Trump Orders Russia Investigation Documents Be Declassified – The New York Times

“Mr. Trump also told the Justice Department to release without redactions all text messages of four former F.B.I. officials who worked on the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference and whether any Trump associates conspired with it. Those officials included James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe.

A Justice Department spokesman said the F.B.I. and the department were working to comply with Mr. Trump’s order.

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and one of the president’s most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill, praised Mr. Trump’s decision in a statement and said it came in the face of “unnecessary delays, redactions and refusals.”

“These documents will reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias that took place at the highest levels of the D.O.J. and F.B.I., including using the tools of our intelligence community for partisan political ends,” Mr. Gaetz said.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, accused the president of abusing his power “to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative.” ”

This is terrible news, and I hope someone can stop this attack on the Justice Department.

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Opinion | The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“The latest reason to be suspicious is Trump’s attacks on a formerly obscure Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Ohr and called for him to be fired. Ohr’s sin is that he appears to have been marginally involved in inquiries into Trump’s Russian links. But Ohr fits a larger pattern. In his highly respected three-decade career in law enforcement, he has specialized in going after Russian organized crime.

It just so happens that most of the once-obscure bureaucrats whom Trump has tried to discredit also are experts in some combination of Russia, organized crime and money laundering.

It’s true of Andrew McCabe (the former deputy F.B.I. director whose firing Trump successfully lobbied for), Andrew Weissmann (the only official working for Robert Mueller whom Trump singles out publicly) and others. They are all Trump bogeymen — and all among “the Kremlin’s biggest adversaries in the U.S. government,” as Natasha Bertrand wrote in The Atlantic. Trump, she explained, seems to be trying to rid the government of experts in Russian organized crime.”

Opinion | Stop Calling Trump a Populist – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Message to those in the news media who keep calling Donald Trump a “populist”: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

It’s true that Trump still, on occasion, poses as someone who champions the interests of ordinary working Americans against those of the elite. And I guess there’s a sense in which his embrace of white nationalism gives voice to ordinary Americans who share his racism but have felt unable to air their prejudice in public.

But he’s been in office for a year and a half, time enough to be judged on what he does, not what he says. And his administration has been relentlessly anti-worker on every front. Trump is about as populist as he is godly — that is, not at all.

Start with tax policy, where Trump’s major legislative achievement is a tax cut that mainly benefits corporations — whose tax payments have fallen off a cliff — and has done nothing at all to raise wages. The tax plan does so little for ordinary Americans that Republicans have stopped campaigning on it. Yet the administration is floating the (probably illegal) idea of using executive action to cut taxes on the rich by an extra $100 billion.”

DL: Yes, Thank you. And here is a top comment I recommended:
Pono
Big IslandAug. 2
Times Pick
The term “Populist” was never, and will never be, accurate in describing him.
The word “demagogue” is the shoe that fits.
Defined as:
“a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”
Sound familiar?

Reply 738 Recommended

Opinion | Michael Cohen Takes a Bullet – by Charles Blow – NYT

“Here’s to Michael Cohen. He’s finally getting something right.

First, let’s state forthrightly that Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, the fix-it man, the one who mopped up Trump’s messes, the one who said he would “take a bullet for the president,” is an incredibly unsavory character and a bully.

He thought himself a tough guy, Trump’s muscle collecting the crumbs of Trump’s money.

For instance, in 2015 he threatened a Daily Beast reporter who was writing about the time Trump’s first wife, Ivana, claimed Trump had raped her, only to later say that she didn’t want her use of the word rape “to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

According to that reporter, Cohen erroneously — and outrageously — claimed, “You cannot rape your spouse,” before launching into this tirade:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know … So I’m warning you, tread very [expletive] lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be [expletive] disgusting. You understand me?

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.” “

Opinion | How Trump Lost Re-election in 2020 – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“Last week, my colleague Bret Stephens imagined a news article on the morning after President Trump’s re-election. Today, I imagine a different outcome.In the end, it was a lot simpler than it often seemed.Donald J. Trump, who spent much of the past four years as a historically unpopular president, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday. His approval rating hasn’t approached 50 percent since he took office, and neither did his share of the vote this year.

