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Trump is Showing How Desperate His Legal Situation Really Is: Tuesday’s Good News

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Trump is Showing How Desperate His Legal Situation Really Is: Tuesday’s Good News

 

eeeannie20k / Flickr Donald Trump...
eeeannie20k / Flickr

This is an exhausting, ride, huh?  Did you see that we are 500 days into this mess?  Sometimes it it feels like 500 years.

But nonetheless, there is so much reason for hope and so much reason for pride in our resistance and our party.

The last few days have made it pretty clear that trump’s legal situation is a mess for him.  Let’s start there.

Russia Russia Russia

Lots and lots of crazy talk from trump the last few days.  Most of it can be summarized as “I am above the law!”  That kind of talk can be very disturbing because it goes against the very idea of our non-monarch democracy.

However, it tells us more about his situation than our democracy.  trump *saying* that he is above the law is as meaningless as any of the other crazy lies he tells on a daily basis.  The judicial branch (even justices he has appointed) have stood up to his attempts again and again.

This is not a banana republic.  trump can’t just announce that he is above the law and make it so.  it just doesn’t work that way.  ask the ghost of Richard Nixon.  Or Michael Scott:

And actually, not only am I not worried about trump saying these crazy things, but I actually think it is good news.  Why?  I’ll let the wise John Brennan sum it up:

Think about it.  The story has shifted from “I didn’t do anything wrong.  it is just a witch hunt.” to “I am allowed to do bad things.”  that is not a good sign for the trumpster.

The big news over the weekend was the secret memo to Mueller that was leaked. People were focused on the ridiculous power assertion, but the big news was actually trump admitting that he wrote the memo that jr released.

More on that:

Secret memo to Mueller actually reveals weakness of Trump’s position

while all of these moves have stirred great concern that Trump is preparing to exercise near-dictatorial powers on his own behalf, they are better seen as a window into how weak and precarious Trump’s position — politically, if not legally — has become.

To see why, look at a specific point in the memo: the striking concession by Trump’s lawyers that he did, in fact, dictate that initial statement for his son Donald Trump Jr., which falsified the real rationale for the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians. As the memo puts it, “the president dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times.”

The admission by Trump’s lawyers that he “dictated” the false statement (no, it is not “accurate”) is important, because it comes after Trump’s lawyers and White House officials repeatedly denied in various forms that the president had played such a hands-on role.

In political terms, the fact that Trump’s lawyers had to concede to such an important episode — one in which the president misled the country to cover up his son’s effort to conspire with a foreign power’s corruption of our democracy on his behalf — shows what a perilous position he’s in.

Trump lawyers say he ‘dictated’ statement on Trump Tower meeting, contradicting past denials

In a confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller in January, President Donald Trump’s legal team acknowledged for the first time that Trump “dictated” the first misleading statement put out about his son’s controversial 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower.

“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.,” the letter said, according to The New York Times, which published a copy of it.

except that WASN’T “accurate.”  The statement said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions, which is just not true.  This is a big deal.

An Admission of Obstruction: Is the letter from President Trump’s lawyers a smoking gun?

 buried in the letter is a bigger bombshell: an apparent admission that Trump obstructed justice.

Let me make two observations about the analysis that follows. First, I am using a standard of “probable cause,” the evidentiary threshold for indictments. Second, I’m assuming that the evidence “indicating that the President dictated” a short response is sufficient to conclude that, in fact, he probably did, and that Trump Jr.’s statement reflected the substance of his father’s dictation. With those assumptions in mind, the lawyers’ letter appears to be a confession to obstruction of justice. Some had speculated that President Trump shaped his son’s statement. Now there seems to be an admission that he dictated it.

That statement was false. The meeting was not primarily about adoption. Emails and statements have demonstrated it was primarily about “dirt” on Hillary Clinton provided by Russian sources. Rob Goldstone’s initial email informed Trump Jr. that a Russian contact “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. replied, “[I]f it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” None of their 16 email exchanges mentions “adoptions.” The meeting was not about adoptions. This is no gray area: Trump Jr.’s statement was a lie. It’s also not clear that “there was no follow-up.” The president’s lawyers’ description of it in their letter as “accurate” is, to put it mildly, inaccurate.

