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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "deal"

Philly cop shooter was offered “bull**** deal” to surrender

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We previously covered the arrest of long-time Philadelphia felon Maurice Hill after he shot six police during a standoff at his rowhome. Thankfully, all of the officers survived and have been released from the hospital, but the details of the nearly fatal encounter are still emerging. We already knew that a lawyer of Hill’s acquaintance contacted him by phone and later showed up in person to help convince him to surrender before he wound up dead. But it turns out that the city’s District Attorney, Larry Krasner, had also been on the phone with Hill. They were discussing what sort of a sentence Hill could expect if he surrendered and Krasner admits he was feeding him a fantasy. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Early on, I said 25 [years], then he said 20 and I said OK,” Krasner recounted Friday. At one point, Hill insisted on a deal in writing. Krasner started writing a draft, but did not finish it.

The conversation occurred 4½ hours after the standoff began, as officers were still being treated at hospitals, and 3 hours before it ended with Hill’s surrender and no more bloodshed. In an interview Friday, Krasner described his offer as a “phony baloney” agreement that he had no intention of honoring — and said Hill’s lawyer was in on the ruse.

“We need to be clear here: This was bulls— from the beginning,” Krasner said.

So Kasner offered Hill 20 years verbally, but we don’t know if his attorney repeated that offer. Some legal experts are already speculating that this could cause problems for the prosecution because if the attorney, Shaka Johnson, had been officially retained by Hill at that point, there would have been an obligation to tell Hill that it was a bogus (or “bull___”) offer. But did Johnson even know the details? Also, Krasner never even delivered a written offer. He threw out the draft copy of it he started.

I would hope that the courts wouldn’t allow something like this to gum up the works, but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Still, there were already six cops shot. Two more were trapped in an upper level of the house. Four hostages were in handcuffs and trapped in there with Hill. I would think the courts could support telling Hill they were bringing him a stripper in a cake at that point if it got him out of the building with no further shooting and ended the crisis.

Meanwhile, as shocking as it may sound, there were people actually planning a rally in support of the shooter last night. Considering the fact that people were harassing the cops during the standoff, perhaps that’s just par for the course in that neighborhood. Yesterday afternoon they claimed to be expecting “hundreds” of people to show up in support of the shooter. As it turns out, three people showed up for the rally. There were actually more cops there than Hill supporters, so perhaps that’s a hopeful sign.

Hill has a few arraignment and other court dates coming up presently. He’s expected to face enough charges of attempted murder of police officers to keep him in jail for the rest of his life. Assuming they don’t blow the prosecution because of this “offer.”

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Romney: I’m voting against this garbage budget deal

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He *did* once say that he was “severely conservative,” remember. Who could have guessed at the time that he was telling the truth?

“Utah balances its budget every year, and while it may not be in fashion in Washington, we still care deeply about fiscal responsibility. The federal government, however, has followed a very different course, and our national debt now totals over $22 trillion,” Romney said in a statement to The Hill.

“This deal unfortunately perpetuates fiscal recklessness by adding another $2 trillion to the debt, and I cannot support it. We must repair our fiscal foundation and set a course to a balanced budget now so that we avoid a future debt crisis that would pose grave hardships for our children and grandchildren.”

Romney joins Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in opposing the deal. Other Republicans, including Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and John Kennedy (La.), are still undecided.

This is a rare instance in which it’s low-risk for a Republican in Congress to be on the wrong side of an issue from Trump:

It’s always low-risk for Romney to be on the wrong side of Trump because, unlike most senators, he’s more popular in his red home state than Trump is. POTUS couldn’t give him the Jeff Flake treatment even if he wanted to. And since Romney got elected to a six-year term just last year, the soonest he’d need to worry about Trump backing a primary challenger to him is 2024, when Trump will be in the final year of his presidency (assuming he wins next fall, of course) and his influence over the party will be waning. This was, then, a safe vote for Mitt. But it’s also relatively safe for Johnson, Braun, Lankford, and Paul simply because the deal is all but guaranteed to pass both chambers of Congress with Democratic support. It’s an unusual case of Trump not needing (many) votes from his own party to get something done, in which case the logical thing for congressional Republicans to do is maintain the pretense that they’re interested in shrinking government and vote no. That’ll keep fiscal conservatives back home happy. And Trumpers who might otherwise be unhappy at their defiance of King Donald won’t care since the bill will pass anyway.

