The Ledes

Monday, November 19, 2018.

CBS/AP: "The death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California increased by one Sunday to 77, while the number of people unaccounted for has decreased to 993 people. The blaze was two-thirds contained as of Sunday night after consuming some 150,000 acres. In Southern California, just outside Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire was 91 percent contained after burning 96,949 acres and killing three people. Dense smoke from the fires has been smothering parts of the state with what has been described as 'the dirtiest air in the world.' Rain is forecast for mid-week, which could help firefighters but also complicate the challenging search for remains."

The Wires
Gubernatorial Results

 

It's hard to read, but as the Times tally indicates, Democrats have picked up seven gubernatorial seats as of the current projections. Georgia is still too close to call, according to the Times. Republicans are ahead in all three states. Georgia could go to a runoff, but that looks unlikely at this point.

The New York Times' gubernatorial results are here.

Here are state-by-state predictions:

Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is predicted to win the election.

Alaska: Mike Dunleavy (R) is projected to win the election. This is a pick-up for Republicans from an independent governor.

Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has retained his seat.

Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson (R) is predicted to win re-election.

California: NBC News predicts Gavin Newsom (D) will become governor.

Colorado: NBC News predicts Jared Polis (D) will win the governor's seat.

Connecticut: Neil Vigdor, et al., of the Hartford Courant: "Democrat Ned Lamont appeared poised to become Connecticut’s 89th governor Wednesday morning after running up significant margins overnight in some of the state’s largest cities to pull ahead of Republican Bob Stefanowski.

Florida: Andrew Gillum (D) has conceded to Ron DeSantis (R).

Hawaii: Gov. David Ige (D) is predicted to retain his seat.

Idaho: NBC News projects Brad Little (R) will win the governorship.

Illinois: J.B. Pritzker (D) is expected to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

Iowa: NBC projects Kim Reynolds (R) will retain the governorship.

Kansas: Laura Kelly (D) has defeated Kris Kobach (R-Voter Suppression) for the governorship, according to NBC News. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

     Jonathan Shorman & Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star: "Democrat Laura Kelly will become the next governor of Kansas after voters rejected Republican Kris Kobach’s hard-right campaign and embraced Kelly’s promises of moderation and stability. Kelly vowed to put former Gov. Sam Brownback, and the years of budget woes brought on by his signature tax cuts, in the past." ...

     BUT then the Star has two stories about Kobach linked on its front page (the Kelly win is sandwiched between them), including this one about how Kobach, where the headline reads that Kobach has "unlimited potential." Turns out that a quote from Steve Bannon. The Star's lede sez, "... his defeat may do little to curb his future political potential." Nice.


Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article221168580.html#storylink=cpy

Maine: Janet Mills (D) is projected to win the governorship. This is a flip from the execrable Paul LePage, who says he is moving to Florida "and teach at a university there." After yesterday's showing, Florida deserves him.

     Kevin Miller & Noel Gallagher of the Portland Press Herald: "Democrat Janet Mills won the governor’s race early Wednesday, becoming Maine’s first woman to hold the office."

Maryland: Larry Hogan (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D) is predicted to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

Minnesota: Tim Walz (D) is predicted to take the governorship.

Nebraska: Pete Ricketts (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Nevada: Steve Sisolak (D) is expected to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican.

New Hampshire: Chris Sununu (R) will remain governor.

New Mexico: NBC News is predicting Michelle Grisham (D) is expected to win the election. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

New York: Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to win re-election.

Ohio: Mike DeWine (R) has won the race for governor.

Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt (R) is predicted to win the governorship.

Oregon: Kate Brown (D) will retain the governorship.

Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (D) is expected to be re-elected.

Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo is expected to be re-elected.

South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is predicted to win the election.

South Dakota: Kristi Noem (R) is predicted to win the governor's race.

Tennessee: Bill Lee (R) is expected to win the election.

Texas: Greg Abbott (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Vermont: Phil Scott (R) will retain the governship.

Wisconsin: Tony Evers (D) is projected to defeat Gov. Scott Walker (R). Adios, Scotty.

     Patrick Marley & Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "After upending Wisconsin politics and infuriating liberals across the country, Gov. Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term Tuesday to Tony Evers, the leader of the education establishment Walker blew up eight years ago. The Associated Press called the race for Evers about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday based on unofficial returns. The race was so close that Walker's team said a detailed review of balloting and a recount were possible. But an unofficial tally had Evers winning by 1.1 percentage points — a margin that would be too large for a recount if it held."

Wyoming: Mark Gordon (R) is predicted to win the governship.

Kwitcherbitchin. Think things are bad now? They were way worse in 536 C.E. A report in Science explains.

Click on picture to see larger image.

... New York Times: "A celebrated and enigmatic painting of two men and a turquoise pool by David Hockney sold at Christie’s on Thursday night for $90.3 million with fees, shattering the auction record for a living artist and cementing a major broadening of tastes at the turbocharged top end of the market. The price for the 1972 painting, 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),' easily surpassed the previous high of $58.4 million, held by Jeff Koons for one of his 'Balloon Dog' sculptures."

Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times reviews Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming.

Laura Holson of the New York Times: "... a number of artists who have reimagined [Norman Rockwell's] 'Four Freedoms,' most of them spurred by racial and political tension that has divided the country.... Mr. Rockwell’s portraits of Americana in the 1940s and 1950s were quite popular, but largely limited to white, Anglo-Saxon subjects who were friends or acquaintances of the artist. His 'Four Freedoms' series helped boost patriotism in a country on the brink of war, a visual reminder of American ideals. During World War II, they were turned into posters to muster sales of U.S. war bonds. Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, said, 'Rockwell worked for hire and had to address the norms' of The Saturday Evening Post. Later, in the 1960s, the artist joined Look magazine and depicted civil rights and poverty. 'We saw him progressively move toward more representation,' she said. 'But it was an evolution.'... The 'Four Freedoms' series is touring the United States in celebration of its 75th anniversary.... As part of the 'Four Freedoms' tour, the organizers are showing works by contemporary artists inspired by the artist.”

Pops Peterson. "Freedom from Fear." 2015.

In case you've forgotten Rockwell's Four Freedoms, here they are:

Click on picture to see larger image.In fairness to Rockwell, this has to be my favorite "political illustration":

Norman Rockwell. 1964.

Drones over New Hampshire (and apparently a bit of Michigan):


The Aliens Are Coming! The Aliens Are Coming! NBC News: "Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets. Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft. As they say in a paper to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the object 'may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: No mention of it in the story, but here's hoping they will take away our leader. And his friends.

Melanie McFarland of Salon reviews "Shut Up & Dribble," a three-part Showtime documentary which examines "the impact professional athletes have played in civil rights and social justice movements even prior to the NBA’s official formation, as a three-hour rebuttal to one Fox News pundit’s smarmy, uninformed declaration." Here's the trailer:

Dear @real Donald Trump:

You are the only person I know of who has such "a natural instinct for science" that he doesn't have to take classes or run field studies and all to be an expert on any scientific subject. I don't know any @real Apicologists, & even the @real Bee Guy who came out to give these critters a new home said he'd never seen anything like it. That being one of your favorite sayings, and as someone who has a natural instinct for cliched hyberbole, I thought of you right away. Could you tell me what kind of bees make nests like this humungous construction at my house in Florida? Thanks in advance.

-- @fake Bea McCrabbie 

P.S. My house is right down the road from Mar-a-Lago. I hope the Bee Guy took the bees to your place.

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Wednesday
Nov072018

The Commentariat -- November 8, 2018

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

William Cummings of USA Today: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in the hospital after falling in her office Wednesday night, the Court announced in a statement on Thursday. Ginsburg, 85, went home after the fall but continued to experience 'discomfort overnight' and went to George Washington University Hospital early Thursday. Tests revealed she fractured three ribs and she 'was admitted for observation and treatment,' according to the statement." Thanks to PD Pepe for the lead.

** Devlin Barrett, et al., of the Washington Post: "Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation.... The two people close to Whitaker also said they strongly believe he would not approve any request from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to subpoena the president.... While Whitaker is now Mueller's ultimate supervisor, it was not immediately clear whether that meant [Deputy AG Rod] Rosenstein would step aside. Justice Department officials said that under normal circumstances, the deputy attorney general would likely play an active, hands-on role in overseeing such a high profile probe, and they had no reason to believe that Rosenstein would now be cut out." ...

... Adam Silverman of Balloon Juice: "... Special Counsel Mueller has been planning for something like this to happen. As such he has contingency plans in place and for each contingency plan he has multiple sequels (to use DOD planning terminology). I would expect to see a bunch of indictments, either previously sealed ones or ones prepared and waiting to go, to be dropped in short order. I would also expect that whatever could be farmed out to the Federal prosecutorial districts, such as the Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as to the state level, such as NY state, Maryland, Virginia, and DC will be handed off to them. Whitaker will have limited ability to interfere with anything Mueller hands off or farms out to the Federal prosecutorial districts and no ability at all to interfere with state or DC prosecutions.... I also expect, just as we saw with Sessions, that a selected leak or two from the intel community will be quickly released as warning shots across Whitaker's bow." Thanks to OGJerry for the link.

