AuthorTopic: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 257659 times)

Offline RE

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BIG Rat Jumps Ship!

This is turning into a Pile-On!


Lawyers for former Trump advisor John Bolton reportedly in contact with impeachment probe panels
Published Fri, Oct 25 20199:33 AM EDTUpdated Fri, Oct 25 201911:54 AM EDT
Dan Mangan   @_DanMangan

National Security Advisor, John Bolton, gestures as he meets with journalists during a visit to London, Britain August 12, 2019.
Peter Nicholls | Reuters
Key Points

    Lawyers for former national security advisor John Bolton reportedly have been in touch with officials working on House committees conducting an impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.
    Bolton reportedly was so disturbed by efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents, among them former Vice President Joe Biden, that he called it a “drug deal.”
    Bolton reportedly had called Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani a “hand grenade,” in reference to Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine.

Lawyers for former national security advisor John Bolton have been in touch with officials working on House committees about possibly testifying in the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, a person close to Bolton told NBC News on Friday.

The news comes more than a week after the White House’s former top Europe expert, Fiona Hill, reportedly testified to Congress that Bolton was so disturbed by efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents that he called it a “drug deal.”

Hill said that Bolton told her he did not want to be part of that push, which involved White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, according to reports of her testimony.

Hill also reportedly testified that Bolton had called Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani a “hand grenade.”

Giuliani has been at the head of a charge to have Ukraine launch investigations that could benefit Trump politically ahead of his 2020 reelection effort.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer in August withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges after Bolton “warned him that President Trump probably would oppose any action that benefited the government in Kyiv.”

Bolton left the Trump administration on Sept. 10.

Trump said he fired Bolton, while Bolton said he had resigned.
Bolton distraught over Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts: Trump’s former Europe expert

The impeachment probe is focused on pressure by Trump and his emissaries on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Joe Biden is currently seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Trump also wants Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory that says elements in that country helped cover up evidence related to hacking of a Democratic National Committee computer server in the runup to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and played a role in news stories that led to the resignation and eventual prosecution of Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2016.

The conspiracy theory says Russia was framed for hacking the DNC server and for the subsequent release of internal emails related to the DNC and the party’s eventual presidential nominee that year, Hillary Clinton.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that Russian agents hacked the server and were behind the effort to release information about Clinton and the DNC that would support Trump’s candidacy.

Trump has rejected claims that Russia was responsible in some way for his election.

At the time that Trump had a phone call in July with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and asked for “a favor” in doing those investigations, the White House was withholding nearly $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid from Ukraine.

Giuliani and others in Trump’s orbit argue that Joe Biden, while vice president during the Obama administration, had pressured Ukraine’s government to fire a prosecutor there in order to thwart a purported investigation of a natural gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board.

However both Bidens have said they did nothing wrong. At the time Joe Biden asked Ukraine to get rid of the prosecutor, he was echoing similar calls from European countries who complained that the prosecutor was not doing enough to combat corruption there.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 03:57:18 AM by RE »
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Offline Surly1

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Vindman offers a firsthand account of critical episodes in alleged quid pro quo
« Reply #2191 on: October 29, 2019, 01:05:35 PM »
Vindman offers a firsthand account of critical episodes in alleged quid pro quo

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert assigned to the National Security Council, is testifying in the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday, offering new details on the push for investigations of President Trump’s political rivals and corroborating other witnesses with his firsthand account of the alleged attempt at a quid pro quo.

Vindman is the first impeachment witness to have listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump said he wanted a “favor” after Zelensky brought up the topic of nearly $400 million in promised American military aid. Vindman was listening from the Situation Room along with other NSC officials and members of Vice President Pence’s staff, he said in prepared remarks released late Monday, and was so “concerned by the call” — and that the president’s request could be seen as “a partisan play” that could “undermine U.S. national security” — that he reported it to the NSC’s lead counsel.

Read Vindman’s opening statement

Vindman’s prepared testimony touched a nerve with Trump. The president took to Twitter early Tuesday to deride the Iraq War veteran, who appeared for his testimony in uniform, calling him a “Never Trumper” and questioning his recollection of events.

“Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness. Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!”

Vindman’s testimony directly challenged that of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a Trump appointee who met with impeachment investigators earlier this month. Sondland defended the president’s actions and told House investigators no one had raised concerns about them.

Asked to respond to Vindman’s testimony, Sondland attorney Robert Luskin said his client would decline to comment.

Sondland, in September text messages to the top American diplomat in Ukraine, Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., said Trump had not engaged in a quid pro quo. Those text messages were provided to impeachment investigators by Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s former special envoy to Ukraine.

In his meeting with lawmakers last week, Taylor laid out in meticulous detail how a shadow Ukraine policy involving Sondland and directed by Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani prioritized investigating Trump’s political rivals over U.S. national security interests. Taylor’s testimony has been held up as the most incriminating to date.

Vindman’s recollections, while narrower, illuminate key episodes in Taylor’s narrative with an even closer perspective: Vindman was either in the room or briefed personally after meetings by administration officials involved in the exchanges Democrats believe amounted to a quid pro quo.

Vindman also went to the NSC’s lead counsel with concerns about a July 10 meeting between Sondland, Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, then-national security adviser John Bolton and senior Ukrainian officials. During the meeting, according to Vindman’s prepared statement, Sondland demanded that Ukrainian leaders deliver “specific investigations” to secure a meeting between Zelensky and Trump.

Vindman said he was told about that meeting directly by Sondland in the immediate aftermath of the event, according to his prepared remarks. During the previously scheduled debrief, “Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma,” a Ukrainian energy company, Vindman’s prepared testimony reads.

“I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push,” Vindman adds.

Sondland is already under pressure from some lawmakers to return to Capitol Hill due to discrepancies between his testimony and that of others like Taylor, who told investigators Sondland was aware Trump was leveraging a meeting and, later, the military aid for Ukraine on promises to conduct investigations.

Tim Morrison, the NSC official who told Taylor Ukraine’s military aid was being held up to secure investigations into the role former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter had on Burisma’s board, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory involving a Democratic National Committee that was hacked in 2016, is expected to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday.

Sondland appeared to demur during his closed-door deposition earlier this month about whether believed almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine was being withheld to secure the investigations. But in recent days, Sondland’s lawyer Robert Luskin has told the Wall Street Journal his client believes — and told House investigators — that Trump’s refusal to meet with Zelensky until the Ukrainians promised to launch the investigations amounted to a quid pro quo.

Vindman’s prepared testimony does not address whether military aid was being withheld to secure U.S. elections; it just stresses that Sondland held back the promise of a phone call between the two heads of state until Ukraine pledged to conduct the investigations.

Sondland appeared on Capitol Hill again on Monday to review the transcript of his previous testimony in a secure facility, a courtesy afforded to all interviewees.

Vindman’s testimony also raises new questions about the role Bolton and his other senior deputies may play in the investigation as it proceeds. Bolton was furious by Sondland’s demands of the Ukrainians during the July 10 meeting, according to Vindman’s testimony and that of former NSC senior director for Russia and Europe Fiona Hill. Hill testified earlier this month that Bolton thought Giuliani was a “hand grenade” and wanted it known that he would not participate in a Ukraine policy he likened to a “drug deal” between Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who had convened the meeting.

The panels have thus far not subpoenaed Bolton for his testimony, though many Democrats believe he could be a powerful and incriminating witness against the president in a public hearing. But Bolton shares a lawyer with his former top deputy, Charles Kupperman, who petitioned the courts late last week to rule on whether he must comply with a congressional subpoena to testify in the impeachment probe.

Democrats, who are committed not to slow their probe by getting into protracted legal battles, have rejected Kupperman’s filing as legally baseless, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) predicting Monday that the courts would “make short shrift” of the argument and force Kupperman to go before the panel.

That may happen sooner than initially appeared. A federal judge said Monday he wanted to hear from lawyers for the House, Kupperman and the Trump administration on Thursday afternoon.

Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline Surly1

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Donald Trump has complete meltdown about Colonel Vindman
« Reply #2192 on: October 29, 2019, 01:18:52 PM »
Donald Trump has complete meltdown about Colonel Vindman
Bill Palmer

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is testifying behind closed doors to the House impeachment inquiry as we speak, and based on what’s surfaced about his testimony thus far alone, it’s got to be utterly devastating for Donald Trump. That’s not just our assessment; Trump himself appears to hold the same view. Just ask him.

Donald Trump is now claiming on Twitter that Colonel Vindman is a “Never Trumper” – which is weird, because that would presume that Vindman is a Republican (no one has any idea what his political leanings are), and that Vindman opposes the idea of a Trump presidency. It’s hard to imagine Vindman being a “Never Trumper” when you consider he was appointed by Trump, and has served under Trump in the White House.

Trump is also suddenly claiming that he’s never even heard of the witnesses who are testifying against him. That’s surreal, considering they all work, or previously worked, for him – and that he’s known to have had regular contact with at least some of them. If Trump truly doesn’t know who Colonel Vindman is, even though the guy has been serving on his National Security Council, that’s stunning.

In any case, Donald Trump appears to be so afraid of Colonel Vindman, his attacks haven’t actually included the guy’s name. Instead Trump is calling him “today’s witness” and such. Trump has good reason to be afraid of Vindman’s testimony; one leak to the media reveals that Vindman has revealed that the Trump-Ukraine phone call summary was sanitized to try to make it look less damning for Trump.
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🤡 Dear GOP, Some Scary Advice on How to Survive Your Impeachment Nightmare
« Reply #2193 on: October 30, 2019, 12:27:53 AM »

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Dear GOP, Some Scary Advice on How to Survive Your Impeachment Nightmare

Take it from the movies, denying reality is not going to slay the monster.


October 29, 2019

Charles Sykes is the editor-in-chief of the Bulwark.

To: Senate Republicans

By now it should have dawned on you that there is no escape. You are going to have to render a verdict not just on Donald’s Trump’s policies, but on his personal conduct. For just the third time in U.S. history, the Senate will hold a trial on the impeachment and removal of a president.

You’ll have to vote up or down and your decision will have consequences that will linger long past this election cycle. The situation is already grim.

“It feels like a horror movie,” one senator recently told the Washington Post.

But it is all about to get worse: the evidence, the venue and the president’s conduct. There may be more smoking guns, the trial will be televised, and based on the past few weeks, Trump is likely to be more unhinged than ever.

In honor of the season, I offer you some unsolicited Halloween-themed advice to help you navigate the coming nightmare. If you take this advice, you have a chance of saving your party. Ignore it, and, well, you’ve seen what happens in those horror movies, right?
1. Don’t hide in the basement.

So far you and your fellow Republicans have been able to hide behind complaints about process and the claim that the impeachment probe is “illegitimate.” Your colleagues in the House actually stormed the secure hearing room in the basement of the Capitol and complained about the process even as a few dozen GOP lawmakers were inside being part of that process. It was juvenile and self-defeating. Sooner or later, you will have to confront the substance of case; and that is not likely to get any better.

You have to consider the possibility that there may be more transcripts, more tapes, more whistleblowers. The new evidence is not likely to be exculpatory, because the president’s conduct in pressuring foreign governments for dirt on the Bidens and obstructing justice has already been well documented.

The venue will also change. Republicans are complaining that the process has been secretive, but be careful what you wish for. The trial will be must-see television and not even Fox News will be able to keep much of the evidence from your constituents. Polls already suggest historically high support for the impeachment inquiry, and we have not even begun those public hearings. In short, pretending that the facts aren’t facts—that you’ll be safe behind your flimsy justification—is not going to help when everything is out in the open. Deal with it.
2. To kill the monster requires confronting how you made him.