No wonder, then, that the Trump cheering squad known as the Freedom Caucus decided to go their own way on this vote. In fact, a majority of House Republicans voted no today as the bill passed the lower chamber, 284-149. Pelosi had the votes she needed from her own party so Kevin McCarthy’s crew was free to engage in a bit of harmless tea-party nostalgia.

As for Trump’s own spending priorities, a former senior administration official (Bannon? Scaramucci? Kelly?) told Politico that “He doesn’t care about the cost. Wall Street is happy. The defense folks are happy. That’s good enough.” Trump allegedly told Senate Republicans in a meeting a few days ago how pleased he was at the complacency from Fox News and the rest of conservative media about the deal. Part of that complacency is due to the reality of the new Congress: Pelosi gets a say here, and as she proved with the standoff over funding for the wall this past winter, she’s not prone to blink in a staredown. Why force another standoff that’s destined to end in compromise, if not capitulation? But partly too it’s a matter of recognizing that the central fraud of the tea-party era, the idea that rank-and-file Republicans care meaningfully about limiting government, is now so transparent that it would be pathetic to have another big fight about it, particularly with the debt ceiling in the middle. Let’s just acknowledge reality. Trump has drained the swamp, says Philip Klein — of the tea party:

There are many ways in which the Trump presidency has been disruptive to the status quo. But when it comes to spending and deficits, he has restored Washington to a much more conventional place in which both parties agree to ignore warnings of fiscal disaster, and resolve their differences by simply agreeing to spend more money…

Should investors eventually demand higher interest rates [as a condition of purchasing U.S. treasuries], or should the economy falter — making Americans more dependent on public assistance, leading to federal stimulus, and reducing revenues — deficits will only get much deeper. This is especially true given the tacit agreement of both parties to do nothing to address the crisis facing Medicare and Social Security…

The Freedom Caucus, founded to supposedly represent the Tea Party values of limited government in Congress, has devolved into a PR shop for Trump. Mick Mulvaney, one of the founders of the group, has discounted the importance of deficits as the president’s budget man and chief of staff. And even Rush Limbaugh recently declared that, “Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore. All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it’s been around.”

One of the few lasting spending successes of the tea-party era, notes Klein, was the Budget Control Act passed in 2011, which placed caps on discretionary spending. The new Trump-backed budget deal repeals the final two years of that statute. “There’s stories being written that this is the final nail in the coffin of what used to be the tea party movement. That’s sad. But maybe true,” said Rand Paul. But don’t worry. He’ll be cheerleading again for Trump tomorrow.

Exit quotation from Patterico, attempting to answer the question “What is the point of the Republican Party?”: “This party stands for owning the libs and for nothing else.” Indeed.

The post Romney: I’m voting against this garbage budget deal appeared first on Hot Air.

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Report: Trump taps Rand Paul as envoy to Iran to negotiate detente

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I love it so much, purely for petty political reasons. Imagine the sting of the tears rolling down Lindsey Graham’s cheeks when he heard this news. Imagine the torrents of profanity emanating from John Bolton. Day in and day out, hawks doggedly kiss the president’s ass in hopes of keeping him open-minded about their interventionist ideas. He’s an isolationist by instinct — but he’s also consumed with projecting “strength,” a great asset to hawks in convincing him to abandon Obama’s nuclear deal. There’s no country on earth whom Washington interventionists are more eager to have a showdown with than Iran; at a minimum, they expect their endless sycophancy towards Trump to pay off in presidential resolve to keep up a maximum pressure campaign towards the mullahs.

So now here he is deputizing the most prominent isolationist in Congress, the son and heir to Ron farking Paul, to reach out to Iran’s foreign minister. Not Lindsey Graham. Not Tom Cotton. Not Liz Cheney. Not his own NSA, for cripes sake. Rand Paul. Everyone who tries to toady to Trump for their own reasons eventually gets stabbed in the gut, it seems. (Except Rand?) Which makes it that much more amazing that so many Republicans continue to be eager to toady to him.

Anyway, too bad POTUS doesn’t have a bureau of professional diplomats for something like this. Silver lining, though: At least he didn’t tap Tucker Carlson for the job.

Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked President Donald Trump’s blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission.

Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea.

With Zarif in New York City this week for U.N. meetings and private sitdowns with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran

The move smacks of desperation, said Mark Dubowitz, head of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has pushed for a hard line on Iran.

