Just so we’re clear on this. The President directly accused his former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, of lying under oath in his testimony to the Mueller investigators. His alleged lie was telling them about Trump’s demands to fire Robert Mueller. Why did he lie? “Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”
Got any questions? Tomorrow at 12:30 PM Eastern I’m doing a Reddit AMA. If you’re not a Redditer that means Ask Me Anything. Open questions for me about anything and everything. I’ll be posting a link tomorrow morning.
Also, if you’re on Reddit, I wanted to let you know we have our own official TPM Reddit page right here. So it’s an easy way for you to find our stuff at Reddit.
I’ve been thinking about President Trump’s comments to George Stephanopoulos. Why did he say that? That he would do that doesn’t surprise me. But why would he say it?
One part of it is probably the most innocent explanation (everything is relative). For Trump to say he would not work with a foreign government against his domestic political enemies would suggest that he or his family members or staffers did something wrong in 2016. Maybe they didn’t commit a crime. Maybe they didn’t “collude”, whatever that means. But to say he wouldn’t do this in 2020 would be to concede what he has never conceded and cannot concede but which likely strikes most of us as obvious: he and his campaign did something deeply wrong by welcoming and making use of damaging information from a foreign adversary state.
Trump tells Poland’s rightist/authoritarian President: “Much of the media unfortunately in this country is corrupt. I have to tell you that, Mr. President.”
Trump tells Poland's Rightwing President: "Much of the media unfortunately in this country is corrupt. I have to tell you that, Mr. President." pic.twitter.com/3RUJwiDbCg
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 12, 2019
Earlier Trump commented on protests in Hong Kong: “I hope that it all works out for China and for Hong Kong … I hope that they can work it out with China.”
Quinnipiac has new poll data about impeachment out today. It shows among other things the public has pretty different takes on the presidency than what is treated largely as a given within elite opinion.
One big takeaway is that the public does not support impeaching the President: 61% to 33% say Congress should not begin the process of impeaching the President. That obviously includes lots of Republicans who are firmly against it. Democrats support it, unsurprisingly, but there’s significant opposition even there. 62% of Democrats favor but 31% oppose. African-Americans are the only demographic group that supports impeachment, 63% to 31%.
But that’s not the whole story. American voters overwhelmingly believe a sitting President should be able to face criminal charges while he or she serves as President, just like every other American.
President Trump is still angry about the prospect of impeachment. But he’s apparently intrigued with the idea that the battle might actually help boost his approval numbers as it did President Clinton more than 20 years ago. As you know, I think impeaching the President now is unwise, but not because I think or fear that it will boost him politically. We can’t know the future. But the notion that getting impeached will somehow help Trump is mainly based on poor memories or in some cases no memories of just what happened back in 1998. More than poor memories, it’s tied to many people’s inability to grapple with how badly they got the Starr investigation wrong.
Let’s review some history.
Here’s a fascinating and disturbing part of Trump’s impromptu presser early this afternoon. It got less play than the Biden trash talk or the Mexico “secret agreement.” You had to know the backstory, which I didn’t, to even understand what was being said. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam was a CIA source. This Kim was assassinated by poison in 2017 in Malaysia, by all accounts by the North Korean government. He had lived in exile for a number of years. Trump got asked about this and he responded by pledging to Kim Jong Un that he would not allow the CIA to spy in this way “under my auspices.”
In essence he was pledging not to spy on North Korea and arguably apologizing for whatever relationship the CIA had with Kim Jon Nam.
Video after the jump …
Earlier this morning I published some reader emails and my own commentary about the electability issue. As I noted here, to me the other candidates besides Biden need to show over the remainder of 2019 that they’re strong candidates against Donald Trump. In an email I hadn’t published yet, TPM Reader MO wrote, “I’m happy to grab some popcorn and watch for the next six months for any of these candidates to prove themselves as Trump-beaters. So far only Biden is making the case.” That’s where I am. But a new Quinnipiac Poll just came out which may start to change the equation. Biden is still the strongest contender against Trump. But the others are beating him pretty handily too.
President Trump is being pressed to back up claims he has a secret agreement for Mexico to buy billions of additional American agricultural goods, a claim Mexico denies. Here he holds up a blank piece of paper to prove the secret agreement exists.
Trump holds up blank paper with claimed secret agreement with Mexico. pic.twitter.com/8RZMHjQKq9
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 11, 2019
Trump later explained that the secret deal “goes into effect when I want it to.”
TPM Reader CR is baffled at what people’s problem is about Joe Biden’s comments on Republicans. I will say I both get why people are going bonkers and also don’t think it is a big deal – unless it’s actually Biden’s political take on the current situation.
What’s weird is that past comments suggest it’s not. Back under Obama he was saying over and over: this isn’t the old GOP we could negotiate with. The reality is it’s a solid general election message and my assumption/hope is that that’s why Biden’s saying it and that he wants (for good reasons) to shift now to a general election posture. My concern is that he might believe it.
Here’s CR’s take …
As President Obama once said, elections have consequences.
Florida brought the latest reminder of that on Friday, when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that makes it much harder to change the state constitution via citizen-led ballot measures.
As Matt Shuham reports, this move puts a major dent in what is essentially the last lever of power Democrats have in the Sunshine State, which is currently overseen by a Republican governor, legislature, secretary of state and attorney general. Every member of the state Supreme Court has also been appointed by Republicans. Read More
Like many others I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of liberal democracy over the last three years. I have many thoughts, as they say. But for now I want to share a few articles with you about the future of the American right and particularly a wing of the American right which seems increasingly soured on pluralism and democracy itself.
Big topic, of course. So let me try to hit on one angle into it and get us started with a few links.
The Daily Beast has a story out today that Think Progress, the progressive news site which is part of the The Center for American Progress, faces a vast budget shortfall of something like $3 million. The story says TP experienced a 40% decline in ad revenues in just one year. This has spurred a new flurry of conversation about the financial woes of the news media and the particular claim that the news industry somehow used the platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as crutches or outsourced their traffic and distribution and monetization to the platforms and now have only themselves to blame.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke today to the Second Circuit Judicial Conference and according to a copy of her prepared remarks dropped a number of tantalizing clues about some of the most important cases still pending before the Supreme Court this term.
The 2020 presidential election is an election with everything on the line for the United States. Four years of Trump is a national disaster. Eight years is a confirmation that it was no fluke. It embeds his degenerate style of government in the fabric of the Republic for the future. For those of us who believe in civic republicanism and a liberal future, no stone can be left unturned to ensure his defeat. It’s not just that the stakes are so high. He has big advantages in the electoral college. Incumbents usually get reelected. And let’s be frank: he already did once what many of us thought was all but impossible.
But we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t recognize another possible scenario, one which a lot of the factual evidence suggests is not at all unlikely. That is that Trump is a historically unpopular president; he routinely polls over 50 percent of the voting population saying they will definitely vote against his reelection; and he is likely to be crushed in his bid for reelection in 18 months.