Lazy Caturday ReadsPosted: January 19, 2019
It has been quite a roller coaster ride for politics junkies over the past couple of days.
First, Buzzfeed news posted a blockbuster story on Thursday night citing law enforcement sources who claimed to have documentary evidence that Trump told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal that was in the works during the 2016 campaign.
The story was out there for a full day and then the Special Counsel’s office released a cryptic statement saying there was something wrong with the story but not specifically spelling out the problem. CNN: Mueller’s office disputes BuzzFeed report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, in a statement.
It’s highly unusual for the special counsel’s office to provide a statement to the media — outside of court filings and judicial hearings — about any of its ongoing investigative activities.
In response, BuzzFeed said in its own statement, “We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report.”
Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed, echoed similar sentiments.
“We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing,” he tweeted….
The BuzzFeed story, by reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, asserted that Cohen had told special counsel investigators that “after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations [for a Trump development project in Moscow] ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement,” BuzzFeed wrote, attributing its assertion to two law enforcement sources.
The sources also said the special counsel’s office had corroborating Trump company emails, text messages and other documents, though the BuzzFeed reporters were unclear Friday in television interviews about whether they had seen the documents described in their story.
I’m not going to try to figure out what all this means at the moment, because we have plenty of evidence already that Trump has lie, encouraged others to lie, and has engaged in witness tampering on Twitter and most likely in private. We also have evidence that Trump told his own son to lie about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting. In that instance, Trump actually composed the false story to be given to The New York Times.
We’ll learn what it all means at some point. Buzzfeed will surely go back to their sources for clarification and I hope they’ll publish a follow-up story. Meanwhile, we already know that Trump is a criminal.
In other news, Trump announced last night that he is going to make a “major announcement” about the so-called “crisis” at the border and the government shutdown. CBS News reports:
President Trump said he will make a “major announcement” about the southern border and the partial government shutdown on Saturday. It is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. ET.
“I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown,” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday evening. He had originally said it would be at 3 p.m. but his schedule later noted it would take place an hour later….
A senior administration official told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett that Mr. Trump will present what the White House believes could be a deal to end the shutdown. The deal was largely influenced by talks between Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Obviously, no deal can be reached without including Democratic leaders, and it’s already clear that Trump understands there’s no crisis, or he wouldn’t have waited until day 29 of the shutdown to try to deal with it. It will be interesting to see how Nancy Pelosi responds to whatever Trump proposes. Axios’s Jonathan Swan claims to know what it will be:
President Trump plans to use remarks from the Diplomatic Reception Room on Saturday afternoon to propose a notable immigration compromise, according to sources familiar with the speech.
The offer is expected to include Trump’s $5.7 billion demand for wall money in exchange for the BRIDGE Act — which would extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — and also legislation to extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, according to a source with direct knowledge.
Jared Kushner and Mike Pence have led the crafting of this deal and the negotiations with members, according to White House officials.
Whatever. He just needs open up the government and stop acting like spoiled brat and holding the country hostage.
Today is the “Women’s March,” and it’s not going to be anything like the one in 2017. The Washington Post:
Thousands of women from across the country gathered in the nation’s capital Saturday morning for the third annual Women’s March on Washington.
Organizers wrote in a permit application weeks ago that they expected hundreds of thousands to attend — a number similar to the 2017 march the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration — but a National Park Service permit issued Thursday indicated that about 10,000 are expected. Similar marches were planned across the country.
The 2019 march is taking place amid controversies that have dogged the national Women’s March organization, including allegations of anti-Semitism and secretive financial dealings and disputes over who gets to own and define the Women’s March. Some organizers have called for its national co-chairs to resign.
Attendees gathered at 10 a.m. at Freedom Plaza, followed at 11 a.m. by a half-mile march past the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The rally — originally planned for the Mall — will resume at 1 p.m. at Freedom Plaza with speakers and performers, then is scheduled to end at 4 p.m.
Yesterday was the oddly named “March for Life,” at which fake Christians argue that American women should be forced to bear children whether they want to or not. There was also an Indigenous People’s March in Washington yesterday, and some kids from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hill, Kentucky wearing MAGA hats chose to harass and mock the indigenous people at the Lincoln Memorial. It was ugly.
