Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Everybody’s Wrong: Donald Trump Won the Chuck-n-Nancy Meeting, and Here’s Why

Everybody’s Wrong: Donald Trump Won the Chuck-n-Nancy Meeting, and Here’s Why

All that in-front-of-the-cameras civility is fake anyway. Trump dispensed with it. It was refreshing, and his people will love it, shutdown or no shutdown.

If Tuesday’s instantly famous Oval Office meeting is a harbinger of things to come, it’s going to be a long two years for “Chuck and Nancy.”
Presidents can be intimidating, and Trump had home court advantage during Tuesday’s meeting. However, Chuck Schumer seemed especially outmatched by a very forceful Donald Trump. As Bill Kristol (no Trump apologist) put it: “[B]ased on what I saw of their respective performances in that Oval Office meeting today, I don’t understand why it’s Nancy Pelosi who’s facing a leadership challenge and Chuck Schumer who isn’t.”

The mainstream media will focus on the immediate seriousness of a shutdown and lament the lack of civility in politics. But I suspect many Americans will see that there was something refreshing about Trump’s public stance.
Politicians often promise to drive a tough bargain (when rallying their base before an election), only to engage in conciliatory rhetoric when face to face with an adversary. The civilized “norm,” in other words, is to be a fake. But here—face to face with his adversaries—Trump defended his decision regarding a wall.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump declared. “Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into this country. So I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”
There was something charming about this—and it’s precisely because there was something phony about an old game where Speaker Tip O’Neill might accuse Ronald Reagan of wanting to throw elderly people off Social Security (before dining with the Gipper and telling Irish stories).  
Some (on both sides of the aisle) found this old-fashioned chumminess back in those days unsettling because it ostensibly meant that the two sides were colluding against the average man. I just think it was a quaint, yet necessary, form of post-World War II political protocol: suppress your disagreements rather than airing your dirty laundry in front of the “children.”
But even if you lament that loss of public civility, that ship has long since sailed. What good would it do us for Trump, Schumer, and Pelosi to go before the cameras and sound bipartisan, only to shiv each other once the cameras are off?
In a jaded world where secrets are increasingly hard to keep, Trump earns points for authenticity. Pelosi and Schumer repeatedly urged that their negotiating be done in private, but Trump countered with talk of “transparency.” I’m a fan of smoke-filled backrooms, but it pains me to say that Trump seized the high ground (in terms of public opinion) here.
If you are a supporter of the president’s policies, this was an especially welcome display—a rare example of a president publicly fighting for his policy goal: a border wall. The public fight is important. There is no doubt that Trump supporters are passionate about the border wall. The proof that Trump is rhetorically fighting for it is vital—especially if he never actually delivers it.  
But maybe he will. For those conservatives who championed Trump based on his status as a fighter, he doesn’t get points just for standing up for the wall. However, he does get extra points for not cowering in the face of a government shutdown.
It has long been axiomatic that Republicans would always get blamed for a shutdown—regardless of the merits. This was partly a function of it being less plausible to believe that Democrats, seen as the party of big government, would want to shut down governmental functions. Trump is the first Republican president I’ve seen who defied this rule.
Here, we have a president displaying not only that he isn’t afraid of a shutdown battle with Democrats, but also that he welcomes it. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it,” he said.
National Review editor Rich Lowry believes this was a tactical mistake for Trump. “The first rule of shutdown fights is never to say that you want a shutdown,” Lowry writes. The only problem here is that the old rules don’t apply to Trump.
Trump has been known to grandstand, only to back down later (just as he has been known to be conciliatory, only to backslide later). He can sometimes justify this as a negotiation tactic, and other times he simply pretends he never said it. It seems implausible that Trump would actually accede to being blamed for what Pelosi (who arguably started this whole thing by using the words) termed a “Trump shutdown.”
It’s impossible to know how this will play out, but I score the opening round in Trump’s favor. Before the mid-terms, I argued that Trump might benefit from Democrats winning the House. This would provide him with a foil (see how he handled his Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton in 2016), and/or allow him to blame others for failing to deliver on his policy goals.
Based on Tuesday’s meeting, things seem to be running according to schedule.

