adr1682305408 Thanh / Flickr White house social media director fires...
adr1682305408 Thanh / Flickr

Politico:

McConnell aims to reshape courts in case Senate flips

The Kentucky Republican is prioritizing confirmation of conservative judges in what may be his final months as majority leader.

Mitch McConnell is making a last dash to stock the judiciary with conservatives this year as a hedge against the chance that Republicans lose the Senate in November.

The GOP may have only a few more months of unified control of Washington to repeal Obamacare or enact President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan. But the Senate majority leader is taking a longer view — and confirming as many conservative judges as possible to lifetime appointments.

The move will show conservative voters that the Senate can still get things done even if Republicans lose the House and is part of McConnell’s years-long plan to reshape the courts after the presidency of Barack Obama shifted them to the left

Does Mitch know more than he’s letting on? Oh, and for those of you who don’t vote, this is what happens when you don’t. Don’t make that mistake in November.

Vox:

Who the DNC is suing — and what they’re suing about.

You don’t have to like Joe Scarborough (I don’t) or believe him (I don’t), but the the fact that this is openly discussed (in WaPo) is of interest:

It’s becoming clear that Trump won’t run in 2020

This past week, White House office pools reportedly set up in anticipation of the next staff firing are shifting their focus to predicting which Trump family member will be the first to land behind bars. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s independent investigation into Russia may have inspired a defiant West Wing response, but the U.S. attorney’s raid of Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room has stirred more fear and loathing inside White House offices than at any time since President Richard Nixon battled Watergate prosecutors in the summer of 1973.

Now, even Trump’s most steadfast allies are quietly admitting that the Southern District of New York’s investigation poses an existential threat to his future, both politically and legally. Trump allies are telling the president his “fixer” could flip for the feds, just like Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. In Washington and across the country, Republicans are sensing the president is a wounded political figure, leading them to withhold their future support or — in one high-profile case — to challenge the president directly.

NY Times:

“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” said Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s informal and longest-serving political adviser, who, along with Mr. Cohen, was one of five people originally surrounding the president when he was considering a presidential campaign before 2016.

Now, for the first time, the traffic may be going Mr. Cohen’s way. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the strong possibility that Mr. Cohen, who has a wife and two children and faces the prospect of devastating legal fees, if not criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating him for activity that could relate, at least in part, to work he did for Mr. Trump.

Will Bunch/Philly.com:

Mitch McConnell gets his own chapter in the story of America’s dying democracy. And it’s devastating

Yet McConnell’s machinations to keep the Supreme Court in conservative hands would have been all for naught if Trump had lost the 2016 election. And a Trump defeat certainly would have been more likely if American voters had known — when they went to the polls on November 8, 2016 — how alarmed Obama and other officials were at the extent of Russian interference in the election, or that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation. But one man stood up and used his power to block that information from coming out that fateful autumn.

Mitch McConnell.

Trump the populist:

Nancy LeTourneau/Washington Monthly:

In other words, it looks like Rosenstein responded to their demands by not only releasing these memos to the congressional committees, but by allowing them to be released publicly. That cuts off either aim Trump’s enablers had in mind. They can’t hold him in contempt of Congress or impeach him for refusal to comply and they can’t cherry-pick what is released to the public.

The fact that these memos merely corroborate what Comey has said publicly makes them a non-issue for the ongoing investigation into whether the president obstructed justice. His legal team didn’t learn much of anything that they didn’t already know about the case Mueller is putting together on that front. The two new pieces of information are that Trump was clearly obsessed with former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe, whose wife ran as a Democrat in Virginia and lost, and that before he fired Michael Flynn, Trump said “the guy has serious judgement issues.”

In the end, it looks like once again the people in charge of this investigation demonstrated that they can stay one step ahead of Donald Trump and his enablers. That is the major takeaway from this episode

More Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Republicans Protecting Trump? Actually, It’s Worse

It’s difficult to see how the Comey memos help Trump, easier to see how they help hardcore conservatives pushing for their release.

Everyone is assuming that in doing this, the House radicals are seeking to protect Trump. But it’s very possible that they are seeking a Saturday Night Massacre type event for their own reasons. How did the release of the Comey memos help Trump, for instance? They certainly burnished the reputation of Nunes to the strong conservatives who might help him overcome a surprisingly competitive re-election campaign — both through national fundraising and district support

WaPo:

Schumer introduces measure to decriminalize marijuana

Why? Because it’s good politics.

TPM:

Greitens’ Refusal To Resign Is Dragging Entire Missouri GOP Down

But Eric Greitens is still sitting in the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, with no plans to step down. The Republican governor admits he had an affair but insists he committed no crime, and that he’ll be vindicated in court.

But the Missouri GOP sees things differently: Increasingly, it views Greitens as an anchor, defiantly dragging the entire state party down with him.

State Republicans worry that the longer Greitens spends firing off defensive tweets and huddling with his defense lawyers, the more it will split their party and demoralize Republican voters, dooming the party’s chances in the November midterms. Foremost among the GOP’s concerns is the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, which could help determine control of the chamber.

“What I know from the data is that this information flow is awful for Republicans,” Missouri GOP strategist James Harris told TPM. “They’re not talking about efforts to lower taxes in the state, trying to improve education. Instead everything that’s on TV is about deviant sexual activity, assault, coerced sexual acts. It’s not good.”

Paul Waldman/WaPo:

The next big thing for Democrats: Medicare for all

A group of Democratic senators led by Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) has introduced the Choose Medicare Act, which would open up Medicare to anyone who wants it and isn’t already eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. Individuals could get it through the exchanges and employers could put their employees on it instead of private insurance. In its basic structure, it’s extremely similar to the Medicare Extra For All plan put out by the Center for American Progress, the most influential liberal think tank. There’s also a plan to allow states to create a buy-in to Medicaid introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and a Medicare-X Choice Act from Sens. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) still has his Medicare for All plan, which differs from these in that they emphasize that it would be voluntary, and private insurance would stay around as long as it can compete.

These plans are not identical, and the details do matter — about how it’ll be structured, what will be covered, how it’ll be paid for, and so on. But the basic idea seems to have been decided. Here’s the most succinct summary I can offer:

Open up an existing government health insurance program, either Medicare or Medicaid, to anyone who wants it.

Why? Because it’s good policy AND good politics.

Why? Because they are all shysters.

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