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Joe Biden Goes Full ‘Uncle Joe,’ Gets Confused About Who’s In Race

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-27-at-12.43.29-PM Joe Biden Goes Full ‘Uncle Joe,’ Gets Confused About Who’s In Race Trump latino hispanic Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats biden Allow Media Exception

Screenshot from this video

Democrats really are in a box when it comes to Joe Biden.

Many Democrats wanted to back him. But every time they let him out and he opens his mouth, he loses votes.

He was at it again during a forum where a young woman asked him what he was doing to reach out to Hispanics.

She mentioned how the Trump team trolled Biden, realizing that Biden wasn’t sufficiently savvy enough to buy the domain name for his Hispanic outreach slogan, Todos con Biden. The Trump team bought it, and in a funny troll, posted a page saying how Biden had forgotten Latinos and redirected to Latinos for Trump.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-27-at-12.14.24-PM Joe Biden Goes Full ‘Uncle Joe,’ Gets Confused About Who’s In Race Trump latino hispanic Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats biden Allow Media Exception

So she asked what else was he doing to convey his vision to Hispanics?

“There are websites that you can buy. So they went out and bought everything with that had to do with the name Biden, Joe Biden,” he responded. “So even that I’m the only campaign that I’m aware of, maybe, maybe Cisneros’ campaign is doing it, I’m not sure, um, Castro’s campaign is doing it. The fact is we have reached out extensively into the African, excuse me, Hispanic community, the Latino community, over my entire career. And we have a lot of support in the community. So what these guys have done, we wanted to make sure we could go online and in Spanish, you could in fact, learn everything I was doing and saying, and what’s it all about. Well, we can’t buy every single site out there, some of them cost $20-$30,000, etc, it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Yikes. What was that? Joe’s confused about who’s in the race.

Let’s start with there is no candidate in the race names “Cisneros.” Henry Cisneros was a Texas politician, the former Mayor of San Antonio, who hasn’t had a campaign since the 1980s. Talk about being stuck in time.

Cisneros was also a Clinton HUD secretary who had a big scandal when he was accused of lying to the FBI about an affair he had during his background checks for the cabinet position. All Hispanic politicians from Texas are not the same, Joe, Cisneros is not Julian Castro. And it’s not clear what Biden meant when he said “Castro’s campaign is doing it.”

Yes, you can’t buy every domain name that might include your name. But you surely should buy the ones you intend to use. That’s just a silly response. And it’s a dishonest one, since the Trump campaign only bought the one site, not “everything to do with the name Biden.”

Then, Biden never really answered her question, what was he doing to convey his vision?

Although admittedly, just as it was hard for Hillary Clinton, it’s hard to convert vision when you’re only real argument is “I’m next in line.” And it’s hard to convey vision, when you seem confused about basic things, like who’s in the race.

The post Joe Biden Goes Full ‘Uncle Joe,’ Gets Confused About Who’s In Race appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-27-at-12.43.29-PM-300x217 Joe Biden Goes Full ‘Uncle Joe,’ Gets Confused About Who’s In Race Trump latino hispanic Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats biden Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

John Kelly: I don’t think Trump would be facing impeachment if I were still there

Westlake Legal Group j-2 John Kelly: I don’t think Trump would be facing impeachment if I were still there Ukraine Trump The Blog mulvaney John Kelly impeachment impeach democrats

Wait, does his regret that Trump is being impeached mean that he’s not “Anonymous”?

Because if so, that means I’m down to Kellyanne Conway in my picks of who the mystery “Resistance” official inside Trump’s administration is.

Anyway, I can see it both ways on this. On Earth 2, where John Kelly is still chief of staff as of September 2019, does Trump still end up in a mess over Ukraine?

“I said [to Trump before I left], whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached,” Kelly recalled, in an interview at the Sea Island Summit, a political conference hosted by the Washington Examiner.

“That was almost 11 months ago, and I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving,” Kelly said. “It pains me to see what’s going on because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”…

“Someone has got to be a guide that tells [the president] that you either have the authority or you don’t, or Mr. President, don’t do it,” Kelly said. “Don’t hire someone that will just nod and say, ‘That’s a great idea Mr. President.’ Because you will be impeached.”

Kelly added, “The system that should be in place, clearly — the system of advising, bringing in experts in, having these discussions with the president so he can make an informed decision, that clearly is not in place. And I feel bad that I left.”

It makes me laugh to think of Kelly warning Trump, of all people, not to bring in a yes-man, especially given how the president chafed at Kelly’s attempts to impose “discipline” on the West Wing. Really the entire story of the last year to 18 months of Trump’s presidency is him shedding the “adults in the room” around him as he grew more comfortable on the job. He brought in Mick Mulvaney to replace Kelly; he farmed out Ukraine diplomacy to his lawyer, Rudy, and Rudy’s cronies; he keeps promoting “acting” directors whenever cabinet vacancies open up, precisely because they’re apt to be more deferential to him. The Kelly era is probably best understood as a transitional period during which Trump learned the ropes of being president and gained enough confidence in the position to begin surrounding himself with yes-men exclusively.

