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How significant is McCain’s cheerleading for Kavanaugh?

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This slipped under the radar last night amid the kerfuffle over Trump’s announcement but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The Kavanaugh pick has pleased Trump’s least favorite maverick:

“In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy left by Justice Kennedy, President Trump has chosen a nominee with impeccable credentials and a strong record of upholding the Constitution. Over the course of Judge Kavanaugh’s impressive legal career, he has built a reputation as a fair, independent, and mainstream judge who has earned widespread respect from his peers. One of the Senate’s highest constitutional responsibilities is to provide advice and consent on nominations to the Supreme Court, and I look forward to the Senate fulfilling this critical duty through a fair and thorough confirmation process.”

Two weeks ago, after Kennedy announced his retirement, I asked whether McCain might step down to give McConnell a potentially crucial extra vote for the nominee. For months that wasn’t an option, as McCain resigning would have triggered a vacancy that could only be filled by special election in Arizona. The last thing the GOP wants right now is to have to defend two seats there this fall when they’re already at great risk of losing one. However, as of June 1, McCain’s seat would no longer be filled by the voters; it’ll be filled via appointment, by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. Another Republican vote is potentially available if McConnell really needs it, in other words. If McCain is willing to provide it, that is, either by returning to work or by standing aside.

Hence the question: Does his enthusiastic statement about Kavanaugh suggest that he’s more willing to do that now than he otherwise might have been, notwithstanding that it would greatly benefit his enemy Trump? A friend told me earlier that he wondered if Maverick would be as gung ho about a nominee like Amy Barrett, the preferred choice of the conservative base that’s never had much use for him and vice versa. If Barrett were the pick, maybe McCain would have decided that Trump could try to get her confirmed without his help. Now that it’s Kavanaugh, the more establishment choice, maybe not.

But wait, back up. Under what circumstances would McCain’s vote be needed, realistically? Collins and Murkowski are probably a package deal. after all. It’s hard to imagine what boutique issue might arise in Kavanaugh’s record that would spook one of them but not the other. If they are in fact a package deal then McCain’s vote is likely irrelevant: McConnell would be looking at a 48/51 vote if they walk, with no chance of victory unless he could flip at least one Democrat. If he can then McCain’s vote becomes hugely important — but only if Cocaine Mitch flips one and only one Dem. How likely is it that, say, Joe Manchin votes yes but Heitkamp, Donnelly, and the rest all vote no? Odds are that red-state Dems are a package deal to some extent too.

Precisely because Kavanaugh is so establishment, though, it’s unlikely that any Democratic votes will be needed. Does Susan Collins sound like she’s leaning no here?

REPORTER: Is this an easier vote than if Trump had chosen Judge Barrett?

COLLINS: I don’t think I’ll go into a comparison, but certainly when you look at the credentials that Judge Kavanaugh brings to the job, it’ll be very difficult for anyone to argue that he’s not qualified for the job. He clearly is qualified for the job, but there are other issues involving judicial temperament and his political, or rather his judicial philosophy, that also will play into my decision.

Nothing in his temperament or philosophy will spook Collins. That’s part of the reason Kavanaugh was nominated. He’s conservative but familiar and relatable in every way to Washington Republicans. As for Roe, when a reporter asked Collins about quizzing Kavanaugh on that, the first thing she brought up was Ginsburg’s approach during her own confirmation hearing 25 years ago of not saying how she’d rule on a case that might be before her. If even Susan Collins is already in “we play by the libs’ rules” mode then Kavanaugh’s getting confirmed whether or not McCain or his successor are in town.

Oh, here’s one more not insignificant reason to think he’s in good shape:

President Trump wanted a walk-off home-run win with his Supreme Court pick, so when confidants raised doubts about Brett Kavanaugh over the past week, according to Axios’ Jonathan Swan, Trump brushed them aside and offered the simple retort: “He’s got the votes.”

Was that cockiness by Trump or have Collins and Murkowski already assured him that, barring some bombshell revelation, they’re all-in? Remember, he consulted with them during the selection process.

The most realistic scenario for a 49/50 split that would suddenly make McCain’s vote critical involves not Collins or Murkowski but Rand Paul, who’s allegedly been sour about Kavanaugh and according to one report is leaning towards no. Paul might decide that Kavanaugh’s work on Bush’s counterterror programs after 9/11 are a bridge too far for him. I highly doubt that he’d bork the nomination if he was the deciding vote, but there’s always a chance. Here’s the thing, though: If there’s any Republican in Washington whom McCain detests more than Trump, it’s Paul. If Rand looks set to take down a judge whom Maverick admires, with Trump and McConnell somehow powerless to dislodge him, maybe McCain would ride to the rescue and save the establishment judge from his libertarian nemesis. I’d place the odds of him needing to do that south of one percent, but if Cocaine Mitch really, really needs a vote to offset Paul’s, that might be the most likely McCain scenario.