Major Garrett of CBS News: "Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being considered to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, two sources familiar with the matter tell CBS News. President Trump forced Sessions out as the nation's chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, one day after Democrats captured the House in the midterm elections. No decisions are expected soon, and the list of those being considered -- which also includes Rudy Giuliani, outgoing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and former Attorney General William Barr, who served under President George H. W. Bush -- is likely to grow in the coming days...."

Evan Perez, et al., of CNN: "As he was preparing to remove Jeff Sessions as attorney general..., Donald Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller.... Among the questions Mueller has asked the President to provide written responses on are queries about [Roger] Stone and his communications with then-candidate Trump, according to a source briefed on the matter....Trump made clear once again in a news conference Wednesday he believes the investigation is a waste of time and money. 'It's a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,' Trump said.... Mueller's team has begun writing its final report, multiple sources told CNN.

Matthew Choi of Politico: "Prominent CNN personalities on Thursday accused White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of posting an altered video to suggest CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta inappropriately made contact with a White House intern over control of a microphone. Sanders posted a video Wednesday of Acosta maintaining his grip on a microphone as a White House intern tried to take it from him during a news conference with ... Donald Trump. Sanders used the video as justification for the White House revoking Acosta's press access Wednesday evening -- a move that was met with immediate and fierce condemnation from other journalists. On Thursday morning, CNN's Matt Dornic, vice president of communications and digital partnerships, and Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent, both claimed the video had altered speeds to make Acosta seem more aggressive and the intern more demure.... Dornic and Stelter suggested the video might have come from the far-right website InfoWars, which has been booted from mainstream social media sites for peddling inflammatory conspiracy theories."

California. Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times: "California Republicans lost two House seats in Tuesday's midterm election and could surrender more as tens of thousands of ballots are counted in four other contests that remain too close to call. The party has an exceedingly small chance of holding the seats of Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Jeff Denham, historical voting patterns suggest. Two other Republicans, Rep. Mimi Walters and Young Kim of Fullerton, hold thin leads over their opponents that could also vanish."

Florida. Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times: "As the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson appears headed to a statewide recount, both candidates are mobilizing teams of lawyers and legal skirmishes are well underway. Thursday dawned with Scott leading Nelson by just more than one-fourth of a percentage point. The candidates for agriculture commissioner are much closer, divided by 0.06 points, and in the contest for governor, Ron DeSantis' advantage of 0.52 over Andrew Gillum was close to the threshold for a mandatory machine recount. In a fierce scramble for votes that's expected to soon intensify, thousands of provisional ballots cast by people who didn't have IDs, or who voted at the wrong precinct, are already the focus of both sides in the Senate race."

Georgia. WSB-TV Atlanta: "Karen Handel [R] has conceded the Georgia's 6th Congressional District race to Lucy McBath [D] Thursday morning."

Mrs. McCrabbie: Here's one I forgot:

New York. Dan Mangan of CNBC: "Rep. Chris Collins, the Republican recently indicted on federal insider trading charges, will retain his House seat representing New York's 27th District, NBC News has projected. The three-term incumbent -- the first House member to have endorsed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump -- apparently defeated Democrat Nate McMurray, an attorney, in the Buffalo-area district. Collins had suspended his campaign in August after being arrested. But he relaunched his campaign in mid-September after efforts by the Republican Party to replace him on the ballot failed." Mrs. McC: GOP voters do love their allegedly crooked reps.

North Carolina. How Gerrymandering Works. Brian Murphy of the Raleigh News & Observer: "To critics of the state's Republican-drawn congressional districts, which have been declared unconstitutional by a panel of three federal judges, Tuesday's results provided another example of a broken redistricting process, protecting Republicans from a strong showing by Democrats.... Across the state, Republican candidates for Congress won 50.3 percent of the vote and Democrats won 48.4 percent of the vote, according to a News & Observer analysis of vote totals. Democrats did not have a candidate in Eastern North Carolina's 3rd district, won by Republican incumbent Rep. Walter Jones. But Republicans kept their 10-3 edge in the state's House delegation."

Alan Feuer of the New York Times: "After a six-month investigation, prosecutors said Thursday that they would not pursue criminal charges against Eric T. Schneiderman, the former New York State attorney general who resigned in May after four women accused him of assaulting them. The decision not to file charges was announced in a statement issued by Madeline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, who was asked by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to investigate the case shortly after Mr. Schneiderman left his post. Ms. Singas said the women who accused Mr. Schneiderman of abuse were credible, but there were legal hurdles to bringing charges. She did not elaborate on those obstacles, except to say that some of the accusations were too old to pursue under state law."

*****

Trump Has Kelly Fire Sessions; Replaces Him with Collusion Apologist, Mueller Critic. Peter Baker & Katie Benner of the New York Times: "President Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with a loyalist who will now take charge of the special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference, a defiant move just a day after a midterm election loss. Mr. Sessions delivered his resignation letter to the White House at the request of the president and Mr. Trump tapped Matthew Whitaker, Mr. Sessions's chief of staff, as acting attorney general. In that capacity, Mr. Whitaker assumes control of the Russia investigation, raising questions about the future of the inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. In a column for CNN last year, Mr. Whitaker wrote that Mr. Mueller would be going too far if he examined the Trump family's finances.... John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, called Mr. Sessions before his postelection news conference on Wednesday to tell the attorney general that Mr. Trump wanted him to step down, the administration official said. Mr. Trump, who did not speak with Mr. Sessions himself, then ducked questions about Mr. Sessions's fate at the news conference. Mr. Sessions then had his letter, which was undated, delivered to the White House. Mr. Whitaker has previously questioned the scope of the investigation." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Adam Goldman & Edward Wong of the New York Times: "Inside the Justice Department, senior officials, including Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, have viewed Mr. Whitaker with intense suspicion. Before his current job at the Justice Department, Mr. Whitaker, a former college football tight end, was openly hostile on television and social media toward the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and was seen by department officials as a partisan and a White House spy.... People close to the president said Mr. Whitaker first came to the attention of Mr. Trump because he liked watching Mr. Whitaker express skepticism about aspects of Mr. Mueller's investigation on television.... Mr. Whitaker has the support of Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee." ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Appearing on CNN in July 2017 -- before he became Sessions's chief of staff, the position he occupied before Wednesday -- Whitaker mused about a scenario in which Trump might fire Sessions and replace him with a temporary attorney general. Whitaker noted that federal regulations still gave the attorney general power over the budget for a special counsel. That temporary replacement, he then said, could move to choke off Mueller's funding.... 'The President is absolutely correct,' Whitaker said after Trump suggested that Mueller investigating his finances would cross a red line. 'Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing.' He has also downplayed the idea that anything illegal was done at the Trump Tower meeting, saying, 'You would always take the meeting.' Whether any of this will come to pass, we don't know. But comments like these could now be hugely consequential. Update: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Whitaker should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, in light of the above commentary." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Betsy Woodruff, et al., of the Daily Beast: "It's been a meteoric rise for [Whitaker]..., an ex-prosecutor and failed political candidate who less than two years ago was the head of a little-known conservative nonprofit with designs on a judgeship in his home state of Iowa. Through that nonprofit, and with the help of a PR firm later tied to a bizarre conspiracy theory, Whitaker ran interference for Sessions at one of the most fraught moments in his tumultuous time as attorney general.... 'Whitaker is on record as being more interested in propping up Trump than in upholding the rule of law,' one DOJ trial attorney told The Daily Beast. 'It's hard to have confidence that he'll do anything other than what the president had said in his tweets.'" ...

... Rekha Basu of the Des Moines Register (May 2014 & republished yesterday): "If elected to the U.S. Senate, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view, and specifically a New Testament view, of justice. 'If they have a secular world view, then I'm going to be very concerned about how they judge,' Whitaker said at an April 25, 2014, Family Leader debate.... As a lawyer, one might expect him to know that setting religious conditions for holding a public office would violate the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. He was effectively saying that if elected, he would see no place for a judge of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or other faith, or of no faith." ...

... Brittany Shammas of the Miami New Times: "Whitaker is a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, but he was also involved in a Miami-based invention-marketing company the Federal Trade Commission shut down last year after calling it a scam. Whitaker not only sat on the board of World Patent Marketing but also once sent a threatening email to a former customer who had complained after he spent thousands of dollars and did not receive the promised services.... World Patent Marketing collected almost $26 million by promising starry-eyed inventors it would turn their inventions into best sellers." Mrs. McC: You can see why Trump wouldn't find Whitaker's history as a scam artist in the least disqualifying. His little venture was, after all, just another version of Trump "University." ...