House Republicans Ask Trump to Declassify 'Damning' Obama DOJ Emails

Former FBI Director James Comey reacts during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.
Former FBI Director James Comey (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A long classified email chain from October 2016 reveals that a large group of Obama Justice Department officials -- including James Comey -- was aware that there was highly misleading information in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign, John Solomon of The Hill reported Wednesday.
According to Solomon's sources, the documents "may provide the most damning evidence to date" of potential FISA abuses.
The emails show that some in the intelligence community -- possibly the NSA -- had problems with the quality of the intelligence in the Steele dossier, which was used to obtain the surveillance warrant.
The emails also reveal that the officials knew that British spy Christopher Steele had talked to Yahoo News about his findings, as some on the email chain had expressed concerns about that.
Steele was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS (funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC) to put together a (now discredited) dossier on candidate Donald Trump.
In January 2018, Senator Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred Steele to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation after he and Senator Lindsey Graham identified potential false statements Steele had made to the FBI.
According to the senators, the evidence suggested that either "Steele lied to the FBI about his contacts with the media (a violation of 18 USC 1001) -- or the FBI misrepresented Steele’s statements."
To secure the FISA warrant, the FBI used the Yahoo News story (based on Steele's sketchy dossier) as independent corroboration for the dossier. It was a classic case of circular intelligence reporting, a fraudulent method of "confirming intelligence."
"If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI," said Solomon.
"That’s because the FBI has an obligation to certify to the court before it approves FISA warrants that its evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent," he explained.
The FBI fired Steele on Nov. 1, 2016, because of his unauthorized contacts with the news media, but only after they'd used his dirty dossier to secure the warrant.
... the FBI withheld from the American public and Congress, until months later, that Steele had been paid to find his dirt on Trump by a firm doing political opposition research for the Democratic Party and for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that Steele himself harbored hatred for Trump.
Right before Thanksgiving, House Republicans quietly added the damning email chain to the list of documents they’d like President Trump to declassify. According to The Hill, the DOJ kept the information from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.
The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
According to The Hill's sources, the email chain has already been discussed by members of Congress in nonclassified settings — however, the specifics remain classified.
“If these documents are released, the American public will have clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges [were] misled,” a knowledgeable source told Solomon.
On Fox News' "Hannity" Wednesday night, Solomon ran down the list of troubling facts about the FISA application.
"The core evidence for the FISA warrant — that's Andy McCabe's description, without it we would not have pursued a FISA warrant — came from a product paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to try to destroy Donald Trump in the final months of the election," he said.
"We know that the people who handled that evidence prepared and tried to rush it through the FBI to the court, where two agents [said that on their own] they wanted to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. We know the person who created the dossier doesn't stand by it. He says he knew it was uncorroborated intelligence when he submitted it, and he himself despised Donald Trump," Solomon continued.
In addition to the circular intelligence, "the NSA or some other intelligence community agency [had] concerns about the dossier," he pointed out. "All of that is now not disputed and yet we think this is a good product?"
"I think that's the question we need to have answered -- why did this move forward with all these flaws?" Solomon said.
The reporter went on to say that the president is committed to releasing the documents, but not quite yet.
"The first thing that will vindicate the president is that Robert Mueller finishes his investigation --  the president's not charged with any crimes," Solomon explained. "He wants to get this over with. He's fearful and his lawyers are fearful that if he releases the documents before then, he'll be accused of tampering or trying to sway the investigation at the last minute."
Because Mueller appears to be winding down, he said the president and his lawyers would prefer that the investigation come to a conclusion, "and then we can have this debate about how this thing originated and all the flaws that occurred and try to make sure  it doesn't happen again to some other person in the future."

REPORT: WILLIAM BARR IS LEADING CANDIDATE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

REPORT: WILLIAM BARR IS LEADING CANDIDATE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

