MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes blasted senators who reportedly fell asleep during the opening of President Trump’s impeachment trial or left early, saying lawmakers can listen to arguments or “resign tomorrow.”
Hayes contrasted senators who are in the Senate chamber for the duration of the trial with citizens who regularly serve on juries, noting that many often have to take time off work to complete the responsibility.
“If the trial goes for a long time, often [jurors] don’t collect their paycheck from that and are given a meager amount of money relative to what some of those people might make,” Hayes said on the air Wednesday evening. “This is literally [senators’] job. If you find it too annoying or frustrating or uncomfortable to sit for eight hours and listen, you can resign tomorrow and go get another job.”
“It’s a terrible look to the public to the extent that the news reports are getting out,” MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley said during the segment. “These are people who are supposed to be listening, hearing and then making a decision on what’s being presented all day long. We’ve also heard a lot of people have made up their minds already and are not actually taking their oath seriously.”
Hayes reiterated the point on Twitter, assailing “the sheer entitled whininess on display here.”
The sheer entitled whininess on display here. We ask every citizen to serve on juries! And this is literally your job, to just show up and listen. I’m so sorry this is so hard for you. Go get another gig. https://t.co/JbKnwnbjbv
I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment. I was under the impression that even leaving the chamber was forbidden, but multiple senators ignored this, and went to give interviews while the proceedings were underway. They should be chastised by Chief John Roberts, or even lose their ability to vote.
Laurie Kellman, AP, reports:
So much for the Senate’s quaint rules and tradition.
Almost immediately after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in Wednesday’s session of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, bored and weary senators started openly flouting some basic guidelines in a chamber that prizes decorum.
Crow, a military veteran speaking on the impact of Trump’s holdup of military aid to Ukraine, had trouble holding the Senate’s attention. Some senators left their seats and headed to cloakrooms, stood in the back or openly yawned as he spoke. At one point during his address, more than 10 senators’ seats were empty.
Crow wondered aloud if the Senate wanted to take a recess.
Despite my misgivings, I ended up watching about four hours of yesterday’s impeachment procedurals, on CNN, MSNBC, and eventually CSPAN1
Dan Froomkin of Press Watch reports:
The first real day of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump was an epic exercise in raw political power. The Trump team, effectively led by Mitch McConnell, put forth no plausible arguments to support their position. But they didn’t have to. Because they had the votes.
But the media failed to tell that story.
If you were dependent on the coverage from our biggest and most influential media outlets, what you learned was mostly that there was a spirited debate and that McConnell made a concession.
And that’s just plain wrong. The debate wasn’t spirited, it was wildly unbalanced, with the Democrats making a substantial case for evidence-gathering, bolstered by facts, legal analysis, precedent, and logic – and the Republicans batting around Fox-News-style talking points that were devoid of reasoned thinking.
And McConnell’s concession was, in the greater scheme of things, a minor one. He succeeded – effortlessly – in ramming through a procedure that almost guarantees that the impeachment trial will not be encumbered by fact-finding.
It was striking to watch, and obvious that the Trump team of Republican blowhards had nothing substantial to say. A sad day for our country, putting the GOP’s Party Over Country mantra on display.
Susan Glasser, The New Yorker:
It was only a couple hours into the first day of arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald John Trump when Adam Schiff, the lead House manager prosecuting the case, summed up the day’s proceedings. The Senate’s proposed process for the trial, he said, was simply “ass-backwards,” requiring the House to present its case before considering whether to call witnesses and demand White House documents that Trump has been withholding.
Schiff’s edgy remark caused a jolt in the chamber. Senators who had been nodding off or staring down at their legal pads suddenly looked up. But it turns out that you can swear like that on the Senate floor. Schiff wasn’t even the first person to use the phrase, although David Vitter, the former senator from Louisiana, got in trouble back in 2008 when he did, and he had the remark stricken from the official record. Whether or not it was appropriate, in a stodgy institution that does not even allow reporters to wear denim in its hallowed chamber, Schiff’s remark certainly was incisive and to the point.
Ever since the Trump impeachment inquiry began, in September, the White House has declined to offer a formal defense, if one excludes all-caps tweets from the accused. But refusing to participate is no longer an option now that the Senate trial is actually happening. Trump’s lawyers not only showed up but very much showed their hands, offering a defense of Trump that was very much like the President himself: loud, intemperate, personally nasty, ad hominem, factually challenged, and often not even bothering to have a tenuous connection to the case at all. When the White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, addressed the Senate, the volume went up in the chamber; the tone changed. As we watched from the press gallery, it was as if we had become the audience in an entirely different play. Why should there be no witnesses or documents produced in the trial? Listening to Cipollone and Sekulow, it was hard to tell.
