has learned.

According to several Turkish officials, Trump, in a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, overruled the Pentagon and the State Department who had been against the study group.

US officials were concerned that Ankara's purchase of the missile system would put advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets, which Turkey has also ordered, at risk because Moscow could steal sensitive information through the system's radar.

Confident of their assessment on the dangers posed by the missile system, US defence officials had refused to participate in the study group multiple times over the course of the past two months.

In a single phone call, that policy changed.
Bloomberg backs up their reporting: Trump and Erdogan Agree on Forming Study Group on Russian S-400s

Last month, the chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees warned Turkey that it risked tough sanctions if it pursued plans to purchase Russian S-400 missile defense systems (Reuters). Yet another sudden turnaround of US policy by Trump that benefits Putin after a phone call with Erdogan.

I get the sense when I listen to NPR that they've been so beaten down with charges of being a liberal organization that they're terrified to do their job.

"Captured media", akin to regulatory capture, is the operative term. c.f. The current hamstrung state of the BBC, the product of the Blair government's crackdown on editorial independence following their coverage of the Iraq war.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:34 AM on May 31 [24 favorites]


Meanwhile, on FOX, Karl Rove praises Nancy Pelosi for resisting calls to impeach Trump and predicts that any effort to impeach Trump would result in benefit for the Republican Party.
posted by sotonohito at 7:02 AM on May 31 [6 favorites]


MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch sets off firestorm with suggestion to rebrand Trump ‘impeachment’ (Travis Gettys / Raw Story via AlterNet.org)
MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch suggested an idea to change the conversation about impeachment, and force President Donald Trump to prove he’s not a criminal.

The “Morning Joe” contributor and former advertising executive suggested Democrats should stop talking about impeachment, which is a loaded term that carries political risks, and tell the public they’re investigating Trump’s criminal activity.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:02 AM on May 31 [14 favorites]


I feel like I hear "you come at the king, you'd best not miss" repeated all the time in contexts where it really doesn't apply at all, to the point where I worry it's distorting people's strategic thinking. That's about situations where the entity you oppose doesn't know you're out to get them and will take swift, devastating retaliatory action when they find out.

Elected officials are not kings, they already know who their opposition is, and attacks that don't knock them out of power usually still help by damaging their credibility and building oppositional support.
posted by contraption at 7:08 AM on May 31 [50 favorites]


Democrats should stop talking about impeachment, which is a loaded term that carries political risks, and tell the public they’re investigating Trump’s criminal activity.

Which he has either been carrying out right in the open, as with his bogus foundation, or trying desperately (and equally obviously) to cover up, as with his tax returns.

Democrats need to say, explicitly and for the cameras, that Trump's hiding his tax returns means he's obviously covering something up. Because, as discussed above with Mueller, it's important for someone to go on TV and actually say it, not leave it to the media -- or its viewers -- to connect the dots.
posted by Gelatin at 7:08 AM on May 31 [14 favorites]


> Democrats should stop talking about impeachment, [...] and tell the public they’re investigating Trump’s criminal activity.

Why yes, "Is the President a criminal?" is something I would like a definitive answer to. But isn't this the exact Catch-22 that Mueller was threading in his report, where he couldn't accuse the President of being a criminal because the President couldn't be indicted (according to his employer's guidelines) and get his day in court? Obstruction of justice is, like, a proper crime and everything!

OTOH, if this is a call to investigate Trump for tax evasion and fraud and illegal campaign contributions, sure, go ahead, why not. I can't believe the guy is still frantically hiding his tax returns.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:09 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


“He knows it’s not a good idea to be impeached, but the silver lining for him is, then he believes that he would be exonerated by the United States Senate, and there’s a school of thought that says, if the Senate acquits you, why bring up charges against him in the private sector when he’s no longer president?"

Some thoughts on this comment from an impeachment law professor:

Pelosi told @jimmykimmel that if the House impeaches and the Senate doesn't convict, it could impair a future criminal case against Trump. Actually no. But Pelosi has said other odd things about impeachment.
posted by diogenes at 7:20 AM on May 31 [12 favorites]


This is a good idea: Warren says end the policy (based on a Nixon era memo) not to indict presidents.
Yes, Congress has a constitutional obligation to impeach the President when he violates the law. But lawyers for previous presidents have used this constitutional duty to argue that the only way the President can be held accountable for criminal behavior is through impeachment.
[ . . . ]
Pass a law clarifying Congress’s intent that the Department of Justice can indict the President of the United States.

Congress should make it clear that it wants the President to be held accountable for violating the law, just like everyone else.

Title 18 of the United States Code, which contains most provisions of federal criminal law, applies to “[w]hoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission[.]” Congress should clarify that it intends for this provision to apply to all persons — including the President of the United States.
If Congress does so, one of the strongest arguments against indictment disappears: that
the Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to decide when to interfere with the President’s duties, and that a criminal indictment would forcibly take that power away from Congress. It’ll also remove any statutory ambiguity that remains.
To be clear, she's still pro-impeachment and is talking about this as something that is going to be done after Trump is gone.

Twitter, Medium
posted by mark k at 7:26 AM on May 31 [37 favorites]


SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second U.S.-North Korea summit in February, holding them responsible for its collapse, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday.

Maybe yes, maybe no. The newspaper in question, Chosun Ilbo, has a tendency for credulity when it comes to sensationalistic NK stories. There's a lot of "unable to verify" by other media & I saw but can't currently find photos on Twitter of the supposedly dead apparently taken after their deaths, still alive. I'm reserving judgement.
posted by scalefree at 7:28 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, on FOX, Karl Rove praises Nancy Pelosi for resisting calls to impeach Trump and predicts that any effort to impeach Trump would result in benefit for the Republican Party.
posted by sotonohito 27 minutes ago [2 favorites +] [!]


My knee-jerk response to this is Karl Rove believes impeachment proceedings would sink Trump.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:35 AM on May 31 [40 favorites]


Quinta Jurecic: Part of the responsibility of serving as an elected representative of the people is not only acting based on what people do care about, but also taking the time to communicate what people SHOULD care about. Not acting sends the message that Trump didn't do anything that bad.

NBC: Republican Justin Amash stands by position to start impeachment proceedings despite criticism
Cathy Garnaat, a Republican who supported Amash and the president said she was upset about Amash’s position but wanted to hear his reasoning. She said that she will definitely support Trump in 2020 but that Tuesday night was the first time she had heard that the Mueller report didn’t completely exonerate the president.

“I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn’t heard that before," she said. "I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated."
Pelosi is so convinced talking about impeachment will make white guys in Ohio mad that she won't even try. When we don't actually have any evidence.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:41 AM on May 31 [27 favorites]


hah! Karl's trying to outpelosi Pelosi. Good luck with that, Karl.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:43 AM on May 31 [4 favorites]


prove he’s not a criminal

Not how things work in America.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:50 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


So when we go through with our case, it’s got to be ironclad.

wtf does that even mean? Impeachment is not a legal process - we're not going to cite precedent or rely on motions to advance the case. WE SAW HIM fire Comey to obstruct the Flynn investigation and ADMIT IT on television, and in reporting, and in contemporaneous accounts. That's all you need, that's your "ironclad". GO. DO. Quit jerking around and put some pen to paper already. G-D.

An ironclad media strategy? Sure, I'll give her that, but that's not the context of her quote. She's talking about it like it's a legal case which it isn't and the only reason I know that is the 10,000 hours of organically hand-moderated comments here on Le Bleu that Pelosi should already know back and forth and sideways.

"The case has to be ironclad" is just smoke. If she doesn't know it, we're even more f*d than we were already. If she does know it (and I think she absolutely does) then she's f*ing around and wasting time and I'm sick of it. Get on with it already - if you don't have a media strategy ready and you don't have it all gamed out wtf are you even doing? Infrastructure?
posted by petebest at 7:51 AM on May 31 [32 favorites]


You can’t charge the President with crimes through the regular judicial system while in office, because you fundamentally can’t have a fair trial when the prosecutors all work for the defendant.

Meanwhile, Congress is explicitly prohibited from directly applying criminal punishments to people. Impeachment can only remove from office and disqualify from holding future office.

So you have to have a two-part prosecution if there are crimes. And the Constitution explicitly says this. First remove from office, politically, with impeachment or resignation. Then use regular legal processes (DA’s, grand jury, courts) to prosecute crimes. It works as long as Gerald Ford doesn’t get in the way.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:51 AM on May 31 [17 favorites]


Ryan Cooper: How far gone is the Roberts court? (emphasis in original)
In reality, after closely studying Texas district maps, Hofeller had concluded that drawing districts based on voting-age citizens — instead of total population, as has been the practice for the entirety of American history — "would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites" and "would clearly be a disadvantage for the Democrats." The reason, he explained, was because if (disproportionately non-citizen) left-leaning Latinos and their children would not be counted, their districts would have to expand and thus dilute Democratic electoral strength.

But without detailed knowledge of citizen distribution, it wouldn't be possible. Hofeller wrote: "Without a question on citizenship being included on the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire ... the use of citizen voting age population is functionally unworkable."

So the motivation for the question was explicitly partisan and racist, and part of an unequivocal Republican strategy to undermine fair elections by rigging electoral procedures. What's more, this evidence proves the administration lied in its earlier testimony, when they claimed Hofeller had little to do with the census question idea.

Of course, all this was obvious from the start. How much Republicans care about the VRA is demonstrated by Roberts himself, who largely gutted that very law in 2013 in an opinion that didn't even cite which part of the Constitution it supposedly violated. And after Roberts argued that the "'pervasive,' 'flagrant,' 'widespread,' and 'rampant' discrimination that faced Congress in 1965" was a thing of the past, southern jurisdictions that escaped from VRA protections instantly started rigging their electoral procedures to disenfranchise black people. Roberts has been on a crusade to destroy the VRA for his entire career; as Slate's Richard Hasen argues, we should expect nothing less than tendentious constitutional Calvinball as part of that effort.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:51 AM on May 31 [40 favorites]


Warren Would Allow Indictment of Presidents (politicalwire)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a post [Medium] that if elected president, she’ll push legislation to reverse the policy that a sitting president may not be charged with a crime.

Said Warren: “Congress should make it clear that presidents can be indicted for criminal activity, including obstruction of justice. And when I’m president, I’ll appoint justice department officials who will reverse flawed policies so no president is shielded from criminal accountability.”


Point of order though, won't Trump II just re-reverse them and continue criming?
posted by petebest at 7:56 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


It's worth repeating that impeachment is not a legal process. The term "high crimes and misdemeanors" is not a legal term. A high crime is anything that gets the votes. The process is much closer to deciding to fire an executive. If, for instance, Trump decided to stop working altogether and just watch t.v. it wouldn't be illegal, but you could impeach him for it.

So yes, Trump can be impeached for his obstruction of justice, which there's plenty of evidence for, and is also illegal. However, there's arguably a stronger case he should be impeached for the way he's mishandled immigration and lying to the public. Neither are illegal, but both are impeachable.
posted by xammerboy at 8:10 AM on May 31 [18 favorites]


Gelatin: Democrats need to say, explicitly and for the cameras, that Trump's hiding his tax returns means he's obviously covering something up.

It would be splendid if Nancy Pelosi said aloud that the president is engaged in a cover-up -- ideally using that exact phrase -- but she just doesn't have that kind of chutzpah.

mark k: This is a good idea: Warren says end the policy (based on a Nixon era memo) not to indict presidents.

It's like she reads MeFi! From back at the beginning of March:

T.D. Strange: This bullshit unconstitutional policy should be #1 on the list of shit to add in the omnibus "passing norms into law" bill should be we so lucky to ever see another Democratic president who has any hope of getting another law passed.

Me (InTheYear2017): And it would probably make a great campaign for any 2020 nominee! "I don't plan to commit any crimes or corruption while in office, so I fully endorse the More Oversight And Less Power For Me (Your New President) Act."
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:25 AM on May 31 [13 favorites]


BBC got my back. Their reporter Laura Bicker has been tasked with tracking this story down.

@BBCLBicker
The report that Kim Hyok Chol and other officials in North Korea have been executed following the Hanoi summit is based on one source.
In my view, this news is best treated with caution until other sources confirm or deny it.
posted by scalefree at 9:00 AM on May 31 [12 favorites]


It would be splendid if Nancy Pelosi said aloud that the president is engaged in a cover-up -- ideally using that exact phrase -- but she just doesn't have that kind of chutzpah.
I have good news for you!

Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a "cover-up" (CNN)

She's actually doing a lot of things well. I really wish people in this thready would do a little less reflexive hating-on-democratic-leadership.
posted by dbx at 9:05 AM on May 31 [53 favorites]


Point of order though, won't Trump II just re-reverse them and continue criming?

It may get to the point where Superfund-like laws will have to be enacted to undo the damage Trump has caused and will cause, and to try to limit power or at least more clearly outline the limits on powers of a future executive. My interpretation of Sen. Warren's proposal is that, as President, she would likely work with Congress towards those kinds of accountability and enforcement measures.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:06 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


USA Today opinion by psychiatrists John D. Gartner, David Reiss and Steven Buser: President Donald Trump's Poor Mental Health Is Grounds For Impeachment—Donald Trump should be removed from the office of the president because he is psychologically unfit to uphold his constitutional duties. Since Trump's loyalist cabinet will never invoke the 25th Amendment, they argue that impeachment is the only remedy to remove a president, citing James Madison on impeachment for "incapacity" during the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

On that note, the NYT reviews Michael Wolff's new book In ‘Siege: Trump Under Fire,’ Michael Wolff Chats With Steve Bannon While the Establishment Burns:
“Siege” is ostensibly about Trump — portrayed here as a very unstable non-genius cracking under the pressure of being thrust into the highest office — but its guiding worldview looks remarkably like Bannon’s. It’s a mordant, readable tell-all designed to show how Trump, simply by being Trump, has made himself the perfect wrecking ball, blasting holes through an array of institutions.[…]

The political analysis in this book is close to nil, but that’s by design. “The heart of this book,” Wolff says, is the experience of the Trump presidency: “an emotional state rather than a political state.” Policies, decision-making, anything that requires even a minimal amount of attention to detail — that happens, as much as possible, without Trump, Wolff says. The president’s staff sees it as their job to keep him in his “bubble,” munching candy bars at night and getting his ego stroked in marathon phone calls with the Fox News host Sean Hannity. On good days, Wolff writes, the president arrives late to the office and is whisked through a series of staged, anodyne meetings to keep him busy: “A distracted Trump was a happy Trump.”
The caveat lector is of course even greater this time around. Wolff continues to make profligate use of anonymous sources, including those who left the Trump White House after Fire and Fury but are still part of its gossip loop.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:11 AM on May 31 [11 favorites]


This is kind of interesting. Resistbot recently added a prompt to a straw poll after you send a letter or make a call. Here are the results with 5,800 votes:

Warren 41%
Yang 22
Harris 11
Sanders 9
Buttigieg 7
Biden 5
Williamson 2
O'Rourke 1
Gravel 1
Gabbard 0
posted by diogenes at 9:14 AM on May 31 [29 favorites]


Expand on your theory here.

Pelosi knows that there is a rebellion brewing on the Republican side, and that those people are the ones who need to make the case to persuade citizens in the Republican media bubble. She knows that there were ultimately over a thousand signatories to the letter from former prosecutors that any person who was not the President would be indicted for obstruction of justice. Those people are not going to pick up their ball and go home quietly. There are Republican voices like Amash and Tom Coleman, taking stands that would have been unthinkable a month ago. The calculus about the Senate that everybody is obsessing about here is well known to all of the above people. The Republicans for Rule of Law advert goes directly at McConnell, Graham, Rubio as complicit.

I'm reminded at this moment of all the agonizing about Elizabeth Warren's DNA test, the certainty that that issue would tank her Presidential campaign. In hindsight, she did what she needed to do to address the issue as thoroughly and respectfully as possible, well before she formally declared, and now that she's out there on the trail being a goddamn rock star, that issue is handled, done, and way in the rear view mirror.

How little faith we have in female politicians--even ones who've proven their success at the highest levels.
posted by Sublimity at 9:27 AM on May 31 [45 favorites]


I know this isn't a global warming thread, but this is the reality Trump won't acknowledge:

Publicly anyway. There's always a way to benefit from this (insurance fraud), and his properties aren't immune from the effects of global warning.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:28 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


that issue is handled, done, and way in the rear view mirror

I'm not sure you can say it's in the rear view mirror while Trump is still calling her Pocahontas.

(Warren is my candidate.)
posted by diogenes at 9:38 AM on May 31 [7 favorites]


Since Trump's loyalist cabinet will never invoke the 25th Amendment

It's a bit of a moot point, but ISTR that since most (if not still all) of the cabinet heads are "acting" rather than official then they wouldn't be able to perform the necessary ratification at the end of the initial four day period for the 25th to be fully implemented anyway.

Guessing that's probably just accidental on Trump's behalf, rather than a deliberate preparation of a loophole to ensure the 25th can't be used against him.
posted by Buntix at 9:43 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Pelosi knows that there is a rebellion brewing on the Republican side

90% Republican approval. He's the most popular politician among Republicans in American history. There will be no rebellion, ever.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:44 AM on May 31 [33 favorites]


I am getting a little more than tired of Pelosi's supposed secret plans being trotted out as accepted fact. You can't come up with your own plan and shoehorn it into an explanation of another person's actions.

Just let a person's actions and words speak for them. If someone says they will defend against calls for impeachment and attack a progressive surge in Congress, maybe take them at their word.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:50 AM on May 31 [25 favorites]


I really wish people in this thready would do a little less reflexive hating-on-democratic-leadership.

I appreciate the sentiment, but it's been seven months since the Democrats retook the House and it's well-considered, and not reflexive, pique. Additionally, much of the Democratic leadership has been Democratic leadership under past legalizing-torture and illegal-warring presidents where they pursued a similarly ineffective strategy of calling for bipartisanship and waiting. The strategy is well-known, and likewise well-known to be ineffective.

This isn't a knee-jerk call for action - prior to the 2018 victories that gave Dems the control of the House there was tacit acknowledgement if not agreement and outright statements by the same leadership that Trump needs to be reined in, held at bay, blocked, removed. None of that is happening, in part because the administration is feeling completely unfettered - reasonably or not - and we only have definitive statements from the leadership against the one action they have.
posted by petebest at 9:53 AM on May 31 [26 favorites]


Pelosi knows that there is a rebellion brewing on the Republican side

Politico on Democratic frustrations with this always-brewing/never-boiling Repub rebellion: Schiff: 'There’s Been an Epidemic of Cowardice in the GOP'—Rep. Adam Schiff said he's "exhausted by the private misgivings" among Republicans.
The California Democrat told Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a question-and-answer session that GOP lawmakers had come up to him privately to “express their deep concerns and worries” about the Trump administration and offer bits of encouragement as Schiff’s committee forges ahead with its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“But I’m, frankly, exhausted by the private misgivings,” Schiff said. “People need to speak out.”

The lawmaker said he respected Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who became the first Republican lawmaker to accuse Trump of committing impeachable offenses with a series of tweets earlier this month.[…]

“I think what we knew, implicitly, was that courage is contagious,” he said. “But what we didn’t realize is that cowardice is also contagious. I think there’s been an epidemic of cowardice in the GOP. This president doesn’t stand for anything that the Republican Party said it stood for.”
Incidentally, Schiff won't advocate impeachment right now: “I’m not there yet, although the president seems to be doing everything in his power to get me there.” (His line in the sand is ignoring a court order.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:56 AM on May 31 [9 favorites]


More in-depth analysis on the reported NK executions. BBC is at the head of the pack on this.

North Korea execution reports - why we should be cautious
It is being reported across international media that North Korea's nuclear envoy has been executed as part of a purge of officials involved in a failed summit between the US and North Korea.
But there is a reason we treat reports about North Korean officials being executed with extreme caution. The claims are incredibly difficult to verify and they are very often wrong.
Both the South Korean media and the government in Seoul have reported on purges in the past - only for the "executed" officials to turn up a few weeks later looking alive and well next to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
On this occasion, a single anonymous source has told a newspaper in Seoul that Kim Hyok-chol, the former North Korean envoy to the US and a key figure in talks ahead of the summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Hanoi, was executed at an airport in Pyongyang.
posted by scalefree at 10:14 AM on May 31 [5 favorites]


DBX: I have good news for you! Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a "cover-up" (CNN)

Garggh, my intention was dry sarcasm but I should have linked to a source to make that clear.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:18 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Clarence Thomas Just Voted With the Liberals in a Big Consumer Rights Case. Why? (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate)

Looks like a laser focus on original intent; in this case, the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, and who may get cases moved to federal court (where they're easier to get dismissed).
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:20 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


Good News ™️

The Sanders campaign has been putting out policy proposals all week

Midterm voter turnout reached a modern high in 2018, and Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X accounted for a narrow majority of those voters.

The Tiffany Caban for Queens DA race heats up with endorsements from AOC, the Working Families Party, and The Liberty Fund “As a queer Latina, I grew up with few elected officials that looked or sounded like me.

@VictoryFund is working to change that by electing members of the LGBTQ community to office—creating a new generation of diverse and representative leadership. Proud to have their support.” @CabanForQueens

“ The leadership of the Democratic party is ignoring—and actively antagonizing—the multiracial coalition of voters who have delivered blue victories time and time again“ Winning is easy, just stop fighting your own base. (GQ)

Voter rights restored in Nevada even if Nevada’s governor refused to sign the Electoral College Popular Vote Compact..
posted by The Whelk at 10:24 AM on May 31 [19 favorites]


This tweet sums up my feelings re: Pelosi:
I honestly don't know what Nancy Pelosi is planning, or if she has a plan at all, but people keep asking me to have faith that Jeet Heer and Chris Hayes know more about political maneuvering than she does, and that just ain't happening.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:24 AM on May 31 [16 favorites]


For fuck's sake, people aren't challenging Pelosi's political skill. They're questioning her stated positions and arguing that unless there's evidence otherwise, there is no Grand Plan that she's working on. I will be damn glad to be proven wrong about that, but it's not like we're just whining about her as a person or a politician. Her actions to date are not sufficient given the threat Trump clearly is. Her actions need to be stronger. Keep writing your representatives and pushing.
posted by odinsdream at 10:39 AM on May 31 [49 favorites]


Incidentally, Schiff won't advocate impeachment right now: “I’m not there yet, although the president seems to be doing everything in his power to get me there.” (His line in the sand is ignoring a court order.)

posted by Doktor Zed at 9:56 AM on May 31 [2 favorites +] [!]



Ahem: The Trump Administration Is Apparently Ignoring Court Orders
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:40 AM on May 31 [14 favorites]


Sublimity: I'm reminded at this moment of all the agonizing about Elizabeth Warren's DNA test, the certainty that that issue would tank her Presidential campaign. In hindsight, she did what she needed to do to address the issue as thoroughly and respectfully as possible, well before she formally declared, and now that she's out there on the trail being a goddamn rock star, that issue is handled, done, and way in the rear view mirror.

How little faith we have in female politicians--even ones who've proven their success at the highest levels.


Haha, I remember that, and all the righteous pecksniffery about how she was toast. And now she's doing better than just about everyone except Joe Biden. Just for heart-warmsies, here is a Daily Kos thread with Warren being awesome (helping a woman clear up a spilled drink, and her husband helping to stack chairs at a rally).

And continuing on the Let's Have Faith In Women theme, a shout out to New York AG Tish James, who just might be the one to bring the NRA down: How The New York Attorney General’s Probe Threatens The NRA’s Future (Josh Kovensky, Talking Points Memo); also see PeteBest's comment. It would be sweet indeed if James could be the one to slay the NRA dragon.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:48 AM on May 31 [14 favorites]


"And now she's doing better than just about everyone except Joe Biden."

Isn't Sanders still in 2nd place?
posted by Selena777 at 10:54 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


One lens through which political ideology can be viewed might be termed the Poll Leading/Poll Following lens.

Pelosi has told us many times that she views the outer limits of what she, or really any politician, should consider doing is things that poll at or above 51%. That's the heart of the Following approach to politics. This is not to say taht people who approach politics from a Following point of view are robots who simply vote for whatever polls at or above 51%, its simply that before any other political considerations are taken into account they evaluate proposals on how well they poll. If a given proposal doesn't poll at or above 51% it's simply not considered at all.

If a given Democratic proposal polls at or above 51%, then Pelosi and others who use the Following method will use other metrics to determine if they should support or oppose the proposal, the Following method is a sort of pre-clearance approach, not the be all and end all of how they evaluate.

The other approach to politics is the Leading approach, which views polls as something to be moved via action of some sort (speeches, votes, investigations, interviews and rhetoric, etc). We saw an example of this when then President Obama gave a speech in which he said he'd changed his position and that he now supported same sex marriage. Polling on same sex marriage shifted measurably towards favoring it following Obama's speech.

The frustration you see with Pelosi is coming from fundamentally conflicting political ideologies. Pelosi is a true believer in Following, to her the polls are the absolute outer limit on what can be even considered, much less acted on. Those who express frustration with Pelosi are believers in the Leading ideology, and are frustrated because she simply does not believe in trying to move the polls.

Once I started seeing it through this lens, I find that I'm a lot less frustrated or angry with Pelosi. I disagree with her position, but it no longer seems like incompetence or malice to me, merely a fundamentally wrong axiom on which to operate. It's also made me much more willing to endorse the idea of replacing her as Speaker in 2020. We need a Leading strategy believer right now.
posted by sotonohito at 10:57 AM on May 31 [20 favorites]


As I’ve said before, I doubt there’s been someone more defensive of Pelosi over the years of this thread. She’s an amazing legislator and politician in a world of normal politics. We are passed that time. This is the fight for the survival of democracy, not the passing of a bill. We need a Grant, not a McClellan, and it looks like she’s not it. Pointing that out isn’t a betrayal of her, it’s a rationale assessment of the facts post-November 2018.
posted by chris24 at 10:58 AM on May 31 [23 favorites]


I was hoping Nadler or Schiff could be Sherman to Pelosi’s Grant but I guess I’m just destined to be disappointed.
posted by chris24 at 11:03 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


The first battle after they replaced McClellan was a pointless doomed frontal assault at Fredericksburg, followed by a march through mud that didn’t go anywhere and some scapegoating. Second battle under a new new leader named Fighting Joe they started to do something smart, then stopped in the Wilderness for no particular reason and got taken utterly by surprise and snatched defeat from victory.

It’s easy to say you need a Grant. It’s harder to find one.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:07 AM on May 31 [11 favorites]


"And when I’m president, I’ll appoint justice department officials who will reverse flawed policies so no president is shielded from criminal accountability.”

You're a senator now. Put it in a bill. I can't take seriously any promise by a sitting member of Congress to push some legislation or policy as President that they haven't put into a bill as a member of Congress.
posted by The World Famous at 11:12 AM on May 31 [7 favorites]


[Ok, folks, let's drop the bickering about Pelosi. It's not any different than it was the last thirty or so go-rounds. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:32 AM on May 31 [26 favorites]


WSJ breaks the first leaks against Trump's Mexico tariffs from within the administration: Trump’s Top Trade Adviser Opposed Mexican Tariffs—U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer argued plan could jeopardize North American trade accord "President Trump’s top trade adviser opposed the White House’s threat to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico, arguing that the plan could jeopardize a pending North American trade accord, people familiar with the situation said."

CNBC confirms: Mnuchin and Lighthizer Opposed Trump Tariffs On Mexico, Source Says
President Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary and top trade advisor opposed his surprise plan to impose new tariffs on Mexican imports, according to a source close to the White House who said the idea was pushed by immigration hawk Stephen Miller.

The announcement came as Trump was “riled up” by conservative radio commentary about the recent surge in border crossings, according to the source.[…]

Miller’s role was confirmed by the source close to the White House and a person briefed on the matter.
CNBC: The New Front In Trump’s Trade War Could Cost Consumers at Least $93 Billion "Using 2018 trade figures as a baseline, the tariffs would tax U.S. consumers starting at $18.6 billion and escalating to nearly $93 billion. But the figures don’t take into account all the impact: That’s because in the critical auto industry, many parts crisscross borders multiple times."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:38 AM on May 31 [14 favorites]


Are we sure that Stephen Miller isn’t a Russian asset?

Because at this point, between Bolton on foreign policy and Miller on domestic, it’s hard to think of two advisers who are more actively working for the destruction of the country.
posted by darkstar at 11:46 AM on May 31 [20 favorites]


Isn't Navarro the president's actual top trade adviser? This bizarre protectionism trend is coming from him, and it's averse to what the mainstream Republican policy has been for the last half century at least.
posted by Selena777 at 11:47 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure you can say it's in the rear view mirror while Trump is still calling her Pocahontas.

Apparently she went on the Breakfast Club podcast and straight up got compared to Rachel Dolezal.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:48 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Catherine Rampell, WaPo: Just a few of the reasons that Trump’s Mexico tariffs are deeply stupid.

Dear NPR, this is how you do it: "5. Mexico does not have power to do the thing Trump seems to be asking the country to do. He’s asking Mexico to block people from Central America from crossing into the United States to exercise their internationally recognized legal right to seek asylum."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:57 AM on May 31 [28 favorites]




Isn't Navarro the president's actual top trade adviser? This bizarre protectionism trend is coming from him

Peter Navarro, whose formal title is "Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy", is firmly behind this nonsense. "I would suggest to investors to look at this calmly. Look at what we’re trying to do. This is actually a brilliant move by the president to get Mexico’s attention to get them to help us, because so far they’ve just been standing by, and they really have the power to help us." (MarketWatch)

Robert Lighthizer, as the US Trade Representative, is the person who has to deal with the fallout from it.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:05 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


I have to picture people who believe that they support Trump, and have all along, and then open the news and say, "You stupid mother fucker!" These are folks who farm, or import, or export, or run factories and such, and are suddenly affected by a poorly thought out initiatives like the Mexico thing. Suddenly they are in a more uncertain spot that the prior day, and can only wonder how it came to this.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:26 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Apparently she went on the Breakfast Club podcast and straight up got compared to Rachel Dolezal.

I saw a tweet talking about this. Apparently that was a small segment after a long interview where she talked policy.

and with the way it will be talked about, only that clip will be remembered.

elizabeth warren is being pilloried hillaried.
posted by anem0ne at 12:28 PM on May 31 [30 favorites]


Those people will come to the same answers they always come to: brown people.
They will blame brown people for existing long before they blame Trump for literally setting their homes on fire right in front of them.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:28 PM on May 31 [12 favorites]


Those people will come to the same answers they always come to: brown people.
They will blame brown people for existing long before they blame Trump for literally setting their homes on fire right in front of them.


Because Trump and his people -- like the Border Patrol toad did on this morning's NPR interview -- will use the language abusers most always use, "you're making me do this terrible thing."
posted by Gelatin at 12:33 PM on May 31 [11 favorites]


It sounds as if the host on Breakfast Club (who, allegedly, is a rapist) came across as a bully, and, while I'm not on Twitter, I see considerable skepticism in political spaces.

I might note that Warren appeared on She the People (its mission statement reads that it is "a national network for women of color to transform our democracy) and got a standing ovation. I am optimistic that Warren can overcome this, especially since she lacks some twenty-five-odd years of right-wing smear campaigns against her.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:34 PM on May 31 [10 favorites]


And also too, Charlamagne Tha God apparently just loves loathsome right-wing Cool Girl Tomi Lahren, so - time to take his opinions with a small Siberian salt mine.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:38 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]


especially since she lacks some twenty-five-odd years of right-wing smear campaigns against her.

Maybe not 25 years, but she has experience: The entire Republican campaign against her in her first senate race was one long smear campaign - Republicans, spurred on by a local tabloid columnist, even went around in public doing "tomahawk chops". Nevertheless, she persisted (and then her opponent went on to lose another senate race, in New Hampshire).
posted by adamg at 12:40 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Are we sure that Stephen Miller isn’t a Russian asset?

Even his own family thinks he's been waiting to be Himmler 2.0 since at least his teenage years, it's far more likely that he's just in it for the cruelty.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on May 31 [22 favorites]


CNN, Watchdog finds detainees 'standing on toilets' for breathing room at border facility holding 900 people in space meant for 125
The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General has found "dangerous overcrowding" and unsanitary conditions at an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection, according to a new report.

The IG found "standing room only conditions" at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center, which has a maximum capacity of 125 migrants. On May 7 and 8, logs indicated that there were "approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively."

"We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets," the report states. The report was first obtained by CNN.
You can read the IG report here.

BuzzFeed, Aleaziz, Trump Plans To Make It Harder For Many Unaccompanied Migrant Children To Apply For Asylum
The memorandum, issued by officials with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), appears to represent the latest attempt by the Trump administration to try to deter unaccompanied children from coming to the country and applying for asylum. Earlier this year, officials said they were on track to house a record number of unaccompanied children in shelters scattered across the country.

The new procedures could make it less likely for unaccompanied migrant children to have their asylum claims initially heard and processed by USCIS, a policy that will anger immigrant advocates and likely lead to legal challenges. Unaccompanied children in removal proceedings get an opportunity to present their claims to USCIS first and, if denied, get another opportunity in immigration court.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on May 31 [30 favorites]


Unlike people on the left raising the heritage concern about Warren, people on the right have to thread a tricky needle because the compulsion to slip into pure racism is much too strong; they keep doing it over and over. Trump could say "Your emails!" to Hillary without brushing any feathers insofar as email, as a technology, is not some kind of hot-button issue. But he absolutely lacks the self-control to pull this against Elizabeth without adding some slurs or stereotypes to the mix.

My only fear about it is one I've expressed before, which is that negativity can drive down turnout all around even if a voter's negative emotions are pointed much more strongly against the worse candidate than against the better one, because it just adds to the emotional load of voting: "If you go to the polls then you have to Deal With The Country's Race Thing".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:54 PM on May 31 [3 favorites]


That’s absolutely true about Warren criticism slipping into outright anti-Native racism, the problem is it’s far from clear that outright racism will be punished at the ballot box.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:58 PM on May 31 [14 favorites]


CNN, Watchdog finds detainees 'standing on toilets' for breathing room at border facility holding 900 people in space meant for 125

Concentration camps. Start saying it. It's not even slightly hyperbolic at this point.
posted by odinsdream at 1:14 PM on May 31 [77 favorites]


@christinawilkie [statement attached]: White House: On June 19, Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Arthur Laffer, the 'father of supply-side economics."

Nothing matters.
posted by zachlipton at 1:18 PM on May 31 [26 favorites]


'father of supply-side economics." and also, unsurprisingly, the author of:

Trumpenomics, Inside the America-First Plan to Revive [ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME] our Economy.

Editorialized title is mine, not his.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:28 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]


Concentration camps. Start saying it. It's not even slightly hyperbolic at this point.

I'm of the opinion it's time to get the people out of these places John Connor style
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:28 PM on May 31 [33 favorites]


Just for heart-warmsies, here is a Daily Kos thread with Warren being awesome (helping a woman clear up a spilled drink, and her husband helping to stack chairs at a rally).

For contrast, I was reminded of Trump's story about seeing an old man fall off the stage during a ball at Mar-a-Lago and seriously injuring his head.
I couldn’t, you know, he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him… he’s bleeding all over the place, I felt terrible. You know, beautiful marble floor, didn’t look like it. It changed color. Became very red. And you have this poor guy, 80 years old, laying on the floor unconscious, and all the rich people are turning away. ‘Oh my God! This is terrible! This is disgusting!’ and you know, they’re turning away. Nobody wants to help the guy.
...
“I was saying, ‘Get that blood cleaned up! It’s disgusting!’ The next day, I forgot to call [the man] to say he’s OK,” said Trump, adding of the blood, “It’s just not my thing.”
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 1:36 PM on May 31 [18 favorites]


BuzzFeed, David Mack, Trump Is The First Republican President To Acknowledge LGBT Pride Month, And Yet...: Trump made history on Friday, but his administration has attacked the rights of the LGBT community.
President Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge the LGBT celebration of Pride Month on Friday, even as his administration works to undo and attack the civil rights of the LGBT community.

"As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation," he wrote in a series of tweets. "My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!"

The tweet came exactly one week after Trump's administration unveiled a proposal to rescind non-discrimination protections for transgender people under the Affordable Care Act. Also last week, the administration finalized one rule allowing medical workers to refuse to treat trans people based on religious objections, while drafting another that would allow homeless shelters to turn away transgender individuals.
On a related note, Politico, State Department to launch new human rights panel stressing 'natural law'
The Trump administration plans to launch a new panel to offer "fresh thinking” on international human rights, a move some activists fear is aimed at narrowing protections for women and members of the LGBT community.

