Repub Horrorshow Open Thread: A Clown Car Full of Pennywises

The entire Republican party has devolved into an authoritarian cult where aging white men vow to destroy the world to protect the purity of their essence. And now everybody within earshot of the national news knows it!

Mr. Charles P. Pierce, “I am living in the middle of a pornographic Allen Drury novel—Advise And Lack Of Consent:

Anybody who tells you that they know what happens next is lying. So far, El Caudillo Del Mar-A-Lago is making brave noises. Senator Dianne Feinstein wants all hearings into the nomination postponed until an FBI investigation into this mess is concluded but, at the moment, there’s no stomach for what an FBI investigation might reveal. Senator Mitch McConnell, who warned the White House that Kavanaugh would be a tough sell, knew about the Ramirez allegations a week ago, so it is fair to assume that, whatever else may be out there, he already knows it, and yet he told the Values Voters Summit last week that he was going to “plow on through” with the nomination, which is a very unfortunate metaphor in this context. In addition, McConnell’s response to the news that the latest allegations were going to come up was to try and put the nomination into hyperdrive. However, McConnell is also pragmatist enough to know when to cut bait. If the Republicans decide to pull this nomination, it has to happen early in the week. Waiting until Wednesday—or, worse, until Thursday, when Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee—is completely untenable…

Fox News reporter:


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Open Thread: Really Big & Infinitely Stupid!

In public, Trump continues to voice support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee, telling reporters at the United Nations earlier this morning that he stands with Kavanaugh “all the way.” But in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating political situation beyond his control. On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh’s nomination.

According to the source, Trump allies are imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose for the sake of saving Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms. The argument these advisers are making is that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, demoralized Republicans will stay home in November, and Democrats will take the House and the Senate and initiate impeachment proceedings. The end result: Trump will be removed from office. “The stakes are that high,” the source said. Another Republican adviser told me: “Trump is very worried now, and is finally waking up that it’s the end of his presidency if he loses the Senate.” Trump’s outside allies are advising him to nominate Amy Coney Barrett and fast-track her confirmation before the midterms. “Some in the White House think you can only appoint a woman now,” a former administration official told me. An outside adviser added: “Democrats won’t be able to pivot fast enough to attack her, since she’s a woman.”…

As Kavanaugh’s poll numbers plummet, Trump is telling people in private that he was never a fan of Kavanaugh’s selection, sources said. According to two people who’ve spoken with Trump recently, Trump complained that establishment Republicans foisted Kavanaugh on him, because they reasoned Kavanaugh would unite the party in November. According to one former West Wing official, Trump’s first choice was Judge Thomas Hardiman, who served on the federal bench alongside Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry.

Trump is keeping his distance from the nominee. A White House official said he hasn’t spoken with Kavanaugh in recent days. “This is Brett Kavanaugh’s fight,” the White House official said.

He likes SCOTUS nominees who don’t get captured, okay?


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Manafort pleading

As Josh Marshall notes, a plea right now is a favor to Trump as it keeps the FARA for the Pro-Russian plutocrats out of the October news cycle.

Open thread.



Open Thread: Trump Firmly Cements His “Worst President Ever” Status

You better believe, I blame the entire Republican party. And so will Sekhmet, Goddess of Consequences.


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Predictable End of Summer Open Thread: The Wheels Are Coming Off Trump’s Wagon

If you are an elderly political cynic like me, you’ll remember the post-Watergate rumor that Bob Woodward was (still) an agent of the national intelligence community, assigned to remove an increasingly unhinged Nixon from the media spotlight before further investigation could expose just how badly compromised the “permanent, sane” Republican Party was. A rumor by which Carl Bernstein was labelled as a journalistic newbie who got played as a catspaw by more sophisticated outside agencies. Let’s just say that none of the news this week has debunked that old rumor…
 

From the Washington Post, “Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm”:

Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.

The president and some of his advisers have discussed possibly adding veteran defense attorney Abbe Lowell, who currently represents Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, to Trump’s personal legal team if an impeachment battle or other fights with Congress emerge after the midterm elections, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Trump advisers also are discussing recruiting experienced legal firepower to the Office of White House Counsel, which is facing departures and has dwindled in size at a critical juncture. The office has about 25 lawyers now, down from roughly 35 earlier in the presidency, according to a White House official with direct knowledge.

Trump announced Wednesday that Donald McGahn will depart as White House counsel this fall, once the Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Three of McGahn’s deputies — Greg Katsas, Uttam Dhillon and Makan Delrahim — have departed, and a fourth, Stefan Passantino, will have his last day Friday. That leaves John Eisenberg, who handles national security, as the lone deputy counsel…

Still, Trump has not directed his lawyers or his political aides to prepare an action plan, leaving allies to fret that the president does not appreciate the magnitude of what could be in store next year…

If Democrats control the House, the oversight committees likely would use their subpoena power as a weapon to assail the administration, investigating with a vengeance. The committees could hold hearings about policies such as the travel ban affecting majority-Muslim countries and “zero tolerance” family separation, as well as on possible ethical misconduct throughout the administration or the Trump family’s private businesses.

White House officials defended Trump’s lack of preparation by saying he is focused squarely on helping Republicans preserve their majorities in the Nov. 6 midterm elections rather than, in the words of one senior official, “panicking about something that could happen.”

Any Democratic salvos would not happen until new members take office in January, which Trump advisers said seems like eons away in an administration juggling so many immediate problems. As a result, preparing for possible impeachment proceedings is not at the top of Trump’s to-do list…
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning?



Late Night Criminal Stupidity Open Thread: #Helstinki Summ-It-Up

Since Trump likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, I guess this misbegotten meeting would be his version of “The world will little note, nor long remember… “

Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and chief of staff John Kelly stood united in the West Wing on Tuesday in their contention that the commander in chief had some cleanup to do. They brought with them words of alarm from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as from a host of congressional leaders and supporters of the president for whom Trump’s public praise of Putin proved to be a bridge too far.

Even for Trump, a leader who has increasingly come to cast off the constraints and guidance of aides, the him-against-the-world position proved untenable. Trump may like doing things his way, eschewing advice and precedent like no president before, but he never likes being alone.

The reviews he received were muted — Trump rarely takes kindly to direct confrontation — but it was a taste of what awaited him on his return in Washington, where stalwart allies like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were speaking out.

By the time he arrived home, the parade of critical statements had become a stampede, leaving Trump the most isolated he’d been in the White House since last year’s controversy over white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville. Some in the president’s circle saw parallels in the response to that incident, when the president walked back his August comments critical of “both sides” for protests in the Virginia city, only to later revert to his initial position — that both white supremacists and their detractors shared blame for the violence.
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