Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bannon

Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election by embracing their shared nationalist impulses, departed the White House on Friday after a turbulent tenure shaping the fiery populism of the president’s first seven months in office.

Mr. Bannon’s exit, the latest in a string of high-profile West Wing shake-ups, came as Mr. Trump is under fire for saying that “both sides” were to blame for last week’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. Critics accused the president of channeling Mr. Bannon when he equated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the left-wing protesters who opposed them.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Mr. Bannon’s outsized influence on the president, captured in a February cover of Time magazine with the headline “The Great Manipulator,” was reflected in the response to his departure.
Conservatives groused that they lost a key advocate inside the White House and worried aloud that Mr. Trump would shift left, while cheers erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when headlines about Mr. Bannon’s ouster appeared. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average immediately rose, though they ended the day slightly down.
 
By Friday night, Mr. Bannon was already back at the far-right Breitbart News, chairing an editorial meeting at the organization he helped run before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign and where he can continue to advance his agenda.

Mr. Bannon can still wield influence from outside the West Wing. He believes he can use his perch at Breitbart — which has given a platform to the so-called alt-right, a loose collection of activists, some of whom espouse openly racist and anti-Semitic views — to publicly pressure the president.

And he may still play an insider’s role as a confidant for the president, offering advice and counsel, much like other former advisers who still frequently consult with Mr. Trump. Mr. Bannon had formed a philosophical alliance with Mr. Trump, and they shared an unlikely chemistry.

Mr. Bannon has indicated to people that he does not intend to harm Mr. Trump and he has promised to be somewhat reserved about other administration officials, including Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

“In many ways I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on. And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with,” Mr. Bannon said on Friday.

But his former colleagues in the West Wing are uncertain how long that will last.

Joel Pollak, a Breitbart executive, tweeted after Mr. Bannon’s departure was made public a single word with a hashtag: “#WAR.” Mr. Bannon called reporters to suggest Mr. Pollak had gone too far, but he also acknowledged his own disappointment at departing the White House.

He told The Weekly Standard: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

Mr. Bannon later clarified to The New York Times that he did not mean the Trump agenda was over; instead, he said he was referring to his direct work with Mr. Trump, from the end of the campaign to the first stages of his presidency.

Here Are the Top Officials in the Trump White House Who Have Left

With the departure of Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, at least eight top officials are no longer in the White House.
Still, allies of the president predicted that Mr. Bannon’s ouster would help Mr. Trump’s agenda.
“I think it’s going to be good for both Steve and for the president,” said Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media who has known the president for years.

“The president has a major hurdle in the fall, I think, in getting legislation passed,” Mr. Ruddy said. He cited several lawmakers who had told the White House “that they had a real problem with Steve because of Breitbart, and Breitbart’s been a thorn in the side for a lot of congressional Republicans.”
The president has struggled to overcome the dysfunction that has plagued his administration. Bitter feuds among aides were frequently showcased on cable news and in the pages of newspapers. Mr. Bannon was among those suspected of repeatedly leaking the details of internal White House debates.
“I’m going to nominate this White House for a Tony Award for the most drama, not the best drama but the most drama,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff. “I’ve lost track, eight months in, how many people have been fired? How many have left?”

Mr. Trump’s first year has been plagued by departures, including Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Dubke, both of whom served as communications director; Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser; Sean Spicer, the press secretary; and Reince Priebus, who was chief of staff before Mr. Kelly.

The sense of chaos continued on Friday as Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor who was advising Mr. Trump on regulatory issues, announced he was stepping down from that role. And A.R. Bernard, a pastor on the president’s Evangelical Advisory Board, quit, citing a “deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.”

By dismissing Mr. Bannon, the president loses the most visible avatar of the nationalist agenda that propelled him to victory. Contentious and difficult, Mr. Bannon was nonetheless a driving force behind the president’s most high-profile policies: imposing a ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries; shrinking the federal bureaucracy; shedding regulations; and rethinking trade policies by aggressively confronting China and other countries.

He was also an opponent of Mr. Cohn, a former official at Goldman Sachs, and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser who had also worked on Wall Street. Mr. Cohn is a registered Democrat, and both he and Ms. Powell have been denounced by conservative media outlets as being antithetical to Mr. Trump’s populist message.

Mr. Bannon had become increasingly critical of Mr. Trump, according to a person close to both men, complaining that the president lacked the political skills and discipline to avoid a succession of self-inflicted public relations disasters.