It does seem a little desperate. Trump’s strategy towards Iran, such as it is, is straightforward: Tear up the nuke deal, slap crushing sanctions on them, and then … cross your fingers and wait. Hopefully the economic toll is so great that they come crawling to the bargaining table, ready and willing to fully denuclearize. If we’re really, really, really lucky, the economy will turn so bad that Iranians will turn restive and an insurrection will start to gather momentum.

And if none of that happens and they decide to wait the United States out, with high tensions liable to cause an incident that leads to war? The White House will get back to you.

That’s why we’re getting Rand Paul, international diplomat. The only way out of this as far as Trump is concerned is talks, and he’s willing to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks towards that end. He won’t go to war unless Iran forces him by launching the first attack, and he won’t — yet — relax sanctions as a goodwill gesture to entice them to talk with him. But he will name one of the most conspicuously dovish politicians in the United States to reach out, in case they’re still unclear that Trump is willing to make concessions in the name of resolving this standoff. This marks the second time in less than three weeks, in fact, that Trump has excluded his hawkish NSA, John Bolton, from diplomacy with an enemy of the United States in favor of a more dovish presence: Remember that it was Tucker Carlson, not Bolton, who was with Trump for the grip-and-grin with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ. Now Bolton and Mike Pompeo are being shoved aside in favor of Rand Paul because Trump needs a new way to signal to Iran that he’s prepared to make nice in the name of peace.

Most leaders would insist that their own White House staff carry out negotiations with an enemy regime, not just as a matter of basic loyalty but to communicate that the administration stands united and that the enemy had better be prepared to make real concessions to persuade reluctant U.S. officials to reach a compromise. Sending Paul instead feels like a concession in and of itself, right out of the box, before anything serious had been discussed. “The one thing that these guys don’t understand is the more desperate they look for a deal the more the Iranian regime will play hard to get,” said Dubowitz of Paul being deputized. If it wasn’t clear enough to Iran before that Trump is truly desperate for a way out of this standoff, knowing that he runs the risk of Iran lashing out and plunging him into a war he doesn’t want if it doesn’t get solved, sending an American who’s more to their liking in lieu of his own guys is it.

By the way, note this tweet from Iran’s foreign minister a few weeks ago:

The “B team” is Zarif’s term for top anti-Iran hawks in the U.S. and beyond: Bolton, Netanyahu, and the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to the Times of Israel. In other words, Zarif is already pursuing a strategy of trying to divide Trump from his own advisors and international allies by suggesting to him that he’s being manipulated into war by a nefarious cabal that doesn’t have his best interests — a message which the conspiratorial Trump might be receptive to, especially on this subject. “I do not believe that President Trump wants war. But I believe that people are around him who wouldn’t mind,” said Zarif in an interview a few days ago, again trying to turn Trump against his advisors. And now here’s POTUS sending Rand Paul to talk to him instead of Pompeo. Weird but true: America picks Great Britain’s diplomats nowadays, it seems, and Iran picks America’s.

Liz Cheney and several dozen other hawks sent POTUS a letter today begging him to maintain his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, realizing now how much that’s in doubt. It’s gonna be so amazing when Rand Paul negotiates an Obama-level sellout to Iran for Trump and all the Republican hawks in Congress who are terrified of losing Trump’s favor have to stand there and applaud the deal through their tears.

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Trump on Epstein and his victims: I feel very badly — for Alex Acosta

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I mean, who else is there to feel bad for in a story about young girls being serially preyed upon by some super-rich Eyes-Wide-Shut-style degenerate?

As I recall, he spoke this way about Rob Porter too before Porter ultimately chose to parachute out of the White House under media pressure. If Acosta follows suit, it would inch us further towards the surreal yet increasingly attainable goal of an entire cabinet of “acting” secretaries.

If you’re tempted to feel bad for him, pause here and read Ken “Popehat” White’s piece about the sinister weirdness of the plea deal Acosta made with Jeffrey Epstein when he was a U.S. Attorney in Florida. It’d be one thing to sympathize with Acosta if he’d simply used bad judgment in giving a break to a criminal who then reoffended. Mistakes happen. This isn’t bad judgment, though, insists White, who’s spent his professional life on both sides of federal criminal trials. This is a sweetheart deal so sickeningly sweet, involving heinous sex offenses, that a non-corrupt explanation for it isn’t obvious.

