GOP Senator John Kennedy Slams Trump For Tweeting

GOP Senator John Kennedy (LA) appearing on CNN’s State of the Union show, took a rare swipe at President Trump over his twitter habits saying Trump “tweeting a little less will not cause brain damage.”

Senator Kennedy was responding to a question by host Jake Tapper about Trump tweeting out the name of the alleged Ukrainegate whistleblower.

Sen Kennedy responded, “I have enough trouble paddling my own canoe but I do agree with Mrs Trump[Melania], and I’ve suggested before to the White House that if the President would tweet a little bit less, it won’t cause brain damage. But the President does not have to take my advice nor do I expect him to.”

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it is that President Trump does not take kindly to criticism, regardless of its source or validity. It will be interesting to see how he handles Sen Kennedy’s clever jab about his tweeting habits.

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Conway Versus Blitzer On Marriage And Politics

In case you missed it, an interesting feud played out on cable tv the other day when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer brought in President Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway to discuss the ongoing impeachment hearings and asked Conway to respond to her husband’s critical comments about President Trump–her boss.

Kellyanne Conway, understandably, took issue with Blitzer’s line of questioning and slammed the professionalism of both Blitzer and CNN. Specifically, Conway fired back saying, “What you [Blitzer] just quoted is said every single day by other voices. But you wanted to put it in my husband’s voice because you think somehow that that will help your ratings, or that you are really sticking it to Kellyanne Conway. And let me make it very clear, you didn’t stick it to Kellyanne Conway. I think you embarrassed yourself. And I’m embarrassed for you because this is CNN now? I looked up to you when I was in college and law school. I would turn on CNN to see what Wolf Blitzer had to say about war, famine, disruption abroad. I really respected you for all those years as somebody who would give us the news and now the news is what somebody’s husband says on a different network?” Suffice it to say, Conway got really ticked off by Blitzer injecting her husband into the debate and seriously counter-punched–probably a lesson from her boss.

For the record, Blitzer did not take Conway’s punishing blows lying down. He offered a plausible defense arguing that the famous political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin were always questioned about their differing political views and never once got “sensitive” about it. This good comeback by Blitzer compelled Conway to force a smile, adding, “I’m not in a sensitive discussion….I’m smiling.” Conway’s a character folks!!

Bottom line, is it ever proper to question a politician or government employee about their spouse’s political positions, especially where, as here, they have diametrically opposite views? Was Kellyanne Conway justified in both getting offended and slamming Blitzer and CNN for lack of professionalism, or was Blitzer’s question fair game given Conway’s line of work? Simply put, where’s the line folks when it comes to marriage and politics?

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Did Kevin McCarthy Have An Affair With Congresswoman Renee Ellmers?

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Former Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

During the last few days the public has been inundated by unflattering mainstream media reports about Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-CA). This started when nude photos of her surfaced online showing her engaged in an affair with one of her female campaign staffers. Rep Hill initially defended her conduct, blaming the release of the photos on what she alleged was her spiteful ex-husband out to ruin her career. Her biggest problem however was not the fact that her nude photos had been published against her will, but rather that they proved she was engaged in an affair with her campaign staffer–a violation of congressional code of conduct. With Speaker Pelosi, a known disciplinarian at the helm, Rep Hill read the tea leaves and correctly opted for resignation.

With Rep Hill’s resignation however, new questions are emerging about an explosive story that first surfaced in 2015 regarding an alleged long term romantic affair between Rep Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and then Rep Renee Ellmers (R-NC) both of whom were married with children at the time (Ellmers no longer serving). Rep Kevin McCarthy was considered by many of his House Republican colleagues as the natural replacement for then outgoing Speaker John Boehner.

Many of Rep McCarthy’s Republican supporters did not give much credence to the rumors about an extramarital affair and he was still considered the heavy favorite to succeed Speaker Boehner. However in a strange and shocking twist, right before the votes were cast for the Speakership, Rep McCarthy took himself out of contention (withdrew)–something his colleagues reasonably interpreted as an admission of guilt. In the end, Paul Ryan succeeded John Boehner as the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Both Reps McCarthy and Ellmers vehemently denied the allegations, with Ellmers calling them “batsh*t crazy” and adding, “As someone who has been targeted by completely false accusations and innuendo, I have been moved by the outpouring of support and prayers from my colleagues, constituents and friends. Now I will be praying for those who find it acceptable to bear false witness.”

Yours Truly will not go out on a limb and accuse the two members of congress of having an extramarital affair based on the 2015 allegations. However, given the recent Katie Hill resignation, reasonable people will agree that someone needs to look into these allegations so as to establish conclusively that there was no affair between McCarthy and Ellmers. Nothing in the media reports suggest that there was any investigation into the allegations against these two members of congress. The media simply accepted their denials as fact.