They barely used the word “Ukraine” or even bothered to talk much about Trump’s “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, for that matter. They mentioned the Mueller investigation—repeatedly—though that is not a subject of the impeachment articles. They made false claims, including that Republicans had been excluded from the depositions in the House “basement” that were taken by the House Intelligence Committee. Cipollone attacked Schiff by name, in personal terms, within a minute of beginning his first remarks at the trial, which was striking, if not entirely surprising, given that Cipollone is representing Trump, whose campaign is currently marketing on its Web site thirty-four-dollar T-shirts mocking Schiff as a “Pencil-Neck.”
In the impeachment trial of President Trump, the House Democrats — the prosecution — are mostly pounding the facts. The heart of their brief is a well-told narrative of Trump’s efforts to muscle Ukraine into investigating Democratic rival Joe Biden, and then to cover up the details once the scheme was discovered.
Their central charge is that Trump abused the power of the presidency by asking a foreign government to help him win reelection. There’s plenty of evidence on their side.
The president’s defense lawyers, in contrast, are mostly pounding the law — their own theory of the law, that is.
Their president’s legal brief devotes only 27 pages to contesting the House’s version of the facts. Short version: “The President did nothing wrong.”
Instead, the core of Trump’s argument is a novel interpretation of the law: Whatever the president did, it’s not impeachable.
Asking Ukraine (and later China) to investigate Biden? Not impeachable. Blocking $391 million in military aid to Ukraine despite a law requiring that the aid be released? Not impeachable. Ordering everyone in his administration to refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations? Not impeachable.
Under the Trump defense team’s argument, “the president is free to conduct all manner of hypothetical abuses of the office that are not criminal in nature,” Paul Rosenzweig, a former assistant to Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton, told me.
“As I read President Trump’s theory, if he promised to pardon anybody who murdered Joe Biden, that would not itself be an impeachable offense,” Rosenzweig said. “The theory would mean that the president could choose to never appoint any Roman Catholics, and be free from fear of removal from office.”
Moreover, the concept of using impeachment to protect against a president’s abuse of power isn’t “newly invented” — far from it. Alexander Hamilton, one of the delegates at the constitutional convention, wrote in 1788 that impeachment would be a response to “the abuse or violation of some public trust.”
I find myself not wanting to watch any of the Senate trial of President Trump*. I’m saddened by the lack of character and courage of the Republican Senators, who even though they know Trump is a terrible president, and that Trump is guilty of many impeachable offenses, refuse to choose country over party, and instead enable Trump to escape justice.
I had no expectations that 67 Senators would vote to impeach, but had hoped without reason the GOP would still conduct themselves appropriately for the situation. They are not.
If I believed in prayer, I’d pray fervently that all of the GOP up for re-election in 2020 lost their respective races.
The Trump administration earlier this month installed a plaque on a new barrier along the southern border commemorating the construction of 100 miles of President Trump’s long-sought border wall.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf traveled to Yuma, Ariz., on Jan. 10 to announce that the administration had finished building 100 miles of new barriers, calling the feat a “milestone” that deserved “celebration.”
Deep inside a long, detailed Wall Street Journal report about President Trump’s foreign policy advisers is an explosive nugget: “Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.” This is a slightly stronger iteration of a fact the New York Times reported three days ago, to wit, “pointed out to one person who spoke to him on the phone last week that he had been pressured to take a harder line on Iran by some Republican senators whose support he needs now more than ever amid an impeachment battle.”
This would not mean Trump ordered the strike entirely, or even primarily, in order to placate Senate Republicans. But it does constitute an admission that domestic political considerations influenced his decision. That would, of course, constitute a grave dereliction of duty. Trump is so cynical he wouldn’t even recognize that making foreign policy decisions influenced by impeachment is the kind of thing he shouldn’t say out loud. Of course, using his foreign policy authority for domestic political gain is the offense Trump is being impeached for. It would be characteristically Trumpian to compound the offense as part of his efforts to avoid accountability for it.
Based on a Wall Street Journal report (multiple bylines: Michael C. Bender, Michael R. Gordon, Gordon Lubold and Warren P. Strobel) , and not corroborated, yet, by any other media outlets, but this seems important. Perhaps the House should open hearings into it?
“Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.”
