John Lewis's Bad Trouble. Wonkagenda For Mon., Dec. 30, 2019

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


Civil rights icon Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis says he is being treated for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Mr. Lewis is America.

The New York Times has a super long story about the behind-the-scenes clusterfuck of Ukrainium One. In a less than shocking twist, nobody knew if the administration had the legal authority to withhold congressionaly appropriated aid from Ukraine, but OMB head and (acting) Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney decided do it anyway. When lawyers and national security nerds tried to raise alarms, Trump simply ignored them and leaned on the bureaucracy.

The Washington Post reports Rudy Giuliani tried to worm his way into Venezuela during the negotiations with President Nicolas Maduro. As the economy and government of Venezuela collapsed, Giuliani was getting cozy with Alejandro Betancourt López, a Venezuelan energy tycoon suspected of money laundering by the Department of Justice, and some people inside the White House were wondering why Rudy was stumbling into South America while the adults bickered about bringing "peace."

The Wall Street Journal has a profile on the White House impeachment strategy. It boils down to "obstruct all the things" with executive privilege. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has been behind the notion that Trump can wipe his ass with the Constitution, no matter what Congress says, but Trump reportedly wants more TV lawyers.

Over the weekend Joe Biden sat down with the Des Moines Register and said he wouldn't comply with a subpoena in Trump's inevitable Senate impeachment trial. After legal eagles and political wizards pointed out that this was pretty goddamn stupid, Biden walked that back and said he "would obey a subpoena that was sent." This morning Biden seems to be trying to change the subject with an op-ed at a Bible thumping website that talks about SCRANTON, helping poor people, and giving reach arounds across the aisle. Predictably, the wingnut-o-sphere has covered none of this, and is instead "reporting" on a few stupid jackoffs who tried to derail a New Hampshire rally by screaming about Q-Anon and Ukrainium One bullshit.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is talking shit about Joe Biden, blasting his vote in support of the Iraq War. Butters says Biden's years of experience in DC blinded him and that he has bad judgment, adding that this was proof the US needs to be led by someone without any executive or legislative experience.

On Wednesday, Illinois will become the umpteenth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Medicinal shops already in operation have been bracing for the green inferno by stockpiling supplies, but some shops say they won't sell to the general public. Meanwhile, the surrounding gun humping states are butthurt that this might fuel an epidemic of drug tourism and turn douchey cookie-cutter suburbs into a lawless, deep dish-loving, post-apocalyptic hell holes, like Chicago.

The Wall Street Journal reports Trump called Putin to let him know the DEEP STATE had uncovered a potential terrorist attack in St. Petersburg on New Year's Eve. The White House won't say what else the two besties might have been gabbing about, but we're sure the Kremlin will tell us sooner or later. [Kremlin Statement]

Kim Jong Un is doing his Glenn Close impression again, insisting that he's going to blow something up if people keep ignoring him. Yesterday, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told ABC's John Karl that the US would be "extremely disappointed" if Kim tried to boil a metaphorical rabbit.

The Taliban's ruling council has agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan. The US has been demanding a cease fire before signing any peace agreement. Foreign policy geeks note any potential peace agreement would see the Taliban have an increased role in Afghan politics, but it's uncertain to what extent the US will insist on protecting women's rights and free speech, or what roles rich warlords and their heavily armed militias will have in the new government.

And here's your morning Nice Time: IT'S TOPI!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! - Topi the Corgi www.youtube.com


Wonkers, this is the final Wonkagenda. It's time for me to move on to new things. I will launch a newsletter, The Smoke Eater, similar in scope to the Wonkagenda, but with a focus on the global news and technology stories that are often obscured in our rapidly changing newscycle. As always you can still find me on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you all for several wonderful years of late nights and sleepless mornings.

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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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