Thursday Morning Open Thread: Bill Weld Is A Better Man Than All of These Pretenders Put Together

That would be Joe ‘You Lie‘ Walsh, Mark ‘Hiking the Appalachian Trail‘ Sanford, and John ‘My Only Loyalty Is To My Own Self-Interest’ Kasich. None of them are fit to hold Weld’s glass of amber-colored liquid:

The anti-Trump movement inside the Republican Party — long a political wasteland — is feeling new urgency to mount a credible opposition to Trump before it’s too late. With state deadlines for nominating contests rapidly approaching in the fall, potential candidates face pressure to decide on running within the next few weeks. So far, only former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld has declared that he is running, but he has struggled to gain traction.

Republicans considering bids, as well as those trying to draft other candidates, acknowledge that defeating Trump appears to be nearly impossible but argue that a recession or an unforeseen change in the political climate could weaken him enough to make a primary challenge more than a Never Trump fantasy…

Inside the White House, neither Trump nor his team consider Weld or the prospective candidates to be serious threats because there has been no evidence of a groundswell of grass-roots support behind them.

“There’s no discussion of any of them or any of that,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “None of them even has risen to the level of a nickname.”

The Republican National Committee is using aggressive measures to stave off any possible primary tussle. RNC members passed a resolution this year giving Trump the party’s “undivided support” and effectively merged with Trump’s campaign. “Republicans are firmly behind the president and any effort to challenge him in a primary is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement…

At the center of the fledgling movement is Bill Kristol, a longtime conservative commentator, who has become a power broker for anti-Trump Republicans — and a target of scorn for Trump and his followers.

Kristol said he respects Weld, along with others who might run, but said his “dream scenario” would be for Trump to weaken this fall and a more prominent Republican decide to get in. This would have echoes of 1968, when then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s reelection campaign was upended by Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s near upset in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, prompting Johnson to withdraw and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy to enter the race…

Spoiler alert: Bobby Kennedy was assassinated during his campaign, and McCarthy’s ‘Clean for Gene’ supporters (of whom my mom was one!) became the most maligned bunch of naifs & purity trolls until the emergence of a certain senator from Vermont.

None of these fakers are in it for anything but the publicity, and Bill ‘Always Wrong’ Kristol’s imprimatur only confirms that the best the Republican Party can hope for is a swift death before it can be further defaced by the parasites who’ve captured it.

Friday Morning Open Thread: Lining Up the Votes

My junior senator and my personal rep have joined the choir:

Clark actually took over Markey’s old job when he switched from the House to the Senate. You’d think calling for impeachment would be a relatively low-risk stance here in the People’s Republic Commonwealth, but both of them are big worriers about cybersecurity, and I’ve gotten the impression they’re suspicious Trump would further encourage Putin’s IRA to interfere with our elections down to the local levels if he feels threatened. If that’s their viewpoint, better to protect the state-level firewalls and drag out the discussions until closer to November 2020.

Counter-argument about Mueller’s ‘ineffective’ appearance from former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, for Politico“Actually, Robert Mueller Was Awesome”:

In the long view, the verdict of history depends most of all on Mueller being seen as nonpartisan, measured and above the fray—an operator whose work is unimpeachable and can be relied on (now, or after Trump’s term, or years from now) as a bulletproof statement of fact. So all the little details of the case that members were trying to ferret out pale in comparison to his ability to maintain that status and be seen as a reliable agent of impartiality. During the hearing, that was clearly his goal. In doing that, he succeeded, and history can thank him for it…

His monotonal yes and no answers might not have made for the most dramatic viewing, but they weren’t without effect. In five minutes, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff walked Mueller through the most damning details of Volume 1 of his report. Mueller’s answers were short—“that did occur,” “accurate,” “that is correct”—but what he affirmed was that Russia engaged in a systematic effort to help Trump win in 2016, that Trump and his campaign welcomed Russian aid, and that Trump lied to the American people about his business dealings in Russia.