As you watch this reckless and unleashed presidency it may have occurred to you how much you have contributed to this moment. You have convinced Trump that he can take you for granted. The president has bullied and berated you and, again and again, you have rolled over. And it has made things only worse.

Trump’s instinct is to escalate both his tactics and his language. The cascade of stories in just the last week—Ukraine, Syria, the G-7 and Doral, the launching of a criminal probe against his own Department of Justice, his reference to critics as “human scum”—are a microcosm of his presidency and where we are going.

Between now and the beginning of the Senate trial, that behavior could become even more erratic and you will be forced to defend an ever-widening gyre of inanities, deceptions, abuses of power, episodes of self-dealing and other assorted outrages. Imagine six months of Giuliani butt-dials.

The first step to saving your life is to recognize what the monster feeds on. In this case, it’s your fear of standing up to him.
3. You survive only if you fight back.

All the craziness might suggest that a policy of strategic silence is the best option. This includes not signing on to more resolutions like the one authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham condemning the House inquiry. Graham may be immune to humiliation and indifferent to history’s verdict, but you likely will not be.

You probably also think you can finesse this by finding a middle ground where you can acknowledge that the call to the Ukrainian president was inappropriate and Trump’s behavior questionable, but not impeachable.

But Trump may not let you. The president and his loudest supporters continue to insist that (a) the phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” (b) there was no quid pro quo, and (c) even if there was one, it was completely appropriate. Indeed, on Monday he urged to stop focusing on process and defend the merits of his actions. “I'd rather go into the details of the case rather than process. ... Process is good, but I think you ought to look at the case.”

The problem is that “the genius of our great president” demands total fealty. He will insist that acquittal be considered total exoneration, and he intends you to be a part of the whitewash. He wants you to embrace and ratify his conduct; and if you do, you will own it.
4. The sequel is often scarier than the original.

You need to consider the full implications of the precedent you will be setting if you vote to acquit the president. Imagine a second Trump term beyond the reach of credible constitutional accountability. Consider what that would mean for our political culture, constitutional norms and the future of your party.

“The boundaries of acceptable presidential behavior are defined by which actions the political system tolerates or condemns,” writes Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes.

We are already “perilously close to the point at which there may no longer be a national consensus that there’s anything constitutionally problematic about using governmental powers to advance one’s own pecuniary and electoral interests.”

Writes Wittes: “If a substantial group of members of Congress signals not merely that the president’s conduct does not warrant impeachment and removal but also that it does not even warrant branding as intolerable, such conduct will become normalized—at a great cost to previously unquestioned first principles of constitutional governance—even if the House impeaches Trump.”

This is why you should pay more attention to the Federalist Papers than Fox News.

On Fox News, the impeachment proceedings will be characterized as a “coup,” or an attempt to “overturn an election.” But they are neither.
5. Your ultimate weapon is always within reach.

Alexander Hamilton clearly envisioned impeachment as a constitutional check on “the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He understood that impeachment proceedings were, by their nature, political, “as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” He also had no illusions about how divisive the process would be, noting that impeachment “will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community,” and that “in such cases there will always be the gravest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

But the founders reposed their confidence in you; or rather in what they thought the Senate would be. “Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent?” What other body, asked Hamilton, would feel confident enough “to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality,” between the accused “and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?” (Emphasis Hamilton’s.)

There’s a good reason to listen to Hamilton here—for the sake of the GOP.

Consider this: What if, instead of breaking with Richard Nixon in 1974, Republicans had stuck with him, deciding that Nixon’s impeachment was a test of tribal loyalty? What would the consequences have been if they had voted to acquit him on charges of obstructing justice, lying to the public, contempt of Congress and abuse of power? Specifically, what would it have meant for the Republican Party had it embraced the defense of Nixon’s corruption? If it had been less Barry Goldwater and more Lindsey Graham?

We know what actually happened. Even after abandoning Nixon, the GOP was punished in 1974 and 1976, but it was able to otherwise wipe the stink off relatively quickly, winning back the presidency in 1980 and holding it for 12 years.

But what if the party had gone all Watergate-is-no-big-deal? If it had, it’s unlikely that Ronald Reagan would even have been elected, because the GOP would have been haunted by Nixon for a generation.

In your idle moments, you have perhaps wondered what your legacy will be. Here’s the answer; history will remember what you do over the next few months.

Short term, breaking with Trump will spark a nasty blowback. But imagine for a moment a post-Trumpian Republican Party freed from the baggage of Trumpist corruption. The choice is between a party inextricably tied to Trump, with all of his crudity, dishonesty, lawlessness and arrogance, and a party that has shown that it is capable of being a principled defender of constitutional norms.

At the end of this process, the simple narrative is likely to be that the president has abused his power, broken the law and sold out his country. You have an opportunity to hold him accountable by doing your constitutional duty. History will want to know whether you got scared and shirked it.
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I thought the PBA was the biggest Cop Union?  :icon_scratch:


The Fraternal Order of Police’s attack on impeachment reads like it was written by Sean Hannity

America’s largest police union doesn’t seem to understand what “due process” is.
By Ian Millhiser Nov 1, 2019, 11:00am EDT

Police advance through a cloud of tear gas toward demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 17, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a massive police union that claims over 330,000 members, released a letter earlier this week opposing the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The letter, which denounced vague and unspecified “due process” violations against Trump, reads more like something someone would hear during a prime time Fox News show than the work of an organization that is intimately familiar with law enforcement.

“One of the most basic rights afforded to American citizens is the right to due process,” the letter begins. It then accuses “many Members of Congress” of “undermining that trust in due process by ignoring its fair and universal application.”

“Just as local law enforcement officers are often convicted in the media,” it claims, members of Congress are also “violating due process to score political points.” Though the letter doesn’t actually go into very much detail about how lawmakers are supposedly violating due process, the last line of the letter makes clear who the FOP hopes to protect.

The FOP, the letter concludes, exists to protect due process rights “for all citizens at every level, from the indigent living on the street to the President living in the White House.”

The FOP does indeed have a history of demanding strong due process rights — for cops. Often, it does so at the expense of individuals who are not entrusted with the awesome power to carry a badge and a gun.

The FOP, for example, has tried to punish lawyers who argue in favor of the constitutional rights of the condemned. It successfully lobbied senators to block President Barack Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, because Adegbile signed a brief arguing that a man convicted of killing a police officer was unconstitutionally sentenced to die.

In 2008, a panel of federal judges that included two Reagan appointees unanimously held that the death sentence was invalid. The penalty was reduced to life in prison.

The FOP sued Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner after Krasner’s office created a list of officers with a history of offenses, such as lying on duty or racial profiling, and discouraged prosecutors from calling these potentially unreliable officers to testify in court. The FOP claimed that this effort to keep dishonest officers off the stand violated the due process rights of those officers. A judge rejected this lawsuit in August.

After Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the local chapter of the FOP gave him a job to “assist the Van Dyke family.” When a jury convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder for killing McDonald, the Illinois FOP called it a “sham trial and shameful verdict.”

When a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while Rice was playing with a toy gun, the president of the Miami FOP tweeted that if you “act like a thug, you’ll be treated like a thug.”
Donald Trump is not being denied “due process” rights

In any event, the FOP’s claim that Trump is somehow being denied due process by the House of Representatives is unfounded.

Though the FOP’s letter supporting Trump does not itemize how Trump’s “due process” rights are allegedly being violated, White House counsel Pat Cipollone signed a letter to congressional leaders in October, claiming that Trump is entitled to “cross-examine witnesses” during the House’s impeachment inquiry. That it may “call witnesses,” “receive “transcripts of testimony,” “have access to evidence,” “have counsel present,” and that the House should not conduct “proceedings in secret.”

This complaint fundamentally misunderstands the nature of an impeachment inquiry. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the “sole power of impeachment” and the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments.” Most of the rights Trump seeks are rights typically associated with criminal trials. But the trial is what will take place in the Senate if the House votes to impeach Trump.

In the impeachment process, the House’s role is more akin to that of police investigators, that of prosecutors, and that of a grand jury. The House’s job is to gather evidence, to build a case against the president, and then to formally accuse the president of committing an impeachable offense if a majority of the House agrees that such charges are warranted.

For this reason, it is normal for an impeachment inquiry to begin with closed-door proceedings for the same reason that it is normal for police to interview witnesses in private when they are investigating a crime. Among other things, if this phase of the inquiry were conducted openly, witnesses could see each other’s testimony and could align their stories in order to frustrate the inquiry.

The Clinton and Nixon impeachment processes both began with a private investigation. So did the Republican-led investigation by the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Trump, moreover, effectively has a representative in the room for the closed-door phase of the investigation — indeed, he has 48 representatives in the room. All members of the House committees on Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs are allowed to participate in the impeachment inquiry. That includes 48 Republican members of Congress.

Finally, as a constitutional matter, the House is allowed to shape the impeachment inquiry however it chooses. A very similar issue arose in the Supreme Court’s decision in Nixon v. United States (1992), after disgraced federal Judge Walter Nixon claimed that his impeachment trial did not afford him due process because parts of the trial were conducted by a committee consisting of only a subset of the Senate.

The Supreme Court explained that the Constitution gives the House “sole” power to impeach and the Senate “sole” power to try impeachments. Thus, courts have virtually no authority at all to second-guess the process Congress uses during an impeachment.

All of which is a long way of saying that the FOP’s defense of Trump is misguided. One would think that a union representing hundreds of thousands of cops would already know that investigations into potential wrongdoing are often conducted behind closed doors. But the FOP does have a history of reading the term “due process” in an idiosyncratic way.

Read the full letter below.
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🤡 Why Trump’s “state of mind” will be key in impeachment
« Reply #2195 on: November 03, 2019, 01:43:19 AM »
Can you use the "Temporary Insanity Defense" in an Impeachment Trial?  :icon_scratch:


Will the impeachment inquiry turn on Trump’s intentions, rather than his actions?  Reuters/Leah Millis

Why Trump’s “state of mind” will be key in impeachment
By Ephrat Livni in Washington DCNovember 2, 2019

It is often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Nonetheless, Senate Republicans are increasingly aiming to change the focus of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings to the executive’s intent, rather than his actions.

Trump is being investigated by the House for allegedly withholding funds from Ukraine in exchange for a personal favor. Based on the record of a phone call he disclosed, he asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate and former vice president. Trump has continually said, however, that there was no “quid pro quo,” meaning that he didn’t withhold the funds in order to force Ukraine’s hand.

But at least six people who’ve testified before House investigators have said otherwise. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney publicly admitted to a quid pro quo last month, saying it was entirely legitimate to condition foreign aid. He then tried to walk back his assertions.

Now, it seems that Mulvaney’s perspective could save the president if the House votes on articles of impeachment and Trump is brought to trial in the Senate.

The Washington Post reports that at a lunch for Republican senators this week, there was much discussion of admitting quid pro quo. Rather than continuing to deny that the president premised aid on a favor, GOP lawmakers—who will serve as jurors in a possible Senate trial—are leaning toward saying it did happen, but that there’s no problem with it.

Louisiana’s John Neely Kennedy advanced a similar view in an interview with the publication, stating, “To me, this entire issue is gonna come down to, why did the president ask for an investigation. To me, it all turns on intent, motive…Did the president have a culpable state of mind?”