So Donald Trump assassinated a high-ranking foreign official, risking massive war, in part because it would help him in an impeachment trial that’s happening because he tried to use U.S. military aid to extort a foreign country into helping him win re-election.
the last month has passed in a blur of fear and dread as the industry contemplates the Trump administration’s threat to impose 100 percent tariffs on all wines imported from the European Union, along with a variety of other goods including foods, spirits and clothing.
Make no mistake, a tariff of that size, or any number close to that, would be catastrophic for Americans in the beverage and hospitality industry. A 100 percent tariff would double the price of wines in shops and restaurants, with disastrous ripple effects.
Consumers may be furious if confronted with a $25 bottle of Fleurie that has doubled in price to $50. They will have to adapt, or drink wines from somewhere else. But that hardly matters when compared with the American jobs that may be lost and the businesses that could be threatened if the tariffs go into effect.
The fear does not stop with importers. An entire chain of businesses are built around the acquisition and sale of European wines and foods, from distributors to retail shops and restaurants, and all the associated workers — not to mention dock labor, forklift drivers and others.
The Dotard is about to fuck up another industry. Granted, he claims to have never had a drink, but I imagine Trump properties like Mar-A-Lago and Trump Hotel etc. make a lot of their annual profits on selling 1%ers and hangers-on overpriced bottles of European Union wine.
A favorite local independent grocery (Green Grocer Chicago) said this in their newsletter yesterday:
Please be aware that the current administration is considering putting 100% tariffs on wine imported from the European Union on JAN 14 (next week!)
If this actually is enacted, it will change the wine industry in fundamental ways for all companies in the space (producers, distributors, and retailers like us).
If this comes to be we will have to tilt our portfolio towards wines from other areas such as South Africa, South America, and of course the good old USA that offer affordable wines at prices our customers like to purchase at.
My suggestion: stock up on Rioja, Chianti, Bordeaux, and other good wines from Europe this weekend!
Coal mining, lumber, whale oil extraction: none of these industries are going to be resurrected to save the working classes of the United States, those eras are over, and are not returning. No amount of new regulation or removal of existing regulation is ever going to bring those jobs back.
Sadly for all of us, many Trump voters expect him to be able to magically recommission steel plants, to make coal a cost efficient means to create energy, and so on.
To see where things get more tangled, head into the damp woods of the Cascade Range in central Oregon, and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, where a long economic decline began in the late 1980s as international trade shifted timber markets to places like Canada, and automated mills eliminated tens of thousands of jobs. Those computer-run mills are not going away even if more logs start arriving.
“We really don’t have a clear and easy path to go back to the good old days when natural resource extraction was driving our economy,” said Sean Stevens, the executive director of Oregon Wild, a conservation group. “It is not as easy as just logging more,” he said.
But the hopes, and the fears, about how that system might now change are boundless.
“My big hope is that people would be able to go back to work in San Juan County and these rural areas,” said Phil Lyman, a county commissioner in southern Utah, where antigovernment feelings run as deep as the slot canyons. “You just feel like everything has been stifled with regulations.”
Robot, living in the future
Republicans in Congress have proposed bills weakening federal laws that protect wilderness, water quality, endangered species or that allow presidents to unilaterally name new national monuments. Some conservatives hope Mr. Trump will support their efforts to hand federal land over to states, which could sell it off or speed up drilling approvals.
Uranium mines around the Grand Canyon. Oil drilling rigs studding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. New coal and timber leases in the national forests. States divvying up millions of acres of federal land to dispose of as they wish.
To environmental groups, it would be a nightmare. To miners, loggers, ranchers and conservative politicians in resource-dependent areas, it would be about time. Either way, Donald J. Trump’s election presages huge potential change on America’s 640 million acres of federal public lands, from the deep seas east of Maine to the volcanic coasts of Hawaii.
A common theme that’s being tossed around is that Trump’s election was the white working class’ chance way to say “F**k you!” to the political elites who forgot about them, sucked up their factory jobs and left them out to dry. I take issue with this for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious reason is this: How do you buck a system ruled by elites by electing a billionaire who was born rich, employed the Mexicans he blamed for taking jobs away and could never possibly understand someone else’s struggle? Next, I don’t fully understand the term “hard-working whites.” I come from the blackest community in one of the blackest cities, and I don’t know how not to have 10 jobs. Everybody I know has 10 jobs, even the infants. Black people, Asians and Mexicans alike work their asses off, so why is the “hard-working white” class even a voting bloc?
