'He is a destroyer': how the George Floyd protests left Donald Trump exposed

'He is a destroyer': how the George Floyd protests left Donald Trump exposedAs cities reel under protest and violence, Black Lives Matter leaders say the president has failed his country * George Floyd protests: live coverage * Robert Reich: the Trump presidency is over“Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims. I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon – and I mean very soon – come to an end.”These were the words of Donald Trump, not in May 2020 but July 2016, as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the national convention in Cleveland. For many observers, there was a distinct echo of Richard Nixon’s 1968 acceptance speech – “We see cities enveloped in smoke and flame” – and a foreboding that history could take a newly dark and dangerous turn.For three years, the first president elected without political or military experience rode his luck and skirted past disaster. In the fourth year, the fates demanded payback.Not even Trump’s harshest critics can blame him for a virus believed to have come from a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, nor for an attendant economic collapse, nor for four centuries of slavery, segregation, police brutality and racial injustice.But they can, and do, point to how he made a bad situation so much worse. The story of Trump’s presidency was arguably always leading to this moment, with its toxic mix of weak moral leadership, racial divisiveness, crass and vulgar rhetoric and an erosion of norms, institutions and trust in traditional information sources. Taken together, these ingredients created a tinderbox poised to explode when crises came.Trump, they say, was uniquely ill-qualified for this moment. He tried to wish away the threat of the coronavirus and failed to prepare, then paid no heed to how communities of colour bore the brunt of its health and economic consequences. As unrest now grips dozens of cities, he speaks an authoritarian language of “thugs”, “vicious dogs” and “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.The nation waits in vain for a speech that might heal wounds, find a common sense of purpose and acknowledge the generational trauma of African Americans. That would require deep reading, cultural sensitivity and human empathy – none of which are known to be among personal attributes of Trump, who defines himself in opposition to Barack Obama.“He is obviously in way over his head,” said LaTosha Brown, a civil rights activist and co-founder of Black Voters Matter.“He doesn’t have a clue. He’s a TV personality. He has a cult following that’s centred around this white power broker persona rooted in white supremacy and racism. Wherever he goes, he carries that role and that kind of persona, but ultimately right now with what we’re looking for in this country is real leadership. He is incapable of providing that because that’s not who he is.”Brown added: “He’s a personality. He’s used to these dog whistles and, instead of trying to uproot division and seeing that the citizens are actually in pain and hurting, he doesn’t have the capacity to address that. He actually adds fuel to the flames and shows how fundamentally intellectually disconnected he is from what is happening and also how ill-prepared he is as a leader to respond to that.”Trump is not much a child playing with matches as an arsonist hellbent on burning it all down, Brown warned.“If it would take the destruction of the country for him to protect his position, he is willing to do that. He has shown that he is willing to kill every single thing in this country, including its people, if it protects him.> He’s willing to kill democracy. He is willing to kill any sense of real respect or trust in his government> > LaTosha Brown“He’s willing to kill democracy. He is willing to kill any sense of real respect or trust in his government. He is willing to kill America’s international and global relationships. He is a destroyer.”Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group, said of the current moment: “This is the type of controversy that Trump feels most at home in.“He didn’t create hostility and division, but he incites it. He creates incentives for it to thrive. He has elevated and put people around him that do that as well.”The president’s suggestion of moral equivalence between white nationalists and anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 failed to loosen his grip on the Republican party. Perhaps it tightened. At the start of this re-election year, feeling emboldened by his acquittal in a Senate impeachment trial and a robust economy, Trump was confident of his re-election chances.Now, with health, economic and social crises feeding off each other, polls show him trailing rival Joe Biden. But the situation remains volatile and unpredictable. The president has sought to scapegoat anti-fascist protesters, and there would be little surprise if he returned to Nixonian law-and-order rhetoric to rally Republicans and lay a trap for Democrats, portraying them as “soft on crime”.“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, even as protesters gathered outside the White House for the third straight day. “These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”Biden has billed the election as a battle for the soul of the nation – the potential to lurch deeper into disarray with a second Trump term, or to reset, rebuild and plot a new direction. The stakes keep getting higher by the day.Robinson said: “Presidential leadership, when it comes in the form of real action, is incredibly important.“When a leader can hear the demand and the concerns and work to solve the problem, that’s the power of democracy. President Trump is not interested in either. He’s not interested in leading or solving problems. Like a lot of things he does, he’s treating this as a game.“The problem here is that we can focus this simply on Trump or we can also focus on all of those folks that have enabled Trump: the Republican leadership, the corporation that may make statements in support of this work but, on the other hand, do all sorts of things to prop up, support, donate to Donald Trump. You don’t get Trump and Trumpism without a whole host of institutions and individuals that support and enable him.”DeRay Mckesson, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, said: “Nobody’s a magician, so I don’t expect Biden to change everything on day one, but the demands should be for him to change as much of this by the end as humanly possible.“If Trump has reminded us of anything, it’s that the government can move as fast as it wants to and nobody, no person of colour, no poor person is going to win if Trump is the president again. So I’m not interested in Trump. I am interested in a plan from Biden’s team around ending police violence. I think that needs to come now. I think it is, frankly, late, and I’m hoping to see it soon.”Trump’s unconventional inaugural address in January 2017 is best remembered for a single phrase: “American carnage”. His entire presidency may be remembered for it too.