William Barr, who served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, reportedlyis the leading candidate to become President Trump’s new Attorney General. According to the Washington Post, “two people familiar with internal discussions said the president has told advisers in recent days that he plans to nominate Barr.”
Barr was the general counsel of GTE when I represented that company (as one of dozens of lawyers from at least four law firms to do so) in contentious litigation following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Barr was one tough lawyer. I was happy that GTE’s conduct of the litigation was considerably more aggressive than that of other similarly situated carriers who were also required to share their facilities and equipment with new competitors under the Act.
Based on my experience in this litigation, Barr seems like a good fit for the Trump administration.
How does Barr view the Mueller investigation? He has said that Mueller could have been “more balanced” in his choice of prosecutors, a majority of whom have either ties to Democrats or have made donations to them. That’s putting it mildly.
He has also said that James Comey’s firing was understandable and that Comey “crossed a line” in his role as FBI director. Barr wrote:
Comey is an extraordinarily gifted man who has contributed much during his many years of public service.
Unfortunately, beginning in July [of 2016], when he announced the outcome of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, he crossed a line that is fundamental to the allocation of authority in the Justice Department.
I’m old enough to remember when this was a Democratic talking point. Two years ago.
If Trump nominates Barr, it will be impossible for Democrats to challenge his qualifications, especially after just having lauded the president under whom Barr held the identical position. And if they argue that Barr will be Trump’s stooge, they better have more evidence than the two statements discussed above.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

THE POST GETS ONE RIGHT

THE POST GETS ONE RIGHT

We and many others frequently criticize the major media for their biased reporting on gun issues, and above all for the scarcity of coverage of citizens who defend themselves with their lawfully-owned weapons. So we should acknowledge the major media when they report a story like this one in the Washington Post (aka, the Bezos Bulletin) that I will pick up in the middle:
. . . But McLaughlin — a tattooed-neck felon who was jailed on charges of grand larceny and first-degree burglary, according to Newsweek — kicked in the kitchen door of a nearby house.
Inside, a woman lay in her bedroom, alone and asleep, authorities said. McLaughlin picked up a foot-long kitchen tool used to hone knives.
A few moments later, authorities received a 911 call. It was the no-longer-sleeping woman. She had just shot a man, she told dispatchers, and he was dying on the floor outside her bedroom. She had no idea who he was, but he was wearing what looked like jail clothes.
Authorities found McLaughlin on the floor of the woman’s house with a gunshot wound to the head. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital, but he did not survive.
After some hemming and hawing about how gun owners—even police officers—are often victims of gun crime, the Post nonetheless continues:
Clark, the sheriff, said more of the people who live in his county should emulate the woman on Meece Mill Road. She was licensed to have her handgun and had been trained to use it.
“This is the shining example of what this lady did, took the time to get her [concealed weapons permit] and set herself up to be able to protect herself and not be harmed, killed or raped or whatever,” Clark said at a news conference.
The sheriff’s office did not charge the woman; Clark said investigators determined that she faced an imminent threat and had no escape route because of the size and layout of the house.
“This was a big guy,” Clark said. “If she didn’t have a weapon, there’s no telling what would have happened. But she stopped the crime. She solved the crime and came out a winner.”
When Clark met the woman, he said, he told her as much. “I gave her a big hug. I told her how proud I was of her.”
This will not slow down the gun grabbers for a moment, but it is good to see the Post report the story. Even if they won’t be changing their precious motto any time soon to “Home invaders die in darkness.”