What’s sad is that these angry, hard-working white people don’t understand that they saw more economic gains under President Obama than they did under George W. Bush. Unemployment went down across the board except among African-Americans — the rate actually doubled for us — so those folks should be praising Obama, not championing Trump or subscribing to all this alt-right B.S.
Then there’s the myth of returning factory jobs. It’s not a real thing! And trust me, I used to subscribe to the same ideas, all caught up in the nostalgia of the old dudes from my neighborhood. My friend Al’s grandpa used to park his Cadillac on Ashland Avenue, hop out and roll up on us nine-year-olds like, “Finish high school, get a job at Bethlehem Steel and your future is set!” He’d spin his Kangol around backwards, pull out a fistful of dollars, give us each a couple and continue, “I made so much money at the steel factory, my lady ain’t worked a day in her life! I bought a house that I paid off and that shiny car right there! Yes sir, life is good!”
Those jobs were long gone by the time we came of age, at Bethlehem Steel and almost every place like it across the country. They weren’t taken by Mexicans or sent overseas — industries changed, new products were made and robots were invented that could do the job of 10 men and work all night without complaining. Those beautiful factory positions for uneducated hard-working whites (or anybody else) aren’t coming back, and I don’t care what Trump says. What’s even weirder is that we have created a generation of people complaining about jobs that they have never had and will not see in their lifetime — and again, for what?
I went to the Trump Tower protest 10/28/19, and took a few snapshots of the crowd and of various signs. Trump was in town to besmirch Chicago, make fun of people who have died of gun violence, and then fundraise with his buddy Todd Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs. Trump wasn’t welcomed as much as he was jeered.
Dahleen Glanton of the Chicago Tribune:
The people outside Trump’s comfort zone were as different as America allows each of us to be. And they were united in a single goal — to let Trump know that he’s not welcome in Chicago. Even if he didn’t see it, maybe, at least, he sensed it.
It is obvious that Trump doesn’t like Chicago. He has no use for voters here. In 2016, Trump won only 38% of the vote in Illinois, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 55%. Buoyed by Chicago, Clinton got a whopping 74% of the vote in Cook County, compared to Trump’s embarrassing 21%.
There is no way he can count on Chicago in 2020, so he’s resigned to making our city a punching bag.
On his first visit to Chicago since becoming president, Trump wasted no time trashing our city. Speaking to a gathering of international chiefs of police, he again compared Chicago to Afghanistan, saying that the war-torn nation is a “safe place by comparison” and declaring that Chicago is “embarrassing to us as a nation.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot struck back, calling his attack “insulting, ignorant buffoonery.”
That was mild, though, compared to what other Chicagoans were saying.
The overwhelming sentiment at the rally, which turned into an impromptu march through downtown picking up cheering bystanders along the way, was not only that Trump should be impeached, but also that he needs to be in jail.
The chants were loud and fierce, often accompanied by a drumbeat.
“Lock him up!” “This is what democracy looks like!” “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” “Democracy is under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
While in Chicago, Trump headlined a campaign luncheon at his hotel in the city, raising approximately $4 million for a joint fundraising committee benefiting Trump’s reelection effort and the Republican National Committee, according to the GOP.
Thousands of demonstrators rallied outside the hotel, waving colorful signs that said “Impeach Trump Now” and “Quid Pro Quo Trump Must Go.” They also shouted chants such as “Lock him up” and “Trump must go.”
Some said they came to protest out of a fear for the country they have never felt before.
“It will take decades to put things back in place,” said Caroline Mooney, a 61-year-old marketing analyst from the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park.
“If something doesn’t happen next November, we may not recover,” said her friend Steve Schaibley, who drove 2-1 / 2 hours from Livingston County.
Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, the Republican National Committee finance chair, will oversee fundraising for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign as the two organizations merge their 2020 efforts, the RNC announced Friday.
Ricketts, a Wilmette resident, took over RNC fundraising duties in January 2018. The RNC appointment came after Ricketts withdrew his name to be deputy commerce secretary because it was too complicated to untangle his finances.
Under Trump, the RNC and the Trump bid for a second term will fundraise under a unified joint flag called the Trump Victory Committee.
“I am honored to continue to support President Trump and the Republican Party through the Trump Victory Committee,” Ricketts said in a statement. “As we head toward 2020, I will work to ensure President Trump and his campaign have the resources they need
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.
The changes will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, would allow economic assessments to be conducted when making determinations.
The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species, a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered.
Overall, the new rules would very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.
Totally and utterly disgusting. Enabled by all the lick-spittle Republicans who go along with every abomination Trump births from his spit-speckled maw, and assisted by the idiots who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein in 2016.