In addition to that, reasonable people will also agree that Rep McCarthy’s abrupt decision not to pursue the Speakership gives these allegations some modicum of weight. Why would Rep McCarthy relinquish a position as cherished as the House Speakership simply because someone was spreading baseless rumors about him? Surely this knee-jerk reaction by Rep McCarthy flies in the face of Rep Ellmers’ characterization of the rumors as “batsh*t crazy”.

Bottom line folks, Rep Katie Hill was a young and very promising member of congress whose political career came to a crushing halt because she exercised poor judgement while serving. It is only fair that Reps McCarthy be held to the same standard, and if found to have similarly exercised poor judgement while serving, be shown the exit door. Congressional code of conduct is meaningless if the public views it as only applicable to one political party and not the other.

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SCOTUS Packing–The Ultimate Dem Troll Topic

Republicans have lately celebrated Trump’s uncanny ability to endlessly troll Democrats, driving them absolutely nuts whether that be through his tweets, wacky things he says, insults etc. Strangely, it is this unique quality that endears Trump to some of his most ardent fans. Well it turns out Democrats have lately discovered their own ultimate GOP troll topic and that is the idea of Supreme Court packing--raising the number of Supreme Court seats from the current 9 to 11 seats(some even proposing 15). Folks if you ever want to piss off/get even with a Trump-Republican, just bring up the Supreme Court packing topic. You might have to run for cover.

There are many reasons why Trump Republicans find the idea of Supreme Court packing so offensive. The most obvious is the fact that a lot of conservatives who backed Trump in 2016 essentially suspended all their long-held principles using the argument “it’s all about the Supreme Court.” Therefore the thought that they may have made this huge sacrifice for nothing is very troubling to them and understandably so.

There is also the issue of practicality. America is growing diverse with every single passing day while the GOP is getting older and Whiter. Unless the GOP makes a very dramatic shift soon, a reasonable inference can be made that the Democratic Party will fare better under a more diverse electorate than the GOP. In other words if the current demographics trajectory continues, the Democratic Party benefits more electorally than the GOP. More importantly, it means in the very near future we will have a conservative Supreme Court that will be out of step with the country’s political majority.

This will create the perfect climate for the party in power(presumably Democrats) to “do something” about a Supreme Court that’s “not in step” with the rest of the country. In other words, whereas Supreme Court packing appears a radical topic at this juncture, a lot of Republicans know it may not be as radical in the very near future. As a matter of fact a group of Democratic Senators recently made this exact argument in a recent filing with the Supreme Court–that the American public will soon demand changes at the High Court.

The fact that smart Republicans know Supreme Court packing is actually a very practical proposal is driving them nuts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans have worked so hard and employed a lot of chicanery in the process (Gorsuch & Kavanaugh) to achieve a conservative Supreme Court. The prospect of all this “hard work” going to waste when Democrats pack the Supreme Court is understandably annoying. You recently saw how super Trump-Republican Lindsey Graham blew a gasket over Supreme Court packing talk

Bottom line folks, whether Supreme Court packing is a topic Democrats are just throwing out there to piss off Trump-Republicans or one they are actively working on remains to be seen. Yours Truly is certainly enjoying the heartburn this ultimate Dem troll topic is causing Trump-Republicans. Maybe, just maybe, this will cause Senate Republicans to deal fairly with Democrats in the unfortunate event that Trump is called upon to fill yet another Supreme Court seat.

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Republican FEC Commissioners Blocking Probe Into NRA-Russia Ties

In Yesterday’s MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub dropped the bombshell revelation that Republican Commissioners blocked efforts by the agency to investigate whether Russia funnelled money through the NRA to support Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. This if proven would be extremely reprehensible conduct by the FEC Commisioners. The relevant Maddow segment is available here.

According to the FEC website, the Republican FEC Commisioners who have served since 2017(Trump’s presidency) are Matthew S. Petersen, Caroline C. Hunter and Lee E. Goodman. It is therefore safe to assume that these are the three Republican Commissioners Chair Weintraub was referring to when she spoke to Maddow.

Bottom line folks, we are increasingly seeing efforts by seemingly upstanding Republicans to stall investigations into what Russia did in the 2016 elections. I’m sure many people who know these FEC Commissioners view them as upstanding citizens who would always do what is in the best interests of the United States. We must however not suspend our skepticism over Trump-GOP’s continuing ties to Russia and where, as here, serious questions have been raised about Commissioners Petersen, Hunter, and Goodman, we can only hope that the mainstream media and Democrats will hold them to account regarding their very questionable conduct.

