Fun To Stay At The USMCA. Wonkagenda For Tues., Dec. 10, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
By the time you read this, House Democrats are expected to have announced articles of impeachment against Donald Trump for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. The Wall Street Journal says Democrats MIGHT cite the Mueller Report for a possible third article on obstruction of justice, but there's concern it would make things too wonky.
Politico is reporting the Senate is desperate to delay a Senate trial. Republicans are bitching about being stuck in DC over Christmas, but they don't have much of a choice once the House drops impeachment articles. Trump hopes a trial will be to his benefit, and is similarly demanding it begin immediately, but the Senate's old farts really enjoy their days off and aren't keen on the six-day weeks an impeachment trial would create.
The DOJ released its inspector general report on the origin of the FBI's investigation into Trump-Russia fuckery in the 2016 election, finding that the FBI was TOTALLY EXONERATED as the investigation was triggered after a US ally told the FBI that Carter Page was up to shady shit. The report also cites some ethical lapses from FBI officials, but ultimately concluded it had reached a "tipping point" when an Australian diplomat called up the FBI and said a Trump campaign idiot "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia." Since the report didn't validate any rightwing fever dreams, Attorney General Bill Barr came out blasting the report, and was quickly followed by his lackey leading another investigation into the investigation, John Durham, who said he "advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions." As expected, Fox News talking heads lost their shit, while Hannity said the report was was "dead-on-center accurate," but glossed over its ultimate conclusion. [Full Report]
Also revealed in the report: Ivanka Trump has apparently "been friendly" with Christopher Steele, the author of THE DOSSIER. The report says Steele once went to Trump Tower and gave Vanky a family tartan from Scotland, and once courted the Trump Organization to hire his business for projects in Russia and China. So much for the personal bias argument.
FBI Director Chris Wray sat down with ABC News and there was "no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election." This morning Trump is shitposting about the FBI and Wray after Wray penned a long letter defending the IG report, the FBI, and DOJ officials.
Homeland Security says it won't use facial recognition tech at US airports for international travelers. The walk-back comes after privacy advocates, lawmakers, and civil rights nerds lost their shit and accused of Uncle Sam of becoming China.
Key legislators have announced their support for a measure that creates paid family leave for federal workers in exchange for the SPACE FORCE. Both measures will be tied to the National Defense Authorization Act. There's still major hurdles for the bill to pass, super lefty lawmakers complain the NDAA does nothing to stop US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, but it might not matter now that there's GOP support.
House Democrats are likely to throw Trump a bone and approve his NAFTA 2 scheme. Details haven't been released for the NAFTAening (aka USCMA), but WaPo has a good breakdown of how the whole thing came together after a flurry of phone calls between the White House, House Democrats, Canada, and Mexico. Politico reports Democrats felt pressure from big labor groups to do something to ease the strain of NAFTA's existing rules, while the Wall Street Journal reports Nancy Pelosi telling a conference last night, “There are those who I read about in one place or another that say, why would you give President Trump a victory? Well, why wouldn't we? This is the right thing to do for our trade situation, for our workers."
SCANDAL! The Washington Post got its hands on a 1996 memo where Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues in defense of a real estate company's right to "maximize its returns to its unpaid creditors and survive as an employer" after the company bought an old, polluted rail yard and didn't feel like paying to cleaning up the mess it had bought. A spox for Warren's campaign says the memo "was not about the merits of environmental laws, which she strongly supports and has fought to expand both in the Senate and as a presidential candidate," but rather, "which company would pay." In a related story, NPR has a well-timed piece on how Warren went from pro-business to pro-consumer.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been given the green light to talk about his time at McKinsey and Co., the shady consulting firm he worked for from 2007 to 2010. Over the weekend Butters released a timeline of his work for the company in an attempt to divert a sea of torches and pitchforks, and last night he said he'd open up his previously closed-door fundraisers. Politico reports the story could turn into a nothingburger for all the pasty geriatrics in Iowa (because Iowa), just like the dust-up over Warren's time as a working mom with a shitty gig.
Amy Klobuchar sat down with Cosmopolitan to talk about voter suppression, climate change, reports that she's mean to her staff, and falling asleep to Harry Potter, but all anyone cares about is that time her underwear fell out of her bag on a plane. She didn't lead a panty raid after being denied a salad comb, it was simply an embarrassing accident.
After The Verge exposed how Away's CEO was keeping a very creepy eye on employees, yesterday Away announced that its CEO, Steph Korey, would be stepping down. Casey Newton has a good round-up of what went down, and how Silicon Valley tried shrugging off corporate spying with blasé techsplainations.
The head of Brazil's new National Arts Foundation, Dante Mantovani, is claiming, "Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions." Mantovani argues that Elvis Presley's super sexy penis shaking paved the way for the Beatles to pass out the CIA's acid to people at Woodstock, and the social acceptance of beating the shit out of your friends at punk shows. Mantovani does make an exception for Metallica, which he says is OK "when you're driving in traffic" or "feeling a bit tired." Personally, I'm in love with rock and roll.
Michael Avenatti doesn't want anyone talking about his Ferrari and private jet in a court case on his ALLEGED attempt to extort Nike. Apparently Avenatti's lawyers are worried his lavish lifestyle might make him look like a dick.
Seth Meyers took A Closer Look at impeachment, the Republican stalling tactics, Steve Castor's grocery bag, and how nobody in Trump's White House understands how to operate toilets or computers.
House Judiciary Holds Impeachment Hearing as GOP Lies About Ukraine: A Closer Look www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: BELLA, THE FUR SEAL!
Happy first birthday Bella! www.youtube.com
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