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Report: White House aides expecting Whitaker to “rein in” Mueller’s final report on Russiagate, block any Trump subpoena

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There’s not even a pretense that he’s in this role for any reason other than protecting Trump from Mueller, is there?

In fact, this NYT story claims that the White House’s first contact with him in July 2017 was to discuss “joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.” No wonder he ended up at the top of the DOJ. From the beginning Trump seems to have conceived of the position of Attorney General as head of his de facto legal defense team. Once Sessions declared that he wouldn’t play that part by recusing himself from Russiagate, his usefulness to Trump was over.

It’s funny that the White House thinks there’s some way to muzzle Mueller at this point, though, especially with the opposition party set to take over the House in eight weeks.

People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.

White House aides and other people close to Mr. Trump anticipate that Mr. Whitaker will rein in any report summarizing Mr. Mueller’s investigation and will not allow the president to be subpoenaed.

He knew exactly how to appeal to the president: “By October of last year, Mr. Whitaker was telling people that he was working as a political commentator on CNN in order to get the attention of Mr. Trump, said John Q. Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law who met Mr. Whitaker during a television appearance last June.” His cable-news gig was a job tryout in the administration, chock full of soundbites that were skeptical of Mueller, not coincidentally. It worked like a charm.

That being so, it’s impossible to take the report floating around today that Whitaker won’t try to cut the special counsel’s budget as a sign that he plans a hands-off approach to the investigation. He came to Trump’s attention for his willingness to criticize Mueller, ultimately landing a role as Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff and now as acting Attorney General. After all that, how does this wild journey end with Whitaker standing aside and letting Russiagate proceed to the end unimpeded? It would be an even bigger betrayal of Trump’s expectations than Sessions’s recusal was.

But if the plan is for him to bottle up Mueller’s final report — which is submitted to the Attorney General, remember, and remains within the Attorney General’s discretion to releas — that’s not going to work. My pal Karl knows why:

On Earth 2, where Republicans retained control of the House, *maybe* Mueller would have maintained a sphinx-like silence after submitting his final report to acting AG Whitaker. The media would have begged for interviews but Mueller and his deputies have been a vault to this point (publicly, at least). On Earth, however, Mueller will be called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, both in open and closed sessions. His core findings will leak. The actual report itself might leak, whether from anti-Trumpers at the DOJ or from House Democrats who’ve finagled a copy somehow. Having Whitaker try to formally suppress the release when the public is an uproar about seeing the contents would achieve nothing except underlining how deeply shady the Trump-Whitaker arrangement appears. It’d be smarter to have him release the report and then set Trump’s spin doctors to work making the case that, if anything, the contents largely/partially/somewhat vindicate the president. Why would they want to suppress something that makes him look good?

Whitaker blocking a subpoena of Trump from Mueller would backfire for all the same reasons. It would reek of cronyism; Democrats would expose it; it would inflame the public more than the subpoena itself would; and thus there are more politically astute ways to deal with it. Trump could go to court and try to have the subpoena defeated there, or he could state upfront that he’d assert his Fifth Amendment privilege if called to testify and therefore Mueller needn’t bother. “How could I submit to questioning in a witch hunt?” he’d say. “I’d be validating this garbage process!” All of his fans will side with him and any political hit he’d take among non-fans will fade by 2020, especially if Mueller’s final report doesn’t directly accuse him of anything.

I don’t think Whitaker will do anything to Mueller while in office. Even if he wants to, the bad headlines he’s generating for Trump likely mean they’ll push him out and propose a permanent nominee sooner rather than later. One more tidbit on Whitaker and his relationship with Sessions, this time from CNN:

In recent months, with his relationship with the President at a new low, Sessions skipped several so-called principals meetings that he was slated to attend as a key member of the Cabinet. A source close to Sessions says that neither the attorney general nor Trump thought it was a good idea for Sessions to be at the White House, so he sent surrogates. Whitaker was one of them.

