WTF Community

Day 536

Updated 7/9/2018 10:39 AM PDT

1/ Trump says he is "very close to making a decision" on his Supreme Court nominee. Aides, however, have prepped rollouts for multiple Supreme Court nominees knowing that Trump could change his mind at the last minute. Trump has narrowed his list down to two potential nominees: Brett Kavanaugh and Thomas Hardiman. The White House expects to hit the ground running once Trump makes his 9 p.m. announcement – a time he selected for maximum TV exposure. "I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice," Trump tweeted. As he boarded Air Force One after a weekend of golfing at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., Trump said: "You can't go wrong." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The consequences of Trump’s impetuous, hotheaded trade policies come home to roost in the heartland.


Peter Baker

Buzz at the US courthouse in DC: Brett Kavanaugh spotted leaving in a black sedan accompanied by four black SUVs with security agents presumed to be Secret Service, per source.

It is thought too that Kavanaugh does not believe in indicting a sitting president.

Another flagrant lie from our President.

In Trump’s tweet today:
“We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea.”

Contrast that with the actual agreement giving particular attention to the region being defined:
“. . . commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“. . . promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“. . . commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

There is a universe of difference between “North Korea” and the “Korean Peninusula.” The latter includes South Korea. One of the first commentaries I read about the agreement pointed out this critical distinction. As soon as we press Kim on denuclearizing North Korea, he will say (as he has always done in the past), “OK, but first you have to withdraw your military from South Korea. Your ships, planes, and bases may contain nuclear weapons and we agreed to denuclearize the entire Korean Peninsula, not just North Korea.”

This is a ploy North Korea has used over and over again. How could the Trump negotiating team not know this? They practiced willful ignorance just to secure a photo op. As sure as Kim was “tricking” Trump, Trump was “tricking” us. Once again, shame on this administration.


A sealed legal complaint against GOP mega donor Elliott Broidy by his former mistress contains “troublesome claims that he wouldn’t want to become public,” a source with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Beast.

Broidy is being sued by former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard, who became pregnant with his child before having an abortion. Bechard sued Broidy on Friday, alleging he violated their non-disclosure agreement when he stopped paying her installments totaling $1.6 million earlier this month. A source close to Broidy told The Daily Beast, “a cursory review of the lawsuit indicates it is full of falsehoods.”


Interesting acknowledgement of these Senators are not shoo ins, by not being there.

Bloomberg writer
Laura Litvan

Senators who DECLINED their invites to the White House tonight to hear Trump announce his Supreme Court nominee:


Who does this confirmation hinge upon the most?

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More illegal activities, Trump and his use of funds who use Mar-a-lago.

Just more of the same corrupt behavior…

@crampell (wapo)
review of the Trump Foundation’s tax records found a pattern — donations, typically $25,000 — to eight charities after they relocated their events to Maralago

Explanation of how T profits
1/To be clear why this matters: If there were an agreement, and let’s say the charity agreed to pay Mar-a-Lago $25k more than it wanted to, in exchange for a $25k donation from Trump Fdtn, that’s a way to convert tax-exempt charitable dollars back to profit, a kind of $-laundering

2/Just to trace the dollars back: Let’s say I’m Trump, and you owe me $500k. I say, “you’re in the 50% tax bracket (state+federal), so put $1 million into my foundation, take the deduction, and it’s the same $500k to you.” (This appears to be what Trump did with $ from WWE.)

3/So now I (Trump) have twice as much $ in the foundation as I was owed, but I can’t use it for myself. It’s “charity.” How do I convert the $500K you paid me (net taxes) back to a million, for me or my business?

4/One cool tactic: Have my foundation make donations to non-profits, which in turn buy services from my for-profit company. Non-profit breaks even, but I’ve now got real hard money, twice as much as you owed, which I can use for anything. (btw, this is totally illegal.)

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The pressure will be most intense on Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., all of whom are running for re-election in states Trump won in 2016.

Trump polls highly among voters in those states and the closely watched Democratic trio will be under tremendous pressure to back the president. All three have reputations for working with Republicans on some policy issues and appearing at events at the White House when their politics align with Trump. But a controversial Supreme Court pick could test the boundaries of their willingness to buck the rest of the Democratic Party.

All three released statements that focused on their willingness to fully vet the nominee.

Outside groups on both sides of the debate over abortion rights immediately issued predictions about what the nomination would mean for the future of Roe v. Wade.

Dana Singiser, the vice president for public policy and government relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told reporters Monday night, “The right to access abortion safely and legally in this country is clearly on the line.”

Anti-abortion-rights activists do not disagree. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the conservative Susan B. Anthony List, told reporters on a press call that the nomination of a fifth conservative justice is the culmination of years of work getting Republicans elected to all branches of government.

"We have known this moment was coming, and so over a year we have been organizing in these Senate battleground states," she said, "knowing that these senators would be key to a confirmation battle."