The new body, to be called the Commission on Unalienable Rights, will advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a notice the State Department quietly published Thursday on the Federal Register. “The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” states the notice, which is dated May 22.
Because nothing says human rights like the nation's founders; those guys really lived and breathed equality for all.
posted by zachlipton at 2:15 PM on May 31 [18 favorites]


Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman on the government's court-ordered new release of Flynn documents:
Per court order, the govt has filed a transcript of a voicemail that Michael Flynn's lawyer got from one of Trump's lawyers after Flynn withdrew from the joint defense agreement. Much of this was excerpted in Vol. II of Mueller's report. The judge had ordered the govt to file this transcript because in their sentencing memo they'd referenced the fact that Flynn contributed to the obstruction investigation by turning over a "voicemail recording"

The judge also ordered the govt to produce "any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn's conversations with Russian officials." Govt said today it isn't relying on any other recordings, nor are any part of the record.

Here's the govt's full response to the judge's orders: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6111483/5-31-19-Govt-Response-Flynn.pdf
While we wait for Judge Emmet Sullivan's response to the government's withholding transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials, here's the full transcript of John Dowd's 11/22/17 voicemail that he left with Flynn's lawyer when he learned General Misha was dropping out of the Joint Defense Agreement:
Hey, Rob, uhm, this is John again. Uh, maybe, I-I-I’m-I’m sympathetic; I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t…state it in…starker terms. If you have… and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with, and, uh, work with the government, uh… I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that… implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don’t know… some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President, but for the country. So… uh… you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of… protecting all our interests, if we can, without you having to give up any… confidential information. So, uhm, and if it’s the former, then, you know, remember what we’ve always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains, but—Well, in any event, uhm, let me know, and, uh, I appreciate your listening and taking the time. Thanks, Pal.
Emphasis added, 'cos that sure sounds like witness tampering by dangling the promise of a pardon.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:18 PM on May 31 [22 favorites]


Emphasis added, 'cos that sure sounds like witness tampering by dangling the promise of a pardon.

That sounds like legal adviser to Donald Trump, John Dowd, is pretty damned concerned that Flynn's going to roll on Trump with ... y'know. Information*.

* ?
posted by petebest at 2:33 PM on May 31 [7 favorites]


If Trump is impeached it's going to be fun to watch Mike Pence pretend he doesn't want to be President
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:39 PM on May 31 [11 favorites]


In other polling news, Maine’s perpetually “concerned” Republican Senator Susan Collins has seen her approval rate drop 10 points since Fall ‘18, and is down 17 points since Fall ‘17 (see page 15 of the report). She is now well underwater at 41% approval.

Meanwhile, the effort to raise funds for Collins’ eventual Democratic opponent in the 2020 race has raised $3.8 million so far. The main impetus being showcased is Collins’ vote to confirm Trump’s choice of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
posted by darkstar at 2:50 PM on May 31 [42 favorites]


Isn't Navarro the president's actual top trade adviser? This bizarre protectionism trend is coming from him, and it's averse to what the mainstream Republican policy has been for the last half century at least.

He may be point man for selling & implementing it but the idea for it is pure Trump. It's one of his fixated ideas he just can't let go of, combining his zero-sum international politics with his wanting to punish brown people for trying to infest his beautiful white America. If Navarro wants to keep his job he'll get on board with it & pretend it makes sense as hard as he can. The emperor's clothes are beautiful beyond description.
posted by scalefree at 2:56 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Voting rights advocates now possess 18 thumb drives and 4 hard drives used by Republicans' gerrymandering mastermind. The files contain "work from many, many states over years and years."

The census bombshell was just the beginning. (Slate)
posted by The Whelk at 2:58 PM on May 31 [64 favorites]


Collins is getting a lot of out-of-state GOP money, roughly equal to what has been raised for her opponent:
The research firm also found that her 46-percentage-point drop in approval among Democrats between the third and fourth quarters of 2019 was matched by an increase among Republicans, explaining why her overall standing hasn’t changed much despite becoming a lightning rod.

That’s also evidenced by the fact that Collins raised more money during the quarter after the Kavanaugh vote than she had in any previous quarter of her career. She’d raised $4.4 million for her race through March’s end, with virtually all of it coming from out of state. That haul matches two national progressive crowdfunds aimed at her since the Kavanaugh vote.
She probably traded her support for Kavanaugh for a guarantee that she'd financially benefit. Still, every dollar raised for her opponent is a dollar that the GOP/Mercer/Koch axis is more likely to have to match, which makes it less likely spent on Republican campaigns elsewhere in the country.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:00 PM on May 31 [16 favorites]


Trump’s two-front trade war triggers alarms (Politico)
President Donald Trump’s decision to open a second front in his trade war sent tremors through global markets, unnerved corporate America and spurred economists to raise new warnings about the potential for a sharp economic slowdown just as the 2020 presidential contest heats up. [...]

Business groups in Washington quickly slammed Trump’s decision, which White House officials indicated came after a haphazard internal process and against the advice of some of the president’s more free trade-oriented advisers. [...] Business groups on Friday also once again rejected claims made by Trump that other countries pay the cost of tariffs he imposes. “A 5 percent increase is noticeable and will hit people’s pocketbooks,” said the U.S. Chamber's Bradley. “There’s no money coming from Mexico,” he said. “Every dime of the tariff is going to be paid by an American consumer and an American business.”
Surely some revelation is at hand...
posted by Little Dawn at 3:15 PM on May 31 [9 favorites]


I suspect there will be a meeting between the American and Mexican delegations, Trump will declare victory despite nothing in particular new being done, the markets will rally a bit, and Trump will claim credit for the rally and for "fixing" a problem he created not two days prior.
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on May 31 [10 favorites]




Fuck yeah, Illinois. The dominos falling for pot legalization need to go faster, and they ALL need to include mandatory pardons for non-violent pot possession charges.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:01 PM on May 31 [36 favorites]


[note: @AltScalesOfJust is on a list compiled by Snopes of "trusted Alt Government Twitter accounts"]

@AltScalesOfJust
[THREAD] I would like to offer my take on Mueller's statement today. I spent MANY hours w/ Mueller debating messages & wording before briefings to Congress & others. I joined him in giving many of the briefings. So I feel qualified to offer some opinions about his wording choices
[not going to try to summarize, it's 25 tweets long]
posted by scalefree at 4:09 PM on May 31 [14 favorites]


Forcing Collins to vote to exonerate Trump is reason enough to bring articles of impeachment all by itself.
posted by contraption at 4:18 PM on May 31 [12 favorites]


UK accused of ‘sweetheart deal’ with Donald Trump over Turnberry lighthouse
Donald Trump’s flagship Scottish business is paying just £100 a month to a UK government public body to lease buildings at the world-famous Turnberrry lighthouse, The Scotsman can reveal.
The 19th century lighthouse, the centrepiece of the US president’s loss making Trump Turnberry hotel and golf resort, houses what is billed as “one of the world’s finest suites,” the interiors of which are bedecked in marble, gold, and mahogany.
[...]
Trump Turnberry charges £1,400 for an overnight stay at the suite - housed in an accommodation block owned by Mr Trump - with a three-course dinner and breakfast available for a further £50, meaning its annual outlay on the lease can be footed by just a single paying guest.
posted by scalefree at 4:33 PM on May 31 [9 favorites]


I would like to offer my take on Mueller's statement today.

This is helpful, but probably nothing too surprising for us obsessives. What it does make clear is that Congress needs to compel Mueller to testify publicly. He needs to be forced to state the conclusions we are supposed to infer from his coded statements.

This shit is infuriating:

Mueller is a Marine to the core and would not publicly counter his commanding officer. He WOULD defend his commanding officer if he felt it justified. The fact that he did not defend AG Barr against the criticism, but praised the fact Barr released the report, is telling.

There are far to many instances of this in the report and his public statements. "I'm not saying I disagree with Barr. But you should infer that I'd tell you if I agreed with him, and I'm not telling you that, but I will praise him about this other thing." That isn't helpful! Make him tell us if he agrees or disagrees with Barr. Don't make us parse a logic puzzle that forces us to know what he "would" do.
posted by diogenes at 4:34 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


he’d raised $4.4 million for her race through March’s end, with virtually all of it coming from out of state.

Just for a comparison, King spent $4.9M for his reelection in 2018, and he ran without a serious opponent.

I'm frankly very concerned that there really aren't any good hints at all here as to who might be running against her. I'd like to see some candidates come forward soon. Traditionally, the D candidates against her have been awful. Hopefully we'll find someone who will both be thoughtful and put up a good fight.
posted by anastasiav at 4:35 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


I would like to offer my take on Mueller's statement today.

"[Mueller] specifically said it would be 'unconstitutional' to charge a sitting president."

Please tell me exactly where it says that in the Constitution. [spoiler: it doesn't]
posted by kirkaracha at 4:42 PM on May 31 [8 favorites]


I think, on balance, DOJ is wrong about the Constitutionality of charging a sitting president (and leaving it up to the executive branch to determine whether the executive branch can be charged is dubious anyway) but that there is no direct statement about charging the President in the Constitution isn't completely authoritative as to its Constitutionality. Note for example that the words "privacy", "body", or "abortion" also do not appear in the Constitution but most of us here have pretty strong feelings about the Constitutionality of that issue.

(note to pedants: yes, the word "body" appears twice in a completely different meaning and context)
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]


Making Collins' re-election an expensive and resource-heavy win for the GOP could yield benefits in other tight elections. Either way, win or lose, she and her party must be made to understand that there will be a price to pay to forcing their extremism on the public.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:58 PM on May 31 [14 favorites]


Honestly, I'd like to see a full-on conservachud primary Collins and beat her there. Give the people of Maine an actual choice in the general. Paul LePage isn't busy these days, is he?

If Maine's going to consistently elect conservative rubber stamps, let them own their decision.
posted by delfin at 5:00 PM on May 31


Doktor Zed: While we wait for Judge Emmet Sullivan's response to the government's withholding transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials...

What was that again about ignoring court orders being a line in the sand?
posted by Dr. Send at 5:07 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Because Trump needs to stir things up ahead of his UK trip next Monday, he's given another provocative interview to Murdoch's Sun:
—On the Tory leadership contest: “I actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players. But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent. […] I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person. He has been very positive about me and our country.”
—Trump claimed that several other contenders had also approached him for his public help. He said: “Other people have asked me for an endorsement too. I have been asked for endorsements”. Quizzed on who, Mr Trump replied: “Well, I don’t want to say who but other people have asked me for endorsements, yes”. He added: “I could help anybody if I endorse them. I mean, we’ve had endorsement where they have gone up for forty, fifty points at a shot. Now that is here, but I understand over there would be a great endorsement.”
—Trump said Theresa May messed up Brexit by handing EU all the cards
—Trump said he was surprised Meghan Markle was 'nasty' about him but it's great to have an 'American princess'
—Trump on US-UK relations: “I don’t im­agine any US president was ever closer to your great land.” He said: “You know, there was a time quite a while ago, six or seven years ago, when a group of people came out against me in some form. They were totally over-ridden by another group of people that was far larger and everybody said, ‘Let’s take a pass’. Now I think I am really — I hope — I am really loved in the UK. I certainly love the UK.”
As for protests, WaPo UK correspondent Karla Adam reports, "‘Trump Baby’ balloon just got permission to fly over Parliament during Trump's state visit."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:15 PM on May 31 [14 favorites]


Mueller is a Marine to the core and would not publicly counter his commanding officer.

He's not in the goddamn Marines any more, and he does not have a "commanding officer".
posted by thelonius at 5:19 PM on May 31 [54 favorites]


While we wait for Judge Emmet Sullivan's response to the government's withholding transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials...

What was that again about ignoring court orders being a line in the sand?


Reading through all of the legal wrangling, I'm not sure it's entirely clear. The judge said "give me all the recordings that you have of Flynn." And then (per Zoe Tillerman) the government said "it isn't relying on any other recordings, nor are any part of the record."

I'm guessing that the government is saying "We don't have any other recordings... related to this particular issue," but the judge wasn't asking just for related recordings. Do I have that right?
posted by diogenes at 5:23 PM on May 31


scalefree: DOE now calling natural gas “freedom gas.” Not a joke.

filthy light thief: This does nothing for US energy security, so it's like the DOE is issuing a press release for a US company exporting coal overseas. Except this is "clean energy." Except it's not all that clean, if you look at the lifecycle costs

One more hit on this, and it's both a good thing, and a bit depressing:

UPS Makes Large Commitment to Renewable Natural Gas Through 2026 (Trucking Info, May 22, 2019)
Clean Energy Fuels, which produces renewable natural gas and natural gas fuel systems and products for commercial vehicles, says it is the largest commitment to RNG of any U.S. company. The seven-year commitment would average 22.5 to 25 million gallon equivalents per year for the delivery service giant.

Since 2014, UPS has used more than 28 million gallon equivalents of RNG in its ground fleet. The move supports UPS’s goal of reducing the absolute greenhouse gas emissions of its ground fleet 12% by the 2025. Clean energy estimates that by replacing diesel fuel with RNG, UPS could reduce emissions by as much as 1,074,000 metric tons over the life of the agreement, the equivalent to removing 228,000 cars off the road.

“Since RNG is supported by existing national infrastructure used to transport natural gas, it’s a winning solution that will help UPS to reach our ambitious sustainability goals,” said Mike Casteel, UPS director of fleet procurement. “At the same time, we hope our unprecedented seven-year commitment serves as a catalyst for wider adoption of RNG by other companies.”

RNG, also known as biomethane, differs from traditional sources of natural gas because it is derived from renewable sources such as decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. It is then distributed through the natural gas pipeline and made available as either liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas.
The good: "tapping" existing sources of RNG seems like it should be a no-brainer (it's a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles [U.S. Department of Energy] ), but I'm sure there are differences in the cost to produce the product. Yet UPS is seeing this as something to pursue and promote, though I haven't seen much coverage outside of alternative energy websites and a few trucking websites (like the one I linked).

The sad: this could be the "freedom gas" that is getting promoted, instead of LNG exports. And maybe it will be, in the next administration, or by a savvy New Green Deal lobbyist. But until then, we get this shitty "trolling the libs" / super patriot bullshit.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:45 PM on May 31 [9 favorites]


"[Mueller] specifically said it would be 'unconstitutional' to charge a sitting president."

Please tell me exactly where it says that in the Constitution. [spoiler: it doesn't]


I'm wondering if this is a troll against the administration, and Republicans in general. At some point, if it becomes a dispute, Trump's protectors just might have to say, "Well I mean...it's not un-Constitutional..." thus creating an opening.

He's not in the goddamn Marines any more, and he does not have a "commanding officer".

I know you mean legally and whatnot, but try telling what you say above to a former Marine. "Once a Marine, always a Marine." There are no "ex-Marines" except those who were kicked out.
posted by rhizome at 5:48 PM on May 31 [8 favorites]


I'm Canadian. Last night I got a phone survey obviously commissioned by the Liberal government, wanting to know my feelings about NAFTA/USMCA (both terms were avoided). I said something to the effect that "you think this deal is done but Trump may do something crazy tomorrow". The surveyor and myself both cracked up laughing. And then this morning...
posted by CCBC at 5:53 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


I was listening to NPR a bit today and...has anybody been describing the tariffs as a federal sales tax?
posted by rhizome at 5:56 PM on May 31


But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent. […] I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person. He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Isn't there video of Boris insulting Trump & calling him a bunch of names? But that was before he got elected I guess so it doesn't count or something.
posted by scalefree at 5:58 PM on May 31


I'm guessing that the government is saying "We don't have any other recordings... related to this particular issue," but the judge wasn't asking just for related recordings. Do I have that right?

Found the answer to my own question:

@CarolLeonnig (WaPo):

Judge Sullivan gave an order: make Flynn call to Russian ambassador public. DOJ said what he demanded wasn't relevant to his job.

I have never before seen the government tell the judge his order for materials is not relevant.

That's defying a court order right? It isn't like they would just say "I defy you!" They would say no and then provide some BS rational.

I guess Schiff supports impeachment now.
posted by diogenes at 6:03 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


Judge Sullivan should direct the DOJ lawyers assigned to the case to appear before him and show cause they they should not be sanctioned and referred to the state bar. And if they say anything other that "yes your Honor, and here are the recordings you asked for", he should hold them in immediate contempt and direct them remanded to custody.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:07 PM on May 31 [26 favorites]


"[Mueller] specifically said it would be 'unconstitutional' to charge a sitting president."

i think this is an erroneous reading of the statement. a sentence in that statement by mr. mueller does indeed say "That is unconstitutional," but it is not mueller's judgment, it is mueller's explanation of his constraint by the doj guidance:
Volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited.
i haven't previously looked for or into that policy, but a quick gander reveals an october 2000 memorandum re "a sitting president's amenability to indictment and criminal prosecution," examining and affirming the 1973 memorandum re "amenability of the president, vice president and other civil officers to federal criminal prosecution while in office." i haven't read them; nor do i enjoy significant power to influence the legal determinations and policies of the department of justice. the little i have read so far, though, suggests that the same analysis in 1973 found -- likely on facts differently implicating the same principles that shield the president -- that the vice president is not similarly insulated. note to self: read these before reading president warren's (to be) proposed legislation on the topic.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:09 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Line employees choosing to carry out this administration's illegal orders must start facing personal consequences.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:10 PM on May 31 [30 favorites]


From CNN: House not expected to take up contempt resolutions against Barr, McGahn next week.
The House is not expected to take up contempt citations on the floor next week for Attorney General William Barr or former White House Counsel Don McGahn, according to two Democratic aides, amid fights over testimony and access to the full Mueller report. Democratic leaders said earlier this month that they were originally eyeing next week for bringing up a contempt package that could include both Barr and McGahn.

The aides did not say why the vote wouldn't occur then, though it is a short week for Congress as lawmakers are in Washington for only three days before many will travel to Europe for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Apparently the wheels of justice grind slowly. So slowly one might call it imperceptible.
posted by Justinian at 6:19 PM on May 31 [16 favorites]


"[Mueller] specifically said it would be 'unconstitutional' to charge a sitting president."

Please tell me exactly where it says that in the Constitution. [spoiler: it doesn't]


What it says is that the Judicial and the Executive Branches are co-equal, with neither subordinate to the other.

Imagine a president convicted of a crime and up for sentencing. He would be completely subject to the whims of the courts. Could he meet with so and so? Could he travel to such and such a place? It would all be completely up the judge responsible for his sentencing. This would be a violation of the separation of powers. The executive branch would be subordinated to the judicial.

But, of course this scenario is nonsense, because as Huffy Puffy says upthread "you fundamentally can’t have a fair trial when the prosecutors all work for the defendant."

It's just nonsense from top to bottom, the idea of indicting a sitting president. It's so unworkable that I can't even imagine getting to the unconstitutional part.

The president is not above the law. But the first step in applying the law to the president is, necessarily, removal from office.

I don't like it either, but it's a bit late to switch to a parliamentary system.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:34 PM on May 31 [21 favorites]


Which is *another* reason why let's-impeach-him-in-the-voting-booth is ridiculous nonsense.
posted by odinsdream at 6:39 PM on May 31 [8 favorites]


Politico, Flynn’s Turkish lobbying client complained about Trump’s stance during campaign
A foreign client paying retired Gen. Michael Flynn more than $500,000 to mount a campaign to advance Turkish government interests during the 2016 presidential campaign explicitly complained to a Flynn aide that then-candidate Donald Trump was not being supportive enough, newly released documents show.

A set of talking points prepared in October 2016 by Mike Boston, a former U.S. intelligence officer working with Flynn, indicate that “the client” backing the lobbying project complained that the GOP nominee had not gone to bat for Turkey. At the time, Flynn was also serving as a top foreign policy adviser to Trump.

“Republican Presidential candidate has not defended subject’s home country publicly. He should specifically ask questions about subject’s operations and funding,” Boston wrote under the heading “CLIENT FEEDBACK.”
Subtle.

emptywheel reminds us of just some of Flynn's crimes and conflicts of interest. There's a decent argument that what Flynn did, selling out US foreign and military policy to Turkey, is a scandal that at least approaches if not exceeds the size of Trump/Russia, and it's gotten strikingly little attention.
posted by zachlipton at 7:11 PM on May 31 [26 favorites]


has anybody been describing the tariffs as a federal sales tax?

Trump’s Tariff Threat Sends Mexico, Lawmakers and Businesses Scrambling (NYT)
The United States imported about $347 billion of goods from Mexico last year, covering items like cars, dishwashers, avocados and mangoes. If tariffs are fully put in place at 25 percent, it would be the equivalent of an $87 billion annual tax increase.
Also:
On Friday night, the Trump administration announced that on June 5, it would strip India of a special status that exempts billions of dollars of its products from American tariffs, raising new trade tensions with the world’s second-most populous country. The move was taken as retaliation for what Mr. Trump said was India’s failure to provide “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”
posted by Little Dawn at 7:38 PM on May 31 [7 favorites]


Line employees choosing to carry out this administration's illegal orders must start facing personal consequences.

They do face personal consequences through being held in contempt of court. A government lawyer’s position doesn’t protect them from that or things like Rule 11 sanctions. Doesn’t matter whether they were ordered to do something by a superior or not.
posted by sallybrown at 8:00 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


On Friday night, the Trump administration announced that on June 5, it would strip India of a special status that exempts billions of dollars of its products from American tariffs,

Wait what?

Jesus Christ.
posted by notyou at 8:14 PM on May 31 [16 favorites]


Mueller intended to break Democrats' impeachment stalemate (Walter Shapiro, Guardian Opinion)
In an extreme example of narrowcasting, masked by the careful legalistic language, Mueller was speaking directly to Pelosi in his recent public comments
Much of Mueller’s statement served as an explanation of the constraints that he felt because of a justice department legal interpretation that he cannot indict a sitting president. As Mueller bluntly put it: “A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy.”

Then Mueller, in the same procedural step-by-step tone of a legal indictment, went on to deliver one of the most important sentences of his tenure as special counsel: “The constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

[...] Mueller, in his subtle, understated fashion, tried to break this Democratic stalemate. He offered a new argument and perhaps the only one that could possibly trump Pelosi’s hard-won political caution. What Mueller was saying, in effect, was that the constitution and the institutional legitimacy of Congress as an independent body require commencing impeachment hearings.

[...] impeachment hearings can and should be as deliberate as the Mueller inquiry itself. Unlike 1974, when the Richard Nixon impeachment hearings built on the earlier dramatic public testimony of the Senate Watergate committee, this time around the House judiciary committee’s efforts would need to be both investigative and prosecutorial. Witnesses such as the former White House counsel Don McGahn and Hope Hicks, the former communications director, would have a hard time dodging congressional subpoenas for a constitutionally sanctioned impeachment hearing no matter how ardently Trump claimed executive privilege.

Mueller had a narrow mandate, but there are no such limitations on impeachment hearings. [...] Mueller may be faulted for being too punctilious in his fidelity to justice department rules and precedents. But he followed what he saw as the path dictated by integrity to the end. Now it is up to Pelosi also to transcend politics – and do what the constitution demands.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:22 PM on May 31 [11 favorites]


So, it effects $5B of $85B in trade with India so not another trade grenade, but here we are.

NY Times
posted by notyou at 8:23 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Italy is revoking a lease granted to Bannon to a medieval monastery which he planned to turn into a far-right training academy
Why?
The letter used to guarantee the lease was forged
The bank said the signator hadn’t worked there for years, called it fraud”
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on May 31 [55 favorites]


I know you mean legally and whatnot, but try telling what you say above to a former Marine. "Once a Marine, always a Marine." There are no "ex-Marines" except those who were kicked out.

The civil service is not the Armed Forces. People with that attitude should not be government employees. This is not a military dictatorship.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:47 PM on May 31 [41 favorites]


In an extreme example of narrowcasting, masked by the careful legalistic language, Mueller was speaking directly to Pelosi in his recent public comments

If this was his intent, why was he so adamant about not testifying? Seems somewhat at odds.
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:49 PM on May 31 [3 favorites]


...newly released documents show...

those guys are artless dumb & a significant number of their redactions are insistently, obtrusively transparent. the C[redacted] Foundation and C[redacted] Campaign, fer crissake, or, wait: "Sebastian G[redacted], Philip H[redacted] Steve E[redacted] and other credible witnesses who are authorities on the subject of political Islam, lslamism and Jihadism." lol: i can fill in two of those with the names of not-very-credentialed bigots spreading islamophobic messages for years now without even noticing they're redacted! how much did the "intel group" get paid for doing all that not much and having that not much be done so poorly? like, how much does a writer commend themself to their [lowbrow american] audience by saying things like
When the subject's methods are compared to theoretical and historical teachings of Islamic Political activists of Hasan Al Banna, founder of Muslim Brotherhood (1928), Sayed Qutb (1950s-1960s), and deeper in the history, Hasan Sabbah (late 11th century), there are strong indications that the subject is very likely conducting the first phase of Jihad by slowly building a global loyal force to be activated at the right time....
or even
For those of us who have closely studied the careers of Seyed Qutb and Hasan Al Bana, the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood....
as i guess it was edited (term used loosely) to appear under michael flynn's byline? insofar as i must have generals, i guess i expect them to know the enemy's stuff, but that sudden hyperspecificity with no foundation was a little creepy, and here, pretty sure flynn & associated grifters are not my necessary general, unconvinced that gulen is enemy (or less of a criminal than you are), unpersuaded qutb and bana are relevant authorities, discouraged by other cited authorities. enjoyed the ayatollah story, tho. thx.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:02 PM on May 31


If this was his intent, why was he so adamant about not testifying? Seems somewhat at odds.

One reason could be that he's not really a witness, at least not like Don McGahn and Hope Hicks are witnesses who can actually present evidence. The Mueller report seems more like a large blinking sign, saying HERE LOOK HERE, and pointing at actual witnesses, so it's on Congress to bring them forward to testify.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:09 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


If this was his intent, why was he so adamant about not testifying? Seems somewhat at odds.

I've also seen it argued, maybe even in this thread, that by refusing to come to congress until he gets subpoenaed, he manages to maintain the appearance of impartiality, and he would sacrifice that if he appeared too eager to testify. That seems to jibe with Shapiro's suggestion that he desires "integrity to the end," but who the heck knows what's going on inside that guy's head.
posted by Dr. Send at 9:13 PM on May 31 [3 favorites]


I've also seen it argued, maybe even in this thread, that by refusing to come to congress until he gets subpoenaed, he manages to maintain the appearance of impartiality, and he would sacrifice that if he appeared too eager to testify.

Earlier in the thread, I posted an opinion by David Priess at Lawfare that said something like that, but I also posted an opinion by Ben Wittes at Lawfare that is more like what I'm saying now. From the Shapiro opinion at the Guardian, this image got me thinking more about what Mueller has to offer:
Mueller’s other message to Pelosi on Wednesday was to try to convince her not to compel his congressional testimony. He broadly hinted that he would answer all questions with boring-for-television lines such as: “You will find my answer on page 84 of the second section of my report.”
He's a witness, but he's not the same kind of witness in the way that people actually involved in the impeachable offenses are witnesses. He rounded up the players, and if it's true that the House needs to open an impeachment proceeding to hear the actual witness testimony under penalties of perjury, then so be it.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:34 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


So let's say Don Jr., Ivanka, Hope Hicks, and McGahn all testify before Congress and lie through their teeth. Under Barr's DOJ/FBI who will press perjury charges against them?
posted by benzenedream at 9:57 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]


It seems noteworthy that Dan "The Hacky One" Pfieffer of Pod Save America has recently shifted his position and come out in favor of impeachment.
posted by contraption at 10:40 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


So let's say Don Jr., Ivanka, Hope Hicks, and McGahn all testify before Congress and lie through their teeth. Under Barr's DOJ/FBI who will press perjury charges against them?

There's always contempt of Congress if an actual witness tries to lie, but the ultimate goal is to move an impeachment inquiry forward. 'Under penalty of perjury' is more of a shorthand for live testimony, but it's still a good point about how corrupt the DOJ appears to be under Barr's leadership.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:04 PM on May 31 [3 favorites]


From contraption's Dan Pfeiffer link above: Democrats need a message. They need a concise and compelling argument for what Trump did wrong, how his misdeeds connect to the lives and concerns of voters, and why this merits the extraordinary response of impeachment. My suggestion for that message is:

Donald Trump has abused his power to hide multiple crimes and massive corruption. He has used the Presidency to punish his enemies, reward his friends, and enrich himself at the expense of the American people. No one is above the law, not even a rich politician.

... No matter what Democrats do, Trump and Bill Barr will be falsely accusing Democrats of treason and spinning absurd conspiracy theories about the origins of the Mueller investigation. A well-planned and well-executed impeachment inquiry may be the only way to wrest the microphone from Trump and tell a story on our terms about who Trump is and the damage he has wrought on our country.


As Pfeiffer notes, no one knows exactly how impeachment (or the future) will play out. But we do know that people are being held in concentration-camp conditions at this moment. We know that some asylum seekers in Texas have given birth in custody and forcibly separated from their newborns. We know that trans people and others are being attacked by the Trump administration.

On the state level, we know that reproductive justice and healthcare for women has been losing ground and is under attack like never before. (Note: While Netflix has threatened to stop filming in Georgia if its new abortion ban is upheld, "over the last 10 months, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated $143,000 to 73 Republican members of the Missouri legislature," which just passed an abortion ban nearly as restrictive as Georgia's.)

In short, citizens, residents, and asylum seekers have died and are dying. They have been and are murdered, unjustly jailed, wrongly denied health care, had their children ripped from their arms, or simply had the misfortune to be black, female, and giving birth in the United States.

No wonder people are angry and exhausted, terrified, stressed, and traumatised. This isn't new, of course; everything was not fabulous, equitable, and democratic until 2016. But today, in many cases, things have gotten worse for a variety of Americans and significantly worse for immigrants and asylum seekers. We need impeachment proceedings to begin; we need carefully crafted civil disobedience that highlights the administration's worst sins; we need to build a progressive digital presence that can effectively route around the lame stream media.

I don't have a magic wand but I have a laptop and a phone. I am going to keep pushing my elected federal officials to pursue impeachment while supporting state and local officials who appear to be working for the good of all, not exclusively the 1 fucking percent and their lackeys.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:52 AM on June 1 [53 favorites]


Trump and Bill Barr will be falsely accusing Democrats of treason

It has stood out to me that treason isn't a dirty, filthy, disgusting word... or money laundering, or tax fraud, or perjury, or witness tampering, or emoluments, it's just, y'know, the consequence Trump might experience for having committed that stuff that turns out to be a supposedly repellent word.
posted by XMLicious at 2:23 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


Isn't there video of Boris insulting Trump & calling him a bunch of names?

Found it (nb: account is not really Boris. Video is.)

@BorisJohnson_MP
I’m hoping Donald Trump doesn’t see this before his visit. Still, I know you guys won’t retweet it and I’m pretty sure he isn’t even on Twitter.
[video]
posted by scalefree at 6:05 AM on June 1 [6 favorites]


Mueller speaking for 8 minutes and saying nothing provoked more of a response and more movement than we've seen from anyone other than Justin Amash, including Democratic leadership, since Day 1 when the report hit.

Just calling Mueller and having him read the report word for word out loud on live TV would be incalculably damaging. No one has read the report. No one watches CSPAN to see Democrats reading it into the record. Just telling people on actual live TV on a channel they watch what it says would move public opinion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:08 AM on June 1 [56 favorites]


Just telling people on actual live TV on a channel they watch what it says would move public opinion.

It would also force Trump to directly confront a lot of the evidence against him instead of getting away with ignoring or mischaracterizing it like he does now since press conferences are no longer a thing the White House feels obligated to do, ever.
posted by scalefree at 6:31 AM on June 1 [7 favorites]


Just telling people on actual live TV on a channel they watch what it says would move public opinion.
Instead we get the Speaker telling a different story on live tv each week.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:34 AM on June 1 [6 favorites]


Full List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump? (NYT)
54 Democrats support an impeachment inquiry
56 Do not support now or undecided
125 Awaiting response

Representative Justin Amash of Michigan is the lone House Republican to publicly conclude that Mr. Trump has “engaged in impeachable conduct.”
posted by Little Dawn at 6:46 AM on June 1 [8 favorites]


Vanity Fair: “Disastrous”: Dow Sinks as Markets Realize Trump Really Is This Stupid The Dow lost 354 points yesterday, dropping 3% this week for its sixth straight week down.

And now Trump's planning to nominate a goldbug to the Fed, the FT reports: Fed Candidate Slams Bank’s ‘Soviet’ Power Over Markets—Trump pick Judy Shelton questions if Fed should set interest rates
Judy Shelton, a senior US official who is being vetted for a job on the board of the Federal Reserve, has attacked the central bank for wielding undemocratic, Soviet-style powers over markets and suggested it should not even be in the business of setting interest rates.[…]

Ms Shelton has long been sympathetic to the gold standard, which the US fully abandoned in the early 1970s in favour of a flexible exchange rate for the dollar. “People call me a goldbug, and I think, well, what does that make them? A Fed bug,” she says. Her big dream is a new Bretton Woods-style conference — “if it takes place at Mar-a-Lago that would be great” — to reset the international monetary system, replacing the current regime, mostly based on floating currencies. Ms Shelton said countries should agree to tie their currencies to a “neutral reference point, a benchmark” — which she envisages to be a “convertible gold-backed bond”.

“Now is the pivotal moment to question whether central banking is really delivering what the central bankers themselves aspire to. They are going through self-examination so I think it’s reasonable to say there are alternatives,” she said.
Cherry-picking this lengthy interview for Shelton's worst economic theories is frankly difficult. She's a depthless font of bad ideas masquerading as unconventional thinking. Her support of Trump's tax cuts, regulation repeal, and China tariffs are practically her mainstream opinions. (She's also tied to Trumpist economic cheerleaders Larry Kudlow and David Malpass.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:58 AM on June 1 [23 favorites]


Can't wait any longer. Over an hour ago mumimor added this comment to the current Brexit thread. Turns out that more than one Trump will be visiting the UK soon.
posted by kingless at 7:14 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


The guy who was forced to resign as interim Texas secretary of state after botching that voter-purge thing won't have to worry about signing up for unemployment: Gov. Greg Abbott has hired him as a "special advisor" - and with a raise over what he was making at his last permanent job in state government.
posted by adamg at 7:39 AM on June 1 [11 favorites]


Turns out that more than one Trump will be visiting the UK soon.

Seriously, the Guardian reported a week ago (per a tip by Maggie Haberman): Donald Trump to Bring Adult Children On Uk State Visit, Reports Say—President will be accompanied by wife, four adult children and their partners in June i.e. Ivanka and Jared Kushner, Donald Jr (and Kimberly Guilfoyle?) Eric and Eric’s wife, Lara, and Tiffany (unique in that she has no role in the Trump White House or the Trump 2020 campaign). On one hand, maybe this is Team Trump's idea of a charm offensive. On the other, maybe Trump's current state is so volatile that the entire horrid brood has been assembled so there won't be a repeat of last year.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:41 AM on June 1 [6 favorites]


Seriously, the Guardian reported...

Should've mentioned that the post on the Brexit thread has a link to a satirical piece by Hadley Freeman in the Guardian.
posted by kingless at 7:46 AM on June 1


On the state level, we know that reproductive justice and healthcare for women has been losing ground and is under attack like never before.

Even if Roe is upheld, abortion opponents are winning (Politico)
Abortion is still legal in the United States, but for women in vast swaths of the country it’s a right in name only.

Six states are down to only one abortion clinic; by the end of this week, Missouri could have zero. Some women seeking abortions have to travel long distances, and face mandatory waiting periods or examinations. [...] Doctors and clinic staff have to face protesters, threats, proliferating regulations and draining legal challenges; clinics have closed. In remote parts of the midwest and south, women may have to travel more than 300 miles to end a pregnancy. [...]

The ramifications of the anti-abortion movement’s sustained assault against Planned Parenthood are perhaps no clearer than in Texas, where lawmakers have passed dozens of restrictive laws, including mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods and state funding restrictions. The Supreme Court overturned another set of Texas restrictions in 2016 — but not before about 20 clinics shut down, many of which were never able to reopen. Providers retired, staff found other jobs and clinics had to start from scratch to get licensed and staff up. “All of those things take time and a significant amount of money,” said Kari White, an associate professor in Health Care Organization and Policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an investigator with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. [...]

The evaluation project found that while the number of abortions overall declined after the Texas law went into effect, the number of second-trimester abortions rose as women were forced to wait and travel longer distances. Currently only about 22 abortion providers, mostly in urban areas, are operating in Texas, a state with roughly 6.3 million women of reproductive age.

Low-income women are disproportionately affected by abortion restrictions, said Kamyon Conner, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, which helps women who can’t afford an abortion, which costs between $500 and $10,000 dollars depending on the point in pregnancy. The nonprofit was part of a group that challenged dozens of Texas abortion restrictions in court.