Epstein’s team secured the deal of the millennium, one utterly unlike anything else I’ve seen in 25 years of practicing federal criminal law. Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges, register as a sex offender, and spend 13 months in county jail, during which time he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, out of the jail on “work release.” In exchange, the Southern District of Florida abandoned its criminal investigation of Epstein’s conduct, agreed not to prosecute him federally, and—incredibly—agreed not to prosecute anyone else who helped him procure underage girls for sex. This is not normal; it is astounding…

Every federal plea agreement I’ve ever seen includes a clause saying that it binds only the U.S. Attorney’s Office signing it, not any other office. Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement conspicuously, and very oddly, lacks that clause—which further demonstrates the suspicious nature of the deal.

It’s not like Epstein had committed a minor offense or that the evidence against him was thin, notes White. Acosta had firsthand witnesses. God only knows how many girls have been victimized by Epstein since he finished serving the wrist-slap sentence Acosta arranged for him. And that’s not all. Reporter Vicky Ward, who’s been chasing this story for nearly 20 years, notes today at the Daily Beast that “federal prosecutors agreed to keep the [plea] deal secret from Epstein’s victims, which meant they would not know to challenge it in court. As it turned out, this actually broke the law, because victims have a right to know of such developments, under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.”

Why didn’t Team Trump hold all of this against Acosta and look elsewhere for a Secretary of Labor, you ask? If you believe WaPo, it’s because they didn’t bother to inquire: “There was no substantial vetting done on Acosta until after Trump decided to nominate him, according to current and former administration officials.”

Pelosi, Schumer, and various Democratic 2020 candidates have called on him to quit. Acosta’s trying to placate them, but good luck riding out the months to come of media attention to Epstein:

Inevitably Democrats will try to force him to testify about this, if only to humiliate Trump. Does Trump still want him on the federal payroll when that happens?

By the way, one of the many dark subplots to Epstein’s reign of terror is how exactly he became a man of such phenomenal wealth and power to begin with. That’s the whole key to his deal with Acosta, notes White; when you can afford to hire any lawyer in America, you can “go on offense” against the U.S. Attorney in court and in the media, raising the proverbial price of a prosecution. Epstein’s ability to operate with impunity boils down to his money. But … how was that money acquired? It’s a strange yet apparently true fact that no one really knows quite how this fabulously rich and well-connected scumbag earned his millions — or is it billions?

The bulk of Epstein’s wealth is believed to come from his money-management firm for ten-figure investors, although his only known client is Victoria’s Secret founder Les Wexner, who reportedly ditched Epstein over a decade ago.

After sex-trafficking charges were handed down on Monday, executive-suite financiers discussed how absent Epstein was from the field: “He’s supposed to run an enormous FX [foreign-exchange] trading firm,” said Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, chief risk officer at Ebury. “But I never once heard of him or his firm or anyone who worked or traded with him.” And as Forbes wrote in a 2010 blog with a very direct title — “Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein Is Not a Billionaire” — his money-management firm based in the U.S. Virgin Islands “generates no public records, nor has his client list ever been released.”

Epstein made his name in finance initially at Bear Stearns, rising to become a partner in just four years. Then he set off to start his own firm, and the story got stranger:

Where’d he get his clients? Is his wealth a pure product of Wexner’s business? If so, if Epstein was such a crack investor for Wexner, how come his clientele didn’t expand to many more well-known figures? And how was it that a brash young Bear Stearns partner allegedly was able to convince billionaires to invest with him instead of Wall Street’s many alternatives?

Is it possible that maybe finance wasn’t Jeffrey Epstein’s chief business, that he made his money in procuring other … commodities? Reading about the question marks surrounding his income last night and knowing how well-known he seemed to be to so many rich and famous men gave me the same sort of shudder one gets at the end of “Se7en” when the mystery box is produced. You’ve got a strong sinking suspicion of what’s in that box, but you can’t bear to have it confirmed. Same with Epstein and his cash flow. Who was funding this wretch, and for what, exactly?

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Trump threatens Iran with obliteration over further attacks after Rouhani calls White House “afflicted by mental retardation”

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Listen, I don’t know how they do it in Iran, buddy, but in America we don’t use ugly, archaic terms like “mental retardation.”

The proper term for our White House is “developmentally disabled.”

In the post-Trump world, high-stakes international diplomacy is basically indistinguishable from a Twitter flame war.

