February, 2018

Majority of Americans Trust Mueller Investigation

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that by wide margins, Americans are convinced that Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election and that they will try it again. More than four in 10 believe Moscow’s interference affected the outcome of the election that put Donald Trump in the White House.

A 58% majority say they have a lot or some trust in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, while a 57% majority say they have little or no trust in Trump’s denials.

What Arming Teachers Is All About

Eugene Robinson: “The deliberately outrageous idea of arming classroom teachers is nothing more than a distraction, a ploy by the gun lobby to buy time for passions to cool.”

“The National Rifle Association and its vassals in the Republican Party would like you to exhaust your outrage on a possibility that is, from the start, impossible. … ‘Up to States’ means abdicating the federal government’s responsibility and urging state legislatures to waste time and effort debating whether to mandate that instruments of death be introduced to classrooms.”

Georgia Republicans Threaten Delta Over NRA Decision

“Delta’s decision to cut ties with the NRA could cost it a generous tax break from the state of Georgia,” CNN reports.

“The state’s Republicans — including a major candidate for governor— are threatening to kill part of a bill that would eliminate a state tax on jet fuel. If it passes, the provision is expected to save the Atlanta-based airline tens of millions of dollars.”

The Assault on Intelligence

Coming in May: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies by Gen. Michael Hayden.

From the introduction: “There is no effort here to build a case for or against collusion. But whatever emerges from Robert Mueller’s investigation, it should not obscure the bigger story, which is still not adequately understood, and which is in a way this book’s climactic case study, namely that Russia has been actively seeking to damage the fabric of American democracy and that the Trump Administration’s glandular aversion to even looking at this squarely, much less mounting a concerted response to it, is an appalling national security lapse.”

“Indeed, there is clear evidence of what I would call convergence, the convergence of a mutually reinforcing swirl of Presidential tweets and statements, Russian influenced social media, alt right websites and talk radio, Russian ‘white’ press like RT and even mainstream U.S. media like Fox News—all of whom do things for their own purposes, but all of which fits nicely with Russian purposes to sharpen and sustain divisions here.”

How Republicans Can Win in November

Politico: “As dire as the situation seems for Republicans, the elements of a skin-of-their-teeth escape are coming into focus. Beginning in late December, both the generic congressional ballot and Trump’s approval ratings began ticking upward. These numbers, apparent across almost all polls, were enough to curtail growing talk of a Democratic wave election on the horizon.”

“The snapback in the polls may be short-lived. Over the past two weeks, the generic ballot numbers have moved slightly in a Democratic direction. The Republican uptick in the polls could represent a sign that the president and his party are beginning to get credit for the economy and tax cuts, or it could be simply a dead cat bounce. Either way, if the party can keep the generic ballot deficit under about 9 percentage points and the president’s approval ratings can remain in the mid-40s, the GOP is in the range of where it needs to be to have a fighting chance of holding its House majority.”

Housing Official Rejected Carson’s Office Redecoration

The Guardian: “A senior career official in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has alleged that she was demoted and replaced with a Donald Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by funding an expensive redecoration of Ben Carson’s office.”

“Helen Foster said she was told ‘$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair’ after informing her bosses this was the legal price limit for improvements to the HUD secretary’s suite at the department’s Washington headquarters.”

Democrats Plan to Challenge Trump on National Security

“Voters were undeterred by the 2016 cries of alarm from Democrats — and some Republicans — that Donald Trump was unqualified to be commander in chief, but a group of Democrats is betting Trump’s record in office will push national security issues to the fore in the 2018 midterms and the next presidential election,” the Washington Post reports.

“A group of mostly young veterans of the Barack Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign is launching a national security political strike force aimed at countering Trump and Republicans.”

GOP Worries Sexting Scandal Could Cost a House Seat

“Republicans are fretting that a front-runner for an Arizona congressional seat — a married minister involved in a sexting scandal — will pull a Roy Moore and hand the seat to Democrats if he wins Tuesday’s special-election primary,” Politico reports.

“The seat vacated by former GOP Rep. Trent Franks — who resigned last December over his own sex scandal — should be an easy hold for Republicans.”

“But a bombshell report of nude photos and text messages exchanged between the candidate, former state Sen. Steve Montenegro, and a legislative staffer — published just a week before the election — has left GOP operatives worried that ‘it could be Alabama all over again,’ said Shiree Verdone, who ran Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2010 Senate race.”

Walker Sued for Not Calling Special Elections

“A group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker  (R) over his refusal to call special elections to fill two open legislative seats,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

“Fresh off a victory in a Senate special election last month, Wisconsin Democrats have demanded that Walker call these two additional special elections and give their party an opportunity to notch more wins.”

“With Democrats seeing an opportunity — and Republicans seeing a threat — the controversy over the special election has taken on a strong political cast.”