30 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-18-18

  1. And Mueller fell for it. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to undermine Trump by grandstanding more Russian indictments. Putin says put up or shut up.

    And if Mueller wants to question the Russians, he’ll have to allow the same of our intelligence workers suspected of doing similar operations to the Russians. His plan backfired. His attempts to undermine the Trump summit have put US intelligence workers at risk.

    http://time.com/5340695/putin-trump-press-conference-robert-mueller-russia/

    “Reporters in Moscow usually hear the same brush-off a few times a week: Send us your request in writing, and we’ll deal with it as we see fit. But when President Vladimir Putin urged Special Counsel Robert Mueller to “send a formal and official request to us” about the indictment he brought on Friday, it was not the lazy reflex of a Russian bureaucrat who doesn’t want to answer questions. It was a calculated attempt to pull the Mueller investigation onto a playing field that Putin can control.

    Here’s roughly how the Russian leader would like things to unfold: Now that the Special Counsel has indicted a group of 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the U.S. elections, Putin wants to see the evidence, ideally translated into Russian and sent to the authorities in Moscow, all in accordance with an obscure law-enforcement treaty that the U.S. and Russia signed nearly two decades ago.

    Russian investigators would then take the evidence, question the accused and send Mueller back a report, which he can go and stick right up his file cabinet. This, at least, is the roadmap Putin laid out during his press conference on Monday with President Donald Trump, who referred to it as an “incredible offer.”

    Incredible or not, it was calibrated not only to taunt the Special Counsel –“What’s his name again,” Putin asked at one point, as though this fact was not entirely worthy of his attention, “Mister Myuler? Miller?” – but also to leave U.S. investigators with no good options.

    If Mueller and his team take the obvious step and ignore this invitation to question the suspects, they allow both Trump and Putin to accuse him of failing to consider all the evidence, thus giving a shot in the arm to Trump’s incessant claims that the investigation is a “hoax.” Yet if he agrees to pursue the opportunity that Putin has dangled in front of him, Mueller would give the Russians a chance to stall the investigation, discredit the evidence and otherwise shape the narrative around the case. So far, the special counsel has declined to respond to the offer.

    The second trap door in Putin’s remarks was a bit more complex. The U.S. investigators would be welcome to interrogate the accused themselves in Moscow if they chose to do so, Putin said, but with some preconditions. First, they would have to do it in collaboration with their Russian counterparts. And second, the U.S. would have to agree to a quid pro quo: You question our spies, we question the American ones whom, as Putin put it, “we suspect of breaking the law on the territory of the Russian Federation.””
    ———————-

    “And finally, with the tone of a car dealer dismayed at his own generosity for offering you those leather seats for free, Putin came to the last point in his response to the Mueller probe. If Russia agrees to grant the Special Counsel access to the suspects, then Russia will demand the right to question those Americans “whom we consider agents of the special services.”

    The suggestion was, as Trump put it, incredible — though mostly for its cynicism. It would create acres of space for Russia to utilize its favored tactic of whataboutism, by which the accused deflects accusations by accusing the accuser of a crime. Putin even named two individuals whom Russia may want to question in this regard. One was the British-American investor William Browder. The other was the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.”

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  2. Criticism of Trump’s missteps and more on Mueller’s…….

    https://www.salon.com/2018/07/17/exclusive-former-adviser-sam-nunberg-says-trump-fell-right-into-muellers-trap-in-helsinki/

    “Sam Nunberg, a lawyer and public affairs consultant who advised Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, says that while the president needs to correct the bad impression created by his Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the real villain in this story is Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

    In terms of the worldwide PR disaster created by Trump’s press conference with Putin, during that event, Nunberg encouraged Trump to follow the example of another world leader, French President Emmanuel Macron.

    “It is in the president’s best political interest to confront Putin, à la what Macron did,” Nunberg told Salon. “The only thing the president can do now is issue a statement apologizing or clarifying his remarks and explaining the predicament he’s in.””
    ————————

    “Nunberg suggests that the special counsel successfully manipulated Trump into a major diplomatic faux pas. “Mueller highly inappropriately, if not illegally, released an indictment to influence foreign policy only three days before” the summit with Putin, Nunberg told Salon. “That said, the issue isn’t with the president coming to an agreement with Putin on cooperation with the investigation and indictment. Mueller should not be able to simply indict Russians, have them not show up in court and then say they’ve been found guilty.”

