Friday, July 21, 2017


What we learned from Trump's NYT interview
Trump Gives A Truly Insane Interview
The Law Is Irrelevant to Donald Trump
A new interview reveals Trump’s ignorance to be surprisingly wide-ranging
Trump’s Incoherence On Display
The Inadvisable President
He can’t see anything other than naked self-interest.
Trump has no idea how much health insurance costs
8 absurd things the president said
Trump's Latest Interview Highlights Four of His Greatest Flaws

[NB: Here's what I've learned. He hasn't learned A THING. He still has no idea of what it means to be president. And he doesn't care to learn. This interview was classic Trump. He had Hope Hicks with him, but didn't involve his press team. He meandered shockingly over all kinds of issues he doesn't know anything about, and the many stunning disclosures blindsided everyone.]

Think about this quote. Just think about it
“I don’t even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don’t care. They’re a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction,” complained Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “At first, it was ‘Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He’ll learn, he’ll learn.’ And you just don’t see that happening.” . . . “Quite frankly, I’m starting to wonder if anyone in the family knows what the truth is.” 

Click through for the answer to this question
Does Trump Know He’s Lying? 

Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation . . . Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort. Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe . . . Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns. . . . Further adding to the challenges facing Trump’s outside lawyers, the team’s spokesman, Mark Corallo, resigned on Thursday, according to two people familiar with his departure. Corallo did not respond to immediate requests for comment. . . . [read on]

Mark Corallo is no longer working as a spokesman for the legal team. A former Justice Department spokesman, Corallo was one of several people cautioning against publicly criticizing Mueller. . . . [read on] 

[NB: First of all, Trump can't fire Mueller. Only Deputy AG Rosenstein can do that. If Trump wants to fire HIM, he will unleash a Saturday Night Massacre type conflagration. And impeachment talk will begin in earnest. If he starts pardoning people, everyone will see that as an admission of guilt -- and that won't stop Mueller's investigation either. If he pardons people and then Mueller finds probable cause for criminal indictments, that will lead to serious impeachment talk too. We don't know the timing of things yet, but imagine that a major issue in the 2018 elections could be -- Will your candidate defend Trump, or support impeachment?]
Congress Warns Donald Trump That It Will Be Toxic If He Fires Bob Mueller

Trump Is Mobilizing for War Against the Rule of Law
The Russia Probe Is Headed Toward Places Trump Doesn’t Want It To Go . . . “It’s not up to him as to what the scope of this probe is, that’s for sure,” Akerman added, saying investigators are “not going to ignore stuff that is criminal.”
President Donald Trump’s decision to talk off the cuff about the Russia probe to reporters allowed him to put out his version of events — but increased the legal risks to him, as well as to his children and the growing number of associates who have been pulled into the expanding investigation.  Every public statement by the president or others involved opens a line of questioning for special counsel Robert Mueller or lawmakers exploring the contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 election.  Like the president’s tweets, his interviews can be used to establish facts or intent, offering investigators a gold mine of information but potentially creating conflicts for others that can lead to headaches for their various lawyers — or to criminal charges including perjury or obstruction of justice. . . . 

There will still be a vote to bring the abomination of a heath care bill to the floor of the Senate for debate and possible amendment. That doesn't mean the final version will pass
A clear guide to what the hell is going on with the Senate health care bill

This is the key:
Which is politically worse for Republicans — failing to pass this health bill or actually passing it? 

"That's a luxury we don't have" @JohnCornyn when asked "don't some people want to know the plan before they vote" on health care. 

There are four different bills still floating around

Everyone is confused about the health care vote — including Republican senators
Can Republicans Do the Impossible on Health Care? Probably not but maybe. 

It all comes down to the moderates

Popular vote loser Donald Trump achieved very little in trying to bully a Republican Senate into reanimating Trumpcare with his Wednesday lunch. Too little, way too late seems to be the consensus among Republican senators, that and they're not scared of him:

"A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it more bluntly. The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages."

