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Chuck Schumer Just Turned Trump’s NDAA Veto Threat Into A Massive Backfire


Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted Trump for threatening to veto a pay raise for the troops.

Video:

Schumer said on the Senate floor:


Yesterday, President Trump issued, over Twitter, a renewed threat on the annual defense bill. Previously, the president threatened to veto this important legislation over a provision to rename military installations named after Confederate traitors. Now, President Trump has issued a veto-threat-by-tweet over a policy concerning social media companies (section 230), which is in neither version of the NDAA already passed by both Houses of Congress!

President Trump must have realized that vetoing a pay raise for our troops in order to defend the honor of confederate traitors wasn’t the best message to send. So he’s found a new complaint.

After four years of ignoring the president’s most vitriolic, conspiracy-fueled, and absurd comments on social media, I wonder if our Republican colleagues will say that they didn’t see this particular tweet.

The truth is section 230 may actually need some reform, but that’s a serious undertaking that should be done in a regular order and can be left for another day. And it is certainly not an acceptable reason to veto the annual defense bill, which includes policies to keep our military prepared, well-resourced, and equipped to do a difficult and vital job.

Nonetheless, it’s silly season at the White House. The president seems intent on filling each of his remaining days in office with petulance, grievance, self-interest.

Trump isn’t threatening to veto the NDAA for any serious policy reasons. The President is mad at Twitter for fact-checking his tweets, but his move is certain to backfire.

Two Senate runoff elections will be happening in Georgia on January 5, 2021. Georgia has the fifth largest active-duty military population in the country.

If Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate majority stick with Trump on the NDAA veto threat, they could cost themselves two Senate seats next month.

Chuck Schumer wasted no time in turning Trump’s veto threat into a trap that could cost Republicans control of the Senate.

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In a Fox News interview, Parscale blames Trump’s lack of coronavirus empathy for his election loss.


Brad Parscale, the former Trump campaign manager who was demoted in July, claimed in a Fox News interview on Tuesday night that President Trump would have handily won the election if he had expressed more empathy about the coronavirus pandemic.

“We lost suburban families,” Mr. Parscale said. “I think that goes to one thing: the decision on Covid to go for opening the economy versus public empathy.”

He added, “I think if he had been publicly empathetic, he would have won.”

Mr. Parscale also appeared to blame those who succeeded him in running Mr. Trump’s campaign for failing to file lawsuits before Election Day. In fact, the campaign filed multiple lawsuits during the early voting period seeking to block mail-in ballot rule changes.

“I wanted lawyers everywhere,” Mr. Parscale said. “Why, during the early voting days, why weren’t they already getting in there and filing lawsuits? Why are we doing it post?”

At other points in the interview, Mr. Parscale refused to concede that the president had lost the election, claiming that Mr. Trump was “in a position that he might be able to pull this off.”

Mr. Parscale has kept a low profile since September, when he was hospitalized after his wife, Candice, called the police saying he was in his house with guns and threatening to hurt himself. According to a police report, Ms. Parscale also said her husband had bruised her arms during ”a physical altercation.” She later walked back the claim of domestic abuse.

Since that episode, which was caught on police body camera footage, Mr. Parscale has claimed he wants to go back to a simpler, more private life flipping real estate. He has told friends he wants to leave politics. Current and former Trump officials on Tuesday interpreted Mr. Parscale’s re-emergence as an attempt to increase the value of a memoir he is also trying to sell and to ingratiate himself with the president.

Mr. Parscale said in the Fox interview that he had not spoken to Mr. Trump recently, and that the fracturing of their relationship was “pretty hurtful.”

“I gave every inch of my life to them,” he said of the Trump family. “Every inch.”

At another point in the interview, he claimed that he was a “semi-quasi campaign manager” during Mr. Trump’s winning 2016 campaign, alongside Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. In fact, Kellyanne Conway, a former White House official, was the president’s campaign manager four years ago.

“The worst thing to ever do was to break us two up,” Mr. Parscale said of his relationship with Mr. Kushner, claiming that the president’s son-in-law was also “slightly sidelined” after his demotion.

Addressing the altercation in September for the first time, Mr. Parscale hinted at strains in his marriage but did not address the abuse allegation. Martha MacCallum, the Fox News host who conducted the interview, did not ask him about it.

“We lost two children during the election,” Mr. Parscale said, referring to the death of their twins in 2016. “We were completely attacked by the left, the right, the media. And I got to a bad place.”