In an era of deep national anxiety — with stagnant wages, rickety health insurance and aggressive challenges from China and Russia — voters punished an incumbent president who failed on his central promise: “I alone can fix it.” ”

David Lindsay:

Bravo David Leonhardt. Well written. You have even opened my mind a few inches towards considering Elizabeth Warren. I have been thinking, we must have a Joe Biden or a younger version of him, to win those pesky swing states. But, on the other hand, the never another woman in our lifetime crowd, which I was in, should all read David Brooks magnificent piece recently on the need for the Democrats to tell a good story. Trump has a good story, and focusing on identity politics isn’t the same thing as a moving narrative. Not only is Elizabeth Warren extremely qualified, she also has her life passion for consumer protection.  I still prefer we run a male, but we have to find one that swears that Elizabeth Warren will get to run the Consumer Protection Agency that she helped create.

That said, let me remind my fellow commentators and readers that Leonhardt did not choose Elizabeth Warren yet, he used her because Bret Stephens did. Pay attention to who Leonhardt does support, because I will bet you a penny he has sophisticated polling data to back up his choice if he makes one.

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry – by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman – NYT

by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman
July 26, 2018
16 comments
“WASHINGTON — For years, President Trump has used Twitter as his go-to public relations weapon, mounting a barrage of attacks on celebrities and then political rivals even after advisers warned he could be creating legal problems for himself.Those concerns now turn out to be well founded. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

Mr. Mueller wants to question the president about the tweets. His interest in them is the latest addition to a range of presidential actions he is investigating as a possible obstruction case: private interactions with Mr. Comey, Mr. Sessions and other senior administration officials about the Russia inquiry; misleading White House statements; public attacks; and possible pardon offers to potential witnesses.”

Opinion | Time for Republicans to Grow a Spine – The New York Times

“Let’s start easy, with a handful of “Non-Lickspittle” moves, some of which have already been called for by Senate Democrats:

1. Fully implement the broad Russia sanctions bill passed last year, with a special focus on Mr. Putin and the oligarchs in his inner circle. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put some fresh ones on the table months ago. Now seems like a good time to revisit.

2. Hold hearings and compel testimony from the national security team that accompanied Mr. Trump to Helsinki, Finland. Demand details of any pledges made in the Trump-Putin private session.

3. Stop parroting the president’s line that the federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies are politically motivated, inept and generally corrupt. At the very least, House Speaker Paul Ryan should publicly call out his rowdier troops for pushing to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

4. Call on Mr. Trump to demand the extradition of the Russians whom the Justice Department gained indictments for last week.

5. Take additional steps to protect the integrity of the coming elections from further Russian meddling. Significantly more money is needed, along with incentives for state and local election agencies to identify weak spots, erect firewalls and pursue other precautions. From what we already know about Russia’s invading voter databases, it is eager to make mischief.”

Opinion | A President With No Shame and a Party With No Guts – Thomas Friedman – NYT

“If your puppy makes a mess on your carpet and you shout “Bad dog,” there is a good chance that that puppy’s ears will droop, his head will bow and he may even whimper. In other words, even a puppy acts ashamed when caught misbehaving. That is not true of Donald Trump. Day in and day out, he proves to us that he has no shame. We’ve never had a president with no shame — and it’s become a huge source of power for him and trouble for us.

And what makes Trump even more powerful and problematic is that this president with no shame is combined with a party with no spine and a major network with no integrity — save for a few real journalists at Fox News like the outstanding Chris Wallace.”

Opinion | Trump- Treasonous Traitor – by Charles Blow and Commenters – NYT

“Put aside whatever suspicions you may have about whether Donald Trump will be directly implicated in the Russia investigation.

Trump is right now, before our eyes and those of the world, committing an unbelievable and unforgivable crime against this country. It is his failure to defend.

The intelligence community long ago concluded that Russia attacked our election in 2016 with the express intention of damaging Hillary Clinton and assisting Trump.

And it was not only the spreading of inflammatory fake news over social media. As a May report from the Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee pointed out:

“In 2016, cyber actors affiliated with the Russian Government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against state election infrastructure. Russian actors scanned databases for vulnerabilities, attempted intrusions, and in a small number of cases successfully penetrated a voter registration database. This activity was part of a larger campaign to prepare to undermine confidence in the voting process.” “