Mueller’s Investigation is working with a Grand Jury

I don’t talk about this often enough, but the Mueller investigation is getting seriously deep. Not only has it expanded it’s scope beyond the election but now Mueller is investigating Trumps financial records, allegedly because of possible connections between them and the campaign discrepancies.

And now he’s asked a Grand Jury for help. 

What this means is that Mueller, and more specifically the Grand Jury, can now charge people involved in any possible Russian manipulation of the election, as well as subpoena documents the Special Prosecutor may not get access to otherwise, and force witnesses to testify under oath. It’s also the red line for Trump.

Trump has repeatedly said that if Mueller goes after his financial records, or goes beyond the scope of his investigation into the election, he will move to have him fired. And if he does Republican Senators have warned him that it will be the “beginning of the end of the Trump Presidency” says Sen. Lindsey Graham.

I don’t necessarily see Trump going through with this, notwithstanding his personal avoidance of firing people himself (regardless of what the Apprentice would have you believe) removing Mueller now would require the Assistant Attorney General to do so, and it would need to be because Mueller was acting without “good cause”. Naturally no one would buy that, and as Sen. Graham said, it would mark the end of the Trump presidency. Fear could well hold him back.

Regardless it should be pointed out if there is something there (and I can’t really assume that there is, not for lack of trying but mostly because all the people involved seem so goddamn dumb) the investigation will likely last at least another eight months, if not more, and then if it goes to impeachment the proceedings would then take even more time. I don’t see Trump leaving before his four years unless he voluntarily does it, which would be tantamount to declaring defeat and that ain’t happening anytime soon.

White House Administration endorses new Immigration Bill

Trump stood with Senators Cotton and Perdue to declare his support for a new immigration bill, which they claim would reorient their current immigration system into a merit based operation, with a sharp limit on who, where, and how many, could enter. In the wake of this, Steven Miller (yes that one) went to the White House briefing to reaffirm the administrations support for the bill. He then proceeded to pick fights with two journalists and remind everyone why he doesn’t go on air very often.

Regardless of Millers actions, this is a concern simply because there is no discernible proof that any of their claims are realistic. Cotton claims this bill ill firmly place the American Government on the side of the working people, rather than immigrants but there is simply no proof that that is the case: immigrants typically commit less crimes, start more businesses and pay their taxes better than the native born, in addition to working harder at what would be considered lesser jobs by native workers. What this really does is reaffirm the Administrations and the Republican Party’s commitment to the narrative of white disenfranchisement and abandonment. And this won’t fix the issue, they won’t work the same jobs as the immigrants, the opioid crisis won’t disappear because there were less immigrants and the economy won’t shoot up just because there were less immigration.

That’s just not how this works.

The Repeals Dead…again

The Skinny Bill has been defeated and McCain has confirmed his ‘Maverick’ reputation.

To clarify, The Health Care Freedom Act, and aren’t republicans just so damn original, was voted on in the early hours of Thursday night in America, with McCain giving his vote at the end of the night. And it was so. Damn. Dramatic. 

Say what you will, man knows how to work a room.

Anyway with this Repeal’s been defeated, for now anyway. Regardless of what’s happened the republican party has been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years, and that’s not a commitment that just gets forgotten. It’s likely the Trump administration will do their level best to sabotage Obamacare, the subsidies and such, hard-line conservative (caucuses and think-tanks alike) will continue to push for this, most likely for years.

Still I don’t doubt McConnell is looking forward to Tax reform right now. Who knows? Might even pass something.

Short Update: 27 July edition

So, a couple of things have happened and I’m still sorting through them. For starters, the GOP healthcare bill is officially, kinda sorta alive. Its being debated, and despite McCain’s admonishing of the senate, it doesn’t look like much has changed in terms of process. Secondly, Trump is coming after Sessions, whether that’s to fire him in an attempt to remove Mueller or just general dissatisfaction I can’t really say. Trump isn’t predictable but he’s also spiteful enough to remove someone (read: Comey) if they’re not overtly loyal to him.

Oh, and Trump is trying to ban transgenders from the military. Because reasons. No one is impressed.

