Judge rules that Parnas can turn over documents to Congress, as more charges are likely

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:48

When Rudy Giuliani’s friends, clients, tour guides, and assistants were picked up at Dulles Airport on Oct. 10, it was clear that federal attorneys weren’t really prepared to arrest the pair. It was the idea that the two were getting ready to head out of the country again—and that Giuliani was planning to follow them to Vienna that evening—that forced the government’s hand and had them bring Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in on charges related to making illegal foreign contributions to numerous Republicans, including Donald Trump.

But now that there’s been more time to develop the case against Parnas and Fruman, it’s clear that the count of charges against them has nowhere to go but up. And up. Not only does Parnas have a starring role in the House Intelligence Committee impeachment report as the man who was talking to everyone—including ranking Republican committee member Devin Nunes—assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind appeared at a pretrial hearing on Monday and flat-out told the judge that more charges were likely. And, according to Politico, those additional charges might not all be aimed at Parnas and his partner in thuggery, Fruman. There are possible “additional defendants” in the works.

In fact, Parnas and Fruman don’t appear to be at the center of this case at all. Their arrest was required just because they had those tickets to ride to Vienna, where their friend, employer, and also already indicted oligarch Dmytro Firtash has been cooling his heels in luxury for years. This case, which includes at a minimum charges of violations of election law, perjury, falsifying records, conspiracy against the United States, appears to be “part of a broader probe that is looking at numerous people in Giuliani’s orbit.”

While it’s clear that Giuliani’s orbit revolves around the Oval Office, it’s not certain just who else might be caught up in the obvious and clumsy schemes to feed foreign contributions to Republican candidates. But we might soon know. Not only has Parnas’ lawyer been avidly signaling his client’s willingness to talk to anyone about his connections to Giuliani, Trump, and company—the judge also ruled on Monday that Parnas can turn over documents to the House impeachment inquiry.

Categories: Politics

Harris Out, but Not Gone

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:40

The bad news is that Sen. Harris is out of the Presidential race:

Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California announced that she is ending her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a note to supporters, Harris wrote that “my campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”“It is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude— that I am suspending my campaign today,” she wrote. “But I want to be clear with you: I am still very much in this fight.”

Harris had qualified for the December debate but was in single digits in both national and early-state polls.

the good news is she is still a Senator, which is a pretty damned big deal, and a young one at that. This is not the last we will hear from her, thank goodness.

The post Harris Out, but Not Gone appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

'Money always wins': Trump's admiration ends in nearly $400-million contract for border barrier

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:22

When you can’t quite put your finger on why a reality star is involving himself in military affairs, that’s usually when you remember. That’s right. He’s president. A few seconds later, President Donald Trump does something to make you wish he weren’t commander in chief, like talk or in this case entrust a company that hasn’t met federal standards with nearly $400 million because he promised people a wall.

The Department of Defense announced Monday that North Dakota-based Fisher Sand & Gravel company plans to build 31 miles of new barrier through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Arizona, by Dec. 30, 2020, according to a statement from Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Fisher supporter. “I am glad to see more progress being made to secure the southern border, and I am grateful to see a good North Dakota company like Fisher Industries getting some of the work,” Cramer said. “I know they will do very well, performing high quality work at a good bargain, all for the security of the people of the United States.”

Just to jog your memory, Trump promised voters a wall when he first launched his presidential campaign with racist dog-whistles and ridiculous promises in June 2015. "I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall," the former Apprentice star said.

Well, the Trump administration has fallen just short of that promise, having only built about 85 miles of fencing and promising to complete 450 to 500 miles of new barriers by the end of 2020, according to The Washington Post. The U.S./Mexico border is 1,954 miles, and the Fisher construction plan hasn’t even gotten a stamp of approval from the International Boundary and Water Commission, the regulatory agency for the Rio Grande flood plain, the Post reported.

It, however, seems Tommy Fisher’s allure outranks silly federal standards. The Washington Post reported “Trump has been enamored with” Fisher, the company’s chief executive, after his many appearances on Fox News to contend his firm “would do a better job than those the government had already chosen.” Catherine Arnst, a spokeswoman for the United Hospital Fund, said it best when she called the news "a reminder that money always wins over nature, and ethics, in today's America.”

