Opinion How to Tell If Trump Is Winning
University of Florida student president faces impeachment after bringing Donald Trump Jr. to campus for $50,000
Some members of the student government want to impeach their president over his role in bringing Donald Trump Jr. to campus.The Washington Post reports that Michael Murphy “was served with the impeachment resolution and accused of malfeasance and abuse of power” on Tuesday.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
As the impeachment inquiry gains steam, President Donald Trump and his defenders are running their old playbook. It’s not a good playbook. It wasn’t all that convincing the first time around. But it worked once—and the modern Republican Party doesn’t have a lot of imagination for new arguments. And what the heck—if something was good enough for the Russia investigation, why wouldn’t it be good enough for, as House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes so rudely put it, “the low-rent Ukrainian sequel”?
Sessions vows to 'work for' Trump endorsement
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to work for President Trump's endorsement in the 2020 Alabama Republican Senate primary. In an appearance on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle," Sessions, who last week launched a campaign for his former Senate seat, said he knows that Trump doesn't always get involved in primaries, but he would actively seek the president's support."Certainly, I'm going to work for that and will be seeking it," he said.
The Trump defensive playbook has a few distinctive plays. There’s the allegation of a deep-state conspiracy. The demonization of an individual career official. The assertion that the relevant investigation was conceived in sin and is hopelessly tainted by it. The focus on throwing handfuls of spaghetti at the wall, rather than stitching together a coherent alternative narrative. And the radical refusal to see forests for their constituent trees.
The first play is that most familiar of presidential obsessions: the claim that an unelected deep state has been hell-bent on undermining first Trump’s 2016 campaign and then his presidency. Career government officials, in this story, have turned their immense power and tradecraft against the president, who is battling valiantly against the attempted coup from within his own government. The Russia-investigation version of this narrative had the deep state working with Barack Obama’s administration to engineer the appearance of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s collusion with it—and spying on the Trump campaign in the process. These days, if you listen to the president, the deep state is responsible forand the regarding Trump’s conduct on Ukraine that kick-started the impeachment inquiry.
Trump files to dismiss lawsuit from Bolton aide on impeachment testimony
President Trump on Thursday moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an aide to former national security adviser John Bolton seeking a ruling on whether he must comply with a congressional subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry.The filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., cited Trump's official capacity as president. In it, he sought to have a judge dismiss White House official Dr. Charles Kupperman lawsuit seeking guidance on whether he should comply with the subpoena or the president's directive not to comply.An attorney for Trump argued that the president's direction should overrule any prospective court ruling.
The whistle-blower, who retains his hard-fought anonymity, is the perfect representative of the deep state: nameless, shadowy, and working for the most spooky and least public of federal agencies, the CIA. In an accusation that recalls histhat Obama had his “wires tapped,” Trump has called the whistle-blower “ ,” and Sean Hannity has that the unnamed CIA analyst committed a crime by “surveilling the president.”
This leads to the second defense. Every conspiracy, after all, needs a villain. In the Russia case, the president and his allies seized on the public release of text messages between the FBI agent Peter Strzok and the FBI lawyer Lisa Page that expressed negative views of Trump, arguing that Strzok’s key role in beginning the Russia investigation meant that the entire probe was nothing more than an outgrowth of the agent’s personal distaste for candidate and then President Trump. The president’s focus on the person of the whistle-blower is best understood as an effort to create a new Strzok—to put a face on the deep state, so to speak, and create a particular villain at whom his supporters can direct their ire.
Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight
The White House announced on Sunday that President Trump will award actor Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts later this week.Voight, one of Trump's most vocal Hollywood supporters, will be honored at a White House ceremony on Thursday for his "exceptional capacity as an actor to portray deeply complex characters," the White House said in a statement."Captivating audiences, he has given us insights into the richness of the human mind and heart," the statement said.Voight, who won the Academy Award for best actor in 1978 for his role in "Coming Home," has called Trump the "greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.
