Everyone knows that Trump is a pathological liar, but the media has normalized his behavior to the point that the lies often don’t get reported anymore. I’m reminded of how the media eventually ignored Ronald Reagan’s wild exaggerations and misattributions of memories, but Trump is much much worse than Reagan.
The noise from wind turbines causes cancer. The wall is already being built. Mothers, in consultation with their doctors, execute their children. These are some of the boldest, most deranged lies Donald Trump has told since becoming the 45th president of the United States. But, as anyone with access to the Internet or TV knows, he’s also told hundreds of smaller lies about everything from not calling Tim Cook “Tim Apple” to the number of people at a Beto O’Rourke rally. And when we say the leader of the free world has told “hundreds” of lies, we actually mean closer to 10,000.
In a truly superhuman feat, The Washington Post has tallied all the “falsehoods” that have spewed from Trump’s mouth and fingers since January 20, 2017, to April 27, 2019. Per the Post, that’s a whopping 10,111 in 828 days. And the situation vis-à-vis the president being a pathological liar is getting markedly worse. After telling a mere 5,000 false and misleading statements during his first 601 days in office, the pace and frequency of the lies has accelerated such that he doubled his bullshit in just a third of the time, telling almost 23 lies a day in the seven-month period beginning in late October, during midterm elections….
According to the Post, between April 25 and April 27, the president uttered 171 false or misleading statements—more than any single month in his first five months in Washington. Assuming that pace continues, with 631 days left in his first term, he’s on track to tell an additional 35,967 lies. But if his obvious mental degeneration continues, it could be even more!
The Daily Beast: America Under Attack by White Supremacists Acting Like ISIS.
The alleged killer at a Southern California synagogue this weekend worked alone, according to law enforcement, but behind him is a sprawling, digital network of white supremacists spurring each other on to murder.
Moments before allegedly opening fire at worshippers in Chabad of Poway on Saturday, white supremacist John Earnest previewed his plans on 8chan, just as his supposed inspiration did. Last month, a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand used 8chan to share a link to a livestream of him killing 50 Muslims at a mosque. In between the attacks, the anonymous forum with a large fascist presence called for people to carry out more shootings. The calls for violence also spread across fringe platforms like Gab, and messaging apps like Telegram. It’s reminiscent of calls online for followers of ISIS and al Qaeda to strike out at the enemy, counter-terrorism experts said.
After the New Zealand shooting, 8chan users decorated the alleged killer as a “saint” and encouraged each other to commit shootings of their own, including against synagogues, to prepare for the “third world war” against Jews, or to kill a journalist critical of the forum.
“As a lot of people have noted over the past few days, 8chan is an awful cesspool of encouraging violence and hatred,” said Sam Jackson, an assistant professor focusing on online extremism at the University of Albany. “That hate and encouragement of violence might be a sort of baseline, background noise, but periodically someone moves from participating in this online awfulness to committing offline actions.”
Those real-life actions appear to have spiked over the past six months, with at least three white supremacists announcing attack plans on 8chan or Gab, before opening fire at Jewish or Muslim houses of worship. Three such attacks—at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a Christchurch mosque, and at the Poway synagogue—have killed a combined 62 people in the past six months.
Trump has given these his blessing with his immigration policies and his lies about immigrants, and his administration is doing nothing to stop the hate and violence of white supremacists. Recently, he even defended his shocking remarks about white supremacist and anti-Semitic marchers in Charlottesville being “very fine people.”
Now Trump is telling outrageous lies that will put targets on the backs of doctors and nurses who provide palliative care for dying infants and their parents as part of his attacks on abortion.
Emily Shugarmaneat The Daily Beast: ‘Bizarre, Dangerous, and Insulting’: Baby Nurses Fed Up With Trump’s Bogus Abortion Rants.
President Trump’s latest rant about babies being executed after birth is riling up neonatal nurses, who say he’s twisted the palliative care they provide for the sickest of infants into an anti-abortion rallying cry that could endanger health providers.
Anna Schmidt, who has worked in a neonatal intensive care unit for five years, told the Daily Beast she was livid when she heard about Trump’s comments at a political rally in Wisconsin on Saturday.
“The families that I’ve worked with, where I’ve handed them their babies for the first and last time, they don’t deserve this kind of thing,” she told The Daily Beast. “They don’t deserve to be vilified or to be called an executioner.”
Trump’s remark was a continuation of his attacks on later abortions, which he describes as “ripp[ing] babies from their mothers’ wombs right up until the moment of birth.” But while abortion providers may be used to such attacks, the president’s latest criticism has rankled a new group of medical professionals—nurses who take care of babies destined to die….
“When a baby dies in the hospital it’s because something has gone very, very wrong,” said Julia Puler, a NICU nurse from Michigan. “I can’t point to a single case study of a healthy term newborn that was executed in a hospital. And the mere suggestions of that is just utterly bizarre and dangerous and insulting, frankly, for anyone who is a health-care professional.”
Hannah Gold at The Cut: Trump’s Lies About Abortion Keep Getting More Disturbing.
During a lengthy speech in which he targeted Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers, who has promised to veto a bill that could send doctors to jail for life if they fail to provide adequate medical care to infants born alive after failed abortion attempts, Trump repeated an incendiary — and patently false — claim about doctors “executing babies.”
“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully,” he said. “And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”
A terrible lie, which, as many critics have already pointed out, is just the sort of statement to turn his base to violent anger.
Michelle Goldberg At The New York Times: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement. The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence.
It’s tempting to ignore the president’s mendacity, since, as with so much of Trump’s malicious propaganda, it’s hard to counter it without amplifying it. Trump’s lies work to focus public attention on issues of his choosing; if Democrats are trying to explain that they don’t support infanticide, Trump has already won.
But leaving the lie unchallenged is also dangerous. Abortion providers are regular targets of domestic terrorism, and Trump’s lies serve as incitement. In 2016, a man fired an AR-15 inside a Washington pizzeria because he believed right-wing conspiracy theories that it was the epicenter of a child sex trafficking ring involving Hillary Clinton. Now the putative leader of the free world is spreading tales about unimaginable Democratic depravity toward innocent children.
It’s not a stretch to imagine an unstable Trump acolyte taking him both seriously and literally. Indeed, it seems that at least one already has. Last week, a 30-year-old Trump supporter named Matthew Haviland was arrested and accused of threatening to rape and murder a professor who supports abortion rights. According to an affidavit by an F.B.I. joint terrorism task force officer, Haviland wrote in an email, “I will kill every Democrat in the world so we never more have to have our babies brutally murdered by you absolute terrorists.” He also made over a hundred threatening calls to an abortion clinic.
Besides their potential to inspire violence, Trump’s words are a cruel insult to parents who have to make agonizing decisions about end-of-life care for babies that are born extremely prematurely, or with serious anomalies. Doctors and mothers don’t choose to “execute” newborns. They are forced to decide, in excruciating situations, when to forgo medical interventions and provide palliative care instead. There are exceedingly rare cases where babies survive an attempted abortion, but federal law already extends the same protection to them due any other infant.
