Open Thread — Pelosi to Trump: No Grandstanding While the Secret Service Is Working Without Pay

Good for Speaker Pelosi:



Late Night Armchair Physicians Cynics Open Thread: Thin-Skinned


.
I’d bet a store-bought cookie the old man’s on blood thinners. Although it’s quite possible his aides / Jarvanka have told him they’re ‘vitamins’, or even Murphy forbid ‘virility supplements’.

And in the working-class milieu where I grew up, this kind of ‘horsing around with the kid’ injury would mean that Barron is now big enough to physically stop the old man from bashing his mother again. But then, we didn’t have Secret Service agents hanging around 24/7…



Good News in the Courts

This is nice:

The Trump administration cannot put a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census, a federal judge in New York ruled Friday in a boost to proponents of counting immigrants.

In a 277-page decision that won’t be the final word on the issue, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled that while such a question would be constitutional, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had moved to add it to the census arbitrarily and had not followed proper administrative procedures.

“He failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices,” Furman wrote.

Among other things, the judge said, Ross didn’t follow a law requiring that he give Congress three years notice of any plan to add a question about citizenship to the census.

Honestly, despite all the other mendacious reasons, shouldn’t the only thing that really matter be the fact that he ignored the law?








Well Isn’t That Interesting, Mr. Nunes

Bob Mueller getting all Oprah up in here:

The Special Counsel’s Office and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are scrutinizing a meeting involving former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, one-time National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and dozens of foreign officials, according to three sources familiar with the investigations.

The breakfast event, which was first reported by The Daily Sabah, a pro-government Turkish paper, took place at 8:30 a.m. at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2017—days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. About 60 people were invited, including diplomats from governments around the world, according to those same sources.

The breakfast has come under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan as part of their probe into whether the Trump inaugural committee misspent funds and if donors tried to buy influence in the White House. The existence of that probe was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The Special Counsel’s Office is also looking at the breakfast as part of its investigation into whether foreigners contributed money to the Trump inaugural fund and PAC by possibly using American intermediaries, as first reported by The New York Times. Robert Mueller’s team has asked Flynn about the event, according to two sources familiar with the Special Counsel’s Office questioning.

This might be something Rep. Adam Schiff, the new House Intelligence Committee chairman, should look into.








Clemson Tigers to be Treated Like Kings

Burger Kings, that is:

The Clemson Tigers, fresh from their Jan. 7 victory over Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game, arrived Monday for a White House visit with President Trump. The team was served a variety of fast-food items, for which the White House said Trump paid out of his own pocket.

“I think we are going to serve McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King with some pizza. I really mean it,” Trump had said earlier in the day. “It will be interesting. I would think that’s their favorite food. So we’ll see what happens.”

Like I said elsewhere, this is the tackiest most white trash shit I have ever seen in my entire life and I live in West Virginia and just read a story about a lady being kicked out of the Walmart parking lot for riding a scooter while drinking wine out of a Pringles can.








Sunday Evening Long Read: “‘In the White House waiting’”

Too long for Donny Dollhands to read, but presumably he’s gotten Ivanka or Jared to give him the highlowlights.

The president who pitched himself to voters as a world-class dealmaker has proven to be an unreliable negotiator. Grappling for the first time with a divided government, Trump has contradicted himself, sent miscues and spread falsehoods. He has zigzagged between proudly claiming ownership of the shutdown and blaming it on Democrats, and between nearly declaring a national emergency to construct the wall without congressional approval and backing off such a legally and politically perilous action…

The government could reopen if Trump agreed to sign legislation funding the government, versions of which already have passed both chambers of Congress, and table the polarizing debate over border security.

In the weeks leading up to December’s deadline to fund the government, Trump was warned repeatedly about the dangers of a shutdown but still opted to proceed, according to officials with knowledge of the conversations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the president that he had no leverage and that, without a clear strategy, he would be “boxed in a canyon.” He tried to make the case to Trump that even if Pelosi and Schumer were interested in cutting a deal with him, they would be constrained from compromising because of internal Democratic Party pressures to oppose Trump’s wall, these officials said.

Then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) talked with Trump by phone for 45 minutes the day before the shutdown, warning that he saw no way to win as he paced in a Capitol hallway just outside a conference room where House Republicans were meeting. Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned about the perils of a shutdown during the Christmas season.

Inside, some of the more hard-line members urged a showdown over border wall funding, arguing that Trump’s core supporters would revolt otherwise. But McCarthy asked, “Tell me what happens when we get into a shutdown? I want to know what our next move is.”…

Trump’s advisers are scrambling to build an exit ramp while also bracing for the shutdown to last weeks longer. Current and former aides said there is little strategy in the White House; people are frustrated and, in the words of one, “freaking out.”

The shutdown was born out of frustration. Angry that he was stymied by party leaders and his own aides from getting more money for the wall in 2018, rattled by conservative criticism and stung by his party’s midterm defeats, Trump decided in late December to plunge into a border fight after being encouraged by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both hard-line conservatives. It was a startling decision to McConnell and others, who thought they had White House assurances that a shutdown would be avoided.

“He has no choice here,” said Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter who was House speaker in the Clinton administration and during the second-longest shutdown, an episode widely viewed as a disaster for Republicans. “He has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.”…

As another Post article helpfully reminds us, the last time Gingrich promoted a shutdown, it didn’t work out so well for him — or his GOP co-conspirators!

Which makes it all the more interesting that it sounds like McConnell just might be looking for an exit ramp now. McConnell’s only loyalty is to himself and his leadership position, so if he’s playing the ‘I tried, but whatcha gonna do?’ card, he’s decided Trump is more of a liability than a benefit.



EVERYTHING IS FINE THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL

Sweet fancy moses:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

The this, from a real meeting of the minds:

“I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Pirro asked.

Trump did not exactly deny it although he was very clear he found the Times report insulting.

In response to Pirro, Trump said this: “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called ‘The failing New York Times’ for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.”

I dunno for sure if he is an agent, but were I asked the question, my answer would be “No, I am not.”

I’ve hedged my bets the last couple of years, suspecting there was Russian influence, but now I am starting to be convinced there is a real there, there. The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go. We know Trump’s orbit, the NRA, and a number of GOP Senators and House members are bought and paid for.