    Nunberg also defended Trump’s distrust toward the leadership of America’s intelligence community. “Frankly, why should the president trust — not the rank and file of our intelligence and FBI — but the highest echelons?” he asked. “Because no matter what this investigation — whatever the findings are, [they] are still part of the [James] Comey poisonous tree.” Nunberg says he believes leaders in law enforcement and intelligence agencies “were clearly out to get this guy out of office from the very beginning. You don’t write those memos, you don’t leak them to the press.”
    ————————-

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  3. And in other news……

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/17/powell-backs-more-rate-hikes-as-economy-growing-considerably-stronger.html

    “The U.S. economy is running at a fast enough pace to justify continued interest rate increases, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday.

    Powell is delivering his semiannual testimony to Congress this week, starting with an appearance Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

    In remarks he provided ahead of a question-and-answer session, Powell painted a largely positive picture of the economy, which he said is expanding at an increasing pace and is being boosted by aggressive fiscal policy on Capitol Hill.

    “Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate,” Powell said.

    “The unemployment rate is low and expected to fall further. Americans who want jobs have a good chance of finding them,” he added.”

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  4. Elections have consequences…..

    http://www.wsaz.com/content/news/4-blue-states-sue-Washington-over-GOP-tax-overhaul-488396511.html

    “New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland sued the federal government over the Republican-led tax overhaul Tuesday, alleging the new law championed by President Donald Trump unfairly singles out high-tax blue states.

    The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, was dismissed as a long-shot political stunt by supporters of the new tax code, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it is a practical act of self-defense against an adversarial federal government. The challenge alleges that lawmakers crafted the new tax code to target left-leaning states and interferes with their constitutionally granted taxing authority.

    “This is their political attempt to hurt Democratic states,” said Cuomo, a Democrat who is considered a possible White House contender in 2020. “It’s totally repugnant.”

    The tax law passed by Congressional Republicans and signed into law last year by Trump caps a deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000. The deduction was especially popular in high-tax, Democratic states, where many homeowners will see big increases in their federal tax bill. New York estimates that taxpayers will pay $14 billion more in 2018.”

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  5. Oh my…..

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/intel-chair-fbi-doj-obstructing-trump-probe-hope-dem-takeover-congress/

    “The chair of the House Intelligence Committee accused the FBI and Department of Justice of stonewalling a sprawling investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia with the hope of running out the clock until the November elections, when they anticipate Democrats will regain control of the House and dissolve an ongoing probe that has uncovered evidence U.S. officials sought to cripple Trump’s campaign.

    Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), in a wide-ranging audio interview with his House colleague Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.), accused top officials at the FBI and DOJ of “putting all their chips on the Republicans losing the House” so that their Democratic allies can “shut down” the longstanding Intelligence Committee probe, which has unearthed information disputing claims of collusion in recent months.

    Rep. Duffy interviewed Rep. Nunes for an upcoming episode of Duffy’s podcast, “Plaidcast.”

    Nunes also lashed out at the U.S. media, accusing “90 percent” of reporters covering the Russia probe of being “essentially an arm of the Democratic party,” according to an advance copy of the interview shared with the Washington Free Beacon.

    Nunes has been running the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to cement the 2016 election. The committee has unearthed a body of evidence indicating senior officials at the FBI and DOJ worked to take down Trump on behalf of Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

    “One-hundred percent, they [the FBI and DOJ] are putting all their chips on the Republicans losing the House and all these investigations will shut down,” Nunes told Duffy.

    Nunes went on to blast the media for its lack of coverage about Republican findings indicating that senior U.S. officials loyal to the Democratic Party actively worked to open intelligence investigations into the Trump campaign based on a faulty and salacious anti-Trump dossier.

    “The media has been horrible on this whole situation,” Nunes said.” What we’ve seen since the election of President Trump has been what’s been going on for a long time, but now you see what I call the 90-10 split.”

    “You have 90 percent of the media who are essentially an arm of the Democratic Party,” he said. “Then you’ve got five percent of the media that I believe, for lack of a better term, are right or center right. They don’t necessarily follow the establishment of the Republican National Committee or something like that, but they definitely are conservative.”

    “Then you only have five percent of the journalists that are out there that I would say are legitimate,” Nunes said. “That’s a problem in this country when you don’t have a free and fair media.””
    —————————-

    You can hear the whole thing here.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/07/devin-nunes-unplugged.php

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  6. HRW, As you said the Trumpkins have crossed the Rubicon. Nothing Trump does will turn them around. I have been admonished not to mock, so I guess we just sit back and enjoy the show.