“Strzok started the illegal Rigged Witch Hunt,” Trumplast year, in a representative complaint. “Why isn’t this so-called ‘probe’ ended immediately?” Thus does the figure of the single villainous official play into the third defensive tactic: the insistence that any one tainted aspect of the investigation necessarily taints all others. The insistence on Strzok’s bias and that the FBI was “spying” on the Trump campaign leads to the insistence that the entire investigation is defective—even if no evidence has been produced that the agent’s view of Trump affected the FBI’s work. Likewise, the use of the controversial Steele dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant against the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page means that the whole warrant is tainted—no matter that the dossier was one piece of evidence among many and that independent judges signed off on the warrant four times.
This reasoning was always strained, but it’s particularly absurd as applied to the Ukraine matter. The attempt to make a demon out of the whistle-blower is a complete non sequitur. While Strzok really did play a major role in the Russia investigation, the whistle-blower was reporting on preexisting concerns communicated to him by other officials, and the witnesses called before Congress have corroborated his report at every turn. The whistle-blower was a tipster, not an investigator. It’s a bit strange to complain about the fruit of the poison tree when the supposed poison was tilled into the soil well after the tree bore fruit.
Trump says he will release 'financial statement' before 2020 election: tweet
The president asserted it was his call on providing the information. © Reuters/TOM BRENNER U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on honesty and transparency in healthcare prices at the White House. "I’m clean, and when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to election, it will only show one thing — that I am much richer than people even thought — And that is a good thing," Trump said, providing no details on his claims of wealth.
Perhaps for this reason, while Trump has insisted on focusing on the whistle-blower, congressional Republicans have also used procedural complaints about the impeachment inquiry to make their case of original sin. Their efforts have not been particularly coherent. “A due process starts at the beginning,”, dismissing new procedures for the impeachment inquiry voted on by the House. “It doesn’t affirm a mis-sham investigation all the way through. If you were in a legal term, it would be the fruit from the poisonous tree.”
But the incoherence doesn’t really matter. During both the Russia investigation and the current scandal, the goal of the president’s defenders is less to spin a consistent story and more to throw up smoke. Nunes is the: His mysterious memo alleging surveillance abuse in the winter of 2018 had the effect of seeding confusing conspiracy theories that grabbed press headlines, even though they never held together. These days, anyone watching the impeachment hearings has been treated to similar efforts by Republican questioners, who seem mostly interested in chasing down about supposed Ukrainian election interference in 2016. These theories crumple under even the slightest scrutiny. But they sound ominous on television and distract attention from the allegations of wrongdoing against Trump—which is the real point.
Trump wants Senate trial, expects Joe Biden to testify: White House
Trump wants Senate trial, expects Joe Biden to testify: White House"President Trump wants to have a trial in the Senate because it’s clearly the only chamber where he can expect fairness and receive due process under the Constitution," spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
Sometimes, the president’s defenders don’t seem to remember which scandal they are defending against; so completely have the playbooks merged that the defenses merge substantively, as well. Nunes openedlast week with complaints about the Steele dossier—his equivalent of playing back golden oldies from the good old Russia days. There’s no connection between the dossier and the Ukraine scandal, but that hasn’t stopped him from bringing back the greatest hits. The goal is to confuse, after all. At times, this approach has led to amusing self-parody. During the , Republican Representative Scott Perry asked if the ambassador had ever “request[ed] unmasking of any individuals”—a reference to a Nunes obsession dating back to the spring of 2017. Yovanovitch, confused, asked, “What does it mean?”
Most important, the playbook depends on radically disaggregating the constituent components of the allegations against the president. In the Russia scandal, that meant focusing narrowly on the specific incidents and never allowing that they were connected in a fashion that told a larger story. The Trump Tower meeting, at which people presenting themselves as representatives of the Russian government offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton to the president’s son, son-in-law, and campaign chair, didn’t amount to collusion, because the meeting was a bust and the dirt never materialized. The negotiations over a Trump Tower Moscow deal, taking place through most of the campaign and lied about by the president’s representatives of his administration, did not amount to anything either.
