Comments

  1. says

    SC @488, I noticed that Kellyanne Conway also called the late night comedians “unfunny.” She is insulting them and blaming them for violence. It is just bizarre.

    To add context to Conway’s remarks, and to show just how bizarre those comments were:

    Imagine the conclusions you’d draw about another country & its president, if you read that bombs had been mailed to a list of that president’s favorite political targets, including a news organization, and that president had soon after called news media the “enemy of the people”.

    That’s from Alex Burns, a New York Times national political correspondent and CNN political analyst.

  2. says

    Excerpts from SC’s previous link to Popehat’s discussion of the complaint Doe v. Trump Corp:

    The factual section — describing how Trump & Co. promoted a MLM scam and reaped benefits — is detailed, specific, and quite devastating.

    The complaint asserts civil RICO, conspiracy to do the RICO, and then a bunch of state consumer laws from several states, plus a state fraud claim. The RICO is only one basis for federal court jurisdiction — there’s also diversity jurisdiction (folks from different states).

    I’m an admitted RICO skeptic — a ricanthrope, if you will. I think the statute is far overused, hellishly complicated, difficult to plead right, and mostly used for emphasis.

    Is this RICO? I think it’s too early to say. It’s a very competently executed complaint, unlike 95% of RICO claims. Great attention has been given to meeting the convoluted elements.

    Though I remain skeptical for boring and hyper-technical reasons, these attorneys came prepared to fight, and it won’t be an easy or quick fight for Trump & Co.

    https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1056955838055792641

  3. says

    Trump’s statements, made today, echo the online statements of the guy who murdered 11 people in that Pittsburgh synagogue.

    Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!

    Discussion of the comments made by the killer, Robert Bowers, and of the fact-free, nonsensical approach of the Trump administration:

    […] Bowers repeatedly referred to caravan members as “invaders,” CNN reported on Saturday. In one post, he wrote, “I have noticed a change in people saying ‘illegals’ that now say ‘invaders.’ I like this.” He also shared a post by another user that railed against the “third world caravan” as a group of “invaders,” according to the Washington Post.

    The Trump administration has produced no evidence to support the president’s repeated claims that criminals are in the caravan. Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton made a similar claim on Twitter last week. When Mother Jones asked DHS’s press office for evidence, a DHS spokesperson who requested anonymity replied, “We cannot release data that is law enforcement sensitive. Thanks.”

    Trump’s claim that “you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process” does not make sense. Many of the caravan members plan to request asylum, which requires that a person already be in the United States. As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted in June, it is legal to request asylum at official border crossings. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also urged asylum seekers to come to ports of entry at the border. […]

    Link

  4. says

    From the complaint (document p. 4):

    …12. The Message had the effect Defendants intended, and for which the Trump Enterprise was lavishly paid. Trump’s seemingly genuine endorsement brought prospective investors to the table and helped them overcome any lingering reservations about the Investments. Indeed, for the working people who fell prey to the Investments, the Trump endorsement was typically the first thing they learned about the Investments, the reason they took an interest, and the determining factor in their decision to invest. “Trust me,” Trump often said in endorsing and promoting the Investments. Unfortunately, far too many victims did.

    13. Many of the Trump Enterprise’s victims were then and now among the most economically marginalized and vulnerable Americans. Indeed, the victims were specifically targeted because they were not experienced in financial and commercial matters….

  5. says

    The founders of one of the companies, ACN, appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice,” where Trump gave his endorsement. NBC bears significant responsibility for promoting and enabling these grifters.

  6. says

    Republicans refuse to disavow anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros.

    A day after the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee refused to disavow a campaign ad linking a Democratic candidate to George Soros, who was sent a pipe bomb last week and has been the subject of attacks that many regard as anti-Semitic. [Video of the ad is available at the link.]

    The ad, released October 18, targets Dan Feehan, the Democrat running against Republican Jim Hagedorn to represent Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. It features a montage with Colin Kaepernick kneeling and warnings of “left-wing mobs paid to riot in the street,” followed by an image of Soros with stacks of bills, repeating a classic anti-Semitic trope. “Billionaire George Soros bankrolls the resistance,” the ad says.

    Despite the pipe bomb and the fact the accused Pittsburgh shooter said he wanted to “kill Jews,” the head of the NRCC, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), defended the ad on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Our independent expenditure arm is independent,” Stivers said. “But that ad is factual. And it also has nothing to do with calling for violence. That ad is a factual ad.”

    .@chucktodd asks @RepSteveStivers about the NRCC’s ads targeting Soros: “Why do you target George Soros?”

    Stivers: “Our independent expenditure arm is independent. But that ad is factual. And it also has nothing to do with calling for violence. That ad is a factual ad”

    In fact, the ad is funded by an arm of the NRCC. On the same show, Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “The attacks on George Soros are appalling, and the continued invocation of classic anti-Semitic themes…is just repulsive.”

    Greenblatt attributed the 57 percent surge in anti-Semitic incidents last year—“the single largest spike we have ever seen”—to the ways in which anti-Semitic language had been embraced by some elements of the Republican Party. “We are seeing an environment where anti-Semitism has moved from the margins into the mainstream, where political candidates and people in public life now literally repeat the rhetoric of white supremacists,” he said. “It’s normal and permissible to talk about Jewish conspiracies manipulating events, or Jewish financiers somehow controlling activities, and that is awful.”

    One Republican member of Congress, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, recently claimed without evidence that Soros had funded the migrant “caravan” from Central America. The accused Pittsburgh shooter, Robert Bowers, was obsessed with the idea that Jewish organizations were bringing migrants into the United States. […]

    the conspiracies about Soros have been getting plenty of airtime on right-wing media. On an October 25 episode of Fox Business Channel’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, guest Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch, a conservative group, claimed the caravan had been funded and directed by “the Soros-occupied State Department.” There is no evidence the caravan has been timed to coincide with the midterm elections, or that Soros has funded the migrants. (In a statement, the network later said it condemned the remarks and wouldn’t air the episode again.) […]

    Link

    And they wonder why a rightwing nut-job sends a pipe bomb to Soros. In the first official press conference the White House has hosted in three weeks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was shouting today that Trump and other Republicans were not responsible for sending pipe bombs. “That’s ridiculous!” And then she blamed the media.

    No one is claiming that Trump or any Republican officials are responsible for sending pipe bombs. The reasonable claim is that Trump and his followers have contributed to the culture of hate; of hate speech; and of falsehoods aimed at Jews, immigrants, “low-IQ” blacks, etc. That atmosphere contributes to the likelihood that someone will send pipe bombs to Democrats, or that someone will shoot people in a Jewish synagogue. Sarah Huckabee Sanders created a straw man, and then she burned him down.

  7. says

    Bowers repeatedly referred to caravan members as “invaders,” CNN reported on Saturday. In one post, he wrote, “I have noticed a change in people saying ‘illegals’ that now say ‘invaders.’ I like this.” He also shared a post by another user that railed against the “third world caravan” as a group of “invaders,”

    Preparing the ground for a “self-defense” excuse. We’ve seen this before.

  8. says

    Trump is going to visit Pittsburgh tomorrow.

    […] Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing that Trump and first lady Melania Trump will “express the support of the American people and grieve with the Pittsburgh community.”

    “The president cherishes the American-Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country. He adores Jewish-Americans as part of his own family,” Sanders said. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish children. His daughter is a Jewish-American and his son-in-law is a descendant of Holocaust survivors.” […]

    Some Jewish leaders wrote in a letter following the mass shooting that they do not want the president to visit Pittsburgh until he denounced white nationalism.

    “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement,” some members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc wrote. “You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”

    Trump on Saturday condemned the attack, tweeting that Bowers’ “evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”

    Link

    Trump recently identified himself as a “Nationalist,” and not a “globalist,” both of which are terms commonly used among white supremacists who propagate anti-semitic propaganda.

    And then Trump tweeted today some hate speech about the immigrant caravan, basically repeating the swill that the guy who sent the pipe bombs had posted many times on social media.

    We must unite to conquer hate.

  9. says

    A website where one can report hate crimes:

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Monday that the Justice Department has launched a website consolidating information for reporting hate crimes. […]

    The website is a “one-stop portal” with information for law enforcement, prosecutors and the general public to learn about all the resources available to report hate crimes, Rosenstein said. The site is part of an ongoing effort within the Department of Justice to expand protections against hate crimes and to bridge gaps in hate crime reporting.

    In 2016, 88 percent of agencies that report hate crimes to the FBI reported zero hate crimes that year, Rosenstein said. He said that statistic demonstrates a lack of awareness in how to report hate crimes rather than a lack of them.

    Congress expanded protections for religious organizations earlier this year by including buildings such as religiously affiliated schools and hospitals to receive the same hate-crime protection as houses of worship. […]

    Politico link

    Thinking back to the government website that gathered comments on Net Neutrality, and how that website was swamped with bots and trolls, I wonder if this new government website will accurately reflect reports of hate crimes … or if it will be swamped by reports of Sarah Huckabee Sanders being heckled in a Washington D.C. restaurant.

  10. says

    More high-profile people have noticed and are commenting on the actions of Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp:

    Former President Jimmy Carter is wading into the contentious Georgia governor’s race with a personal appeal to Republican candidate Brian Kemp: Resign as secretary of state to avoid damaging public confidence in the outcome of his hotly contested matchup with Democrat Stacey Abrams. […]

    “One of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be a nonbiased supervision of the electoral process,” Carter wrote, adding that stepping aside “would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.” […]

    Disclosure of Carter’s letter comes with Kemp under scrutiny from multiple fronts, chief among them 53,000 voter registrations being held up by Kemp’s office. [70% of those voter registrations are from black residents of Georgia, where only about 30% of the population is black.]

    Kemp insists he’s fairly applying Georgia law and that those would-be voters can cast ballots if they present acceptable identification — like any other Georgia voter — that clears up any questions. But Abrams and voting rights advocates have assailed the move — and sued — as part of a pattern Democrats say is intended to make it harder for minorities and other Democratic constituencies to vote.

    Republicans have returned fire, with Kemp alleging that Abrams and her backers want to give ballots to immigrants who are in the country illegally. That attack also is featured in a Republican ad being broadcast statewide. […]

    Politico link

  11. says

    Fallout from the press conference today:

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday declined to name which news outlets or journalists, specifically, President Trump believes are the “enemy of the people,” downplaying the role his rhetoric may have played in the political violence of the last week.

    “The president is not referencing all media, he’s talking about the growing amount of fake news in the country, and he’s calling that out,” Sanders said at a White House press briefing when asked about the president’s use of the term to describe the press.

    She declined to call out specific reporters or media organizations, saying “those individuals probably know who they are.”

    CNN’s Jim Acosta called on Sanders to “have the guts” to say which outlets are enemies of the American people if the president is willing to use the term broadly, as he did again earlier Monday.

    “I think it’s irresponsible of a news organization like yours to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the president, not just blame the president but blame members of his administration for those heinous acts,” she added. […]

    “Again, the very first action the president did was condemn these heinous acts. The very first thing that the media did was condemn the president,” she added.

    Sanders echoed Republican leaders who have pushed back any suggestion that Trump’s rhetoric may have motivated either Cesar Sayoc Jr. or Robert Bowers, the two men accused of carrying out the pipe bombs and the synagogue shooting, respectively.

    “The only person responsible for carrying out either of these heinous acts were the individuals who carried them out,” Sanders said.

    The Hill link

    I guess Jim Acosta and CNN know in which category Trump has placed them.

    In related news, another pipe bomb, sent to CNN in Atlanta, was discovered today.

  12. says

    Trump’s responses to mass shootings are a giant lie by omission

    Trump has blamed mental health, video games, and security for mass shootings. But not guns.

    […] Trump initially reacted to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, which killed 11 over the weekend, by arguing that the synagogue needed armed security. Asked about gun laws, Trump said, “If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation.”

    But armed police officers did respond to the shooting, and four of them were shot. This isn’t, based on the data, abnormal: The FBI’s analysis of active shooters between 2000 and 2013 found, “Law enforcement suffered casualties in 21 (46.7%) of the 45 incidents where they engaged the shooter to end the threat.” These are people trained to do this kind of thing full time, and nearly half of incidents resulted in at least one officer being wounded or killed.

    The call for widespread armament assumes that these shootings are inevitable, and our only sure way of responding to them is to arm more people so we can protect ourselves when such massacres occur. But developed nations around the world avoid the regular tide of mass shootings — largely because they have fewer, not more, guns and stronger gun laws, which make it difficult for would-be perpetrators to get a firearm.

    In response to the Pittsburgh shooting, Trump also expressed a desire to “bring the death penalty into vogue.” […]

    Vox link

  13. says

    From Wonkette: “Guess Who (NRA) Told Americans (NRA) To Use Guns (NRA) To Stop George Soros (NRA) In 2006?”

    […] scary conspiracy theories that drove the mail bomber and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter were already firmly embedded in the rightwing imagination long ago, well before Donald Trump was taken seriously by anyone […] And that those particular doses of brain poison had been distilled into an evil little graphic novel by the NRA in 2006. Seriously, people, this shit didn’t start with Trump, although he’s done what he could to make it official policy. […]

    See also:
    https://twitter.com/KenLayne/status/1056370194082230273

  14. says

    From Wonkette:

    [Hugh] Hewitt has been insisting hard that #BothSidesDoIt, after a week and a half where solidly right-wing extremists committed murder and attempted murder and just in general terrorized people. On MSNBC late last week, he Hewitt-splained:

    There is an equivalent. There is a man screaming at Mitch McConnell,” the Senate majority leader, “in the restaurant,” commentator Hugh Hewitt said on MSNBC on Friday about the political culture following the mail bomb scare.

    Wait, did the guy who yelled at Mitch McConnell in the restaurant HAVE A BOMB? WHAT ABOUT A GUN? We admit we don’t get a chance to read every news article on the internet, so if we have missed something and the guy who yelled at McConnell HAD A BOMB OR A GUN, then Hewitt is correct that #BothSidesDoIt. Otherwise, McConnell is an elected official, and the leader of the Senate, and as such can expect people to say what they think of him when he goes out in public, and Hugh Hewitt’s whining ain’t gonna change that.

    After the mass murder of Jewish congregants in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Hewitt, instead of taking a break to slap himself in the face repeatedly as punishment for being such a fucking idiot, penned a column in the Washington Post about how very uncivil it is for people to “blame politicians for violence they don’t incite.” We agree with the general sentiment […] but hasten to add that it’s totally appropriate to blame politicians for violence they do incite. For instance, Donald Trump and every single GOP elected official and rightwing mouthpiece who have been spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about THE CARAVAN — every single one of them shares blame for what happened in Pittsburgh, as the shooter was specifically motivated by lies about Jews paying the caravan people to murder America.

    But no, Hewitt says! Trump is not to blame, because violent extremist idiots run the gamut of ideologies! For instance, some of them love Bernie Sanders, whereas others, like the Pittsburgh shooter, “hate” Donald Trump. (They’ve latched on to this lie hard, that because the dude wishes Trump would wear his white hood more openly, that means he “hates” Trump.)

    The truth is the spectrum of violent behavior runs from the far-left extreme of the Bernie Sanders-supporting shooter at an Alexandria baseball field to last week’s mailing of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats to Saturday’s stomach-turning massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue by a Trump-hating neo-Nazi, which made an already awful week even worse. That is the whole range of criminality at the fringes of American politics, a left-right full spectrum of angry, hate-filled obsessives.

    Many sides to blame […] Also some of them are lovely people, he imagines.

    Hewitt again cited the guy who yelled at Mitch McConnell, and listed off more examples of left-wing violence, most of which were about restaurant-yelling […]

  15. says

    From Wonkette:

    Children’s host and professional decent person Fred Rogers advised us to “look for the helpers” during times of crisis. Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — literally in Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood — sent most of us scrambling in search of “helpers,” and it seems like we might’ve found them in the form of Ivanka Trump and her first husband, Jared Kushner.

    The New York Times reported Sunday that it took the “importuning of Mr. Trump’s Jewish daughter and son-in-law to craft a powerful statement of outrage at anti-Semitism” after the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in US history. To translate from fancy-schmancy New York English, “importune” means to “ask pressingly and persistently for” something. I presume it went something like this:

    Ivanka: C’mon, say something bad about anti-Semitism! I (checks “word of the day” calendar) “importune” you.

    Trump: Don’t bother me with this right now! Have you seen my hair?

    Ivanka: Daaaaaddy!

    Trump: Fine! Man, you act like someone died.

    Let’s take a look at the results of all that “importuning.”

    Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings. It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!
    —————–
    All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries…

    …This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate

    During his remarks at the Future Farmers of America convention in Indianapolis Saturday, Trump boldly described the Pittsburgh shooting as “an anti-Semitic act.” I wouldn’t hand out any Nobels to the guy since the shooter flat-out confessed his anti-Semitic motivations. This is the “water is wet” or “gladiator sandals are unattractive” of moral declarations. Trump went on to claim, “You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don’t seem to learn from the past.” I don’t know about we, kemosabe, but it’s not surprising that you don’t remember the distant past of just last year when Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, and insisted Jews “will not replace [them].” You said there were “very fine people” on “both sides.” The problem with Nazis is that they tend to kill the people on the other side. […]

    From Chelsea Clinton:

    The President of the United States should not have to be persuaded to denounce anti-Semitism.

    From Newsweek:

    Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner persuaded president to denounce anti-Semitism after synagogue shooting, report says

    Yeah, we could tell that someone had persuaded Trump to tweet like he had the feelings of a normal human being for about five seconds. You could tell by the way the statements were worded.

  16. says

    From Steve Benen, “The Trump presidency is ‘uniquely defined by his down time’”:

    […] Trump, on a typical day, doesn’t appear to be doing a lot of actual work. Last Tuesday, for example, his official duties took up just over three hours. In contrast, he had nine hours of “executive time.”

    Not surprisingly for a post-policy president, this also means that Trump’s schedules are “remarkably light on policy discussions.” Last week’s schedule, for example, included just two hours for policy briefings. […]

    From Politico:

    As a freewheeling president in one of the world’s most regimented jobs, Trump appears to be redefining the nature of the role. Past presidents were disciplined in their scheduled time, squired from meeting to meeting, event to event, from the moment they arrived in the Oval Office until they headed up to the residence at night.

    Trump, by contrast, enjoys huge blocks of unscheduled time in which he can do as he pleases. He is hardly the first president to have an erratic schedule…. But even Trump allies who say the president is always working concede that the Trump presidency is uniquely defined by his down time, when his short-term bugaboos become the drivers of his agenda, rather than any long-term vision.

  17. says

    More than 44,000 people signed a letter from progressive Jewish leaders saying Trump is not welcome in Pittsburgh.
    The Hill link

    In the meantime, Trump is also traveling to campaign events. He has 11 rallies scheduled for the next six days.

  18. says

    Fox News messed up … again. The network hosted a guest that claimed asylum seekers at the southern border would bring small pox into the USA.

    Fox News’ Charles Payne took a few seconds at the end of the 4 p.m. hour Monday to note that the network has “no way of independently confirming” a guest’s baseless assertion that migrants and asylum seekers heading toward the U.S. border will bring with them “diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB [Tuberculosis] that are going to infect our people in the United States.”

    “Earlier in this hour, one of our guests said some of the people in the caravan may have diseases like leprosy and TB,” Payne said. “Well, we want to say we have no way of independently confirming this, and we wanted to clarify that point for you.” […]

    Link

    Fox News has spent quite a bit of time lately apologizing for airing outrageous shit.

  19. says

    “Analysis: Pittsburgh Massacre: Netanyahu’s Diplomats Add Insult to Injury by Defending Trump and Implicating the Left “:

    Israeli government representatives, from Benjamin Netanyahu on down, have expressed Israel’s heartfelt condolences in the wake of Saturday’s massacre of 11 elderly Jews at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

    Unfortunately, their message of sympathy is being undermined by the shameful effort of Israel’s top diplomats in the U.S. to absolve Donald Trump of any responsibility for fomenting an atmosphere of right-wing hate and, even more outrageously, to implicate anti-Semitism on the left instead.

    For many American Jews, Trump’s cardinal sin is the false equivalence he created between neo-Nazis and leftist demonstrators in the wake of the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, in which Heather Heyer was killed.

    There are “fine people” on both sides, Trump said, infuriating Americans in general and American Jews in particular. This did not deter Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and New York Consul General Dani Dayan, however, from using the same odious analogy.

    Rather than focus on the neo-Nazi credentials of Pittsburgh perpetrator Robert Bowers or on Florida’s serial pipe-bomber Cesar Sayoc’s endless admiration for Trump, Dermer and Dayan opted to muddy the waters. The two senior diplomats emulated the U.S. president by obfuscating the clear-cut white supremacist backdrop of the Pittsburgh atrocity and, in Dermer’s case, by commending Trump’s statement after the attack.

    Dayan and Dermer’s concerted efforts to shield Trump from criticism can’t be a coincidence. Both are implementing a deliberate policy decision to curry favor with Trump, even if at the risk of exacerbating Israel’s already tense relations with the American Jewish community.

    Not that either Dayan or Dermer were speaking out of character, mind you. Like Trump, the Israeli right, inspired by Netanyahu, habitually downplays right-wing incitement and routinely magnifies leftist dissent to monstrous proportions. They conveniently ignore the fact that all – not most, but all – of Israel’s political violence in recent decades has emanated from the right, from the settlers’ Jewish Underground through Hebron mass murderer Baruch Goldstein to Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir and many others in between. Like Netanyahu and his acolytes, the two diplomats intentionally conflate classic anti-Semitism, which Bowers’ exemplified in a particularly evil manner, with current anti-Israel agitation on campuses and elsewhere.

    Dermer also rejected the claim, acknowledged by a growing number of American Jews, that attacks on George Soros, which have proliferated since Trump began to tear into the Hungarian-born billionaire, are “necessarily” anti-Semitic. He didn’t have much of a choice, given that Netanyahu and other right-wingers regularly savage Soros as the sinister mastermind behind critics of their policies. And yes, in their particularly Israeli way, their attacks also carry the stench of latent anti-Semitism, albeit one limited to fellow Jews who share Soros’ views.

    Rather than using the shock and grief that has gripped American Jewry since the attack to mend fences and renew dialogue, Dermer and Dayan chose to add egregious insult to the critical injury suffered on Saturday by American Jewry. Both are intelligent men and must surely realize their statements could enrage many American Jews, in their time of anguish and pain….

    Not only is their approach morally wrong and injurious, it’s incredibly politically shortsighted and dangerous.

  20. says

    Shep Smith on FOX: ‘The migrants are 2 months away if they make it here at all. Tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing to worry about’.”

    Video clip at the link.

  21. says

    Trump stationing thousands of troops at the border is a cynical political ploy. Also, using the military for this wholly unnecessary purpose could lead to soldiers getting hurt or killed in accidents. It’s playing with their lives and well-being for partisan political advantage.

  22. says

    I’ve finished reading the complaint @ #4 above. It’s long, but I recommend it if you can find the time. So depressing to read about the people scammed, and disgraceful that this cut-rate conman is in the White House.

    So just this month we’ve had:

    “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father” from the NYT;

    Pump and Trump: Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices” from ProPublica and WNYC (here’s the podcast);

    and now this latest.

  23. says

    Lynna @ #22 – I’m trying to think of any fascist tropes they haven’t hit on at this point. Migrants and refugees are being funded and used by shadowy (particularly Jewish) forces as part of their plot to destroy our race/fatherland/civilization. They’re invaders. They’re hostile. They want to sabotage our politics. They want to take power. They’ll be a drain on our resources. They’re coming to breed. Among them are criminals, rapists, violent gangs, members of other scary groups, and terrorists. They’re bringing diseases. They have no rights.

  24. says

    “Trump Fan Convicted In Anti-Muslim Terror Plot Asks Judge To Consider Trump’s Rhetoric”:

    Attorneys for a President Donald Trump supporter who was convicted in a domestic terrorism plot aimed at slaughtering Muslim refugees asked a federal judge to factor in the “backdrop” of Trump’s campaign rhetoric when deciding their client’s sentence this week.

    Patrick Stein was one of three right-wing militiamen found guilty in April of a conspiracy to kill Muslim refugees living in rural Kansas. Ahead of the 2016 election, Stein and two others plotted with an FBI informant and an undercover agent to bomb an apartment complex that housed Muslims in Garden City. Stein went by the handle “Orkin Man” and referred to Muslims as “cockroaches” he wanted exterminated.

    At trial, defense attorneys referred to the defendants as “knuckleheads” who were engaged in “locker room talk,” and Stein’s attorney argued his client was a victim of a “chaos news” environment that had him thinking a civil war was coming.

    A jury convicted Stein and his co-defendants, Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, on weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights charges. They are scheduled to be sentenced Friday, a week after another Trump supporter was arrested for mailing bombs to the president’s critics and a right-wing extremist killed 11 Jewish Americans inside of a Pittsburgh synagogue. The government said it is seeking life sentences for all three defendants.

    Stein’s attorneys, James Pratt and Michael Shultz, argued Monday in a sentencing memo that sending Stein to prison for life was unwarranted and that a sentence of 15 years would be appropriate. They said the judge should factor in the “backdrop to this case” when crafting an appropriate sentence….

    More at the link.

  25. says

    “AJC Calls on Jews and Allies to #ShowUpForShabbat Following Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack”:

    AJC is calling on Jewish communities across the country—along with elected officials, religious and civic leaders, and other communal allies—to flock to synagogues this coming Shabbat (Friday night and Saturday, November 2-3) in a nationwide campaign named #ShowUpForShabbat. The AJC initiative is being launched in response to the horrific attack at Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, which left 11 Jewish worshipers dead.

    “This weekend, I will #ShowUpForShabbat. I encourage all members of the Jewish community and all people of conscience across our country to join me,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “What could be a more fitting response to the terror in Pittsburgh? We are not afraid. We are not going to think twice about affirming our identity and faith. We are not alone.”

    Representatives of AJC’s 22 offices across the United States are reaching out to communal partners and local government officials to ask them to participate in the #ShowUpForShabbat campaign. Simultaneously, the organization’s 11 international offices are working with partners in over 35 Jewish communities around the globe to launch similar initiatives locally. For those who want to #ShowUpForShabbat but do not belong to a synagogue, please reach out to a member of the synagogue or the synagogue staff in order to assure that the synagogue is able to accommodate your desire to attend.

    Join AJC in sending a clear message that when hate raises its ugly head anywhere in our country, we will rise to confront it with solidarity and determination. Add your name and join AJC in honoring the memory of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims and standing up to anti-Semitism at www[dot]AJC[dot]org/solidarity

    Other local, national, and international Jewish organizations are being asked to encourage their members to participate in the campaign. Synagogues are being called on to welcome the anticipated influx of attendees at their Shabbat services with explanatory programming and rabbis are being asked to dedicate their sermons to discussing the initiative. Social media users are being encouraged to tweet and post about their plans to attend Shabbat services this weekend using the hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat.

    The community of conscience must stand as one, whether in the face of the hate-motivated attack against a black church in Charleston, which took nine lives, or a synagogue in Pittsburgh, which took 11 lives,” said Harris. “We are determined to ensure that love triumphs over hate, good over evil, unity over division. That’s our America.”

  26. Akira MacKenzie says

    SC @ 31

    Democrats should say, ok see you in court…

    Considering recent events, I don’t think the Democrats should be enthusiastic about taking a case to the SCOTUS.

  27. says

    SC @30, they are capable of low cunning, but otherwise are of obviously inferior intelligence. Even God doesn’t like them. Oh, and they are ugly.

    Trump, along with his followers, manage to hit all of the racist/facist notes. It’s disgusting.

    And now Trump thinks he can get rid of birthright citizenship, which is in the 14th amendment to the Constitution. Trump is not intelligent. (I’m dreading the coverage of him visiting Pittsburgh today.)

  28. militantagnostic says

    Lynna@ 18

    I misread #BothSidesDoIt as #BothSidesDOLT. There are a lot of BothSidesDOLTS out there.

  29. says

    SC @30, they are capable of low cunning, but otherwise are of obviously inferior intelligence. Even God doesn’t like them. Oh, and they are ugly.

    And drugs! I forgot drugs!

  30. says

    militantagnostic @43, Ha! I like it. #BothSidesDOLT is apt.

    In other news, this is from Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

    The president is delivering on exactly what he said he was going to do if elected. And he got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him, and wanted to see his policies enacted.

    Nope. The 63 million figure is correct. However, Hillary Clinton got almost 66 million votes. Trump was not elected by “an overwhelming majority.” Sarah is a liar. Trump was not even elected by a simple majority, nor by a plurality.

    Trump does not have a mandate to govern.

    SC @44, how could we forget drugs? Sheesh.

  31. Chris J says

    Lynna@45:

    Well, to be cynical, Trump was indeed elected by an overwhelming majority of “63 million Americans who came out and supported him.” 100% of those who supported him and voted in the election voted for him!

  32. says

    From the Washington Post:

    President Trump complained Monday about the news coverage he has received related to the alleged pipe bomber, saying a different standard was applied to then-President Barack Obama when nine black worshipers were killed at a church in Charleston, S.C., during his tenure.

    Trump highlighted the contrast during a wide-ranging interview with Laura Ingraham of Fox News, who pointed out that Cesar Sayoc, who allegedly sent more than a dozen mail bombs to leading Democrats and CNN, was a big Trump fan. None of the devices exploded.

    “I was in the headline of The Washington Post, my name associated with this crazy bomber,” Trump said. “They didn’t do that with President Obama with the church, the horrible situation with the church — they didn’t do that.”