“The useless sanctioning of Islamic Revolution Supreme Leader (Khamenei) and the commander of Iranian diplomacy means closing the doors of diplomacy by the U.S.′ desperate administration,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted. “Trump’s government is annihilating all the established international mechanisms for keeping peace and security in the world.”…

“You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks,” an exasperated Rouhani said, calling the sanctions “outrageous and idiotic.”

“The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do,” he added.

No one’s going to call POTUS a retard on the playground and get away with it:

He thought his show of magnanimity in declining to hit back after Iran downed our drone might produce a diplomatic breakthrough. He spared dozens of Iranian lives and took care to emphasize that those lives were on his mind when he gave the order to stand down. That was an olive branch. When Iran didn’t accept it, he tightened the screws with a few new sanctions. Now here’s Iran warning that those sanctions have closed the doors on diplomacy.

In other words, this has turned into a game of chicken to see which side wants talks more badly. Trump’s gambling that the economic pain from sanctions will cause Iran to capitulate and beg him for negotiations. Iran’s betting that Trump will agree to relax sanctions as a precondition — a new olive branch — to talks. The regime doesn’t want to lose face by transparently succumbing to America’s pressure campaign; they need Trump to give them a way to agree to talks that doesn’t look like a surrender. That means America needs to move first in suspending sanctions.

Is he willing to do that? If not, if he insists on an Iranian surrender under pressure, then the threat of an Iranian provocation that results in war will grow. Either they’ll attack Americans in the region or they’ll try to resume their nuclear program and Trump will feel compelled to act militarily. Which is a bad outcome for him: Because he’s not a hawk, because he got elected in 2016 on a platform of reducing America’s entanglements in the Middle East, he’s at least as wary of war as Iran is. He’s risking his presidency potentially by refusing to back off from sanctions if that’s Iran price for a summit. Bolton and Pompeo will urge him to stand firm and keep the pressure on, but Trump will want to be conciliatory. What does he do?

Here’s Bolton earlier today at a press conference in his surreal new role as America’s olive-branch-extender, urging Iran to walk through the open door of diplomacy that Trump has provided for them. Every media account of last week’s White House deliberations that I’ve read had Bolton in favor of attacking Iran over the downed U.S. drone. Now this. Speaking of which, according to Morning Consult, the public strongly approves of Trump’s decision to hold off on bombing Iran. Fully 65 percent agreed that calling off the strikes was the right thing to do, a level of bipartisan support rarely seen during Trump’s presidency.

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McConnell on Mexico tariffs: Give the guy credit. It worked

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This is such a bone of contention in the liberal media right now that everyone seems to be unable to let go of it. The question of the day/week is whether or not President Trump actually chalked up a win in his negotiations with Mexico over immigration and tariffs. Cocaine Mitch was on Hugh Hewitt’s show this morning and was asked to deal with the same subject. The Senate Majority Leader had been critical of the tariffs all through the negotiations, but now that all is said and done he’s giving credit where due. Hey… the President turned out to be right. (Politico)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell eased up on his criticism of President Donald Trump’s threat to impose steep tariffs on imported goods from Mexico, saying Tuesday the president deserved applause for the way his brinkmanship worked out.

McConnell’s shift in tone comes as there remains an air of mystery surrounding the deal’s specifics and whether concessions made by Mexico were significant or came to fruition solely because of the tariff threat.

“They just can’t let the president have a win,” McConnell said in an interview on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show.

At almost the same time that McConnell was talking to Hugh, I was on a conservative talk radio show out of Chicago being asked the exact same thing. What is first notable is that nearly all of the coverage you see on CNN or MSNBC and in the Washington Post and the New York Times consists of variations on the same theme. You can break the criticism down into three grabs at the brass ring.

1. Avoiding the tariffs is not a “win” because it was just Trump avoiding a crisis that he created himself.
2. Getting Mexico to agree to the tougher immigration enforcement is not a “win” because they’d agreed to most of it months ago.
3. It’s not even a “deal” because Trump could go back on his word at any time and impose the tariffs anyway.

Allow me to answer these in order as I did on the show this morning.

1. It’s called a negotiating tactic. Was it effective? Well, Mexico did what Trump wanted.
2. Mexico had said they agreed a while ago, but they weren’t doing anything. On Thursday, right after Trump announced the deadline, they sent thousands of troops to the border, arrested hundreds of migrants and took other steps. Trump was looking for action, not words.
3. Mexico can still reverse course on border enforcement at any time also. That’s why Trump is keeping the tariffs in his back pocket.