Kennedy is using the language of criminal law, laying the groundwork to justify a finding that Trump is not guilty of an impeachable offense. Mens rea, Latin for “state of mind,” is one of two elements of a crime. It asks whether defendants had the requisite intent for conviction. To prove most crimes, prosecutors must show the defendant committed a proscribed act and did so with a guilty mind—ill intent—with the exception of a very few strict liability offenses, like statutory rape.

For example, if someone is charged with murder but was involved in an accidental death, the defendant wouldn’t have the requisite intent to be convicted. But if the same person was charged with manslaughter for the same act, they could be found guilty if the accident happened due to their negligence because the level of intent that must be shown is different.

When it comes to quid pro quo for foreign aid, the president’s defenders are saying that the real question isn’t whether he conditioned it on Ukraine doing a favor—because aid is often conditional—but on whether that favor was requested on behalf of the nation because Trump is fighting corruption or because his own intentions were corrupt and he sought to personally benefit. With this, they make the case a little more nuanced and harder to prove than just showing the president made moves to withhold money while asking for a favor.

Trump, for his part, is keeping it simple, unlike Republican senators shifting the spin on quid pro quo so that they can plausibly find him not guilty. In a tweet on Nov. 1, the president issued a short defense, declaring, “You can’t Impeach someone who hasn’t done anything wrong!”
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🤡 Trump threatens to cut off federal funding for California wildfires
« Reply #2196 on: November 03, 2019, 10:48:14 AM »
If he manages to survive Impeachment, El Trumpo is going to get DECIMATED in any state subject to Wilfir.  Read that any state west of the Mississippi River.


Trump threatens to cut off federal funding for California wildfires

    By  elizabeth thomas

Nov 3, 2019, 1:04 PM ET

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning his first comments about the wildfires blazing through California attacking Gov. Gavin Newsome saying he has done a “terrible job” of forest management.

In response, Gov. Newsome tweeted, "You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."

    You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.
    — Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 3, 2019

(MORE: Trump threatens to cut FEMA funds to aid California fires)

He also suggested that the federal government will not be giving the state funding to help battle these wildfires adding, “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more.”

    ..Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states...But our teams are working well together in.....
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2019

This is not the first time Trump has made this threat. Last November, as crews battled the Camp and Woolsey fires, Trump blamed the state in a tweet for “gross mismanagement of the forests” and left state officials with this choice: “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
PHOTO: California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference for an update on the Getty Fire in Los Angeles, Oct. 29, 2019. Christian Monterrosa/AP, FILE
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference for an update on the Getty Fire in Los Angeles, Oct. 29, 2019.
(MORE: Trump threatens to pull federal funding for California wildfires over 'gross mismanagement')

Then in January, he threatened again via tweet to end federal emergency funding to help aid California’s destructive wildfires tweeting, “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money.”
PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House before his departure to New York, Nov. 2, 2019. Yuri Gripas/Reuters, FILE
President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House before his departure to New York, Nov. 2, 2019.

Although the president has a history of casting blame on California officials, most of California's forests are owned and managed by federal agencies. Federal agencies manage 57 percent of the approximately 33 million acres of forest in the state, according to research done by the University of California.
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🤡 Trump signals alarm with Democrats poised to escalate impeachment offensive
« Reply #2197 on: November 04, 2019, 12:43:39 AM »
The Repugnants are on the run!  :icon_sunny:

Can't wait for the Live Hearings!  Should be as good as Watergate, maybe better.  Doubt it will be up to the standards of Parliament though.


Trump signals alarm with Democrats poised to escalate impeachment offensive

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Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 12:58 AM ET, Mon November 4, 2019

(CNN)Democrats are primed to pivot to a critical new phase of impeachment -- building a public case that President Donald Trump abused his power -- to ensure no shows by administration witnesses don't blunt their momentum.
At that point, the process would shift from a closed doors investigation of Trump's covert Ukraine policy into an attempt to convince Americans that he should be removed from office in dramatic televised hearings.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is also expected to start releasing transcripts of witness testimony delivered in closed door depositions as early as this week. The plan prompted Trump to launch what was, even by his own standards, an extraordinary torrent of personal abuse at the California Democrat.
"House Republicans must have nothing to do with Shifty's rendition of those interviews. He is a proven liar, leaker & freak who is really the one who should be impeached!" Trump tweeted.

At least six executive branch insiders have made it known over the past few days they will ignore subpoenas to testify, but this week could still hold a sting in the tail.
Former national security adviser John Bolton, a fiery figure who was recently fired by Trump, is due to testify on Thursday -- though there are doubts over whether he will appear.
A Bolton sighting would spark a frenzy since other witnesses have testified that he decried Trump's decision to outsource Ukraine policy -- a caper one former senior official said he referred to as a "drug deal."
No one could be sure what Bolton might say. Would he stay loyal to his former boss or to the iconoclastic approach to foreign policy that steered him through a colorful career in Washington?
"I like John Bolton. I always got along with him," Trump said Sunday, misrepresenting his relationship with the renowned Washington bruiser in a possible sign of concern about his potential testimony. Asked whether Bolton speak up, Trump replied: " ... that's going to be up to him."
Democrats believe they have built a strong case that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a domestic rival -- Democratic 2020 candidate Joe Biden -- during weeks of depositions featuring career officials.
But if executive branch officials due to testify this week do not show up, they may reach a point when there is little to be gained by holding off a more visible phase of the inquiry. Party leaders believe they already have a strong enough case to go ahead without holdout witnesses, though more evidence could further bolster their confidence.
Long list of potential witnesses
All four White House officials who are scheduled to give depositions on Monday during the House's impeachment inquiry won't show up, as a source with knowledge of the situation tells CNN that National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify.
The two officials will join Robert Blair, assistant to the President and senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources, energy & science at the Office of Management and Budget, in not testifying on Monday, CNN reported earlier. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who was scheduled to appear Wednesday, will not participate in a closed door deposition, an Energy Department spokesperson said Friday.
All four White House officials scheduled for House inquiry depositions Monday won&#39;t testify
All four White House officials scheduled for House inquiry depositions Monday won't testify
Bolton's lawyer has said he will not appear without a subpoena. But it's not clear if he will testify even if he is served. And since Democrats have said they will not allow the impeachment drive to be bogged down in legal challenges like the one that could be necessary to force Bolton's compliance, they may move ahead without him.
Democrats have also warned that they will consider Trump administration attempts to block testimony by officials as a sign of obstruction that could be folded into articles of impeachment.
If they are stymied in the committee room, Democrats could begin releasing transcripts of previous depositions this week that are expected to paint a damning picture of Trump's conduct.
When the full House returns after a week-long break next Monday, two weeks will remain before the Thanksgiving recess -- a potential window for public hearings. In the normal course of events, the schedule for next week's committee business would be announced by the middle of this week.
Democrats hope to bring back important witnesses -- for example the top US diplomat in Kiev, Bill Taylor, who they believe will help them build a devastating picture of presidential malfeasance and unconstitutional behavior.
House Foreign Affairs committee chairman Eliot Engel laid out the theory of the case -- and a challenge to Republicans who want to shield Trump, in a television appearance on Sunday.
"No other president in American history has done something like that," Engel said on ABC News "This Week."
"He tried to essentially bribe a foreign power to interfere in US elections on his side to go after one of his political opponents," Engel argued.
New whistleblower gambit
In a new development over the weekend, lawyers for the intelligence community whistleblower who first raised alarm about Trump's dealings with Ukraine said their client was willing to answer written questions directly from Republicans without going through the Democratic majority.
The unidentified official's legal team has warned about threats to his safety. And Democrats now say their case is so strong that the whistleblower may not be needed to testify in public.
Lawyer says whistleblower willing to answer written questions from Republicans
Lawyer says whistleblower willing to answer written questions from Republicans
But Steve Scalise, the number two ranked House Republican, called for the whistleblower to testify to the committees investigating impeachment, complaining that "somebody behind closed doors, in secret" was "trying to take out a sitting president."
Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, says written answers from the anonymous whistleblower are not sufficient, and said lawmakers need to hear from the whistleblower in person.
"Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross examine the so-called Whistleblower. You don't get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it. We have serious questions about this individual's political bias and partisan motivations and it seems Mark Zaid and Adam Schiff are attempting to hide these facts from public scrutiny. Last week's testimony raised even more concerns about the anonymous whistleblower and our need to hear from them, in person," Jordan said in a statement.
The Republican struggle to counter the facts of the case leaking out of the hearings was reflected in the scattershot defenses made by Trump loyalists on Sunday talk shows.
Kellyanne Conway says &#39;I don&#39;t know&#39; if Trump held up Ukraine military aid
Kellyanne Conway says 'I don't know' if Trump held up Ukraine military aid
On CNN's "State of the Union," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said she didn't know whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine -- the key matter at issue in the case.
But she stood by the White House response that there was no quid pro quo between Trump and the former Soviet state.
"President Trump never said to the Ukrainian President 'do this and you'll get your aid.' It is simply not here," she said, referring to a rough transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and the President of Ukraine.
"Quid pro quo, yes or no?" CNN's Dana Bash asked Conway.
"I just said to you. I don't know whether aid was being held up and for how long," Conway replied.
'Not impeachable'
Republican lawmakers tried out various lines of defense for the President, who has reportedly been frustrated that he is not being defended on the merits of the case.
"Look, if I believed everything the Democrats are saying I would still say this isn't an impeachable offense," said Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole on NBC's "Meet the Press." Cole is a nine-term veteran who once ran the House GOP's campaign arm and was a campaign consultant earlier in his career.
"Now we're going to do this on a phone call? I mean, I just don't think this rises to the level," he said.
The case that Democrats are building relates to far more than the phone call between the two Presidents. Leaks from depositions suggest that senior officials believe there was a long-running scheme to coerce Ukraine into investigating Biden and a conservative conspiracy theory that Kiev and not Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
But arguing that Trump's conduct does not meet the high crimes and misdemeanors standard for impeachment could be a viable path for Republicans caught between conservative grass roots support for the President and personal disquiet about his behavior.

Such an approach is not sitting well with Trump however, whose life code precludes any admission of wrongdoing and argued Sunday that the July call was "perfecto" and "totally appropriate."
"False stories are being reported that a few Republican Senators are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo, but it doesn't matter, there is nothing wrong with that, it is not an impeachable event. Perhaps so, but read the transcript, there is no quid pro quo!" Trump tweeted on Sunday.

CNN's Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly, Ted Barrett, Jeremy Herb, Pamela Brown, Rene Marsh and Adam Levine contributed to this story.
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🤡 NBC/WSJ poll: 49 percent now back Trump's impeachment and removal
« Reply #2198 on: November 04, 2019, 01:02:44 AM »

NBC/WSJ poll: 49 percent now back Trump's impeachment and removal
But the president's support among Republicans remains strong one year out from Election Day

President Donald Trump speaks to the media outside of the White House on Oct. 11, 2019.Zach Gibso / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Nov. 3, 2019, 5:00 AM AKST
By Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — Exactly one year out from the 2020 general election, a majority of all Americans — or close to it — support impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office, disapprove of his job performance and back his top Democratic rivals in head-to-head matchups.

Those are the findings from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was conducted amid the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against the president, after Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, and after the military raid that killed the leader of ISIS.
49 percent of Americans now support impeachment in new NBC News/WSJ poll.
Nov. 3, 201901:42

Despite those grim numbers for Trump, the poll also contains silver linings for the president, including more than 50 percent who approve of his handling of the economy and a GOP base that remains loyal to him, with nine-in-10 Republicans opposing his removal from office. That party support is a crucial factor given that an impeachment conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote.

