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EXTENDED SELECTION of new Michael Wolff book on Trump published online at:





Pivoting from Trump himself, Bannon plunged on with the Trump agenda. “Day one we’re moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all-in. Sheldon” — Adelson, the casino billionaire and far-right Israel defender — “is all-in. We know where we’re heading on this … Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying.”


“Where’s Donald on this?” asked Ailes, the clear implication being that Bannon was far out ahead of his benefactor.


“He’s totally onboard.”


“I wouldn’t give Donald too much to think about,” said an amused Ailes.


Bannon snorted. “Too much, too little — doesn’t necessarily change things.”


“What has he gotten himself into with the Russians?” pressed Ailes.


“Mostly,” said Bannon, “he went to Russia and he thought he was going to meet Putin. But Putin couldn’t give a s*** about him. So he’s kept trying.”


Again, as though setting the issue of Trump aside — merely a large and peculiar presence to both be thankful for and to have to abide — Bannon, in the role he had conceived for himself, the auteur of the Trump presidency, charged forward. The real enemy, he said, was China. China was the first front in a new Cold War.


“China’s everything. Nothing else matters. We don’t get China right, we don’t get anything right. This whole thing is very simple. China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930. The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world, until they’re not. And they’re gonna flip like Germany in the ’30s. You’re going to have a hypernationalist state, and once that happens, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”


“Donald might not be Nixon in China,” said Ailes, deadpan.


Bannon smiled. “Bannon in China,” he said, with both remarkable grandiosity and wry self-deprecation.


“How’s the kid?” asked Ailes, referring to Kushner.


“He’s my partner,” said Bannon, his tone suggesting that if he felt otherwise, he was nevertheless determined to stay on message.


“He’s had a lot of lunches with Rupert,” said a dubious Ailes.


“In fact,” said Bannon, “I could use your help here.” He then spent several minutes trying to recruit Ailes to help kneecap Murdoch. Since his ouster from Fox over allegations of sexual harassment, Ailes had become only more bitter toward Murdoch. Now Murdoch was frequently jawboning the president-elect and encouraging him toward Establishment moderation. Bannon wanted Ailes to suggest to Trump, a man whose many neuroses included a horror of senility, that Murdoch might be losing it.


“I’ll call him,” said Ailes. “But Trump would jump through hoops for Rupert. Like for Putin. Sucks up and s***s down. I just worry about who’s jerking whose chain.”




The First Children couple were having to navigate Trump’s volatile nature just like everyone else in the White House. And they were willing to do it for the same reason as everyone else — in the hope that Trump’s unexpected victory would catapult them into a heretofore unimagined big time. Balancing risk against reward, both Jared and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew. It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job. Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president. The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.


Bannon, who had coined the term “Jarvanka” that was now in ever greater use in the White House, was horrified when the couple’s deal was reported to him. “They didn’t say that?” he said. “Stop. Oh, come on. They didn’t actually say that? Please don’t tell me that. Oh my God.”

Edited by caulfield12

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California Rep. Ed Royce is retiring, and that seat immediately flipped from "leans R" to "leans D" in everyone's forecasts for 2018. That makes the 7th committee chair that's announced retirement ahead of 2018.

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Who knew? Black genetics are the reason most can't get legally high


State Rep. Steve Alford ® spoke out on Saturday against legalizing pot using the type of racist “logic” commonly heard when “Reefer Madness” was considered a serious documentary.


“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States,” Alford said, according to the Garden City Telegram. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

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The great Republican abdication


This morning, Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) — the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee — put out a report that offers a remarkable indictment of President Trump’s abdication of his responsibility to protect and defend our free and fair elections.


Republicans on the committee didn’t sign on to the report. This makes it more likely that it will be seen as a partisan document. Indeed, the desire to make that happen was likely the whole reason Republicans didn’t sign on to it.


But here’s the thing: We already know from independent reporting that the basic story told in the report is accurate and true.