He said that he and his wife had “never been happier,” adding, “I’m just glad I moved on.”



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Anderson Cooper Delivers Lengthy Takedown Of Donald Trump’s Latest ‘Con’



Donald Trump’s latest “con” was placed under the microscope by Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, with the CNN host breaking down the president’s bid to raise money from supporters off the back of his election defeat.

Cooper noted how instead of tackling the coronavirus pandemic that is currently ravaging the country, Trump just refuses to accept defeat to President-elect Joe Biden and is “focused on what is, I’m sad to say, a con game over the election he lost.”

That’s despite even Attorney General William Barr, a key Trump ally, acknowledging Tuesday that the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 vote, despite Trump’s legal team filing dozens of lawsuits in a bid to overturn the result.

“The president is peddling an idea that is not true to people who want it to be true. In exchange, he’s taking their money, about $170 million so far,” said Cooper.

Donors are being led to believe their money “is going toward legal expenses related to the election,” he explained. “It’s largely not. That is the definition of what a confidence game is. That’s what a con man does and that is what the president seems to be doing.”

Cooper noted how Trump’s campaign team has bombarded supporters with emails asking for donations but, due to the nature of the so-called “leadership PAC to which their cash is going, there are largely no limits on what it can be spent on.

“The people giving him money don’t even get those old Trump steaks or a worthless diploma from Trump University,” said Cooper. “This is another con.” 

Check out the video here:





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Trump’s Rallies Didn’t Pay Off For Him At The Polls, According To Data



President Donald Trump’s largely maskless campaign rallies may have boosted the spread of COVID-19, but they didn’t serve Trump well at the polls,  according to a ballot analysis by NBC News.

In an overwhelming number of cases, Trump came up short of his 2016 victory margins in the counties where he held rallies in the two weeks before the election, NBC reported. In a significant number of cases, he either increased his negative margins or lost the counties to rival Joe Biden that he won the last time around.

Trump held 30 campaign rallies the final two weeks before the election in states from Arizona to Nebraska to Pennsylvania, NBC noted. Trump won larger victory margins than he did in 2016 in just five of the counties. In the rest, his negative margins grew and his positive margins shrunk, so much so that some counties flipped blue.

NBC cautioned that Trump may have done even worse in some cases without the rallies.

But the findings present a clear warning against gauging national, or even state, popularity based on rally turnouts, which tend to draw those who would vote for a candidate in any case. The rallies also represent a minuscule fraction of the vote.

Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have repeatedly expressed astonishment that Trump lost the election, given the president’s campaign schedule and the enthusiasm of people attending his rallies.

Eric Trump is perplexed that anyone could believe the results, according to a tweet he posted Saturday. People responding informed him that rallies are not necessarily a reliable barometer of voter support and that votes and rally attendance are not the same.

What the rallies did accomplish was to increase COVID-19 infections, according to research from Stanford University. The research conservatively tied Trump’s rallies to at least 700 deaths — and counting. Some 30,000 people became sick with the virus because of the rallies and may face lifelong health problems. Communities that hosted Trump’s events “paid a high price in terms of disease and death,” the researchers concluded in a working paper.

Few of those attending Trump’s packed rallies wore masks and clearly did not observe social distancing guidelines. In a number of cases, Trump angrily ignored COVID-19 regulations and pleas from local officials not to hold the dangerous rallies as COVID-19 cases surged.

Joe Biden’s far lower campaign profile was an attempt to limit exposure to help stem the spread of COVID-19. 

For a detailed analysis of Trump’s vote results in counties where he held rallies, check out the NBC News story here.





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The Possibilities for Biden’s Vision to Overcome Trump’s Division


President-elect Joe Biden campaigned aspirationally on a vision of uniting a country many see as severely, if not hopelessly, divided. After all, while Biden amassed over 80 million votes, the most votes ever tallied by any candidate in a presidential election in U.S. history, Trump hauled in the second-most votes ever, finding the support of over 70 million American voters.

And I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time here elaborating the many ways the soon-to-be former racist and sexist in chief fomented divisions and exacerbated the fault lines in U.S. society and culture.

So how can we even speak of “unity” when the divisions seem to cut so deeply and venomously?

And what does “unity” even mean?  Let’s start here.

Simply being on the same page as to what constitutes reality and the truth would be a start.  If we could agree, for example, that climate change is a real threat to life as a we know it or that COVID-19 is not a hoax, that would be huge; it would be an important and by no means simple kind of unity. It wouldn’t mean that we would be united in agreement about the best public health agenda, on energy policy, on taxation to support public policy agendas, and so forth. But being on the same page in terms of basic reality would be an enormous advance for the nation.