“At this very early stage of the impeachment inquiry the data suggest a path for victory for Trump with the judges in the Senate,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff at Public Opinion Strategies.

“But there’s a much more challenging road ahead come next November with the judges at the ballot box,” Horwitt added.

In the poll, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the impeachment inquiry regarding Trump’s actions with Ukraine’s president, while 44 percent disapprove.

The results largely break along partisan lines, with 89 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents supporting the inquiry — versus just 9 percent of Republicans who agree.

Then asked if Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 49 percent answer yes, while 46 percent say no.

That’s a reversal from a month ago, when the survey found the numbers essentially flipped — 43 percent yes, 49 percent no.

The increase in those supporting removal from office comes mainly from Democrats and independents.

And once again, the partisan divide here is striking: 88 percent of Democrats now support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, compared with 90 percent of Republicans who oppose it.

Independents are split, with 43 percent supporting Trump’s removal and 46 percent opposing it.
The bad news for Trump heading into the 2020 election

A year away from the 2020 general election, the NBC/WSJ poll contains other ominous signs for the president.

Fifty-three percent of Americans disapprove of hisjob performance, including 45 percent who say they strongly disapprove.

That’s compared with 45 percent who approve, including 31 percent who do so strongly.
Poll: Half of voters have already decided against Trump in 2020
Nov. 3, 201902:12

These numbers are essentially unchanged from the last month and over the past year.

“These are the same exact numbers we’ve been seeing,” said McInturff, the GOP pollster.

By party, 91 percent of Republicans approve of his job, versus just 6 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independents.

In addition, half of Americans — 50 percent — say they have no confidence that Trump has the right goals and policies to be president, compared with just 35 percent who say they are “extremely” or “quite” confident.

“What should trouble Donald Trump is both the size of the opposition to him and how locked in it is,” said Horwitt, the Democratic pollster.

And the president trails the leading Democratic candidates by nearly 10 points in hypothetical general-election matchups.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by nine point among registered voters, 50 percent to 41 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is ahead of him by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent.

In a separate question, 46 percent of all registered voters say they are certain to vote against Trump in 2020, versus 34 percent who say they are certain to vote for him.

Seventeen percent — made up disproportionately of independents, soft Republicans and younger voters — say they might vote either way depending on the nominee.

On this same question in the Dec. 2011 NBC/WSJ poll, 34 percent said they were certain to vote for Barack Obama; 37 percent said they were certain to vote against him; and 27 percent said they could vote either way depending on the nominee.
The good news for Trump for 2020

Despite those challenging numbers for Trump, there are positive signs for him in the poll.

For starters, a majority of Americans — 52 percent — approve of his handling of the economy, which is higher than his overall job rating (45 percent) and his foreign-policy handling (41 percent).

Next, Republican voters are essentially tied with Democrats when it comes to expressing high interest in the upcoming election — which wasn’t the case at this stage in the 2018 midterms, when Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

And, by a 40 percent-to-9 percent margin, Americans say that the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi makes the United States safer rather than less safe.

By contrast, the public believes Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria makes the United States less safe by a 35 percent-to-10 percent margin.
Biden, Warren, Sanders lead Democratic horserace

Turning to the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden gets the support from 27 percent of Democratic primary voters in the new NBC/WSJ poll.

He’s followed by Elizabeth Warren at 23 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at 19 percent.

After that, it’s South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 6 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at 5 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., at 4 percent and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3 percent.

No other Democratic presidential candidate gets more than 2 percent support in the national poll.

In September’s NBC/WSJ poll, Biden was at 31 percent, Warren at 25 percent and Sanders at 14 percent.

More than eight-in-10 Democratic primary voters say they’re satisfied with their presidential field, with 31 percent saying they’re “very” satisfied and another 54 percent saying they’re “fairly” satisfied.

And 37 percent of Democratic primary voters say they prefer a candidate who will build on former President Barack Obama’s legacy, versus 55 percent who want a candidate who will take a new and different approach.

Biden (at 34 percent support) and Warren (24 percent) lead among the Democratic voters who want to build on Obama’s legacy.

And among the Democrats who want to go in a different direction, it’s Sanders (at 27 percent), Warren (22 percent) and Biden (20 percent).

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Oct. 27-30 of 900 adults — including more than half who were reached by cellphone — and the overall margin of error in the poll is plus-minus 3.3 percentage points.

The poll also surveyed 720 registered voters (a margin of error of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points) and 414 Democratic primary voters (plus-minus 4.8 percentage points).
Image: Image:Mark Murray

Mark Murray is a senior political editor at NBC News.
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🤡 There Is No Donald J. Trump Without William F. Buckley
« Reply #2199 on: November 04, 2019, 01:29:45 AM »
Bill Buckley was an effete snob and politically repulsive, but he had an absolutely AMAZING vocabulary.  I watched his show "Firing Line" simply for that reason.  I was around 12 when I started watching the show, a couple of years after returning from Brazil. You couldn't watch a single show without having to go to the dictionary at least 5 times.  ::)


There Is No Donald J. Trump Without William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. (Nancy Kaye / AP)

In 1965, acclaimed author James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr., editor of the National Review and considered by some as the father of the American right, were invited to England’s Cambridge University to engage in a debate. What transpired in that exchange is excruciatingly relevant in 2019, as the U.S. continues to grapple with racism that has spread from its foundations to seemingly every corner of American life.

Linfield College professor Nicholas Buccola, whose book, “The Fire Is Upon Us,” delves into the Feb. 18, 1965, debate between Baldwin and Buckley, joins Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on the most recent episode of the “Scheer Intelligence” podcast. Buccola explains that what began as an essay evolved into a 500-plus-page tome about two highly influential U.S. public intellectuals and the legendary moment they came face to face.

“The debate itself became kind of an obsession of mine,” the scholar tells Scheer. “They’re both so central to the rise of their respective movements. And so the idea that I had was to do this kind of joint intellectual biography, set against the backdrop of the rise of the civil rights and conservative movements.”

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

One of the more remarkable aspects of that historical moment is that Baldwin and Buckley could not be more different in terms of their backgrounds, as both Scheer and Buccola point out. Baldwin, a gay, black author from Harlem, experienced poverty and racism throughout much of his life, while Buckley came from extreme privilege and a meticulously conservative Catholic upbringing in New York. Buckley ultimately helped shape the Republican Party as we know it today, altering the GOP’s approach to race in ways that still affect U.S. politics.

“It’s a debate, obviously, that is of the moment,” Scheer says. “And it’s really not just about race. It’s about scapegoating. It’s about the other. It’s about the dominance of one ethno-racial group and the scapegoating of the others. That’s what the Donald Trump moment is all about.”

The Republicans’ shift toward white supremacy, led largely by Buckley, is one that Buccola believes is essential to understanding current politics.

“If we want to try to understand where we are now, with the rise of Donald Trump and this sort of resurgent white nationalist authoritarianism, we have to understand stories like this one,” he tells Scheer. “Because this is a story about, intellectually and politically, how the right came to make this deal with the devil of white supremacy. And that’s very much where we are today.

“Trump’s got a different style from Buckley, and Buckley didn’t like Trump personally,” Buccola continues. “But it’s hard to really differentiate that sort of populist politics that Buckley was promoting on questions of race from what Donald Trump has done so successfully today.”

Listen to the full discussion between Buccola and Scheer about this critical meeting between two figures who represent starkly different versions of America’s past, present and future. You can also read a transcript of the interview below the media player and find past episodes of “Scheer Intelligence” here.

—Introduction by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it’s Nicholas Buccola–I think I’ve pronounced that right. And he is a professor at Linfield College in Oregon, and got his degree here at USC, his doctorate degree in political science. And I’m really thrilled, because we produce really fine scholars here, in addition to all our scandals and everything.

So, and it is a pleasure, because he’s written a very important book called The Fire Is Upon Us. Got a good review in the New York Times, you’re probably happy about that. And it traces an event that most of the people listening to this will not know about, and maybe even not know about the two people that are principally involved. William Buckley–William F. Buckley, Jr., not to be confused with William Buckley, Sr., who made his money from pirating oil. And I shouldn’t say that, not in an illegal sense, but grabbing oil and land and so forth. Lot of money, and had a big mansion, and raised his–and was married to a Southern belle of some sort, and raised their children–nine of them, I think, was there, in a mansion in upstate New York. And then had a southern, South Carolina residence. And a man torn between his Catholicism and–but he left out any of the progressive part of Catholicism. Ironically, in this period we’re talking about, in the mid-sixties, there was a Catholic pope, Pope John, who was quite enlightened on matters of peace and justice, social justice, and so forth. But he was of the old school, and he was a product of affluence. And instead of rebelling against it, or using it as Franklin Roosevelt did, to say “I have to give something back,” he used it as a justification of privilege. He went on, he wrote very important books from the conservative side. Some people feel he was the intellectual father of conservatism.

And at a critical moment, he appeared in one of those famous Oxford debates, and with probably the most important writer coming out of the Civil Rights Movement, or even preceding it–James Baldwin, the author of major, major novels and fiction and journalism, nonfiction and journalism. And they had a debate and it, you know, sort of galvanized attention to the racial crisis and how extreme the different views are–were, and still are. And interestingly enough, this all-but-forgotten incident is the subject of a 500-page book, which believe it or not, I enjoyed. I enjoyed reading it because of the texture, the introduction to the life of the last 40 years, before the active Civil Rights Movement that we know about, and then after. And so tell us how you came to be involved with this project, and you know, take it from there.

NB: All right. Thanks, Bob. It’s such a pleasure to be here with you, and back at USC. So the book, I–the book started with Baldwin. I was invited to write an essay about Baldwin back in about 2012, 2013. And in those days, I didn’t know much about Baldwin. But the editor of this volume, Sue McWilliams, who’s a political scientist at Pomona College, she said it’s–the essay won’t be due for two years, so why don’t you take a year and read James Baldwin, and then write something. And soon thereafter I discovered the debate with Buckley, and became transfixed. It was just such a dramatic moment. These two individuals with such radically different backgrounds you just described, squaring off on this international stage, and they had such radically different worldviews.

RS: You should describe Baldwin’s background, because it was, as you said in a talk here today, as if they were from two different planets, even though they were both from the same state, New York, but Baldwin grew up in Harlem. So give us the different castes here.

NB: Right. So Baldwin is born in Harlem in 1924, and he’s the oldest of nine children. He grew up in extraordinarily difficult economic circumstances. As he said later on, you know, the defining fact of his childhood was that his parents had a hard time feeding their children. And Baldwin describes in his writings, his nonfiction writings, what it was like to sort of grow up in those circumstances, and the sense of domination that he felt on a day-to-day basis, both from obvious threats–you know, police officers and others with power who were there to inhibit his freedom–but also just this sense of vast, bottomlessly cruel structures of power that dominated his life and the life of his siblings and folks like him. So Baldwin grows up in Harlem, and he ends up, his father was a lay Pentecostal preacher and a laborer. And he ends up following his father into the church, and becomes a young minister in the Harlem storefront churches. So Baldwin is somebody who’s really taken with the power of words, the power of language, to sort of communicate with other human beings. And also to sort of–he’s really kind of obsessed with the power of language to help make sense of his experience and to try to change the circumstances around him.

