John Bolton: He's The One Who Sucks! Wonkagenda For Thurs., May 16, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
The administration has told its past and present lackeys to ignore subpoenas and document requests from House Democrats under the belief that Democrats won't start impeachment hearings because they believe it to be too politically risky (for now). WaPo reports Nancy Pelosi telling House Democrats to hold fast and focus on process and policy as they head into 2020, with multiple outlets reporting contempt votes on AG Bill Barr are at least a month away. Politico reports the administration is running Republican Rep. Jim Jordan's playbook, with Trump lawyers openly admitting they're consulting with Jordan in court about how to stonewall investigations and Jordan blatantly lying about it.
Yesterday, at an event on the Capitol honoring fallen law enforcement officers, Bill Barr reportedly walked up to Pelosi and asked, "Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?" Pelosi smiled and pointed out that House sergeant at arms was in attendance.
The New York Times reports that Trump World's war drumming on Iran stems from photos of Iranian military forces moving missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf, HOWEVER a broad coalition of Europeans, Iraqis, members of Congress, and senior Trump officials say they've seen this dog and pony act from Bolton and the Bush 43 neo-cons before. After reports began surfacing that Trump World is fighting with the neo-cons and Bushies about invading another Middle Eastern country, Trump shitposted that there was no infighting, and that he was "sure that Iran will want to talk soon." Fun Fact: Obama DID talk with Iran for several years, and we reached an agreement (thanks to John Kerry) called the JCPOA that curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions, but Trump killed it.
The House Appropriations Committee is nonplussed about a plan by Trump World and the DOD to reimburse the Taliban for participating in peace talks. Under a plan submitted by the Pentagon, Uncle Sam would foot the bill for the Taliban's travel, food, and lodging if it attends talks about recognizing the government of Afghanistan and women's rights. House Democrats ultimately nuked the idea, and added a reimbursement provision forcing the inclusion of women and the Afghan government in any future peace talks with the Taliban. Fun Fact: Obama DID NOT negotiate with terrorists.
Later today the administration is expected to roll out a new proposal to fight the Mexican Muslim taco truck invasion with a civics test. The proposal would assign "points" to asylum-seeking immigrants based on their age, proficiency in English, job offers, and level of education. In addition, asylum seekers would be forced to spread their cheeks and lift their sacks, and pass a civics test too. I guess people with enough points are rewarded with baby jails.
The administration has been trying to "You're Fired" VA officials who refuse to swear loyalty to Trump, but recent court rulings are offering protections to whistleblowers and career officials who know where their loyalties are.
Later today the Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Wendy Vitter to the federal bench. For those unaware, Vitter is a staunch anti-abortion asshole who tried to hide a bunch of horrible bullshit she spewed in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic during her confirmation hearing, and the wife of former Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter (also an asshole). Yesterday, Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted against ending a filibuster on Vitter's nomination, and a spox confirmed she'd (probably) oppose Vitter's nomination again today.
Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt says he's not going to bother with election security legislation. Blunt's comments came during a hearing of the Election Assistance Commission before the Senate Rules Committee where officials pleaded for more resources and warned they don't have enough full time employees to help all the geriatrics manning the polls in flyover country. This prompted Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to remark, "At the CIA and intelligence agencies, millions of dollars are being spent to stop the Russians from making a mess of the 2020 election. But in the United States Senate we can't bring a bill to the floor to even debate it. It doesn't speak very well of us."
Joe Biden announced he's picked Philly as his campaign headquarters. In a related story, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Biden rising above other 2020 Democrats, and absolutely crushing Trump by double-digits in Pennsylvania. Axios gossips that Biden's team is focusing on the first debates, hoping to shore up the ever expanding field of 2020 candidates by running for the general instead of the primary.
Kamala Harris has given the finger to Fox News and declined a town hall, according to Yashar Ali. Harris's team hasn't publicly announced the decision but a spox tells The Hill, Fox News "reached out, but we haven't entertained it."
NICE TIME: Members of Cory Booker's camp want you to donate to Kirsten Gillibrand to make sure she has a spot in the debates. Gillibrand is barely registering on recent polls, and risks being crowded out as MORE old white guys jump in the 2020 field.
Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is trying not to piss people off by saying good words following his decision not to run for Senate. Bullock's camp has already announced they've raised $1 million in the first 24 hours. Last night he went on Maddow to brag about being a progressive in Trump country, and treating gun violence in schools as a public health crisis. [Morning Maddow]
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threw his hat in with a Youtube video, and is expected to practice shoving corn dogs down his piehole in Iowa later today. I'm not even going to TRY and be nice here: He's A Idiot and sucks more than all the rats in Brooklyn.
As part of an ongoing probe into the Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks, German cops are raiding super rich banksters who've been hiding their cash in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share. The investigations were initially triggered by a 2013 investigation from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that revealed how banks will keep all sorts of dirty secrets (if the price is right). And yes, Deutsche Bank customers were right on top of the list!
Trump fired another salvo at China in his trade war yesterday. First, the administration essentially barred shady Chinese tech company Huawei from doing business in the US, then it upped the stakes again by declaring a national emergency on the country's communications network. The pro-Trump bean counters say this is a way to drag China back to the negotiating table, noting that there's broad agreement from geeks and hawks that Huawei is sketchy as fuck, but the markets have flipped over as investors dump tons of cash into Asian markets. Compounding issues, China upped the stakes even higher by announcing it has formally arrested two Canadian citizens on charges of espionage. Good thing trade wars are easy to win!
The New York Times has an interesting retrospective about why Trump is a tariff man, and it all starts with the fucking piano from Casablanca. Seriously.
ProPublica has a deep dive into data recovery companies who specialize in ransomware, revealing that they're SHOCKINGLY screwing people by paying the ransom, charging customers exorbitant fees, and purposely not reporting the hacks to law enforcement agencies.
Trump's White House has rolled out a new plan to fight what it perceives as censorship from the tech industry. It's created a website where MAGA snowflakes can report being deleted, muted, and/or or blackballed on social media. Users are asked to dump a bunch of personal information that nerds and politicos are certain will be harvested for junk mail and spam, including first and last names, ages, zip codes, phone numbers and citizenship status. What could possibly go wrong?
Politico has a long thing about how Dan Scavino has survived by kissing ass and shitposting since 2016, and has been instrumental at shaping Trump's social media skid marks.
Stacey Abrams still won't say if #ShesRunning, but she does have an op-ed in the New York Times talking about ending voter fuckery and her belief that "every person has the right to register, cast a ballot and have that ballot counted — without undue hardship."
Sex Ed for Senators | May 15, 2019 Extended Act 1 | Full Frontal on TBS www.youtube.com
Back to School with Kamala Harris | May 15, 2019 Act 3 | Full Frontal on TBS www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: IT'S PRINCE MICHAEL!
Catfinated - When Cats Drink Coffee www.youtube.com
We're 100% ad-free and reader-supported, so consider buying us coffee, or get a subscription!