Reporting in the New York Times today:
- John Bolton requested military options to strike Iran from the Pentagon last year. This is at a time when the President needs a distraction from his growing problems with the Mueller investigation and leaks that he was 1) being investigated early on in the administration over ties to Russia, and 2) destroyed the translator notes from the private meeting with Putin in Helsinki. Bolton’s request reportedly “alarmed” Mattis. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should read “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone” https://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Life-Emerald-City-Inside/dp/0307278832. One of the most disturbing thing about this article is the reporting that Bolton has virtually eliminated “the internal policy debates that could air high-level disagreements.” Bolton wants only his arguments before Trump, and Bolton wants a war.
- The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, went to Turkey last week and asked Erdogan for an agreement that Turkey would not attack the Kurds if the U.S. withdrew from Syria. Erdogan refused to even see Pompeo and ridiculed the proposition.
- Schumer (I don’t know how) is supposed to force some kind of vote on the lifting of the Deripaska sanctions in exchange for Deripaska relinquishing some shares of his companies.
- Trump is openly threatening Michael Cohen’s father-in-law with government investigation. Intimidating a witness is a felony.
- The VA is planning to shift “billions of dollars from government-run veterans’ hospitals to private health care providers.” The Koch brothers have long funded efforts to privatize veteran’s health care. I don’t think the Koch brothers have any humanitarian interest in veterans.
- Within hours of being elected, California’s new governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order proposing a plan which would allow California to negotiate with drug manufacturers.
- Confirmation hearings for William Barr will begin tomorrow. Barr has a long history of “advancing an aggressive, expansive conception of presidential power.” Barr has also advertised his opinion that Trump virtually cannot obstruct justice and certainly did not do so when he fired Jim Comey. The question here is whether Democrats can muster the cajones to ask Barr the tough questions that are necessary.
- Barr needs to recuse himself. Whitaker needs to recuse himself. So the question is who will make him? Whitaker has just refused to recuse himself and ignore demands that he do so.
- Barr recommended that HW Bush pardon Reagan administration officials convicted in or implicated in the Iran/Contra scandal. Bush did so.
- A lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel resigned last week because she could no longer give cover to the President’s behavior.
I still don’t understand why Rod Rosenstein is quitting. I still don’t understand why he wrote the letter used to fire Comey.