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Batshit president

Batshit president

by digby

I'm printing the whole transcript of Trump's interview with the Daily Caller so you can see just how batshit he really is right now (and how his boot sniffing sycophants deal with it.)

Note that he admits he hired Whittaker to stop the Russia investigation in the same way he admitted hefired Comey over the Russia investigation. And he threatens violence from the police.

If you are still convinced he's just a clown you are not paying attention.

And if you are Democrat sitting around navel gazing and playing stupid intramural games you need to wake up. This is very serious:

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sat for an exclusive Oval Office interview Wednesday with The Daily Caller’s Saagar Enjeti and Benny Johnson for approximately 31 minutes.

The transcript is as follows:

THE DAILY CALLER: Let’s get the news of the day out at the top. There’s all of these things that are being discussed about the chief of staff [John Kelly], about Kirstjen Nielsen. Why are you disappointed in the DHS secretary and is John Kelly going to be staying in his job right now?

POTUS: So, you know, always in an administration after the midterms you make changes, so, I’m looking at things and I’ve got a lot of options. A lot of people want to come in. A lot of politicians that have had very successful careers that are very good want to come in. So I’m looking at things — haven’t made a decision yet. I will be making a decision on Homeland shortly.

But I have not made decisions yet. But I will be making changes on various things. Overall, I have a very good cabinet. I think our cabinet’s great.

You know, you’re talking about a few names, you’re not talking about many.

Uh, we’ve been doing incredibly on trade deals and trade with my whole staff of traders, because that’s what they are. What we’ve done on trade deals is incredible — with Mexico, with Canada, with South Korea — taking deals that were horrible and making great deals. And now we’re in the midst of China and others.

But we have a great cabinet, we have — we’ll see, uh, there will be some changes made before the end of the year.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —

POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?


POTUS: A 20-page?

THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.

POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody that’s very respected.

I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.

It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.


POTUS: He’s heading this whole big thing, he’s not Senate confirmed.

So anyway, I have a lot of respect for Matt Whitaker, based primarily on reputation. And I think he’s really — I think a lot of people are starting to come out very much in favor of him during this period of time.

THE DAILY CALLER: What about who will eventually replace him, sir?

POTUS: Well, I’m looking at a lot of people. I have been called by so many people wanting that job. We have some great people. In the meantime, I think Matt’s going to do a fantastic job.

THE DAILY CALLER: Banning Jim Acosta. Taking his White House credentials. His hard pass. Is this going to be something that happens with repeated nature inside of the White House? Who you feel are disrespecting the White House, sir.

POTUS: Your world has changed quite a bit and you have grandstanders much more than you did before. He’s just a grandstander. He’s just an average guy who’s a grandstander. And he’s got the guts to stand up and, you know, and shout.

It’s primarily led by CNN because they pay him to do that. CNN is low on the ratings now, relative to Fox and others, and they’re doing very poorly actually. But because of me — the age of Trump — because of me, they’re doing better than they’ve done but they’re doing very poorly in compared to others. Very very poorly. And, um, and getting worse.

They’ve lost a tremendous amount of credibility and, you know, Jim Acosta’s just somebody that gets up and grandstands. He doesn’t even know what he’s asking half of the time. So, we’ll see how the court case goes. It’s today.

THE DAILY CALLER: Are you confident that you’re going to win the court case?

POTUS: I don’t know, I think that we should. Certainly, you shouldn’t be able to go up into a White House and, on principle, it’s very disrespectful to the rest of the press. You were actually getting up to do a question.

THE DAILY CALLER: That’s right, sir.

POTUS: — And this guy’s screaming. And I kept saying to you, ‘come on,’ you didn’t give me much help. I kept saying, ‘give me the question already.’ But, you know, he just screamed and, you know, you knew it because you’re standing, you didn’t know what to do, and I understand that.

He was very rude to the young lady. I won’t, I won’t even — who knows. Who knows. Certainly, he didn’t act very respectful to the press. He’s actually more disrespectful, I think, to the rest of the media. Because he gets up and grandstands and he wants to ask three or four questions and everyone else is, you know, you’re trying to get one question in and the room was packed with a couple of hundred people that want to ask questions.

So, I think he’s very disrespectful to the media, I think he’s very disrespectful to the office, and I think he’s bad for the public. You know, when I say that the fake news is the enemy of the people, it really is. A lot of the animosity that we have in our country is because of fake news. They’re so angry at the news. They get it. You guys are at my rallies all the time, you see the anger when I mention the words ‘fake news’ and they turn around. And they use CNN because they — it just sort of works for them I guess.

But it’s ABC, it’s — NBC is maybe worse than anybody. I mean, NBC’s a total fraud as far as I’m concerned. Their news is disgusting. But I think NBC is as bad as anybody. You look at — and CBS — you look at what’s going on with the fake news and the people get it.

Now they get it — you know they had a very high approval rating before I became president and I think it’s actually a great achievement of mine. Their approval rating now is down as low as just about anybody. And much lower than your president. I actually have good approval ratings, which nobody ever writes. I was at 51, I guess, with Rasmussen the other day.

So I will say that I really think that when you have guys like Acosta, I think they’re bad for the country. Because they show how fake it all is. And it’s a grandstander, and we’ll see how the court rules. You know, then they talk, ‘Oh, freedom of the press.’ But can you really have — is it freedom of the press? It’s actually the opposite. Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won’t sit down after having answered a couple of them? And then won’t sit down and then I can’t ask you guys because he’s standing — I don’t think that’s freedom of the press, I actually think that’s the opposite.

THE DAILY CALLER: Which is an important follow-up question, why this administration? This doesn’t seem to be the norm. It certainly wasn’t the norm in previous administrations, that reporters behave in this capacity.

POTUS: Well, I think they behaved badly. I remember Sam Donaldson was terrible at two presidents, and, you know, we tend to forget. I think that now it’s become, with cable television, playing such a role, although, you know, cable television was supposed to be a dying medium. And because of me it’s now hotter than it’s ever been. But someday I won’t be here and it will die like you’ve never seen. And so will The New York Times — will die — and every one of them will just be dead.

