The Trump Presidency Is Over



It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain.MARCH 13, 2020Peter WehnerContributing writer at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPCEnjoy unlimited access to The Atlantic for less than $1 per week.Sign inSubscribe Now

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When, in January 2016, I wrote that despite being a lifelong Republican who worked in the previous three GOP administrations, I would never vote for Donald Trump, even though his administration would align much more with my policy views than a Hillary Clinton presidency would, a lot of my Republican friends were befuddled. How could I not vote for a person who checked far more of my policy boxes than his opponent?

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What I explained then, and what I have said many times since, is that Trump is fundamentally unfit—intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically—for office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a president, in part because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a president will face an unexpected crisis—and at that point, the president’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.

David Frum: The worst outcome

“Mr. Trump has no desire to acquaint himself with most issues, let alone master them” is how I put it four years ago. “No major presidential candidate has ever been quite as disdainful of knowledge, as indifferent to facts, as untroubled by his benightedness.” I added this:

Mr. Trump’s virulent combination of ignorance, emotional instability, demagogy, solipsism and vindictiveness would do more than result in a failed presidency; it could very well lead to national catastrophe. The prospect of Donald Trump as commander in chief should send a chill down the spine of every American.

It took until the second half of Trump’s first term, but the crisis has arrived in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s hard to name a president who has been as overwhelmed by a crisis as the coronavirus has overwhelmed Donald Trump.


To be sure, the president isn’t responsible for either the coronavirus or the disease it causes, COVID-19, and he couldn’t have stopped it from hitting our shores even if he had done everything right. Nor is it the case that the president hasn’t done anything right; in fact, his decision to implement a travel ban on China was prudent. And any narrative that attempts to pin all of the blame on Trump for the coronavirus is simply unfair. The temptation among the president’s critics to use the pandemic to get back at Trump for every bad thing he’s done should be resisted, and schadenfreude is never a good look.

That said, the president and his administration are responsible for grave, costly errors, most especially the epic manufacturing failures in diagnostic testing, the decision to test too few people, the delay in expanding testing to labs outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and problems in the supply chain. These mistakes have left us blind and badly behind the curve, and, for a few crucial weeks, they created a false sense of security. What we now know is that the coronavirus silently spread for several weeks, without us being aware of it and while we were doing nothing to stop it. Containment and mitigation efforts could have significantly slowed its spread at an early, critical point, but we frittered away that opportunity.

“They’ve simply lost time they can’t make up. You can’t get back six weeks of blindness,” Jeremy Konyndyk, who helped oversee the international response to Ebola during the Obama administration and is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, told The Washington Post. “To the extent that there’s someone to blame here, the blame is on poor, chaotic management from the White House and failure to acknowledge the big picture.”

Ben Rhodes: How Trump designed his White House to fail

Earlier this week, Anthony Fauci, the widely respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases whose reputation for honesty and integrity has been only enhanced during this crisis, admitted in congressional testimony that the United States is still not providing adequate testing for the coronavirus. “It is failing. Let’s admit it.” He added, “The idea of anybody getting [testing] easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. I think it should be, but we’re not.”

We also know the World Health Organization had working tests that the United States refused, and researchers at a project in Seattle tried to conduct early tests for the coronavirus but were prevented from doing so by federal officials. (Doctors at the research project eventually decided to perform coronavirus tests without federal approval.)

But that’s not all. The president reportedly ignored early warnings of the severity of the virus and grew angry at a CDC official who in February warned that an outbreak was inevitable. The Trump administration dismantled the National Security Council’s global-health office, whose purpose was to address global pandemics; we’re now paying the price for that. “We worked very well with that office,” Fauci told Congress. “It would be nice if the office was still there.” We may face a shortage of ventilators and medical supplies, and hospitals may soon be overwhelmed, certainly if the number of coronavirus cases increases at a rate anything like that in countries such as Italy. (This would cause not only needless coronavirus-related deaths, but deaths from those suffering from other ailments who won’t have ready access to hospital care.)

Yascha Mounk: The extraordinary decisions facing Italian doctors

Some of these mistakes are less serious and more understandable than others. One has to take into account that in government, when people are forced to make important decisions based on incomplete information in a compressed period of time, things go wrong.

Yet in some respects, the avalanche of false information from the president has been most alarming of all. It’s been one rock slide after another, the likes of which we have never seen. Day after day after day he brazenly denied reality, in an effort to blunt the economic and political harm he faced. But Trump is in the process of discovering that he can’t spin or tweet his way out of a pandemic. There is no one who can do to the coronavirus what Attorney General William Barr did to the Mueller report: lie about it and get away with it.

The president’s misinformation and mendacity about the coronavirus are head-snapping. He claimed that it was contained in America when it was actually spreading. He claimed that we had “shut it down” when we had not. He claimed that testing was available when it wasn’t. He claimed that the coronavirus will one day disappear “like a miracle”; it won’t. He claimed that a vaccine would be available in months; Fauci says it will not be available for a year or more.

Trump falsely blamed the Obama administration for impeding coronavirus testing. He stated that the coronavirus first hit the United States later than it actually did. (He said that it was three weeks prior to the point at which he spoke; the actual figure was twice that.) The president claimed that the number of cases in Italy was getting “much better” when it was getting much worse. And in one of the more stunning statements an American president has ever made, Trump admitted that his preference was to keep a cruise ship off the California coast rather than allowing it to dock, because he wanted to keep the number of reported cases of the coronavirus artificially low.

“I like the numbers,” Trump said. “I would rather have the numbers stay where they are. But if they want to take them off, they’ll take them off. But if that happens, all of a sudden your 240 [cases] is obviously going to be a much higher number, and probably the 11 [deaths] will be a higher number too.” (Cooler heads prevailed, and over the president’s objections, the Grand Princess was allowed to dock at the Port of Oakland.)

On and on it goes.  

To make matters worse, the president delivered an Oval Office address that was meant to reassure the nation and the markets but instead shook both. The president’s delivery was awkward and stilted; worse, at several points, the president, who decided to ad-lib the teleprompter speech, misstated his administration’s own policies, which the administration had to correct. Stock futures plunged even as the president was still delivering his speech. In his address, the president called for Americans to “unify together as one nation and one family,” despite having referred to Washington Governor Jay Inslee as a “snake” days before the speech and attacking Democrats the morning after it. As The Washington Post’s Dan Balz put it, “Almost everything that could have gone wrong with the speech did go wrong.”

Read: You’re likely to get the coronavirus

Taken together, this is a massive failure in leadership that stems from a massive defect in character. Trump is such a habitual liar that he is incapable of being honest, even when being honest would serve his interests. He is so impulsive, shortsighted, and undisciplined that he is unable to plan or even think beyond the moment. He is such a divisive and polarizing figure that he long ago lost the ability to unite the nation under any circumstances and for any cause. And he is so narcissistic and unreflective that he is completely incapable of learning from his mistakes. The president’s disordered personality makes him as ill-equipped to deal with a crisis as any president has ever been. With few exceptions, what Trump has said is not just useless; it is downright injurious.

