BREAKING: Steve Scalise Update – The News Is Good

The Associated Press is reporting that Representative Steve Scalise was discharged from the hospital a little over a month after being shot:

This is fantastic news. Considering it was touch and go for awhile, it’s outstanding to know that he’s going to be ok.

RedState wishes Rep. Scalise all the best and hopes he will have a quick recovery so he can get back to work!

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Donald Trump Unhinged: Slams Jeff Sessions by Name on Twitter

The Trump administration is no longer a circus. It’s a political version of Arkham Asylum.

Donald Trump woke up early on July 25 and started the day on Twitter, slamming Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Minutes later, the president called out Sessions by name:

I wrote about the Washington Post and their story about Jeff Sessions dropping two days after the president slammed Sessions during an interview with The New York Times. I wasn’t the only one to suggest Trump subordinates leaked the information to embarrass Sessions. Some people wrote off that suggestion as a “conspiracy theory, ” and now it looks as though we were right.

It is another example as well, of Trump’s views on loyalty. For Trump, it is a one-way street. Jeff Sessions was one of the first high profile Republicans to endorse Donald Trump. Sessions campaigned with Trump and was a vocal supporter the entire time.

But Trump in his demented state sees Sessions’ recusal in the Russia investigation as a betrayal after months of quietly fuming about it, and now he’s openly attacking Sessions, hoping he will quit. Hopefully, Sessions stays on and forces Trump to fire him. Sessions’ duty is to the Constitution, not Donald Trump.

What’s remarkable is we’re only six months into this mess of an administration. Six months. 

People can talk all they want about Democrats, the media and establishment Republicans. But Trump only has himself to blame for his abysmal approval ratings and his inability at this point to not have signed any significant legislation.

 

 

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BREAKING: John McCain to Return to the Senate on Tuesday for Health Care Vote

John McCain’s vote is critical enough that he’s needed in the Senate on Tuesday as his vote is crucial for passage of their bill.

CNN reports he will be there:

“Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea,” his office said in a statement.

The Arizona Republican underwent brain surgery earlier this month and announced last week he has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

McCain’s return gets lawmakers one vote closer to beginning debate on their health care proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs at least 50 votes to advance the legislation, and can only lose two votes from his 52-member conference.

He’s a fighter. And screw you to all of the people who call this man a traitor. I’d say you should be ashamed of yourselves, but you people are filth and you have no shame.

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Trump Merely Entertaining Pardons For Himself and Family is Politically Dangerous

I am not a lawyer, and so I rely on the expertise of lawyers at times to help shape opinion on issues. Unfortunately, the law is often not “clear” as lay people claim and constitutional law is often harder to discern, especially as it relates to some language in the constitution that is open to interpretation.

The fact the law is often not “clear” is the reason I avoid taking cues from lawyers with obvious political agenda. For example, Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe, both of whom are Harvard law professors are doing a disservice to that institution with their blatant politicking disguised as legal analysis. Dershowitz defends Trump at every turn and Tribe finds new ways every day to call for President Trump’s impeachment.

Law professor Jonathan Turley offers up cogent legal analysis without concerning himself about politics. He wrote a piece for the Washington Post where he argues President Trump can pardon himself and his family members for anything related to Robert Mueller’s investigation before anything happens, similar to what Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon. Turley’s piece goes into some depth but is worth reading in its’ entirety for the fascinating history lesson about presidential pardons. Here is the relevant part:

The issue of whether a president can pardon himself is one of the unanswered questions of the Constitution; it has never happened in the history of our republic. Even Nixon did not stoop to a self-pardon, although he did research it. Neither did Andrew Johnson or Bill Clinton, both of whom were impeached by the House but not removed from office by the Senate. Such an act would make the White House look like the Bada Bing Club. After a self-pardon, Trump could wipe out the Islamic State, trigger an economic golden age and solve global warming with a carbon-eating border wall — and no one would notice. He would simply go down in history as the man who not only pardoned his family members but himself.

Points to Turley for ‘The Sopranos’ reference. He’s right. Turley argues such a move is the equivalent not only of political suicide but also a cemented legacy that wipes out any accomplishments Trump might have during his tenure.

Trump already has abysmally low job approval ratings. The RealClear Politics average for his job approval is a tick under 40 percent. The poll most often favorable to Trump, Rasmussen, shows Trump’s support upside down by 14 points (43/57).