    Dylan Roof, the guy who killed nine black worshippers, was a white supremacist. He self-identified as a white supremacist. He was not a supporter of President Obama.

    How can Trump be that stupid?

  33. says

    More fuckery from the Trump administration in relation to immigration on the southern border:

    “The president has used the word ‘invasion’ to describe this caravan. That’s the same word that is mentioned in the Constitution three times — ‘invasion’ — with respect to the powers of the federal government to repel invasions.

    “So my question is, have there been any discussions here with respect to that about the fact that the Constitution provides for, for example, the suspension of habeas corpus to repel an invasion if the public safety requires it? Is the president talking about potentially ignoring posse comitatus by having the military go down? There’s a provision in the law that allows for a constitutional exemption. Is that in any way under consideration?”

    The president’s press secretary replied, “We’re looking at a number of different options. […] I’m not going to get into specific policies that we’re considering. There’s a number of actions that we’re looking at taking.”

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/press-briefing-press-secretary-sarah-sanders-102918/

    From Steve Benen:

    […] It’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that the Trump White House wouldn’t comment either way on whether the president would suspend habeas, working from the ridiculous assumption that the United States is facing a foreign “invasion.”

    And while lawyers can speak to this with more authority than I can, suspending habeas corpus would empower the administration to arrest people without charging them with a crime. Is this what Team Trump has in mind?

  34. says

    From Steve Benen, a discussion of the lies surrounding current Republican claims regarding health care and healthcare insurance:

    The political debate over health care took a discouraging turn last week when Donald Trump decided it was time to simply gaslight the public. “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Democrats will not!”

    It was as brazen a lie as any Trump has told. He simply took reality, turned it on its head, and asked Americans to believe the opposite of reality.

    All of which set the stage for a rare White House press briefing yesterday, where a reporter asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders a good question.

    Q: The president has talked multiple times about how the Republican lawmakers are going to protect pre-existing conditions if they keep control of Congress. But the administration is supporting a lawsuit that would undercut those protections under Obamacare and taken a couple of regulatory actions to that effect as well. So how do you square those two stances? And what’s the plan — the Republican plan for protecting preexisting —

    SANDERS: Look, the president’s health care plan that he’s laid out covers pre-existing conditions.

    We’ve come to expect a fair amount of dissembling from the president’s press secretary, but this was bizarre.

    For example, Sanders referenced “the president’s health care plan,” which Trump has “laid out.” In reality, such a plan does not exist. If you’re concerned that you missed the president’s presentation “laying out” his health care plan, don’t worry, you didn’t. There was no such presentation.

    There have been some Republican plans unveiled in Congress — each of which failed in the face of bipartisan opposition — but they did significant harm to Americans with pre-existing conditions. Trump’s support for them only exacerbates the severity of the falsehood.

    There is, however, a separate plan that’s quite real: it involves the White House’s support for ongoing litigation that would gut existing protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The case is pending while Trump pursues new regulatory policies that would further undermine those same Americans’ interests. […]

    Both Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders are shamelessly spouting lies, lies that are easy to debunk.

  35. says

    Chris @46, yes. That’s a creative way to parse words. True, but misleading. Maybe Sarah was thinking like that.

    In other news, Republicans usually let Representative Steve King get away with spouting all kinds of white supremacist nonsense. Now, however, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Steve Stivers, grew a backbone and condemned Steve King for those comments:

    Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.

  36. says

    From SC’s link in comment 29: Trump said in reference to the caravan, “Men. Young. Strong. A lot of bad people. A lot of bad people in there.”

    Trump is afraid of young men.

    And he said that to justify his fear mongering.

  37. says

    More anti-Jewish propaganda from a Republican:

    The campaign for a Republican running for state Senate in Connecticut mailed out a flyer that depicted his Democratic opponent, Rep. Matthew Lesser, a Jewish man, clutching a fist-full of cash and trying to snag an elderly man’s piggy bank, according to the Hartford Courant.

    The mailer, sent out by Republican candidate Ed Charamut’s campaign this week, has been widely criticized for its glaring anti-Semitic imagery. The mailer was met with heightened backlash following the massacre at the synagogue Saturday in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were murdered in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime. […]

    “It’s imagery used to depict Jewish people going back hundreds of years,” Lesser told the Courant. “Whether that was intentional or not I can’t say. That’s not what our community is about. On Sunday evening in Middletown we had a community gathering on the South Green in light of what happened in Pittsburgh, and it was the best of our community and it was really heartening. It’s demoralizing to see the campaign go in this direction.” […]

    Link

  38. says

    A weird part of the campaign to discredit Robert Mueller:

    An email sent to several reporters claiming that there was a payoff scheme to encourage false allegations against special counsel Robert Mueller has earned a referral to the FBI. […]

    As murmurs about the claims of the supposed payoff scheme started to appear on Twitter Tuesday, Mueller’s spokesperson acknowledged the allegations in a statement to TPM and other outlets.

    “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, said in a statement to TPM.

    In recent days, a number of news outlets, including TPM, were the recipient of an email from someone who claimed to have worked with Mueller while she was a paralegal a law firm in the 1970s. The email, somewhat dramatically, recounted an offer by a mysterious man, who allegedly claimed to be working for GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman, to pay off the sender’s credit card debt and cut a check worth thousands of more dollars if she signed documents making sexual misconduct and workplace harassment allegations against Mueller.

    “I don’t know what these people are looking for, but I’m not going to be part of some kind of Washington DC drama for any price,” the sender said in the email.

    So far, no journalist has been able to publicly corroborate with independent reporting the sender’s account. It’s not even clear whether the woman exists.

    However, reporters started hinting at the existence of the payoff claims after the pro-Trump Twitter personality Jacob Wohl hyped a coming “scandalous story” about Mueller. […]

    As if things weren’t already taking a turn towards the deeply strange, later in the day Tuesday, […] Jim Hoft — the far-right conspiracy theorist also known as Gateway Pundit — posted allegations against Mueller with the subdued headline:

    BREAKING REPORT — **EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS** : Special Counsel and Former FBI Director Robert Mueller Accused of Rape By ‘Very Credible Witness ‘

    The heavily-redacted “documents” describe an alleged rape at a New York City hotel in 2010. Styled as a dossier of sorts, the documents bear a header “International Private Intelligence.” […]

    Link

    Yeah, right. I predict this smear campaign attempt will fall apart quickly.

  39. says

    More anti-semitism from Frank Gaffney:

    Islamophobe Frank Gaffney argued Tuesday that the Jewish philanthropist and Democratic donor George Soros and the refugee aide organization HIAS have not been the victims of anti-Semitism, despite the pipe bomb mailed to Soros last week and the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter’s social media posts citing HIAS as a motive for allegedly killing 11 Jews.

    In claiming that the two were not victims of anti-Semitism, Gaffney echoed the shooter’s online rhetoric that HIAS was responsible for bringing dangerous foreigners into the United States. […]

    “Billionaire George Soros’ security detail got one of the so-called pipe-bombs and we’re told now he’s a ‘victim of anti-Semitism,’” Gaffney said on the podcast. “In fact, for years his funding has promoted hostility towards Israel and enabled the world’s most aggressive anti-Semites: rabid leftists and their Sharia-supremacist allies.”

    He added: “The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was an object of the Pittsburgh shooter’s enmity. But this organization, another putative ‘victim’ of anti-Semitism, has long brought here inadequately vetted and potentially Jew-hating Muslim refugees – and savaged President Trump for opposing such practices.”

    Gaffney currently leads the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim think tank, but National Security Adviser John Bolton’s outgoing chief of staff will soon take over atop the organization. […]

    Link

  40. says

    Follow-up to comment 54.

    This is from the readers comments:

    Don’t tell Frank but those Jew-hating Muslims have raised over $140,000 to aid the victims of his buddy’s attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg.

    BTW Has anyone else noticed that flags are flying at half-mast in honor of the (most recent) victims. Evidently, unlike the victims of the shooting Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, they’re skin tone was found to be “worthy” for the respectful flying of The Colors in their memory.

  41. says

    Dizzying spin from George Papadopoulos:

    George Papadopoulos’s ability to talk his way into and out of any situation is enough to make even Donald Trump blush.

    In the latest episode of the Papadopoulos saga, the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser and erstwhile coffee boy has taken to Fox News and Twitter in an effort to promote himself as the victim of a global spy conspiracy.

    “I have been sentenced to prison in our country while having exculpatory evidence hidden from me,” he wrote in a late Oct. 29 tweet. “If I knew what I knew today, I would never have plead [sic] guilty.”

    In appearances on Fox & Friends and Tucker Carlson Tonight, Papadopoulos has laid out a narrative in which he was duped by malicious prosecutors into pleading guilty as part of a larger conspiracy by former Obama officials who were trying to thwart an east Mediterranean gas project that he was working on. […]

    Walking away from the plea deal would mean that prosecutors could use his admissions in court against him.

    But Moreno said that Papadopoulos faces the biggest risk from the judge who originally believed his “remorse” at sentencing.

    “When the judge sees a person who has pleaded go out on Twitter or television and make statements recanting his guilty plea and recanting what he or she said in court and now saying something else, the judge can get pretty upset,” Moreno said.

    Papadopoulos did not go easily into the agreement in the first place. His wife, Italian model Simona Mangiante, asked Trump to pardon her husband in a June Fox News appearance. In court filings, prosecutors wrote that Papadopoulos only admitted that he discussed the Russians having access to Clinton’s emails “after … lying about when he received the information.” […]

    Link

  42. says

    Good news! Shipping giant FedEx finally cuts ties with the National Rifle Association

    In other news, Trump, funeral crasher, is getting the cold shoulder.

    Tens of thousands of Pittsburgh residents have signed a letter written by Jewish leaders in the city stating that Trump is not welcome until he firmly disavows white nationalists. Instead, Trump went on Fox News Monday night to defend his embrace of the term “nationalist” and defend continuing to use the term “globalists” for his opponents—a term that is known to be used to support conspiracy theories about secret Jewish control of governments.

    Donald Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh at this point is such horrible optics that he reached out to Chuck Schumer to see if Schumer would go with him. He won’t. Trump has asked Nancy Pelosi, the focus of a thousand Republican attack ads, to come along. She said no. And that was just the start.

    New: Pittsburgh Mayor, Pittsburgh County Exec, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Ryan, Senate Minority Schumer, and House Minority Leader Pelosi all tell CNN they have declined WH invite to join Pres Trump in Pittsburgh today.

    Link

  43. says

    Fox News is pushing the same conspiracy theory that motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

    Fox News continues to push a conspiracy theory that a caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border represents an “invasion,” even after it motivated a gunman to carry out the largest mass killing of Jews in American history at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning.

    The gunman, Robert Bowers, repeatedly referred to people traveling with the caravan as “invaders” on Gab, a social media website that serves as a den for white supremacists. Bowers blamed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish group that resettles refugees in the U.S., […]

    In the days leading up to the shooting, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the NRA, and Trump-supporting CNN commentator Matt Schlapp all pushed the baseless conspiracy theory that George Soros, a wealthy Jewish philanthropist, was somehow financing the caravan. A piece in The Atlantic details how the “invasion” conspiracy theory originated with a Fox News segment on October 16. […]

    In the three days since the shooting, Fox News contributors and guests have continued to use militaristic language to talk about the caravan — which in reality consists of impoverished mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons from countries like Nicaragua and Honduras who are making a dangerous journey north to escape desperate conditions in their homelands. […]

  44. says

    From Steve Schmidt:

    The propaganda industry that [Kellyanne Conway] commands, with the vile president that she serves, abetted by Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart and NewsBusters and Judicial Watch and all the rest of them have blood on their hands for the incitements that they have made that have triggered and radicalized these crazy people. […]

    [Trump] scapegoats minority populations and his media allies amplify the rhetoric.

    He [Trump] alleges conspiracies. He creates a sense of shared and virtuous victimhood, positions himself as the righteous avenger. […]

  45. says

    From Wonkette: “Mike Pence’s Fake Rabbi Walks Into A Bar, Says Jews Are Going To Hell.”

    […] American Jews really, REALLY don’t like Jews for Jesus. It’s about the only thing most all of us agree on. You may have heard the expression, “Two Jews, three opinions,” and that’s usually true. Except when it comes to Jews for Jesus, where the opinions are, 1) lock the door and text all your neighbors that those bastards are back again, 2) tell them if they don’t get off your porch, you’ll call the cops, or 3) round up Yitzy and the boys to let those J4J momzers know they need to leave the neighborhood NOW.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are fine. Mormons don’t bother us since they quit posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims into their faith. But so-called Messianic Jews who have discovered Jesus and want to share him with our kids induce a potent mix of fear and panic in the hearts of American Jews.

    Which brings us back to Mike Pence, who took time out of a rally last night in Michigan for House candidates Lena Epstein and Mike Bishop to honor the memory of the Jews shot praying in their own synagogue in Pittsburgh. Introducing Loren Jacobs, as a “leader in the Jewish community,” Pence handed the lectern over to him for a “blessing.”

    Hmmm. We don’t usually see a “rabbi” wearing a prayer shawl and no yarmulke, but go on.

    God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of Father my Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus the messiah, and my God and Father, too.

    So, that’s not a rabbi. Because, you know, the whole Jesus thing.

    Then, rather than praying for the victims and survivors of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack, Mike Pence’s Christian Rabbi prays –by name– for each Republican candidate on a list given to him.

    ARE YOU NOT COMFORTED, JEWS? Do you not feel honored?

    Actually, not. Like, not at all. Particularly since Pence’s fake rabbi believes that the shooting victims are currently burning in hell. […]

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Tuned into MSNBC to catch the end of Hardball. They were having a show from the U of Houston with Beto O’Rourke. I think he has a future even if he loses the election.

  47. says

    Nerd @81, I agree.

    Also, even if Beto loses, he will have been a sort of wake-up bell for Democrats in Texas. The Texas voting landscape will never be the same.

    I was impressed with both the breadth and depth of Beto O’Rourke’s knowledge of the issues and policies. He had no trouble answering any questions that the Hardball host, or the audience members threw at him.

  48. says

    Akira McKenzie @ #41:

    Considering recent events, I don’t think the Democrats should be enthusiastic about taking a case to the SCOTUS.

    Nah, as horrifying as the thinking behind it is, it’s a silly notion. He’s no more able to do this than he is to institute a 10% middle-class tax cut via a “resolution” during a congressional hiatus.

  49. says

    MSNBC:

    “It’s an unbelievable image that we’re looking at. These are peaceful protesters, walking along, grieving about the tragic death of 11 of their neighbors in a synagogue on Saturday, and protesting the presence of Donald Trump, the president, in their community today.”

    Video of the solemn protest in Pittsburgh yesterday. Heartbreaking.

  50. says

    “Mueller probes Roger Stone’s interactions with Trump campaign and timing of WikiLeaks release of Podesta emails”:

    The special counsel investigation is pressing witnesses about longtime Trump ally Roger Stone’s private interactions with senior campaign officials and whether he had knowledge of politically explosive Democratic emails that were released in October 2016, according to people familiar with the probe.

    As part of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III appears to be focused on the question of whether WikiLeaks coordinated its activities with Stone and the campaign, including the group’s timing, the people said. Stone and WikiLeaks have adamantly denied being in contact.

    On Friday, Mueller’s team questioned Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, about claims Stone is said to have made privately about WikiLeaks before the group released emails that prosecutors say were hacked by Russian operatives, according to people familiar with the session.

    In recent weeks, Mueller’s team has also interviewed several Stone associates, including New York comedian Randy Credico and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Both testified before the grand jury.

    Investigators have questioned witnesses about events surrounding Oct. 7, 2016, the day The Washington Post published a recording of Trump bragging about his ability to grab women by their genitals, the people said.

    Less than an hour after The Post published its story about Trump’s crude comments during a taping of “Access Hollywood,” WikiLeaks delivered a competing blow to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by releasing a trove of emails hacked from the account of her campaign chairman John Podesta.

    Investigators have been scrutinizing phone and email records from the fall of 2016, looking for evidence of what triggered WikiLeaks to drop the Podesta emails right after the “Access Hollywood” tape story broke, according to people with knowledge of the probe.

    In his interview Friday with the special counsel’s team, Bannon was asked about Stone’s interactions with the campaign and about instances in which Stone was reported to have made private comments that matched his public declarations of having knowledge of WikiLeaks’s plans, according to people with knowledge of the interview….

  51. says

    “Has Mueller Subpoenaed the President?”:

    These months before the midterm elections are tough ones for all of us Mueller-watchers. As we expected, he has gone quiet in deference to long-standing Justice Department policy that prosecutors should not take actions that might impact pending elections. Whatever he is doing, he is doing quietly and even farther from the public eye than usual.

    But thanks to some careful reporting by Politico, we may have stumbled upon How Bob Mueller Is Spending His Mid-Terms: secretly litigating against President Trump for the right to throw him in the grand jury.

    We cannot know, from the brief docket entries that are available to us in this sealed case, that the matter involves President Trump. But we do know from Politico’s reporting that it involves the special counsel and that the action here was filed the day after Giuliani noted publicly, “[W]e’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.” We know that the district court had ruled in favor of the special counsel and against the witness; that the losing witness has moved with alacrity and with authority; and that the judges have responded with accelerated rulings and briefing schedules. We know that Judge Katsas, Trump’s former counsel and nominee, has recused himself. And we know that this sealed legal matter will come to a head in the weeks just after the midterm elections.

    If Mueller were going to subpoena the president—and there’s every reason why a careful and thorough prosecutor would want the central figure on the record on critical questions regarding his knowledge and intent—this is just the way we would expect him to do so. Quietly, expeditiously, and refusing to waste the lull in public action demanded by the midterm elections. It all fits.

  52. says

    Part of what Trump said in a recent interview:

    INGRAHAM: What is the military going to be able to do? Obama and Bush both sent the National Guard and it had no effect.

    TRUMP: But they’re not me. They’re not me. I’m sending up the military. This is the military.

    And they’re standing there and one thing that will happen when they are captured, we don’t let them out. What has been happening, and we are not, as of pretty recently, we are not letting them out.

    Fact-check from the Washington Post:

    The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 restricts what the U.S. Armed Forces can do to enforce domestic policies, including immigration laws.

    “The armed forces do not appear to have a direct legislative mandate to protect or patrol the border or to engage in immigration enforcement,” according to an April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

    However, the Armed Forces can provide indirect support, the CRS report added. They can “share information collected during the normal course of military operations; loan equipment and facilities; provide expert advice and training; and maintain and operate equipment,” for example. […]

    What the Armed Forces cannot do is detain or frisk migrants, according to a federal law that bars “direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.”

    Trump is either lying while he thumps his chest and boasts … or he is, as usual, willfully ignorant. What a doofus.

  53. says

    Follow-up to comment 53.

    From NBC News:

    Wohl declined to comment on his involvement with Surefire Intelligence. However, his email is listed in the domain records for Surefire Intelligence’s website and calls to a number listed on the Surefire Intelligence website went to a voicemail message which provided another phone number, listed in public records as belonging to Wohl’s mother.

    Wohl stopped responding to NBC News after being told Surefire’s official phone number redirects to his mother’s voicemail.

    Hmmm. With supporters like Wohl, Republicans don’t need any enemies. They are quite capable of destroying themselves while performing unintentionally comedic farces.

    Background from Steve Benen:

    […] A variety of reporters revealed that they’d heard from a woman who said she’d been contacted by Surefire Intelligence, which allegedly offered to pay her to make false claims about Mueller. Another woman said she, too, had heard from the same firm, offering her money for information related to Mueller, despite the fact that she’d never met him.

    And while that’s clearly problematic on its face, the story took a weird turn when news organizations took a closer look at Surefire Intelligence and discovered that it may not exist in any meaningful way.

    In fact, a published photo of the managing partner is apparently just Jacob Wohl using a different name. Other photographs of other supposed staffers at the “firm” appear to have been lifted from elsewhere, including one of actor Christopher Waltz. […]

  54. says

    This whole story is very sketchy, and we don’t really know yet what is going on.

    The bodies of two sisters from Saudi Arabia were found washed up on New York City’s waterfront. The bodies were taped together. Neither body showed signs of physical violence. The two sisters, Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, lived in Virginia and were reported missing in August.

    […] Their mother told detectives the day before the bodies were discovered, she received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, ordering the family to leave the U.S. because her daughters had applied for political asylum, New York police said Tuesday. [Is that true? If so, that’s weird.]

    Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in New York said in a statement that it had “appointed an attorney to follow the case closely.” […]

    “We are looking at all clues in their past life,” Shea [Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea] said.

    The medical examiner’s office was investigating the cause of death. The lack of obvious trauma appeared to rule out a theory they jumped into the river from the George Washington Bridge.

    In its statement, the Saudi Consulate General said embassy officials in Washington had contacted the family and “extended its support and aid in this trying time.” It said the sisters were students “accompanying their brother in Washington.”

    Tala and Rotana moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia with their mother in 2015, settling in Fairfax, a suburb of Washington D.C., police said.

    Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring. […]

    Police said the sisters left their family home and were placed in a shelter after an earlier disappearance, in December 2017. […]

    Link

    “after an earlier disappearance”? What the heck?

  55. says

    Follow-up to comments 53 and 73.

    The greatest grifter story ever told: Krassenstein brother busts Jacob Wohl over Mueller plot

    […] In a sentence straight out of a Mad Lib written by someone who spends way too much time on Twitter, one of the Krassenstein brothers, the infamous anti-President Donald Trump grifters, reported Jacob Wohl, a prominent pro-Trump grifter, to the FBI over an apparent plot to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference.

    (Editor’s note: We will give you a moment to process all of that before proceeding.)

    This strange saga begins two weeks ago, when several reporters received a “tip” from “Lorraine Parsons” that suggested something game-changingly scandalous was afoot: Women were being offered money by mysterious political operatives to accuse Mueller of “#MeToo-style” sexual misconduct. By and large, the journalists who received this email from “Lorraine” deduced it to be a likely hoax, intended to discredit the media.

    Enter another conservative grifter. On Tuesday, Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist who has, throughout a long career on the edges of politics, pushed baseless conspiracy theories (most recently about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich), emerged from the shadows to claim that he had “sad news” — supposedly credible allegations of sexual assault against Mueller.

    At this point, Jacob Wohl, a fanatically pro-Trump media personality, entered the picture. Wohl — an inveterate flimflammer whose past activities include all manner of financial sector perfidy, both shady and hilarious — teased the “scandalous story” about Mueller on Tuesday. […]

    Then, Jim Hoft of the Gateway Pundit, a far-right website that peddles absurd conspiracy theories and has a White House credential, published “EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS” claiming Mueller had been accused of rape. […]

    The “EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS” mention “International Private Intelligence” on each page, supposedly dredged up by a company named Surefire Intelligence, which describes itself as a “private intel agency that designs and executes bespoke solutions for businesses and individuals who face complex business and litigation challenges.”

    But hang on to your butts, because the plot’s only getting thicker. With all these rumors of an incoming scandal involving Robert Mueller percolating on Twitter, it wasn’t long before it drew the attention of Ed Krassenstein, one half of the notorious #Resistance brothers, who decided to look into the accusations. After speaking with Burkman in what amounted to a historic bipartisan grifter-summit, Krassenstein obtained some fresh intelligence. As he told NBC news, “I wanted to know who Surefire Intelligence is. That’s when he told me about Jacob Wohl.” […]

    Link

    More at the link, including photos of Surefire “Tel Aviv Station Chief” which turns out to be supermodel Bar Refaeli. Surefire Intelligence’s LA “private Investigator” is British model and photographer Nick Hopper … and on it goes.

  56. says

    Breaking: Judge Denies Kemp’s Request on Absentee ballots, ruling ‘absentee voters who are unable to vote in person and whose applications or ballots are rejected based on a signature mismatch will still have the opportunity to have their votes counted in the upcoming election’.”

  57. says

    Trump tweeted: “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”

  58. says

    “‘We will resist’: anti-Bolsonaro protesters vow to defend Brazil’s freedoms”:

    Thousands of Brazilian protesters have marched through the heart of São Paulo to tell their newly elected far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, they recognize his democratic election but will resist any attempt to erode their freedoms or rights.

    “No one is giving up! No one is giving up! No one is giving up!” the protesters chanted as they began an emotional 3km procession through São Paulo past graffiti-scrawled walls that bore the rallying cry of their movement: “Not him!”

    Similar protests were held in cities across Brazil including Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Recife.

    In Brazil’s economic capital, anti-Bolsonaro protesters returned to the same spot outside São Paulo’s art museum where devotees of Brazil’s far-right president-elect celebrated his stunning triumph on Sunday night.

    Many carried handmade banners and signs with slogans denouncing Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper notorious for his hostility to human rights, minorities and the environment.

    As protesters filed down São Paulo’s Avenida Paulista flanked by military police, some in riot gear, Bolsonaro made his first public outing since being elected on Sunday with nearly 58m votes.

    Bolsonaro chose an evangelical church in northern Rio de Janeiro where he appeared on stage alongside Silas Malafaia, a deeply conservative and firebrand televangelist who once called himself “the public enemy number one” of Brazil’s gay movement.

    “You can expect me to be someone who is committed to Christian family values,” Bolsonaro told the congregation….

  59. says

    “The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982”:

    It hardly makes news any more that the US is becoming an extremely unequal country.

    Each year new eye-popping statistics juxtapose the reality of decades of stagnant wages for half the country’s workers with today’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power.

    The top three wealthiest billionaires in the US – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population combined.

    This is possible because the bottom fifth of US households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.

    “We’re developing into a plutocracy,” said the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

    One troubling indicator that we are drifting toward a society governed by the wealthy is the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties.

    The three wealthiest US families are the Waltons of Walmart, the Mars candy family and the Koch brothers, heirs to the country’s second largest private company, the energy conglomerate Koch Industries. These are all enterprises built by the grandparents and parents of today’s wealthy heirs and heiresses.

    These three families own a combined fortune of $348.7bn, which is 4m times the median wealth of a US family.

    Since 1982, these three families have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000%, factoring in inflation. Meanwhile, the median household wealth went down 3% over the same period.

    Usually wealth diminishes over multiple generations, as money is spent, passed down to heirs, given to charity and paid in taxes. Only when families aggressively intervene to arrest this cycle does wealth continue to expand over multiple generations, even as the number of heirs increases.

    Several dynastic families have used their considerable clout to stage just such an intervention, spending millions to save themselves billions….

  60. says

    SC @78, that made me laugh out loud. If there’s anyone who doesn’t really understand what he’s saying when it comes to birthright citizenship, it is Trump.

    It’s also funny to see Trump fighting with Paul Ryan on Twitter. Ryan has worked so hard to be milquetoast on milquetoast when it comes to Congressional oversight duties of the executive branch … and yet, he still draws fire.

  61. says

    Trump’s deluded view of his visit to Pittsburgh:

    Melania and I were treated very nicely yesterday in Pittsburgh. The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. We were treated so warmly. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!

    Trump was not even greeted at the airport. No officials wanted to be seen greeting him.

    Trump also tweeted about immigrants in a way that made it plain why people would protest against his presence anywhere:

    The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people. Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!

    So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree…..

  62. says

    From Joe Biden:

    They’re [Republicans are] either not telling the truth or they’re really stupid. Because there’s no way you can afford to cover pre-existing conditions without everybody being in on the deal.

  63. says

    What each of Trump’s 11th-hour ideas have in common: they’re not real.

    From the New York Times:

    In the last days before a midterm congressional election that will determine the future of his presidency, Mr. Trump seems to be throwing almost anything he can think of against the wall to see what might stick, no matter how untethered from political or legal reality. Frustrated that other topics – like last week’s spate of mail bombs – came to dominate the news, the president has sought to seize back the national stage in the last stretch of the campaign.

    Ad hoc though they may be, Mr. Trump’s red-meat ideas have come to shape the conversation and, he hopes, may galvanize otherwise complacent conservative voters to turn out on Tuesday.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] the most alarming problem with Trump’s furious series of 11th-hour pitches is what they all have in common: they’re not real.

    Trump talked up a new tax cut, which he said would be unveiled by today, but which only existed in his imagination.

    He’s pushed an anti-immigration executive order to effectively rewrite part of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, but most legal experts – including many Republicans – consider the idea ridiculous.

    The White House this week touted Trump’s “health care plan” that covers Americans with pre-existing conditions. There is no such plan, and the president’s actual plan does the opposite.

    Trump keeps talking about an “invasion” that doesn’t exist, and he’s dispatched U.S. troops to the southern border for largely theatrical reasons.

    Even the president’s new policy on the cost of prescription medication – a policy Trump described as “revolutionary” – is likely to do far less than the White House likes to pretend.

    I don’t really blame Trump for scrambling, throwing out a bunch of new ideas, hoping some of them resonate with the electorate. His actual agenda isn’t popular, his Republican Party is facing some political headwinds, so it stands to reason the president is going to try out some new material as voters get ready to cast their ballots.

    I do blame Trump, however, for peddling an agenda that’s little more than a mirage.

  64. says

    From Joan McCarter:

    Another day, another total and complete denial of reality from the toddler-in-chief.

    Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions far better than the Dems!

    Yes, today, October 31, Trump repeated that lie on Twitter.