So in order:

  1. Healthcare’s annoying but currently it doesn’t look like any of the bills are going to pass. A lot of the Republican senate seems to be eyeing the so called ‘Skinny repeal’ as their out, and whether that will go anywhere is up to debate. Literally, in this case, with the Vote-a-rama coming up, and the open amendment period which everyone is seemingly going to use.
  2. The Sessions issue is just weird. Trumps dissatisfaction with his Attorney General is well known, but attacking one of his cabinet members in an interview, openly discussing removing him, and being publicly rebuffed by the Senate in response, all of this just reminds me that Trump really is a weird and disconcerting President. Which leads to point three:
  3. Trumps trying to ban Transgenders from the military was announced via twitter (because of course it was), and apparently blindsided everyone. It’s not law yet, officially, and apparently some people are going to go to court about it if it does, but honestly? I think he just saw something on Fox and Friends and responded. He does that.

It’s been a weird day.

 

Citations:
Politico: Sessions powerful friends stand up to Trump 
Politico: Skinny Repeal Lacks Votes 
Vox: Trumps Ban on Transgenders is annoying Everybody

Democrats Release New Platform

In preparation for the 2018 electoral races, the Democratic Party has released it’s newest economic platform, campaigning on economic concerns which they believe hold more sway with rural and working voters, and eschewing in large part the social issues which may have alienated them during the 2016 election.

The platform focuses on a $15 dollar minimum wage, job growth and focusing on combating corporate consolidation and using antitrust laws to promote competition and small business growth, via preventing excessive mergers. Given the concerns a number of people have regarding corporate mergers and takeovers, this may not be a bad platform.

While some are concerned regarding the lack focus regarding social issues, I do think the party leaders have a point. It’s important that equality for the LGBT community, advances regarding racism inherent in a number of systems, protecting women’s right to choose, all these are important issues that must be pushed for, especially in the current political climate. They also sell much better in cites; rural areas frankly don’t care for them. And this has hurt democrats, as many of these more rural areas and counties believe that Democrats simply on’t share their values and priorities. Focusing on economics could well be the boost the left needs to recapture a significant part of the legislature, and from there move forward with a better agenda.

Having a broad economic message gives red state democrats and rural voters something to agree on; let the cities focus on the social issues.

 

Citation:
Politico: Democrats Move away from Social Issues with New Platform

Spicers gone, Scaramucci is in

Yeah, so this happened on Friday.

Scaramucci was chosen by Trump as the new head of the Communications Office, apparently with the blessing of Ivanka and Kushner, and in response Spicer resigned in protest. I’m not sure whether to be amused or pitying.

Seriously, this is what broke the camels back? He mocks you, discredits you, prevents you from meeting the Pope (the guys an ardent Catholic),  but electing this guy as Communications Director sends you out the door? Apparently he thought he was getting the top job officially, so I suppose that would be a tipping point.

Still not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this. On one hand, did Spicer really deserve all the problems he got, the humiliations and so forth? Nah, not really. Was he an unmitigated asshole, who caused problems for himself and really should have known better to trust Trump, regardless of his party affiliation? Yeah, probably.

Eh, whatever, see what happens next on healthcare I guess.

 

Citation:
Politico: Sean Spicer’s Final 24 Hours

The BCRA and the Repeal Bill aren’t dead yet, though that might not make a difference

Okay so maybe I spoke too soon. 

Currently the Republican senate (seeing as they still refuse to cooperate with the Democrats, who still refuse to cooperate with the Republicans so long as repeal is on the table) is moving forward with two bills (technically four), the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA 2.0 with the Cruz Amendment) and its subsidiaries (the original, and 2.0 without the Cruz Amendment), and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA), both (all) of which lack the votes necessary to pass. This is especially true with John McCain’s recent diagnosis of brain cancer, leaving it in doubt whether he will be returning to the Senate for next weeks session or beyond.

As such it must be noted that for each bill Republicans can only afford to lose one senator, and each bill currently has at least three guaranteed no votes – the BCRA has Senators Collin, Lee, Moran and Paul, with the ORRA has Senators Collin (again), Capito, Murkowski and possibly more, given the context of this particular piece.

To explain, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act was passed and sent to the Oval Office before, this was just in 2015 when Obama was in office. Naturally it was vetoed as everyone expected, Obama was certainly never going to dismantle his signature legislation. The difference now is there’s a Republican President in office, which means now there are actually consequences if this bill passes. So naturally some people are skittish about a bill that would leave 32 Million people without healthcare actually passing.

So Trumpcare ain’t dead yet. Still there’s currently no real option regarding the healthcare situation, certainly none with any real chance of passing right now, so there’s every chance that these bills (one of them anyway) may be sent to the senate floor simply to die.

 

Citation:
Vox: A guide to the Healthcare Bill