Late Night Open Thread: V-Day on Political Twitter

Bouie’s tweet naturally attracted a bunch of angry MAGAts, but it’s worth clicking on Kruse’s follow-up for more:


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Open Thread: The Revenge of Andrew McCabe

We Harps are also notorious for our ability to hold a grudge! From the Washington Post‘s national security correspondent:

He didn’t read intelligence reports and mixed up classified material with what he had seen in newspaper clips. He seemed confused about the structure and purpose of organizations and became overwhelmed when meetings covered multiple subjects. He blamed immigrants for nearly every societal problem and uttered racist sentiments with shocking callousness.

This isn’t how President Trump is depicted in a new book by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. Instead, it’s McCabe’s account of what it was like to work for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?”

It’s a startling portrait that suggests that the Trump administration’s reputation for baseness and dysfunction has, if anything, been understated and too narrowly attributed to the president…

McCabe was known as a taciturn figure in the bureau, in contrast to the more garrulous Comey. His book reflects that penchant for brevity, with just 264 pages of text. Even so, he documents the president’s attempts to impair the Russia probe and incessant attacks on the institution, describing the stakes in sweeping, convincing language.

“Between the world of chaos and the world of order stands the rule of law,” McCabe writes. “Yet now the rule of law is under attack, including from the president himself.”

Inevitably, the book includes disturbing new detail about Trump’s subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin. During an Oval Office briefing in July 2017, Trump refused to believe U.S. intelligence reports that North Korea had test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile — a test that Kim Jong Un had called a Fourth of July “gift” to “the arrogant Americans.”

Trump dismissed the missile launch as a “hoax,” McCabe writes. “He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles. He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so.”…

McCabe notes that he would like to “say much more” about his firing and questions of his candor toward other bureau officials, but that he is restrained from doing so because he is pursuing a lawsuit.

There is one area, however, in which he is considerably more forthcoming than Comey. He acknowledges that the bureau made major miscalculations in its handling of the Clinton probe in 2016 and its decision to discuss it publicly.

“As a matter of policy, the FBI does everything possible not to influence elections,” he writes. “In 2016, it seems we did.”



The Coup Will Be Televised

This just in:

President Trump will support a sweeping budget and border compromise and declare a national emergency at the same time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.

McConnell has already signaled he’ll support Trump’s move.

Until its members prove otherwise, the Republican Party is all-in on government by executive fiat, better known as a dictatorship. We appear to be at gut-check time for American democracy.

I’m sure I and/or other FPers will be posting more as events advance. I can say for my part I’ve never feared more for our polity.

PS:  Alternate image:

Image: The Downfall of the Dictators is Assured British propaganda poster betw. 1939 and 1945.

Alternate image: Painting of the USS Dictator — a monitor at war with America’s home-grown traitors in 1864 and 1865



Open Thread: If It Weren’t for Hypocrisy, the GOP Would Have No Ethical Code At All

And let’s not pretend that the GOP hasn’t noticed the Rep. Ilhan is not only Muslim, but an actual refugee, and from Africa at that. Hating on her gives their Base a triple-hit of bigotry dopamine.

Further, good point from Paul Waldman, in the Washington Post, “The real reason for the controversy over Ilhan Omar’s tweets”:

We all know Trump is a bigot who is never constrained by shame from such displays of hypocrisy. Omar apologized for the tweets, as she should have, but what’s most important about this episode is the fury that came down on her head so quickly — from both Republicans and Democrats.

It should be noted that Omar wasn’t really accurate in describing support in Congress for current Israeli policy as being a result of money from AIPAC. First, AIPAC doesn’t directly give donations, though it has long used its ability to direct donations to help its friends and punish its enemies. But as Ed Kilgore noted for New York magazine, these days, it is the Christian right much more than Jews that is driving U.S. policy on Israel; I once described it with only slight hyperbole as a “world of post-Jewish Zionism, where Israel’s most vehement advocates are people who see it mostly as a tool to use in a holy war between Christianity and Islam.”…

But I think what made members of Congress come down on Omar so hard wasn’t just that she was criticizing the relationship between the United States and Israel, or even the unfortunate way she did it. It’s also that she was criticizing Congress itself, and how it treats Israel.

And the reaction proved the point. In Congress, there has been more discussion about Omar’s tweets over the last 48 hours than there has been genuine debate about the United States’ policy vis-a-vis Israel over the last 10 years.

There are things we might ask if we actually had such a debate, about whether the Israeli government should be punished for its aggressive settlement policy, whether it actually needs the billions of dollars in military aid we send them each year, or even what the United States gets out of this alliance in a post-Cold War world. There are a variety of answers one might offer to those questions, but they don’t get asked, at least not in Congress.
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Russiagate Open Thread: No Collusion, If You’re Careful to Ignore All Evidence of Collusion

I started a post about Burr’s original interview some days ago, under the header “Republican Partisan Chooses His Words *Very* Carefully”. That was the windup for this pitch:

… “If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said…

Here’s an extract from the CBS interview:

… “I’m not going to tell you that what we set out to do — which was to understand what happened in ’16 — is what’s extended the life of the investigation,” Burr said in a rare interview with CBS News. “I think it’s a better understanding of what happened and how coordinated and organized the effort was.” …

He made clear that the investigation is not compiling the story of one pivotal election, but of something larger, more complicated and, from a counterintelligence perspective, more nefarious. The final report may be so highly classified, he said, that a meaningful portion may not be made public at all…

Burr, a Charlottesville native, had been named a national security adviser to the Trump campaign in October — as it happened, less than an hour before the “Access Hollywood” tape became public, and soon after the Obama administration released its first statement on Russia’s election interference efforts…
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