    More from Joan McCarter, debunking Trump’s claim:

    Trump personally approved the Justice Department’s decision to not only decline to defend the law when Texas’ and a bunch of other states’ attorneys general (hi, Josh Hawley, Republican senate candidate in Missouri) filed suit against the Affordable Care Act, but to file a brief in support of that suit explicitly arguing that the consumer protections in the law, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions, are unconstitutional. And right now the Trump administration is sabotaging those protections by allowing states to sell junk insurance plans that don’t provide them.

    Every Republican running for any state or federal position that has anything to do with health care is currently running on that lie: the lie that they will protect your health care, and that they give a damn about your coverage.

  65. says

    Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, dedicated a monument today. In his speech, he compared robert E. Lee to Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, took time away from being investigated for corruption to help dedicate Camp Nelson in Jessamine County, Kentucky, as the Bluegrass State’s first national monument.

    Camp Nelson was a Union training and recruitment depot for black soldiers during the Civil War. During his opening remarks, Zinke pointed out that the locations of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, and of Arlington Cemetery—built on the grounds of the estate of Robert E. Lee in Virginia—were similar in orientation, reports the Huffington Post.

    “I like to think that Lincoln doesn’t have his back to General Lee. He’s in front of him. There’s a difference. Similar to Martin Luther King doesn’t have his back to Lincoln. He’s in front of Lincoln as we march together to form a more perfect union,” Zinke said at the start of a 25-minute speech. “That’s a great story, and so is Camp Nelson.” […]

    You know who isn’t there? Robert E. Lee. You know why? He led the Confederate Army against the United States in war, leading to the most American deaths of any war in our history. He did this in the service of secessionist states unwilling to end the barbaric and racist practice of slavery.

    “To attempt to link Lee’s achievements for the Confederacy which embraced White Supremacy to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not a slight oversight but a huge historical misappropriation that the descendants of enslaved Africans cannot accept or tolerate,” Malik Russell, an NAACP spokesman, said in an email. “Dr. King’s work united our nation and bent the moral arc toward justice, while General Lee acquiesced to the ignoble norms of his time.” […]

    Link

  66. says

    Additional reductions in air quality, courtesy of team Trump:

    What factory farm owners portray as “normal odors” from animal waste can cause serious harm to farmers and the residents who live near these large industrial operations.

    The Trump administration, like it has with many important health and safety rules, is siding with industry and ignoring how animal waste can have serious impacts on the health of Americans.

    Embracing the “normal odor” argument, acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposed rule on Tuesday to amend emergency release notification regulations to let industrial agricultural operations off the hook from reporting air emissions from animal waste at their farms.

    This is despite the mountain of evidence that shows concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) produce toxic air that can be lethal for farm workers and nearby residents.

    “This proposed rule is intended to make it clear to the regulated community that animal waste emissions from farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA,” Wheeler said Tuesday in a statement.

    EPCRA stands for the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. In the case of massive farming operations that produce huge amounts of animal waste, Wheeler concluded that communities do not have a right to know about potentially toxic emissions. […]

    EPA wants to grant factory farms exemption from reporting potentially harmful emissions

  67. says

    Oops! Perry ‘accidentally told the truth’ about dumping nuclear waste in Nevada

    Trump lied about his plan to flood Nevada with nuclear waste.

    One thing that unites Nevadans is opposition to President Donald Trump’s effort to turn the state into a huge nuclear waste dump.

    That’s why many were surprised when Trump suggested he might abandon that policy after touring the state recently with GOP Senator Dean Heller, who is in a tight reelection race against Democrat Jacky Rosen.

    But Trump’s Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, admitted on Friday the administration still supports building the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository outside of Las Vegas.

    In doing so, Perry effectively spoiled Trump’s effort to help Heller, as Jon Ralston, editor of the Nevada Independent, explained to Bloomberg: “Poor Rick Perry didn’t get the memo and accidentally told the truth.” […]

    Perry said a week later on October 26, that “yes” the administration still supports opening Yucca. Indeed, Perry pointed out, “I’m making this presumption by looking at a budgeting process and there was money in the president’s budget to manage Yucca.”

    In response to Perry, Heller insisted that “the White House must follow through on President Trump’s words about supporting consent-based siting and commit to zeroing-out funding for Yucca Mountain.”

    Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) said Perry’s comments “show that the president has lied to the people of Nevada.” […]

    More at the link, including helpful background information related to plans to centralize high-level radioactive waste storage in the USA.

    The bottom line is that it appears Trump has been caught in yet another lie aimed solely at boosting GOP electoral prospects.

  68. says

    “Statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin in Support of #ShowUpForShabbat”:

    Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin in support of #ShowUpForShabbat:

    “The U.S. Conference of Mayors stands with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in encouraging members of Jewish communities, mayors and elected officials, civic leaders, and others to attend Sabbath services at local synagogues this Friday and Saturday, November 2-3. By participating in #ShowUpForShabbat mayors and all people across the country will be able to mourn the 11 beautiful souls taken away from us at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh October 27 and show solidarity with the Jewish community.

    “In the face of such senseless violence, we must never lose sight of the power of love, inclusion and diversity. Let this weekend mark our collective effort to start anew and work towards building communities where hate is not tolerated, where we are guided by our better angels and where we treat all of our neighbors with compassion and respect.”

    #SolidarityShabbat is also being used.

  69. says

    Wow – “Out-of-state political consultants helped direct Josh Hawley’s Missouri AG office”:

    Josh Hawley pledged to Missouri voters in 2016 that he was not the kind of career politician who would use “one office to get to another.”

    But within weeks of Hawley’s swearing in as the state’s top law enforcement official, the high-powered political team that would go on to run his U.S. Senate campaign had stepped in to help direct the office of the Missouri attorney general — and raise his national profile.

    Hawley’s out-of-state political consultants gave direct guidance and tasks to his taxpayer-funded staff, and followed up to ensure the tasks were completed, according to emails, text messages and other records obtained by The Kansas City Star.

    Early in Hawley’s tenure, for example, emails sent by the consultants to state staff laid out plans to shape the attorney general’s image and agenda for the year ahead.

    As the months went on, Hawley’s political consultants flew to Missouri for official events and to meet with the attorney general’s staff during work hours in the state Supreme Court building, where the 38-year-old Republican’s official office is located.

    The campaign-led strategy sessions, which began in January 2017, raised legal and ethical concerns at the time among some of Hawley’s employees, who worried about mixing politics with public business. The situation also left them confused about the chain of command.

    The political consultants and Hawley’s attorney general staff used private email accounts to help organize at least some of these meetings, and to follow up afterward.

    Topics discussed by the attorney general’s staff in private emails included official business such as the budget, staffing decisions, and how to roll out major policy initiatives against sex trafficking and opioid abuse.

    The campaign presence in Hawley’s official office is in stark contrast to the image he projected during his 2016 race for attorney general.

    A newcomer to politics, Hawley aired a TV ad during his successful 2016 campaign for attorney general that showed men in suits scaling ladders as Hawley, standing squarely on the ground, said he was running to serve the people of Missouri and not his own political ambitions.

    “Jefferson City is full of career politicians just trying to climb the ladder, using one office to get another,” Hawley said. “I think you deserve better.”

    Having campaign staff run meetings on government property does not necessarily run afoul of Missouri law, as long as the meetings were not explicitly political. If the meetings were campaign focused, however, they could violate a constitutional prohibition on use of state resources for personal or political purposes….

  70. says

    Iowa Congress critter, Republican Steve King, seems to have finally made one too many white supremacy/neo-Nazi comments. Several corporations are no longer supporting King.

    An incomplete list of corporations who have withdrawn their support:
    Land O’Lakes
    Intel
    National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC
    Black Hills Corporate PAC

    King has been openly racist, and far rightwing whacko, for some time. Support for him should have been withdrawn long ago. Still this is a step in the right direction.

  71. says

    Another fear-mongering tactic from Trump:

    If the midterms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans, I think you’re all going to lose a lot of money. I hate to say that. I think you’re going to lose a lot of money.

    If it comes out good like we think it probably will, ’cause there’s a good feeling in there … If it comes out good, I think the market’s gonna continue to go through a period that, like we’ve never seen before.

  72. says

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised more than $100 million online in the 2018 election cycle. The average donation was $19.

    At this point in the 2016 election, the DCCC had raised $67 million—and that was in a presidential election year.

    “The outpouring of support from grass-roots donors has allowed us to invest in over 80 races, fund an unprecedented $30 million base engagement and turnout campaign, and hold Republicans accountable every step of the way,” Julia Ager, the DCCC’s chief digital officer, said in a statement.

    The increase in funds has given the Democratic Party a financial advantage for the first time in some of the contested House of Congress races.

  73. says

    Project Veritas … again!

    Democratic House candidate Abigail Spanberger’s (Va.) campaign said Wednesday that the campaign was infiltrated by a person allegedly working for the conservative activist organization Project Veritas.

    The campaign told The Washington Post that a woman believed to work for the group had pretended to be a Democratic volunteer and had been working in a Spanberger campaign office in Richmond for several weeks. […]

    Spanberger’s campaign manager, Dane Bye, said in an email to the Post that “dirty tricks like these are the worst part of politics.”

    “We are proud of the campaign we have run, and wonder if Congressman Brat and his allies can say the same. While others may scrape the bottom of the barrel out of desperation, Abigail and our campaign will remain focused on talking to our neighbors on their doorsteps about the issues that matter to our community — that’s the campaign voters deserve and it’s the campaign that we believe will carry us to victory,” Bye added. […]

    James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, told the Post he was traveling and could not immediately comment.

    According to the Post, the campaign found the woman’s image online and identified her as an operative for Project Veritas.

    Video provided to the Post by the campaign shows Bye confronting the woman and escorting her out of the office.

    In the video, Bye is seen telling the woman that campaign learned she was “here under false pretenses, and that we need to ask you to leave.”

    “OK, thank you,” the woman responded before leaving. […]

    The Hill link

    Washington Post link

  74. says

    SC @102, JFC. That’s “Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Mother and Wife. Proud alum of @UofMaryland and @JohnsHopkins Univ.” Seema Verma.

    Perfectly suited for the Trump administration, absolutely unfit for the job. All the best people.

  75. says

    Good for these Republicans. No longer clueless.

    Former GOP Rep. David Jolly (Fla.) is one of a number of Republicans voting for Democrat Andrew Gillum over GOP candidate Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial election, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    Jolly told the newspaper Republicans he knows are voting for Gillum in defiance of President Trump.

    Former Rep. DeSantis has tied himself closely to the president, who has strongly endorsed the candidate.

    “[…] I also really think it’s just a plain rejection of all things Donald Trump and his surrogates.”

    “I’ve turned in my ballot. I voted for Andrew Gillum” Jolly continued. “The reason is simple: it’s because I’ve served with Ron DeSantis.” […]

    The RealClearPolitics average has Gillum up 3 points, but has not yet incorporated Wednesday’s Suffolk University Poll.

    Link

  76. says

    The faulty legal logic behind Trump’s birthright citizenship proposal.

    […] Trump has brought up ending birthright citizenship before. The president’s former Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Anton anticipated and argued for Trump’s proposal in two recent opinion articles, supplying the legal arguments the president’s comments lack.

    Anton’s arguments, however, are strikingly weak even on their own terms. I am not an “originalist” who thinks the Constitution can be boiled down to what the framers believed. But I will accept those terms for the purpose of airing the argument’s deep flaws.

    The 14th Amendment opens by declaring that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” The argument for excluding the children of undocumented migrants […] turns on the caveat in the line “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” But what does that mean?

    According to Anton, the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction of” reaches only those children “not subject to some foreign power,” On this view, a “foreigner clearly owes allegiance to somebody else: the country to which he is a citizen or subject” — which suggests then that a child with foreign parents has some innate allegiance to the country that their parents are from. The Trump proposal assumes that this includes the children of undocumented migrants, although apparently not the children of lawful immigrants. […]

    First, notice that it is not the child with a claim to birthright citizenship who is supposed to have an “allegiance to a foreign power.” It is their undocumented parent. The argument thus rests on a sleight of hand. It takes the status of the parent and uses it to legally punish their son or daughter.

    This is question-begging: Not all the children born in the US to undocumented migrants are necessarily citizens of the country their parents came from. Other nations have very diverse citizenship regimes. Many refugees, in fact, are “stateless” because they fall within the gaps of different countries’ citizenship rules.

    Second, Anton rightly concedes that the birthright citizenship clause was intended “to settle forever the question of the citizenship status of freed slaves and of other free blacks,” and so has “nothing whatsoever” to say about “the children of illegal immigrants.” […]

    After Congress outlawed the importation of Africans in 1807, slaves continued to be brought illegally across the Atlantic. […] In 1859, President James Buchanan even flagged the illegal trade in his annual message to Congress.

    At the time of the 14th Amendment, therefore, there were untold thousands (or more) children and grandchildren of “illegal immigrants” among the former slaves.

    […] If the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship was to have had its intended (and, in fact, historically observed) effect, it cannot exclude the children of the undocumented. […]

    All agree that the amendment repudiated the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. That opinion excluded blacks from citizenship on the ground that the framers would have considered them “a subordinate and inferior class of beings.”

    The 14th Amendment was thus intended to foreclose the invocation of “original intent” to arbitrarily and cruelly close the door of citizenship based on perception that one group is “subordinate and inferior.”

    Perversely, Trump’s proposal does precisely that. Worse, it imposes no constraint on future Congresses’ powers to manipulate immigration law to exclude yet other disfavored groups, including lawful permanent residents and other lawfully present immigrants.[…]

    […] many countries vest citizenship with certain persons at birth, as the U.S. does for the children of two American parents born overseas. All children born in the U.S. with a claim to another nation’s citizenship would be excluded from birthright citizenship, if we take the [Trump] logic at face value. […]

    Vox link

    More at the link.

  77. says

    Bots are driving the conversation about the migrant caravan.

    […] Late last week, about 60 percent of the conversation was driven by likely bots. Over the weekend, even as the conversation about the caravan was overshadowed by more recent tragedies, bots were still driving nearly 40 percent of the caravan conversation on Twitter. That’s according to an assessment by Robhat Labs, a startup founded by two UC Berkeley students that builds tools to detect bots online. The team’s first product, a Chrome extension called BotCheck.me, allows users to see which accounts in their Twitter timelines are most likely bots. Now it’s launching a new tool aimed at news organizations called FactCheck.me, which allows journalists to see how much bot activity there is across an entire topic or hashtag. […]

    https://www.wired.com/story/new-tool-shows-how-bots-drive-conversation-for-news-events/

  78. says

    ABC’s write-up of their interview with Trump draws rave reviews:

    Jay Rosen: “This is a level of malpractice by @ABC News that is simply staggering. Just pumping into the national debate lie after lie, fantasia after fantasia, completely unchecked. No summary or excerpt can do it justice. You have to read.”

    : “The ‘lie vs. false claim’ vocabulary debate is relevant, but what’s much more important is that Trump’s dishonesty is challenged at all. Media outlets keep printing quotes as ridiculous as this while adding no context or correction whatsoever.”

  79. says

    NYT – “Jewish Leaders, in Call for Unity After Shooting, Welcome Outsiders to Shabbat”:

    In preparation for the first Sabbath following the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Jewish leaders are signaling that they do not plan to close off their communities out of fear.

    Instead, many are encouraging Jews and non-Jews alike across the country to attend services on Friday night or Saturday, spreading the hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat across social media as an invitation to all. The campaign, started by the American Jewish Committee, is meant to offer a space for people to express grief over the massacre and show solidarity with the victims, said David Harris, the chief executive of the organization, which is a Jewish advocacy group.

    On Friday, Mr. Harris, of the American Jewish Committee, said the campaign was not meant to spread Judaism as a religion, but to send a message of strength against anti-Semitism.

    “We’re not going to be cowed into silence,” he said. “We’re not going to stay home. We’re going to show up.”

  80. says

    Good news – “Arron Banks referred to National Crime Agency”:

    The National Crime Agency is investigating Arron Banks and his Leave.EU campaign for alleged offences committed at the 2016 EU referendum.

    Mr Banks and another senior campaign figure, Liz Bilney, were referred to the agency by the Electoral Commission.

    The watchdog said it suspected money given to the campaign came “from impermissible sources”.

    The Electoral Commission says it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” that Mr Banks was not the true source of the £8m loans made to Better for the Country….

  81. says

    More detailed Guardian report:

    …The Electoral Commission statement said: “Due to multiple suspected offences, some of which fall outside the commission’s remit, the commission has referred this matter and handed its evidence to the National Crime Agency.”

    The NCA confirmed it had begun an investigation connected to “suspected electoral law offences covered by that referral, as well as any associated offences”.

    It said in a statement: “While electoral law offences would not routinely fall within the NCA’s remit, the nature of the necessary inquiries and the potential for offences to have been committed other than under electoral law lead us to consider an NCA investigation appropriate in this instance.”

    Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission’s director of political finance and regulation, said: “We have reasonable grounds to suspect money given to Better for the Country came from impermissible sources and that Mr Banks and Ms Bilney, the responsible person for Leave.EU, knowingly concealed the true circumstances under which this money was provided.

    “This is significant because at least £2.9m of this money was used to fund referendum spending and donations during the regulated period of the EU referendum.

    “Our investigation has unveiled evidence that suggests criminal offences have been committed which fall beyond the remit of the commission. This is why we have handed our evidence to the NCA to allow them to investigate and take any appropriate law enforcement action. This is now a criminal investigation.

    “The financial transactions we have investigated include companies incorporated in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. These jurisdictions are beyond the reach of the Electoral Commission for the purpose of obtaining information for use in criminal investigations or proceedings.”

  82. says

    So in the interview with Trump, Jim VandeHei is challenging him about what his rhetoric could incite his followers to do. From the exchange:

    VandeHei: To be honest, what scares the crap out of me is if you’re saying “Enemy of the people, enemy of the people”… God forbid that like somebody, like, you’ve got fervent supporters. They love you. They listen to you. “Enemy of the people, enemy of the people”…

    Trump, interrupting: They like me more because of that.

    It is truly pathetic, and you have to see and hear how he says it to get the full measure.

  83. says

    JUST IN: #DOJ charges #Malaysian financier, 2 ex Goldman Sachs bankers with money laundering, #FCPA violations in connection with Malaysia #1MDB fund scandal. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner pleads guilty to money laundering, #FCPA charges:…”

    DoJ press release at the link. Jho Low among those charged.

  84. says

    SC @124, Before Shaub quit, we didn’t know what a good Director of the Office of Government Ethics he was. He didn’t stick around to be slimed by Trump. Now he is still a real treasurer for the nation because he is so good at calling people to account on social media. He doesn’t let ethics violations slide, he posts them for everyone to see.

    Looks like Seema Verma is another Trump appointee that Democrats will have to investigate, and probably boot from office. If the Dems take over the House.

  85. says

    From the link in SC’s comment :

    There has been a shift in the peer culture that @ABC journalists belong to. This was published in defiance of that. Looks like they tried to have it both ways. Function as a pass-through to appeal to Trump supporters, use links to pacify critics who ask about fact-checking.

    ABC, you can’t do that. Most people won’t bother with the fact-checking. Becoming yet another platform to disseminate Trump’s lies, to magnify Trump’s reach … that’s not acceptable.

    I think it is probably correct that ABC was trolling for Trump followers and Trump resisters at the same time. It’s a money-making ploy. Also, ABC may have thought that they would please Trump and thereby get more interviews.

  86. says

    Oprah does a much better job of campaigning for a Democratic Party candidate than Trump does campaigning for Republicans. Trump barely mentions the Republican candidate. He just seizes the opportunity to hold a rally for himself and to inject fear-mongering memes into the culture. Oprah actually discussed Stacey Abrams’ platform.

    https://twitter.com/ABC

    video on Twitter

  87. says

    Some podcast recommendations:

    Trump, Inc.: “Rudy, Inc.”: “We spent weeks investigating his work and clients in the former Soviet Union.”

    Stay Tuned with Preet: “Live from Town Hall (with Jeffrey Toobin)”: “In front of a packed house at the Town Hall in New York, he speaks with Preet about Trump and the rule of law, Kavanaugh and the court, and why the Mueller investigation never leaks. Plus, Preet explains why an executive order can’t eliminate birthright citizenship.”

    Chris Hayes’ Why Is This Happening?: “White Identity Politics with Michael Tesler”: “Something profound happened when the country elected Barack Obama, something that took years to fully manifest. Listen to Michael Tesler explain his revelations on racial resentment, economic anxiety, and how it changes the way we think about the 2016 election.” [Thrill to the discussion of multivariate regression and other social science methods! (Seriously, though, it’s all very interesting, including the conversation at the end about Tesler’s new book, which concerns race and attitudes toward pit bulls.)

    Chris Hayes’ Why Is This Happening? short bonus podcast: “BONUS: Midterm Watch with Daniel Nichanian”: “Daniel Nichanian [Taniel on Twitter] joins Chris to talk about what he has his eyes on ahead of election day.”

  88. says

    If you thought Trump couldn’t reach “a new low,” think again.

    Some racist ads are subtle, relying on innuendo and nuance. Some racist ads are more overt.

    […] Trump on Wednesday released a racially divisive political ad that blames Democrats for allowing an undocumented immigrant who was convicted of killing police officers to stay in the U.S.

    The 53-second video, which was pinned to the top of Trump’s Twitter feed on Thursday, refers to Luis Bracamontes, who was convicted of, and given the death penalty earlier this year for killing two California police officers in 2014.

    Bracamontes had already been twice deported from the United States to Mexico, but he returned illegally. The ad features the convicted killer bragging about his heinous crimes and mocking his victims.

    […] “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country,” the president said in a tweet prompting the ad. The video itself features text that tells views, “Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay. Who else would Democrats let in?”

    To the extent that reality has any meaning, Democrats neither let Luis Bracamontes into the United States nor allowed him to stay.

    […] Sen. Jeff Flake said of the video, “This is just a new low in campaigning. It’s sickening.” In a tweet directed at Trump. Al Cardenas, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party, wrote, “This ad, and your full approval of it, will condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever in the annals of America’s history books.”

    ‏I’ve seen plenty of people compare Trump’s new video to the “Willie Horton” ad from 1988. It’s a valid comparison, but I tend to think this new ad is worse.

    […] In 1988, the Horton ad told voters that Democrats are on the side of a violent black man. In 2018, Trump’s new video is telling voters that Democrats are on the side of a violent Mexican man.

    […] The president isn’t keeping his distance from the racist video; he’s actively promoting it.

    There’s no embarrassment. There’s no shame. There’s only unabashed pride. […]

    It’s worth emphasizing that Trump’s ad isn’t really an ad in a traditional sense. It’s 53 seconds – television commercials are usually 30 or 60 seconds – and it doesn’t include any of the disclosure text that’s legally required for ads that run on broadcast TV.

    In other words, this is a Trump internet video.

    I mention this because I realize that it exists to get attention. In fact, I’ve spent the morning going back and forth, debating whether or not to ignore it, and weighing the costs of giving Trump what he wants: more attention for his racist message.

    But in the end, when the sitting president of the United States peddles racist garbage, it’s news. The public needs to know who their elected leader is, what he wants, and how he intends to get it. When Donald Trump makes his character clear, Americans must not turn away.

  89. says

    Trump just doesn’t understand:

    Birthright citizenship is a very, very important subject. In my opinion, it’s much less complex than people think. I think it says it very loud and clear in the Constitution that you don’t have to go through the process of whatever they’re talking about.

    WTF does that word salad even mean?

    In the Florida rally, Trump said:

    The Constitution does not — I say that to the media — does not require [birthright citizenship] — read it — because illegal aliens are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] They’re not?

    The 14th Amendment, enacted in the aftermath of the Civil War, states that everyone “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Part of the president’s latest push is arguing that non-citizens are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, so we need not consider their children Americans, even if those kids are born on American soil.

    Of course, as George Conway explained last night, “Were that true, then the government wouldn’t be able to arrest [undocumented immigrants]. Surely that’s not the president’s position. Clearly he has no comprehension of the words he’s using.”

    And yet, he keeps using the words anyway. Here was the rest of Trump’s speech on the subject at his Florida rally: “Birthright citizenship, you know all about it. We will keep the criminals, the drug dealers, we will keep them all out of our country. We will get rid of all of this. We will end, finally, birthright citizenship.”

    Just so we’re clear, birthright citizenship doesn’t apply to criminals and drug dealers; it applies to infants. […]

  90. says

    After the massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Trump continued to dig a hole for himself. During a conversation with a reporter yesterday, at the White House, Trump incriminated himself further.

    Q: Do you think somebody is funding the caravan? Do you think somebody is paying for the caravan?

    TRUMP: I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Q: George Soros? Who’s paying for it?

    TRUMP: I don’t know who. But I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.

    Doesn’t Trump know by now that the conspiracy theory claiming that Jewish Americans are responsible for bringing dangerous criminals into the USA is the very conspiracy theory that prompted the shooter in Pittsburgh to kill 11 people?

    There is no evidence to back up that stupid conspiracy theory. Trump says, “a lot of people say,” which is his way of saying, “I watch Fox News,” and/or “There is no proof, I just like saying it.” (To be fair, one Fox News anchor, Shepard Smith, debunked Trump’s lies.)

  91. says

    Matthew Miller: “Don’t see how this exchange helps either Stone or Trump. The Trump campaign believed Stone was in contact with Assange before emails were released, and at a minimum, he led them to believe he was.

    Ah, now this makes sense. He was just trying to get this out ahead of the NYT publishing the same exchange, though it’s not like his version of events makes it any better.”

    Also, weren’t they saying that Stone had broken with the campaign? Here he is communicating with Bannon, doing something that looks a lot like coordinating, which makes his leaving the campaign look like a ruse to allow him to work as a go-between behind the scenes. And this is just two messages! What are the others?

    (And Stone seems to continue to go down the road of reshaping his story to respond to each new revelation, which doesn’t tend to be sustainable.)

  92. says

    Meanwhile,…“Roger Stone Associate Jerome Corsi To Testify Again In Mueller Probe”:

    Professional conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi is in Washington for more interviews with the special counsel investigation, ABC News reports.

    He’s scheduled to testify for a second time before a grand jury on Friday, following up on a first appearance on Sept. 7.

    The former Infowars Washington bureau chief has spent more time meeting with prosecutor’s from the special counsel office over the past few weeks, as people in the orbit of GOP provocateur Roger Stone continue to be questioned in the investigation….

  93. says

    Rosalind Helderman, WaPo:

    On Tuesday, Roger Stone told us there were “no” communications between him and Trump campaign officials about Wikileaks. “And if Bannon says there are he would be dissembling,” he added. Now NYT publishes exchange between Bannon and Stone about Wikileaks.

  94. says

    Rachel Maddow’s crew catches Kansas officials in voter suppression lie, Kobach’s racism exposed. That’s a Daily Kos link that includes a text essay.

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach just might be the single-most racist politician in America today. For years, he’s dedicated himself to racist causes. In 2010, he helped Arizona craft the controversial S.B. 1070 law, which allowed law enforcement to demand proof of U.S. citizenship on the spot for any person of color or anyone with a “foreign accent.” If people were unable to provide it on the spot, police had the ability to arrest and indefinitely detain the individual and any family members traveling with them who also might not be able to provide documentation on the spot. The Koch-funded ALEC organization quickly pushed their bought and paid for state legislatures to introduce similar laws nationwide.

    Kobach has also openly associated with white nationalists […]

    Now Kobach is running for governor of Kansas, locked in heated contest with Democrat Laura Kelly, who has been endorsed by every living former governor of Kansas, Republican and Democrat alike, with the exception of one: Sam Brownback. Moderate Republicans are pushing for voters to reject Kris Kobach because of his extremism, racism and partisan handling of elections. His dirty tricks put him over his opponent in the Republican primary earlier this year by roughly one hundred votes.

    Now Kobach and his Kansas allies aim to do it again in the general election. Case in point: Dodge City, Kansas. With a population of 27,000, Dodge City has seen a demographic change in the last two decades and the city’s Hispanic population now makes up roughly 60 percent of the total population. Kris Kobach really does not want them to vote. Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox closed the one and only polling location in Dodge City and moved it out of town, nearly a mile from the nearest bus stop. […]

    Rachel Maddow sent a crew to take a look at the so-called heavy construction that *required* them to move the polling location and look what they found: […]

    Link to the Maddow segment on The Maddow Blog.

  95. says

    southpaw:

    Fair to assume, given their congruence with the Stone op-ed in the Daily Called today, that these emails were provided to NYT by Stone or his lawyer and may not be the most interesting exchanges that could be obtained by a search warrant.

    The NYT piece doesn’t contain any information about who selected the emails to give them, any potential motive from their source, or take any notice of Stone’s writing in the Daily Caller *today* because of course it doesn’t.

    Exactly. This is basically a “Trump says…” tweet in the form of an article.

  96. says

    Presser To Unveil No-Show Mueller Accuser Goes Predictably Off The Rails

    The conspiracy theory-peddling conservative activists who hosted a much-hyped press conference Thursday to reveal sexual misconduct allegations against special counsel Robert Mueller struggled to explain simple details about how the accusations came to light and about the accuser herself, who they previously promised would appear in person but who allegedly bailed due to safety concerns.

    At one point, GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman and pro-Trump Twitter personality Jacob Wohl disagreed on the proper spelling of the accuser’s name, as there were some spelling discrepancies in their handouts outlining the purported claims.

    “I apologize for the typo. I will take blame for that because I’m partially blind,” Burkman said.

    Much of the press conference was spent litigating the false claims Wohl had previously given about Surefire Intelligence, a bogus private intel firm that Wohl and Burkman say vetted the accuser’s account. Wohl, until Thursday, had denied involvement in the firm but is now claiming to be its founder.

