David Brock | Donald Trump Shouldn’t Be Underestimated – The New York Times

“. . . Having underestimated Mr. Trump in the first place, Democrats shouldn’t underestimate what it will take to counter his malign influence now. They need a bigger, bolder campaign blueprint to save democracy that doesn’t hinge on the whims of Congress.

We should hear more directly from the White House bully pulpit about these dire threats. The Jan. 6 investigators should mount a full-court press to get the truth out. Funding voting rights litigation should be a top priority.

Where possible, Democrats should sponsor plebiscites to overturn anti-democratic laws passed by Republicans in states. They should underwrite super PACs to protect incumbent election officials being challenged by Trump loyalists, even if it means supporting reasonable Republicans. Donations should flow into key governors and secretary of state races, positions critical to election certification.”

Thomas Friedman | Do Democrats Have the Courage of Liz Cheney? – The New York Times

“. . . Just listen to Cheney. Addressing her fellow Republicans on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, she noted that when they abet Trump’s delegitimization of the last election, “in the face of rulings of the courts, in the face of recounts, in the face of everything that’s gone on to demonstrate that there was not fraud … we are contributing to the undermining of our system. And it’s a really serious and dangerous moment because of that.”

This is Code Red. And that leads me to the Democrats in Congress.

I have only one question for them: Are you ready to risk a lot less than Liz Cheney did to do what is necessary right now — from your side — to save our democracy?

Because, when one party in our two-party system completely goes rogue, it falls on the other party to act. Democrats have to do three things at the same time: advance their agenda, protect the integrity of our elections and prevent this unprincipled Trump-cult version of the G.O.P. from ever gaining national power again.

It is a tall order and a wholly unfair burden in many ways. But if Cheney is ready to risk everything to stop Trump, then Democrats — both moderates and progressives — must rise to this moment and forge the majorities needed in the Senate and House to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill (now scheduled for a Thursday vote in the House), a voting rights bill and as much of the Build Back Better legislation as moderate and progressives can agree on.  . . . “

Jamelle Bouie | We Underestimated Trump Before. It Didn’t Go Well. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Sometimes, and much to our detriment, we find real events are simply too outlandish to take seriously.

Many professional Republicans, for example, initially dismissed the movement to “Stop the Steal” as a ridiculous stunt.

“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” an anonymous senior Republican official told The Washington Post a few days after Joe Biden claimed victory:

He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.

Republicans went ahead and humored the president, who then urged his followers to assault the Capitol and try to void the election results in his favor.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Jamelle Bouie, for an extraordinary essay– a prize winner. Let me explore. You pointed out that the northern Republicans completely underestimated the willingness of the new confederacy to fight. They thought it was a bluff, and the civil war ensued. What if Lincoln and the GOP just allowed the succession? How would history have changed? Might make a good mini series. In my own study of history, I have read several writers claim that slavery was dying out relatively quickly, without civil wars, because it didn’t have the right economic model for the new industrial societies that were developing in the western world. If the United States was allowed to break in two, would the Nazi party of Germany and the Japanese militarists be in power over most of the world today? One can easily make the dots go in that direction.
Could the Northern and the Southern States come together and fight fascism in the WW II, and if they did, would they be ready to become the industrial engine of the Allies in a relative short period of time? This thought makes me even more grateful for Lincoln and the soldiers who sacrificed for the Union. Now, who will stop this new menace, and would be dictator Donald Trump, who threatens us from within. In reading, “Inside the Third Reich,” by Albert Speer, one can see many similarities. They both designed their platforms, by what enraged their audiences. Neither had scruples.
Author of The Tayson Rebellion, and blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Spencer Ackerman | The Jan. 6 Riot Proves the Sept. 11 Era Isn’t Over – The New York Times

“Days after the insurrection, the interim U.S. attorney for Washington at the time, Michael Sherwin, suggested that “sedition and conspiracy” charges might await the ringleaders of Jan. 6. Most people who breached the Capitol did so because Mr. Trump told them to. Few would have mobilized to steal an election had not a phalanx of elected Republicans told them the election was already stolen. But prosecutors stopped short of calling Mr. Trump even an unindicted co-conspirator. They preferred to indict those who answered the call, not those who sounded it. Elite impunity, a feature of not only the war on terror but also of American history, trumped commitments to democratic preservation.

Congress opted against using the 14th Amendment’s powers to unseat those members who fomented and cheered the insurrection, such as Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who saluted the mob as it advanced toward the Capitol. Eight months later, there is no political response to the insurrection at all, only a security response aimed at its foot soldiers. The war on terror should have taught America the lesson that security-based responses to political problems are futile.”

Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Rule Governing Water Pollution – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday struck down a Trump-era environmental rule that drastically limited federal restrictions against pollution of millions of streams, wetlands and marshes across the country.

The Biden administration had already begun the lengthy process of undoing the policy, which President Donald J. Trump established in 2020 to please real estate developers and farmers. Mr. Trump’s policy allowed the discharge of pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and industrial chemicals into smaller streams and wetlands.

But on Monday, Judge Rosemary Márquez of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona found “fundamental, substantive flaws” with the Trump administration’s policy and said that it was in conflict with the 1972 Clean Water Act. She warned of the “possibility of serious environmental harm” if the Trump rule remained in place.”

Maureen Dowd | Why Do Republicans Hate Cops? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“WASHINGTON — It was, I must admit, a virtuoso performance by Sean Hannity.

Not since the sheriff in “Blazing Saddles” put a gun to his own head and took himself hostage has anyone executed such a nutty loop de loop.

