By Robert A. Vella
They say that when you’re in a hole, you should stop digging. That’s surely sensible advice, but President Trump isn’t heeding it. Instead, he is using a virtual excavator to dig his hole even deeper. He is digging it so deep, in fact, that GOP insiders are now contemplating a course of action discussed on this blog yesterday – Trump’s resignation or withdrawal from the 2020 election.
Oh, there’s no joy in Mudville today!
Aside from a few U.S. Supreme Court rulings today which somewhat eased the political pain Trump’s Republican Party has been suffering recently (more on that later), the news keeps going from bad to worse. The fallout from the Russian bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan has become a landslide of bipartisan outrage; and, rather than taking action on the intelligence reports, Trump is echoing the rhetoric of Russian officials who are denying it as “bullshit.” Meanwhile, Republican governors in states hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic are breaking with the President over messaging and public policy; and, many conservatives are condemning Trump’s tweets which shared videos of counter-protesters chanting “White Power!” and pointing guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators on the same day that the Mississippi legislature overwhelmingly voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. Yes, you read that right folks – Mississippi.
Finally, there is a disturbing report about a top Washington Post editor who pressured journalist Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) to not reveal damaging information about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation hearings in 2018.
Here’s the news. Note: I apologize to readers for not covering some important international news developments today, but I’m simply exhausted by all this domestic turmoil. Maybe tomorrow.
From: Republicans Want Answers From Trump’s White House About New Russia Claims
Republican lawmakers are demanding answers over claims a Russian military intelligence branch offered bounties to Taliban-linked militias to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
They called on President Donald Trump and his administration to clarify the situation, and, if true, said Russia should be held accountable for its actions. Trump denied the allegation he was made aware of the bounty claims before they became public.
The alleged Russian bounties and the president’s knowledge of their existence were first reported by The New York Times and confirmed in reporting by other publications.
Liz Cheney (R-WY) listed several questions she wants the White House to answer in a post shared by other House Republicans.
Cheney wrote on Twitter: “If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”
Trump Says He Was Not Briefed On Russian Bounties Because Intelligence ‘Not Credible’
NATO officials say they were briefed on Russian bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan — even though Trump claims he wasn’t
Washington Post: Russian bounties to Taliban fighters believed to result in deaths of US troops, intelligence assessments show
Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops
From: A Sun Belt time bomb threatens Trump’s reelection
The explosion of Covid-19 cases in Sun Belt states is becoming another albatross for President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes — and creating a new opening for Joe Biden and Democrats in November.
Republican governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas followed Trump’s lead by quickly reopening their states while taking a lax approach to social distancing and mask-wearing. Now each of them is seeing skyrocketing coronavirus caseloads and rising hospitalizations, and Republican leaders are in retreat.
It’s hard to overstate the gravity of the situation for Trump: Lose any one of the three states, and his reelection is all but doomed.
See also: Houston hospitals stop reporting COVID-19-related data after reaching base ICU capacity: report
From: Trump Retweets Racist Video Showing Supporter Yelling ‘White Power’
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday retweeted a video of one of his supporters yelling “White power!,” once again using the vast reach of his social media platforms to inflame racial divisions in a nation roiled by weeks of protests about police brutality against black people and demands for social justice reforms.
The edited racist video shows a white man riding in a golf cart bearing “Trump 2020” and “America First” signs during what appears to be an angry clash over the president and race between white residents of a Florida retirement community.
From: Trump Retweets Video of White St. Louis Couple Waving Guns at Protesters
President Donald Trump retweeted a video of a white couple waving firearms at protesters outside their home Sunday evening, just hours after he retweeted – and later deleted – a post highlighting a “white power” supporter.
Trump offered no context Monday morning as he retweeted ABC News video of a married couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, seen touting an assault rifle and a handgun as demonstrators marched toward the St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson’s home. The protesters demanded Krewson’s resignation Friday after she read the names and partial addresses of people who were calling for police reform during a Facebook live event.
See also: ‘He just floored it’: Detroit police SUV plows through group of protesters, flings people who climbed on hood
From: Mississippi House and Senate vote to remove Confederate icon from state flag
The last state flag in the nation to prominently feature the Confederate battle emblem is poised to come down across Mississippi, after state lawmakers voted Sunday to replace the 126-year-old design.
Amid a national reckoning over racial injustice, the state House, and then the Senate, approved the measure to loud applause. By late Sunday, the bill was headed to Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who indicated previously that he would sign it. With his approval, the flag must be removed from government buildings within 15 days through a process that is “prompt, dignified and respectful.”
The flag’s retirement gained legislative approval late in the afternoon, by margins of 91 to 23 in the House and 37 to 14 in the Senate, after senators tabled an amendment that would have left the decision with voters via a referendum. Before voting, lawmakers lined up to offer impassioned speeches both for and against replacing the flag, which has weathered previous criticism and removal attempts.
From: Trump’s growing re-election threat: Republican skeptics
WASHINGTON — In 2016, Matt Borges publicly condemned and feuded with Donald Trump when he was head of the Ohio Republican Party — but in the end, he voted for him anyway. That won’t be happening in 2020.
Borges — who says he is confident there are a growing number of Republicans like him, unwilling to “hold their nose” and vote for Trump a second time — is part of a growing movement of conservatives openly working to elect the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.
“Nothing was going to get me to vote for Hillary Clinton. I grew up in this business learning to fight against everything the Clintons were for. I knew her, and in my mind, I knew what a Clinton presidency was going to be like,” said Borges, who helped form an anti-Trump super PAC. “A lot of folks are like me. They understand that Joe Biden isn’t the same kind of candidate.”
From: Fox’s Gasparino: GOP operatives raising possibility Trump ‘could drop out of race’ if polls don’t rebound
A Fox News report on Sunday says that “GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility” that President Trump could drop out of the 2020 presidential race “if his poll numbers don’t rebound” against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The report by Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino, political reporter Andrew O’Reilly and producer Lydia Moynihan comes as the former vice president leads the Republican incumbent by 9.2 points in the RealClearPolitics index of major polls.
“It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out,” a GOP operative who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News.
Gasparino also reported that one “major player” within the Republican Party described “Trump’s current psyche as ‘fragile.'”
From: Bob Woodward talked out of exposing Brett Kavanaugh as anonymous source by Washington Post editor: report
Bob Woodward was prepared to unmask Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings as an anonymous source for a book the Watergate icon wrote more than 20 years ago but was talked out of it by the Washington Post’s top editor, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Woodward was reportedly set to expose Kavanaugh as an anonymous source for his 1999 book “Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate.” At the time the book was being written, Kavanaugh served as a lawyer on independent counsel Ken Starr’s team in its investigation of President Clinton.
The revelation would have publicly contradicted what Kavanaugh said in a letter to the Post in 1999, the Times noted.
Woodward’s unmasking of Kavanaugh was set to be published in October 2018, according to the Times, which added that Post executive editor Martin Baron urged Woodward to not burn his source because it would be “bad for Bob” and the newspaper itself if Kavanaugh were exposed.
U.S. Supreme Court rulings:
Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions
Supreme Court says fight against HIV/AIDS overseas can include policy denouncing prostitution
Supreme Court won’t stop scheduled federal executions
U.S. Supreme Court gives president more power over consumer financial [protection bureau] agency [allowing Trump to fire the CFPB director]
Supreme Court declines to hear border wall challenge [by environmental groups]
“I’m simply exhausted by all this domestic turmoil.” So am I, Robert. So am I. Sigh.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Yeah, I think we all are.
LikeLiked by 2 people