    “The investigation at that point was still in flux and it was important that I preserve my anonymity as I went through it,” Wohl said, adding that he did not want to be hassled in the airport.

    Burkman, meanwhile, defended the bonafides of Wohl to lead such an investigation. Before Wohl spent his days tweeting about conversations among liberals he overhead at hipster coffee shops, the 20-year-old was a failed hedge fund manager.

    “I think Jacob is a child prodigy that has eclipsed Mozart,” Burkman said.

    Someone in the back of the room shouted, “He can’t even open an e-trade account,” a reference to the troubles Wohl ran into in his brief financial trading career.

    The accusations Burkman and Wohl are pushing claim that Mueller met the accuser, Carolyn Cass (or maybe Carolyne Cass) at the bar at St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan in August 2010. They allege that after pressuring Cass to come up to his hotel room —”I work for the FBI,” the then-FBI director allegedly said — he raped her. […]

    Wohl also reiterated the deep skepticism he usually holds for sexual misconduct accusers, but said this woman, allegedly an LA-based fashion designer, had an “illustrious background.”

    “She’s gone to schools all over the world,” Wohl said, prompting laughter in the press conference crowd.

    Wohl suggested that the accuser, who they promised in the future will appear in front of the press, will also file a police report — perhaps as early as next week.

    “We have to see,” Burkman quickly backtracked. “A lot of that is up to my client.”

    Ridiculous. I hope the FBI files charges against Burkman and Wohl.

    From the readers’ comments page:

    I think Burkman standing there, literally, with his fly open, brought the whole thing to a new level.

    http://forums.talkingpointsmemo.com/t/discussion-presser-to-unveil-no-show-mueller-accuser-goes-predictably-off-the-rails/79901

  97. says

    Oh, FFS!

    […] Trump is expected to announce on Thursday his plans to automatically deny asylum to migrants who try to enter the U.S. illegally between ports of entry […]

    And to make sure they enter between ports of entry, Trump is having ICE, the Border Patrol, etc. close the ports of entry.

    […] The asylum clause of the Immigration and Nationality Act notes that anyone who arrives to the U.S. may apply for asylum. And any change would almost certainly be immediately challenged in court.

    Trump was to make his announcement during brief remarks Thursday afternoon, according to three people familiar with the plans. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly by name.

    The administration has been discussing various options to address the caravans for days and it was possible that things could change before Trump’s 4:15 p.m. remarks “on the illegal immigration crisis” before he departs the White House for a campaign rally in Missouri. […]

    Link

  98. says

    John Bolton loves Jair Bolsonaro. Birds of a feather. All the best people.

    White House national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday praised Jair Bolsonaro, the bombastic, far-right nationalist who triumphed in Brazil’s presidential election over the weekend, calling him a “like-minded” partner whose ascent should be seen as a welcome development in the region.

    In a speech on U.S. policy toward Latin America, Bolton said Bolsonaro could be a partner in fighting against leftist leaders […] He slammed socialist leaders in three countries — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua — as the “troika of tyranny.” […]

    “The recent elections of like-minded leaders in key countries, including Iván Duque in Colombia and, last weekend, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, are positive signs for the future of the region, and demonstrate a growing regional commitment to free-market principles, and open, transparent and accountable governance,” Bolton said at Freedom Tower in Miami, a national historic landmark that served as a processing center for Cuban refugees in the 1960s. […]

    “This troika of tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” he said. […]

    “As the president has said, the problems we see in Latin America today have not emerged because socialism has been implemented poorly,” Bolton said. “On the contrary, the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan people suffer in misery because socialism has been implemented effectively.” […]

    “The troika will crumble. The people will triumph. And the righteous flame of freedom will burn brightly again in this hemisphere,” Bolton told a crowd thundering with applause.

    Link

    Bolton’s comments bolster Trump’s recent claims, (without any evidence whatsoever), that Democrats want to turn the United States into Venezuela. Socialists and communists are the new bogeymen, I guess. Lies and fear mongering.

  99. says

    “I think the blue wave is dead, frankly,” Trump told CBN in an interview taped Wednesday aboard Air Force One. “And I think we’re doing very well. It looks like we’re going to win the Senate, which is very important.”

    I guess even Trump knows that he is going to lose the House. The blue wave is not dead. Trump is fond of pronouncing that things are “dead” when they are not. He did that with Obamacare dozens of times. Trump’s seems to think he can kill things simply by pronouncing them dead.

  100. says

    Be careful who you demonize.

    A member of Germany’s anti-immigrant party collapsed. A politician of Kurdish descent saved him.

    The center-left politician reportedly rushed into action.

    […] When the employee of Germany’s Alternatives for Germany (AfD) party collapsed and stopped breathing during a state parliamentary session, Serdar Yüksel, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the state parliament of North-Rhine Westphalia, jumped in to help.

    Yüksel is a trained intensive care nurse, and he and another member of parliament from the Free Democrat Party used CPR to save the man, according to German media.

    The AfD employee survived and was later taken to the hospital.

    Here’s why this is more than a simple feel-good story: Yüksel is of Kurdish descent, and his parents are from Turkey. He was born in Essen, Germany, and has been a member of the center-left SPD since 1989, according to his bio. […]

    Germany’s AfD party, meanwhile, is virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Islam, and has gained strength in recent years by stoking fears about newcomers. (Since 2015, Germany has welcomed more than a million migrants and refugees, including many asylum-seekers from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.) […]

  101. says

    Follow-up to comment 146.

    No, John Bolton is not admiring the right people. More news from Brazil: Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors.

    In advance of this Sunday’s second-round presidential election between far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro and center-left candidate Fernando Haddad, Brazilian media are reporting that Brazilian police have been staging raids, at times without warrants, in universities across the country this week. In these raids, police have been questioning professors and confiscating materials belonging to students and professors.

    The raids are part a supposed attempt to stop illegal electoral advertising. Brazilian election law prohibits electoral publicity in public spaces. However, many of the confiscated materials do not mention candidates. […]

    For those worrying about Brazilian democracy, these raids are some of the most troubling signs yet of the problems the country faces. They indicate the extremes of Brazilian political polarization: Anti-fascist and pro-democracy speech is now interpreted as illegal advertising in favor of one candidate (Fernando Haddad) and against another (Jair Bolsonaro). In the long run, the politicization of these two terms will hurt support for the idea of democracy, and bolster support for the idea of fascism.

    […] Warrantless police raids in university classrooms to monitor professor speech have worrisome echoes of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime — particularly when the speech the raids are seeking to stop is not actually illegal.

    Perhaps the most concerning point of all is that these raids are happening before Bolsonaro takes office. They have often been initiated by complaints from Bolsonaro supporters. All of this suggests that if Bolsonaro wins the election — as is widely expected — and seeks to suppress the speech of his opponents, whom he has called “red [i.e., Communist] criminals,” he may have plenty of willing helpers.

    Update: On Friday, October 26, Brazil’s Attorney General of the Republic said she will bring the matter to the Supreme Court, seeking to guarantee freedom of expression in universities. Members of the Supreme Court also expressed concern about the raids on Friday.

    Update 2: On Wednesday, October 31, Brazil’s Supreme Court voted unanimously to suspend the electoral court decision that had led to last week’s university raids, holding that the raids violated Brazilians’ constitutionally guaranteed right to free expression. The decision holds force in both public and private universities. In casting her vote, Supreme Court Justice Cármen Lúcia Antunes Rocha declared that, “The only legitimate force to invade universitites is free and plural ideas. Any other force that enters is tyranny, and tyranny is the exact opposite of democracy.”

  102. says

    New details concerning recent phone calls between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Jared Kushner.

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days […] in a phone call with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion. [So, Bolton was there!]

    In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.

    The attempt to criticize Khashoggi in private stands in contrast to the Saudi government’s later public statements decrying the journalist’s death as a “terrible mistake” and a “terrible tragedy.” […]

    In a statement released to The Washington Post, Khashoggi’s family called the characterization of the columnist as dangerous Islamist inaccurate.

    “Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years,” the family said. “Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.” […]

    A Saudi official on Wednesday denied that the crown prince made the allegations, saying “routine calls do exist from time to time” with the young leader and top U.S. officials, but “no such commentary was conveyed.” […]

    Kushner’s efforts to carefully cultivate a relationship with the heir to the Saudi throne makes him a critical voice in deciding the Trump administration’s response. After several private talks early in the administration, Kushner championed Mohammed as a reformer poised to usher the ultraconservative, oil-rich monarchy into modernity. Kushner privately argued for months last year that Mohammed would be key to crafting a Middle East peace plan, and that, with the prince’s blessing, much of the Arab world would follow.

    It was Kushner who pushed his father-in-law to make his first foreign trip to Riyadh, against the objections of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and warnings from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. In the early days of the administration, Kushner often preferred to talk to the crown prince privately, but now coordinates his conversations with the National Security Council.

    Kushner visited the crown prince at his palace in a secret October 2017 trip, a plan so closely held that it caught some White House and intelligence officials by surprise.

    The two 30-somethings stayed up late into the evening alone discussing the prospects of Kushner’s Middle East peace plan. A few days later, the prince ordered the house arrest of dozens of rival royals and imprisonment of other enemies in a bid to solidify his control of the government. The White House and the Saudis have denied Kushner approved the power grab. […]

    Washington Post link

    More at the link.

  103. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 149.

    “My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” Kudlow said at a Washington Post Live event, adding that raising it would “damage” small businesses by forcing them to face higher payroll costs. Kudlow later called the idea of hiking the federal minimum wage “silly.” […]

    Kudlow appeared to also oppose minimum wages at the state and local levels, citing conservative arguments that it constrains business growth by adding to their costs. But he said the federal government shouldn’t interfere.

    “I would argue against state and local, but that’s up to the states and localities,” Kudlow said.

    Washington Post link

    Kudlow is the director of Trump’s National Economic Council.

    Kudlow is saying that the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour should be zero.

    Kudlow also recently talked about cutting “entitlements” like Medicare.

  104. says

    …raising it would “damage” small businesses by forcing them to face higher payroll costs.

    Okay, we’ll scale the minimum by the total revenue of the parent company. Small companies get a discount, but large companies have to pay the full amount. That means the companies with most money, who hire the most people, will pay the highest wages, to the benefit of everyone.

    That should solve that problem. Right?

  105. says

    156 LykeX:
    I expect it will bring out the most creative accounting we’ve ever been forbidden to look directly at.

    General note:
    Thanks very much to all who specify “Washington Post Link.” They probably already know that WaPo lets you see five articles a month, period, unless you pony up. They may even know that people like me are continually clicking these links unaware, using up those five articles the first day. I am seriously grateful for the chance to choose what I blow “my” five articles on.

  106. says

    “Advice For US Troops Sent To The Mexican Border In An Age Of Terrible Leaders”:

    We do not live in normal times, but rather in an age of morally compromised leadership. The Trump administration is preparing to send 5,000 U.S. military personnel to the United States’ southern border. There is no legitimate military purpose for this operation. Border crossings are near historical lows, and the so-called “caravan” of hungry, frightened migrants poses no risk to U.S. national security.

    Instead, this operation is a political stunt. The administration aims to leverage the military’s credibility in support of its hysterical anti-immigrant propaganda campaign, which is itself a component of a partisan mid-term electoral strategy.

    Junior military leaders thus begin in a morally hazardous position which will only grow worse with time. The purpose of this piece is to outline those hazards and to advise junior military leaders on how best to respond….

  107. says

    Kip T.W. @ #158, can you hover over the links to see what they are? (Genuine question – I don’t know if people can do this on all devices. I used to always specify for that reason, and could get in the habit again, especially if not everyone can identify the links before clicking.)

  108. says

    160 SC
    I can when I’m at my computer, reading this in a browser, though I sometimes forget when something gets my interest. Not so much on my phone, but that’s not most of the time.

    I get suckered a lot more often on Twitter, where the links always seem to be shortened and inscrutable. I sometimes suspect that some places think if you know enough about a link to make a judgement on it, then you won’t click it. (I’d love it if YouTube links provided, say, a clue.)

  109. says

    BREAKING AZ Green Party’s U.S. Senate candidate Angela Green tells #12News she’s dropping out & throwing support to @kyrstensinema. Green was polling up to 6% in toss-up race.”

    As people are pointing out, AZ has voting by mail so a good number of votes have already been cast, and she’ll remain on the ballot, but it helps. (I’m still amused that the Green Party candidate’s name is…Green.)

  110. tomh says

    @ #158

    If you choose, you can click on the links from WaPo or NYT, or any site that limits you, in an incognito window (Chrome), or Private in other browsers, and the site will read it as the first time you are visiting.

  111. tomh says

    @ #162
    Somehow, I didn’t know that North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t require voter registration. You can show a driver’s license, proving age and residence on election day and vote. That’s got to be an advantage for Heitkamp.

  112. says

    SC,
    Thanks very much for your consideration. And who knows, maybe there’s someone else out there with my problem. A guy can dream.

    tomh,
    Thanks also very much for your evil suggestion. Maybe I can read the WP on purpose once in a while now.

  113. says

    Someday, I hope soon, there will be subpoenas and hearings and a reckoning for the people creating this dangerous, racist political propaganda.

    “Along the caravan route” is an obvious indicator of willful intent to mislead.

    Q: When do you expect the caravan to arrive at the border?

    A: Current estimates indicate that the caravan could arrive between four days and two weeks (from October 31) depending on the mode of transportation and whether they make any prolonged stops.

    Sure. They’ll totally arrive by then if a fleet of helicopters magically appears. Meanwhile, this is the reality.

    There’s no way they’re going to keep thousands of troops (are they there yet? is the process being slow-rolled by DoD?), who can’t engage in domestic law enforcement in any event, at the border through the holidays awaiting this phantom menace. After the election, they’ll claim that the Mexican government helped to break up the caravan or that their threats worked or whatever and the military is no longer needed, and it’ll be on to the next bogeyman.

    Maddow last night – “U.S. military assessment of caravan doesn’t match Trump’s panic”: “Rachel Maddow points out that according to leaked assessment documents published by Newsweek, the U.S. military does not see the kind of threat that would warrant Donald Trump’s pre-election panic deployment of 15,000 troops to the border.”

  114. says

    Ben Bradshaw: “If it is true that Theresa May stopped the intelligence services from investigating Banks in 2016 because of sensitivity about the #Brexit referendum, the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer.”

    So far the main source for this seems to be the Daily Mail, but people seem to be taking it seriously.

  115. says

    From SC’s link in comment 154:

    Trump warns that if any migrants throw stones or rocks when they get to the US border, “We will consider that a firearm. Because there’s not much difference.”

    Trump says he has told US officers at the border that, if migrants throw rocks, “Consider it a rifle.” He’s saying, obviously, that he wants rock-throwers shot.

    Trump lies of asylum seekers: “they never show up for their trials…they never come back, they’re never seen again.” Even the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies says two-thirds of people show up to court.

    Trump says that there are indeed legitimate asylum seekers, then ad-libs, of people abusing the system, “Almost everybody. Everybody is abusing it.” This makes no sense at all.

    Trump is adding to his lying about child separation, saying he was actually gentler than Obama: “All I did was take the same law. And then I softened the law.” He had a much harsher policy, wasn’t the same; then backed down reluctantly after an outcry.

    Trump is lying over and over that asylum seekers “disappear” without ever showing up for court.

    The bit about considering a thrown rock the same as a rifle sounds like our Commander in Chief giving an unlawful order.

    I’m worried about the civilian militias that are patrolling the border. They are likely to take Trump seriously. Also, as Rachel Maddow noted last night, the militias are known for stealing equipment from the National Guard. What will they steal from the army troops that Trump is sending to the border?

    From the Maddow show:

    James LaPorta, investigative reporter for Newsweek, talks with Rachel Maddow about U.S. military assessment documents leaked to him that show a stark contrast with the racist panic Donald Trump is trying to whip up ahead of the 2018 election.

    The video is 9:44 minutes long.

  116. says

    SC @159, wow. Did you notice how much of the advice for resistance to unlawful orders depends on a free and independent press?

    About all those lies Trump has been telling:

    If […] Trump’s torrent of words has seemed overwhelming of late, there’s a good reason for that.

    In the first nine months of his presidency, Trump made 1,318 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. But in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day.

    That adds up to a total of 6,420 claims through Oct. 30, the 649th day of his presidency, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. […]

    September was the second-biggest month of the Trump presidency, with 599 false and misleading claims. But that paled next to October, with almost double: 1,104 claims, not counting Oct. 31.

    The burden of keeping track of this verbiage has consumed the weekends and nights of The Fact Checker staff. We originally had planned to include Oct. 31 in this update, but the prospect of wading through 20 tweets and the nearly 10,000 words Trump spoke that day was too daunting for our deadline.

    The president’s proclivity to twist data and fabricate stories is on full display at his rallies. He has his greatest hits: 120 times he falsely said he passed the biggest tax cut in history, 80 times he has asserted that the U.S. economy today is the best in history and 74 times he has falsely said his border wall is already being built. […]

    Washington Post link. Much more at the link.

  117. says

    Part of what Trump said last night in Missouri:

    I will tell you, we have gotten tremendous numbers, tremendous numbers of Republicans are going out to vote. Now, we did have two maniacs stop our momentum that was incredible, because for seven days, nobody talked about the election to stop the tremendous momentum.

    From Steve Benen:

    In the wake of the synagogue and pipe bomb attacks, the president found some people to feel sorry for: himself and his party.

  118. says

    Excerpts from a discussion of some of the lies in Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering campaign video:

    In racist video, Trump can’t even try to scare people without lying

    It’s been called “the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years.” […] a 53-second online video in which the president featured a Mexican cop killer named Luis Bracamontes.

    “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country,” Trump wrote in a tweet prompting the video. The clip itself features on-screen text that tells viewers, “Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay. Who else would Democrats let in?”

    And while many marveled at the ugly demagoguery — even a handful of Republicans said they were disgusted — it wasn’t long before we realized that Trump’s video wasn’t just based on racism; it was also based on lies.

    The Daily Beast explained yesterday:

    Bracamontes was first deported to his native Mexico in 1997, during the Clinton administration, after he was busted selling drugs. But, according to U.S. Immigration officials, Bracamontes managed return to the United States by 2001, when he was deported a second time for being in the country illegally. That was during the first year of the Bush administration.

    Bracamontes was back in America again by 2002.

    In other words, a Democratic administration deported him, but he re-entered the country under a Republican administration.

    Complicating matters, the Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Bracamontes was also arrested on drug charges in Arizona in the 1990s, but he was released by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office “for reasons unknown.”

    Oh, FFS. Joe Arpaio! Well, one of the most racist, unethical law enforcement officers in the USA, (and a guy Trump pardoned!), set that killer free.

    […] [Trump] seems to think the Republican base will mindlessly swallow any nonsensical red meat he throws its way, especially with only a few days remaining before Election Day. Because Trump doesn’t appear to fully respect these voters, he assumes they won’t know or care about the truth.

    GOP voters shouldn’t be motivated by this nonsense; they should be insulted by it.

  119. says

    All the best people. This Republican wants to kill non-believers in a holy war. The FBI is looking into Washington state Rep. Matt Shea.

    […] Shea has been circulating a manual for holy war in the United States, the Seattle Times reported.

    The four-page document, titled “Biblical Basis for War,” goes point-by-point over how a Christian theocratic movement could – and should – exterminate its opposition in a battle to win a hypothetical holy war.

    At the outset, Shea’s holy army would issue terms of surrender to its enemies. The demands include “stop all abortions,” “no same-sex marriage,” “no idolatry or occultism,” “no communism,” and “must obey Biblical law.”

    If the rest of the country refuses to “yield” to these terms, the document advocates a final solution: “kill all males.” […]

    The document was leaked to the press by a local libertarian activist named Tanner Rowe, who in a Facebook video called the plan “theocratic bullshit.”

    Shea replied to Rowe and the Seattle Times in a Facebook video of his own, furiously claiming that he wasn’t angry over the incident while showing off his historical knowledge by claiming that the Mayflower compact was “a covenant with God to advance Christianity.”

    “The counter-state is working overtime,” he said, adding that “there are two main counter-states in America: Marxists and Islamists.” […]

    “In fact, I’ve been wanting to do this video for a long time,” Shea said, repeating angrily that he wasn’t upset. “Yesterday, the Rolling Stone [sic] posted an 8,000 word article that was essentially a slander smear piece – a hit piece – against me.”

    The Rolling Stone article – published last week – details Shea’s fantasy of creating a “51st state” with freedom for guns and rule by God. The story goes into depth on Shea’s ties to local white nationalist movements.

    Shea has used his time online to promote far-right conspiracy theories, including the idea that global warming is a conspiracy to “manipulate the public mind.”

    He also frequently met with and supported rancher Cliven Bundy’s uprising against the Bureau of Land Management, which he opposes for the despotic act of charging fees for grazing on federally maintained land.

    The holy war manual made its way to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

    “I gave it straight to the FBI,” Knezovich told the Seattle Times.

    Talking Points Memo link

    Ah, yes. Of course Shea has ties to white nationalist groups.

  120. says

    Taxpayers in the USA are being ripped off by Melania Trump:

    The United States Department of State paid a hotel in Cairo nearly a $100,000 for a single day of services during Melania Trump’s trip to Egypt, part of her tour of the African continent, according to a government spending report. According to Quartz, the Semiramis Intercontinental Cairo received $95,050 for “FLOTUS Visit Hotel Rooms” on September 30 from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. […]

    According to a spokesperson for the First Lady, Melania only spent six hours in Cairo, and didn’t spend the night at the Intercontinental. […]

    https://www.thecut.com/2018/11/the-hotel-bill-for-melania-trump-one-day-cairo-visit-was-95-000.html

  121. says

    From VoteVets:

    We want to be clear: Use of lethal force against rock throwers is murder – period. Rules of Engagement call for commensurate force.

    This would be an unlawful order and should/would be disobeyed.

    The Commander in Chief is frighteningly clueless.

    https://twitter.com/votevets/status/1058120416428883968

    From the comments:

    Rules of engagement also apply in a wartime scenario which this is not. People really think soldiers would go out armed which is untrue!
    —————-
    He wants the military to murder them. All it takes is one person to start shooting, potentially followed up by others in confusion, and Trump has the massacre he is attempting to orchestrate.
    —————–
    I think trump’s message was to his many self appointed militias that are supposedly headed to the border……
    ——————
    Anyone firing on an unarmed non-combatant is committing murder & “I was just following orders” is not a valid defense. Ask the folks we hanged at Nuremberg about that.

    https://twitter.com/Red_eyedjedi/status/1058121076167847937

    We do NOT shoot unarmed civilians. EVER.

  122. says

    Debunking one of Trump’s lies:

    […] “We’re not letting them into our country, and they never show up. Almost like a level of 3 percent,” the president said Thursday. “They never show up for the trial, so by the time their trial comes, they are gone.”

    Wrong. The government’s own data even proves that statement is incorrect. According to a Justice Department report from the Executive Office For Immigration Review, in 2017 that number was actually 89 percent, and has consistently remained high. In 2016 it was 91 percent and from 2014 to 2015, it was higher than 93 percent.

    This data is also backed up by the American Immigration Council, which concluded that from 2001 to 2016, 90 percent of asylum-seeking families show up at the courthouse. Even the Republican-friendly Center For Immigration Studies concedes that these families consistently follow the rules and meet their court dates.

    The Trump administration has used the false argument that “catch and release” — the process of allowing undocumented immigrants to live in the U.S. while their cases are ongoing — doesn’t work in order to justify revising the Flores Settlement to detain children and families indefinitely. […]

    Think Progress link

  123. says

    From Jelani Cobb, writing for The New Yorker:

    […] The attacks also share an inscrutable dissonance of heavily armed men firing rounds at utterly defenseless targets: the oldest victim in the synagogue [in Pittsburgh] was the ninety-seven-year-old Rose Mallinger; the oldest in the church [Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina] was the eighty-seven-year-old Susie Jackson.

    The architects of these atrocities are white men whose fury was amplified in the echo chamber of the Internet. Notably, both shooters conceived of their actions as a form of self-defense. Robert Bowers, the man accused of the Pittsburgh shootings, reportedly wrote, in his last post on Gab, a social-media network favored by the alt-right, that he would not stand by while his people were “slaughtered.” In Charleston, just before Tywanza Sanders, a twenty-six-year-old member of Emanuel A.M.E., died, he asked the gunman, Dylann Roof, why he was committing murder. Roof replied, “Because you all are raping our women and taking over the world.” Roof’s language was striking because, just a day earlier, in a gaudy, absurdist spectacle in Manhattan, Trump had declared his Presidential candidacy, citing a scourge of Mexican rapists as part of his motivation.

    Albeit in vastly different ways, Trump and Roof were responding to a common Zeitgeist of racial paranoia. Bowers had reportedly expressed disdain for Trump in social-media posts, fuelled by his belief that the President viewed Jews too favorably. But Bowers shared Trump’s terminology for the caravan of Central American migrants winding its way north through Mexico: the migrants are, in the estimation of both men, “invaders.” Trump has both promoted and profited from the racial siege mentality. The other significant overlap between what transpired in Charleston and the morass of horror in Pittsburgh lies less in what the murderers did than in the responses of the wider culture that surrounded them.

    It was necessary, and therefore predictable, that Roof would be understood as a singularly troubled youth rather than as a vector of a broader ill or as a reflection of a set of mores deeply rooted in American history. He posed for photographs holding the Confederate flag, yet people I spoke with in the Confederate Museum, in Charleston, rejected the idea that his actions could be seen as a logical extension of valorizing an army that had fought primarily for the preservation of white supremacy. […]

    This is part of a broader paradox in which Trump’s heroism—to that portion of the public that deems him a hero—derives from his projection of a particular version of masculine authority. […]

    The man who sent explosive devices to men and women whom Trump had named as enemies of the nation, or had scorned as rogues skirting the consequences of their actions, was not someone prompted by the President’s words but, rather, a lone lunatic. The shooter who reportedly preyed upon a mostly elderly group of worshippers, in part, because the synagogue housed a congregation that supported work on behalf of refugees, was not responding to a corrupted dialogue about immigration but was simply drunk on the ancient bias of anti-Semitism. Yet the arithmetic is inescapable—all the singulars become a plural, and that plural is the collective face of a volatile white-nationalist movement whose ascent corresponds closely to Trump’s […]

    More at the link.

  124. says

    Trump decided to blame the media for violence, blaming them even more directly, more overtly than he has in the past:

    No, no, you know what, you’re creating violence by your questions. You are creating, you. And also a lot of the reporters are creating violence by not writing the truth. The fake news is creating violence.

    And you know what? The people that support Trump and the people that support us, which is a lot of people, most people, many people, those people know when a story is true and they know when a story is false. And I’ll tell you what, if the media would write correctly and write accurately and write fairly, you’d have a lot less violence in the country.

  125. says

    Follow-up to comment 185.

    From the readers comments:

    “It’s your fault that my supporters are attacking you because you won’t report what I want you to.”

    — the president of the United States

    “It’s your fault that I’m hitting you because you won’t act the way I want you to.”

    — every abusive spouse in human history
    ——————-
    Ahhhhhhh…’you’re causing violence with your QUESTIONS’ but he’s not with his dog-and-pony-show screaming about how everyone except for the ‘anointed’ (AKA Trumpsters) are evil beings that deserve to be ‘taken out’. Gotcha.

  126. says

    An emoluments case against Trump moves forward:

    A federal judge Friday ruled against President Donald Trump in an emoluments lawsuit brought by the District of Columbia and state of Maryland.

    The ruling allows pre-trial discovery in the case to proceed. The plaintiffs are seeking information on foreign government guests in Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel.

    Talking Points Memo link

  127. says

    The Trump effect on the international stage:

    […] Trump said in a speech on Thursday that rocks thrown by migrants on the US–Mexico border should be considered as firearms. By Friday, the Nigerian army had already used a video of the speech to justify shooting protesters that a human rights group said were unarmed. […]

    BuzzFeed link

  128. says

    Trump often sounds like a racist, Michael Cohen points out that Trump often sounded like a racist in the past:

    “Michael Cohen, […] Trump’s former personal lawyer, said in an interview published Friday that he has heard the president use racist language in one-on-one conversations on multiple occasions over the years.

    In the interview, published by Vanity Fair, Cohen said Trump questioned the intelligence of black people, said black leaders can only run “sh–hole” cities and countries and called a former Apprentice contestant a “black f-g.”

    Cohen told the magazine that during the 2016 presidential election, Cohen told Trump during a meeting in Trump Tower that his rally at the time looked “looked vanilla” on TV, meaning white. Trump responded, “That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.” […]

    “We were going from the airport to the hotel, and we drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood. Trump made a comment to me, saying that only the blacks could live like this,” Cohen said.

    Cohen also recounted when Trump talked after Nelson Mandela’s death and criticized areas run by blacks.

    “(Trump) said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city,'” Cohen said.

    NBC News link

  129. says

    This sounds like bull pucky from Grassley:

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley claimed, citing ‘Law Enforcement Sensitive’ information, that his office has received information that among the thousands of Central American immigrants in a caravan headed for the United States are a child molester and members of the violent MS-13 gang.

    Grassley wrote a letter Thursday requesting briefings in front of the Judiciary Committee from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on “the makeup of the caravan,” including any “national security threats” among its travelers.

    “According to information obtained by my office,” Grassley added, “several members of the first caravan have significant criminal histories, including assault and sexual misconduct against a child, and membership in the MS-13 gang.”

