IT'S INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK! Wonkagenda For Tues., March 26, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Trump and his cronies intend to use the "Barr Report" as evidence for a witch hunt to burn the media and Democratic lawmakers who dared to accuse Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump himself is bitching and moaning about all the "very evil things, very bad things," threatening/suggesting that everyone NOT wearing a MAGA hat be investigated for all the "treasonous things" they did to
him "our country." Yesterday his 2020 campaign sent out a memo demanding cable TV stop letting fierce Trump critics on the air to hurt Trump's feefees, like CIA Director John Brennan, and Reps Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Jerry Nadler, among others. Trump is already considering pardons for some of his top aides even though his White House still has no idea what's in the Mueller report.
WaPo reports that Bill Barr knew as early as March 5 that Mueller wouldn't recommend indictments, and has spent the last month scrubbing grand jury material from the Mueller report so that it can be released to members of Congress and the Trump White House. The FBI says it's ready to tell congressional leaders on the House and Senate Intel committees, known as the Gang of Eight, all the evidence Mueller had on Trump-Russia fuckery in a closed session.
House Democratic committee chairs have given AG Bill Barr an April 2 deadline to release the full Muller Report, not just some suspiciously worded cliff's notes. Meanwhile, senior Democrats continue to keep quiet on talk of impeachment, instead focusing on the litany of ongoing investigations into Trump world and the policy goals they ran on in 2018, like healthcare and voting rights. As a result, the House Intel Committee has decided to postpone its public chat with shady
spy-for-hire Trump goon Felix Sater about the proposed Trump trash palace in Moscow.
NBC News is reporting DNI Dan Coats almost quit last year, but Mike Pence talked him out of it (again). Coats was reportedly pissed that Trump demanded he find evidence Obama tapped his phones along with accusing the US intel community of being part of the mythical DEEP STATE hunting down the pee hooker tape. Coats tried to quit when Trump tried to withdraw all US troops in Syria, but Pence was worried that Coats and former Defense Secretary Mattis resigning in protest would look REALLY bad. Fun Fact: Trump calls Coats "Mister Rogers" when Coats ignores his loony shitposts.
An attempt to override Trump's veto on the border wall "emergency" is expected to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed. In addition, The AP reports acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan is likely to get his ass chewed out later today by members of Congress who are pissed Trump's trying to launder billions of Ameros for his goddamn wall by ripping off badly needed military housing projects.
Gay and trans detainees locked up in one of Trump's baby jails tell the ACLU they're being abused by guards who are locking them up in solitary confinement for requesting hormone therapy, or simply complaining about harassment.
Members of Congress must be tired of winning because nobody seems to want Trump's NAFTA 2: Milk Mafia Boogaloo. In the face of failure, Trump is threatening lawmakers that he'll drag the US back to "pre-NAFTA" if they don't rubber stamp his massive handout to the NFL and big pharma. In the meantime, Republicans in the Senate will try to limit Trump's ability to indiscriminately drop tariffs on Not America, simultaneously screwing up flyover country and global trade.
Trump's DOJ is once again trying to nuke Obamacare using legal fuckery to strip healthcare from millions of old and poor people alike. If successful, the administration would obliterate healthcare expansion without any replacement, which is what Republicans have been fighting for all along.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg is riding a sudden wave of enthusiasm and attention in early primary states. Don't they know he's a Rhodes scholar, a Navy vet, AND a gaymosexual living in sin in Mike Pence's backyard?!
Beto O'Rourke has tapped Jennifer O'Malley Dillon to lead his 2020 campaign. O'Malley Dillon served as Obama's 2012 deputy campaign manager, and her hiring, the New York Times suggests, shows Beto is getting super serious about his 2020 bid as she's been one of the most sought after Democratic strategists. I guess Beto won't be driving himself to any more campaign events, or planning a Foss reunion show.
Stacey Abrams admits she "had a lovely lunch" with Joe Biden where they talked about food and presidenting, but all this gossip about her being Biden's running mate (IF #HesRunning) is "pure speculation made up by somebody else." Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Abrams has launched a new nonprofit to encourage accurate head counting in the 2020 Census called Fair Count. The group will be headed up by Abrams's sister, an evolutionary biologist, with the goal of ensuring brown people, and renters, and Mexican-Muslims who don't speak English, won't be skipped over.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has announced "the largest federal investment in teachers' salaries in the history of the United States." Harris is proposing raising average teacher salaries by $13,500 by the end of her first term. In an op-ed, Harris lays out her plan to close the teacher pay gap by jacking up the estate tax and working in conjunction with states to require gradual increases in investment. Harris's plan is expected to cost around $315 billion, but we could also take that money and sink it into a big, ugly wall.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is expected to face a primary challenge from some Trump-loving rightwing blogger, David Levasseur, who's best known for picking a drunken fight at a wedding that involved his 15 year-old daughter. The incident led to him losing his job as a local cop, which is pretty much the gold standard for MAGA Republicans. He seems nice.
Roll Call reports Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego will let astronaut Mark Kelly challenge Sen. Martha McSally rather than blow a bunch of money on a primary race that will only serve to benefit McSally.
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall has announced he's going to retire. The seat is considered solidly blue, and there's chatter that Rep. Ben Ray Luján will run, as well as freshman Reb. Deb Haaland, and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse.
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan still won't say if #HesRunning against Trump in 2020, but yesterday he schmoozed national reporters by saying they weren't "fake news," and added that journalism was a "noble profession." Bottom line: This old-money grifter is either running now, or in 2024.
Former Massachusetts Republican governor and 2016 Libertarian loser Bill Weld says he still might formally announce #HesRunning against Trump in 2020. Yesterday, Weld told reporters, "I'm leaning towards doing it unless something changes, and set myself an informal deadline of the month of April to pull the trigger." Weld added that he'd run throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic states by appealing to millennials, independents, and white women in suburbia, and push for "secure mobile voting" via smartphones. The sad old coot added, "Some independent voters might conclude choosing between simply two men who have nothing in common other than being large, orange men. And I think politically, the president and I have not very much in common at all. That might be an appealing way to cast a vote that would make a difference."
In yet another humiliating defeat for British Prime Minister Theresa May, Parliament yanked Brexit negotiations away so that it can hold a series of last minute votes on a Plan B. The two most consequential votes will be over a "soft Brexit" plan similar to May's original Brexit deal with the EU, or whether Britain will hold a second referendum -- both options loathed by hard-right pro-Brexit nutters. May is now bitching about being embarrassed (AGAIN) by members of her own party, and members of her inner circle are even nervously talking holding elections to give them cover ahead of a possible second referendum.
A three year Al Jazeera investigation has found members of Australia's (racist AF!) hard-right One Nation party asking the NRA for lobbying cash just before a ban on foreign cash in Australian elections took effect. The investigation found members of the NRA advising politicos to "shame" and smear gun-control advocates as standing "on the graves of those children to put forth [a] political agenda," and members of One Nation asking for $10 million so that they could "have the testicles of the government in [their] hand at every given stage." In response, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused One Nation of trying to "sell Australia's gun laws to the highest bidders," and straight-up told people not to vote for the racist gun fetishists. One Nation has defended itself by arguing they were drunk, and called Al Jazeera a bunch Arab terrorists who want to steal their guns and freedumbs. [Video]
And here's your morning Nice Time! A GOLD CREST with Sir David Attenborough!
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