Opening his show Tuesday night, Hannity gave a monologue defending the police (and lacing into the usual suspects: Hunter, Kamala, Hillary, Nancy, the summer riots, gun violence and unvaccinated illegal immigrants). “Attacks on law enforcement are never and should never be acceptable ever, not at the Capitol and not anywhere,” he declaimed.

Yet Mr. Pro Police had nary a word for the four police officers who had appeared before Congress that morning to describe going to “hell and back,” as a Washington police officer, Michael Fanone, put it, as they relived the scarring, desperate hours of Jan. 6 when they were attacked by Trump’s mob (and Hannity’s viewers).”

David LIndsay:

Maureen Dowd’s father was a police officer, and you can tell that this essay is personal.

Fiona Hill reflects on ‘terrible spectacle’ of Trump-Putin summit ahead of Biden’s meeting with Russian President – CNNPolitics

“(CNN)Fiona Hill, once then-President Donald Trump’s top Russia adviser, said Tuesday evening that she was so alarmed during Trump’s 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that she had looked for a fire alarm to pull and considered faking a medical emergency.

“I just thought, let’s cut this off and try to end it. I couldn’t come up with anything that just wouldn’t add to the terrible spectacle,” Hill told CNN’s Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight.”
Her reflection on the controversial press conference — wherein Trump declined to support the US government’s assessment that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election — comes on the eve of President Joe Biden’s highly anticipated summit with Putin, an event Hill has helped the President prepare for.
Biden has spent the past week consulting fellow leaders, national security aides and political advisers, reading through extensive preparation materials and thinking about what exactly he will say to the Russian President when they meet on Wednesday.”

Source: Fiona Hill reflects on ‘terrible spectacle’ of Trump-Putin summit ahead of Biden’s meeting with Russian President – CNNPolitics

Opinion | Bill Bratton Discusses Police Reform With Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Bratton first ran the N.Y.P.D. in the mid-90s, as Rudy Giuliani’s commissioner, trying “to take back a city that was out of control.” After he appeared on the cover of Time in 1996 in a trench coat under the Brooklyn Bridge, his relationship to a petty Giuliani went kaput.

Bratton adds that Giuliani “had such awful relations with the Black community and the Black leadership, it really prevented police commissioners, myself included, from developing relationships that we would love to have made with the Black community.”

Credit…Chad Batka for The New York Times

“. . .  It must’ve been strange to watch Rudy devolve into a two-bit henchman for a former reality TV star, and to see the feds’ recent predawn raid of Giuliani’s home and office.

“As somebody who’s got a big ego, speaking about another guy with a big ego, I can’t understand how he allowed himself to be subsumed by Trump,” says Bratton. “He’s made a caricature of himself and he’s lost the image of America’s mayor because of the antics of the last two or three years.”

I ask about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump, claiming to support the police and then siccing the mob on the Capitol Police.

“We saw how pro-police that mob was, didn’t we?” Bratton says dryly. “I know a lot of the cops really liked Trump because they feel he stands up for them against a lot of progressives. I personally believe that he was encouraging that insurrection that day.”

Bratton says it’s “shameful and disgraceful” that Republicans on Friday blocked the bill to create a commission to investigate Jan. 6, adding that “without the Capitol Police, our country would have failed on that day.”  . . .”

Neal K. Katyal | Release the Barr-Trump Memo on Obstruction of Justice – The New York Times

Mr. Katyal is a professor at Georgetown Law School, was an acting solicitor general in the Obama administration and is a co-author of “Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.”

“The Biden Justice Department appears to be making a serious mistake by trying to keep secret a Trump-era document about former Attorney General William P. Barr’s decision to clear his boss, former President Donald Trump, of obstructing justice.

The American people have a right to see the memo. Then they can decide whether Mr. Barr used his power as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer as a shield to protect the president.

This month, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in Washington ordered it released. Were this an ordinary criminal case, her order would represent a remarkable intrusion into prosecutorial secrecy, and I would have appealed when I was acting solicitor general.

But the document is anything but ordinary. It concerns attempts at the highest levels of government to shield the attorney general’s boss from criminal liability. It is, in essence, the people’s memo, and with its appeal, the Justice Department is attempting to hide it from public scrutiny.”   . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Bravo Neal K. Katyal. I suspected that if I kept reading about this, it might evenually make some sense that I could mostly understand. Thank you for putting a complex set of issues in mostly plain English. Since I was able to follow this report, I can heartily agree with your conclusion, that the judge is right, the rights of the governed here trump the needs of Justice Department posecutorial protection. Pun intended. I hope to hear from you soon, about whether there is a good case to make against Trump for obstruction of justice? Can it be valid now that he is a mere citizen? Are Presidents forever above the law?

Maureen Dowd | Liz Cheney and the Big Lies – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — I miss torturing Liz Cheney.

But it must be said that the petite blonde from Wyoming suddenly seems like a Valkyrie amid halflings.

She is willing to sacrifice her leadership post — and risk her political career — to continue calling out Donald Trump’s Big Lie. She has decided that, if the price of her job is being as unctuous to Trump as Kevin McCarthy is, it isn’t worth it, because McCarthy is totally disgracing himself.

It has been a dizzying fall for the scion of one of the most powerful political families in the land, a conservative chip off the old block who was once talked about as a comer, someone who could be the first woman president.

How naïve I was to think that Republicans would be eager to change the channel after Trump cost them the Senate and the White House and unleashed a mob on them.  . . . “