    A spokesman for Grassley’s office said it received “Law Enforcement Sensitive” information that prompted the briefing request. “The letter references that information to the extent it can be described while also respecting its sensitivity,” the spokesman said. […]

    Roll Call link

    Grassley did not provide any details, nor proof of any kind.

  130. says

    Follow-up to comments 50 and 98.

    White supremacists and neo-Nazis are rallying around Steve King.

    From Media Matters:

    […] While it’s not a secret that white nationalists openly support King, his sympathy for them has only recently come under fire from GOP leadership. This sudden change of heart prompted users of the anonymous message board 4chan’s “politically incorrect” forum (known as “/pol/”) to gin up support for him, calling for “meme magic” to help King against the “media onslaught” supposedly trying to kick him out of Congress.

    In the October 30 edition of his show America First, white nationalist YouTuber Nick Fuentes took a break from an anti-Semitic rant to praise King for “talking about white genocide,” saying, “He retweets some of our guys, and he goes over to Austria, I believe it was, and he rubbed shoulders with some of our guys. I mean, he basically gets it, he knows what’s going on.”

    On the October 20 edition of Third Rail, a podcast of white supremacist website The Right Stuff, the host known online as Borzoi declared, “We know about Steve King. We know what he’s all about. We’ve got Steve King’s back.” […]

    This reminds of Andrew Gillum’s statement that he wasn’t saying his opponent in the Florida governor’s race was a racist, but he was saying that racists think Ron DeSantis is racist. White supremacists think Steve King is one of them.

  131. says

    A former Virginia senator, John Warner, a Republican, is endorsing Democrats for Congress:

    Former Virginia GOP Sen. John Warner tells NBC News he is endorsing several Democrats for Congress in 2018, including Abigail Spanberger, who is challenging GOP Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia’s seventh congressional district.

    Now is the time to rise above politics, Warner, a dean of the Virginia Republican Party, told NBC News.

    “It goes beyond politics now. I’m a Republican, I’ll finish a Republican as I cruise through my 91st year. But you’ve got to put the nation’s interests and the state’s interests ahead of politics,” Warner told NBC in a phone interview. […]

    Spanberger, a former CIA undercover operative, “impressed me” with her national security pedigree and “the way she handled herself,” said Warner. […]

    “It’s a very serious time for the country. I did not support Trump,” he said, and “I’m deeply troubled by the central issues. So much of my life has been devoted to the intelligence work and national security — and I’m just not comfortable with the way he’s handling these national security issues,” said Warner.

    “He has no inner compass at all,” Warner said of Trump. “He’s put a tremendous divide in this country.”

    NBC News link

  132. tomh says

    From WaPo: High court lets trial proceed on census citizenship question

    The Supreme Court refused Friday to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

    The trial is scheduled for next week in New York. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial.

    Quite possible that Justice Kavanaugh was either hungover or too drunk to understand the question – he’ll be on the receiving end of a Trump tweet any minute.

  133. says

    SC (and other much-appreciated helpsters)

    I wish to report success. No, wait: I report success. Thanks, all, for your vital tips. I even have one of my own that could benefit a small subset who are in my situation.

    I browse Twitter in Tweetbot, which opens links in my browser of choice (Safari, in this case—different browsers have different flaws. I mean specialties.). I’ve just noted that if there is a Private window already open on top in Safari, clicking a link in Tweetbot opens it in the Private window.

  134. says

    Follow-up to comment 180.

    A super rightwing, extra biblical Republican lawmaker in Washington state admitted that he wrote a manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War:

    Washington state Rep. Matt Shea acknowledged Wednesday he had distributed a four-page manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War,” which describes the Christian God as a “warrior,” details the composition and strategies of a “Holy Army” and condemns abortion and same-sex marriage.

    The document is organized in 14 sections with multiple tiers of bullet points and a smattering of biblical citations. Under one heading, “Rules of War,” it makes a chilling prescription for enemies who flout “biblical law.” It states, “If they do not yield — kill all males.”

    Back in 2013, Steve Benen wrote about Matt Shea, noting that Shea advised people to hoard thousands of rounds of ammunition, and he warned his like-minded followers that the federal government was setting up FEMA concentration camps.

    How do these conspiracy theorists stay in office? How do religious conspiracy theorists get enough votes to stay in office?

    More of Matt Shea’s inanity:

    In a profile of Shea, the SPLC said that he has not recently been involved in the immigration issue, but he is actively perpetuating a conspiracy that the government has plans to disarm Americans and round them up into concentration camps run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His talk at the rally didn’t mention the concentration camps, but he did urge attendees to get organized and to prepare for when the government steps in after the “inevitable collapse. When it happens, we need to look at this as an opportunity, not a crisis,” he said. “Who’s job is liberty? That’s our job.”

  135. says

    Another shooting in the USA. This happened yesterday.

    Two people were shot to death and five others wounded at a yoga studio in Florida’s capital by a gunman who then killed himself, authorities said. […]

    Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters Friday night that the man shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the studio, which is part of a small Tallahassee shopping center. […]

    Early Saturday morning, the Tallahassee Police Department identified the shooter as Scott Paul Beierle, 40.

    The department identified the two slain as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21.

    Van Vessem was an internist who served as chief medical director for Capital Health Plan […]

    “To lose one of our students and one of our faculty members in this tragic and violent way is just devastating to the Florida State University family. […],” Thrasher said in a statement. […]

    Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a “profusely” bleeding man who rushed into a bar after the incident. She said three people from the studio ran in, and they were told there was an active shooter. […]

    The people who came in were injured, including the bleeding man who was pistol-whipped while trying to stop the shooter. They told her the shooter kept coming in and out of the studio. When he loaded his gun, people started pounding the studio’s windows to warn people.

    City Commissioner Scott Maddox said on Facebook, “In my public service career I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. […].”

    Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor, broke off the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. He earlier appeared at a campaign event with former President Barack Obama. […]

    Tallahassee’s crime rate has been an issue in the governor’s race. Gillum’s opponent, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, has called the capital Florida’s most crime-ridden city — a claim that is incorrect.

    Talking Points Memo link

  136. says

    So evidently the BBC in all its wisdom decided to host Arron Banks this morning for a live interview. He took the opportunity to smear and lie about journalists covering him, the Electoral Commission, and others, and refused to answer substantive questions. Carole Cadwalladr had to prerecord a segment. Banks also made the same dishonest smears on Sky, but they’ve (at least) offered the journalists an opportunity to respond, while the BBC has not; instead, they shut down their complaints page after it was overwhelmed by complaints about the Banks interview, while his corrupt cronies celebrate and jeer at Cadwalladr on social media.

    Cadwalladr: “Nice work @bbc. You just provided a platform to a liar. Who has just smeared me on live tv. Thank you so much.”

    David Lammy: “Arron Banks’ strategy on #Marr is clear. Evade, muddy the water with irrelevant details, and refuse to reveal the source of the cash. This interview should not be happening. He should be having this conversation with a policeman.

    No wonder Banks now thinks ‘it would have been better probably to remain’. Not only has Brexit proven itself to be a doomed fantasy project, it’s given the police reason to thoroughly investigate the sources of his cash.”

  137. says

    “Without citing evidence, Kemp’s office opens probe into Ga Democrats for alleged hacking”:

    Just two days before the election, a heated battle over voting in Georgia boiled over as the Secretary of State launched an investigation into an alleged hacking attempt by the state’s Democratic party.

    Brian Kemp’s office cited no evidence in announcing the probe. Kemp is also the Republican candidate for governor.

    The Democratic Party of Georgia called the allegation “100 percent false” and “an abuse of power” by Kemp’s office.

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Sunday morning that she had heard nothing about the probe.

    “Once again Brian Kemp is trying to distract voters with a desperate ploy. He twice this week was told by federal judges that he was wrong when it comes to voter suppression,” Abrams told Channel 2 Action News.

    “He is trying to rile up his base by misleading voters yet again.”

    The explosive 11th hour development Sunday intensified calls for Kemp to step aside as the state’s top election official even as he runs for Georgia’s top political post. Throughout the campaign he has refused to do so….

    Outrageous, this cheating.

  138. says

    Cadwalladr in the Guardian – “Arron Banks faces new claims of misleading MPs over Brexit”:

    The controversial businessman Arron Banks may have misled parliament over links between his pro-Brexit campaign and his insurance business during the EU referendum, according to explosive correspondence released by whistleblowers.

    Hundreds of internal emails leaked by former employees from Eldon Insurance and Rock Services to the Observer reveal that – despite categorical denials by Banks – insurance staff worked on the Leave.EU campaign from their company offices.

    Any work carried out in the months before the referendum should have been declared under electoral law.

    They indicate that Eldon and Rock Services staff contacted companies for material for apparent use in the Brexit campaign, and discussed sharing data. In a separate investigation released today, the website Open Democracy also publishes evidence that suggests significant crossover between Banks’s insurance and political staff during the campaign.

    The revelations come days after the National Crime Agency announced it was investigating allegations of criminal offences by Banks and Leave.EU.

    Damian Collins, chair of parliament’s inquiry into fake news, said that the leaked emails appeared to “flatly contradict” what Banks had told his committee, and that he could have “deliberately misled the committee and parliament on an important point”. Collins requested the emails and said they would form key evidence as part of his inquiry into disinformation and its threat to democracy.

    Remain-supporting MPs from all the main parties said the latest revelations raised serious questions over how the referendum had been won – and strengthened the case for another public vote. The Tory MP Phillip Lee, said: “The more we hear about the risks of Brexit and the way it was sold to the public by people who had little or no interest in the truth, or following rules, the stronger the case becomes for suspending or revoking article 50 until all of these irregularities are cleared up.”

    The former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: “These latest claims, if proven, call into doubt the entire validity of the referendum result.”

    Much more at the link.

  139. says

    Trump invented a new lie. I guess he got tired of his old lies. Trump has often lied about poll results, but now he is telling the whopper that a “new Fox poll” shows he has “40% approval” among African Americans.

    Trump’s tweet:

    New Fox Poll shows a “40% Approval Rating by African Americans for President Trump, a record for Republicans.” Thank you, a great honor!

    From Talking Points Memo:

    […] In August, when the same Rasmussen tracking poll showed that 36 percent of black voters supported the President, Political Science Professor Michael Tesler criticized the finding in the Washington Post, writing: “Polling firms that have interviewed far more African Americans, and that are much more transparent than Rasmussen, all show that Trump’s black approval rating is much lower than 36 percent.” […]

    Rasmussen has never been reliable. That pollster is worse than other polls. Other polls may be off by 3 to 4%, but Rasmussen is often off by double digits. It’s the favorite poll of Republicans.

    From Aaron Blake:

    It’s actually a Rasmussen poll that a Fox columnist uncritically passed along.

    https://twitter.com/AaronBlake/status/1059103259309285376

    From Ryan Hutchins:

    Couldn’t find the poll he’s talking about. But a Fox News poll released on Oct. 17th shows Trump’s approval among non-white registered voters at 29%. Its 25% among non-white likely voters.

    https://twitter.com/ryanhutchins/status/1059106527028613121

    From Judd Legum:

    Counter-point: This poll does not exist.

    https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1059104269419339777

    From Mark Jacob:

    There’s no new Fox poll saying this. It’s 100% false. Is Trump simply lying or is he so unhinged that he thinks it’s true? Here’s how far we’re fallen as a nation: We hope the president is dishonest instead of deranged.

    https://twitter.com/MarkJacob16/status/1059110239365226497

  140. says

    Oh, FFS.

    White teachers at an Idaho school came to class dressed in sombreros and serapes, or as segments of a “border wall” that said “Make America Great Again,” but are facing only paid leave — not firing or unpaid suspension — after the school superintendent decided their intentions weren’t malignant enough. […]

    https://thinkprogress.org/teachers-who-wore-racist-costumes-to-school-skate-by-on-paid-leave-eaf0c0fbd9bc/

    Photo at the link.

  141. says

    Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is working hard to be a Trump toady, but luckily he fails sometimes.

    The Supreme Court announced on Friday, for the second time in two weeks, that it will not halt a trial challenging the Trump administration’s efforts to discourage immigrants from participating in the 2020 Census.

    Also for the second time in two weeks, Neil Gorsuch tried and failed to come to the Trump administration’s rescue. […]

    The case arises out of the Trump administration’s decision to ask Census respondents whether they are citizens — a question that the Census has not asked as part of its decennial count since the Jim Crow era.

    Multiple experts, including top officials who led the Census in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, warn that asking a citizenship question “could seriously jeopardize the accuracy of the census,” because “people who are undocumented immigrants may either avoid the census altogether or deliberately misreport themselves as legal residents.”

    The Constitution mandates an “actual Enumeration” of “the whole number of persons in each state,” regardless of immigration status. So a citizenship question potentially violates the Constitution because it could discourage millions of immigrants from participating in the Census. […]

    When the Court halted the Ross [Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross] deposition, however, Gorsuch handed down an opinion announcing that he would go much further. Gorsuch, in an opinion joined only by Justice Clarence Thomas, said that he would have halted “all extra-record discovery pending our review,” and he strongly hinted that he thinks that the citizenship question is constitutional.

    After Gorsuch failed to get the votes he needed to halt this trial altogether, the trial court announced its intention to move forward — including with a deposition of a senior Justice Department official — and the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court again to halt the entire proceeding. The Court rejected this second request on Friday, this time over the explicit dissents of Thomas, Gorsuch, and Justice Samuel Alito.

    Friday’s order is no guarantee that the citizenship question will be struck down. The Supreme Court’s majority remains hostile to voting rights — and the citizenship question is very much a voting rights issue because the Census will determine the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives. Should the Trump administration ultimately prevail, power will shift from immigrant communities and towards whiter, more conservative communities. […]

    Think Progress link

    It’s all about money, voting rights, and representation. The dispensation of some federal funds to the states depends on census figures. The voting rights and representation issues are described in the last paragraph of the quoted text above.

    More at the link.

  142. says

    Follow-up to comments 199 and 201.

    From Stacey Abrams:

    He [Kemp] is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures, from his refusal to honor his commitments, and from the fact that he is part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work in this election because we are going to outwork him, we’re going to outvote him, and we are going to win.

  143. says

    From Donald Trump Junior, white supremacist doofus:

    Angus King is a Fake Independent who votes with Schumer 88% of the time. Angus wants to repopulate Maine with Syrian and Somalian refugees. Support @SenatorBrakey who fights for secure borders and Better Jobs for Maine.

  144. says

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders Stumps for Congresswoman Who Said Mass Shooters Are “Democrats”

    All the best people.

    […] Following the 2018 massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkand, Florida, Tenney [Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney] told a New York radio show, “It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but the media doesn’t talk about that.” When she was asked about the comments at her campaign kick-off not long after, she called the controversy “fake news.”

  145. says

    Quoted by Lynna @ #190:

    <

    blockquote>Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley claimed, citing ‘Law Enforcement Sensitive’ information, that his office has received information that among the thousands of Central American immigrants in a caravan headed for the United States are a child molester and members of the violent MS-13 gang.

    “According to information obtained by my office,” Grassley added, “several members of the first caravan have significant criminal histories, including assault and sexual misconduct against a child, and membership in the MS-13 gang.”

    <

    blockquote>

    So he has this information but isn’t going to use it to protect the children and others in the caravan? Fine for them to be victims?

  146. tomh says

    What could possibly go wrong here?

    From the WaPo: U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms

    FALFURRIAS, Tex. — Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.

    “We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” said Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen. McGauley said he was preparing to head for the Rio Grande in coming days.

    “We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again,” he said.

    McGauley and others have been roused by the president’s call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called “an invasion,” as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that “unknown Middle Easterners,” “very tough fighters,” and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.
    ……

    Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. “This is Texas, man,” he said.

  147. tomh says

    @ #215
    That was awful (and I’m speaking as a veteran) but the thread following was pretty good.

  148. says

    Daniel Dale: “Trump says that members of Antifa have ‘little arms’, not strong arms, and have to resort to using clubs. He says, ‘Where are the Bikers for Trump? Where are the police? Where are the military? Where are – ICE? Where are the Border Patrol?'”

    I didn’t care for Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny (though I recommend his The Road to Unfreedom), but I’m often reminded of one of his points: “be wary of paramilitaries.” ICE, certainly, and to a lesser extent CBP, give great cause for concern. The attempt to use police and the military in this way is fascistic, and rightwing militias (as described in tomh’s #216) and biker gangs have been employed by Putin. This kind of thinly veiled request reflects Trump’s fear, desperation, and authoritarianism, but he and his handlers also seem to be studying and trying to reproduce the tactics of past and present fascists.

  149. says

    Hey, this is what I was arguing a couple months ago – “Lawyers call for referendum”:

    Meanwhile, 1,400 lawyers have signed a letter calling for another EU referendum to be held.

    Among the signatories of the letter are Labour peer Baroness Kennedy QC, former Court of Appeal judge Konrad Schiemann and David Edward, a former judge at the European Court of Justice.

    They say questions over the validity of the 2016 vote mean it should not be the public’s final word, any more than the 1975 referendum on membership of what was then the European Economic Community.

    In the earlier referendum, voters faced a clear choice between alternatives once negotiations had been completed, the lawyers said.

    By contrast, during the 2016 vote, “the nature of the negotiation process and its outcome were unknown”, said the letter.

    “Voters faced a choice between a known reality and an unknown alternative. In the campaign, un-testable claims took the place of facts and reality.”…

  150. says

    “Senate GOP super PAC to donors: Cash surge helped candidates catch up in polls”:

    A surge in multi-million-dollar checks from megadonors helped Senate Republican candidates catch up in the polls after being badly out-raised by Democrats this cycle, the GOP’s main Senate super PAC told its donors Thursday.

    “For most of 2018, we have raised concerns about the severe fundraising gap between Democrat and Republican candidates,” Steven Law, president of Senate Leadership Fund, wrote in a memo to donors.

    The super PAC, which is aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, poured a late surge of money into key Senate races, “throwing a lifeline to our embattled and heavily outspent Republican candidates” and helping “our candidates eke out a small lead or pull within the margin of error in each of these campaigns during this period,” Law wrote in the memo, which was obtained by POLITICO.

    “If it weren’t for the generosity of our benefactors, few of these Senate races would still be competitive heading into the home stretch,” Law wrote….

  151. says

    SC @220, I agree with you. Another EU referendum is a good idea. I like this summary of the situation: “Voters faced a choice between a known reality and an unknown alternative. In the campaign, un-testable claims took the place of facts and reality.”

    In the last days of the campaigning for midterm elections here in the USA, false claims are taking the place of facts and reality on the Republican side. I was particularly dismayed to see Brian Kemp claim that Democrats in Georgia are trying to hack into the voting system (he offered no proof). And the racist robocall claiming to be from “magic negress Oprah Winfrey” calling for people to vote for “the negress Stacy Abrams”! … I mean, JFC, that is disgusting. It was Trumpt that called the intelligent and eminently qualified Stacey Abrams “unqualified.”

    Also part of Trump’s last-minute campaigning, an appeal to the religious right:

    Well they’re going to show up for me because nobody’s done more for Christians or evangelicals or frankly religion than I have. You’ve seen all the things that we’ve passed including the Johnson Amendment and so many things we’ve nullified. Nobody’s done more than we have.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] Trump claimed to go to a New York church that rarely saw him. Asked if he’s ever asked God for forgiveness, he said, “I don’t think so.” Asked whether he’s drawn more to the New or Old Testaments, Trump replied, “Both.” […]

    But two years later, Trump nevertheless believes “nobody” has done more for “religion” than him – a boast that’s even more audacious than the president’s usual whoppers. I’m glad he at least tried to back this up with some proof, pointing to the demise of the Johnson Amendment, but there’s a problem: the Johnson Amendment isn’t anti-religion and Trump hasn’t gotten rid of it.

    To be sure, the president seems to think he’s scrapped the tax law prohibition on houses of worship intervening in political campaigns. As recently as August, Trump said in a closed-door meeting with evangelical he’d gotten “rid of” the law.

    He hasn’t. The law remains intact. Houses of worship that intervene in partisan campaigns are putting their tax-exemption at risk because this part of federal tax law hasn’t been changed.

    What’s far less clear is why Trump got this so wrong. Is he genuinely that confused about his own record? Does he hope the Christian Broadcasting Network and its viewers won’t know the difference between fact and fiction?

    It’s entirely possible that the answer to both questions is, “Yes.”

    Link

  152. says

    From the Washington Post, a report on Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D) and his efforts to help in the aftermath of the mass-shooting. Of particular interest was the phone call the mayor received the day of the massacre.:

    The three-minute phone call with the president jarred Peduto, 54, the popular second-term Democratic mayor of the Steel City, just as he was trying to get his head around what was happening. After offering thoughts and prayers — and pledging anything Peduto needed, including a direct line to the White House — Trump veered directly into policy, Peduto recalled. The president, Peduto said, insisted on discussing harsher death penalty legislation as a way to prevent such atrocities. Peduto was stunned into silence.

    “I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn’t “going to bring them back or deter what had just happened…. I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.”

  153. says

    There have been some responses to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s comments about a supposed cybersecurity attack by the Democrats on the state’s voter registration system: “Banana Republic election tactics.” Kemp Is administering his own gubernatorial election against Stacey Abrams. He should recuse himself from his Secretary of State duties when it comes to overseeing the election, but he will not.

    […] Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at UC Irvine, wrote a piece for Slate describing Kemp’s move as “perhaps the most outrageous example of election administration partisanship in the modern era.”

    Hasen added, “[W]hat Kemp has done now goes beyond the pale. He’s accused his opponents of election tampering without evidence on the eve of the election, and plastered the incendiary charge on an official state website in the days before his office will administer that election. This is some banana republic stuff.”

    […] There is literally nothing to suggest Georgia Democrats tried to “hack” the state’s voter registration system. In fact, all available evidence suggests nothing of any significance happened at all.

    The only apparent wrongdoing in this story comes by way of Kemp himself — since he’s the one who seems to be abusing his office on the eve of a statewide election, subverting the electoral process to suit his own partisan purposes. […]

    Maddow Blog link

  154. says

    Follow-up to comments 14, 77, 111, 199, 201, 208, 222 and 225.

    More on the backstory behind Kemp’s false claims:

    […] On Sunday, Kemp had announced an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for a “failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.” Kemp and his office offered scant details for what exactly Democrats had done, but did eventually produce enough information to allow Georgia Democrats to piece together that the supposed hacking attempt was really Democrats exchanging emails about vulnerabilities in the state’s voting systems.

    In the first email, a man named Richard Wright, who Democrats say is not affiliated with the party, writes to Ms. Small, whom officials identified as a Democratic Party volunteer.

    In the email, Mr. Wright describes how “any file on the system” on a Georgia voter information page can be accessed through a place on the site meant for downloading sample ballots and poll cards. He also shows how an online voter registration site can be used to “download anyones[sic] data.”

    Small then forwarded that email to the Democrats’ voter protection director. And that’s what Kemp […] is saying is being investigated as a failed hacking attempt. This is not just desperate, it’s pathetic. […]

    Daily Kos link

  155. says

    More voter suppression, from Republicans of course.

    In a blatant attempt to suppress legal voters from casting ballots on Election Day, the all Republic County Commission in Culvert Maryland are closing public transit on Election Day. Calvert Democrats are organizing rides to the polls.

    See https://twitter.com/postcards4USA/status/1059194652845322240 for a photo of the five smiling Republican men who cooked up this suppression technique.

    Scroll down on that Twitter feed to see offers of free rides to the polls.

    Update: The Republican commissioners received all kinds of negative feedback, so they have changed their minds. “The Calvert County Government just announced that there will now be public transportation on #ElectionDay!”

  156. says

    More than 1,600 scientists condemn Trump administration’s ‘gender’ memo

    “This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.”

    […] The administration’s plan, laid out in a memo that was recently leaked to The New York Times, would eliminate the concept of gender and attempt to define people’s sex according to their genitals at birth or by genetic testing. The letter insists the proposal “is in no way ‘grounded in science’ as the administration claims.”

    Contrary to the arbitrary and binary way the administration plans to define sex, “the relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood,” the letter continues. “There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex.” […]

    More at the Think Progress link.

  157. says

    Trump remains stubbornly ignorant about climate change:

    […] Trump revealed in an interview aired Sunday night that he has not read a national climate assessment, released in November 2017, that clearly stated humans are the overwhelming cause of climate change.

    The National Climate Assessment projected a United States devastated by climate change — including 18°F Arctic warming and sea levels rising a foot per decade — if we stay on the nation’s current path of unrestricted carbon pollution. The report makes clear just how grave a threat Trump’s plans are to abandon the Paris climate deal, undo Obama-era climate rules, and boost carbon pollution.

    Despite not reading the report, Trump, in an interview with Axios reporters aired on HBO on Sunday night, emphasized, “I don’t necessarily agree” with the findings of the assessment.

    “Ultimately, I’m the one that makes that final decision,” Trump said. “I can also give you reports where people very much dispute that. You do have scientists that very much dispute it.”

    But there aren’t many scientists at all that dispute the findings in the report, countered Axios CEO and long-time reporter Jim VandeHei.

    Trump disclosed he hadn’t read the National Climate Assessment when asked by VandeHei whether he would include scientists who dispute the findings of the assessment in developing the government’s climate policy. […]

    “Man, meaning us people. Man and women, to be politically correct, because everyone says man but now we have to add women to that one, too,” Trump said. “Man and women, we do have an impact, I don’t believe the impact is nearly what some say.” […]

    “Is there climate change? Will it change back? Probably,” the president told Axios. […]

    Think Progress Link

  158. says

    Lynna @ #222, here was my post from August:

    …To me, these arguments just underscore how undemocratic and unfair the 2016 referendum was. Even setting aside foreign interference, illegal behavior by the Leave leadership, and the low level of public debate during the campaign, the whole design of the referendum was fundamentally unfair to Remain. A referendum should have two or more substantive, defined choices. In this case, there was one substantive and known choice and one vague, undefined notion. If you voted Remain, you knew what you were voting for; if you voted Leave, you didn’t, and couldn’t. So the Leave campaigns not only could – and did – lie extensively about their option but didn’t have to present the public with any concrete option at all. Leave voters could imagine for themselves what the substantive policy brought about by their vote would turn out to be, despite the fact that people imagined it in various contradictory ways or not at all. That’s an absurdly unfair advantage that was built into the structure of the referendum.

    That isn’t a fair or democratic design for a policy referendum. Really, the only fair and democratic process for this decision would be one in which the public is presented with two concrete policy options: to remain or to put in action a specific Brexit plan whose likely consequences are understood.

    (And here’s KG’s informative response.)

  159. says

    This historian spent 10 years researching wartime presidents. Trump scares him the most.

    Michael Beschloss says President Donald Trump is “in a category of his own” among America’s commanders in chief.

    Vox link

    “All wartime presidents have preserved our democracy largely through self-restraint, and I don’t see any of that in President Trump.”

    That’s historian Michael Beschloss’s stunning observation. For his new book Presidents of War, he spent a decade looking at America’s wartime commanders in chief — how they handled the decision to send US troops into combat, how they navigated the politics surrounding war, and how the war changed them personally.

    […] He said that every single one of America’s wartime presidents abused his power. “If you are worried about a president with authoritarian tendencies grabbing too much power, you look at a president in wartime,” Beschloss told me. “People will accept a lot of violations of their civil liberties in wartime.”

    He also said that no president in American history scares him more than Donald Trump does. “He’s in a category of his own,” Beschloss told me during our interview, because Trump has shown no willingness to learn from history and little empathy — two key ingredients that make great wartime presidents who don’t eradicate most democratic norms. […]

  160. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of Kemp’s shenanigans:

    Georgia’s Republican candidate for governor, who also happens to be in charge of running Georgia’s election, announced Sunday that he was “investigating” Georgia’s Democratic Party for supposedly trying to hack the state’s election systems. (Those would be the computer systems he has previously said couldn’t possibly be compromised, at least if Russia were doing it.) Now, if you want to get all picky about it, the reality is that Democrats alerted Kemp’s office to a security problem in his computer systems, and then he turned around and accused them of “hacking,” which really is some impressive fuckery, isn’t it? […]

    Turns out others have been trying to call attention to the security vulnerabilities too:

    Two voting rights attorneys suggested that Kemp launched the probe as a distraction, hours after they told authorities about potential security flaws in the electronic voter systems he is responsible for maintaining.

    “We alerted the authorities. We expected Mr. Kemp to take action. We were surprised to see the apparent response to that was accusing [the Democrats] of hacking,” David D. Cross, a Washington attorney who is helping sue Georgia to make it use paper ballots, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. […]

    Here’s one very astonished geek:

    “For such an easy and low hanging vulnerability to exist, it gives me zero confidence in the capabilities of the system administrator, software developer, and the data custodian,” Kris Constable, who runs a privacy law and data security consulting firm, told WhoWhatWhy. “They should not be trusted with personally identifiable information again. They have showed incompetence in proper privacy-protecting data custodian capabilities.” […]

    Ryan Mahoney, Mr. Kemp’s campaign spokesman, said in a statement late Sunday that the effort to “expose vulnerabilities” in the voter system was an “act of desperation” by Democrats.

    “This was a 4th quarter Hail Mary pass that was intercepted in the end zone,” he said. “Thanks to the systems and protocols established by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, no personal information was breached. These power-hungry radicals should be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”

    Translation: We don’t know how to do computer security, but we sure do know how to slime people. Also, everything we know about politics we learned from our Labrador retriever, who assures us she was guarding the meatloaf that somehow ended up on the floor. Or half of it.