Categories: Politics

With 12 days left in open enrollment, Trump Obamacare sabotage has sign-ups lagging

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:21

There are just 12 more days in an already truncated open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act plans (in most states). There's no way to make the numbers so far look good, thanks in large part to Trump administration sabotage. Joshua Peck, co-founder of the organization Get America Covered, has the details and the discouraging news: "The number of people signing up for coverage this week doesn't give us any reason to believe there are any fundamental changes to the trends we've seen in past weeks—sign-ups still appear to be on track to lag behind last year's totals."

One of the reasons has to be the drastic cuts the Trump administration has made in funding for outreach and advertising. Some states have picked up that dropped ball, and in some others nonprofit groups have stepped into the void. In Indiana, for example, Covering Kids and Families of Indiana has navigators to help in the process. That's critical help, says the group’s policy director, Mark Fairchild. Navigators "know the ins and outs, they know the process. […] They've seen 100 of these applications, whereas for a consumer, it's probably their first one and it looks very, very daunting. And they walk you through that process step by step." It is very daunting, he admits freely, even for him. "As much as I'm in this line of work, I don't always understand my insurance, right? If we're being honest, most people really don't all those ins and outs."

They really don't. One recent survey showed that more than 50% of people don't know what the very basic terms "co-payment" and "deductible" mean. More than a quarter say they have avoided getting care because they don't know if their insurance will cover it. And 13% didn't even know if they had health insurance. But among those who don't have it and know they don't have it, 90% don't know that it's open enrollment season for the ACA and that they could get it. So, yeah, that greater-than-80% cut Trump made to the ACA navigator and outreach budget is doing what Trump intended.

All that said, there are still 12 days left in open enrollment, and the resistance can play a part in spreading the word. Get Covered America's open enrollment toolkit will help where navigators might not be available, providing all the information you need. And, as always, Healthcare.gov is the place to get started.

Categories: Politics

Another Good Thing We Can’t Have

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:15

The other day, Atrios mentioned this piece about the terrible state of public higher ed in Pennsylvania. It’s an old story–the state legislature keeps underfunding state colleges and universities, so they keep raising tuition:

State lawmakers, in effect, have offloaded more costs onto college students and families. Student payments now make up more than halfof the per-student revenue at publicly supported Pennsylvania colleges, double the national average.

And because many students and co-signing relatives have to borrow, Pennsylvania college graduates rank second nationally for the highest debt with an average $37,061, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. Only Connecticut college students graduate with more debt: $38,669.

New York has gone the opposite direction, with the Excelsior Scholarship, which pays for tuition at a state school as long as the parents’ AGI is under $125K, and the student agrees to live in New York for as many years as they went to school. That’s roughly a $28K benefit over four years, though most four-year schools require two years in the dorms and on meal plans, which is around $13K/year.

In downstate New York, a $125K AGI is probably barely a living wage for a family, but if we decided to make the cap $250K or $500K, or (I hope you’re sitting down) no cap at all, the Mayo Petes of sensible modern centrism would point out that a millionaire’s kid might get free tuition, thus causing the the moral center of the universe to shift from its bearings and catapult us all directly into the Sun.

I say, fuck that noise: If we want to start winning elections, let’s give something away, and let’s give it to everyone. All of this means testing just raises resentment among people who are not eligible, yet perceive themselves as scraping by. And how will we pay for it? Real answer: just like we pay for Defense, and besides, who fucking cares. Political answer: taxes on the 1%.

The next time Mayo Pete comes after someone proposing to give something to the middle class, they should tell him to fuck off to the library, where he can spend his spare time hunting for millionaires checking out books.

The post Another Good Thing We Can’t Have appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

House Intelligence report on the impeachment inquiry is definitive, detailed, and utterly damning

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:47

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee released its report on the results of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. As might be expected following weeks of compelling, detailed, and convincing testimony, the report is … compelling, detailed, and convincing in presenting the case against Trump. The report indicts Trump “personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government” for soliciting interference from a foreign government to assist in his reelection. It makes an equally blunt case that Trump withheld both a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as part of his effort to force that country’s participation in his scheme. 

Donald Trump used his high office not just to benefit his own presidential campaign, but to harm political rivals; and he did so at a cost to this nation and to others. He put himself above the law, and above the best interests of the United States. This is the very definition of an impeachable offense.

The report, especially in the executive summary, takes the form of a narrative and does a masterful job of arranging the various elements of testimony into a cohesive set of events. For example, when Trump sat down to make his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he did not do so “cold,” but only after first participating in a call with Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland. In that call, Sondland assured Trump that, after months of pressure, much of it directed by Rudy Giuliani, Zelensky was on board with the scheme to announce investigations that would cast doubt on Biden, suggest that Hillary Clinton faked the entire theft of materials from the DNC, and exonerate Russia of interference in the 2016 election.