Calls to the group’s hotline have tripled over the past few years to 6,000 in 2018, but it only funded about 1,000 women last year, she said.
The NYT has maps showing women within 1-hour drive of nearest abortion facility and women more than a 1-hour drive to nearest abortion facility, as well as the locations of clinics and clinic closures in an article that also unfortunately talks about 'bans on abortion' without noting that these bans are only attempts and have been consistently struck down in courts: For Millions of American Women, Abortion Access Is Out of Reach
The last remaining abortion provider in Missouri was set to see its license expire Friday amid a standoff with state officials, but a judge gave the parties more time to resolve the dispute. If the clinic were to stop providing abortion services, about 25,000 more women would be pushed outside the range that experts consider to be accessible for care.
It's great that Style Guides have updated to more realistically discuss the "climate crisis" instead of "global warming," but we are well past time for misreporting on attempts to change abortion laws as 'abortion bans.' Real people get hurt when news outlets report 'abortion is banned' when it absolutely is not. The restrictions that currently exist in many places are horrific and shouldn't get lost when we talk about how to protect reproductive choice.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:52 AM on June 1 [14 favorites]


attempts to change abortion laws as 'abortion bans.'

But... they *are* attempting to ban abortion? Several of the laws *are* abortion bans? They're held up in the courts at the moment, but they *are* abortion bans. Sometimes you have to call a shovel a shovel you know?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:03 AM on June 1 [7 favorites]


I made a FanFare for the Mueller Report in case anyone else is reading it.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:05 AM on June 1 [15 favorites]


[The issue over the phrasing "abortion ban" was aired in the Georgia abortion law thread so if folks want to have more discussion over that issue please take it over there. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:05 AM on June 1 [3 favorites]


> Over an hour ago mumimor added this comment to the current Brexit thread.

...includes the phrase "visiting indignitary Donald Trump", quoted from Marina Hyde's article in the Guardian which had been linked to earlier in that thread, and is a thing of beauty.
posted by nangar at 8:12 AM on June 1 [12 favorites]


I know you mean legally and whatnot, but try telling what you say above to a former Marine. "Once a Marine, always a Marine." There are no "ex-Marines" except those who were kicked out.

The civil service is not the Armed Forces. People with that attitude should not be government employees. This is not a military dictatorship.


There are tons of different types of government employees and different sets of obligations, responsibilities, and strengths of loyalties that go with them. Mueller probably has a strong cultural identity as a Marine because of the way Marine culture is, but that doesn’t in any way mean he would consider his current civilian employer/supervisory structure as some kind of military commanding officer. Because he’s a lawyer, he has strong professional obligations in the way he behaves and what he asserts to a court. Because he’s a DOJ lawyer, he has certain additional responsibilities he swears to as part of his oath. And DOJ employees and lawyers have their own cultural attitudes about how to conduct themselves at work that are different than you’d find in a private firm (down to the writing style they’d use in a brief). He is also a human individual who carries his own individual beliefs about how he wants to be in the world. We can use all of these things to try and read into his public actions (and given the stress our country and world is going through, a lot of people are understandably trying to read those tea leaves and get a sense of what the future holds) but he’s also a man, not a computer, so analyzing his cultural programming isn’t like cracking a code.
posted by sallybrown at 8:24 AM on June 1 [12 favorites]


Marina Hyde's article in the Guardian which had been linked to earlier in that thread, and is a thing of beauty.

Marina Hyde's Brexit columns are the only bright spot in all of Brexit. It's kind of like the music of the Thatcher years.
posted by srboisvert at 8:43 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


A true Empire needs an Emperor & some royal heirs. That's Trump's vision, the Royal House of Trump. Barron, first of his name.
posted by scalefree at 8:53 AM on June 1


The article's satire but I believe the list of who's going is real

So far, it looks like the chief US source of this news has been Maggie Habberman's anonymously-sourced tweet mentioned above. People magazine has tried to confirm it but the Trump White House has not responded: "Speaking with reporters on Thursday, ahead of the state visit, administration officials declined to confirm who from Trump’s family might join him in the U.K. or why they might travel with him. The White House did not respond to PEOPLE’s questions on the matter."

The British press, especially the tabloids, is much freer with publishing leeks about this. The Daily Telegraph claimed last week this is happening: Four of Donald Trump's Children to Join for UK State Visit, Meeting British Royals

The Daily Mail also claims to have received an anonymous tipoff about this:
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Don Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Tiffany Trump will all participate in what a source close to the administration is calling the 'family events' during the trip. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Don Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Tiffany Trump will all participate in what a source close to the administration is calling the 'family events' during the trip. That will include a lavish State Banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and a dinner at the U.S. ambassador's home hosted by the president and first lady where Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will represent the queen.

The source described much of the trip as a 'family thing' and said 'the whole [Trump] family is going over.'[…] The first daughter 'will be participating in official and ceremonial events in London,' a White House official told DailyMail.com.[…] The source close to the administration said the Trump children will also join the president and first lady Melania in France on the D-Day landing anniversary on June 6.
In short, Trump's UK visit is turning into gossip fare for the tabloids.

Behind the scenes, though, we know that Melania and Ivanka regularly perform the emotional labor of keeping Trump's volatility in check. Since there are going to be plenty of protests, we can expect Trump to be in constant need of reassurance.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:26 AM on June 1 [5 favorites]


Trending on Lawfare today: Yes, the Constitution Allows Indictment of the President (Laurence H. Tribe, Dec. 20, 2018)
My op-ed argued against the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos opining that the Constitution prevents the indictment of a sitting president. Nearly everyone concedes that any such policy would have to permit exceptions. The familiar hypothetical of a president who shoots and kills someone in plain view clinches the point. Surely, there must be an exception for that kind of case: Having to wait until the House of Representatives impeaches the alleged murderer and the Senate removes him from office before prosecuting and sentencing him would be crazy. Nobody seriously advocates applying the OLC mantra of “no indictment of a sitting president” to that kind of case.

The same is true for any number of other cases that come readily to mind. Among those, in my view, must be the not-so-hypothetical case of a president who turns out to have committed serious crimes as a private citizen in order to win the presidency. Whether the president committed such crimes in collusion with a shady group of private collaborators or did so in conspiracy with one or more foreign adversaries, it should not be necessary for the House to decide that such pre-inaugural felonies were impeachable offenses and for the Senate to convict and remove the officeholder before putting him in the dock as an alleged felon and meting out justice.

The onrush of daily, even hourly, news in the world today sadly furnishes plenty of other real-life examples. As those examples mount, the time may soon come when the Justice Department cannot avoid addressing the question: When does the anti-indictment policy have to give way to an emerging reality?
Related: Tracking 29 Investigations Related to Trump (NYT, last updated May 23, 2019)
posted by Little Dawn at 9:32 AM on June 1 [28 favorites]


The whole horrible brood is going because Trump thinks of himself as a King and wants to show off his own princesses and princes and for whatever reason, Eric too.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:36 AM on June 1 [18 favorites]


‘Everyone dies’: Barr says he’s unconcerned about the toll his job is taking on his reputation

“I am at the end of my career,” Attorney General William Barr said. “Everyone dies, and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries.”

"Who cares, we'll be dead soon anyway" might as well be the national motto.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:47 AM on June 1 [68 favorites]


and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries

...what kind of person doesn’t believe in that ??
posted by sallybrown at 11:52 AM on June 1 [12 favorites]


[A few deleted; please take zingers etc over to the jokes, riffing, creative responses metatalk thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:58 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


Messaging-wise it feels like a direct response to the news being passed around that kids can effectively change their parents' minds about climate change. What's left but to aggressively push "who cares if your memory is cursed by your children's children's children? You'll be dead!"
posted by contraption at 12:02 PM on June 1 [24 favorites]


Republicans have embraced the idea that their heroes are people that thumb their noses at the law and openly lie. Barr is a hero. McConnell is a hero. Trump is hero. It's like watching a World Wrestling Federation match where the audience cheers for the villain. The point is to "own libs" by getting away with as much as you can while flipping off the audience.
posted by xammerboy at 12:05 PM on June 1 [27 favorites]


Behind the scenes, though, we know that Melania and Ivanka regularly perform the emotional labor of keeping Trump's volatility in check.

It's a desperate effort to keep Trump on point. The last time he visited he told May he wouldn't hesitate to use Brexit to squeeze Britain dry. The whole situation there is a powder keg at the moment and Trump could prove to be a lit match.
posted by xammerboy at 12:16 PM on June 1 [2 favorites]


Trump said he was surprised Meghan Markle was 'nasty' about him but it's great to have an 'American princess'

Before Trump has so much set foot on British soil, he's embroiled in "Nasty-gate" by insulting a member of the Royal Family. Bloomberg, CNN, ABC's Today Show, and many others are all running headlines that Trump called Meghan Markle "nasty" in his Sun interview (because she called him "divisive" and "misogynistic" during the 2016 campaign).

Now Team Trump's attempting to strike back by splitting hairs, since Trump said, technically, "No, I didn’t know that she was nasty." when the Sun's reporter was egging him on. The 2020 campaign's Official Trump War Room Twitter reaction force has gone full "ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!": "Fake News CNN is at it again, falsely claiming President Trump called Meghan Markle "nasty." Here is what he actually said. Listen for yourself!") Of course, it's about as subtle a rhetorical move as Trump's "many people are saying" tactic, but only the MAGA crowd is buying it.

Once again, it's the Iron Law of Trump's Misogyny: When Trump feels angry and insecure, he attacks women personally. This time, it's playing out on the diplomatic stage. (And imagine how he's going to treat the lame duck Theresa May.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:42 PM on June 1 [15 favorites]


Good News™️

More then half of Americans support Warren’s Student Debt abolition

Sanders calls for a minimum teacher wage of 60,000
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on June 1 [39 favorites]


Trump says lawyer Emmet Flood leaving in June (Reuters).

As the article notes, "Flood and Pat Cipollone, who holds the post of White House counsel, represent the presidency as an institution, not Trump as an individual."
posted by jedicus at 2:41 PM on June 1 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump:

Washington Post got it wrong, as usual. The U.S. is charging 25% against 250 Billion Dollars of goods shipped from China, not 200 BD. Also, China is paying a heavy cost in that they will subsidize goods to keep them coming, devalue their currency, yet companies are moving to.....

....U.S. in order to avoid paying the 25% Tariff. Like Mexican companies will move back to the United States once the Tariff reaches the higher levels. They took many of our companies & jobs, the foolish Pols let it happen, and now they will come back unless Mexico stops the.....

...travesty that is taking place in allowing millions of people to easily meander through their country and INVADE the U.S., not to mention the Drugs & Human Trafficking pouring in through Mexico. Are the Drug Lords, Cartels & Coyotes really running Mexico? We will soon find out!
posted by xammerboy at 3:45 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump is like a 20th-century fascist, says Sadiq Khan (Guardian)
London mayor hits out at US president before his state visit to Britain
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has compared the language used by Donald Trump to rally his supporters to that of “the fascists of the 20th century” in an explosive intervention before the US president’s state visit to London that begins on Monday.

Writing in the Observer, Khan condemned the red-carpet treatment being afforded to Trump, who, with his wife Melania, will be a guest of the Queen during his three-day stay, which is expected to provoke massive protests in the capital on Tuesday.

Khan said: “President Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years.

“Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but with new, sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.”

[...] Organisers of the protests on Tuesday say they will register their anger both against Trump and his wider views, including those on Brexit, which the US president has made clear he supports. Alena Ivanova, a campaign organiser for Another Europe is Possible, said: “Tuesday’s protests aren’t just about Trump, they’re about Trumpism – a politics of racism and bigotry. Trump is part of a global nationalist surge, and Brexit and its cheerleaders are the British franchise of it. Like Trump, Brexit is a threat to our basic rights and freedoms, and promises a future of division, despair and rightwing economics.”

At least 250,000 people are expected to turn out in central London at 11am, on a route between Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, when Trump meets Theresa May in Downing Street.
posted by Little Dawn at 3:50 PM on June 1 [28 favorites]


Do we yet know who writes the tweets which, while obviously unhinged fascist rantings, are nevertheless far too cohesive (and mildly grammatical) to be the work of the demented President of the United States? Stephen Miller? Dan Scavino?

Asking on behalf of a truth and reconciliation commission from the future
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:51 PM on June 1 [18 favorites]


That’s a total Scavino tweet.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:30 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


tivalasvegas, I use the Trump or Not Bot, a Twitter account that parses @realDonaldTrump’s tweets through a natural language processor to rate the probability of an authentic tweet. The Twitter account is a collaborative effort, though, between Trump, his comms team, and miscellaneous aides, who brainstorm these tweets off Trump’s input. 76%/87%/97% for that last batch, btw, and now the account is in a frenzy of retweeting the most sycophantic messages about Trump, who obviously is feeling very anxious about everything.

And here’s the WaPo article that set him off: U.S. and Mexico plan summit in Washington on Wednesday in bid to head off trade dispute
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:50 PM on June 1 [7 favorites]


I mean, I hope there'll be court-admissible evidence of specifically who wrote each of the tweets. There will be an After-time and the fascists need to be held personally responsible for their actions.

I think "The Charlottesville Trials" has a nice ring to it.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:07 PM on June 1 [14 favorites]


I mean, I hope there'll be court-admissible evidence of specifically who wrote each of the tweets. There will be an After-time and the fascists need to be held personally responsible for their actions.

Based on prior experiences with a Democratic administration taking over from a criminal Republican one, this is very much an open question and should be a live issue in the primary. There's a choice between "look forward, not backwards" again, or something else. It's being made right now.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:03 PM on June 1 [20 favorites]


From the Wapo article:

The U.S. economy relies heavily on imports from China, but it is much more interconnected with suppliers in Mexico, making the impact of tariffs hard to absorb. Matthew Slaughter, dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, said the tariffs against Mexico could quickly lead to the loss of “hundreds of thousands of jobs” in the United States because of how interwoven the two economies have become.
posted by xammerboy at 6:33 PM on June 1 [7 favorites]




Arizona’s #1 trade partner is Mexico. Some 90,000 jobs here are wrapped up in trade with Mexico. Even staunchly conservative players here like the AZ Chamber of Commerce are calling this nuts.
posted by darkstar at 7:08 PM on June 1 [8 favorites]


Protester grabs mic from Kamala Harris during MoveOn forum (CBS News)
As she was discussing student loans for black students, the protester walked up and interrupted her, causing her to leave the stage as staffers and even her husband, Doug Emhoff, tried to remove the man.

After he was escorted off the stage, Harris returned to chants of "Kamala, Kamala." Harris quickly picked up where the panel left off, saying "you have a question and I want to answer it" to the moderators, who asked her about crime statistics. [...]

MoveOn, meawhile, tweeted an apology to Harris. "We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today," MoveOn wrote.
No word yet on what MoveOn will be doing to improve security for candidates at future forums.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:29 PM on June 1 [13 favorites]


Wow. How insanely tone deaf can someone get? White dude thinks it's OK to go grab a microphone from a black woman to push his unrelated agenda.
posted by rdr at 7:34 PM on June 1 [19 favorites]


Have you met white dudes?
posted by odinsdream at 7:48 PM on June 1 [96 favorites]


I would have editorialized, Harris returned to chants of "Kamala, Kamala," like a boss, but I was a little too livid at MoveOn for having such poor security, and at this incident being reported as a protest. Rushing at someone and grabbing things out of their hand are violent actions that assert power and stoke fear, so I'm sorry to see the media lending legitimacy to these aggressive and criminal actions by referring to them as a 'protest.' This wasn't civil disobedience.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:58 PM on June 1 [19 favorites]




Took me a minute to remember the Secret Service only gets deployed after each party selects its candidate.
posted by scalefree at 8:34 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Duncan Hunter Says He Probably Killed ‘Hundreds’ Of Civilians While In Combat

“I was an artillery officer, and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians,” he said. “Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So, do I get judged too?”

Someday, one hopes.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:57 PM on June 1 [78 favorites]


Man, with...

(a) McConnell gleefully admitting he’d eagerly apply a different set of principles to confirming any SCOTUS nominee in a Republican President’s last year in office,

(b) Barr admitting he doesn’t care what history thinks of him because, eh, he’ll be dead anyway, and

(c) Hunter admitting he’s rather blasé about killing women and children,

...the GOP is really letting their freak flag fly with the whole “say the quiet parts out loud” thing.


Overt admissions of rank hypocrisy and sociopathy. Say what you will about Trump, but he seems to have really inspired next-level DGAF-ism in his tribe.
posted by darkstar at 9:06 PM on June 1 [53 favorites]


I saw a tweet from some pol or pundit (can't remember the source) that went something like: Donald Trump's amorality is based on his belief that everyone else is just as selfish and amoral as he is, and any words they speak to the contrary are nothing more than showmanship to fool the rubes.

And that the longer he is in office the more explicitly the Republican party shows, at least as far as Republicans go, he is right.
posted by Justinian at 10:20 PM on June 1 [39 favorites]


Sigh, this is going to be a long primary season, and I can tell I'm going to have to do THIS a lot. So, for the first of what'll surely be many, many, many times, here goes:

Wow. How insanely tone deaf can someone get? White dude thinks it's OK to go grab a microphone from a black woman to push his unrelated agenda.

She's. Indian. Too.
posted by CommonSense at 11:27 PM on June 1 [9 favorites]


There are so many horrible people, it’s hard to keep track of them. It took me a while to remember that Matt Gaetz is the obstruct justice by threatening Cohen on Twitter before he testifies to Congress guy. And Duncan Hunter is the admitted war criminal who takes pictures with dead enemy combatants guy. Winners all around.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:44 PM on June 1 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure that the caveat about Harris is so emphatically necessary. Saying she's black is a complex, socially-constructed categorization, but it doesn't imply that she's not Indian; any more than, for example, saying Giancarlo Esposito is black or that Nancy Pelosi is white implies that they aren't Italian.
posted by XMLicious at 11:47 PM on June 1 [21 favorites]


I'm not sure that the caveat about Harris is so emphatically necessary. Saying she's black is a complex, socially-constructed categorization, but it doesn't imply that she's not Indian; any more than, for example, saying Giancarlo Esposito is black or that Nancy Pelosi is white implies that they aren't Italian.

I dunno, perhaps. I have a dog in this fight, being Indian myself, so maybe I'm too close to this. And so often it's the media doing it; other times it's the Black community doing it (while simultaneously I feel the Indian community is just ignoring her); other times, I feel like Harris is doing nothing to fight the erasure of her Indian-ness. And I'm simultaneously hyper-aware of the Bill Mahers of the world, supposedly our allies but also whining about "identity politics" again like any random Republican.

Also, Italians haven't really had to worry about being seen as "the other" for about a century now (though I'll readily admit there was rampant other-ization of Italians and other so-called "white ethnics" through the early 1900s), so I'm not sure how well that example translates today.

Ah, hell, half the time I kind of wish we could go back 20+ years to when we Indians weren't even on the radar. In some ways, I kind of preferred fading into the background.

(Oh, and don't get me started about how nobody can say "Kamala" correctly--and it's not as if she bothers to correct them, either.)

(shrug) Whatever, I'm voting Warren. Sorry for the derail, by the way.
posted by CommonSense at 11:58 PM on June 1 [6 favorites]


Do you have a link to an audio file, or some other guidance on how to pronouce "Kamala" correctly? I'd certainly be interested to know.
posted by XMLicious at 12:12 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]


She's. Indian. Too

Yes. But still what the white dude did is wrong.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 12:15 AM on June 2 [4 favorites]


It's Caw-muh-luh. Like the sound a crow makes and then the last two syllables rhyme both with each other and with huh. I didn't realize it was commonly mispronounced but I'm in California so maybe we're just more familiar with her.

I've seen it described as "Comma-luh" which is really close but at least how I say "comma" would sort of elide the second syllable too much I think.
posted by Justinian at 12:16 AM on June 2 [3 favorites]


On second thought if I say "Comma-luh" really fast repeatedly it basically sounds right. Also is fun.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 AM on June 2


Her Senate campaign in 2016 got some kids to do a pronunciation lesson, if nailing it is how you want to spend your Saturday night.
posted by zachlipton at 12:20 AM on June 2 [9 favorites]


Damn. Wrestling fucked up my pronunciation of Kamala, among other things.
posted by bootlegpop at 1:49 AM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Betsy Woodruff (Daily Beast) on MSNBC shortly after 8am this morning revealing from sources in Congress, that nearly all Dems are on board for going to war on Trump. The problem is figuring out how and who are ready to go to war with Pelosi first.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:11 AM on June 2 [15 favorites]


Re America's new Concentration Camp.
Smells like money.
Customs and Border Protection is buying 2.2 million baby diapers for its new migrant tent
posted by adamvasco at 5:43 AM on June 2 [11 favorites]


Insurgent Democrats, Many of Them Women, Worry a New Party Policy Will Block Them (NYT)
A move by House Democratic leaders to thwart party members from mounting primary challenges to incumbents, even in safe Democratic districts, could have the unintended consequence of arresting the party’s shift toward a more female and racially diverse caucus, one of its most striking achievements of the last election.

This past week, a Democratic political consultant with longstanding ties to the party’s campaign committees quit a senior-partner position at the firm Deliver Strategies after it, like most dominant campaign outfits, agreed to comply with a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee policy barring it from conducting business with a primary opponent of a sitting Democrat.

Her reason: She feared the policy’s impact on female challengers. [...] most insurgent Democrats set their sights on incumbents in safe Democratic seats, making the case that they are fresh faces who represent change. The new policy will most likely block candidates seeking to follow in the footsteps of Ms. Pressley, who is black, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who is of Puerto Rican descent, both of whom defeated veteran white male Democrats last year, Michael Capuano and Joseph Crowley. [...]

“A lot of Democrats are terrified that what happened to Capuano and Crowley will happen to them and are looking for backup,” [Ms. Pritchard, formerly at Deliver Strategies,] said. “I actually thought this policy was a joke until I saw it written up, but they are enforcing it aggressively.”

Marie Newman came within two percentage points last year of defeating Representative Daniel Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat who is now in his eighth term and is one of the few in the caucus to oppose abortion rights. She is running again, but two consultants have backed out of her campaign, “both citing the D.C.C.C. blacklist issue as the reason,” said Ben Hardin, Ms. Newman’s campaign manager.

[...] in a year when women are once again expected to drive many races, an expanding group of Democrats outside Congress is critical of the D.C.C.C.’s decision. “I’m disappointed in the policy and don’t agree with it,” said Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, which supports Democrats who favor abortion rights.

[...] Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has encouraged donors to put their money elsewhere, and she has done her own online fund-raising for numerous candidates. “My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead,” she tweeted.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:20 AM on June 2 [39 favorites]


Re America's new Concentration Camp.

“These facilities will provide temporary housing, meals, showers, clean clothing, and medical area for the family units and UACs,” CBP said in a related contracting document, which described allowing “35 square feet per detainee of open space plus 12 square feet to account for sleeping mat space.”

Less than 6 by 6 feet per detainee is the intended space. Precedent says to expect eight times as many people to be crammed into that area.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:23 AM on June 2 [17 favorites]


The problem is figuring out how and who are ready to go to war with Pelosi first.

I would not assume this is not at least partly crafted by Pelosi. It’s an old and effective trick to have your rowdier faction force your moderate hand.
posted by sallybrown at 6:53 AM on June 2 [13 favorites]


(And frankly it goes both ways. Any Dem House member in a liberal district who is uncertain what to do about impeachment is safe to scream for it as long as Pelosi is there to take the blame for slow walking things.)
posted by sallybrown at 6:58 AM on June 2 [13 favorites]


Letter From Mexican President Goes Way Over Trump’s Head (David Boddiger, Splinter)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) responded to a threat by Donald Trump over new tariffs on Mexican goods with a letter focused on concepts Trump can’t possibly understand: dignity, fairness, compassion, and principles.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:33 AM on June 2 [11 favorites]


I saw a tweet from some pol or pundit (can't remember the source) that went something like: Donald Trump's amorality is based on his belief that everyone else is just as selfish and amoral as he is, and any words they speak to the contrary are nothing more than showmanship to fool the rubes...

posted by Justinian at 10:20 PM on June 1 [17 favorites +] [!]


I think this analysis of Trump's worldview is exactly right. This Atlantic article basically says the same thing. The frightening thing to me is that most of his supporters must believe this, too. They see the accusations against Trump as mere virtue-signaling meant to fool others, and thus easily dismissed. They also assume, as he does, that everyone else is just grifting, too, so keep on grifting harder.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:35 AM on June 2 [15 favorites]


Trump's amorality is based on his belief that everyone else is just as selfish and amoral as he is

This isn't just Trump; this is American conservatives, generally. These are people who argue against atheism by saying you need the fear of hell to keep people from stealing, raping and murdering.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:59 AM on June 2 [42 favorites]


“My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead,” she tweeted.

Someone asked what realistically, Democrats would do if Pelosi doesn't impeach, not vote? Realistically, they will start to give their money, time, and resources to more left candidates. I'm likely voting for Warren, but the rest of my time and resources may go to socialists or green candidates I would normally dismiss as not having a chance or being pragmatic enough. The DCC candidates in general don't seem willing to have honest conversations about problems and their solutions.
posted by xammerboy at 8:06 AM on June 2 [10 favorites]


his belief that everyone else is just as selfish and amoral as he is, and any words they speak to the contrary are nothing more than showmanship to fool the rubes...

That's a level of abstraction too far, I think, because it presumes he thinks other people have agency. Even "fuck your feelings" requires a tiny capacity to imagine the feelings of others that can be fucked over. I don't think that capacity exists within I-1, other than to see morality as weakness. Psychopathy is vampiric on other people's emotions and social impulses.

I was talking recently to a mental health professional who worked in prisons who said that white-collar fraudsters, the kind who take advantage of old people and steal their live savings, are less treatable than murderers.
posted by holgate at 8:11 AM on June 2 [29 favorites]


Trump basically ran on being a criminal.
posted by xammerboy at 8:56 AM on June 2 [13 favorites]


USS McCainGate update: The Navy is now admitting uh, yeah, that shit happened, and Mick Mulvaney on Meet the Press is trying to simultaneously throw a theoretical twentysomething staffer under the bus for it while also saying it's "not unreasonable" and people should be chill about it.

This is the dumbest, most harmless thing to waste any airtime on, particularly in light of the horrific treatment of asylum-seekers and stupid-ass destructive tariffs and whatnot... but it is also a perfect window into just how utterly petty this White House is and where their priorities are.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:07 AM on June 2 [19 favorites]


"And Duncan Hunter is the admitted war criminal who takes pictures with dead enemy combatants guy."

Before admitting that, he was the "My wife spent my campaign funds on clothing and vacations for me!" guy. Can a respectable journalist ask the type of snide "why are you not embarrassed to show your face in public after ____" questions that actresses at LAX have to deal with of one of these guys, for once?
posted by Selena777 at 9:12 AM on June 2 [24 favorites]


The USS McCain thing isn't the dumbest thing because it's more than the pretty president being petty. It's a symptom of a politicization of the military and a breakdown of the chain of command. It's a big deal when a Navy officer takes orders from a White House staffer not constitutionally empowered to give military commands.
posted by peeedro at 9:22 AM on June 2 [75 favorites]


Navy probing patches worn during Trump’s Wasp visit
WASHINGTON — The Navy says it is reviewing whether service members violated Defense Department policy or regulations by wearing a uniform patch with the words “Make Aircrews Great Again” during President Donald Trump’s visit to their ship in Japan.
The phrase emblazoned on the patch, along with what appeared to be a likeness of Trump, is a play on his campaign slogan.
The military has dress codes and regulations against partisan political acts while in uniform.
In a brief statement Tuesday, the Navy said only that the matter was under review by Navy leadership to ensure that the wearing of the patches did not violate policy or regulations.
Trump visited the amphibious assault ship Wasp on Tuesday before returning to Washington from four days in Japan.
Visit the link, at the bottom there's a photo of Trump on the Wasp wearing a particularly shit-eating grin.
posted by scalefree at 9:47 AM on June 2 [4 favorites]


No. 3 House Democrat says he believes Trump will eventually be impeached (Politico)
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Sunday he believes President Donald Trump will eventually be impeached, but cautioned that Democrats need to first lay the groundwork and educate the public on the process.

"I have never said he should not be impeached. What I have said time and time again is, [special counsel Robert] Mueller has developed the grounds for impeachment. The House has to determine the timing for impeachment. There's a big difference," he said. [...] Clyburn added Sunday it was important for the public to first understand the need for impeachment and that House Democrats are working to "bring the public along."

"We do believe that, if we sufficiently, effectively educate the public, then we will have done our job, and we can move on an impeachment vote, and it will stand, and maybe it will be what needs to be done to incent the Senate to act," he said.
::Checks on public education (Nature) about the Green New Deal:: Labor anger over Green New Deal greets 2020 contenders in California (Politico)
Lifelong union members “don’t necessarily want to be retrained’’ for other, greener work spots — “nor is it even possible,’’ says Levinson. She predicts with the 2020 election looming, Democratic leaders will have to wrestle with the fact that “unlike the Mueller report and impeachment and indictment — people vote on whether or not they’re going to lose their job.”
But where is the anger over the impact of tariffs (Forbes)? Seriously (Chamber of Commerce)
Millions of U.S. jobs depend on America’s ability to trade with other countries. Half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs depend on exports, and one in three acres of American farmland is planted for international sales. But recent and proposed trade actions by the Trump administration threaten as many as 2.6 million American jobs and will stymie our economic progress.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:07 AM on June 2 [10 favorites]




SS McCainGate update: The Navy is now admitting uh, yeah, that shit happened, and Mick Mulvaney on Meet the Press is trying to simultaneously throw a theoretical twentysomething staffer under the bus for it while also saying it's "not unreasonable" and people should be chill about it.

This is the dumbest, most harmless thing to waste any airtime on, particularly in light of the horrific treatment of asylum-seekers and stupid-ass destructive tariffs and whatnot... but it is also a perfect window into just how utterly petty this White House is and where their priorities are.


I could not disagree more that this is the most harmless thing. The white house and the military doing this, initially covering it up and then throwing juniors under the bus points to a really disturbing lack of professionalism and honor in both houses.

Remember when the Republican mediasphere freaking exploded because a marine held an umbrella for Obama?
posted by srboisvert at 11:10 AM on June 2 [40 favorites]


It's only a few steps from having officially Political Officers positioned within the military to ensure compliance with orders from an authoritarian executive that come outside the usual chain of command. It's extremely dangerous.
posted by odinsdream at 11:32 AM on June 2 [19 favorites]


We Found The Guy Behind the Viral ‘Drunk Pelosi’ Video
On May 22, a Donald Trump superfan and occasional sports blogger from the Bronx named Shawn Brooks posted a video clip of Nancy Pelosi on his personal Facebook page. The clip showed Pelosi at her most excitable, stammering during a press conference as she voiced frustration over an abortive infrastructure meeting with the president. Brooks’ commentary on the video was succinct: “Is Pelosi drunk?”
Thirteen minutes later, a Facebook official told The Daily Beast, Brooks posted a very different Pelosi video to a Facebook page called Politics WatchDog—one of a series of hyperpartisan news operations Brooks runs (with help, he claims). This clip had been altered to slow Pelosi down without lowering the pitch of her voice. The effect was to make it sound as though the Speaker of the House was slurring her words drunkenly while criticizing Donald Trump.
Fifteen minutes after that, the same doctored video appeared on a second Facebook page Brooks manages, AllNews 24/7. This clip was identical to the Politics WatchDog video on every way, except that it didn’t carry the Politics WatchDog branding that was superimposed over the earlier video. Whoever posted it had access to the director’s cut. On both pages the clip was accompanied by the exact same dispassionate, newsy prose: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on President Trump walking out infrastructure meeting: ‘It was very, very, very strange.’”
The video was an instant social media smash, surging through the internet’s well-worn ley lines of credulity and venom. It was shared more than 60,000 times on Facebook and accumulated 4 million page views from links. “Drunk as a skunk,” mused actor turned alt-right curmudgeon James Woods, whose tweet of the video scored 17,000 retweets and 55,000 likes. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?”, wrote Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, in a tweet linking to the AllNews 24/7 post. “Her speech pattern is bizarre.”
Brooks, a 34-year-old day laborer currently on probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery, claims that his “drunk” commentary on an unaltered Pelosi video had no connection to the now-infamous fake clip that premiered less than 15 minutes later. “I wasn't the individual who created that Pelosi video,” he insisted in a telephone interview.
It’s conceivable that someone else actually edited the clip. But a Facebook official, confirming a Daily Beast investigation, said the video was first posted on Politics WatchDog directly from Brooks’ personal Facebook account.
posted by scalefree at 11:52 AM on June 2 [19 favorites]


But where is the anger over the impact of tariffs?

The tariffs are a huge gas tax, food tax, car tax, home appliance tax, electronics tax. It may destabilize the very industries Trump said he'd save. Meanwhile, if you look at conservative sites they're lolling it up about libs worried they'll lose their guacamole toast.

Mick Mulvaney ... saying it's "not unreasonable" and people should be chill about it.

They think Trump is so unstable that he'll see a Navy boat with the name McCain on it in a different country, and... what? Throw up his hands and leave? Bomb Japan?

Remember when the Republican mediasphere freaking exploded because a marine held an umbrella for Obama?

The angriest I've ever seen any reporter was Fox News reporting on Obama putting mustard on his burger instead of freedom ketchup. It's why there's no reason to compromise. If they can't find a reason to be outraged they'll just make something up.
posted by xammerboy at 11:59 AM on June 2 [18 favorites]


"Labor anger over Green New Deal greets 2020 contenders in California (Politico)"

Lifelong union members “don’t necessarily want to be retrained’’ for other, greener work spots — “nor is it even possible,’’ says Levinson.
Well how do they feel about being flooded or burned or starved out of their homes by increasingly-frequent extreme climate events? Because I think they might be missing the point here..
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:00 PM on June 2 [17 favorites]


It's a big deal when a Navy officer takes orders from a White House staffer

IMO, that's not a big deal, it's a dumb technicality. If the WH was trying to remotely direct military operations or contradict direction of military chain of command, that would be a big deal. "Asking for" something (even if they arrogantly word it as a command, and I mentally reframe it as a request to avoid unnecessary conflict) from a local command who has been told to cooperate to the maximum extent by legitimate authority, implicitly or explicitly, isn't that.

I mean, sometimes we'd do weird things we wouldn't normally do for public relations outreach events, give certain CEOs rides on ships, etc. and we'd try to make them feel like big shots. We put away the Seattle's Best coffee when the Starbucks honcho was around. That's not "taking orders" from Starbucks.
posted by ctmf at 12:09 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I'd also like to chime in and agree with those who are pointing out that politicization of the military needs to be carefully watched and that the USS McCain incident is just the latest and most media-friendly example of people working to please Trump in ways that would not have been considered or excused previously. As an expansion of "working towards the Fuhrer" it's worth noting.

(Also, I suppose the "go home writers, you're drunk.." observations probably belong in the quips thread, but the address he gave was delivered on the USS WASP? Seriously? The only reason I'm willing to believe that's accidental is that nobody in the Trump White House event planning staff has ever shown even the slightest capacity for subtlety or advance planning.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:12 PM on June 2 [16 favorites]


That is, if I'm the commander, the White House order isn't an order from the White House, if that makes any sense. I'm interpreting that as an order from my boss (and my boss's boss, etc) if I think that the White House could likely get someone to smash me if I refused. It's just saving time to not make them involve ridiculous high staff levels in trivial party plans.
posted by ctmf at 12:13 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Not been following closely, but his "visit to the Wasp" was kind of staged. They made Wasp leave its own home port and go to Yoko specifically so that he would have a cool-looking ship to visit after Reagan left (as scheduled, although I was predicting they'd make Reagan wait for him instead). Moving a ship for the weekend isn't inexpensive. That's more outrageous to me than the McCain thing.
posted by ctmf at 12:17 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]




Remember when W. landed a fighter jet for no damn reason and jumped out with a comically large codpiece? And then got up on the flight deck with a giant "mission accomplished" banner? Republicans have been politicizing the military for a long time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:52 PM on June 2 [10 favorites]


Nerd of the North, they're going to be one of the earliest among many different groups of regular people, regular Democrats who will miss the point of this.
posted by Selena777 at 12:54 PM on June 2


They made Wasp leave its own home port and go to Yoko specifically so that he would have a cool-looking ship to visit after Reagan left (as scheduled, although I was predicting they'd make Reagan wait for him instead).
Choosing it because it is "cool-looking" is within the normal parameters of presidential visit puffery. If there were any evidence (I am not aware of any) that it was chosen for its name and that name's indirect connection to a term signalling a specific race and religion that would be much more outrageous, but as I said I think that part was merely bizarre coincidence because although they engage in dog-whistling all the freaking time, typically it has not been subtle.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:56 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


I've come around to the view that the House Democrats should form a special select committee on impeachment, and hold regular hearings starting with all the stuff that's not in the Mueller report. It's the right thing to do, from a "rule of law" standpoint, and I believe the politics could be managed to the Democrats' advantage.

The public needs to hear relevant testimony about many topics, including but not limited to:
- the ongoing violations of the emoluments clause;
- the administration's lax security practices, including the use of unsecured phones and non-government email accounts, the White House overruling career staff to grant clearances to people who shouldn't have them, and foreign spies attempting who-knows-what at Mar-A-Lago;
- foreign donations to and money stolen or grifted from the inaugural committee;
- abuses of emergency powers regarding immigration, the border wall, and tariffs;
- failure to adequately staff the executive branch and to confirm permanent cabinet-level employees;
- and anything else they can throw at him.