The nation is recognizing this, treating him as a bystander “as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president,” in the words of Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.

Donald Trump is shrinking before our eyes.

The coronavirus is quite likely to be the Trump presidency’s inflection point, when everything changed, when the bluster and ignorance and shallowness of America’s 45th president became undeniable, an empirical reality, as indisputable as the laws of science or a mathematical equation.

It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain. The president, enraged for having been unmasked, will become more desperate, more embittered, more unhinged. He knows nothing will be the same. His administration may stagger on, but it will be only a hollow shell. The Trump presidency is over.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to WEHNER is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Egan visiting professor at Duke University. He writes widely on political, cultural, religious, and national-security issues, and he is the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.


Why the Running Mate Will Really Matter This Time

It seems much more important to get the details on men behaving badly if you are: A. a Democrat B. Weathly. Being a Republican, say Trump, should apparently, just be overlooked

as Trump being Trump. Not that there is any excuse for sexual harassment or unhealthy workplace behavior. It’s just that if the Democrats hold their aides to higher standards it will increase the chances of reelection of Trump. But perhaps ethical purity is most important. It is a really complex problem reflecting fast changing/improving social standards. It may boil down in this One Case to accepting apologies with the idea that we all learn something and the “look the other way”


With four leading presidential contenders in their 70s, the VP slot has never been more meaningful.

Bernie Sanders

Getty Images


02/19/2020 09:17 PM EST

Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.

The vice presidency—likened to a “warm bucket of piss” by John Nance Garner, who suffered eight years in the office under FDR, and called a political dead end by others—has miraculously become Washington’s second most desirable job.

It’s not that the job has changed. What’s given the vice presidency a new sheen is the advanced age of four leading contenders for the presidency—Donald Trump, 73; Bernie Sanders, 78; Mike Bloomberg, 78; and Joe Biden, 77. None of the four amigos are likely to croak tomorrow, but the actuarial odds are bending against them. One scholar on aging reports that Trump has an 84.8 percent chance of surviving a 2020 term, while Sanders, Bloomberg and Biden rate several percentage points worse.


Lest you think I’m being ageist for harping on the candidates’, um, advanced maturity and general health, let me point out that they’re currently slicing each other up on the topic. On Wednesday, a Sanders spokesman fended off questions about her candidate’s health cast aspersion on Bloomberg health. She claimed he had had multiple heart attacks in the past. Not so, the Bloomberg campaign responded, explaining the Mike has never had a heart attack but he does have three heart stents. This language in this column may strike you as morbid but it’s no more morbid than what the campaigns are saying about one another.

If the Democratic Party is paying attention to this actuarial action—and I think it is—their next veep nominee won’t be another no-name ticket balancer picked to satisfy the geographic, gender, and ethnicity needs of the ticket. Rather, he (or she) will be selected based on the understanding that he stands a higher statistical chance completing the term of the presidential nominee than veeps before him. Instead of nominating one prospective president, the Democrats especially will effectively be nominating two. In the absence of a crystal ball, there’s no way to determine whether the winning candidate will survive his term. But it shouldn’t take a crystal ball to see that the advanced ages of these candidate should be a major campaign issue.

Of course, any president, no matter his age, could drop dead tomorrow. In 1961, writer Clare Booth Luce asked Lyndon Baines Johnson why he had surrendered his powerful position as Senate majority leader to become John F. Kennedy’s veep. “Clare, I looked it up: one out of every four presidents has died in office. I’m a gamblin’ man, darlin’, and this is the only chance I got,” he answered. Johnson was a little off—at the time, one in five presidents had died in office (four from natural causes and three from assassination). But he was also operating on the forbidden knowledge that Kennedy was a sick man who required heavy medication.

Consider the shaky grip the current frontrunners have on life. Sanders had an onstage heart attack last fall and has failed on his promise to release all of his medical records. Trump, the oldest president ever elected to a first term, is clinically obese, walks with a heavy gait, reportedly sleeps only 4-5 hours per night, looks terrible and plays similar games with his medical records. And then there’s that suspicious unplanned visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center he took in November. If Trump were to expire tomorrow in his golf cart, who would be astonished? Joe Biden projects more physical vigor than either Sanders or Trump, but his brain was marbled by two life-threatening aneurysms in 1988, requiring a microsurgical craniotomy. Only Bloomberg exhibits both physically and mentally vital, but at his age—and even with his billions—how long can he hold that pose?


The best historical parallel to 2020 might be 1944, when a frail Franklin Roosevelt prepared to run for his fourth term. Roosevelt had come to doubt that his existing vice president, Henry Wallace, would make a good successor in the likely event that he died. So he dumped Wallace for Harry S Truman. One day, Truman was drowning in the warm bucket of piss. The next, he was floating in a presidential sea of ambrosia. The 2008 election provided another example when the veep slot was more prize than consolation. At age 72, John McCain was older than any newly elected president, and was not a healthy man. Mindful that his war-time injuries and history of melanoma might conspire to prevent him from completing his first term, McCain reached down a full generation to select the youthful Sarah Palin, then 44, as his running mate. If Democrats follow that template, you can expect somebody like Stacy Abrams, a relative youngster at 46, to fill the ticket this year.

It should go without saying that the vice presidency will return to its low status if the Democrats nominate a young presidential candidate like Pete Buttigieg, 38, this year. Buttigieg has only a minuscule chance of dying in office, which could be career-ender for anybody who might run and win with him. At the end of Buttigieg’s two hypothetical terms, his veep would be stale political bread with little chance of winning the next presidential contest. History is quite consistent on this point: Since passage of the 12th Amendment, only two vice presidents—Martin Van Buren and George H.W. Bush—have been elected president immediately following the completion of their vice presidential terms. (Richard Nixon lost in 1960, but won the office eight years after his vice presidency concluded.)

The four elderly amigos can’t take sole credit for making the vice presidency potentially great again. You’ve got to tip the hat to Trump, whose erratic behavior nearly activated the 25th Amendment in May 2017. In pre-Trumpian times, the amendment—which allows the vice president to become the acting president should the president be ruled unable to “discharge the powers and duties of his office”—was used sparingly. It was invoked during Ronald Reagan’s colon surgery and George W. Bush’s colonoscopies. But nobody contemplated using it on a sitting president until Trump started acting nutty and fired FBI Director James Comey. Although nothing came of it, administration aides reportedly worked behind his back to activate the amendment and replace him with Mike Pence as acting president.

Should we elect a geezer president in 2020—something that looks more likely with every passing day—we can expect his aides to interpret the victor’s every behavior for signs of physical disability or mental breakdown. Meanwhile, in a separate room, we can expect the once lowly veep to patiently await his promotion by death.


As an aged candidate and incumbent, Trump could have easily shopped for a “better” veep than Mike Pence for 2020. By better I mean younger and more accomplished. Instead, Trump again bestowed the slot upon the slavishly loyal 60-year-old Pence. This indicates Trump has no intention of dying. Neither do I. Send longevity hints via mail to My email alerts and my Twitter feed would make a great ticket. My RSS feed remains in exile.

Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed

Feb. 15, 2020

Disarray at the Justice Department?

Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed

After a week of tumult, some career prosecutors expressed concerns about political interference and the attorney general’s response to the president weighing in on the prosecution of an associate.

The Justice Department has been grappling with President Trump’s tweets almost since he took office.
The Justice Department has been grappling with President Trump’s tweets almost since he took office.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

By Katie BennerSharon LaFraniere and Nicole Hong

  • Feb. 15, 2020
    • 1464

WASHINGTON — In an email a few days ago to the 270 lawyers he oversees, Nicola T. Hanna, the United States attorney in Los Angeles, offered a message of reassurance: I am proud of the work you do, he wrote.

Other U.S. attorneys in the Justice Department’s far-flung 93 field offices relayed similar messages of encouragement after President Trump’s efforts to influence a politically fraught case provoked the kind of consternation the department has rarely seen since the Watergate era. “All I have to say,” another United States attorney wrote to his staff, “is keep doing the right things for the right reasons.”

But the fact that the department’s 10,000-odd lawyers needed reassurances seemed like cause for worry all by itself.

In more than three dozen interviews in recent days, lawyers across the federal government’s legal establishment wondered aloud whether Mr. Trump was undermining the Justice Department’s treasured reputation for upholding the law without favor or political bias — and whether Attorney General William P. Barr was able or willing to protect it.

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Mr. Trump elicited those fears by denouncing federal prosecutors who had recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for his longtime friend and political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. Mr. Barr fanned them by scrapping the recommendation in favor of a far more lenient one, leading the prosecutors to quit the case in protest.

Mr. Barr then took to national television to complain that Mr. Trump’s angry tweets were undermining him and his department’s credibility — a sign to some current and former lawyers that the department’s freedom from political influence is in imminent danger. Their worries are compounded by the fact that people in Mr. Trump’s circle have been mired in so many criminal or ethical scandals that practically any legal action on those cases could be seen through a political lens.

As many of the department lawyers and some recently departed colleagues see it, Mr. Barr has devoted much of his authority and stature to bolster the president since he took office a year ago.

In ever stronger terms, he has attacked the F.B.I.’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. He has said it was mounted on “the thinnest of suspicions” and advanced despite a lack of evidence. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, ultimately found insufficient evidence that the president or his advisers engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia but documented their openness to Moscow’s sabotage effort.

While he has pledged that the department will not pursue politically motivated investigations, Mr. Barr said this month that he had created an “intake process” for the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to forward supposed proof of misconduct in Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani has claimed to have evidence damaging to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son.

This month, Mr. Barr ordered reviews of several politically sensitive cases handled by career prosecutors in Washington, including that of the president’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, which has become a flash point for pro-Trump activists.

Attorney General William P. Barr went on national television to complain that Mr. Trump’s angry tweets were undermining him and his department’s credibility.
Attorney General William P. Barr went on national television to complain that Mr. Trump’s angry tweets were undermining him and his department’s credibility.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Meanwhile, Mr. Barr’s expansive view of presidential authority has helped Mr. Trump fight off congressional oversight. It was the Justice Department, for instance, that decided it was unnecessary to give Congress the whistle-blower complaint that ultimately led to the president’s impeachment.

Mr. Barr’s critics say those and other moves have all but invited increasingly aggressive demands from the White House. His supporters in the Justice Department counter that he has used his political capital to protect the department and national security interests. But they sound increasingly worried about whether he will be able to manage the expectations of an ever more volatile president.

Mr. Barr’s effort this week to scale back those expectations, officials said, was born of necessity. He is said to have told the president privately that he will not open politically inspired inquiries on Mr. Trump’s behalf and that the president’s public comments about specific criminal cases are damaging the department’s work.

When the president’s public outburst over the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone made it clear that Mr. Barr’s message had not sunk in, Mr. Barr and a few trusted advisers elected to deliver it again in a way that has repeatedly proved effective in grabbing the president’s attention: on television, this time in a nationally broadcast interview with ABC News.

By the end of the week, many at the Justice Department’s headquarters were uncertain whether that interview would resolve what some called an increasingly untenable situation. Some steeled themselves for a stream of presidential invective or even Mr. Barr’s departure in response.

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In the legal trenches where the department’s lawyers handle controversial cases on a daily basis, some expressed relief that Mr. Barr had defended the department and tried to set boundaries for a president seemingly intent on erasing the red line between political motivations and individual criminal cases that has prevailed since Watergate.

“Thank God,” one lawyer said. “I was beginning to be really upset over the sentencing, but I really admire that he told Trump to shut up,” said another. A third wrote in a memo: “Barr was EXACTLY right.”

But others questioned Mr. Barr’s sincerity, saying he was already too closely aligned with Mr. Trump’s political priorities to accept his words at face value.

One described Mr. Barr’s timing as self-serving, saying that the president had attacked the department before but Mr. Barr spoke up only when he felt his own credibility was on the line. Another suggested that the best way for Mr. Barr to demonstrate his integrity would be to resign.

All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists, or for fear of job repercussions. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr declined to comment.

The supervisor of one team of prosecutors questioned whether the Stone case portended a presidential crusade to use the department’s legal powers to damage his political enemies and help his friends. Is it “a one-off or a trend?” another supervisor in a different office asked.

Some former senior officials predicted that government lawyers, especially those with politically sensitive cases, would face new skepticism in court about the department’s motivations.

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“I’m sure that some D.O.J. attorneys feel that judges are not going to look at them in the same way,” said Mary McCord, a former assistant attorney general for the department’s national security division. “And I’m sure there are judges who are going to wonder, ‘Can we credit what you say, or is D.O.J. going to come back tomorrow and say something different?’”

Generally, lawyers across the department’s vast legal apparatus said they were simply trying to ignore the political drama unfolding in Washington and concentrate on their own work.

In the capital, the Justice Department has been grappling with Mr. Trump’s tweets almost since he took office. Amazon is suing the government over its loss of a $10 billion defense contract, saying Mr. Trump’s tweets prove his animosity toward its owner, Jeff Bezos. A team of Justice Department lawyers moved to withdraw from a case over the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census after Mr. Trump blindsided them by declaring on Twitter that their assertions in court were “fake.”

Until last spring, the impact of Mr. Trump’s outbursts about criminal prosecutions were blunted somewhat by the fact that he largely aimed them at Mr. Mueller, whose stature with Congress and the public made it unlikely he would be fired.

Even then, Mr. Trump or his legal team hinted broadly at the prospect of pardons for some associates who faced criminal charges brought by the Mueller team. And Mr. Trump publicly praised one defendant, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, even as a federal jury deliberated whether to convict him on financial fraud charges.

But United States attorneys lack the political buffer that Mr. Mueller enjoyed. So Mr. Trump’s attacks on the career prosecutors in Mr. Stone’s case carry different weight.