Turley makes clear any pardons issued now wouldn’t be for the benefit of protecting anybody from jail time:

Pardoning his associates at this stage would clearly have a tactical benefit, but the historical and political costs of that would be immense. The most obvious reason for issuing pardons now would not be to protect any of the key people from jail but to limit Mueller’s leverage over witnesses. Mueller has selected a team of prosecutorial heavies, some of whom are known for flipping witnesses and using pressure to secure their cooperation. A pardon removes that option and reinforces the ability of close associates to take a hard line with investigators.

It’s a great point. Why would you bother cooperating with an investigation if you’ve already received pardon for anything related to the inquiry?

It is possible Trump is engaging in his typical bluster, saying he has the authority to pardon himself just to make a point. That said, it also is a complete reversal of the promise to “drain the swamp.” Such an action fits perfectly within the parameters of an “establishment” politician using the power of his office to escape responsibility for his actions. His core supporters won’t agree, but they’re likely going to back him no matter what decision he makes.

Considering the pardon route is akin to juggling with swords if you’ve never done it before. It will likely end badly.

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The Addition of Scaramucci Isn’t Going to Help Because Trump Needs to Change and He Won’t

Anthony Scaramucci impressed in his first appearance as the new communications director for the Trump administration. As far as appearances are concerned, Trump was likely thrilled. Scaramucci paints an entirely different picture than Sean Spicer. Scaramucci with his coiffed hair, perfectly tailored suit, gold ring and his Breitling Avenger watch (nearly $6,000 retail) exuded the image Trump wants. For President Trump, it is all about appearances more than substance.

Scaramucci has almost zero experience in communications, especially on the political stage. I saw people arguing his role as a businessman requires excellent communication skills and to the degree that is true. However, as we’ve seen with President Trump, the world of politics is a whole different animal than the business world. Trump’s scorched earth playbook worked well for him in the primaries and somewhat in the general election campaign. But it hasn’t served him well while president as is evidenced by his abysmal job-approval rating. So we have no idea how Scaramucci will fair once a crisis hits. It will be soon because if we’ve learned anything in the first six months of this administration, it’s that they’re almost always in crisis mode.

Unfortunately, as much as people want to believe shaking up the communications team will benefit the Trump administration, it won’t, and that’s because of one individual: Donald Trump. 

Trump will not change. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who he pushes out or who he brings in. Everything starts at the top and crap flows downhill. Even the best people will get caught in the crap avalanche and leave tainted by Trump. I see in the president, the inability to change because I worked for someone for over ten years that reminds me of President Trump. It’s almost spooky in how similar they both are and how I know Trump will never make the changes necessary for a successful administration.

Below are several ways in which my former boss and Trump are similar in how they approach their roles and the people around them.

The personality type: Donald Trump’s sycophants hail him as an “alpha male, ” and he’s not. But is he a beta male? No. Trump is just a jerk. He’s one that is confrontational and aggressive, and while at times he can be charming, he easily digresses into inappropriate behavior at the slightest provocation. Trump likes compliments but prefers to be feared rather than loved. He is self-centered and arrogant instead of confident.

An inability to focus on the big picture: It is a trait that used to drive me insane and one that eats away at Donald Trump to the core. At work, there might be a crisis going on with some our technology infrastructure or a customer might be freaking out over something and my boss would yell about a stain on the carpet or a scuff mark on the wall. Trump obsesses over Russia and only to his detriment. Instead of sitting back, letting the investigation play out and focusing on health care reform and tax reform, he tweets and blames others for his troubles. The big ticket items get ignored, and his behavior is partially responsible for why he has yet to sign a significant piece of legislation.

The victim mentality: Everybody is always out to get Trump. He is always treated “unfairly.” The media hates him. The establishment hates him. Everything is always somebody else’s fault. My former boss is like that. Confronted with a screw-up, he’d refuse just to acknowledge it and move on. He had to point the finger of blame somewhere else, and it didn’t matter what bridges he burned to do it.