But ultimately, he viewed the president as losing sight of what propelled Mr. Trump to the White House. On one hand, Mr. Bannon told friends that Mr. Trump was a populist savant who had a deeper connection with the alienated white working class than any politician in the last half-century. But Mr. Bannon, a former naval officer, also saw the president as increasingly trapped by the generals he surrounded himself with, and moving toward an interventionist foreign policy.

Mr. Bannon complained bitterly about the president’s provocative and unscripted threats to North Korea and was especially concerned about a wider attempt to reassert American military power in the Western Hemisphere. He told his small circle of like-minded confidants in the West Wing that he feared the president would be talked into an intervention in Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro has been cracking down on the opposition amid a deteriorating economic and political situation.

Last week, Mr. Trump suggested that a military option was under consideration in Venezuela. Mr. Bannon told people close to him that the statement indicated the president is relying too heavily on advisers who want him to embark on “military adventures.”

Mr. Bannon frequently clashed with Mr. Kushner and others in the administration who sought a more traditional, globalist approach to the world’s problems. He also had a long-running feud with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser.

There were different interpretations of how Mr. Bannon left his job, which had been long anticipated in Washington.

One White House official, who would not be named discussing the president’s thinking, said Mr. Trump has wanted to remove Mr. Bannon since he ousted Mr. Priebus three weeks ago. Since then, Mr. Kelly has been evaluating Mr. Bannon’s status, according to the official.

But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, timed to his one-year anniversary of working for Mr. Trump.

According to three people close to the discussions, Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon agreed during the previous week that he would depart. But the violence in Charlottesville pushed Mr. Bannon closer to Mr. Trump; he encouraged the president to stand by his impulses in his response and, one of the three people said, sought to stay on longer.

That became untenable after the American Prospect interview, in which he mocked colleagues, though he later said he thought was off the record. In it, Mr. Bannon also contradicted Mr. Trump’s tough threats toward North Korea, saying “there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Privately, several White House officials said that Mr. Bannon appeared to be provoking Mr. Trump.

Charlottesville Will Move On

Charlottesville, Va. — Last weekend several thousand alt-right activists and white supremacists came to my city, ostensibly to protest our plan to move a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. We knew they were coming, but like the rest of the world, we were shocked by the level of bigotry and violence on display, culminating in the terrorist attack that killed one counterprotester, Heather Heyer.

This was not just an assault on our city. It was an attack on democracy itself. A week later, we are still struggling with how we as a community can move ahead.

We start with a paradox: It was only because we live in a strong democracy, with a robust commitment to free speech, that these people were able to march in the first place. Narrowly speaking, their presence was in a way an expression of our democratic values, even as they sought to destroy them. In response, we must find an answer that both fights back against voices of hate, but at the same time stays true to the values that undergird our community in the first place.

As both the mayor of Charlottesville — a city steeped in the legacy of Thomas Jefferson — and the author of a biography of James Madison, I believe our answers lie in what I think of as the “soul” of the founders’ vision.
We talk a lot about the brilliant mechanics of the Constitution: its checks and balances, its separation of powers, its amendments that articulate and develop them further. Those institutions are like the limbs and muscles of our body politic. But the system is nothing without its soul — the norms and values that enable us to collectively solve problems without force, violence and intimidation.


The people who visited terror on us last weekend were using the mechanics of the Constitution — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly — to attack its soul, to set fire to the pillars of civility, deliberation, compromise, tolerance and reconciliation that underwrite our system of government.

They are not alone, and far from the first. Think back to the decision in 1994 by Newt Gingrich, then the House minority leader, to run against incumbent Democrats with a scorched-earth strategy, instructing candidates to use certain words when talking about their opponents: “betray, bizarre, decay, anti-flag, anti-family, pathetic, lie, cheat, radical, sick and traitors.”

Mr. Gingrich had nothing to do with last weekend’s violence. But there is a direct line to be drawn from his nihilistic rhetoric through President Trump’s toxic tweets to the far-right sentiments expressed in Charlottesville.

Some have said that the answer, in the wake of Charlottesville, must be to restrict the rights of white nationalists, to alter the Constitution’s mechanics in order to save its soul. That is a dangerous path.