But these responses come from women opinion writers, not mainstream reporters who get much more attention from the public. The normalization of Trump’s behavior has reached the point where political reporters simply dismiss his dangerous lies and often don’t even report them.
President Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was an ugly affair. The president falsely accused Democrats of supporting infanticide, called the FBI and Justice Department leaders he’s purged from government “scum,” referred to the assembled media as “sick people,” and even admitted his proposal to punish blue states by relocating undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities was “actually my sick idea.”
The crowd ate it up, at various points chanting “lock her up!” and “CNN sucks!” and booing loudly as Trump demonized his political opponents.
Like most Trump rallies, it was a disturbing and unusual spectacle. But to listen to the mainstream media tell it, it was a completely normal political event.
As Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star highlighted, the headlines major outlets used to describe Trump’s rally completely ignored his lies and incendiary smears. And it goes beyond headlines — in their articles about the rally, CBS, USA Today, the Associated Press, and the Hill failed to so much as mention that Trump pushed a number of false claims.
The New York Times did attempt to fact-check Trump’s lie about Democrats and abortion — Trump accused Democrats of supporting doctors who “wrap the baby beautifully” before they get together with the mother and “determine whether or not they will execute the baby” — but in so doing, the outlet demonstrated it doesn’t really have a vocabulary to adequately deal with Trump.
Instead of calling Trump’s lie a lie, the Times used the euphemism “revived an inaccurate refrain” in a tweet that was widely mocked. The accompanying article goes out of its way to avoid accusing Trump of lying, instead describing him as “reviv[ing] on Saturday night what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors ‘executing babies.’”
Read the rest at Vox.
That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
A girl is traumatized.
I’m in the middle of a major plumbing meltdown. I’m still traumatized by last night’s Game of Throne’s Battle of Winterfell. I really really don’t want to look at the news either because our version of the Army of the Dead is still walking around the Halls of Congress. Oh, and the President told his cult that good OB/GYNs like my daughter basically will murder babies when they actually fit the definition of a living, breathing, sentient human being and not a cluster of cells or a miscarriage in process or whatever of a million things can happen or go wrong in the entire gestation process.
There is nothing pleasant that comes out of a Trump Rally. So, why does the media normalize anything that happens there? There is nothing normal about him, his cult, or anything any of them do. In the Vox Article ” Coverage of Trump’s latest rally shows how major media outlets normalize his worst excesses”, Aaron Rupar writes ” Lying is still being recast as “reviv[ing] an inaccurate refrain.”
Here is exhibit One from Toronto Star’s Fact Checker.
The New York Times did attempt to fact-check Trump’s lie about Democrats and abortion— Trump accused Democrats of supporting doctors who “wrap the baby beautifully” before they get together with the mother and “determine whether or not they will execute the baby” — but in so doing, the outlet demonstrated it doesn’t really have a vocabulary to adequately deal with Trump.
Instead of calling Trump’s lie a lie, the Times used the euphemism “revived an inaccurate refrain” in a tweet that was widely mocked. The accompanying article goes out of its way to avoid accusing Trump of lying, instead describing him as “reviv[ing] on Saturday night what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors ‘executing babies.’”
Major media outlets have long struggled with how exactly to cover Trump, with the Times famously coming to the word “lie” in a headline late, something the paper’s own public editor criticized it for. This effort to find euphemisms for the word “lie” is actually normalizing his worst excesses. Coverage of this sort makes him seem like any other politician.
The irony is that on Saturday night, as always, the media was one of Trump’s foremost targets of abuse — yet the very outlets Trump demeans continue to bend over backward to cover him in the most favorable possible light.
No doctor does that. They would be arrested for murder immediately and it would be a violation of everything they’ve worked and studied and are paid to do. There is no such thing as a “partial birth abortion” either even though Republicans pass laws to ban an imaginary procedure. Trump has made this equivocation before.
If that sounds a bit flippant, that’s because, as Jen Gunter, an OBGYN who trained in late-term abortions, pointed out on Twitter, “There is no such thing as a ninth month abortion.” Those who seek late-term abortions are seeking them before a pregnancy reaches full term but often and unfortunately after they have discovered in the second or third trimester some problem with the fetus or danger to the mother.
But the inaccuracies started before Trump even responded: Wallace’s question was problematic right out of the gate because of the term he used. “Partial birth” is a political, not medical, term, and it does not refer to all late-term abortions. It refers to a very specific and rare procedure called dilation and extraction*, in which a fetus is partially pulled through the birth canal and then aborted, nearly always when the fetus cannot live outside the womb and typically when the mother’s health is in danger, the fetus has a serious abnormality, or both. Such a procedure is not conducted lightly: the fetus has a fatal defect and will not survive, or the mother is at risk of death herself.
As this NPR article notes about a partial-birth abortion ban passed in 2003, “when some members of Congress tried to amend the bill to ban only those procedures that take place after viability, abortion opponents complained that would leave most of the procedures legal.” And the Supreme Court ultimately declined to strike down the ban anyway. Further, most states don’t allow late-term abortions: just eight states and Washington, D.C., have no restrictions on abortion timing, and the rest have restrictions and other regulations in place.
As noted, these types of abortions are extremely rare. Although both the rate and number of abortions have steadily fallen in the U.S., an estimated 1 million procedures are performed each year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. These procedures remain very safe, considerably more so than pregnancy and birth, in fact. Of these abortions, 91.4% are performed in the first trimester, less than 14 weeks into pregnancy. Just 1.3% of abortions are performed at or after 21 weeks, and an estimated 0.2% of all abortions involve the dilation and evacuation procedure. And why would women seek them in the first place?
After viability, every effort is made to save the infant–when possible–who is fully outside the womb, breathing and considered as human as you and me.
Good News every one! It appears a huge portion of the population does not want to vote for Trump. This means he’ll be looking for Russian, Saudi, Chinese, etc help again. The Republicans will go full metal voter suppression. AND we need a hero … I’m borrowing Arya from the Game of Thrones Realm because she was definitely there with mad battle skills when every one most needs it.
“And what do we say to the God of Death?
No memes. Just Arya warrior woman photos for us today.
Even with Biden in the race, several more prospects — among them, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) — are still looking to get in. And while Biden begins from a commanding position in the polls, it’s unclear how much of that support will remain adhered to him. Rival campaigns expect it to erode.
TV crews still follow the hordes of candidates running under 10 percent in the polls, any number of whom have good reason to believe that with far lower name recognition than Biden and the other behemoth in the race, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), their own campaigns have time to grow.
The key milepost, nearly every campaign agrees, is the first official debate in June.
“Between now and the debates, polls are going to be all over the place, and then even post the debates, polls are going to be all over the place,” said Robert Wolf, a venture capitalist and influential Democratic donor who raised money for and advised former President Barack Obama.