Here's the CBO score of Trumpcare 3.0 (without the Cruz amendment)

The CBO found a huge problem with the Republican health care bill

Deutsche Bank. Remember that name
Why did Deutsche Bank give Donald Trump loans when no one else would trust him
Deutsche Bank Is Turning Over Information on Trump

Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam 

Here's Trump trying to signal to Putin at the G-20 dinner. You tell me what he has in mind

Continuing the story, above, Mueller is expanding his investigations into Trump's finances. Trump's threats aren't stopping him

“But in this New York Times interview, you have the current president criticizing his own attorney general for recusing himself; questioning the political motivations of the deputy attorney general; and warning the special counsel what he may or may not investigate — all while there is a federal investigation into his campaign’s ties/contacts/interactions with Russian entities. And it raises this question: If Trump has nothing to hide in this Russia investigation, why is he so concerned about it?”

The big lie in the NYT interview that will interest the special counsel
President Trump’s denial that he cleared the room before his infamous James Comey meeting will haunt him.

Paul Manafort's troubles
WSJ: Special Counsel, Congress Probing Possible Money Laundering By Manafort

What Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Jr will be asked next week

Trump counterterrorism advisor confirms what Trump won't
President Donald Trump’s chief counterterrorism adviser said Thursday it’s “pretty clear” that the Russian government tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that he didn’t think the former President Barack Obama administration went far enough to deal with the hack. “There’s a pretty clear and easy answer to this and it’s yes,” Thomas Bossert said . . .

Trump trashes Jeff Sessions -- he clearly believes the job of the AG is to shield him from investigation, not to recuse himself. But Sessions says he'll stay on

Jeff Sessions Has 'Absolutely Pathetic' Response To Trump

Possibly the worst judge Trump will nominate his whole time in office
John Bush

The Cesspool
Trump lifted the cap on H-2B worker visas. Then his businesses asked for 76 of them.

Hire American!

Back in May, Nicole Kushner Meyer was caught mentioning her brother Jared Kushner’s name and his new position in the Trump administration during a pitch to Chinese investors. During the event in Beijing, investors were told that they could receive an EB-5 investor visa if they put at least $500,000 into Kushner Companies’ luxury-apartment-building project in New Jersey. After this stirred controversy in the U.S., the Kushner family apologized, and confirmed that Jared Kushner had left the company to join the Trump administration and was not involved in the project. “Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors,” the company said. “That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention.” Nearly three months later, CNN found that Jared Kushner is still being used in online promotional materials by two businesses working with the Kushner family. . . 

Of course. . .
Trump picked climate science denier for Ag Department's top science post

John McCain says he'll be back soon

The WH press briefings really are becoming a joke 

A new WH Communications Director -- in a WH with a president who refuses to stick to a message or coordinate his outbursts with anybody
Axios reports that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci is expected to be named White House communications director on Friday. . . . He does not have the background typically required for the communications position, but he has a number of credentials that matter more in Trump World: he frequently defends Trump on cable news, he hosted a financial TV show on Fox Business Network, he’s known President Trump for years, and he’s a longtime friend of Sean Hannity. . . .

“Trump’s plans to appoint Scaramucci came as a surprise to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who found out after the plans had already been made.”

Get busy!
House Democrats are starting to outraise their Republican counterparts

Theocracy watch: Christians want to "take back" the rainbow

Bonus item: A very clever thought experiment: what if Hillary had won?

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Thursday, July 20, 2017


Like a horror movie where the monster just keeps coming back, the health care debacle isn't quite over yet. Sensing a political catastrophe, Trump changes direction -- again -- after calling for repeal and replace, then repeal and delay, then just saying let Obamacare fail. He turns back to repeal and replace, says it's really a great bill after all, and summons Republicans to the WH for a little talking to. He praises the bill for things that aren't actually in it, bashes the Dems, and threatens senators who vote against him on this one. Does this restart the process, or is it too little too late?  

Oh, and this: "nobody should leave town" until it's done. Does he include himself? 

Notice his use of "they" and "their."
"I will be having lunch at the White House today with Republican Senators concerning healthcare. They MUST keep their promise to America!"
"The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime.The Dems scream death as OCare dies!"