A common understanding of reality provides a foundational unity to even have conversations about policy approaches to addressing challenges that, if not shared by all, are shared by a majority of Americans.

Trump’s political strategy, you might have noticed, was to steer clear of, if not completely obscure and distort, policy discussions.  He did not even bring a policy platform to the Republican National Convention for party members to affirm or debate.

So, one measure of Biden’s success in unifying the nation will be the extent to which he can shift Americans’ foci to matters of policy, not personality.

Again, drawing Americans into this conversation would be no easy feat, but is it a possibility?

Well, let’s take a couple of issues like health care and public education to assess the possibilities and pitfalls for unifying Americans in a policy debate rooted in a firm understanding of our shared reality.

Recall that after Trump emerged victorious in 2016, many of his voters suddenly found themselves terrified that he would actually do what he promised, which was to repeal Obamacare.  At the time, Sarah Kliff and Byrd Pinkerton, reporting for Vox, visited Whitley Country in Kentucky, where the uninsured rate had declined by 60 percent because of the Affordable Care Act but where 82 percent of the voters supported Trump.

One Trump voter they interviewed, Debbie Mills, an small business owner whose husband needed liver transplant, represented many voters in the country living in fear and incredulity the Trump would follow through on his campaign pledge. She said at the time:

“I don’t know what we’ll do if it does go away. I guess I thought that, you know, [Trump] would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot … purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?”

Like many voters, for whatever reason, Mills did not take Trump seriously when it came to repealing Obamacare:

“I guess we really didn’t think about that, that he was going to cancel that or change that or take it away,” she said. “I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed.”

Now fast-forward to the 2020 election. Many Trump voters seemed not to have learned the lesson. Maybe they didn’t pay attention to John McCain’s negative vote that saved Obama care from a “skinny repeal” back in the summer of 2017.

Early last October The New York Times reported how many Trump supporters who deeply cared about affordable healthcare as a top voting issue, believed Trump would protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, despite a policy record clearly demonstrating the opposite.

One voter said: “I’ve heard from him that he would continue with pre-existing conditions so that people would not lose their health insurance. It’s made a big difference with me and my husband.”

Here is a basis for unity, suggesting many Americans, whether Trump or Biden supporters, share an important policy position.

Recent elections show as well that when it comes to public education, the possibility for political unity among voters across party lines is a real one.

In Michigan, Democrats Darrin Camilleri in 2016 and Padma Kuppa and Matt Koleszar in 2018 flipped Republican-held state representative seats in their respective districts by foregrounding the erosion of public schools in those districts due to a gross underfunding caused in part by Betsy DeVos’ long-standing charter school movement in the state.

Also in 2018, Kansas voters elected Democrats Laura Kelly as Governor and Sharice Davids to the House of Representatives who ran on support for public education, after  Sam Brownback’s cuts to education were so egregious that they were deemed unconstitutional by the state’s supreme court.

In November 2019, Democrat Andy Beshear defeated always-Trumper incumbent Governor Matt Bevin largely, by many accounts, because of his support for teachers and public education, while Bevin ran on a platform that refused to increase education funding.

And these are just two issues. American families need and want health care; they want quality schools for their children; they want clean air and water and a safe environment and habitable world.

Of course there are gross and ugly divisions Trump has exacerbated.  There are also broad and multiple points of unity Trump has obscured and the media has not focused on sharply and frequently enough.

Health care, education, and a safe environment don’t grab attention the way Trump’s racism, sexual misconduct, and general hate do.

But Americans may be more unified than we are led to believe when it comes to the challenges we face and the policies we need.

Biden at least has a starting point and a path forward to achieve his pledge of unifying the nation.

 

 



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Donald Trump’s Requested Milwaukee Recount Has Resulted in Even More Votes For Joe Biden


The state of Wisconsin has been the tightest during the last two presidential elections. In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by around 24,000 votes. And in 2020, Joe Biden defeated Trump in the state by slightly under 21,000 votes.

Hillary Clinton asked for a recount in 2016 and things barely changed. Donald Trump, who has been much louder in his allegations of fraud, only sought recounts in two counties.

One of those areas was Milwaukee County, which has a sizable suburban and black population. But according to reports, that recount has backfired on Trump as Biden’s lead has only grown.