It was even worse than it looks in the video, because the boys surrounded the Native American group, pushing and bumping up against them. Here’s some video of the crowd surround the Native American demonstrators.
Here’s a Twitter thread to check out:
You can find lots more on this on Twitter. We’ll see if the school takes any action. Someone posted this news story from a Kentucky outlet, River City News: Video Appears to Show Covington Catholic Students Swarming Native American Marcher.
Multiple videos being shared extensively on social media appear to show students from Covington Catholic High School surrounding a Native American participant in the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. on Friday. The event happened at the same time as the National March for Life, an anti-abortion gathering in D.C., which was attended by Cov Cath students.
A request for comment from a spokesperson at Covington Catholic has not yet been returned. The school removed its Facebook page and made its Twitter profile private after social media users identified the students as being from Cov Cath.
In the videos, one student appears to stand very close to a Native American participant playing a drum as other students stand nearby shouting, chanting, and jumping around.
Many of the students in the video appear to be wearing Covington Catholic apparel, while others are wearing clothing or hats in support of President Donald Trump.
We’ll see if the school takes any action. Obviously they don’t support autonomy for women and these boys learned this horrible behavior somewhere.
Is anyone else getting sick of hearing about Beto O’Rourke? At Yahoo News, Jon Ward asks a question and struggles with the obvious answer: Why was Beto O’Rourke a national phenomenon while Stacey Abrams wasn’t?
One was a three-term congressman known for once playing in a punk band, riding a skateboard and giving an answer about structural racism that went viral.
The other was the leader of her party in a Deep South state with a long history of racial discrimination who had spent years mobilizing people of color to register to vote and whose opponent was overseeing the election while erecting numerous obstacles to voting that disproportionately affected her supporters.
If one of these résumés seems more impressive than the other, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Texas’s Beto O’Rourke, the politician with the decidedly thinner personal story, became a national sensation while Georgia’s Stacey Abrams did not.
Let’s see, young charismatic (to some) white man vs. strong, intelligent, powerful black woman. What could be the explanation for why of of these two got so much more media attention than the other? I just can’t quite put my finger on it.
Way down in the story Ward finally gets to the race issue and just glances on the gender issue. Here’s sample:
One staffer to a Democratic governor who was not allowed to be quoted by name said, “We have a very narrow mindset of what electable means, and a tall, white dude who is semifluent when speaking to minorities checks all of those boxes.”
“Stacey Abrams is the opposite of everything we count as electable: She’s black, she’s a woman, she’s in debt and honest about it, has incarcerated family,” the staffer said.
Teddy Goff, who worked for both Obama campaigns as a top digital adviser and also advised Clinton in 2016, tweeted more than a week before the election last fall: “I love Beto, but Stacey Abrams is the most talented Democrat running this year and we would all be talking about her (even) more if so many people didn’t tacitly view women and people of color as having less potential or being less ‘presidential.’”
“You look at Beto, and it’s easy to slot him into a framework of being president. It’s not to his discredit to wonder why don’t we think of President Stacey Abrams,” Goff told Yahoo News.
I’ll end with this piece by Noah Bierman on why Trump is such a terrible dealmaker–he’s the boy who cried wolf. The LA Times: Why can’t Trump make deals? No one trusts him anymore.
Sen. Mitch McConnell was jolted with a fresh reminder of President Trump’s capriciousness last month: The majority leader persuaded Republican colleagues to take a politically difficult vote to temporarily fund the government, but not a border wall, only to see Trump withdraw support — initiating the longest shutdown in history.
House Republicans learned the same lesson early in Trump’s presidency when he rallied them to repeal Obamacare, then described their effort as “mean.”
As Trump reaches the halfway mark of his term on Sunday, he has left a trail of negotiating partners from both chambers of Congress, both political parties and countries around the world feeling double-crossed and even lied to.
The result is that the president who campaigned as the world’s best deal-maker, vowing that he alone could fix Washington’s dysfunction, has been stymied as he looks for achievements before facing the voters again. Two years in, the man who built a political reputation as a guy who tells it like it is has lost the essential ingredients to closing deals: credibility and trust.
Read the rest at the LA Times.
So . . . what else is happening? What stories have you been following?