Predicting the Democratic field would not narrow to a “true top 5” until the fall, Wolf said, “In 2007-2008 it was really a choice between Obama, Edwards and Clinton. In 2016, it was a choice between Bernie and Hillary … Today, you could argue no one’s north of 25 percent, and you know, it doesn’t feel like that many people are picking one [candidate] versus the other.”
Three of the nation’s most influential activists are launching an organization that aims to harness the political power of women to influence elections and shape local and national policy priorities.
Dubbed Supermajority, the organization is the creation of Cecile Richards, the former head of Planned Parenthood; Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The group, which describes itself as multiracial and intergenerational, has a goal of training and mobilizing 2 million women over the next year to become organizers and political leaders in their communities.
The effort comes at a moment when women have emerged as perhaps the most powerful force in politics.
Millions of women marched in cities across America to protest President Donald Trump’s election. Women also comprise the majority of the electorate in the 2018 midterm elections, sending a historic number of female candidates to Congress and helping Democrats retake control of the House. A record number of women are also seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including four senators.
Richards, who has long been a force in Democratic politics, said women “feel newly empowered and frankly motivated to take action, including so many women who never thought themselves as an activist before.”
Richards, Garza and Poo spent the past year traveling the country talking to women about how to harness their activism. They found that despite increased energy, many women find getting involved in politics intimidating and are unclear about how to do more than just march or protest.
“Women are mad as hell and we’ve been in resistance mode for two years,” Garza said. “Now it’s time to equip people.”
Jonathan Chait writes today about another one of the horrible things about Trump. “Why Trump Is Soft on White-Supremacist Terrorism”
Last week, President Trump repeated his absurd claim that he had never called the Nazi protesters who descended on Charlottesville in 2017 “very fine people.” On Saturday, yet another white-supremacist attack, on a synagogue in California, demonstrated the point that Trump and his allies wish to obscure: Right-wing terrorism is a more extreme version of Trump’s own political style. It draws inspiration from his ideas and some measure of protection from his political power.
Conservatives have long denied any links whatsoever between the brand of white supremacy represented by Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan and Republican-style conservatism. Conservative books like Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning and Dinesh D’Souza’s The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left have tried, absurdly, to identify these movements with the left side of the ideological spectrum.
The rise of Donald Trump has made this strained argument preposterous. Trump is not a white supremacist; if I showed you a block of text from one of his speeches side by side with a speech by David Duke, you would be able to tell the difference. But Trump’s rhetoric has excited and mobilized white supremacists because it teases the same theories that they make explicitly. Trump paints unauthorized immigrants as bloodthirsty rapists and murderers and touts their arrival as part of a geopolitical conspiracy to demographically transform the United States.
“A lot of people say” the caravan he hyped was funded by George Soros, Trump suggested last fall. (Trump favorite Lou Dobbs is one of the people who was saying this.) Trump’s closing campaign ad railed against “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities,” juxtaposing this inflammatory claim over images of Soros and other Jewish figures.
I still feel like we’ve been overtaken by some other worldly and quite evil. Although, our history and country is built on the backs of black slaves and stolen indigenous land and lives. We know this is in our DNA and history but we are more than Donald Trump and his cult.
I can’t imagine this campaign season is going to be any better than the last one other than there is an army of women who can gang up on him with ever one else. I just hope we all make Hillary proud.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
We’re living in crazy world now. It’s the weekend, and Trump is golfing, so maybe we’ll have a little peace for a couple of days. Maybe. I’ve been looking at the latest news for hours now, and I’m at a loss to know what to write about today. There’s just too much crazy.
So, before I get to political news, I want to call your attention to with fascinating story about recent advances in crime solving that were long ignored because they were discovered and championed by older women.
The New York Times: Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder, by Heather Murphy. [Emphasis added]
In the year since the arrest of the man believed to be the notorious Golden State Killer, the world of criminal investigation has been radically transformed.
Using an unconventional technique that relies on DNA submitted to online genealogy sites, investigators have solved dozens of violent crimes, in many cases decades after they hit dead ends. Experts believe the technique could be used to revive investigations into a vast number of cases that have gone cold across the country, including at least 100,000 unsolved major violent crimes and 40,000 unidentified bodies.
Many have called it a revolutionary new technology. But credit for this method largely belongs to a number of mostly female, mostly retired family history lovers who tried for years to persuade law enforcement officials that their techniques could be used for more than locating the biological parents of adoptees.
These women were ignored by law enforcement, probably because they were older women. What could they possibly know about finding murderers and rapists?
One was Diane Harman Hoog, the 78-year-old director of education at DNA Adoption, who realized in 2013 that she could apply the techniques she was using to identify two bodies she’d read about in a Seattle newspaper. “This is too complicated,” she said she was told when she reached out to a detective. Four years later, Margaret Press, a 72-year-old retired computer programmer and skilled family tree builder in California, tried to help her local sheriff with a similar case. No one would return her calls.
Fast forward to April 25, 2018, the day that a gaggle of California prosecutors announced that an “innovative DNA technology” had been used in the Golden State Killer case.
The innovator was Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, a genetic genealogist who had uploaded crime scene DNA to GEDMatch.com, a low-key genealogical research site run out of a little yellow house in Florida. Dr. Rae-Venter, 70, and her team soon found a suspect by using the genetic and family tree data provided by his cousins.
And that was how a former police officer, Joseph DeAngelo, came to be charged with 26 counts of murder and kidnapping in connection with scores of rapes and murders that were committed across California in the 1970s and ’80s. In interview after interview, Paul Holes, a determined investigator who had spent decades chasing false leads, rejoiced in his decision to involve Dr. Rae-Venter.
“Barbara really braved the pass,” said CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist who was also among the first to see the potential in the technique. Within a few weeks of the announcement, she began working with Parabon, a forensic consulting firm.
Practically every week now, there are news reports of cold cases being solved, including famous cases that have long been the subjects of popular speculation and conspiracy theories.
In rapid succession, Parabon’s work led to 49 genetic identifications, reopening a number of cold cases: the 1987 double murder of a young Canadian couple, six rapes in North Carolina and the slaying of a Stanford University graduate 46 years ago. The technique resulted in at least 17 arrests, including people who had never been under any suspicion, such as a well-established party D.J. and children’s entertainer in Pennsylvania. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is revisiting about 700 cases involving unidentified children’s remains and has identified about 15 in the past year.
An additional 300 cases are in the works: old murders, serial sexual assaults, and unidentified bodies, according to estimates by various genealogists and investigators.
Thanks to women in their 60s and 70s, who were long ignored and discounted. Isn’t that amazing? We live in a culture that diminishes women’s accomplishments.
We have a similar situation in politics. Women’s voices and talents are overlooked in favor of anyone with a penis. If you’re white and have a penis, you’re never to old to run for president; but if you’re an accomplished woman with specific plans to make life better for Americans, you’ll never be good enough to draw attention from the white male media.
Yesterday, the latest ancient white male savior appeared on The View. He was challenged about his refusal to apologize either to Anita Hill or to women he manhandled.
