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Oh look. Nunes thinks they’re “very fine people” too

Oh look. Nunes thinks they're "very fine people" too

by digby

Via Salon:

Scott Dworkin at the Democratic Coalition unearthed an old video of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) where the thin-skinned Congressman appears to defend tea party protesters using the N-word to refer to civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

The protest happened around the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare. Lewis joined Congressman Rev. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and later noted that the tea party members were shouting insults that included the racist term.

During a C-SPAN episode of “Washington Journal,” Nunes was asked about the protesters, where he claimed they had “every right to say what they want.” He said the N-word was “not appropriate,” but didn’t call them out for their racist language. He excused away the bigotry by claiming the protesters were just emotional about the healthcare law.

“Can you give us a sense of the flavor of the debate on the floor, and what you’re hearing?” asked host Steve Scully. “A lot of angry comments yesterday aimed at a couple of your colleagues including Barney Frank and Congressman John Lewis, using the N-word as some of the protesters jeered at him as he walked through the halls of the Capitol.”

Nunes explained the protesters were only losing it because of President Barack Obama’s leadership, which he claimed was dictatorial.

“Yeah, well, I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people begin to act crazy,” Nunes claimed. “I think there’s people that have every right to say what they want. If they wanna smear someone, they can do it.”

He went on to say that he’d “stop short” of calling “the 20,000 people who were protesting” racists and that “not all of them were doing that.”

Scully explained that those were just “some” of the stories and “some of the comments” overheard by the leaders.

“Yeah, of course, and I think that the left loves to play up a couple of incidents here or there, anything to draw attention away from what they are really doing,” Nunes said.

It's not hard to see why he became Trump's number one henchman is it?


The motto of the Corleones and the Kushners: It’s nothing personal, strictly business

Nothing personal, strictly business

by digby

Remember this major scandal of the Carter administration?

In late 1978 and early 1979, Billy Carter visited Libya three times with a contingent from Georgia. He eventually registered as a foreign agent of the Libyan government and received a $220,000 loan. (Edwin P. Wilson claimed he had seen a telegram showing that Libya paid Billy Carter $2 million.) This led to a Senate hearing on alleged influence peddling which the press named Billygate. A Senate sub-committee was called To Investigate Activities of Individuals Representing Interests of Foreign Governments (Billy Carter—Libya Investigation). On August 4, 1980, President Jimmy Carter wrote: "I am deeply concerned that Billy has received funds from Libya and that he may be under obligation to Libya. These facts will govern my relationship with Billy as long as I am president. Billy has had no influence on U.S. policy or actions concerning Libya in the past, and he will have no influence in the future."

He didn't have any influence on Libya policy. Obviously. Billy was a very small time hustler who didn't know Libya from Connecticut and nobody ever thought the president would actually listen to anything he said.

This from another brother,however, is very different:

In late October 2017, Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, dropped into Saudi Arabia for an unannounced visit to the desert retreat of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was in the process of consolidating his power. The two men talked privately late into the night.

Just a day earlier, Mr. Kushner’s younger brother, Josh, then 32, was flying out of the kingdom.

Jared came to talk policy, but Josh was there on business.

The founder of an eight-year-old venture capital firm, Josh Kushner had spent the three days before his brother’s arrival at an investor conference, where Prince Mohammed had promised to spend billions of dollars on a high-tech future for Saudi Arabia.

As others sat through speeches in a gilded conference hall, several participants said, the younger Mr. Kushner frequently ducked out for more exclusive conversations with Saudi officials.

Some government ethics lawyers say those conversations — never hidden, but not previously reported — create the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Although Jared Kushner severed his ties with his brother’s company and divested his interest in his brother’s funds around the time he entered the White House, he was nonetheless discussing American policy with the rulers of the kingdom at virtually the same time that his brother was talking business with their top aides.

There is no doubt that Saudi officials have been playing with brother Jared in a big way, for a lot of reasons. There is evidence they even ran a blockade against American ally Qatar, with Trump's approval, to pressure the Qataris to lend the Kushner family a boatload of money.

By all accounts Joshua Kushner is not his brother and is antagonistic toward Trump. But I'd guess that didn't get in the way of trying to make a deal knowing his brother was deep in the Saudis pocket. Nothing personal, strictly business.

Trump, Ivanka and Jared refused to divest themselves of their global businesses with billions of dollars putting American national security at risk.