In the midst of the discussion about this statement, Hope Hicks reportedlytold President Trump on a conference call that the Trump Jr. emails “will never get out …” This letter wasn’t simply a media statement. It was their political and legal strategy. The Mueller investigation was up and running. This statement boxed Trump Jr. into a false and misleading account as he approached inevitable congressional and FBI questioning. Trump Jr. would have to face a significant cost to his credibility in public and in court if he had to contradict this statement. Trump spokesman Mark Corallo, who participated in these calls, was reportedly so concerned that these events constituted obstruction that he resigned and later spoke to Mueller’s prosecutors.

So, this is seems like a clear admission of obstruction of justice.  No wonder they moved right into the sad (and seemingly untrue) assertion that a president can’t obstruct justice.

Indeed, the claims by Trump’s attorneys that he can obstruct justice as president and has complete control over every investigation are BS and have been called out as such by many smart people.

This understanding of presidential power is radical and absolutist. It is also unsound and almost certain to be sharply rejected should it ever be proffered in court.

No tenable account of executive power holds that a president’s purposes in exercising powers accorded under Article II, “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” have no import. If it were otherwise — if the president had the authority to use his constitutional powers for any reason — it would follow that he could accept a bribe for doing an official act, or, more saliently, extend a pardon to keep a witness from testifying. This would very clearly violate the maxim that the president is not above the law.

If this sounds like legal theorizing, just consider the fact that Mr. Trump’s position is soundly contradicted by the Richard Nixon case. Under Mr. Trump’s view, Nixon would not have been guilty of obstruction for ordering the F.B.I. to stand down on the investigation of the Watergate burglars or paying off the defendants to keep them quiet.

Subsequent investigations into alleged abuses of presidential power — Iran-contra as well as Whitewater — took it as accepted law that the president is capable of obstructing justice.

The second pillar of the letter submitted by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to Mr. Mueller is that he is too busy running the country to sit for an interview. Relatedly, they argue, forcing him to testify “demeans the office of the president before the world.”

Here Mr. Trump’s position run completely afoul of another presidential precedent: that of Bill Clinton.

Also in WaPo → Trump’s lawyers say he’s above the law. They clearly don’t understand it.

As lawyers and watchdogs who have prosecuted and defended federal investigations of public officials for decades, we thought we had seen (and made) every argument. But the memorandum by President Trump’s lawyers that the New York Times published Saturday startled even us. We often have argued about whether a subject is innocent under the law — but never about whether a subject is above it entirely, as Trump’s lawyers contend.

There is no legal authority for this audacious position to sidestep presidential testimony, and the lawyers’ letter cites none.

The next argument, via his lawyers, is that it is not possible for him to obstruct justice — even if he did seek to interfere with the investigation to protect himself, his family or his cronies. This has no basis in the law, either, as we have explained in a Brookings report.

The weakness of the president’s position is, finally, highlighted by his attorneys’ concluding attempt to discredit the investigation. That is done by making the extraordinary argument that his own Department of Justice and the FBI are corrupt. While many subjects of criminal investigations may harbor that view, the fact that the attorneys for our chief law enforcement officer — who oversees the executive branch, where the Justice Department and FBI reside — made that desperate claim in their letter is striking. The president is not only arguing that he is above the law, but also above the facts. That audacious move is unbecoming for our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, and neither Mueller nor Congress should let him get away with it.

Even Chris Christie agrees → ‘Outrageous claim’ that Trump cannot obstruct justice

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knocked the claim from Donald Trump’s legal team that, by nature of his office, the President cannot obstruct justice and could simply shut down the Russia investigation altogether.

“It’s an outrageous claim, it’s wrong,” the former Republican governor said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

and as for his ridiculous claim that he can pardon himself?  First, who even says that unless they know they did something that they could be prosecuted for?!?!  Talk about an admission of guilt.  Second, there is no legal reason to think that he can actually do that.  I’ll defer to the amazing Adam Schiff

LoL

And the less amazing, but occasionally accurate Grassley → Trump should get new lawyer if told he can pardon himself

“If I were president of the United States and I had a lawyer that told me I could pardon myself, I think I would hire a new lawyer,” Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN, when asked if Trump had the ability to pardon himself.