    My niece and her family are enjoying your country. They are on the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia.

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  7. Kizzie, I need a rules clarification. Does simply posting a Trump Tweet count as mocking?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Aj, did I detect a note of glee in your first post over Putin’s action. Its difficult to discern emotion and thought in text as the Republicans have discovered when they hear conflicting testimony on what a series of texts mean.

    As for Putin’s actions; they were domestic consumption. The Russia press is treating the summit as a victory and playing Trump’s response on an endless loop. As Putin’s popularity is actually sagging (he raised the retirement age to 60), this summit helped boost his ratings. Although i wonder if his “trap” was a favor to Trump and a way to sabotage the investigation. In any case most of his offer is beyond the authority of Mueller.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The economy is doing well…..it has been since 2010.

    Nunes has no credibility.

    The tax bill is unfair in thay it discriminates against areas with a high cost of living. And it was done delibetately as some Repiblican lawmakers. Essentially they want Democratic areas to pay for tax cuts and for govt itself while their district benefit. Givers and Takers

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  10. The Alaskan Highway is still a rough road, hard on a car esp tires. But I’m sure thr scenery makes up for it.

    I’ve become convinced Trump’s tweets are the real Trump. He’s a keyboard warrior but when faced with other leaders he relents in real life. He only criticizes leaders via Twitter. In real life he’s incredibly pliable and usually accepts the advice of the last person to speak to him, whether it be Pence, Putin or May. He wants to be liked and will say what it takes, hence its not a lie or contradiction just a plea for approval. If he was booed the first time he ranted about immigrants he would have a different stance. Twitter then is who is and that is not a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Narcissists don’t want to be liked, they just believe they are regardless of the evidence to the contrary. I have seen this up close, and it is amazing to watch. It does bring short term victories, but over the long haul it takes a toll. This is why we definitely wouldn’t want another Trump-like ego in the WH for more than a couple of terms. It is possible that 2 terms could be 1 too many. We’ll just have to hope for the best in 2024, because I won’t be at all surprised if Trump doesn’t own 2020..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Somebody has no credibility, but it’s not Nunes. 🙂

    Facts are facts. That doesn’t change because it’s Putin pointing them out.
    ————————

    In 2010 the unemployment rate was 9.6%

    Today it’s around 4.0.

    GDP and consumer confidence also both up under trump.
    —————————

    The only reason the cost of living is up is because other than federal taxes are sky-high in liberal Democrat run areas like the states above and the others complaining. Don’t like it? Stop voting for high tax Dems. Easy peasy.

    Keep spinning, but you won’t get anywhere.

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  13. Putin wasnt stating facts he was as you said setting a trap

    Apparently wages are down 1.4%. So work three part time jobs with no benefits and you’re still broke.

    In 2010 the economy began to improve and unemployment began to decline a year later and has been pn a steady decline ever since.

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  14. It’s called discovery HRW. Prosecutors must share what they have with the accused.

    And when they do, Putin will turn the tables on us, because we do what he did too.

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  15. Rand Paul slams that fraud that is John Brennan.

    https://news.grabien.com/story-rand-paul-slams-john-brennan-most-biased-bigoted-director-ci

    ” “John Brennan started out his adulthood by voting for the Communist Party presidential candidate. He is now ending his career by showing himself to be the most biased, bigoted, over-the-top, hyperbolic, unhinged director of the C.I.A. we’ve ever had. It really is an insult to everything about our government, to have a former head of the C.I.A. calling the President treasonous just because he doesn’t like him. You know, I filibustered Brennan. I tried to keep Brennan from ever being the leader of the C.I.A. But realize that Brennan and Clapper are known for wanting to expand the authority of the intelligence agencies to grab up everyone’s information, including Americans’, and so I don’t have a lot of respect for these people. Even before they decided to go on hating the President, I disliked these people because they wanted to grab up so much power and use it against the American people.””

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  16. Meanwhile his pal Comey has come out of the closet.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Buyers remorse.

    And make no mistake, he bought the Democrat party.

    But he’s not Russian, so…… 🙄

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/33217/soros-calls-obama-his-greatest-disappointment-says-joseph-curl

    “In the 2016 presidential election, New York billionaire George Soros dropped $25 million to back Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.

    That didn’t work out so well.