Mitch McConnell realizes all this. If Mexico had failed to act and the tariffs began to pile up, he’d at least be on record as being against them. But instead, we got what we wanted and he’s giving a nod to that reality.

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Defying the Hysterics, Mexico Starts Caving to Trump’s Tariff Threats

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Mexican federal police in riot gear receive instructions at the border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Members of a 3,000-strong migrant caravan have massed in this Guatemalan border town across the muddy Suchiate River from Mexico, as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens retaliation if they continue toward the United States. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

I’ve been critical of Trump’s trade policies at times. My instinct is to oppose tariffs, especially if they are targeted to benefit certain industries at the expense of consumers and other workers. For example, I don’t think Pennsylvania residents are inherently more entitled to steel manufacturing jobs than any other American. Trump’s messaging can often be confusing and that’s been part of the issue. Tariffs as leverage are good. Tariffs as a means to their own end are inevitably harmful.

Despite my prior concerns, at some point I made the decision that I was done reacting rashly toward the President’s trade policy. I found much of the hysteria on the right over every new rumor of a tariff to be tedious and an overreaction. The economy is not going to crash because your Chipotle burrito might cost $0.05 more and even dealing with the bigger items, we were actually talking small fractions of the overall price being affected. One could certainly argue that even small increases are worthy of disapproval and harmful, but the constant preaching of Armageddon is all just a bit much.

I say all that to say that when President Trump announced new tariff threats toward Mexico in order to get them to help with illegal immigration, I took a wait and see approach. It was clear to me that this was a leverage play and that Mexico had far more to lose than we did. I opined at the time that I doubted they’d ever even go into effect.

I may end up being right because Mexico is currently in the process of caving to Trump’s demands.

This follows reports that Mexico is already beefing up its southern border.

Mexican soldiers, armed police and migration officials blocked hundreds of migrants after they crossed the border from Guatemala in a caravan into southern Mexico on Wednesday, and detained dozens of them, a witness from a migrant aid group and an official said.

The Mexican response in the border town of Metapa, which included dozens of soldiers, marked a toughening of the government’s efforts to curb the flow of mainly Central American migrants, said Salva Cruz, a coordinator with Fray Matias de Cordova.

“That many sailors and military police, yes, it’s new,” Cruz said, by WhatsApp, from Metapa, in the southern border state of Chiapas, where the vast majority of migrants cross into Mexico.

Things are moving quickly and there’s still a lot up in the air but what’s clear is that Mexico got the message.

They have no desire to take the hit when they so heavily rely on exports to the U.S. for their economic stability. In the past, the Mexicans have rebuffed signing a “safe 3rd country” agreement with us. We have such an agreement with Canada already. What it essentially does is say that migrants (they aren’t technically illegal aliens yet) must make their asylum claims in the first country they arrive in that isn’t their own. Guatemalans must do so in Mexico while Hondurans would do so in Guatemala, etc.

This helps stem the flow of “asylum shopping,” where migrants pass up perfectly safe offers of asylum in order to get to the U.S. for economic reasons. Asylum is not an ticket to try to find the best situation possible. It’s there to mitigate life threatening situations.

Now, Mexico and Guatemala are working with us to setup proper asylum procedures, where they aren’t making a dangerous 2,000 mile trip when asylum is being offered to them where they are in Mexico.

The news has some conservatives changing their tune on the whole ordeal.

Good for Shapiro. One of the reasons I enjoy his material is that he does his best to be an honest broker. He’s willing to admit he was wrong here when a lot of other “conservative” voices wouldn’t.

If I’m Donald Trump, I take this deal or something close to it. There’s only so much Mexico can do and these latest terms seem like a max effort to me. It’s unrealistic to think they can actually stop all migrant flows to the the U.S. but if they are willing to help us enforce logical asylum policies and send thousands of troops to their southern border, that’s a big win for the President.

Even if a deal is struck in the next few days, one thing is certain. Democrats will oppose it because the goal for them has never been to stop illegal immigration or secure the border. They want these people making the inhuman journey at the behest of the cartels because they see these people as political leverage. No doubt some liberal judge will attempt to get involved here as well.

Regardless, it appears that Trump’s leverage play has worked and perhaps that’ll earn him a little more benefit of the doubt next time. Ah, who am I kidding?