Mr. Trump’s latest attacks on the Justice Department and senior officials’ intervention in a case involving his longtime friend threatened to undermine its reputation for upholding the law without a political bias.
Mr. Trump’s latest attacks on the Justice Department and senior officials’ intervention in a case involving his longtime friend threatened to undermine its reputation for upholding the law without a political bias.Credit…Samuel Corum for The New York Times

In his interview with ABC News, Mr. Barr seemed concerned about the possibility of more mass defections. Three prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case while the fourth resigned from the department entirely the week before Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia was scheduled to sentence Mr. Stone.

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“I hope there are no more resignations,” Mr. Barr said. “We, we like our prosecutors and hope they stay.”

As Mr. Trump has pointed out on Twitter, two of those prosecutors — Aaron Zelinsky and Adam C. Jed — helped carry out the special counsel’s investigation, which Mr. Trump detested. Their supervisors reassured them this week that they would suffer no retaliation for withdrawing from the Stone case.

Timothy J. Shea, a close ally of Mr. Barr’s who took over this month as interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, sent his staff an email of support this week. “While there are times where reasonable minds may disagree, I respect the work that each of you do, and I will do my best to support our work,” he wrote.

Mr. Shea’s role is especially fraught because the Washington office, the largest in the country with 300 lawyers, often handles politically sensitive cases and inherited several prosecutions begun under Mr. Mueller. At least some in that office privately complained that Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr both treated Mr. Shea’s predecessor, Jessie K. Liu, shabbily.

Ms. Liu, a Trump appointee, was viewed in the office as a leader who helped protect prosecutors from political meddling. But her relationship with other department officials grew strained, especially after she decided there was insufficient evidence to seek an indictment of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy director of the F.B.I. and a frequent target of the president, according to two people familiar with the situation.

She was nominated for a top job at the Treasury Department and transferred there this month to await her confirmation. Then this week, the president decided to rescind her nomination, even over Mr. Barr’s objections, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

BREAKING: House votes to proceed with impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gavels as the House votes 232-196 to pass resolution on impeachment procedure to move forward into the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The resolution would authorize the next stage of impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, including establishing the format for open hearings, giving the House Committee on the Judiciary the final recommendation on impeachment, and allowing President Trump and his lawyers to attend events and question witnesses. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)



The House of Representatives voted Thursday morning in a 232-196 vote to proceed with the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. In her remarks on the House floor, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was sober and reflective. “I doubt anybody in this place, or anybody that you know, comes to Congress to take the oath of office to impeach the President of the United States unless his actions are jeopardizing honoring our oath of office.”

The chairmen leading the inquiry were equally reflective. Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said, “The task before us is a solemn one.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler was resolute, saying, “I support the resolution because we have no choice.” In concluding the debate, House Rules Chair Jim McGovern said, “History is testing us and I worry, based on what we have heard from the other side, that some may be failing that test.”

Republicans were predictably callow. House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to be clever: “It’s only fitting you take this vote on Halloween.” He failed. Recommend 156  Share  Tweet183 Comments 183 New

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boran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:32:11 AM

“It’s only fitting you take this vote on Halloween.” 

Fitting because the color orange plays such a prominent role for both Trump and Halloween.  ReplyRecommend81Recommended


NorthBronxDemboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:33:31 AM

It’s also the new black.ReplyRecommend41Recommended


Superribbieboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:34:11 AM

Hopefully the color orange will play an even more prominent role for Trump in the future.ReplyRecommend48Recommended


Bobs TelecasterSuperribbieOct 31, 2019 at 12:22:08 PM

Long red ties  — hard to make work with orange fabric, but maybe he can make a go of it. ReplyRecommend3Recommended


mortimersnerdBobs TelecasterOct 31, 2019 at 01:02:04 PM

Where Trump is going, they don’t allow ties.ReplyRecommend6Recommended


Bobs TelecastermortimersnerdOct 31, 2019 at 01:39:42 PM

Or “Just for Men” or hair loss drugs, or tanning beds. He could be a quite different looking fellow. ReplyRecommend4Recommended


keybeaterBobs TelecasterOct 31, 2019 at 02:04:27 PM

Gentlemen, start your Photoshops!ReplyRecommend1Recommended


kjallenboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:41:54 AM

Halloween — when the doors open to spirits.  Perhaps the ghosts of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin, and Lincoln will pay a visit to the orange guy tonight, ala Ebenezer Scrooge.  Maybe they can “teach” him something about democracy, honesty and integrity where everyone else has failed.ReplyRecommend28Recommended


eBearcatkjallenOct 31, 2019 at 11:49:12 AM

I wonder if the boos and “lock him ups” of Game 5 called up those ghosts of United States Past, allowing the Nats could head back to Houston and beat the ‘Stros twice more to win the WS :)ReplyRecommend9Recommended


Upstate NYawkerboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:43:29 AM

Kevin McCarthy also got illegal campaign money from Rudy Guiliani’s 2 Kremlin linked thugs Lev and Igor.  The entire GOP, like Trump are up to their eyeballs in Russian mob money and they are shitting themselves that if Agent Orange gets taken down, he will take all of them with him.  Its also why they refuse to defend the country from the traitor in the white house because they are complicit in the treason.ReplyRecommend47Recommended


Pool House DoctorUpstate NYawkerOct 31, 2019 at 11:49:57 AM

Well that’s what happens when you choose to superglue yourself to an anchor.  Sometimes the anchor gets dropped.ReplyRecommend18Recommended


January1938Upstate NYawkerOct 31, 2019 at 02:06:17 PM

Kevin McCarthy is a stain on our Irish heritage !ReplyRecommend0Recommended


A Citizenboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:58:06 AM

What, they should have had it tomorrow, on All Saints Day?ReplyRecommend6Recommended


Alvin Kboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:01:18 PM

Let’s carve this pumpkin!ReplyRecommend9Recommended


kevmichboran2Oct 31, 2019 at 01:07:49 PM

Looks like a jackass-o-lantern to meReplyRecommend7Recommended


barskinOct 31, 2019 at 11:33:11 AM

I’m dreaming of an Impeachment Christmas.ReplyRecommend33Recommended


barskinbarskinOct 31, 2019 at 11:34:07 AM

As a matter of fact, let’s hope we can give thanks for an Impeachment on Thanksgiving.ReplyRecommend18Recommended


PilotsharkbarskinOct 31, 2019 at 12:00:40 PM

Kind of like a ThanksImpeachmentGiving.

A giant deep-fried pumpkin with lots of MoscowMitch sprinkled on along with the assorted RWNJ`s sauces.ReplyRecommend7Recommended


stevo86barskinOct 31, 2019 at 11:50:52 AM

One size fits all!  and better than a sweater!ReplyRecommend5Recommended


FolkManbarskinOct 31, 2019 at 01:26:23 PM

Actually later is better.  Let the investigations continue on well into next year (there’s plenty to investigate!), with a steady stream of incriminating revelations along the way.