And Senate Republicans warn Trump not to pardon himself

Senate Republicans on Monday warned President Trump, with varying degrees of alarm, against entertaining the prospect of pardoning himself of any federal crime — once again forcing members of his own party into an uncomfortable position as the president openly pondered another controversial move in connection with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

“There’s no doubt that the president is not above the law,” Collins said Monday. “It would be a tremendous abuse of his authority if he were to do so, as well as remarkably unwise.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) stressed that the Constitution “doesn’t give carte blanche freedom to a president.”

On Monday, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) gently remarked that while Trump may have the authority to pardon himself, “he’d be smarter than to exercise that.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he couldn’t “imagine a president even bringing that up.”

“I don’t even want to get into that,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), one of Trump’s most effusive congressional allies. “He does have the pardon power, and I suspect that that’s something that will never be tested to begin with.”

And across the board, Senate Republicans said they prefer Trump avoid discussing the issue.

“He may be right from a strictly legal standpoint, but I don’t think it’s helpful in terms of the conclusion of the investigation,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said.

And after trump spent the weekend downplaying and trashing manafort, turns out he is in even more trouble. 

Federal prosecutors on Monday accused President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and money laundering case.

In court documents, prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that violated the terms of Mr. Manafort’s release while he awaits trial. They asked a federal judge to revise those terms or send him to jail until trial.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Manafort tried to contact witnesses by phone, through an intermediary and through an encrypted messaging program. One witness told the F.B.I. that Mr. Manafort was trying to “suborn perjury,” prosecutors said. Two witnesses provided the texts to the F.B.I., which also searched Mr. Manafort’s cloud-based Apple account, according to court records.

witness tampering, just like any innocent person would do /s 😉

The truth will come out, friends.  The truth will come out.

In the meantime, our focus has to be on November and only November.

We have some promising news there too:

Good Election News

Steve King may be in trouble

This is great news.  Check out this story in Mother Jones wherein reporter Brian Barth, after spending several days on the campaign trail with dem candidate J.D. Scholten, makes a very compelling case for Dem victory over the racist republican Steve King.  This could be one of the, if not the most, satisfying democratic victories this fall.

Republicans beware: The ‘blue wave’ is already changing red states

Democrats may pick up a significant number of congressional seats in November. Some former solid-red districts may tick a few shades bluer, especially with a wave of GOP retirements.

Sound apocalyptic? No. It’s simply that demographics are destiny. Waves of left-leaning voters are moving from blue areas like New York, Boston, Chicago and parts of California to red areas like New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina. The ultimate end result? The voting patterns and policies that ruined Democratic-dominated regions will shift to traditionally Republican areas.

House Republicans need to hold California seats. Trump’s agenda is making that really hard.

From immigration to tax reform and health care, the Trump agenda hits the state hard.

President Donald Trump’s agenda hasn’t been kind to blue states.

And it’s been particularly rough on California, where voters will go to the polls Tuesday, June 5, to pick candidates to run in November’s midterm elections.

California has a jungle primary, where candidates from all parties run together and the first- and second-place candidates move on to the general. It means Tuesday will be not only a measure of voter enthusiasm but also an early referendum on the Trump agenda.

There’s no question that Democrats are looking to make big gains in the state; however you look at it, Democrats need to flip California Republican seats to blue if they have any hope of retaking control of the House in November.

The potential for a blue wave has put California’s 14 Republicans on the defensive. And after months spent trying to repeal Obamacare, ceding the immigration debate to hardliners, and passing a tax bill that disadvantages more high-tax states, they have a lot to defend.

Democrats Hope Asian-American Influx Will Help Turn Orange County Blue

Whether Asians are also good for votes is one of the biggest political questions driving this year’s midterm races in Orange County, where Democrats are counting on immigrants to help the party pull off, if not quite a blue wave, then at least an unmistakable purpling.

Orange County is now one-fifth Asian and more than one-third Latino, with a Little Saigon in Garden Grove and Westminster; a Koreatown in nearby Buena Park that is beginning to rival Los Angeles’s; and a thriving Latino community centered in Santa Ana. Forty-five percent of the county’s households speak a language other than English.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas students to embark on summer tour

The students of March for Our Lives, including survivors of the Parkland high school shooting, today will announce a 60-day, 20-state, 75-stop summer bus tour to register young people to vote and to promote gun law reform.

If you having primaries today, please go out and vote!  And for everyone, what are you going to help us out in November?  Here are some ideas.  Nothing will make you feel better than action!