But I digress. What’s happening on Earth 2 right now? Is it possible that John Kelly somehow snuffed out the Ukraine quid pro quo before it got going? I think it is. After all, Mulvaney was part of the Ukraine process. He knew enough about what was going on to have known that Trump wanted to make Ukraine’s military aid contingent upon the Ukrainians investigating CrowdStrike. The NYT reported a few days ago that when the Ukrainians finally figured out in August that the aid had been delayed, they were told to reach out to Mulvaney. Certainly it’s conceivable that had John Kelly been in the middle of this, he would have screamed at Trump that the quid pro quo was potentially an impeachable offense and convinced him to scrap the idea.

But I can also imagine the whole thing playing out on Earth 2 pretty much as it did here, with Kelly in DGAF mode the entire time. Let me remind you of this famous passage from a Politico story published in June 2018 about just how far Kelly’s relationship with Trump had deteriorated as his time on the job wore on:

But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.

In recent months, his Secret Service detail has often been spotted standing outside the gym in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the middle of the day — and White House officials who pass it on the way to meetings view his late morning workouts as an indication of him having thrown in the towel on trying to have any control inside the West Wing.

Kelly may have ended up in roughly the same position as John Bolton on the Ukraine matter, a marginalized advisor who had some awareness of what was going on, was disgusted by it, but who was sufficiently alienated from Trump by that point that he doesn’t seem to have done much of anything to try to stop it. After you’ve warned a pyromaniac for the thousandth time not to play with matches and you still catch him doing it, you’ll give up. Either he needs the experience of being burned to teach him a lesson, you’ll tell yourself, or he’ll never learn his lesson and will burn the house down eventually, in which case he might as well get on with it. That’s where Kelly was as of summer 2018, allegedly. Why would his mood in fall 2019 be any different?

The real takeaway from Kelly’s comments today is that Trump is likely to become more reckless over time, not less. *Maybe* he’ll rein it in a bit next year with the election approaching, just because a scandal that breaks soon before Election Day could destroy his chances at reelection. But if the electorate validates him at the polls by handing him a second term, and suddenly he has four more years in office with no accountability to anyone, it’ll be nothing but yes-men at every post. Mulvaney will come to be seen as a model of discipline in hindsight once Hannity or whoever is chief of staff.

The post John Kelly: I don’t think Trump would be facing impeachment if I were still there appeared first on Hot Air.

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Report: Bolton negotiating with House Dems to testify on Ukraine

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I can already see the Time “Person of the Year” cover with Bolton’s picture on it. Caption: “The Man Who Brought Down a President.”

For extra drama, maybe Bolton will finally reveal in that same issue that he’s the “Anonymous” who was working for the Resistance inside Trump’s administration the whole time.

I kid, but the prospect of a deposition is real. And as noted last night, Bolton figures to be a potentially important witness.

Lawyers for former national security adviser John Bolton have had talks with the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry about a possible deposition, according to a source familiar…

As House members who serve on the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have been interviewing witnesses in private, some of the committees’ Democrats have said they believe there’s a need for Bolton to testify.

As a Twitter pal said yesterday, I can’t believe he’s going to get Trump impeached just because Trump wouldn’t let him start a war.

There’s news today about another potentially important witness. The figure who came up most often in Bill Taylor’s testimony earlier this week was Tim Morrison, an expert on Russia and Europe who served under Bolton on the National Security Council and who was on the call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25. Morrison is already set to testify. The newsy part, per CNN, is that he’s supposedly going to corroborate Taylor’s bombshell testimony about a quid pro quo — but with a key caveat.

[T]wo sources also tell CNN that Morrison will contend that he didn’t see anything wrong with what the Trump administration did, while one of the sources said there will be “nuance” over what Morrison intends to say.

Taylor testified that he was “alarmed” to learn from Morrison that the Trump administration “conditioned” not only a Trump-Zelensky White House meeting but also the military assistance on the investigations.

Taylor said that Morrison told him about a conversation between Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, and Andriy Yermak, a Zelensky aide. Sondland told Yermak in September that the aid “would not come” until Zelensky “committed to pursue the Burisma investigation,” according to Taylor’s testimony.