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Pentagon's No. 2 IG official resigns after being passed over

Pentagon's No. 2 IG official resigns after being passed overThe No. 2 official in the Pentagon's office of inspector general, Glenn Fine, resigned Tuesday, several weeks after he was effectively removed as head of a special board to oversee auditing of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package. On May 15, Trump fired the State Department's inspector general, Steve Linick, whose office was critical of what it saw as political bias in the State Department’s management. In April, Trump also fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who forwarded to Congress a whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to the president’s impeachment in the House.


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Dem Group EMILY’s List Is Meddling in a GOP Primary—Hoping to Boost a Trumper

Dem Group EMILY’s List Is Meddling in a GOP Primary—Hoping to Boost a TrumperDemocratic super PACs are reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending against a conservative House candidate in New Mexico. But a closer look at the television ads and direct mail pieces suggest that the groups are actually looking to boost her candidacy at the expense of a wealthier, more business-friendly primary opponent.“New Mexico Republicans have to choose,” declared a mail piece sent last week by the super PAC Women Vote, which is affiliated with the progressive-leaning women’s group EMILY’s List.The mailer offers recipients two options in the competitive primary in New Mexico’s second district: Claire Chase, who it labels a “Santa Fe corporate lobbyist” who “called Trump an a**hole,” or Yvette Herrell, who it says is “100% loyal to President Trump” and has earned the endorsements of “eleven pro-gun sheriffs and Cowboys for Trump.”The mail piece appears designed to boost Herrell’s prospects in next week’s GOP primary contest, where loyalty to Trump has been the central issue of the campaign. But for accounting purposes, Women Vote has described the mailer differently. The only expenditures in the race the group has reported to the Federal Election Commission are about $23,000 on mailers opposing both Herrell and Chase.Both candidates have pledged their fealty to Trump. But each has accused the other of insufficient loyalty to the president. Chase, the former head of New Mexico’s oil and gas lobby, endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Carly Fiorina during the 2016 presidential election in a Facebook post, subsequently unearthed by Breitbart News, that dubbed Trump an “a**hole unworthy of the office.” She’s since recanted that view. Chase “voted for President Trump in the general, celebrated his election, supports him now and thinks he has done a great job as President,” a spokesperson told Newsweek last year.Chase has shot back with allegations that Herrell’s backing for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the same Republican presidential primary amounted to “undermin[ing] Trump’s campaign.” She’s also blamed Herrell, a former state representative, for Trump’s impeachment this year. Had Herrell won her 2018 House race, Chase claimed, Trump might never have been impeached.In that battle over who is more loyal to the president, EMILY’s List’s PAC has come down firmly on Herrell’s side. Its mailers appear to be part of a larger, coordinated strategy among Democratic political spenders to boost Herrell at the expense of Chase. Herrell has been endorsed by the political arm of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, but the campaign to promote her appears to signal that Democrats believe Chase would be a tougher candidate for freshman Democrat Rep. Xochitl Torres Small to face in the general.That larger advocacy effort suggests Democrats are working to boost Herrell’s primary candidacy through tactics that obscure their true ideological leanings. EMILY’s List did not return a request for comment. The strategy of surreptitiously courting another party’s voters is not a new one, and Democrats in particular have used it in the past. In the waning days of the 2018 midterm elections, the Indiana Democratic Party began running Facebook ads attempting to boost a Libertarian Senate candidate at the expense of the Republican in the race. Just this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched ads boosting one of four Republican candidates in a primary to take on a vulnerable South Carolina Democrat. Most famously, former Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign purchased ads supporting the 2012 primary campaign of Republican Todd Akin. Akin won the nomination, only to subsequently implode and hand a win to McCaskill.Disgraced Former Rep. Todd Akin Donated to Steve King After ‘White Supremacy’ CommentsAs the Women Vote mailers went out, another Democratic super PAC, Patriot Majority PAC, was going on air with a $250,000 television ad campaign that relayed similar messages to Republican primary voters—down to the very same data points in the Women Vote mail piece.“There’s Santa Fe lobbyist Claire Chase, who opposed President Trump, calling him an (expletive) unworthy of the office,” says Patriot Majority’s ad, first reported by the Associated Press last week. “Or there’s Yvette Herrell. She’s 100% loyal to Trump, backed by 11 pro-gun sheriffs and Cowboys for Trump.”Like Women Vote, Patriot Majority reported those ads to the FEC as opposing both Herrell and Chase.Both candidates are vying for the chance to take on Torres Small, who flipped a Republican seat in 2018 that the GOP desperately wants to retake this cycle. The race has already drawn some big spenders, including House Freedom Action, the political group associated with the hardline House Freedom Caucus, which is going to bat for Herrell. The group has dubbed Chase a “Trump-hating liberal.”It’s also drawn the involvement of other strange political bedfellows. Republican Women for Progress PAC, a group founded by a pair of anti-Trump GOP operatives, has purchased Facebook ads backing Torres Small, according to Facebook’s political ad database. The group also purchased ads opposing Herrell’s 2018 House candidacy.In spite of its branding, Republican Women for Progress is largely funded by a handful of wealthy Democrats, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of former 21st Century Fox executive James Murdoch.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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Mike Pompeo is the number one evangelist of Trumpism in the world

