Daily Recap — July 17

Ahhhhhh, the Lord hath delivered a slow news day to my suffering fingers.

I’m eternally grateful.


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CLEAN-UP ON AISLE TRUMP

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Well, all the screaming heads finally got what they wanted.

Just kidding, they’ll never be satisfied. 

PDT, facing an onslaught of bipartisan pearl-clutching fury that one would think would be reserved for things like, gee, I don’t know, half of Congress using taxpayer money to pay off sexual harassment suits, said more than 24 hours after the Helsinki summit that he had misspoken during his news conference with Putin.


In one of the few times of his presidency he’s admitted to a mistake, Trump said that when he returned yesterday from the summit, he “realized there is some need for clarification” about his remarks on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’ ” he said. He explained he had reviewed a transcript and video of his remarks.
“The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’ ” he said. “Sort of a double negative.”
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During yesterday’s presser, as I’m sure you’ve been reminded over a thousand times by now,  Trump said, “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia who interfered in the election.
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This went down in the White House Cabinet Room, where PDT was sitting with the Swamp for an otherwise unrelated meeting. Reading prepared remarks to reporters, he reiterated that there had been no collusion between his campaign and Russia and that the country’s efforts had no impact on the final election results. This seems to be the entire problem; he’s obsessed with killing the narrative that his win, for which he worked extremely hard, was illegitimate.
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It’s this writer’s hope that someday he realizes that people are going to say things regardless and that it isn’t worth his time. I hope he realizes that by showing how much it bothers him, he only fuels their fire.
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Mr. President, I love you to death, but for the love of God, we’re never going to get any traction with this presidency if you don’t grow some thicker skin. 
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But I digress.
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He also voiced support for the US intelligence community and vowed to take action to prevent further attacks.
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“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” he said. But diverting from his typewritten notes, the President added: “It could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
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He’s absolutely right that many people hack us. And he’s probably right that this could have been someone else, too. I personally haven’t seen the evidence so I can’t say definitively either way. And you know what? Neither has anyone else that has seen fit to opine on this situation. Just a fun fact.
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Unfortunately, it’s also a complete contradiction of what he just friggin said. If he believes the IC’s conclusions on hacking, then he would have to conclude it was Russia, not “Russia or maybe other people too.” I’m not sure if this made sense in his mind while he was saying it or if he just went off script again and made another boo-boo.
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Who knows.

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Top national security officials had huddled in the White House Situation Room to develop a response to the summit fallout. The meeting reportedly (and apparently) resulted in a determination that PDT would need to clarify his remarks. Reports are that John Bolton played a prominent role in the clean-up mission.
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In true Trump fashion, though, the Donald made some of his own additions to what his aides prepared; he scrawled in black marker that “THERE WAS NO COLLUSION” on one page.
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Sigh.
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One funny — or ominous, depending on one’s perspective — moment came at the beginning of the remarks. As PDT was declaring his “full faith and support” for US intelligence agencies, the lights in the Cabinet Room went completely dark.
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“That must be the intelligence agencies,” he quipped, eliciting laughter throughout the room. The lighting was quickly restored and the show was back on the road.

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The earlier part of the day indicated that PDT would follow his usual protocol of doubling down or abandoning the topic completely, as he offered this defiant rebuke of his critics on Twitter:
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“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!” he proclaimed.
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Again. he’s not wrong.
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Trump was genuinely surprised by the criticism

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According to a whole lot of people who were actually there, Trump was in a great mood immediately after the Putin presser, apparently oblivious to the firestorm it would cause and downright giddy about what he considered to be a successful summit.
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By the time he’d returned to the White House just before 10 pm ET last night, however, his mood had soured. Predictably, he was upset when he saw negative coverage of the summit on television aboard Air Force One. It was clear he was getting little support, even from the usual places. When Newt friggin Gingrich says he made the worst mistake of his presidency, you know PDT had a bad day. 
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According to multiple sources, he vented to aides traveling with him, including new communications chief Bill Shine and his outstanding policy aide Stephen Miller. Melania was also aboard and was involved in some of the discussions.
Trump, the first lady, Shine and Miller were seen in animated conversation aboard Marine One when they arrived to the White House South Lawn last night.
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I’m guessing Bolton stepped in today to try to get this knocked out once and for all.