So Baldwin is somebody who’s self-taught; he does not go to college. He’s able to go to DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and get a good education there. But Baldwin is largely this sort of independent thinker in so many ways. So, yeah, as you described, the Baldwin-Buckley debate, February 18th, 1965, the Cambridge Union–the oldest and one of the most prestigious debating societies in the world, they’re–here are these two guys, leading public intellectuals, and very different their styles and totally different in their worldviews. But they’re on this international stage to square off in this intellectual battle. And so the debate itself became kind of an obsession of mine. And then I thought about writing a shorter book about, you know, there have been a couple books about Malcolm X visiting Oxford in 1964. So I thought maybe I’ll write a short book about Baldwin going to Cambridge in ‘65. And then as I dug into the research for the project, I sort of reconstructed how they got there that night, who invited them, and all that. And then I thought, you know, they were born about a year apart from each other, Buckley born in November 1925. They’re both so central to the rise of their respective movements. And so the idea that I had was to do this kind of joint intellectual biography, set against the backdrop of the rise of the civil rights and conservative movements.

And once I had the idea, it wasn’t an easy book to write–it was a lot of research–but there’s so much material. I mean, you have–Baldwin and Buckley are both such prolific writers, both public writings and private, letters and that sort of thing, that you really get a glimpse–you know, as a writer, I could see into their minds almost every day of the week, as all these really important events are happening around them. So the book tells the story–this, you know, the intellectual story of these two individuals, but I try to situate that story in the larger intellectual and political trends. So that’s kind of how it evolved from the beginning.

RS: Yeah, but you know, I want to cut to the chase here. Because what you really uncovered is an ugly, stark truth about America. And that Baldwin was–yes, he was in the North, and he was in Harlem, and there was even–I went to City College in Harlem, and there was the history of the Harlem Renaissance. And you know, it was at least, it was an intact black community and so forth. But you know, your research on the life of Baldwin, who lived through the Great Depression, and the horrors of black life in the North. You know, we’re not talking about Alabama, Mississippi. And there’s that reality.

And then there’s this other New Yorker, of wealth, William Buckley. And no matter what outrageous positions he ends up taking in life, and the distortions of his own ideology, somehow Baldwin is seen as the firebrand, the radical; you know, one of America’s great authors–nonetheless a radical, troubling and all that sort of thing. And yet his positions are really, when you examine them, quite reasonable in almost any decent context. They’re thoughtful, they’re measured. He doesn’t play the violence card or the race card in any, you know, demagogic way. He resists ideological definitions, and you know, simplistic conclusions.

That comes through–which is one of the good things about having a 500-page book of research. No, I mean you were able to document, basically, this autodidact, this self-educated person who ends up being one of America’s great writers. On the other hand, you have a man who was born to the manor, and really doesn’t produce anything of major significance. Even though he’s considered the author of the conservative movement, he’s at odds with some of its most robust instincts. He’s associated with McCarthyism, which you know, principled conservatives ended up denouncing in no uncertain terms. He doesn’t like Eisenhower. He has really racist views. I was going to–I picked one, I don’t know, it just jumped out at me for some reason. I’m going to have you–I’m going to have you read it, and then give us the context.

But we’re talking about William Buckley, somebody that NPR–we’re being carried on NPR–chose to make a national figure. You know, his Firing Line, right, the show–full disclosure, I–well, I was on one, and we had a pretty acrimonious debate. But the fact of the matter is, this guy was made as American as apple pie, as respectable–and his views were outrageous. They were racist. And I must say, until I read your book, I wasn’t fully cognizant of that. I bought the idea–well, he was charming. You know, in my encounters with him, he was very reasonable and funny, even though what he was saying was absurd and stupid and beside the point. Nonetheless, you know, he had the manners. And you know, we’re impressed by manners. Right?

And this quote–and it’s just one of many in your book–shows the real, not just the real Buckley, but remember the segregated society. The South was, by the way, represented by the Democratic Party, largely; it was ignored by most of the big establishment institutions for its horrible violence and, you know, what it was all about. Segregation in America was accepted even in major league baseball and everything, in the armed forces. And yet here, this prophet of segregation–I mean, this passionate defender of it–is someone that, in polite circles, he was more accepted than, say, Donald Trump would be right now. He of the poor manners.

NB: [Laughs] Yeah, well–yeah, so I’ll read this, this passage you picked out, and then we can talk about a number of those things you just mentioned. So this is Buckley, writing to a friend after his book–so Buckley published Up From Liberalism in 1959. And Buckley was corresponding with a friend in South Carolina about some of the racial ideas that he had written about in the book. So here’s Buckley: “I pray every Negro will not be given the vote in South Carolina tomorrow, because such a development would cause him to lose that repose, through which slowly, but one hopes surely, some of the decent instincts of the white man to go to work fuse with his own myths and habits of mind, and hence, a man more likely to know God.” End quote. So there’s a lot there. I mean, sometimes it’s a little bit–Buckley’s language is a little bit, ah, dense–

RS: He’s talking about a dog.

NB: [Laughs] Right.

RS: He’s not talking about a human being. He’s talking about how you train a dog to be acceptable in the house.

NB: Right. And Buckley, I mean–so to, yeah, to sort of bring that into context–I mean, I think that the book really examines–Buckley’s record on race has been discussed quite a bit over the years. But I think the book probably does the most thorough going–you know, provides the most thorough going explanation of really all the things Buckley wrote about race. And as you said, I mean, Baldwin–putting them together is, part of the idea is that Baldwin provides us with such a powerful lens through which to understand somebody like Buckley and the larger trends that Buckley represents. And so Buckley, I mean, this quotation from this private letter that Buckley wrote sometime in the late fifties, is really representative of a body of work going back to his earliest days writing about race. Most infamously he wrote Why the South Must Prevail in 1957, in which he argued–he had, you know, allusions to the Constitution and to the Southern way of life and so on. But the heart of his case was always that white people are, he would say, for the time being the superior race, and so they have not only the right but the duty to dominate black people–culturally, politically, and so on, economically.

And Buckley, you know, he believed that to his core. He was deeply elitist, for a lot of reasons you described before. He believed in a natural hierarchy among human beings, that some were fit to rule and some were fit to be ruled, and that belief in hierarchy was thoroughly racialized. So Buckley was an unabashed elitist to his, you know, to his dying day. And he recognized that the conservative movement needed to find ways to use the political energy of racial resentment in order to fuel its rise to power. And so that is really, you know, I think the central theme in looking at Buckley’s story, is he figures out ways to take advantage of racism, racial resentment, in order to advance his agenda. Which really is not, really, an agenda that is at all populist. He recognized the utility of populism in order to advance elite goals. And so that’s a kind of central theme in the book.

And as you said before, I mean, one of the fascinating things is that Buckley dismisses Baldwin as this dangerous–he calls him an “eloquent menace.” And that might be a more apt description for Buckley himself. He calls Baldwin an eloquent menace who’s basically, clearly has this mastery of the English language, but Buckley argues that Baldwin’s intention is to overthrow Western civilization. To overthrow the Constitution, to overthrow the Bill of Rights. These are the sorts of things he says in the debate at Cambridge. When in fact, you know, if you actually–as you said earlier, Baldwin had this very interesting, thoughtful, critical engagement with the Western tradition. He was, I think, far more interested in thinking about the Western tradition than Buckley ever was.

So Baldwin is, you know, he recognizes that white–the doctrine of white supremacy is at the center of Western civilization in a lot of ways. But he wants to think about ways in which we can possibly, you know, think critically about the Western tradition. Find ways to come up with a new language, new standards by which to live. Rethink what we mean by freedom, justice, and responsibility. Think about ways in which those concepts throughout Western history have often excluded people of color–how can we possibly rethink them in order to be more inclusive. And so Baldwin says to Buckley and to his colleagues–colleagues like James Jackson Kilpatrick, the leading salesman of segregation–he says, I accuse you of betraying Western civilization. If you really cared about the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence–if you cared about these things, then you’d actually take the ideas that are at the core of those traditions, and you’d apply them to all people.

And so Baldwin says, late in life, he has this really interesting conversation with the anthropologist Margaret Mead, in the seventies. And Baldwin says, you know, in some ways you might think of me as a conservative. He says, I was a revolutionary once, but in terms of the things I care about and the things I want to see honored, I have a kind of conservatism. So there’s–my original title for the book was The Radical and the Conservative. And of course, the natural way we think about that is Baldwin as radical, Buckley as conservative. But part of the idea I had was to twist at the end, and say there’s a sense in which in terms of what Baldwin is trying to preserve, he can be thought of as this–I mean, a radical kind of conservative. Whereas Buckley, time and again, is willing to disregard these things that he claims to care about most, right. He says that the core of his political creed is a belief in the inviolability of the individual. Well, if that’s true, then why are you taking these positions on all these civil rights questions, and issues abroad as well, having to do with race? If you claim to care about the Constitution, why are you so willing to disregard it when the rights in question happen to be those of African Americans? So Buckley, time and again, reveals himself to–if he is a conservative, he’s interested, as far as Baldwin is concerned, in conserving all the wrong things. He’s interested in conserving his own power and the power of people like him. That seems to be his primary agenda.

RS: Yeah, I misspoke when I said it was the Oxford debating union in the introduction, but it’s the same–

NB: That happens all the time. [Laughs]

RS: Yeah, it’s the Cambridge debating union. And they actually, the audience votes for Baldwin; they take some kind of vote at the end. They’ve had a student debate, and then they have these two. And there’s no question, I think the vote was like 550 to 140 or something–

NB: Yeah, 544 to 164. Yeah.

RS: Yeah. And there’s no question, Baldwin is heads and shoulders over Buckley, even though as I say, Baldwin was self-educated, but he was alert. And he was passionate, and he had a big brain. And I dare say Buckley, even though he had a reputation as being erudite and everything, was kind of stupid. You know, I know some people will take offense. And I’m not saying that because he’s a conservative. You know, I’ve interviewed plenty of conservatives of one kind or another. I wouldn’t say they weren’t smart. But here was a guy–and your book goes in incredible detail, valuable detail about the education of a certain kind of ruling-class person. It was homeschooling, he had tutors for everything, the proper way to hold a tennis racket, the proper way to speak a foreign language of one kind or another. And you know, they were just at his beck and call. I forget, how many servants were there in this mansion?

NB: A lot. I’ve learned to not, you know, name the number of servants, you know. But yeah, a lot of servants. There were at least two live-in tutors, and then all these part-time tutors who came in to fill out this education.

RS: Yeah, and for basically nine children who were told that, you know, you’re going to run the world, in every respect. And so really what your study is, is that it’s a study of race as a subtext of privilege and power. And that is really what is fascinating in this book. You know, the reason you keep one group down is because that’s where you keep your own privilege intact. And that’s the way you con the vast majority of white people who you claim are part of this wonderful high level. But you don’t really mean white people; you mean rich, privileged white people, right? That’s really what comes out in this thing. Because Buckley isn’t really in favor of any kind of popular mandate. He’s in favor of protecting privilege. And the question I want to put to you is, why did the so-called liberal establishment, or more enlightened establishment, indulge a guy like William Buckley?

NB: [Laughs] Yeah.

RS: When you think about it, Buckley, I think his second major book or third major book was an unmitigated defense of Joe McCarthy, as crude and ugly and stupid as they come. And he continued that, but he did it in the language that ruling-class or upper-crust people found charming, and their minions in the mass media indulged.

NB: Right, yeah.