This is just my opinion, but I feel that any Democrat who approves this appointment does not deserve to call themselves a Democrat. It’s time for Democrats to play hardball. The Republicans set a precedent when they stole our SCOTUS nomination in 2016. What goes around, comes around. Every single Democratic Senator must stand up for the Democratic party and block any SCOTUS nomination until after the midterms.

Also, there should be a cry of outrage if Kavanaugh does not declare that he will recuse himself from any matter involving the Mueller investigation, including any indictments that may grow out of it. He is not required to do so by law, but if he fails to make such a declaration during the confirmation hearings, then he will have shown himself to be a person with no moral or ethical character and the President’s reason for nominating him will become patently obvious – Trump is appointing his own jury. The only thing that stands between our Democracy and a takeover by American Oligarchs is an independent judiciary.


In a world based on party, ideology and faith in a fair system, it would seem that those red state dems should stay with their party…BUT, so much of this SCOTUS vote depends on how you see yourself aligned, and those 3 Senators were pliable before, giving Gorsuch the vote, they may bend towards another similar vote.

However, Dems are playing a bit more hard ball.

Those red-state Democrats will be under pressure from conservative groups to get behind Trump’s nominee.

The Judicial Crisis Network, which launched an ad blitz in the wake of Kennedy’s retirement last month, announced Monday that it is embarking on a week-long, $1.4 million ad campaign touting the nominee’s personal story. The new round of ads will run nationally and will also target four states — Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia."

We shall see what kind of a backbone these select Senators will be able to show. Yet, it never seems like a fair fight when Mitch McConnell is involved and the thing that makes T palatable to them is this exact vote.


And here’s some Politico Playbook speculations on Kavanaugh’s chances for getting the Senators votes to be on the Supreme Court.

THE BLUNT REALITY … AT THIS POINT, it seems abundantly clear that SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL has a better hand than SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.) as the two face off over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

WHAT SEEMS MORE LIKELY AT THIS POINT: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) defying Schumer in deep red West Virginia, or Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) defying McConnell? As we noted this morning, the Boston Globe found that Collins supported 99 percent of Republican judicial nominees. Manchin wins back home by finding a way to get to yes, and ignoring the jeers from the party’s liberal base.

EXTEND THAT PARALLEL to Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

JUST LISTEN TO JOE MANCHIN, from CNN’S MANU RAJU (@mkraju): “Manchin says he’s keeping an open mind, doing ‘deep dive’ on Kavanaugh. He cited Texas case when I asked him why he’s emphasizing concerns about pre-existing conditions. ‘There are 800,000 people in WV in jeopardy. I’m going to look at all the findings and records he’s ruled on.’”

MOST DEMOCRATS PRIVATELY agree with the premise that they are playing a weak hand, and don’t have much of a chance to stop Kavanaugh. Democrats are hoping there’s an embarrassing set of emails from the Bush era that they can use against him, or that he chokes his way through a hearing. (His 2006 testimony in front of Judiciary seemed pretty unremarkable, in that it reveals a guy with a pretty astute sense for the politics of the moment).

THE REPUBLICANS’ paper-thin margin in the Senate insures this will be a partisan vote, with truly only Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly in play. Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are who you should watch on the Republican side.

DEMOCRATS are making the case that Kavanaugh will gut Roe v. Wade at his first opportunity, and he’ll further dismantle the health care law. They want to paint him as a scary conservative – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Republicans have already started pointing to his community involvement – he coached his daughter’s basketball team – and Catholic church associations.

HE HAS, in many respects, a pretty standard-fare Washington background: a two-time Yale grad, a loyal White House aide, who clerked and made it to the circuit court. He associates with Democrats – our colleagues pointed to Doug Gansler, the former AG of Maryland, who is a friend of Kavanaugh’s from New Haven.

KAVANAUGH, HE’S JUST LIKE YOU! It’s tough to adequately describe just how much a part of the D.C. fabric Brett Kavanaugh and his wife are. Their kids go to school here, they’ve lived here their entire adult lives and they are well-known to many establishment Republicans who feel like they are an island in Trump’s Washington. We can’t tell you the number of Facebook posts we’ve seen this morning from seasoned GOP operatives celebrating the Kavanaugh pick.

CODA … FROM KAVANAUGH’S BIO … “In 2015 he ran the Boston Marathon in 4:08:36, and in 2010 he ran the Boston Marathon in 3:59:45.”

SCHUMER ON CBS – “Schumer lays out path to block Kavanaugh,” by Louis Nelson: “Senate Democrats can successfully orchestrate the rejection of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday morning, if they can convince the American people that his confirmation will lead to the undoing of abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court.

“‘Let me say this. I believe if we can prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it,’ Schumer [said] … when asked how he might block Kavanaugh’s confirmation. ‘Obviously, even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans. But if we can make that case, we will get a majority.’

“With Republicans in control of a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Schumer (D-N.Y.) would indeed need at least two GOP lawmakers, plus the vote of every single Democrat, in order to successfully block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.” … Video of Schumer’s interview


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