Once the impeachment gets to the Senate, Moscow McCocaine will acquit the Putin-Pleasin’ Treason-Weasel Tangerine Rage-Baby in 10 minutes.  They will claim Total Exoneration: Partisan Witch Hunt!  And sweep all of it under the rug.

Better we keep the atrocities front and center all the way to the elections next year (or close to), to keep these criminals fresh in the voter’s minds.  No on is going to be removed via the impeachment process.  We are going to have to vote the rat-fuckers out.ReplyRecommend6Recommended


CholwaHuFolkManOct 31, 2019 at 02:05:18 PM

I used to agree with you 100%. I am wavering from that position now. This wavering is due to two related factors. First I have allowed hope that the senate might actually convict if the public opinion turns enough to seep in. The second is because he whom to be compared to is always an insult to that which he is compared (rat, piece of shit, crotch rot, ….whatever) is a cornered animal at this point and is only going to behave worse as the impeachment process goes on. There is nothing this malignant narcissist / sociopath will not do if he thinks it will distract or deflect.  He will keep committing more damage to the country and the world as long as he is in office.  We need to get him out ASAP and then follow up with endless stream of criminal prosecutions for the innumerable crimesReplyRecommend1Recommended


FolkManFolkManOct 31, 2019 at 02:24:21 PM

No on = No one.  But of course you knew that.ReplyRecommend0Recommended


CathyMOct 31, 2019 at 11:33:54 AM

It is kind of appropriate for Hallow’s Eve — the gate to Hell is more open than usual, and the ancestors are closer — I hope Nixon and crew are coming back to drag the Rethugs down. The Dems recognize the solemnity and the Rethugs cry “not fair!” as if they were on the school grounds and had gotten caught bullying… ReplyRecommend26Recommended


Captain FrogbertCathyMOct 31, 2019 at 11:41:56 AM

It’s utterly pathetic the GOP cannot even CONCEIVE of this as being anything more than naked partisanship. They see everything through the lens of corruption and crime.

They know damn well that their impeachment of Clinton was nothing but a hatchet job to get the Democrat and they are so blinded by their corruption they cannot see the obvious crimes of Trump. Rather, they see the crimes but don’t care. They think the law should apply only to Democrats.

They are a disgrace to their oaths and a disgrace to America.ReplyRecommend49Recommended


PissedGruntyCaptain FrogbertOct 31, 2019 at 11:44:48 AM

It’s utterly pathetic the GOP cannot even CONCEIVE of this as being anything more than naked partisanship. 

It goes back to every accusation they make being projection. They cannot conceive that THEY would do something that ins’t partisan.ReplyRecommend23Recommended


DrOrphCathyMOct 31, 2019 at 11:54:43 AM

Sometimes it feels like they opened the gate to Hell a week late in 2016, and forgot to close it for 3 years…ReplyRecommend16Recommended


anastasia pCathyMOct 31, 2019 at 12:39:50 PM

Indeed. I just saw a scary Halloween monster when I turned on C-SPAN and Gym “See No Evil” Jordan was speaking. I immediately turned it off. That’s too scary even for Halloween.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


CO DemocratOct 31, 2019 at 11:34:01 AM

How McCarthy’s “joke” went down.  




WI LurkerCO DemocratOct 31, 2019 at 11:37:00 AM




lynn47CO DemocratOct 31, 2019 at 11:39:40 AM


Or this one…though hopefully this is the train carrying all of the republicans who carry water for their cult leader.ReplyRecommend19Recommended


Paul COct 31, 2019 at 11:34:22 AM

Did any Democrats vote against democracy?  Did any Republicans vote for democracy?ReplyRecommend13Recommended


gchaucer2Paul COct 31, 2019 at 11:35:40 AM

Two Dems against.  Zero GOPers for.  Amash voted with Dems.ReplyRecommend36Recommended


voomergchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:37:48 AM

Which Dems voted against?  Pathetic.  Also so pathetic that no Republicans could muster any courage and integrity.ReplyRecommend19Recommended


gchaucer2voomerOct 31, 2019 at 11:38:47 AM

Van Drew from NJ is one I don’t know the other.ReplyRecommend8Recommended


jqjacobsgchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:58:18 AM

Jeff Van Drew NJ
Collin Peterson MNReplyRecommend16Recommended


first lastjqjacobsOct 31, 2019 at 12:20:40 PM

Brindisi (NY) had said he wouldn’t earlier, but looks like he did unless he abstained.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


jqjacobsfirst lastOct 31, 2019 at 12:40:09 PM

Just now from his local media: 

Bob Joseph@BinghamtonNow

JUST IN: Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a Utica Democrat, votes to support a measure setting up rules for a Trump impeachment inquiry. #NY22 Brindisi Votes in Favor of Formalizing Impeachment InquiryRep. Anthony Brindisi voted to support a measure setting up formal rules for a presidential impeachment inquiry.wnbf.com312:38 PM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Bob Joseph’s other TweetsReplyRecommend9Recommended


first lastjqjacobsOct 31, 2019 at 12:43:07 PM

Thanks.  ReplyRecommend0Recommended


RudyardvoomerOct 31, 2019 at 11:45:18 AM

Two Democrats, Congressman Collin Peterson (MN) and Congressman Jeff Van Drew (NJ), voted against the resolution.ReplyRecommend11Recommended


charliehall2RudyardOct 31, 2019 at 11:53:49 AM

Peterson absolutely gets a pass on absolutely everything. Trump carried his district by 31 points. Anyone who calls for a primary against him is acting against our interests. 

Van Drew’s district isn’t quite so bad in terms of statistical margins — Trump only carried it by 5  points — but the Republicans there are so rabid that even though their nominee against Van Drew was so horrible that the Republican Party disowned the guy Van Drew only won by 6 points. He is a prime target for the Republicans. 

I suspect Nancy told both of them to do what they needed to do. ReplyRecommend29Recommended


A Citizencharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:00:14 PM

My hometown is in Peterson’s district. When he retires, that district is very likely likely to go Republican, barring a real wave election.ReplyRecommend12Recommended


voomercharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:09:36 PM

Thanks for the perspective.ReplyRecommend10Recommended


kevmichcharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 01:13:54 PM

Sorry, not sorry. If Peterson can’t muster up enough courage to do the right thing for his country on this, he doesn’t deserve to be there. This isn’t, and shouldn’t be about party, or keeping his job. This is about his primary responsibility – putting the country above all else. Obviously, he is not up to the task or his oath of office. He needs to go.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


healthykevmichOct 31, 2019 at 01:27:31 PM

If Democrats find an excuse (keep their job ) not to vote for impeachment, not to put country over political interests.. How can we expect Republicans to vote for it?ReplyRecommend1Recommended


jayfrenchstudioscharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 01:22:02 PM

I don’t understand why you say that about Peterson.  What good is having a Democrat in that office if he’s not voting with us?  In fact, that’s rather counter-productive.ReplyRecommend2Recommended


mainstreet52jayfrenchstudiosOct 31, 2019 at 01:51:54 PM

Yes and no. Situation is different if his vote impacts the result. But it passed without him, and the Speaker knew that.ReplyRecommend0Recommended


PissedGruntyjayfrenchstudiosOct 31, 2019 at 02:05:01 PM

538: Different between actual and projected “Trump agreement%” in the 116th Congress: -74.5%.