I’m not sure it’ll work to Trump’s benefit if Morrison confirms that everything Taylor said is true, up to and including Sondland warning the Ukrainians that they needed to do something on Biden to get their aid, but subjectively he just didn’t see what the big deal was. I guess it depends on why Morrison didn’t think it was a big deal. Does he have reason to believe that Trump wasn’t looped in on what Sondland was doing, in which case he’d be helpful to Trump’s defense? Or is he just sort of “meh” on the president using taxpayer funds to squeeze foreign powers on corruption probes that just so happen to focus on the frontrunner in the other party’s presidential primaries?

Either way, Morrison is notable because of his firsthand knowledge of some of the key events, like the call. It’s fair to knock the whistleblower complaint for hearsay, relaying little more than second-hand information, but that’s what the inquiry was for. To haul in the people who were actually there as the Ukraine business was carried out and hear it from them directly. The whistleblower probably won’t testify at Trump’s trial but Sondland, Taylor, and Morrison will.

In lieu of an exit question, read this other CNN piece addressing one of the mysteries of the Ukraine case: After blocking Ukraine’s military aid throughout the month of August, why did Trump finally relent and hand it over on September 11? In the abstract, that undercuts the idea of a quid pro quo. After all, Ukraine never did publicly commit to reopening the Burisma and CrowdStrike probes until later, after they had the money in hand. Trump forking over the cash in advance is potential evidence that he wasn’t using it for leverage after all. The CNN story argues, though, that all sorts of political grenades about a quid pro quo were starting to go off around the president just before he coughed up the money, which may have spooked him into doing it. Members of Congress were demanding to know why it hadn’t been turned over, with Democrats ready to block Pentagon funding over it; people at OMB were allegedly worried they’d be in legal trouble if the money didn’t go out before September 30; and just two days before, on September 9, the House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into what Trump and Rudy were doing with Ukraine. Whispers about irregularities had also leaked into the press, with WaPo running an editorial about a possible quid pro quo on September 5 under the eye-popping headline, “Trump tries to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election.”

Here’s a bit from the CNN piece that I hadn’t heard before, though: “That same week, Mulvaney and other top White House officials first learned about the whistleblower complaint. While White House lawyers had known about the complaint for weeks, news of its existence was starting to spread within the West Wing.” Either Trump first discovered that week that people in the intel bureaucracy were scrutinizing his dealings with Ukraine or he realized that the rest of the world was about to discover it. And so, perhaps, he decided to just get rid of the hot potato by finally handing the aid over. If he was about to be accused of a quid pro quo, best not to have the quid still in hand while awaiting the quo.

The post Report: Bolton negotiating with House Dems to testify on Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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Report: Bolton negotiating with House Dems to testify on Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group b-6 Report: Bolton negotiating with House Dems to testify on Ukraine Ukraine Trump tim morrison The Blog sondland john bolton House deposition democrats Bill Taylor aid

I can already see the Time “Person of the Year” cover with Bolton’s picture on it. Caption: “The Man Who Brought Down a President.”

For extra drama, maybe Bolton will finally reveal in that same issue that he’s the “Anonymous” who was working for the Resistance inside Trump’s administration the whole time.

I kid, but the prospect of a deposition is real. And as noted last night, Bolton figures to be a potentially important witness.

Lawyers for former national security adviser John Bolton have had talks with the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry about a possible deposition, according to a source familiar…

As House members who serve on the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have been interviewing witnesses in private, some of the committees’ Democrats have said they believe there’s a need for Bolton to testify.

As a Twitter pal said yesterday, I can’t believe he’s going to get Trump impeached just because Trump wouldn’t let him start a war.

There’s news today about another potentially important witness. The figure who came up most often in Bill Taylor’s testimony earlier this week was Tim Morrison, an expert on Russia and Europe who served under Bolton on the National Security Council and who was on the call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25. Morrison is already set to testify. The newsy part, per CNN, is that he’s supposedly going to corroborate Taylor’s bombshell testimony about a quid pro quo — but with a key caveat.

[T]wo sources also tell CNN that Morrison will contend that he didn’t see anything wrong with what the Trump administration did, while one of the sources said there will be “nuance” over what Morrison intends to say.

Taylor testified that he was “alarmed” to learn from Morrison that the Trump administration “conditioned” not only a Trump-Zelensky White House meeting but also the military assistance on the investigations.

Taylor said that Morrison told him about a conversation between Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, and Andriy Yermak, a Zelensky aide. Sondland told Yermak in September that the aid “would not come” until Zelensky “committed to pursue the Burisma investigation,” according to Taylor’s testimony.

I’m not sure it’ll work to Trump’s benefit if Morrison confirms that everything Taylor said is true, up to and including Sondland warning the Ukrainians that they needed to do something on Biden to get their aid, but subjectively he just didn’t see what the big deal was. I guess it depends on why Morrison didn’t think it was a big deal. Does he have reason to believe that Trump wasn’t looped in on what Sondland was doing, in which case he’d be helpful to Trump’s defense? Or is he just sort of “meh” on the president using taxpayer funds to squeeze foreign powers on corruption probes that just so happen to focus on the frontrunner in the other party’s presidential primaries?