... ** Mikhaila Fogel & a host of others in Lawfare: "The firing of Jeff Sessions and his replacement on an interim basis by a man who has expressed open hostility to the Mueller investigation and in whose loyalty President Trump has expressed confidence marks a major moment in the course of the Russia investigation. It is a profoundly dangerous moment: The president fired the attorney general, as he once fired the FBI director, for plainly illegitimate reasons: because the attorney general acted appropriately on an investigative matter in which Trump himself has the deepest of personal interests.... Yes, the president has the raw power to do this. But as was the case with the firing of James Comey, it is an abuse of the power he wields." The article discusses numerous aspects of the situation. ...

... Rosalind Helderman, et al., of the Washington Post: "A Justice Department official said Wednesday that Whitaker would assume final decision-making authority over the special counsel probe instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.... As acting attorney general, Whitaker could sharply curtail Mueller's authority, cut his budget or order him to cease lines of inquiry. Within hours of his appointment, there were mounting calls by congressional Democrats and government watchdog groups for Whitaker to recuse himself, citing critical comments he made about Mueller's investigation. Furious Democrats ... also promised to investigate Sessions's forced resignation and suggested Trump's actions could amount to obstruction of justice if he intended to disrupt the criminal probe. 'There is no mistaking what this means, and what is at stake: this is a constitutionally perilous moment for our country and for the President,' Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) said in a statement. He is set to take over in January as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that would oversee any impeachment proceedings." ...

... Post Mortem. Matt Ford of the New Republic: "Sessions's departure marks an ignominious end for one of the president's most effective Cabinet members. Not since A. Mitchell Palmer was the nation's attorney general so singularly focused on imposing his own ideological vision on the rest of the nation. In the U.S. Senate, Sessions's strident restrictionist views on immigration had been relegated to the ideological fringes. But as attorney general, he enjoyed unparalleled influence over the machinery of American immigration and wielded it against those hoping to build a better life for themselves in the United States. His greatest policy triumph amounted to systemic child abuse.... The great tragicomedy of Sessions's downfall is that it came not from his objectionable decisions, but from a wise one."

Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times: "President Trump lashed out at journalists during a surly and contentious news conference at the White House on Wednesday, renewing his attacks on the news media as 'the enemy of the people' just moments after pledging an end to partisan politics in the wake of a grueling midterm election. In tense exchanges on live television, Mr. Trump denounced [CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta] as 'very rude,' sternly told several reporters to 'sit down,' and at one point stepped away from his lectern, suggesting that he was prepared to cut off the session -- a rare formal East Room news conference -- because of queries he disliked.... 'CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,' the president said. 'You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN.' He added, in a reference to the White House press secretary: 'The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way.' Jabbing a finger in the reporter's direction, he said, 'When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.'" Trump also excoriated two black female correspondents, April Ryan & Yamiche Alcindor. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... ** Watch Trump dismiss Yamiche Alcindor of NPR & accuse her of asking a "racist" question:

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is a guy who dares to call reporters "rude." I know we have come to expect Trump's insane behavior, but it still shocks the conscience. ...

     ... Update. Noor Al-Sibai of Raw Story: "The White House is suspending the press credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after he angered Donald Trump during a press conference earlier in the day by asking why the president refers to the Latin American migrant caravan as an 'invasion.' 'As a result of today's incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters." In her statement, Sanders falsely, IMO, claimed Acosta manhandled a female intern. Rather, the woman, an intern, physically assaulted Acosta. But you decide:

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I can't emphasize enough how serious this is. The "incident" that got Acosta's press pass pulled was "Trump doesn't like question." His verbal assaults on the press have been dangerous enough. Actually shutting out a reporter for asking serious questions moves Trump right into dictator territory. This is ratcheting up the assault on the First Amendment to battery. The White House Correspondents Association -- not exactly known for its bravery -- should go really hard against the Trump administration. This incident may not get a lot of attention because of the Sessions firing & other news stuff. But pulling Acosta's press pass is one of the worst things the administration has done.

     ... Update. Peter Baker of the New York Times: "When Mr. Acosta tried to re-enter the White House on Wednesday evening for a live shot for his network, a Secret Service officer asked him to hand over his 'hard pass,' which grants journalists access to the compound. Mr. Acosta captured the episode in a grainy video on his cellphone and posted it to Twitter. Sarah Huckabee Sanders..., who has also repeatedly clashed with Mr. Acosta during televised briefings at the White House, announced the decision, claiming falsely that Mr. Acosta had placed 'his hands on a young woman' who was responsible for giving the microphone to reporters asking questions.... A review of the video from the news conference did not suggest that Mr. Acosta put his hands on the woman, and a reporter who was present said that the White House account was not true.... The decision to yank Mr. Acosta's credentials, effectively denying him access to the White House and the president's staff, was a nuclear-level response by the president and the administration's communications staff after more than two years of escalating tensions between the CNN correspondent, the president and the president's aides.... Olivier Knox, the president of the White House Correspondents' Association, urged the White House to reverse its decision.... The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in, as well. 'It is unacceptable and un-American for the president to expel a reporter for doing his job aggressively.'" ...

... White House Turns to Conspiracy Theorist to Smear Acosta. Jeet Heer: "To bolster the case against Acosta..., Sarah Sanders posted an edited video of the incident where the action is generally slowed down but speeds up right before the moment of contact, to create the false impression of a deliberate jab on the part of Acosta.... As Ashley Feinberg of The Huffington Post notes, the source of the doctored video Sanders posted seems to be Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a notorious conspiracy theory website." Mrs. McC: Next, Alex Jones will replace Acosta in the White House press corps. ...

... During Presser, Trump Name-checks Republicans Who Didn't "Embrace" Him. CBS News: "... Mr. Trump began by framing the results [of the election] as a 'success' and emphasizing his role in helping the GOP maintain control of and even gain seats in the Senate. 'We saw the candidates I supported achieve tremendous success last night,' Mr. Trump boasted. 'We picked up a lot,' he said. The president also talked about Republican candidates ... who eschewed the Trump "embrace," and he suggested this may have been a contributing factor to their losses. 'On the other hand you had some that decided to let's stay away, let's stay away,' Mr. Trump said. "They did very poorly. I'm not sure that I should be happy or sad. But I feel just fine about it. Carlos Curbelo. Mike Coffman. Too bad, Mike. Mia Love.... But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia. And Barbara Comstock was another one I mean I think she could have won that race, but she didn't want to have any embrace. For that I don't blame her. But she uh, she lost, substantially lost. Peter Roskam didn't want the embrace, Erik Paulsen didn't want the embrace and in New Jersey I think he could have done well but didn't work out too good. Bob Hugin, I feel badly because I think that's something that could have been won, that's a race that could have been won. John Faso. Those are some of the people that you know decided for their own reason not to embrace whether it's me or what we stand for, but what we stand for meant a lot to most people.'" Mrs. McC: Bizarre. ...

... Erica Werner & Damian Paletta of the Washington Post: "President Trump and newly empowered congressional Democrats appeared to be on a collision course over the release of the president's tax returns, as a top Democrat signaled he would demand the information under federal law and Trump insisted he would attempt to block any release. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), expected to become the chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, plans to insist Trump voluntarily release his tax returns, he said in an interview. If Trump doesn't, then Neal will file a legal request with the Treasury Secretary that would require the returns be disclosed to a small group of people on Capitol Hill. He predicted the matter would end up in federal court. At a news conference Wednesday, Trump said his tax returns were already under audit and therefore he would not release them. He said he might consider releasing them at a later date, something he has said since at least 2016.... If Neal formally requests Trump's tax returns, the request would go to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Federal law stipulates that Mnuchin 'shall' turn over the tax returns and doesn't appear to give him much flexibility. It also doesn't appear to give the White House the power to intervene."

... ** Greg Sargent on both Sessions' firing & Trump's "startlingly unhinged performance at a news conference.... There is a tendency after big electoral victories such as the one last night to grow a bit complacent, to imagine that a semblance of normalcy has been restored. In multiple ways, Trump reminded us today that we can't relax even for a second." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Peter Baker & Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "George W. Bush saw a 'thumpin'.' Barack Obama saw a 'shellacking.' Donald J. Trump sees a 'Big Victory.' Never one to admit defeat, even in the face of a major setback, President Trump wasted little time on Wednesday morning trying to frame his party's election losses.... 'Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!' [-- Trump, in a tweet.] But ... he quickly went on offense against the newly elected Democratic House, threatening to retaliate if the opposition uses its new subpoena power to investigate him for corruption and obstruction of justice.... 'If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level,' he wrote. 'Two can play that game!' Then, in a head-spinning pivot, Mr. Trump shortly afterward endorsed Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, for House speaker and even volunteered Republican votes if she cannot muster enough in her own caucus." (Also linked yesterday.)