In his first television interview since announcing his run for president, former Vice President Joe Biden found himself sputtering a bit Friday when confronted by The View over multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and his treatment of Anita Hill.
Biden was initially greeted by The View hosts with a very warm welcome by the panel and extremely friendly audience. But the tone shifted halfway through the chat when co-host Sunny Hostin brought up recent accusations from multiple women that he invaded their personal space and made them feel “gross.”
The former veep replied that “everybody has to be more away of the private space of men and women” before awkwardly asking the all-woman panel if he can hug them, noting that he wasn’t sure what to do when he walked out….
Biden then rambled a bit about how it is his responsibility to be “more aware” and how he needs to better read when “this is space no one wants me to invade.” He made sure to note that no one has categorized the allegations as having anything “to do with harassment.”
“They have said that,” Hostin replied. “They have also said they would like an apology.”
“Look, I’m really sorry if what I did is talk to them and trying to console that they took it a different way,” the former vice president replied. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that I bend over backwards to try to understand how not to do that.”
On Anita Hill:
Biden claimed he did everything he could to defeat Thomas’ confirmation while adding that he “believed her from the beginning,” causing the panel to grill him on whether he wanted to “clean this up right now” and directly apologize to her.
Asked why he didn’t reach out to Hill earlier, considering the hearings occurred 28 years ago, Biden said: “Since I had publicly apologized for the way she was treated… I didn’t want to, quote, invade her space.”
“I think she wants you to say I’m sorry for the way I treated you, not for the way you were treated,” Behar shot back. “That might be a littler closer.”
Biden, still unable to unequivocally apologize for his actions, answered: “But I’m sorry the way she got treated. I never heard—if you go back and look at what I said and I didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly. I took on her opposition.”
This clueless old guy is the supposed savior that white men–and all the Never Trumpers apparently–thinks can defeat Trump in 2020. How will he do that if he doesn’t reach out to women and people of color? He has to win the nomination first, right?
I got in a ridiculous argument about this on Twitter last night, and I was stunned to learn how many people don’t understand that in order to run against Trump, Biden will need to get votes from the base of the Democratic Party–not just working class white men.
One more Biden article from Slate: Joe Biden Wants Women to Vote for Him. He doesn’t want to earn their votes, by Christina Cauterucci.
On Thursday, soon after Biden announced his entrance into the race with a tweeted video, the New York Times published Anita Hill’s account of a phone call he’d made to her a few weeks earlier. Ostensibly, the point of the call was to make amends with the woman he’d famously failed as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when Hill testified that then–Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her.
But according to both Hill and Biden’s team, the former vice president didn’t apologize for asking Hill skeptical questions about her alleged harassment or for failing to call three witnesses who were willing to echo or back up Hill’s allegations. He didn’t apologize for allowing Republicans on the committee to badger her with accusations that she suffered from “erotomania,” a condition characterized by delusions that a higher-ranking person has the hots for them. Biden didn’t even apologize for telling Hill she’d get to testify first, then, without notifying her, allowing Thomas to go first instead….
Over the past couple of years, as Biden has been mulling a presidential run, he’s occasionally expressed sympathy for Hill in public. Every time, he’s refused to put any blame on his own shoulders. “I’m so sorry that she had to go through what she went through,” he told Glamour in 2017. Later that year, he gave an interview to Teen Vogue. “My one regret is that I wasn’t able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends,” he said. “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill. I owe her an apology.” And when Biden appeared on The View on Friday, in his first sit-down interview since launching his campaign, he again declined to take any responsibility. “I’m sorry for the way [Hill] got treated,” he told the show’s panel of women. “I don’t think I treated her badly.”
The fact that he gave these dutiful half-apologies to outlets and shows that are designed to appeal to women is typical of the Biden approach to gender: more concerned with where and how he appears than what he says and does….
The message Biden is sending is that he cares about women as a political bloc but not as individuals whose perspectives merit concerted empathy. He either thinks female voters will be satisfied by a pat on the head accompanied by a roll of the eyes, or he believes his strong support among older Democrats—many of whom share his eye-rolling impulse when it comes to gender issues—will be enough to win a contested primary without getting the buy-in of progressive feminists.
Read the rest at Slate.
And there’s the even more ancient white male “savior,” Bernie Sanders.
Honestly, at this point I’m ready to throw up my hands and give up. The Iowa caucuses are more than 8 months away and the election is a year and a half away!
There’s much more news out there. Here are some stories to check out.
The New York Times: Donald Trump Shows a New Level of Contempt for Congress.
The Washington Post: In Trump’s world, FBI agents are traitors and Robert E. Lee isn’t.
HuffPost: Exposed: Military Investigating 4 More Servicemen For Ties To White Nationalist Group.
That’s all I have for you today. What stories have you been following?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Well we knew this was coming but it doesn’t make the circumstances any better. Joe Biden announced he and Bernie would be skedaddling together for the Democratic Nomination for POTUS, By Gum, for the benefit of all white men every where! Women and People of Color should start swooning! It’s the No “real” Apologies Tour!!
He’s got a long list of explaining and apologizing to do and so far, he’s fucked up the very first one by telling Anita Hill that he regretted what she had to endure. He failed to mention his role, control and actions that created the circumstances of “what” she had to endure. He absolutely showed us the meddle of a man in that one action and it doesn’t get any better. Not his records today. Not his actions yesterday.
Well to that and his campaign I say a big Oh, Hell, No! To Joe. We see what you’re doing right down to the timing of this contact with Professor Hill. It’s a little too little and a lot too late!
As I’ve watched the documentaries, read articles, and consumed copious amounts of media around the definitive moment in American history, I’ve been forced to concede that a man that I, on more than one occasion, have referenced as “Uncle Joe,” a man who I actually like, for the record, was a very clear culprit in the character assassination of the attorney turned professor.
This week former Vice President Joe Biden and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the time of the Thomas hearings admitted such to a crowd in New York City, saying:
“We knew a lot less about the extent of harassment back then, over 30 years ago. She paid a terrible price, she was abused for the hearing. She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked. I wish I could have done something. To this day I regret I couldn’t come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved, given the courage she showed by reaching out to us.”
It’s not the first time Biden has expressed these sentiments. In fact, the 76-year-old has been vocalizing regret over his scarlet letter “A” —for Anita— for quite some time now. But as the 2020 democratic field gets increasingly more crowded, and rumors of a run from the former Delaware senator continue to swirl, people are, more and more, looking to the long-time politician to answer for this one particular transgression. In the nearly 30 years since the event, Hill has said that she never did receive a formal apology from the former lawmaker, and it’s indeed high time. But even if that happened, what does that mean for a Biden candidacy?
As a Black woman who has empathized with Hill since I was five years old (I mean — my dad made it impossible not to), Biden’s handling of her case makes me question his fitness for the job. And it’s not because of what went down three decades ago — he’s done a lot of good since then. My issue stems from the fact that Biden often connects his apologies to something along the lines of “It was a different time” or “She deserved better” or my favorite, “I wish I could have done more.”