When Mueller wanted to say more, he did. He described in detail the threat posed by the Russian attack on our electoral process, testifying that “they’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.” He warned that “many more countries are developing the capability to replicate what the Russians had done.” When Mueller had the rare opportunity to testify about matters that were not partisan—matters that should concern all Americans—he testified freely and strongly.

At times, Mueller faced harsh questioning from Republicans who lashed him and his team as biased or worse. His calm demeanor was another sign of his professionalism. It would have been easy for Mueller to fight back—he has in previous appearances, after all—but that would have pulled him into the fray. It was not weakness but rather quiet strength that caused Mueller to do nothing more than calmly reply, “I take your question,” in response to GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert’s hyperbolic charge that he “perpetuated injustice.”…

… Mueller got to say what he wanted to say, which is that there is “substantial” evidence to support counts of obstruction, without being forced to say that he concluded Trump obstructed justice. Despite hours of questioning by dozens of members of Congress, Mueller was never backed into a corner or forced to explain the most important legal decision he made.

Even if some think Mueller has lost a step since he last appeared before Congress six years ago, he still looked a step or two ahead of most of his questioners on Wednesday. Most importantly, he appeared above the fray, cautious, and fair in the face of bitter partisan rancor. That is what we should expect from prosecutors, and it is the legacy that Mueller leaves behind.

But it’s not really about Robert Mueller…

MuellerWars Open Thread: Good for Evan Hurst & Wonkette

This is a gem, and also completely true:

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. A lot of the Robert Mueller testimony was boring, especially in the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller seemed old (he turns 75 in two weeks) and, true to what he said he was going to do, he declined to answer a lot of questions, staying within “the four corners of his report” and letting it “speak for itself.” And with that, we have acknowledged and given the proper respect to every VALID right-wing criticism (and too-cool-for-school leftist criticism) that exists. It did not send the thrill up the leg, and in our American culture, which demands shiny things in order to keep its attention, it fell kinda flat…

Beltway journalists (some of them, at least) were also so booooooooored, like are we there yet?

Are you hearing all this stuff and giving in to an inclination to agree that yesterday was just terrible and the Democrats are terrible and Robert Mueller was the worst and now you’ll never get your pony?

Stop it.

As former DOJ official Chuck Rosenberg said on MSNBC not long after the Judiciary Committee hearing, “There’s a difference between exciting and important. There are things that are exciting that are not important, and there are things that are important that are not particularly exciting.” Yesterday’s hearings were important. And if you slogged through all of it — even the boring parts — some really crucial things came out, some of them for the first time.

We can start with Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s opening five minutes, which really covered most of the ground that the hearing on obstruction of justice needed to cover. In rapid fire questioning, Nadler had Mueller confirm that Donald Trump and his minions are lying every single time they say the investigation found NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION and TOTAL EXONERATION. Mueller also added a new phrase to the lexicon: “Does Not Exculpate.”

Nadler also had Mueller confirm that Donald Trump can absolutely be prosecuted for his crimes after he is dropkicked out of office, though it didn’t really resonate at that point, because we guess half of America hadn’t had its coffee yet. It was under questioning from GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, where Buck seemed just FLABBERGASTED at that notion, and asked Mueller to repeat himself. Did you really just say our shithole garbage king could be LOCK HER UP-PED after he has been de-throned?…
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Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Mueller’s Hearing — the Nut Graf(s)

The Washington Post has a complete transcript of the proceedings, including Adam Schiff’s opening statement:

Your report, for those who have taken the time to study it, is methodical and it is devastating, for it tells the story of a foreign adversary’s sweeping and systemic intervention in a close U.S. presidential election.

That should be enough to deserve the attention of every American, as you well point out. But your report tells another story as well. The story of the 2016 election is also a story about disloyalty to country, about greed, and about lies.

Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump himself, knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy and used it…

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The Waiting

Gonna watch this trailer again, maybe three or four times, and then go to bed. By the time I get up, it’ll all be over but the (endless) grousing…