Either way, Morrison is notable because of his firsthand knowledge of some of the key events, like the call. It’s fair to knock the whistleblower complaint for hearsay, relaying little more than second-hand information, but that’s what the inquiry was for. To haul in the people who were actually there as the Ukraine business was carried out and hear it from them directly. The whistleblower probably won’t testify at Trump’s trial but Sondland, Taylor, and Morrison will.

In lieu of an exit question, read this other CNN piece addressing one of the mysteries of the Ukraine case: After blocking Ukraine’s military aid throughout the month of August, why did Trump finally relent and hand it over on September 11? In the abstract, that undercuts the idea of a quid pro quo. After all, Ukraine never did publicly commit to reopening the Burisma and CrowdStrike probes until later, after they had the money in hand. Trump forking over the cash in advance is potential evidence that he wasn’t using it for leverage after all. The CNN story argues, though, that all sorts of political grenades about a quid pro quo were starting to go off around the president just before he coughed up the money, which may have spooked him into doing it. Members of Congress were demanding to know why it hadn’t been turned over, with Democrats ready to block Pentagon funding over it; people at OMB were allegedly worried they’d be in legal trouble if the money didn’t go out before September 30; and just two days before, on September 9, the House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into what Trump and Rudy were doing with Ukraine. Whispers about irregularities had also leaked into the press, with WaPo running an editorial about a possible quid pro quo on September 5 under the eye-popping headline, “Trump tries to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election.”

Here’s a bit from the CNN piece that I hadn’t heard before, though: “That same week, Mulvaney and other top White House officials first learned about the whistleblower complaint. While White House lawyers had known about the complaint for weeks, news of its existence was starting to spread within the West Wing.” Either Trump first discovered that week that people in the intel bureaucracy were scrutinizing his dealings with Ukraine or he realized that the rest of the world was about to discover it. And so, perhaps, he decided to just get rid of the hot potato by finally handing the aid over. If he was about to be accused of a quid pro quo, best not to have the quid still in hand while awaiting the quo.

The post Report: Bolton negotiating with House Dems to testify on Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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Good news: Rudy now butt-dialing reporters, overheard talking about the Bidens and needing cash

Westlake Legal Group r-7 Good news: Rudy now butt-dialing reporters, overheard talking about the Bidens and needing cash Trump The Blog Rudy Giuliani Rich Schapiro nbc impeachment butt dial bidens Bahrain attorney

Per Orin Kerr, doesn’t Rudy hold himself out as some sort of security expert?

The best part of this story about the president’s lawyer butt-dialing reporters in the middle of an impeachment inquiry into his client and a criminal inquiry into his own activities is that … there were two separate butt-dials. One happened in the afternoon on September 28, the other late at night on October 16. This dude is leaving audio records of his private conversations inadvertently in journalists’ mailboxes at a moment when he could conceivably bring down a president and/or land himself in prison.

Which raises the question: How many other reporters are sitting on voicemails of Rudy’s butt-dials (no pun intended)? It can’t have happened twice to one guy at NBC News and to no one else in the Washington press corps. It’s more likely that it’s become an industry rite of passage now. You’re nobody in political journalism until Time’s 2001 Man of the Year has left you an accidental message in which he’s heard rambling about Hunter Biden and needing several hundred thousand dollars.

You’ll need to read all of this to get the full flavor as I can only excerpt so much. The good news is that there’s no clear evidence of a crime in the transcript, or something even more disastrous like Rudy admitting that the CrowdStrike stuff is kooky nonsense that they’re feeding to the Fox News audience. It’s mostly just him rambling about stuff that sounds crime-y — unknown business he has in Bahrain and Turkey

The bad news is that the writers of the “President Trump” reality show we now inhabit have apparently decided to take the show in a more comic direction.

“Is Robert around?” Giuliani asks.

“He’s in Turkey,” the man responds.

Giuliani replies instantly. “The problem is we need some money.”

The two men then go silent. Nine seconds pass. No word is spoken. Then Giuliani chimes in again.

“We need a few hundred thousand,” he says.

It’s unclear what the two men were talking about. But Giuliani is known to have worked closely with a Robert who has ties to Turkey.

His name is Robert Mangas, and he’s a lawyer at the firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, as well as a registered agent of the Turkish government.

Giuliani himself was employed by Greenberg Traurig until about May 2018.

Mangas’ name appears in court documents related to the case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader charged in the United States with laundering Iranian money in a scheme to evade American sanctions.

Zarrab is the same person whom Rudy reportedly lobbied Trump and Rex Tillerson about in 2017, trying to get him released as part of a prisoner swap with Turkey, which Tillerson recognized instantly as improper.