Jummy Carter, on the other hand, was forced to sell his family's peanut farm so as to ensure there was no appearance of conflict of interest.


Health care FTW

Health care FTW

by digby

This piece by Paul Waldman about where the Democrats are heading on health care is very good news, as far as I'm concerned.

Something quite remarkable is happening right now among Democrats on the issue of health care: After an intense period in which rhetoric, policy and politics were all seemingly in flux, the party is rapidly moving toward something like consensus on where it ought to go next on its most critical domestic priority. 
As you may know, almost every Democrat running for president has said he or she supports Medicare-for-all, but most of them (with the exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been proposing a single-payer plan for years) have been vague about what that might mean. Maybe private insurance will be eliminated, or maybe not; maybe people will continue to get coverage through their employers, or maybe not. They will all presumably present specific plans eventually, but they haven’t yet. 
What they are doing is circling closer and closer to something that doesn’t yet have a name, but which I’ll call “Medicare For Anyone.” The fundamental difference between that and Medicare-for-all is that instead of eliminating (or minimizing) private insurance and putting everyone into the same pool, it would open up Medicare or something like it to anyone who wants it. 
In most of the variations that have been proposed, large numbers of Americans (newborns, people with low incomes, the uninsured) are automatically enrolled to make sure they’re covered. Employers can choose to stay with the insurance they have, or put their employees into the government plan. It’s paid for through a combination of taxes and premiums, with low-income people paying nothing and premiums rising with income.
For the moment I won’t get too deep into the policy details. But if you’re looking for a full version of it, there’s a proposal from Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Jan Schakowsky called “Medicare for America” that is probably what most Democratic candidates will either specifically endorse or which will be very similar to what they present. 
But if you want to sum it up in the most simplified form, this kind of proposal is like Medicare-for-all, except instead of everyone being put into Medicare, there will still be private insurance plans that people can stay with if they want to. If the policy heart of it is that everyone gets insured, the political heart is that it’s voluntary. 
Beto O’Rourke is already saying that the DeLauro-Schakowsky plan is what he wants. Pete Buttigieg says he supports Medicare-for-all either actually for all or “as a public option to buy in,” but either way with private insurance remaining involved as it is in the current Medicare program. 
And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said at an MSNBC town hall on Monday night that she wants to “allow anyone to buy into Medicare at a price they can afford. Something like 4-5 percent of income. They buy in, so it’s an earned benefit, and they are qualified automatically for Medicare.” She concluded, “Let’s have a not-for-profit public option compete for the business. I think over a couple years, you’re going to transition to single payer.” 
That’s also something you’ll hear from multiple candidates, not just because it’s a reasonable prediction of what would happen, but also because it’s a way of appealing to strong single-payer supporters. But not necessarily from all of them. In fact, a public option or a Medicare buy-in or Medicare For Anyone could encompass a wide variety of plans, some more sweeping than others, depending on how it’s designed. 
Not every non-Sanders candidate is endorsing Medicare For Anyone. Elizabeth Warren’s position at the moment is essentially that we’ll get everyone together and work it out, so long as we find a way to cover everyone at lower cost. But I can confidently predict that in the coming days, candidates who have also been vague on the question are going to be drawn to this idea like iron filings to a magnet. 
Why is this where the party is arriving? There are three main reasons. First, this kind of plan satisfies, at least for the most part, the progressive desire to insure everyone and eliminate the pathological features of the current system. Second, it addresses what is probably the greatest vulnerability of single-payer plans: the fear of change. It’s foolish to think that fear can be eliminated through sufficient logical persuasion, and Republicans will absolutely exploit it when they fight against whatever Democrats propose. So the fact that joining Medicare would be voluntary is essential to these proposals. 
And finally, it’s easy to explain. I cannot stress enough how important this is. The ACA was an absolute nightmare to explain to people, which left it vulnerable to all the demagoguery and lies Republicans could muster. Like Medicare-for-all, Medicare For Anyone is just three words, and it requires no explanation at all. You know what Medicare is, right? It’s the program your grandmother is on, the one she loves. Now anyone can join. That’s it. 
To be clear, there won’t be complete consensus, since many Democrats still favor an immediate move to single-payer, like the one Sanders has proposed, or the one offered by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. And there are others who have proposed more modest expansions of Medicare. But if and when the presidential candidates come together around a basic idea, that becomes the party’s position — and the one the next Democratic president will have to pursue. 
That’s what happened the last time we went through this. After Bill Clinton’s health reform failed in 1994, Democratic politicians and policy wonks spent a decade and a half working to devise a health-care reform they thought would be effective and politically possible. The result was a combination of expanded Medicaid, subsidies for those with low incomes, individual and employer mandates, and stronger regulation of insurers to protect patients. 
In the 2008 primaries, all the leading candidates proposed something like that, and it eventually became the ACA. But now, instead of spending 15 years working it out, Democrats are trying to do it in just a couple of years. And just as they were then, they’re trying to adjust based on what went wrong on both policy and politics in the last reform.
There are going to be a lot of details to debate. But this is where Democrats are heading.

