The Donald Trump era has now been marked by the shattering of yet another seemingly unbreakable tradition.
This one has nothing to do with calling out NATO, shredding trade deals, or forcing recalcitrant Republicans to actually deliver what they’ve long promised on illegal immigration. But it does fall right in line with something the president has been doing since his audacious arrival in Washington almost 19 months ago: challenging the establishment to break protocol.
For almost 60 years, one of the unshakable traditions in the DC swamp has been the congressional summer recess. It was first instituted in 1959 and has continued every summer since. Woe to the earnest, civic-minded member of Congress who might call for the House or Senate to conduct business in this most oppressive of months. Lest we forget, Washington is built on not just a figurative, but literal swamp.
Up through about the 1930s, Congress was generally in session for six to eight months – from December to June – but once the agenda kept growing with the expansion of government in the FDR era, Congress extended their sessions to almost the full year. More members began objecting, calling for more time off to return to their home districts or states, and the summer recess was implemented.
So when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bowed to calls from the president and junior Senators and scheduled a summer session starting today, it was not exactly met with overwhelming approval by his colleagues. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) put it this way: “Maine in August, with lovely fairs and festivals, fun, vs. swampy, humid DC, where my air conditioner keeps breaking.” She also objected to the notion that returning to her home state means she’s on vacation: “One of the aspects of canceling the August recess that most disturbs me is it plays into this myth that when we are at home, we aren’t working, and anyone who looked at my schedule from last weekend would know that I am working.”
The summer session actually began in late July, when the House adjourned for the summer while the Senate remained in session, punctuated by a one-week mini-recess ending on Tuesday. The upper chamber already produced the new defense authorization bill and other spending legislation earlier this month.
But there is no doubting the main purpose of slogging through August is what Sen. McConnell has long considered his top priority: judicial confirmations. Democrats have attempted every available maneuver, including excessively long hearings, to stall or block Trump nominees to the federal judiciary. August has been set aside to reduce the backlog.
Evidence of the significance McConnell places on his responsibility to steward the president’s judicial nominees is what the majority leader considers his proudest achievement: short-circuiting consideration of Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and thus clearing the path for Trump’s eventual appointment of Neil Gorsuch. While McConnell may have thought deep-sixing Judge Garland was a wing and a prayer at the time given that Trump seemed certain to lose, he later called it “the most consequential decision I’ve ever made in my entire public career.” He will have a chance to make another major contribution to the high court as he continues to steer the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh through the Senate.
There is another potential benefit from this summer session for Republicans looking to hold or expand their razor-thin majority in the Senate. Forcing Democrats to remain swamp-bound robs them of precious time ordinarily reserved for campaigning. With the president’s approval numbers sneaking upward and ten Democrats defending seats in states won by Trump, those vulnerable incumbents can ill afford to lose this lengthy stretch of face time with their constituents. Once the fall legislative calendar kicks in after Labor Day, opportunities to campaign back in their home districts will swiftly diminish.
Finally of course, by working through this vacation month, Republicans hope to demonstrate their commitment to the American people as midterm elections approach. Whether this will actually impress the voters has yet to be determined. But given the likely confirmation of judges, reducing campaign time for vulnerable Democrats, and seizing on the opportunity to show the voters they’re willing to go above and beyond their normal workload, Senate Republicans have little to lose and much to gain.
Will Democrats tack toward the left or center for midterm elections? And can they take control of the House promising little more than hatred for President Trump? Mark Angelides of LibertyNation.com discusses the end game in the Paul Manafort trial, and LN Editor-in-chief Leesa K. Donner joins Tim to discuss Rosie O’Donnell‘s tin foil hat and assorted media atrocities.
Say What is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class. Here is the latest episode:
Tim Donner: President Trump’s ongoing beat down of the elite establishment media came into sharp focus over the last week when the so-called journalist, Jim Acosta of CNN, who’s making a living off grandstanding and testifying at those press briefings with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, was treated rudely by Trump supporters at a rally for the President in Florida.