Buh-Bye, "Operation Faithful Patriot." Luis Martinez & Elizabeth McLaughlin of ABC News: "The day after a midterm election in which ... Donald Trump played up the Pentagon's mission to provide logistical support along the southern border, the Pentagon said Wednesday it will no longer publicly refer to the mission as Operation Faithful Patriot. Instead, the deployment of active duty troops will be referred to as what it's always been: a border support mission." Mrs. McC: Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

David Graham of The Atlantic: "[T]he [electoral] outcomes still tell us something about the strengths and weaknesses of the president's campaign strategy -- and, more important, about the slog that's ahead for the next two years in Washington, as Democrats harry Trump from their perch in the House. The result is arguably much worse for Trump personally than for the Republican Party as a whole.... Democrats have expressed frustration with the Trump administration's stonewalling of requests for information over the past two years. Now they will be able to demand it. For a White House that has seen effectively no oversight from the Republican Congress, this will be a rude shock." --s

Jim Newell of Slate: "It may have felt like such a meh-bleh night for Democrats, then, because it was -- relative to expectations heading into Election Day.... Expectations got out of hand.... The Democratic Party hit rock bottom after the 2016 election, when they lost the presidency to television character Donald Trump, and then had to find some way to regroup quickly enough to face a fantastically gerrymandered Republican House and the worst imaginable Senate map. They took the House within one election and grinded out Senate races where they could, even if they couldn't save some of the ones that they had little business holding in the first place. They'll have governors ready to veto Republican gerrymanders after 2020 in crucial states that they didn't hold the last time. As bleh as it all might feel, it's a start." --s

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) is up by a teensy bit with 88 percent reporting, according to the NYT. He's been losing in most of the earlier returns. Update: The AP has projected Tester as the winner. (Also noted yesterday.)

House count as of Wednesday evening:

Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "Four years ago, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as part of the Tea Party revolution that would eventually topple Speaker of the House John Boehner and pave the way for Donald Trump's presidential bid. Now former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger has defeated Brat and will be the first Democratic representative from Virginia's 7th District in more than four decades, NBC News and the Cook Political Report confirmed Tuesday night. Brat, once the darling of Breitbart and the insurgent conservative movement, aligns with the far-right House Freedom Caucus." Thanks to Akhilleus for the lead. (Also linked yesterday.)

Florida & Georgia. Jonathin Vankin of the Inquisitr: "As the United States Senate race in Florida headed to a recount, the governor's race there on Wednesday morning also looked likely to go to a recount of its own even though Democrat Andrew Gillum, as The New York Times reported, gave a concession speech on Tuesday and Republican Ron DeSantis ... declared victory.... According to April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Gillum's representatives as of Wednesday morning said that his losing margin was only about 15,000 votes.... Ryan also reported that the NAACP planned to investigate 'voter irregularities' in Florida -- as well as in Georgia where Democrat Stac[e]y Abrams trailed by less than 1 percent of the vote and believed that she would gain in ballots yet to be counted...."

** Tim Craig of the Washington Post: "... Democrats expanded their influence in state capitols on Tuesday, flipping more than 300 state legislative seats while also claiming a majority of the nation's attorney general offices. The Democratic gains mark a significant turnaround for a party that had been losing clout in state legislatures for nearly a decade, allowing Republicans in many states to loosen restrictions on firearms, push through new voter-identification laws and weaken environmental regulations. Democrats had also ceded enormous power to Republicans to redraw congressional boundaries. The victories -- buoyed by an apparent net Democratic pickup of seven governorships -- will also help fortify the party's efforts to use states as a firewall against President Trump, including through coordinated lawsuits against the administration." ...

... Bryce Covert in a New York Times op-ed: "Democrats ... seized control of seven legislative chambers, flipping the State Senates in Colorado, Maine, and New York; the House in Minnesota; and both chambers in New Hampshire. Connecticut's Senate, previously evenly split, is now held by Democrats. They broke Republican supermajorities in Michigan and Pennsylvania's Senates and both chambers in North Carolina.... While Democrats in the House will now most likely act as a bulwark against a number of Republican policy goals, the real action will continue to be at the state level."

White Power Politics. Adam Serwer of The Atlantic: "It's fashionable in the Donald Trump era to decry political 'tribalism,' especially if you're a conservative attempting to criticize Trump without incurring the wrath of his supporters.... But calling this 'tribalism' is misleading, because only one side of this divide remotely resembles a coalition based on ethnic and religious lines, and only one side has committed itself to a political strategy that relies on stoking hatred and fear of the other.... A large number of Republican candidates, led by the president, ran racist or bigoted campaigns against their opponents. But those opponents cannot be said to belong to a 'tribe.' No common ethnic or religious ties bind Heitkamp, Campa-Najjar, Delgado, or the constituencies that elected them. It was their Republican opponents who turned to 'tribalism,' painting them as scary or dangerous, and working to disenfranchise their supporters." --s

Daily Beast: "Former Rep. Stephen Stockman (R-TX) was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for orchestrating a scheme to defraud donors and using the money for personal and campaign use, according to a Justice Department press release. Stockman was charged with 23 felonies back in April -- including wire fraud, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and money laundering -- after he and his co-defendants solicited $1,250,571.65 in donations from charities and their leaders. Stockman and the others then laundered the money before using it for a personal and campaign expenses."

Linda Greenhouse: "The Trump administration's treatment of the Supreme Court as a wholly owned subsidiary is one of the most compelling dramas now unfolding in Washington. Whether this drama plays out as comedy or tragedy is up to the court.... I've been more than a little amused by the administration's frantic and largely failed effort to enlist the justices in keeping the public from learning how the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census actually came about."

News Ledes

Los Angeles Times: "A gunman threw smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of hundreds inside a Thousand Oaks bar that is popular with college students Wednesday night, leaving 12 dead including a Sheriff's sergeant shot trying to stop the carnage. The massacre occurred at the Borderline Bar & Grill, with the assailant firing wildly into the crowd. In addition to the dead, 10 other people may have been injured, according to Sheriff Geoff Dean, who added that it's too early to know if the shooter took his own life. The gunman burst into the bar around 11:20 p.m., cloaked in all black. Ventura County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer entered the bar first and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, whose identity was not immediately known. Helus was shot several times and died at an area hospital early Thursday morning, according to Dean."

Slate: "The gunman who killed 12 at a crowded country bar in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long of Newbury Park, California. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Thursday that Long was a former Marine and that sheriff's deputies had been called to Long's home in April. They found him 'somewhat irate and acting irrationally,' according to the Associated Press. A mental health crisis team was then dispatched to Long's home but concluded he did not need to be taken into custody, Dean said. The other incident in which Long came in contact with the Ventura County sheriff's department listed Long as the victim of assault at a bar."

Tuesday
Nov062018

The Commentariat -- November 7, 2018

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Trump Has Kelly Fire Sessions; Replaces Him with Collusion Apologist, Mueller Critic. Peter Baker & Katie Benner of the New York Times: "President Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with a loyalist who will now take charge of the special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference, a defiant move just a day after a midterm election loss. Mr. Sessions delivered his resignation letter to the White House at the request of the president and Mr. Trump tapped Matthew Whitaker, Mr. Sessions's chief of staff, as acting attorney general. In that capacity, Mr. Whitaker assumes control of the Russia investigation, raising questions about the future of the inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. In a column for CNN last year, Mr. Whitaker wrote that Mr. Mueller would be going too far if he examined the Trump family's finances.... John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, called Mr. Sessions before his postelection news conference on Wednesday to tell the attorney general that Mr. Trump wanted him to step down, the administration official said. Mr. Trump, who did not speak with Mr. Sessions himself, then ducked questions about Mr. Sessions's fate at the news conference. Mr. Sessions then had his letter, which was undated, delivered to the White House. Mr. Whitaker has previously questioned the scope of the investigation." ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Appearing on CNN in July 2017 -- before he became Sessions's chief of staff, the position he occupied before Wednesday -- Whitaker mused about a scenario in which Trump might fire Sessions and replace him with a temporary attorney general. Whitaker noted that federal regulations still gave the attorney general power over the budget for a special counsel. That temporary replacement, he then said, could move to choke off Mueller's funding.... 'The President is absolutely correct,' Whitaker said after Trump suggested that Mueller investigating his finances would cross a red line. 'Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing.' He has also downplayed the idea that anything illegal was done at the Trump Tower meeting, saying, 'You would always take the meeting.' Whether any of this will come to pass, we don't know. But comments like these could now be hugely consequential. Update: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Whitaker should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, in light of the above commentary."

Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times: "President Trump lashed out at journalists during a surly and contentious news conference at the White House on Wednesday, renewing his attacks on the news media as 'the enemy of the people' just moments after pledging an end to partisan politics in the wake of a grueling midterm election. In tense exchanges on live television, Mr. Trump denounced [CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta] as 'very rude,' sternly told several reporters to 'sit down,' and at one point stepped away from his lectern, suggesting that he was prepared to cut off the session -- a rare formal East Room news conference -- because of queries he disliked.... 'CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,' the president said. 'You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN.' He added, in a reference to the White House press secretary: 'The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way.' Jabbing a finger in the reporter's direction, he said, 'When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.'" Trump also excoriated two black female correspondents, April Ryan & Yamiche Alcindor. ...

