January, 2018

Russia Accuses U.S. of Meddling In Election

“The Kremlin said that a new U.S. sanctions report expected to be released imminently was an attempt to influence Russia’s presidential election in March, but predicted it would fail to impact the vote,” Reuters reports.

“The United States could release reports as early as Monday detailing the possibilities for expanding sanctions against Russia, including a list of oligarchs and potential restrictions on the holding of Russian government debt.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think there was a lot of false equivalence in the 2016 campaign. That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the pussy, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’ And I think it led to a sense of false equivalence that was misleading, and I regret my role in doing that.”

— CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, quoted by the Washington Post.

Frelinghuysen Won’t Run Again

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced that he will not seek reelection, The Hill reports.

President Trump won the district in 2016 by just one percentage point, 49% to 48%.

Cook Political Report: “The burden of proof will be on Republicans to unite around a new nominee and catch up with Democrats in a very challenging political environment. For now, we’re keeping this open seat in the Toss Up column, but Democrats may now be ever-so-slight favorites.”

Millennials Say Country Is On the Wrong Track

A new NBC News/GenForward survey finds that 63% of millennials think things in this country are off on the wrong track. Only 18% think the country is generally headed in the right direction, and another 18% aren’t sure.

Sixty-three percent of millennials also disapprove of the way President Trump is handling his job, with 46% saying they strongly disapprove. Only 19% approve of Trump.

Even among those millennials who said they voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, 22% disapprove of him now.

How This Is Different Than Watergate

Greg Sargent points out “an important way that the current moment is different from Watergate — a difference that may point to the possibility of a more alarming endgame. The Nunes memo shows there is a massive propaganda apparatus out there — one that reaches deep into right wing media and into the Congress that has been pushing the alt-narrative and would back up Trump if he does take drastic steps — that didn’t really exist in Nixon’s time.”

He quotes journalist Tim Weiner: “You certainly had very influential columnists who were diehard Nixon men. But you did not have a Devin Nunes. You did not have a Sean Hannity. And you did not have an alternate universe of conspiracy theories, in which the FBI was painted as the equivalent of the Weather Underground.”

Meehan Ignored Advice Against Interviews

Rep. Patrick Meehan’s (R-PA) “decision to do wrenching interviews with nine news outlets Tuesday bucked the advice of congressional and campaign aides who argued against it,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“Usually cautious in his public comments and often clumsy in his syntax, the Delaware County Republican also declined offers to help prepare for the high-pressure interviews… By the end of it, Meehan’s own words — especially his use of the phrase soul mate to describe the younger aide who had accused him of harassment — turned the story from another Washington scandal into a viral moment ridiculed on cable news and late-night talk shows.”

Trump Likes Controversy, But Not Conflict

Gerald Seib: “That might seem like a contradiction, but it actually isn’t. The distinction is important, and is woven through Mr. Trump’s operating style during his first year in office.”

“He relishes stirring up controversy, and, in fact, believes stirring the pot advances his reputation as an outside agitator and improves his position by keeping adversaries off balance. But he usually keeps controversy at arm’s length, using his Twitter feed or offhand comments to attack and posture.”

“By contrast, when he finally comes face-to-face with both friends and foes, his actual positions are often less contentious and rigid than his public posturing suggests. His Twitter bark is worse than his personal bite.”

‘Halfway Across the World’

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An Article of Impeachment Against Donald Trump

David Leonhardt: “There are good reasons to be wary of impeachment talk. Congressional Republicans show zero interest, and they’re the ones in charge. Democrats, for their part, need to focus on retaking Congress, and railing about impeachment probably won’t help them win votes.”

“But let’s set aside realpolitik for a few minutes and ask a different question: Is serious consideration of impeachment fair? I think the answer is yes. The evidence is now quite strong that Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. Many legal scholars believe a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. So the proper remedy for a president credibly accused of obstructing justice is impeachment.”