It’s funny. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” is another phrase my dad commonly used, and one that I often reflect on when I hear sound bites from Biden’s sometimes-draining apology tour. Mainly because I don’t want a President who wishes they could have done more. I rather one who takes it on the nose and admits they could have done more, but didn’t. One who acknowledges faults, without caveats. And one who will protect the interests of Black women, not because we need a handout, or even that “we exhibit courage” — that’s a given — but because we’re the most loyal voting block in the Democratic party and we deserve at least that..
From Vanity Fair and Alison Durkee. “ANITA HILL EVISCERATES JOE BIDEN’S ”APOLOGY” IN SCATHING INTERVIEW”.
For Hill, though, the one-on-one with Biden was apparently too little, too late. Soon after news of their conversation broke, The New York Times published Hill’s own account of their discussion, which she said left her feeling ”deeply unsatisfied” and could not characterize as a full apology. “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” Hill told the Times, adding that she would not be supporting Biden’s candidacy. Biden “needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw,” she said.
This will be only one of a hell of a long list of things he must address and address fully.
His record reads like that of an old school Conservative Republican despite how much he likes to call himself a liberal right now. BB posted this Harper‘s Magazine Op Ed but did not quote from it. Let me do that. “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy” from the keyboard of Andrew Cockburn.
It fell to Biden to highlight some redeeming qualities when called on, inevitably, to deliver Thurmond’s eulogy following the latter’s death in 2003 at the age of one hundred. Biden reminisced with affection about the unlikely friendship between the deceased and himself. Despite having arrived at the Senate at age twenty-nine “emboldened, angered, and outraged about the treatment of African Americans in this country,” he said, he nevertheless found common cause on important issues with the late senator from South Carolina, who had been wont to describe civil-rights activists as “red pawns and publicity seekers.”
One such issue, as Branko Marcetic has pitilessly chronicled in Jacobin, was a shared opposition to federally mandated busing in the effort to integrate schools, an opposition Biden predicted would be ultimately adopted by liberal holdouts. “The black community justifiably is jittery,” Biden admitted to the Washington Post in 1975 with regard to his position. “I’ve made it—if not respectable—I’ve made it reasonable for longstanding liberals to begin to raise the questions I’ve been the first to raise in the liberal community here on the [Senate] floor.”
Biden was responding to criticism of legislation he had introduced that effectively barred the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from compelling communities to bus pupils using federal funds. This amendment was meant to be an alternative to a more extreme proposal put forward by a friend of Biden’s, hall-of-fame racist Jesse Helms (Biden had initially supported Helms’s version). Nevertheless, the Washington Post described Biden’s amendment as “denying the possibility for equal educational opportunities to minority youngsters trapped in ill-equipped inner-city schools.” Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, then the sole African-American senator, called Biden’s measure “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.”
By the 1980s, Biden had begun to see political gold in the harsh antidrug legislation that had been pioneered by drug warriors such as Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, and would ultimately lead to the age of mass incarceration for black Americans. One of his Senate staffers at the time recalls him remarking, “Whenever people hear the words ‘drugs’ and ‘crime,’ I want them to think ‘Joe Biden.’” Insisting on anonymity, this former staffer recollected how Biden’s team “had to think up excuses for new hearings on drugs and crime every week—any connection, no matter how remote. He wanted cops at every public meeting—you’d have thought he was running for chief of police.”
The ensuing legislation might also have brought to voters’ minds the name of the venerable Thurmond, Biden’s partner in this effort. Together, the pair sponsored the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which, among other repressive measures, abolished parole for federal prisoners and cut the amount of time by which sentences could be reduced for good behavior. The bipartisan duo also joined hands to cheerlead the passage of the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act and its 1988 follow-on, which cumulatively introduced mandatory sentences for drug possession. Biden later took pride in reminding audiences that “through the leadership of Senator Thurmond, and myself, and others,” Congress had passed a law mandating a five-year sentence, with no parole, for anyone caught with a piece of crack cocaine “no bigger than [a] quarter.” That is, they created the infamous disparity in penalties between those caught with powder cocaine (white people) and those carrying crack (black people). Biden also unblushingly cited his and Thurmond’s leading role in enacting laws allowing for the execution of drug dealers convicted of homicide, and expanding the practice of civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement’s plunder of property belonging to people suspected of crimes, even if they are neither charged nor convicted.
Despite pleas from the NAACP and the ACLU, the 1990s brought no relief from Biden’s crime crusade. He vied with the first Bush Administration to introduce ever more draconian laws, including one proposing to expand the number of offenses for which the death penalty would be permitted to fifty-one. Bill Clinton quickly became a reliable ally upon his 1992 election, and Biden encouraged him to “maintain crime as a Democratic initiative” with suitably tough legislation. The ensuing 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed with enthusiastic administration pressure, would consign millions of black Americans to a life behind bars.
In subsequent years, as his crime legislation, particularly on mandatory sentences, attracted efforts at reform, Biden began expressing a certain remorse. “I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then, because I think the disparity [between crack and powder cocaine sentences] is way out of line,” he declared at a Senate hearing in 2008. However, there is little indication that his words were matched by actions, especially after he moved to the vice presidency the following year. The executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Eric Sterling, who worked on the original legislation in the House as a congressional counsel, told me, “During the eight years he was vice president, I never saw him take a leadership role in the area of drug policy, never saw him get out in front on the issue like he did on same-sex marriage, for example. Biden could have taken a stronger line [with Obama] privately or publicly, and he did not.”
Amber Phillips of WAPO expands on the notion that Biden will have a “woman problem”. I know I’m not alone in saying yes he will. I’m one of the women that has had a problem with him for a very damn long time. I found Obama’s choice specious to say the least.
When given the chance to apologize or explain some of his actions, Biden has recently stumbled. None of this is to say that Biden cannot deftly navigate or overcome these potential pitfalls. But in 2020, there are more layers of Biden’s record with women for voters to consider than there were in his past two presidential campaigns.
The Cut, which published an essay by his original accuser, Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores, is keeping a running list of his accusers, which is a Google search away for anyone who cares to look it up. The accusers range from Flores, who says Biden came up behind her and kissed the back of her head, to D.J. Hill, who said he rested his hand on her shoulder, then started to move it down her lower back.
Biden tried to address their concerns by saying he takes them seriously, but he didn’t apologize. Then he made a joke about it the first time he was out in public. The message Biden seemed to broadcast, I wrote: These women are making a big deal out of nothing.
Biden’s issues go deeper than that. His original position on women’s choice issues was a total patriarchal stinker. The National Review calls it to the right of most Republicans.
- Biden once said Roe v. Wade went “too far” and voted in 1982 for an amendment to allow states to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision; he changed his mind and voted against the same bill in 1983.
- Biden repeatedly voted for the ban on partial-birth abortion, a particular late-term abortion procedure in which a child’s body is mostly delivered breech before her skull is punctured and crushed. “It did not, as I would have liked, ban all post-viability abortions,” Biden said of the ban in 1997. “I was and still am concerned that in banning only partial-birth abortions, we do not go far enough.”