Donate to ActBlue

Donate to Swing Left

Send postcards to voters in other districts

Sign up to go door to door in your district

Sign up to drive people to the polls

 Find your local Democratic Party and volunteer!

Also, if you have 5 minutes, call your reps to push them to protect the midterms from Russian intervention. 

Eyes on the prize, everyone.  Eyes on the prize.

Are you in a primary state?  vote! vote! vote!  If you are in California, try to vote in a way that won’t keep Democrats off the ballot, if you can. ❤ Let’s do this! ❤

Democrats Are Awesome

it is nearly impossible for Democrats to get word out on all they are doing and plan to do with the constant hum of the trump show.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard for us.  Here are some good examples:

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee are demanding DHS Secretary Nielsen and Jeff Sessions provide a briefing on the Trump admin’s family separation policies for immigrants at the border

Cops are called when a senator tries to see kids taken from their immigrant parents

As the sun set Sunday night, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) went to a shuttered Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that has been converted into a detention center for immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. He asked for a tour. Instead, the government contractor that runs the converted store called the cops. An officer filled out a police report, and the senator was asked to leave.

Merkley’s visit to the site was Kabuki theater tailor-made to go viral on social media and feed progressive activists the sort of red meat they are so hungry for in this tumultuous era.

so, not at all good news that they wouldn’t let him in, but great news that a Democrat found a way to bring attention to this in the trump filled news era.

Senate Democrats demand Trump hold the line in North Korea talks

The Senate’s top Democrats insisted in a letter to President Trump on Monday that any deal with North Korea must completely dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs permanently — and that the White House must loop Congress in on its plans before negotiations begin.

The minority leader and several ranking Democrats issued a list of conditions in anticipation of the expected June 12 summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, pressing the president to maintain a tough and unsparing stance with the North Korean leader and with his ally China to ensure that the talks achieve the goal of a “full, complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea” — and nothing less.

“Any deal that explicitly or implicitly gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than the verifiable performance of its obligations to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal,” the Democratic senators wrote.

We Have Many Allies

Mourning America: What my father, Ronald Reagan, would say today

He would be appalled and heartbroken at a Congress that refuses to stand up to a president who not only seems ignorant of the Constitution but who also attempts at every turn to dismantle and mock our system of checks and balances.

He would plead with Americans to recognize that the caustic, destructive language emanating from our current president is sullying the dream that America once was. And in a time of increased tensions in the world, playing verbal Russian roulette is not leadership, it’s madness. He would point to one of the pillars of our freedom — a free press — which sets us apart from dictatorships and countries ruled by despots. He didn’t always like the press — no president does — but the idea of relentlessly attacking the media as the enemy would never have occurred to him. And if someone else had done so, he wouldn’t have tolerated it.

He would ask us to think about the Statue of Liberty and the light she holds for immigrants coming to America for a better life. Immigrants like his ancestors, who persevered despite prejudice and signs that read “No Irish or dogs allowed.” There is a difference between immigration laws and cruelty. He believed in laws; he hated cruelty.

Apple stands up to the thought police

We understand that Apple is not going to cave in to the Russian thought police. Apple has not removed Telegram from the App Store nor blocked notifications, and on Friday, Apple pushed out an update of Telegram as Mr. Durov requested. We have been critical of Mr. Cook in the past for Apple’s decisions in China, which has made no secret of its invasive surveillance practices and intentions. Mr. Cook has said Apple must follow local laws in the countries where it does business, but others have pointed out that those laws can often be written to serve the needs of authoritarian regimes.

In this case, Mr. Cook has quietly stood on principle and refused to give in to Russia’s demands. This is an important development in the still-unsettled battle over freedom in the digital world. Telegram is an extremely significant test case. If Apple backs up Mr. Durov and resists pressure, as it appears to be doing, others may be encouraged to stand tall as well.

Bad News that isn’t as Bad as You Thought It Was

The religious right didn’t get the Supreme Court victory it hoped for. 

In one of the most anticipated Supreme Court rulings of the year, involving the question of whether an anti-gay baker has to bake a cake for a gay wedding, the court today decided to punt. While you’ll probably see a lot of headlines proclaiming “Christian Baker Wins At Supreme Court!”, in fact the justices decided not to decide the underlying question of whether someone like that baker can discriminate against certain customers.