RS: I mean, what did NPR find so appealing? I mean, was it good theater, the way NBC and others found Trump to be good theater? Was it good for their ratings? Or did they feel this was showing balance? I mean, the guy was an out-and-out racist in every respect. I mean, in foreign policy, again, I did debate him on his show. And I pointed out he supported the segregationist, racist governments of Rhodesia and South Africa, even at a point when much of the world was turning against him. He called Ian Smith of South Africa the George Washington of Rhodesia–the George Washington of Rhodesia.

So I mean, I want you to answer the question that your book kind of moves up against. Why–I understand why Baldwin was important, and I understand why the Cambridge Union would have him. You know, one of the–I’ve said this about three times already–probably one of the best writers we’ve ever had. And clearly, you know, a man of universal insight. You mentioned he loved Dickens and others, and came up from that kind of tradition. And then you have Buckley, who was–you know, I don’t want to be too extreme here. I mean, but really there was no there there, other than a celebration of privilege.

NB: Yeah. So that’s–I mean, that’s a really–

RS: I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

NB: No, no, no. No, that’s a good question.

RS: You may have a different view.

NB: No, no. And, so, yeah, just to unpack that a little bit. I think that as you’re saying, I mean, Buckley’s education really was–I mean, one of the questions to ask about this elaborate homeschooling education that he received is, what is the purpose of what they’re, what he’s been taught? And although, you know, they studied everything under the sun, they were not taught to think about multiple perspectives, right. It was very clear–

RS: They weren’t into critical thinking.

NB: They weren’t into critical thinking. And so I mean, he and his siblings described sitting around the dining room table with William F. Buckley, Sr., and kind of him, you know, having these debates about all sorts of things. But they weren’t debating religion and politics; they were all in agreement about religion and politics. They were debating everything else under the sun, you know. But Buckley–so part of what the education is, is it’s really instrumentalizing all these skills, right, to serve a particular purpose. And that purpose is to preserve their privilege. And of course, the way they would frame that is not to preserve privilege for privilege’s own sake, right, but rather William F. Buckley, Sr., is teaching them that we live in this system that has allowed us to amass all this great wealth. And that your job, my children, is to defend this system, and to defend it from those who would criticize it. And so Buckley, he takes that to heart. And in so many ways, I mean, he sees as his life’s purpose to please his father–you don’t want to get too Freudian here, but he sees this–his purpose is to go out there–

RS: Well, his father also finances the National Review, along with the John Birch Society.

NB: [Laughs] Right, right. And so Buckley, yeah, Buckley, he–from a very young age, that’s what he takes his responsibility to be. He goes off to Millbrook prep school, and he will, you know, invade faculty meetings and get in these arguments with fellow students, defending his father’s America-first foreign policy positions and the dignity of the Catholic Church and so on. So Buckley, really, he sees his role as defending this system. And he takes that with him to Yale, and he ends up delivering, when he’s about to graduate, an oration to his fellow graduates, basically called “Our”–you know, it’s about “Our responsibility as educated men.” And our responsibility as educated men, Buckley tells his fellow elite Yale students, is to preserve the framework that has made this country an oasis of freedom, is how Buckley puts it. And so Buckley, I think that this is something that he devotes his life, right–he’s writing, he’s speaking and he’s constantly out there on the lecture circuit. And so, but he’s constantly engaged in this process of defending the system against the ideas, institutions, groups that he views as threats to that system. So he’s not, he’s never good at defending his own views. His debate coach at Yale would give him a hard time–

RS: Because they’re indefensible.

NB: [Laughs] Right, right.

RS: No, really. This is what hit me reading your book. Because you make that argument in the book quite cogently. Yes, he was great at ripping apart other people, or at least in the eyes of some, not actually for the Cambridge Union; they voted for, you know, against him. But the fact is, yes, he was clever that way. The reason he couldn’t really explain and defend his own views is they would have been loathsome to his own base.

NB: Right.

RS: You know, this is the thing. Even when he ran for mayor, something you point out in your book, he got 13% of the vote or something, but he got it from what he considered–what his son, Chris Buckley, has referred to as the outer boroughs. You know, the lumpen outside, and attacking Trump, and saying Trump is not his father. But the fact of the matter is that the whole racism of the Republican Party–which was not normal to the party; after all, this was supposed to be the party of Lincoln. And it was President Eisenhower who sent federal troops in on desegregation, and it was the Southern Democrats as a bloc who were opposed to integration. The South was controlled by this important wing of the Democratic Party, and therefore the Democratic Party was really on the side of segregation, no matter how they reinvent the history.

So you had somebody like Buckley come along, and I will not deny his impact–which is, after all, a serious justification for your book, you know, [The Fire Is Upon Us]. And I do want to urge people to read it, because history matters. You know, and this gets you into the nitty gritty of the history: Where did Donald Trump come from? You know, why is the Republican Party the party now of nuttiness and meanness and divisiveness and anti-immigrant and so forth? It wasn’t that way. It was actually the party of a more enlightened capitalism, of open borders, of welcoming the stranger, and more supportive of integration than the Democratic Party, up to a critical point. Along comes an intellectual like Buckley–but he was representing people like his father and that social class. And they said, you know what? And they didn’t use these words, but they could have. They said, we need a new chapter of false consciousness. That’s what we need. And it came to be known as the Southern strategy in Richard Nixon’s administration. How do we get the South, for basically reactionary–you know, what’s the right word–ruling-class power–the plutocrats to defend the super-rich, like his father? How do we get people to vote for that? We, unfortunately, are in this republic, where people have the vote, particularly white people. How do we get these white people, who are really suffering under this system–after all, when Buckley was growing up, the same as James Baldwin, we had the Great Depression. Well, white people got hurt very badly in the Great Depression. Well, how do you go to these poor Southern whites–remember, this is the South before air conditioning, this is the South before [unclear] going down there. You know, when he was in South Carolina, where they spent their winters, I guess. You know, he’s experiencing the Old South. Well, how do we get these poor Southern whites, right–which is the majority of them–to back the plutocrats?

NB: Right.

RS: That’s the great challenge for the Republican Party, and Buckley comes along with the formula, you know. Accept racism, or endorse it, which he does in as polite a way as you can do it. How do you politely endorse–support the South in its battle to hold on to segregation? Well, you do it with the foreign enemy: McCarthy’s anti-communism, the Cold War, super patriotism, right? You do it that way, you do it with demonizing the freedom movement among blacks, the Civil Rights Movement. And Buckley is the intellectual architect of this move of the Republican Party to the right, how they capture the South and end up with a Donald Trump as president.

NB: Yeah, and I want to be careful not to give Buckley too much credit. I think one of the things he does very skillfully–

RS: You know who gives him credit? Ronald Reagan gave him credit.

NB: Yeah.

RS: Ronald Reagan said without Buckley, he wouldn’t have been president.

NB: Right. Well, yeah, then there’s–George Well has that famous line where, you know, without William F. Buckley we wouldn’t have Barry Goldwater, without Barry Goldwater we wouldn’t have Ronald Reagan, without Ronald Reagan we wouldn’t have victory in the Cold War. So Buckley does get a lot of credit. But I think that one of the things that’s important about Buckley is that he, you know–and this is going back to your original question. I mean he’s, of course, I’m not trying in the book to say that Buckley is an intellectual heavyweight in the same sense Baldwin is, right. His importance is of a different type. And his importance is, as you’re saying, as a popularizer, as an organizer of ideas. So he’s not an originator of ideas, but he does recognize early on the strategic value of racial resentment, as you were just describing. And he leans into that, and ends up really utilizing that as a central idea that he thinks will advance the conservative cause into the future. And so one of the questions, going back to something you asked earlier, is why is Buckley allowed in by the liberal establishment, right, in the context of this? He’s making these arguments in the fifties, in the sixties, really through to the end of his life, where he’s defending this idea of white supremacy–in, as you said, a kind of genteel way, but white supremacy nonetheless.

RS: And much more so than Donald Trump.

NB: Right, right. And so, but, and part of the reason why is that, I mean, I think you hit the nail on the head earlier. Buckley was a master at performing, right? He was a performer. He was somebody who knew the entertainment value of ideas, right. And so Trump is entertaining to some people in a very different way. But people–and this is something I’ve discovered in working on the book over the last few years–I talked to a lot of people on the left who loathe Buckley’s politics, but kind of love him in a way. Loved watching him, enjoyed watching him on television, they might enjoy reading his columns. There’s something about Buckley, and in a way he’s sort of part of this–a symptom of us entertaining ourselves to death, right, to use Postman’s famous phrase. I mean, he was a master at performing conservatism; he was so, you know, he sort of embodied this kind of elitism, the way he spoke, the way he–the words he used, all these things.

And so I think that part of it is that, and I think the other thing is that, you know, Buckley, he really was able to popularize. One of his biographers, Lee Edwards, calls him the Saint Paul of the American conservative movement. He was an evangelist for these ideas. He wasn’t good at, you know, defending them in great detail. But he was, you know, he had this thrice-weekly newspaper column, he had National Review, he was on the lecture circuit; every week of the year, he was out there giving lectures and debating folks. And so he was, you know, besides Barry Goldwater in the sixties, he was the face associated with American conservatism. And really through to the end of his life, played a really outsized role in shaping the conservative movement.

But he made a number of strategic–and this is also where his importance comes in. He made a number of strategic choices as this kind of editor of conservatism, as this gatekeeper of the conservative movement. And one of the most important and one of the most central ones is how are conservatives going to react on questions of civil rights and race. And he says that his goal was to make sure the conservative movement was extremely articulate on questions of race; non-racist, in sort of, in a sort of way of revealing racial animus; but not racially egalitarian. Buckley says this 10 years after the founding of National Review, he says that was his goal, is to try to keep the people who were far–you know, far, far right on race, out of the magazine, but work with them behind the scenes. So one of the things I talk about in the book is Buckley cozying up to the White Citizens’ Councils, which had different tactics from the Klan, but they were known. You know, Bayard Rustin called them the Uptown Klan for a reason, right. They had the same goals as the Klan, and they went about intimidating people and creating a climate of distrust, just like the Klan did. They just did it with economic means and other means, as opposed to, you know, white hoods and burning crosses.

And so Buckley cozies up to those folks. He recognizes that they are with him in this cause, in the sense that he sees that they can be part of the conservative coalition. And he and Goldwater–Goldwater as early as, you know, in the early 1950s Goldwater’s writing in his journal that he senses a realignment. That Southern conservatives in the Democratic Party might end up allying themselves with conservatives like him from the west and the Midwest. And so Buckley and Goldwater recognize that; they don’t necessarily have it fully worked out, but we see Buckley throughout the fifties and sixties in the areas that I’m, the time period I’m really focused on in the book, trying to figure out a way, as you said, to articulate a politics that will tap into the white backlash. He celebrates the white backlash. When George Wallace runs against Lyndon Johnson in 1964 in three democratic primaries and does quite well–he gets over 30% in all three of those primaries–Buckley, although he had some criticisms of Wallace as a politician, he writes these editorials celebrating in, you know, explicitly this idea of white backlash. White people are feeling marginalized by the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, and they should be, Buckley says.