This makes sense. I don't know whether we will end up with single payer in the long run. But we do have a large number of people already in government-guaranteed health care: Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. The idea here is to take the ACA one step further and add the Medicare opt-in to the menu for people who aren't covered by any of those or their employers. I suspect that this will end up being part of the menu for employers as well, making Medicare buy-in a benefit that employers pay for their employees. Over time most people will probably gravitate to the program because of the affordability and seamlessness of it.

This is a big step that the Democrats can get done right away if they win a majority. 


But his WhatsApps!

But his WhatsApps!

by digby

House Democrats are raising new concerns about what they say is recently revealed information from Jared Kushner’s attorney indicating that the senior White House aide has been relying on encrypted messaging service WhatsApp and his personal email account to conduct official business.

The revelation came in a Dec. 19 meeting — made public by the House Oversight and Reform Committee for the first time on Thursday — between Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Trey Gowdy, the former chairman of the oversight panel, and Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell.

Cummings, who now leads the Oversight Committee, says in a new letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that Lowell confirmed to the two lawmakers that Kushner “continues to use” WhatsApp to conduct White House business. Cummings also indicated that Lowell told them he was unsure whether Kushner had ever used WhatsApp to transmit classified information.

"That's above my pay grade," Lowell told the lawmakers, per Cummings' letter.

Lowell added, according to Cummings, that Kushner is in compliance with recordkeeping law. Lowell told the lawmakers that Kushner takes screenshots of his messages and forwards them to his White House email in order to comply with records preservation laws, Cummings indicated.

I'm sure you all remember how traitorous it was for Hillary Clinton to decide which emails to forward to the State Department.

Kushner, whom the president charged with overseeing the administration’s Middle East policies, reportedly communicates with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman via WhatsApp.

The details of the discussion about Kushner’s email and messaging practices came as part of a new Oversight Committee demand for a slew of new documents from Kushner and other current and former White House officials, including his wife Ivanka Trump, former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, and former top strategist Stephen Bannon.

I'm sure that's fine.

And I think it's really awesome that the scourge of Banghazi, Trey Gowdy is still licking Trump's boots even after finding that out. He quit the Congress so there's no excuse about "fear of the base."

According to Cummings, Lowell also told him and Gowdy that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter who also serves as a top adviser, conducts official White House business through her personal email account. Cummings suggested that Ivanka Trump was in violation of the Presidential Records Act because she was not forwarding emails to her official White House account that deal with government-related business.

Cummings also told Cipollone that the committee obtained a document showing that McFarland was using an account to conduct official White House business. Cummings said the document shows that McFarland was in communication with Tom Barrack, a longtime Trump confidant and the chairman of the president’s Inaugural Committee, about transferring “sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.”

Barrack pitched the plan to Bannon through Bannon’s personal email account, according to Cummings.

We already know what the Republicans would do if they found out a Democrat had used a personal email server.  "Lock her up!" 

Take a moment to ponder what would be happening if a different president's top aide and son-in-law was using a personal encrypted application to communicate with the leader of a foreign country.


The problem is Fox

The problem is Fox

by digby

It's Fox viewers who think Trump is the greatest president in history. No one else does.

I know most of you don't watch Fox. I watch as much as I can take just to keep up. It's always been bad, but it's much worse than it was in the past. Since Ailes checked out, the network has become Trump TV, period. He would not be at 40% in the polls if it weren't for Fox:

Almost 8 in 10 Republicans who watch Fox News say Donald Trump is the most successful president in history.

That was just one finding of a new poll showing the deep ideological divide between Fox News viewers and everyone else. The poll results were provided to The Daily Beast by Navigator, a project launched by Democratic groups Global Strategy Group and GBA strategies. They surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters online with the goal of examining the differences in views between Fox News viewers and non-Fox viewers.