Calif. University 'Whiteness' Panel Claims 'Veggie Tales' Is Racist


YouTube screenshot of Bob the Tomato, Junior Asparagus, and Larry the Cucumber in "Veggie Tales."
Last week, a two-hour "Whiteness Forum" held by students at Cal State San Marcos added the children's Christian program "Veggie Tales" to the list of forbidden "racist" media. I fondly recollect waltzing with potatoes up and down the produce aisle in my childhood years, and can report with certainty that evidence for this claim is just as hard to find as a Cebu.
According to The College Fix, a female student at the "Whiteness Forum" argued that "Veggie Tales" is racist because the villains are vegetables of color. "When kids see the good white character triumph over the bad person of color character they are taught that white is right and minorities are the source of evil," the project stated.
As The College Fix's Drew Van Voorhis explained, the female student argued that "the accents of the evil characters tend to sound ethnic, such as Latino, while the good characters sound white."
For those unfamiliar with the children's program, "Veggie Tales" is a kid's cartoon show featuring vegetables and often portraying biblical allegories. The main characters are Bob the Tomato — certainly a "vegetable of color," namely the color red — and Larry the Cucumber. Contrary to protestations of racism, the show even has a blatantly anti-racist song.
Eric Metaxas, a bestselling author and former "Veggie Tales" writer and narrator, offered a playful yet profound comment to PJ Media's request for comment.
"All vegetables are part of one race, even though they are of many colors," Metaxas said. "They are all descended from the same parents — the Adam and Eve of vegetables, who foolishly ate a forbidden fruit (irony?) and screwed everything up for all vegetables descended from them. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the story."
Christianity teaches that all people — regardless of race — were created in God's image, have sinned, and are in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. "Veggie Tales" has presented the same message, over and over again, and if there was a latent racist message, Metaxas would know about it.
The villains do often have silly accents, often for purposes of humor.
Perhaps the most memorable of these silly accents has nothing to do with race. In "Josh and the Big Wall," the allegory about Joshua's capture of the city of Jericho, the villains are a pair of particularly stuck-up peas ... with French accents. Is this racist? Against white Europeans?
"Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" contains a bit about Daniel in the lion's den. The villains are a trio of asparagus with no accents and no discernible ethnicity.
"Rack, Shack, and Benny" tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Nebby K. Nezzer, the stand-in for King Nebuchadnezzar, is a zucchini with a deep voice and he has a slightly darker color than Larry the Cucumber, but this could be intended to make him look like chocolate — he leads the vegetables to worship a chocolate bunny. Nezzer does not stay a villain, and according to Fandom he is "mostly good."
All this speculation about potential "vegetables of color" is entirely beside the point, however. The episode "Are You My Neighbor" carries the clearest kind of anti-racist message imaginable. "I Can Be Your Friend" tells kids, "God makes lots of people in all colors, shapes and sizes/ He loves them very much and what we need/ To realize is that calling people names/ Because they're different is wrong."
"Instead we need to look on them in love and sing this song: I can be your friend."
The song is a bit cheesy, but it carries a very clear anti-bully, anti-racism message. "Yeah, we're all pretty different, some are skinny, some are stout/ But the inside is the part that we're supposed to care about. ... So, instead of weirdo, I think friend's a better name."
Social Justice Warriors (SWJs) may think they're achieving something with these ridiculous charges of racism, but to "Veggie Tales" fans, they sound a bit like this: "We are the SJWs who don't like anything/ We just stay at home and whine a lot/ And if you ask us to like anything/ We'll just tell you ... that's offensive!"
Once again, "Veggie Tales" is about teaching kids morals and Bible stories. College students have to really strain to see a racial message in "Veggie Tales."
Then again, the "Whiteness Forum" included other ridiculous projects, including one blaming the NFL for "white supremacy" — since most football players are black while most coaches are white. A flier handed out with the "White Women's Role in White Supremacy" project showed a picture of women supporting President Trump flanked by pictures of women in the Ku Klux Klan. Subtle.
Students at Cal State San Marcos may have been indoctrinated to see racism everywhere. The forum came from Professor Dreama Moon's Communications 454 class entitled "The Communication of Whiteness."
Given the constant refrain that everything in Western and American history is secretly sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and just plain bigoted, it should be no surprise that some students turn on an innocent TV program like "Veggie Tales," despite its anti-racist message.
It makes a "Veggie Tales" fan want to sing, "Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where... is your common sense?"

Don's Tuesday Column


                  THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson   Red Bluff Daily News   12/11/2018
        CA Republicans recede, Trump wins
Not addressed in the Nov. election: The nearly vanished Republican Party as a viable political force in California. As a member of the Tehama County Central Committee, I take no joy in that fact and look proudly at our northern counties with vibrant Republican activists, solid support for our representatives and nary a squish among them. We are little more than the poor stepchild to the massive Democrat-leaning urban strongholds to the south, a rounding error in most statewide and national elections, with no voting influence in the U.S. Senate or Electoral College.

Within memory, the legislative balance—our minority once formed a bulwark against the Democrat’s supermajority, forcing some moderation—has evaporated, leaving literal one-party rule. No limits in the senate or assembly for the looniest of proposals.

That Democrat dream was achieved: first, with the misnamed “citizens’ reapportionment” body meant to independently draw fair district lines (but in reality, the Dems took over the process behind the scenes); then, with mandatory voter registration via the DMV to immigrant and citizen alike; finally, further bastardizing the sanctity of the ballot, Gov. Jerry Brown signed election law that allowed for third party “harvesting” of absentee ballots from any and all warm bodies capable of signing their mark.