Massively Negative means massively not with Trump.ReplyRecommend0Recommended


lynn47RudyardOct 31, 2019 at 11:54:50 AM

Only recommending as it has the info..(:-) Thanks!!ReplyRecommend4Recommended


PadreMellyrngchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:04:36 PM

Well now at least we can throw it back in their face, it wasn’t ‘Strictly along party lines’ per se.ReplyRecommend2Recommended


DemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:34:27 AM

232? Did Tulsi vote against it or was she absent?ReplyRecommend6Recommended


SuperribbieDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:36:56 AM

One D and 3 Rs absent. No word on who yet.ReplyRecommend6Recommended


DemSignSuperribbieOct 31, 2019 at 11:42:46 AM

Katie Hill was marked absent on yesterday’s roll calls.ReplyRecommend4Recommended


LealexDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:55:28 AM

According to NYT she voted Y.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


anastasia pLealexOct 31, 2019 at 12:47:59 PM

Katie was staying for this vote, as the smartest, hardest-working and more effective member of the freshman class, bound for stardom which apparently some vindictive men didn’t like. She’s supposed to be making her farewell speech today. Am I pissed that instead of defending the bullying and harassment that drove her out of Congress, a lot of progressives are blaming her, usually pointing to the one part of the story that is unproven? You bet!ReplyRecommend10Recommended


SuperribbieSuperribbieOct 31, 2019 at 12:53:19 PM

Per Politics1, the four absentees were Donald McEachin (D-VA) (serious health issues), Jody Hice (R-GA) (father died), William Timmons (R-SC) (reservist on active duty), and John Rose (R-TN) (unknown).ReplyRecommend3Recommended


Mark LippmanDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:41:19 AM

The roll call hasn’t been posted yet. Gabbard was absent yesterday and also for many other roll calls this year. ReplyRecommend4Recommended


charliehall2Mark LippmanOct 31, 2019 at 11:56:04 AM

Gabbard missed all three votes on Turkey although she has recently been blistering in her attacks on Erdogan. That puts her barely ahead of Omar, who seems to have become a Turkish asset. :(ReplyRecommend2Recommended


Mark Lippmancharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:12:58 PM

As of Oct 23, Gabbard missed 167 our of 583 roll call votes.

For context, her supporter would probably point out that former Presidential candidates Eric Swalwell and Tim Ryan missed 205 and 165, respectively, this year. 

The absentee leader, so far this year, is Republican Ralph Abram, LA-05, who was running for Governor but failed to qualify for the runoff. He missed 255 roll call votes.ReplyRecommend8Recommended


CaliSistaMark LippmanOct 31, 2019 at 12:24:03 PM

For context, her supporter….




anastasia pMark LippmanOct 31, 2019 at 12:43:48 PM

In Swalwell and Ryan’s defense, both have dropped out, and Swalwell did so very quickly. Gabbard shows no signs of doing so.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


apotropaiccharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:43:10 PM

One vote against sanctions where she stated fears of causing humanitarian suffering means she’s an asset of Turkey? Get some perspective.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


chaseapotropaicOct 31, 2019 at 12:54:21 PM

I’m seriously considering flagging that bullshit.ReplyRecommend1Recommended


6412093chaseOct 31, 2019 at 01:18:01 PM

Not even Tulsi deserves libels.ReplyRecommend0Recommended


LealexDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:52:59 AM

According to NYT she voted Y. (Thanks to peagreen for link.)ReplyRecommend3Recommended


MikeTheLiberalDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 12:28:06 PM

Tulsi voted Yes.ReplyRecommend1Recommended


fewsorangeDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 02:17:29 PM

Tulsi voted Yes

But she shouldn’t have been allowed to vote because she is a Senator

I know she is a Senator because Ann Coulter told me.

Ann Coulter@AnnCoulter

No she didn’t. Tulsi is a SENATOR, meaning she’s in the SENATE and doesn’t vote on HOUSE resolutions. …Catturd@catturd2For all you foolish Tulsi Gabbard fans …

She just voted for the illegal impeachment coup.

She’s just a better looking Nancy Pelosi.
3,9531:14 PM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy11.9K people are talking about thisReplyRecommend0Recommended


gchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:35:05 AM

McCarthy has the nerve to say anything — he who knew the psychoperv was being paid by Putin.  That should be brought up every damned time he opens his yap.

Besides Van Drew of NJ, does anyone know who the other Dem chickenshite is who voted with the GOPers?  Amish voted with Dems.ReplyRecommend16Recommended


Superribbiegchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:37:52 AM

Collin Peterson of the Trump +41 district.ReplyRecommend12Recommended


gchaucer2SuperribbieOct 31, 2019 at 11:39:10 AM

Thank you — still cowardly. ReplyRecommend5Recommended


DemSigngchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:43:29 AM

Especially since he isn’t running for re-election.ReplyRecommend5Recommended


CO DemocratDemSignOct 31, 2019 at 11:46:50 AM

He usually does not announce until later in the cycle.  So, we don’t know whether or not he is running for re-election.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


charliehall2gchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:57:07 AM

No, smart. ReplyRecommend4Recommended


CO Democratcharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:14:05 PM

Agreed.  I’ll give Peterson a pass. Van Drew, not so much.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


charliehall2CO DemocratOct 31, 2019 at 12:21:55 PM

Van Drew’s district is more complicated, as I explained in a comment above. ReplyRecommend1Recommended


anastasia pgchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 12:44:08 PM

McCarthy is a moron.ReplyRecommend2Recommended


BlueToTheCoreOct 31, 2019 at 11:35:17 AM

Any news on the vote breakdown?  I can’t see Twitter at the office and all of the links are Twitter links.ReplyRecommend3Recommended


gchaucer2BlueToTheCoreOct 31, 2019 at 11:37:04 AM

Last I saw — 2 Dems voted with the GOPers and Amash, indie, voted with the Dems.ReplyRecommend4Recommended


BlueToTheCoregchaucer2Oct 31, 2019 at 11:43:22 AM

Thank you!