In listening to the testimony of various witnesses, or seeing the daily reports on the impeachment hearings, it was sometimes difficult to see the relationship between these events. But in the Intelligence Committee report, the connections are drawn: Giuliani and others applied pressure to Ukrainian officials over a period of many months.

Setting up Trump’s July 25 request for a political favor was an effort that began at least as early as April, when Giuliani, Lev Parnas, and others directly conspired to remove U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from her position—with the knowledge and cooperation of Trump. Sondland then stepped in ahead of Trump’s call to confirm that Zelensky understood Giuliani’s demands. After that conversation, Sondland spoke with Trump to let him know that everything was arranged. By the time Trump called Zelensky, he felt comfortable demanding the announcements he wanted as a political favor—because he thought it was already in the bag.

Categories: Politics

'Damning' or a 'novella built on conjecture'? House members respond to impeachment report

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:45

House Democrats were, by and large, somewhat quicker to respond to the release of the House Intelligence Committee's report on Donald Trump’s extortion campaign against Ukraine than were Republicans. It’s actually somewhat surprising, since Republicans just came up with their same old talking points, process whining, and lies, while at least some Democrats actually looked at the report.

“The report released by the House Intelligence Committee is damning,” Rep. Donna Shalala tweeted. “The report makes it clear that President Trump's actions abused the power of his office, threatened our national security, and undermined the integrity of our democracy.He must be held accountable.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Don Beyer both quoted the passage saying that Trump ”placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”

“The newly disclosed phone calls in the House Intelligence Committee Report further confirm the testimony of Ambassador Sondland,” Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted. Specifically, the testimoney that "Everybody knew what we were doing and why" and "Everyone was in the loop."

In the judgment of Rep. Eric Swalwell, Trump “abused his power, betrayed his oath, and endangered our national security.” According to Rep. Mark DeSaulnier the report shows “overwhelming evidence that President Trump used the powers of the Presidency to ask for foreign interference in an American election.”

“Man. The Republican culture of corruption under this President keeps getting worse and worse,” wrote Rep. David CicillineRep. Gregory Meeks joked—or at least half-joked—“How long before Trumps say he doesn't know Giuliani, but he hears he's a very good guy?”

Republicans, unsurprisingly, stuck to their talking points. (Yes, the false ones, too.) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy whine about process. Rep. Mark Meadows claimed that “hey're still heavily relying on statements from Gordon Sondland, who admitted—point blank—that he had zero firsthand evidence.” Uh, they have a little bit more than Sondland, dude.

Rep. Lee Zeldin did some serious projection, claiming that “Schiff’s impeachment parody should start with ‘Once upon a time...’. He’s so desperate to connect dots that aren’t actually connected, often relying on many hand hearsay, guesses, assumptions & outright lies. It’s the worst kind of bad faith story time I’ve ever seen in Congress.” Rep. Matt Gaetz called the report a “novella built on conjecture and presumption” that “offers no startling revelations, and nothing that fulfills Speaker Pelosi's promise of a bipartisan impeachment process.” Matt, Matt, Matt. 1) There are startling revelations here and some of them point to your colleague Rep. Devin Nunes. 2) Remember when a Republican came out for impeachment and y’all drummed him out of the party? Do you think that kind of bullying and intimidation is maybe one reason this isn’t bipartisan? (Except to the extent that a former Republican supports it.)

Categories: Politics

Lunchtime Photo

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:30

This is a Nuttall’s woodpecker outside the Orange County Zoo, where a bunch of them routinely flock. At least, I think that’s what it is based on the discussion of woodpeckers inside the nearby nature center. But I’m sure we’ll get positive ID in comments . . .

April 6, 2019 — Irvine Regional Park, Orange County, California
Categories: Politics

House Democrats condemn immigration 'tent courts' as 'shrouded in secrecy since their creation'

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:23

Dozens of House Democrats are calling for increased transparency at the so-called immigration “tent courts” where some asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico are having their cases heard, writing in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice that these border facilities are “shrouded in secrecy since their creation and there has been little oversight over their operations.”

So secretive that immigration court proceedings, which are usually open to the public, have been blocked off completely to everyone but asylum-seekers and their attorneys. “Thus far, DHS has not allowed non-governmental organizations or the public access inside these facilities and have prevented organizations from providing legal orientation for asylum-seekers,” the members, led by Hispanic Caucus chair Joaquin Castro and Rep. Tony Cardenas, wrote.