I mean, look, I remember picking up before I announced for president, I picked up The New York Times and I said to somebody, ‘Boy, this paper is dead, look at it.’ The paper was dead. It was like a leaflet that you hand out at the supermarket, and now it’s a vibrant paper.

But you look at the stories, many of the stories on the front page are about me. You know, all my life I told this story, had stories on the front page. A few, not a big deal. Which wasn’t bad, you know, maybe seven, but, you know, a few. And, you know, now if I have a few each day it’s surprisingly low.

But it has made a big difference.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sir, I do want to turn to policy.

POTUS: That’s why I always joke when I say they’ll all be endorsing me. Cause I don’t know what happens to their business after I’m gone.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sir, right now, in 2010 we saw several pieces of major legislation passed in a lame-duck Congress. What can we expect your and the Republican agenda to be in this Congress? Is it going to be an immigration fix? What about criminal justice reform? What are the two to three things you’re looking at?

POTUS: We’re working on many things. Criminal justice reform we’re working on very hard. We have a meeting today, do you know about that? We have a meeting today.

THE DAILY CALLER: We heard about that.

POTUS: Get these two in, alright? I think we have a chance at that. We should be able to fix health care. We should be able —

THE DAILY CALLER: Just one second, sir, on that criminal justice bill. Is that the Jared Kushner-backed bill that you want to focus on?

POTUS: The answer is I’m looking at it very closely, okay? I am. It’s a good thing. You know, Texas is backing it, if you look at Mississippi and Georgia and a lot of other places, they believe in it, those governors, and they’re conservative people. Rick Perry’s a big fan.

You know, a lot of people are backing it. Look at the people that are backing it. Even, you know, like Mike Lee, he votes against a lot of things and we respect Mike and Mike is backing it. We have a lot of people that are backing this.

THE DAILY CALLER: What about immigration, sir? Are you willing to shut down the government if you don’t get a certain set of policies?

POTUS: I may be. I may be. I’ll have to see how it plays out. But I may very well be willing to shut down the government.

I think it’s horrible what’s happening and, you know, building the wall, it’s in smaller stages, we can build it very quickly. I’m building the wall in smaller stages and we moved the military there, we put up barbed wire, we did all sorts of things. You have to have a barrier. You have to have a barrier.

Look, we have a chance of, they can do presidential harassment, put very simply, and I’ll be very good at handling that and I think I’ll be better than anybody in the history of this office. And in a certain way I look forward to it because I actually think it’s good for me politically, because everyone knows it’s pure harassment. Just like the witch hunt, the Mueller witch hunt. It’s pure harassment. It’s horrible. It’s horrible that they’re allowed to get away with it.

Again, not Senate confirmed but, you know. You have 17 people — half, many of them worked for Hillary Clinton, some on the Foundation. The Hillary Clinton Foundation. I mean, you think of it.

So, I think we’ll do very well if they want to play the presidential harassment game. If they play the presidential harassment game I don’t think anything’s going to be done ’cause why would I do that, okay? If they want to get things done I think it will be fantastic, I think we can get a lot done.

I think we can almost get more done because they’re gonna want to prove something, too. So if they wanna do health care, we can do health care. There a very good fixes to health care that could solve a lot of problems. We’ve really, you know, terminated a lot of the Obamacare, as it was referred to. But we could do a new health care bill that would be fantastic that could take everybody’s — that could incorporate good pieces of everybody’s good ideas.

So there’s a chance at that, there’s a great chance at comprehensive immigration reform. If they wanna do it, they wanna do it, they wanna do it right. And there’s a good chance at doing things that maybe you couldn’t do.

Don’t forget, I didn’t really have a majority. I had one senator. And I had a few Republicans in the House. You know, a very small number. Um, and now the pressure’s on them because they’ve gotta come to me with things.

Hey, the beauty is, and I’ve said this, you heard me at the news conference, I don’t know if you agree with me — let’s say I won with two Republicans or three. I’d have to make deals with Republicans. I’d have guys coming to me, you know, out of that group there’ll be people. Let’s not say they’re good or bad but they’re people: ‘well I don’t want to do this.’ Well, I’m gonna have three or more. I mean, literally, unless I had like a 25 majority, you know, something substantial, they would come to me and they would say, ‘well, I don’t like it.’ You wouldn’t even be able to get something through there. It would be too close.

Where I am now, when they have a small majority, I can sit back and say, ‘hey.’ And the beauty is when it gets passed, when we pass things, we’ll get it passed in the Senate, which now we can’t because we need 10 Democrat votes. Because we’ll have Democrats and I’ll be able to get enough Republicans to pass.

But the beauty is, the beauty is that we actually have something that can work much better than it worked before, because before it was politically very difficult for a lot of people.

THE DAILY CALLER: While we’re on the subject of Congress, I do want to get — does Kevin McCarthy have your full endorsement in the speaker’s race?

POTUS: Well, I didn’t endorse because I stay out of it, but I like Kevin a lot and I like Jim [Jordan] a lot. I like both of ’em.

THE DAILY CALLER: How would you like them to work it out?

POTUS: Who else is running, nobody, right?

THE DAILY CALLER: That’s all there is right now.

POTUS: Well, I like both of ’em a lot. I think Jim is a fantastic guy and I think Kevin’s a fantastic guy. They’re very different but Kevin is a very political person, which is good. He’s a very honorable guy, and I think he’s gonna do great, and it looks like, you know, he’ll probably get it.

THE DAILY CALLER: Would you like to see Jim on the ranking member on Judiciary?

POTUS: I would like to see Jim in a high position ’cause he deserves it. He’s fantastic, but I haven’t gotten into the endorsement or not. I just like both of ’em too much, too much to get very much involved. It’s something I shouldn’t be involved in. But Jim is a fantastic guy and Kevin is a fantastic guy and they’re very different and they complement each other.