** Watch Trump dismiss Yamiche Alcindor of NPR & accuse her of asking a "racist" question:

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is a guy who dares to call reporters "rude." I know we have come to expect Trump's insane behavior, but it still shocks the conscience. ...

... ** Greg Sargent on both Sessions' firing & Trump's "startlingly unhinged performance at a news conference.... There is a tendency after big electoral victories such as the one last night to grow a bit complacent, to imagine that a semblance of normalcy has been restored. In multiple ways, Trump reminded us today that we can't relax even for a second."

Peter Baker & Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "George W. Bush saw a 'thumpin'.' Barack Obama saw a 'shellacking.' Donald J. Trump sees a 'Big Victory.' Never one to admit defeat..., President Trump wasted little time on Wednesday morning trying to frame his party's election losses.... 'Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!' [-- Trump, in a tweet.] But ... he quickly went on offense against the newly elected Democratic House, threatening to retaliate if the opposition uses its new subpoena power to investigate him for corruption and obstruction of justice.... 'If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level,' he wrote. 'Two can play that game!' Then, in a head-spinning pivot, Mr. Trump shortly afterward endorsed Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, for House speaker and even volunteered Republican votes if she cannot muster enough in her own caucus."

Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "Four years ago, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as part of the Tea Party revolution that would eventually topple Speaker of the House John Boehner and pave the way for Donald Trump's presidential bid. Now former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger has defeated Brat and will be the first Democratic representative from Virginia's 7th District in more than four decades, NBC News and the Cook Political Report confirmed Tuesday night. Brat, once the darling of Breitbart and the insurgent conservative movement, aligns with the far-right House Freedom Caucus." Thanks to Akhilleus for the lead.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) is up by a teensy bit with 88 percent reporting, according to the NYT. He's been losing in most of the earlier returns. Update: The AP has projected Tester as the winner.

*****

Jonathan Martin & Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Democrats harnessed voter fury toward President Trump to win control of the House and capture pivotal governorships Tuesday night as liberals and moderates banded together to deliver a forceful rebuke of Mr. Trump, even as Republicans added to their Senate majority by claiming a handful of conservative-leaning seats. The two parties each had some big successes in the states. Republican governors were elected in Ohio and Florida, two important battlegrounds in Mr. Trump's 2020 campaign calculations. Democrats beat Gov. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Republican and a top target, and captured the governor's office in Michigan -- two states that Mr. Trump carried in 2016 and where the left was looking to rebound. Propelled by an unusually high turnout that illustrated the intensity of the backlash against Mr. Trump, Democrats claimed at least 26 House seats on the strength of their support in suburban and metropolitan districts that were once bulwarks of Republican power but where voters have recoiled from the president's demagoguery on race. Early Wednesday morning Democrats clinched the 218 House seats needed to take control. There were at least 15 additional tossup seats that had yet to be called." ...

... New York Times reporters list the results of key races here.

House of Representatives

The New York Times' live House results are here. ...

... As of 6:20 am ET:

NBC News at 10 pm ET is giving Democrats a 95 percent chance of regaining control of the House. Before results starting coming in, the odds were 65 percent. Update: NBC News is now predicting (at 10:25 pm ET) that Democrats will control the House. at 11:23, NBC News says that Democrats have gained the requisite 23 seats to win the House.

Elana Schor of Politico: "Female candidates for Congress made history on Tuesday night, with more than 100 women sweeping into office on the strength of a Democratic House takeover powered in large part by college-educated female voters. The women winning House seats also marked several milestones for diverse representation beyond the gender divide, including the first Native American women in Congress and the first Muslim women in Congress. Their victories mark an undeniable leap forward toward representation on Capitol Hill that more closely resembles the divide among the U.S. population, although women still have a long way to go before reaching parity in both the House and Senate."

Catherine Boudreau of Politico: "California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff vowed Tuesday to ensure that the House Intelligence Committee reclaims its duty to conduct oversight of the Trump administration -- a job he said the GOP 'completely abdicated.'"

California. Daily Beast: "Rep. Dana Rohrabacher -- the pro-Russia Republican who once boasted about a drunken arm-wrestling contest with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 1990s -- has lost his seat to Democrat Harley Rouda. Rohrabacher has been a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and his deeply Republican 48th House District in California re-elected him for three decades running. He was dubbed 'Putin's favorite congressman.'..."

California. Sadly, Devin Nunes (R-Trumpy) is projected to win.

California. Indicted Republican Wins Re-election. Juliegrace Brufke of the Hill: "Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) on Tuesday edged out Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar in the race for his California House seat despite charges against Hunter involving the misuse of campaign funds. The race in the Golden State's 50th Congressional District -- traditionally a Republican stronghold -- was put into play after Hunter and his wife being were indicted in August. The couple is accused of illegally spending campaign contributions on personal items, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsification of records."

Florida. NBC News also is predicting Donna Shalala (D) has won a formerly GOP-held 27th district in Florida.

Iowa. The horrible Steve King (R) has won re-election in Iowa's 4th District.

Kansas. NBC News projects that Sharice Davids (D) will defeat the GOP incumbent in Kansas District 3.

     ... Bryan Lowry & Katie Bergen of the Kansas City Star: "Kansas voters made history Tuesday when they selected Sharice Davids to be their next congresswoman. Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, will be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress -- a distinction she shared with New Mexico's Deb Haaland, who also won Tuesday -- and the first openly LGBT person to represent the state of Kansas. The political newcomer defeated four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder to capture Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. It's the first time a Democrat has won the suburban Kansas City seat in a decade."

Michigan & Minnesota. Hannah Allam of BuzzFeed News: "A Muslim woman was elected to Congress for the first time. Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, 42, won her election after running unopposed by a Republican. And 36-year-old Ilhan Omar of Minnesota won her race later in the evening. The Midwestern Democrats previously served as state lawmakers."

New York. NBC News is predicting Max Rose (D) has beat Rep. Dan Donovan (R) in the Staten Island district.

Oklahoma. NBC News is predicting that Kendra Horn (D) has defeated the GOP incumbent in District 5, becoming the first Democrat in more than 40 years to represent the district.

Virginia. NBC News has called Virginia's District 10 for the Democrat Jennifer Wexton, making Barbara Comstock the first Republican Rep. to lose her re-election bid.

Virginia. Opheli Lawler of New York: "Republican Denver Riggleman -- a man who once wrote a book titled Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him [and who campaigned with a white supremacist] -- just beat out Democratic challenger Leslie Cockburn (Olivia Wilde's mom) for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District seat. The district has historically voted Republican. In what has to be the strangest race in the midterms, Riggelman beat Cockburn by seven points, according to the New York Times."

Senate

The New York Times' Senate results are here.

The AP has not yet called Arizona, Florida* & Montana, but Republicans are ahead in the vote count in all three states. Those would be GOP flips for Florida & Montana. In case you're unaware the Senate is not representative of the people's will, it's worth noting that as of the 7:00 am ET tally, Democratic Senate candidates had received almost 12 million more votes than Republican candidates.

State Results Listed in Alpha Order:

California: NBC News projects that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has retained her seat.

Connecticut: Sen. Chris Murphy (D) is predicted to win re-election.

Delaware: Sen. Tom Carper (D) is predicted to win re-election.

* Florida: The Miami Herald has called the race for Rick Scott. This is a flip from Sen. Bill Nelson, whom Scott defeated. The Herald has links to this & other election stories on its front page.

Hawaii: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) will retain her seat.

Indiana: Mike Braun (R) is predicted to unseat Sen. Joe Donnelly (D).

Maine: Sen. Angus King (I) is projected to retain his seat.

Maryland: Sen. Ben Cardin (D) is predicted to win re-election.

Massachusetts: The AP has called the election for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D).

Michigan: NBC News predicts that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) will win re-election.

Minnesota: NBC News predicts Sen. Amy Kolbuchar (D) will retain her seat.

Minnesota Special Election: NBC New predicts Sen. Tina Smith (D) will return to the Senate.

Mississippi: Sen. Roger Wicker (R) is predicted to win re-election.

Mississippi will hold a run-off between Mike Espy (D) & incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (R).

Missouri: NBC News projects Josh Hawley (who is a real creep) (R) has defeated Sen. Claire McCaskell (D).

Nebraska: Sen. Deb Fischer (R) is expected to win re-election.

Nevada: Jackie Rosen (D) is projected to defeat Sen. Dean Heller (R).

New Jersey: NBC News is projecting that Sen. Bob Menendez (D) will be re-elected.

New Mexico: Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) is expected to win re-election.

New York: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is predicted to retain her seat.

North Dakota: NBC News predicts Kevin Cramer (R) will defeat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D).

Ohio: NBC News is predicting Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) will be re-elected.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey (D) is predicted to have won re-election.

Rhode Island: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) is predicted to win re-election.

Tennessee:  NBC News predicts Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) has won the race.

Texas: NBC News is predicting Sen. Ted Cruz (R) will be re-elected.

Utah: NBC News predicts Mitt Romney (R) will win the race.