The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman tweeted on Friday, “Milwaukee County concludes its recount of the presidential election — one of two counties where Trump sought a recount in Wisconsin. The results: Biden’s lead, currently at about 20,000 statewide, grew by 132 votes.”

Trump has been consistent in his claims that he was cheated in the state of Wisconsin. He shared a misleading chart on Twitter last week and wrote, “Look at this in Wisconsin! A day AFTER the election, Biden receives a dump of 143,379 votes at 3:42AM, when they learned he was losing badly. This is unbelievable!”

Of course, political pundits had advised for weeks that the crush of Democratic leaning mail-in ballots would come in later than the election day totals. The phenomenon was referred to as “the red mirage.”





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In Harsh Rebuke, Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Election Challenge in Pennsylvania


In a blistering decision, a Philadelphia appeals court ruled on Friday that the Trump campaign could not stop — or attempt to reverse — the certification of the voting results in Pennsylvania, reprimanding the president’s team by noting that “calling an election unfair does not make it so.”

The 21-page ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was a complete repudiation of Mr. Trump’s legal effort to halt Pennsylvania’s certification process and was written by a judge that he himself appointed to the bench. “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote on behalf of the appeals court in a unanimous decision. “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Many courts have used scathing language in tossing out a relentless barrage of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its supporters since Election Day; but even so, the Third Circuit’s ruling was particularly blunt.

“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president,” the court declared at one point. “Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.”

The court accused the Trump campaign of engaging in “repetitive litigation” and pointed out that the public interest strongly favored “counting every lawful voter’s vote, and not disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvania voters who voted by mail.”

Even though Republican plaintiffs have continued filing lawsuits challenging the integrity of the elections and Mr. Trump has not let up on baselessly questioning the election results on Twitter, judges around the country — some of them appointed by Republicans — have held the line, ruling over and over that the legal actions in several swing states lack both merit and sufficient proof.

Last week, a federal judge in Atlanta appointed by Mr. Trump denied an emergency request to halt the certification of Georgia’s vote, saying that such a move “would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law.”

Then there was the judge whose ruling was upheld by the Third Circuit, Matthew W. Brann of Federal District Court in Williamsport, Pa. When Judge Brann, a former Republican official and member of the conservative Federalist Society appointed by former President Barack Obama, dealt Mr. Trump’s team an initial legal defeat last Saturday, he likened the suit to “Frankenstein’s monster,” saying it had been “haphazardly stitched together.” He also noted that the suit was filled with “strained legal arguments” and “speculative accusations” that were “unsupported by evidence.”

The Pennsylvania decision came on a day of baseless tweets from Mr. Trump that the election was “a total scam,” that he “won by a lot” and that the news media “refuse to report the real facts and figures.”

Still, when asked on Thursday if he would leave the White House if the Electoral College, as expected, formalizes Mr. Biden’s victory, the president said: “Certainly I will.”

On Friday, moments after the three-judge panel from the Third Circuit handed down its ruling, Jenna Ellis, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, wrote on Twitter that she and Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is leading the president’s postelection legal campaign, planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. In her Twitter post, Ms. Ellis accused “the activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania” of covering up “allegations of massive fraud” despite the fact that all three judges on the panel were appointed by Republicans.

But even if the Supreme Court granted the Trump campaign’s proposed request to reverse the Third Circuit, it would not get much, given the narrow way in which the appeal was structured.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers had asked the appeals court only for permission to file a revised version of its original complaint to Judge Brann. If the Supreme Court abided by the strict terms of the appeal, it could do no more than return the case to Judge Brann’s court for further action.

In a letter to the Third Circuit earlier this week, lawyers for Mr. Trump had suggested that the appeals court could, on its own, reverse the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote, which took place on Tuesday when Gov. Tom Wolf signed off on the slate of 20 electors and solidified President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory there. Georgia certified its vote last week after a hand-recount of its five million ballots left Mr. Biden’s victory intact. But Mr. Trump’s lawyers stopped short of formally requesting such a move.

Still, the appeals court shot down that suggestion too, saying the campaign’s arguments for effectively undoing Pennsylvania’s election had “no merit” and would be “drastic and unprecedented.”

“That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised,” the judges wrote.

In the initial complaint, the campaign’s lawyers had argued there were widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and that Mr. Trump’s poll challengers were not allowed proper access to observe the vote and vote count.