And so Buckley, as you said, he wants to figure out a way for conservatives to tap into this populism. One of the great ironies, right, is William F. Buckley, one of the most elitist political figures in, you know, 20th century American politics, ends up as the populist candidate, you know, when he runs for mayor of New York City. And ends up really embracing this populist politics. And now, as you said earlier, in terms of the focus of the book being in this period, in the late forties to the late sixties, if we want to try to understand where we are now, with the rise of Donald Trump and this sort of resurgent white nationalist authoritarianism, we have to understand stories like this one. Because this is a story about, intellectually and politically, how the right came to make this deal with the devil of white supremacy. And that’s very much where we are today. Trump’s got a different style from Buckley, and Buckley didn’t like Trump personally. But it’s hard to really differentiate that sort of populist politics that Buckley was promoting on questions of race, from what Donald Trump has done so successfully today.

RS: Yeah, divide and conquer. And I want to end this, though, with one issue that your book–I don’t know what the right word for it is–I think struggles with. In addition to everything else, Baldwin is a gay man.

NB: Yeah.

RS: And interestingly, that’s one of the reasons, maybe, he wasn’t prominent at the Great March on Washington. Although the convener of the Great March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, was openly gay. But Baldwin was, and his second novel had a gay theme. And it’s interesting, because you discuss the publisher, his publisher of his first book–ah, help me here–

NB: Knopf, Alfred Knopf.

RS: –Knopf, rejecting the second book. And I heard you say that in the lecture today. And I thought–and you said, well, they rejected it because it was supposedly about two white guys. But you know, after all, Baldwin was living in Paris, and in the gay scene there, racism wasn’t as big a factor as might be elsewhere. And the fact of the matter is, the revolution that at that moment seemed the most forlorn–which was for a gay man to be accepted as normal–has actually had the most rapid progress of any such movement, in maybe world history, but certainly in America. You know, where, wow, in a matter of a few generations, you know, gay is normal, or at least in large parts of America. However, the black revolution has stalled, has regressed–and I’m not saying the revolution has; it’s because of white supremacy and hostility. And the irony here is that in the sixties, where–it was ‘65, this debate at Cambridge–the big issue was black-white on the surface. But for Baldwin personally, being a gay man maybe was an even more intractable issue, the one he didn’t push heavily. And it’s interesting, his nemesis here, Buckley, is also the man who denounced Gore Vidal, another gay man who, extremely well known and brilliant as a writer, but didn’t write that much about gay themes; occasionally did. He called him a fag on national television. So in addition to everything else, Buckley clearly was homophobic. And I wonder, after writing this book, The Fire Is Upon Us, I wonder whether homophobia was another one of Buckley’s failings?

NB: Yeah. So as you mentioned, this is an issue that in writing about Baldwin, I think it’s one of the challenges that scholars confront, and it’s certainly one that I confronted. Is that Baldwin, he loathed categorization; he didn’t want to be categorized, he didn’t want to be labeled. And so when that came to ideology, when it came to his sexuality–

RS: By the way, I think Bayard Rustin might have been an inspiration for that. Because before one of these McCarthy committees, when Bayard Rustin was accused of being a communist, he says: Sir, I am a homosexual, a pacifist, and a Negro. I don’t care to join any other minorities. Or condemned minorities. But the fact is–so, yes, you might not want to make it the big issue, but there was no question.

NB: Oh, there was no–yeah, and Baldwin–I mean, Baldwin–and he was not closeted. But he would often say when people would sort of try to, you know, ask him to define his sexual orientation he would say, “Love is where you find it,” is kind of the line that he liked to use. But yeah, Baldwin, there’s no question that his sexuality was–it’s a subtext in many ways for the conversation that he’s having with Buckley; it’s a subtext in many ways, I think, in my book. Buckley says later that the reason, one of the reasons that the Cambridge students were so–they celebrated Baldwin so much, was because of his homosexuality. He said he was black, he was gay, he was anti-American, so they loved him; you know, that’s why they loved him. He didn’t win the debate, Buckley argues, because of what he argued; he won the debate because the students were there to affirm his identity. And so Buckley–

RS: His ruling-class British students. [Laughter]

NB: Right, right. Well, yeah, and it was quite a conservative place at the time. And so Baldwin–so I think part of it is, in terms of the question of Baldwin’s sexuality, I think Baldwin thought–and at least my sense of this, later in his life, the period that I really cover in the book kind of wraps up in 1968, and I talk a little bit about the legacies of each of them. But of course Baldwin, later in his life, as the gay liberation movement is becoming, coming to the forefront, he is forced to come to grips with this question of how he’s going to participate, and the sort of responsibilities he had. And he was never shy about writing about these issues, in as early as the fifties. But he certainly, you know, later in life has to confront some questions about to what extent is he going to be involved. And there’s a lot of fascinating work being done by other scholars that are dealing with that aspect of Baldwin’s politics.

But yeah, Buckley, there’s many people who argue, Buckley’s defenders, that this incident on national television at the ‘68 Democratic Convention when he used that anti-gay slur against Gore Vidal, was a one-off and he just lost his temper because Vidal had called him a crypto-fascist, and it’s really not how he feels, et cetera, et cetera. Well, the truth is–and this is one of the things I talk about in the book–one of the, Buckley has this vast correspondence that is available at Yale University. And I read a lot of letters, a lot of Buckley’s mail. And early in the 1960s, he and Vidal have this exchange in the newspaper about the nature of conservatism, and Buckley defends conservatism and Vidal critiques it. And in his correspondence with, Buckley’s correspondence with a friend, he–his friend criticizes Vidal, and Buckley writes back to him, and he uses an anti-gay slur way back in the early sixties. So it was clearly not something that was–it was not a one-off for William F. Buckley, by any means. And he kind of sees–I think Baldwin’s sexuality, for Buckley, is kind of part of the nature of his threat to Western civilization, this vague idea that Buckley has when he’s using that terminology in the debate, and his writings about Baldwin, but he doesn’t really mention it explicitly until later.

RS: I am still dumbfounded reading your book. The idea that this overt–I mean, now people say, use a word or something, their careers are over. The idea that Buckley could get away with really, I mean, serious racism, and contempt for all people who were of lesser wealth, or this–I mean just, it’s really mind-boggling. The thing that–there’s two things I got from your book. One is that for many people, manners trumps everything. And Buckley was a master of manners. And with manners–and Trump is not, or he deliberately has manners that the elite finds offensive, and works with mass crowds. But Buckley was a master at basically conning the New York Times, if you like. You know, he was so civilized, but he wasn’t at all civilized. He was, you know, really quite evil. So when evil presents as civilized, it’s acceptable. The other takeaway I had from your book is that, yes, on some issues, and gay rights is certainly one of them, we’ve made a lot of progress. On the basic issue that your book addresses, The Fire Is Upon Us–race–I would say, you know, from 1963 to now, how much progress has there been? You know, that is a real, serious question. And there, Baldwin was really quite pessimistic in his forecast. He thought race, racial division, the exploitation of black people, was something white America would be very reluctant to lose.

NB: Yeah. Well, I think those are two really great points to wrap up our conversation. Because on the one hand–I think that this is something that you’ve identified a really important thing about–Buckley was able to get away with as much as he was able to get away with, in part because of this personality that he had, and this way that he could–he could, you know, present his ideas in a way that was sort of more, seemed more intellectually sophisticated than a sort of coarse racism. But I think that’s precisely–and this is one thing, another thing–Buckley was personally charming. People say who interacted with him that he could be extraordinarily charming and generous before the lights went up, and then his talents would come out.

But the thing about that is–and this is part of why I think Baldwin provides us with such a powerful lens through which to view Buckley–is that Baldwin said, you know, it’s for these reasons, Buckley’s manners, Buckley’s sophisticated arguments–it’s for these reasons that Buckley is in some ways, Baldwin says, far more dangerous than sort of somebody who displays racial animus and is kind of a racist demagogue sort of figure. Because Buckley was able to kind of craft a racism that was more socially acceptable, that was the kind of racism that he was not going to get disinvited, you know, from campuses; he was not going to, he was going to be invited to be part of the mainstream press. And so Baldwin really provides us, I think, with a really powerful way to look at somebody like Buckley and say, this person is not–they’re in the business, they’re doing the same thing that a lot of these racist folks are doing, but they’re doing it in this more clever way. That, you know, the racism is insidious. And so, in so many ways, Baldwin says it’s more sinister for that reason.

And on the second point, in terms of the lack of progress on questions of race, and the ways in which the episodes that I’m describing the book from, you know, 50 plus years ago are still so with us today. That’s one of the things that was, you know, it was really depressing about working on this project. In the sense that you look at what Baldwin is describing, and the world he’s describing, and the grip that white supremacy has on American political culture. And he is, he’s clearly describing a world that’s very, very familiar to us, right? He’s describing a world in which we have so many people in the population who are clinging to the delusion of white supremacy, because it’s the thing that gives them a sense of worth. It’s the thing that gives them a sense of status. So whether–you know, Baldwin, of course, talked a lot about the quote unquote, Negro problem. But I think one of the really powerful things about Baldwin’s way of thinking about the world is we’re trying to understand something like the Negro problem–Baldwin would always say, there’s not a Negro problem in this country, right? There’s a white problem, if anything. And the question is, he would ask white people is, why did you feel it was necessary to invent the Negro in the first place? Right? Why did this–why is this idea necessary for your sense of self-worth?

And so he says part of the story is a kind of economic story, about we need to rationalize economic exploitation. But it’s also a story about psychology. It’s a story about moral identity. It’s a story about people feeling a sense of worth. And that part of what Baldwin thinks is happening, whether we’re talking about the quote unquote Negro in his day, or we’re talking about the immigrant, or any sort of other–any othering that we do–Baldwin said, really what’s happening there is that we’re trying–most, he says most white supremacists are not evil. They’re scared, right? They’re doing evil things. But he said there are people like Buckley, people like a lot of the folks in his National Review circle, people like George Wallace, that they are–you know, Baldwin was willing to say these folks are evil. They’re weaving the web of white supremacy in order to advance an agenda that has nothing to do with the white people that they say they are supporting. But he says that a lot of the people who are caught up in that web of white supremacy, they’re caught up in that web because they’re scared. They don’t know what their identity would be without this crutch of white supremacy.

So I think Baldwin, the relevance there, right, the fact that we’re still struggling with these issues, in some ways Baldwin would not be surprised, right? Because there’s something so powerful about this kind of, this politics of racial resentment. It has proved to be extraordinarily useful. And it’s such an easy way to get people to do what you want politically. Fear is a very powerful political tool, and Baldwin recognized that. So while it is, I mean, it’s very depressing to think about the fact that we don’t seem to have made much progress since Baldwin’s time, I think that’s–it’s also, in some ways we can feel, you know, it really is a motivation, a call to action, right? Baldwin reminds us that we have a duty each and every day. Baldwin says to love another human being is to confront that human being, and to try to liberate that human being from the delusions that keep them in thrall.

And so Baldwin, I think, calls on all of us, in all of our everyday conversations with our neighbors, and also in all the political actions that we take, to really engage in those actions with that goal of trying to liberate people from the delusions that dominate their lives. And so I think that the relevance of the book, like I said, it’s disappointing, and it’s depressing to think that we haven’t made that much progress, but hopefully the book will help us think through these issues in the present time, and take the appropriate actions to bring about justice.

RS: Well, that’s it. The book is called The Fire Is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America. A debate that came to a really high point of intensity, obviously, in 1965 after the Civil Rights Act. And this book centers around a debate between two people who were principally involved. But it’s a debate, obviously, that is of the moment. And it’s really not just about race. It’s about scapegoating. It’s about the other. It’s about the dominance of one ethnoracial group and the scapegoating of the others. That’s what the Donald Trump moment is all about. And what this book does, it rips apart the genteel aura, the facade of a civilized supremacy. Which after all, when people talk about can it happen here, have to remind people, in Germany fascism came to the most civilized, advanced, genteel, law-and-order society. And you know, there are parallels in this book. The willingness to hold yourself up by demeaning others; not only the willingness, the eagerness to do that, that’s what your book is about. I want to thank you–

NB: Thank you, Bob.