We can go in the other direction. It’s counterintuitive, but our democracy has often been at its best when our constitutional soul has been poked and prodded and has stood up on its hind legs to defend itself. De Tocqueville observed that Americans’ goal was “to instruct democracy to purify its mores, to substitute little by little the science of affairs for its inexperience.” When the Birmingham, Ala., police turned fire hoses on peaceful demonstrators in 1963, a watching world witnessed the violence and brutality of Jim Crow. Jim Crow ultimately collapsed.

Democracy, like a muscle, needs to be worked out. But it’s not mere stimulus and response. We now have to make the right choices. What does this mean, practically?

It means that companies must be more vigilant about their role in the public sphere. They must use their weight to press for tolerance and diversity, whether that means pressuring states on transgender bathroom laws or refusing to sell services to groups that advocate hate.

It means that news organizations must redouble their efforts not only to convey correct facts, but to present the contextual and fact-checking resources that readers need to understand what’s happening.

It means a broad social commitment to organizations telling the stories of embattled minorities, whether Muslim Americans or L.G.B.T.Q. youth, so they are humanized to the rest of the country. It means law firms dedicating pro bono hours to stand up for the rights of the harassed and the oppressed.

It means mentors teaching young folks that they don’t always have to fight to get what they want, that carrots often work better than sticks. It means government agencies using negotiation rather than just mandates. It means politicians agreeing to sit down together and negotiate, rather than lob hopeless bombs.

And it means governments finally telling the truth about race in our history. It means strong new programs to build bridges between isolated communities. And yes, it means political parties and organizations actively reaching out to the economically dispossessed, who feel left behind by today’s cultural and economic changes.

Madison famously asserted that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.” For that, he’s been tarred as an eternal pessimist. But he also wrote, “Human beings’ basic qualities deserved esteem and confidence.”

I’ve spent the last week walking around Charlottesville, meeting with my neighbors and talking about how to learn and move on from last weekend. Virtually everyone agrees that it can make us stronger, if we now make the right choices. We can shore up those pillars. We’ve done it before.




NYT

Friday, August 18, 2017

Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Earlier on Friday, the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week. But the move was delayed after the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

The loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

Here Are the Top Officials in the Trump White House Who Have Left

With the departure of Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, at least eight top officials are no longer in the White House.

Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

Continue reading the main story


On Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, Mr. Trump refused to guarantee Mr. Bannon’s job security but defended him as “not a racist” and “a friend.”

“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Bannon’s dismissal followed an Aug. 16 interview he initiated with a writer with whom he had never spoken, with the progressive publication The American Prospect. In it, Mr. Bannon mockingly played down the American military threat to North Korea as nonsensical: “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

He also bad-mouthed his colleagues in the Trump administration, vowed to oust a diplomat at the State Department and mocked officials as “wetting themselves” over the consequences of radically changing trade policy.

Video

The Days Before Bannon’s Dismissal

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s outgoing chief strategist, has been criticized as being emblematic of the far-right nationalism that turned violent in Virginia last weekend.
By A.J. CHAVAR and CHRIS CIRILLO on Publish Date August 14, 2017. Photo by Al Drago/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

Of the far right, he said, “These guys are a collection of clowns,” and he called it a “fringe element” of “losers.”

“We gotta help crush it,” he said in the interview, which people close to Mr. Bannon said he believed was off the record.

Privately, several White House officials said that Mr. Bannon appeared to be provoking Mr. Trump and that they did not see how the president could keep him on after the interview was published.
Mr. Bannon had made clear to allies after the American Prospect interview that he expected to be back soon at the right-wing website Breitbart.com that he had steered before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign. He had dinner in New York City on Wednesday night with Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who is also Mr. Bannon’s chief patron, to discuss the future, according to a person briefed on the discussions.

Mr. Bannon’s departure was long rumored in Washington. Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who was brought on as chief of staff for his ability to organize a chaotic staff, was said to have grown weary of the chief strategist’s long-running feud with Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser.

One White House official, who would not be named discussing the president’s thinking, said Mr. Trump has wanted to remove Mr. Bannon since he ousted Reince Priebus as his chief of staff three weeks ago; Mr. Bannon had been aligned with Mr. Priebus. But Mr. Trump changed his mind as several defenders of Mr. Bannon warned the president that he risked losing supporters who saw Mr. Bannon as a conduit of their views.

Mr. Bannon has been in a battle with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, since the spring.


Mr. Bannon, whose campaign against “globalists” was a hallmark of his tenure steering Breitbart, and Mr. Kushner had been allies throughout the transition process and through the beginning of the administration.