  161. says

    A Furious John Oliver Refuses to Let Family Separation Be Forgotten Ahead of the Election

    The video is about 18 minutes long.

    “If you watch enough of those ads, you realize it’s not that they don’t want immigrants to come here because they’re criminals. It’s that they’re calling them criminals because they don’t want them to come here.”

    Oliver said this about Trump’s fear-mongering speeches, and about Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents:

    It was cruel, sloppy, needless, racist, and ultimately, exactly what we should have expected. And I would argue the biggest threat to our status as “the greatest nation on earth” is not a caravan a thousand miles south of us. It’s whoever thinks that doing this is an acceptable fucking response.

    Some of you may have seen this before, but I think it is worth repeating.

  162. says

    ‘Full Trumpism’: The president’s apocalyptic attacks reach a new level of falsity.

    Washington Post link

    […] Trump is painting an astonishingly apocalyptic vision of America under Democratic control in the campaign’s final days, unleashing a torrent of falsehoods and portraying his political opponents as desiring crime, squalor and poverty.

    As voters prepare to render their first verdict on his presidency in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok.

    Trump has never been hemmed in by fact, fairness or even logic. […] But at one mega-rally after another in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has taken his no-boundaries political ethos to a new level — demagoguing the Democrats in a whirl of distortion and using the power of the federal government to amplify his fantastical arguments. […]

    In Columbia, Mo., the president suggested that Democrats “run around like antifa” demonstrators in black uniforms and black helmets, but underneath, they have “this weak little face” and “go back home into mommy’s basement.”

    In Huntington, W.Va., Trump called predatory immigrants “the worst scum in the world” but alleged that Democrats welcome them by saying, “Fly right in, folks. Come on in. We don’t care who the hell you are, come on in!”

    And in Macon, Ga., he charged that if Democrat Stacey Abrams is elected governor, she would take away the Second Amendment right to bear arms — though as a state official, she would not have the power to change the Constitution.

    Unmoored from reality, Trump has at times become a false prophet, too. He has been promising a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, though no such legislation exists. And he has sounded alarms over an imminent “invasion” of dangerous “illegal aliens,” referring to a caravan of Central American migrants that includes many women and children, is traveling by foot and is not expected to reach the U.S.-Mexico border for several weeks, if at all. […]

  163. says

    SC @238. Oh, that’s funny. Parscale’s/Trump’s assholiness and racism was called out. He must be furious.

    Meanwhile, voter intimidation from the president of the USA:

    [About two weeks ago, Trump tweeted] All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!

    [This morning, Trump tweeted] Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!

  164. says

    Some startling statistics:

    Among men with college degrees, Democrats have a 5-point advantage.
    Among men without college degrees, Republicans have a 34-point advantage.

    Among women with college degrees, Democrats have a 27-point advantage.
    Among women without college degrees, Republicans have a 16-point advantage.

  165. says

    This, from a new FT article on Arron Banks (not the point of the article, but enlightening), helps me understand his actions:

    Mr Banks has demonstrated a talent for dividing opinion since his early years. He has been creating controversy at least as far back as the four-and-a-half years he spent, from the age of 13, at Crookham Court, a former boarding school near Thatcham in Berkshire. The school was closed in 1989, five years after Mr Banks left, because of revelations about serious sexual abuse by the staff.

    Mr Banks, who says he loved his time at the school, views the institution very differently from the pupils who gave evidence that led to the imprisonment of four teachers, in two separate trials, for sexual offences against boys. Mr Banks appeared as a character witness in defence of Philip Cadman, the school’s headteacher and owner, when he and two other teachers were tried in 1990 for sex offences. Cadman, who has since died, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, reduced to six years on appeal.

    In 2013, on a Facebook group for former pupils, Mr Banks lambasted pupils who helped to bring the prosecutions, portraying them as part of a “victim culture” that had made contemporary generations less robust than past ones. “All emotional damage is unfortunate,” Mr Banks wrote in one of a series of confrontational posts. “But in the past whole generations . . . had to endure and at the end [of] the day hand-wrenching, recriminations and going on and on about it helps nobody.”

    (I don’t mean that as an attack of any sort; it’s a very common response to abuse.)

  166. says

    Obama, after his get-out-the-vote rally in Miami Friday afternoon for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson, made a pit stop at Coyo Taco in the Wynwood section of Miami for a few tacos. The crowd at the popular restaurant just went wild, shrieking and screaming with joy, as can be seen in the videos below.

    BTW, that is the normal reaction of every normal and intelligent human being on Earth when they are visited unexpectedly by Obama.

    https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1059457306767831040

    https://twitter.com/MarcACaputo/status/1058452272575864833

    Get the owners’ names. Shake hands. Get the dog’s name. Pet it.

    Videos at the links.

  167. says

    How serious are the Republicans about protecting voting rights?

    DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has not filed a single Voting Rights Act case since Trump took office.

    It’s almost as if they don’t give a damn about voting rights.

    Think Progress link

    Since Donald Trump took office, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has not filed a single lawsuit enforcing a crucial law intended to prevent racial voter discrimination.

    By contrast, according to a Justice Department website disclosing the Civil Rights Division’s case filings, the Obama administration filed 5 lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act — the primary provision permitting lawsuits alleging voter discrimination on the basis of race. The second Bush administration filed 15, and the Clinton administration filed 16.

    Indeed, according to the Justice Department, DOJ only filed four suits of any kind enforcing a voting rights statute. None of those four suits filed by the Trump administration were brought on behalf of voters of color denied the right to vote. In fact, one of these suits was actually a voter purge suit that resulted in an outcome that actually made it harder for people to vote — as a result of this suit, Kentucky agreed to “develop a general program of statewide voter list maintenance that makes a reasonable effort to remove registrants who have become ineligible due to a change in residence.” […]

    Much more at the link.

  168. says

    The Pentagon declined the White House’s request for troops to build border detention facilities.

    The Pentagon denied a White House request to allow the U.S. military to build facilities to house detained migrants at the U.S-Mexico border, Reuters reported Monday.

    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the Defense Department rejected the preliminary request, which would have been part of its new mission on the southern border.

    The Pentagon also, late last month, declined a request from the Trump administration to allow troops to perform emergency law enforcement tasks along the border weeks ahead of the arrival of thousands of migrants preparing to apply for asylum in the U.S.

    In that instance, the White House requested a reserve force authorized to provide “crowd and traffic control” to areas along the border and protect Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) personnel.

    The Pentagon rejected the request on Oct. 26 as the department felt that the tasks fell outside active duty soldiers’ authority.

    The two rejected requests highlight the disconnect between the White House and the Pentagon over the use of military resources to bolster border security.

    The Hill link

    Reuters link

  169. says

    From The Washington Post:

    For more than 200 years, Congress operated largely as the country’s founders envisioned — forging compromises on the biggest issues of the day while asserting its authority to declare war, spend taxpayer money and keep the presidency in check.

    Today, on the eve of a closely fought election that will determine who runs Capitol Hill, that model is effectively dead.

    It has been replaced by a weakened legislative branch in which debate is strictly curtailed, party leaders dictate the agenda, most elected representatives rarely get a say, and government shutdowns are a regular threat because of chronic failures to agree on budgets, according to a new analysis of congressional data and documents by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

    The study found that the transformation has occurred relatively quickly […] party leaders have adhered to the demands of their bases, while rules and traditions that long encouraged deliberative dealmaking have given way to partisan gridlock, the analysis found.

    While few of these changes made headlines, taken together they have fundamentally altered the way Congress operates — and morphed this equally powerful branch of government into one that functions more as a junior partner to the executive, or doesn’t function at all when it comes to the country’s pressing priorities.

    Immigration — a major flash point in recent elections — has been formally debated only a few days in Congress over the past five years with no resolution. Efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement on health-care markets — an issue both parties considered urgent — stalled.

    And in July, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to allow debate on a proposal that sought to limit foreign influence in U.S. elections, warning colleagues such a bill could become a “two-week ordeal,” according to the sponsor of one proposal, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

    Instead, the Senate spent most of the next three months confirming President Trump’s judicial and administrative nominees.

    “That’s why I left. You couldn’t do anything anymore,” said Tom Coburn […]

  170. says

    After this election there will be nothing left of the Republican party that is not Donald Trump (except Lisa Murkowski). All of the so-called-moderates are retiring or will lose. Which raises the stakes of the Democrats getting either house or senate to provide check and balance.”

  171. says

    Follow-up to comments 238 and 239.

    Trump responds when questioned about his campaign’s obviously racist ad:

    After CNN, NBC News, Fox News and Facebook either refused to run or stopped running a racist ad funded by his 2020 reelection campaign, President Donald Trump was dismissive Monday.

    “I don’t know about it,” he told reporters. “You’re telling me something I don’t know about. We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective based on the numbers that we’re seeing.”

    A reporter pointed out that “a lot of folks have said that ad was offensive,” and asked Trump what he was trying to achieve with it.

    “A lot of things are offensive,” Trump responded. “Your questions are offensive, a lot of the time, so you know.”

    Talking Points Memo link

    From the readers comments:

    Trump doesn’t know about the ad? He tweeted it out on Halloween! This is a pants on fire lie.
    https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/this-is-racist-cnn-tells-trump-jr-why-they-didnt-run-his-dads-ad-1942521
    ——————
    Reminds me of Kavanaugh. “Did I black out? I dunno. Do you, Senator?”
    ———————
    Wait a f**king minute here. tRump himself has said many times that he has a great mind, which would infer great memory, yet he doesn’t know what the reporter is asking about. You got to hand to this narcissistic a-hole: he knows how to play the press and his base. I’m certain his base doesn’t know the ad’s cop killer came back into the US in W’s years and was released from jail by Sheriff Joe. The ad did its trick & the truth gets dumped.

  172. says

    All the best people flocking together to suppress the vote in Dodge City, Kansas:

    Among the myriad voting rights disputes we’ve been following in the run up to Election Day is one in Dodge City, Kansas, where a county clerk moved the city’s only polling site to a facility outside city limits — and more than a mile from a bus stop. The move is seen by civil rights advocates as likely to disenfranchise poor voters who lack transportation or flexible schedules, including thousands of Hispanic immigrants who have moved to the region to work in meatpacking plants and now make up the majority of the city’s population. The ACLU is suing.

    Defending Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox in court? A longtime TPM character: Bradley Schlozman.

    Schlozman first showed up on TPM’s radar when he served as as deputy assistant attorney general and acting assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under George W. Bush, and was at the center of a politically motivated hiring scandal. As Rick Perlstein and Livia Gershon describe, Schlozman declared he wanted to replace the “mold spores,” “commies” and “crazy libs” in the division’s Voting Section, and went on a hiring spree. Along with Hans Von Spakovsky, Schlozman made sure the department did not oppose voter ID laws and other efforts that civil rights advocates say disenfranchise minority voters. Schlozman later became interim U.S. Attorney in Kansas City after Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez dismissed Todd Graves for not appearing sufficiently loyal to the DOJ’s fixation on rooting out “voter fraud,” part of what would become the U.S. attorneys firing scandal that TPM helped uncover.

    A DOJ Inspector General’s report later found that Schlozman’s politicized hiring broke the law. The IG also found that Schlozman “made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.” But Schlozman never faced charges.

    Schlozman now practices law in Kansas, and is an ally of Kansas Secretary of State (and former head of Trump’s disbanded “Election Integrity” Commission) Kris Kobach. So too is his new client, Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox, who at least once forwarded an ACLU request to her boss, Kobach, with the message “LOL.”[…]

    Talking Points Memo link to an article by John Light.

  173. says

    Trump is planning to make some changes to his cabinet after the midterms.

    […] “Administrations make changes usually after midterms and probably we’ll be right in that category. I think it’s very customary,” Trump told reporters as he departed for a campaign rally in Ohio.

    “For the most part, I love my Cabinet,” he continued. “We have some really talented people. Look at the deals we’re making on trade. Look at the job we’ve done on so many different things, including foreign affairs. I mean, we’ve done record-setting work. I don’t know that we get the credit for it, but that’s OK.”

    Trump reiterated that he intends to announce his pick for ambassador to the United Nations by the end of the week. He said last week that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is under “very serious consideration” to replace current Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is set to depart by year’s end.

    Trump also indicated he would “take a look” at the allegations that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated ethics rules, but added he has not yet seen the claims, which have been referred to the Justice Department.

    The president said there’s no timeline for replacing the head of the Justice Department, despite widespread reports he intends to move on from Attorney General Jeff Sessions once the midterms have passed. […]

    He also expressed surprise when asked whether he would oust Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has pushed back against rumors of his imminent departure. Trump last month said he was unsure if Mattis would stay on, calling him “sort of a Democrat.” […]

    The Hill link

  174. says

    North Korea, China, and Iran are not happy with Trump’s foreign policy

    The three countries heavily criticized the US over the last 72 hours for its tough economic policies meant to change their behaviors.

    […] On Friday, North Korea threatened to build more nuclear weapons unless the US offers some sanctions relief. Three days later, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing would survive the trade war with America and continue exporting goods around the world. Also on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to “break” Trump’s latest and greatest imposition of financial penalties.

    Each country has somewhat similar reasons for their anger: The US has imposed stringent economic penalties on them to force a change in behavior. Washington sanctioned Pyongyang to force North Koreans to dismantle their nuclear program; maintains tariffs on Chinese goods until the country opens its market to US companies; and has increased sanctions on Iran to get the country to abandon its aggressive foreign policy and pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

    It’s not surprising that all three countries would bristle at America’s stances toward them. But what last weekend shows is that if Trump expects these nations to acquiesce to US demands, the plan isn’t working. […]

    “The U.S. thinks that its oft-repeated ‘sanctions and pressure’ lead to ‘denuclearization.’ We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea,” Kwon Jong Gun, a top North Korean diplomat focused on American relations, wrote in the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Friday. “If the U.S. keep behaving arrogant without showing any change in its stand,” Pyongyang could start “building up nuclear forces.” […]

    the whole point of the talks is to convince North Korea to stop building nukes, not continue making them. US intelligence, however, shows that North Korea is still making more bombs, but aims to hide that from the US and the international community. Now Pyongyang wants to let the Trump administration know the window for denuclearization is closing. […]

    At midnight on Monday, the Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran that were lifted once the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was in place. The goal, as the administration said, is to force Tehran to stop funding proxies in the Middle East, supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, stealing money from regular Iranians, and improving its nuclear program.

    In effect, the US wants Iran to change everything about itself — or else.

    Iranian leaders, and especially President Hassan Rouhani, have shown their displeasure with the Trump administration’s decision.

    “We will proudly break the sanctions,” Rouhani said during a meeting of Iranian economic officials on Monday. That may be tough, as the US just placed penalties on more than 700 people, organizations, and vessels — mainly targeting the country’s oil, banking, and shipping industries — stopping them from accessing the international banking network and the US market. […]

  175. says

    Preet Bharara: “Not gonna lie. I’m very stressed.”

    Same. Most stressful moments for me over the past several months:

    November 2017 VA governor and other elections
    2018 Hungarian parliamentary election
    Republicans’ attempt to repeal the ACA
    Now

  176. says

    Brian Kemp’s campaign, his existence in this country in 2018, is mocking democracy.

    If Brain Kemp wins an election with both massive voter suppression and disinformation, it is going to send a terrible message to Republican in 2020. Fact no Republicans are pushing back on his full-frontal assault on democracy shows you where the party is already.”

    What’s happening in Georgia is obscene, and the Republican Party is behind it all the way.

  177. KG says

    has increased sanctions on Iran to get the country to abandon its aggressive foreign policy and pursuit of a nuclear weapon. – Lynna, OM@253, quoting Vox

    There’s actualy no evidence that Iran is seeking, or ever has soulght, to build or acquire nuclear weapons, as opposed to the capacity to build them if it made the decision to do so.

  178. says

    KG @259, There’s also no evidence that sanctions prevent Iran’s leaders from ruling the country the way they want to rule. So, in other words, the Trump administration’s actions are ineffective. Trump’s policy is not supported by facts or reason.

  179. says

    Robert Westbrook @260, that’s concerning all right. Here is Richard Dawkins’ tweet:

    Dear US voters, don’t blame Dems for the excesses of the overzealous left. Those deplatformings, safe spaces, gender politics & Islamophilia are just silly. Trump is more than silly, he’s a seriously bad man: a liar, a dangerously unstable, bullying denier of scientific facts.

    From the comments:

    Remember when Richard Dawkins wasn’t an idiot who regurgitated glib, moronic partisan talking points and actually addressed real and interesting subjects? It’s fading in my memory.

  180. says

    From Steve Benen:

    […] Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, proclaimed that the economy is adding more jobs per month under Donald Trump than under Barack Obama. To arrive at this, the RNC chair had to play a misleading game: she counted the early months of the Obama presidency, when the Great Recession – which began more than a year before Obama took office – was still causing the economy to hemorrhage jobs.

    In other words, McDaniel peddled a line that included a kernel of truth, but which was fundamentally misleading. Sen. Lindsey Graham […] abandoned the pretense of accuracy altogether yesterday.

    “If [Barack Obama’s] jobs numbers were anywhere close to what we’re talking about with President [Donald Trump], the media would stop the Earth from rotating to make sure everybody heard about it!”

    […] Let’s dig into the available data.

    Trump has been in office for 21 full months. During that time, the U.S. economy, according to Trump’s own Department of Labor Statistics, has added 4,054,000 jobs. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. It’s a perfectly respectable number, reflecting a healthy job market. […]

    But in the last 21 months of the Obama presidency, the economy added 4,477,000 jobs. The arithmetic is unambiguous: job growth has slowed a bit since Trump took office.

    That’s not opinion; that’s math.

    […] Trump’s first year in office was, according to his Labor Department, the worst year for job creation since Obama’s first term. Trump’s second year in office looks quite a bit better, but with two months remaining, monthly averages in 2018 are behind where we were at this point in 2014 and 2015.

    Again, this isn’t about political spin. I’m just talking about apples-to-apples comparisons based on arithmetic – from official data released from the Trump administration.

    Yes, lazy partisans can focus on the jobs crisis Obama inherited in 2009, incorporate those early months into some broader averages, and paint a misleading picture, but that’s no way to have a meaningful conversation.

    It was therefore odd to see Lindsey Graham – who’s been around long enough to know better – argue that Obama’s job numbers aren’t even “close” to Trump’s.

    The questions for the senator and other Trump sycophants remain the same: why was the job market stronger across much of Obama’s second term than it is now? Why were the 21 months before Trump’s inauguration better for American job growth than the 21 months since Trump’s inauguration? […]

  181. says

    Laughable scare tactic lines from Trump:

    […] “If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care. You know what’s happening. And your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple. You’re not going to be happy. I know you well.

    The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare. It will also — which is good — but leave the bad parts behind. […]

    The quotes are from Trump’s rally last night in Missouri.

  182. says

    Follow-up to comments 131, 238 (SC), and 250.

    Trump is responsible for the racist ad, about which he claimed to know nothing.

    President Donald Trump was unhappy with the final midterm advertisement his campaign produced with a glowing message about the economy and instead pushed aides to adopt a hardline anti-immigration message as the final argument before midterms, CNN reported.

    That’s how the controversial immigration ad — which CNN deemed too “racist” to run and Fox and NBC recently pulled off the air — came to fruition, two Republican sources told CNN. […]

    While Trump had initially approved the positive economic ad, he later backtracked, claiming it was not “sufficient or the right approach,” in CNN’s words.

    Trump was also reportedly vexed that the economy ad didn’t include footage of him, according to CNN.

    Talking Points Memo link

  183. says

    And you thought gerrymandered voting districts and voter suppression were problems. Republicans are looking for another way to tilt the playing field in their favor.

    How Changing The Census Clears The Way For A Major GOP Power Grab

    If the Trump administration wins its fight to add a citizenship question to the census, it will clear the way for Republicans to execute a major power grab they’ve sought for years that could entrench their electoral advantage with rural whites while undermining the representation of urban and diverse populations.

    While the legal battle over adding the citizenship question, now underway in a federal courtroom in New York City, is burrowing into statistical methodologies and sound survey practices, the practical political impact could be enormous […]

    if the citizenship question is allowed to stay on the 2020 census, is a giant legal battle over whether states can then use the data it produces to draw legislative districts based on the number of citizens rather than total population. It sounds like a wonky distinction, but it’s one with huge consequences for how Republicans in certain states will be able to consolidate their political power, while diminishing the voting power of communities with significant numbers of non-citizens.

    Election law observers expect that this next legal fight over representation is almost a given if the Trump administration is successful in defending the question on the census. A number of far-right Republicans have called for excluding non-citizens from the census count used to allocate representation — including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who privately lobbied Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to add the question for the purpose of excluding undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment. […]

    Oh, yeah. Of course Kris Kobach is one of the perpetrators.

    […] Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law professor […], said that if this expected attempt to overhaul the electoral playing field is successful, it would be the first time since the Civil War that “there are people here who have to pay taxes, who are subject to the rules of the country, but are not represented.”

    “On the practical level, it dramatically impacts groups with sizable non-citizen populations,” Levitt said. “Not all non-citizens are non-white, but many are, and Latino and Asian populations in particular are more likely to have significant non-citizen populations within their midst.”

    […] Republicans will get a major electoral boost just by the census undercount expected to occur if the citizenship question is added. […]

    “If you want to minimize the political representation of a particular group, you can try to make sure that there are fewer of them who are revealed by the census,” said Nate Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School. “Or you can then use the census numbers that are available to you in a way that minimizes their representation.” […]

    More at the link.

  184. says

    A Republican admits that he lies all the time.

    […] According to an audio clip of Brat [Representative Dave Bratt] shared by Blue Virginia over the weekend, he admits that he, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and other Republicans, “lie all the time” when they say they have repealed Obamacare.

    “The problem is we’ve lied,” Brat said in the clip. “Both of our leaders … Paul Ryan’s a nice guy, but he said he was going to repeal Obamacare. That’s a lie. It was not a repeal at all. And so, we lie ALL THE TIME.” […]

    Think Progress link

    Blue Virginia link

  185. says

    Yes, the Russians are still meddling in elections. They seem to be focusing on casting doubts on election results.

    Russian trolling ahead of the midterm elections is a mixture of the weird and the pathetic

    A new website tracks back to a Russian company cited in one of Robert Mueller’s indictments

    […]
    Russia’s interference efforts are a shadow of their 2016 selves. But to say there haven’t been any interference attempts linked directly to Russia’s previous operations — and specifically to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian organization behind Moscow’s social media interference efforts — isn’t entirely accurate.

    Over the weekend, a Twitter account called @IRA_USA1 contacted ThinkProgress. In a direct message, the account — which featured a pea-green troll hunched over a laptop as its avatar — claimed that 2018 would see Russia reprise its role as meddler extraordinaire.

    “Do you still worry about Russians controlling your election? That is true,” the account wrote, in the type of stilted English featured in other fake Russian accounts. “We’re still doing it and no one, including [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, can stop us. There’s no need to spend millions of tax payers’ money on the investigation — we’ll tell all the truth about it ourselves.”

    […] the @IRA_USA1 account linked specifically to a website: USAIRA.ru.

    Headlined the “Internet Research Agency American Department,” the website was a laughably bare-bones site. […]

    a bizarre, maniacal screed:

    CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! YOUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES ARE POWERLESS…

    SOON AFTER NOVEMBER 6, YOU WILL REALIZE THAT YOUR VOTE MEANS NOTHING. WE DECIDE WHO YOU VOTE FOR AND WHAT CANDIDATES WILL WIN OR LOSE.

    WHETHER YOU VOTE OR NOT, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE AS WE CONTROL THE VOTING AND COUNTING SYSTEMS. REMEMBER, YOUR VOTE HAS ZERO VALUE. WE ARE CHOOSING FOR YOU.

    […] the organization behind the page was listed as “Azimut, LLC.”

    If that name is familiar, it’s because the LLC is one of the companies mentioned in the February 2018 indictment from Mueller’s office against a number of Russian nationals responsible for Moscow’s social media interference campaign. The company, according to the indictment, listed Jay Aslanov — one of the indicted Russian nationals — as its general director. (The Justice Department issued a separate, related indictment last month.) Mueller’s indictment described Aslanov as the “head of the translator project,” who “oversaw many of the operations targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    […] the page may be an excuse to simply sow doubt about Russia’s manipulation efforts, or lack thereof, in 2018. […]Just last month, the NSA’s Cyber Mission Center wrote that a “growing volume of cyber activity [was] targeting election infrastructure in 2018.” […]

  186. says

    Blather from Eric Trump:

    He [President Obama] does have a personal problem. He is taking credit for a lot of my father’s accomplishments. You see the passion. You don’t see the passion at [Obama’s] rallies. You see the passion at my father’s rallies. […]

    This country is winning. I mean, we are… we are winning.

  187. says

    How Bots Are Hijacking the Political Conversation Just Before the Election

    40 percent of “MAGA” tweets came from automated accounts.

    When […] Trump tweeted about a caravan of immigrants heading to the US border in late October, it set off a wildfire of misinformation on social media. Posts on Facebook and Twitter spread conspiracy theories that Democratic donor George Soros was funding the migrants and the false allegation that the group included terrorists and gang members.

    It turns out it wasn’t just Republicans latching onto the story—it was also Twitter bots. Mother Jones partnered with RoBhat Labs, a non-partisan social media firm that reports bot activity, to show the scope of disinformation circulating on Twitter before the election. The following data was collected over a course of 24 hours between November 4th to November 5th: [chart at the link]
    […]

    One example of a misleading tweet, greatly amplified by bots, is especially telling. “Nationalist BC” posted a photo of Stacey Abrams with the fake quote “We will use taxpayers money to send illegal immigrants to college.”

    […] Days before the midterm elections, Twitter is still scrambling to cut down on platform manipulation. Last week, the company had to apologize after “Kill All Jews” showed up as a trending topic in New York. And on Friday, Reuters reported that the platform had removed more than 10,000 accounts posting automated messaging that discouraged voting and posed as Democrats. […]

    Friday’s removal wasn’t the first leading up to the election. Since May, Twitter has purged more than 70 million accounts, including 50 accounts purporting to represent state political parties and hundreds associated with an Iranian influence operation. In October, Facebook also purged nearly 600 pages that appeared to be associated with an Iranian influence operation. […] both platforms have struggled to reign in the behavior. […]

    More at the link.

  188. says

    Fox News had to pretend for a minute to be a real news organization, claiming that Fox News does not condone Hannity, Pirro and other Fox News hosts participating in Trump’s campaign events.

    Fox News says it “does not condone” its hosts “participating in campaign events” as Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro did during a campaign rally with President Trump in Missouri on Monday night.

    A network spokesperson on Tuesday called the event “an unfortunate distraction” that “has been addressed.”

    “FOX News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” read a statement to The Hill. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”

    Hannity took to Twitter to also address the controversial decision to appear on stage. The host had stated in a tweet earlier on Monday that he would not do so, and wrote on Tuesday afternoon he was surprised but honored by the president’s request.

    “What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful,” he wrote to his more than 3.8 million followers. “When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned.” […]

    Well that makes it all okay, right?

  189. says

    Lynna @ #266:

    Laughable scare tactic lines from Trump:…

    It’s incredibly frustrating that insights from the reports @ #26 (also see several comments at the beginning of the thread) don’t appear to be incorporated into the coverage of his political lies. The RICO complaint was barely covered, and while the other two were covered more they weren’t integrated into the presentation of Trump’s political lies. The knowledge that he and his family have spent decades committing fraud and scamming vulnerable people who put their faith in him, and the knowledge of how they’ve done it, should provide the basic framework for covering his tactics and claims.

  190. says

    More coverage from Wonkette:

    […] The rally was the usual weird bullshit, but turned up to 11 because crunch time. Before the rally, Sean Hannity “interviewed” Trump by asking him a bunch of tough questions about how Trump manages to be so awesome. Trump bragged that he’d now turned the southern border of the USA into a land of beautiful barbed wire, and who knows, maybe a recreation of World War I trench warfare: “We have a barbed wire wall, you see that, what they’re doing, highest level […] a lot of digging going on, a lot of trenching, and people aren’t going to come into our country without the legal process.” […]

    “Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia. Hillary Clinton rigged that election,” insisted Limbaugh, which makes all sorts of sense because clearly she rigged it so she’d lose and then secretly undermine Trump from the Deep State. Talk about nefarious!

    […] Then Trump called Sean Hannity to the stage — he was another guest the campaign had announced in advance, but Monday morning, Hannity had indignantly insisted he would simply be doing his normal work of covering Trump like the hardworking journamalist he is.

    In spite of reports, I will be doing a live show from Cape Girardeau and interviewing President Trump before the rally. To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with ehe President. I am covering final rally for my show. Something I have done in every election in the past.

    After getting on stage to campaign with the “president,” the most trusted man in rightwing news pointed at the back of the auditorium and said, “By the way, all those people in the back are fake news.” And again, despite denying the campaign’s announcement he’d be joining Trump, he also said he was surprised Trump had called him up on stage. That’s a weird little dance, and we’re frankly not sure why any of these idiots even try to pretend they’re not lying, since the Trump/Fox crowd is perfectly fine with being lied to anyway.

    Trump finally got the attention back on himself, at which point he explained that actually, everyone who voted for Trump is much smarter, better-educated, and in fact has far better stuff than any of the “elites,” who are actually kind of trashy tacky people. Why does anyone pay attention to “the elites” when the REAL elites are Ivanka and all of you in your MAGA hats and “Life’s a [B-word], don’t vote for one” t-shirts. […]

  191. says

    Another quote from Trump:

    Promises made, promises kept. You know, I’ve actually kept more promises than I’ve made. When did you ever hear that from a politician? Maybe never. Never.

