Friday, June 14, 2019

Trump Tries to Climb Out of the Dirt

POTUS in damage control mode after saying he would take Russian election help.

My take: The president’s remarks will likely go down in history as among his most outrageous and controversial from his term.  Really, they are some of the most remarkable things any incumbent president has said in modern times. Although many Republicans on Capitol Hill uncharacteristically broke openly with Trump, they are in fact significantly more troubled by them privately than what their public comments suggested.  That almost certainly includes Mitch McConnell, even as the leader defended Trump on Fox over the comments.

Politico wrote no fewer than eight stories about what Trump said.  The statements are sure to dominate the news at least through the Sunday shows.

Trump’s bizarre tweets trying to defend himself by invoking his meetings with officials in the UK and the hard White House spin were acknowledgments that what the president said was beyond just problematic.

It would be nice to think that there would be consequences for Trump for this.  It makes impeachment incrementally more likely.  It adds to the private incredulity Senate Republicans have about the president’s character and political smarts.  Let’s see if the public engages on the matter.

Strong Op-Ed in Favor of Impeachment

Clinton, Obama adviser Todd Stern pens powerful case that Pelosi is wrong.

Another Sign of Warren Rise

California poll puts her above home state’s Harris.

My take: We are seeing a tipping point in real time in the Democratic nomination race. The chief animating question for the field is no longer, “How do we bring Joe Biden down to earth?” (although that is still a strong number two).  The main question now is, “How do we slow down Elizabeth Warren?” 

With the other women candidates failing to break out (the significance of Harris’ weak standing in that Cally poll and her potential fundraising struggles are not to be understated), Sanders’ poll numbers stalled, and Buttigieg still looking to build broader support, Warren continues to demonstrate polling, media, issue, and fundraising strength that makes her the undisputed momentum candidate right now.

On the current trajectory, it is not impossible that Warren could rise enough to create the impression that the contest is effectively a two-person race by the fall.  That isn’t a prediction, but it is now a real prospect. The other candidates in the field have to decide if they should continue to focus on Biden, or switch their focus to Warren.

The right choice isn’t clear.  Right now, Warren’s rise is good for Biden; for one thing, it helps him coalesce support from the establishment, which largely doesn’t want her to become the nominee. If she rises any higher, we will reach another tipping point and her ascent will be dangerous enough for Biden that he might be the one who has to go after the Massachusetts Senator.

Biden Did Not Have a Good Thursday

Abortion video, Beto attack previews frontrunner’s future.

My take: The former VP is going to face more of what he got as the week closed: opposition research drops (a 2006 video showing him talking about his skepticism of abortion rights is problematic) and aggressive attacks from his Democratic rivals (O’Rourke openly assailing Biden as a man of the past on “Morning Joe” crosses a dangerous tripwire). 

Team Biden and the candidate himself continue to do an effective job staying above the fray, and the media surprisingly continues to minimize the coverage of these types of developments.  But the day is almost certainly coming when Biden will be on-camera facing a crucible moment.

Top sports story: Raptors win in 6, Kawhi wins his second Finals MVP 

ESPN

Top business story: Stocks drop as Middle East tensions rise

Wall Street Journal

Top entertainment story: Taylor Swift releases a pro-GLAAD single and details about her upcoming album

Pitchfork

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