Trump predicts report on the origins of the Russia probe will be 'historic': Fox
President Trump weighed in on an upcoming government watchdog report.Trump, in an interview with Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends," was commenting on an upcoming Justice Department watchdog report on the FBI's adherence to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requirements during the 2016 campaign.
The multiple campaign aides charged with lying about their contacts with Russian officials or cutouts were, well, just isolated things that happened. The more than 100 pages of meetings and contacts detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report merely described individual incidents in which people met with other people who happened to be from Russia. The aggregate pattern, which so clearly described a campaign and business probed on all sides by Russia and its agents at a time the country was actively intervening in the 2016 election, was an evil from which eyes and ears could be diverted and about which Republican mouths did not speak.
Something similar is happening today: a refusal to acknowledge the whole story by instead adopting a dismissive attitude toward its constituent pieces—and refusing to see those pieces as connected to one another. There is nothing wrong with the specific text of the call transcript, we are told, or at least no quid pro quo reflected within its four corners. The president has the authority to remove an ambassador, we are told, for any reason, at any time. If the president asked for investigations, that simply reflects his concern about corruption, we are told, and Ukraine is a very corrupt place. If Trump held up military aid to Ukraine, we are told, well, the president is known to be a skeptic of foreign aid. And if a parade of earnest public servants, in depositions or in public hearings, testifies as to the connective tissue among all these elements—that there clearly was a linkage between acts of U.S. statecraft and Ukrainian willingness to announce investigations of the president’s foes—they are merely repeating second- or thirdhand hearsay or expressing policy disagreements with the president. Once again, the larger story goes unaddressed.
Is it going to work—again? That may depend on how we define working in the first place. If working means being remotely convincing to a person who spends any time with the evidence, then no, it will not work. But the playbook in that sense didn’t work the last go-around either. Relatively few people who have actually read the Mueller report, for example, doubt that Trump obstructed justice—and most readers, we venture to guess, didn’t emerge with the sense that the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia and its agents were all on the up-and-up.
But the goal of the playbook is not to convince the careful reader of the evidence. It’s not even aimed at the swing voter. The purpose of the playbook, rather, is to keep intact that narrow political coalition on which Trump’s power rests. He was elected with 46 percent of the popular vote and an Electoral College majority that depended on razor-thin victories in a few states. What keeps him in power today is the commitment of his voting base to him, and the fear congressional Republicans have of upsetting that voting base by abandoning Trump.
So the real definition of working is twofold: first, being sufficiently convincing to Trump’s core voters that it remains politically perilous for Republican members of either house of Congress to contemplate defecting; and second, being sufficiently convincing to those same core voters that Trump remains electorally viable in a campaign broadly similar to the one he ran before.
It is too soon to tell whether the playbook is working, in this narrow sense. The stability of the president’s approval ratings, which have not tanked since the impeachment process began, suggests that, at a minimum, it is not not working—at least not yet. The playbook may be even more implausible intellectually than it was the first time around. It may be infuriating. And it is certainly demagogic and immoral in its deceit and slander. But it has played an effective role in Trump’s resilience to date. So why not try it again?
‘The chosen one’: Rick Perry told Trump he was sent by God .
Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, 69, said he told President Trump he’s “the chosen one.” © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.Perry said Trump is not perfect but, “God’s used imperfect people all through history.” “King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect. I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago. I shared it with him. I said, ‘Mr. President, I know there are people that say, you know, you said you were the chosen one.’ And I said, ‘You were.
Man who predicted Trump's win makes bold impeachment prediction
Professor Allan Lichtman, who correctly predicted the last nine presidential election wins, says Democrats will only have a chance at winning in 2020 if they ...
SE Cupp: Trump wins 2020 election if Democrats do this
CNN's SE Cupp criticizes Democratic 2020 candidates for their negative coverage so far in the news, and explains it how benefits President Donald Trump and ...