Jim Acosta: The White House has held only three briefings with the press this month and eight total since the end of May. There is no other way to describe what the White House is doing these days. Top officials, including the president are hiding from the press and to give you a sense of what’s happening right now, you can hear there is a chorus of boos and other chants from this Trump crowd here in Tampa Florida. They’re saying things like, CNN sucks, go home, and fake news. Well obviously, all of those things are false.
Tim: Oh yes, all those things are obviously false, so the next day Acosta said those Trump supporters are essentially Un-American.
Jim Acosta: Honestly it felt like we weren’t in America anymore. I don’t know how to put it anymore plainly than that. American’s should not be treating their fellow Americans in this way. The President, during the campaign, referred to us as the dishonest media, the disgusting news media, liars, scum, and thieves and so on. And then he rolled that right into the oval office and started calling us fake news and the enemy of the people. He is whipping these crowds up into a frenzy to the point where they really want to come after us.
Tim: Well, Acosta was just getting warmed up. He went to the press briefing at the White House, pulled another of his grand-standing ploys about Trump calling the media, “the enemy of the people,” and got smacked down big-time by Sarah Sanders.
Jim Acosta: You did not say, that the press is not the enemy of the people. I think it would be a good thing, if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.
Sarah Sanders: It’s ironic, Jim, repeatedly, repeatedly, the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger. The media has attacked me personally, on a number of occasions, including your own network, said I should be harassed as a life sentence. That I should be choked. ICE officials are not welcome in their place of worship and personal information is shared on the internet. When I was hosted by the Correspondence Association, of which almost all of you are members of, you brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender. In fact, as I know, as far I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.
Tim: That…was a wow response from Sarah Sanders. You know, Acosta and his biased colleagues in the elite media don’t have a clue as to why these people hate them so much. No idea why they’ve been seething with resentment for years which has only been made worse by the 90% negative coverage of Trump in the establishment legacy media. I mean, conservatives have been begging for years for someone, anyone, who will call out and take on the biased elite establishment media. And Donald Trump is, at last, that man. The last Republican president, George W. Bush, took a pounding from the leftist media, never responded, never fought back, never called them out and watched as his approval numbers dropped through the floor into the 20s. And he became virtually irrelevant over the last couple of years of his presidency.
That will not happen with President Trump. He will answer every slight and call out every fake news story and some which are not fake but are misleading. Mostly through misleading headlines which is all that many people read. Now, another of the most clueless of the anti-Trump sycophants on CNN, is media analyst Brian Stelter.
Brian Stelter: I think we are increasingly seeing from the president and his aides and his allies is a hate movement against the American press. When you look at the behavior around Jim Acosta and some of the other reporters at these rally’s, President Trump is not just telling people to ignore the press or not believe the press, he’s really telling people to hate journalist and because he’s holding rallyies more and more often, we are seeing it more and more often and that’s why reporters like Acosta are saying this is worrisome. Someone might get hurt.
Tim: A hate movement. Leftists like Acosta accuse Trump supporters of a hate movement, so shall we revisit some of the statements made by high profile leftist about Donald Trump?
Maxine Waters: With this kind of inspiration I will go and take Trump out tonight.
Madonna: Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.
Johnny Depp: When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? It’s been a while. And, maybe it’s time.
Robert DeNiro: How dare he say the things he does. Of course I want to punch him in face.
Joe Biden: The press always asks me, “Don’t I wish I were debating him?” No, I wish I were in high school and I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.
Tim: No, no hate coming from that direction.
But, it’s not just leftists, it’s also Never Trumpers, Republicans, and conservatives who have not only abandoned Trump but attack him every day on TV. Among them is GOP establishment figure Nicolle Wallace, now on MSNBC, who has decided to censor White House press briefings after hearing Sarah Sanders refusing to bow to Mr. Acosta.