In baker’s case, neither side has much reason to rejoice

Both proponents of gay rights and defenders of Christians who refuse to provide certain services to gay couples will, no doubt, read much more into the decision handed down today than is warranted

Kennedy managed to find the most case-specific grounds for holding that the baker was entitled to refuse to create a cake for the gay couple. He began by cautioning that “religious and philosophical objections are protected, [but] it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”

Gay Americans Have Little to Fear From the Supreme Court’s Compromise in Masterpiece Cakeshop

Who loses? Everybody who hoped this decision would definitively settle the ostensible clash between LGBTQ rights and religious freedom. In the end, Masterpiece Cakeshop barely resolves anything and doesn’t even touch the free-speech claim at the center of the case. Instead, it punts that question, leaving lower courts (and American society) to continue fighting about how, exactly, Justice Anthony Kennedy should feel about it.

Why you shouldn’t freak out about the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling

The ruling is far from ideal for LGBTQ advocates, but the worst was avoided.

Supreme Court Sides With Anti-Gay Baker. It’s Not a Loss for LGBT Equality.

Everyone is going to say the Supreme Court’s ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop is a win for the Christian baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple.  They’re wrong.  This case was forfeited by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Other Good News

Endangered mountain gorillas shows 26% increase in six years

The critically endangered wild mountain gorilla received some good news this week as a newly-published census puts the known population at over 1,000. The animal, made world famous by the work of people like Dian Fossey, has been the subject of movies and documentaries over the years chronicling their near extinction due to human activities. According to Eureka Alert, the new census numbers show a 26 percent increase over a six-year period.

SCOTUS Rejects the Trump Administration’s Attempt to Punish the ACLU in Jane Doe Abortion Case

This resolution is not entirely satisfactory given the DOJ’s startlingly vindictive and groundless position with regard to Doe’s attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union. Its request for sanctions was a flagrant effort to intimidate the ACLU, one of the Trump administration’s fiercest legal foes, and had absolutely no basis in legal ethics. Indeed, if the ACLU had done what the administration insisted, it would’ve acted contrary to its client’s interests, committing an actual ethical breach. The court could have spelled out the egregious faults in the DOJ’s position and condemned its efforts to persecute its opponents. Practically speaking, though, a curt dismissal of the DOJ’s claim works just as well.

I also think dis-inviting the Eagles from the WH is overplaying his hand.  He thinks this anthem thing is gold with his base, and it might be.  But there is a point at which it will seem like too much to the majority of Americans, and I wonder if this may be that point.  Time will tell.

That is it for today.  I know these are tough, tiring times, but don’t ever forget that you are not alone in this.  We are the majority. Don’t forget that our democracy is worth fighting for.  Our fellow Americans are worth fighting for.  The dignity of all people is worth fighting for.  Keep it up.  Keep faith.  I am so proud and lucky to be in this with all of you ❤ ✊ ❤

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Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?

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Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?

 

Beto O'Rourke / Flickr Beto O x27 Rourke x27 s...
Beto O’Rourke / Flickr

This will be short, but in a comment in the front page article on last night’s Beto vs. Cruz debate, a poster lamented that Beto is “down 10 points” in the “polls”.  I am by no means saying that Beto will win…I’m a native Texan and we always knew this would be a long shot; however, in this reality-based community, I wanted to set the record straight.

According to 538, the current results of 31 polls has Cruz with a weighted average +5.8%.  While this is certainly a lead, who would have thought a year ago that the senate race in Texas would be this close?  Secondly, 538 has Beto’s chances of winning at 1 in 5 (similar to the odds they gave Trump).  As Texas supporters, we understand the odds, but we are doing everything we can to GOTV.

Something is happening in Texas.

And, win or lose, Democrats, which have been largely overlooked in our state, have the GOP’s attention.

Early voting starts next Tuesday, Oct. 22.  Let’s GOTV.

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An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.

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An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.

