'Programmatic Delay.' Wonkagenda For Thurs., Dec. 12, 2019

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


In a hilarious leap of legal horseshit, the Office of Management and Budget has fired off a new memo saying the OMB was studying whether congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine was actual US policy. The OMB's time traveling leap of logic posits that Trump's attempt to bribe Ukraine was part of a "programmatic delay," and that OMB is always sticking its greasy sausage fingers in Uncle Sam's coin purse. OMB further says that it was only following orders from the executive branch, and that it's really no different than Congress's constitutional power over the purse.

A couple of House Democrats in swing districts want to peel off from voting to #IMPEACH the motherfucker. The Washington Post reports people are whispering that at least two centrists Democrats in red districts are getting cold feet, with some suggesting a censure vote (that they'll never get), and others wondering if they can split their votes on impeachment articles. The likely suspects are keeping mum about their decision (for now), saying they'll think it over after their phones stop ringing.

Trump is now embracing the idea of a short Senate trial. Republicans seem to have convinced our mad king that he's his own worst enemy, with Senate Majority Leader #MoscowMitch McConnell saying a long trial with witnesses would only lead to mutually assured destruction with Democrats. In a related story, Trump has been dumping tons of money into Facebook ads, running as many as 2,500 with the words "impeachment" or "impeach" in the week of Dec. 5.

Later today House Democrats will vote to move the articles of impeachment out of the House Judiciary Committee, setting up a floor vote that's expected to come sometime next week. Last night the committee went back and forth in mark-up, with Democrats wondering what kind of world they would be creating if they didn't act to hold the president accountable to the law, while Republicans -- cowering in fear of a primary challenge -- continued to wolf down burnt Trump Steaks, gargle Trump Water, and sip Trump Vodka. [Mark-up video / Impeachment Vote]

At one point, Rep. Louie Gohmert began rattling of a list of names that included a person whom the wingnut-o-sphere thinks is the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment hearings. Respectable news outlets aren't reporting the name.

Just before he was charged with campaign finance violations in September, the wife of one of Rudy Giuliani's goons, Lev Parnas, got $1 million Ameros from a Russian bank account. Parnas conveniently left this and other little financial details out when speaking to US prosecutors; now Uncle Sam wants to LOCK HIM UP instead of letting him out on a leash. Prosecutors say Parnas knows he's under investigation for other potential crimes, and could easily flee the country, adding, "any individual would be highly incentivized to flee; with Parnas's particularly strong ties abroad, that incentive is even greater." [Morning Maddow]

Indicted Rudy Giuliani Associate Paid $1M From Russian Account: Filing | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC www.youtube.com

#MoscowMitch has now steamrolled his 50th circuit court judge.

A circuit court judge in South Carolina has ruled the state's Republican Party can kill off their 2020 primary. Earlier this year Republicans started nixing primaries in multiple states in order keep wide-eyed Never Trumpers from embarrassing their new God-Emperor.

Britons are heading to the polls today for parliamentary elections that will inevitably decide the United Kingdom's place in the global community. I ran through the basic gist yesterday; it's a set of complicated issues many nerds think should be seen as a precursor to the 2020 US elections. The last poll on the eve of the election showed conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson squeaking, but there's been a lot of talk about "tactical voting" among centrist and liberal-leaning voters in order to avoid Brexit. If you like listening to people yammer on, veteran journalist Bob Schieffer talked to some foreign policy nerds at CSIS about the elections, and possible outcomes.

For the third time in a year, Israelis will head back to the polls for parliamentary elections after INDICTED Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dug in his heels and failed to drag his conservative Likud party into a coalition government. Earlier this year, Bibi's conservatives lost a parliamentary majority to the more left-leaning Benny Gantz and his Blue and White Party. Bibi is currently facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate investigations, as well as a challenge to his leadership of the party. Some politicos are already joking that they should begin planning for a fourth election due to the political stalemate.

Former Trump attorney/fixer Michael Cohen is begging the courts to reduce his three year prison sentence seeing as how he flipped on Trump World. Cohen argues that Attorney General Bill Barr and the Justice Department are pissed that instead of taking a bullet for Trump in the middle of 5th Ave., he spent more than 170 hours with "some eight different government agencies" singing about Trump's peen and schemes.

NBC is reporting that Boris Epshteyn has lost his gig as Sinclair Broadcasting's resident Trump 'splainer. Boris will now be kicked over to a more "sales focused role," and newsrooms will ALLEGEDLY be allowed to focus on more investigative journalism. Right.

Trump has been on another Twitter tantrum all morning. President Shitpost has been screaming about his looming impeachment, Greta Thunberg, and retweeting anyone who says nice things about him, like GOP legislators, clips from Fox News, and his own dumbass kids. Maybe he's mad he wasn't TIME's Person of the Year?

Samantha Bee and her crew went to the annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (aka The Sammies, aka "The Oscars" of shitty, DEEP STATE government work) to show the millions of public servants keeping planes flying, food safe, diseases at bay, etc. These folks don't get enough credit!

The Sammies: Awards for Government Workers | Full Frontal on TBS www.youtube.com

And here's your morning Nice Time: LITTLE DEVILS!

Baby alert! Four cheeky devils www.youtube.com


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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.

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