Perhaps because these kangaroo court proceedings have been widely criticized as sham justice. Asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico face numerous roadblocks in just trying to get to their U.S. hearings. For example, if they can find transportation to get them from a shelter or squalid camp to a port of entry, families with 7:30 AM hearings are expected to show up three hours early. Then at court, asylum-seekers don’t physically face a judge, but rather a live feed of one 150 miles away—and that feed can often cut out.

“The secretive nature of the tent facilities is aggravated by the fact that DHS continues to expand its deeply concerning Remain in Mexico program,” the House members continue. “Migrants subject to the Remain in Mexico program have been separated from their families, have been forced to remain in a country that has been unwilling or unable to provide them shelter or protection and are obstructed from adequately participating in the legal process pursuant to their rights.”

To date, more than 60,000 asylum-seekers have been forced to Mexico to wait out their cases, with some parents becoming so desperate they are sending their kids back into the U.S. alone. From this forcible family separation to these sham courts, Remain in Mexico has been a disgrace, and it’s one that the administration hopes to keep operating in secrecy—which means we need to keep talking about it. 

“We reiterate that we remain strongly opposed to the Remain in Mexico program and its expansion,” the legislators conclude. “Instead of creating policies that protect our nation, this administration has put millions of people at risk in order to expand disastrous immigration policies.”

Categories: Politics

NYC housing program doesn’t really solve homelessness, it mostly just moves people to New Jersey

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:03

Have you heard of New York City's Special One-Time Assistance program (SOTA)? If you have, it’s probably been only this past week, as stories have begun to come out that the SOTA program relocates New York City’s homeless out of New York City. The city began the program a couple of years ago, offering families one year’s fully paid rent to relocate elsewhere, with travel costs included. Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC reports that North Carolina is one of the many destinations to which New York officials have sent their homeless, and the true intentions of the program are being called into question. 

According to WCNC, New York has relocated 12,000 people at a cost of $90 million over the past two years, and while that sounds meaningful, the practice is being questioned. Reported the station, "’It's troubling,’ Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham said. ‘There's a difference between getting rid of a problem and dumping people or really being thoughtful and sensitive and trying to help them.’"

New Jersey is one of many destinations in the SOTA program, and the state says that not only is the program problematic, but it’s also neglectful and inhumanely managed. NJ.com reports that Newark officials filed a complaint to stop the program on Monday. They say that the program frequently puts families into terrible conditions and lacks real oversight, alleging that inspections of rental sites have not taken place, and individuals placed have little or no other support once their rent is paid upfront for the year. In essence, New Jersey argues that the SOTA program delays dealing with the root problems of homelessness, namely a lack of affordable housing and of social safety net support, and then leaves those problems for another jurisdiction to handle.

The filing details a lack of communication between officials in New York City and New Jersey, something that echoes complaints made in New York state by other elected officials, who say they have experienced the same lack of communication regarding the program.

Categories: Politics

Read the Full Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report

Little Green Footballs - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:54


And here's a highlight, as Rep. Devin Nunes -- one of the most sycophantic of the overwhelmingly sycophantic Republicans -- is revealed to have been deeply involved in conversations between Rudy Giuliani and his criminal associate Lev Parnas.

Categories: Politics

House Intelligence report homes in on Trump's 'repeated and pervasive threat' to the 2020 elections

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:42

The 300-page House Intelligence Committee report laying the foundation for Donald Trump's impeachment focuses on his explicit efforts to tilt the upcoming 2020 election in his favor and makes the case that the inherent threat Trump’s scheme poses to U.S. democracy required immediate action.

“Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts,” reads the executive summary. “The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.”

Presidential misconduct and obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry form the two central pillars of Democrats' case against Trump. But the report devotes far more time and space to teasing out Trump's misconduct, specifically charging that Trump conditioned both a White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine on "a public announcement of investigations beneficial to his reelection campaign."   

The executive summary starts by detailing the now-infamous July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, including preparation for the call; those listening in; diplomatic efforts predating the call; the unusual way in which Trump deviated from the script; his repeated references to the Bidens and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the false allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections; and, finally, the immediate fallout after the call and the eventual release of the call’s contents. 