Vermont: NBC News is predicting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) will be re-elected.

Virginia: NBC News is predicting Sen. Tim Kaine (D) will be re-elected.

West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is projected to win re-election.

Washington: NBC News predicts Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) will retain her Senate seat.

Wisconsin: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is expected to win re-election.


Results in Governors' Races are in the right-hand column.

Ballot Measures & Other Races

Kurtis Lee of the Los Angeles Times: "While the focus of Tuesday’s midterm election centered on control of Congress, voters nationwide weighed in on an array of ballot proposals. In total, voters in 37 states faced 155 ballot questions. Here's a look at some that passed."

Florida. Elizabeth Koh & Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald: "Faced with the longest list of proposed constitutional changes in two decades, Floridians voted Tuesday to approve 11 of 12 constitutional amendments on the midterm ballot, clearing the 60 percent threshold required to pass.... Among those that passed were Amendments 4, 3 and 13 which restore felons rights, give voters authority to expand casino gambling and end greyhound racing in the state, respectively."

Idaho, Utah & Nebraska. Jacob Pramuk of CNBC: "Three red states approved Medicaid expansion in Tuesday's midterm elections, changes that will potentially cover hundreds of thousands more low-income Americans, NBC News projected Voters in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho were all expected to pass ballot measures to broaden the federal and state health insurance program, according to NBC. The support for Medicaid expansion, an Affordable Care Act provision, came over the objections of many officials who had so far declined to adopt it, citing budgetary constraints. In Utah, the change could extend coverage to 150,000 low-income people, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Another 90,000 people could get insurance in Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. About 62,000 could receive coverage in Idaho, according to the Associated Press."

Kentucky. Will Wright of the Lexington Herald-Leader: "Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk made famous by her refusal to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost Tuesday in her reelection bid for the Rowan County clerkship. Davis, a Republican, lost to Democratic challenger Elwood Caudill Jr. by about 700 votes.... This was Caudill's second time running for the office. In 2014, he lost to Davis by just 23 votes in the primary -- Davis changed parties in 2015. Much of the attention to Caudill's campaign focused around his primary opponent David Ermold, a gay man who was denied a marriage license by Kim Davis in 2015. Ermold's bid for county clerk gained national attention and landed him more than $200,000 in campaign donations from supporters across the country. Despite the financial advantage -- Caudill raised shy of $6,000 for his primary bid -- Ermold lost the primary by more than 1,000 votes." Thanks to forrest m. for the lead.

Michigan: AP: "Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved all three statewide ballot proposals that will have sweeping effects. The Associated Press projected all three would pass with nearly 60 percent or larger margins after more than half of the precincts in the state reported. Proposal 1, which will legalize recreational marijuana, was the closest of the three races but still led with 58 percent of the vote. The approval makes Michigan the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana.... Proposal 2, which will set up a nonpartisan redistricting committee to draw new legislative districts every 10 years, won 61 percent of the vote. The ballot measure could alter the balance of power in a state Republicans have controlled since 2010.... Proposal 3, which would change voter registration and election laws, passed with the widest margin at 68 percent in favor. The wide-ranging constitutional amendment will allow people to register and vote on the day on an election, request absentee ballots without having to give a reason and cast straight-ticket ballots." Thanks to forrest m. for the lead.

Nevada: Dead Brothel Owner Wins. AP: "A Nevada brothel owner and reality TV star who died last month after fashioning himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has won a heavily GOP state legislative district. Dennis Hof defeated Democratic educator Lesia Romanov on Tuesday in the race for Nevada's 36th Assembly District, which includes rural communities and large stretches of desert in the southern part of the state. County officials will appoint a Republican to take his place in the seat." Mrs. McC: Funny how Republican voters prefer dead guys & crooks to real-life, honest Democrats.

In Other News:

Simon Denyer of the Washington Post: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned meeting with his North Korean counterpart in New York has been called off at the last minute, the State Department announced Wednesday, without giving any explanation or new date."

Amy Gardner & Beth Reinhard of the Washington Post: "Civil rights groups and election officials fielded thousands of reports of voting irregularities as voting began across the country Tuesday, with voters and advocates complaining of broken machines, rejected ballots and untrained poll workers improperly challenging Americans' right to vote. A coalition of voting-rights organizations reported more than 10,000 calls by 11:30 a.m. -- a higher call volume than in any recent midterm election -- and referred many of them to state and local election officials, the groups said in a news conference in Washington. Together, the organizations have deployed about 6,500 lawyers and monitors across 30 states to protect ballot access -- more than in any previous election."

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court spent a gruesome hour Tuesday debating a constitutional way to execute a Missouri man who has a rare medical condition, with the likely decider, new Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, joining the court's liberals with tough questions for the state."

Monday
Nov052018

Election Day 2018

Willie Nelson at a September rally for Beto O'Rourke:

New York Times: "New York Times journalists are reporting from around the country as candidates make their final pitches to the voters who will help reshape the United States for the next two years.... Storms are expected to hit much of the Eastern United States on Tuesday, which could depress turnout in some places. According to AccuWeather, severe thunderstorms will pass through parts of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Some wind gusts could exceed 50 miles per hour." Mrs. McC: Get out your brelly, your old Mac & your grammy's galoshes, and go to the polls. Your vote matters. These are entries from Monday. ...

     ... Here are the NYT updates for today.

... Here are the Washington Post's live updates.

Michelle Goldberg: "The last two years have been a stress test for American democracy, and they've revealed this country and its worst and at its best. We've seen how quickly an entire political party ... has capitulated to authoritarianism, white-nationalist demagogy and naked cruelty. Trump's Republican Party has shattered whatever was left of the civic compact binding this country together, abandoning American ideals that transcend blood and soil, and American values that transcend brute power. It's fitting that the president is closing this political season with an ad so racist that even Fox News has pulled it off the air. Yet if the past two years have given lie to the myth of American exceptionalism -- a system that elevates a person like Trump is by definition not the best in the world -- they have also revealed an enduring strain of actual American greatness.... Millions of Americans who oppose Trump have responded to him with an enormous civic revival. They have marched, organized Resistance groups, and reinvigorated American politics at every level. In the face of an existential threat to democracy, they've rededicated themselves to its practice."

** Democracy on Life Support. Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress: "[In] the 2010 election..., Republican House candidates won the national popular vote by 6.8 percentage points and took a commanding majority as a result. Now imagine ... Democrats win the popular vote by the exact same 6.8 point margin. In this scenario, 2018 may be no less of a disaster for the Democratic Party than 2010. Thanks to gerrymandering and other factors related to redistricting, Democrats probably have to win the House popular vote by seven points in order to gain a bare majority. Republicans could suffer a crippling loss at the polls, and still walk away with a majority.... Democrats could absolutely trounce Republicans in the national popular vote -- potentially by ten points or more -- and still lose a seat or two in the Senate.... But if Republicans hold onto the House and pick up just one seat in the Senate -- a plausible outcome if the GOP loses the popular vote by 'only' 6.8 points -- they will have the votes they need to sentence thousands of Americans with treatable conditions to death. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that one version of the Republican health plan would cause 24 million people to lose health insurance by 2026. The Trump White House estimated ... 26 million." --s ...

... Paul Krugman: "It's a near-certainty that Democrats will receive more votes than Republicans, with polling suggesting a margin in votes cast for the House of Representatives of seven or more percentage points -- which would make it the biggest landslide of modern times. However, gerrymandering and other factors have severely tilted the playing field, so that even this might not be enough to bring control of the chamber.... Ugly as the scene will be if Democrats win, it will be far worse if they lose. In fact, it's not hyperbole to say that if the G.O.P. holds the line on Tuesday, it may be the last even halfway fair elections we'll ever have.... Everything we've seen says that Republicans will do anything they can to take and hold power, and Tuesday's elections may be the last chance to stop them from locking in permanent rule."

Jessica Guynn of USA Today: "Acting on a tip from law enforcement, Facebook has removed more than 100 accounts -- 30 on Facebook, 85 on Instagram -- engaging in coordinated activity in French, English and Russian, raising the possibility that foreign actors are attempting to meddle on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections. Facebook said it was alerted Sunday night to the suspicious activity that law enforcement believe may be linked to foreign entities and blocked the accounts in question. Almost all the Facebook pages appear to be in French or Russian while the Instagram accounts were mostly in English. Some were focused on celebrities, others on political debate, Facebook said."

After delivering donuts to Democratic campaign workers in Northern Virginia, President Obama speaks (in a very hoarse voice) about what's on the ballot:

Peter Baker, et al., of the New York Times: "President Trump on Monday closed out an us-against-them midterm election campaign that was built on dark themes of fear, nationalism and racial animosity in an effort to salvage Republican control of Congress for the remaining two years of his term.... Mr. Trump spent Monday barnstorming the Midwest on behalf of allies in close races, drawing loud and enthusiastic crowds of thousands. At rallies in Cleveland; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and finally ... in Cape Girardeau, [Mo.,] his remarks were laced with his usual acerbic attacks on his adversaries -- 'radical,' 'left-wing socialists,' 'corrupt,' 'the Democrat mob' -- and accusations that Democrats would raise taxes, destroy Medicare and take over the American health care system. But he again reserved his most vitriolic language for immigration, repeatedly prompting loud boos as he warned that if Democrats win, they would invite murderers to come into the United States to kill men, women and children." ...

... Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha. David Bauder of the AP: "Sean Hannity spoke from the stage of ... Donald Trump's last midterm election rally on Monday, after Fox News Channel and its most popular personality had insisted all day that he wouldn't. Hannity appeared on the podium in a Missouri arena after being called to the stage by Trump. Another Fox News host, Jeanine Pirro, also appeared onstage with the president. 'By the way, all those people in the back are fake news,' Hannity told the audience. It was an extraordinary scene after the news network had worked Monday to establish distance between Hannity and the campaign. Trump's campaign had billed Hannity as a 'special guest' at the rally, but Fox had said that wasn't so. Hannity himself had tweeted: 'To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the president. I am covering final rally for the show.''... In 2016, [Hannity] was part of a Trump political video, which Fox said it had not known about in advance and told Hannity not to do so again.... Hannity's prime-time show aired from the rally site. He played the role of cheerleader from the side as the crowd waited for Trump's appearance. He pleaded with viewers to vote Republican on Tuesday to support Trump, and his opening monologue echoed a campaign slogan seen on signs at the arena: 'Promises made, promises kept.'" ...

... The Faux News Presidency. Brett Samuels & Jordan Fabian of The Hill: "As Trump took the stage, Hannity high-fived White House communications director and former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who was observing the event from the wings of the arena.... Another Fox News host, 'Fox & Friends' host Brian Kilmeade, last month acknowledged that he mistakenly donated roughly $600 to the Trump campaign." --s ...

... Eric Wemple of the Washington Post: "One pro-Trump cheer after another has solidified 'Hannity' as the No. 1 program on cable news. And that consideration appears to outweigh any ethical concerns at Fox News that 'Hannity' has become a wholly owned subsidiary of WhiteHouse.gov. All signposts are arrayed in one direction: Hannity owns Fox News."

Voter Intimidation, Trump Edition. Ed Kilgore: "Aficionados of last-minute ElectionDay dirty tricks are familiar with a ploy Republicans have mastered over the years of intimidating voters with threats that law-enforcement officers will be giving them some extra scrutiny in the vicinity of polling places.... Sometimes this intimidation technique comes from organized and publicly identified groups like True the Vote, though more often it's deployed by anonymous schmos operating black-bag operations on the margins of politics.... It says a lot about how far this country has devolved in respecting voting rights that this year the old 'police are watching' gambit is coming from the Oval Office: 'Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday's Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!' [-- Donald Trump, in a tweet Monday]" ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: WTF does "has been strongly notified" mean? Who did the "strong notifying," & how does "strong notifying" differ from "notifying"? Who got the "strong notifications"? Local cops? The FBI? The white militia? This is Threat by Word Salad. Then again, as Ron Klain points out, word salad matters: "Hey, you know what else is illegal? Any effort to 'intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote.' (18 U.S.C. 594). Don't you think you've gotten yourself in enough trouble, already?" ...

... Update. Okay, Amy Gardner of the Washington Post just posted the answer: "President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday issued strong warnings about the threat of voter fraud in Tuesday's elections, echoing the president's baseless claims that massive voter fraud marred his 2016 election and prompting accusations that his administration is trying to intimidate voters.... Sessions, in a statement laying out the Justice Department's plans to monitor ballot access on Election Day, said 'fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.'... In his statement, Sessions said the Justice Department will follow its usual protocol of sending monitors across the country to protect against voter suppression, intimidation and discrimination; this year, staff will travel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to monitor compliance with voting laws. In past years, Justice Department officials have not listed voter fraud as a top concern when announcing the deployment of election monitors, as Sessions did Monday.... In remarks to reporters on his way to a campaign rally in Cleveland, Trump also falsely claimed that voter fraud is commonplace.... Voting rights advocates denounced Trump's remarks as a blatant attempt to intimidate voters on the eve of Election Day -- and part of a pattern among Republicans, they said, to curtail voting access with strict rules that disproportionately affect voters of color who tend to vote Democratic."

Trump's Closing Argument. Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker (satire): "Employing the fear tactics that have typified his midterm campaigning, Donald J. Trump told a rally audience on Sunday that electing Democrats would drag the nation back to the dark days of tolerance and decorum. Trump made his closing argument to the Chattanooga, Tennessee, audience by raising the spectre of a return to the dignified and restrained discourse that plagued the nation during the regime of his predecessor, Barack Obama." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Budapest, U.S.A. David Leonhardt of the New York Times: "I was in Hungary for several days last week and was alarmed at how much the autocratic ruling party there reminded me of the Republican Party here in the United States. And the most alarming thing was how normal Hungary feels to a Westerner.... Like Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party in Hungary, today's Republican Party has repeatedly been willing to subvert democracy for the sake of power. It's the single biggest reason that Republicans need to be held accountable in tomorrow's elections.... What Orbán has done is to squash political competition. He has gerrymandered and changed election rules, so that he doesn't need a majority of votes to control the government. He has rushed bills through Parliament with little debate. He has relied on friendly media to echo his message and smear opponents. He has stocked the courts with allies. He has overseen rampant corruption. He has cozied up to Putin. To justify his rule, Orbán has cited external threats -- especially Muslim immigrants and George Soros, the Jewish Hungarian-born investor -- and said that his party is the only one that represents the real people. Does any of this sound familiar?" Mrs. McC: Leonhardt has two pieces likening Hungary to the GOP, & I borrowed from both of them in this summary. The columns are here and here.

** Jonathan Chait: "Trump Isn't Inciting Violence by Mistake, But on Purpose. He Just Told Us." Chait analyzes remarks Trump made at a rally over the weekend & to Jim Vandehei of Axios. Trump says pretty plainly that his goal in inciting violence against journalists is to frighten them into writing favorable reports about him. Mrs. McC: Think about that: a POTUS* threatening reporters' lives if they don't write pro-Trump reports. You thought it could happen only in Russia & China? It's true Trump probably won't direct a hitman to kill an American reporter; he'll keep his hands "clean" by encouraging someone else to shoot a reporter in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

Georgia. Jack Gillum, et al., of ProPublica: "Georgia Officials [Are] Quietly Patched Security Holes They Said Didn't Exist. A ProPublica analysis found that the state was busily fixing problems in its voter registration hours after the office of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, had insisted the system was secure.... Kemp's campaign showed no signs of relenting Monday. 'In an act of desperation, the Democrats tried to expose vulnerabilities in Georgia's voter registration system,' spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in a statement. 'This was a 4th-quarter, Hail Mary pass that was intercepted in the end zone. Thanks to the systems and protocols established by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, no personal information was breached.' 'These power-hungry radicals should be held accountable for their criminal behavior,' he said."

... Mrs. McC: As the article makes clear, every part of Mahoney's statement is a lie. Democrats merely alerted state officials to security breaches a cybersecurity expert had discovered & which Kemp claimed didn't exist. ...

... Oh, and this from Amy Gardner's WashPo story, linked above: "Kemp also tweeted an article Monday from Breitbart, a conservative news outlet that regularly publishes right-wing conspiracy theories, claiming that 'armed Blank Panthers' support [his Democratic opponent Stacey] Abrams. The racially charged article featured photographs of black men carrying guns and holding Abrams signs." Mrs. McC: "Racially charged"? Make that "racist." See John Bowden's story, linked below.

... Zak Cheney-Rice of New York points out that Brian Kemp isn't working alone to suppress the votes of black Georgians. Ordinary white citizens, with the aid of police, are helping out Kemp.

Iowa. Steve King Not Satisfied Limiting Himself to Racist Remarks. Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "Hours before he was set to appear with Iowa's governor in an election-eve rally, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Monday that he hopes Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor 'will elope to Cuba.' King has a long history of making inflammatory comments on race and immigration." ...

... Oh, Wait. There's More. Aidan McLaughlin of Mediaite: "Rep. Steve King (R-IA) blasted the National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday for supporting a gay candidate. 'They sent money over to support a candidate in a primary in California who had a same-sex partner that they put all over glossy mailers,' King said on Monday night, in a video posted to Twitter. 'I don't know if they were holding hands or what was the deal....'" ...

... The New York Times Got Real about King. John Bowden of the Hill (Nov. 3): "The New York Times on Saturday issued an update to a news story about Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) which changed a description of his past controversial remarks to label them 'racist.' In a tweet, the Times wrote that the change was done to 'more accurately' describe King's history of remarks about immigrants and diversity, which the newspaper previously referred to as 'racially tinged.'"