In truth, if Ted Cruz had won the nomination in 2016, he might have done this same thing, but he might not have beaten Hillary Clinton either. And what-ifs are pointless.
President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: “Our country is full.”
To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.
They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances.
Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.
This is among the most ridiculous assertions to base a governmental policy upon that I can recall. Immigration should be stopped completely because there is no room for new people? Trump and his Rasputin, Stephen Miller, base this on what exactly? Trump has a history of flying in to a city to “perform” one of his patented rallies, then flying back home the same night.
In other words, Trump has not apparently spent much time in places that don’t have airports large enough to accommodate his plane. If he ever took a driving trip through rural America, he’d find there is a lot of empty space, in pretty much every state in America. Even New York/New Jersey has plenty of farmland and small towns!
I’ve been lucky to have visited nearly every state in the US (missing the North East – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire – and inexplicably, Colorado and Utah), hard-working immigrants could boost America’s economy in all sorts of ways, if racism and fear didn’t intercede, obviously.
Even downtown Manhattan, which Trump knows well, and is quite crowded, seems to do well with immigrants. Or what about Detroit? Or Chicago? Lots of room for new, vibrant communities.
Ready For The Open Road
America is a vast country, mostly empty, on average, which is why I like John Lettieri’s idea of a “Heartland visa”:
A particular fear, said John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, is that declining population, falling home prices and weak public finances will create a vicious cycle that the places losing population could find hard to escape.
He proposes a program of “heartland visas,” in which skilled immigrants could obtain work visas to the United States on the condition they live in one of the counties facing demographic decline — with troubled counties themselves deciding whether to participate.
Although some of the areas with declining demographics are hostile to immigration, others, cities as varied as Baltimore, Indianapolis and Fargo, N.D., have embraced the strategy of encouraging it.
Last fall, Victor Pacheco, the foreman on Ms. Raby’s family farm for 23 years, was detained by ICE agents and deported to Mexico.
Ms. Raby has struggled to find a foreman skilled enough to manage her vineyard, where the grapevines are now dusted in a light coat of snow and in need of winter pruning. This has left her uncertain about the future of their family farm and the president she helped vote into office.
“I still agree with Trump in a lot of ways, but I’m more on the fence about him now,” Ms. Raby said. “I don’t want to lose the immigrants who are working here and growing our food.”
I hope someone is planning on writing a book based on the numerous Trump voters who ended up getting screwed by Trump-enabled GOP orthodoxy, like this woman. It’s basically a cliché by this point.
But I’m also firmly of the belief that Trump-bots like Ms. Raby don’t deserve much sympathy. Trump isn’t subtle, he said what he was going to do, and then he did it. His announcement that he was running for president was built upon racist demagoguery, but Ms. Raby was ok with that, and all the subsequent racism was fine, up until her own business got decimated. Then she has doubts.
As to the bigger story, American agriculture depends upon low paid workers from other countries, mostly Mexico. If Trump and Stephen Miller get their way, we won’t be able to eat anything other than processed meat from McDonald’s because there won’t be anyone to pick the crops.
HOMER, N.Y. — The fears weigh on Mike McMahon: If one of his undocumented workers gets a traffic ticket, it could prompt an immigration audit of his entire farm. If another gets detained by immigration agents at a roadside checkpoint or in a supermarket parking lot, the rest may flee. And if his undocumented work force disappears overnight, there is no one to replace them.
“It keeps me up at night,” said Mr. McMahon, who owns a dairy farm south of Syracuse. “There are people out there who just say, ‘Send them all back and build a wall.’ But they would be facing empty shelves in the grocery store if that were to happen.”
It has long been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants for its work force. Now, this region has become a national focal point in the debate over President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and their role in agriculture
Surprising nobody, today there was yet another departure from the Trump White House of Best People.
Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg reports:
Bill Shine, who helped Roger Ailes shape Fox News into a propaganda machine fueled by hype, cynicism and hogwash before joining a presidential administration fueled by hype, cynicism and hogwash, is leaving his post as the White House’s chief communications adviser less than a year into the job.
That short span in President Donald Trump’s warm embrace isn’t of note, really. The White House is essentially an outsized meat grinder, beset by chaos, backstabbing and incompetence and managed by someone who has little interest, and thus a woeful lack of managerial experience, in building strong teams. The practical implications of this are a dearth of expertise, loyalty, productivity and accomplishments — bad for any organization of any stripe.