Nicole Wallace: We’re not going to air that anymore. Let’s make that the last Sarah Huckabee Sander’s clip, ever at four o’clock. Yup, that’s it. You know what. It makes me sweat. That is vile. This is someone who complains about a restaurant that exercises their 1st Amendment rights to kick out someone that they think is a blithering Democratic…seriously, it made me sweat.
The prosecution in the first trial resulting from the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation sure is lucky that the verdict will be handed down by a jury instead of Judge T.S. Ellis III.
Ellis, a Ronald Reagan appointee, clashed with government Prosecutor Greg Andres again on Monday in the second week of the federal trial of political operative and short-time Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, thus adding more fuel to the fire of displeasure the Judge has displayed toward the prosecution since the trial began.
Judge Ellis admonished Andres for asking superfluous questions about Ukrainian billionaires involved in that country’s politics. Andres responded in kind, leading to a lengthy heated argument in which the Judge repeatedly criticized Andres.
The nastiness formed the backdrop for the first day of testimony by Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates, who admitted in open court to what he already confessed privately in cutting a deal with the prosecution: he broke the law – often in conjunction with Manafort, and sometimes for his own benefit.
Gates described years of illegal activity on behalf of Manafort while admitting that he flipped on his partner in order to hopefully receive a reduced sentence. According to Gates, he and Manafort had 15 foreign bank accounts they failed to report to the federal government, thus avoiding millions in taxes.
With the slowest news month of the year upon us, this trial is receiving undue attention. Though Manafort did serve as then-candidate Trump’s Campaign Chairman for three months in 2016, the financial crimes with which he is charged in this case are unrelated to his relationship with the President. Nevertheless, this high-profile courtroom drama serves to keep the left’s collusion narrative in the news and serves as a crucial test of the credibility and efficacy of the special counsel probe. Failure to produce a guilty verdict would clearly weaken Mr. Mueller.
It seems clear that the Mueller team is interested in inducing first Gates, then Manafort, to hand them whatever damaging information they might have to offer on Trump. Whether Manafort will suddenly offer up dirt valuable enough to negotiate a deal to reduce his potential prison time or go free is as yet unknown, but there are no indications that he has provided any such information to date.
Far from ignoring this trial, the President went on offense last week on his favorite platform:
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
Gates is scheduled to testify further on Tuesday. Judge Ellis has made a point of speeding the proceedings along as quickly as possible in a trial that most observers have expected to last about two weeks.
Tim Donner and Scott Cosenza of LibertyNation.com discuss the elite media’s meltdown about the President and his supporters following the raucous Trump rally in Florida.
The Uprising – Liberty Nation’s own podcast, hosted by Scott Cosenza and Tim Donner, offers in-depth, incisive and ultimately entertaining commentary.
It all started when Donald Trump became a serious threat to win the Republican presidential nomination. That was when the NeverTrump movement effectively commenced, attracting an informal coalition of establishment war hawks and right-leaning intellectuals and party hacks appalled at the prospect of a vulgarian like Trump seizing control of their party.
You might have thought these people would come to their senses once the choice was narrowed to Trump and Hillary Clinton. But you would be wrong. The anti-Trump venom from this narrow sliver of the right has continued almost unabated through the first 18 months of his presidency.
Never mind that Trump denied the left their dream of a fundamentally transformed America, saved the Supreme Court from leftist control, and vanquished the Clinton dynasty once and for all. Never mind that he has pushed through the first serious tax reform in more than a generation, and ordered massive deregulation – two items always at the top of the conservative agenda. Never mind that this President may well be on track to stabilize the Korean peninsula, or that he forced NATO allies to raise the ante in their own defense, or that he is pushing the envelope hard on getting trade deals more favorable to America. Never mind that the economy is roaring, and jobs abound.
No, none of that matters because Trump’s style is repulsive to the calcified Republicans and conservatives who have looked this gift horse straight in the mouth.
All About Control
It makes one believe that what these NeverTrumpers have really wanted all along is not what they have claimed – the power to effect consequential change in a nation heading for socialism. No, their behavior suggests that all they want is to protect their brand from this declasse interloper – even if it means turning the White House – and the country – over to the left.