Minnesota. Matt Shuham of TPM: "An incumbent Republican congressman mocked his Democratic opponent as 'manufactured' in a campaign video released Monday. But the video, which shows the congressman acting like he's canvassing voters in a suburban Minnesota neighborhood, doesn't appear to have been filmed in the congressman’s actual district. Instead, Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) apparently filmed it in the suburb he calls home, one district north of the area he represents in Congress.... Greg Hansen, an electrician who has volunteered for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota for years, told TPM ... that when he saw the video, 'I just thought to myself, the irony of an attack on authenticity when you're door-knocking in your own neighborhood, which is in Rep. [Betty] McCollum's district, is kind of funny to me.'" --s

Wisconsin: Uh, Mark Sommerhauser of the Wisconsin State Journal reports that Gov. Scott Walker (R-Suppression) has called out the National Guard to protect voters against a Canadian invasion cybersecurity breach of voter machines. Fix bayonets, boys.

AND Leave Us Not Forget the Confederate Supremes. Matt Ford of the New Republic on "How the Roberts Court Caused Georgia's Election Mess." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I happen to agree with the Court's opinion that the Voting Rights Act is discriminatory in that it limits pre-clearance to certain states & districts. Confederate voter suppression has crept north & (especially) west, and I think a new voting rights act should apply to all states for all forms of voter discrimination, including that effected by gerrymandering.

Niraj Chokshi & Daniel Victor of the New York Times: "An ad created by President Trump's campaign committee tying together Democrats, a notorious murderer and a caravan of asylum-seeking migrants in Mexico embroiled NBC in controversy overnight, prompting the network to backpedal and pull it from the air. Critics had denounced the ad as false and inflammatory, and CNN had refused to broadcast a longer version, calling it racist. But NBC put it up during the ratings giant 'Sunday Night Football.'... Even Fox News, which has made the caravan a staple of its midterm elections coverage, announced that it had decided on Sunday to stop running it and Facebook removed the ad, which had been targeted at users in key electoral battlegrounds, like Florida and Arizona. Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters on Monday before boarding Air Force One, said he was unaware of the controversy. 'You're telling me something I don't know about,' he said. 'We have a lot of ads and they certainly are effective, based on the numbers that we're seeing.' Mr. Trump also dismissed the complaints over the ad. 'A lot of things are offensive,' he said. 'Your questions are offensive a lot of time, so, you know.'" This is an update to a story linked yesterday. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Nice timing, NBC. According to the story, the ad passed NBC's standards & practices tests. The network should fire the head of S&P. Meanwhile, as usual, Trump is lying. He posted a 53-second version of the ad on his Twitter account. And comparing a racist ad to journalists' questions is, of course, inappropriate, inflammatory and, well, offensive.


Benjamin Goggin
of Business Insider: "Ivanka Trump ... won initial approval for 16 Chinese trademarks despite the company shutting its doors in July, according to records released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The trademarks are the largest grouping approved in a single month for the brand since Trump's election, and raise questions surrounding continued conflicts of interest for one of Trump's senior advisers. The applications for the trademarks, which were pertain to everything from bags to umbrellas to sausages, were filed in May 2016, but were notably not withdrawn when Ivanka's business was shuttered. But according to an unnamed source from a July report in The Washington Post, the president's daughter planned to continue to seek trademarks, even after her company shut down." --s ...

... WTF? Rebekah Entrelago of ThinkProgress: "The new trademarks will remain in her name regardless of her decision to shutter the business. Several of them will remain active until 2028 at the latest -- leaving open the possibility that the first daughter can return to the business after she leaves the White House and continue to profit off of the connections she's made there.... [T]his recent slate of Chinese trademarks, which Trump's business applied for in 2016, include some rather random and questionable items like sausage casing, nursing homes, and -- most surprisingly -- voting machines." --s

Ted Hesson of Politico: "The Justice Department on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in several cases over the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The move comes on the eve of Tuesday's midterm elections -- and after weeks of fiery anti-immigration rhetoric from ... Donald Trump. Republican voters consider immigration a top issue and Trump has plied them with a range of hard-line policy proposals." ...

... Ian Millhiser: "Since Donald Trump took office, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has not filed a single lawsuit enforcing a crucial law intended to prevent racial voter discrimination. By contrast, according to a Justice Department website disclosing the Civil Rights Division's case filings, the Obama administration filed 5 lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act -- the primary provision permitting lawsuits alleging voter discrimination on the basis of race. The second Bush administration filed 15, and the Clinton administration filed 16." --s

Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke continued to engage in discussions involving his family foundation's property in summer 2017 despite the fact that he had pledged to recuse himself from such matters for a year, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. At issue is an August 2017 email exchange with David Taylor, the city planner for Whitefish, Mont. Zinke authorized him to access the property and explained that he was engaged in negotiations with a real estate developer over building a parking lot on his foundation's land. But under an ethics pledge he signed Jan. 10, 2017, Zinke vowed to step down from his position as president of the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation after winning confirmation and refrain from participating in any matters concerning the group for one year. Zinke won confirmation on March 1, 2017, but state records and the foundation's 2018 annual report listed him as continuing to serve as a foundation officer months after that. Zinke later said the foundation's report was in error.... Zinke's involvement in a land development deal involving the park, backed by David J. Lesar, chairman of the oil services firm Halliburton, is under scrutiny from the Justice Department and the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General."

Miranda Green of The Hill: "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson on Monday told employees that the EPA 'has no tolerance for racism' and will investigate recent incidents of offensive words scrawled on whiteboards at the agency's headquarters in Washington.... Jackson also asked the inspector general's office to investigate the racist messages, which include the N-word and were first reported by Politico last week.... The all-staff email comes after reports that EPA headquarters has been battling a number of anonymously written racist messages on the whiteboard of the agency's Office of Public Affairs since the summer. Politico reported that last week's message was one of at least six since August.... In a separate instance this fall, EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler was criticized for liking a racist meme on Facebook.... Wheeler said in a statement provided to The Hill that he didn't remember liking the post." --s

Lydia Wheeler & Harper Neidig of the Hill: "The Supreme Court on Monday put an end to a legal battle over the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, refusing to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the 2015 regulations. The court declined to hear the appeal from the trade group USTelecom, which represents internet service providers, and Century Link Inc. without explanation. The internet service providers, along with the Trump administration, had asked the justices to toss out the ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals." Mrs. McC: The decision is unsigned, but one can extrapolate from the report who made it: Thomas, Alito & Gorsuch opposed it; Roberts & Kavanaugh recused themselves. That leaves Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor & Kagan as the "deciders." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Mrs. McCrabbie: I recommend your reading this story in Slate by Judi Hershman, a life-long, activist Republican who travelled to North Dakota to work for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's (D) re-election. Hershman writes about a brief encounter she had with Brett Kavanaugh when they were both working on the Starr investigation. Unless you assume women are inherently hysterical, there is no way you can believe Hershman made up the encounter. But you won't be surprised to learn Ken Starr forgot all about it. Because the old boys can't face the fact that Brett's behavior is erratic & he really likes to intimidate & frighten women.

Beyond the Beltway

Innocence Project Press Release: "After more than 14 years behind bars -- including a decade on Florida's death row -- Clemente Javier Aguirre was exonerated of all charges [Monday] in the 2004 stabbing deaths of his former neighbors Cheryl Williams and Carole Bareis. In a Seminole County courtroom, Circuit Judge John D. Galluzzo dismissed all charges against Aguirre after prosecutors announced today, in the middle of jury selection, that they will not proceed with the retrial. Aguirre, who is now 38 years old, maintained his innocence from the time of his arrest at age 24 in June 2004. He was originally convicted of the murders and sentenced to death in 2006. In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously overturned Aguirre's conviction and death sentence based on new evidence of innocence that his original jury never heard. The new evidence included DNA testing of multiple pieces of crime scene evidence that exculpated Aguirre and implicated another suspect -- the victims' daughter and granddaughter, Samantha Williams. The state Supreme Court also learned of evidence that, in the years after Aguirre's trial, Samantha Williams confessed that she committed the murders to numerous friends and acquaintances who had no connection to Aguirre. Despite the new evidence, however, State Attorney Phil Archer had announced that the state would not only retry Aguirre, but also seek the death penalty a second time. Today's decision by prosecutors not to proceed came after additional evidence undermining Williams' alibi and further implicating her emerged in recent pretrial proceedings."

Way Beyond

David Cay Johnston of D.C.Report: "A human rights organization has asked Dutch prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into multi-billion dollar money laundering schemes that they say were aided by Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his old law firm. The complaint is clearly aimed at examining how much money stolen from a former Soviet satellite ended up benefitting Trump. He is named 16 times in the complaint's footnotes. The complaint describes 'one of the biggest fraud cases ever' in which 'some of these money flows ultimately ended up in the Netherlands' because 'Dutch service providers helped to cover up the money laundering acts.'... The complaint asserts that a small slice of the missing billions was run through Dutch shell corporations with help from Rudy Giuliani's old law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani. Until 2016, Giuliani was a partner in the 470-lawyer firm." --s