THE DAILY CALLER: Broward County election commissioner Brenda Snipes is in violation of Florida law. She’s in violation of Florida reporting laws, she’s in violation of a judge’s order. She’s also reportedly mixed in illegal ballots with legal ballots and asked for them to be counted. Is she behaving criminally and should she be removed?

POTUS: Look, you know, the bottom line — it’s, she’s a disaster. You look at her past, she’s a disaster. Even with me. I won Florida and, you remember? That area, Broward, didn’t come in. It didn’t come in. I think Palm Beach was like — they wouldn’t call Florida, I won. Then it got to a point where I won by enough that all the votes of the people that lived there would, you know, in other words — you can only put in so many votes, although she may change that system.

You can only put in a number of people that are registered voters or live there. Now they’re, I guess they were trying to take illegal voters but these are — I’ve been saying, this is a problem all over the country, by the way. This is what I’ve been saying.

This is a problem in California that’s so bad of illegals voting. This is a California problem and if you notice, almost every race — I was watching today — out of like 11 races that are in question they’re gonna win all of them.

The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes, which is what I’ve been saying for a long time. I have no doubt about it. And I’ve seen it, I’ve had friends talk about it when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.

The disgrace is that, voter ID. If you buy, you know, a box of cereal, if you do anything, you have a voter ID.

Well, over here, the only thing you don’t is if you’re a voter of the United States. A voter in the United States of America. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. Really a disgrace. And they try to shame everybody by calling them racist or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.

If you look at what happened in New Hampshire, where thousands of people came up and voted from a very liberal part of Massachusetts and they came up in buses and they voted. I said, ‘what’s going on over here,’ my people said, ‘you won New Hampshire easily except they have tremendous numbers of buses coming up.’ They’re pouring up by the hundreds, buses of people getting out, voting. Then they’re supposed to go back within 90 days. And of the people that are supposed to go back, almost none of them do. In other words, they go back after the vote is over. They go back — and I think it’s like three percent — I mean, almost nobody goes back to show that, you know, that they were allowed to vote. And so what do you do? Recall the election. Recall the election. I mean, there, you should be able to recall the election.

THE DAILY CALLER: You think they should call Florida right now, sir?

POTUS: Uh, I think they should’ve called Florida election evening. Well, many votes were added to that, and, you know what’s going on. And now they have mixed them up. You said it better than I did. They mixed the votes up and now you can’t find the ones that were put in, they just put ’em into a batch.

When they call this woman incompetent, they’re wrong. She’s very competent but in a bad way.

THE DAILY CALLER: Should she be removed from office?

POTUS: Oh, she should have been removed — I think she should have been removed in the middle of this mix-up.

THE DAILY CALLER: How do you prevent this in 2020? From happening when you run for re-election?

POTUS: First thing you do is fire her and her cronies. You get ’em out of — you get ’em out. And it should have been done, I mean, if there’s anything really that I would be — because, again, in the 2016 election, you guys remember, remember how long it took to get Florida?

THE DAILY CALLER: It took a long time.

POTUS: Had I not been winning Florida by more than they could — I mean, you can’t produce — if you have a million people, you can’t give 1,200,000 votes, okay? So actually, what happened is they went with fairly accurate numbers because whether I won by 10 votes or by half a million votes it didn’t matter.

But I had, fortunately, enough votes, and they were sitting there waiting. They said, ‘Broward County is not reporting.’ This went on for hours.

WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: The Panhandle came in an hour later.

POTUS: Well, the Panhandle was so devastating to Crooked Hillary, that, frankly, it didn’t make any difference, okay? Because the Panhandle was so — it was like 98 percent. That thing came in, then all of a sudden Broward came in. And I won by, you know, I won by a lot of votes. I call it four Yankee Stadiums.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sir, as a resident of both D.C. and New York City, what do you think about Amazon’s relocation and the decision of both Virginia and New York to give billions of subsidies to Amazon. Do you support that?

POTUS: I think they’re paying a very big price. I think that it was a competition. I know all about those competitions, I’ve been in those competitions, you know, and it’s a lot of people, a lot of cities who are competing for it. They took the best deals.

THE DAILY CALLER: So you support the cities giving them tax breaks?

POTUS: Well, I think they’re giving up a lot. They’re very expensive deals. Only time will tell. Maybe Amazon will have massive competition and they won’t be the same company in five years, in which case it will be a big mistake.

You know, Amazon could have — I see Walmart is doing very well and others are building sites. I think that’s going to be a very competitive business someday, Amazon. And I’m not sure that size necessarily helps when you get —

THE DAILY CALLER: Do you still think they’re cheating the U.S. postal system?

POTUS: Oh, I think they’re getting the bargain of the century. I think that Amazon’s getting — and that’s why I’ve asked for a review of that. And others too, you know, not just Amazon. There are classes of companies that are getting the bargain and I think that — I may be wrong about this, you’ll check — but I think the contract they signed with Amazon was a closed contract. You can’t even see it. It was a sealed contract.

No, I think Amazon has the bargain of the century with the U.S. Post Office, which is losing a fortune.

THE DAILY CALLER: Tucker Carlson had his house attacked, he had a mob outside of his house while his wife was home. They cracked the door — what is this violence? Where does it come from? Do you have a message for Tucker and his family?

POTUS: I do, I spoke to Tucker and I think Tucker’s a great guy and I think it’s terrible, they were actually trying to break down the door.

THE DAILY CALLER: How do you think the police should handle Antifa, generally?

POTUS: These people, like the Antifa you’re talking about, the Antifa — they better hope that the opposition to Antifa decides not to mobilize. Because if they do, they’re much tougher. Much stronger. Potentially much more violent. And Antifa’s going to be in big trouble. But so far they haven’t done that, and that’s a good thing.

But they better hope that the other side doesn’t mobilize, you understand what I’m saying. Because if you look, the other side is the military, it’s the police, it’s a lot of very strong, a lot of very tough people. Tougher than them. And smarter than them. And they’re sitting back and watching and they’re getting angrier and angrier.