But their alliance ruptured as Mr. Trump elevated the roles of Gary D. Cohn, his top economic policy adviser and a former official at Goldman Sachs, and Dina Powell, a former Bush administration official who also worked on Wall Street. Mr. Cohn is a registered Democrat, and both he and Ms. Powell have been denounced by conservative media outlets as being antithetical to Mr. Trump’s populist message.


NYT

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strangling Puerto Rico in Order to Save It

WASHINGTON — The United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 and took it from Spain. Although the residents became United States citizens in 1917, the island’s colonial status has been a locus of political debate and struggle for most of its subsequent history.

Just a few months after gaining citizenship, Puerto Ricans were made subject to a United States military draft. But they have never gotten to elect a voting member of Congress, despite being governed by United States law. The island is officially an “unincorporated territory” of the United States, but since the 1950s, it has preferred to call itself an “estado libre asociado” — free associated state — or a “commonwealth.” If the word “colony” was once judged too harsh, at this moment in Puerto Rico’s history, it looks like an understatement.

That’s the thing about not having control over your own most important economic policies. It’s not as noticeable when times are good, but when things go south, it can be a long nightmare. The Greeks discovered that in the depression that has swallowed up most of their last seven years; sadly, Puerto Ricans have even less power than Greeks did to alter a cruel fate that others have designed for them.

The Puerto Rican economy has already suffered a lost decade — no economic growth since 2005. 

The poverty rate is 46 percent, and 58 percent for children — about three times that of the 50 states. Unemployment is at 11.7 percent, more than two and a half times the level in the states. Employment has plummeted, and about 10 percent of the population has left the island since 2006.
Worst of all, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. As revenues fell with the economy over the past decade, the island’s government increased borrowing in an attempt to maintain levels of economic activity and social spending. Puerto Rico ended up with $73 billion in debt that it couldn’t pay, and it officially defaulted in 2015.

In June 2016 Congress passed the terribly misnamed Promesa act (it means “promise” in Spanish), which created a financial oversight and management board to direct Puerto Rico’s finances. This board, to which President Barack Obama appointed four Democrats and four Republicans, has now approved an austerity regimen that, if things go according to plan, envisions a second lost decade — in other words, no economic growth from 2005 through 2024. But the plan doesn’t take into account the impact of such austerity, which would add more years of decline. And there’s more: All the budget tightening over the second decade, including cuts to health care and education, would pay only about $7.9 billion of Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt.

That means that creditors’ lawsuits, which have already been filed, could inflict additional damage and worsen the quarter-century of economic stagnation that is now in the cards. Hedge funds hold much of Puerto Rico’s debt, and since May their claims have been under consideration in a bankruptcy-like proceeding — also under the Promesa act — that does not look any more promising than the oversight board’s plan.

An economic decline of this duration is rare in modern history, and Puerto Rico’s colonial status appears to be a major reason for the anomaly. If Puerto Rico were an independent country, it could try to make a new start after defaulting on its debt. Although the international financial system still lacks a badly needed bankruptcy mechanism, governments that default are usually able to return to international borrowing after an economic recovery. Even in some of the worst scenarios — for example, a decision by a New York judge in favor of vulture funds in Argentina three years ago — the end results have been vastly better than the purgatory that Puerto Rico is facing.

And even if Puerto Rico were a state, its two senators and four or five voting members of Congress, combined with the more than five million Puerto Ricans in the current 50 states, would give them more of a fighting chance than they have today.

There is a strong case to be made for serious debt relief and a plan that will allow for an economic recovery. Most of the economic decline that led to the debt crisis resulted from decisions made by the federal government or international treaties that it signed. Among these were the rules of the World Trade Organization and China’s accession to it in 2000, which set off an out-migration of pharmaceutical production — a mainstay of the island’s economy — and other manufacturing. Employment in manufacturing, which was a much bigger percentage of jobs in Puerto Rico than in most of the rest of the Americas, fell by more than half from 1995 to 2016. The repeal of a special tax break for American corporations that operated in Puerto Rico helped drive down investment and employment. Between 1999 and last year, investment fell from a peak of 20.7 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product to 7.9 percent.