RS: –Nicholas Buccola. It’s a Princeton Press book, Princeton University. It has great scholarly credentials. But despite its heft–and the heft is provided by really important and interesting detail–I highly recommend it. That’s it for this edition of Scheer Intelligence. Sebastian Grubaugh here has helped us get involved with the USC Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication. I got that wrong, it’s Communication and Journalism. I should know better, I teach here. And I want to have a shout out to Christopher Ho at KCRW, which houses our program. And Joshua Scheer, our producer of Scheer Intelligence. See you next week with another edition.

Robert Scheer
Editor in Chief
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House Democrat Resolution to Impeach President Donald J. Trump
« Reply #2200 on: November 04, 2019, 11:00:35 AM »

Directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.
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I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
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Not looking good for the Repugnants in the Senate in 2020.   :icon_sunny:


Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump
By Kevin Walling, opinion contributor — 11/03/19 12:00 PM EST

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If the 2020 presidential election were held today, Donald Trump would lose to any of the top Democratic contenders and Mitch McConnell would return to his role as minority leader in the United States Senate.

In Arizona during 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump became the first Republican nominee in 20 years to receive less than 50 percent of the vote. Since the election, his numbers have fallen precipitously, with 53 percent of Arizona voters holding either an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view in polling from September by Bendixen & Amandi International.

The GOP incumbent appointed in 2019, Sen. Martha McSally, has just a 39 percent approval rating, with 37 percent of Arizonans disapproving of the new senator’s job. In the same survey, McSally’s 2018 rival and current senate colleague Kyrsten Sinema enjoys a 47 percent approval rating. If the polling didn’t provide enough cause for concern for Team Red, Democratic challenger Mark Kelly has already raised $14 million this year, including $5.6 million in the most recent quarter — a staggering sum that rivals some of the top Democratic presidential contenders.

When Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, he won with only 48.2 percent of the vote. In the five years since, Gardner has seen that high-water mark of personal favorability fall to a meager 36 percent approval, with 39 percent of Coloradans disapproving of his job as senator, according to Morning Consult ratings.

No other incumbent facing a serious 2020 challenge has struggled more in his relationship with President Trump than Gardner, most recently refusing five times in a video interview to answer questions about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Base Republicans will view this hesitation by Gardner as a betrayal, while independents, who helped deliver the win for Gardner in 2014, are already demanding greater accountability from their incumbent senator. Trump lost the Centennial State by 5 points in 2016 and holds just a 39 percent approval in the state. It would seem that Team Trump has already written off the once-competitive state for 2020, hosting zero large-scale rallies in Colorado during the 2018 midterms and since announcing his reelection effort.

In the same Emerson survey from August showing Trump massively underwater, former Gov. John Hickenlooper bests Gardner by 13 percent statewide, 53 percent to 40 percent, with just 8 percent undecided.

In Georgia during the last 60 years, only two Democrats have won the state in a presidential election: native son Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992. Clinton won just 13,714 votes more than then-President George H.W. Bush, and Georgia has been reliably red ever since.

Democrats see potential in 2020 in Georgia, and — in a nod to growing electoral prospects with two U.S. Senate seats in play — the Democratic National Committee is hosting its fifth presidential primary debate in Atlanta on Nov. 20. The candidates will take the stage in a state that has seen President Trump’s net approval drop by 17 percentage points since taking office — one of the largest declines in a red state. This steep drop could pull on Sen. David Perdue’s reelection prospects, as Perdue has “proudly wrapped himself in Trump’s top accomplishments and touted his close ties to the White House” on the campaign trail.

You can bet that Democrats will nationalize both this election and race for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson in December — as they did in the case of the GA-6 special election in 2017 that saw Jon Ossoff nearly flip a key congressional seat that was later won in 2018 by Congresswoman Lucy McBath.

In Iowa, freshman Sen. Joni Ernst is the fourth-most unpopular incumbent senator in the country with just a 39 percent approval rating. Forty-three percent of Iowans disapprove of her job performance thus far. Trump’s standing is even worse in the Hawkeye State, where his net approval has decreased by 22 percentage points since taking office in 2017. Compounding these poll numbers, the leading Democrat in the race, Theresa Greenfield, raised more than $1.1 million in the most recent quarter, outpacing Ernst, who raised just under $1 million in Q3.

For more than two decades, Maine voters have seen fit to return Susan Collins to the United States Senate, most recently in 2014 with nearly 70 percent of the vote. Collins is the definition of an entrenched incumbent, but recent polling suggests significant cracks in Collins’s wall of inevitability.

FiveThirtyEight ran a headline earlier this summer that said “Mitch McConnell is the only senator more unpopular than Susan Collins.” It detailed recent in-state polling showing that the senator’s approval rating was just 45 percent compared to 48 percent who disapproved. A new survey from Public Policy Polling from October paints an even bleaker picture of the incumbent’s standing with voters, with just 35 percent approving compared to 50 percent who disapprove. In the same poll, 53 percent of Mainers support impeaching Donald Trump, with just 44 percent opposed, a 7-point spread that is likely to widen as the impeachment probe moves to a public stage.

On the Maine money front, Team Blue’s presumptive nominee, state House Speaker Sara Gideon, significantly outraised Collins this past summer, raising $3.2 million to the incumbent’s $2.1 million. Collins has been preparing for this fight for a long time, however, and has a staggering $7.1 million cash on hand, a record for Maine.

In North Carolina, this past week saw the death of former Sen. Kay Hagan, who was elected to a single term in 2008. Hagan lost her reelection effort by just 1.5 percentage points in 2014 to Thom Tillis, who was the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. In 2020, Tillis is facing electoral threats from both sides — a serious primary challenge from a wealthy Raleigh businessman and new polling from September that shows Democrat Cal Cunningham defeating the incumbent by 2 points, 45 to 43. Despite Trump winning North Carolina by nearly 4 points in 2016, his public support has crumbled in the state, falling 21 percent since taking office, which would provide little cover for Tillis at the top of the 2020 ballot.

There are a handful of pickup opportunities in the Senate for the GOP, most notably Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, a state that Trump won with 62 percent of the vote. Trump remains popular in the state, but Jones is running a serious reelection effort and could buck the trends — especially if Roy Moore finds himself as Team Red’s nominee again in 2020. The filing deadline in Alabama is fast approaching on Nov. 9, 2019. We will have a clearer picture of the race then, especially if former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who held the seat previously, decides to get in.

Republicans are also hopeful in Michigan (Sen. Gary Peters), Minnesota (Sen. Tina Smith) and in New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), but all independent race handicappers don’t give a lot of hope to the GOP in those races.

Democrats have strong opportunities in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina and two opportunities in Georgia — more than enough to return the Senate to Democratic control in 2020, especially with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket.

Kevin Walling (@kpwalling) is a Democratic strategist, Vice President at HGCreative, co-founder of Celtic Strategies, and a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business.
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🤡 Trump ordered to turn over 8 years of tax returns, appeals court rules
« Reply #2202 on: November 04, 2019, 07:30:13 PM »
More Stonewalling, guaranteed.

Onward to the SCOTUS!


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🤡 Trump's Kentucky prediction the day before the close election for governor
« Reply #2203 on: November 06, 2019, 03:43:11 AM »
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🤡 Trump races to avoid a second electoral debacle in Louisiana
« Reply #2204 on: November 07, 2019, 11:26:26 AM »
Ask not for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for Trumpovetsky.  :icon_sunny:


Trump races to avoid a second electoral debacle in Louisiana

The president is itching to take out the state's Democratic governor.

Eddie Rispone has received the full support of President Donald Trump, including tweets lavishing praise on the Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate and rally appearances. | Gerald Herbert/AP Photo


11/06/2019 08:14 PM EST

Updated: 11/06/2019 09:56 PM EST

Donald Trump couldn't save Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Now, the pressure is on the president to avoid a second black eye in Louisiana next week.

Trump is thrusting himself into the state’s gubernatorial contest: He held a Wednesday evening rally for Republican candidate Eddie Rispone, who is trying to unseat Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, and will make another visit two days before the Nov. 16 election. The president is also expected to record get-out-the-vote videos and robocalls, and on Wednesday morning he called into a popular Louisiana morning radio show to talk about the race.

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Trump also plans to attend the Louisiana State vs. Alabama college football game on Saturday. Though the game is at Alabama, the marquee match-up is certain to draw wide viewership among Louisianans.

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The blitz underscores the importance of the race to the president. Trump has been heavily focused on the Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana gubernatorial contests this fall, gambling that a sweep would bolster his political standing in the face of impeachment and heading into 2020.

But with Bevin’s apparent defeat on Tuesday, Trump’s political team acknowledges he's under intense pressure to avoid a similar outcome in Louisiana.

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who has worked on an array of gubernatorial races, pointed out that Tuesday’s results weren’t all bad for the president, noting that the party swept Kentucky’s other statewide contests.

But “Trump’s problem," Castellanos said, "is that a loss is still a loss.”

“Now Louisiana is the tie-breaker and Trump has put his name on the ballot,” he said. A defeat would mean that “Trump will have lost two out of three states he won big” in 2016.

The president has come to to relish the idea of unseating a Democratic incumbent. Over the past week, he's sent out a stream of tweets lavishing praise on Rispone and knocking Edwards. Trump has also peppered aides and allies with requests for updates on polling and other developments in the race.

Story Continued Below

“We’ve talked about it, and he’s very interested in how he can help,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), a close Trump ally.

Trump's aides recognized ahead of time that the president's decision to go so far out on a limb in the trio of races meant he would bear the brunt of blame for any loss. Kentucky and Louisiana were the riskiest bets: Bevin has been among the most unpopular governors in the country, while the centrist Edwards, seeking a second term, is seen as formidable.

But Trump's political team calculated that the president would be seen as the culprit whether or not he got involved. And if he managed to help the Republicans win, it would dramatically boost his political capital and allow him to argue that impeachment isn't damaging him going into the election.

Those involved in the Louisiana race credit Trump, who won the state by nearly 20 points in 2016, with helping to narrow the gap against Edwards. Public and private polling has shown a close race.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is spearheading a pro-Rispone super PAC, said Trump’s rally ahead of the October primary helped keep Edwards under the 50 percent threshold that he needed to avoid a November runoff.

“I can tell you, I think he has an opportunity to make a huge difference in the race,” Landry said in an interview. “Quite honestly, I don’t know that we can turn the numbers we need to turn without him.”

White House officials are carefully orchestrating the president’s Louisiana push. They chose to hold Wednesday’s rally in Monroe, a city in the northern part of the state. The decision was made partly at the urging of GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham, who ran against Rispone in the primary opponent and represents the area in Congress. With Abraham not on the ballot, Republican officials worried that voters in the area might not turn out for Rispone.
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Monroe, Louisiana. | Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Trump used the Wednesday rally to savage Edwards as a “failed governor” who is ideologically out of step with the conservative state.

“This is Louisiana,” Trump told the crowd. “How did you get a liberal Democrat to be your governor?”

It is not just Republicans who are taking a closer look at the Louisiana contest. National Democrats say they are increasingly optimistic about the Louisiana race following the Kentucky outcome and are considering increasing their investment in the state.
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