God only knows what he needs a few hundred thousand for now and how “Robert” — or Turkey — might fit into it. Maybe we’ll find out from the DOJ in a few months. Although their plate is already pretty full with Rudy stuff:

The scrutiny isn’t coming just from the previously known probes by FBI agents and the U.S. attorney’s office based out of Manhattan, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington has taken an interest in the former New York mayor, too, meaning an expansion of resources that indicates the politically sensitive probe into the president’s personal attorney is both broader and moving at a faster pace than previously understood…

“He appears to be a subject, if not a target of an active investigation. So to have him be a part of the legal team would be troublesome to say the least,” said Greg Brower, who served as the FBI’s top liaison to Congress until 2018. “At best, it’s a messy situation and more likely it’s just completely dysfunctional.”

The president’s lawyer is now shopping around for his own lawyer, and it’s unclear at the moment what sort of legal responsibilities he may still have towards Trump. Politico notes that he wasn’t included in the latest strategy session held by Trump’s legal team on impeachment and he hasn’t been on television much lately to plead Trump’s case. Republicans on the Hill have complained loudly and often about him, in particular his wild ranting during TV interviews, which you would think might be all the encouragement Trump needs to toss Rudy under the bus.

The problem is, Rudy knows things. He was the point man on the president’s irregular diplomacy towards Ukraine about the Biden and CrowdStrike matters and he may be privy to God knows what other damaging information about Trump. He could potentially do tremendous damage to the president as an enemy. So Trump has been nothing but complimentary towards him, including as recently as this morning, saying, “I think Rudy is a great gentleman… He’s been a great crime fighter. He looks for corruption wherever he goes.”

Which, technically, does appear to be true. Rudy does look for corruption wherever he goes.

Anyway, it may be that the weirder Giuliani gets on TV and the more undisciplined he becomes in butt-dialing reporters, paradoxically the more tightly Trump needs to cling to him. The only thing more dangerous than turning your back on a confidant who knows your secrets is turning your back on a confidant who knows your secrets and who’s behaving erratically. Give him any reason to believe he’s being abandoned and who knows what he’ll do? If Rudy were to end up in front of a House committee in a hostile mood towards Trump, he really could say things that would leave Senate Republicans with little choice but to vote to remove.

And that’s why, I think, the Trump/Giuliani saga can only end with a pardon, probably sooner than everyone expects. That would be risky insofar as a pardon would also eliminate Rudy’s right to refuse to testify on Fifth Amendment grounds, but from Trump’s standpoint it’s better to have Giuliani forced to speak feeling that he owes you than Giuliani potentially willing to speak while bearing you a grudge. Stay tuned.

The post Good news: Rudy now butt-dialing reporters, overheard talking about the Bidens and needing cash appeared first on Hot Air.

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Tulsi Gabbard: I’m not running for reelection

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I’m already looking forward to Tulsi!, coming soon to Sunday evenings on Fox News.

Bringing the experience I have both as a soldier serving over 16 years in the Army National Guard, deploying twice to the Middle East, serving in Congress for nearly 7 years on the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Homeland Security Committees, I am prepared to walk into the Oval Office on Day 1 to do that job. 

As President, I will immediately begin work to end the new Cold War and nuclear arms race, end our interventionist foreign policy of carrying out regime change wars, and redirect our precious resources towards serving the needs of the people here at home.

As such, I will not be seeking re-election to Congress in 2020, and humbly ask you for your support for my candidacy for President of the United States.

She’s at 1.3 percent today in the RCP average, par for the course for the entire campaign thus far, so no, she’s not retiring because she’s too busy planning her presidency. Might she be retiring because … she has a serious primary challenger in her House race, one who’s already made hay of her unusual skepticism about impeaching Trump? Voters in her very blue district have noticed:

Two out of three Democratic primary voters in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District say U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard should give up her presidential aspirations, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling.

The poll also found that at least half of the voters in Gabbard’s district would prefer someone else in her House seat.

She led her primary challenger by 22 points in the same poll, which was published earlier this month, but Gabbard won her last primary by more than 60 points. And her opponent might have received the endorsements of some big-name Democrats who are irritated by Gabbard’s friendliness with the populist right. She could have lost. At a minimum, she would have been forced to take more doctrinaire Democratic stances than she seems naturally inclined to take in order to appease primary voters.

So if she’s not running for Congress again and she’s also not going to get within a thousand miles of the presidency, what’s she planning to do with herself next year? Hmmmm:

So Hillary was … right? Not about the “Russian asset” thing but about Gabbard possibly angling to become a Jill Stein third-party candidate who’ll pull just enough votes from the Democratic nominee to enable a Trump victory?