 

Rebel HQ / YouTube Big Pharma Republican Challenged By New 1539825945.jpg...
Rebel HQ / YouTube

At the start of 2018, most residents of New York’s rural 27th Congressional District assumed their local GOP Congressmember, multimillionaire Chris Collins, would coast to re-election in this strongly Republican district. But that changed in early August when Collins was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI. Those political tremors became seismic waves in September when Collins rejected the pleas of local GOP leaders to drop out so they could nominate a less ethically-challenged candidate. All of a sudden his Democratic opponent, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, whose grassroots campaign had drawn little national attention beforehand, found himself in the middle of a new Red-to-Blue opportunity as money and support began rolling in.

Collins is one of Trump’s earliest and most strident supporters, so when he found himself facing an unexpected loss, he fell back on the tried and true tactics of his mentor and the modern GOP: racism, lies and personal attacks. Collins first attacked McMurray, whose wife is Asian-American, by showing a video of him speaking Korean and intentionally mistranslating McMurray’s words to falsely claim he worked to outsource jobs. The ad was widely criticized for its racist overtones and lies, so Collins came back with a second attack ad that criticized McMurray for supporting single-payer health care. And Collins’ third ad falsely hit McMurray by taking his comments about Donald Trump out of context. With his personal wealth against McMurray’s underfunded campaign, Collins had the airwaves entirely to himself, and he used it entirely on misleading, negative advertising.

Then something amazing happened.

With new attention on the race, McMurray was able to raise funds for a poll, with very surprising results: despite the strongly Republican inclinations of the district and McMurray’s low-budget campaign, McMurray had moved into a 42-42 dead heat with Collins. Collins’ attack ads appeared to have only raised McMurray’s name recognition, and the voters – no matter their ideology – were rejecting Collins’ racism, dishonesty, and attacks on health care. These results were confirmed by a subsequent Siena Poll, leading to McMurray being named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program with just a few weeks left in the campaign.

Across the country, Democrats like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Christine Pellegrino in New York and Doug Jones in Alabama are winning in Republican turf by rewriting the script on how races are won, running proudly populist campaigns that reject corruption and corporate control of Washington, and standing up to special interests on issues like jobs and healthcare.

Many of these races are easily dismissed as outliers because of the specific failings of the GOP candidates involved. In McMurray’s case, his poll found that 90% of the voters sampled had heard, seen or read about Collins’ indictment. But the desire to drain the swamp may be more desirable than the leadership in either party is willing to admit. Voters in districts like New York’s 27th, who voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016, appear to view corruption on both sides of the aisle as the true enemy.

Politics aside, McMurray’s slow-and-steady grassroots approach laid a foundation that no one saw coming. Before anyone else thought he was viable, he was doing the hard work that makes democracy run, spending months going from one small town event to another; introducing himself to farmers, families and small business owners; and talking at every gathering or union picnic that would let him.

Collins’ indictment put McMurray’s campaign on the map for a political establishment that had dismissed him only weeks before. Collins’ negative advertising was the catalyst that gave Nate the boost he needed to pull dead even with less than a month to go. But McMurray’s willingness to run in what many saw as a hopeless race, and work tirelessly because it was simply the right thing to do, are the true foundations of a red-to-blue opportunity that could significantly reshape politics in 2019 and beyond.

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Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh

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Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh

 

On Tuesday, Donald Trump sat down for an interview with the Associated Press and stated off by declaring that he believes the Saudis are innocent—because they say they are. Just like Brett Kavanaugh. Also, he does not need Beyoncé.

Much of Trump’s interview followed in the same vein—difficult to interpret when listening, and even harder to make out on the page. It would take a gallon tub of rubber cement and a stack of Xacto blades to cut and paste the words into some semblance of order. But if Trump couldn’t get his point across by speak-English-good, he managed to beat his points home through sorry repetition.

Asked again about why he believes the Saudi leaders, Trump went to a touchstone of … not innocence.

Trump: We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way. So I was unconcerned. So we have to find out what happened and they are doing a very major investigation. So is Turkey. Plus, they’re putting themselves together and doing it. And hopefully they’ll get to an answer as to what happened. But I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing.

The one thing that Kavanaugh’s testimony did show is that the strength of the denial is all that counts. Trump did not mention whether the crown prince shouted or talked like a middle-school brat, but those seem to be the hallmarks of innocence.

As with Kavanaugh, it seems there’s a very “thorough investigation planned.”

Trump: They’re going to try and do it in less than a week.

Of course. Trump can definitely give the Saudis some pointers on how to conduct a “thorough” investigation in record time. Maybe they already have statements from Timmy and PJ and Squi. Because that’ll definitely speed things along.