    Soros, one of the biggest Dem donors in the last two decades, also backed Barack Obama in 2008.

    Now, he’s not so happy with that decision.

    Soros, 87, said in a New York Times article published Tuesday that Obama was his “greatest disappointment.””

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  18. Yeah……

    https://hotair.com/archives/2018/07/18/atlantic-columnist-trump-critics-time-get-grip/

    “When Donald Trump lays his head on his pillow every night, he should thank the Lord for two blessings. The first is the privilege of leading a great nation, and the second is the quality of his political opponents here at home. Despite stepping on his own toes and committing a serious mistake in Helsinki, Trump’s critics have responded with such hysteria that even other Trump critics are balking. The Atlantic’s Danielle Pletka calls Trump’s performance in the summit “dreadful,” but thinks the reaction to it is as bad:

    But the reaction on Twitter from the foreign-policy establishment was almost as untethered as Trump himself. John Brennan, who served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama, tweeted:

    Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you??? …
    There’s plenty to say about Trump’s Helsinki performance, none of it good. The man was made a cat’s paw by Putin, and that’s the least of it. Working together in Syria? Moral equivalence between Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Putin? It was dreadful, even disgraceful—but it wasn’t treason. And the immediate reaction from many establishment figures was too much.

    Pletka makes an argument that I discussed on today’s Hugh Hewitt show, which is that this kind of irrational and hyperbolic reaction undermines the credibility of those making it. It also does more damage than just to people like Brennan, whose hysterical accusations of treason come after the indisputable fact that the Russian intrusions happened on Brennan’s watch, not Trump’s. It also does damage to the ability of Trump’s political allies to offer rational criticisms that might tend to corral Trump.”
    ————————

    “Hysterical accusations of “treason” are corrosive to the national polity for that reason. There’s ample room for criticizing Trump without everything being the End Of America As We Know It, and that Chicken Little-ism gets so ridiculous that it’s tempting to dismiss all criticism as products of “unhinged” minds.

    Kurt Schlichter came to the same conclusion on Monday, only of course he puts it far more, er, colorfully:

    How did Trump luck out by getting such hopeless geebos for opponents? It can’t just be chance. At every turn, these dummies choose to lock themselves into the most implausible and indefensible positions imaginable, then push all their chips into the center of the table. It’s almost supernatural – maybe Trump won the intervention of some ancient demon by heading over to the offices of the Weekly Standard and snatching away one of its Never Trump scribblers to use as a virgin sacrifice. …

    The Democrats have also decided that they want to go into November on the platform of abolishing ICE and opening the borders to future Democrat voters from festering Third World hellholes. Perhaps they didn’t read the polls, but Normal Americans – the ones not appearing on CNN, working for Soros-funded agitator collectives, or in college squandering their dads’ money on degrees in Oppression Studies – actually like borders. If Trump’s brain trust gathered together in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate to concoct a scheme to get the Democrat Party to adopt the most tone-deaf possible platform, they could not have drafted one better than what the Democrats have created for themselves. The Dems ought to be required to report everything they have done lately to the Federal Elections Commission as an in-kind donation to the Republicans in 2018. …

    One of the secrets of Trump’s success is having really, really stupid enemies, enemies who are so tone-deaf and out-of-touch that they simply cannot adopt commonsense positions that resonate among normal Americans.”
    ———————-

    Trump is the anti-Christ memes will hit Twitter in 3….. 2….. 1……..

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  19. The media just doesn’t understand how important it is to us that the Russians are meddling in our elections.

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  20. The White House is having a rough week. It is probably time for a new Chief of Staff. Kelly made a big difference when he came on board, but I think he has burned out and he and Trump are very tired of each other.

    Any new CoS needs to have Trump’s respect and a lot of wisdom and experience and very thick skin. Anyone who would seek the job is not the person he needs.

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  21. Comey, Brennan and Clapper are all completely outraged by Trump’s attacks on law enforcement and the intelligence community and by his support of Putin.

    However, all three completely fail to understand that every time they publicly attack Trump they are helping Trump.

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  22. Comey could do it if he weren’t such a junior high wanna be cool kid. He’s incapable of gravitas. He’s a doof. Might be too late for him to have any cred. Brennan has no cred; he should just quietly fade away. Not sure about Clapper.

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  23. This is interesting. In his latest account, Trump said he laid down the law to Putin when no one was looking.

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  24. Tom Nichols understands Trump and has nothing but contempt for Tucker Carlson.

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