The toxicity affects other people negatively: Some wonder why people such as James Mattis or HR McMaster would work for President Trump. As I said earlier, jerks do have the capability at times to be charming and persuasive, especially outside the workplace. My boss managed to convince a neighbor and a former business executive to come work with us to assist in expanding our operations into South America. The neighbor, who I will refer to as “David” was a terrific choice to bring in and I’d have given anything to work directly for him. But after only a year, he told my boss he’d had enough. The environment wasn’t worth and it he said privately that had he known what it would be like, he’d never have accepted the offer. I don’t expect some of the best people Trump brought aboard to stay very long. That’s the effect he has on people.

There are more examples, but these are the most striking similarities between President Trump and my former boss.

I wish Anthony Scaramucci the best of luck in his new role. I also hope he realizes that at some point, he will be the scapegoat for Donald Trump’s issues. I’ve seen it up close and personal.

 

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On Wednesday, Trump Trashes Sessions; Two Days Later Story Drops That Could Cost Sessions His Job

Coincidences are sometimes an amazing spectacle to behold. President Trump, who’s been bitter ever Jeff Sessions acted ethically, stepping away from the Russia investigation, publicly slammed Sessions in an interview with the New York Times saying he’d never have offered him the role of Attorney General if he knew Sessions would recuse himself.

Coincidentally, just two days later, the Washington Post is reporting this potential bombshell:

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Under normal circumstances, Trump supporters would be apoplectic over this story. They’d scream about illegal leaks, the supposed “deep state” and how saboteurs in the media are working to undermine the Trump administration.

But after Trump’s comments on Wednesday, look for criticism if any, to be muted. In fact, if I were thinking like a Trumper, I’d argue the information was leaked by Trump administration officials to get Jeff Sessions to a point where he’d have to resign.

People were wondering if Sessions might leave in the wake of Trump’s comments, but Sessions said he’d stay on as long as it was “appropriate.”

Trump wants him out and this story may be the push that does it.

 

 

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BREAKING: Sean Spicer Resigns As Press Secretary

It was just a matter of time before this happened but I don’t think anybody saw Sean Spicer’s resignation coming so quickly. But Spicer resigned, and now we wait to hear how Trump forcing this move is just another example of his brilliance.

From The New York Times:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

It’s not hard to blame Spicer for resigning as a result of the hiring of Scaramucci. He’s a hedge fund and finance person, not a communications person. He has no experience running communications and doing so for the White House requires a particular skill set.

Trump’s hiring of Scaramucci appears to be another move where Trump rewards loyalty over experience and competence.

More to come as this story unfolds.

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Republicans Need To Go on the Record About Trump’s Mueller Comments

Donald Trump had no problems throwing Jeff Sessions under the bus. Ironically, Trump is mad at Sessions for adhering to ethical norms by recusing himself from any investigation about Russia. Imagine that. Sessions did the right thing, and Trump is upset.

That was one aspect of the interview Trump did with the New York Times. The other was to issue a veiled threat to Special Counsel Robert Mueller: 

Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller was running an office rife with conflicts of interest and warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia. Mr. Trump never said he would order the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, nor would he outline circumstances under which he might do so. But he left open the possibility as he expressed deep grievance over an investigation that has taken a political toll in the six months since he took office.

Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

It’s not a violation, but since Trump said it, he’ll believe it no matter what anybody tells him at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens if Trump orders Rod Rosenstein to dismiss Mueller without cause and for crossing a red line that only exists in Trump’s head.

GOP senators heard about the interview, and some of them are not happy: 

A group of Republican senators criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday, a day after the President rebuked top law enforcement officials in an interview with The New York Times.

“The attorney general is America’s top law enforcement official,” one GOP senator said. “It’s unclear if he understands that, and that’s pretty disturbing.”

The senator was referring to Trump’s comment in the Times’ interview that he would not have hired Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Sessions would go on to recuse himself from investigations related to the 2016 campaign. The senator said Trump seemed to be thinking of the law enforcement heads as his personal employees.

“One gets the impression that the President doesn’t understand or he willfully disregards the fact that the attorney general and law enforcement in general — they are not his personal lawyers to defend and protect him,” one GOP senator told CNN. “He has (his) own personal lawyers, and of course, the White House has the White House counsel’s office.”

Here is the problem. Four Senators gave quotes, but only one of them, Susan Collins of Maine spoke openly while the others were on background.

That Republican senator and two others spoke on background with CNN to avoid prompting a fight with the President.