Trump then moved along to describing how he thought the Republican candidates were going to do well in the midterms, a factor which he predicted from his “incredible record” in picking winners in the Republican primaries, and the fact that people are still turning out for his rallies. As with most statements made by Trump during the interview (or outside the interview) every time he returned to the topic, he inflated his personal opinion of his personal greatness with a few more pumps to the ego balloon.

Trump: I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact. They would say that in the old days that if you got the support of a president or if you’ve got the support of somebody it would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I’ve endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement.

Forty or 50 points. Why not just make it 110? And of course, no one in the past ever sought out the endorsement of a party leader? Why would they if it wasn’t Trump?

As with most discussions, Trump returned again and again to the idea that he won in 2016, and that his constant rallies—conducted even in the midst of national disaster—are the dipstick for determining the Republican oil level.

Trump: I mean, I go out, I make a speech like I have, you know, 25 times more people than she gets. And I didn’t need Beyoncé to get them.

Portions of Trump’s replies to the AP were so unintelligible or detached from the question asked, that it would require a new Rosetta Stone to determine their meaning. But the biggest chunk of his response to questions about the midterms seems to be evenly split between the idea that Republicans will win because … Trump. And also, when Republicans lose, it’s not the fault of Trump. Immediately after his response that Republicans would win, because he doesn’t need Beyoncé, Trump swung to the land of “people love me, but it doesn’t rub off.”

Trump: Now, I’m not sure that that’s right. And I’m not running. I mean, there are many people that have said to me, ‘Sir, I will never ever,’ you on the trail when I’m talking to people backstage etcetera, ‘I will never ever go and vote in the midterms because you’re not running and I don’t think you like Congress.’ Well, I do like Congress because I think, and when I say Congress I like the Republicans that support me in Congress.

Trump also revisited Kavanaugh in his discussion of the midterms, showing his certainty that the Supreme Court fight would completely reverse Democratic momentum. Or not.

Trump: I will say, that fight because he was treated so viciously and violently by the Democrats. That fight has had an impact on energy, and it’s had an impact on the Republican Party, a very positive one in terms of getting out and voting. I think, but I’ll let you know in three weeks.

Democrats treated Kavanaugh “viciously and violently.” Almost as if someone much larger had pinned him to a bed, began tugging his clothes off, and threatened him with assault while laughing at his fear. Except not at all like that.

Halfway through the interview, Trump screams at an assistant to bring him “the list” so he can brag about his accomplishments, which mostly seemed to come down to Republicans rubber stamping Trump’s selection of ultra-conservative judges who had been picked for him in advance by Republicans. So … win! And no one can say that Trump has no humor after this knee-slapper.

Trump: Who is the one, who’s the one president that percentage-wise has done better than me? There’s only one. George Washington — 100 percent.

(Laughter)

Trump: Nobody has gotten that yet.

AP: That is a good piece of trivia.

That is … moving on. To the very serious affairs of state. Really. The affairs.

AP: Sir, as the president of the United States, is it appropriate to call a woman, and even one who is making serious allegations and who you are in litigation against, to call her a horseface?

Trump: You know what? You can take it any way you want. … I just speak for myself. You take a look, and you make your own determination.

Trump plowed through his relationship with Michael Cohen. That is, if he actually met Cohen, who he called “low level” and “a contractor” if you just ignore that office in Trump Tower right next to Trump and all the times Trump referred to Cohen as his personal attorney.

Trump was also asked about climate change and spent five minutes dawdling with claims about hurricanes in 1890 and how there have been few hurricanes recently, and how it’s all a cycle, and how he wants “absolutely crystal clear water” and “the cleanest air on the planet” and made the blatantly false claim that “our air now is cleaner than it’s ever been.” But then he finished up by denying climate change.

Trump: What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows. And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see.

So no, Donald Trump hasn’t accepted one iota of scientific evidence. Or one moment of the evidence that’s literally falling on the heads of people across the nation. He’s always right, and he’s going to be right if it kills all of us. Which it will.

Trump continued with a rant about how he’s “really an environmentalist” because “Everything I want and everything I have is clean.” Which isn’t being an environmentalist. It’s being a germaphobe of Howard Hughesian proportions.

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