Worth noting: The Hunt and Fish Club is Trump-hating Anthony Scaramucci’s restaurant. And according to Fox Business, the host of the event was “Wall Street Democrat” Robert Wolf, with various other “Wall Street executives and potential donors” reportedly in attendance. Wolf is an interesting character, a Barack Obama buddy but also enough of a centrist to have become a contributor to Fox News in 2016. He’s not a guy whom you’d assume would want to groom a candidate who’s a sort of left-wing Ron Paul with a special affinity for Bashar Assad as a kamikaze option against Joe Biden or another centrist nominee.

So if Wolf really is thinking of Tulsi as a third-party possibility, it’s likely for one of two reasons. One: He might prefer a second Trump term to a Warren presidency if that’s the choice next fall, given the risk that Warren will take a flamethrower to the financial industry if elected. Maybe he’s eyeing Gabbard as someone who could jump in if Warren becomes the nominee and try to siphon off some votes from her among Berniebros. Two: He’d probably prefer a Joe Biden presidency to a second Trump term (he’s a Democrat after all), so maybe he thinks Gabbard could potentially be weaponized against Trump if need be. She probably has more fans in Tucker Carlson’s audience than in Rachel Maddow’s audience. It may well be that a Gabbard third-party run would end up hurting Trump more than the Democratic nominee by attracting Ron Paul fans who’d otherwise back the president.

The logic there is contradictory, though. In scenario one, Gabbard helps Republicans. In scenario two, she hurts them — even though progressives would be far more open to a left-wing independent candidate if Joe Biden ended up as nominee than if Elizabeth Warren did. So, really, I don’t know what Wolf’s game is. All I know is Gabbard is going nowhere in the Dem primary, no longer has to worry about her House race, yet seems very intent on continuing her presidential run.

Here’s a brief clip of her last night on the highest-rated show on Fox News, hosted by the president’s close personal friend Sean Hannity, backing up the White House attack line that there’s not enough transparency in the Democratic impeachment inquiry. In no sphere of reality does it make sense to do that if you’re a Democratic presidential candidate who’s resolved to remaining a Democratic presidential candidate. It’d be like John Kasich announcing a primary challenge to Trump and then going on Maddow to call for the president’s impeachment and removal. All it’ll do is piss off your target voters. It doesn’t even make sense to do this if Gabbard is eyeing a left-wing third-party run, since of course progressives hate Hannity and Trump too. It must be that she’s simply repositioning herself as a sort of generically populist media “personality” who knows her fan base is entirely on the right. Nothing else adds up.

The post Tulsi Gabbard: I’m not running for reelection appeared first on Hot Air.

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Sure sounds like John Bolton is going to be an important witness on impeachment

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We already knew that from Fiona Hill’s testimony, I suppose. Hill told a House committee last week that Bolton knew enough about irregularities in Ukraine diplomacy to have once said to her, “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” and who instructed her to inform lawyers on the National Security Council, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.” Bolton knew something was up. But how much did he know, exactly?

WaPo has a story out tonight alleging that he knew enough to tell U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in August that Trump was probably going to reject his recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges. August was a critical month in the Ukraine matter. That’s when Ukrainian officials reportedly finally figured out that their military aid had been delayed, and it’s also when Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker were trying to get Ukraine’s president to release a statement publicly committing to reopening the Burisma and CrowdStrike probes.

Why did Bolton suspect that Trump might want to delay restoration of trade relations with Ukraine too at that moment?

The August exchange between Bolton and Lighthizer over the trade matter represents the first indication that the administration’s suspension of assistance to Ukraine extended beyond the congressionally authorized military aid and security assistance to other government programs. It is not clear whether Trump directed Bolton to intervene over Ukraine’s trade privileges or was even aware of the discussion.

“It was pulled back shortly before it was going to POTUS’ desk,” one administration official said, referring to the Ukraine paperwork and using an acronym for the U.S. president. “Bolton intervened with Lighthizer to block it.”

Bolton’s intervention came as the president was telling White House aides that any assistance for Ukraine depended upon Zelensky publicly stating that his government would investigate Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, according to congressional testimony this week by acting U.S. ambassador William B. Taylor Jr…

Taylor testified Tuesday that Bolton was “so irritated” by a linkage between “investigations” and a proposed meeting between Trump and Zelensky that he had shut down a July 10 White House Ukraine policy gathering and told National Security Council staffers there “that they should have nothing to do with domestic politics.”

There could be an innocent explanation for not restoring Ukraine’s trade privileges at the time, with a source telling WaPo that there had been a delay due to a routine “country review process.” It seems odd, though, that an official as high-ranking as the National Security Advisor would make a point of warning the trade representative not to bother trying to restore Ukraine’s privileges for a reason as mundane as that, to the point where Lighthizer eventually withdrew his recommendation. The claim from Taylor about Bolton being “irritated” about the “investigations” is tantalizing context: Exactly how much did John Bolton know about an illicit quid pro quo involving state business and “domestic politics”?

