The big news…Despite the GOP attempting to deflect the investigation onto Hillary Clinton (in light of the revelation of her funding the infamous Steele dossier), the two are not a zero-sum proposition, and special investigator Robert Mueller continues digging into the campaign, business dealings, finances, and potential collusion of Donald and his cohorts. News broke over the weekend that Mueller may have filed the first charges in the investigation, though they’re sealed at the moment, and we won’t find out who is being taken into custody till Monday. (Update: We know.) Also, despite Jared Kushner’s denials, the lawyer he and Don Jr. met with to eagerly receive promised dirt on Hillary Clinton seems to have indeed been acting in direct conjunction with the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, amid rumors of the three congressional Russian investigations sputtering out, Brad Parscale, the director of Donny’s digital campaign, was summoned before the House Intelligence Panel. Michael Cohen, Donny’s personal lawyer, also appeared before the House and Senate intelligence committees, and Donny’s campaign consultant Carter Page will finally testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week, after months of dodging. Meanwhile Don John’s beleaguered former campaign chair Paul Manafort faces yet another money-laundering investigation, this time by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, in collaboration with Mueller’s probe already under way. Things are getting juicy—even if Congress shuts its investigations down, hopefully Mueller’s findings will get to the bottom of exactly how—and with whose help—Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.
Adding their voice to those of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and rural and industrial interests, the auto industry has launched a vocal defense of NAFTA in the face of Donald’s continued threats to withdraw the U.S. from the trade agreement. “We need you to tell your elected officials that you don’t change the game in the middle of a comeback. We’re winning with NAFTA,” the group said on its website.
The Government Accountability Office has launched a probe into Donald’s sham voter fraud commission, formed to try to justify his baseless claims that the 3 million votes that lost him the popular election were fraudulent. The secretive organization is headed by Kris Kobach, who has a long track record of voter suppression and racial profiling, and though it nods toward bipartisanship with a few Democratic members, those members have complained of a lack of transparency and being routinely excluded from even the most basic meetings and info.
Meanwhile the Republican Party is hemorrhaging moderates, as Texas’s own Joe Straus announced he will retire at the end of his term as speaker of the house, and on the national level Jeff Flake (Senator from Arizona) joins the ranks of those on the way out. The loss of nonextremist, rational voices is bad—but Flake’s district has a serious challenge from a Democrat—which is good. Also good—freed from the yoke of seeking reelection, these lawmakers are speaking out. John McCain continues his not-so-veiled criticisms of Donald, most recently regarding his dodging of service in America’s military (despite his attacks on veterans, war heroes, and Gold Star families), calling out wealthy scions who avoided service on trumped-up pretexts like “bone spurs”—Don John’s exact and repeated excuse for deferring his service during the Vietnam War, which in his own words was “not a big problem, but it was enough of a problem,” and magically cleared up once he was safe from being called to war.
Jeff Flake also began speaking quite freely as soon as he announced his retirement: “Without fear of the consequences and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe, we must stop pretending that the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused as telling it like it is when it is actually reckless, outrageous and undignified…. It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we doing to do about that? When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise to say, enough.”
Adding his voice to recent condemnations of Don John by George W. Bush and John McCain, Flake added that senators “must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes the normal. With respect, we fooled ourselves long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.”
Let us fervently hope that’s true. You can also check out Flake’s gloves-off op-ed about the Trump presidency here, and his lone-GOP-wolf opposition to racist, extremist senatorial hopeful Roy Moore here.
A Kentucky judge resigned in the face of a pending ethics investigation into his abuse of his position, flouting of Kentucky law, and general douchebaggery in refusing to hear adoption cases where a parent was a “practicing homosexual.”
A generic ballot—reported on FOX, no less—suggests that if voting were held today for the 2018 elections, Democrats would lead by 15 points. Keep in mind that every FOX viewer just had a panic attack and is now more motivated to vote—so we have to keep getting the vote out!
Hang in there, warriors. Like so many things, the hallmark of successful activism is persistence, as this lifelong activist shares.