Open Thread: Criminally Stupid, Too

President Trump’s legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel looking into Russian election interference, an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers and that could shape the course of the investigation…

The debate in Mr. Trump’s West Wing has pitted Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, against Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to manage the response to the investigation. Mr. Cobb has argued for turning over as many of the emails and documents requested by the special counsel as possible in hopes of quickly ending the investigation — or at least its focus on Mr. Trump…

The friction escalated in recent days after Mr. Cobb was overheard by a reporter for The New York Times discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation at a popular Washington steakhouse. Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out,” meaning Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been a previous source of dispute for the legal team.

After The Times contacted the White House about the situation, Mr. McGahn privately erupted at Mr. Cobb, according to people informed about the confrontation who asked not to be named describing internal matters. John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, sharply reprimanded Mr. Cobb for his indiscretion, the people said…

Mr. Trump’s legal team has been a caldron of rivalry and intrigue since the beginning. His first private lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, grew alienated from the White House in part over friction with Mr. Kushner. The lawyer was unhappy that Mr. Kushner was talking with his father-in-law about the investigation without involving the legal team.

Mr. Kasowitz was eventually pushed to the side, and Mr. Trump elevated John Dowd, a Washington lawyer with extensive experience in high-profile political cases, to take the lead as his personal lawyer. At the same time, Mr. Trump decided he needed someone inside the White House to manage the official response since Mr. McGahn, whose professional experience is mostly in election law, already handles a vast array of issues from executive orders to judicial appointments.

Mr. McGahn’s first choices turned down the job, in part out of concern that Mr. Trump would not follow legal advice…



Excellent Read: “Get Off Kamala Harris’s Back”

There’s been some much-deserved pushback to Ryan Cooper’s “only white men like me can be allowed to serve as True Progressives” manifesto — I particularly liked Wonkette‘s “Sure Guys, It Is Awesome That We Are Shitting On Kamala Harris” — but Brittney Cooper’s essay for Cosmopolitan definitely deserves wider distribution among us political types:

The future of the Democratic Party does not rest on the back of Kamala Harris, the junior senator from California. Furthermore, it is unfair for the Democratic Party to keep hanging its hope on black messianic figures, whom it hopes can bring new relevance to a struggling party. To be clear, there is a lot to like about Harris, the first black woman to hold a Senate position since Carol Moseley-Braun in the 1990s. Despite Ryan Cooper’s screed last week about “why leftists don’t trust Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Deval Patrick,” Harris’s policy positions on free college, single payer health care, an increased minimum wage, and criminal justice reform, are solidly to the left. Still. Black women are not Jesus. It’s not right to expect us to fix what white Americans are so committed to breaking. This debate, then, isn’t about Harris, but about the emotional and political labor that black women are expected to do to save America’s soul…

The biggest lie that members of the so-called “Sanders Left” told during the 2016 elections is that there was no appreciable difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. After six months of having Donald J. Trump lead the country, it’s quite clear that the left should have listened to 94 percent of black women voters. We know a disaster when we see one.

Now, to add insult to injury, those on the left are conceding the political narrative of the right. What do I mean? Did Hillary Clinton lose the election with 3 million more popular votes, or did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians while the GOP engaged in massive voter suppression to steal the election? Yes, I get the electoral college system. However, 3 million more popular votes is a win, and not only is there mounting evidence of collusion, but voter suppression was a significant problem, too. As a black “xennial” voter, I was horrified watching the GOP roll back the protection of the Voting Rights Act in locales across the country. So while it is true that if less than 53 percent of white women had voted for Donald Trump, Clinton’s popular victory might have been more resounding, there is something deeply wrong with a Left that thinks the first problem in a stolen democratic election is not theft and voter suppression but a failure to run up the vote totals on the clearly winning side…

In 2016, we were offered two kinds of revolution, one in which the “Sanders Left” tore shit down and one in which the Trump Right tore shit up. Surely you can see why black women, the ones who have been called to take the scraps handed to us by the nation and painstakingly build communities, families, and institutions, would turn down the sledgehammer no matter which white hand was holding it. Revolutionary destruction is still destruction, and black folks are the casualties of these kinds of political visions. Kamala Harris has work to do. But bearing the cross of the Democratic Party and fighting off angry white Sanders voters isn’t her work. So get off her back, and let her soar. In case you missed the memo: Black women are reclaiming our time.



HR incentives and the Mooch

I’ll stomp on Betty for a moment:

Scharden should be freuded here.

Unless someone is in uniform and is receiving a direct order to serve at the White House, why would anyone work for Trump. The competent have mostly disqualified themselves by signing multiple never-Trump letters during the campaign. The hacks are being forced out by Bannon. And now the boot-lickers see that boot licking is not enough if they are manifestly incompetent.

This is not normal.



You’re still here

My reaction on health care right now.



Late Night Open Thread: Head-to-Head, Tip-to-Tip

Be afraid, Alaska! Be very afraid!

Julia Ioffe, ex-Russian emigre, reminds us:



The summary of the Senate AHCA

Here is the TLDR of the Senate AHCA draft.

There are a lot of details that matter (I even like Sec. 102-b-1-B-II) but that is the fundamental difference.

CPI-U comes into play for Medicaid funding in FY 2025.
Per Capita Caps are in play for Medicaid
Enrollment caps for block grants for Medicaid are in play.

Old people in Alaska will be paying 16% of their income in premiums before receiving subsidy assistance.

Taxes are being cut massively with no incentive effect intentions.

There are massive work disincentives embedded in multiple spots throughout the bill

Deductibles are going up

Silver and Gold plans will be hideously priced and hyper narrow networks to dodge sick people

Section 1332 waiver protections are gutted

Any federal dollar can not be in the same zip code as a dollar that is used for abortion

New York is getting hit hard on both the Buffalo Kickback and the Basic Health Plan as immigration status is tightly defined.



Open Thread: Shakespeare in the KULCHA! Wars

As reported in the Washington Post:

Two right-wing activists interrupted the Friday evening performance of a controversial production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in New York’s Central Park, causing a stir on social media — where numerous videos of the protest proliferated — and resulting in one woman’s arrest.

In the videos, a woman identified as Laura Loomer, an employee of the far-right website Rebel Media, can be seen storming the stage during the scene of the title character’s assassination, shouting “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”…

Within the commotion, a second pro-Trump protester, Jack Posobiec, can be seen standing and yelling in the audience, “You are all Goebbels!” and “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!”…

In a string of tweets, the Public Theater confirmed the interruption at its Friday show and said it had been “part of a paid strategy driven by social media.”…

Posobiec, a Washington-based Trump supporter who formerly also worked for Rebel Media, told The Washington Post on Saturday that, contrary to some media reports, he and Loomer did not coordinate their protests. Rather, he had attended the performance at the encouragement of alt-right personality Mike Cernovich, who posted a “challenge” on Periscope last week offering a $1,000 prize for anyone who could get tickets to the play and interrupt the show….

Cash Rules Everything Around Them — dolla-dolla, get tha monee…


(John Wilkes Booth)
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