The way it worked was that Democrat activists and outside groups used technology and records to target likely Democrat voters—even so specific as an 18-year old in a Republican household—going back often to “help” said voters make their choices and sign away their ballot delivery. “Harvesting,” together with the self-exporting of Republicans replaced by arrivals from other countries with Democrat leanings, turned places like the once-Republican fortress of Orange county blue with Dem votes.

Analysts, of course, misread that to mean weak Republicans were changing philosophy and allegiances. Ideological abandonment was not a trend there, and will not be a thing in other red states unless they allow the same district-twisting, vote-harvesting and importation of ready-made Democrat voters. Arizona needs two walls: one on the southern border and one on the California state line.

  Last Friday’s “bombshells” from the “Mueller Switch Project” could have been taken to mean that the Special Prosecutor has no bombshells, no “there there” (as even Trump-obsessed Andrew McCabe admitted in an email to his paramour, Lisa Page); a big, fat empty hole on the original charge that Trump “colluded” with the Russians to change the result of the 2016 election. Not one indictment, guilty plea or judgement has involved that charge, not a crime to begin with—no US code citation.

Andrew C. McCarthy meticulously explained the absence of provable conspiracy so far by using his own prosecutorial experience. Law enforcement begins with a citable crime that involved multiple people; Mueller has never cited a statute, the violation of which could produce a criminal warrant from a judge. Then, they would get the arrested participants to admit to their role in the criminal plot; hasn’t happened so far; the “process crimes” of lying, etc.—for all the noise and fury—demonstrate no overarching crime that was conspired over.

McCarthy’s take on the Friday revelations, “Why Trump is likely to be indicted by Manhattan US Attorney,” begins: “The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trumps former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws.” Set aside the distasteful purpose of the “hush money” payments to The Porn Star and a Playboy model before the election—the process has been a part of “sanitizing” the history of many entering the political fray from private endeavors.

Their lawyers find anyone with embarrassing dirt or experiences, get them to sign agreements for an agreed sum, and if parties abide by their promises, the media and opponents are denied the chance to attack the candidate over what might simply have been an unflattering-but-consensual tryst. A business associate with a complaint, if it didn’t involve criminal activities, takes a hefty sum in exchange for silence to media.

The candidate’s own money, used for payments, does not violate campaign laws in any stretch of the statute. That won’t slow down Mueller’s prosecutors in their zeal to charge Trump with anything that will fill the indictment sheets and let the compliant media lapdogs and subpoena-wielding, shrieking congressional Democrats create a “string ’m up” atmosphere. I saw that the AP quoted Friday’s Mueller release to the effect that Cohen was contacted by Russian representatives/operatives; the AP simply left out the additional Mueller quote that Trump, through Cohen, rebuffed and turned away said Russian contacts. Fake news.

The now-infamous (to the media/Democrat machine) Trump tower meeting with a Russian woman lawyer ostensibly seeking help changing the “Magnitsky Act,” switching to an offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton, which was also rebuffed, ending that meeting. A big nothing burger with zero legal crimes involved; Mueller isn’t even trying to make a crime of the meeting that only involved Trump’s son and others. It’s “Did Trump know about the meeting beforehand and do any stories contradict his stated memory?”

No one should lie to any member of law enforcement, local or federal. However, just as with Michael Flynn, even if you answer truthfully and the agents go on record saying they thought you told the truth, someone higher up the chain can find a contradiction of his choosing and bring the full weight of the government on you to admit to their version of the truth. Dispute that at your and your family’s peril.

