There’s no downward limit on President Trump’s immigrant bashing and racism. But I want you to listen to this riff. It’s astonishing coming from a US president.
The extraordinary comments this morning from President Trump – even though they have become par for the course from him – remain extraordinary. He castigated the FBI and dismissed the Russia collusion investigation that the FBI is conducting as a “scam.” He made the remarks to reporters he was leaving the White House to … address the FBI at Quantico.
The key sections (transcript via White House):
I mentioned a number of the times the close-knit, half-law-&-order, half one step ahead of the law New York City/GOP world without which it’s basically impossible to understand Donald Trump. It’s the Trump world, the Rudy world, the Ailes world and a slew of other mini-tycoons and sometimes politicians who’ve built a certain sort of clannish, often incestuous and uniquely authoritarian-leaning GOP that could only exist in what is one of the richest and also most liberal cities in the world. Allegra Kirkland captures it here in just one paragraph of her look at “Judge Jeanine” Pirro.
President Trump spoke today with President Putin. From the White House readout …
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia
President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia today. President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.
The two presidents also discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.
This was an apparent reference to Putin telling an end of the year press conference that the success of the stock market and ongoing economic growth was a sign of the power of President Trump’s stewardship of the economy. This was apparently the main thing they talked about on the phone.
In recognition of a truly landmark year of stunning scandals and betrayals of the public trust, it’s time to unveil TPM’s nominees for the 11th Annual Golden Dukes!
These awards are named in honor of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, whose enormous bribery schemes made him the poster boy for modern scandal (well, for now). Every year, we select the most outrageous moments of corruption and general dipshittery in this fine nation’s political arena to see who has raised the bar for utter shamelessness.
Last year, we said 2016 would make Duke proud. This year, he may have actually found his heroes.
The general reaction to Rod Rosenstein’s testimony yesterday was that he did a decent, even patient job explaining to feral Republican lawmakers why there was no reason to consider removing Bob Mueller from his post. Indeed, he said, it was difficult to think of anyone more qualified to serve in the position. But I want to direct your attention to a deeply disturbing aspect of yesterday’s hearing.
There was a fascinating moment in Paul Ryan’s press conference a few moments ago. It was quick and tucked into a conversation about “entitlement reform.” But it was bracingly specific. Ryan noted that to avoid steep cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, American women will need to start having more babies. Here’s the video.
This is the most surreal and dark story. An outfit called the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this week published an incredibly lengthy and detailed expose of a Kentucky state representative named Danny Ray Johnson. Last night, moments before I started writing this post on a train home from Washington, Johnson was found on a bridge with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. This was a day after defiantly protesting his innocence and refusing to resign his office.
My talent on night’s like this isn’t understanding the details returns numbers. It’s closely watching the people who do. But looking at the map right now, it’s hard for me to see how Roy Moore wins this. At this moment it’s 85% reporting and an exact tie. But looking at the counties, virtually all the remaining votes are in big Democratic cities. They have substantial numbers of votes left to count and most of those big cities have big lopsided Doug Jones margins. In a couple they’re closer but still with Jones ahead.
Still a complicated picture. But you’d rather be Jones right now than Moore. The current results have Moore up by a bit more than 1 point with 81% of the precincts reporting. The good news for Jones is that it’s mostly blue territory left to report – mainly the big urban conglomerations. What’s keeping Jones in this race and with a seeming advantage is big turnout in heavily African-American areas.
We have a complicated picture so far but one that seems more favorable to Doug Jones than to Roy Moore. There is some evidence that traditionally blue parts of the state are over-performing in turnout terms while red areas are underperforming. Just how much that’s the case and whether more returns will muddy that apparent pattern we don’t yet know.