Races to watch on Tuesday. . .
Interesting development in the DNC this weekend
CHICAGO — The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to significantly curtail the power of superdelegates and make presidential caucuses more accessible, overcoming objections from a vocal minority of its membership.
The reform package, pushed by DNC Chairman Tom Perez and allies of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others, passed overwhelmingly by voice vote at the DNC’s summer meeting here — two years after the process started.
The change will prohibit superdelegates from voting for president at the party’s 2020 convention, unless the outcome is already assured or it deadlocks, which hasn’t happened in decades. The vast majority of superdelegates sided with Hillary Clinton over Sanders in their primary fight two years ago.
The new rules will also make caucuses more accessible by requiring state parties to accept absentee votes, addressing concerns that the caucuses are less democratic than primaries because they require people to physically attend the events in order to participate in the presidential nominating process in their state.
A number of state parties are already considering replacing their caucuses with primaries, with some state party chairs here predicting the 2020 nominating contest will feature many fewer caucuses than in 2016.
Some of the strongest opposition to the change came from black delegates, especially in the older generation, who said it would “disenfranchise” African-American and Latino party leaders and make their convention less diverse.
“Are you telling me that I’m going to go to a convention, after my 30 years of blood, sweat, and tears for this party, that you’re going to take away my right to appease a group of people?” said DNC Vice Chair Karen Carter Peterson, a black Louisiana State Senator, presumably referring to white Sanders supporters.
Author of How Democracies Die cited in 2017, that superdelegates act as party gatekeepers against a rising populist candidate.
ZIBLATT: Yeah. I would add to that what’s an interesting - differences exist between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Democratic Party has superdelegates. And so there is built into the Democratic Party presidential selection process - continues to exist - this kind of element of gatekeeping. The Republican Party does not have superdelegates. And so one of the interesting kind of things to think about is, you know, had there been superdelegates in the Republican Party, would have Donald Trump actually won the nomination?
Would’ve he run? Would’ve he won? And so, you know, I think that’s kind of an interesting thing to think about. And, you know, superdelegates are now up for debate within the Democratic Party after the Bernie Sanders-Hillary showdown. And so there’s a lot of people who think superdelegates should be eliminated so that - this is kind of an ongoing issue of debate.
Have Democrats overcorrected or undercorrected How do you feel about superdelegates? Gatekeepers or unnecessary obstacle to democracy? I’m honestly torn. What is missing from this debate?
The two people who defeated him in his presidential runs —
CNN reporting John McCain requested that both George W Bush and Barack Obama deliver eulogies at his funeral.
This article described T feeling more cornered, and almost a prelude to what happened in the Wizard of Oz, where the Wizard was finally unveiled for who he was…empty, and completely fabricated. He is going to be exposed…and he does not like it.
Betrayal from paid loyalists who once promoted T’s facade as a talented billionaire, is the only path that Cohen, Pecker and Weisselberg can take to save their own hide. They can circumnavigate T and turn in their goods by speaking to Mueller’s team.
Oh what a web he’s woven.
Weisselberg and Pecker, who in addition to Cohen had been bulwarks of Trump’s secrecy, received immunity to testify about Cohen’s actions. It is unclear whether that was the limit of their cooperation, to testify about Cohen, or whether prosectors have asked broader questions about Trump or his company.
For his years as a businessman and as a candidate, Trump’s system was effective — though not perfect — at repelling inquiries from reporters. But once he became president, Trump began to face a new kind of inquiry, from people with lawsuits and subpoenas.
Inside the White House, the impact of these inquiries and the intense media coverage has been to set Trump fuming about disloyalty.
The result has been a moment in which Trump seems politically wounded, as friends turn and embarrassing revelations about alleged affairs and his charity trickle out, uncontained. In coming months, certain cases could force Trump’s company to open its books about foreign government customers or compel the president to testify about his relationships with women.
“The myth of Trump is now unraveling,” said Barbara Res, a Trump Organization executive from 1978 to 1996. “He’s becoming more obvious, and people are starting to know what he’s like and what he’s doing.”
Whether the president faces legal peril is not clear, but his presidency is at a precarious point. Recent polls suggest his repeated attacks on Mueller for leading a “witch hunt” have lost their effectiveness. And if the Democrats win a majority in at least one house of Congress in the midterm elections, now less than 10 weeks away, they would gain the power to investigate or even impeach.
Axios claims that they found a spread sheet of all the expected congressional inquiries Democrats could bring up if they win the House back. Seems about right, what’s missing? Let’s add to their list.
Here are some of the probes it predicts:
President Trump’s tax returns
Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
James Comey’s firing
Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
White House staff’s personal email use
Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
The travel ban
Family separation policy
Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
Election security and hacking attempts
White House security clearances
Extensive list which covers so much
-Exclusion of press for briefings (why critics need to be present)
-Inquiry into T’s fitness for office (Article 25 questions)
-Role in suppressing fair elections despite the multitudes of warnings
-misuse of pardon power- needs vetting
If you have 50 mins - we here were enriched by an excellent interview of Rebecca Peters with Kim Hill on RNZ Saturday morning.