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Hannity to Democrats on shutdown: “The president’s willing to negotiate DACA”

Westlake Legal Group sh Hannity to Democrats on shutdown: “The president’s willing to negotiate DACA” Trump The Blog Shutdown schumer pelosi Negotiation hannity dream deal daca compromise

Well then.

If this were any other host, even on Fox, you could shrug it off as conjecture. Trump *has* been willing to negotiate on amnesty in the past, after all. A year ago he floated full funding for the wall, i.e. $25 billion, in exchange for a path to citizenship for DREAMers. His pal Lindsey Graham has been pushing some sort of DREAM-for-wall deal all week. It’s fair to speculate that the president’s open to it.

But Hannity’s not any host. He’s Trump’s phone-chat buddy, his “shadow chief of staff.” He knows the president watches his show every night and he knows that people who watch the president watch his show for clues about what Trump is thinking. I can’t believe he would propose something like this, knowing how delicate the politics of this issue are among Fox viewers, without clearing it with Trump first — or being asked to do so by Trump himself. Neither can NYT reporter Maggie Haberman:

“There’s not much indication the president would actually support [the idea], but I don’t think it’s an accident Sean Hannity said that,” Haberman said. “Sean Hannity is saying something that the president at least wants to float out there and see what will come back, but again, Democrats are not in the mood for that deal.”

Is that what the clip below is — a trial balloon, to see if Coulterites will pitch a fit at the suggestion and/or if it’ll spark any interest among Democrats? Or has Trump been convinced by Graham that the only way out of this mess is a DREAM-for-wall compromise and he’s tapped Hannity to start massaging his audience about it? His problem, as Haberman says, is that Democrats reeeeeeeeally don’t want give him any wall money. For anything. Full citizenship for DREAMers would tempt them, but even then they’re not going to agree to $25 billion. They might give him $5 billion. In which case, good luck to Trump in trying to convince border hawks that a deal in which he got 20 percent of what he was asking for last year in return for DREAM is somehow a good deal.

He may have no choice but to start looking for a way out now, though. Some centrist Republicans in Congress are getting nervous:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who faces a potentially tough reelection in 2020, says Congress should re-open the federal government, even without a deal on funding President Trump’s border wall…

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said.

Gardner won his Senate race by less than two points in 2014; two years later, his home state was the rare purple enclave that went to Hillary; now he’s facing reelection in 2020, with Trump at the top of the ballot. He’ll be Democrats’ top target in the coming election cycle. If anyone’s going to fill the “maverick” role in the new Senate by going his own way, it’s him. Susan Collins is also facing a tough race and has already shored up her right flank with her crucial vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, so she can afford to break with Trump on some big votes too. Murkowski is Murkowski. And lord only knows what Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney will do, especially if the shutdown drags on another week and workers at agencies like TSA start getting restless over not getting paid. There’s no critical mass of centrist Republicans in the Senate who’ll help Schumer defeat a right-wing filibuster, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is a messaging war, and the more Republicans defect to vote with Democrats, the harder it is for the GOP to blame the stalemate on Democrats. A few House Republicans voted with Pelosi yesterday to reopen the government without wall funding, now here’s Gardner ready to side with Schumer in the Senate. You can understand why Hannity, and Trump, are eager for negotiations.

I wonder when Democrats will start pushing this talking point, just to twist the knife:

Exit question via Josh Barro: Is there any scenario in which the shutdown drags on for so long, with the politics becoming so poisonous, that Republicans in Congress not only join with Dems to pass a clean-ish spending bill that ends it but then vote to override a Trump veto if he tries to block the bill? That would require two-thirds of both houses; you’d need fully 20 Republican senators to flip. I can’t imagine them doing it as it would be viewed by Trump’s base as the ultimate establishment betrayal, in which a populist hero who fought to protect the country was stabbed in the back by treacherous RINOs. But Barro’s imagining a situation in which the shutdown drags on for, say, another three weeks, the feds miss a second pay period, and furious TSA agents decide they’re not slaves and choose to walk off the job in protest. Air traffic would be paralyzed. And of course Trump will be blamed for it by most voters, because that’s what happens to presidents when major disruptions occur on their watch. At some hypothetical point congressional Republicans would have more to fear politically from swing voters than from Trump’s base and would act accordingly. I just … don’t know what that point would be. Swing voters have short memories. And swing voters aren’t going to make it their life’s mission to primary you in 2020.

The post Hannity to Democrats on shutdown: “The president’s willing to negotiate DACA” appeared first on Hot Air.

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