Heck, I'd like to see a day of testimony from the reporters like Daniel Dale who have been documenting Trump's 10,000+ lies while in office, thereby making the argument that lying so often to the American people constitutes an impeachable offense in and of itself.

While they're at it, they could have a few days of testimony from the (15? 16?) women who have made credible accusations of sexual assault or harassment against Individual 1 (if those women who were victimized agree.)

All of this can be done while Mueller report-related issues & testimony are being fought over in court, and if/when that testimony and those documents are secured, they can be folded into the more general impeachment inquiry.

No, the Senate still will not vote to convict, but the point is to air at length every bit of dirt about Individual 1, dragging it out for as long as possible before voting to impeach, and then making the most vulnerable GOP senators (Gardner, McSally, etc) publicly own their subsequent votes not to convict.

The end result of this process will not sway I-1's most fanatical supporters, but it should depress turnout from the slightly less fanatical, and perhaps change a few minds on the margins, and every little bit is going to count in 2020.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:59 PM on June 2 [41 favorites]


Brooks, a 34-year-old day laborer currently on probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery, claims that his “drunk” commentary on an unaltered Pelosi video had no connection to the now-infamous fake clip that premiered less than 15 minutes later.

and his being a domestic batterer has nothing to do with him being a misogynist jerk online, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:05 PM on June 2 [20 favorites]


I could not disagree more that this is the most harmless thing.

FWIW I agree with this point. My feelings on it being "harmless" are in relation to the pain-in-the-ass-stupid-chores people in uniform are already used to in contrast to the very real harm being done to refugees and asylum seekers on an ongoing, systematic basis.

Politicizing the military is absolutely a problem. If we devote more airtime and rage to this specific instance of it than to the dozens of people crammed into a room meant for eight and then left there for God knows how long, I feel like we've lost perspective.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:16 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


Rusty Hicks elected chair of California Democratic Party:
Labor union leader and grassroots organizer Rusty Hicks was elected California Democratic Party chair Saturday evening, the party announced...

Hicks leads the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He previously served as the union organization’s political director and worked on former President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

The party’s new leader is also an Afghanistan war veteran and ran his campaign on a “Medicare for All” and environmental justice platform. He also promoted plans to help formerly incarcerated people get union jobs.
The former chair, Eric Bauman, was ousted for sexual harassment. Interim chair Alex Gallardo-Rooker was the first Latinx and woman of color to hold the CA Democratic chair position. Now Hicks has the job; may he do it well.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:55 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


I've been doing a thought experiment as I think about 2020 and the Democratic primary.

Imagine that a time traveler comes back from 2025 and says that one of the Democratic candidates currently polling over 2% won the 2020 election and replaced Trump. The time traveler doesn't tell you which candidate but does give you a complete list of judicial appointments seated, international treaties signed, and major pieces of legislation successfully enacted into law. The time traveler then asks you which Democrat was elected and says he'll donate fifty million dollars to a charity of your choice if you guess correctly.

My feeling is that it would very likely be difficult if not impossible to guess through anything but random chance. Even given the major differences between someone like Warren and Biden. Am I wrong? Because from the arguments I see online I feel like I'm so much less invested in precisely who wins the primary than other people. Yeah I have preferences but I'm mostly focused on the general and I think this is why.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on June 2 [13 favorites]


Do you have a link to an audio file, or some other guidance on how to pronouce "Kamala" correctly? I'd certainly be interested to know.

Actually, both replies to this were wrong, at least in the context of the typical Indian pronunciation (and it's a rather common female name in India, with a pretty universally agreed-upon pronunciation). The easiest way I can describe it is that it's actually two syllables, not three. Pretend the middle A is silent. "Kum - la."

That said, I made the decision to let people mispronounce my name for much of my youth, just because it was easier all around and I decided it wasn't offensive or bothersome to me. Later in life, however, I changed my mind, and became more insistent on it being pronounced correctly. But the point is, it was my decision each time.

Kamala Harris may have decided to allow the "non-standard" pronunciation -- I don't know if it was her decision or not -- but in any event, perhaps I should just drop it. I'm already a bit embarrassed that I created the derail in the first place.
posted by CommonSense at 2:09 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


Actually, both replies to this were wrong, at least in the context of the "typical" Indian pronunciation.

Which, of course, is irrelevant as to how my Senator pronounces her own name which was the question. So... not wrong. We should let people say their names how they want to say their names. She didn't "allow" it, it's how she says it.
posted by Justinian at 2:11 PM on June 2 [16 favorites]


Which, of course, is irrelevant as to how my Senator pronounces her own name which was the question. So... not wrong. We should let people say their names how they want to say their names.

Wow, it's almost as if you didn't read the part later in my comment, where I said:

Kamala Harris may have decided to allow the "non-standard" pronunciation -- I don't know if it was her decision or not -- but in any event, perhaps I should just drop it. I'm already a bit embarrassed that I created the derail in the first place.

But that's OK, she's "your" senator, so I therefore must defer to you.
posted by CommonSense at 2:12 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


You don't have to defer to me, but you should defer to Senator Harris.

Here she is personally telling folks how to pronounce her name.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on June 2 [23 favorites]


As important as it is to turn Tr*mp out of office - whether via impeachment or in the 2020 election, it seems increasingly clear that it's even more important (and probably harder) to take back the U.S. Senate. As put so clearly by Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to Mitch McConnell's smirking comment this week about his magically changed views on appointing a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of a Presidential term:
May 28, 2019 should be marked on the calendar of American history as the day that democracy was taken off life support and officially declared dead — because there’s no longer even the slightest pretense of pretending that the ancient words of the U.S. Constitution, fealty to the rule of law, and 243 years of imperfectly upheld democratic norms matter anymore.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:14 PM on June 2 [14 favorites]


New CNN Poll: Democratic Support For Impeachment Rises, Trump Approval Steady
Democrats are increasingly in support of impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office but the majority of Americans remain opposed to the prospect, a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS shows.

Trump's approval rating, meanwhile, holds exactly even with where it was in late April -- 43% approve and 52% disapprove of the President, according to the poll. That's the case even as support for impeachment rose slightly from 37% last month to 41% now.

The shift on impeachment stems mostly from a rebound in support for it among Democrats -- 76% favor it currently, up from 69% in April.[…]

About two-thirds of all Americans (67%) say that Mueller ought to publicly testify before Congress, including majorities of Democrats (88%) and independents (62%) and about half of Republicans (49%).
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:26 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


US wants access to NHS in post-Brexit deal, says Trump ally (Jessica Elgot, The Guardian)
Before president’s visit, [US ambassador] Woody Johnson says every area of UK economy up for discussion
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:39 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


Choosing it because it is "cool-looking" is within the normal parameters of presidential visit puffery.

Sure, but I would hope a VIP visit would attempt to minimize the disruption. He could have picked any number of cool-looking ships in Yokosuka, or flown to Sasebo. It's irritating to me that he instead treated the military as his personal PR prop*, as if being his photo op backdrop was more important than what Wasp already had planned. Hell, for all I know, that was nothing and that's why he picked them, although my Navy experience tells me ships aren't just sitting around in port waiting for something to do. When they're not doing missions, they're doing desperately-needed training, and when they're not doing either one of those, they're doing important maintenance. "We're dropping by for the afternoon, sorry, we'll try to be quick" is a bit different from "move your ship for me".

* as pointed out, he's not the first and he won't be the last, but it's still irritating. I bet the Wasp crew itself is pretty jazzed about it, if you ask them.
posted by ctmf at 2:40 PM on June 2


Why are extreme abortion laws taking over America? Blame gerrymandering
Republicans recognized the opportunity. Democrats snoozed. Nine years later, they’re still paying the price, particularly in swing state legislatures.
posted by mumimor at 2:45 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


No. 3 House Democrat says "What I have said time and time again is, [special counsel Robert] Mueller has developed the grounds for impeachment. The House has to determine the timing for impeachment."

No. 3 House Democrat and No. 1 House Democrat should get their message straight.
posted by diogenes at 2:47 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


WaPo, Exclusive: Pompeo delivers unfiltered view of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in off-the-record meeting
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sobering assessment of the prospects of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan in a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and it might not “gain traction.” He expressed his hope that the deal isn't simply dismissed out of hand.

“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘it’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’ ” Pompeo said in an audio recording of the private meeting obtained by The Washington Post.

“The big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out,” he said.
...
He also recognized the popular notion that the agreement will be one-sided in favor of the Israeli government. “I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” he said. “I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.”
I am beginning to doubt that Jared Kushner is going to bring peace to the middle east.
posted by zachlipton at 2:56 PM on June 2 [11 favorites]


Here's my thoughts on impeachment. We (they) drop Russia for now & pick up all the other impeachable things - money laundering, emoluments, a vast array of scandals in the executive branch. Have hearing after hearing, drive them into the public consciousness. Then when his marginal popularity starts cratering, then they bring up Russia again now that the public is ready to hear it.
posted by scalefree at 3:13 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler strikes again. Seriously, Congress should hire her to lead them through it all.

IF FBI HAD SPIED ON TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN AS ALLEGED, THEY’D HAVE KNOWN WHY MANAFORT TRADED MICHIGAN FOR UKRAINE
If the FBI had spied on Trump’s campaign as aggressively as alleged by Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, then Robert Mueller would have been able to determine why Trump’s campaign manager had a meeting on August 2, 2016 to discuss how to get paid (or have debt forgiven) by Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs while discussing how to win Midwestern swing states and how to carve up Ukraine. In fact, the public record suggests that the FBI did not start obtaining criminal warrants on Manafort’s election year activities until the July 25, 2017 warrant authorizing the search of Manafort’s condo, which was the first known warrant obtained on Manafort that mentioned the June 9 meeting. A mid-August warrant authorizing a search of the business email via which Manafort often communicated with Konstantin Kilimnik is probably the first one investigating that August 2 meeting (as distinct from his years of undisclosed Ukrainian foreign influence peddling).
In other words, it took a full year after the Steele dossier first alleged that Paul Manafort was coordinating on the Russian election interference operation, and over a year after he offered Oleg Deripaska private briefings on the Trump campaign, before the FBI obtained a criminal warrant investigating the several known instances where Trump’s campaign manager did discuss campaign details with Russians.
While there are definitely signs that the government has parallel constructed the communications between Kilimnik and Manafort that covered the period during which he was on the campaign (meaning, they’ve obtained communications via both SIGINT collection and criminal process to hide the collection of the former), it seems highly unlikely they would have obtained campaign period communications in real time, given the FBI’s slow discovery and still incomplete understanding of Manafort’s campaign period activities. And the public record offers little certainty about when if ever Manafort — as opposed to Kilimnik who, as a foreigner overseas, was a legitimate target for EO 12333 collection, and would have been first targeted in the existing Ukraine-related investigation — was targeted under FISA directly.
All the while Manafort was on a crime spree, engaging in a quid pro quo with banker Steve Calk to get million dollar loans to ride out his debt crisis and lying to the government in an attempt to hide the extent of his ties with Viktor Yanukovych’s party.
It goes on & on & on, digging up weeds I don't think even most of us are are aware of then switches to a timeline that goes day by day in some parts. It's the definitive goods on the many crimes of Paul Manafort. Marcy leaves no stone unturned.
posted by scalefree at 3:39 PM on June 2 [36 favorites]


Buttigieg's campaign sells T-shirt that say "BOOT EDGE EDGE". That's not how the candidate actually says his name. The way he says it, the first syllable rhymes with "put" and the last syllable rhymes with "itch". That's how it's pronounced in Maltese, his dad's native language. But the campaign's endorsed an official 'close enough' pronunciation.

The only person in the media I've heard pronounce his name the way he does is Claire Malone on 538. Almost everyone else uses the T-shirt pronunciation.
posted by nangar at 3:41 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


So, earlier this evening I did a sift through the headlines coming up for the keyword 'tariff' and here's my big picture takeaway.

Everyone's pissed off. The Americans cannot be relied upon to uphold their side of the bargain. The rando tweeted Mexican tariffs are evidence of that - y'all crazy. You literally cannot disrupt trade over migrants. The word rogue has begun popping up adjacent to the word president. China has released a white paper on the topic. Whilst they have a bunch of tools up their sleeve, they intend to preserve their reputation on the world stage because they're taking the long view of how reputation will matter once this buffoon is off the world stage. India's 'developing country' status has been taken away and tariffs slapped on in a bid to arm twist Modi into opening the market to US goods aka chlorinated crap. The EU has been warned to expect expensive tariffs, and the ECB has more or less said the shit has hit the fan faster than expected, duck now. Morgan Stanley expects a recession within 9 months.

Who will bother investing resources in negotiating deals and treaties with a America that can upturn the table with a tweet? Reading between the lines of the news sources outside of the USA (rah rah rah apple pie mom) the damage done will outlast Trump.

Me, I'm cashing my pension out early and pulling out of the dollar.
posted by hugbucket at 4:09 PM on June 2 [42 favorites]


US wants access to NHS in post-Brexit deal, says Trump ally

This is Trump's plan. He sees a mark he can target. Split UK away, turn NHS into a profit-based America-style healthcare profit center hellhole. It's all about the Benjamins.
posted by scalefree at 4:43 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


Let's spin the ol' mad libs generator that is the news, shall we? NYT, Trump Administration Considered Tariffs on Australia
The Trump administration considered imposing tariffs on imports from Australia last week, but decided against the move amid fierce opposition from military officials and the State Department, according to several people familiar with the discussions.

Some of President Trump’s top trade advisers had urged the tariffs as a response to a surge of Australian aluminum flowing onto the American market over the past year. But officials at the Defense and State Departments told Mr. Trump the move would alienate a top ally and could come at significant cost to the United States.

The administration ultimately agreed not to take any action, at least temporarily.
Sure, why not start another trade war? Not like we don't have enough of those at the moment.
posted by zachlipton at 5:07 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand why Trump is talking about renegotiating Britain's National Healthcare Service, but that's exactly the kind of thing that could blow up Brexit, which was originally sold as a means of saving money that would then go to the NHS. It's a good thing Ivanka did not get to the mic in time.
posted by xammerboy at 5:08 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Amid purge reports, Kim Yong Chol reappears alongside North Korean leader
Longtime DPRK-U.S. interlocuter was last week reported to have been sent to labor, re-education camp
Top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol appeared in public alongside DPRK leader Kim Jong Un at a musical performance on Sunday, the country’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, potentially defying reports last week that he had been the victim of a high-profile purge earlier in the year.
In a report on an art performance given by wives of officers of units of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), the North Korean leader was accompanied by several top officials, including Kim Yong Chol, who serves as a vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
Reports on Friday in South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper had claimed, citing unnamed sources, that Kim had been sent to a labor and reeducation camp in the country’s remote Jagang province.
preen
posted by scalefree at 5:19 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


My feeling is that it would very likely be difficult if not impossible to guess [what Democratic candidates will pass what legislation] through anything but random chance.

Not every candidate is for getting rid of the filibuster, and many people think without that the future president won't be able to pass anything. Only a handful of candidates have committed to the idea.

My other big thought about this is that personally I'm not sure Obama would have attempted to pass Obamacare had it not been his signature issue. Keeping that in mind, I want a candidate that is totally committed to climate change.
posted by xammerboy at 5:25 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


So much of the dropping of the ball of the historic moment of 08, back when people where seriously thinking the Republican Party would cease to exist, can be laid on Rahm “the rightest wing democratic candidate is always correct even when they loose over and over” Emmanuel.

When Harry Reid, a somewhat spacey Mormon ex-boxer who got further left as he got older but still believes in UFOs and basic goodness thinks you’re an ineffective asshole and tries to get you fired, then you’re bad at your job
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on June 2 [21 favorites]


This is Trump's plan. He sees a mark he can target. Split UK away, turn NHS into a profit-based America-style healthcare profit center hellhole. It's all about the Benjamins.

Looks like everything is up for grabs. Reminds me of the Iraq war.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:56 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


The war and tactics at empire’s edge always comes home to the capital - just like WW1
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


US wants access to NHS in post-Brexit deal, says Trump ally

How this doesn't fill every self respecting Brit with a white hot rage I do not know
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:03 PM on June 2 [21 favorites]


This is Trump's plan. He sees a mark he can target. Split UK away, turn NHS into a profit-based America-style healthcare profit center hellhole. It's all about the Benjamins.

This is most assuredly not Trump's plan as US companies have been sniffing around the NHS since back in the Tony Blair days. This is US corporate healthcare's long term agenda. Trump is merely allowing his admin to carry their water. Also I suspect Brexit has nothing to do with the possible success of this agenda except as being the chaos and destruction that will provide the political cover for unpopular politicians to try and do an underhanded unpopular thing. Even then I rate the odds of it happening as very low.
posted by srboisvert at 6:20 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


This is most assuredly not Trump's plan

Oh I'm sure he didn't originate it, too many moving parts & relationships with the healthcare industry that doesn't trust him. But he's on board with it, ready to try to move the ball on it. I'm sure it has a place in his visit to the UK.
posted by scalefree at 6:25 PM on June 2


Young Jared may find himself without a seat on AF1 when it takes off for Merrie Olde England.

@yashar
Here's a clip from @jonathanvswan's interview with Jared Kushner.
Jonathan mentions that @AOC calls the President a racist and then asks Kushner about Birtherism and the Muslim ban.
The entire interview is really good and I hope @HBOPR posts the entire interview on YouTube
[video]
Just watch the clip. He covers himself in something other than glory, repeatedly. If this is the damage he can do in less than a minute & a half, I am eagerly waiting for the full interview.
posted by scalefree at 6:31 PM on June 2 [24 favorites]


John Delaney booed at CA Dem convention for saying: "Medicare for all may sound good but it's actually not good policy nor is it good politics."
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on June 2 [19 favorites]


Am I wrong to think that Hickenlooper and Delaney are being utterly selfish by using their quixotic and futile candidacies as essentially free airtime for future Senate campaigns? They must know bashing democratic socialist policies and medicare for all play terribly with the people in those rooms (and M4A at least with the entire Democratic base) but I bet they play a lot better among swing voters in Colorado and New Jersey.

Now they can run ads in the future showing them getting booed by those west coast liberal elites when they stand up for the working man! So what if it hurts the country as a whole by giving Republicans elsewhere talking points, it's good for Hickenlooper and Delaney's careers and that's what really matters.
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on June 2 [7 favorites]


Yeah that’s pretty wrong since NJ and CoL are tending left in both polls and policy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Here's a clip from @jonathanvswan's interview with Jared Kushner.

It literally looks like something from Armando Iannucci, right down to the shaky-cam.

Here’s more from the Axios interview: Exclusive: Jared Kushner on MBS, refugees, racism and Trump's legacy
Discussing the horrific death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in an interview with "Axios on HBO," White House adviser Jared Kushner was noncommittal on whether Saudi Crown Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) must account for Khashoggi's body.[…]

Asked whether he would join Khashoggi's fiancée in calling on the Saudi government to release his body (or identify where they put the body parts) so that his family might bury him, Kushner said: "Look, it's a horrific thing that happened. … Once we have all the facts, then we'll make a policy determination, but that would be up to the Secretary of State to push on our policy."
All the arrogance of the stereotypical Harvard Man without an iota of the reputed intelligence.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:52 PM on June 2 [13 favorites]


They just can't help themselves.

Ex-GOP Rep. Diane Black: The idea ‘everyone is equal’ is ‘not what this country is founded on’
Former Tennessee Rep. Diane Black (R) on Sunday put forward a false choice between embracing “socialism” and having a job that “brings character.”
During a panel discussion on CNN, Democratic strategist Andrew Gillum noted that presidential candidate John Hickenlooper (D) had been booed by his own party for repeating Republican “tropes” about socialism.
Black argued that socialism would have deprived her of life lessons that she learned through working.
“You know, younger people, when they hear, ‘Well, let’s have everybody totally even — everybody should get their part and you should take from this person and give to that person to make sure everyone is equal,'” Black said. “That is not what this country was founded upon.”
“Look, I come from a background where I had to work my way up — and good, hard work brings character,” she added. “So, this whole thing about sharing and making sure everybody has the same thing. It’s not what we were founded upon.”
According to financial disclosure forms, Black and her husband said in 2013 that they owned between $32 million and $146.9 million in assets.
Watch the video below from CNN.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created [something something]"
posted by scalefree at 6:52 PM on June 2 [19 favorites]


Axios’s Kushner interview is a gift that keeps on giving:
Axios: “Does it not set off some alarm bells when you see an email that the Russian government wants to help the campaign?”

Kushner: “The email that I got on my iPhone said ‘Show up at 4’ I didn’t scroll down...”

Axios: “It had Russia in the subject line.”
In the Loop was less farcical.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:57 PM on June 2 [57 favorites]


In the Loop was less farcical.

Yes, Minister was less farcical.
posted by scalefree at 7:02 PM on June 2 [22 favorites]


So I was at CNN's town hall tonight with Moulton, Ryan, and Swalwell. Kind of like going to a AAA baseball game. Anyway, Moulton comes across to me as overly slick and "politician-y" though he did loosen up a bit as the hour went on.

Ryan made some news by stating he is now in favor of impeachment proceedings. He had some really passionate moments but he's not really the candidate I want for a variety of reasons. There were a couple of times when I think he was trying to have a funny interaction with the host or questioners that came across a little "off."

Swalwell seemed the most relaxed and real, although some of his anecdotes were clearly well-rehearsed. His story about his police chief dad getting fired for refusing to allow corruption went over really well in the room.

IIRC, none of them were for a true single-payer system, they all wanted to keep private insurance companies (for-profit, I assume) in the system, and this is one major beef I have with them. But if any of them actually win the primary I'd vote for him. There are quite a few I'd choose before them in the primary, though.
posted by litlnemo at 7:47 PM on June 2 [9 favorites]


Kevin Hassett, President Trump’s top economist, to leave White House (WaPo)

Hassett served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers since September 2017 and helped shape the 2017 Republican tax law. Although "[h]istorically, he has been an advocate of open trade policies ... Hassett said in an interview Sunday night that his departure was unrelated to the trade conflict."
posted by jedicus at 8:22 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Elaine Chao's potential problems with links to the Chinese government got some pushback here last time somebody posted about them but the NYT has a big story on it now:
A ‘Bridge’ to China, and Her Family’s Business, in the Trump Cabinet. Elaine Chao has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company, which benefits from industrial policies in China that are roiling the Trump administration.
posted by Justinian at 8:30 PM on June 2 [14 favorites]


A centrist Democrat would be a losing candidate
Thomas Piketty wrote a paper about this in 2018, though the Democrats paid no attention
posted by growabrain at 8:31 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


If my understanding of Piketty is correct, Piketty is arguing that the data shows the electorate is becoming increasingly bifurcated and rather than some sort of normal distribution around the mythical "center", when looking at economic issues specifically you get something more like a bimodal distribution with one set of voters a bunch to the right who focus on nativist issues (ie racists who blame immigrants for economic problems) and another set of voters a bunch to the left who focus on income inequality as a result of policies benefiting the wealthiest (ie the Sanders/Warren position).

But that a centrist candidate is a losing candidate is Spencer's interpretation of that. Which is an understandable conclusion that many people hold but it is not itself a position reached or addressed by the paper.

Secondly I'm not sure if you can focus only on wealth inequality without regard to the social wedge issues to prevalent in America today but since those are more and more tracking the economic issues perhaps you can.
posted by Justinian at 9:02 PM on June 2 [12 favorites]


I’m a little behind but, how exactly would the US and the U.K. negotiate the NHS? How do you trade a health service? I don’t understand how/what that would work/do and why Trump would want it.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:17 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


Trump wants it because it's a win in the War on Socialism. How? Fuck if I know so probably the same for him.
posted by scalefree at 9:23 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


"Here's a shiny thing. I want it. Somebody work out the details & if it can't be done the normal way, see if there's an emergency power way where I can just declare it & make it so & nobody can object. The Generals all call me Sir, did you know that?"
posted by scalefree at 9:26 PM on June 2 [9 favorites]


Elaine Chao's potential problems with links to the Chinese government got some pushback here last time somebody posted about them but the NYT has a big story on it now:

This is really, really worth reading. Also, here’s a twitter thread by Mike Forsythe, one of the main investigative reporters of the NYT story, with a chronology of the Chao family’s rise to success that both summarises and adds detail.

The TL;DR version is that Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the US transport secretary (formerly also the US labor secretary and deputy transport secretary during the Bush administrations).

Her father is a shipping magnate with astonishingly close ties to the Chinese regime - he is a former schoolmate of Jiang Zemin, China’s leader from 1989-2002, who officially received him multiple times, in part because he was willing to do business with China after the Tiananmen massacre in ‘89 - and Chao’s sister sits on the board of the Bank of China.

There are significant overlaps between the family business and Chao’s work as transport secretary (she attempted to have family members sit in on meetings during an official visit to China, a huge red flag which became the spur for the NYT piece - research started in 2017); her portfolio obviously includes the US shipping industry, a strategic competitor to China’s, from which her family makes its money - and, at the urging of the White House, her department has attempted to cut programs to support the US industry; her family have donated and gifted tens of millions of dollars to McConnell personally and to his political fundraising; Chao failed to list her connections to China (including honorary degrees etc) before her confirmation hearing and so was never questioned on it; the whole thing is just an insane and corrupt tangle of obviously disqualifying conflicts of interest and at-least-borderline-corrupt practices.

Fascinating, and kind of frightening that this was all hidden in plain sight.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:54 PM on June 2 [52 favorites]


But what would be traded? Like, it’s not a thing. And how would it fuck up the NHS (I’m sure it would, because for Trump, he doesn’t win unless the other side loses)?
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:55 PM on June 2


I’m not understanding the confusion about how the NHS could be privatised under a post-Brexit FTA with the US? It’s entirely plausible and would be a significant win for the US healthcare sector.

FTAs cover both goods and services, including healthcare. One important goal of these agreements is reciprocal access, like “your companies get the same access to my markets as mine do to yours”. So if healthcare providers in the UK can sell their services in the US, the US sees it as only fair that the reverse is true, so let’s get some competitive bidding between the NHS and Kaiser or whoever, to see who gets to run nursing homes (and all the other profit centres in UK healthcare). And obviously, the US would hold literally all the cards in the negotiation, as the UK would be absolutely desperate.

Plus, various parts of the NHS have already been privatised in various regions. (This is the “creeping privatisation” that the Tories have been pushing forever.) Private ambulance services have operated, for example. They were very bad at delivering emergency medical care, but that’s beside the point.

And finally, market access to European healthcare sectors was apparently an objective of the TTIP agreement before it collapsed - the service was to have been subject to “increased competition”, which sounds a lot like the disastrous privatisation of the Post Office, with all the attractive bits privatised and all the unglamorous and unprofitable bits left as the responsibility of the state.

So yeah, this is absolutely a serious proposal and should be taken seriously.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:17 PM on June 2 [23 favorites]


The issue is access to UK health care markets for US companies. For example, our public negotiating position includes:
Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices:-Seek standards to ensure that government regulatory reimbursement regimes aretransparent, provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory, and provide full market access for U.S. products.


In other words, we think the UK should pay more for prescription drugs. This is not a new demand for Trump. There are also sections on State-Owned and Controlled Enterprises, like the NHS, which we want to provide non-discriminatory treatment when it comes to purchasing goods and services. A free trade group has been arguing that should mean allowing US health care companies to bid to run hospitals, and these are naturally the same people who want the NHS chopped up into private contracts. There are already US companies with UK health businesses and a desire to expand them.

In other words, it's not trade in goods (besides the drug pricing issue), it's trade in services. It would fuck up the NHS by privatizing more of it in the form of contracts that US companies could bid on. It goes along with "they'll force us to accept American chlorinated chicken" in the parade of horribles that would result from a US-UK trade deal.
posted by zachlipton at 10:19 PM on June 2 [16 favorites]


Trump has previously called the NHS a freeloading racket, and claims it makes medicine more expensive for U.S. citizens.
posted by xammerboy at 10:29 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


Fascinating, and kind of frightening that this was all hidden in plain sight.

The NYT story is a gift to Dems who need to start investigating all Mitch's dirty laundry. Since he'll kill every bill brought before him, what's to lose by investigating his shady deals (Chao's family, aluminum plants from oligarchs)?

Unless you're Biden and you think your smile is so dazzling Mitch will swoon after you get elected and write a poem on bipartisanship.
posted by benzenedream at 11:11 PM on June 2 [45 favorites]


But what would be traded? Like, it’s not a thing. And how would it fuck up the NHS (I’m sure it would, because for Trump, he doesn’t win unless the other side loses)?

It's a huge market for US companies to move in and exploit. Right now, all that money belongs to the people of the UK -- they give it to themselves via taxation in order to fund their collective healthcare. But if you privatize that system, all that money can then be siphoned into some already pretty deep pockets. Suddenly the health and wellbeing of people in the UK becomes a profit machine, just as it is in the US.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:28 AM on June 3 [9 favorites]


But if I were a Brit and my taxes were already paying for the NHS (surely a trade deal can’t change one county’s tax policy for its own citizens, right?) why would I also buy American insurance, which is expensive and sucks, even if it were available?

I do kind of get the running hospitals and stuff thing. I guess that’s a bigger scale than I was thinking about.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:26 AM on June 3


The first thing Trump does when touching down in the UK is criticise the London mayor again.
I [Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary] said to him that we were going to put on a great show for him, because America is our closest ally. And he mentioned to me some of his very strong views about about the mayor of London ... What he said to me was consistent with what was in his tweet.
The tweet:
@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me......
This guy whinges more than my 2yo.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:32 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


This guy whinges more than my 2yo.

The thing is of course your two-year old will grow out of that stage and develop into mature individual capable of dealings with life's ups and downs with much better grace than at present - even if she or he reverts to a bit more whinging in those wonderful hormonal teenage years! But we know that is not the case with Trump. He is locked into his childishness in ways that are truly frightening.
posted by vac2003 at 2:52 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


If you were coming to a country for a diplomatic visit, you'd make some bland statement. I'm happy to be here, I'm looking forward to meeting Her Majesty, I hope we can have a productive few days. Instead, this bloke blunders in and starts moaning about the mayor of London because they had an argument via Twitter.

It's as if he has very, very simple thought processes, like those of a small child. "I'm in the UK. London. Oh, the mayor of London, I don't like him, now I feel angry and I'm going to whinge."
posted by winterhill at 3:24 AM on June 3 [13 favorites]


Heck, I'd like to see a day of testimony from the reporters like Daniel Dale who have been documenting Trump's 10,000+ lies while in office, thereby making the argument that lying so often to the American people constitutes an impeachable offense in and of itself.

Each and every lie, depriving Congress of it's duty of oversight, is in violation of 18 USC 1001.

So, that's about 10,000 counts.
posted by mikelieman at 3:53 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Heck, I'd like to see a day of testimony from the reporters like Daniel Dale who have been documenting Trump's 10,000+ lies while in office, thereby making the argument that lying so often to the American people constitutes an impeachable offense in and of itself.

I’ll leave the impeachability of all his lies to others, but his lies about Russia are impeachable. From Article 1 of Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment...
8. making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct.
posted by chris24 at 4:12 AM on June 3 [24 favorites]


The war and tactics at empire’s edge always comes home to the capital - just like WW1
posted by The Whelk


Foucalt's Boomerang , like karma for colonialists.

("Karma for colonialists" is a funny phrase, now that I think of it, since the word karma is used in its vernacular Western sense...)
posted by BS Artisan at 4:13 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Politico gives us a preview of the crazy week to come, starting today.
Imagine McGahn, Hicks, Barr, Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff, Steyer, Mueller, Clyburn all taking Shakespearean roles, apparently.

"The temperature’s rising, the plot is thickening. It’s hard for me to imagine Congress certainly leaving for the August recess without some closure on this,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who supports impeachment. “The Hamlet act is, I think, wearing thin, and it’s becoming untenable and intellectually strange.”
posted by Harry Caul at 5:20 AM on June 3 [14 favorites]


From High Country News: In southern Nevada, where the Mojave meets the Great Basin Desert, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers are responsible for patrolling the entire Desert National Wildlife Refuge complex. Their job comes with a diverse set of responsibilities: enforcing hunting and fishing regulations, stopping park vandalism and rescuing stranded visitors, among other things. At 1.6 million acres, this is the largest wildlife refuge in the country outside of Alaska, home to over 500 plant species and the desert bighorn sheep, Nevada’s state animal. So why are these two officers being sent hundreds of miles away from the refuge on rotating missions to the U.S.-Mexico Border?

Their deployment is part of a pilot program launched in May of 2018 under then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, described as a “surge operation” meant to help with border security. ...The program continues to grow, but oversight is lacking. On May 15, it was reported by The Hill that 47 Interior Department officers were currently assigned to the border — more than twice the previous number. This leaves public-lands advocates worried about the effects of their absence on the lands these employees are actually charged with protecting.

posted by Bella Donna at 5:28 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


It's as if he has very, very simple thought processes, like those of a small child

Trump is constantly described in these euphemistic terms—see examples in the media from Daniel Drezner's endless Twitter thread. It would be more accurate, if clinical, to say that Trump is clearly suffering from an undiagnosed personality disorder or two and probably a learning disability (to judge from his error-ridden notes that we glimpse occasionally) compounded by age-related cognitive decline (such as Alzheimers, which runs in his family). Even if there's little chance the GOP will invoke the 25th Amendment on him, we shouldn't shy away from discussing how seriously unbalanced his mental state is.

As for his harangue about Sadiq Kahn, he must have heard about the London Mayor's devastatingly critical column for the Guardian mentioned above: It’s Un-British to Roll Out The Red Carpet for Donald Trump—The US president gives comfort to the far right. ("Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat." is a typical assessment.) Trump is obviously unhappy that some British aren't happy with his propaganda exercise of a state visit (Guardian: Royals to Serve as Extras in Donald Trump’s Victory Lap of UK—US president to use state visit to promote House of Trump as he doubles down on Brexit bet).

Since then, Trump stopped by the US ambassador's residence for a little "executive time" (i.e. watching the news). He promptly tweeted another trade war salvo against China and then went on this jaw-dropping extended rant:
Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?

I believe that if people stoped using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!
However silly and petty Trump's narcissistic tantrum seems at first, it's an extraordinarily serious problem when the occupier of the Oval Office is actively interfering with the First Amendment because a media company won't provide Fox News–level propaganda. Still, I'd love to see examples of CNN's programming that set him off (I'm betting it was a news segment on the Trump baby balloon).
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:50 AM on June 3 [46 favorites]


"All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S... When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA."

If I had to choose one network to represent the USA to the world, and my sole goal was to improve the nation's image, Fox clearly would not make the cut. Even setting aside the hyperconservatism, its recurrent theme is how scary non-Americans often are! Yet I'm sure Individual-1 isn't alone in assuming that, somehow, Fox News (or something even more rightward) is just what's needed, not only for Americans to feel good about themselves, but for everyone else to feel good about Americans. Like believing that Iranian "Death to the USA" propaganda, and not some wimpy nuclear deal, is naturally that country's best path to winning American hearts and minds.

Sometimes my mind boggles a little at this conservative failure of imagination. It makes me think of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where they visit Mars, he encounters a (presumed male) Martian, and the creature and boy shriek simultaneously, then scuttle. Hobbes points out that it makes just as much sense for the alien to be scared of them as they are of him, and Calvin responds "Yeah, but we're just ordinary Earthlings, not weirdos from another planet like he is!"

French nationalism is built from the same stuff as any other flavor, but is obviously (at least on the surface) incompatible with them. French people are expected to just know that the USA is #1 (in a way that only partly has anything to do with some notion that the American government has the best possible structure and policies). I think Israel may be the only consistent carve-out from the general American conservative principle that only one country in the world deserves the respect of any person anywhere -- though we may soon see that list augmeneted with various truly revolting autocracies and dictatorships.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:15 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Yet I'm sure Individual-1 isn't alone in assuming that, somehow, Fox News (or something even more rightward) is just what's needed, not only for Americans to feel good about themselves, but for everyone else to feel good about Americans.

It is pretty funny if you unpack the thought process. "It would be good for the US if the rest of the world better understood the extent to which some of us are racist xenophobes" is an interesting theory.
posted by diogenes at 6:24 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


Based on prior experiences with a Democratic administration taking over from a criminal Republican one, [holding the Trump Administration criminals accountable] is very much an open question and should be a live issue in the primary. There's a choice between "look forward, not backwards" again, or something else. It's being made right now.

