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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Court filings name President Individual 1 as directing a felony

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Court filings name President Individual 1 as directing a felony

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Court filings name President Individual 1 as directing a felony

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Court filings name President Individual 1 as directing a felony

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Court filings name President Individual 1 as directing a felony

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John Harwood/CNBC:

Donald Trump could be the first president since Jimmy Carter to run for re-election during a recession

  • Until now, Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has loomed as a singular threat to further erode the President Trump’s standing.
  • But the uncertainty on display in gyrating financial markets this week has darkened expectations for Trump’s last two years.
  • Trump suddenly faces rising odds of becoming the first president to seek re-election during economic recession since Jimmy Carter. That would represent an ominous sign for the president’s chances of a second term.


Charlie Sykes/Atlantic:

Wisconsin Republicans Are Shooting Themselves In the Foot

My friend Scott Walker should not sign the power-grabbing legislation.

The Wisconsin GOP’s lame-duck power play was not the death of democracy. But it was bad enough: petty, vindictive, and self-destructive. It was, as the saying goes, worse than a crime. It was a blunder.

And for what?

In its arrogant insularity, the Wisconsin GOP became a national symbol of win-at-all-costs, norms-be-damned politics. Cut through the overwrought rhetoric and what did the Republican legislators actually accomplish? Not really a whole lot; certainly not enough to justify the political damage they’ve inflicted on themselves. They have managed to energize the progressive base, expose themselves as sore losers, and undermine crucial democratic norms. And in return … they got extraordinarily little…

A strong argument could be made that Walker—and people like me who supported him—helped shape our divisive and toxic political environment. Walker has an opportunity here to redeem his reputation.

This is true.


Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

We’re now seeing the Trump economy

Put differently, the Obama recovery is wearing down and huge debt, trade wars, rising interest rates and a slowdown in China’s economy are pushing us toward a setback, if not a full-blown recession.

Magnifying the market freakout is the inversion of the yield curve (when short-term bond rates exceed long-term rates, sometimes considered a precursor to a recession). It’s not clear if this is the flashing red light for a recession or a result of “other factors, such as a recent reversal of large speculative bets on declining bond prices and the Federal Reserve’s large holdings of Treasuries," according to Reuters.

This is not 1929, and as bad as Trump’s trade policies may be, he has not brought back the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (which raised average tariffs on thousands of imported goods to 48 percent). However, there is a reason that credible economists who may disagree on other matters almost uniformly oppose protectionism.


David A. Graham/Atlantic:

There’s Finally a Persuasive Case of Election Fraud, and Republicans Don’t Care

A congressional race in North Carolina suggests that the likeliest threats to the integrity of elections aren’t the ones that GOP lawmakers are addressing

One early sign that something about McCrae Dowless wasn’t on the up-and-up came in November 2016.

With the race between North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper down to a razor-thin margin, Republicans filed claims of voter fraud with county boards of election around the state. The GOP was aiming to delegitimize Cooper’s lead and to legitimize years of effort to overhaul voting laws to make them more restrictive, claiming serious fraud.

In Bladen County, in the southeastern part of the state, Dowless, who had won a race for soil and water commissioner, alleged that “literally hundreds of fraudulent ballots” were cast in his race. When he was called before the North Carolina State Board of Elections to discuss his complaint, he was unable to answer specific questions about his allegations. More astonishingly, Dowless at one point deflected a question by invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination—even though the board was hearing a complaint he himself had filed.


Garrett M. Graff/Wired:


The sheer breadth of alleged, unrelated criminality by so many different Trumpworld players—from Paul Manafort’s money laundering and European bribes to Michael Flynn’s Turkish conspiracies to Michael Cohen’s tax fraud to even the indictments of the first two members of Congress to endorse Trump, representatives Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter—make it particularly difficult to disentangle what might have transpired at Trump Tower and the White House.

Mueller’s investigation, though, has been remarkably focused and consistent straight through—zeroing in on five distinct investigative avenues: money laundering and Russian-linked business deals; the Russian government’s cyberattack on the DNC, other entities, and state-level voting systems; its related online information influence operations, by the Internet Research Agency; the sketchy contacts by Trump campaign and transition officials with Russia; and the separate question of whether Trump himself, or others, actively tried to obstruct justice by impeding the investigation of the above.

Philip Bump/WaPo:

Why the political media is talking about the more interesting part of the midterms

Trump’s wrong that the media never talks about the Republicans winning additional seats in the Senate, of course. But that’s also not really what he’s complaining about. What he’s complaining about is that the Senate results, about the only bright spot on election night, are not primarily what the media is talking about.

And there’s a good reason for that. First, the Senate results weren’t really all that surprising. Second, the House results largely were — and they were more significant…

Trump’s claim that Republicans “WON THE SENATE, 53-47” is incorrect. Considering only races on the ballot, Republicans lost the Senate, 24-11.

What’s more, the swing in the House was more historically significant. It was the fourth-biggest gain for either party in 50 years and the second biggest for Democrats since 1974. On net, the Democrats flipped 9 percent of the House seats that were up.


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