But Sessions did not realize Whitaker was having conversations with the White House about his future until the news broke in late September about Rosenstein

Whitaker and Sessions didn’t have a prior relationship before Sessions — at the urging of the White House — accepted Whitaker as his chief of staff. Sessions interviewed him and the two grew to have a good working relationship. Sessions liked him, but even if he didn’t, the plan was already hatched for him to take the role, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Let me get this straight. Whitaker spends months on CNN in 2017 criticizing Mueller; then, coincidentally, the White House pushes him on Sessions as his new right-hand man; and not until September did Sessions have an inkling that maybe Whitaker had been working against him? Trump probably wanted him as Sessions’s chief of staff to begin with so that he could serve as the White House’s eyes and ears on Russiagate inside the DOJ. Plus, having Whitaker as a DOJ employee made it easy to satisfy the Vacancies Reform Act in the event of a vacancy at the top of the Department. Remember, under the statute the only way to bypass Senate confirmation for a temporary appointee to a position like AG is to choose someone within the upper ranks of the same agency where the vacancy opened up. That is, if Trump wanted a handpicked (temporary) successor to Sessions and didn’t want to worry about the Senate, he needed that person installed in a top job at the DOJ first. And whaddaya know? Whitaker was appointed chief of staff to Sessions last year. Trump’s probably quietly been eyeing him for this moment for many months. You would think he’d have asked to someone to research Whitaker for any political vulnerabilities during that time, but oh well.

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MUSLIMS Storm Jewish Kristallnacht Remembrance Vigil in London – Start Screaming About Killing Jews (VIDEO)

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On November 7th a vigil was held by pro-Israel activists in London on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. A few dozen activists with Israel Advocacy Movement gathered there ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria.

But the vigil was shut down when angry Muslims stormed in screaming about killing Jews.

The Muslims were screaming about the Khaybar, a historic event mentioned in the Koran when Muslims slaughtered hundreds of Jews in the seventh century.

The Jewish group decided at that point to call off their vigil.
They appeared to be outnumbered about 4 to 1 by the Muslims.

JTA reported:

A vigil held by pro-Israel activists in London for Jews murdered in Arab countries was dispersed after men shouted in Arabic about killing Jews.

The event by the Israel Advocacy Movement was held Wednesday on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, which is known for its culture of free speech and passionate street preachers championing various causes.

A few dozen people holding Israeli flags and candles gathered there ahead of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria, to highlight the suffering and slaying around the same time of many hundreds of Jews who were killed and wounded in pogroms across the Arab world.

Joseph Cohen, an Israel Advocacy Movement activist, filmed the event as about 20 men drowned his talk shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Some of the men shouted about “Palestine,” surrounding the pro-Jewish activists and shoving them.

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Ignored ICE detainer causes release of illegal alien who goes on to murder 3

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Each one of these stories is tragic and they crop up all too often. Sadly, we have to keep on highlighting them because you generally won’t hear much about it from the mainstream media. This one was flagged by our colleague Timothy Meads at Townhall. Last December, Luis Rodrigo Perez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was arrested in Middlesex County, NJ on domestic violence charges. ICE issued a detainer for him, which the local officials refused to honor and Rodrigo Perez was released.

Now, as all too often happens, the story has taken a tragic turn several states away.

An illegal alien previously detained by a sanctuary city in New Jersey has been accused of killing three individuals in Missouri, but federal authorities argue that these crimes could have been prevented if better cooperation existed between immigration officials and local enforcement.

According to Fox News, “Luis Rodrigo Perez, 23, a native of Mexico, is charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding two others on Nov. 1 and fatally shooting a woman the next day.”…

“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” Corey Price, the agency’s active executive director, said. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today.”

For their part, the authorities in Middlesex County are trying to blame this on ICE. They’re saying that ICE failed to issue an order which would have “authorized Middlesex County to turn over custody of Mr. Perez.” But that’s the upshot of what a detainer does. They asked Middlesex to hold him so they could pick him up. Instead, he was released and now two men and a woman are dead in Missouri.

Why is this so difficult? We’ve allowed politics to poison the system to the point where authorities in these sanctuary cities, counties and states can’t even cooperate with federal immigration authorities over someone charged with domestic violence? I thought that was one of the triggers which would qualify anyone for detention and deportation. If you’re part of the far left, you can at least make the argument that illegal aliens with zero other crimes on their rap sheet should perhaps be given a break. But that’s not the case with Perez. This isn’t the sort of person we’re supposed to be putting on a smooth pass to amnesty.

Now, instead of sending him back to Mexico, he’ll be tied up in U.S. courts (and probably prison) for decades to come. Small comfort to the families of his victims.

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