I hate to break it to the other three, but engaging in a “fight” with President Trump is part of your job as members of a co-equal branch of government. We do not live in a dictatorship.

Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Robert Mueller doesn’t work for him even though Trump has the authority to terminate him. Mueller’s first duty is to the Constitution and the law. Trump can’t fire him because he doesn’t like the direction of the investigation.

It is not unfair to say the rules governing special counsel are too superfluous, allow them to go off in any direction they want. But that requires making changes to the rules and doing so before there is an investigation or after one concludes.

Donald Trump’s statements are not to be taken lightly and Republicans should do their jobs, openly saying what Trump did was wrong and not hiding behind anonymity.

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RNC To GOP Candidates: Fealty to Donald Trump Or Else

Party loyalty in politics is nothing new. The fact is, most people who vote for Democrats and Republicans are “party” people. Meaning it doesn’t much matter what positions an individual candidate or office holder has on issues. Voters walk into a booth, look at the party and vote for the Republican or the Democrat. It is the case in most scenarios, and that’s just a fact.

Hard-core supporters are there and don’t like it when you criticize their guy. That’s understandable as well. But those are issues between voters, not the party and the candidates running under the banner of that party.

When it comes to candidates and people in office, the Republican National Committee has a responsibility to back Republicans. As much as it stung for some people, Donald Trump won the nomination, and the party infrastructure backed him. It didn’t matter if he smeared fellow Republican candidates with lies and ridiculous conspiracy theories. The party supported him because it does so for Republicans. 

However, it doesn’t appear as though that kind of thinking applies to other Republicans now, especially if they’ve been critical of Donald Trump:

The Republican National Committee isn’t spending big for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno because the RNC doesn’t think she has been loyal to President Trump, NJ.com reported Wednesday.

Guadagno, currently the lieutenant governor under Gov. Chris Christie (R), is viewed skeptically by the RNC because of her criticism of Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape and as a lost cause, the report said.

“[The president] is unhappy with anyone who neglected him in his hour of need,” an RNC insider reportedly said, referring to Guadagno’s public disavowal of Trump last fall after the surfacing last year of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women.

Here is what Guadagno said in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape:

If the RNC stated that they weren’t going all in because Guadagno is trying to ride into office on the scorched coattails of Chris Christie, that might make some sense. However, it won’t happen as it is evident it’s not happening because Guadagno didn’t rush to defend candidate Trump when the news broke he thinks you can do anything to a woman if you’re in a position of power.

What Guadagno did was not unreasonable. She was hardly the first Republican to distance themselves from Trump when that tape hit the public airwaves. Now the RNC is going to withhold funds and assistance from a Republican candidate because of Donald Trump? Since when did the RNC become beholden to one person instead of the party as a whole?

It only proves Trump doesn’t just want loyalty. He wants slavish devotion. Fealty. Without it, he has no use for a person. It is a dangerous method if the GOP wants to grow. If the party is going to refuse help for people who have been Republicans far longer than President Trump because his thin skin can’t deal with criticism, it doesn’t bode well for the future.

Grow up, Mr. President. You have more important issues to think about.

 

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BREAKING: Trump Lashes out at Jeff Sessions for Recusing Himself (AUDIO)

Disloyalty, it seems, knows no bounds with Donald Trump. Anything that happens which causes him to look bad is grounds for being tossed under the Trump Bus. The latest victim? Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump knows Sessions’ recusing himself led to the appointment of Robert Mueller. Now, Mueller with his prosecutorial power and not being tied down to Trump has the president nervous. Naturally, he’s going to look for scapegoats. He found one in Sessions. Listen to President Trump describe it:

Of course, President Trump acts as though Sessions recused himself the moment he was confirmed. Sessions recused himself nearly a month after his confirmation. It’s a sure thing Sessions didn’t think he’d have to recuse himself when he first accepted Trump’s offer.

Notice too, the language Trump uses. Once again, the supposedly tough guy alpha-male complained twice in a minute about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself as “very unfair.”

He also had this to say about his newly revealed conversation with Vladimir Putin:

Describing a newly disclosed informal conversation he had with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia during a dinner of world leaders in Germany earlier this month, Mr. Trump said they talked for about 15 minutes, mostly about “pleasantries.” But Mr. Trump did say that they talked “about adoptions.”

Adoptions. Does anybody buy that nonsense?

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