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Big Picture:

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Look, the president is human. He makes mistakes. Some days are better than others for him, just like us.

Not everything he does is 9-D underwater somersault Chess. Conversely, not every misstatement he makes is treason. Somewhere along the line, the sane middle of this country has become eroded. That’s a scary harbinger of the future.

Do I believe his explanation? Well, there is reason to believe he’s being straightforward, given that he seemed not to know he’d screwed up when it happened. But the excuse itself won’t pass muster for most, as there were many more statements than just the would/wouldn’t debacle.

The good news is, the media are set to be disappointed for the umpteenth time soon when they find out that the average guy on Main Street doesn’t care nearly as much about this Putin faux pas as they think. They haven’t had their fingers on the pulse of the country in quite a while and this incident will show that nothing has changed.

Chalk it up to lessons learned. Putin isn’t an easy guy with which to share the world stage. Better have your T’s crossed and I’s dotted or he’ll appear to be running the show, regardless of what may or may not have happened behind closed doors.

The other good news is Putin may have given PDT some information that could be of benefit in the future. Is that treason? Only if we’re at war with Russia, which we’re not. And I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but one of the points of the summit was to develop a relationship in which intelligence could be shared freely. One can agree or disagree with that end, but it was the point nonetheless.

PDT has been through a lot of scandals since he took office, most of them fake, but all of them 5-alarm fires in the eyes of the media.

This, too, shall pass.


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POMPEO BRIEFING ON NORTH KOREA

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It was announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week, where he’s expected to face a grilling over the North Korea standoff and the OMG PUTIN summit.
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The testimony will be public and is set for next Wednesday, July 25.
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To be fair, there do need to be some questions asked regarding the North Korea situation. Lil Kim is back up to his old tricks and doesn’t seem to take PDT very seriously.

North Korean officials didn’t show up for a planned meeting with U.S. counterparts to discuss returning the remains of American war dead, which is a pretty big slap in the face at a time when relations are supposed to be improving more than ever.

South Korean officials later said the meeting would be rescheduled for July 15, but that was after U.S. negotiators arrived at the DMZ and were kept waiting for a good while. What’s worse is this is the second time Rocket Man has stood up Pompeo in the last month. When the President of the United States sends his Secretary of State to see you, you don’t stand him up. That is profoundly disrespectful in both of our respective cultures, not to mention between heads of state.

And when he did actually meet with Pompeo, Lil Kim took to the press immediately afterward to denounce the Trump administration’s “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization.”
What the hell did he think was the point of all this?
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The Department of Defense estimates that North Korea is holding about 200 sets of remains from some 5,300 American military personnel believed missing in the country. Their recovery has long been among the most emotionally charged issues between our two sides. Caskets that the U.S. shipped to the border last month haven’t been filled, despite Rocket Man’s pledge during his June 12 summit with PDT.

PDT has been eager to tout the victory of bringing home our war dead and recently told Fox News that Kim was “giving us back the remains of probably 7,500 soldiers.” He also told supporters in Nevada that NK had already handed over 200 sets of remains already, but Pompeo confirmed to the SFRC that no exchanges have been made.

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BOTTOM LINE:

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Rocket Man is getting cute again and PDT better fix his little red wagon before it goes much further.

The blatant disrespect shown to our Secretary of State and his delegation, not to mention our fallen warriors, is completely unacceptable. What’s worse, it indicates that Kim is up to his same old game played by his father and grandfather, which is to delay and buy time until he achieves whatever it is he’s going for.

In this case, that would be intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads and GPS coordinates taking them straight to America.

I don’t envy the position our president is in, but something needs to be done to get this process back on the right track. If PDT has something in his bag of tricks, now is a good time to pull it out.

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AMERICA!

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PDT has confirmed that Air Force One will be getting a long overdue paint job, and it’s all about the good ole U.S. of A.

The baby blue of the JFK era is out, the red, white and blue of the Old Glory is in. 

“It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world,’’ Trump said. “And it’s going be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.’’

Indeed.

Trump put the spotlight on Air Force One shortly before taking office when he criticized Boeing Co. for the expense of the converted 747 jumbo jets. He later reached an agreement with the plane maker and lowered the cost, like a true BAWSE.

“Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that,” he said today, confirming a report last week on the presidential plane’s new look. “But I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not.”

