Connect with us

News

Rudy on a year of Mueller: We have a “Plan B” if he doesn’t end the Russiagate probe soon

Published

on

Is Plan B to go on “Hannity” and make a bunch of damaging admissions on his boss’s behalf?

Because that seems to have been the Plan B for Stormygate.

Plan B for Russiagate will probably involve Trump tweeting angrily for a few days and then doing nothing.

Trump and his lawyers are trying to set up the milestone on Thursday as a turning point in their campaign to end Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling and obstruction of justice, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, said Tuesday in an interview. While he isn’t threatening specific actions, Giuliani said they haven’t ruled out additional steps if Mueller doesn’t heed their calls.

“We are going to try as best we can to put the message out there that it has been a year, there has been no evidence presented of collusion or obstruction, and it is about time for them to end the investigation,” Giuliani said. “We don’t want to signal our action if this doesn’t work — we are going to hope they listen to us — but obviously we have a Plan B and C.”

Assuming he’s not just blowing smoke to try to intimidate Mueller (spoiler: he is), what might be a workable “Plan B”? Trump’s only options, really, are ordering Mueller’s firing or blowing up the probe by pardoning everyone involved, and those come with unspoken time constraints. There’s been chatter lately about Mueller “going dark” for the midterms if he doesn’t produce a report soon, at least on the obstruction question, but congressional Republicans are going to want Trump to “go dark” too as their fortunes improve on the generic ballot. The GOP’s mantra for the president will be “no sudden moves”: Let voters marinate in the good economic news with nothing to distract them. If Trump nukes Mueller, it’ll upend the midterm and probably not in a good way. His polling took a hit last May after he canned Comey and only fully recovered within the past month. Firing Mueller would be an order of magnitude more wrenching politically.

Here’s an outside-the-box Plan B: Imagine Trump announces on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment, that he intends to dismiss the Special Counsel — but not immediately. Say, in 120 days. The probe’s gone on too long, he’ll say, it’s interfering with state business, a competent prosecutor should have gathered enough evidence by now to have formed a judgment on probable cause, etc etc. But, lest he be accused of trying to obstruct the probe, he’s going to be a sport and give Mueller an additional four months to wrap up his work on his own terms. He gets 16 months to produce whatever he’s going to produce. If he’s done by then, great; if not, he’ll have to transfer the prosecutions of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates back to the DOJ and close down the rest of his operations.

I wonder how the public would greet the delayed firing of Mueller. The idea of Trump canning him out of the blue is outrageous because it would reek of obstruction of justice. Trump feared that Mueller was on the verge of uncovering something hugely incriminating, his critics would theorize, so he nuked the probe. Obstruction doesn’t get any clearer. If Trump gives him a window to finish up, though, that argument is harder. Mueller would still have time to keep digging; Trump wouldn’t have given him an extension if he thought Mueller had real dirt on him. It’d still be obstruction, but the more persuasive Trump can be in framing his opposition to the probe in terms of how it’s hurting the *country*, i.e. as a distraction to the executive branch, rather than hurting him personally, the more palatable it’ll be to voters. A grace period for Mueller to finish up would help with that framing.

Although where would that leave Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions? Would they announce in advance their intention to resign if Trump followed through by ordering them to fire Mueller? What if other DOJ officials announced their intention to quit too? Trump’s problem with a “delayed firing” is that his bluff would absolutely be called and he’d have no choice but to follow through for the sake of his own prestige. If you’re going to give a deadline as a momentous as this, you have to be utterly committed to enforcing it or you’ll look like a joke. But in this case, enforcing it could mean half the Justice Department walking out.

By the way, Paul Manafort lost his motion to dismiss Mueller’s charges against him today. He argued that Mueller exceeded his mandate as Special Counsel by indicting him for things that had nothing to do with collusion. The charges are close enough, said the court, citing the fact that Mueller was given authority to investigate any matters that arise “directly” from the basics of the Russia investigation. That’s a broad mandate, now judicially affirmed. Gotta be on POTUS’s mind!

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

Forecast: GOP now more likely to have *at least* 54 Senate seats next year than to lose its majority

Published

on

By

A nifty catch by Philip Klein, eyeballing the latest data from Nate Silver’s model (as of 5:15 p.m. ET). Check it yourself. Democrats momentarily have an 18.4 percent chance of gaining two seats and winning a majority next month. Whereas Republicans have a 9.1 percent chance of gaining three, a 5.5 percent chance of gaining four, a 3.2 percent chance of gaining five, a 1.4 percent of gaining six, a 0.7 percent chance of gaining seven, and a 0.3 percent chance of shooting the lights out and gaining eight (which would leave them one seat shy of a filibuster-proof majority, for what it’s worth). Add those up and you get a 20.2 percent chance of 54 or better.

Which can be summed up in four words: Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Klein on the path to 54:

Though Republicans were always favorites to keep the Senate, their odds have improved in recent weeks, with three states in particular giving them a boost. Republicans are now considered “likely” to keep their seats in Texas and Tennessee and North Dakota seems ready to flip into the Republican column. Barring any other major upsets, victories in those three races would be enough for Republicans to keep the Senate — hence their 81.6 percent chances overall.