It comes after Democratic strategists have debated whether candidates and officeholders should appear on Trump’s favorite cable news channel to win over its regular viewers. Candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar have deliberately made efforts to speak to Fox News viewers, and the Democratic National Committee briefly entertained the idea of hosting a debate on Fox News before deciding against it.

But Thursday’s survey shows why many in the party have largely written off the network’s viewers as a lost cause.

The survey’s authors argue that the network presents an “alternate reality” in American politics, and plays an “outsized role in the way many experience and form opinions on the most important issues facing the country.”

The data show numerous ways in which Fox News-watching Republicans have radically different beliefs from non-Republicans and even Republicans who do not watch Fox News.

Republicans who don’t watch Fox News, for example, are over twice as likely to believe climate change is man-made, compared to just 12 percent of Republicans who watch Fox News. According to the poll, 78 percent of Republicans who watch Fox News believe Trump has accomplished more than any other president in history, compared to 49 percent of Republicans who do not watch Fox News. And 79 percent of Republican Fox News viewers said they believed people within the FBI and US intelligence agencies were trying to sabotage Trump, compared to 49 percent of non-Fox News viewing Republicans and just 8 percent of non-Fox News viewing registered voters who did not identify as Republican.

“Where Republican partisan affiliation and the Fox News echo-chamber overlap, there is near unanimity on the politics and even the facts defining the Trump presidency. This is the ‘FoxHole,’” the pollsters said. “What the Navigator data demonstrates is this particular segment of the public is so vastly different from the rest, it may serve progressives best to focus their attention on everyone else.”

Thursday’s poll also found that Fox News viewers say they are much more aware of many progressive issues because Fox News has covered the issues more often than other news sources. The survey found that twice as many Fox News viewers reported being aware of the Green New Deal compared to those who do not watch Fox News, because the right-wing network’s personalities endlessly lambaste the Democratic proposal as a plan to implement socialism.

“When evaluating national polling about progressive items like the Green New Deal, it should be acknowledged that opinion can often be driven by this highly aware, but relatively narrow slice of Fox News-watching Republicans,” according to the survey’s findings.

But while the numbers may show why many Democratic presidential candidates have focused their media attention elsewhere, the survey/poll suggests that Democratic candidates should not completely neglect the network.

We hear a lot these days about "Fake news" and radicalizing propaganda.

Well, there you have it. It's not hidden in some dark corner of the internet or raised up to the innocent person's attention through sophisticated algorithms. It's right out in the open on your cable box.


Kurt Vonnegut Explains How Stories Work

Along with the late Hunter S. Thompson and the late Phillip K. Dick, the late Mr. Vonnegut is currently very busy in the afterlife scripting our reality.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


When you’re president, you can’t do anything by @BloggersRUs

When you're president, you can't do anything

by Tom Sullivan

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Donald Trump said on tape, infamously, before winding up in the White House. He meant sexual assault. But assaulting a democratic republic?

No one has explained to the sitting president he is no longer the celebrity CEO of a small, family business where family members and sycophants follow his orders and cater to his whims without question. There are rules here. There are checks. (Sort of.) There are balances. (Sort of.)

Which is why a man accustomed to ignoring rules and getting his way unchallenged is losing in federal court. A lot. The Trump administration has lost in federal courts at least 63 times in two years, reports the Washington Post. Judges have repeatedly upbraided his administration for "failing to follow the most basic rules of governance."

The Post explains:

Two-thirds of the cases accuse the Trump administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a nearly 73-year-old law that forms the primary bulwark against arbitrary rule. The normal “win rate” for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as of mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law shows Trump’s win rate at about 6 percent.
The loss-rate is virtually unprecedented. “It’s not just that they’re losing. But they’re being so nuts about it,” said Seth Jaffe, a Boston-based environmental lawyer who represents corporations in deregulatory cases, adding that Trump's losses have “set regulatory reform back for a period of time.”

Trump blames "Obama judges," naturally, not his administration's failure to do basic due diligence. In case after case, judges are united in finding the administration's efforts at implementing Trump's will ham-fisted and lacking legal justification:

Four judges, for instance, have rejected the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected from deportation nearly 700,000 people brought to the United States as children. All four judges said essentially the same thing: that the government’s stated reason for ending DACA — that it was unlawful — was “virtually unexplained,” as U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, an appointee of President George W. Bush in Washington, said in an April opinion. A second explanation — that DACA creates a “litigation risk” — was derided by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in California as mere “spin.”