Thus it should not be surprising that the de facto leader of the NeverTrump movement, the one-time Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol, is reportedly well along in deciding to challenge President Trump for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination. Seriously. Rumors of his potential candidacy surfaced as early as March of this year, when he attended a “a must-show event for potential presidential contenders” in New Hampshire. He provided the first hints of a candidacy when he told the New York Times in August of 2017, “We need to take one shot at liberating the Republican Party from Trump, and conservatism from Trumpism.”
But Kristol has not stopped at actively considering a run for president. He actually appeared this week on CNN – the home base for NeverTrump Republicans – and offered advice for the Democrats on how to win the upcoming midterm elections. He said they should play up the border separation issue:
“Democrats, in my opinion, should keep the focus on those children, on the families. Our policy change the president ordered that was irresponsible and I think is, you know, wrong, and then also incompetently executed… this is totally irresponsible and reckless governance by the president”
Of course, given that Kristol has become legendary around the DC swamp for his consistently wrong predictions and poor political judgment, we might only hope the Democrats follow his advice.
You may recall that after Trump secured the GOP nomination in 2016, Kristol became a laughingstock when he promised to produce a “serious” challenger to Trump in the general election. But the only possible candidate who materialized was an obscure conservative writer, David French, who ultimately decided not to enter the race anyway. But now, Kristol has somehow convinced himself that Republicans will choose him over the 45th President. That may be even funnier than David French for President.
Perhaps Mr. Kristol, who recently stated that Trump has brought out his own “inner socialist,” just thinks that simply by running for president, he’ll be a hero to his fellow NeverTrump travelers – and the left. Certainly, he would receive all the political advice he needs from washed-up, radical NeverTrump GOP strategists like Ana Navaro, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson, whose acid-tongued denunciations of Trump on TV are just as unhinged as anyone on the left.
Ultimately, Mr. Kristol must be delusional, masochistic, or a primary victim of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), for when Trump is done with him, he will be shrunken to the size of a midget (if he isn’t already), same as “low energy” Jeb Bush, “little” Marco Rubio, “lyin’” Ted Cruz and the other career politicians who were ridiculed, pulverized and dismissed from the stage by the bombastic billionaire.
Now, it may sound ludicrous that a president enjoying near 90% approval from the voters in his own party – higher even than Ronald Reagan – would be challenged in a primary, but then, sanity has never been one of the hallmarks of the NeverTrump movement.
What many have forgotten is that neoconservatives, led by Mr. Kristol, themselves seized control of the Republican party from traditional paleo-conservatives at the turn of this century, and severely degraded the GOP brand by convincing President George W. Bush to engage in the disastrous Iraq War. That gave us eight years of Barack Obama. And now we are supposed to listen to these people when they effectively align themselves with The Resistance by howling into the darkness about the horrors of Donald Trump?
But as the ad says, wait, that’s not all. It seems others are considering a challenge to Trump for the GOP nomination, including Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), acclaimed author Brad Thor – and yes, even the loser in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney. Heck, why not run George Will out there as well? The once-respected conservative scold would certainly receive favorable coverage from his new BFFs on MSNBC and the left. And come to think of it, why not Jennifer Rubin, the insufferable “conservative” columnist for the Washington Post whose voice – and entire countenance – is akin to fingernails on the chalkboard.
There has been much talk of the almost sociopathic rage against Trump on the left. But at least leftists have sound ideological reasons for opposing this President. Not so with NeverTrump Republicans and conservatives, whose thirst to wall off their party from the deplorables has unmasked them as nothing more than control freaks and ingrates enamored of their own vanishing importance.
We discuss the real reason Putin supported Trump. Plus, a trio of authors from LibertyNation.com join us – Leesa K. Donner on the rise – and fall? – of the godfather of the left, George Soros…Gabi Fiorino on the serious health risks from the growing epidemic of sleep deprivation….and Scott Cosenza on a pair of shocking decisions by the left-wing Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.