Mike Pompeo is the number one evangelist of Trumpism in the worldWhen it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo’s penchant for undermining America’s credibility is top-notchDonald Trump’s disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory. And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism’s number one proselytizer to the world.Pompeo doesn’t wield nearly as much power or have the jurisdiction to inflict damage on as wide a range of issues as the president. He’s not as crass or erratic as Trump, and his Twitter feed seems dedicated more to childish mockery than outright attacks. But when it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo’s penchant for undermining America’s credibility is top-notch.At Pompeo’s recommendation, Trump fired the state department’s inspector general, who is supposed to be an independent investigator charged with looking into potential wrongdoing inside the department. Steve Linick was just the latest in a series of inspectors general across the government that Trump had fired in an attempt to hide the misconduct of his administration – but it also shone a spotlight on how Pompeo has undermined his agency.According to news reports, Pompeo was being investigated by the inspector general for bypassing Congress and possibly breaking the law in sending weapons to Saudi Arabia, even though his own department and the rest of the US government advised against the decision. He was also supposedly organizing fancy dinners – paid for by taxpayers – with influential businesspeople and TV personalities that seemed geared more towards supporting Pompeo’s political career than advancing US foreign policy goals. And he was reportedly being scrutinized for using department personnel to conduct personal business, such as getting dry cleaning and walking his dog.But these revelations merely reaffirm a pattern of activities by Pompeo unbecoming of the nation’s top diplomat. When the House of Representatives was in the process of impeaching Trump over his attempt to extort Ukraine for personal political purposes – an act that Pompeo was aware of – Pompeo defended Trump while throwing under the bus career state department officials, like the ousted US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who spoke out. Pompeo has regularly ignored Congress, withholding documents from lawmakers – including during the Ukraine impeachment investigation – and refusing to appear for testimony. In 2019, the IG released a report detailing political retaliation against career state department officials being perpetrated by Trump officials. And Pompeo has spent considerable time traveling to Kansas and conducting media interviews there, fueling speculation that he has been using his position to tee up a run for the Senate, a violation of the Hatch Act.Pompeo is a natural Trumpist. In her fantastic profile of the secretary of state, Susan Glasser notes of his first congressional race: “Pompeo ran a nasty race against the Democrat, an Indian-American state legislator named Raj Goyle, who, unlike Pompeo, had grown up in Wichita. Pompeo’s campaign tweeted praise for an article calling Goyle a ‘turban topper’, and a supporter bought billboards urging residents to ‘Vote American – Vote Pompeo’.” Later, as a member of Congress, Pompeo made a name for himself by helping to fabricate the Benghazi conspiracy theories that shamelessly used the memory of a deceased foreign service officer to undermine the state department.Next to Trump’s assault on US values, Pompeo’s role as top Trump lackey may seem insignificant. But the secretary of state is often the most senior US official that other countries and publics hear from on any number of issues. Even with Trump in the Oval Office, a secretary of state that was committed to the constitution - not Trump - would at least be able to fight for the values that US foreign policy should embody, and shield the department’s day-to-day business from Trump’s outbursts. The work that department professionals conduct around the world – helping American citizens abroad get home in the early days of the pandemic or coordinating assistance to other countries to cope with the coronavirus – is vital to American national security, and at the core of the image that America projects abroad.> Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on his behalfThe world today needs principled and active US leadership as much as ever. In a normal world, the US secretary of state would be working through international organizations like the WHO to lead the response to the coronavirus, not threatening to withdraw from the global body. The secretary would be pushing for robust foreign assistance to help other countries fight the pandemic, not cutting funding. They would be trying to find a path that balances working with China on responding to the pandemic with pushing back on the Chinese Communist party’s disturbing behavior – like signaling it may end Hong Kong’s autonomy – instead of scapegoating China.But Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on the president’s behalf. Like Trump, Pompeo’s behavior is sending signals to other countries that the US government is acting more like the autocratic and corrupt regimes that Pompeo so regularly calls out. As Trump hurls daily attacks on the media, Pompeo has taken to berating journalists. These assaults by America’s leaders on the free press are giving cover to dictators around the world to criticize their countries’ media. Firing government watchdogs who are investigating top officials is exactly the kind of behavior that the United States would normally criticize in its annual human rights reports.The fish, they say, rots from the head. And Pompeo, like his boss, is actively undermining the values embodied by the state department, its professionals and the Americans they represent.


