Waiting for Donald Trump to tell the truth is like waiting for Chris Matthews to let his guests talk. Could happen in theory, but…
Max Boot/Foreign Policy:
Total and complete vindication? No way
There are reams of evidence pointing toward Trump's collusion and obstruction — and we don’t even know what James Comey said in closed session.
That there was public collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, while the Kremlin was interfering in the U.S. election, is undisputed. Trump, after all, publicly called on July 27, 2016, for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails (“Russia, if you’re listening …”). He then celebrated the resulting leaks from WikiLeaks (“I love WikiLeaks”), which his own CIA director has identified as “a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
The only question is whether there was private collusion, too. A lot of evidence points that way. During his testimony, Comey disputed a New York Times article on contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, saying that “in the main, it was not true.” But he did not say what was untrue, and numerous other news articles have reported that the Trump campaign had numerous interactions with influential Russian representatives. Reuters, for example, reports that there were at least 18 contacts during the final seven months of the campaign.
To understand their perspective, consider this happening in the context we normally think of as a national security threat: Imagine that during the 2016 presidential election, a candidate publicly invited the Islamic State to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters. And then imagine that such a bombing in fact took place, resulting in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Now further imagine that the new president not only had no interest in learning more about who caused the attack or bringing them to justice, but in fact went out of his way to make nice with the Islamic State and offer them political and diplomatic concessions. Finally, imagine that there may be evidence that members of the president’s campaign or other American citizens were actively or passively involved in facilitating such an attack.
Back in March, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) said on CNN that “It’s hard to come to any other conclusion that (sic) [Attorney General Jeff Sessions] perjured himself.”
Friday on Meet The Press Daily, the Minnesota Senator went even further.
“I think he did not answer truthfully under oath,” Franken said.
“You think he lied to Congress?” asked host Chuck Todd.
“Yeah, I think he did,” Franken replied.
The GOP That Failed
The party didn’t decide. And now Republicans are stuck with Trump.
So this may be a good time to remember that in a key sense, Trump happened because a well-established, real-life mechanism that was in the best position to prevent a Trump presidency failed. That institution was the Republican Party.
Lying isn’t just for Americans as a way to win. But, oh, that morning after...
Noah Rothman/NY Daily News:
How badly Comey hurt Trump: President’s defenders are engaged in furious and unconvincing spin — don’t buy it
According to NBC News, Comey later told senators in a classified setting that Sessions had allegedly taken a third previously undisclosed meeting with Russian operatives. This despite the attorney general's confirmation hearing testimony, under oath, that he "did not have communications with the Russians."
With precision and subtlety, Comey spent four hours on Thursday skillfully lacerating the administration's exculpatory narratives. The White House is slowly hemorrhaging credibility. They don't seem to have noticed the wounds yet. When they finally do, it may be too late to save the victim.
Paul Waldman/The Week
Why was Trump so obsessed with protecting Flynn?
One thing we can say for sure is that Trump was not going to this trouble — including what looks a lot like obstruction of justice — just because he thought Flynn was a "good guy," and Trump is such a mensch that he'll do anything for a good guy. No one who is familiar with Trump could believe that…
I don't have a good answer. But the idea that it's just because he likes Flynn is impossible to believe. What we're left with then is Trump's own self-interest.
It may be that Trump believes Flynn is the keystone of the Russia scandal, and if he goes down then the scandal will accelerate until it reaches the Oval Office. It may have something to do with some piece of information or relationship we know nothing about. But what's obvious is that Trump is trying very hard to keep Flynn out of harm's way, or to keep him happy. If we can figure out why, we may understand this whole scandal a great deal better.
Geoffrey Kabaservice/NY Times:
The Great Performance of Our Failing President
Many Trump supporters engage nonetheless in a willing suspension of disbelief when they partake of right-wing media. They enjoy the ridiculous exaggerations and outright lies for the outrage they provoke in Democrats, liberals, intellectuals and pompous commentators of all political stripes.
Populist conservatives also appreciate fake news for conveying what they see as underlying symbolic truths. Barack Obama is not actually a Muslim, but those who called him one were pointing toward what they saw as his cosmopolitanism, racial otherness and seeming discomfort with “real” America. Democratic officials do not actually run sex rings, but for fake-news readers they are part of the corrupt and all-powerful government that exploits helpless citizens for fun and profit. Climate change science is not actually a hoax concocted by China and the scientific community, but many see it as serving the interests of globalists from both parties who allowed the devastation of American manufacturing and the working class.
I’m fine with writing about and and understanding Trump core voter pathology , so long as we understand they are a minority of voters. I get the satisfaction of watching the pundits be wrong. I mean, after all, watch this:
Note the Trump voter isolation:
Yes, they will mostly stick by him. But not all.
Jonathan Capehart/WaPo has Joe McLean tell a family story:
‘Hey boy, you want to go see a hangin’?’: A lynching from a white Southerner’s view
Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Sadly, it’s beginning to rhyme with a vengeance.
This week, somebody hung a noose in the Museum of African American History. Reading the story brought a little slice of my family history into sharp focus, and perhaps revealed how the tragedy of one forgotten victim could reach across the generations and help change the nation.
When I was a little boy on our family farm, I was walking up a cotton “middle” one day, busting up dirt clods with my bare feet, and my daddy walked out into the field and told me a story. He said “Son, when I was a boy like you, just walking in this cotton patch one morning, my granddaddy rode up in his wagon and team of mules. He said, ‘Hey boy, you want to go see a hangin’?” And being a 12-year-old boy, my daddy said, “Yessir, Grandpa!”
Frank Bruni/NY Times:
So could Georgia’s 6th District, the Atlanta suburbs where a fiercely contested special election — the most expensive in the history of House races — concludes on June 20. If the Republican, Karen Handel, emerges victorious, it will in part reflect the shortcomings of her Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff. At 30, he has an underwhelming résumé and occasionally callow air, and lives near, but not in, the district that he’s vying to represent.
Polls indicate there are few voters still undecided. “The next 10 days are about turning out the base. There are more of us than them in the district. The more people who vote, the better,” said Corry Bliss, who heads the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). That organization alone plans to spend about $7 million in the race.
Another factor, however, may be working in the Democrats’ favor: After a federal judge ordered that voter registration be reopened for the runoff, more than 8,000 were added to the rolls in the 6th District.
And in the first round of voting, Ossoff won what analysts on both sides believe to have been at least 10 percent of voters who generally cast their ballots for Republicans. (Georgia does not identify voters by party.)
Republicans are predicting the beginning of the end of the tea party in Kansas
Kansas’s moderate ascendance may portend problems for Republicans in Washington, where many in the party, including President Trump, are pushing to adopt federal tax policies similar to the ones Brownback has installed in Kansas. But while Brownback had hoped what he called Kansas’s “real-live experiment” in conservative economic policy would become a national model, it has instead become a cautionary example.
This Friday Politico bears repeating and watching:
Conservatives near revolt on Senate health care negotiations
Republicans are increasingly pessimistic that key conservative senators will vote for the eventual bill.