I can’t wait to confirm who from the Dems voted with the RethugsReplyRecommend3Recommended


charliehall2BlueToTheCoreOct 31, 2019 at 11:57:44 AM

Peterson and Van Drew, both of whom probably were told by Pelosi to do what they needed to do. See my comment above. ReplyRecommend5Recommended


BlueToTheCorecharliehall2Oct 31, 2019 at 01:19:09 PM


Thank you.  I figured as much.ReplyRecommend0Recommended


libredOct 31, 2019 at 11:36:39 AM

It’s hard to imagine how miserable our lives would be if there had been no blue wave last election.  But it’s important to remember that we can win when we get out the vote. ReplyRecommend37Recommended


jqjacobslibredOct 31, 2019 at 12:01:40 PM

You mean the 2018 “coup” right?  🙂

Ari Berman@AriBerman

For all those people calling impeachment vote a “coup,” worth noting Trump lost popular vote by 2.9 million votes while Dem House candidates won it by 9.7 million votes in 20182,05011:40 AM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy655 people are talking about thisReplyRecommend16Recommended


stevembOct 31, 2019 at 11:38:13 AM

Have the blasts of explosive Twitterrhea from Napoleon Boneyspurs started yet?ReplyRecommend7Recommended


jqjacobsstevembOct 31, 2019 at 12:06:37 PM

Do trees grow in the woods? 

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump · 3h

The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!


Still more ….

View image on Twitter

11411:02 AM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Chris’s other Tweets

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump · 3h

The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!

john Mitchell@j_r_mitch

Actually it is your trade policy.

View image on Twitter

4610:59 AM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee john Mitchell’s other Tweets

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump · 3h

The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!

Daniel Miller@DanielMillerDC

Uh oh!

View image on Twitter

13211:32 AM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy24 people are talking about thisReplyRecommend10Recommended

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is Trump’s best defense?

Who could have foreseen that crimes have consequences?

Trump pumps up another Saudi deal


 By Salvador Rizzo  Email
 President Trump has a soft spot for Saudi Arabia, notwithstanding the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.In 2017, he falsely claimed the Saudis agreed to $350 billion in arms purchases and private sector investments in the United States. In 2018, he falsely claimed that $110 billion had been agreed to when looking only at arms sales.Now, after the administration announced Oct. 11 that it was sending to Saudi Arabia an additional 3,000 troops and nearly four dozen Air Force fighters and Patriot antimissile batteries, Trump claims: “Saudi Arabia is paying for 100 percent of the cost, including the cost of our soldiers. And that negotiation took a very short time — like, maybe, about 35 seconds.”We were naturally skeptical, given the president’s track record of exaggerating deals with the Saudis. Lo and behold, Trump’s secretary of defense and the State Department both said that the agreement between the two countries encourages “burden-sharing.” When you share a burden, you’re shouldering some of it yourself. That’s not compatible with saying one side is paying 100 percent of the cost.We gave Three Pinocchios to Trump.


Meet your Professor


Contact Information: 

Email: Use Course email; if EMERGENCY, contact me at, but that ss faculty email. I check course email more often.

Phone Number: 914-763-1888

Office Hours: All the time by telephone; I will meet you Mercy or if that is inconvenient at a location North of Dobbs Ferry ( live near Katonah)

The risky game Mike Pompeo is playing with an ‘authoritarian president’

The Fix Analysis

Some intriguing new information about Mike Pompeo and the deft but dangerous game he is playing with an unhinged president.~blog editor

By Aaron BlakeAugust 19 at 1:37 PM

The New Yorker@NewYorker

A 2016 video obtained by @sbg1 shows Mike Pompeo warning Kansas voters that Donald Trump—like Barack Obama—would be “an authoritarian President who ignored our Constitution.” Read Susan Glasser’s new Profile of the Secretary of State: 2,1017:10 AM – Aug 19, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,682 people are talking about this

The New Yorker’s big new profile of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is getting buzz for two reasons: 1) the newly discovered video above, in which a 2016 Pompeo warns that President Trump would be “an authoritarian President who ignored our Constitution,” and 2) an anonymous quote that describes the modern-day Pompeo as “like a heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass.”

But focusing on those two quotes does the piece and its author, Susan Glasser, a disservice. Around those two narrative-building elements is a nuanced, thoughtful piece about the game Pompeo is playing with Trump. And as someone who has regularly spotlighted Pompeo’s sycophancy and willingness to pretend for Trump that up is down, I think it raises important questions.

Throughout the piece, Pompeo is described not as a hapless yes-man but, instead, as one of the smartest members of the president’s inner circle. He’s painted as a man so adept at playing “the Game” that he has navigated his own past comments about Trump and a worldview that departs from Trump’s in significant ways to become the president’s longest-lasting and perhaps most influential national security aide.How to provoke the ire of Mike PompeoWhen asked about something President Trump said, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is prone to belittle the questioner rather than answer the original question. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Even critics praise his remarkable political skills.

“Pompeo’s singular ability is in navigating power,” says Raj Goyle, the Democrat he beat for his Kansas U.S. House seat in 2010 — and against whom Pompeo ran a nasty race. “On that I give him massive respect: the way he mapped Wichita power, the way he mapped D.C. power, the way he mapped Trump.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) calls Pompeo “very bright, very politically shrewd,” “with a certain pugnacious quality to his persona.” Foreign policy analyst Ian Bremmer says Pompeo has “in a sense become the real adult in the room. It is less the case than he would like, but vastly more the case than anyone else.”

The dilemma raised by Pompeo is a familiar one in Trumpworld, but it’s perhaps most pronounced — and consequential — in his case: What is the balance between serving Trump, managing him and enabling him?

It’s a balance we dealt with after that New York Times op-ed by a still-unnamed senior administration official, whom some critics said should have resigned rather than trying to, in the author’s estimation, salvage a bad situation from the inside. It’s one that’s even more important today, as internal critics are pushed out and the pool of replacements inevitably veers toward yes-men and -women (because, after all, who else would want to put up with all that?).

And perhaps the defining moment in that evolution, as Glasser notes, was Trump’s hastily announced Syria withdrawal. That was the moment at which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — perhaps the most respected man in the administration — finally cut bait. It was also a highly symbolic moment for Pompeo, who in contrast with Mattis defended a decision he disagreed with.

Glasser puts it well in the piece’s penultimate paragraph:

This behavior is the reason that Pompeo has succeeded in becoming the lone survivor of Trump’s original national-security team. At the start of his Administration, the President had bragged about “my generals.” But, now that he has pushed out the actual generals who served as his chief of staff, his national-security adviser, and his Defense Secretary, it seems clear that Trump was uncomfortable with such leaders, and rejected their habits of command and independent thinking.

Then Glasser adds, “He wanted a Mike Pompeo, not a Jim Mattis, a captain trained to follow orders, not a general used to giving them.”

Beautifully put. But as with everyone in politics, we shouldn’t just admire someone because they’re good at playing a difficult game; we should ask what they get out of it. If Pompeo is doing this because of raw ambition — because he wants to be president or something like that — he’s playing a dangerous game as the nation’s top diplomat. If he’s doing it because he feels he can keep righting what has become an increasingly rickety foreign policy ship, then that could be seen as even admirable — especially given that he’s often lighting his own credibility on fire.

The Syria withdrawal is perhaps an example of when that approach can and does work. Despite Mattis resigning over it, Trump later backed off his initial decision to withdraw completely. Pompeo got something he wanted — albeit long after all eyes were trained on the internal drama of it all — by using the kid-gloves approach.