But the appeals court dismissed these arguments as “vague and conclusory.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers never alleged “that anyone treated the Trump campaign or Trump votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or Biden votes,” the court wrote. “And federal law does not require poll watchers or specify how they may observe.”

The underlying lawsuit has been beset by legal snafus almost from the moment it began on Nov. 9.

One week after it was filed, the Trump campaign was already on its third set of lawyers. On Nov. 17, Mr. Giuliani, rushing into the matter, personally appeared at a hearing in front of Judge Brann and gave a disjointed opening statement that mentioned Mickey Mouse, former Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago and the Philadelphia mafia.

Mr. Giuliani also contradicted Mr. Trump — and his own public statements — by admitting at the hearing that no one was accusing Pennsylvania elections officials of committing fraud.

“This is not a fraud case,” he said.

The appeals court seemed to throw that statement back in Mr. Giuliani’s face in its decision.

“The Trump presidential campaign asserts that Pennsylvania’s 2020 election was unfair,” it wrote. “But as lawyer Rudolph Giuliani stressed, the campaign ‘doesn’t plead fraud.’”





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Trump’s Election Lawyers Just Melted Down And Started Attacking Each Other


Trump’s election lawyers are attacking each other now and fighting over who is really on the election legal team.

After Sidney Powell accused Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of crimes, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said that Powell doesn’t work on the election challenge.

Kaitlin Collins of CNN tweeted:

The entire Trump legal challenge has become a national laughingstock. Giuliani and Ellis disavowed Powell after she appeared at a press conference with them on Friday.

Sidney Powell accused Bernie Sanders and Brian Kemp of conspiring in a cover-up to steal the election from Donald Trump. Powell has been pushing the debunked Dominion voting machines conspiracy theory that Trump adores. Trump’s legal team has lost almost three dozen challenges to the election, and now they are attacking each other.

It’s time to pack this circus up and send it home. Before election day people were afraid that Trump would mount a serious challenge to the results and plunge the nation into a constitutional crisis. Instead, Trump has put together a legal defense that looks just like his delusional and failed presidency.

Incompetence defined Trump’s presidency, and it is the hallmark characteristic of his efforts to challenge the election of Joe Biden.

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Judge Obliterates Rudy Giuliani While Shutting Down Trump’s PA Lawsuit


A federal judge in Pennsylvania didn’t just rule against Trump, he obliterated Rudy Giuliani and stopped Trump cold in Pennsylvania.

Marc C. Elias described the judge’s ruling as Giuliani getting his ass kicked in court:

The intro to the judge’s opinion is must-read material:

Rudy Giuliani got shot down on every single point that he made. The judge pointed out that the Trump campaign lacked both evidence and strong legal arguments while trying to disenfranchise seven million Pennsylvania voters.

Here is a video from NBC News that sums up how badly Giuliani fared:

Giuliani is not a constitutional lawyer, in fact, in some jurisdictions, he’s not even a lawyer. Rudy is arguing this case because no constitutional lawyer worth anything will touch Trump’s legal challenges to the election.

Rudy Guiliani did more than lose. He singlehandedly ended Trump’s effort to block the certification of the results in Pennsylvania.

Trump’s claims are baseless and lack merit. The Pennsylvania ruling is what happens when a frivolous lawsuit is presented to the court by one of the worst semi-legal attornies out there.

Pennsylvania will certify its results on Monday, as a big legal door has been slammed shut in Trump’s face.

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Trump’s GSA Head Is Looking For A New Job While Blocking Biden Transition


GSA Administration Emily Murphy has blocked Joe Biden from beginning the presidential transition while she is actively job hunting.

ABC News reported, “Emily Murphy, head of the GSA, recently sent that message to an associate inquiring about employment opportunities in 2021, a move that some in Washington interpreted as at least tacitly acknowledging that the current administration soon will be gone.”

It is ironic that the news of Murphy quietly searching for a new job came one day after Trump tweeted that she was doing a great job at the GSA.

The hypocrisy of this situation is blatant. Even Murphy knows Joe Biden won, but she isn’t going to take steps to help the government transition smoothly to the Biden administration. It takes a special level of soulless corruption to be looking for a new job while blocking the incoming administration from being able to plan as effectively in the middle of a pandemic.

The blocking of the transition has nothing to do with Trump’s odds of victory because he has none. Trump has lost, and the behavior of people like Emily Murphy should not be forgotten when it comes to her lack of professionalism in handling the transition.

In a just world, Emily Murphy would get the unemployment she deserves for making people suffer to satisfy Donald Trump.

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