Three judges have invalidated the attempt to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census, the latest being U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco on March 6. All rejected as unbelievable Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s explanation that the move was intended to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

On voting rights in particular, an observation by Aaron Blake about Trump's approach reflects a kind of Republican politics that predates Trump's arrival:
Trump is by all accounts an impatient man who doesn’t have much regard for the “obstacles” that stand in his way. We’ve seen repeatedly how that’s meant hasty and sometimes aborted solo policy decisions, such as the complete withdrawal from Syria. Administration officials struggling to implement his often-unwieldy ideas may find it hard to justify them or to reason that even if they’re ultimately struck down in court, Trump will have gotten the coverage he wants.
This is precisely how "voter fraud" found a national audience on the right. Allegation after allegation of widespread fraud proved exaggerated if not imaginary, but only after blaring headlines reinforced in the public's mind that where there are smoke bombs there must be fire. The result is dozens of voter suppression measures passed across the country, litigated, and often struck down. No matter. Republicans will will have gotten the coverage they want. Democracy is undermined. Because the only good democracy (they cannot control) is a dead one.

That form of "untruthful hyperbole" was a feature of Republicans astroturfing a market for imaginary problems before Trump. On Wednesday, David Corn responded in a tweet thread to an attempt by George W. Bush administration flack Ari Fleischer to rewrite the history of WMD hysteria and the Iraq invasion — another manufactured crisis that resulted in the worst American foreign policy blunder in memory.

Truth was a casualty in America before Trump, but it took a malignant narcissist from a minor crime family to turn an entire administration into one.

The one saving grace (so far) of this fiasco of a presidency is its failures at governing should put to rest any notion that electing a rich CEO as president is the way to get things done in Washington. It won't. Howard Schultz proves that.


People Don’t Understand How Hard It Was for Leni Riefenstahl…

... to break into the male-dominated world of Nazi film-making.

From Dana Bash at CNN:
Our political media is broken beyond repair.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Hellfire in Hannity’s world

Hellfire in Hannity's world

by digby

This piece
by Gabriel Sherman suggests that Trump's little twitter rant at Fox News over the weekend may not have just been a random freak-out:

...Trump’s attacks on Fox have widened the chasm between the network’s opinion hosts and the news division, which have been fighting a cold civil war since Roger Ailes was ousted in July 2016. Fox journalists, bristling at being branded an arm of the Trump White House, are lobbying Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace to rein in Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Pirro. “Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air,” a frustrated senior Fox staffer told me. Fox’s opinion hosts, meanwhile, have made the case that Fox’s prime-time lineup not only reflects the audience’s worldview, but is responsible for the majority of the network’s advertising revenue. “We make the money,” an anchor close to Hannity told me.

The outcome of that civil war will be decided by Fox Corporation chairman and C.E.O. Lachlan Murdoch. Rupert’s oldest son took over the smaller media company that emerged out of the Murdochs’ $71 billion deal to sell their entertainment assets to Disney. Though Lachlan hired West Wing stalwart Hope Hicks, staffers believe he is likely to nudge the network away from its close marriage to Trump. Sources close to Lachlan pointed out that Lachlan is a libertarian conservative, not a MAGA diehard, who in private has expressed annoyance at Trump. “He doesn’t like Trump,” one person who has spoken with Lachlan told me. “There’s a lot of talk of the direction of the network changing under Lachlan,” the senior Fox staffer told me.

Sources pointed out the hiring of Donna Brazile and the appointment of Trump critic Paul Ryan to Fox Corp’s board as signs of Lachlan’s view on Trump. “Donna is a shot in that direction. Management knows they have an image problem.” (A spokesman for Lachlan declined to comment.) Indeed, at an advertiser sales event in recent days, brands complained to Fox News executives about the network’s association with Trump, a source briefed on the meeting told me. (Through a spokesperson, Fox’s head of ad sales, Marianne Gambelli, said this was “completely false.”)

Two sources close to Lachlan told me that he has likely waited to implement any editorial changes at Fox News until the Disney deal closes on March 20, for fear of antagonizing Trump into opposing it. (The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer recently reported that Trump had told former economics adviser Gary Cohn to direct the Justice Department to block AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner. Cohn reportedly didn’t act on Trump’s directive.) And the senior Fox staffer cautioned that any changes will be modest, at least at first. “Lachlan is not James,” the staffer said, referring to Rupert’s liberal younger son. (“Fox News will continue to provide a platform for a diverse range of voices in its opinion programming and fair and balanced news coverage as it always has,” a Fox executive told me.)