Puerto Rico’s international commerce also suffers from a federal law that significantly raises the cost of traded goods and the cost of living there by preventing foreign ships from stopping first at the island before proceeding to a mainland port. Reduced funding for Medicaid and Medicare in Puerto Rico, when compared with that for states of comparable per capita income levels, also accounts for billions of dollars of Puerto Rico’s debt.

For all of these reasons and more, the United States government has a responsibility to contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic recovery. In doing so, it should ensure that the creditors who made foolish loans or bought Puerto Rico’s bonds at a steep discount do not profit from those decisions.

The structural problems — the unfair economic relationships and legal inequities carved out for Puerto Ricans because of their colonial status — will take longer to resolve. But there is no excuse for the prolonged collective punishment of so many American citizens that is now being prescribed.


How to Handle Donald Trump

Photo
President Trump arriving at a rally in Huntington, W.Va., early this month. CreditCarlos Barria/Reuters
Donald Trump is still president. Hard to know what to do with this, people.
In less than a week he’s managed to put on one of the most divisive, un-helpful, un-healing presidential performances in American history. It’s been a great stretch for fans of Richard Nixon and James Buchanan.
On Wednesday Trump had to dissolve his business advisory councils because the C.E.O.s were fleeing like panic-stricken geese from a jumbo jet. We now have a president who can’t get the head of Campbell Soup to the White House.
Trump also announced plans to hold a rally next week in Arizona, where he’s said he’s “seriously considering” a pardon for former sheriff Joe Arpaio, the loathsome racial profiler who never met a constitutional amendment he didn’t ignore. Arpaio’s treatment of Latinos won him a criminal contempt conviction, but of course that’s nothing to our leader.
We had no idea how bad this guy was going to be. Admit it — during the campaign you did not consider the possibility that if a terrible tragedy struck the country involving all of our worst political ghosts of the past plus neo-Nazism, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would know the appropriate thing to say but Donald Trump would have no idea.
George W. Bush would have been at the funeral for the slain civil rights demonstrator in a second. About the best Trump could do was to praise Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, for writing “the nicest things” about him. Bro did indeed express appreciation for the president’s denunciation of “those who promote violence and hatred.” That was his written-by-someone-else statement, which preceded the despicable impromptu version.
Continue reading the main story
We’re only safe when he’s using prepared remarks. The extemporaneous Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville wasn’t just tone-deaf and heartless; you had to wonder about the overall mental balance of a man who managed to both defend the alt-right demonstrators in Virginia and brag about his real estate in the neighborhood.
“Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?” Trump asked the stunned reporters. “I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States. It’s in Charlottesville.”
It was truly the kind of performance you expect from a deranged person, brought out to explain why he blew up a large government building and inquiring cheerfully: “Has anybody seen my car? It’s really nice. A Ford Pinto.”
Also, Trump does not own one of the largest wineries in the United States. Trump Winery is one of the largest wineries in Virginia, which is like bragging you own one of the largest ski resorts in Ohio.
(There’s something about catching these wild misstatements and lies of self-aggrandizement that can actually be soothing in the worst of times. It’s a diversion that gives you a little break from wondering what’s going to happen to the country.)
Meanwhile, business executives were concluding it was morally compromising to be on the White House manufacturing council. It’s hard to imagine what else could happen before autumn kicks in.
We are just beginning to fully understand how critical it is for a president to have at least a minimal understanding of American history. This one seems to have only recently discovered he belongs to the same party as Abraham Lincoln. “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican,” Trump told a political gathering. “Right? Does anyone know? A lot of people don’t know that. We have to build that up a little more.”
His response to the biggest challenge of his presidency began by blaming “many sides” for the crisis. Then there was the reading of an appropriate, if way overdue, statement. Then came the disastrous press conference on Tuesday, when he was just supposed to read a brief description of the administration plan for infrastructure — something about giving road-builders a reprieve from having to consider the possibility of future flooding.
But he started to take questions and actually say things from his own mind. His staff looked worried, then nervous, then despairing.
Even when Trump is not historically wrong, or making things up to extol his own self-image, or failing to do even the least modicum of national healing at a time of crisis, he’s so incoherent that it’s possible to misunderstand what should be a simple thought.
“I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts,” he blathered at one pointthen lapsed into that terrible tendency to refer to himself in the third person. “And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. …”
This can’t go on. We don’t have time to wait for impeachment. Patriotic Republicans and administration officials have to get together and find a way to make sure that Donald Trump will never again say anything in public that is not written on a piece of paper. It’s their duty to the country.

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