HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, January 11, 2019

 
There's a new show in town

by digby




My Salon column this morning:

I've been convinced from the moment I heard about this possibility that President Trump would end up declaring a national security emergency in order to start building his border wall. He really has no other way out without causing the right-wing pundits who terrify him to explode. Even if he wanted to compromise with Democrats in Congress, there's nothing the Ann Coulter crowd would allow him to offer that would be worth the wall to the Democrats.

After all, Trump reportedly agreed to a comprehensive compromise in 2017 that included $25 billion for the wall in exchange for legalization of the Dreamers, and it turned out his word was no good and he backed out at the last minute. The people pulling the strings of his base are unwilling to give an inch, so it appears the fake "emergency" declaration is his only option.

The New York Times interviewed one federal worker in Florida who is very disappointed in his performance, which has to have him a bit nervous:
“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”
Trump is apparently taking that deeply disturbing complaint to heart. It was reported yesterday that he plans to make it up to her. After declaring the national security emergency, he will use disaster funds previously designated for people he frequently says don't deserve them:
The Trump administration would use $2.5 billion set aside for reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The White House would also tap into $2.4 billion meant for projects in California where floods and wildfires have been a tremendous issue.
This shutdown is poised to become the longest in American history. If one were a true cynic -- or believed that Trump was capable of a complex strategy -- one might be tempted to think the whole thing is designed as a misdirection from what's about to hit this White House like a Mack truck: congressional investigations. The president may not want to face it, but regardless of what happens with this silly border wall and the hardship he's inflicting with this needless shutdown, he no longer controls the narrative.

I wrote earlier this week about the latest news in the Russia investigation coming from a number of different directions. Since then it's been reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave the Department of Justice in a few weeks. Since he'd made it clear that he wanted to see Robert Mueller's investigation of the 2016 election through, that suggested to many legal observers that the case is winding down. We've heard that before, so who knows? But Rosenstein's departure does mean that the status quo is about to change, regardless of whether Mueller's done or not.

Senate Republicans have scheduled the hearings for William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general (who will replace the hapless Matt Whitaker, the short-term replacement for Jeff Sessions), for next week. The White House claims Barr won't have time to meet with Democrats on the Judiciary Committee before the hearings because of the shutdown. They managed to squeeze in meetings with Republicans, however, including new committee chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. He assured everyone that in spite of Barr's unseemly audition for the job by trashing the Mueller investigation, he will be completely fair and unbiased. Graham did make one mistake in saying that Barr and Mueller are close personal friends. Trump may not care for that.

But the big action on Capitol Hill is on the Democratic side. And they got off to quite a start yesterday when Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was called to the House up for both a classified briefing and a closed-door hearing for the whole House to explain why in the world he decided to lift sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's aluminum company practically in the dead of night. (If you haven't been keeping score, Deripaska is a former associate of Paul Manafort, who reportedly owed him a large sum of money.)

We don't know what was said in the classified briefing, but the Democrats were hopping mad about the other one. Apparently, Mnuchin was completely unresponsive, reading out a prepared comment and offering up nothing else. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "It's stiff competition, mind you, but this was one of the worst briefings we've received from the Trump administration. The secretary barely testified." Mnuchin had better get used to a lot more scrutiny.

But the big bombshell that has to have Trump tossing and turning is the news that his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will appear before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7 to testify about all his tawdry work for the Trump campaign and Trump's business operation. Committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said he would consult with the special counsel's office to be sure they were not interfering with any ongoing investigations. This will be the first big public hearing on these matters since James Comey testified back in June of 2017. Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also announced that he would ask Cohen to appear before his committee in closed session to testify further about the Russia investigation.

But there's a lot more where that came from. The House Judiciary Committee plans going to call Acting Attorney General Whitaker for a public hearing right off the bat, issuing him a subpoena if necessary, to testify about what happened with the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his oversight of the special counsel investigation. They will also likely want to talk to Cohen about those hush money payments and his involvement with the White House in preparing the perjurious testimony for which he has since pleaded guilty.

Schiff's committee plans to start demanding financial records dealing with Trump and foreign banks and companies, real estate dealings with foreign nationals and other areas of inquiry likely to be unpleasant for the president. Cummings has sent out 51 letters to various agencies demanding documents pertaining to everything from hurricane response to all the corrupt practices of Trump's various Cabinet officials over the last two years. He's also laying the groundwork for a thorough probe into Trump's self-dealing and his possible violations of the Constitution's famous "emoluments clause." Finance Committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will almost certainly demand Trump's tax returns, although the legal status of such a request is not clear.

Trump will undoubtedly continue to try to dominate the news cycle with his illiterate tweets and erratic behavior, but the truth is that his act is getting a little stale. There's a new production in town and the previews look like it's going to be quite a show.

.