Another vector influencing the Trump-Fox relationship is Hannity’s frustration with the Murdochs. Sources said Hannity is angry at the Murdochs’ firing of Ailes and Bill Shine,Hannity’s close friend and former producer. Hannity believes the Murdochs are out to get Trump. “Hannity told Trump last year that the Murdochs hate Trump, and Hannity is the only one holding Fox together,” a source who heard the conversation told me. Hannity has told friends that he intends to leave Fox when his contract expires in early 2021, two people who’ve spoken with him said. (Hannity did not respond to a request for comment.)

Ultimately, creating some distance from the president may be the first step in a larger strategy. Some believe it’s only a matter of time before the Murdochs sell Fox News. “Everyone thinks they’re going to sell it. It’s too small to be independent,” the anchor told me.

“Fox has been underestimated dating back to its inception as the fourth major network and continues to challenge conventional wisdom, exceeding expectations as a strategically bold, transformational media brand,” the Fox executive said. “That won’t change.”

I suspect that's right.  Their audience is so tied into Trump at this point that they really can't extricate themselves.  But a sale ... now that could change everything.

But this story makes me anticipate a new season of "Succession."


“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be”

"Don't play psychiatrist any more than George should be"

by digby

Ok, I'm pretty sure this some kind of strategy. If her marriage isn't on the rocks there is no way she'd feel compelled to say this. Unless, this whole thing is bullshit:

Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump’s attacks on her husband George Conway saying he’s “a counterpuncher” and asserting that the president is free to respond when he’s accused of having a mental illness.

“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Conway, a senior Trump aide, told POLITICO in a brief telephone interview. “But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?”

“Don't play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You're not a psychiatrist and he's not, respectfully.”

Conway’s defense of her boss comes as Trump has spent the past two days ripping her husband on Twitter. While the president has generally restrained from attacking George Conway, a longtime conservative lawyer who has repeatedly mocked Trump on Twitter, he broke from that habit on Monday after George Conway claimed he suffered from mental illness.

Play Video true
“George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!”

Trump later on Wednesday took the Twitter feud offline, telling reporters that George Conway is a “whack job” and doing a “tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife.”

George Conway responded in kind to the latest attacks, sending more than two dozen tweets on Wednesday in which he called Trump “nuts” and re-upped his claim that the president suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.

The vicious back-and-forth has grabbed headlines during an otherwise tense week. The White House is anticipating the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and the president has vented about everything from late Sen. John McCain to Saturday Night Live to Fox News.

I keep remembering the story of Martha Mitchell
. If George sees some big guys at his door in the next few days, he should run as fast as he can.

In the summer of 1972, Martha Mitchell was on the telephone in her hotel room in Newport Beach, California, when a security guard for President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign walked over and yanked the cord out of the wall. According to Mitchell, for the next 24 hours, the guard, who was working on orders from her husband, former attorney general John Mitchell, refused to let her leave. Every time she tried to escape, the guard caught her. Later she recounted, “From then on I saw no one — allowed no food — and literally kept a prisoner.” At more than one point, things got physical. Mitchell said that the guard, Stephen King, kicked her and, later, during one of her escape attempts, put her hand through a glass window, causing an injury that required six stitches. The incident was humiliating. Mitchell reported, “He came into my room while the doors were closed and I was undressed.” At some point, King called a doctor, who walked into the room without saying a word to Mitchell. He and King threw her on the bed and held her down while the doctor removed her pants and administered a tranquilizing shot to her rear end.

Mitchell wasn’t being held captive as a part of some ransom scheme. It was a threat and a sinister political maneuver. That summer, Nixon was running for reelection, and her husband was serving as the campaign’s manager. A 53-year-old southern belle from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, she was a lively figure in the Washington social scene, known for her humorous tirades against liberals and communists and her willingness to say exactly what she thought. But perhaps more impressive than her talk were her powers of observation. Mitchell was known to listen in on her husband’s meetings and report back to her journalist friends. When four burglars were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, Mitchell recognized one of them and guessed that her husband and the president were involved, though she couldn’t say exactly how. She got on the phone with a reporter friend to voice her lurking suspicions. Thus began what she called “the most horrible experience I ever had,” which culminated in a sexist campaign to discredit a woman who knew too much.


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