- Biden has repeatedly voted for the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients. “I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote to a constituent in 1994. “As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions.”
There is no such damn thing as these freaking procedures called “partial birth” or whatever they want to describe. After viability, it’s a successful or unsuccessful delivery and most fetal death at that point is due to severe malformity. Just ask a damn board certified OB/GYN like my daughter for example.
I have no idea why any woman wants to get on board with any of this unless they are, in fact, a right wing Republican. Oh, and about making a young woman–whose name you don’t even speak–the prop in your introduction … THIS from Heather Heyer’s mom. Yup, she had a name. SHE HAD A NAME!!!
What exactly does it say about Biden that he couldn’t speak her name or talk to her mother to see if using her memory would be alright for his big fucking centerpiece of a “White Male Savior” propaganda?
What does it fucking say to us all?
Oh, and thank you @HelenStickler AGAIN! for the artwork for all of us that want something a helluva lot better than a Biden or a Bernie or a Beto or, well, hell just go down the list.
We need to stop a lot of things besides Trump. Pence is behind him. McConnell is right there stacking the courts for who ever. We need the best and we need a fighter for all of us! I’ve been sending donations to all the women right now and Julian Castro because I want to hear some ideas that aren’t as stale as the front runners. I don’t want to fight for abortion rights with a Democratic President. Believe me, it’s bad enough with one attack our rights down here in Louisiana. Let’s not settle for “it could be worse” because that’s really, really really, an argument to elect some one. Nor is, well, we think he could beat Trump if there’s a high enough turnout. I can’t imagine Joe turning out the largest parts of the Democratic base and I’m tired of pandering to white men.
That’s my screed for today.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Another old white man joined the race for the Democratic presidential nomination today. Yes, Joe Biden is running, unfortunately. I won’t be turning my TV on today; I don’t want to listen to “savvy” pundits talk about how the Democrats’ savior is another old white man in his dotage. I’m already sick and tired of the 2020 campaign and the primaries are still 8 months away.
Some antidotes to the Biden media frenzy:
Truthdig: Joe Biden Is a Fraud, Plain and Simple.
Payday Report: Union-Busting Lawyer to Host Biden’s 1st Fundraiser Thursday.
And this from Twitter is laugh out loud material:
I watched Biden’s announcement video so you don’t have to. He talked about Charlottesville and Trump’s response the white supremacist march and the murder of “a brave young woman” Heather Heyer (he didn’t say her name). You’d think Biden would be worried that this will inspire reporters to bring up his questionable past on race issues. I was surprised that he never mentioned the threat Russia still poses to our elections and our democracy. You’d think that would be stronger issue for him since he was an insider when the Russian attacks took place in 2015-16.
I’m glad to see that even older white man Bernie Sanders is finally getting vetted by the mainstream media. The latest examples:
Bernie Sanders harshly criticized the wealth of US senators during his first campaign for office in 1971, calling it “immoral” that half the members of the Senate were millionaires.
Sanders’ decades-old comments, which were picked up in December 1971 by the Bennington Banner, a local Vermont newspaper, are resurfacing as the US senator from Vermont has acknowledged that he is now a millionaire in large part due to his 2016 best-selling book, “Our Revolution.” [….]
Sanders made the comments when he was running for US Senate at the time under the banner of the Liberty Union Party, a self-described “radical political party” that advocated nationalization of industries and redistribution of wealth to tackle inequality.
The senators serving at the time, Sanders said, advocated “the interests of corporations and big business —- their fellow millionaires.”
In the same article, Sanders proposed eliminating the annual salary of members of Congress (which was $42,500 in 1971) and instead replacing their pay with whatever the average income was in their home state. At the time, Sanders said it would amount to $7,600 for representatives from Vermont.
CNBC took a look at Sanders’ tax returns: Bernie Sanders draws mayoral pension while running for president — his campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna once blasted such ‘double-dipping.’
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, for years has drawn a pension for his eight-year stint in the 1980s as mayor of Burlington even has he received a salary as a member of Congress.
Sanders, who earns $174,000 as a senator, received $5,241 from Burlington’s pension system in 2018, according to his federal income tax return.
His total income with his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, that year was $561,293, which was down from the more than $1 million they earned in the prior two years, largely as a result of his book about running for president in 2016.
Public financial disclosure records show that Sanders, who began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991 and in the Senate in 2007, has received nearly $62,000 in Burlington pension payouts since 2005.
And, in case you missed it, Bernie didn’t do very well at yesterday’s She The People Presidential Forum.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders faced a skeptical audience of minority women in Texas Wednesday, a group that will be critical in deciding the Democratic presidential nominee from a racially diverse field of candidates and a record number of women.
Pressed by multiple questioners to address why women of color should support him, Sanders leaned heavily on his economic message, drawing audible expressions of frustration from some of the more than 1,500 people attending the She the People forum in Houston.
“Black women will be an integral part of what our campaign and our administration is about,” he said after being prompted by a moderator of the event, which brought together eight Democratic presidential candidates for separate discussions about issues affecting minority women.
That comment came at the end of his response to a question about how he would appeal to the black women who predominantly backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, to which Sanders offered a long answer about supporting whomever ends up being the party’s nominee.
As usual, Bernie didn’t answer the question.
The Daily Beast: Bernie Sanders Met With Boos After Name-Dropping Martin Luther King at She the People Summit.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was met with audible groans from the audience Wednesday night at the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston for his response to a question on the rise of white nationalism. Sanders, one of eight Democratic contenders for 2020 featured at the summit, which described itself as “the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color,” prompted boos from the crowd after defaulting to his usual talking points about immigration reform and mentioning his attendance at the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King when asked how he’d handle the issue of white-supremacist violence and what specifically he’d do for women of color. The questioner, former NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Sayu Bhojwani, later tweeted that Sanders “had a rough time” with the question but “came around.” Others were less forgiving. “Bernie was asked important questions and he answered none of them,” tweeted disability-rights advocate Stephanie Olarte. “It is so sad that the moderators ask the questions in different forms to get an answer Y NADA.”
Click the link to read more reactions.
You probably read it already but The Washington Post published an op-ed by Hillary Clinton yesterday:
First, like in any time our nation is threatened, we have to remember that this is bigger than politics. What our country needs now is clear-eyed patriotism, not reflexive partisanship. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress share the constitutional responsibility to protect the country. Mueller’s report leaves many unanswered questions — in part because of Attorney General William P. Barr’s redactions and obfuscations. But it is a road map. It’s up to members of both parties to see where that road map leads — to the eventual filing of articles of impeachment, or not. Either way, the nation’s interests will be best served by putting party and political considerations aside and being deliberate, fair and fearless.
Second, Congress should hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up-or-down vote on impeachment. In 1998, the Republican-led House rushed to judgment. That was a mistake then and would be a mistake now.
Clinton argues that we should follow the example of Watergate, in which public hearings led to “a formal impeachment inquiry.”