On the flip side, though, Trump is rewriting the rules of the presidency in precisely some of the ways Pompeo warned about. Trump has warmed to authoritarians and authoritarianism, similar to Pompeo’s warnings. Shortly before becoming Trump’s pick for CIA director, Pompeo tweeted that Trump should “make the undemocratic practice of executive orders a thing of the past;” Trump has instead taken it to new heights. The secretary of state who once assured that soldiers “don’t swear an allegiance to President Trump or any other President; they take an oath to defend our Constitution” has shown an almost-unmatched allegiance to Trump.

Some in the foreign policy establishment apparently want to believe it could all be for the best — that Pompeo can, on balance, be a force for good. But we’ve seen their hopes dashed when it comes to another man in whom they invested some wishful thinking, Attorney General William P. Barr.

Pompeo might be the other most consequential man in Trump’s Cabinet. And the narrative of his tenure is very much up in the air — and dependent upon the man he once derided as a dangerous commander in chief.ADVERTISING 57 Comments

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A must-read cheatsheet on the latest in politics that can be read in 5 minutes or less, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Aaron BlakeAaron Blake is senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. A Minnesota native, he has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Follow 

Tom Steyer spends more than $7 million on ads in first month, hammers early primary states



One reader responded argued Steyer’s spending millions could better be devoted to funding Democrat Senate Campaigns!

Tom Steyer spends more than $7 million on ads in first month, hammers early primary states

CHARLESTON, SC – DECEMBER 04: Anti-Trump Billionaire Tom Steyer hosts a town hall meeting on December 4, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina. Steyer, founder of NextGen America and Need to Impeach, is testing the waters for a 2020 presidential run. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Tom Steyer (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)In the month since Tom Steyer jumped into the Democratic presidential field with a promise to spend $100 million on his own campaign, the billionaire activist and former hedge fund manager has made his name known across early primary states with millions in ad buys.

But it remains to be seen whether Steyer, a major Democratic donor who made headlines in recent years for his calls to impeach President Donald Trump, can convert name recognition into a spot on the Democratic debate stage in September and a viable campaign in the long run.

The Steyer campaign has spent more than $7 million on TV and digital ads during its first month, according to data provided by social media companies and an analysis of Federal Communications Commission filings available in the OpenSecrets political ad database.

OpenSecrets identified more than $3.7 million in TV ad buys on more than 12,000 spots across the first four primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Steyer began running ads on July 10, the day after his campaign launched.

Flourish logo

A Flourish data visualisation

The TV spots touch on Steyer’s business acumen, philanthropic work and activism on climate change, as well as his efforts to oust Trump.

“Donald Trump failed as a businessman,” Steyer says in one ad, citing a New York Times investigationinto the president’s business losses during the late 1980s. “I started a tiny investment business and over 27 years grew it successfully to $36 billion.”

The ad blitz appears to have worked on some voters. Steyer, who is visiting Iowa for the first time on Friday, has already hit at least 2 percent in three qualifying polls, just one short of the polling requirement for the September debates. That puts him ahead of several more conventional candidates, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Govs. Jay InsleeSteve Bullock and John Hickenlooper.

Of the three polls in which Tom Steyer has achieved at least 2 percent, two were conducted in Iowa while one was conducted in South Carolina. He has yet to hit 2 percent in any national polls.

Still elusive for Steyer is the requirement of 130,000 unique donors, the Democratic National Committee’s marker of grassroots support. Campaigns have until Aug. 28 to reach the threshold. The Steyer campaign has not said how many donors it has so far.

Help us count cash and make change by making a donation today.

To attract new donors, Steyer’s digital ads target voters across the country and ask for contributions of just $1. During its first month, the campaign spent about $3.5 million on digital ads: $2.6 million on Facebook, nearly $700,000 on Google and more than $200,000 on Twitter. These totals are unprecedented, even as presidential candidates across the board have increased digital spending in order to attract small-dollar donors.

Steyer’s digital campaign presence builds off his activism through political groups he previously funded out of his own pocket, such as NextGen Climate Action and Need to Impeach, a super PAC targeting his now-opponent Donald Trump.

Prior to Steyer’s official announcement of his candidacy in July, Need to Impeach spent more than $4.4 million on ads promoting the “Tom Steyer” Facebook page, which is now used by his campaign. After Steyer threw his hat in the ring, ads on the page switched from being paid for by Need to Impeach or his personal funds to being paid for by his 2020 campaign.

Steyer’s 458,000 likes on Facebook already put him ahead of many better-known candidates including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. And big spending on digital ads allows the billionaire activist to continue to grow his audience. His campaign’s digital ad spending totals during its first month are more than double those of any other Democrat during the same period.

When comparing total spending on digital advertising, Steyer trails only the three candidates who are leading most polls: former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Warren and Sanders officially launched their campaigns in February, while Biden declared in April.

Steyer’s spending on TV advertising, meanwhile, far outpaces other Democratic candidates, who have generally focused on building their ground games in early primary states rather than running TV ads.

Among the top five candidates in terms of polling, only Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has run TV ads so far. Her campaign’s first ad, a 1-minute spot titled “3 a.m. agenda,” hit the airwaves in Iowa this week.

Gillibrand, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) have also devoted resources to TV ads. Gabbard has passed the donor threshold to qualify for September but still needs three more polls. Delaney and Gillibrand have yet to reach either benchmark.

While some candidates might be forced to drop out if they do not qualify for the September debate stage, Tom Steyer has plenty of resources to continue running ads and pick up new donors. The DNC will host another debate in October.

Sign if you agree: “Thoughts and prayers” are not enough. We need action

Campaign Action

El Paso. Dayton. Gilroy. Santa Fe, TX. Parkland. Sutherland Springs. Las Vegas. Sandy Hook. Columbine. Aurora. Virginia Tech.

At the time of this writing, there have been 250 mass shootings in the U.S. so far in 2019. That’s more than one per day. And gun violence in all its forms collectively takes the lives of more than 100 people per day.

Republican members of Congress respond to gun tragedies while they’re in the news. But, they don’t take responsibility for how their words and actions — and strategic inaction — allow for white supremacist terror and gun violence, nor do they take action to prevent these tragedies from happening again. Instead, they offer up fleeting sentiments or red herring explanations.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25 times higher than that of other developed countries. States with more guns have more deaths, and states where it’s harder to get guns have fewer gun-related deaths. Gun safety laws work.

The Democratic-govern House has already passed two pieces of legislation addressing gun violence. Mitch McConnell has refused to bring them up to a vote in the Senate. 

Every day Congress refuses to take action, they choose this fate for our children, our communities, and this country. Thoughts and prayers cannot replace action. For this epidemic to end, Congress must intervene. 

Join us in demanding Congress, and Trump sign, research-backed gun safety policies including requiring background checks on all gun sales, and supporting a strong Red Flag law that will help prevent gun violence tragedies.

Add your name: Keep your thoughts and prayers. Take action to reduce gun violence.


Senate Republicans


Daily Kos

Our Message to Senate Republicans :

Enough is enough. Gun safety laws work. We demand a vote on real gun control.