THE DAILY CALLER: What’s your takeaway from the 2018 election and what do you think that means for 2020 for you?

POTUS: I think I did very well. Because if you look at — Obama was 60-something odd House seats and lost seven Senate seats. So we picked up three or four Senate seats depending on how it all goes — it’s a big pickup. In fact, they say in 80 years I think the presidential party’s only picked up two Senate seats, I picked up three. I mean, assuming that they don’t do any further shenanigans in Florida.

Almost picked up Tester. Almost picked up, you know, if you look — and that was somebody that wasn’t even in play. And that was another one at the very last moment, all of a sudden, that was over. Almost picked up Arizona and that was another one that I question, I have to question that more strongly than our candidate, a wonderful person. But she didn’t question strongly, so I’m not going to, but I think that was very odd the way that all happened in Arizona. But we picked up — I mean, it looked like we picked up five. But probably three. It’s a lot.

I think this — if I didn’t go around, and you were there, you saw the crowd — in the history of politics, and I say this proudly, I wasn’t even running. In the history of politics nobody’s ever gotten crowds like that or close because you were in those stadiums and those arenas, but outside you had many more times — you know, in Houston we had 109,000 people sign up for 22,000 seats. We actually took ads saying, ‘please don’t come’ and that helped Ted Cruz a lot.

So if you look at Ted Cruz, and you look at some of the people that won, they wouldn’t have won without my helping them. And then you look at the new senators, you look at Indiana, Donnelly was not going to happen. Nobody said Donnelly was going to lose. Nobody said — even look at a case of a congressman. I couldn’t help too many congressmen because I don’t have that much time. The only congressman I went for was Andy Barr and that was in Kentucky, Mitch was there but he wasn’t running, and Rand Paul was there. Good guy, Rand Paul, by the way. And he was there, and the only congressman — I specifically went, there was no senator running in Kentucky, it was Andy Barr, and he won nicely. And he was down 10 and he won his race.

Every place I went, look at Georgia, I’m assuming he wins. That’s another one now they’re trying to play around with the votes. Honestly, it’s a disgrace what’s going on. Oprah went, Obama went, and Michelle Obama went. They went, and they spent a lot of time, and I went and did a rally, and the real number was probably 55,000 people, cause, you know, were you there in Georgia?

THE DAILY CALLER: Not Georgia, sir.

POTUS: Because we had a hangar, another hangar holding 18,000 at the top of the hangar. These are massive, like 747 hangars. It went way back, and he won. And everybody said he wasn’t going to win. But they had Obama, Mrs. Obama and Oprah. Oprah spent three days there and every place I went, we won or came real close with areas, like, as an example, Tester.

Tester, nobody wanted even to contest it. Well, look at what happened in North Dakota with Heidi. Heidi, they said don’t contest. One year ago when we were looking, they all said don’t contest Heidi, she can’t be beat. She lost by a lot. I went there three or four times.

I mean, the truth is, every place I went, we either won or did well or did really well. If I didn’t go, if I didn’t do those stops — I did 31 stops in 30 days or something like that. If I didn’t do those stops, I think we would’ve lost 10 Senate seats, seven to 10 Senate seats, and we would’ve lost 60 to 70 House seats or more.

By doing the stops, then again a lot of times I’d have the congressmen in the room, so they wouldn’t be the prime focus but I’d get up and I’d be able to talk about them for a couple of minutes apiece, right? If I didn’t do the stops — and I’ve been thanked by a lot of Republicans — if I didn’t do those stops we would definitely not have control of the Senate. It would be a question, so what are we up, three? Two or three. We would be down five or six or seven. And they know that. Nobody has ever had a greater impact.

Well, I’ll give you another. You take Georgia. He was 10 points down when I endorsed him, he ended up winning by 40 points in the primary. He’s now in, but he was 10 points down. It was 70 to 30, something like that, 70-30 or 70-40, maybe 70-40. But it was an easy win.

Take DeSantis. Ron DeSantis was a three, had no money. He was running against in the Republican primary, who was at 31 and he had $21 million cash in the bank. The Department of Agriculture, right? Nice guy, too. But I didn’t know him so I don’t feel guilty. I endorsed DeSantis. I endorsed DeSantis and he won by 20 points. Okay, it wasn’t even a race. And his opponent, who I spoke to afterward because he is a nice guy, he said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ He said, ‘you endorsed him, the race was over.’

There’s never been an impact — I don’t say it braggingly. I mean, it’s hard for me to say it because I’d rather have them say it but they don’t say it very well. No, there’s never been a story, nobody ever writes it.

But you take a look at the races that I was involved in, I had a massive impact. Then they said, ‘well, DeSantis is not gonna make it in Florida, he’s never gonna get elected.’ So I went down and made a speech, he got elected, he won. Now they’re trying to take votes away from him, it’s a disgrace what’s going on, but it looks like he’s gonna be good and hopefully, Rick [Scott] is gonna be good. Maybe the machines are bad, now the machines are all smokey, they’re all — it’s crazy. Honestly, it’s a disgrace.

Georgia, what they’re doing is a disgrace, and Florida, what they’re doing to the two people — no, to the three. Look at what they’re doing, how about the agriculture guy. He was leading all night long and then he ends up losing by 5,000 votes because nobody was watching that one. That’s a very important position in Florida, right? Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.

He's very sick.

And they don't care.  Or they are too.  Either way, we are in trouble.


Journalists being disrespectful

Journalists being disrespectful

by digby.. are doing their jobs:

A journalist for Al Jazeera media network might have found the secret to interviewing spokespeople for Donald Trump: Asking them to provide the facts that back up their claims.

Mehdi Hasan, who hosts the show “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English, did just that during a Nov. 9 interview with Steven Rogers, an adviser for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Hasan thought it was pretty good, as he pointed out in a tweet of a clip from the segment.

On the show, Hasan got Rogers to admit the president’s claim that the United States is the only country in the world to offer birthright citizenship is completely wrong.

No, it’s false. It’s a misstatement,” Rogers conceded, then tried to spin things to the right. “That doesn’t mean it’s a lie, OK?”