For all of that, Shine’s departure isn’t a surprise. What is compelling about the end of his run is that he came from Fox, and packaging and promoting Trump at the expense of truth, justice and the American way was familiar territory for him. Shine and his Fox team pursued this with real gusto. As Jane Mayer pointed out in the New Yorker this week, Shine was responsible for defining Fox’s brand by overseeing its morning and evening talk shows (Fox’s straight-news operation, populated by many talented, fair-minded people, wasn’t part of his purview). And as Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media critic, noted this week as well, Shine’s handiwork — Fox’s talk shows — often are fact-free zones that allow the network to essentially function as “Trump TV.”
Yeah, maybe the problem with Trump’s negative press coverage is that Trump keeps doing stupid, cynical things? Ya think?
Or as Greg Sargent of the Washington Post puts it:
But the question is, what could get it done? Consider the headlines we’ve seen in recent days. Some of the most unflattering ones are just straight reporting of ways in which Trump has failed by his own metrics. For instance, migrating families arriving at the border just spiked to new highs — meaning Trump’s efforts to deter them from coming through all manner of cruelty have failed. When those numbers were low, he saw that as a sign that he was succeeding. But now they’re spiking. This is just a factual matter that no amount of magical spinning can make disappear.
On North Korea, Trump got slammed with headlines after his efforts at a deal with North Korea abruptly collapsed. But it was Trump himself who inflated expectations by absurdly blustering early on that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” This also led to more bad headlines when administration officials were forced to contradict it.
Then there’s the trade deficit in goods. It has now ballooned to its largest point in U.S. history. This is a fact that Trump’s own Commerce Department announced. It has always been idiotic of Trump to invest this metric with the importance that he has, but he did that, and so he is failing by a metric that he established for himself, out of folly and ignorance. No amount of magical spinning can make that disappear, either.
Also on trade, Trump is getting hammered by headlines reporting that he’s likely to end up making a face-saving deal with China that doesn’t produce the concessions he originally wanted. But it’s Trump who sold himself as the Greatest Dealmaker in History, then launched us into a trade war while absurdly claiming that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” This guaranteed that the headlines showing the damage being done by those trade wars, and the failure to secure the deal he wants, would be all the more brutal. Trump’s total lack of interest in learning the complexities of issues, and his unshakable confidence in his ability to bluster his way through anything, is the problem here.
But it turns out that there’s a whole news media outside that feedback loop that is telling the truth about Trump’s presidency, and the results are unflattering to him. And not even a former Fox News executive was able to do anything about it.
Of the eight checks now available, seven were for $35,000 and another was for $70,000 to cover two months’ worth of payments. Six were signed by Mr. Trump himself while he was president and the other two were signed by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Altogether, Mr. Trump or his trust paid Mr. Cohen $420,000, according to federal prosecutors. Of that, $130,000 was to reimburse payments made shortly before the 2016 election to Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, so she would not tell her story. Another $50,000 was for Mr. Cohen’s effort to manipulate online polls to inflate Mr. Trump’s reputation as a businessman.
That $180,000 was then “grossed up” with another $180,000 to offset taxes that Mr. Cohen would have to pay on the original money since it was being treated as income. Another $60,000 was added as a “bonus,” prosecutors have said.
That was a pretty nice deal for Michael Cohen. I’ve never had a client that allowed me to bill them more than double what was contracted for. Is this standard procedure for Trump world?
And I’ve also been saying the same thing as “some peope close to Mr. Trump” for a while:
“The $35,000 is an indication of the quality of that evidence, and it both shows the extent of Trump’s leading role and now leaves little doubt that he faces criminal prosecution after he leaves office for the same offenses for which Cohen will serve time,” said Robert F. Bauer, a law professor at New York University and former White House counsel for President Barack Obama.
Indeed, some people close to Mr. Trump have privately predicted that he will ultimately choose to seek a second term in part because of his legal exposure if he is not president. While there is no legal consensus on the matter, Justice Department policy says that a president cannot be indicted while in office.
The Justice Department policy is rather weak sauce, but we’ll see if it stands up to scrutiny once the breadth of Trump’s crimes comes to light.
Many of the people and entities have already told the Judiciary Committee that they will cooperate, meaning that the panel could soon begin reaping reams of evidence already in the hands of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and federal prosecutors in New York. Others will most likely do so under subpoena in time.
A closer look at Mr. Nadler’s initial 81 targets — a mix of household names and bit players — reveals a web of lines of inquiry and overlapping interests. Here are some of the most noteworthy patterns.