Third, Congress can’t forget that the issue today is not just the president’s possible obstruction of justice — it’s also our national security. After 9/11, Congress established an independent, bipartisan commission to recommend steps that would help guard against future attacks. We need a similar commission today to help protect our elections. This is necessary because the president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger….
Fourth, while House Democrats pursue these efforts, they also should stay focused on the sensible agenda that voters demanded in the midterms, from protecting health care to investing in infrastructure. During Watergate, Congress passed major legislation such as the War Powers Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. For today’s Democrats, it’s not only possible to move forward on multiple fronts at the same time, it’s essential.
Now that’s leadership. If only she were president!
Some Mueller/Russia stories:
The Mueller report’s narrative of secret meetings between members of Donald Trump’s orbit and Russian operatives — contacts that occurred both before and after the 2016 election — portrays a political campaign that left itself open to a covert Russian influence operation, former intelligence officials and other experts say….
“The Russians came up against a group of people who were not intelligence savvy and who were predisposed not to listen to the intelligence and counterintelligence community,” said Luis Rueda, who spent 27 years as a CIA operations officer. “The Russians made a very bold and aggressive attempt to take advantage of that — to try to compromise people, to try to leverage their access.”
The FBI, as part of its counterintelligence mission, is continuing to investigate Russian attempts to influence the Trump administration and assess the national security damage from Russia’s 2016 effort, current and former U.S. officials tell NBC News….
John Sipher, who served in Moscow and once helped run CIA spying operations against Russia, said, “It’s clear that the Russians had a pretty extensive full court press on this administration.” The full extent of how successful it was may never be known, he said.
“Being able to lock it down and prove in court? That only comes when you catch somebody red-handed, or when you have a source on the inside of your adversary who hands you documents.”
Good to know that the counterintelligence investigation is continuing.
The New York Times: Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Fixation on Targeting Hillary Clinton.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a tenuous hold on his job when President Trump called him at home in the middle of 2017. The president had already blamed him for recusing himself from investigations related to the 2016 election, sought his resignation and belittled him in private and on Twitter.
Now, Mr. Trump had another demand: He wanted Mr. Sessions to reverse his recusal and order the prosecution of Hillary Clinton.
“The ‘gist’ of the conversation,” according to the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, quoting Mr. Sessions, “was that the president wanted Sessions to unrecuse from ‘all of it.’”
Mr. Mueller’s report released last week brimmed with examples of Mr. Trump seeking to protect himself from the investigation. But his request of Mr. Sessions — and two similar ones detailed in the report — stands apart because it shows Mr. Trump trying to wield the power of law enforcement to target a political rival, a step that no president since Richard M. Nixon is known to have taken.
Read the rest at the NYT.
The New York Times: Trump Vows Stonewall of ‘All’ House Subpoenas, Setting Up Fight Over Powers.
The Trump administration escalated its defiance of Congress on Wednesday, as the Justice Department refused to let an official testify on Capitol Hill and President Trump vowed to fight what he called a “ridiculous” subpoena ordering a former top aide to appear before lawmakers.
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House. “These aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.” [….]
Mr. Trump’s flurry of moves this week to block multiple congressional investigations signaled a new phase of constitutional friction that could redefine long-murky boundaries of Congress’s power to conduct oversight of the executive branch — and the power of presidents to keep government affairs secret from lawmakers.
Are we in a Constitutional crisis yet?
So . . . what else is happening? What stories have you been following?
In the last few days, it seems everyone has become…what is the phrase, armchair quarterbacks?
I think some of these comments are becoming more like taunts, yelled over a castle wall. What I want to know, is when will the cow be sent via catapult to instigate the need for Nancy to build a large wooden badger. (Honey Badger of course.)
Here is George Conway giving his thoughts on the founding fathers interpretation of impeachment… and how they would have seen the situation regarding tRump.
That is the last two tweets of a longer thread, but KellyAnne Conway’s husband is poking a stick at a tiger.
Of course the case of tRump would have been an easy one for the founders of the country. They already said fuck you to a tyrannical despot king…tRump is nothing more than a tyrannical authoritarian dictator…have another fuck you tRump and take Benedict Arnold with you.
The point is, from my personal armchair…I can’t understand how this fucker is still getting away with this shit.
I’m totally disgusted.
This is an open thread.
On cable news and on Twitter, the main argument over the past few days is about whether Democrats will or should open impeachment hearings. Quite a few Democrats have attacked Nancy Pelosi, claiming she is refusing to allow impeachment of the fake “president” to go forward. Actually, that’s not true. She has argued for public oversight hearing that may well lead to impeachment. That is essentially what happened in the Watergate scandal.
The Watergate investigative hearings began in May, 1973, but articles of impeachment hearings did not begin until February, 1974, when Congress voted to empower the House Judiciary Committee to “investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Richard Nixon.” One year after Congressional investigation began, articles of impeachment were approved.
The only differences are that the Watergate investigation began with a select committee, before the appointment of a Special Counsel. Now we have the (redacted) Muller report, which lays out a clear road map for Congressional action. We also know that there is a counterintelligence investigation which was not included in the Mueller report. So I think it makes sense for the House Intelligence Committee to focus on counterintelligence issues while the Judiciary Committee examines the case for removing the “president.”
USA Today: Pelosi to Democrats: If facts support impeaching Trump, ‘that’s the place we have to go.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left open the possibility Monday of impeachment of Donald Trump during a conference call with Democrats, saying “if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go.”
“We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,” Pelosi said in a call with her colleagues, according to a source on the call. But Pelosi also urged Democrats to first focus on following the facts.
“Whether it’s articles of impeachment or investigations, it’s the same obtaining of facts. We don’t have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts,” she said.
The nearly hour-and-a-half call was the first time Democrats had all spoken following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian election interference.
“There’s real consensus that we need to take this responsibility seriously and people are very sober about the implications about the work that lies ahead and committed to making sure that we hold the president accountable,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a member of the Judiciary Committee and the chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which helps the party with messaging. [….]
“The speaker has been very clear that Congress will not shirk on its responsibility to hold the president accountable, but that we must proceed in a judicious responsible manner,” he said.
I think that makes sense. Pelosi has been very effective in dealing with Trump since she took over as House Speaker, but the press and many Democrats continue to attack her just because she doesn’t want to rush headlong into an official impeachment process. I have said many times that public hearings are needed in order to education Americans who haven’t followed the investigation minute by minute. I think that’s what Pelosi is hoping to do. If she didn’t want hearings, they wouldn’t happen; and they are going to happen.
In the meantime, the media and Democrats should be focusing on why Republicans don’t care if our democracy dies.
Paul Krugman at The New York Times: The Great Republican Abdication. A party that no longer believes in American values.
So all the “fake news” was true. A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. And once in power, Trump tried to block any inquiry into what happened.
Never mind attempts to spin this story as somehow not meeting some definitions of collusion or obstruction of justice. The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country. And the question everyone is asking is, what will Democrats do about it?