Hasan also grilled Rogers about Trump’s false claim that Californians were rioting in protest of their cities’ sanctuary city policies.

When Rogers tried to argue that there were “street skirmishes” in Oakland because of undocumented immigrants, Hasan shut him down hard.

“The spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association says that there were no riots taking place as a result of sanctuary city policies,” Hasan pointed out. “There were no riots. [Trump] just made it up.”

Rogers wasn’t able to counter Hasan’s facts, notably Trump’s false claim that U.S. Steel would be opening up six steel mills.

“Look, I don’t know of what context these statements were made, but I can tell you this: The president of the United States has been very responsive to the American people, and the American people are doing well,” Rogers said.

Hasan snapped back, “The American people can be doing well, and the president can be a liar. There’s no contradiction between those statements.”

This is how it's done:


Binders full of narratives by @BloggersRUs

Binders full of narratives

by Tom Sullivan

It is easy in the ferment over vote counts and seats counts and litigation to lose sight of what Democratic victories in 2018 mean in 2019 and beyond. Standard media narratives have yet to adjust.

Many new faces will take office bringing fresh energy to governance not just at the national level but in the states. Kathy Hoffman is one of them.

Hoffman just won election as Arizona’s new superintendent of public instruction. Incensed by the appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, the 31-year-old speech therapist from a Phoenix suburb burned out her Prius campaigning for an office the first-time candidate was not supposed to win.

The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty explains Hoffman's race was one of many campaigns that offered an "antidote to cynicism":

The main thing Hoffman had going for her, however, was her own tenacity.

“Most people would have said she wouldn’t have had a chance to win, but she just kept knocking out opponent after opponent,” said Arizona Federation of Teachers President Ralph Quintana, who noted that neither his organization nor the Arizona Education Association endorsed Hoffman in the Democratic primary.

But Hoffman stuck to her narrative: "I kept talking about my students and my colleagues. I kept it very focused on my classroom experience.”

Like other Democrats this cycle, Hoffman went to bed trailing on election night and woke to find she had won. A charter-school-movement leader and former three-term congressman tasted defeat.

Power is shifting. Younger candidates are stepping forward. The media is still stuck in its rut. "Liberals should stop believing what conservatives say liberals believe," writer John Stoehr explains in a series of tweets on the green-energy "protest" outside Nancy Pelosi's office in the Capitol. The action featuring incoming progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fit easily into the Beltway's "Dems in disarray" narrative. Even some on the left bought it, Stoehr complains.

The story also fit neatly into the establishment “centrists” vs. insurgent “leftists” narrative. In some Beltway office there must be binders full of narratives.

In fact, Stoehr writes, Ocasio-Cortez told the climate activists, "Should Leader Pelosi become the next Speaker of the House, we need to tell her that we’ve got her back in showing and pursuing the most progressive energy agenda that this country has ever seen." Ocasio-Cortez told CNN, "We're here to back her up in pushing for 100% renewable energy."

Vox examines the bold policy proposals climate activists want to see, proposals not likely to go far with Republicans in control of the Senate and White House. But shifting the narrative from controversy to policy is a necessary part of the process:
Just as the Republican House climate caucus is shrinking, the Democratic House climate caucus is growing. And as it grows, its ambitions increase. The Overton window is shifting before our eyes.

In the long term, Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats tells me, the movement will focus on “repeating the success we had in recruiting, training, and helping elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The idea, he says, is to “build a caucus of like-minded, mission-driven legislators who will fight tirelessly for solutions that match the urgency and scale necessary to tackle the systemic crises in our country.”

Retraining the press and progressives conditioned to accepting standard narratives may be almost as challenging as advancing climate change legislation in a company town.


Nixon didn’t ban Dan Rather from the White House

Nixon didn't ban Dan Rather from the White House

by digby

There has always been a contentious relationship between some members of the press and the White House. It's supposed to be that way. There's always an aggressive Jim Acosta from one of the news networks. But until now no president has banned them from the White House or insulted them crudely and personally.

Take Dan Rather and Nixon:

April 08, 1974

Dan Rather stands waiting to be recognized, calm amid the cries of “Mr. President,” and cool in the press conference glare. President Nixon half smiles and seems to tense as he points to Rather. It is the beginning of another confrontation in what has become a running, real-life drama in prime time television.

The most recent encounter came during the President’s press conference in Houston. When CBS White House correspondent Rather introduced himself, the nonworking press in attendance applauded and Mr. Nixon asked, not good-naturedly, “Are you running for something?” Rather, usually unflappable, was a mite rattled this time and shot back rudely, “No sir, Mr. President, are you?” Then he asked a tough Watergate question.

The brief dialogue dripped bitterness, like an exchange of kidney punches between two boxers who, having fought often and inconclusively, have come to dislike each other personally. And there were practically audible gasps at the breach of press conference decorum. To Rather, a 42-year-old tall, dark, handsome and persistent Texan, his role is to be neither “an attack dog or a lap dog. I want to be a watchdog. If I see something wrong, I start barking and barking and barking. Sometimes I’m wrong; sometimes I’m not.”

He has been barking at presidents since 1964, when he won the White House beat by his reporting of the Kennedy assassination from Dallas when he was CBS Southern correspondent. Lyndon Johnson called him “Dan,” but treated him as something of an apostate. How could Rather, a fellow Texan, be pressing all those prickly questions?

As for the present incumbent, Rather insists, “I feel no hostility toward Mr. Nixon. He was pleasant when I dealt with him in ’66 and ’67. But I knew from the day he became President that we weren’t going to get along. He’s a distant person. It’s his nature that he needs to be by himself, and in his job that can’t be.”

President Nixon and his staff have made no secret of their dislike of Rather for what they consider to be his unnecessarily critical treatment of the President. In 1971 presidential aide John Ehrlichman made a special visit to CBS News president Richard Salant to complain about Rather and suggest that CBS might transfer Dan to, say, El Paso...