Since having yet Democratic presidency stolen for the second time in this young century, and by this guy, and with the Russians' help, and having a SCOTUS seat stolen into the bargain, Democratic voters do not seem to be in a forgiving mood, as 2016 demonstrated. Let's hope Democratic politicians are aware of it, but AOC and others who were swept into the office on the blue wave of 2016 doubtless are.
posted by Gelatin at 6:30 AM on June 3 [7 favorites]


If I had to choose one network to represent the USA to the world, and my sole goal was to improve the nation's image, Fox clearly would not make the cut.
Fox News was taken off air in the UK in 2017 for a few reasons, principally that it was attracting just 2,000 viewers each week in a country of 65 million. It was also found in breach of the Ofcom broadcast code on a number of occasions and its owners took the decision to pull it rather than trying to bring it into compliance with UK broadcasting laws for such a tiny number of viewers.
posted by winterhill at 6:54 AM on June 3 [28 favorites]


WaPo's Griff Witte notes how much is missing from the protocol of Trump's state visit to the UK: "No carriage ride down the Mall with the queen. No room at Buckingham Palace. No speech before Parliament. Lots and lots of protesters. Britain is welcoming Trump for a state visit today. But the welcome is more than a little reluctant."

"A little reluctant" is an understatement—Trump had to take a helicopter to Buckingham Palace because he couldn't travel through the streets due to protests. Video of the pathetically small welcoming crowds outside the palace. NBC foreign correspondent Vincent McAviney observes that some Trump fans are outside to greet him: "There is a british man with a Q Anon t shirt and flag outside Buckingham Palace" (w/ pic)

The Hill reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner got to stand on Buckingham Palace balcony, w/ video, including Steven Mnuchin taking a selfie. Oh, and Stephen Miller is accompanying them for some reason.

Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?

Wait until Trump sees how the Comcast-owned Sky 1 is advertising his state visit (w/video).
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:04 AM on June 3 [24 favorites]




'Gatekeeper Mentality' of DCCC Blacklist Adding to Divisions Within Democratic Party (Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams)
"I'd like to see a majority of women in Congress, and it’s not going to happen with this policy."
Insurgent Democrats, Many of Them Women, Worry a New Party Policy Will Block Them (Jennifer Steinhauer, NYTimes)
A move by House Democratic leaders to thwart party members from mounting primary challenges to incumbents, even in safe Democratic districts, could have the unintended consequence of arresting the party’s shift toward a more female and racially diverse caucus, one of its most striking achievements of the last election.
@lizzwinstead
Do I have this right- Dem incumbents are mostly men. A woman who would like to primary a seat. If she shows she could win, is a better choice, will get no financial support from @DCCC? That says the only time they support getting more women is when male incumbents leave or die [?]
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:08 AM on June 3 [31 favorites]


While this policy from DCCC sucks, it's not surprising at all. DCCC is a group that fundamentally works for Democratic incumbents. Why would they want to spend dollars on both sides of an incumbency tussle that could otherwise be spent in a borderline district?

I would expect the DCCC to support insurgent candidates once elected, but expecting them to materially support insurgency is unrealistic.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:21 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


The DCCC's support of incumbents at all costs is a huge liability now. The party should be recognizing this and restructure so the best candidate can win. Incumbency doesn't fucking matter any more.
posted by odinsdream at 7:25 AM on June 3 [21 favorites]


The Hill reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner got to stand on Buckingham Palace balcony, w/ video, including Steven Mnuchin taking a selfie. Oh, and Stephen Miller is accompanying them for some reason.

Your whole comment is great, but this is tragic-hilarious-crazy-something. What are they doing there? Was Ivanka expecting adulating crowds? Who are those (other) people, anyway? So many questions...
posted by mumimor at 7:28 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


the entire secondary trump clan is looking at the Royals and thinking "this is an extremely sweet set-up for a group of people with no qualifications besides accident of birth and we need to figure out how to get this going back home".
posted by murphy slaw at 7:31 AM on June 3 [39 favorites]


I think it's easy to forget how isolated the Trump family is from everyday stuff. They do truly see themselves as the United States' first royal family. Yes, they did expect adulating crowds.
posted by odinsdream at 7:34 AM on June 3 [9 favorites]


I think it's easy to forget how isolated the Trump family is from everyday stuff.

'So much land under so much water': extreme flooding is drowning parts of the midwest (Guardian)
Weeks of flooding is drowning large parts of the midwest, wrecking communities and turning farms into inland seas. On top of that, a near record number of tornadoes has whipped through the region, smashing homes and claiming nearly 40 lives so far. All of this comes after the wettest 12 months in the US since records began.

Storms and near record rainfalls have caused the region’s three major rivers to flood, inundating communities from Nebraska to Michigan and Illinois to Oklahoma, driving tens of thousands in to shelters, shutting businesses and closing interstate highways.

Waters that used to surge and recede have stayed around, swamping millions of acres of farmland and devastating the planting season. The amount of land farmers are being prevented from sowing by the water is estimated to be as much as double the previous record of 3m acres of corn, set in 2013. The worst hit states include Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana.

In Nebraska, where farmers are already grappling with the effects of Donald Trump’s trade war with China, which has killed off a good part of the soy bean trade, flooding is estimated to have destroyed $1bn-worth of crops and livestock.

In Iowa, bordered on either side by America’s two greatest rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri, entire towns have been engulfed and some may never revive. At the weekend, levees failed on three rivers, flooding homes and forcing the evacuation of thousands in Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas. In other places, authorities raced to shore up protections against surging waters. Burlington was the latest city in Iowa to be swamped after its floodwalls failed and river water poured into downtown following three days of intense rain. The Mississippi has been in flood for 80 days with little sign of returning to normal anytime soon.

Across state after state, people say the same thing unprompted: they have never seen anything like it. Many can point to previous great floods but there is common agreement that it is rare to see so much water for so long across one state after another.

To compound the misery, about 270 tornadoes were recorded in May, including a record 13 straight days of twisters in the second half of the month. Every one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties is under a state of emergency as the state is battered by some of the worst flooding in its history, tornadoes and powerful winds.
I've been trying to find news that Trump acknowledges the scale of this disaster and pledges to immediately address it, but all I'm currently finding is "Tea with Prince Charles, talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and a banquet with the queen are on Mr. Trump’s agenda." Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:45 AM on June 3 [42 favorites]


Meanwhile, another American president is also traveling outside the country. He got a standing ovation.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:46 AM on June 3 [19 favorites]


They’ve made disaster declarations for lots of the affected areas, so that process is moving along, for what it’s worth.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:54 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


While this policy from DCCC sucks, it's not surprising at all. DCCC is a group that fundamentally works for Democratic incumbents. Why would they want to spend dollars on both sides of an incumbency tussle that could otherwise be spent in a borderline district?

Yes, but here's the thing: the DCCC was out here trying to run $1000-$5000+ per plate fundraisers for hateful, anti-choice pieces of shit like Lipinksi just hours after several states effectively banned abortion. His primary opponent is, by all accounts, not just a better person overall, but a better fit for the district and for a Democratic party that actually cares about people other than right-wing bigoted white dudes. His last GOP opponent was an actual fucking Nazi, and I hope that we can all agree that if a Democrat needs money to defeat a Nazi, then the problem is that they're a really shitty candidate. It's certainly a whole lot of money that could go to literally anyone else running, especially those in close races.

Also, the DCCC's interpretation of their own rules is...malleable at best. They're perfectly happy blocking access to party resources for anyone who runs against centrist and right-wing incumbents on the one hand, while bundling lobbyist donations from corporate PACs to fund attacks on leftist incumbents on the other. It's barely even putting up the pretense that it's no longer a support network for struggling candidates, but rather functions more as a protection racket for party dinosaurs. I would be completely unsurprised if we find out in the next year and a half that the DCCC is actually funding challenges to many or even all of the incumbents that represent the future of the party while directing money to horrible troglodytes in safe districts.

At this point we can't just shrug and be like "DCCC gonna DCCC," we have to acknowledge that it's working against the officially stated goals of the party and start doing something about it.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:05 AM on June 3 [32 favorites]


But if I were a Brit and my taxes were already paying for the NHS (surely a trade deal can’t change one county’s tax policy for its own citizens, right?) why would I also buy American insurance, which is expensive and sucks, even if it were available?

I do kind of get the running hospitals and stuff thing. I guess that’s a bigger scale than I was thinking about.


You’re pretty much there with the second half of your comment. The prize that US companies are playing for isn’t so much the UK’s private health insurance market (which does exist - BUPA, while a non-profit, makes a £10 billion turnover each year from people who are willing to pay extra for a private room and plenty of hand-holding). The real prize for the time being is public procurement - the idea is that private companies will be able to bid to supply services that are currently provided by the NHS. The NHS currently costs the government / taxpayer £130 billion or so. So that’s a £130 billion market sitting there for private companies to take a slice of.

The way this would likely work, is that the private companies will choose all of the bits where they think that they can either cut costs to make more profit (supplying staff on a lower rate of pay, say), or redirect costs to themselves (buying their own drugs, say, or subcontracting their own cleaning services), and where their performance targets are straightforward to achieve because the medical problems are simple.

Then they’ll submit a wildly dishonest bid to provide services, that comes in much lower than the NHS bid. (If it’s anything like the way rail privatisation was handled in the UK under New Labour, they might also get a thumb on the scale in the form of a special fudge factor that takes account of the prevailing economic “wisdom” that the private sector is inherently more efficient than the public sector.) Having won the contract, they then say “oops, looks like our prediction was a little off, it’ll actually cost five times what we quoted” and extract as much money as possible from their client, the state, while providing the cheapest and worst possible service to the public. That’s the short-term plan.

At the same time, the unfortunate NHS has lost all of the cheaper and easier parts of its services. So it’s left with the parts that cost more money and result in poorer outcomes. That means that overall, the NHS starts to look like terrible value for money: it’s costing a lot and not providing what it used to in terms of results. Now, a decade or so later, we can see that the parts of our healthcare system we outsourced to the private sector are doing pretty well in comparison... Maybe it’s time to start offering British consumers more choice, and implementing some kind of national private insurance system?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:06 AM on June 3 [27 favorites]


While this policy from DCCC sucks, it's not surprising at all. DCCC is a group that fundamentally works for Democratic incumbents. Why would they want to spend dollars on both sides of an incumbency tussle that could otherwise be spent in a borderline district?

This is true, and a good argument against anybody donating to the DCCC if they want to see a revitalized, progressive Democratic congressional caucus. I don't think a party-wide fundraising org needs to pick and choose insurgents to support, but at minimum they should not be automatically putting a thumb on the scale for the old guard at primary time. You don't have to spend money on both sides, but not spending on either side until a candidate emerges is also an option.
posted by contraption at 8:08 AM on June 3 [10 favorites]


He only cares about TV

The first person to call him an idiot nobody from Queens whose daddy never loved him will be the first person to watch him have a stroke on live TV. This isn’t a complicated or subtle psychology and it’s getting less subtle by the day.
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 AM on June 3 [36 favorites]


The real prize for the time being is public procurement - the idea is that private companies will be able to bid to supply services that are currently provided by the NHS. The NHS currently costs the government / taxpayer £130 billion or so.
Doesn't this already happen? I don't want to get too far off the topic of US Politics in this thread, but the Clinical Commissioning Groups already play this role, at least in England.

They commission a service, for example mental health provision in their area, for example Leeds. The local NHS Trust can put in a bid, but private companies can put in competing bids for the same money. This is how you end up with the likes of Virgin providing NHS services in certain areas.
posted by winterhill at 8:13 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


At this point we can't just shrug and be like "DCCC gonna DCCC," we have to acknowledge that it's working against the officially stated goals of the party and start doing something about it.

We have to remember that the Democratic Party hasn't been a progressive party for the better part of a century. They've just been a better fit for progressives than the alternative.

It is just plain silly to look at a center-right party concerned mostly with the correct implementation of neoliberalism and wonder why they're not supporting candidates diametrically opposed to that agenda.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:30 AM on June 3 [12 favorites]


Trump U.K. Visit Off to Long, Hard Start
On Monday morning, the self-proclaimed baby marked his arrival in the U.K. by angrily tweeting about London mayor Sadiq Khan...The president was, in turn, greeted by an absolutely enormous penis mowed into the English countryside.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:33 AM on June 3 [21 favorites]


At this point we can't just shrug and be like "DCCC gonna DCCC," we have to acknowledge that it's working against the officially stated goals of the party and start doing something about it.

We have to remember that the Democratic Party hasn't been a progressive party for the better part of a century. They've just been a better fit for progressives than the alternative.


There are some who say we must build a worker’s party and some who say we must reform the Democratic Party and I’ve always said if we can seize as much power from local elections and push national level candidates and replace their staff with our staff then we can effectively seize control of the party.

I know every monster these days lives to 102 but time is on our side (for this not for like, having air and water but that’s another reason e have to act like shit matters)
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on June 3 [15 favorites]


this is tragic-hilarious-crazy-something

Yes, it's driving me crazy, too, in its black-comedy hilarity. Behind the distracting absurdist pomp, there are serious issues at work. Trump will not be meeting privately with Theresa May, for instance. Also, before Trump left, he gave an interview to the Sunday Times that continued his streak of interfering in UK politics. Although their paywall has cut it off from the Internet, Trump offered such unworkable advice as sending in Nigel Farrage as a haggler, refusing to pay £39.5 billion EU "divorce bill", and walking away from EU negotiations without a deal (Reuters). And after Corbyn accused him of meddling (Reuters), Trump threatened, "Jeremy Corbyn is making a mistake if he’s not America’s friend", warning that he would have “to know” Corbyn before he would authorize US intelligence to share its classified information if Labour came into power (Times preview).

The undercurrent to all this is the Trump administration's disaster-capitalist fantasies of a no-deal Brexit (Steven Mnuchin's not making the trip just for the selfie). Former UK government trade specialist David Henig writes in Politics.co.uk: Trump's UK Trade Deal: An Abusive Relationship With a Now Vulnerable Country
It is one of the starkest of all Brexit contradictions. The most strident supporters of the project want to leave the EU because it imposes demands upon the UK, but then also secure a trade deal with the US which would involve accepting a whole new set of obligations.

And then there is the other glaring contradiction: that many insist the UK will be fine to trade under WTO rules, without noticing that President Donald Trump is currently undermining those very rules.[…]

There is a real threat that other countries see the US getting away with such behaviour and follow suit, leading the WTO to cease effective functioning. That's an even more pronounced threat right now, because one of the key parts of the organisation which would stop this happening - the appellate body - will shortly cease to function because of a US veto on new members. It's quite convenient for a country breaking the rules so flagrantly.
With the WTO ready to shoot down the Trump administration's last specious national security justifications of an auto tariff (Reuters), relying on Trump's preservation of its authority is not a good bet.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:50 AM on June 3 [16 favorites]


Remember when W. landed a fighter jet for no damn reason and jumped out with a comically large codpiece? And then got up on the flight deck with a giant "mission accomplished" banner? Republicans have been politicizing the military for a long time.

Republicans never forgave John Kerry for telling Congress that the pointless war in Vietnam was damaging soldiers fighting there and military readiness in general. The whole "Swift Boat" smear was based on that fact -- not that the media evaluated its credibility accordingly.
posted by Gelatin at 8:55 AM on June 3 [8 favorites]


Doesn't this already happen? I don't want to get too far off the topic of US Politics in this thread, but the Clinical Commissioning Groups already play this role, at least in England.

Without wanting to continue this derail too much, CCGs can (but don’t have to) put things out to competitive tender. Most of the stuff that goes out to tender is back office stuff like IT, rather than frontline services - although some frontline services have been privatised in some regions and that’s definitely part of the “whoops, looks like the NHS accidentally privatised itself under our policies designed to do exactly that” strategy of the Tories. So one important factor here is “can” vs “must” when talking about including private companies in the bidding process. The second factor is all the non-tariff barriers to trade that prevent US companies from competing on a “level playing field” - unlike EU companies, they don’t automatically have access to the UK market in the absence of a trade agreement (beyond what the WTO requires), and anyone that still fancies their chances has to comply with lots of legislation that they don’t like, register with the CQC, be licensed by Monitor, etc, which somewhat limits the potential of the market’s invisible hand to switch off unprofitable patients’ life support machines and so on.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:56 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


The DCCC's support of incumbents at all costs is a huge liability now. The party should be recognizing this and restructure so the best candidate can win. Incumbency doesn't fucking matter any more.

Not to defend the DCCC, but the idea that incumbency didn't matter is not supported by the data. In the 2018 general election, an average of 92 percent of incumbents nationwide won their re-election bids. The lowest incumbent reelection rate was Texas with (only) 81%.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:29 AM on June 3 [9 favorites]


In the 2018 general election, an average of 92 percent of incumbents nationwide won their re-election bids.
That group includes types like say, Joe Manchin. When I definitely would have preferred his primary challenger.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:36 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Swearingen, who won 30% of the Democratic primary vote and would have almost certainly lost to the far more right-wing Patrick Morrisey?

Primarying insufficiently progressive Democrats in safe or lean districts is important, but it's virtually impossible to build a national coalition (especially in the Senate) without some moderates.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:59 AM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Whether we'd prefer the primary challenger is orthagonal to the point that data shows incumbents have a massive advantage in general elections which challengers and open-seat hopefuls (including successful primary challengers) don't have.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:00 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


The thing with Trump and a harsh response in England is that he just doesn't give a fuck! It's just more attention, which he craves. Feed him your eyeballs of any flavor, spend weeks on your balloon/sign/protest song and get in line at Hyde Corner...it's all fuel for More Trump.

Indifference and prosecution are the only weapons that can be used against him with any permanence.
posted by rhizome at 10:03 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]




The thing with Trump in England is that he's there for a reason. He's a tool and his handlers believe many obviously stupid things, but the people who are pushing a no deal Brexit are the very same people who helped install Trump. Sadly, their peculiar ideas and naked self interest above all else does not prevent them from making shit happen now that they have us distracted with the racist anti-immigrant shit and constant firehose of stupidity.

They sense that the conduit that makes them rich is about to get cut off and have set the world on fire to keep it from happening. They don't give a shit if the world burns since they've got bunkers and private islands for the worst case and are positioned to hoover up disaster profit until it all collapses.
posted by wierdo at 10:16 AM on June 3 [13 favorites]


Republicans never forgave John Kerry for telling Congress that the pointless war in Vietnam was damaging soldiers fighting there and military readiness in general.

I was really hoping we'd put all the Vietnam War bullshit behind us in the 2016 election, but the Republicans had to nominate Cadet Bone Spurs.

2000:
Al Gore volunteered for the Army in 1969 and served in a non-combat role in Vietnam.
George W. Bush got a cushy assignment to the Texas Air National Guard's Champagne Unit and went AWOL.

2004:
George W. Bush: see above
John Kerry enlisted in the Navy in 1966 and volunteered to serve on Swift boats in Vietnam in 1968. He served in combat, earning three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star.

False and malicious criticisms of his service are often bullshit like this:
Did Mr. Kerry exaggerate his exploits? Yes. For example, he has often said over the years that he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia as part of the secret war there. Others who served with him confirm that on Christmas Eve 1968 (not Christmas Day) he got very close to the border, and possibly even strayed across it. But it doesn't seem to have been, as Mr. Kerry has suggested, a deliberate incursion into Cambodia.
2008:
Barrack Obama was three when US Marines landed in Vietnam.
John McCain was a career aviator and terrible flyer who volunteered for combat duty and was shot down in October 1967. He endured five and a half years years of imprisonment, solitary confinement, and torture, and refused offers of early release.

2012:
Barack Obama was 13 during the fall of Saigon.
Mitt Romney demonstrated in favor of the draft (for other people), got four draft deferments, claimed that he "longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam," and was a missionary in France from July 1966 to December 1968.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 AM on June 3 [10 favorites]


We’re never getting over it cause ‪3 of the last 4 presidents were born in 1946 ‬
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on June 3 [21 favorites]


The key thing about the DCCC policy, as the recent spate of (probably coordinated) articles makes clear, is that the recent policy is both new, and an actual change from past practice. It has of course always been the case that the DCCC supports incumbents over primary challengers, but the new policy is to blacklist any organization that supports primary challengers. In the past, the DCCC would of course not work with those organizations in their anti-incumbent primary campaigns, but would still work with them in their pro-incumbent campaigns. When the new policy first appeared, many people (including here) argued that this "new" policy was in fact just a mild codification of what the DCCC already practiced, a tendency to dislike working with organizations that support insurgents. But what the last few months have made clear -- evident from direct quotations in many of the articles cited up-thread -- is that this is actually a new, much more strong policy. The DCCC is serious about blacklisting, with repercussions for 2020 that are very different than the 2018 landscape.

I personally consider it both ethically bad and strategically bad (since most primary insurgents go on to win anyway), especially considering the hypocrisy of continuing to work with both organizations and funders who also support Republicans. But whether or not you like the practice, it's definitely new, and a significant ratcheting up of pro-incumbency pressures from the very top of the congressional Democratic apparatus.
posted by chortly at 10:38 AM on June 3 [17 favorites]


They sense that the conduit that makes them rich is about to get cut off and have set the world on fire to keep it from happening.

Trump 'deadly serious' about Mexico tariff threat, White House aide says (Guardian)
Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana on Sunday called the tariffs a “mistake” and said it’s unlikely Trump will actually impose them. The president “has been known to play with fire, but not live hand grenades,” Kennedy said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “It’s going to tank the American economy,” he said. “I don’t think the president’s going to impose these tariffs.” [...] Mulvaney insisted that Trump is “absolutely, deadly serious” about tariffs and downplayed fears of their effect, saying he doubts business will pass on the costs to shoppers.
Mexico: Trump's tariffs could worsen Central American immigration problem (Politico)
“Slapping tariffs, along with a decision to cancel aid programs to the northern Central American countries, could have a counterproductive effect and would not reduce migrations flows,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters during an early morning press conference [...]
Epic floods and trade wars - how politics and climate beats up US farmers (Art Cullen, Guardian Opinion)
That’s what all the politicians mouth: trade over aid. Senator Chuck Grassley is chipping his teeth clucking on tariffs. Yet Republicans try to defend Trump in a state that is among the most export-sensitive in the nation. Senator Joni Ernst told Storm Lakers one recent rainy May day that farmers are willing to take the short-term pain for the long-term gain. “It’s the easiest thing to tell yourself that, but that is not what they’re saying when they’re talking to the banker,” said Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:03 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


It seems like Clyburn (#3 House Democrat) was even more direct in his Sunday comments than was captured above.

From Vox:

House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn predicted Sunday that the House of Representatives will impeach President Donald Trump — just not yet.

When asked by Tapper if he felt that Trump will eventually face impeachment, Clyburn did not mince words.

“Yes, that’s exactly what I feel,” he said.

posted by diogenes at 11:28 AM on June 3 [7 favorites]


Judiciary Democrats announce series of hearings on Mueller report
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced the next hearing, entitled "Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes," on June 10 as a way to push forward with the committee's sprawling oversight investigation into the Trump administration amid stonewalling from the White House.
...
Former White House Counsel John Dean as well as former U.S. Attorneys and legal experts are slated to testify at the hearing next week.
I mean, sure, it's a start, but we've wasted months and months and now we get John Dean? In other words:

@PeterSullivan4: So the White House counsel from 1970-1973 will be testifying but not the one from 2017-2018
posted by zachlipton at 12:10 PM on June 3 [26 favorites]


ABC reports on the major protests against Trump in Trafalgar Square at 11 a.m. tomorrow: Mass Protests Planned For Trump's State Visit to the UK (Jeremy Corbyn also plans to address the crowd.)

Since Trump has avoided the smaller protests today by flying by helicopter, he took to Twitter to claim/complain:
London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic. The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong. Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our Country. Haven’t seen any protests yet, but I’m sure the....

....Fake News will be working hard to find them. Great love all around. Also, big Trade Deal is possible once U.K. gets rid of the shackles. Already starting to talk!
Either Trump just let the cat out of the bag or he's deliberately stirring things up—the UK can't engage in real trade talks until it's left the EU and has a trade agreement with them in place.

Of course, it's possible that Trump is receiving all his information from Fox News, which is naturally downplaying the number of protesters and inflating his supporters'. Media Matters's Bobby Lewis reviews Fox's biased coverage (w/video):
—Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke: "A lot of those demonstrations [in London] will also include pro-Trump folks out there who, a great many of them feel like he is simply not getting his fair share in the media here."
—Fox & Friends continues to insist that Trump has popular support in the UK: "As Kevin Corke accurately pointed out a little while ago, 250,000, it would be hard to tell who were pro-Trump and who were anti-Trump. ... There are people on both sides of the aisle."
—Fox News contributor Nigel Farage reassures Fox & Friends that "things have changed" and the British people actually love Donald Trump now, and the protests against him are "organized [and] paid for ... it's all a bit of show."
—Fox correspondent Benjamin Hall says protesters are "being bused in" by "hard-left groups," but "many people are more upset with the fact that high-ranking politicians have decided to boycott his visit." Tens of thousands of protesters in the streets because Trump got snubbed?
—literally the Fox line is that "many" of the 250,000 expected protesters will be in the streets not to criticize Trump, but to criticize their own leaders ... for declining a dinner invitation with Trump. tens of thousands of people pissed off in the streets. for that. really??
As for Trump's "tremendous" crowds claim, Channel 4's Girish Juneja posted this photo of the thin crowd outside Buckingham Palace waiting for the Trump motorcade at 4.30pm today.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:18 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


More responses from the UK, documented by Led By Donkeys
posted by growabrain at 12:19 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Trump will not be meeting privately with Theresa May, for instance

May is a dead duck PM. Brexit negotiations at minimum are completely off her table, and she hasn't had any agenda beyond brexit, ever, during her tenure as PM. I cannot imagine anything more pointless than Trump talking to her.

If you mean that it's an insult, yeah, it probably is.

On NJ politics, since people mentioned Delaney. Nj is a high tax state, with a lot of wealthy people, some ruralish red chunks, and a Dem machinery where you "work your way up through the ranks" until it's "your turn". Basically it's easy to find Joe Crowley type Democrats. They're going to be behind the times until we get some turnover. Delaney and all the people he hangs out with probably genuinely think both that socialism is bad and that that's a winning message.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:22 PM on June 3 [7 favorites]


WaPo, Figure linked to Trump transition charged with transporting child pornography
A key witness in former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian election interference has been indicted by federal officials on child pornography charges, according to court documents.

George Nader, who had a previous criminal record on such charges, was charged in federal court in Virginia, and is expected to make an initial court appearance in New York.
...
Nader was convicted 28 years ago of transporting child pornography, a case in which he received a reduced sentence after influential figures argued privately to the court that he was playing a valuable role in national security affairs — trying to free U.S. hostages then held in Lebanon.
Here's a story from last year on that history. And a reminder of this old story, without comment to its relevance here: Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on June 3 [16 favorites]


The pastor at McLean Bible Church, where Trump showed up yesterday looking terrible (his pants! why don't his pants fit?), wrote a letter to his congregation, and, uh:
At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I stepped to the side for what I thought would be a couple of moments in quiet reflection as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper. But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him.
I thought this was supposed to be about Virginia Beach (which isn't really anywhere near the church, but whatever), but no, it's all about him as usual.
posted by zachlipton at 12:37 PM on June 3 [20 favorites]


As for Trump's "tremendous" crowds claim, Channel 4's Girish Juneja posted this photo of the thin crowd outside Buckingham Palace waiting for the Trump motorcade at 4.30pm today.

Based on the footwear I'd guess the sign holders are American. At least the big fella in the cargo shorts right next to the sign. Brits very rarely wear actual running shoes like neon blue Sauconys.
posted by srboisvert at 12:42 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


wrote a letter to his congregation, and, uh:

zachlipton, got a link to the full letter? I'd love to read this. and by "love" I mean sick fascination with how this guy justified his religious service being used as a political prop, and get some sense of what's prompting him to write.
posted by martin q blank at 12:49 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Seems like the pastor was a little blindsided by Team Trump.
posted by Orb at 12:52 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


That’s an impersonator that came to the church, right? Am I missing something?
posted by sundrop at 12:52 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Sorry. That link was supposed to be in my comment, and I forgot. Here it is: PRAYER FOR THE PRESIDENT.

I’ll leave the theological commentary to others and just quote the West Wing: “the god you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on June 3 [7 favorites]


In the end, would you pray with me for gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart?

This is a lovely bit of church shade that the pastor threw at the president.
posted by teleri025 at 12:59 PM on June 3 [26 favorites]


From the letter:
I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.

In the end, would you pray with me for gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart?
There's a couple of remarkable things in this quote. Even though punches were pulled, this is some serious criticism of Trump by white evangelical standards. He mentioned "valid reasons [for being hurt by Trump's appearance in church]", "hurt of racial division", and the very pointed "honors every man and woman made in the image of God." This goes far beyond what most evangelical pastors and leaders have been willing to say.

And then there's the final sentence in my quote, which is the one which really surprised me. Evangelicals have been pretending since 2016 that Trump is a full "saved" Christian. Sometimes they admit he's flawed, but insist he's still a Christian. That line about "seed...bear fruit" is a strong hint that this pastor doesn't believe Trump is a true Christian, and does not act in a godly way. Does not act in a way that's useful or honoring to God. Again, that's just a huge thing for a white evangelical to say about Trump.

I hope this letter gains traction in the evangelical community.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:04 PM on June 3 [61 favorites]


> But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him.

I thought this was supposed to be about Virginia Beach (which isn't really anywhere near the church, but whatever), but no, it's all about him as usual.


n.b. On Saturday, @realdonaldtrump retweeted CBN News (Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network) when they hosted Franklin Graham for his nationwide call for prayer for Trump on Sunday: 'Because We Need God's Help': Why Franklin Graham Asked Christians to Pray for President Trump
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:07 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


More shade, this time from the UK. 41-gun salutes and a Twitter tirade: Donald Trump arrives in UK
But on a tour of Royal Collection artefacts in the palace’s picture gallery, Trump was shown the pewter horse he gave the Queen on his last visit. Asked if he recognised it, he replied “no”, at which point Melania jumped in, saying: “Yes, this is one of ours.” Trump did better when he was shown a book of tartans opened at the yellow design of his Scottish Hebridean mother’s MacLeod clan. “That’s my tartan,” he said immediately.
Asking if he recognized the gift is such a beautifully understated asshole move. Remember how a fairly central plank of his campaign was literally just that people would respect him on foreign visits?
posted by zachlipton at 1:07 PM on June 3 [50 favorites]


To a Manhattan socialite like Trump, meeting the Queen is everything (Richard Wolffe, Guardian Op-Ed)
The president doesn’t care about the spats or the protests, he only cares about status
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:06 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Politico: House Dems to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over census question—The Oversight Committee wants key documents by Thursday
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is moving to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying the panel’s subpoena for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern,” Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote to Barr and Ross in separate letters. “The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations.”

Cummings said he would consider postponing the contempt votes if Barr and Ross turn over the requested documents by Thursday, June 6.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on June 3 [42 favorites]


Even as someone who thinks “the royal family” is a useless concept (actually, worse than useless—harmful), I’m cringing so hard at the pictures of Mnuchin accompanying Kate Middleton and Kellyanne Conway accompanying Prince Edward into this state dinner. Blech. Talk about not sending our best...
posted by sallybrown at 2:47 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


NYT, A Former Hotel Partner Alleges the Trumps Evaded Taxes in Panama
The owners of a luxury hotel in Panama City that ousted the Trump Organization as property managers last year accused it on Monday of evading taxes in Panama and creating a “false light” around the hotel’s finances.

The accusations, made in a legal filing in Manhattan federal court, are fraught with potential diplomatic and legal complexities for President Trump, as they essentially assert that his family business cheated a foreign country’s government.

The Trump Organization, the filing alleges, “also made fraudulent and false claims to the Panamanian tax authorities” to “cover up its unlawful activities.” This was originally detected during an audit last year by Panamanian tax authorities, according to the filing.
...
The filing also alleges, among other claims, that the Trump Organization understated employee salaries in reports to the Panamanian social security agency, which may have reduced the hotel’s social security tax payments. Collectively, the company’s actions made “the financial and operational performance of the hotel appear in a false light,” the filing says.
posted by zachlipton at 2:49 PM on June 3 [24 favorites]


In the absence of Democratic willingness to impose any sort of sanction on folks who are held in contempt, isn't a contempt vote little more than a Pythonesque "Stop or I'll say stop again!"? Does anyone know what the end goal here is?
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman: "NOW: A federal judge in DC has rejected House Dems' effort to block Trump from carrying out his plan to reprogram billions of dollars to fund border construction, agreeing with the administration that the court can't be involved in this fight https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6128209/6-3-19-US-v-Mnuchin-Opinion.pdf "

Judge Trevor N. McFadden ruled, "The “complete independence” of the Judiciary is “peculiarly essential” under our Constitutional structure, and this independence requires that the courts “take no active resolution whatever” in political fights between the other branches. See The Federalist No. 78 (Alexander Hamilton). And while the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority. The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to hear the House’s claims and will deny its motion."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:18 PM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Surprise! Trump Judge Ripped For Getting Facts From Internet After Saying Plaintiff ‘Trolled the Web’
Attorney Robert Barnes was none too pleased about a Donald Trump-appointed federal judge’s decision to dismiss his pro bono client Cassandra Fairbanks‘ lawsuit against Splinter News’ Emma Roller. [...] Barnes, a Law&Crime columnist, tore into U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Trevor N. McFadden for getting his facts from the internet and called out his characterization that Fairbanks “trolled the web through Twitter.”

[...] As Politico noted, he is one of three Trump-appointed judges in the D.C. district court. McFadden also donated to the Trump campaign.
posted by Little Dawn at 3:44 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


When Kurt Gödel was studying for his citizenship exam, he found what he said he could prove to be a contradiction that could lead the US to become a dictatorship. Nobody has recorded what he thought that problem to be. I think it is now becoming evident.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:46 PM on June 3 [24 favorites]


Politico: House Dems set Barr contempt vote on Mueller report for next week—The move is a crucial step for Democrats seeking to accelerate their obstruction of justice investigation against Trump.
The House will vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller's fully unredacted report and underlying evidence, according to multiple Democratic sources.

The resolution would clear the way for the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr to court to enforce its subpoena and settle the matter legally — a crucial step for Democrats seeking to accelerate their obstruction of justice investigation against President Donald Trump.

The vote, which will take place on June 11, will also include broad authority for congressional committees to take legal action against the Trump administration in future subpoena fights, the Democratic sources say. Democrats are still discussing whether to include former White House counsel Don McGahn in the resolution.
The House will vote to hold Barr in civil contempt, since the Dems regard criminal contempt to be an empty gesture (who at the Trump DoJ would enforce it?).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:54 PM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Surprise! Trump Judge Ripped For Getting Facts From Internet After Saying Plaintiff ‘Trolled the Web’

For context, the judge ruled that Fairbanks could not sue a journalist for defamation for saying that Fairbanks was making a white power gesture in a photo with Mike Cernovitch at the White House when Fairbanks claims she was just making an "okay" sign. The facts the judge got from the web were that the okay sign is also used as a white power sign and also used in deliberately ambiguous ways. Fairbanks couldn't prove the journalist acted with malice in no small part because Fairbanks bragged about trading on that ambiguity. Here's a relevant bit:
Especially given the public debate about the “okay” hand gesture at the time of Ms. Roller’s tweet, Ms. Fairbanks’ allegations do not provide clear and convincing evidence of actual malice. Indeed, the inescapable conclusion one reaches upon viewing the photo and tweets at issue (including Ms. Fairbanks’ tweets) is that Ms. Fairbanks intended her photo and hand gesture to provoke, or troll, people like Ms. Roller—whether because the gesture was actually offensive or because they would think that it was offensive—not that Ms. Fairbanks was the victim of a malicious attack based on innocent actions. So Ms. Fairbanks has failed to state a claim and her case should be dismissed.
The full opinion is here. If anything, I think the judge is too generous to the plaintiff, but this at least seems like the right result.
posted by This time is different. at 4:10 PM on June 3 [18 favorites]


A federal judge in DC has rejected House Dems' effort to block Trump from carrying out his plan to reprogram billions of dollars to fund border construction, agreeing with the administration that the court can't be involved in this fight

Wikipedia's entry on Judge Trevor N. McFadden provides a bit more context:

Assumed office: October 31, 2017
Appointed by: Donald Trump
Born: June 28, 1978 (age 40)

We've got 40 more years of him and his ilk.
posted by pjenks at 4:30 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


Judge Trevor N. McFadden ruled, "The “complete independence” of the Judiciary is “peculiarly essential” under our Constitutional structure, and this independence requires that the courts “take no active resolution whatever” in political fights between the other branches.
Can one of our legally knowledgeable MeFites comment on whether this is just a particularly misleading summary quote or whether this judge really is trying to put forward some kind of crackpot theory that the judiciary has no role in resolving disputes between the other two branches? Because the latter would seem like a kind of significant reversal of centuries of precedent..
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:57 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


We're in for lots more of judges just being flat-out ahistorical assholes who have no concept of anything about law. That's *why* they're being appointed.
posted by odinsdream at 5:09 PM on June 3 [18 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: House just passed the 19.1 Billion Dollar Disaster Aid Bill. Great, now we will get it done in the Senate! Farmers, Puerto Rico and all will be very happy.

@seungminkim: The Senate already passed it .... now it goes to you for your signature.