And where does this leave Trump’s justifications for delaying Ukraine’s military aid? At various times he’s claimed that he withheld the aid because he wanted to make sure Europe gave its fair share of aid too and because he feared that the aid would be misappropriated due to foreign corruption. The fact that trade privileges were being withheld at the same time points to a more comprehensive reluctance to reward Ukraine with any new largesse from the United States, including in matters where concerns about corruption and Europe’s behavior weren’t as strong. So maybe there’s a different explanation that connects the two.

In any case, the key question is what Bolton knew, or thought he knew, to make him so skeptical that the trade request would be denied. It’s hard to imagine that Trump put him up to talking to Lighthizer or kept him in the loop about what was going on with Giuliani, Burisma, and CrowdStrike. After all, the story of Bolton’s final few months in office as NSA was of him being left *out* of the loop on certain major foreign policy matters. That’s why he ended up quitting; he’d lost influence. Why the hell would Trump would have involved him in the Ukraine matter if he was unwilling to involve him on, say, Iran and North Korea? Maybe Bolton doesn’t know all that much about what was going on.

But by the same token, given his disgruntlement, maybe Bolton will be perfectly happy to share what he does know with Democrats instead of clamming up as a good soldier for Trump. And of course it’s possible that he knows plenty about Ukraine despite Trump not looping him in. If the whistleblower was able to glean a basic picture of what was happening from chatting with witnesses, surely the National Security Advisor was able.

We’re clearly building to a season finale in our real-life reality show in which John Bolton buries Trump with his Ukraine testimony, or at least tries to. In lieu of an exit question, here’s Trump’s new White House press secretary affirming to “Fox & Friends” this morning that Never Trumpers are “human scum,” just like the president tweeted yesterday. I think, after Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he finally found a spokesrobot who’s fully in sync with the tone of his White House. Meanwhile, if you can spare the time, I recommend reading this piece by law prof Philip Zelikow published a few days ago about what House Democrats might eventually charge Trump with in the articles of impeachment. Everyone believes it’ll be some generic “abuse of power” accusation but Zelikow makes a strong case that they can and should charge him with bribery. That’d be risky for Dems since then they’d have to prove the elements of an actual statutory crime, but it has the great advantage of being a crime that’s specifically named in the Constitution as proper grounds for impeachment. Senate Republicans couldn’t acquit Trump on grounds that what he’s done is “bad but not impeachable.” Bribery *is* impeachable, per Article II. The GOP would need to acquit him on the facts. And a battle for public opinion on the facts could be hard to win, especially if Bolton knows things and is willing to disclose them.

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Kellyanne Conway slams reporter for bringing up her husband in story about chief of staff vacancy; Update: Kellyanne issues statement

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Have we mentioned on the site yet that Kellyanne is reportedly in the running to become the first ever female White House chief of staff?

The same Kellyanne whose husband is now a hero of the so-called Resistance by sh*tting on her boss, the president, on Twitter morning, noon, and night?

For many months Kellyanne has taken issue with reporters questioning her about her husband’s anti-Trump activities, sometimes insisting that it’s a sexist practice. Would a man working in the White House be asked to account for his wife’s political activities?

To which I would say: Uh, yes. If Kellyanne Conway was actually senior White House advisor Ken Conway and Ken’s wife happened to be a well-known corporate lawyer who now spent every waking hour dumping publicly on Trump, I feel like that WTF detail *would* routinely be included in profiles of Ken.

A few days ago reporter Caitlin Yilek of the Washington Examiner wrote a piece about Kellyanne being in the running for chief of staff and dared to mention the factoid that her spouse is now the most outspoken Never Trumper in America. Kellyanne didn’t like it. You can read the transcript of her call today with Yilek but I recommend listening to the audio below to savor the flavor. It’s hard to choose the best part but Conway ending the call by idly threatening to “cover” Yilek’s personal life might be it:

Conway: So, listen, if you’re going to cover my personal life, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here. If it has nothing to do with my job, which it doesn’t, that’s obvious, then we’re either going to expect you to cover everybody’s personal life or we’re going to start covering them over here.

Although actually I think this part is the newsiest:

Conway: Um, yes, so, always, right, exactly. You’re really going places. Let me tell you something, from a powerful woman. Don’t pull the crap where you’re trying to undercut another woman based on who she’s married to. He gets his power through me, if you haven’t noticed. Not the other way around. And if these are the, quote, standards, unquote, at the Washington Examiner, then yes, I’d be happy to talk to your editor. But I’ve known your editor since before you were born. So, I can call your editor either way. I’m just trying to give you a chance to explain why you think what you wrote qualifies as breaking news or reporting.