But Rather, for public consumption at least, says he is happy making presidents sweat. Mustering all of his drawling charm, Rather smiles pleasantly and explains, “I’m not trying to win a popularity contest.”

Trump justcn't ake the heat because he's a thin-skinned bully who doesn't know how to deal with anything but a tabloid media who treats him like a celebrity.

Seriously, he consistently makes that creep Nixon look good by comparison.


Mitch’s “fuck you” o’ the day

Mitch's "fuck you" o' the day

by digby

Yes, he is an arrogant POS without any respect for democracy. Scum:


2018 is not 1998 and Trump is not Bill Clinton

2018 is not 1998 and Trump is not Bill Clinton

by digby

Jonathan Chait thinks Democrats should not impeach the president:

So what’s the point of all the investigation? The point is to establish legal accountability for the president. Well-functioning democracies don’t have criminal oligarchies running the country with legal impunity. The kind of deep systemic corruption Trump is implementing, in which establishing a political alliance with a ruling family is a key step in amassing and protecting wealth, depends on selective legal enforcement. More to the point, it requires business partners. Maybe Donald Trump can’t be hauled off to prison, but his partners can. And that prospect can scare off the collaborators Trump needs.

Second, and more to the point, even if Robert Mueller can’t kick Trump out of the White House directly and the Senate won’t, there’s a body of people who can: the 2020 electorate. And the Trump investigations are building a powerful case that will be brought to bear on that election.

Probably the most important indicator of public opinion with regard to the Mueller probe is a poll from last spring. It found that nearly three-fifths of the public is unaware that Mueller has uncovered any crimes at all. Mueller has already produced indictments or guilty pleas from eight Americans, with more obviously looming.

The breadth of Trump’s legal exposure exceeds that of any president in American history. It is so vast that it is hard to comprehend. Some, and possibly all, of the following appear to have colluded with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign: Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Michael Cohen. Trump has been doing business with the criminal underworld in Russia and elsewhere for years, the secrets of which may be revealed by Mueller, or by House Democrats obtaining his tax returns. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether he violated campaign-finance laws by directing hush money to various mistresses. The state of New York is investigating the Trump Foundation for alleged misappropriation of funds and the Trump Organization for decades-long tax fraud. He is being sued for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. He is also being sued for fraud.

And this is just the information we know so far, which has come out despite a Congress dedicated to protecting him from investigation, a benefit he will enjoy for only a few more weeks.

I agree that he's unlikely to be convicted in the Senate. Republicans are all accomplices in his crimes. But I have serious doubts that if the House pursued impeachment that it would blow back on them when you consider that Trump is extremely unpopular, his administration is a blazing dumpster fire in every way and the overwhelming amount of criminal behavior he's suspected of dwarfs anything we've ever seen before. In fact, it's entirely likely that it would actually blowback on Republicans for failing to do their duty.

Obviously, we don't know yet whether there is enough evidence to back an impeachment in the House. That's what the investigations will show. Democrats don't have to make that conclusion in advance. They should just follow the evidence. But they also shouldn't fight the last war and think that this will hurt them the way it hurt the GOP for impeaching Clinton. It's a very different situation.

Also, they ended up with the presidency in 2000 anyway, IIRC.  History isn't the greatest guide in these political times.


A dumb, unbalanced mob boss in the White House

A dumb, unbalanced mob boss in the White House

by digby

This article in Slate correctly suggests that this spat between Trump and Macron is particularly ridiculous since Macron is actually doing what Trump supposedly wants him to do:

[Macron's] argument was that Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the transatlantic alliance and longstanding defense pacts like NATO makes it necessary for Europe to take greater responsibility for its own defense. “We must have a Europe that defends itself more on its own, without only depending on the United States and in a more sovereign way,” Macron said.

The idea of establishing an integrated European military to complement NATO, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also backed, is controversial—a step toward integration that’s vastly out of step with the current mood on the Continent. But the larger idea here, that Europe should take responsibility for its own defense rather than relying on others (the United States, mainly) is exactly what Trump has been calling for since he took office. Trump ought to be applauding Macron, not castigating him.

Trump remains fixated on what he misleadingly calls paying “for NATO,” even though Macron is basically doing what Trump wants. With defense spending at 1.8 percent of GDP, France is already close to the 2 percent NATO goal on members’ defense spending that has become Trump’s obsession, and Macron announced in July that it will meet the threshold by 2024. And while outdated stereotypes from the “freedom fries” era persist in the U.S., France is among the more hawkish European powers.

It’s more obvious than ever that Trump doesn’t actually care all that much about European defense-spending targets. He’s hostile to the transatlantic alliance itself and even more so to anything that smacks of European integration.

There’s something sinister in the invocation of the world wars here. (Macron, who spent the past week touring World War I battlefields in Northern France, certainly doesn’t need the U.S. president to tell him about his country’s history with Germany.) Is Trump’s implication that France should be more concerned about the threat from its historical enemy Germany than from Russia or China? It’s not out of the question that Trump actually believes this, considering that he called the EU “as bad as China” on trade, invoked Pearl Harbor in a negotiation with Japan’s Shinzo Abe, and has, let’s say, unorthodox views on Russian foreign policy.

Macron’s pro-European sympathies clearly irk Trump. The remark about France being “nationalist” is plainly a response to Macron’s speech in Paris on Sunday—widely read as a direct rebuke of Trump, who was in attendance—in which he rejected nationalism as a “betrayal of patriotism.”

Trump has expressed support in the past for far-right French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen and, coupled with his invocation of Macron’s poll numbers, appears to be again suggesting that the French president is out of touch with the true “nationalist” nature of his constituents. We’ll see at France’s next election, but judging from Le Pen’s recent moves to distance herself from Steven Bannon’s efforts to build a united nationalist front in Europe, it’s not certain that Macron’s right-wing opponents will actually welcome Trump’s intervention. Trump has gotten slightly more popular in France lately, but he’s still one of the few world leaders the French like even less than their own.