This is fine.
posted by zachlipton at 5:13 PM on June 3 [33 favorites]


NBC News, Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley (who have relentlessly covered child separation), Botched family reunifications left migrant children waiting in vans overnight
Under the blistering Texas sun last July, 37 migrant children boarded vans for what was supposed to be a 30-minute ride. At the end of the road from Harlingen to Los Fresnos lay the promise of hugs, kisses and long overdue reunification with their parents, from whom they were taken when the Trump administration began systematically separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally.

But when the children, all between 5 and 12 years old, arrived at Immigration and Customs Enforcement's adults-only Port Isabel Detention Center, rather than seeing their parents, they saw a parking lot full of vans just like theirs, with children from other facilities who, just like them, were waiting to be processed and reunified with their parents.

It was 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Not until 39 hours later — after two nights in a van — did the last child step out of a van to be reunited. Most spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles.
...
Despite two notifications from HHS that the children would be arriving, ICE officers kept to their regular schedule, clocking out for the day while the parking lot filled with children eager to see their parents again. There was no one present to greet the arriving children and they were not equipped to process them in a parking lot, the BCFS official told NBC News, describing the scene as "hurried disarray."
posted by zachlipton at 5:18 PM on June 3 [48 favorites]


That is fucking criminal (yes, so much is) and I'm calling my Representatives tomorrow about it.
posted by odinsdream at 5:23 PM on June 3 [25 favorites]


Can one of our legally knowledgeable MeFites comment on whether this is just a particularly misleading summary quote or whether this judge really is trying to put forward some kind of crackpot theory that the judiciary has no role in resolving disputes between the other two branches? Because the latter would seem like a kind of significant reversal of centuries of precedent..

The judge is referencing a legitimate thing called the political question doctrine, the gist of which is that the judiciary wants nothing to do with a conflict that is political, as opposed to legal, in nature. I know it sounds kind of nuts given the entire point of the Judicial Branch...it’s a way of saying the courts don’t have the expertise or power to decide political debates (as opposed to interpreting legislation)—it renders a case nonjusticiable. I haven’t read Judge McFadden’s decision so I can’t comment on that, but if you’re thinking “this is confusing and I don’t get the distinction,” that’s how I feel about it too. But it’s very much not a fake doctrine. If you’re really interested, Nixon [not the one you’re thinking] v. United States gets into it.

As for Judge McFadden’s next 40 years, you’d be surprised how many federal judges retire early because they miss making tons of money as lobbyists or firm partners.
posted by sallybrown at 5:36 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


i read mcfadden's appropriations case, Nerd of the North. i have not read the arguments or briefs or those precedential cases considered by mcfadden in the opinion, so have not considered the breadth of arguments and authorities proffered by the parties, and am not particularly informed as to appropriations-related legal questions. it was not obviously the work of a "flat-out ahistorical asshole" nor clearly dishonest, but seemed to be a good-faith effort to rule on the issue of standing on a contentious ripeness/political-question/separation-of-powers issue. it is significant here that the house of representatives is not one branch of government, but one house of a bicameral branch of government. it is also significant that the house of representatives has not exhausted available institutional remedies: there remain things the house can do to remedy or assuage its alleged injury, and things both houses together could do to protect and preserve their constitutionally-mandated appropriations power, before calling on the judiciary for remedy. it can be appealed -- it is very much in judge mcfadden's interest to write opinions that will not be overturned; nothing leapt off the page as an ideal challenge in my cursory reading. don't get me wrong: i abhor wall; revile executive diversion of appropriated funds to work on wall & object to the underlying declaration of emergency. it did not strike me as an obviously flawed ruling or opinion. i choose to read it as a(nother) forceful referral for impeachment.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:00 PM on June 3 [8 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: House just passed the 19.1 Billion Dollar Disaster Aid Bill. Great, now we will get it done in the Senate! Farmers, Puerto Rico and all will be very happy.

@seungminkim: The Senate already passed it .... now it goes to you for your signature.


Maybe he's referring to reconciliation in conference committee. Not that I'm trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but after it passes the Senate and the House, it still has to go back to conference committee with the Senate and House together for reconciliation before going to Trump for signature.
posted by The World Famous at 6:12 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Yeah, reading the border wall case now, it’s not quite what the pull quote referring to a political issue would suggest. The judge’s ultimate determination was that the House lacked standing to challenge the border wall national emergency on the specific grounds it did—the House argued that permitting Trump to redirect funds by declaring a national emergency impinged on the House’s constitutional power under the Appropriations Clause. (The House could have challenged the border wall move in other ways, for example by arguing Trump’s characterization of it as a national emergency did not satisfy the legal standard, but the House didn’t argue that, not sure why.) The judge points out that (among other things) even though the Legislative Branch has power to pass laws, we don’t let Congress use the Judicial Branch to police how Executive Branch agencies carry out those laws. The fact that HHS or DOJ may interpret a law Congress passes in the wrong way, even to the point of breaking the law, does not weaken Congress’ constitutional power to make law, but neither does it give Congress standing to sue HHS to say “you did this wrong.” That doesn’t mean no one can sue—the plaintiff just has to have standing, and the House doesn’t.

It’s an interesting case and not an obviously shitty decision, IMO.
posted by sallybrown at 6:14 PM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Roger Stone was issued a gag order saying he couldn’t talk about his case or he would be jailed. Today he posted on Instagram that anyone involved in his investigation should be put to death.

Go big or go home, am I right
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:50 PM on June 3 [52 favorites]


Maybe he's referring to reconciliation in conference committee. Not that I'm trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but after it passes the Senate and the House, it still has to go back to conference committee with the Senate and House together for reconciliation before going to Trump for signature.

A fine thought (I, too, would like to live in a world where the president knows what he's talking about), but what the House passed today was a Motion to Suspend the Rules and Concur in the Senate Amendment. There's no conference committee here; Trump is just wrong. He's subsequently deleted the tweet.
posted by zachlipton at 6:54 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


Business Insider: Former Trump aide Roger Stone called for ex-CIA chief John Brennan to be hanged for treason in now deleted Instagram post

“Former Trump adviser Roger Stone on Sunday posted a message on Instagram calling for former CIA Director John Brennan to be hanged. "This psycho must be tried, charged, convicted, and hung for treason," read the message with a picture of Brennan. Stone is currently awaiting the start of his trial after being charged with obstruction, witness tampering and lying to investigators by the Mueller probe. Brennan is one of Trump's staunchest critics, and a frequent target of the president.”

The Daily Mail's David Martosko seems to have a screencap of Stone's deleted post: "So ... how likely is this to make Roger Stone's judge revoke his bail for "materially prejuding" his trial? He's already under a gag order. (source: Stone's Instagram, later deleted)" (w/ screencap)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:03 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


also note that it appears that Instagram, not Stone, took the offending post down, in response to an abuse report
posted by murphy slaw at 7:07 PM on June 3 [29 favorites]


WaPo, GOP lawmakers discuss vote to block Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico, in what would be a dramatic act of defiance
Congressional Republicans have begun discussing whether they may have to vote to block President Trump’s planned new tariffs on Mexico, potentially igniting a second standoff this year over Trump’s use of executive powers to circumvent Congress, people familiar with the talks said.

The vote, which would be the GOP’s most dramatic act of defiance since Trump took office, could also have the effect of blocking billions of dollars in border wall funding that the president had announced in February when he declared a national emergency at the southern border, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.
...
Republican lawmakers aren’t eager to be drawn into a conflict with the president. But some feel they might have to take action following a growing consensus within the GOP that these new tariffs would amount to tax increases on American businesses and consumers — something that would represent a profound breach of party orthodoxy.
"Very concerned" count: 1
posted by zachlipton at 7:25 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


The judge is referencing a legitimate thing called the political question doctrine

I assumed he was referencing the rarely-used 'where the sidewalk ends' political question doctrine, too, but that goes to justiciability of a dispute, not standing to bring it to court in the first place, and the judge is dismissing it on standing grounds. The opinion makes some odd inferences from things the judge suggests Congress didn't do in the past, but it's the actual caselaw that isn't cited in the opinion that seems potentially more telling.

For example, according to my National Security Law textbook (Dycus, Berney, Banks, Raven-Hansen, 2d Ed) at pp. 173 - 174, "members of Congress have often turned to the courts and sought relief for alleged harm to them in their official roles, or put another way, to protect what they see as interests central to Congress. In Mitchell v. Laird, 488 F.2d 611 (D.C. Cir. 1973), 13 members of Congress sought to enjoin military action in Southeast Asia and requested a declaration that the war was unconstitutional. In rejecting the government's claim that the plaintiffs lacked standing, the court stated that, assuming unconstitutional action by the executive, "a declaration to that effect would bear upon the duties of plaintiffs to consider whether to impeach defendants, and upon plaintiffs' quite distinct and different duties to make appropriations to support the hostilities, or to take other legislative actions related to such hostilites..." 488 F.2d at 614. While the plaintiffs were found to have standing, the court dismissed the suit as presenting a political question."

According to the textbook at p. 174, it is more difficult to obtain standing for things like how to regulate the CIA, e.g. Harrington v. Bush, 553 F.2d 190 (D.C. Cir. 1977), but in Kennedy v. Sampson, 511 F.2d 430 (D.C. Cir. 1974), the court held one senator can represent a class of Congress as a whole when challenging a pocket veto, and Judge McFadden seems to have conveniently missed this case in his opinion's discussion of pocket vetoes.

My textbook also notes at p. 175 that "Judges Bork and Scalia have argued that members of Congress should never be found to have standing to sue in their official capacities." On the flip side, the textbook notes "it has been urged that "[m]embers of Congress should be granted standing whenever (a) the controversy is genuine and no advisory opinion is sought; (b) those members possess sufficient information and proximity to the issue to present the case adequately; and (c) the claim concerns executive usurption of a specific function constitutionally accorded Congress." Carlin Meyer, Imbalance of Powers: Can Congressional Lawsuits Serve as Counterweight? 54 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 63, 71 (1992). It's not just the outcome, it's also the reasoning of this opinion that seems contrary to how the seperation of powers tend to work, but additional research is needed.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:28 PM on June 3 [6 favorites]


> what the House passed today was a Motion to Suspend the Rules and Concur in the Senate Amendment.

Yes, it is H.R. 2157 and you can see the actions here.

You'll notice the latest action (final passage by House) is not listed yet.

I'll just take a moment to point out that I spend a lot of my time tracking state and local legislative issues and it's far easier to figure out what's going on in the village council of the smallest hamlet or the state legislature of the least-friendly, least-transparent state, than it is to figure out what is going on in Congress.
  • News articles never mention the bill number, sponsor, exact bill title, or other information you would need to positively identify the bill.
  • News articles about bills on Congress deal in broad generalities and political horserace considerations almost exclusively. They rarely or never discuss details or do basic things like, for example, linking to the bill's online page or actual legislative language.
  • The official Congress.gov bill tracking page is confusing, hard to search, and sooo slow to update. It is always well behind the actual activity, to the point there is practically no point in checking it at all--by the time something shows up there you've seen it on CNN or read about it in Politico a few days before. (Some 3rd party sites are a bit better. Also for example the House Clerk's site updates calendar/roll call votes etc rather quickly--so why not Congress.gov, too?)
  • The bills themselves are just astonishingly confusing to read. Like, to the point there is literally no point in even spending time reading them unless you are also willing to put in many additional hours cross-referencing literally every word and sentence with existing U.S. Code and the relevant Code of Regulations.
It doesn't have to be this way. The state I live in is underfunded, deliberately un-transparent, and full of the usual political shenanigans. Yet, the situation for a citizen who wants to track and follow legislative issues is approximately one million times better than it is with Congress.

For some reason, we've chosen this as the way we want our government to run.
posted by flug at 7:57 PM on June 3 [41 favorites]


One might postulate the existence of a rent-seeking class who benefit from the situation if one were a cynic.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:00 PM on June 3 [19 favorites]


Miriam Elder (Buzzfeed): Co-author of controversial NYT story on Biden-Ukraine (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/politics/biden-son-ukraine.html …) has been appointed spokesperson to Ukraine’s new president
What did the NYT know and when did they know it?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:53 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


Roger Stone was issued a gag order saying he couldn’t talk about his case or he would be jailed. Today he posted on Instagram that anyone involved in his investigation should be put to death.

It's weird that whether or not there are actual consequences for this is basically a crapshoot
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:30 PM on June 3 [22 favorites]


Kushner unsure whether he'd alert FBI if Russians request another meeting
On "Axios on HBO," Jared Kushner said he doesn't know whether he'd call the FBI if he were to receive an email today like the one before the campaign's Trump Tower meeting, which had the subject line: "Re: Russia - Clinton - private and confidential."
Kushner said this after a tense exchange about the email he received to set up the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
Why this matters: Kushner is now in the West Wing as senior adviser to the president. Shouldn't an email with an offer of help from Russians trigger a mental alarm? This bolsters the perception that President Trump’s inner circle still doesn't fully recognize the ongoing threat of Russian interference in American elections.
Kushner’s response comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray said in congressional testimony that he would recommend that in the future, people contact the FBI if a foreign government offers campaign support.
What he's saying: Kushner said people are being "self-righteous" and playing "Monday morning quarterback" by asking him why he didn't call the FBI when he saw the email offering help for the Trump campaign from Russia.
"Let me put you in my shoes at that time. OK, I'm running three companies, I'm helping run the campaign. I get an email that says show up at 4 instead of 3 to a meeting that I had been told about earlier that I didn't know what the hell it was about."
Asked if he'd call the FBI if it happened again, Kushner said: "I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is is that we were not given anything that was salacious."
Whatever the right & wrong of reporting it as a member of a campaign, Kushner now holds Clearance & would be obligated to report to the FBI any approach by a foreign agent, even from an American ally.
posted by scalefree at 10:35 PM on June 3 [20 favorites]


Kushner now holds Clearance & would be obligated to report to the FBI any approach by a foreign agent, even from an American ally

Kushner has just declared that he will not comply with those obligations. After all, his clearance derives not from earthly Congressional law but from his ineffable father-in-law.
posted by SakuraK at 10:43 PM on June 3 [25 favorites]


Jared, Call the FBI (Paul Rosenzweig, Lawfare)
Asked if he would call the FBI in similar circumstance, Kushner responded: "I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is is that we were not given anything that was salacious."

Let's be clear—that's the wrong answer. I will limit this discussion to legal obligations; the moral failings are self-evident. Even if Kushner had no legal obligation to report the Russian contacts in 2016 when he was a private citizen, he no longer is. At the direction of the president, he now holds a top-secret (TS) clearance. And with that clearance comes a legal obligation to notify relevant authorities in the FBI and White House regarding suspicious foreign contacts.

[...] it seems to me highly implausible, almost to the point of absurdity, to suggest that the same meeting that happened in the Trump Tower would not, if it happened today, be a mandatorily reportable event for Kushner. Either he doesn't know that, in which case he needs a refresher briefing on security procedures, or he does, but doesn't care.

The right answer to the question ought to have been: "Per my obligations as one who holds a TS clearance with the U.S. government, if approached by a known Russian national in that fashion, I would report it to the security office in the White House."
posted by Little Dawn at 10:44 PM on June 3 [43 favorites]


> Alas, poor Clyburn! I knew him, Pelosi, a fellow of infinite jest...

Clyburn walks back impeachment comments (Politico)
Clyburn’s comments came after a private leadership meeting Monday evening in which Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that she didn’t support launching impeachment proceedings right now despite a growing push within the caucus.

“I’m probably farther away from impeachment than anybody in our caucus,” Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters Monday night. “We will not get out in front of our committees. We’ll see what the committees come up with. I’ve said that forever.” Asked by POLITICO whether he thought impeachment proceedings were inevitable, Clyburn simply said no.

The No. 3 Democrat’s comments stand in contrast to what he said Sunday, suggesting it was only a matter of time before House Democrats began impeachment proceedings against Trump. [...]

But the Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, dismissed the idea that Democratic leaders were sending mixed messages to their caucus. “I think we have one clear shared goal, and that is to get this president out of office as soon as possible,” Clark said. But she drew a clear contrast with Clyburn’s comments on Sunday. “I certainly understand people’s thoughts about this, but I think it’s important to remember impeachment is a tool, not an end goal itself.”
posted by Little Dawn at 11:04 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Trump Wins Ruling in House’s Border Wall Suit (NYT)
Judge McFadden ruling’s is in tension with a 2015 decision from Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who also sits on the Federal District Court in Washington and was appointed by President George W. Bush. Judge Collyer ruled that the House, then controlled by Republicans, had standing to challenge spending under Mr. Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. judge denies Democrats' lawsuit to stop border wall funds (Reuters)
The ruling is in contrast to a decision on May 24 by U.S. Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr., who issued a preliminary injunction blocking the use of $1 billion in Defense Department funds out of a total of $6.7 billion Trump wants to divert for the border wall.
Judge rejects Congress' challenge of border wall funding (AP)
Trump’s victory is muted by a federal ruling in California last month that blocked construction of key sections of the wall. The California case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. [...] A federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled May 24 that Trump overstepped his authority and blocked work from beginning on two of the highest-priority, Pentagon-funded wall projects — one spanning 46 miles (74 kilometers) in New Mexico and another covering 5 miles (8 kilometers) in Yuma, Arizona. The administration plans to appeal the ruling by Haywood Gilliam Jr., an appointee of President Barack Obama.

[...] Trump declared a national emergency in February after losing a fight with the Democratic-led House that led to a 35-day government shutdown and identified up to $8.1 billion for wall construction. The funds include $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.

The Defense Department has already transferred the counterdrug money. Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, is expected to decide any day whether to transfer the military construction funds.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:43 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Kushner:“I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is is that we were not given anything that was salacious."

Salacious?

In the words of an internet sage: Not a good look for my guy.
posted by skyscraper at 12:22 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


Either Trump just let the cat out of the bag or he's deliberately stirring things up—the UK can't engage in real trade talks until it's left the EU and has a trade agreement with them in place.
Since even the UK Government don't know the outcome of the current Brexit impasse, the idea that a foreign president has let anything out of anything is far-fetched at best.
posted by winterhill at 1:31 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


@BBCr4today [video]: International Trade Sec @LiamFox says the NHS and food standards will be protected in case of any UK-US trade deal

@DavidHenigUK: Sorry, did Liam Fox say we weren't going to offer the US much in a trade deal? The story of the UK-US trade deal that won't be is becoming stranger by the minute. Maybe that public discussion on why we want trade deals might have been useful after all.

If you watch the clip, it's clearly all nonsense of the sort that has driven the entire Brexit process, but it's notable that for UK domestic consumption, the message their government is putting out even while Trump is still there is that they're not going to give him what he wants in a future trade deal. When then, yes, rather raises the question of what the point of any of this is.
posted by zachlipton at 1:42 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


The point of it is to bleed money out of a newly vulnerable British economy under false terms. That's the point.
posted by scalefree at 2:21 AM on June 4 [23 favorites]


@davidgura
From a White House pool report:
At Westminster Abbey, President Trump "paused at the white marble slab commemorating Lord Byron, the poet politician, and asked what stone the flooring was made from."
posted by scalefree at 3:26 AM on June 4 [35 favorites]


>> Roger Stone was issued a gag order saying he couldn’t talk about his case or he would be jailed. Today he posted on Instagram that anyone involved in his investigation should be put to death.

> It's weird that whether or not there are actual consequences for this is basically a crapshoot


He also made an Instagram post [CNBC article] last week that would also seem clearly in breach of the gag order and is still up. It's also fairly longish and coherent, so probably not something done on a late night bender. He seems fairly certain he's going to get away with it, mebbe he's got the nod from Trump that they don't have to worry about the law anymore.
posted by Buntix at 3:42 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Asked if he'd call the FBI if it happened again, Kushner said: "I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is is that we were not given anything that was salacious."

Illegally meeting with the Russian criminals was in violation of 52 USC 30121.

LYING about it was in violation of 18 USC 1001.

Conspiring with others to lie about it was in violation of 18 USC 371.

This is clearly NOT a "Nation of Laws" if he's still walking around free.
posted by mikelieman at 4:02 AM on June 4 [53 favorites]


Clyburn walks back impeachment comments

To be clear, Clyburn's message was that Trump will eventually face impeachment. He didn't say anything about right now. He argued for further educating the public first. And Pelosi wasn't ok with that message.
posted by diogenes at 6:29 AM on June 4 [8 favorites]


But the Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, dismissed the idea that Democratic leaders were sending mixed messages to their caucus.

They forced the House Majority Whip to change his answer to "are impeachment proceedings inevitable" from "yes" to "no." So I guess it's technically true that the messages aren't mixed. They are 100% mutually incompatible.
posted by diogenes at 6:33 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


Politico: Even Some Trump Allies Want Kushner to Ice His Peace Plan—Fears range from the possibility that the peace proposal could trigger violence to worries that its offerings could forever kill efforts to craft a two-state solution.
Prominent conservative and pro-Israel voices close to the White House are increasingly sharing their fears, which range from the possibility that the peace proposal could trigger violence to worries that its offerings could forever kill efforts to craft a two-state solution. Many hoped the plan would get shelved even before the latest political turmoil in Israel prompted the scheduling of new elections in the fall. Now, some are going on the record to urge the Trump administration to set aside the plan indefinitely, even though few people have seen the closely held proposal.[…]

White House officials have said they will release the political aspects of the plan — covering major topics such as whether Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return to Gaza, the West Bank and perhaps other disputed territories — at an unspecified later date. Kushner has already indicated the proposal will not include the phrase “two-state solution,” suggesting the Palestinians will not be offered their own country.
Kushner's also embroiled in the Trump 2020 campaign, per the NYT's Maggie Haberman: Kushner Sees a Problem in Trump’s Fund-Raising, but Not Everyone Agrees
Specifically, Mr. Kushner has cast a disapproving eye on the fund-raising apparatus run primarily by the Republican National Committee, and its chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, whose close relationship with Mr. Trump is said to irk him. At a dinner he organized last month in the White House residence, Mr. Kushner brought together Ms. McDaniel; Brad Parscale, the campaign manager; and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who ran Mr. Trump’s fund-raising in 2016, along with a group of big donors like Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, to discuss the fund-raising strategy for 2020.

But there was no broad agreement among the people there that the campaign is having any trouble raising money from large donors, as Mr. Kushner suggested.[…]

Mr. Kushner, allies said, is eager to take control of the fund-raising for personal and strategic reasons. He and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, have always described themselves to others as some of the only people in the White House who truly have Mr. Trump’s best interests at heart. And with a frequent ally in the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and the Mueller investigation finally in the rearview mirror, Mr. Kushner’s associates describe him as experiencing a new sense of influence in the White House.

But Mr. Kushner’s aggressive involvement has also been described as something of a defensive move: By positioning himself as the point person on raising money for the campaign, he prevents antagonists and potential rivals from taking over a job that comes with great power and proximity to the president.
Hilariously, Haberman says Jared "has always showed complete confidence in his own problem-solving abilities" because of his role in the 2016 campaign, and despite his DOA immigration reform package, his dying Middle East peace plan, his failed government shutdown negotiations, his mounting scandals, his dismal business record, etc., etc. He's truly the most failsome of failsons.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:48 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


Even some Trump allies want Kushner to ice his peace plan

I can't believe anyone is still paying attention to this, even to the extent of telling him to shut up and sit down.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:06 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


@samstein - Pelosi told members yesterday that a concern of hers, regarding impeachment, is lack of understanding by the public. Even the educated voters she meets around the country, she said, assume that once you being proceedings, Trump is immediately ousted from office.

I guess I have a different opinion on the baseline intelligence of an educated voter.
posted by diogenes at 7:09 AM on June 4 [16 favorites]


Her excuses get weaker every day, and fundamentally miss the point that it's their fucking job to build the case and explain to the public.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:12 AM on June 4 [48 favorites]


Pelosi heading into power in 2006, as we were operating secret torture camps and while New Orleans was still a draining corpse-pit:

“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table [...] Democrats pledge civility and bipartisanship in the conduct of the work here and we pledge partnerships with Congress and the Republicans in Congress, and the president — not partisanship.”


Sound familiar? Pelosi has always been this way and will always be this way. She is dead-set against impeachment, for any reason, ever, and we need to stop pretending otherwise.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:19 AM on June 4 [26 favorites]


Haberman also reports on the Trump family's dynastic pretensions on display in Britain: For Trump, U.K. State Visit Is a (Royal) Family Affair
The extended Trump family seemed to materialize in London overnight — all save the president’s youngest son, Barron, who stayed home. But Monday’s lavish audience with the British royals was the culmination of more than a month of planning by White House officials who have grown accustomed to accommodating President Trump’s children, whether that includes redrawing plans for a state visit or evicting guests from their seats at the State of the Union address.

As Mr. Trump presides over a White House with unprecedented turnover, he has relied on his children the same way he has for decades — asking them for advice or seeing them as surrogates in the fight against his real and perceived enemies.[…]

Privately, White House officials say that some of the Trump children, particularly those working in the White House, see themselves this way. One senior official, who did not want to speak publicly about internal planning, said that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump in particular had grown more emboldened with their requests to be accommodated at official events.

About a month before the Europe trip, several members of the Trump family informed the White House that they wanted to participate.
None of this will come as a surprise to Sarah Kendzior, who for years has been warning about Trump building a dynastic kleptocracy (a lot like those in former Soviet authoritarian states).
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:21 AM on June 4 [22 favorites]


Ajit Pai works to cap funding for rural and poor people, gets GOP backing (Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica)
FCC vote paves way for budget cap on all universal-service broadband programs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:47 AM on June 4 [14 favorites]




Note: in this context, solitary confinement means a private cell so he doesn't get harassed by other prisoners, not the punishment form of solitary where you're locked in a small closet without the outside world.
posted by msbutah at 8:18 AM on June 4 [13 favorites]


That Bombshell Evidence in the Census Case? The Supreme Court Might Ignore It. (Ari Berman, Mother Jones)
Why the justices might not even consider new evidence that undercuts the administration’s rationale.
With a ruling expected at the end of June, the window for easily adding and considering new evidence has passed.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


So the SCOTUS officially operates under a principle similar to a jury being told to disregard evidence? I suppose that's defensible on some grounds, but also, jeeez.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:30 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


Powell, Eyeing Trade War, Says Fed Will Act to Sustain Expansion (NYT)
While Mr. Powell did not explicitly say that the Fed will cut interest rates, markets are likely to interpret his comments as a signal that the central bank is prepared to do so in order to offset any economic fallout from Mr. Trump’s ongoing trade wars. [...]

Mr. Powell’s comments appeared to do little to change the market’s view. Yields on short-term Treasury notes declined slightly, after his comments were released. And stocks, which had been up before the speech was released, climbed a bit more. The S&P 500 was up more than 1 percent shortly before 10:30 a.m. [...]

In a speech on Monday, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, James Bullard, said that a cut in interest rates “may be warranted soon” in order to stoke inflation and “provide some insurance in case of a sharper-than-expected slowdown” in growth.
Why Trump’s trade chaos may force Fed to cut rates (Politico)
As Fed officials begin a landmark two-day conference on Tuesday in Chicago to reconsider their approach to fighting inflation, Trump's battles with Mexico, China and every other major U.S. trading partner have fueled concern that the central bank may have to come to the rescue of the economy.

Some of the country's top economic forecasters have raised the specter of a Fed rate cut this year in the wake of Trump's tweet last Thursday threatening to raise tariffs on Mexico over immigration, which sent stocks tumbling the next day. And markets are predicting greater than 50 percent odds that a rate reduction will come as early as July.

“The administration doesn't seem to care how disruptive its actions are," said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, an independent research firm. Trump's actions, he said, are creating "huge C-suite uncertainties. Investment-freezing, employment-chilling and growth-stifling uncertainties.” [...]

Seth Carpenter, chief U.S. economist at Swiss bank UBS and a former Fed staffer, said the central bank would never lower rates for the purpose of making it easier for the president to fight trade wars, as Trump has explicitly suggested they do. “On the other hand — an easily imaginable scenario is that the trade war escalates ... and it rattles markets, and it causes the real economy to slow down,” Carpenter said. The Fed would “absolutely take that into consideration” in its monetary policy decisions.

“So, they’re backing into doing what Trump wanted them to do,” he added. “But what else are they going to do if truly their objective is to maintain full employment and price stability?”
posted by Little Dawn at 8:40 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


The thing is that SCOTUS is really not supposed to be a fact-finding court and their rules reflect that. The idea is that the facts are established in the district and/or appellate courts over the course of years, and by the time you reach the Supremes the only issues left to decide are pure questions of law. But when the justices agree to rush cases through the system because it would be so very inconvenient for the Trump administration to lose, that process doesn't have a chance to play out and you end up in situations the rules aren't built for. Like smoking-gun evidence showing up after oral arguments, Matlock-style.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:40 AM on June 4 [27 favorites]


Trump Throws Theresa May A Rare Bone: She’s ‘A Better Negotiator Than I Am’
President Trump, the self-described master dealmaker offered outgoing United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May some unusual praise on Tuesday.

During a press conference with Trump, May joked that she recalled Trump telling her she should sue the European Union to get an exit deal.

“Which we didn’t do,” she said, turning to Trump. “We went into negotiations and we came out with a good deal.”

“That’s not — I would have sued, but that’s okay,” Trump said, which was met with laughter. “I would have sued and settled maybe, but you never know. She’s probably a better negotiator than I am.”
there are layers of self-delusion here that i'm still not finished unpacking
posted by murphy slaw at 8:44 AM on June 4 [17 favorites]


The Nation (Elie Mystal): 3D Chess? We Just Want Nancy Pelosi to Connect the Dots.
Progressives shouldn’t believe in unknowable plans on faith.
Now, I cannot believe that I’m saying anything here that Nancy freaking Pelosi doesn’t already know. She knows “exoneration” is just a word, she knows Trump can and probably will be sued into the ground if he ever leaves office, and she knows that impeachment is her ace card to compel testimony. Is she making bad arguments on purpose as part of some diabolical scheme to lull Trump into complacency? Or is she making bad arguments because those are the best she has for the indefensible position that Donald Trump isn’t “worth” impeaching?

I’m sorry, but when Pelosi goes on Jimmy Kimmel and gives him and the American people reasons for her position that are incredibly weak, I cannot just wave it all away as “Nancy Pelosi has a plan and I’m too stupid to understand it.” If she has a plan, I can’t see it. If she has a strategy, she’s not explaining it very well. What I’m hearing and seeing are weak arguments made to gaslight late-night viewers into thinking that everything is under control, even as more and more members of her own caucus manifestly break with her position on impeachment in public.

I’m not good at taking matters “on faith” that a higher power has an unknowable plan. As I once said in Sunday School: “Just tell me how the dinosaurs fit on the boat and we’re good.”
posted by chris24 at 8:53 AM on June 4 [22 favorites]


She’s probably a better negotiator than I am.”

Well, DJT and TM are both certainly in the same cohort when it comes to dealmaking prowess.

I'd actually give Trump the edge in this particular failcontest since he at least can sometimes bully people into giving way.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:54 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]




The U.S. Senate and who they represent, a different analysis than what was presented above.

Using 2017 Census Figure estimates, the fifty states have a population of 325,025,206.

District of Columbia and U.S. territories (with no voting representation) have an additional 6,100,189.

Senate

Democrat-only states (2D). (18 of them) Total population: 143,129,375 (average state pop: 7,951,631)

Republican-only states (2R). (22 of them) Total population: 129,312,117 (average state pop: 5,877,826)

Democrat-Republican split states (1 D, 1 R) (8): 50,624,150

Democrat-Independent state (Vermont) (1D, 1I) (1): 623,567

Republican-Independent split state (Maine) (1R, 1I): 1,335,907

Giving Republicans, Democrats and Independents 1/2 the population of split states and the full population of non-split states:

Democratic Senators represent: 168,753,234 (51.9%)

Republican Senators represent: 155,292,145 (47.8%)

Independent Senators represent: 979,737 (0.3%)

The Independents caucus with the Democrats, so that makes an adjusted 52.2% Democrats and 47.8% Republicans.

The numbers for Republicans would have been much fewer if a couple of close elections swung differently: Cruz in Texas (50.9%) and Scott in Florida (50.1%).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:02 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: " But when the justices agree to rush cases through the system because it would be so very inconvenient for the Trump administration to lose, that process doesn't have a chance to play out and you end up in situations the rules aren't built for."

The specific problem with the Census case is there's no time left - they need to start printing the forms asap. If they had a few more months, the case would like get sent back down to the lower court for more evidence to be provided.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:07 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


That *alone* should be reason to dismiss the case and rule against adding the question. The reason given for the data collection was a farce, even before the new evidence came to light, and the DoJ's fig-leaf reasoning can and is already supplied with other data products the Census produces. There is *no legitimate* reason to include the question on 2020's census.
posted by odinsdream at 9:13 AM on June 4 [25 favorites]


White House instructs Hicks, Donaldson to defy Dem subpoenas (Politico)
The White House on Tuesday instructed two former aides to defy congressional subpoenas that sought documents related to allegations that President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

But one of those aides, Hope Hicks, a longtime Trump confidant who served as White House communications director, has turned over some documents to the House Judiciary Committee, according to Jerry Nadler, the panel's chairman. He hailed the production as a show of "good faith" and indicated that they'll continue negotiating with Hicks — as well as former White House deputy counsel Annie Donaldson — for the next few weeks as they attempt to arrange public testimony. [...]

Donaldson gave extensive testimony to Mueller’s investigators, including her contemporaneous notes detailing the mood inside the White House after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and after Mueller was ultimately appointed. “Is this the beginning of the end?” Donaldson wrote on May 9, 2017, referencing what Mueller said were Donaldson’s fears “that the decision to terminate Comey and the manner in which it was carried out would be the end of the presidency.” According to Mueller, Hicks witnessed several of the possible instances of obstruction of justice. [...]

When asked if he believes Hicks and Donaldson will eventually be held in contempt, Nadler said on Tuesday: “I assume so.”
posted by Little Dawn at 9:19 AM on June 4 [11 favorites]


White House instructs Hicks, Donaldson to defy Dem subpoenas (Politico)

Could the House refuse to pay the White house's electric bill (and water, and internet, and political staff, and catering) until Trump complies?
posted by Gelatin at 9:27 AM on June 4 [12 favorites]


Also, the fact that the Trump administration wants to add the question doesn't make it an emergency -- there are plenty of decisions by various agencies that might never be implemented because by the time legal challenges resolve Trump could be out of office entirely. The fact that they're treating this one as an earth-shattering issue worth circumventing the non-SCOTUS courts for is entirely out of proportion with the stated purpose of the question, and serves as further evidence that they're lying their asses off (as though more was needed).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on June 4 [10 favorites]


if the supreme court were honest, the new "bombshell" material would be unnecessary as the lower courts have exhaustively documented commerce's fabrication of a false administrative record and violation of any number of rulemaking requirements (not to mention misrepresentations to the courts), more than sufficient to block the census question. of course, if it were that clear, and the supreme court were honest, there'd be no reason to hear any appeal (the initial appeal, iirc, was of lower courts' orders to compel the testimony of secretary ross at the trial level, but appeals courts ruled in the interim as evidence adduced was sufficient to (overwhelmingly) indicate the secretary's mendacity).
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:46 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]


The Trump-May press conference was, as one would expect, full of Trumpian nonsense. He criticized Sadiq Khan for being "negative" and said he should "focus on his job", claimed he turned down Jeremy Corbyn's personal request for a meeting ("he is somewhat of a negative force"), called the crowds of protesters "fake news", and fumbled a question about the NHS and a post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement (n.b. when he's stumped by reporters' queries, he tries to pretend he can't hear them properly).

On the plus side, Ivanka and Bolton were booed by the crowds when they left Number 10 (w/video via Aaron Rupar). Relatedly, Trump supporters were barricaded in a Whitehall Wetherspoons by police as protesters chant ‘Nazi scum off our streets’ (Independent).
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:10 AM on June 4 [19 favorites]


The most interesting moment of the Trump-May news conference happened before it began (Aaron Rupar, Vox)
Fox News’s immediate attempt to spin Ivanka Trump getting booed was telling.[…]

But Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade immediately tried to spin the boos, saying, “it’s not for Ivanka — it’s for John Bolton, and he loves it.”
Boooooo-Urns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:15 AM on June 4 [26 favorites]


What is the consequence for White House officials who ignore a subpoena, once Trump is no longer in the White House? And for civil contempt?

Are these people opening themselves up to fines or jail time after (hopefully) a Democratic administration is in place?

I know Obama simply decided not to prosecute Eric Holder, but does that mean Trump couldn’t have decided to do it once he was in Office? (Or was the statute of limitations at issue?)

It seems incomprehensible that people could just ignore Congressional subpoenas and contempt holdings and have no concern of consequences for the rest of their lives.
posted by darkstar at 10:17 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Nearly all TV news networks failed to cover the Trump-Pence administration’s recent attacks on the LGBTQ community (Alex Patterson, Media Matters)
Recently proposed and finalized rules would codify discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care, housing, and adoption and foster care
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:20 AM on June 4 [24 favorites]


Larry the Cat, UK’s “chief mouser,” causes headache for Trump’s security team (Alex Ward, Vox)

Specifically, under Trumps limousine, where it took a nap.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on June 4 [22 favorites]


Is it my imagination, or did the cops turn on sirens to drown out the boos as Trump left Number 10?
posted by Buck Alec at 10:34 AM on June 4


Are these people opening themselves up to fines or jail time after (hopefully) a Democratic administration is in place?