“The record of the call would help explain for those involved in Ukraine policy in the U.S. government, the Congress, and the public why President Trump, his personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani, his hand-picked appointees in charge of Ukraine issues, and various senior Administration officials would go to great lengths to withhold a coveted White House meeting and critical military aid from Ukraine at a time when it served as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe,” the report reads, concluding, “The answer was as simple as it was inimical to our national security and election integrity: the President was withholding officials acts while soliciting something of value to his reelection campaign—an investigation into his political rival.”

You can find the House Intelligence executive summary here, and the full report here.


Categories: Politics

CNN: IRS whistleblower declines interview with Senate after being warned off by IRS official

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:20

The IRS employee who emerged as a second whistleblower on Donald Trump has declined to provide a transcribed interview to the Republican Senate Finance Committee. The employee had first contacted the House Ways and Means Committee about concerns that at least one political appointee in the Treasury Department had tried to interfere in a routine annual audit of Donald Trump's or Mike Pence's tax returns.

These presidential and vice presidential audits are supposed to be walled off from political appointees and political influence. The whistleblower has talked with bipartisan Finance Committee staff, but has declined the formal interview "after an official informed the whistleblower that it could be considered a violation of IRS code to provide the committee with any information related to an individual taxpayer," a source told CNN. The employee could be fined, fired, or "even jailed for disclosing taxpayer information" under IRS code.

The Treasury Department declined to comment to CNN, but it seems that this opens up another line of questioning for Congress: Has an IRS official interfered to prevent the whistleblower from moving forward, and is that official a career or political appointee? It's unclear whether this whistleblower is protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Federal employees whose service is deemed to be of a "confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character" aren't covered by the protections of the law, and this person could be in the "confidential" category.

The IRS inspector general is conducting an investigation into the core of the whistleblower's complaint and whether political appointees interfered in the House Ways and Means Committee's request for Trump’s tax returns. Maybe the IG should also be checking into whether the whistleblower is being intimidated.

Categories: Politics

House Intelligence Impeachment report is out

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:17

The House Intelligence Committee impeachment report just dropped with 300 pages of details:


The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election. As described in this executive summary and the report that follows, President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign. The President demanded that the newly elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election. To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.


That is the language of bribery.


House Impeachment report is out

The post House Intelligence Impeachment report is out appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

U.S. citizen kids are also anxious about DACA's uncertain future: 'He just wants to be near me'

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:09

There’s only one Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiary in the Ortiz household, but the entire family is anxious. Beneficiary Marlen says that her son, a U.S. citizen, is also struggling. “Ortiz stays strong for her son, but he can sense when she’s sad or anxious,” Teen Vogue reports. “At these times, she says that Jordan ‘doesn’t want to talk to people; he just wants to be near me.’” 

As the Supreme Court decides DACA’s fate (a decision will come within the first half of 2020), researchers, children’s advocates, and parents have continued speaking out about the widespread repercussions should the program end. Already, “Even the threat of separation from their parents can cause children to suffer significant physiological stress that threatens their mental and physical health and their overall development,” a number of groups said in a legal brief last month.

Angelica Villalobos said that she’s been helping care for the children of a family member who was deported seven years ago. But now, with DACA up in the air, she’s struggling with the reality that not only could her own kids lose her to deportation, but the kids she’s caring for would also be further traumatized by yet another deportation. Reports Teen Vogue, “Her oldest kids vividly remember what happened to their aunt. ‘It’s always a constant reminder for them that this might happen to us,’ she says.”

Dr. Julie Linton, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health’s executive committee, told Teen Vogue that kids don’t have to understand policy or the ongoing court fight over DACA to understand its importance. “Certainly a three-year-old can’t articulate, ‘I’m scared that my mother will be deported as a result of the termination of DACA,’” she said. “But I can tell you that they will be able to sense that stress and they may manifest it through behavioral changes like tantrums or acting out. They may have regression in speech milestones and toileting, and have eating and sleeping problems.”

What should be infuriating everyone is that none of this has to be happening, because the House passed legislation that would put Angelica, Marlen, and 700,000 other DACA recipients on a path to citizenship and help ensure the well-being of 250,000 U.S. citizen kids months ago, but the Republican-led Senate refuses to bring it up for a vote. It adds on to the fact that state-sanctioned child abuse, regardless of immigration status, has become official U.S. policy under the Trump administration.