All of this is true. But I think he's giving Trump too much credit. After all, just a few years ago as a businessman he loved the EU and was pronouncing globalism great for the bottom line. This is all about Trump's limited ability to understand world affairs. And by limited, I mean the fact that he doesn't understand it at all and has reduced everything to some kind of simple-minded monetary transaction which, in this case, doesn't make any sense.

He literally doesn't understand that when he's asking NATO to pay up, what he's asking is for them to build up their own defenses. He thinks that the NATO countries are supposed to be writing checks to the US Treasury for their "protection." And he thinks they are behind on "paying their bills."

Seriously. That's obviously what he thinks. He makes that clear every time he talks about it. He is clueless about all of it.

It's true that he likes nationalism and authoritarian leaders but it's not ideological. His leadership model is mob moss, which just comes down to "nice little planet you have here, be a shame if anything happened to it."

This level of ignorance would be unusual for any adult who even nominally follows politics. That he's still this dumb, even after being president for more than two years, is mind-boggling.


It’s not in his nature

It's not in his nature

by digby

Via TPM:

France’s government has fired back at a flurry of critical tweets by Donald Trump, suggesting the U.S. president lacked “common decency” by launching his broadside on a day when France was mourning victims of the November 2015 terror attacks.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Wednesday: “We were commemorating the assassination of 130 of our compatriots three years ago in Paris and Saint-Denis, and so I will reply in English: ‘Common decency’ would have been appropriate.”

Nursing grievances from a weekend visit to France, Trump lit into French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday over his suggestion for a European defense force, over French tariffs on U.S. wine and even Macron’s approval ratings.

The tweets underscored tensions between the once-chummy leaders and displayed Trump’s irritation over criticism of how he acted in France.

Asking Trump for common decency is like asking a shark for compassion. It's just not in either one's nature.

The Oval Office is now Trump’s panic room

The Oval Office is now Trump's panic room

by digby

My Salon column this morning:

President Donald Trump is not himself. And by "not himself" I mean he seems to have lost his swagger. Ever since the midterm elections, he's been churlish and petulant. His brazen braggadocio is suddenly dull and off-key. The question is what exactly has him brooding and upset.

Sure, he held a press conference the morning after the election at which he ludicrously asserted, "I’ll be honest: I think it was a great victory. And actually, some of the news this morning was that it was, in fact, a great victory." The news that morning was nothing of the kind, of course. And even he couldn't pull it off. He rapidly devolved into his patented media-bashing to change the subject and ended up looking like the worst sore loser in presidential history.

That same day he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with someone he believed would protect him from the Mueller investigation -- a man described by George Conway -- Kellyanne Conway's husband -- as a "constitutional nobody." And that wasn't his worst day last week.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a big scoop revealing that the feds have unearthed plenty of evidence that Trump had personally broken campaign finance laws. More troubling for him is that the three people given immunity -- lawyer Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg -- know where a lot of other metaphorical bodies are buried. (We hope there are no real bodies involved.)

Luckily Trump had a chance to de-stress over the weekend on a nice trip to France for some military pageants, which he loves more than anything. Sadly, this got off to a bad start when he watched a Fox News show that misinterpreted a comment from French President Emmanuel Macron, who has suggested that Europe needs to create its own army to defend itself against Russia, China and the U.S., and took to Twitter to lash out. The Washington Post reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May called Air Force One during the trip to congratulate Trump on his electoral "victory" and he inexplicably exploded at her over Iran.

So the trip didn't start off well and only got worse as Trump acted like a sullen child at the ceremonies he deigned to attend. He didn't even bother to go to the one to commemorate the American dead of World War I -- which ended 100 years ago this week -- instead staying inside and tweeting threats at California as it suffered from catastrophic wildfires. He finally roused himself to attend the big final ceremony, although he couldn't bring himself to walk with the other leaders. He greeted his only real friend, Vladimir Putin, as enthusiastically as one of those dogs who throw themselves at their masters returning from a deployment to Iraq. He didn't care for his former buddy Macron chiding him by suggesting that nationalism wasn't really all that great considering the wars it precipitated, including the horrifying meat-grinder they were all there to memorialize.

He's been pouting ever since his return. He's holed up in the White House furiously posting hysterical tweets about stopping the vote count in Florida and making irresponsible declarations about Democratic fraud and cheating. The Los Angeles Times reports that Trump has "retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources." The chaos in the White House on Monday and Tuesday was so intense that one former staffer called it, "like an episode of ‘Maury' ... the only thing that’s missing is a paternity test,” according to Politico. Rumors of firings and resignations are flying around so fast that they are bumping into each other.

In one of the weirdest Trump administration episodes yet, it was reported on Tuesday that Mira Ricardel, John Bolton's second in command at the National Security Council, had abruptly been fired. Then that was taken back, and nobody really knew what was going on until First Lady Melania Trump's office announced that Ricardel "no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House." Melania had apparently demanded Ricardel's ouster because of some issues over airplane seats during her Africa trip and the president reportedly gave the OK to fire her, saying "I don't need this s**t." (Perhaps that Wall Street Journal exposé about the hush money added a little stress in the private residence as well?)

This is all a far cry from those giddy early days of the administration when Trump went on a Victory Tour to celebrate with his adoring fans, isn't it? He had barely eked out a tiny win, not all that different from last week's GOP victory in the Senate (where Democratic candidates got 14 million more votes, at last count), but he was able to sell it as a result of his brilliance because it was so unexpected. It's likely he thought that was going to happen again -- but the "Red Wave" didn't materialize and reality is starting to bite, and bite hard.

Trump feels betrayed by all those Republicans who failed to win and made him look like a loser. He's been stabbed in the back by Emmanuel Macron, his little buddy, who hasn't found that flattering Trump got him anywhere and has stopped trying. Kim Jong-un, the man who sends him "beautiful letters" after the two of them "fell in in love," is making a fool of him by continuing to build missile sites after Trump announced to the world that North Korea's nuclear threat was over. Then there's the latest in a long line of former intimates who've turned state's evidence, possibly including his old pal Roger Stone, who appears to be on the verge of indictment. Firing Sessions, the man who committed the original sin of following the rules instead of being his "Roy Cohn," hasn't made him feel any better.