[NB: I don't know WHAT that last part is supposed to mean.]
“We’re close, very close … We have to hammer this out and get it done.” [read on]

His bizarre comments on what the bill contains

Trump can’t make a health care deal because he doesn’t understand health care

All the times during the campaign when Trump said repeal and replace would be easy
[Feb 9, 2016] We will immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare - and nobody can do that like me. We will save $'s and have much better healthcare! 

[Feb. 22, 2016, at a campaign rally] “Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. … You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in. Okay? Immediately. Fast. Quick.”

[March 3, 2016, on his campaign website (on a page that has since been deleted)] “On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”

Mitch McConnell says there will be a vote next week, but doesn't say which bill it will be 

After a meeting at the White House where President Trump urged Republican senators to keep working on their Obamacare repeal effort—which was presumed dead due to resistance from both the conference’s right and centrist wings—the caucus is expected to hold a meeting Wednesday evening where hesitant Republicans can continue to talk through their differences. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) suggested it was possible that the Senate’s left-for-dead Obamacare replacement bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, could be revived, Politico reported. “I’m more optimistic that that would be the case. But if there’s no agreement, then we’ll still vote on the motion to proceed but it’ll be to the 2015 just-repeal bill,” he said . . .
With his reputation for being a master of the Senate at grave risk, Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, extended a new offer to wavering Senate colleagues leery of scrapping the health care law. He backed away from his earlier insistence that the Senate focus on a plan to repeal much of the existing Obama-era law and allow a two-year window for its replacement . . . Instead, his new selling point was that senators should simply vote next week on a motion to open a rollicking health care floor debate and then let the amendment chips fall where they may — a case of creating national health care policy, which makes up about 20 percent of the United States economy, on the fly. “What I’m telling you is no harm is done by getting on the bill,” Mr. McConnell told reporters outside the White House after a lunch where Mr. Trump hosted most Senate Republicans. “Wide open for amendment.” . . . Whether that will be enough to entice Republicans who feared that health insurance proposals crafted by the leadership would do damage to states like Ohio, West Virginia, Maine and Alaska remained to be seen. But there was no rush of outright rejections, and lawmakers planned to assemble with White House staff members to explore options that could win them over.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told reporters upon returning to the Capitol, “I don’t think there are 40 votes” for a repeal-only bill.

The CBO scores "repeal only," and it's a catastrophe

Conservative leaders call out "Traitorous Republicans," threaten retribution

Will this last-ditch effort succeed?
Senate Republicans still at impasse after late-night health care meeting
Senate GOP has only bad options on health care

Trump gives a NYT interview in which he trashes his Attorney General
President Trump told the New York Times that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.” Said Trump: “Sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
In the interview, Trump also lashed out at Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who took over supervision of the Russia investigation following Sessions’ recusal and who appointed Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation. Federal investigators are looking into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was a Russian government effort to sway the contest in Trump’s favor using hacking and disinformation. Trump told the Times that Mueller would cross a red line if his inquiry “expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia”. . . 

Trump hints he is expecting the next FBI director to report directly to him
Trump Still Doesn’t Know How the Justice Department Works
Here's what is happening to the Trumpians who can't create "re-election" committees to cover their Trump-Russia legal bills

The new GOP excuse for Trump-Russia: they're too dumb to collude
“They were willing to allow for the possibility that some Trump campaign officials might have inappropriately cooperated with Russians, but they said the president and his team were simply too incompetent to pull off a high-level House of Cards-style conspiracy. At worst, they seemed to believe Team Trump’s collusion amounted to a ‘conspiracy of dunces  . . . embarrassing and unseemly, sure, but certainly not so grave as to demand blowing up the entire GOP agenda to address it.”  Said one senior Senate aide: “I think most of us agree that if something did happen, it wasn’t anything malicious … it’s just chalked up to them not being very smart.”

Trump gives his buddy Vlad an item on his wish list
Trump Ends Covert Program to Arm Syrian Rebels 

President Trump’s “persistent overtures toward Russia are placing him increasingly at odds with his national security and foreign policy advisers, who have long urged a more cautious approach to dealing with the foreign adversary,” the AP reports. “The uneasy dynamic between the president and top aides has been exacerbated by the revelation this week of an extended dinner conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent summit in Germany. The previously undisclosed conversation, which occurred a few hours after their official bilateral meeting, raised red flags with advisers already concerned by the president’s tendency to shun protocol and press ahead with outreach toward Russia, according to two U.S. officials and three top foreign officials.”