The report offers an extensive look at what it calls Vladimir Putin’s “asymmetric assault on democracy” in multiple countries, and its “implications for U.S. national security.” For our purposes, what is notable is the report’s criticism of Trump’s failure to take steps to fortify our elections against future Russian attacks, which is pointed and detailed:


Despite the clear assaults on our democracy and our allies in Europe, the U.S. government still does not have a coherent, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to the Kremlin’s malign influence operations, either abroad or at home. … the lack of presidential leadership in addressing the threat Putin poses has hampered a strong U.S. response. …


While many mid-level and some senior-level officials throughout the State Department and U.S. government are cognizant of the threat posed by Mr. Putin’s asymmetric arsenal, the U.S. President continues to deny that any such threat exists, creating a leadership vacuum in our own government and among our European partners and allies.


The report concludes that Trump “has been negligent in acknowledging and responding” to the threat of future election sabotage, and calls on him to “launch a national response” to that threat. This includes establishing a coordinated inter-agency response to the threat; and presenting to Congress a “comprehensive national strategy” to deal with it.


The Associated Press reports that “no Republicans” signed on to this document and its set of recommendations.


Yet the basic outlines of this story have already been established by an extensive investigative report in The Post, which concluded that the U.S. government’s ability to prepare for this threat has been hampered by Trump’s refusal to accept that Russian sabotage of our election in 2016 happened at all. The Post noted that administration officials themselves acknowledge that Trump has “never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it.”


Even worse, The Post noted that “there is an unspoken understanding” within the National Security Counsel that the matter must not be raised with the president, because this would “acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.” Incredibly, The Post reported that this is rooted in a refusal by Trump to accept what even many inside the administration “regard as objective reality.”


It is rapidly becoming the position of the whole GOP to join in this great abdication. First, it will be an interesting test to see how many Republicans — who, you may recall, previously condemned Russian meddling — join in endorsing even the general recommendations in this report, never mind the criticism of Trump.


What’s more, you can draw a line from this directly to other big displays of GOP abdication on the Russia front. When Senator Dianne Feinstein released the transcript of the Fusion GPS co-founder’s congressional testimony, it was in response to the Republicans’ refusal to do the same. That refusal basically denied the American people crucial information that Republicans themselves had gathered about the genesis of the FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion, simply because it didn’t prop up — and indeed undercut — the alternate narrative that Republicans had developed with the purpose of casting efforts to hold Trump and his associates accountable as illegitimate.


The goal of that alt-narrative is in part to discredit the investigation as an abuse of power in its own right, by depicting the allegedly partisan Steele Dossier as the trigger for the original FBI probe. But thanks to that released testimony, we have learned that the FBI apparently took the findings of the Steele Dossier author seriously because it corroborated information the FBI had already gathered from other sources. Meanwhile, this abdication continues on other fronts. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are now weaponizing their probe against the FBI in service of this alt-narrative and are derailing the probe’s actual truth-seeking by refusing to green-light subpoenas to re-call Donald Trump Jr. and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fill in more detail about Trump’s apparent efforts to obstruct justice.


Obviously one can argue that warnings of the Russian threat to future elections are overblown, or that the collusion and efforts by Trump to impede the probe that have already been documented don’t amount to serious misconduct or crimes. But the point is that Republicans are working to frustrate a full accounting into all these matters without knowing what, exactly, they are preventing from seeing the light of day.


Democrats are finally mounting pushback that is commensurate with a recognition of the true nature of what we’re seeing here. The Cardin report marks a newly aggressive effort to sound the alarm about Trump’s abdication of responsibility to protect our elections. Feinstein’s release of the Fusion GPS testimony signals a recognition that Republicans are actively trying to suppress the truth at this point, and that tougher measures are needed in response. Democrats on the House Intel Committee are mulling the release of a minority report that would detail the avenues of inquiry that Republicans have blocked. If Republicans are joining Trump in this great abdication, we are now seeing a new phase in the Democratic response to it.



Republicans doing absolutely nothing to honestly and earnestly investigate, understand and prevent foreign influence on our elections because it makes their leader look bad is a failure to serve the country. They're all complicit.


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Heartland Dems to Washington: “You’re Killing Us!”







So far, 32 House Republicans are either retiring or running for other offices. That's more than double the 15 Democrats who are not running for re-election.


Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa, the former House oversight chairman, joined the list of retirees this week. Rep. Martha McSally is set to become the 33rd departure when she launches her Senate campaign Friday.


Why do retirements matter so much? Because it's much harder for the challenging party — in 2018's case, the Democrats — to beat an incumbent than to win an open seat. The Cook Political Report has useful data that lays this out.


There are several Democratic retirements that have given Republicans big openings, too: Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz's departure could allow the GOP to take a district that President Donald Trump won by 15 points in 2016. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's New Hampshire district has a long history of switching hands. And Rep. Jacky Rosen's decision to run for the Senate in Nevada opens up a competitive seat there, as well.



Edited by caulfield12

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On his last day in office, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe partially pardoned a black man who was sentenced to six life sentences plus 118 years for a no-injury holdup at age 15 in which he stole $65, two phones and three joints.

Not made up. Actually happened.

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Dems have a very good shot at getting to 26 governors (including AK) after starting the year with a historic low of 15



Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine (flip from LePage), PA, NM (flip from Martinez) and NY are solidly in the DEM column right now


Arizona, Georgia, Connecticut and South Carolina are still likely GOP

Dems have to pick up 7 of the the following 12: Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, NH, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Wisconsin and Minnesota





Still, Trump’s presence looms large. Republican campaign consultants have been working with candidates to find ways to avoid the awkward tip-toeing around Trump that many believe doomed Virginia Republican candidate Ed Gillespie. Those consultants recently circulated strategy memos explicitly warning that 2018 risks turning into an amplified version of 2006 — Democrats’ last big midterm victory year — according to copies seen by POLITICO.


But amid talk of another 2006, Democrats have uncharacteristically stepped up their fundraising operation around these races, often pitching donors on their importance to the next round of redistricting. That push has brought in checks from party mega-donors, like Haim Saban and Mark Gallogly, who previously primarily gave to federal candidates, according to filings. So entering the year, the DGA had raised four times more from individual donors than it had at this point four years earlier — on top of quadrupling its number of contributors.


“For far too long our party has focused on the presidential [election] every four years and hasn’t done what it needed to do on the state level,” said outgoing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who has pledged to spend the year campaigning for gubernatorial candidates across the country.


That focus, he said, is finally starting to shift.


“There’s a tsunami coming in 2018,” he predicted. “We saw it in Virginia with a record voter turnout. We saw it in Alabama."

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The Democrat Trumpworld fears most:

In recent weeks, the president has been handicapping the prospective 2020 field and finding potential challengers wanting.





Looks like Biden (carving out the Rust Belt voters Trump lost), Booker (strategists are divided on his run), Oprah and Mark Cuban are perceived to be the 4 biggest threats at the moment.


Trump wants Sanders, Warren, Gillibrand or Harris.

Edited by caulfield12

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Any thoughts on Pritzker? I like his bullet points but don’t know much about him.

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QUOTE (Brian @ Jan 16, 2018 -> 11:24 AM)
Any thoughts on Pritzker? I like his bullet points but don’t know much about him.

I think it will be him versus Rauner in the general election, but I’m not sure if he would go against Madigan and get Illinois out of the financial state it is in.

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with birther movement activists in his office in 2013


(CNN)House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hosted members of the birther movement in his office for a meeting in 2013, where he was shown a video alleging then-President Barack Obama had forged documents related to his citizenship, activists at that meeting tell CNN.


Three birther activists — Mike Volin, Jeff Harrison, and Tom Pavich — traveled to Washington, DC, in late 2013 to present congressional offices with what they claimed was evidence that Obama is not a citizen and was ineligible to be president.


The activists documented the trip on Volin's website, wheresobamasbirthcertificate.com, where they posted pictures of themselves outside the congressional offices of both Democrats and Republicans.

One of the photos shows Harrison and Pavich with McCarthy, who at the time was the majority whip in the House. Another image shows a printed photo of the two activists and McCarthy that contained the message "it was good to visit with you in DC." The image appeared to be signed by McCarthy.


Trump is a symptom, not the disease

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