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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

MSNBC Journal, Oct 24

Oct 24
All In
Two presidents made speeches in one day denouncing Trumpism without naming DT. Today, two senators made strong denouncements. John McCain has already made his feelings clear.
Bannon is making lots of noise, threats.
Discussion of Sen Corker and Sen Jeff Flake who both announced that they will not run for reelection due to DT and the character of the GOP today. They both shredded him and called him a danger to Democracy. Corker said that Trump has debased the country and has a great issue with the truth. He would not support Trump again.  
Sen Flake has criticized Trump before, but this time he pulled out all stops and loaded both barrels, speaking for 17 minutes. His speech will be historic. You could hear the tension in his voice as he read his speech. He said he had to answer to his children and grandchildren. There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principals, stand up and say enough. Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has been excused and countenanced as telling it like it is. But when that behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else—it is a danger to a democracy. We have fooled ourselves long enough. Nothing is going to change. The stability of the world is threatened by Trump’s tweets. I will not be complicit. We should not stay silent while the norms and values of the US are undermined is wrong. We would rather scapegoat and threaten. We can become a fearful and backward looking people and party.
McConnell gave a public response, but he just wants to focus on what they want to accomplish. He didn’t say anything negative about Flake’s speech. He wants those two votes for the tax cut and budget vote.
WH, SHS:  This country didn’t elect someone that was weak, they wanted a strong leader and that’s what they got.
Sen Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI:  Corker and Flake are highly respected as principled people. Now that they have taken reelection off the table, they are free to speak their minds. Jeff has a distaste about the way the president comports himself. Maybe later Jeff will look like a hero. “Tax reform has to do with donor maintenance… a door cracked open. Now we’ll see how far it swings. They are both senators of conscience.”
Sen Gordon Humphrey, fmr GOP Senator:  This story is as much about DT as Flake. This is a case of the bad driving out the good. Trump is cruel, reckless, careless, vile, and corrupting of congress. He is unfit to discharge duties of his office. He doesn’t have to be stark raving mad to be impeached with the 25th amendment. We need to be rid of this president who is so vile he personifies evil. We need to invoke the part of the 25th amendment that strips the president of his powers and transfers them to the vice president. There isn’t a moment to lose. Congress needs to put the needs of the country above their own selfish political ambitions.
Mickey Edwards, fmr Senator:  He named people who have mentioned their criticism or voted against Trump’s agenda, including McCain. There are 3 who voted against Trump;s agenda. Where are the other 46 members? Members take an oath to defend and protect the constitution. We need free press, independent judiciary, and those kinds of principals that are at the heart of our government. Sen Flake talked about reclaiming article 1, doctrine separation of powers. Impeachment isn’t the only option. People could do like Corker suggested earlier, we are going to rule around you, legislate and not succumb to your vileness. Congress could just start saying no to Trump and begin acting like legislators. They could say, we’ll make you irrelevant. We’re the first branch of government.
Flake said that the path to the primaries is to agree with the president, not just his policies but his behavior as well and to compromise values and decency.
Hayes:  What does that say about the future of the GOP?
Michelle Goldberg WP:  She recently asked several GOP legislators, how do you guys live with yourselves? They say that if we speak out and lose our seat, we will be replaced with somebody worse. But it’s no excuse. Four years ago, Jeff Flake was the far right. There may be a day when the revolution comes for you.
Glenn Thrush, NYT: Bannon is out-trumping trump. He is the next derivative of the culture that has captured the GOP. You can’t win now without saying crazy stuff. Congressman Massey said the craziest s.o.b. is going to win the primary. Once you’ve had the hard stuff, you’re not going back to the wine coolers.
Several senators responded one by one to the two speeches by Corker and Flake. Their attitude was it was no big deal. They just want to move forward and get the tax reform done. There was no moral outrage at all.
Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD, answers questions from Rep Al Green, D-TX: How much will be cut from HUD? Uuuuhm…maybe 2 or 3 billion. How much will be cut from housing vouchers? Carson didn’t want to say. OK, how much are you cutting from community block grants, Mr. Carson? Answer:  I want to talk about…  You don’t get to talk about what you want today. You talk about what I want. Repeats question. No answer.
Today DT came to the Senate Republican lunch to talk tax reform. It was just after the lunch when Flake made his 17-minute speech. Sen Chuck Schumer said this is a plan for the rich. They say the heart of the plan is a tax plan for middle class blah blah… all untrue. The middle class will pay more so the rich can get a tax break.
A protester today threw Russian flags at DT and shouted, “Trump is treason.” DT has not honored the sanctions against Russia. Congress cannot compel DT to keep that law. Today Nunes has announced a multi-committee investigation of Clinton giving Russia uranium 7 years ago, also a new probe into how the FBI handled the Clinton email affair.
How did a $300,000,000 contract for fixing Puerto Rico’s power grid go to a small company in Whitefish, MT. They have two permanent employees. They say they have hired over 200 employees to fix the power supply. Ryan Zinke comes from the same town. His son worked for the Whitefish company for a while. Hourly rates are very high for their specialists. The gov of PR won’t talk about how this company got the contract.

Maddow
Tonight Devlin Barrett, WP reported that originally a Republican donor paid for the Fusion GPS report, but once DT locked up the nomination, a lawyer working for the Clinton campaign and the DNC continued payments to keep the work going. They continued to fund Steele’s work through Oct 2016. [I heard elsewhere that the FBI also contributed funds to keep it going because they were so alarmed at what Steele was finding.] The DNC says that they did not direct Steele’s work. Why didn’t the Clinton campaign admit it sooner or make the results public? [My guess is that the FBI asked them to keep it quiet so they could continue the investigation.]
AL senatorial candidate Roy Moore today signed a fundraising pact with the RNC and NRNC, the national GOP. Ted Cruz and the establishment of the GOP are rallying around Roy Moore.
Today Michael Cohen and Brad Pascale met with the House Intel Comm.
Adam Schiff:  It doesn’t matter who paid for the Steele dossier, but it may turn out that Steele was the first to discover the extent of Russian interference in our election. [European intel community was also warning us.] This House investigation is probably an effort to discredit the dossier. The GOP is not as concerned about what the Russians did and why as to discredit the government process. The important thing is, is it true? He disagrees with the new investigations initiated by Nunes, as they are just a distraction. Both witnesses today answered all questions. The contentious part was the announcement of the two new investigations. He finds it sad that the party is now the party of Trump and not the party of oversight or a party where principled people like Flake and Corker can be comfortable.

The first Republican, a black Senator, who called for Nixon’s resignation, took lots of horrible blowback, with death threats. The VP had already resigned. It took a long time and many indictments and resignations before other Republican congressmen began to call for a Nixon resignation.