To get to 54, the most likely scenario would be that Republicans win the tossup states of Nevada and Missouri, and then surge to victory in Arizona and Florida (two races that are currently tilting Democrat, but well within range of Republican victory). Beyond that, they’d have to start flipping some seats that are currently considered “likely” to remain Democrat, such as Montana and West Virginia.

Eh, I don’t know if Montana and Indiana, the latter of which he neglected to mention, are all that “likely” to remain Democratic. They’re leaning that way, with both Jon Tester and Joe Donnelly clinging to three-point leads. But Montana hasn’t been polled in three weeks and the latest from Indiana has Donnelly up four but with just 44 percent of the vote. In fact, in none of the four polls dating back to August has Donnelly topped 44, suggesting that a lot of Hoosiers are thinking hard about whether to stick with the incumbent. It’s likely that the GOP will be disappointed somewhere on Election Night — Missouri, Nevada, and Arizona are all leading candidates — but going for one for two on Montana and Indiana seems doable.

Whichever way they do it, if they can get to 54 then Collins and Murkowski might well be nonfactors during the next SCOTUS battle. Flake won’t be in the Senate at all, of course. Trump really might have the arsenal he needs to fill a Ginsburg or Breyer vacancy with a conservative.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news, also from Silver’s model:

Click the link and add up the different probable outcomes and you’ll see that the GOP has about the same odds of holding the House as Democrats do of winning … at least 54 seats. They’ve got a 10 percent chance of winning at least 60. Gonna be a lot of subpoenas for Pat Cipollone to cope with next year.

There are no new swing-state polls as I write this but keep an eye on the one of Arizona that’s currently in progress (yes, in progress) at the NYT’s site, the Upshot. As I write this at a little after 5 p.m. on the east coast, they’ve compiled a sample of 299 people — not large enough yet to give us confidence in the topline numbers but large enough to make it worth paying attention to. Currently Martha McSally leads Kyrsten Sinema by four points, 49/45. If that holds through the end of the poll, it would be the second straight survey showing McSally ahead after trailing for most of the race. (The previous poll had her up six.) Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

Midterm 2018 TEXAS: Robert (Beto) O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz

Published

on

By

Texas is Texas.

You don’t mess with Texas!

Texans don’t want a far left US Senator who lies about his background and police records, DUI included, and abuses everything the Lone Star State stands for.

Senator Ted Cruz is up by at least 5 points — but that is not enough.

Cruz is a real conservative and an intellectual giant. He has the highest possible ratings from conservative groups as a sitting US Senator.


We can’t let him down.

His opponent Beto (really Robert) O’Rourke isn’t Hispanic but he is loudly PROGRESSIVE.

He is a phony.

He is a Democratic Socialist and would spell doom for our Republic.

He wants open borders, more rights for criminals, and an end to the petroleum economy.

In Texas?

Trump won Texas by 9 points.

Cruz should win reelection by at least that amount.

Recall Cruz not only voted for Judge Kavanaugh but he articulately defended due process and innocent until proven guilty – the very hallmark of western jurisprudence.

We need him; America needs his voice in the Senate.

There has not been a Democrat to hold statewide office in Texas since 1994!

Keep it that way.

Cruz is a star in national politics and a firm vote for our side. He makes America first! And he is the best advocate for Texas bare none.

Turnout is critical.

Cruz MUST win.

Make this viral in every corner of Texas.

You Might Like

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

Pat Robertson: C’mon, we’re not going to blow up a key Middle East alliance over one little murder

Published

on

By

Lefties are marveling that a brand-name Christian conservative would be encouraging followers to look the other way at an assassination, but they’re forgetting Jesus’s parting words at the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs.”

Wait, am I misremembering? My youthful memories of the gospels are not the best. I think perhaps the savior’s actual parting words were “Velvet glove, iron fist.”

I mean, that at least sounds like Jesus.

Lotta mixed feelings about the evangelical turn towards hard-nosed realpolitik under Trump. On the one hand, the gripe about Christian conservatives used to be that they were forever trying to inject morals into the messy business of politics, made more uncomfortable by the fact that many millions of people disagree with some of their stances on sexual morality and resent their attempts to convert them into policy. Well, good news: Between Robertson’s take on the Khashoggi affair and the complete pass given to Trump on matters like Stormygate, there’s less moralizing than ever.

The bad news? I’m unclear from the clip below on how many murders Pastor Robertson would be willing to tolerate in the name of preserving the alliance and “$100 billion worth of arms sales,” as he notes in passing. Presumably his interest in the latter answers my question: Some of those weapons will be used to continue killing civilians in neighboring Yemen, as he doubtless knows. If Robertson’s willing to condone that in the name of checking Iran, naturally he would condone looking the other way at a lot of things, Khashoggi’s murder just one among them. Christianity’s nice and all but we’ve gotta live in the real world.

I honestly don’t know whether to call him a fraud or to salute him for taking a cold but sober view of the international chessboard.

There may be another reason why he and POTUS’s friends at CBN are rushing to provide cover here, though:

To some extent the Saudis’ problem is Trump’s problem. Right now Trump can afford to ignore the Democrats’ interest in finding out how much his and the Kingdom’s interests overlap. In three months, with the House likely in Democratic hands, it’ll be harder.

Leave a comment

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Like us on Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Close