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How the Trump Effect Could Lift Democratic Senate Candidates

How the Trump Effect Could Lift Democratic Senate CandidatesA driving theme of Republican Party politics circa 2020 is consolidation.The GOP has tightened its ranks; its reliable voters, hovering at around 40% of the electorate, tend to approve of almost anything that President Donald Trump does.Yet throughout his term, from the 2017 battles over health care and tax cuts to his impeachment and subsequent acquittal early this year, very few people from outside the party have been coming aboard.Trump has led the charge, but his effects are being felt far down the ballot. Two years after Democrats swept the midterm House elections by a historically wide margin and with historically high turnout, polling suggests they have a shot at a similar showing this year.And in the high-stakes Senate, GOP incumbents in swing states have struggled to disentangle their numbers from Trump's stubbornly minoritarian status. That is putting Democrats in a strong position as they look to take back the Senate in the midst of a pandemic."The Republican brand seems depressed across the board," Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist and founder of the New Democrat Network, said in an interview. "A lot of time senators can insulate themselves from the vagaries of the national electorate, but that doesn't seem to be happening this time."A net loss of four Senate seats -- or three, plus the vice presidency -- would hand the chamber to the Democrats, and Republicans this year must defend almost twice as many seats as their opponents. And GOP incumbents in many swing states are looking at a hard battle if they cannot expand beyond the taut Trump coalition.That includes candidates in some states, like Arizona and Georgia, that have trended more Democratic of late but have still voted Republican in every presidential election since the 1990s."The Senate majority has not been a certainty at any point this cycle," Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, acknowledged during an interview last month with Fox News Radio. "I've said consistently that it's going to be a dogfight."The Senate is of vital importance to Republicans, no matter who takes the White House. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, it had been the lab of the GOP's major political pursuit these days: confirming the president's conservative appointees to federal judgeships. Even amid the virus' spread, McConnell was eager to bring the chamber back into session to continue confirming judges and federal appointees.And if Joe Biden wins the presidency, the Senate would most likely be the only backstop against full Democratic control of the executive and legislative branches.The Trump coalitionTrump has shifted the Republican coalition toward male voters and less educated ones. At the same time, the party's advantage among older voters has all but disappeared.Those trends have played out in various statewide races since 2016, and they are likely to repeat themselves in the battle for the Senate this year.In the 2014 midterms, for instance, college graduates supported Republicans by 3 percentage points, according to exit polls. By 2018, they had swung widely in the Democrats' favor, supporting them by 20 points. In that time span, the Republicans' advantage among voters 65 and older dropped from 16 points to 2 points.In Arizona, this year's Democratic Senate candidate, Mark Kelly, held a 3-point edge over the Republican incumbent, Sen. Martha McSally, in a Marist College poll this spring, and among independent women he was ahead by 20 points.To the north, in Colorado and Montana, Democratic governors have entered the race for Senate. Polls in Colorado have shown a remarkable parity between voters' support for Trump and for Sen. Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent; at the moment, both appear to be trailing by double digits.Two Republican senators in politically mixed states -- Susan Collins of Maine and Joni Ernst of Iowa -- have seen dips in their approval ratings since they voted to acquit Trump on impeachment charges, and they are both locked in close races.Two Senate seats are up for grabs in Georgia after the resignation of Sen. Johnny Isakson last year created a vacancy. An increase in voters of color, particularly African-Americans, has combined with a softening of Republican support in the suburbs to create a new opportunity for Democrats.In North Carolina, which has voted Democratic for president just once since the 1970s, surveys show that the race between Trump and Biden is up for grabs. The race for the state's open Senate seat, held by the Republican Thom Tillis, is equally tight.The Democrats' most threatened incumbent this year is Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who won an upset victory in a 2017 special election against the scandal-plagued Republican former judge Roy Moore. A Mason-Dixon poll in February found Jones trailing a range of potential Republican nominees, but mostly by single digits.With a polarized electorate, turnout mattersThirty-four states elected senators in 2016, and in each case, their choice for Senate lined up with their pick for president. Political persuasions have hardened significantly in recent years, partly a result of an increasingly polarized media landscape and online consumption habits.Lee Miringoff, who runs Marist's polling institute, said the starkly partisan nature of Trump-era politics had changed the way elections must be fought."We're so polarized that there's no trade-offs going on, there's no persuasion, so it's all about the turnout and the enthusiasm," he said.In this regard, Trump and Republicans see room for hope. In key early-voting states this primary season, Republican turnout was strikingly high, considering that the party's presidential nomination is uncontested this year. And GOP voters remain more motivated to vote in November than most Democrats, according to recent polls -- although that trend could reverse itself as Biden amps up his campaign in the summer and fall.The registered electorate leans more Republican than the general population by a few points, and the Electoral College adds to the Republican tilt by increasing the influence of rural states. In the days leading up to President George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, approval of his job performance was split, 48-47%, among all Americans, according to Gallup, but Bush went on to win by a 2-point margin. Republicans also outpaced Democrats by 2 points in House elections nationwide that year.In 2012, President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by 4 points, shy of his 7-point Gallup net approval rating just before the election, more evidence of the electorate's crimson tint.This year, Republicans are looking to a similar calculus: Trump's approval rating has yet to hit 50% in most major polls -- a first in modern history -- but it has generally remained in the 40s. If he finishes the campaign strong, he could feasibly eke out a win despite minority approval, as Bush did in 2004.That would most likely provide some coattails to Republicans running for the Senate, given the lack of variation in people's voting habits nowadays.When turnout matters, access matters (especially in a pandemic)There is another complicating factor that could play to Republicans' favor: The very process of voting during a pandemic is different from voting in normal times.While the electorate always skews a little bit more affluent and white than the population as a whole, access to the ballot may be particularly limited for voters in urban areas hit hard by COVID-19, and in areas with large populations of people of color who are disproportionately affected by Republican efforts to limit access to the ballot."There's an open question about what kind of electorate you're going to be seeing in the fall," Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said in an interview. "Many of us prior to the public health crisis were expecting a turnout probably higher than 2016, at least in a lot of places. Interest in politics was high, the midterm elections had a historically high turnout."All of that has been scrambled now, as demonstrated by the experience of Wisconsin's fractious elections in April, when all of Milwaukee was left with just five polling places serving a city of 600,000."How easy will it be to vote in the midst of the pandemic?" Kondik said. "We don't know what the situation is going to be in November."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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Pelosi’s Good at Riling Trump Up. But What’s Her Endgame?

