Editor’s Blog

Please Give This A Read

We’re just days away from introducing the new ad free version of Prime (Prime AF). If you had already expressed interest in upgrading to Prime AF when it’s released I sent you an email last week with details about the new service, how to upgrade, why and a special discount for signing up early. If you haven’t, the details are below the fold. If you’re a current subscriber and care about the future of this site I’d ask you to take a moment to read through the post below. And thank you for doing so. Read More

Politics Aside, Pelosi Made the Right Decision on SOTU

Nancy Pelosi is clearly playing hardball by essentially disinviting President Trump from giving a State of the Union address at the end of January. It’s a good move in terms of political leverage and to make a point. But it’s good for a reason that goes beyond political posturing or negotiation. It’s the same reason it was a good thing that Democratic senators are refusing to move bills on non-budgetary issues until the shutdown ends. Read More

Good Stuff Here

Here’s the intro to Tierney Sneed’s preview of what oversight is probably going to look like in 2019.

Here’s one thing that struck me as I covered revelation after revelation about the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the Census: Under the surface of a controversial Trump administration move was an even messier and more ham-handed process than I would have guessed.

It made me wonder which of the other Trump scandals that have unfolded over the last two years are going to end up looking even more damning if and when real congressional oversight of his administration occurs.

Read the rest here (sub req).

A Bigger Mess Than We Knew

A judge’s ruling reveals the Trump administration effort to add a citizenship question to the census to be a much bigger scandal than it initially looked. These tip-of-the-iceburg moments could happen a lot this year, as the Democratic controlled House begins issuing subpoenas, Tierney Sneed explains for Prime members.

Don’t Negotiate with Hostage Takers

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

Big

The William Barr confirmation hearing (sub. req.) is the day’s big news, but the federal court decision blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the census may be the day’s most important and far-reaching news. Tierney Sneed is unpacking the ruling here.

Can We Trust Bill Barr?

Over the weekend, a friend sent me a link to an old Salon article that describes then Attorney General Bill Barr scrambling in the final weeks before the 1992 presidential election to push a probe into an obscure land deal in Arkansas that included then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton not as targets but as a potential witnesses. I’d vaguely remembered this chapter of the Whitewater drama and the eventual report that Robert Ray (successor to Ken Starr) released in 2002. So I looked it up this morning and was surprised to see that – Holy Crap – I wrote it! You forget a lot in 17 years! In any case, I’m curious why this isn’t getting more attention in Barr’s confirmation hearing. It’s directly relevant to the issues we’re dealing with today: an Attorney General putting his hands on the scale to protect the boss who gave him the job. Read More

Very Helpful

Allegra Kirkland walks us through the five times President Trump has met with Vladimir Putin since he became President.

‘I Never Worked for Russia’

Let’s Review Where We’ve Been

A ‘No’ Would Have Been Helpful Here

Critical Context for the FBI Probe of Trump

So many things have happened over the last two-plus years that simply defy belief that it can be essential to review them, to see what light they shed on new developments when arranged in order. Last night the Times reported that in the immediate aftermath of James Comey’s firing the FBI launched a probe into “whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

It’s worth reviewing the precise chain of events. Read More

October 19th, 2016

On days like today, it’s important to remember this exchange. Out loud, in front of a massive national audience.

Justice Ginsburg’s Recovery ‘On Track’

From the Supreme Court: “Her recovery from surgery is on track. Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required.” More here.

A Trump 1950s TV Episode Truth Movement?

You’ve probably seen this really bizarre story of the Twilight Zone-like episode of the TV show “Trackdown” from 1958 which bears some difficult-to-believe resemblances to 2019 America. A conman named Trump comes to a town and gets everyone panicked that the world is about to end unless they agree to let him build a wall that will save them. As I wrote yesterday, when I first happened on the story I had to read it several times and then check it several different ways because I was sure it had to be a hoax. It’s not. Here’s our story if you missed it yesterday. But is this totally a weird coincidence? I think there’s a decent chance it’s actually not. Read More

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11 : President Donald J. Trump debates with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, as Vice President Mike Pence listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of White House on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
‘A Little Bit of a Political Bind’

Here’s a portion of the call President Trump and then-President Pena-Nieto held on January 27th, 2017, a week into Trump’s presidency. As a friend noted to me this morning, really everything we’re dealing with now is there in Trump’s own words. Who pays for the wall doesn’t matter. Even the wall itself barely matters. It’s just that Trump can’t be humiliated in front of his supporters. This below is all from President Trump talking to Pena-Nieto …

The only thing I will ask you though is on the wall, you and I both have a political problem. My people stand up and say, “Mexico will pay for the wall” and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language. But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to. I have been talking about it for a two year period, and the reason I say they are going to pay for the wall is because Mexico has made a fortune out of the stupidity of U.S. trade representatives.

Read More

Get Ready!

Michael Cohen to testify to Congress next month, in open session.

This is Real

I had to check this ten different ways before I could believe that it wasn’t a hoax. But it’s real. In 1958 CBS aired an episode of ‘Trackdown’ in which a conman named “Trump” bamboozled a town of people into believing that only he could save them and that he would do it with a wall. Here’s the story.

We Need To Talk About the Bezos Thing

I don’t know anything about Jeff Bezos. I don’t know whether he and his wife were already getting a divorce and had begun dating other people or whether the news about his relationship/affair triggered the divorce announcement yesterday. He’s no kid in a cage on the border. But I do not think we can ignore the fact that the story was broken by The National Enquirer and that the Enquirer has served as a personal attack vehicle for the now-President for a couple decades. Read More

An Iconic Trump Moment: The Buck Stops With Everybody

Explainer

Good, important basic rundown. When we get Trump’s taxes, what will they tell us? And what won’t they tell us?

Trump Cannot Learn How to President

President Trump enjoyed unified control of the entire federal government for two years. He forgot to get his wall funded during those two years. Now he’s taken the entire federal government hostage at the point at which he probably can’t any longer get it.

Not only do no Democrats support any version of the President’s wall fantasy. They don’t fear his supporters or his bully pulpit. They just concluded an election in which Trump made border paranoia and race baiting the central campaign issue. They won a resounding victory. Democrats have no incentive to give him anything to encourage his reckless behavior and they are in fact offering nothing. Republican leaders today were verging on apoplexy because Democrats were refusing to negotiate in response to Trump’s hostage taking. Read More

Blunt University

Former House Speaker John Boehner is starring in an informercial about how you can make your first million selling weed.

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