But notice that the question is only about Democrats. Everyone (correctly) takes it as a given that Republicans will do nothing. Why?
Because the modern G.O.P. is perfectly willing to sell out America if that’s what it takes to get tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans may not think of it in those terms, but that’s what their behavior amounts to.
The truth is that the G.O.P. faced its decisive test in 2016, when almost everyone in the Republican establishment lined up behind a man fully known to be a would-be authoritarian who was unfit morally, temperamentally and intellectually for high office.
Click on the link to read the rest.
The White House continues to obstruct Congress’s investigation. CNN on the latest attempt: White House tells official not to comply with Democratic subpoena over security clearances.
The White House has instructed a former official who was in charge of the security clearance process to not comply with a House subpoena demanding his appearance for an interview, the latest move by the Trump administration to thwart Democratic-led investigations into all aspects of the presidency.
After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday told the former official, Carl Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, to not appear at Tuesday’s deposition, contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits.
The move raises the prospect that the House Oversight Committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt, a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings warned Monday he would take. And it’s the latest White House effort to stonewall Democratic investigations, coming the same day the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit to prevent an accounting firm from complying with Cummings’ subpoena for President Donald Trump’s past financial records.
Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to Trump, argued that Cummings’ subpoena of Kline “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests,” according to a letter obtained by CNN.
Kline’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, said his client would listen to his employer.
Lock him up!
We were repeatedly told that the White House had prepared a response to the Mueller report, but Rudy Giuliani now says it won’t be released. Bloomberg: Giuliani Puts Off Formal Rebuttal to Mueller as He Defends Trump.
Donald Trump’s legal team has decided to shelve a plan to issue a formal rebuttal to Robert Mueller’s report, said Rudy Giuliani, even as the president unleashes his own attempts on Twitter to discredit the special counsel and his findings.
The president’s lawyers will focus instead on knocking down specific accounts in Mueller’s report as they surface in news media, Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, said Monday in an interview.
Giuliani said Mueller misrepresented the facts multiple times in his 448-page report. He declined to cite specifics, other than to say former White House Counsel Don McGahn — who gave a damaging account of Trump’s efforts to influence the investigation into Russian election interference — was “confused.” [….]
“There are numerous areas that were mischaracterized and some where it is flat-out false,” Giuliani said of Mueller’s report. “But I can only take one or two at a time. It is hard to digest all at once. You have to wait for certain ones to come up and then show if they are false or inaccurate.”
Trump’s legal team had spent months putting together a lengthy counter-report that they planned to release challenging Mueller’s findings, which they assumed would be unfavorable to Trump. But lawyer Jay Sekulow said on Friday that nothing more would be coming.
I’ll end with two articles by close followers of the Russia investigation, who have been poring over the report pulling out interesting nuggets that others may have missed. Here are their latest revelations:
Darren Samuelson, Kyle Cheney, and Natasha Bertrand at Politico: What you missed in the Mueller report. An excerpt:
Who didn’t get prosecuted
The special counsel made some of his biggest headlines when he brought charges against the likes of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. But Mueller’s report also showcases his under-the-radar decisions on potential indictments that were never brought.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions avoided a perjury prosecution over his Senate confirmation testimony when he memorably told lawmakers that he had no communications with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. It later came out that he had met with the Russian ambassador to the United States on multiple occasions during the campaign.
Mueller’s team looked at that January 2017 exchange and a pair of follow-up written responses before determining that the election-year meetings that Sessions did have weren’t “sufficient to prove” he gave knowingly false answers to lawmakers. Most notably, Mueller informed Sessions’ lawyers in March 2018 that he was in the clear — eight months before Trump pushed Sessions out of his job.
Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort all escaped prosecution for their role in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer promising dirt about Hillary Clinton. Mueller’s report said the office looked into whether the senior campaign leaders should face charges for violating laws banning foreign campaign contributions. But ultimately they opted against pushing for indictments out of concern a conviction wasn’t a sure thing. The special counsel acknowledged lacking evidence to prove any of the three men acted with general knowledge of the crime they’d be committing and said that the promised opposition research wouldn’t necessarily qualify as an illegal donation since it was unclear the information was “a thing of value.”
On the hacking front, Mueller’s team also considered charging Russians with trafficking in stolen property, a reveal buried in a footnote. Prosecutors were contemplating bringing the additional charges — they did indict the Russians on conspiracy and identity theft charges — under the Depression-era National Stolen Property Act. Ultimately, however, the special counsel’s office found that hacked emails in electronic form wouldn’t qualify under the law’s almost century-old definition of “goods, wares or merchandise.”
Read the rest at Politico.
Garrett M. Graff at Wired: 14 Mueller Report Takeaways You Might Have Missed.
Robert Mueller’s final 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election—and Donald Trump’s apparent attempts to obstruct justice along the way—takes some time to read fully. On close examination, it turns out to be a deeply compelling document, full of tantalizing revelations and details.
Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada called the Mueller Report “the best book by far on the workings of the Trump presidency.” New York Times columnist Ross Douthat said the report is “a more rigorous, capacious version” of Michael Wolff’s bestseller Fire and Fury. Its two volumes paint a picture of Donald Trump as deeply narcissistic and incompetent, alternately conned and ignored by everyone around him.
Nearly every page of the report contains fresh insights, even to those who have closely followed the ins and outs of this complex, multifaceted investigation. But assuming you didn’t spend your Easter and Passover holiday weekend plowing through it, here are some key tidbits that recent headlines have overlooked.
Two of Graff’s takeaways:
1. This was as much a counterintelligence investigation as a criminal one. One of the new details in the report is that the FBI “embedded” approximately 40 personnel in the Special Counsel’s Office. Their role was not to contribute to the criminal probe, but instead to pore over the collected materials and pass written summaries of key counterintelligence findings to FBI headquarters and other agencies across the country.
3. Anyone demanding the unredacted version of the report is stalling. Democrats have spent the last four days hemming and hawing about impeachment, saying they need to read the unredacted report before they make a decision. That’s baloney. For the most part, the redactions aren’t that material to the underlying narrative. Mueller establishes all the damning evidence he needs to point to a pattern of obstruction in unredacted portions of Volume II of the report. (The clear exception where redactions could shed substantial new light: the six-page Appendix D, where Mueller lists the 12 still-secret ongoing cases referred to other prosecutors.) Throughout the remainder of the document, many redactions clearly deal with either Roger Stone or Jerome Corsi. The bulk of the rest appear to focus on operational details of the GRU and the Internet Research Agency.
Two of the most intriguing redactions come on page 12, where the report outlines five (or maybe six) individuals Mueller was specifically authorized to investigate. Two (or maybe three) of those are redacted. Because of the alphabetical list and way the lines fall—there’s a tiny two-letter redaction that spills over to the next line—the final redacted name is almost certainly “Donald Trump Jr.” The other is still unknown, falling somewhere in the alphabet between “Gates” and “Stone.”
Read more at Wired.
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