Dr. Linton said that there is something we can do to protect kids right now, and that’s to keep DACA in place. While it’s not a perfect program, it has been shown to provide much-needed security to hundreds of thousands of families across the U.S. “It’s really important to remember that the impact of these policies is not only on DACA recipients themselves. It’s on entire families and communities,” she said. “The kids we’re talking about are in our classes, in our neighborhoods, on our sports teams.”

Categories: Politics

Kamala Harris Is Out

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:06

In the last election cycle I thought Scott Walker was the money candidate. He dropped out before the first primary. This cycle I thought Kamala Harris had a pretty good chance of becoming President Harris. Now she’s out before the first primary.

Moral of the story: Never listen to me.

Categories: Politics

Cattle call: Two months out from first contest, Pete Buttigieg makes a bid for front-runner status

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:00

Whoa, haven’t done a cattle call since mid-September! Where did the time go? (It went into impeachment land, that’s where it went.) At the time, there were three legit candidates—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Today, we must add Pete Buttigieg to the list. No one else matters. Let’s do this! And let’s start by looking at the poll aggregate: 

The one clear trend above is a sharp drop (maybe even collapse) of Elizabeth Warren’s support following the fourth debate and the rollout of her health care plan. It’s as if people said, “Wait, she’s really liberal!” and got spooked off. Is that enough to shake up the Biden-Warren-Sanders order of the mid-September cattle call? Let’s find out!

Categories: Politics

Unhinged Trump Compares Impeachment... To Bad Oranges?

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:46

President Donald Trump on Tuesday railed against impeachment and said that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is a “deranged human being.”

The U.S. president made the remarks while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in London.

Trump argued that Democrats are making a “mistake” if they go through with impeaching him.

“I think the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves,” he stated. “If you look at impeachment, the word impeachment, here there was nothing wrong, nothing done wrong, it was a perfect conversation with a very nice gentleman, the president of Ukraine. The conversation was perfect.”

“And this is what you’re going to impeach the president of the United States on?” Trump complained. “The Democrats have gone crazy… they have to be careful because when the shoe’s on the other foot and someday hopefully in the very long distant future, you’ll have a Democrat [sic] president, you’ll have a Republican House and they’ll do the same thing because somebody picked an orange out of the refrigerator and you don’t like it.”

Moments later, Trump was asked why he would not permit current and former members of his administration to testify in the impeachment hearings.

“I would like them to testify but these are very unfair hearings,” the president insisted. “For the hearings, we don’t get a lawyer, we don’t get any witnesses. We want [Joe] Biden, we want the son, Hunter. Where’s Hunter? We want the son. We want Schiff. We want to interview these people.”

read more

Categories: Politics

America's humiliation continues as Trump rants, rambles, and lies in London

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:43

Donald Trump's public behavior continues to get worse with each passing week. Whether caused by the escalating strain of an impeachment trial, a severe case of jet lag or something (cough) medical, Trump's performance in London earlier Tuesday was a spray of nonsense, bizarre claims, bullshitting, gaslighting, and possibly straight-up forgetting his own supposed policies. Pity other world leaders, forced to sit alongside a Twitter account turned real boy. Pity us, for being governed by one.

Some, I repeat some, of the most bizarre moments:

• Asked whether the United States supports Iranian protesters challenging their government: "I don't want to comment on that, but the answer is no. But I don't want to comment." Aside from the indistinguishable-from-parody phrasing, both Trump's secretary of state and Donald Actual Trump himself publicly stated the exact opposite position in the last 24 hours. Does Trump even know what protesters the questioner was taking about? Did he forget his own stance? We don't know—but he soon reversed that position yet again.

• Trump badgered the French president in an excruciatingly strange exchange, asking him "Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I could give them to you."

• Trump straight-up embraced the imperialist argument his staff apparently used as leverage to convince him to keep some U.S. troops in Syria, claiming that "We have taken the oil. I've taken the oil. We should have done it in other locations, frankly, where we were. I can name four of them right now, but we've taken the oil ... our great soldiers are right around the oil where we've got the oil."

• He again bragged of his close relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, even while calling him "Rocket Man." "I’m possibly the only one he has that kind of relationship with in the world."

• He refused to confirm that the United States would come to the aid of other NATO members who came under military attack.

Categories: Politics

BREAKING: Kamala Harris Drops Out Of Presidential Race

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:27

Kamala Harris is suspending her presidential campaign.

Harris brought fire to Donald Trump and the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination. This is sad and surprising news at this early juncture.

We understand Kamala Harris will be releasing a video announcing her plans shortly. We'll post it here.

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Categories: Politics