McCarthy is certain campaign finance violations will be alleged. Cohen/Trump payments=$280,000; Clinton/DNC didn’t report nearly $20 million for Fusion/GPS/Steele/Russia payments. Obama paid millions in fines for his violations. Fines for the Democrats; jail time and impeachment for the Republicans. If these people didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all. Sick.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Trump is prepping for all-out political war

Trump is prepping for all-out political war



As I sat a few feet from President Trump while he ripped special counsel Robert Mueller and warned Democrats he is preparing a devastating counterpunch, the phrase “The Gathering Storm” came to mind. That’s the title of Volume I of Winston Churchill’s masterful history of World War II.
It also describes the president’s mood and the vicious game of blood sport playing out in Washington. While our nation’s political battles are hardly as dramatic as the fight with Nazi Germany and Japan, a storm is gathering in America and 2019 is shaping up as an extremely turbulent year.
Trump is under siege and girding for a political, legal and public-relations war. Though the conflict began the day he took office, the last two years have been skirmishes compared to the climactic battles ahead.
That view was strengthened by the Oval Office interview last week where I, along with Post reporters Nikki Schwab and Marisa Schultz, spent nearly 40 minutes with the president and several aides.
Trump, sitting behind the grand Resolute Desk, made from the timbers of a 19th century British sailing ship, was genial and gracious. No questions were taboo, and he was in a sunny mood.
Yet his answers exposed a furious frustration over the Mueller probe and Dem plans to use control of the House to swamp his administration with subpoenas and investigations.
“Mueller would like it to go for the rest of his life,” Trump said when asked how he saw the probe ending. “It’s a witch hunt at the highest level, it’s McCarthyism.”
After he mentioned Paul Manafort, I asked whether a pardon for his former campaign manager was possible. “It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table,” Trump said. “Why would I take it off the table?”
That answer quickly ricocheted around Washington and sharpened the battle lines, with Dems accusing the president of sending a signal to Manafort that he would be protected in exchange for loyalty.
Some 24 hours later, the drums of war were beating even louder as Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to ­lying to Congress about a possible Trump building project in Moscow.
The president, in public comments, offered a two-part response, saying Cohen was “weak” and looking to get reduced jail time. He also said that, even if the negotiations ran longer in 2016 than Cohen initially laimed, it didn’t matter because Trump was still a private citizen legally running his business.
Like everything else involving Mueller, the Cohen plea offers lots of smoke, but no sign of fire. It might be a piece of a larger puzzle, but more than two years after the FBI probe began, a clear picture ­remains maddeningly elusive.
And yet the probe, and the left’s exploitation of it, continue to inflict casualties. The most recent one is that any hopes that divided government might be productive are vanishing.
The day after the midterms, Trump tried to paint a rosy picture of the Dem majority in the House, saying he was eager to work with likely Speaker Nancy Pelosi and would sign key legislation even if most Republicans opposed it.
Now his message is far more stick than carrot. As he said in our interview, the new Dem leaders would be unleashing the furies from hell if they engage in “presidential harassment.”
“I will hit them so hard, they’ve never seen a hit like that,” he said, referring to his power to release secret documents, some of which, he hinted, will be deeply embarrassing to Barack Obama’s administration.
“If they want to play tough, I will do it,” he said. “And they will see how devastating those pages are.”
I believe the president should release any such documents now, regardless of their partisan impact. Excessive secrecy serves only to hide official wrongdoing and the lack of transparency fuels public mistrust.
In theory, Trump agrees. But he is fixated on the war, and understandably so because he is fighting for the survival of his presidency.
His theory on the origins of the war is familiar — and credible: The allegations of Russian collusion were a tissue of lies supported only by the discredited dossier secretly financed by Hillary Clinton. Those lies were given a sheen of credibility by a corrupted FBI investigation that lives on through Mueller.
“I’m sure [fired FBI Director James] Comey had someone above because you know there’s no question that [then CIA-boss] John Brennan was involved,” Trump said. “There’s no question that all of these people you see on television, all of these lightweights were involved, and it’s hard to believe that the president wasn’t involved.
“And the only reason they were doing it was just in case I won.”
As for the dossier, Trump asks: “So why isn’t Mueller looking at that? Russians were paid for the phony dossier. Now it’s been discredited, it’s total baloney, but a lot of money was passed.”
We had stayed long past our allotted time, and as we left, aides handed us six pages listing the ­administration’s accomplishments. They include the historic low unemployment among Latinos and black Americans, rising wages and the fact that 4.4 million people no longer need food stamps.
Consumer and business confidence are soaring and America is now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Kim Jong-un is sending flattering letters to Trump instead of firing off missiles, and a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada keeps faith with the vow to fix NAFTA.
Those are some of the highlights of a remarkable two years, but on most days, they are eclipsed by the political war. And the worst is yet to come.