  192. says

    “Six arrested in France over suspected far-right plot to attack Emmanuel Macron”:

    Six people linked to the far right were arrested in France on Tuesday as part of an investigation into a suspected plot to attack President Emmanuel Macron, officials told CNN Tuesday.

    The suspects include five men and a woman between the ages of 22 and 62, a judicial source close to the probe told CNN. All have connections to the far right, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

    The arrests come after Macron warned in an interview with Le Courrier Picard on Sunday of the rising threat of the far-right movement, adding that complacency in the early 1900s paved the way for Hitler’s rise in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.

    According to Reuters, France’s far-right euroskeptic National Rally — formerly known as the National Front — is leading the polls against Macron ahead of the European Parliament election in May. The party is led by Marine Le Pen.

  193. says

    SC @285, people, even Scott Walker, should know better than to make a deal promoted by Trump.

    Trump was all over that Foxconn deal, telling everyone that he was bringing manufacturing back to the USA, inflating the possible upside numbers, etc. Now we find out that taxpayers will have to pay as much as a $ million per job, that Foxconn is making out like a bandit, (or like a scam artist), that Wisconsin taxpayers might see an upside in 2042, (maybe!), and that the state government is kicking citizens/taxpayers off their land.

    What a mess.

  194. Hj Hornbeck says

    Current results: 9 Republicans, 3 Democrats. Still very early, though; I’ve been watching Kentuky-6, considered a toss-up district, keep bouncing between Republican/Democratic majority despite 39% of all precincts reporting.

  195. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nate Cohn: I don’t see anything that indicates a systematic forecasting error. From here, the GOP just needs a ton of luck. Scratch out 1, 2, 3 point wins, over and over.

  196. Hj Hornbeck says

    Currently 18-16 for the Democratic Party. Two seats have flipped, but both were predicted to flip; there’s been no surprise results yet. A significant number of polling stations just closed, though, so the next hour will be a flood of results.

    And if you’re hopelessly addicted to bleeding-edge election news, Josh Marshall has you covered.

  197. Hj Hornbeck says

    33-29 for Republicans, but still a net gain of two for the Democrats. My heart stopped when I noticed FiveThirtyEight’s real-time forecast suddenly flip from a 90% chance of the Democratic Party controlling the House to a 40% chance. That may just be noise:

    Nathaniel Rakich: You may have noticed that our real-time forecast has moved toward Republicans in the House. It’s being too aggressive, in my opinion. The model sees that a bunch of “likely Republican” districts (particularly in Florida) are now 100 percent likely to go red. But there hasn’t been the chance for Democrats to clinch many equivalent likely Democratic districts.

    It’s back up to a 60% chance of Democratic control as I type this.

  198. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nathaniel Rakich: Zooming out for a big-picture look at the House: Things are very much going according to script. Republicans are winning the districts we said leaned toward them, Democrats are winning the districts we said leaned toward them, and the toss-ups — as you can see below — are splitting evenly between the parties.

    Nate Silver: Meanwhile, in the Senate — to state the obvious — losing Indiana makes life really, really, really hard for Democrats. And it suggests that other Democrats in red states could have problems, too, although West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is holding up pretty well so far.

  199. says

    Amendment 4 has passed in Florida. At this point I have to assume that 1.5 million formerly disenfranchised people will turn around and vote Republican because Florida.

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Checked in with the State/local results here in Lake County IL. Typically R at the county level, went for the D’s at all state level offices (welcome Gov. JB, as D), and it appears my D congresscritter has been reelected on the high turnout, my state senator D and state rep D were reelected. Good night locally.

  201. says

    Taniel: “There are states and areas where Dems are doing worse than expected (hence their Indiana disaster) — but that’s really not the case everywhere, so everyone should take a deep breath because there’s a lot happening.”

  202. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    MSNBC just called for Sharice Davids in Kansas. Clenched tentacle salute!

  203. Hj Hornbeck says

    The New York Times has it 101-86 for Republicans, with six flips to the Democratic Party (they need 23). The infamous “Needle” is back, however, and currently gives the latter a 95% chance of controlling the House. FiveThirtyEight’s forecast has bumped up to a 75% chance, and is projecting D+30 as the most likely outcome.

    Harry Enten: Based on internal modeling and returns, I believe is now “likely” (highest category I’ll go) that Democrats will take back the House.

    I’m breathing easier.

  204. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nate Silver: ABC PROJECTS THAT DEMOCRATS WILL WIN THE HOUSE

    Their model currently sits at a 100% chance of the Democratic Party taking the House, with the most likely outcome being D+35.

  205. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nathaniel Rakich: It has been almost two hours since polls closed in Nevada, and there is still not a single vote reporting. And this in a state where three-quarters of people vote early!

  206. says

    Laurence Tribe: “.@RepAdamSchiff is one of the most brilliant of my former students. His mind is a steel trap that never misses a beat. And he is a tower of integrity and decency. Our nation is truly fortunate that he will head up the House Intelligence Committee at so crucial a time.”

  207. KG says

    I managed to restrain myself from looking at the exit polls before bed last night. The results seem about as expected – enough to put some spokes in Trump’s wheels from the House switch, and to show that there’s a clear majority against him across the country (9%-ish lead in the popular vote), but consolidation of Trumpist control of the Senate means he can continue packing the judiciary, which will have evil effects for decades. Internationally, that seems to be the Far Right’s weapon of choice – see Hungary, Poland, and Brazil – where the judicial packing came first (the top judge has agreed to join Bolsonaro’s cabinet, clearly demonstrating that his decisions on who to charge with corruption were politically motivated). But Democrats in the House must attack and impede Trump without any restraint beyond legality.

  208. says

    Taniel:

    Dems’ upset victory in Mark Sanford’s district puts them at +28, by my count.

    They are also leading in 4 GOP-held districts that have not been called (and a bunch of other GOP-seats are out there), PLUS everything California.

    Joe Cunningham defeated Trump clone Katie Arrington.

  209. says

    Democrats have flipped 7 state legislative chambers and 333 seats, adding 6 more trifectas (gov+both chambers), per DLCC.

    Few ever pay attention to these races, but they’re important for redistributing and waves can be leveraged for major gains.”

    There were some great developments for Democrats at the state and local level. Pulled NC back from the brink. Texas, Wisconsin (around 90% turnout in Madison!). Referenda and amendments. Sheriffs.

  210. says

    #referendumpower! 3 (red) states expanded Medicaid, 2 (red) states increased minimum wage; 3 states approved pot; FL enfranchised 1.5 million ppl; 2 states passed automatic voter reg., & 2 same-day reg.; MA defended trans rights; LA ended a racist overincarceration practice, …

    … 4 state reformed their redistricting laws; OR protected its ‘sanctuary’ law; Nashville & WA strengthened police accountability; San Francisco passed the tax for homeless programs that tech CEOs were so upset about; & 2 AL counties will now bar sheriffs from pocketing money.

    Oh, & Florida overhauled its sentencing rules by adopting significantly expanding the scope of decarceration & criminal justice reforms the legislature can pass. I suppose a day will come where the person wielding that veto pen will make this referendum worthwhile.”

  211. says

    SC @329, in my mind, the fact that Adam Schiff will now lead some investigations into Trump and/or corruption is one of the biggest wins from last night’s election results.

    I was also heartened to see the number of women who were elected.

  212. says

    Some wins for voting rights:

    Michigan … passed a law significantly changing the way the state’s political lines are drawn for congressional and state legislative districts. The amendment will take the power to draw those lines out of the hands of state lawmakers, as the Detroit Free Press explains, and put it into the hands of an independent redistricting commission made up of four Republicans, four Democrats and five people who identify with neither party.

    The state also approved a wide-ranging amendment that will allow people to register to vote on Election Day and will institute automatic voter registration. It will also allow voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason.

    NPR link

    As SC already mentioned, Florida voters approved a measure to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. (There are a couple of exceptions.)

    Nevada voters approved automatic voter registration, which brings us to a total of 16 states with AVR. And that’s over a period of just three years. We should see more in the future.

    Some states changed redistricting processes in order to end gerrymandering: Colorado, Missouri, and probably Utah (votes being counted in Utah).

    Same-day voter registration was approved in Maryland.

    Still can’t believe that racist doofus, DeSantis, won over Gillum in Florida. However, one of Gillum’s policies, giving voting rights back to felons who have completed their sentences, that policy won thanks in large part to Gillum’s campaign.

  213. says

    From Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democrat who will now chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

    I want to look at all the things the president has done that go against the mandates of our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. We need accountability, transparency, integrity, and honesty from this Administration.

    Right now, we have a president who is accountable to no one. [That, he explained, is about to change.]

  214. says

    Let’s savor anti-worker Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s sweet, sweet loss for a minute.

    […] Walker gained national notoriety in 2011 with an attack on public workers and their unions, an attack that mobilized the left into a massive resistance but not one that could overcome the Republican grip on Wisconsin’s government. Walker’s attacks had consequences: six years down the road Wisconsin teachers are paid less and are less experienced than before his reign. […]

    The damage wasn’t only to workers and education. Walker also “moved to reduce the role of science in environmental policymaking” and “presided over a series of controversial rollbacks in environmental protection, including relaxing laws governing iron mining and building on wetlands, in both cases to help specific companies avoid regulatory roadblocks.” But his big promises and poor results in the high-profile deal for a Foxconn factory in the state may have done him the most damage.

    See comments 285 and 287 regarding Foxconn.

    Walker launched a Republican presidential campaign in 2015 and seemed—in theory, at least—like he should be a major threat. However, that threat fizzled in a pathetic campaign. It was fun watching him slink back to Wisconsin … but nowhere near as fun as it is watching him lose.

    Walker will be replaced by Tony Evers, the state’s education superintendent […]

    No doubt there were Democratic losses that hurt a lot on November 6, but this is worth a lot.

  215. says

    Voters approve additional public education funding in several states

    Several states and one city were asked to consider ballot measures that would better fund public education.

    Education initiatives passed in Seattle, Washington; Georgia; Maryland; Montana; and two in the state of Maine.

    Four education initiatives did not pass: Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah.

    […] Education funding has dropped drastically in recent years. Twenty-nine states were providing less total school funding per student in 2015 than in 2008, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. In 19 states, local government funding also fell. In more than half of the states in the United States, the poorest districts — districts with the highest rates of poverty — get $1,000 less per pupil in state and local funding than districts with the lowest poverty rates, according to The Education Trust. […]

    Still a long road ahead to adequately fund education.

  216. says

    Lynna:

    SC @329, in my mind, the fact that Adam Schiff will now lead some investigations into Trump and/or corruption is one of the biggest wins from last night’s election results.

    Absolutely. Finally, some accountability and light. Subpoena power and public hearings will put information before the public, which could have huge effects. And this win is so important because the House Republicans weren’t just failing to investigate but actively collaborating with Trump to protect him (and Putin) and attack the DoJ and intelligence people. (And the Republican-controlled Senate is still investigating.)

  217. says

    SC @349, yes! And a not-so-fond farewell to the pernicious influence of Trump flunky Devin Nunes.

    In a tweet today, Trump threatened more investigations from Senate committees.

    Still It’s Trump’s turn to be afraid.

    […] The House Intelligence Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will certainly revive aspects of the Trump-Russia probe that House Republicans smothered. The House Foreign Affairs Committee surely will consider examining the Trump-Saudi relationship in light of the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi. You can bet the Homeland Security Committee will investigate the Trump administration’s family-separation policy, and the Armed Services Committee will examine whether there was any reason for Trump to send 15,000 troops to the border to deal with a migrant caravan. […]

  218. says

    Trump is holding a press conference right now in which he reading a list of names of Republican candidates who lost because they refused to “embrace” him. He is naming and shaming.

  219. says

    This is a good sign: Russia is unhappy.

    The Kremlin is unhappy that Democrats won the House. That makes sense, as Democrats have promised greater oversight of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and especially his warmth toward Moscow. That, Russia fears, could imperil efforts to improve ties.

    “It’s fair to suggest with a high degree of confidence there are no glowing prospects in terms of normalization of US-Russian relations on the horizon,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said on Wednesday about the election results. However, he added, both countries will continue to talk, and discuss security issues like arms control.

    It could get worse for Russia, as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher — famously nicknamed “Putin’s favorite congressman” due to his close ties to the Kremlin — is on the verge of losing his seat after 15 terms in office. […]

    Vox link

  220. says

    JUST IN: Pentagon says it will no longer refer to the US military mission at the Mexico border as ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’; no reason given for the change on the day after the US midterm elections.”

  221. says

    From Wonkette, “Stacey Abrams Not Conceding A Goddamn Thing!”

    Voting in Georgia yesterday was exactly the sort of disorganized frustrating fuck-tussle you might expect in a state where the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is simultaneously running for governor AND in charge of making the election run smoothly. Big surprise!

    In many areas with large black populations, the voting didn’t go so smoothly! After “technical issues” at multiple sites — little things, like poll workers forgetting power cords for machines — many voters had to wait three or four hours to vote. […]

    A judge ordered polling hours be extended into the evening in three precincts in Gwinnett County after problems with the “ExpressPolls” machines used to check voters in caused long lines. […]

    At some polling places in Gwinnett, poll workers distributed paper ballots to voters, while at one, everyone just stood in line waiting for poll workers to get the ExpressPolls working. Some voters decided not to use the paper ballots because, this being Georgia in the Kemp era, they doubted whether such unconventional, non-machine ballots would even get counted. […]

    Did anyone have a good explanation for why the ExpressVote machines had rebelled against their human operators, and mostly in precincts with a lot of black voters? Heck no! But a Gwinnett County spokesman, Joe Sorenson, DID offer this explanation, which seems too technologically complex for us to parse:

    Sorenson said the Express Polls issue was not electrical and happens from time to time. New equipment was brought in, he said.

    If “they all do that” is good enough for squeaky brakes on your Volvo, we guess it’s good enough for what we laughingly call the democratic process.

    Elsewhere in Gwinnett County, the machines at another polling place, in Snellville, worked just fine — for about 45 minutes, until their batteries went dead because nobody brought power cords for the damn things. Voter Nick Alexander arrived at about 7:15 AM, just after the polls opened, and witnessed the whole sorry mess:

    “The line started to build,” Alexander said. “The polling director informed us that the batteries had died in the polling machines and someone was going to get power cords.”

    Alexander said the batteries in each of the voting booths had died and it took about an hour and 45 minutes for them to retrieve the power cords — then another hour and 45 minutes passed before he was able to vote.

    “There were only two people there checking IDs — and you know the line moved at a snail’s pace,” Alexander said as he left the poll at 10 a.m. “I’ve been in this process since 7:10 this morning and I’m just leaving now.”

    Some of the voting bottlenecks didn’t involve non-working voting equipment; instead, the machines just plain weren’t available at all. In Atlanta, one crowded voting site had only three (3) voting machines. […]

    Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron said it was all just a regrettable logistical error, of the kind that just sometimes happens and results in three to four hour waits, but no worries, they’re really sorry and brought more machines, eventually.

    “I just want to tell the voters there that on behalf of me and my staff, we’re sorry for the mix-up,” Barron said. Five more machines were being sent out, and Barron said he hoped anyone who left because of the wait will return.

    Ever the suspicious type, Rev. Jesse Jackson urged voters to be persistent and called the little oopsie “a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote.” […]

    Across Fulton County, a full 700 voting machines were withheld from service, which contributed to the long wait, […]

    More at the link.

    From the Stacey Abrams campaign:

    The campaign cited several specific places in the state that could play a role in a scenario to force the runoff, including three of the state’s largest counties that “have reported only a portion of the votes that were submitted by early mail” and four other large counties that “have reported exactly 0 votes by mail,” according to the campaign. Together, it said, the seven counties “are expected to return a minimum of 77,000 ballots.”

    “These counties also represent heavily-Democratic leaning constituencies, and the majority of those votes are anticipated to be for Stacey Abrams,” the statement read. The campaign also said absentee ballots could make a difference.

  222. says

    From Jim Newell, writing for Slate:

    […] The Democratic Party hit rock bottom after the 2016 election, when they lost the presidency to television character Donald Trump, and then had to find some way to regroup quickly enough to face a fantastically gerrymandered Republican House and the worst imaginable Senate map. They took the House within one election and grinded out Senate races where they could, even if they couldn’t save some of the ones that they had little business holding in the first place. They’ll have governors ready to veto Republican gerrymanders after 2020 in crucial states that they didn’t hold the last time.

    As bleh as it all might feel, it’s a start.

  223. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 358.

    From The Washington Post: “Trump attempts to take victory lap despite Republicans losing House.”

    Trump vowed Wednesday to work with the new Democratic House majority in a bipartisan manner on infrastructure, trade and health care, but warned that work would stall if Democrats use their subpoena power to investigate corruption in the administration as well as the president’s personal finances and conduct in office. […]

    “Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at, and we’ll negotiate,” Trump said.

    But the president said he would react aggressively to any attempt to probe his administration, predicting a “warlike posture” if they investigate him.

    “They can play that came, but we can play it better, because we have a thing called the United States Senate,” Trump said, referring to the enlarged GOP Senate majority following Tuesday’s midterm elections. “I could see it being extremely good for me politically because I think I’m better at that game than they are, actually, but we’ll find out.”

    […] he claimed his “vigorous campaigning stopped the blue wave.”

    Trump declared a “Big Victory” in the midterm elections, despite the Democratic takeover of the House […]

    In a later tweet, Trump continued his with-me-or-against-me political posture from the campaign. “Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye!”

  224. says

    LOL someone’s pretty cranky after having such a successful night! (STOP EVERYTHING AND WATCH THIS)

    https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1060223658898141187

    Jim Acosta of CNN pointed out that the immigrants in the “caravan” are “hundreds of miles away.” Here is part of Trump’s reply:

    […] That’s enough! Put down the mike! I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for them.

  225. says

    Dear MSNBC and AP, please for the love of god stop saying things like “Trump spars with reporters.” They’re politely asking him questions at a fucking press conference and he’s attacking them personally. That is not sparring. JFC.

  226. says

    CNN’s response to Trump’s attacks:

    This president’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.

  227. says

    VERY important: Sessions’s temporary replacement, Matthew Whitaker, is a GOP partisan who wrote a CNN op-ed last year saying the Mueller investigation was going too far and that Rosenstein should order Mueller to limit it: [link]

    Whitaker, who will likely now be in charge of the Mueller investigation, was hired by Sessions a month after he published this CNN op-ed criticizing Mueller and saying the probe should be curtailed.”

  228. says

    Susan Hennessey: “Good immediate question is whether this op-ed Whitaker authored requires he recuse from overseeing Mueller. Reporters should be asking if Whitaker sought ethics advice from career DOJ attorneys and whether he intends to rely on it.”

    This is obvious obstruction by Trump.

  229. says

    370 SC
    OMGOMGOMG – “THE TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION IS NOW UNDER DEMOCRATIC CONTROL.”

    The tweet doesn’t show up for me. Please tell me this doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!

  230. says

    The tweet doesn’t show up for me. Please tell me this doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!

    Yeah, the tweet and the one that led me to it are both gone. I can’t tell from this whether there’s been any change, but I’d think it would be a bigger news story if so, so doesn’t look good, unfortunately. Sorry for getting hopes up if it didn’t happen.

  231. says

    Mark Warner (Senate Intelligence co-chair):

    While the President may have the authority to replace the Attorney General, this must not be the first step in an attempt to impede, obstruct or end the Mueller investigation.

    No one is above the law and any effort to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation would be a gross abuse of power by the President.

    Senators from both parties have repeatedly affirmed their support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Every one of them should speak out now and deliver a clear message to the President that the Special Counsel’s investigation must continue without interference.

    Burr needs to say the same.

  232. says

    Schumer: ‘Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general’.”

  233. says

    Follow-up to comment 353.

    Trump on Wednesday trashed losing Republican candidates who distanced themselves from him during the midterm elections.

    “Mia Love gave me no love, but then she lost,” Trump said at a White House news conference of the Utah Republican who failed in her House re-election bid on Tuesday. “Too bad.”

    He listed several other GOP lawmakers he said had rejected his “embrace” before falling to Democratic opponents: Reps. Carlos Curbelo in Florida; Mike Coffman in Colorado; Peter Roskam in Illinois; and Barbara Comstock in Virginia, among them.

    “I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it.”

    NBC News link

    Of note: many candidates Trump endorsed won, but 32 candidates he endorsed did not win.

    Mia Love might have lost by a wider margin if she had embraced Trump. And, her race has not yet been officially called.

  234. says

    Nate Silver: “It’s a bit more art than science at this point, but we were at ~D+33 as of late last night, and now we’re at more like ~D+36 after reviewing the status of uncalled races. California’s a big mess so definitely a margin of error on that calculation.”

  235. says

    Before he fired Sessions, Trump let everyone know that he is afraid of the investigations that are ongoing.

    […] the president also quickly dismissed the idea of working with a divided Congress on public policy in the midst of investigations.

    “You can’t do them simultaneously, by the way. Somebody says, ‘Oh, you can do ’em both.’ No, you can’t. Because if they’re doing that, we’re not doing the other, just so you understand. So we won’t be doing that.”

    Got that? If House Democrats investigate Trump’s scandals, Trump won’t work with Congress on substantive issues. The president evidently wants the new House Democratic majority to choose between legislating and conducting oversight — because in his mind, it has to be one or the other. […]

    Trump went on to say that if his White House is confronted with subpoenas, “government would come to a halt, and I would blame them [the Democrats in the House]. […]

    Link

  236. says

    Lynna @ #390, they continue to destroy themselves for him while he shows over and over that he has no loyalty to them or the party. He doesn’t make the slightest effort to hide it.

  237. says

    Now that Jeff Sessions is gone, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Justice Department says.

    When a TPM reporter asked if he was taking charge of overseeing the Mueller probe from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a DOJ spokeswoman said, “The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

    Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the probe.

    Link

  238. says

    From Trump:

    “I could have ended it anytime I wanted. I didn’t. And there was no collusion….this is a investigation where many many millions of dollars have been spent,” Trump says of Mueller. “I think it’s very bad for our country, I’ll tell you. I think its’ a shame.”

    From Jason Linkins at Think Progress:

    […] But one of the more remarkable things about the Mueller investigation, at least so far, is that it hasn’t added any costly burdens to American taxpayers. In fact, it seems to be a generator of revenue.

    For that, we have Paul Manafort to thank. […]

  239. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of the “Wednesday afternoon massacre”:

    It’s been mere hours since Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, and Donald Trump is in a bad fucking mood. First he gave a whinyass crybaby GRRR ARGH press conference, and now he has followed through on what he’s been threatening for months now. He has quit-fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, and announced that he’s sticking one of his personal ass-lickers in as acting attorney general.

    We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well….

    […] Sessions’s resignation letter begins with the words “at your request,” as if to make crystal clear that Trump fired him. And while we knew this was coming, as Trump has been abusing Sessions and trying to fire him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation for AGES, this is still really, really bad.

    But wait, shouldn’t the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, become the acting attorney general, instead of Matthew Whitaker? Hahahahaha well that’s how things should go, but Trump hates Rosenstein, and he’ll probably fire him on Twitter later tonight.

    Because of the way this was done — because Sessions technically resigned instead of getting fired — Trump was able to legally nominate Whitaker, and because of that, it seems Whitaker is indeed next in line to oversee the Russia investigation, according to legal types on Twitter:

    And just to drive the point home, as Acting Attorney General, Whitaker presumably _will_ take over supervision of Special Counsel Mueller under 28 C.F.R. part 600.

    […]

    And according to DOJ reporter Ryan Reilly, Rosenstein has indeed been relieved of his duties in overseeing the investigation […]

    And we hope Elijah Cummings and Jerrold Nadler and the rest of the incoming Democratic committee chairs are getting their Subpoena Pants on, because Trump attempting to take control of the Russia investigation by firing the recused Jeff Sessions and sticking in an un-recused loyalist as acting AG is blatant obstruction of justice. Also, elections have consequences, and this is why it’s a fucking BLESSING that the Democrats now control the House:

    And this is why Dems taking over the House is a game changer. Remember that if Whitaker denies any requests/recommendations made by Mueller, he is required under the SC regs to notify the chair and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. And now they can haul him in.

    […]
    You know, unless Whitaker fires Mueller for no fucking reason before the new Congress is seated in January. […]

  240. says

    “A White Nationalist Leader Just Posted Pics From His White House Visit”:

    The leader of a white nationalist group whose members marched in the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville visited the White House on Wednesday, according to pictures he posted online.

    Patrick Casey, who heads the group Identity Evropa, posted the pictures to Twitter, in which he is seen posing on the White House grounds on what he described as a visit to “pay my respects.”

    “Evropa has landed at the White House!” Casey tweeted.

    Three sources familiar with how the Trump White House operates tell The Daily Beast that Casey could not have reached the location directly in front of the White House’s south front by himself or on a common tour. Casey, the sources said, likely would have had to be escorted by a Trump administration staffer wearing an official badge to get that kind of access….

  241. says

    Matthew Miller: “If there are any senior DOJ officials who object to the president attacking the Department’s independence and compromising a probe into himself, the next few days are the time to act. The country will be watching.”

  242. Gordon Davisson says

    Clarification: the protest events take place Thursday (tomorrow for me, today for those on the East coast).

  243. says

    There’s been a mass shooting at a restaurant-bar in California. 11 people killed and many more injured. The shooter is dead and hasn’t been identified. The first policeman to report to the scene was shot and killed.

  244. says

    MSNBC just showed Trump at the start of yeserday’s press conference. He has notes handwritten in black Sharpie that he’s sliding under some other papers on the lectern. I wonder if anyone can…enhance.

  245. says

    “GOP Rep. Karen Handel Concedes, Lucy McBath Officially Wins Georgia 6th”:

    Incumbent Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA) officially conceded Thursday morning, making first time candidate Lucy McBath the congresswoman-elect for Georgia’s 6th district.

    McBath’s victory is an upset, after Handel defeated Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in a closely-watched special election in 2017.

    McBath got into politics because her teenaged black son was shot and killed in 2012 by a white man angered by the volume of his music….

  246. says

    NYT link – “Trump Installs a Critic of the Mueller Investigation to Oversee It”:

    Matthew G. Whitaker, the attorney general’s chief of staff, jockeyed over the last two months to replace his boss by forging a close relationship with the White House, where he was seen as a reliable political ally. On Wednesday, President Trump fired Jeff Sessions and named Mr. Whitaker acting attorney general, rewarding his loyalty.

    Inside the Justice Department, senior officials, including Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, have viewed Mr. Whitaker with intense suspicion. Before his current job at the Justice Department, Mr. Whitaker, a former college football tight end, was openly hostile on television and social media toward the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and was seen by department officials as a partisan and a White House spy.

    After losing the Republican primary to Senator Joni Ernst, Mr. Whitaker became executive director of the conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, known as FACT. The organization called itself a watchdog group and mainly made accusations of ethical or legal violations against Democratic politicians, including Mrs. Clinton.

    During Mr. Whitaker’s tenure, the group called for investigations into, among others, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, both Democrats, as well as Representative Ted Strickland, Democrat of Ohio.

    When President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court, Mr. Whitaker’s group demanded that Harvard University release records related to Judge Garland’s position in debates there as an undergraduate in 1973 over whether to allow R.O.T.C. recruiters on campus.

    “We believe Americans have a right to know about Garland’s views of the military,” Mr. Whitaker wrote, according to The Washington Times.

    Mr. Whitaker has been open about linking religion with legal judgments. In 2014, while running for the Senate in Iowa, Mr. Whitaker said in a debate that he wanted to examine the “worldview” of judges or potential judges: “Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice?”

    “If they have a secular worldview, where this is all we have here on Earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about that judge,” Mr. Whitaker said.

    Mr. Whitaker has been focused on Mrs. Clinton for years, and denounced her publicly in his role as executive director of FACT. In March 2016, he wrote an op-ed article for The Hill that argued that Obama administration officials needed to appoint a special counsel to investigate Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while working as secretary of state….

  247. says

    Good thread:

    No one actually believes Jim Acosta did anything wrong.

    This is one of those situations where conservatives collectively pretend to believe something they don’t believe.

    Pretending to believe something they don’t believe serves multiple purposes….

  248. says

    The attacker in CA was Ian Long, 28 years old, white, Marine veteran. Has a minor criminal record, including a recent domestic disturbance call at which he was evaluated by mental health professionals and cleared. They still don’t know the specific motive.

  249. says

    Has a minor criminal record,

    Correction/clarification: I should have said “history of relatively minor interactions with the police.” I don’t know if he had a criminal record.

  250. says

    “Dark Money Paid New Trump Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s Salary for 3 Years”:

    …Whitaker was appointed as Session’s chief of staff on September 22, 2017. Before that, he served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.”

    FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT’s funding, which in some years came entirely from Donors Trust, an organization also known as the “Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement” and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.

    “In other words, an organization ‘dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency’ gets 100 percent of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency,” the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in 2016.

    In 2014, FACT received $600,000 from Donors Trust — the only donation it reported that year, according to OpenSecrets.org. An additional $500,000 flowed from Donors Trust to FACT in 2015. And in 2016, Donors Trust gave $800,000 to FACT, tax records show.