It really. REALLY. Depends on the incoming administration. Biden was part of the "look forward never backward" Obama administration and thinks Republicans will magically want to work with him as soon as he's elected, I think we can predict exactly how he'll act regarding prosecuting any member of the Trump administration for any reason. Warren on the other hand has specifically said even the president should be open to prosecution.

Let that inform your primary vote as you see fit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:58 AM on June 4 [46 favorites]


After a biblical spring, this is the week that could break the Corn Belt
Most policies have a provision declaring that, if they were not able to plant that year, farmers can still cash out for 55 percent of their insured revenue for the year.

The provision rarely gets used. Farmers would prefer to grow something. But if the weather does not let up, Newlin said it is on the table for a lot of folks in his area.

He said: “They’re just going to say ‘I’m done. I’ll just take my insurance and live to fight another day.’ ”

Some farmers do not have that option. Irwin estimates that about 85 percent of the corn acres in Illinois were covered by such insurance, often as part of enormous operations that can afford coverage. The remaining 15 percent includes many small, family farms that are left with little protection against this unprecedented weather.

As more farmers give up on 2019, alarmed traders will probably bid up prices on corn and soybeans, making costs soar for ethanol producers, hog farmers and others who are already caught in the president’s escalating two-front trade war.

“The whole year has just turned into a crisis,” Newlin said.
On one hand, I believe it's a good thing in the long term that the vulnerability of that whole philosophy of farming is exposed for what it is. We should grow more vegetables and less bulk crops. And most of the farmers damaged by this are large corporations. But I'm also curious about what does to Trump's base, and worried for the smaller farmers who will be harmed terribly, and probably loose their homes and livelihoods all at once.
posted by mumimor at 11:04 AM on June 4 [17 favorites]


From Phoenix New Times: Phoenix-area churches and religious leaders on Tuesday sued two extremist groups for intimidating volunteers who provided food and shelter to undocumented immigrants. ... Since a surge of asylum-seekers began overwhelming the border in 2018, immigration officials have dropped migrants off at the Valley churches to help them connect with their U.S. sponsors.

The churches, aided by volunteers and donations, provide food, clothing, medical care, and overnight shelter to migrants before transporting them to bus and rail stations.

Members of Patriot Movement AZ and AZ Patriots have exploited these drop-offs to spread anti-immigrant propaganda on YouTube and Facebook. They have filmed themselves accosting volunteers and pastors, baselessly accusing them of abetting human trafficking.

In one video taken at Iglesia Monte Vista, a "patriot" member can be heard chanting "punch her" at a volunteer. In a video taken at Iglesia Nueva Esperanza, AZ Patriots founder Jennifer Harrison can be heard telling a bystander as they watch migrants get off a bus, "Hopefully, ma'am, they don't get loose and rape any of those little kids." ... The videos — which often show the faces of immigrant children — rack up hundreds of thousands of views.

posted by Bella Donna at 11:06 AM on June 4 [31 favorites]


NYT: Mexico Will Face Tariffs Next Week, Trump Vows
LONDON — President Trump on Tuesday said he plans to move forward with imposing tariffs on Mexican imports next week as part of his effort to stem the flow of migrants crossing the southern border, and he called Republican senators “foolish” if they try to stop him. ... When asked about Senate Republicans discussing ways to block the tariffs, Mr. Trump said, “I don’t think they will do that.” He said, “I think if they do, it’s foolish.”

... any vote to disapprove the tariffs would almost certainly face a presidential veto, meaning that both the House and Senate would have to muster two-thirds majorities to beat Mr. Trump. ... with significant numbers of Republicans backing Mr. Trump’s hard line on immigration, there is little reason to believe opponents of the tariffs could overcome a veto this time.
If I were to add editorial commentary, it would either be "Yeah, suuuuuurely this" or "This is fine".
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:43 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Oh, oh, I meant to add:

“Look, millions of people are flowing through Mexico,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s unacceptable.”

It's millions of illegals, just like he has billions of dollars.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:45 AM on June 4 [14 favorites]


Worth a read. Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: A White Man’s Republic, If They Can Keep It
The disparate approaches taken by two of the Court’s conservatives to the Voting Rights Act reflect the right’s dueling impulses toward civil-rights laws

...

Lingering beneath the surface was a defining question for the American right: Does it agree with Roberts that “any discrimination in voting is too much”? Or with Scalia, who saw ensuring equal participation in the polity as a black “racial entitlement”?

The Supreme Court’s looming decision over the addition of the citizenship question on the U.S. census will hinge on the answer to that question.

...

The filing shows that Thomas Hofeller, the late Republican redistricting expert, concluded that adding the citizenship question would, in his words, “be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

...

“This kind of smoking-gun evidence of what the real illicit reason is behind a government action is incredibly rare. Court decisions don’t require it, and it’s really quite shocking to read it so explicitly,” Wendy Weiser, a voting-rights expert at the Brennan Center, told me.

...

Ironically, because conservatives on the Roberts Court appear to believe that government remedies for racial discrimination are worse than racial discrimination itself, there is considerable apprehension among left-leaning attorneys about providing the high court with concrete proof of racist intent in this case or any other. They fear that such proof is liable to make the Court’s conservatives more likely to rule against them.

...

Even before William F. Buckley declared in 1957 that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically,” the modern conservative movement has struggled to reconcile the ethno-nationalism that moves masses of its voters with the pluralism embodied in the notion that all persons are created equal.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:49 AM on June 4 [40 favorites]


The Economist: Guns from the United States are flooding Latin America

A study of weapons found at crime scenes suggests that 70% of gun crimes in Mexico involve American-bought weapons. The share of homicides in Mexico involving a firearm grew from 16% in 1997 to 66% in 2017. That suggests around half of Mexico’s 33,000 murder victims last year were killed by a gun manufactured in the United States…
posted by Omon Ra at 12:26 PM on June 4 [20 favorites]


>A study of weapons found at crime scenes suggests that 70% of gun crimes in Mexico involve American-bought weapons. The share of homicides in Mexico involving a firearm grew from 16% in 1997 to 66% in 2017. That suggests around half of Mexico’s 33,000 murder victims last year were killed by a gun manufactured in the United States…

Not surprising at all given the scale of the NRA's global lobbying efforts. And then people flee these gun-infested countries for the US, which leads to an immigration panic, which helps fuel paranoia among the NRA's core demographic of racists and xenophobes.

And then our lawmakers (including many Democrats) respond by singling out immigrants if they try to get a "documented" gun here legally.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:50 PM on June 4 [19 favorites]


WaPo Breaking: GOP lawmakers warn White House they’ll try to block Trump’s Mexico tariffs
Senators told officials from the White House and Department of Justice that there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward — and this time, unlike with an earlier disapproval resolution, opponents of Trump’s tariffs could have enough support to override a veto.
posted by box at 12:59 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


WaPo, GOP lawmakers warn White House they’ll try to block Trump’s Mexico tariffs
During a closed-door lunch, at least a half-dozen senators spoke in opposition to the tariffs, while no one spoke in support, according to multiple people present who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

Senators told officials from the White House and Department of Justice that there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward — and this time, unlike with an earlier disapproval resolution, opponents of Trump’s tariffs could have enough support to override a veto.
...
“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He said senators hope negotiations with Mexico will be “fruitful” and the tariffs won’t happen.
"Concerned" count: 1

Of course, Graham and Tillis are for the tariffs.

There is an interesting twist to this: @seungminkim: Why it matters whether White House will use the existing national emergency on the border for tariffs: If they do, and Congress overrides it with veto proof majority, it would also wipe out the declaration being used to rationalize border wall construction.

But Congress could avoid that by passing a more specific law that just targets the tariffs without impacting the wall emergency. Alternatively, the administration is considering declaring a new national emergency that would cover the tariffs, so we can have separate emergencies.
posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on June 4 [25 favorites]


I can’t fucking wait for the healthcare and climate emergency declarations under President Warren* if we don’t take the Senate. Or if Manchin/whoever won’t vote to end the filibuster.

If they’re going to try to create the imperial presidency, we’d be stupid not to use it for actual emergencies in the face of partisan/fascist obstruction.

*insert preferred candidate here
posted by chris24 at 1:48 PM on June 4 [19 favorites]


From the Definition of Insanity desk, the Biden campaign gets caught out committing plagiarism:
Former Vice President Joe Biden released his $1.7 trillion climate plan online Tuesday — and it had to be updated after reports parts of the proposal appeared to be taken from other sources.
Several sentences in Biden’s lengthy “Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice” were taken directly from two environmental groups without attribution — an embarrassment for a candidate who’s faced plagiarism allegations in the past.

Two of the similar lines were first flagged on Twitter by Josh Nelson, vice-president of CREDO mobile, a progressive company. “The paragraph in Joe Biden’s climate plan about carbon capture and sequestration includes language that is remarkably similar to items published previously by the Blue Green Alliance and the Carbon Capture Coalition,” Nelson wrote.

The conservative website the Daily Caller then reviewed the plan, and found three other instances of language that was similar to other published material.
It's like he can't help himself.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:02 PM on June 4 [25 favorites]


I don’t think anyone thinks Joe is sitting down after dinner and cutting and pasting these policy papers together himself. It’s clearly being done by staffers. Evidently, someone on the campaign needs to be out in charge of running everything through Turnitin before release, though.
posted by darkstar at 2:14 PM on June 4 [7 favorites]


Aaaand the Dow is up 500 points today. Nothing matters.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:18 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


The DOW is up 500 points (so far as you can ever pinpoint daily causes which is not far) because the markets think Trump is sabotaging the economy to such an extent that the fed will be forced to cut rates instead of continuing to raise them.

Is that an insane plan by Trump? Yes. Is it even a plan rather than the lashings out of a powerful toddler sending us all to the cornfield? No. But that's where we are now.
posted by Justinian at 2:25 PM on June 4 [32 favorites]


But I'm also curious about what does to Trump's base, and worried for the smaller farmers who will be harmed terribly, and probably loose their homes and livelihoods all at once.

If past performance is an indicator of future action, it won't hurt Trump enough to matter. Generally voters tend to blame the Party they dislike for bad things. It's easy enough for a farmer to argue that China forced Trump to impose the tariffs, that they were necessary for America's survival, and anyway the Democrats would make everything worse.

IIRC we've seen several linked articles from various Trump voters who were directly harmed by his tariffs where they voiced support for Trump and even for the specific policies that hurt them.
posted by sotonohito at 2:27 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


GQ, Adam Jentleson (former Harry Reid staffer), The Political Costs of Not Impeaching Trump
I don’t know how else to say this: getting impeached is bad. It is not something you want to happen to you, especially if you’re president. You do not want to go down as one of only four presidents in history to be impeached. This is a bad thing. Only Democrats, bless our hearts, could convince ourselves that it is good for a president to be impeached.
...
The second lesson from the Garland experience is that like nature, power abhors a vacuum. The decision not to impeach is not a decision to focus on other things, it is a decision to cede power, control, and legitimacy to Trump. Trump is not a master chess player, he just bluffs his opponents into forfeiting their moves—and that is exactly what he is doing to House Democrats.

For their part, House Democrats have argued that by foregoing impeachment they can shift the conversation to topics their consultants tell them are safer ground, like health care. That’s not going to happen. Reporters cover news, and only events that drive news can shift the message. House Democrats are understandably proud of having run and won on health care in the 2018 midterms. But their campaign messages were buoyed by a constant flood of major health care news coming out of Washington, DC, driven by the very real threat that Republicans would repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act. But since Democrats took back the House, that’s not going to happen. This is a good thing, but it severely limits Democrats’ ability to drive news on health care. Passing bills in the House that are guaranteed to go nowhere in McConnell’s Senate, as House Democrats recently did with bills to strengthen Obamacare and lower drug prices, will not drive a message.

The void that House Democrats are ceding to Trump is the space between now and election day. Filling that space with easy messages like health care is not a viable option. And a good rule of thumb of politics is that if you have the power to do something that hurts your opponent, you should do it.
Bonus content: Harry Reid changes opinion, says Pelosi-led House should open Trump impeachment inquiry
posted by zachlipton at 2:28 PM on June 4 [59 favorites]


While we wait for Judge Emmet Sullivan's response to the government's withholding transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials

His response is to say meh and not care

@johnson_carrie: Just in: Judge Sullivan says prosecutors are not required to publish calls btw Michael Flynn & Russian ambassador, reversing course on his order from May. “Upon consideration of the government's submissions in response to those orders, the government is not required to file any additional materials or information on the public docket pursuant to the Court's Orders of May 16, 2019,” Judge Sullivan writes in Flynn case.

@kyledcheney: Sullivan is notably hard on prosecutors, so this was a bit of a surprise. But he accepted prosecutors' argument that they didn't rely on these calls with Kislyak to prove Flynn's guilt or craft his sentence.

While I understand the problems with making this stuff public, Flynn's crimes are massive and directly relate to national security, and the public really deserves to know what happened.

See also Marcy Wheeler's post from the other day expecting this.
posted by zachlipton at 3:01 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman, “Marla Was Under Duress”: Revealed in His Marla Maples Prenup, Donald Trump’s Draconian Art of the Marriage Deal, featuring Marla Maples prenup.
Prenup negotiations require both parties to disclose to the other how much money they have. In the document, Trump stated he was worth $1.17 billion; Maples had $100,000 in the bank. But while Trump presented himself as a Master of the Universe, back and bigger than ever, he was, in all likelihood, not an actual billionaire when he signed the agreement. (He didn’t appear on the Forbes list between 1990 and 1995.) And Trump had financial incentive to inflate his wealth: if he understated his fortune, Maples could later claim in a divorce that Trump hid money from her at the time, which could void the prenup’s terms. “When you’re doing a prenup, the worry is you understate your assets. If you overstate it, then you’re protected,” a high-profile Manhattan divorce lawyer told me.

To keep himself in the nine-figure club, Trump provided extremely optimistic values for his real estate assets. For instance, he stated the Taj Mahal was worth $1.25 billion, even though it had trouble making debt payments virtually from the moment it opened. (In 2017 it sold for 4 cents on the dollar.) He valued the Trump Castle and Trump Plaza casinos $450 million and $650 million, respectively. (Both went bankrupt in 1992.) Trump’s accountants at Spahr, Lacher & Sperber didn’t vouch for his fuzzy math. “We have not audited or reviewed” the numbers Trump provided, they stated in a note attached to the financial report. They added: “Assets are presented at current values estimated by Trump using various valuation methods.”
...
More than anything, the prenup shows how fiercely Trump wanted to protect the money he did have. Maples reportedly wanted $25 million, but Trump agreed to pay her only $1 million if they separated within five years, plus another $1 million to buy a house. Trump also would stop making $100,000 child support payments for Tiffany when she turned 21. The agreement states that Trump’s payments would cease earlier if Tiffany got a full-time job, enlisted in the military, or joined the Peace Corps. “The way it was drawn up is ironclad and shows how wary he was,” Felder told me after reviewing the prenup. “He was leaving nothing to chance.”
...
At one point, he broke up with Maples by FedEx-ing her a letter, the source said.
...
But during the 2016 campaign, she thought about breaking her silence. According to the source, she wrote a memoir that would detail the marriage. She even had spoken to a publisher, the source said: Judith Regan. (Regan did not respond to a request for comment.) But Maples got cold feet after a Trump Tower meeting with Donald and Ivanka. “They really double-teamed her. They got her not to write the book,” the source said.
posted by zachlipton at 3:09 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


It's like he can't help himself.

Or like he’s parroting progressive ideas without any conviction because he believes that it checks a box he needs to win the primary.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:21 PM on June 4 [18 favorites]


Well, yes. It's also not a coincidence that basically all of the candidates have come out for impeachment while only a minority of non-candidates, including virtually no Senators, have done so. Because they are checking boxes.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Passing bills in the House that are guaranteed to go nowhere in McConnell’s Senate, as House Democrats recently did with bills to strengthen Obamacare and lower drug prices, will not drive a message.

House Democrats have been passing legislation like those examples that most Americans support. The message should be give us the Senate so we can get shit done.

The Republicans promised for years that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump said he would replace it with something even better. They failed. Punish them and give the Democrats a chance.
Or more likely they lied instead of sincerely trying, but tomato tomahto.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:36 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


“Marla Was Under Duress”: Revealed in His Marla Maples Prenup, Donald Trump’s Draconian Art of the Marriage Deal
In the fall of 1993, Donald Trump was clawing out of the rubble of a cratering business career. Three of his Atlantic City casinos had gone bankrupt. He’d nearly defaulted on $3.4 billion in debt, and, humiliatingly, his creditors had put him on a living allowance: $450,000 a month.
Emphasis motherfucking added.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:39 PM on June 4 [32 favorites]


IIRC we've seen several linked articles from various Trump voters who were directly harmed by his tariffs where they voiced support for Trump and even for the specific policies that hurt them.

Here's the thing: Trumpism isn't a political faction so much as it is an apocalyptic cult.

This policy that my President implemented is directly hurting me or people I care about? I suffer it gladly for The Cause. I'm not a victim or a dupe, I'm a martyr.

Nice thing is that the true nature of The Cause is occult, hidden enough that religious conservatives can "suffer" the moral crudities of Trump for the sake of the glorious Christian nation to come; business types can "suffer" the protectionism because tax cuts and deregulation; internet shitposters can do their thing, in the sure and present hope that immigration, multiracial democracy, etc. will end altogether...

Everyone gets to believe that we're on our way to [my preferred] Utopia.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:53 PM on June 4 [21 favorites]


House Democrats have been passing legislation like those examples that most Americans support. The message should be give us the Senate so we can get shit done.

Sure, and the House today passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which offers legal protections and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers (only seven Republicans voted for it).

It's not a bad message, but the message isn't getting out there. There's no way it possibly can. Trump's ridiculous looking suit gets more attention than this bill that would be important to millions of people. Nobody reports at any great length on bills that have a 0% chance of becoming law, and Trump sucks up all the oxygen in the room anyway. There is no possible strategy under which Democrats can successfully break through with a message that gets people to pay attention to dead-end legislation. And to the extent that it could work, it's not being executed; there's not even a tenth of the kind of sustained effort that was used to fight the AHCA.

Chris Hayes had a story on that last night: In do-nothing Senate, House-passed bills stall out

@chrislhayes: I don't think the complete transformation of the Senate under McConnell in the Trump era has really sunk in. In a strange way, I think it relates to the intra-conservative debate right now. It's extremely unclear what the actual governing agenda is other than judges.

And I think most of them are fine with that, because the fundamental purpose of the conservative project at this moment, at least among those who hold power, is to do approximately nothing. It's the status quo they want conserved, because it works for them.

Of course, there is one thing they will stand up for: themselves. Republicans ready to quash Cuccinelli
“He’s spent a fair amount of his career attacking Republicans in the Senate, so it strikes me as an odd position for him to put himself in to seek Senate confirmation,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who ran the GOP’s campaign arm for two election cycles. “It’s unlikely he’s going to be confirmed if he is nominated.”
@timothypmurphy: nothing more revealing than the lines you choose to draw

And to bring it back full circle (and, er, justify why I dumped a largely unrelated news story into this comment for the sake of expediency), the reason Cuccinelli has spent years attacking Senate Republicans is that he's one of the few who actually want the Senate to act. He wants the Senate to act in ways that I find terrible, naturally, but he thinks the party that runs around campaigning on being bigoted and in favor of small government should pass laws that enforce that bigotry and shrink the size of government. And the Republican party's response to that, just as with any legislation they could be working on, is to slap it, and the messenger, down hard.
posted by zachlipton at 5:01 PM on June 4 [19 favorites]


He and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, have always described themselves to others as some of the only people in the White House who truly have Mr. Trump’s best interests at heart.

This is of course what a con artist tells a mark as well.
posted by srboisvert at 5:22 PM on June 4 [16 favorites]


To recap the day in DoJ-HJC negotiations:

Fox News’s Chad Pergam: “DoJ to Nadler: The Dept is prepared to resume negotiations with the Cmte..provided that the Cmte takes reasonable steps to restore the status quo ante by mooting its May 8 vote..& removing any threat of an imminent vote by the House..to hold the Attorney General in contempt.”

CNN’s Manu Raju: “Nadler signals he is not willing to accept DOJ demand to delay floor vote to hold Barr in contempt, saying “no” when asked by @KilloughCNN if he would back delaying it. Dems say they are willing to continue negotiating with DOJ but unwilling at moment to delay the contempt vote”

Here’s Nadler’s letter to the DoJ about his position. (“As with the prior committee vote, I cannot help but wonder what role the imminent floor vote played in you finally responding on June 4 to letters that have been pending for weeks.”)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:56 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Does Barr actually care if he gets held in contempt? I don't think he does.
posted by diogenes at 6:15 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Judges are the tactic that they've chosen to implement that heinous agenda, knowing they cannot say it out loud. The only debate is over the people like Kookinelli who say the quiet parts loud, rather than just confirm judges who will do all the hard work of implementing the white male ethnostate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:25 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


Axios: Trump administration approved Saudi nuclear transfers after Khashoggi murder
The Department of Energy approved the transfer of nuclear information from U.S. companies to Saudi Arabia seven times under President Trump, including twice after the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government, according to a statement from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

The transfer of nuclear technical expertise overseas must be approved by the DOE in consultation with the State Department and other government bodies "to protect against the proliferation of nuclear weapons programs," according to Kaine. Following demands from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Trump administration revealed that it approved one such transfer on Oct. 18, 2018 — 16 days after Khashoggi's death — and another on Feb. 18, 2019.
And Trump had this exchange with a reporter before leaving for the UK:
REPORTER: "Mr. President, are you willing to say that MBS is responsible for Khashoggi’s death?"

TRUMP: "When did this come up again? What are you, back — are you back —"

R: "Jared. Jared talked to Axios."

TRUMP: "Are you back — what — 4 months ago? No."
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:41 PM on June 4 [18 favorites]


It's hard to be optimistic for the strength of reason when you live in a totalitarian dystopia.

Senators Look to Force 22 Votes Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia (NYT)
A bipartisan group of senators will try to force nearly two dozen votes rebuking the Trump administration’s decision to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and sell billions of dollars of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The legislation, led by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally and once a staunch defender of the kingdom, underscores lawmakers’ fury at the administration’s support for the Saudis after the killing of the dissident Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And it could grind business in the Senate to a crawl while allowing rare public criticism of President Trump’s administration from members of his own party. [...]

To actually block the arms sales, however, backers of the resolutions would almost certainly need a veto-proof majority, and whether the measures could muster that is another question. [...]

Fresh outrage emerged on Tuesday, when Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, disclosed that the Energy Department had approved nuclear technology transfers to the kingdom on two occasions after Mr. Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October — including one approved just two weeks after his death. [...]

“The alarming realization that the Trump administration signed off on sharing our nuclear know-how with the Saudi regime after it brutally murdered an American resident adds to a disturbing pattern of behavior,” Mr. Kaine said in a statement. “President Trump’s eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan congressional objection, harms American national security interests.”
posted by Little Dawn at 6:44 PM on June 4 [24 favorites]


Aaaand the Dow is up 500 points today. Nothing matters.

Sky-high markets prepped for a big fall, with no room to maneuver. Tariffs. Widespread income inequality. Echoes of the Great Depression.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:05 PM on June 4 [13 favorites]


In Good News™️ : South Jersey DSA and others join together in sending shipments of Plan B to Alabama Chapters
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 PM on June 4 [29 favorites]




Listen, if you where famous in the 1980s and you have a large twitter following it is your DUTY tent into a pointless public beef with Trump in order to enrage and distract him. I’m totally serious and it would totally work. Get Carol Alt to call him a diaper brain and it’ll be all he can talk about for a week and thus, not following his whims or listening to advisors. Worst case situation we lose a Cusack to an extraordinary rendition.
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 PM on June 4 [48 favorites]


Here's the Bette Midler tweet:
@realDonaldTrump: Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be totally fabricated by her in order to make “your great president” look really bad. She got caught, just like the Fake News Media gets caught. A sick scammer!
Trump tweeted this at 1:30 AM while visiting the UK.

I don't know if you've come across them, but I have met people who genuinely seem addicted to Fox News. A friend of my father's was visiting, and when we explained the tv in his bedroom didn't have Fox News he started shaking and coughing. It was like we told him the room wasn't going to have oxygen.

And I get that same feeling with Trump. Trump who keeps a tv on at all times in the oval office, who must have multiple tvs on his plane, who must livestream Fox when tvs are unavailable, whose first observation when going abroad is that Fox News is not available, and that that is likely the reason for all the country's problems.
posted by xammerboy at 10:30 PM on June 4 [17 favorites]


....and Fox News talks to him directly. That;s why he's living the dream of every angry granddad- when he yells at the TV the TV has to respond.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 PM on June 4 [41 favorites]


Rosie O'Donnell should come to Bette's defense.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


If it was 1:30 AM US time, wouldn't he be tweeting in the middle of tea with the Queen or something?
posted by mumimor at 12:46 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


@Hadas_Gold: So seems after he said during the press conference NHS would be part of a poss trade deal (and after his ambassador said the same) Trump told Piers Morgan “ I don’t see that being – that’s something that I would not consider part of trade, that’s not trade.”

@StigAbell: People keep believing - against all evidence of the last three years - that Trump thinks before speaking. He hasn’t got a fully-formed thought about the NHS, or details of a trade deal, at all. The endless faith, even among his attackers, that he is somehow strategic is baffling.

@IanDunt: Think this might be the same emotional defence mechanism as conspiracy theories: wanting to believe there is order in the world, because the true chaos of it is frightening. I realise that I basically just suggested that is a conspiracy theory to think that the president has a brain.

Always nice when the president goes to another country so the people there can see him for themselves and clearly tell us how screwed up this all is.
posted by zachlipton at 1:21 AM on June 5 [41 favorites]


From Raw Story, how the least-wealthy Koch brother has dodged hundreds of millions in taxes. Only one of the billionaire Koch brothers supported Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign: William Ingraham Koch. Bill Koch even raised money for Trump, his nearby neighbor in Palm Beach, Fla. That same year, IRS criminal agents began an investigation after receiving nearly 1,000 pages of documents detailing what were described as multiple tax frauds at Bill Koch’s companies. The documents, which we call the Koch Papers, came from a deeply knowledgeable source: Charles Middleton, who had been one of the companies’ top tax executives. The IRS investigation went cold after Trump assumed office, documents obtained by DCReport show.

That sounds about right. According to ProPublica, the IRS now audits poor Americans at about the same rate as the top 1%: Every year, the IRS, starved of funds after years of budget cuts, loses hundreds more agents to retirement. And every year, the news gets better for the rich — especially those prone to go bold on their taxes. According to data released by the IRS last week, millionaires in 2018 were about 80% less likely to be audited than they were in 2011.

But poor taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of the IRS’ remaining force. As we reported last year, Americans who receive the earned income tax credit, one of the country’s largest anti-poverty programs, are audited at a higher rate than all but the richest taxpayers. The new data shows that the trend has only grown stronger.

Audits of the rich continue to plunge while those of the poor hold steady, and the two audit rates are converging. Last year, the top 1% of taxpayers by income were audited at a rate of 1.56%. EITC recipients, who typically have annual income under $20,000, were audited at 1.41%. ... IRS spokesman Dean Patterson acknowledged that the sharp decline in audits of the wealthy is due to the agency having lost so many skilled auditors. And he didn’t dispute that pursuing the poor is just easier.

posted by Bella Donna at 2:04 AM on June 5 [30 favorites]


People keep believing - against all evidence of the last three years - that Trump thinks before speaking. He hasn’t got a fully-formed thought about the NHS, or details of a trade deal, at all.

Trump originally made this statement with his advisors, and they repeated it to the press. He's mentioned the NHS previously as well. I agree his hasn't a thought in his head, but that begs the question, where did this idea come from?

I think the more likely scenario is that when Republicans considered a trade deal with the UK they immediately thought about breaking up the NHS, because their life mission is destroy socialist healthcare. Then they planted the idea in Trump's brain. Since Trump's visit, he's probably been informed how poorly this idea would be received, and now he's backtracking, never said it, never thought it, etc.

But whose to say that Trump or other Republicans will not renegotiate the deal, as they have NAFTA, after it's been made? The takeaway for the UK should be that breaking up the NHS is a part of the Republican agenda, so they should enter into any "agreement" eyes open. Also, while agreements will likely last until the new one is negotiated, be advised tariffs are an anytime thing.
posted by xammerboy at 2:12 AM on June 5 [10 favorites]


I think that still gives the administration too much credit, the idea that they're strategically seeking to topple socialized medicine. Trump's people don't really care about the NHS one way or another; they want the UK to pay more for prescription drugs. That's pretty much a bullet point in our public US-UK trade deal negotiating position ("Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices" is a fancy way of saying "it's unfair you pay less than we do"). Trump's rants that other countries should pay more for drugs have been a consistent complaint of his. HHS has been calling it "foreign free-loading" as if the countries where people can afford insulin are the ones somehow doing it wrong or we'd magically get lower prices if other countries paid more.
posted by zachlipton at 2:32 AM on June 5 [34 favorites]


A derail-y thing on this: One of the world's biggest insulin producers is Novo, a Danish company, and I heard one of their executives talk about US pricing on the radio, (obviously, the Danish public finds it disgusting that they sell over-priced drugs in the US and that is a problem for them). He said that the US negotiating system has perverse incentives that force the drug companies to overprice. It has nothing to do with "research costs" or whatever they usually say. It's that the big healthcare providers have set specific goals in their negotiation strategy, like "we want a 30% discount on this drug", that are non-negotiable, and the natural policy of the drug companies is then to set equivalently higher prices. This, however, hits individuals and providers who are not able to negotiate with the same punch (about 15-20% of the population), since the drug companies can't suddenly say "oh but the real price (that every other country in the world gets) is this 30% lower price".
I don't know, he is a guy who has the job of defending the indefensible and they play every market in different ways. But it does rhyme with other stuff I've heard/read about US corporate culture and specifically the healthcare industry.

TLDR: drug companies, like every single other industry, American or not, are looking forward to f***ing over the UK after Brexit. Obviously, the optimal entryway to this is the corrupt American government.
posted by mumimor at 2:48 AM on June 5 [21 favorites]


Reposting this from Zachlipton above: GQ, Adam Jentleson (former Harry Reid staffer), The Political Costs of Not Impeaching Trump
It is so well reasoned and written, you should all send the article to your political representatives. Just so they know you read it.
posted by mumimor at 2:59 AM on June 5 [31 favorites]


I don't think that's US-specific or even pharma-specific, it's just how procurement works in big companies. Somebody has to prove their worth by showing their boss that they got the best price they could for whatever you're selling them, and that means negotiating a "discount" which you've already built into the price. The rate of discount seems to be somewhat culturally dependent - a Turkish client will expect a bigger discount than a Swiss one, for example.

It's just a silly game everybody has to play. The problem in this case is they're geared up to catch whales, but are dragging in a lot of minnows too.
posted by Buck Alec at 3:42 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


I Think the exec’s point was that in Europe, the goals are more flexible (perhaps to accomodate the differences you mention)
posted by mumimor at 3:45 AM on June 5


Oh and also that no one here falls out of the sytem
posted by mumimor at 3:47 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


highly recommend the latest Pod Save America and its interview with Mayor Sadiq Khan. As the Pods note, it's very odd-feeling to have someone from another country note that your country's leadership is a danger to the world and to agree with that analysis. Also, I do love that British way of when there's something bad to say, they say, "I'm afraid that" blah blah. The interview was many acute observations prefaced with that phrase.
posted by angrycat at 5:03 AM on June 5 [11 favorites]


If it was 1:30 AM US time

Trump was tweeting on local time. It’s not his jet-lag that’s the problem, of course, but the ranting. He's clearly unhappy with how the UK trip went and is compensating for the narcissistic injury. In addition to the attack on Bette Midler—the Iron Law of Trump's Misogyny strikes again—he went after "Cryin’ Chuck Schumer" about the Mexico tariffs, insisting that his negotiating stance wasn't a bluff (if Schumer wanted to bait Trump into a fight with the GOP congress, it worked). Then, after a five-hour gap, he went on a tear about Biden, his climate change plan plagiarism, his "Rallies", and how "the Corrupt Media will save him". He also took a couple of victory laps over Judge McFadden's ruling on the border wall (he lied again, "Wall is under construction!").

The fact remains that Trump's UK trip has not been the success he craved, and as usual, he refuses to acknowledge this. WaPo: Amid London Protests, Trump Appears In Denial Over His Standing Abroad
Trump’s efforts to minimize opposition to his presidency on the first stop of a week-long tour of three European nations represented his latest attempt to misrepresent his public standing and rewrite perceptions about the popularity of his agenda — an effort that began on his first week in office, when a White House spokesman argued, against evidence, that the president had the largest inauguration crowd in history.

The president’s claims in London were just as easily proved false. After the news conference, CNN aired footage of the demonstrators, including a giant Trump robot sitting on a toilet and repeating two of his catchphrases: “Fake news” and “witch hunt.” On social media, photos circulated of protesters holding signs reading “Trump climate disaster,” “Don’t attack Iran” and “Trump, you are a mind-bending [expletive] human being.”

Organizers estimated that 75,000 people turned out for the demonstrations.
Trump's reactions on Twitter early this morning are as unstable as you'd expect of a jet-lagged septuagenerian working on half a night's sleep (and maybe some crushed Adderall): "I kept hearing that there would be “massive” rallies against me in the UK, but it was quite the opposite. The big crowds, which the Corrupt Media hates to show, were those that gathered in support of the USA and me. They were big & enthusiastic as opposed to the organized flops!"; "Could not have been treated more warmly in the United Kingdom by the Royal Family or the people. Our relationship has never been better, and I see a very big Trade Deal down the road. “This trip has been an incredible success for the President.” @IngrahamAngle"; "If the totally Corrupt Media was less corrupt, I would be up by 15 points in the polls based on our tremendous success with the economy, maybe Best Ever! If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points. Nevertheless, despite the Fake News, we’re doing great!" As always, Trump cannot fail but can only be failed.

Haberman also reports on the Trump family's dynastic pretensions on display in Britain: For Trump, U.K. State Visit Is a (Royal) Family Affair

In a small victory for journalistic integrity, the Twitter account @nytimesworld promoted that article with a sycophantic spin, got ratio'ed into oblivion, and ultimately had to delete the tweet and substitute one that sounded much more critical. While they tried to explain, "We have deleted an earlier tweet to this article that was poorly worded and did not properly reflect the story", the problem is that the original tweet used much of the language from Haberman's article and clearly reflected the Trump side that she passed along.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:34 AM on June 5 [15 favorites]


I don't think that's US-specific or even pharma-specific, it's just how procurement works in big companies.

What's specific to the US is the role of pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen between pharma companies and insurers, who take their own cut. They're a parasitical disgrace, which is why they don't exist in countries with actual healthcare systems.
posted by holgate at 5:58 AM on June 5 [23 favorites]


The NYT has drawn up articles of impeachment for Trump. Using the templates of the Nixon and Clinton documents, the accusations include: withholding evidence, encouraging witnesses to lie, false public statements, and misusing executive power.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:13 AM on June 5 [59 favorites]


Thanks, mumimor and zachlipton - I have been an impeachment agnostic so far, but that article from Harry Reid's former deputy chief of staff is the most persuasive argument I have seen in favor of ITMFA.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:16 AM on June 5 [11 favorites]


Donald Trump plays Brexit kingmaker (Gabby Orr & Charlie Cooper, Politico)
But it’s not clear Trump’s pressure will win him the nationalist ally he craves in Europe.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:54 AM on June 5


Yes, Republicans can stand up to Trump — when their big donors insist on it (Heather Digby Parton, Salon)
'Senate Republicans are willing to defy Trump, and even override a veto — because big business hates his tariffs'
And they are willing to engage orgs like the US Chamber of Commerce to lobby Congress.

Trump’s Two Crutches (Eliana Plott, The Atlantic)
When the president is feeling overwhelmed, aides say, he falls back on immigration and trade policy—even when unprepared.
For example, his latest tariffs were allegedly triggered by Mueller's recent appearance at the Justice Department.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:07 AM on June 5 [6 favorites]


Trump's Three Crutches:

Immigration, Trade, and attacking women.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:25 AM on June 5 [16 favorites]


Mexico draws red line on asylum as Trump tariff risk rises (Reuters)
Mexico said on Monday it would reject a U.S. idea to take in all Central American asylum seekers if it is raised at talks this week with the Trump administration, which has threatened to impose tariffs if Mexico does not crack down on illegal immigration. [...] Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the country was committed to continuing to work to keep migrants from Central America from reaching the U.S. border. [...]

Ebrard said, however, that a proposal favored by some U.S. officials to designate Mexico a “safe third country,” which would force Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States to apply for it instead in Mexico, was not an option. [...]