Australian Rebecca Peters is considered by many governments to be the world’s foremost expert on gun control. She was chair of the Australian National Coalition for Gun Control at the time of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, and was a driving force in introducing stricter gun control in the wake of that tragedy, including a ban on semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. In 1996 she won a Human Rights Medal for her work. Peters later worked for George Soros’ Open Society Institute, now know as the Open Society Foundation, and then became the director of the International Action Network on Small Arms. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2016. Peters has lived in Guatemala since 2014, where she continues to lobby that country’s government over its lax gun laws, while also fundraising for a charity, the Transitions Foundation of Guatemala, that assists its many citizens disabled by gun violence.
Humor, memes, funny internet stuff etc
This issue is SO entangled here…Not sure what may break this horrid situation, perhaps our student activists from Parkland may be our best leaders on this. Gun advocates are supported by the 2nd Amendment, NRA’s money (now bankrupt?) and a recalcitrant Senate (read: deaf mute.)
Always inspiring to find someone who makes sense. There are plenty of people who are advocating for serious change with the gun laws but there are very few to legislate it. thanks for the link.
We can hope…but the deeply entrenched gun lobby, money (Russian and otherwise) are calling the shots (so to speak.)
Yes nina I know you have a huge problem there and far be it for me to try to tell anyone in the USA how to deal with it. The above interview gives some insight into the circumstances which emboldened the politicians in Australia to act. The Port Arthur Massacre was an horrific killing with 35 killed and 23 wounded and fortunately the new PM at the time, John Howard, felt he had the political mandate to introduce legislation to regulate firearms and even buy back fire arms. I remember the Aussies at the time protesting loudly and telling their politicians (as only they can) to get off their B***dy Backsides and do sometime!! Excuse my 'Strine.
Get this, Bruce Ohr was trying to flip Russian Oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The effort failed and Deripaska notified the Kremlin. Now President Trump is openly trying to discredit and bully Ohr out of the Justice Department.
Read more below
Full McCain memorial service
explains the tweets
Kavanaugh hearings begin on Sept 4th. Getting him on the Supreme Court is the GOP’s holy grail.
Citing executive privilege to keep these away from the Dems is another WTF moment in our highly partisan politics.
Maybe Chuck Schumer’s remarks will ignite a firestorm of controversy…but it (his assured spot on the SC) maybe a foregone conclusion, unfortunately.
WASHINGTON — The Trump White House, citing executive privilege, is withholding from the Senate more than 100,000 pages of records from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time as a lawyer in the administration of former President George W. Bush.
The decision, disclosed in a letter that a lawyer for Mr. Bush sent on Friday to Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes just days before the start of Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday. It drew condemnation from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.
“We’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre,” Mr. Schumer wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up.”
NYTimes: White House Cites Executive Privilege to Withhold 100,000 Pages of Kavanaugh Records
Different strokes for different folks…
Message to POTUS
You don’t buy RESPECT you EARN it.
Happy Labor Day…
A recap with more questions…
We fight on.
Week 67: The Mueller Rumor Mill Is Working Overtime
As Labor Day approaches, the mythic deadline looms for the special counsel to finish the job.
By JACK SHAFER
September 01, 2018
The waiting is the hardest part, Tom Petty sang through his nose in 1981, predicting the agony of anticipation that has settled on Washington journalists this Labor Day weekend like a smoggy August warm front.
We’re waiting for the rumored Roger Stone indictment to come down, and so is he. We’re waiting for the charges that might be filed against Don Jr. We’re waiting for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to deliver his collusion and obstruction report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. We’re waiting for Rudolph Giuliani’s counter-report to the Mueller report, which is almost finished even though Rudy hasn’t seen Mueller’s work. We’re waiting for Paul Manafort’s second trial, which starts on September 24, and aren’t sure whether to be happy or blue about his plea deal falling apart.
We’re waiting to see what new fur balls the Michael Cohen prosecutions will cough up, and we’re waiting to see whether a November red tide will spark the impeachment machinery to life and activate the dozen-and-a-half investigations of Trump world that Axios says the Democrats have dreamed up, wish-list style, on a spreadsheet. We’re waiting for Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House. (One measure of our towering anticipations: It has been decades since anybody looked forward to a Woodward book.)
We’re waiting for President Donald Trump to find new boundaries to melt with his indignation and fury. (“I view it as an illegal investigation,” the president insisted to Bloomberg this week.) We’re waiting for him to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We’re waiting for him to fire Rosenstein. (At his Thursday rally in Indiana, he threatened to take charge of the Department of Justice and the FBI.)
Most of all, we’re waiting for him to fire Mueller.
Not that we’re impatient for news, mind you. Well, not that impatient. Journalism requires reporters to look down time’s tunnel to map out the many possibilities a breaking story might take, so in weeks like this, when the news seems incremental, it’s only natural for us to use our periscope into the future. We’ve had difficulties enough writing accurately about the present, I know, but cover the future we must.