Pelosi’s Good at Riling Trump Up. But What’s Her Endgame?It was a seemingly off-the-cuff bit of concern trolling that few in Washington could pull off other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Tuesday, in her best Italian grandmotherly tone, Pelosi expressed concern at President Trump’s use of the unproven COVID-19 remedy hydroxychloroquine because of possible side effects stemming from the president’s health condition. Specifically, his weight. “As far as the president is concerned, he’s our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say,” Pelosi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “So, I think it's not a good idea.”The quip spun up a brief furor and outrage cycle; Trump responded that Pelosi was “sick” and had “mental problems,” comments which then spun up an outrage cycle of their own. Two days later, Pelosi defended herself, saying “I was being factual in a very sympathetic way” and called the whole dust-up “unimportant.”But to those who’ve known and watched Pelosi for a long time, there’s a sense that there’s very little that she does or says that is not deliberate. With that in mind, some in the House Democratic caucus are looking at this week’s spat between Pelosi and the president as evidence of a greater willingness on her part to push his buttons with the kind of personal attacks that he frequently doles out himself.“It’s her ability to say the truth in a way that really gets under his skin, I think it’s just reminding people there’s a lot more to this story than what he says,” said one former Pelosi aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “In this situation with COVID-19 and truly needing the facts and that’s a way of actually breaking through the clutter.” The aide added, “In this environment you use everything that you have.” That strategy may rub some Democrats the wrong way, but others are welcoming the sight of their leader taking the gloves off more often, not to be petty—though they enjoy seeing Trump get it as much as he gives it—but as a show of strength.“There is a benefit in owning him like this from time to time,” said a House Democratic aide. “She engages in these fights and it says, I am not going to be pushed around, I am powerful and my power is not dependent on you.” While the Speaker has always been able to get a rise out of Trump, and vice versa, her apparent strategy in dealing with him for much of the last year was to conspicuously turn the other cheek. During Trump’s impeachment, the speaker, a lifelong Catholic, said so frequently she was praying for the president that it became grist for a Saturday Night Live sketch. In January, Pelosi said she doesn’t like to “spend too much time on his crazy tweets because everything he says is a projection.”But this year, the tension between the two leaders broke into the open in a way it hadn’t before. Before the fat crack, of course, was the infamous State of the Union snub—Trump rejecting Pelosi’s outstretched hand—which led to the infamous State of the Union slash—Pelosi ripping up Trump’s speech—which sparked a multi-day cycle of sniping and opining. The coronavirus pandemic has hardly drawn the two any closer. Though Congress and the White House have spent weeks on painstaking negotiations over historic bills to respond to COVID-19, Pelosi and Trump didn’t directly speak during any of it. In fact, the two have not spoken on the phone or in person since Oct. 16, 2019, when Pelosi went to a White House meeting on Syria, according to the speaker’s office. While few in the Democratic caucus are hoping for Pelosi and Trump to bury the hatchet—or think that such a thing is realistic—some lawmakers suggest that embracing Trump-style button-pushing will be counterproductive for Democrats.“While some encourage extinguishing fire with fire, I’ve always found water works best,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) when asked about Pelosi’s comments about Trump. “In the words of a great Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, ‘the most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency’—and that’s the spirit for which we all should be advocating.”And amid the pandemic, many lawmakers have found it easy to ignore the Pelosi-Trump fracas, said another House Democratic aide. “I think they’d very much prefer leadership of both parties to focus on the problems at hand and visibly negotiate with each other than lob insults,” said the aide.Like he does with all political adversaries, Trump has of course delighted in insulting Pelosi, who along with Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been the president's most reliable foils during his presidency. The president has frequently called her “crazy” and has mocked her appearance—in December, for example, he claimed her teeth were “falling out of her mouth.” And their last direct conversation, in October, fell apart amid a personal insult: Schumer said that during that meeting in the White House, Trump called Pelosi a “third-rate” politician.Naturally, however, Trump’s defenders in the congressional GOP have taken umbrage on behalf of the president in the wake of Pelosi’s attack. The House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted that if he is speaker, he would never “rip up a president’s speech” or call them “morbidly obese.” It all reflects, to some Democrats, Pelosi’s unique ability to get under the president’s skin—and perhaps a sign she should do it more often. “It reminds people he is small,” said a House Democratic aide. “Trump clearly fears and respects her, whereas he loathes Schumer, who is usually good cop when it’s time for wheeling and dealing.”—Additional reporting by Jackie KucinichRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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Supreme Court blocks House from seeing secret Mueller investigation materials