Markets are concerned that import tariffs would ultimately hit the U.S. economy by adding to the cost of a wide range of goods in the United States, from Mexican-made cars and auto parts to televisions, beer and food.

Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said in a statement such duties would affect all 50 U.S. states and harm value chains, consumers and trade-related jobs in both countries. She said Mexico would retaliate if the tariffs were imposed, either hitting back at targeted U.S. goods, or by seeking redress through multilateral organizations. In the recent past, Mexico has been effective in focusing trade retaliation on U.S. agricultural produce in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:31 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Just when Trump thought his UK trip couldn't get any worse, Prince Charles lectured him for an hour and a half on climate change (Guardian).
Prince Charles spent 75 minutes longer than scheduled trying to convince Donald Trump of the dangers of global heating, but the president still insisted the US was “clean” and blamed other nations for the crisis.[…]

[In an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain] Trump said he pushed back at the suggestion the US should do more.

He said: “I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics.’ And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”[…]

Asked by Piers Morgan if he accepted the science on climate change, Trump said: “I believe there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways. Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change. Now it’s actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather you can’t miss.”
And of course, Trump can't let Nasty-gate go, doubling down on his excuses for what he said about Markle: “What she said was nasty based on what they told me.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:35 AM on June 5 [30 favorites]


...and Fox News talks to him directly. That's why he's living the dream of every angry granddad- when he yells at the TV the TV has to respond.

It has occurred to me that Trump might actually be Mike Teavee.
posted by Graygorey at 7:35 AM on June 5 [12 favorites]


Seems a British woman has attacked the Baby Trump balloon as it was being inflated, using some sort of sharp implement. Although the attack itself was apparently successful, the immediate aftermath was not. This poetic tweet describing the event captures its flavor.

@SantaInc
“Based Amy”:
Here I go!
Stabby time!
Haha! Take that libs!
Oh deary, I’ve stabbed me own hand!
Oh hello officer.
What you mean, illegal?
What you mean, arrest?
What you mean, resisting?
Ow, handcuffs hurt!
I dropped me phone!
#BasedAmy
[overall quite hilarious video]
Hopefully the Baby Trump people can apply a patch & get the Big Boy back in the air where he belongs.
posted by scalefree at 7:36 AM on June 5 [23 favorites]


Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics.

He really doesn't know what words even mean. Cleanest climate!
posted by diogenes at 7:39 AM on June 5 [13 favorites]


Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, responds on twitter to a question about the refugee detention camps at the US-Mexico border
@ChaseMadar genuinely curious, how certain are you that these things are going to get much worse? I mean, you wrote the book…
Thread begins:
@AndreaPitzer Just looking at it analytically, the odds suggest things will get much worse. There's so much to cover, I can't put it all in a couple tweets. I really need to write a piece on this. But here are a few random things.

1) so far, what the US is doing is similar to some prior systems, all of which degenerated further before they were ended (and many of which are still defended in surprising places today).

...
posted by pjenks at 7:43 AM on June 5 [26 favorites]


Trump's Three Crutches:

Immigration, Trade, and attacking women.


Or lashing out and punching down.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:47 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


US abortion policy is 'extremist hate' and 'torture', says UN commissioner (Guardian)
“We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate, but this is gender-based violence against women, no question,” [UN deputy high commissioner for human rights] Kate Gilmore said. “It’s clear it’s torture – it’s a deprivation of a right to health,” she warned, pointing out that the committee of experts assigned to monitor the implementation of the nine core UN human rights instruments have each “independently declared the absolute prohibition of abortion … is against human rights”.

Gilmore, appointed deputy high commissioner in 2015, said the [attempted] banning of abortion in some US states and the attempts by the Trump administration to remove language from key international documents was “deeply distressing”.

“This is a crisis. It’s a crisis directed at women,” she said, warning that we had not yet felt the full extent of it. Gilmore, who last week spoke at a Guardian event discussing the pushback on reproductive rights, said opposition groups – the most high profile of which are conservative, Christian organisations – were well organised and well resourced, and were ignoring evidence in their pursuit of ideological goals. “It’s an assault on truth, science and universal values and norms,” she said.

“You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

The evidence shows that banning abortion does not stop women undergoing terminations. Instead, it pushes women to find unsafe methods. According to the Guttmacher Institute, an estimated 56 million abortions were performed annually [worldwide] between 2010 and 2014. Of these, 25 million were considered unsafe, putting the lives of poorer women in particular at risk.

In wealthy countries, an estimated 30 women die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions but in poorer countries this rises to 220, found the World Health Organisation. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number is 520.

“We have to stand with the evidence and facts and in solidarity with women, and in particular young women and minority women who are really under the gun. This doesn’t affect well-off women in the same way as women with no resources, or able-bodied women the way it affects disabled women, and urban women the way it affects rural women,” said Gilmore.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:52 AM on June 5 [40 favorites]


Paul Blest: Looks Like Biden Is Full of Shit On a Vital Abortion Rights Issue
NBC News published a history of Biden’s views on abortion rights this morning, and points out that early in his career, the former Delaware senator was something of an anti-abortion zealot who supported measures as extreme as the one Alabama recently passed[...]Biden has steadily become more pro-choice throughout his career, and early last month in South Carolina, the former vice president was asked by an ACLU volunteer if he supported finally repealing the Hyde Amendment. Biden said yes—“It can’t stay”—a response that was posted by the official ACLU national Twitter account.

Finally! The only problem is that the campaign has now backtracked from this position. Per NBC News, emphasis mine:
Yet his presidential campaign confirmed to NBC News that Biden still supports the Hyde Amendment, a four-decade-old ban on using federal funds for abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

Biden’s continued support for Hyde not only sets him apart from the rest of his 2020 Democratic competitors, but it may surprise progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which promoted a recent tweet by one of its activists appearing to get Biden to commit to ending Hyde during a rope-line exchange in South Carolina. Biden’s campaign told NBC he would be open to repealing Hyde if abortion avenues currently protected under Roe were threatened.
I get it. It’s tough to imagine a scenario where abortion avenues currently protected under Roe were threatened.

Planned Parenthood slammed the position in a statement to NBC News. “We encourage any candidate who doesn’t recognize Hyde’s impact to speak to the women it hurts most—particularly on women of color and women with low incomes—to learn more about the harmful impacts of this discriminatory policy,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund executive director Kelly Robinson told the network.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:20 AM on June 5 [33 favorites]


Just when Trump thought his UK trip couldn't get any worse, Prince Charles lectured him for an hour and a half on climate change

Charles does have his moments, from time to time.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 AM on June 5 [32 favorites]


Trump administration cancels English classes, soccer, legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants in U.S. shelters (WaPo):
The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx at the southern border has created critical budget pressures.
[...]
The move — revealed in an email an HHS official sent to licensed shelters last week, a message that has been obtained by The Washington Post — could run afoul of a federal court settlement and state licensing requirements that mandate education and recreation for minors in federal custody. Carlos Holguin, a lawyer who represents minors in a long-running lawsuit that spurred a 1997 federal court settlement that sets basic standards of care for children in custody, immediately slammed the cuts as illegal.
posted by peeedro at 8:26 AM on June 5 [34 favorites]


Bill Kristol: "Schumer: Trump's probably bluffing on tariffs. Pelosi: The Senate won't convict on impeachment.
Perhaps the Democratic leaders might do a bit less predicting and a bit more...leading? Convene impeachment hearings. Introduce legislation blocking tariffs. Act for the nation."


bill god damn kristol, people
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:33 AM on June 5 [88 favorites]


Senate Republicans Warn White House Against Mexico Tariffs (NYT)
Republican senators sent the White House a sharp message on Tuesday, warning that they were almost uniformly opposed to President Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, just hours after the president said lawmakers would be “foolish” to try to stop him. [...]

Republican senators emerged from a closed-door lunch at the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel and an assistant attorney general on the legal basis for Mr. Trump to impose new tariffs by declaring a national emergency at the southern border.

“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, told the lawyers, according to people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Cruz warned that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax increase on Texans. [...]

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said he warned the lawyers that the Senate could muster an overwhelming majority to beat back the tariffs, even if Mr. Trump were to veto a resolution disapproving them. Republicans may be broadly supportive of Mr. Trump’s push to build a wall and secure the border, he said, but they oppose tying immigration policy to the imposition of tariffs on Mexico.

“The White House should be concerned about what that vote would result in, because Republicans really don’t like taxing American consumers and businesses,” Mr. Johnson said.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:35 AM on June 5 [4 favorites]


> "Perhaps the Democratic leaders might do a bit less predicting and a bit more...leading? Convene impeachment hearings. Introduce legislation blocking tariffs. Act for the nation."
bill god damn kristol, people


Yeah, even though it's Bill %$^$% Kristol, he does have a point. The longer this fractally-horrifying garbage fire continues unchallenged, the more the Democratic leadership looks feckless. As that repeatedly recommended Adam Jentleson article says, "People will not know what Trump did wrong if Democrats don’t tell them."
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:49 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]


A church in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood is ink-stamping Harriet Tubman's profile over Andrew Jackson's on every $20 bill it gets in the collection plate.
"I'm taking such pleasure in this. Mr. Trail of Tears, gone!" laughed Ann Potter, who counts offerings for HCC, as she covered the former president’s face on bill after bill.
posted by adamg at 8:57 AM on June 5 [62 favorites]


The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx at the southern border has created critical budget pressures.

Just a thought but have you considered redirecting funds from all over the rest of government to pay the difference? It seems to be working for a certain W A L L project. I guess it depends on where your priorities lie.
posted by scalefree at 9:04 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


all of which degenerated further before they were ended (and many of which are still defended in surprising places today)

Honestly, I wish someone, somewhere could provide some direction on how we fight against this. I can give money to RACIES, and call my legislators ... and? And what? I'm 2,300 miles away, and I am SO ANGRY, but I feel completely powerless to stop my government from creating concentration camps.
posted by anastasiav at 9:07 AM on June 5 [27 favorites]


Honestly, I wish someone, somewhere could provide some direction on how we fight against this.

I think the best action is to pressure Democratic House leadership to act. You can't personally prevent a lawless autocrat from doing horrible things. The only solution is for Congress to do everything in their power to remove the lawless autocrat. Start by encouraging your Rep to speak out and push leadership in the right direction.

(Insert arguments against this path because of the Senate here.)
posted by diogenes at 9:15 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


‘No way he’s bluffing’: Trump leans into tariff fight (Politico)
White House officials noted that Trump has grown sensitive to accusations that he’s not serious about imposing tariffs on Mexico over immigration.
The self-proclaimed master dealmaker has a long history of bluffing his way through the business world, and he’s brought that same style to Washington, infuriating fellow Republicans and other allies who don’t know when to take the president seriously. [...]

Pelosi has also been saying this week that Trump’s push for tariffs is meant to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s press conference, where he pointedly declined to exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice allegations. "I don't even think it rises to the level of policy," she told reporters on Wednesday. "It's a distraction from the Mueller report. And it’s served its purpose, right? Here we are."
posted by Little Dawn at 9:15 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


Joy Reid, guest-hosting on the Rachel Maddow Show, interviewed Dano Wall (alt link) the other week, Wall being the designer who created the ink stamps notched for over-laying the $20 bills and sells the Tubman stamps on Etsy. (Though he has released the 3D model of the stamp for people to create their own if they want, IIRC.)
posted by XMLicious at 9:17 AM on June 5 [10 favorites]


pressure the Democratic House leadership to act

Call your rep and your senators, especially if they are Republicans. Always yelling at Democratic House Leadership accomplishes very little. They can't save us. It doesn't work that way. Remember the principles of the Indivisible Guide. Hold your own reps accountable in their own districts, and don't let Republicans off the hook.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:20 AM on June 5 [21 favorites]


Trump’s anti-abortion global gag rule harming women in Africa and Asia, report says (Guardian)
‘People are dying as a result of the policy’ that bans aid to foreign groups who provide or promote abortions, says author of report
The “Crisis in Care” report from the International Women’s Health Coalition outlines the two-year impact of the Trump administration’s “global gag rule” which prohibits funding to international NGOs which do not sign a pledge saying they will not provide or promote abortions as a method of family planning. The rule applies to an organization’s non-US funded activities too, regardless of the local laws regarding abortion. [...]

The new report, built on 118 interviews with community health organizations in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Nepal, portrays an international health community grappling with confusion over the gag rule’s implementation, increased stigmatization of reproductive health services, and a ripple effect that is closing or fragmenting critical health services. It also illustrates the international implications of intensifying efforts in the US, primarily in Republican-dominated state legislature, to roll back abortion access.

Though every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has implemented the gag rule, which is imposed by a presidential memo, the Trump iteration expands the amount of money susceptible to the order, and has implications for funds for a wide array of global health concerns such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and nutrition.

According to the new report, adherence to the gag rule now applies to $9bn in US foreign aid and extends to many organizations that previously did not have to comply with the policy. [...] The report also warned that the US’s aggressive stance against abortion counseling and services was emboldening “regressive actors” – right-wing or anti-reproductive health groups – in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:28 AM on June 5 [12 favorites]


Filed under "better late than never?" -- Federal Government To Inspect North Carolina Election Equipment Over Hacking Fears (Pam Fessler for NPR, June 5, 2019)
The Department of Homeland Security has finally agreed to conduct a thorough inspection of election equipment used in North Carolina that was supplied by a vendor whose system was targeted by Russian hackers in 2016.

It has been three years since the machines — laptops used to check in voters in Durham County — malfunctioned on Election Day (NPR), telling voters that they had already voted, even though they had not.

The county took the laptops out of service that day and switched to using paper pollbooks, but the question of what caused the problem has remained a mystery ever since. It's one of several remaining questions about what happened in the 2016 elections, the answers to which could help the U.S. protect itself against future cyberattacks.
...
The North Carolina glitch would have been dismissed as fairly routine had it not been revealed in 2017 that the vendor, Florida-based VR Systems, was one of the targets of Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections.

A leaked report by the National Security Agency said that Russian intelligence officers had mounted a spear-phishing campaign in August 2016 against a firm identified as "U.S. Company 1" and then used VR Systems credentials to send malicious emails to about 120 local government offices, later identified as the company's customers in Florida.
"Finally agreed" is a pretty harsh opening line, and fully deserved. I just wonder if we'll actually hear what happened. There's a lot of nefariously nebulous non-reporting noted in that article, so the cynic in me just thinks it'll be once again announced as "user error" and everyone washes their hands of it, as if Russia's spear-phishing hadn't happened in the first place.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on June 5 [23 favorites]


I don't think that's US-specific or even pharma-specific, it's just how procurement works in big companies.

My understanding is that when drug prices are negotiated through the middle men PBMs there's no transparency for how pricing was arrived at. Your price is negotiated without understanding what others are paying or original costs.

When people say that they prefer capitalism to a socialist healthcare market, they don't understand how fundamentally anti-capitalist the current healthcare market is. Universal healthcare negotiations would actually be more capitalist, because at least prices would be transparent.

The current market is like going to the store to buy some milk and having the store say your price is $10. When you ask what other people are paying or how that price was arrived at they won't tell you. There is no other store to go to. It's not a free, or open, or competitive market. The PBMs are essentially a black box.
posted by xammerboy at 9:52 AM on June 5 [33 favorites]


Most people fundamentally misunderstand the difference between capitalism and business. Monopolies and mobsters conduct business, but that isn't capitalism. Much of what occurs in our economy is just business that hides behind the label of capitalism.
posted by M-x shell at 10:14 AM on June 5 [28 favorites]


The key point about drug rebates is that they mostly go to the health insurer, not to the patient taking the drugs. The main incentive for high list price + high rebates isn't that a large apparent discount looks good to a mid-level manager's boss, but that this setup results in lower overall plan premiums (at the tradeoff of high drug costs being concentrated on a smaller group of patients).

At least on Medicare Part D and Medicaid, this sort of arrangement is legal because of an explicit safe harbor provision in the federal Anti-Kickback Statue. Earlier this year, the Trump administration actually proposed removing this safe harbor, so that any sort of negotiated rebates or discounts would only be permissible if they're credited to the patient at point of sale. It would make things more transparent, but it's not clear if there would be overall savings or not due to the number of moving pieces involved. The comment period for the proposal has closed, but there hasn't been any indication if it's going to be finalized for 2020 or not.
posted by bassooner at 10:23 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Politico reports that Mitch McConnell may have relented: Schumer: Senate Briefing Coming Soon On Election Interference
All 100 senators will soon receive a briefing on election interference from intelligence and law enforcement officials, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The New York Democrat said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has "assured" him that there will be a bipartisan briefing on the subject in the coming days. Schumer has been asking for a briefing for several weeks, while also stumping for passage of bipartisan election security legislation written in response to Russia's 2016 interference to boost President Donald Trump.

"At the very least, the Senate should be briefed by our intelligence and law enforcement chiefs about the threat of election interference in the 2020 election so we can all be aware of the danger," Schumer said in a floor speech, adding that he hoped the briefings will "take place as soon as possible during this work period so we can prepare new legislation that will go into effect at least a year before Election Day of 2020."
McConnell, however, doesn't appear to have said anything about this, and he's not shown any signs of allowing the various election security bills to the floor.

And on the topic of election interference, Politico reports: Russia's Manipulation of Twitter Was Far Vaster Than Believed
Russia's infamous troll farm conducted a campaign on Twitter before the 2016 elections that was larger, more coordinated and more effective than previously known, research from cybersecurity firm Symantec out Wednesday concluded.

The Internet Research Agency campaign may not only have had more sway — reaching large numbers of real users — than previously thought, it also demonstrated ample patience and might have generated income for some of the phony accounts, Symantec found.[…]

"While this propaganda campaign has often been referred to as the work of trolls, the release of the dataset makes it obvious that it was far more than that," the company wrote. "It was planned months in advance and the operators had the resources to create and manage a vast disinformation network.[…]

"The campaign directed propaganda at both sides of the liberal/conservative political divide in the U.S., in particular the more disaffected elements of both camps," Symantec found.
Between McConnell's inaction and Trump's denial, nation-states have an open invitation to interfere in the 2020 elections.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:28 AM on June 5 [32 favorites]


[Friendly, nudge, let's bring it back to narrow focus on potus45 stuff; general discussion about capitalism or health care systems broadly an go to other threads.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:30 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Some light relief from the WaPo style section: Meet the GOP operatives who aim to smear the 2020 Democrats — but keep bungling it
'American Decency'
Burkman grew up in Swissvale, Pa., a small town outside Pittsburgh. He says his father was active in local Democratic politics and his mother, whose family hailed from Sicily, was an arch conservative.

“She had a picture of Mussolini in the house,” Burkman says.

His brother, Jim Burkman, says that’s not so.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Jack Burkman, who had graduated from Georgetown Law, looked a lot like an establishment Republican. He was a Capitol Hill staffer for GOP congressman Rick Lazio of New York. He worked at Holland & Knight, a major law firm, lobbying on behalf of big corporate clients. He also worked briefly as a Fox News contributor and appeared as a pundit on CNN and MSNBC, leveraging a TV-ready look with a square jaw and a baritone voice.

Once he formed his own firm, he built what became a thriving lobbying practice. In 2013, he signed more clients than any registered lobbyist, according to tracking by the media outlet the Hill. His firm’s revenue peaked that year at $3.52 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“It’s always a curiosity to me — how does he get so many clients?” says his friend and law school classmate Raga Elim, who is now a lobbyist.

Burkman was still far from a household name in 2014 when he hit on a topic that put him in the headlines and on news programs across the country. He proposed banning gay players in the National Football League around the time an openly gay football player, Michael Sam, was coming to prominence.

Burkman formed an organization called American Decency and claimed to have signed up more than 3 million members. (Looking back, Burkman says that “it could be the case” that his claim about having that many members “wasn’t true.”)

The next few weeks would play out like a preview of the next few years of Burkman’s life.

Confusion ensued. A conservative group with an almost identical name issued a news release insisting it was not involved, but it took the opportunity to say it did “not condone the lifestyle of Michael Sam.”

Burkman’s brother Jim, who is gay, took to Twitter to say Burkman was “being an ass.”

The proposal went nowhere.
I guess Trump brings out all the grifters
posted by mumimor at 10:54 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]


On the lighter side, the Queen treated Trump's visit with all the dignity that it deserves:

Slate: The Queen Gave Donald Trump a Book as a Gift and Trevor Noah Is Baffled

Highlight:
The answer to Noah’s question—accident or troll?—can be deduced by looking into the precise gift Trump received. Newscasters have described it as a “first edition” of The Second World War, Winston S. Churchill’s history of the war, originally published in six volumes between 1948 and 1953, which won him a Nobel Prize in Literature. That would be a lovely gift for anyone but Donald Trump; a complete set of the U.K. first editions goes for a little over $2,000, and they’re gorgeous, fit for a president’s library.

But that’s not exactly what the queen gave President Trump. Her gift for him was the first edition of a slightly different book: The Second World War One-Volume Edition, currently available in its 1959 U.K. first edition on AbeBooks.com for as little as $14.32. That’s right: She gave him the abridged version. (At least it wasn’t the “special abridged edition for young readers.”) Trolling has a new queen.

posted by delfin at 11:00 AM on June 5 [93 favorites]


She gave a visiting blowhard who doesn't like to read and prides himself on owning the Most Expensive Gold-Plated Everything... a book that costs less than a pair of canvas shoes at Tesco. SOMEONE in the Queen's staff laughed their ass off when they picked that out.

And the implications are obvious. When Obama zinged Trump at the WH Correspondents' Dinner, Trump was so offended that he ran for President. This means that, once he's out of the Oval Office by one method or another, Trump will be mounting a campaign to be elected Queen of England.
posted by delfin at 11:33 AM on June 5 [58 favorites]


Here's the blog post from Symantec that is the basis of the Politico article that Doktor Zed references above, about the twitter-based IRA disinformation campaign. A quick and terrifying read.
posted by Sublimity at 11:38 AM on June 5 [9 favorites]


Quinnipiac poll finds Texas presidential close with any leading Dem candidate, Trump trailing Biden 48-44.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:56 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]


^Trump to Morgan: Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change.

From 538's wayback machine:
Last week, Yale University released a study showing that people are more likely to fear “global warming” and take part in a campaign to stop it than they are “climate change.” Yale’s report echoed research by George W. Bush pollster Frank Luntz, who had argued that the Bush White House should use climate change instead of global warming because it sounded less scary. Polling also shows Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe the Earth is warming and human activity is the main cause.
Disingenuity is a way of life for the entire GOP.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:04 PM on June 5 [15 favorites]


Trump trailing Biden 48-44.

Quinnipiac May 28, 2015: Clinton 50 Trump 32
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:05 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


Note that those are Texas numbers.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:07 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


Note that those are Texas numbers.

Ah, missed that, apologies.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:10 PM on June 5


In the 1990s and early 2000s, Jack Burkman, who had graduated from Georgetown Law, looked a lot like an establishment Republican.

Jack Burkman's partner in crime is Jacob Wohl, the world's unluckiest conspiracy theorist. Together they've pushed a number of unsuccessful narratives including sexual assaults by Robert Mueller & Pete Buttigieg. Their last briefing was infamously held in one of their mom's driveway.
posted by scalefree at 12:11 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


That is, indeed, what the article is about.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:19 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


North Carolina 2020: Biden with Early Lead on Trump and Democratic Primary Field
President is tied or trailing against four of the top five Democratic opponents, faring the worst against former Vice-President Joe Biden, who is ahead of Trump 56% to 44%.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:20 PM on June 5


She gave a visiting blowhard who doesn't like to read and prides himself on owning the Most Expensive Gold-Plated Everything... a book that costs less than a pair of canvas shoes at Tesco.

It was an abridged version of Churchill's book on World War II, so about defeating Nazis. And a silver pen to a man known to favor magic markers. And she wore a series of brooches, each a guided missile for the discerning eye. One given to her by the hated Obama, another shaped as a snowflake & a 3rd bought back from a Royal mistress. Queen knows her kanly! There may be some Fremen blood in the House of Windsor.
posted by scalefree at 12:22 PM on June 5 [39 favorites]


Biden, Sanders other Democrats lead Trump in Michigan poll
Both former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont showed 12-point margins over the first-term Republican incumbent in a Glengariff Group public opinion survey of 600 likely voters released to The Detroit News and WDIV-TV (Local 4). Three other Democrats included in the poll were preferred over Trump by less substantial margins.

[...] Michigan's 16 electoral college votes went to Trump by 10,704 votes in 2016, the thinnest margin of any state.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:23 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Yale’s report echoed research by George W. Bush pollster Frank Luntz, who had argued that the Bush White House should use climate change instead of global warming because it sounded less scary.

Forgot to mention that one of the things that made me apoplectic during the Bush administration was fellow liberals who believed in global warming insisting that the term "climate change" was much, much more scientificalistic. How Luntz got them, I do not know, but perhaps trollbots have been around longer than we suspect.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:25 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


This is interesting. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, Here’s Why the Right-Wing Grifter Problem Is a Right-Wing Problem
... Since at least the late 70s, the cold, hard nugget at the heart of the conservative movement’s electoral strategy is an attempt to win working-class votes for a party that’s dedicated to the interests of corporations and the wealthy. ... This means that the success of the entire movement is intimately tied to a huge, relentlessly repeated lie... This is inexorably corrosive.
He also picks out a couple of other factors: the Right's scapegoating of the IRS, which would have rooted out some of these scams, and the concentration of elderly voters on the right, who are traditional targets of scammers. But primarily, the whole movement is built on lies, and the true believers are primed to believe more lies.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:32 PM on June 5 [18 favorites]


“Trump's approval ratings by state:
CO: -14
IA: -12
ME: -9
AZ: -6
NC: -4

If the House impeaches, GOP senators in those states will have to vote to convict or acquit. I'm not a highly paid Democratic consultant, but that seems good for Dems hoping to retake the Senate.” @EzraLevin
posted by The Whelk at 12:34 PM on June 5 [30 favorites]


Forgot to mention that one of the things that made me apoplectic during the Bush administration was fellow liberals who believed in global warming insisting that the term "climate change" was much, much more scientificalistic. How Luntz got them, I do not know, but perhaps trollbots have been around longer than we suspect.

To be fair, "climate change" also rebuts yahoos who tend to mock "global warming" during cold winters, which can also be attributed to ... well ... climate change.

Warmer arctic linked to more severe winter weather

So the terminology shift isn't completely nefarious.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 12:38 PM on June 5 [15 favorites]


The rationale for saying "climate change" was always relatively sensible, even if the effect has been less than ideal: That it describes the phenomenon and its effects more comprehensively, whereas "warming" could be interpreted as necessarily uniform and universal, thus "countered" by a cold snap anywhere.

This is a good example of a liberal/conservative language divide where the latter goes for the visceral while the former prefers the ostensibly accurate. One approach wins minds, but the other wins hearts. "Global warming", by providing descriptive imagery, is a one-two punch of a phrase like "Crooked Hillary", but with a basis in reality.

It was an abridged version of Churchill's book on World War II, so about defeating Nazis. And a silver pen to a man known to favor magic markers.

Wait, which is it? Do you insult Trump by giving him the tacky/childish things he might actually use, or the fancy things he shuns? I feel like no matter what, you can read all these gestures (including a snowflake brooch or whatever) as "shade".

There's nothing stopping the royals from simply announcing they refuse to meet with Trump, then citing Sadiq Khan's editorial as providing the explanation.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:40 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


Trump had a PR thing with Ireland's prime minister and got into some absurd things, as he does. Video is at C-SPAN. Includes him...

...saying that Ireland might build a wall, but also maybe shouldn't, and things will "all work out" and relating the Ireland border to the Mexican border with the US

...reiterating his obsession with climate change somehow being about "crystal clean water, which we have already" (stuck in the 80s idea of pollution)

...demonstrating a lack of understanding of what Normandy or D-Day means

...demonstrating a lack of any idea about visa mechanics between Ireland and the US

...fielding a question about the supposed executions in North Korea after the summit, calling it fake news...

...all while the PM tries desperately to appear like this is a normal event and he's sitting next to a normal American president.
posted by odinsdream at 12:44 PM on June 5 [14 favorites]


There's nothing stopping the royals from simply announcing they refuse to meet with Trump, then citing Sadiq Khan's editorial as providing the explanation.

Other than the not-totally-unfounded concern that the big baby might react with some sort of unilateral tarrif or other action that they could really use to not deal with, what with the whole brexit situation and all. [im not saying i wouldnt have applauded their telling him to get fucked, but i do think there could be a reasonably calculated choice in having him there and treating him well, to his face anyway]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:48 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


The taboo about royals and politics is there for a very good reason. It's terribly humiliating for all involved (Trump looks terrible next to people with grace and class, and the Queen looks like she's just not fussy about who she stands beside) but the fault doesn't lie with the royal family: they're just doing their jobs and I would rather live in a country where the venal and incompetent government instructs the queen to stand next to a mediocrity so deep it cannot even recognise greatness than live in a country where the queen has any choice in the matter.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:01 PM on June 5 [21 favorites]


So it's sort of a noblesse oblige thing.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:04 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Exhausted Britain wishes Donald Trump would notice he was being gravely insulted (Alexandra Petri, WaPo:)
An increasingly distraught Britain wondered for the duration of President Trump’s visit to the country whether the president was ever going to notice that he was being gravely insulted. Indignities that would have sent previous presidents packing whistled harmlessly over his head and detonated behind him, unnoticed except by their perpetrators.

“Someone said, ‘Thank you for your opinion’ after he had made a remark, and he actually said, ‘You’re welcome,’” gasped Madeline Bassett-Glossop.

“The chef served the vichyssoise hot and the consommé cold,” butler Roland Leighton observed. “But he didn’t try either of them.”

“His steak was cooked all the way through and slathered with ketchup, a sign of my highest contempt and disregard,” shuddered the chef, “and he thanked me.” […]

Crowds thronged the streets for a protest that Trump called “fake news.” “He seems to think it’s a kind of parade,” said Flea Thompson, who tends sheep in Wiltshire. “We are being as angry as we can and saying, ‘Good day, sir!’ in our most withering tones, but he is not, I think, understanding that we do not truly wish him a good day.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:15 PM on June 5 [48 favorites]


...all while the PM tries desperately to appear like this is a normal event and he's sitting next to a normal American president.

Are they at the airport instead of Trump's golf course?
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:23 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


It's a "who's boss" thing. I don't care what the Queen wants, and if I ever have to, democracy is eroding. I am a UK taxpayer, she is one of my highest-paid employees, and she works strictly on a ceremonial basis.

Stand next to the orange boor and his ghoulish clan, smile, and wave. That's the deal, because our government made it. I probably like it less than her, but that doesn't give her a choice in the matter. We know what happens to democracies that don't keep an eye on things like that...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:25 PM on June 5 [8 favorites]


reiterating his obsession with climate change somehow being about "crystal clean water, which we have already"

I've decided that he thinks "environment" and "climate" are synonyms.
posted by diogenes at 1:34 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


Other than the not-totally-unfounded concern that the big baby might react with some sort of unilateral tarrif or other action that they could really use to not deal with, what with the whole brexit situation and all.

Tariffs and Brexit, yeah, and also that whole bit where Trump occasionally can't keep his urge to dissolve NATO to himself.

I desperately want to see other world leaders call his ass out and treat him like the moron he is, and at the same time I have to concede this is all deadly serious. Lives are on the line.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:40 PM on June 5 [11 favorites]


The Guardian reports on the costs of Trump’s junket European tour: Irish funeral firm rents out four limousines to Trump for $1m
The Trump administration paid the family-owned firm based in Bray, County Wicklow, $935,033 in four tranches, according to USASpending.gov, an official portal that records federal government spending.[…]

The presidential entourage’s hotel bills have also drawn scrutiny. State department documents show US taxpayers have spent $1,223,230 on VIP accommodation at the InterContinental hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair, London.
MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin notes, “According to the pool report, Trump is now at Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg. This is Trump's 192nd day at a Trump golf club and 258th day at a Trump property as president.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:54 PM on June 5 [14 favorites]


Note that those are Texas numbers. (re: Quinnipiac May 28, 2015: Clinton 50 Trump 32)

Where do you see it being a Texas poll? The first sentence of the methodology is "This RDD telephone survey was conducted from May 19 –26, 2015 throughout the nation."

As far as I can tell it really it is a Quinnipiac poll showing Clinton +18 nationwide roughly as far before the general as we are now. Whether one believes it is an apples to apples comparison is up for debate but it does look like decent evidence for the "don't take the GE matchup polling too seriously with regard to electability" side to me.
posted by Justinian at 1:54 PM on June 5


Ohhh. You meant the OTHER poll, showing Biden up 4 over Trump, were Texas numbers.

Reading comprehension FAIL. At least I got there eventually.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


I've decided that he thinks "environment" and "climate" are synonyms.

Or it could be a coordinated effort to sow confusion, this week Andrew Wheeler made the same argument: Discounting climate change, EPA chief faults the media for the rise of bad environmental news. Conflating separate issues, he's taking a victory lap for reducing some pollution indicators over decades while the economy is growing, but blaming the media for pessimistic reporting on climate change. But those pollution indicators he cites all improved because of existing regulations-- regulations that they are fighting to roll back, eliminate, or in the case of CO2, never regulate. The EPA has, of course, called accurate reporting of Wheeler's remarks fake news.
posted by peeedro at 2:03 PM on June 5 [11 favorites]


But Congress could avoid that by passing a more specific law that just targets the tariffs without impacting the wall emergency.

Republicans want something badly, a veto-proof rejection of the Mexican tariff emergency. Democrats should make a veto-proof rejection of the wall emergency a pre-condition. It's both or nothing -- and stick to it.
posted by JackFlash at 2:16 PM on June 5 [10 favorites]


"crystal clean water"

I'd love to have him go to Flint and drink some tap water.

Or even come to Iowa and drink some of our river water, and tell me again how clean it is.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:35 PM on June 5 [19 favorites]



Stand next to the orange boor and his ghoulish clan, smile, and wave. That's the deal, because our government made it. I probably like it less than her, but that doesn't give her a choice in the matter. We know what happens to democracies that don't keep an eye on things like that...


Britain kept an eye on things like that. How's it working out?

Spain didn't keep King Juan Carlos on as tight a leash, and in return he reversed at least one military coup.

This makes me appreciate the rule against touching royalty, though. If they have to stand next to that cretinous ghoul, they should at least not be touched by him.
posted by ocschwar at 2:48 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


9 Must-See Moments From Trump’s Bonkers Interview With Piers Morgan

He said Meghan Markle is not “nasty.”
He wouldn’t admit to believing in climate change.
He said a weird thing about Hitler. (While talking about Winston Churchill, Trump referenced Hitler “going through countries like cheese.” That’s one way to put it!)
He also said a weird, false thing about Churchill. (When Morgan pushed Trump to find similarities between him and Winston Churchill, he came up with this gem: “Churchill didn’t have to worry so much about the nuclear.” As Brian McKeon, former deputy under secretary of defense, pointed on Twitter, that’s not true.)
He took the NHS off the table in U.S.–U.K. trade talks.
He would have been “honored” to serve in Vietnam.
He defended the trans military ban with wildly inaccurate claims.
He questioned reality.
He put on this hat.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:54 PM on June 5 [13 favorites]


@JayInslee (WA Gov, also another-white-guy-running-for-prez): Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a #ClimateDebate.
Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else's climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates. This is deeply disappointing. (Statement continues.)

The lack of a climate debate is a horrible, stupid decision to begin with. Threatening to bar candidates from other debates if they go through with one on their own seems like a whole 'nother level.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:04 PM on June 5 [45 favorites]


I think that's always been a thing -- if you participate in unofficial debates then you don't get to participate in the official ones.

Otherwise it's easy for candidates to stage their own debates and exclude whomever they want, and set the rules to their own advantage, and so on. And that leads to a lot of anger and finger pointing and recrimination. Plus there could end up being dozens of them and then they individually sort of lose their significance and nobody watches.

So the idea is you just have the one set of official debates, and you make them as neutral as possible, and everybody watches. And nobody is allowed to participate in any debates but those.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:17 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


There's no reason they can't have any number of unsanctioned climate town halls though, right? As long as they don't actually use a debate format with multiple candidates at once. As far as I know, they can can go back-to-back or use any other format besides an actual debate.
posted by zachlipton at 3:19 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


So the idea is you just have the one set of official debates, and you make them as neutral as possible, and everybody watches. And nobody is allowed to participate in any debates but those.

And the rest of the idea is that nobody gets asked any meaningful questions about climate policy or is forced to defend their pro-fossil-fuel "middle ground" position, so that the thing that is currently in the process of decimating multicellular life on Earth becomes just one more issue that gee shucks we didn't get around to addressing this time.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:50 PM on June 5 [25 favorites]


After years of criticism, YouTube apparently intends to start enforcing its community guidelines to prevent common forms of hate speech.
YouTube is changing its community guidelines to ban videos promoting the superiority of any group as a justification for discrimination against others based on their age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, the company said today. The move, which will r