There is precedent for PDT’s interest in weighing in on the AF1 design. JFK and first lady Jacqueline worked with New York designer Raymond Loewy on the presidential aircraft’s look in the 1960s. It’s pretty much been left alone since then, which I always found curious. Why the baby blue? Inquiring minds want to know.

What I do know is that first lady Kennedy worked with Loewy — an iconic industrial designer known for his work on the logo for Shell Oil and Coca-Cola vending machines — on the interior of the plane, down to the glassware from Tiffany’s. The lettering on the outside the aircraft was inspired by the heading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.


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Boeing agreed in February to a $3.9 billion contract with the Air Force to modify two 747-8 aircraft to update the presidential transport. Ironically, the jets had been built for a Russian airline that went bankrupt in 2015.

The military version of the 747, which the Air Force designates the VC-25, is dubbed Air Force One whenever the commander-in-chief is aboard. It is heavily modified to support the president and staff for extended periods aloft — equipped with an advanced communications system, self-defense capabilities and other features that add to the cost.

It’s one badass plane.

And now, it’s one badass American-looking plane.

Thank you PDT!

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THE CIVIL WAR BEGINS

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But it’s not the one you’re thinking.

I’ve said for a while now that the most underreported story is the division within the Dim party between the establishment, neo-liberal wing and the outright socialists loyal to #CrazyBernie. Well folks, fear not, because the first shots have officially been fired and it’s only going to get better from here.

Grab the popcorn.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘stunned’ the political world with her upset primary victory last month over Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), the head of the House Dim Caucus and a rising star within the party.

But while the improbable win made Ocasio-Cortez an overnight coochie cap superstar, a number of House Dims are stompin’ mad about her “approach,” particularly her recent accusation that Crowley, who has endorsed her candidacy, is seeking to topple her bid with a third-party run.


Some legislators are voicing concerns that Ocasio-Cortez appears set on using her newfound star power to attack Dims from the left flank, threatening to divide the party — and undermine its chances at retaking the House — in a midterm election year when leaders are scrambling to form a united front against OMG PRESIDENT SATAN.

The establishment Dims are not mincing words, warning that Ocasio-Cortez is making enemies of soon-to-be colleagues even before she arrives on Capitol Hill, as she’s expected to do after November’s midterms.

“She’s carrying on and she ain’t gonna make friends that way,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “Joe conceded, wished her well, said he would support her … so she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.”

“She’s not asking my advice,” he added, “[but] I would do it differently, rather than make enemies of people.” 

Asked if Ocasio-Cortez is making mortal enemies of fellow Dims, Pascrell didn’t hesitate: 

“Yes,” he said. “No doubt about it.”

Ahhhhhh……this is delicious.


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Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) offered a similar message, saying success in the House comes slowly — and hinges largely on the ability of lawmakers to forge constructive relationships with other members. That’s establishment code for, “You better learn to start kissing ass right now.”

“Meteors fizz out,” Hastings said. “What she will learn in this institution is that it’s glacial to begin with, and therefore no matter how far you rise, that’s just how far you will ultimately get your comeuppance.” 

He added: “You come up here and you’re going to be buddy-buddy with all the folks or you’re going to make them do certain things? Ain’t happening, OK?”

Dims have been squabbling amongst themselves about the direction of the party ever since The Donald took the Rust Belt from them on his way to the White House in 2016 and it’s not readily apparent which side will come out on top, which is exactly how we want it.


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The rise of Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old “democratic socialist,” — whatever that means — illustrates just how far the Bernie-crats have come in the last two years. Her grass-roots campaign hinged on a promise to eschew corporate interests and discard the machine-politics approach she’s accused Crowley and the Democrats of adopting, which is why they’re so pissed at her now. Well, that and the Swamp requires membership. She wasn’t supposed to win. But in the eyes of her fellow commies, Ocasio-Cortez is a breath of fresh air who will help in the fight for their ideals. 

“There is a need for progressive members in the caucus to raise the bar in terms of what we want and what we’re willing to do to get it,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who called Ocasio-Cortez to congratulate her on her victory. “And that involves a lot of risk, and that involves stepping on toes.”

Yeeeeeeahhhhh buddy, step on those toes. Step on all the toes. Give those fools toe-burculosis by the time you’re done. 