Supreme Court blocks House from seeing secret Mueller investigation materialsThe House will have to wait a little longer to see what's inside secret grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation.The House Judiciary Committee issued an emergency request for the undisclosed files last summer, and Washington, D.C.'s federal appeals court ruled in the committee's favor in March. But the Supreme Court overturned the appeals court's order on Wednesday, likely keeping the materials under wraps through the 2020 election, The Wall Street Journal reports.The Justice Department has tried to keep grand jury testimonies from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation private. But because the investigation had "stopped short" of drawing conclusions about President Trump's conduct and potential obstruction of justice, the appeals court decided the House Judiciary Committee deserved to see the testimonies, The Washington Post notes. A previous court had also ruled in favor of the committee.Yet on Wednesday, the Supreme Court agreed with the Justice Department, which had argued the House hasn't indicated it "urgently needs these materials for any ongoing impeachment investigation." The House countered by saying even though Trump's impeachment trial is over, it was essential to see those materials before voters went to the polls this fall.More stories from theweek.com Taxpayers paid for food, a harpist, and goody bags for Pompeo's frequent 500-guest formal dinners Republicans are up in arms about Flynn's 'unmasking.' He was reportedly never masked in the first place. A predictable catastrophe in Michigan


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Swiss attorney general answers questions ahead of possible impeachment

Swiss attorney general answers questions ahead of possible impeachmentSwiss Attorney General Michael Lauber attended a meeting of the parliamentary judicial committee on Wednesday to answer questions about how he handled an investigation into corruption at soccer body FIFA. Lauber, who was narrowly re-elected for another four-year term last year, has been accused by anti-corruption campaigners of bungling a fraud trial over payments linked to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The judicial committee said in a statement earlier in May: "For his part, Michael Lauber denies the form and content of the accusations made against him and accuses the AB-BA of numerous procedural errors, exceeding its authority, and bias, among other things."


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Ukraine's president welcomes criminal probe against former opponent

Ukraine's president welcomes criminal probe against former opponentVolodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, has welcomed a criminal investigation against his predecessor whom he beat in last year’s election. Mr Zelenskiy’s comments refer to a leaked phone call which shows then-President Petro Poroshenko and then-U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden discussing the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor in exchange for U.S. support for an IMF loan in 2015. The heavily edited recording was published on Tuesday by Andriy Derkach, an Ukrainian member of parliament known for a friendly relationship with Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump in a throwback to last year’s Ukraine scandal that led to impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump. A day after Ukrainian prosecutors launched a formal inquiry into suspected treason by Mr Poroshenko, President Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that it was up to law enforcement agencies to investigate those allegations while voicing support for the probe. “I think (Poroshenko and his allies) were running in the country in such a way that they have a lot of adventures and verdicts ahead of them,” he told a news conference marking his first year in office. Mr Zelenskiy, a popular comedian without any political background, during last year’s election campaign repeatedly accused Mr Poroshenko of corruption and abuse of power, citing recurrent media reports that document possible conflicts of interests and other misdemeanours. Mr Poroshenko has denied those allegations. President Zelenskiy’s declared willingness to go after his former opponent has evoked uncomfortable comparisons to Viktor Yanukovych, a former Ukrainian president who oversaw an investigation that landed his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko in jail. The impeachment inquiry against President Trump was triggered by last summer’s phone call with Mr Zelenskiy in which Mr Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Democratic candidate Biden and his son’s work for a Ukrainian oil company in exchange for U.S. military aid. Mr Zelenskiy has denied that Mr Trump pressured him to look into the allegations that Mr Biden got then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired because he planned to investigate Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. Mr Shokin, who served as Ukraine’s Prosecutor General in 2015-2016, was widely accused of failing to pursue any major anti-corruption investigation, which left Ukraine’s international donors deeply frustrated. Foreign officials as well as Ukraine’s respected anti-corruption activists openly urged for the dismissal of Mr Shokin who never had an active investigation in Hunter Biden’s work.


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