I suspect the biggest reason for all this is the ultimate betrayal: His followers failed him by not voting in great enough numbers to defy all the predictions and prove that he is the biggest winner in American political history. He may not be stable and he may not be a genius, but right now he knows that he looks like a loser. Perhaps he also instinctively realizes that may just break the spell some of his voters have been under since he was unexpectedly elected two years ago -- the belief that even though he is personally a mess and his administration is nonstop chaos, he's an unbeatable giant-slayer, an omnipotent superhero who transcends the normal definition of leadership. He lost, and his followers will never see him the same way again.

Once a con man is exposed, he blows town and moves on to the next mark. But Donald Trump is the president of the United States. He's trapped and he has nowhere else to go.


Remember When The Women’s March Was an Indulgent, Frivolous Waste of Time?

Last week, as some of you recall, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times boldly threw his cap over the wall of What Worker's Want...

...and then sent an intern to fetch it back because it's a damn expensive cap and, let's face it, David Brooks knows fuck-all about the hopes and fears of the American working class.

He was, rightly and properly and for the 1,000th time, mocked across the Interwebs as a cossetted embarrassment to American journalism, which he surely is.   But none of that really matters, because the House of Sulzberger does not pay Mr. David Brooks to be a journalist.  To write in the style of planting one's feet and telling the truth.

The House of Sulzberger pays Mr. David Brooks dress up and pretend to be a journalist while spinning fables that reflect how a handful of wealthy, sclerotic plutocrats wish the world to be.  And when it turns out that the world is manifestly not as Mr. Brooks has told them it was -- when the toxic, racist sludge the GOP has been running through the veins of the American body politic erupts in an electoral embolism so monstrous that it cannot be ignored...

... Mr. David Brooks' feeble-minded acolytes turn to him not to tell them the truth -- never that -- but to tell them bigger, better comforting lies.

For example, with the issues and results of the 2018 midterms still fresh in our minds, let's set the Wayback Machine for a very short hop to "Literally Just Last Year" to find out how Mr. Brooks interpreted the Women's March for his wealthy, simpleton benefactors:
After the Women’s March
According to Mr. Brooks, sure, the march was a lot of fun for the ladies:
The women’s marches were a phenomenal success and an important cultural moment. Most everybody came back uplifted and empowered. Many said they felt hopeful for the first time since Election Day. 
But tactically, it was a silly waste of time:
But these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump.
Why?  Because these coastal elite ladies don't understand politics
In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues. 
Silly ladies!

Now put on your Imagination Caps and pretend you are hearing the following in the most insufferably condescending tone of voice that human vocal cords can produce.
Of course, many marchers came with broad anti-Trump agendas, but they were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear. As The Washington Post reported, they were “reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable health care, action on climate change.”

These are all important matters, and they tend to be voting issues for many upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities. But this is 2017...
That was the sound of David Brooks patting tens of millions of women on the head and telling them, "Look toots, all this stuff may make the girls at your San Fran Cisco sewing circle swoon, but ain't nobody gonna organize and vote around it."  

And according to Mr. Brooks, what would move humans to the polls in numbers large enough to pry power out of the hand of the America Fascist Party?   Big issues.  Sweeping, abstract issues. Manly  issues.
...globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life.
And what did the Women's March offer instead?
Instead, the marches offered the pink hats, an anti-Trump movement built, oddly, around Planned Parenthood, and lots of signs with the word “pussy” in them...
"Pussy" obviously confuses the hell out of David Brooks, which explains an enormous amount.

Mr. Brooks continues, explaining to the ladies that the central threat is certainly not the patriarchy.
The central threat is not the patriarchy. 
See?  (Translation:  Get your socialist lady-hands off of my wholly unearned and undeserved privilege.)

So what is the central challenge to Murrica?
The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea.
Wow.  That is a lot of words that don't add up to a damn thing.  Would you care to rephrase that?
If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.
Uh huh.

Well as it turned out, rather than adopting Mr. Brooks'a bold agenda of rebinding biblical capitalism in a functioning morality of balanced dynamism or whateverthefuck he was trying to say, Democrats instead went with that Scary Vagina-Based agenda of health care, clean water, clean air, decent schools and not being racist or a misogynist.  You know, all those elements that were present right there in the DNA of that frivolous, indulgent Women's March back in January of 2017.

And based on the results as they stand today and where they look like they are headed in the days to come, the Democrat's Scary Vagina-Based agenda stomped the holy hell out of the Republican Party virtually everywhere they were within a mile of winning, up and down the ticket, at every level of government, in a year when the electoral map was brutally slanted in the Republican's direction.

And so, having had his hot-take on the Women's March stress tested and smashed to atoms out here in the Real World -- shown to be just one more slice of David Brooks-Brand Clueless Claptrap --  wouldn't it be hilarious if Mr. Brooks still just could not leave it alone?  Wouldn't it be hilarious is he was so pathetically desperate to hang onto yet another David Brooks-Brand Ludicrous Theory that, in the face of unequivocal proof that he'd been dead wrong, he would still try to cook up some equivocating alibi about how "midterms" really don't count? 

Hey guess what!

Welcome at last Sunday's Meet the Press with the petty, supercilious bit emphasized:
DAVID BROOKS: ... The question to me is do [Democrats] have an agenda for the future? Running on pre-existing conditions, something that passed eight years ago, is not exactly a vision for the future. Do they have an affirmative vision for how a diverse country should work? How work should work? How moral integrity should be reintroduced? These are the big issues that are happening in countries all around the world. Democrats have been running on a very small set of issues, maybe excusable for the midterm, not going forward.
"Excusable"?  Really?

And this right here is what truly marks David Brooks as a True Conservative.  His pathological and bizarrely patronizing inability to ever admit that he has been wrong about anything in the face of overwhelming evidence that he has almost always been wrong about almost everything. 

Behold, a Tip Jar!


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