Saturday, October 19, 2019


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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question: Did Donald Trump’s support from congressional Republicans meaningful drop this past week?

Answer: Here is what is on the “yes” side:

Washington Post: “Growing number of Republicans struggle to defend Trump on G-7 choice, Ukraine and Syria”

(“There’s now a growing sense among a quiet group of Republicans that the president is playing with fire, taking their loyalty for granted as they’re forced to ‘defend the indefensible,’ as a senior House Republican said.”)

The Associated Press: “Shifting explanations for withholding aid draw GOP alarm”

Mitch McConnell, succinctly laying out the case against the president’s Syria “policy” in a Washington Post op ed.

Bret Stephens’ column, succinctly laying out the case against the president’s Ukrainian “policy.”

And/but here is what the New York Times’ Carl Hulse (a/k/a the 101st Senator) writes:

“Republicans said they did not detect a significant shift that would pose a serious threat to the president in the Senate. It would require 20 Republicans to side with Democrats in convicting Mr. Trump, and few observers believe that will happen.”

So: Meaningful, yes. Decisive? No.

Or: not yet.

****

Question: Is Donald Trump going to stand by and with Rudy Giuliani through thick and thin?

Answer: If the House Democrats succeed with an impeachment strategy that convinces the public that Trump is responsible for everything that Rudy did in the last three years, the president is going to face a very difficult decision.

Or: maybe an easy one.

****

Questions: Why did Mick Mulvaney say what he said about a quid pro quo and is his job safe?

Answers: No idea, and probably for now (if only because how would the president possibly fill the slot with someone else better (or, at least, more to his liking) at this critical time?

(Yes, I know I answered the question with a question.  What’s wrong with that?)

Maybe we will all have a better answer to these two questions on Sunday, when Mulvaney is scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday.

****

Question: Will the G-7 be held at Trump’s Doral property next year?

Answer: Now that the Wall Street Journal editorial board has weighed in firmly against the decision, and linked the choice to the president’s reelection chances (“It guarantees that Mr. Trump’s press coverage next June, five months before the 2020 election, will include constant accusations of self-dealing.”), I would say the odds are greater than 50% it gets moved.

And the odds are greater than 10% that that announcement is made on Fox News Sunday.  Congressional Republicans need a bone from the White House.

****

Question: While we wait for Fox News Sunday and presidential tweets, what is the marquee political event in America Saturday?

Answer:  Bernie Sanders rallies with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Queens at 1pm. The “Bernie is Back” event also will include Michael Moore.

Sanders needs to show he is back in terms of his health and back politically to change the media’s narrative from a two-person race to a three-person race.  It will be interesting to see how powerful the AOC nod is.

****

Question: Is the extraordinary Hillary Clinton-Tulsi Gabbard back and forth good or bad for the Democrats’ chances of beating Donald Trump next year?

Answer: Given that the New York Post and Donald Trump love it, I would say it probably is not great for the Democrats.

Unless, of course, Clinton’s accusations are true and she is heading off the scheme at the pass.

****

Question: What other Hillary Clinton story needs to be memorialized in Wide World of News?

Answer: The State Department probe into Clinton’s email practices ended with a whimper and the determination that there was no deliberate mishandling of sensitive information.

****

Top sports story: Yankees follow CC Sabathia’s lead and get to play another day

Yankees 4, Astros 1

Astros lead series 3-2

New York Post

Top business story: Johnson Threatens No Deal If MPs Don’t Back Him

Bloomberg

Top entertainment story: Quentin Tarantino Won’t Recut ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ for China

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