    In 2016, Whitaker earned $402,000 as FACT’s director and president, according to the organization’s tax filings. That followed reported compensation from FACT for Whitaker of $63,000 in 2014, and $252,000 in 2015.

    His work included advocacy for causes backed by the fossil fuel industry.

    Whitaker labeled the probe of ExxonMobil, which has funded climate denial efforts to the tune of at least $33 million, “both unconstitutional and unethical” — but it recently led to charges against the company….

  251. says

    Here is another excerpt from yesterday’s press conference, the one in which Trump unfairly lambasted CNN reporter Jim Acosta, this snippet reveals the bankruptcy of Trump’s “pro-life” agenda. Trump was asked about defending “the rights of unborn children.”

    Q: How are you going to push forward your pro-life agenda?

    TRUMP: Just going to push. I’ve been pushing. I’ve done a very good job, too. Very happy with me. But it’s a tough issue for the two sides. There’s no question about it.

    Q: But what are you going to do to —

    TRUMP: There is great division — what am I going to do? I won’t be able to explain that to you, because it is an issue that is a very divisive, polarizing issue. But there is a solution. I think I have that solution, and nobody else does.

  252. says

    The closer we look at Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, the worse Trump’s choice looks. Whitaker is a far rightwing partisan and political operative. He does not belong in the Department of Justice

    The acting attorney general has a grotesque and incoherent view of the Constitution

    It’s like he just started spouting random phrases he heard at a Federalist Society convention.

    In a 2014 interview, [Whitaker] appeared to claim that Social Security is unconstitutional and that basic labor laws like the minimum wage must be struck down. […]

    The interview reveals that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is easily taken in by conspiracy theories — he claims he was “quite possibly targeted for my political beliefs via the IRS.” Whitaker launches into a Trumpian rant against “chain immigration” and “people trying to bring illegal people and illegal drugs into our country.” He claims that climate change “doesn’t appear to be that significant or quite possibly isn’t man made,” and calls for the Department of Education to be “disbanded.”

    But the most revealing part of the interview, which was published by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts while Whitaker was a candidate for the United States Senate, is a paragraph where Whitaker lays out his incoherent understanding of the Constitution. At best, this paragraph suggests that the man running the Justice Department does not understand some very basic legal concepts. At worst, it indicates that he has a disorganized mind that is unable to keep track of what he said just a few seconds ago.

    The courts are supposed to be the inferior branch of our three branches of government. We have unfortunately off loaded many of our tough public policy issues onto the court and they’ve decided hem [sic]. Unelected judges are deciding many of the issues of the day. There are so many (bad rulings). I would start with the idea of Marbury v. Madison. That’s probably a good place to start and the way it’s looked at the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of constitutional issues. We’ll move forward from there. All New Deal cases that were expansive of the federal government. Those would be bad. Then all the way up to the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate.

    To break this down, Whitaker makes two mutually exclusive claims. He first claims that Marbury v. Madison, a seminal Supreme Court decision holding that federal courts are allowed to review state and federal laws and strike them down if they are inconsistent with the Constitution, was wrongly decided.

    Two sentences later, however, Whitaker then suggests that “all New Deal cases that were expansive of the federal government” — that is, decisions where the Supreme Court did not strike down laws creating Social Security, regulating the workplace, or otherwise enacting progressive policies — were also wrongly decided. […]

    More at the link.

  253. says

    Trump leaves for Paris tomorrow. One time when he went to Europe, the Trump Tower meeting was exposed. When he traveled there over the summer, Mueller dropped the GRU indictments. So…could be interesting.

  254. says

    More anti-immigrant moves are coming soon from Trump:

    […] Trump plans to take executive action, possibly as early as Friday, to limit the ability of migrants to seek asylum at the southwest border, an administration official confirmed Wednesday.

    Trump signaled last week that he would issue a “comprehensive” directive in the coming days that deals with immigration. […] restricting the ability of people caught between ports of entry to make a “credible fear” claim, the first step in an asylum application […] Another option would be to apply a different credible fear standard to those migrants.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported that the move could come before Trump departs for a trip to Paris on Friday.

    Politico link

  255. says

    Virginia and Alabama are ready to ban abortion

    On Tuesday, they joined four other states whose “trigger bans” take effect if Roe v. Wade falls.

    […] Voters in Alabama approved a measure that gives fetuses legal “personhood” status. In West Virginia, meanwhile, voters backed an initiative stating that nothing in its constitution “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” Both measures, abortion rights advocates say, would allow state legislatures to more easily ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

  256. says

    From Wonkette’s “Wonkagenda”:

    […] After Trump threw a nationally televised temper tantrum in front of a bunch of reporters doing their jobs by asking questions he didn’t want to answer, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta lost his “hard pass” to the White House.

    Trump’s White House says Acosta “placed his hands” on an aide who was trying to snatch away the microphone during the presser, but the instant replay shows that’s bullshit. CNN is standing behind Acosta 1,000,000 percent, issuing a statement that said the White House acted in “retaliation,” and that “Sarah Sanders lied,” and “provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened.”

    Last night Acosta recorded a video of the Secret Service taking his press creds and denying him access to the White House.

    Multiple reporters are clapping back at Trump, his White House, and the right-wing blowhards clutching their pearls about Acosta’s “wrestling,” including the conservative Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross who called it, “ridiculous,” adding, “…after Trump joked about Gianforte bodyslamming Ben Jacobs the White House can’t bust out the fainting couch now.”

    And now Sarah Sanders has released a doctored video from InfoWars to make it appear the contact was more violent than it really was. […]

  257. says

    Sort of a blue wave, even though Trump claims otherwise:

    […] This year’s Republican losses, barring major surprises in the final tallies, are higher than the historical average and the worst for a GOP president since the 1974 midterms in the aftermath of Watergate. […]

    Maddow Blog link

  258. says

    Speaking of crime families:

    Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai boasted about having “turned state’s evidence” on his ex-father-in-law in order to to swindle investors into a real estate scam, according to a newly unsealed criminal complaint.

    “During lunch, Yohai told [the men] that he ‘turned state’s evidence’ on his father-in-law, Paul Manafort,” wrote FBI Special Agent Sherine Ebadi in an affidavit, recounting an attempt by Yohai to convince the owner of a luxury Los Angeles property to let him rent out the unit at a profit.

    “Yohai made several statements…that he had to go do ‘D.C.’ to meet with the Special Counsel’s Office or ‘downtown’ to meet with ‘the feds,’” Ebadi wrote.

    Yohai’s bragging about his ties to the Mueller probe — though false — allegdly earned him a brief payday. The investor agreed to go into business with Yohai, and claimed to have lost $200,000 from the venture.

    Yohai was arrested by Los Angeles police last week on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges stemming from a scheme whereby he allegedly rented out high-end properties that he didn’t own and pocketed the proceeds while stiffing the actual property owner.

    It’s worth noting: Manafort’s former son-in-law was allegedly running this real estate scam while awaiting sentencing on separate charges of real estate fraud that he pleaded guilty to last year. That case involved $15 million in loans he took out to refurbish homes in Hollywood. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  259. says

    This seems inappropriate to me.

    Trump, first lady attend special Supreme Court ceremony for Kavanaugh

    […] Invited guests included elite and well-known members of Washington’s conservative legal and political circles.

    Those in attendance included Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard Leo, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, former Clinton independent counsel Kenneth Starr and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). […]

    Newly appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was also there. In an authoritative tone, he made the formal request for Kavanaugh’s commission to be read and accepted by the court. […]

  260. says

    WaPo link – “Trump’s acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, has no intention of recusing from Russia probe, associates say”:

    Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation.

    Since stepping into his new role on Wednesday, Whitaker has faced questions — principally from Democrats — about whether he should recuse from the Russia investigation, given that he has written opinion pieces in the past about the investigation, and is a friend and political ally of a witness.

    On Thursday, two people close to Whitaker said he has no intention of taking himself off the Russia case.

    Ethics officials at the Justice Department are likely to review his past work to see if he has any financial or personal conflicts. In many instances, that office does not require a Justice Department official to recuse, but suggests a course of action. In the past, senior Justice Department officials tend to follow such advice, but they are rarely required to do so, according to officials familiar with the process.

    A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Officials there have said Whitaker will follow the regular procedure in handling any ethics issues that arise….

    This is totally unacceptable. This man has no business being in this job, and his appointment is nothing more than an attempt to obstruct justice.

  261. says

    Here’s the oped – NYT link – “Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional”:

    …But Professor Calabresi and the president were right about the core principle. A principal officer must be confirmed by the Senate. And that has a very, very significant consequence today.

    It means that President Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

    Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

    We cannot tolerate such an evasion of the Constitution’s very explicit, textually precise design. Senate confirmation exists for a simple, and good, reason. Constitutionally, Matthew Whitaker is a nobody. His job as Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff did not require Senate confirmation. (Yes, he was confirmed as a federal prosecutor in Iowa, in 2004, but President Trump can’t cut and paste that old, lapsed confirmation to today.) For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document.

    In times of crisis, interim appointments need to be made. Cabinet officials die, and wars and other tragic events occur. It is very difficult to see how the current situation comports with those situations. And even if it did, there are officials readily at hand, including the deputy attorney general and the solicitor general, who were nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate. Either could step in as acting attorney general, both constitutionally and statutorily.

    Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone the process of Senate confirmation, there has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whether he has the character and ability to evenhandedly enforce the law in such a position of grave responsibility. The public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker’s only supervisor is President Trump himself, and the president is hopelessly compromised by the Mueller investigation. That is why adherence to the requirements of the Appointments Clause is so important here, and always….

  262. says

    SC @452, Thank you for that link. That’s the best, and most legally accurate account I’ve seen of Whitaker’s appointment.

    In other news, Democrats in the House of Congress are looking at gun safety issues:

    Florida Rep. Ted Deutch previewed legislation to create a “National Gun Safety Administration.” Deutch’s district includes the Parkland school where 17 children and adults were shot and killed nine months ago.

    Nevada Rep. Dina Titus has gotten little traction on her proposals to reform gun laws, but vowed, “that will change come January.” Titus represents a district that encompasses most of Las Vegas, which saw the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when a gunman used bump stocks to kill 58 concertgoers from a hotel window last year.

    “I worry that we’ve become desensitized to this,” Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes told CNN. Himes called for Congress to take up some of the measures that have been implemented in Connecticut like an assault weapons ban, but acknowledged the divided Congress makes the likelihood of any legislation becoming law much more remote.

    Roll Call link

  263. says

    From Josh Marshall, a few more details regarding Whitaker’s relationship to Sam Clovis:

    […] Lots of people have noted that Whitaker is compromised in overseeing the Russia probe because of his public statements attacking it – the same statements that appear to have played a key role getting him the job. No less important in my mind is his relationship to Sam Clovis, a key player in the Russia story and at least a witness in the investigation itself. Clovis is the guy who brought George Papadapoulos and Carter Page into the Trump campaign as foreign policy advisors. Clovis told TPM that Whitaker was a sounding board for him during the campaign. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  264. says

    Standing by a doctored video! Sheesh!

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood by her tweet of an apparently doctored video of CNN’s Jim Acosta, manipulated to make it appear that he got physical with a White House press intern.

    “The question is: did the reporter make contact or not?,” Sanders said in a statement Thursday. “The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement.”

    The video appears to be taken from fringe far-right website InfoWars to make it look like Acosta chopped down on the intern’s arm. In reality, she reached into his personal space repeatedly to grab his microphone, which he held onto as he tried to get President Donald Trump to answer his question.

    The White House has used the fabricated physical altercation as grounds to revoke Acosta’s press pass, a move that reporters of all stripes and ideologies have condemned.

    Talking Points Memo link

  265. says

    The Trump administration wants to add to the paperwork load of medical care providers, insurers and patients in order to discourage insurance companies from covering abortion services:

    The Trump administration wants insurers to send Obamacare enrollees two separate, monthly bills if the plan covers abortion services, per a new proposed regulation that creates more administrative burden for patients and companies alike.

    It wouldn’t matter if the patient never had an abortion. The administration would require insurance companies to send two different invoices to patients who purchase Obamacare plans: one for the standard monthly fee for the insurance policy and another for the premium attributable to abortion coverage (which could be as low as $1).

    “This rule is certain to cause confusion among consumers. They will now receive two separate bills and have to make two separate payments. Again, this is meant to cause confusion,” said Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All, a reproductive justice group aiming to lift abortion coverage bans.

    The proposed rule published Tuesday evening is intended to resolve a problem that doesn’t exist. By way of background, federal dollars aren’t allowed to pay for abortion services and this includes Obamacare subsidies. Obamacare, shorthand for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), already requires insurance companies that offer ACA plans and abortion coverage to separate private premium dollars and subsidies on the back end to ensure tax credits or cost sharing reductions don’t pay for the benefit. […]

    Think Progress link

    More at the link.

  266. says

    Another court ruling goes against Trump:

    A U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that […] Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is likely unlawful.

    The decision, which blocks Trump from terminating DACA protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, is the first from a Federal Appeals Court.

    Trump first moved to rescind DACA within his first months in office. The decision has faced a number of legal challenges, and will now likely head to the Supreme Court.

    The Hill link

  267. tomh says

    @ #452
    It’s an interesting take, although relying on a concurring opinion by Thomas seems a bit problematic. Following Katyal’s logic, though, would require the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) to be declared unconstitutional, yet he allows that there are times when vacancies need to be filled without delay. He just doesn’t think this is one of those times. The Act specifies what circumstances require temporary appointments, and resignation is one.

    My other objection to the op-ed is that it is disingenuous about the SC case he references. The piece says “the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation.” That wasn’t the question at all.

    The Vacancies Act states that no one can perform the duties of the temporary appointment after being nominated for the permanent position. The SC opinion held that “1. Subsection (b)(1) of the FVRA prevents a person who has been nominated to fill a vacant PAS office from performing the duties of that office in an acting capacity.” That was the issue and why the Acting General Counsel for the NLRB became ineligible to perform the duties of general counsel in an acting capacity once the President nominated him to fill that post.

    This has little relevance to the current situation. All it means is that Whitaker couldn’t continue to be Acting AG if he were nominated for the post.

  268. says

    Update about the Georgia gubernatorial race:

    Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams’s campaign announced Thursday that it will file a lawsuit over absentee ballots in Dougherty County as the hotly contested governor’s race remains too close to call.

    Kurt Kastorf, who is on Abrams’s legal team, told reporters at a press conference that a lawsuit will be filed later Thursday, claiming that absentee ballots in that county were mailed too slowly. He noted that the first delay was caused by an injunction, but were later delivered late due to Hurricane Michael.

    Kastorf alleged other ballot issues in Dougherty County, including some voters who requested an absentee ballot and never received it as well as residents receiving ballots too late to return them by the deadline. The suit is asking the court to count all ballots, even if received late.

    He also pointed to provisional ballot issues in Chatham County, Ga., where he said voters who were told they need to cast a provisional ballot were turned away because some polling locations ran out. He said the campaign is holding off on filing a lawsuit there until they collect more affidavits from people who couldn’t vote or for those who had uncounted provisional ballots. […]

    Kemp has already declared victory, but Abrams has argued that there are enough uncounted ballots to trigger a Dec. 4 runoff. […]

    The Hill link

  269. says

    Jemele Hill, ESPN reporter, was purged from voter rolls in Florida.

    I had never been this paranoid about voting before. I checked my voter registration multiple times before flying to Florida for early voting. I traveled across the country to vote, rather than voting absentee. That’s how much I needed the reassurance of physically handing in my vote. Think of this paranoia as the post-traumatic stress of more than a century of blatant, consistent efforts by the right to undermine, discourage, and disenfranchise people of color. All too often, barriers have been placed in the way of our voting—or when election laws are applied, we’ve been held to a different standard.

    Unfortunately, my spidey senses turned out to be right. When I showed up at the polling site near my house, I found that I had been kicked off the registered-voter roll.

    A flurry of phone calls, and lots of head-nodding and “mmm-hmm”s from the supervisor of the polling site, failed to produce any explanation of why the system wasn’t showing me as a registered voter. I was allowed to fill out a provisional ballot. I was given two sheets of paper. One had my provisional-ballot number and explained my rights as a provisional voter. The other sheet listed a website and phone number for the Orange County supervisor of elections’ office in Orlando. I was told I could use that information to track my ballot.

    It wasn’t until 45 minutes later that this voting mystery began to unravel. Shortly after I left the polling site, an official from the elections office called me and told me that a tweet I had posted a few weeks earlier had been brought to their attention. I had written that I had recently moved to Los Angeles, but was returning to Florida for early voting so I could vote for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

    Being a journalist means signing up for life as a nomad. I’ve lived in three different cities this year alone. I’ve lived in six different cities over the course of my 21-year career in journalism. Part of the reason I bought a house in Orlando in 2006 was to establish a base of permanent residency—to have a place to call home, wherever I might temporarily reside. I have never rented my home to another person. I get my bank statements sent there. And I pay Florida property taxes. […]

    I pressed the official who called me from the supervisor of elections’ office about how my tweet had landed on their radar. “Let’s just say it was a red brigade,” he said.

    I’m guessing that had I tweeted support for Gillum’s challenger, Ron DeSantis, no one would have questioned my right to vote in Florida. Also in the back of my mind was the dust-up I’d had with the president last year. I’m not accusing Donald Trump of trying to suppress my vote, but I wouldn’t put it past his ardent supporters.

    “The fact is, you’re a high-profile person who has political enemies,” said Richard Hasen, a chancellor’s professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, and a leading authority on election law. “The president has influenced passions about voter fraud, so people in the public eye will be watched very carefully. Everybody is looking for a ‘gotcha’ to see if a prominent person across the aisle is committing voter fraud.” […]

    The election official who contacted me told me that, based upon the information I shared with him, there seemed to be no evidence I had committed voter fraud. He also warned me that he didn’t get to make the final determination about whether my provisional ballot would be accepted. That would be up to the supervisor of elections. […]

    The Atlantic link to “I Still Don’t Know If My Vote Will Be Counted in Florida.”

  270. says

    tomb @458, thanks for the additional information.

    I do think that whether or not Sessions actually “resigned” or was fired is an open question. He said he was submitting his resignation letter at Trump’s direction. That sounds like “fired” to me.

  271. says

    tomh @ #458:

    It’s an interesting take, although relying on a concurring opinion by Thomas seems a bit problematic. Following Katyal’s logic, though, would require the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) to be declared unconstitutional, yet he allows that there are times when vacancies need to be filled without delay. He just doesn’t think this is one of those times. The Act specifies what circumstances require temporary appointments, and resignation is one.

    Hm. I’m not sure I’m following. It seems to me that the controlling/overriding question for Katyal and Conway is that principal officers have to be Senate confirmed, which is grounded in fundamental democratic principles. (Appears that this foundational principle has been accepted by all of the parties in the lawsuits related to Mueller’s appointment.) It seems like the spirit of the FVRA (based on my extensive research of reading a few articles lately and spending a few minutes Googling :)) was basically the same – intending to constrain executive power by specifying the conditions under which temporary appointments can be made. This comes across in the requirement that such appointments can’t be made when someone is fired (which is of course what happened here in reality, but setting that aside).

    So sure, it allows for temporary appointments of non-Senate-confirmed people in emergency situations, but again the spirit of the law seems to be to preserve the Constitutional Senate-confirmation requirement and prevent the abuse of executive power. The attempt by an executive to use the provisions of the FVRA to do an end run around the Constitution seems completely contrary to that spirit. As Katyal and Conway argue, even if you were to accept the transparently bogus argument that Sessions’ resignation constitutes some sort of emergency, Rosenstein and Francisco are both Senate confirmed and in the line of succession. So I’m not convinced that this hypothetical is apt.

    Incidentally, Laurence Tribe just called Whitaker a “pretender to the position of Attorney General,” which is perfect.

  272. says

    So I suppose their argument – with which I think I agree – is that the temporary appointment of non-Senate-confirmed people as principal officers is only constitutional in emergency situations, and that even the most basic elements of such an emergency situation (unforeseen, not created, no Senate-confirmed replacements available, no one in the line of succession) aren’t present here.

  273. says

    From John Cassidy, writing for The New Yorker.:

    […] Officially, the rushed departure from the Justice Department of Attorney General Jeff Sessions was described as a “resignation.” Of course, it was really a firing. In fact, it was tantamount to a double firing. In appointing Sessions’s interim replacement, Matthew Whitaker, a conservative Republican lawyer who had been serving as Sessions’s chief of staff, President Trump passed over the Justice Department’s second-in-command, Rod Rosenstein, and also stripped Rosenstein of responsibility for overseeing the investigation being carried out by Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

    In a statement released on Thursday, the Justice Department said, “The Acting Attorney General”—meaning Whitaker—“is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.” That includes the Russia investigation. Without actually firing Rosenstein, an independent figure who has been a strong defender of Mueller, Trump has accomplished the same thing that a dismissal would have brought about: the appointment of a more loyal, and perhaps more pliable, figure to oversee the final stages of Mueller’s work.

    Everyone in Washington knows that Trump has been itching to fire Sessions since March of 2017, when the former Alabama senator recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. In July, 2017, Trump told the Times, “If he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked someone else.” With the midterms safely out of the way, Trump contained himself no longer. […]

    Link

  274. tomh says

    @ #463
    Well, others may disagree, but I just don’t think the firing argument can go very far. The law is pretty clear:

    “If an officer of an Executive agency (including the Executive Office of the President, and other than the General Accounting Office) whose appointment to office is required to be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office-”

    “Resigns” is right there, and since he wrote a letter of resignation…if he had waited to be fired there would be a better chance. As far as who he may appoint, the law clearly gives him 3 choices on that, with no preference to any of them. He may appoint (in this case):
    1- the assistant AG,
    2- any govt official who has been confirmed by the Senate
    3 – an officer or employee of the agency who has worked 90 days, and whose salary is equal to or greater than the minimum rate of pay payable for a position at GS-15.

    “the spirit of the law seems to be to preserve the Constitutional Senate-confirmation”

    I’m sure the claim would be that this is taken into account in the time limit (210 days) placed on such an appointment.

    Really, I think the only recourse would be a suit filed (who would have standing?) with the goal of having the Vacancy Act declared unconstitutional, as too vague or something. I’m afraid it’s a lost cause, IMO.

  275. says

    Really, I think the only recourse would be a suit filed (who would have standing?) with the goal of having the Vacancy Act declared unconstitutional, as too vague or something. I’m afraid it’s a lost cause, IMO.

    Yeah, I have no idea who would have standing (especially since IANAL and really don’t know the basics of standing), but I don’t think it would need to take on the whole Act. If someone (Mueller? Rosenstein? DoJ employees?) does have standing, could they ask for a TRO to prevent Whitaker from assuming office while the suit is pending? (Apologies if this is a stupid question – again, NAL.)

  276. tomh says

    Hmm, that would be like the Executive Branch suing itself. Maybe if one of them were fired they could sue for some reason, but I don’t see it.

  277. says

    This WaPo oped by Hugh Hewitt is essentially Stalinist.

    Intellectually and to some extent emotionally I understand it, but I do hit a wall trying to grasp how someone becomes like this. He actually says “We in the media are rightly upset that the White House has suspended the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta, but I suspect the public is with the president on that move and generally admiring of his disdain for those of us with microphones and keyboards” before continuing with his slavering praise of Trump. It’s painfully embarrassing to read.

  278. says

    SC @469.

    That is an interesting thread. It is beginning to look more likely that the aide who accosted Acosta was planted, that the confrontation was planned.

    Also, the immediate response of anti-CNN and anti-Acosta forces online was just … so … immediate. So large. So ready with graphics.

    Still, we know that Acosta did not intentionally tough the female aide, nor did he ever “lay hands on her.”

  279. says

    Also, the immediate response of anti-CNN and anti-Acosta forces online was just … so … immediate. So large. So ready with graphics.

    It was the first thing I noticed.

  280. says

    This Tucker Carlson thing is odd:

    There were no arrests, but police confiscated several signs. The report lists the incident as a “suspected hate crime” on the basis of “anti-political” bias.

    The Metropolitan Police said in a statement they welcome and support all expressions of free speech and First Amendment rights, but that “defacing private property” is an obvious violation.

    If they defaced his property and it’s a suspected hate crime, why didn’t they arrest anyone at the scene?

  281. says

    Michael McFaul: “To those media outlets who covered extensively the ” the invading caravan” before the election– sometimes on page one — but now have completely dropped reporting on this alleged national security threat, realize how badly Trump played you & don’t repeat.”

  282. says

    SC @482, I know what you mean. This guy is in real trouble. Too much evidence to ignore.

    […] In audio surfaced Thursday by Scott Dworkin of The Democratic Coalition, Whitaker is heard saying in a radio interview that “The left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the US election, which has been proven false. They did not have any impact in the election, and that has been very clear from the Obama administration.” […]

    TPM link.

    No, no, no. “Proven false?” Nope, not at all.

    How many other issues currently under investigation has this doofus already decided, and decided most likely incorrectly?

    In fact, American intelligence agencies have continually alleged Russian interference in the election. They’ve also asserted they are not investigating whether that interference affected election results. Just because no vote-changing has been alleged does not mean Russians didn’t interfere — for example, by stealing and disseminating the emails of senior Democrats.

    In an interview with radio host Andrew Wilkow, Whitaker also asserted: “The truth is, there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.”

  283. says

    Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema has taken the lead in the Senate race in Arizona.

    There’s some hope here. We might not have Martha McSally in the Senate after all.

    The race is still too-close-to-call, and 300,000 to 500,000 or more votes remain to be counted.

    An Arizona source told The Hill that the latest numbers came from roughly 150,000 votes from Maricopa County, with another 345,000 outstanding votes still left from that county, which includes the capital of Phoenix, as well as Sinema’s own congressional district.

    A total of approximately 500,000 votes remain uncounted across the state.

    The Maricopa County recorder announced that the next update will be posted on Friday at 5 p.m. local time.

    Sinema and McSally are locked in one of the fiercest Senate battles this cycle in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an outspoken critic of President Trump. […]

    Link

    Republicans may end up governing with a very small margin in the Senate … again.

  284. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 483.

    https://www.wonkette.com/fox-cancels-imaginary-caravan-crisis-new-scary-thing-involving-brown-people-to-debut-next-year

    Good news, everyone! Carol’s lake house in Minnesota has checked in “safe” on Facebook from that awful caravan crisis, which unlike what conservatives think about climate change was definitely man-made. You probably recall the story about the Marie Antoinette of Minnesota whom Donald Trump had scared even more shades of white about an invading army of hostile poor people. This “caravan of migrants” would not stop until it reached a state that is only habitable for human life for about two weeks in May. Then would come the raping and pillaging in an undetermined order until even innocent lake houses were “occupied.”

    Mr. Trump’s dystopian imagery has clearly left an impression with some. Carol Shields, 75, a Republican in northern Minnesota, said she was afraid that migrant gangs could take over people’s summer lake homes in the state.

    “What’s to stop them?” said Ms. Shields, a retired accountant. “We have a lot of people who live on lakes in the summer and winter someplace else. When they come back in the spring, their house would be occupied.”

    What’s to stop “them”? Absolutely nothing … that isn’t, say, a midterm election that happened Tuesday! The caravan probably packed it in on Wednesday, because what’s the point? All eligible voters have been terrified. Turns out the caravan didn’t contain gang members after all but just the electoral version of the creatures from Monsters, Inc. who live on fear.

    The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker pointed out that Trump, who used to tweet nonstop about the caravan “invasion,” hasn’t uttered a peep about it since the election. I get it’s a busy week obstructing justice but “smallpox” waits for no one and that’s what the crackpots on Fox claimed […] Trump himself suggested at campaign rallies that the caravan was infested with “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners.”

    Fox News now says the “leading migrant caravan pushing its way” to America is considering just staying in Mexico. No one told them apparently that Trump was going to send Kirstjen Nielsen to the border in Top Gun shades, or they’d have never left their “shitholes” in the first place.

    “Any kind of accident can happen to you,” Nora, a 35-year-old mother who fled Honduras with her husband and 2-year-old daughter, told the Washington Post earlier this week. She described riding 116 miles to the city of Puebla in a double-decker truck meant for hauling vehicles. “Either I take the risk, or I stay poor.” […]

  285. says

    Neal Katyal (on Chris Hayes) re standing:

    “Every litigant in this country who’s facing the Justice Department can make these arguments and say, ‘Hey, you’re trying to put me in jail, Justice Department? You don’t have the authority. You have a fake Attorney General’.”

    “Senators have standing because the founders put them in control of the consent function…”

    “The list of people who can sue is frankly endless.”

  286. says

    David Jolly:

    So Florida’s sitting Governor and U.S. Senate candidate currently facing a mandatory recount just announced he was deploying state law enforcement officers to two supervisors of election offices in South Florida.

    Yep, you read that right.

  287. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rachael has Rep. elect Sharice Davids on for an interview. Video to follow if available.

  288. tomh says

    @ #487
    That may be, or maybe not, but even so, I just don’t see the argument that the law was broken. I can’t imagine that a court, let alone the SC, would buy that he didn’t resign. Nobody held a gun to his head, he wrote a resignation letter – so what if the President asked him to, he could have just said no. Beyond that, he obviously fits the criteria of the Vacancy Act.

    That being said, I could easily see the ethics turmoil deep-sixing the deal. If Trump weren’t such an idiot, he could have picked someone who would accomplish the same things, without all the drama. There are hundreds of chumps who have been confirmed by the Senate for various positions that would have been happy to follow Trump’s directions. But, of course, now Trump will dig his heels in and never let it go.

  289. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says