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Only 9% Of Kentuckians Donating To McConnell’s Campaign

Democrat Amy McGrath’s Senatorial camoaign has just landed on some very exciting news in the form of a Courier-Journal piece which says of the $3 million Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised in the last quarter, only 9% came from Kentucky donors–the people he purportedly represents in the U.S. Senate. It turns out, according to the piece that a huge chunk of Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign dollars came from big corporate donors in New York and Texas. This is not a good story for Mitch McConnell especially given the fact that his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath is raising most of her money from grassroots Kentucky voters. McGrath’s campaign knows it and have seized upon this report as is evidenced from her Tweet below.

It is well known in politics that while donations are a good indicator of political energy in a campaign, one should not read too much into them. In this particular case, a forceful argument can be made that because Amy McGrath is getting most of her donations from grassroots Kentucky voters as opposed to big corporate interests, she is more attuned to the local Kentucky voter than her rival Mitch McConnell. This is certainly a good start for Amy McGrath and hopefully she can build on this message that she is the “candidate for Kentuckians” as opposed to Mitch McConnell who is bankrolled by corporate interests from out of state. The fact that McConnell has been in Washington for eternity also plays in Amy McGrath’s favor because she can forcefully make the case that Washington is broken and needs a fresh face to fix it.

Bottom line the Kentucky Senate race is undoubtedly one of the marque races in 2020 alongside Maine(Susan Collins) and Texas (John Cornyn). Coincidentally, an almost similar story came out a few months ago about Senator Collins saying that most of her campaign contributions are coming from corporate donors outside Maine and that her approval numbers in Maine are way below what they have consistently been for years. Will 2020 be the end of the political careers of the two Washington veterans McConnell and Collins? Their polling and campaign contribution patterns certainly seem to suggest so. Is Yours Truly reading too much into early poll numbers and campaign contributions? Time will tell or as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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C.J. Roberts Set To Rule On Ethics Complaints Against Kavanaugh

An interesting piece by CNN Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic says Justice Brett Kavanaugh is not yet in the clear regarding the various ethics complaints that were lodged against him before he ascended to the U.S. Supreme Court

According to the CNN piece, following the dismissal of all the 83 ethics complaints filed against Kavanaugh, some of them were appealed and now rest with Chief Justice John Roberts. This means it is Chief Justice Roberts who will make the final decision on the ethics complaints.

Many people including Yours Truly thought the issue with the ethics complaints was long settled after the lower court dismissed them because Kavanaugh was no longer a federal appeals court justice. Turns out per CNN’s Joan Biskupic, Justice Kavanaugh is not off the hook yet.

Bottom line, the explosive circumstances surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation means Chief Justice Roberts cannot just ignore the ethical complaints. He will have to address these complaints for the sake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s integrity. According to the CNN piece there is no time limit as to when we should expect a verdict from Chief Justice Roberts so to borrow Maddow’s phrase, watch this space.

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Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Implicated In Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Scheme

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The Miami Herald reports that a ruling by a federal appeals court in New York(2nd Circuit) has dramatically increased the chances that documents related to Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein’s sex case will soon be unsealed. Importantly, some of the documents at issue could draw a direct link between Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Hotel.

According to the Miami Herald piece, one of Epstein’s key accomplices in the sex trafficking scheme, a British socialite named Ghislaine Maxwell, recruited then 16 year old Virginia Roberts Giuffre who was working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago spa to become a masseuse for Epstein. Giuffre alleges that she was later made to engage in several sex acts by people in Epstein’s circle including famous Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz. According to Giuffre, Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell used the masseuse pitch to lure numerous other underage girls as young as 13, into their sex trafficking operation where they were sexually assaulted by influential people in Epstein’s circle.

British Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pictured above with Jeffrey Epstein

After Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s explosive allegations, Ghislaine Maxwell called her a liar. Guiffre sued Maxwell in 2015 for slander. Maxwell settled the lawsuit in 2017 resulting in Guiffre getting paid millions. It is documents in this settled lawsuit that the Miami Herald and other U.S. media houses want unsealed, and appear close to victory. Ghislaine Maxwell is opposing release of the said records. Apparently the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has given Maxwell until March 19, 2019 to show cause as to why documents in the lawsuit should not be made public.

If the federal appeals court goes on to unseal these documents, which at this juncture appears a certainty, this would be devastating news for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hotel, especially if multiple minors from the hotel were channeled into Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.

Bottom line, as Yours Truly said in an earlier post, the Epstein sex case is one that begs for sunlight. It is in everybody’s interest, including Epstein, that everything involved in his sex trafficking scheme be exposed even if that means granting him immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony. Simply put, Epstein’s victims should not be denied justice simply because Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme may have implicated powerful politicians from both sides of the political divide.

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