Of all the Trump countdowns currently ticking down, the most pressing is the timing of Mueller’s report. Department of Justice guidelines recommend that prosecutors avoid filing charges or taking other investigatory measures close to Election Day, so as to avoid contaminating the vote. A rule of thumb suggests (but in no way requires) a 60-day buffer between hot prosecutorial action and an election. Today, we’re 65 days away from the midterm elections, and the closing window prompted Trump attorney Giuliani to tweet a suggestion, again, to Mueller this week to hurry up.
At least Giuliani was consistent for once. Speaking to Fox News Channel last week, Giuliani was more precise about the timing. “If it isn’t over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules, and he shouldn’t be conducting one of these investigations in the 60-day period,” Giuliani said, reiterating the hurry-up idea he circulated in May.
Everybody in Washington who can read a chyron has an opinion on Mueller. And they’ll share it. Some insist that he’s a by-the-book sort, a duty first, rule-following automaton who never saw a guideline he wouldn’t follow. Others say he’s an independent cuss who will deploy his report when it’s ready, ignoring the nonbinding guidelines. Journalists love leakers, but they love Mueller even more because he doesn’t leak, which allows them to map their speculations on him and write epic paragraphs about his stony character like this one. He’s the sphinx of southwest Washington, and he remains unmoved by the Trump’s lawyers’ expectations. Some of us are old enough to remember that Trump attorney Ty Cobb predicted almost a year ago that Mueller would soon end his probe. “I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving and worse if it’s still haunting him by year end,” Cobb told Reuters, proving that he’s at least as bad as a reporter at the art of crystal gazing. “I think the relevant areas of inquiry by the special counsel are narrow.” Cobb, given his reputed ancestry, should know as well as anyone that, like a baseball game, there is no time limit on the work of a special prosecutor.
Trump’s lawyers have a lot of moxie to suggest that Mueller shift his investigation into higher gears. As Bloomberg News noted, the president’s attorneys have been dickering over the conditions of a Trump interview for almost nine months, a dispute that is still not resolved.
I suspect that what Trump and his legal team fear almost as much as the complete Mueller report dropping just before the midterms is the continued drip-drip-drip of its allied and sibling investigations in New York (Cohen) and in Washington. This week, Sam Patten, a lobbyist associate of former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. He also told prosecutors that he had arranged for the purchase of four tickets to Trump’s inauguration with $50,000 of a foreign oligarch’s money. Foreigners are prohibited by law from giving money to inauguration organizations.
The New York Times surmises that the oligarch who supplied the money was Serhiy Lyovochkin, a member of the Ukrainian parliament. The purchaser of the ticket was Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian political operative believed to have ties to a Russian intelligence agency. Kilimnik worked with Manafort and was previously indicted in the Mueller probe, the New York Times reported.
This is the first time foreign money has been discovered flowing into a Trump political operation. Did the president know about it? Was the money used to compromise him?
We’ll just have to wait to find out.
More pages out tonight. But there are still big questions.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said late Monday that the Senate had been given an additional 42,000 pages of documents about Brett Kavanaugh, the night before confirmation hearings are due to start. The White House said Friday that it would not be releasing 100,000 Kavanaugh’s records from the Bush White House on the basis of presidential privilege.
The late Monday release “underscores just how absurd this process is. Not a single senator will be able to review these records before tomorrow,” Schumer tweeted.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is set to start Tuesday. He is expected to be questioned on topics that include abortion, guns, healthcare and even President Trump, CBS News chief Washington correspondent Paula Reid reports.
Kavanaugh has an “extensive” paper trail after decades of life in public service, including his work investigating former President Bill Clinton and his time in the second Bush, Reid said.
So many parallels to Watergate. Infuriated and off-the-rails President, threats to press and his staff…explosive allegations. And the start of many indictments…with one last big suspect to get. Feels ominous, and too close for comfort.
The Professor Papadopoulos was speaking with about getting “dirt” on Hilary Clinton has ghosted and may have died. WTF?
On the day Donald Trump’s former foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to two weeks in jail for lying to investigators about his contacts with a U.K. professor peddling dirt from Russian officials about Hillary Clinton, lawyers in an unrelated case raised the prospect the professor, Joseph Mifsud, may be dead.
The Malta Independent writes,
The court was told that Mifsud disappeared after giving an interview to Italian newspaper La Repubblica published on 1 November, 2017.
Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers
The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.
Establishing a clandestine channel with coup plotters in Venezuela was a big gamble for Washington, given its long history of covert intervention across Latin America. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile, and for turning a blind eye to the abuses military regimes committed during the Cold War.
The White House, which declined to answer detailed questions about the talks, said in a statement that it was important to engage in “dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy” in order to “bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro.”
But one of the Venezuelan military commanders involved in the secret talks was hardly an ideal figure to help restore democracy: He is on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela.
This is not a good idea.