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WHAT STARTED ALL THIS INFIGHTING?

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You really ought not question when good things like this happen, but I’ll explain it anyway.

Ocasio-Cortez scored a resounding victory over the 10-term Crowley, winning almost 58% of the vote, and the musically inclined Crowley quickly conceded the race on election night with a dedicated rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”  

Yet New York’s election laws have complicated the contest, as write-in votes on a third-party line — the Working Families Party — will likely result in Crowley’s name being on the ballot in November. 

The revelation led Ocasio-Cortez last week to take to Twitter with accusations that Crowley retains hopes of upsetting her bid and returning to Congress next year. 

“So much for ‘Born to Run,’ ” she tweeted.

And thaaaaaat’s when the poop hit the fan.

Crowley quickly responded, also on Twitter, noting that he can remove his name from the ballot only by dying, moving out of the district or running for a separate office he has no intention of holding, which he considers election fraud.

“Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together,” Crowley said. “I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running.”


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Meanwhile, some Dims are seething that Ocasio-Cortez would attack Crowley so publicly after securing her victory.

“Once an election is over and you win, why are you still angry?” said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO). “I think it’s a lack of maturity on her part, and a lack of political acumen, for her to be that petty.

“We as Democrats better figure out who the real enemy is. And it’s not each other.”

HEY! Shut up that crazy talk. Don’t listen to him, Dims. Your enemy is indeed each other. Now get back to fighting.

Rep. John Larson (D-CT), a former chairman of the House Dim Caucus, lamented the tone of the post-primary debate, attributing it to inexperience on the part of Ocasio-Cortez.

“When it comes to courtesy and decency, and especially the way — the class way — in which Joe Crowley has conducted himself and every overture that he’s made, I think she would be wise to rethink some of the things that she’s saying,” he said.

Separately, a number of Dims are also going after Ocasio-Cortez for her decision to endorse a handful of Bernie-crats challenging sitting Dim lawmakers, a list that includes Clay and Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA), as well as Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

Ocasio-Cortez has defended that decision, saying she’s merely endorsing other liberal candidates “who uplifted & acknowledged my own campaign before anyone else would.”

She ain’t sellin’ out, fool.


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BOTTOM LINE:

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Look people, they can blame a mean tweet all they like, but the truth is this civil war began a while back.

The Dims have no identity, no leader and no clear direction. That’s a bad spot to be in when you’re already the minority. The fact is people like Ocasio-Cortez represent a grave existential threat to the Establishment Dims and if you think they’re just gonna roll over and make way for these malodorous hippies, you’re dumber than Maxine Waters.

This is the Swamp. They have cushy jobs on the taxpayer dime and donors lined up for years to come. All the platitudes about free stuff and diversity go out the window when people see their power slipping away, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now.

Meanwhile, over 90% of Republicans support PDT, making him the most popular president within the GOP since Reagan. The Helsinki incident may put a temporary dent in those numbers but have no fear — they’ll return. 

If the GOP is smart, and they’re not, they’ll take full advantage of this division in order to conquer in 2018 and 2020.

The first thing I would do is take a page out of the Russian playbook and nourish these divisions through social media and elsewhere. One example is fake social media accounts. Make a profile, present yourself as a progressive Dim and go to war with the Establishment, maaaaaaaan. 

In addition, fund fake studies to show that the most radical Dims have the most support and the Establishment is rigging the system to protect their donors from the change that #CrazyBernie and his army have in store. That narrative already exists and we need to reinforce it, #BigLeague.

You can do these things on your own. Remember, the goal isn’t to bring them over to Trump. That’s not going to happen regardless. The goal is to depress turnout. The poor urban turnout in 2016 was a big help in getting PDT elected and it could be equally valuable in the next few elections, especially given the small but significant progress we’ve made with the black community.

If you don’t want to, that’s fine too. Yes, it’s underhanded and scummy. Welcome to information warfare, folks. Better yet, welcome to politics.

In any event, with or without our help, the division between the two wings of the Dim party will only grow with time, much to our benefit.

Sit back and enjoy the show!

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1 thought on “Daily Recap — July 17

  1. Kathryn Suzanne Sower July 18, 2018 — 3:56 am

    Thank you for your efforts, Trey Vaugh. I am doing my best to keep up with the recaps. When my health gets better, I will get involved.

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