It’s true that George gets much of his media “power” from her. He has the giant following that he does on Twitter because of the fascination inherent in watching the spouse of one of the president’s top advisors tweet himself into a frenzy about POTUS every day. But George does have some “power” of his own. He’s not just a filthy-rich and successful attorney, he’s one of the guys who helped get the Federalist Society off the ground in the 1980s when he founded the chapter at Yale. He has many friends in the top strata of conservative legal circles to this day. Him attacking Trump is part of the “Reaganite GOP vs. Trumpist GOP” tensions that keep recurring in Trump’s presidency. His critiques are hugely amplified because of his marriage to Kellyanne but he’s also independently part of the storyline about how influential right-wing lawyers and judges are or aren’t reconciling themselves to Trump.

I don’t think he liked Kellyanne’s jab about “power” because not long after the Examiner story appeared he tweeted … this:

George tweets about narcissism every day, as it’s become one of his core critiques about Trump. But I, uh, don’t think it’s Trump at whom this particular tweet was aimed. The bit about how he “had seen it without knowing it” previously is — hoo boy.

I want to have Thanksgiving at the Conways’ house this year to take in the mood, but I feel like it’d end up being just me and George eating TV dinners.

Kellyanne has two complaints about the Examiner piece ultimately. One is that this call was supposed to be off the record. You can read the Examiner’s own defense on that point here; essentially, Conway’s aide called Yilek, they agreed that *his* conversation with her should be off the record, then Kellyanne jumped on the line without clarifying that her part of the call was supposed to be off the record too. The Examiner took the lack of clarity as justification to print what Conway said in full. I would have assumed that the “off the record” agreement with the aide meant that everything was off the record, but oh well.

Her other, more substantial complaint is that George’s tweets about Trump simply have no relevance to a story about Kellyanne possibly becoming chief of staff. Trump hasn’t talked or tweeted about George lately, has he? Well, then, why mention George at all? But that’s ridiculous. Kellyanne can pretend all she wants that Trump has completely tuned out George but any boss would weigh harsh daily public criticism by a deputy’s spouse in choosing whether to promote her. If he makes Kellyanne chief of staff, the media will obsess even more about George’s critiques. The sheer engrossing weirdness of the president being savaged nonstop by the husband of his most powerful aide would be irresistible to them. If he elevates Kellyanne, he’ll inadvertently elevate George too. It’s perfectly correct to say that it’s unfair of George to put her in that position, where her chances of advancing professionally are being held back by his refusal to hold his tongue, but undeniably it’s relevant to stories about Kellyanne being considered for the position. In fact, the Kellyanne/George freak show is really a microcosm of the GOP under Trump: You have one wing of the party that enjoys power and influence because of its proximity to Trump and you have another much smaller and less influential wing that excoriates him relentlessly but attracts an outsized media following because of it. And these two wings are stuck with each other, at least for the moment. Neither one will give so this incredibly awkward marriage stumbles along intact.

Update: And here’s Kellyanne Conway’s response to the Examiner, in which, interestingly, she *doesn’t* claim that she thought the call was off-the-record. Although I suppose claiming that at this point would look bad. Better to take the “nothing to hide” approach.

The post Kellyanne Conway slams reporter for bringing up her husband in story about chief of staff vacancy; Update: Kellyanne issues statement appeared first on Hot Air.

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BREAKING: Barr-Durham Investigation Is Now Officially a Criminal Investigation

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr listens to concerns raised about public safety in rural Alaska during at a roundtable discussion at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. Barr did not take questions from reporters in his first public appearance after former special prosecutor Robert Mueller spoke to reporters after resigning at the completion of his report into Russian interference into the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

This is coming in the form of some hilarious spin from The New York Times, but the big news here is that my previous speculation was correct. The Barr-Durham probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia fiasco is now officially a criminal investigation.

From the link above.

WASHINGTON — For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.

Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.

You can just imagine the spittle flying as they typed this. They really, really don’t want this to be looked into and by shifting it to a criminal investigation, the DOJ now has full power to compel witness testimony. That’s bad news for a lot of people who have been flailing about, insisting there’s no reason they should be investigated.

Of course, instead of just sticking to the facts, the unbiased reporters at the Times described the shift in this manner.

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.

Yes, that’s the problem here. Not that the DOJ has enough evidence to start criminally investigating people, but that it’s happening at all and some might be “alarmed.” Isn’t it weird how they had none of these reservations with the Obama administrations investigation into Trump, nor the Mueller investigation.

There’s not many more details in the article so we’ll have to wait to see what the next moves our, but a lot of people are going to be sweating a little more profusely tonight.

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