[guest post by JVW]
News came in this afternoon that our own adorably clueless but lovable niece, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is losing a couple of staff members, including the chief of staff whom many believed was her Svengali (oh dear, now I have mixed up my Shaw and my du Maurier):
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti and communications director Corbin Trent are both leaving her D.C. office.
“Saikat has decided to leave the office of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal,” Trent told the Intercept Friday.
[. . .]
Chakrabarti, 33, is a Harvard graduate and technology entrepreneur who became an organizer for Bernie Sanders during the socialist’s 2016 presidential campaign.
He founded a PAC called Brand New Congress in 2016 and another called Justice Democrats in 2017, with the stated goal of helping elect liberal candidates to Congress. One of those candidates was Ocasio-Cortez, who, last November, age 29, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Mr. Chakrabarti has certainly brought his share of controversy to his (former) boss’s office, which we have documented here, from questions about how his personal wealth and access to deep-pocket progressives has impacted his quest to build a more leftist Congress to his penchant for attacking his boss’s colleagues whom he deems to be insufficiently woke to the clapback he immediately received from the party establishment. While I would truly love to believe that Tía Abuela Nancy and Tío Abuelo Steny told la sobrina nieta that her chief of staff had to go, I’m guessing that Mr. Chakrabarti left on his own volition, no doubt bored serving a freshman Congresswoman whose only real power was her ability to command media coverage. He can now work full-time and in the open on his abiding passion: electing more hard-left members of Congress, even at the expense of driving out more traditional Democrats. In that endeavor I wish him a great deal of luck.
[guest post by Dana]
President Trump made the announcement while simultaneously defending Ratcliffe and blaming the media:
Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people….
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
“I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue. The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue.”
This comes on the heels of a report in the Washington Post which suggested that Ratcliffe’s level and scope of experience wasn’t quite what he had claimed.
Maybe Trump should consider Will Hurd as a replacement…
ADDED: Trump provides a fuller look at how he views the vetting process and how the media plays a part in it:
…on the South Lawn, he suggested coverage of his nominees was part of the vetting process.
“I get a name, I give it out to the press and you vet for me. A lot of time you do a very good job. Not always,” Trump told reporters. “If you look at the vetting process for the White House, it is very good, but you are part of the vetting process. I give out a name to the press and you vet for me, we save a lot of money that way.”
“But in the case of John, I really believe that he was being treated very harshly and very unfairly,” he added.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
[Twitchy link from DRJ]
EPIC tweetstorm on the REAL problem with Congress right now is BRUTAL and a must-read:
Whether you call this a thread or a tweet-storm (or maybe both), this rant from Matt Glassman on Congress having a ‘retirement problem’ and other nuggets of wisdom is definitely worth your time and a read.
Alternate title: Why the Major Parties can’t Fix Things.
[guest post by Dana]
I’m just going to leave this here:
Kim Jong Un and North Korea tested 3 short range missiles over the last number of days. These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement, nor was there discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands. There may be a United Nations violation, but…
….Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain – the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited. Also, there is far too much to lose. I may be wrong, but I believe that….
…..Chariman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true. He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!
My unpopular opinion: It speaks volumes that the President of the United States is willing to harshly criticize a sitting congressman and his district, and yet refer to a mad dictator as his “friend”. It speaks volumes that Trump believes that Kim Jong Un has a “great” and “beautiful vision” for his country while untold numbers of North Koreans are imprisoned, starving and being oppressed on a daily basis. It speaks volumes that Trump believes that only with him as president can Kim Jong Un’s dreams come true. (And really, when you consider what Kim Jong Un’s vision is for his country, it’s disturbing that Trump thinks it’s a good thing to help make a madman’s dreams come true.) It speaks volumes too that Trump believes he can manipulate Kim Jong Un into obedience, as if he were playing a high-stakes game with some sort of amateur. And I’m just gonna say that the amateur isn’t the guy who rules with an iron fist and has his own people starved, imprisoned, and killed on a regular basis. Trump just doesn’t seem to understand that he is dealing with a psychopathic liar who really doesn’t care how many times he makes and breaks a promise to denuclearize.
[guest post by Dana]
This is unfortunate:
Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore home was broken into over the weekend, police and a report said Thursday.
The burglary took place Saturday around 3:40 a.m. at the house in the 200 block of Madison Avenue, a Baltimore Police Department spokeswoman said.
According to local outlet WJZ, that is where the Democratic congressman lives. It’s still unclear if anything was stolen, cops said.
The break-in occurred several hours before President Trump accused the House Oversight Committee chair on Twitter of being a “brutal bully” and called Cummings’ district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous place.”
President Trump reacted to the break-in on Twitter:
My unpopular opinion: If it was anyone else but Trump saying this, I would assume that it was a heartfelt gesture. But this is Trump we’re talking about, and history has shown that such a charitable read would be foolish. So I’m just going to say: what a deplorable response from the president. In light of his very recent attacks on Cummings and his city, it would have been best if the president had simply remained silent.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
[Headline from DRJ]
Reuters’ Business News Explainer:
With U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday of tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese imports, nearly all goods from China will be subject to import taxes, and Trump says they generate billions of dollars in revenues for the U.S. Treasury from China.
But that is not how tariffs work. China’s government and companies in China do not pay U.S. tariffs directly. Tariffs are a tax on imported products and are paid by U.S.-registered firms to U.S. customs when goods enter the United States.
Importers often pass the costs of tariffs on to customers – manufacturers and consumers in the United States – by raising their prices. U.S. business executives and economists say U.S. consumers foot much of the tariff bill.
Trump tariff threat pushes up chance for Fed rate cuts as recession risks rise:
President Donald Trump’s threats of a new round of tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods increases the chances the U.S. economy could head into recession, and also that the Fed would be more aggressive cutting interest rates in an effort to head it off.
The president’s tweet came a day after he expressed his dissatisfaction with the Fed’s quarter point rate cut, saying that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell “let us down.”
Are Trump’s latest tariffs about targeting China or the Fed, or just us?