American Bridge 21st century, a pro-Democrat super PAC, launched a Google Chrome browser extension that replaces “Mitch McConnell” With “Moscow Mitch” on web pages.
President Trump said that the United States could end the nearly 19-year war in Afghanistan “very quickly” if he chose to do so but that it would involve killing “tens of millions” of people, the Washington Post reports.
Said Trump: “We’ve been very effective in Afghanistan, and if we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly, but many, many, really, tens of millions of people would be killed, and we think it’s unnecessary.”
Bloomberg: “As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, Democratic candidates may want to look at two Rust Belt states that narrowly helped deliver Donald Trump’s victory in 2016: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”
“The two swing states lost the most manufacturing jobs in the past 12 months, bucking the national trend. In Pennsylvania, home to steel mills, the number of factory positions fell by about 8,000 and in Wisconsin the loss was just over 5,000.”
“Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is moving back to her native South Carolina, re-establishing a home base and also fueling speculation that a return to politics is next on her to-do list,” the AP reports.
“Haley has been living in New York City since resigning her post at the end of 2018 but has maintained high popularity in South Carolina.”
Washington Post: “The accord could allow the United States to send migrants who reach the southern border to El Salvador to seek asylum, the latest in a series of deals aimed at creating new layers of deterrents to the influx of migrants seeking protection on U.S. soil.”
Associated Press: “The gang-plagued El Salvador is among the world’s deadliest countries, with one of the highest homicide rates on the globe… Many people who flee from El Salvador have said they and their families were threatened by gang members. Teenagers often are pressured to join gangs and have had their lives and their families threatened if they refuse. Some young women are forced to become the girlfriends of gang members, facing rape or murder if they refuse.”
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) confirmed that he is seeking to be appointed to replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who is slated to vacate his seat at the end of the year, The Hill reports.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will pick Isakson’s successor, who will then face an election in November 2020.
Daily Beast: “Ukraine is ready to investigate the connections Joe Biden’s son Hunter had with the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings, according to Anton Geraschenko, a senior adviser to the country’s interior minister who would oversee such an inquiry.”
Said Geraschenko: “Clearly, Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.”
Results of a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll on Democratic presidential candidates will be released online at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, the Des Moines Register reports.
“Jared Kushner is expected to visit Saudi Arabia next month for an economic conference, one year after a slew of businesses and political figures boycotted the event following the grisly killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post reports.
“The conference is at the Ritz Carlton, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman imprisoned hundreds of the country’s business and political leaders for months in what he called an anti-corruption campaign, as he consolidated power in the oil-rich kingdom.”
Amy Walter: “Biden has set himself up as the ‘most electable’ candidate in the race. If he loses in Iowa and New Hampshire, well, the rationale for his candidacy also goes up in smoke. The best way for Warren to prove that she can beat Trump in November is to win in those early states. Obviously, winning a primary or caucus is not the same as proving that you can beat the sitting incumbent president. But, voters like winners. Once a candidate starts to win, it gets harder and harder for the ‘but can he/she win in November?’ to get much traction.”
An updated edition out next month: The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court in the Age of Trump by David Kaplan.
“Just as the Supreme Court was a crucial issue for many voters in 2016, so, too, will it be in the 2020 presidential campaign.”
Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis (R) once said Republicans had “dual loyalties” to Israel, adding that support for the country was the result of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a “very strong American Jewish lobby,” CNN reports.
Lewis said in a February 2013 radio show that many in the party viewed the country as the “51st state.” He claimed policymakers in President George W. Bush’s administration, including former UN Ambassador John Bolton, were dual citizens of Israel and the United States.
President Trump downplayed a complaint submitted by an intelligence whistleblower that reportedly involves Ukraine, calling the story “ridiculous” and describing the whistleblower as partisan, CNN reports.
Trump reiterated that his conversations with foreign leaders are appropriate.
Asked if he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump said it “doesn’t matter what I discussed” but that someone should look into Biden.
First Read: “If this is what this looks like — and again, we don’t know the actual substance of the July 25 call — then it’s arguably worse than Watergate, when the dirty tricks were being conducted by Americans against Americans.”
“But this time, is the dirty trick a sitting president dangling aid to a foreign country to get it to investigate a rival campaign?”
“We learned from 2016 that the Trump campaign will do whatever it takes to win. Do national Democrats — who believe defeating Trump in 2020, not impeaching him, is the best way to remove him from office — understand what else we might see over the next 14 months?”
“Kamala Harris ’s campaign says she is focusing her efforts on Iowa in the hopes of reviving her struggling campaign,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The California senator isn’t the first to try this. Virtually every election cycle, faltering presidential candidates go all in on the first state to hold its nominating contest, hoping that a strong showing there will give them a boost.”
CNBC: “The House Democratic majority, which represented 39% of the U.S. land area in 2008, now represents just 20%. The House Republican minority 80% of U.S. territory.”
“That coincides with a sharp increase in incomes and economic output for the constituencies Democrats represent in Congress. Today, the $61,000 median income of blue districts substantially exceeds the $53,000 median income of red ones, reversing the order from 2008.”
“The average gross domestic product for Democratic districts, near parity with Republican ones in 2008, has grown 50% higher. Output per worker has followed the same pattern.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “We still have only limited information about the emerging whistleblower scandal. But we do know (from what Rudy Giuliani has bragged about) that the president’s lawyer has pressed another country to investigate a Democratic candidate for alleged corruption. That’s on top of the original Trump campaign’s dozens of contacts with a nation attacking U.S. democracy; several documented instances of the president obstructing the investigation of that attack; violations of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution and regular use of government resources to enrich the president’s businesses; and assertions of invented presidential privileges to prevent congressional oversight.”
“Republicans have been okay with all this, presumably because they’re getting what they want on policy. Or perhaps out of pure partisanship. Or maybe because they’re so deep in the conservative information-feedback loop that they’ve convinced themselves none of it is real. But they should be taking stock now of just how much lawlessness they’re willing to tolerate. At this point, it looks like the whistleblower’s story involves Trump attempting to offer U.S. policy favors to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.”
“I’ve said all along that there’s a middle ground where the evidence may justify impeachment and removal of the president, but not demand it. Well, the evidence has long since established that impeachment is justified. Now we’re tiptoeing up to the line where it demands removal. At some point, we may wind up clearly over that line by any reasonable definition. If Republicans choose to stick with Trump then, he’ll correctly conclude that he’s above the law.”
NBC News: “The number of complaints made to a confidential hotline designed to allow the reporting of waste, fraud and abuse in the intelligence community has skyrocketed since Donald Trump took office, government records show.”
“According to the latest public report by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, the hotline received 563 contacts last year, up from 251 in 2016 and 369 in 2017.”
“The numbers for the latest fiscal year are on pace to be even higher: There were 297 complaints in just the first six months — from October 2018 through last March, according to the report.”