By Robert A. Vella
Today’s Sunday topics include the explosive blowback against President Trump for commuting the prison sentence of convicted felon Roger Stone, the forecast of a wave election in November by the previously mainstream news organization The Hill which was taken over by Trump loyalists in 2017, new COVID-19 cases break records worldwide and in Florida, Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos demands the full reopening of schools despite the obvious health risks from the out of control coronavirus pandemic, and racial injustice news highlighted by the Seattle Police Department’s overt threat to fire the majority of non-white officers if the city cuts its budget (yes, you read that right folks).
In the Roger Stone story, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller was so disturbed by Trump’s latest affront to the rule of law that he felt it necessary to speak openly on the matter. The forecast of a “big blue wave” in the 2020 election is very surprising coming from that news organization which is owned by the widely criticized as biased Jimmy Finkelstein. Also surprising is a new poll from Texas showing Joe Biden leading Trump by five points (caveat: individual polls are far less reliable than the aggregate of polling, but this one from a red-state is nevertheless indicative of Trump’s fading election hopes).
Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III broke a nearly year-long silence Saturday to defend his office’s prosecution of Roger Stone and his larger investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign, writing an op-ed piece to publicly push back against attacks from the president and his supporters.
“We now have a detailed picture of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Mueller wrote. “We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”
In asserting Stone had links to the Russian government, Mueller appears to reference private messages the political consultant and longtime Trump friend had with an online persona known as Guccifer 2.0 in August 2016. U.S. officials have said Guccifer 2.0 was not the Romanian hacker he claimed to be but a front created by Russian intelligence agents. Stone said at the time that he did not believe Guccifer 2.0 was Russian.
“We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law,” Mueller wrote. “The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false.”
A big blue wave
From The Hill: There’s a big blue wave coming
There’s a wave coming. A blue wave like the one in 2018. Only bigger. Much bigger. Big enough to sweep away President Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate.
We’ve seen wave elections before. There was a Democratic wave in 1964; Republican Barry Goldwater ended up carrying just six states (five in the Deep South and his own state of Arizona). He got 38 percent of the popular vote. 1972 saw a Republican wave; Democrat George McGovern carried only one state (Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia. He got 38 percent of the popular vote. At this point in 1992, the first President Bush was at 38 percent job approval. A few months later, he lost his bid for-re-election. What’s Donald Trump’s latest job approval rating in the Gallup poll? You guessed it – 38 percent.
The anti-Trump wave is building. Every national poll taken over the past month shows Democrat Joe Biden leading Trump; the average margin is approaching ten points. Yes, Hillary Clinton was leading Trump in the polls at this stage of the 2016 campaign. But by smaller margins. Moreover, Biden is leading in all of the battleground states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where Trump won razor-thin victories in 2016.
Moreover, Biden is not as unpopular as Hillary Clinton was.
Harry Enten of CNN has examined the thirteen presidential elections involving an incumbent going back to 1940. His conclusion? “No one in an incumbent presidential election has been polling above 50 percent at this point like Biden and gone on to lose.”
(Reuters) – The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.
The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. The previous WHO record for new cases was 228,102 on July 10. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.
Florida shattered previous records for any state’s biggest single-day recording of new coronavirus cases on Sunday, announcing almost 15,300 new cases.
Florida added 15,299 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, to its constantly-rising total, outpacing New York’s previous daily record by more than 3,000.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sunday morning couldn’t promise teachers, students and parents that they wouldn’t get sick from coronavirus if schools fully reopen this fall, as the Trump administration has been aggressively pushing for in recent days.
DeVos and President Donald Trump launched a pressure campaign this past week to force and threaten state and local school districts to fully reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning. DeVos herself has said she wants all schools to commit to being open five days a week and steer clear of remote learning, even as the pandemic rages to record levels in the country.
Interviewing DeVos on CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash kicked off the lengthy and at times contentious conversation by immediately pressing DeVos on the fact that the vast majority of states now are seeing higher rates of coronavirus than when schools shut down in March.