January, 2018

Bonus Quote of the Day

“He cheats like hell… so I don’t quite know how he is in business. They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business. I’m pretty sure he pays his caddie well, since no matter how far into the woods he hits the ball, it’s in the middle of the fairway when we get there.”

— Norwegian golf ace Suzann Pettersen, in an interview with VG, on playing golf with Donald Trump.

Tory MPs Considering Coup Against Theresa May

“Conservative MPs are considering another attempt at ousting Theresa May if the local elections go badly, as disillusionment with her leadership bubbles up among backbenchers once again,” the Guardian reports.

The frustration from her “lackluster performance, botched reshuffle and shifting Brexit strategy has caused talk of deposing her to resurface.”

The Sun reports that just eight more Conservative dissenters were needed to trigger a vote of no confidence against May.

The Russia Investigation Is Very Real

First Read: “Here’s an important reminder: The investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election — and its ties to the Trump campaign — is real. And everything we’ve learned over the past year has only confirmed that reality… Indeed, there hasn’t been one development that has lessened suspicion of Russia’s ties and contacts to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.”

Axios: 10 undisputed facts behind the Russia investigation.

Pruitt Predicted Trump Would Act Unconstitutionally

In a 2016 radio interview, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said Donald Trump would “take, I think, unapologetic steps to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional.”

Said Pruitt: “I believe that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama — and that’s saying a lot… I really believe he would use a blunt instrument. This president at least tries to nuance his unlawfulness.”

Second Dossier Being Assessed by FBI

The FBI has a second memo that independently set out some of the same allegations made in a dossier by British former spy Christopher Steele, the Guardian reports.

“The second memo was written by Cody Shearer, a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s. Unlike Steele, Shearer does not have a background in espionage, and his memo was initially viewed with skepticism, not least because he had shared it with select media organizations before the election.”

Trump Administration Cribbed List of Oligarchs

“The striking similarity between a newly-released Treasury Department report of Russian oligarchs and a 2017 list of wealthy Russians published in Forbes Magazine is no coincidence,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“On Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed… that the unclassified annex of the report was derived from Forbes’ ranking of the ‘200 richest businessmen in Russia 2017.'”

Trump Campaign Already Active In Iowa

Des Moines Register: “President Trump’s re-election campaign will hand out booklets to all caucus attendees touting the administration’s accomplishments during its first year in office.”

“The glossy, 16-page ‘Year One of Making America Great Again’ pamphlet notes 85 actions and developments that have occurred since Trump took office, ranging from stock market gains to a Supreme Court nomination to American air strikes in Syria.”

How to Run Against the Border Wall

Jay Hulling (D), who is running for the House on the Texas-Mexico border, has a new ad criticizing President Trump’s plan for a border wall, while tying incumbent Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) to the president.

Playbook: “The ad is a neat encapsulation of a pair of themes Democrats are trying to capitalize on in 2018. They’ll attempt to use Trump policies — in this case, the wall — as a political cudgel in a tough district. And they are seeking to boost candidates with strong, and at times nonpartisan, resumes and personal stories.”

A Conspiracy of Dunces

Rick Wilson: “The Republican Party’s head first dive into breathless conspiratorial fantasies in defense of Donald Trump is a brand-defining moment as the Party of Lincoln morphs into the Party of LaRouche. Listening as members of Congress, the Fox/talk-radio world and the constellation of batshit crazy people drawn to Esoteric Trumpism adopt increasingly baroque theories to protect The Donald isn’t just depressing, it’s tragic. A diseased slurry of fake news, post-Truth Trumpism and Russkie agitprop infects the Republican Party. It’s an Ebola of wild-eyed MK-ULTRA paranoiac raving, spreading to every organ of the Republican body politic. This loon-centric new world of crazy talk has dissolved the old ideological skeleton of the GOP and reduced it from the Conservative Party of Ideas to the Crackpot Party of Infowars.”

“Covering up the connections between Donald Trump, his campaign officials and family members with Russia, and this president’s efforts to obstruct justice and derail Mueller will come at a still-untallied cost to our nation, our institutions, and the dignity and reputation of the GOP. It’s going to get worse as Mueller closes in.”

The Disorientation Machine

Mike Allen reports that President Trump “has already made up his mind” to release the secret House memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), “which he sees as vindication, despite Justice Department resistance. Trump believes it will solidify in the public’s mind that there’s a Deep State out to get him.”

“Couple that fact with some genuinely troubling text messages between FBI agents, and the Fox News chorus warning of a Deep State coup, and you have the makings of a disorientation machine.”

“This strategy is working better than you think. Trump portrayed Hillary Clinton as an enemy of the state, and she lost. He turned the media into an enemy of the state, if you looks at polls of Republicans. And, perhaps most alarming of all, he’s trying to make the FBI look like an enemy of the state.”

Pompeo Says Russians Will Try to Hack Midterm Elections

CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the BBC that he has “every expectation” that Russia will try to disrupt midterm elections in November.

Said Pompeo: “I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”