Follow the money
Trump’s Deutsche Bank Accounts Under Scrutiny
NYT: Manafort Owed Pro-Russia Interests Millions Before Joining Trump Team

Boo effing hoo
A source in the Trump family circle tells People: “Don Jr. can’t do any deals, because he’ll be overly scrutinized. He just goes to work every day and is miserable… You can’t bite the hand that feeds you, but he can’t wait for these four years to be over.”

More trouble for the kids
Kushner, Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. to appear before Senate committees investigating Russian hacks 

Trump's "Made in America" theme week was supposed to distract attention from the Russia scandal and the health care failure. It's turned out to be the other way around

Trump shows up at his vote suppression committee's first meeting, to utter a few lies about how bad the voter fraud issue is, and to utter an immortal quote that will bear repeating in other contexts
[The lie] “This issue is very important to me because throughout the campaign, and even after, people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities, which they saw,” Trump said. “In some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states.”

[The immortal quote] “If any state does not want to share the information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump said this morning. “What are they worried about? There’s something, there always is.”

[NB: On Russia? “There’s something, there always is.” On his tax returns? “There’s something, there always is.” See how useful that is?]

What to expect from this committee, and its psychotic chairman
Kobach Says 'We May Never Know' If Hillary Clinton Won 2016 Popular Vote

The first public meeting of Trump’s voter fraud panel was a horrifying parade of outright lies.
How the Election Integrity Commission Is Preparing to Purge Voter Rolls
Trump is calling his budget and tax reform initiatives "MAGAnomics." Once again he confuses branding with actual policy -- and as with health care reform he wants credit for passing something without really knowing or understanding what's in it. We're in for the same bad math and overinflated promises -- and another spectacle of Republicans in Congress fighting among themselves
“They are drawing the line against tax reform that increases the deficit,” says budget expert Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Translation: Trump, the “king of debt,” won't be able to borrow more money to pay for his tax plan. He'll have to offset the tax cuts by reducing spending. That puts Trump in a difficult place. The economic advisers from his campaign team are urging him to move fast on tax cuts because businesses and many individuals like them, but spending cuts are painful. Someone loses out on benefits or programs. The most likely result: Trump's tax cut is going to get smaller. MAGAnomics was supposed to deliver the “biggest tax cut we've ever had.” . . .
House GOP Leaders Can’t Get Votes for Budget  

GOP Tax Negotiators Run Into a Math Problem 

Trump on unemployment numbers
"When we got those great reports, I kept saying—you know, those numbers were 4.2, 4.3—I said, for a long time, they don’t matter. But now I accept those numbers very proudly. I say they do matter." 

Ethics, shmethics
The day after he left his post as head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, former director Walter Shaub appeared on CNN Wednesday morning, spouting off a list of ethical abnormalities he encountered working under the President Donald Trump administration. Shaub said he was “horrified” by an incident in which Trump’s lawyer asked if the President could file his financial disclosure form without signing it. . . .


Of course, part XXXVIII
Trump Declines Invitation To Speak At NAACP Convention In Baltimore 

John McCain has aggressive brain cancer
The judge who lied
The Senate is poised to confirm Judge John K. Bush to a lifetime appointment as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  When it does so (the process is a foregone conclusion), Bush will become both the most appalling extremist on the federal bench, and a judge who lied to Congress. . . .

The return of the gender gap

Trump said he could shoot someone and not lose his base of support. Well, he's putting that to the test now
A new poll finds even Trump supporters are wavering

One in Eight Trump Voters Would Not Do So Again 

It's pretty bad when you've lost People magazine 

Golden Oldies
As Trump troubles multiply, Fox News won’t stop talking about Hillary Clinton 

Fox & Friends
Trump’s Magic Mirror 

Fox reporter walks out of press briefing that isn't on camera

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***