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During the second presidential debate in 2016, Hillary was asked to say something nice about Donald Trump. This was just a few days after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape so you have an idea of how off-the-rails that whole election was. Her opponent is caught on tape boasting of sexual assault and Hillary gets the "stump the band" question. She gave what she probably thought was a polite answer.

CLINTON: I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.

Yeah, none of that is correct. We give a perpetual pass to Barron, who's a kid, and Tiffany, who Trump himself forgets half the time, but Trump's three eldest children are a bunch of Marie Antoinette, Patrick Bateman, fake-charity-running sociopaths. This is why we were shocked to read reports that some Democrats were nervous about pursuing the leading members of the Trump crime family.


"Getting to family members I think is dangerous," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. "Only because it gets real personal, real fast. And it risks backfiring.

"Maybe at some point we have to call them in," Connolly added, "but I'd rather let prosecutors look at that."

Republicans would've investigated Chelsea Clinton for overdue library books, but Democrats are concerned about the "optics" of investigating Trump's kids like the common criminals they probably are. Kirstjen Nielsen could testify to the psychological trauma the government would cause if it separated Ivanka Trump from her walk-in closets.

Fortunately, Head Lady In Charge Nancy Pelosi has RVSPed a firm "no" to this pity party. She even scribbled "are you kidding me?" on the back of the invite. No one is going after the Trump children as a personal attack against the tweeter in chief. That's just ridiculous.

PELOSI: They are advisers to the president. They have security clearance. This is not [Trump's] children at home.

She pointed out for the dumb people in the back that any investigation into his moron offspring would result from reliable allegations that they have "violated the law or ethical norms," which we're fairly sure they're doing right now as you read this.

We learned recently that Donald Jr. signed a couple checks reimbursing Michael Cohen for allegedly helping cover up his father's affair. Family values! Pelosi's comment about "security clearance" is also masterful shade: It was revealed this week that Trump ordered his staff to give Ivanka and her first husband top secret access against the recommendations of anyone with a brain stem. Ivanka lied about this on television as recently as last month, which probably violated at least a few ethical norms.

Sure, it's possible Ivanka was unaware of her father's intervention on her behalf. She might've gone her whole life believing whatever she wants to happen just magically happens for her. She's a true "self-made" woman like Kylie Jenner. If so, she should go to jail for that alone.

PELOSI: [House Democrats] are investigating certain subjects. Whoever falls into that net, falls into the net.

Dang, Trump's children are big dumb fish that Pelosi will catch and never release. She's not even worried about political fallout. Who wouldn't want to see Donald Jr. in striped pajamas? Still, there's no need yet for the Trump children to wet their beds. If Paul Manafort's sentencing yesterday is any precedent, the worst-case scenario for the Trump kids will just having them staying after school and cleaning the erasers.

[Politico / Roll Call / Axios]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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

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