January 15, 2017

Sunday School 1/15/17

Just a quick look at a couple of hot topics on the Sunday morning news shows, with visits to only two classrooms this morning.

Reince Priebus was on NBC's Meet the Press and again on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, talking about John Lewis and about Russia.

On MTP, he noted that Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, was wrong to have said that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president "five days before he puts his hand on the Bible" at his inauguration. Priebus reiterated the latest mantra from the Trump camp.
I also think that the Clinton folks wasted a billion dollars of their donors' money and they've got a lot to answer for.
Yeah, I crack up every time I hear this - Kellyanne Conway has used this line a couple of times. Great line, means nothing, but it's a great line.

Anyway, he agreed that the Russians hacked the DNC but that
...none of this would be happening if Hillary Clinton would have simply not used a personal server in violation of federal law.
Todd completely ignored that comment - Clinton's email server had nothing to do with the Russian hack - and instead asked if that 'excused' a foreign government from trying to interfere in our election. Priebus answered
We've never - of course not. All of it's wrong. China's wrong. Russia's wrong. Iran's wrong. All of these entities are wrong for doing what they've done. But back to John Lewis. For him then to say, which no intelligence official is saying, that Donald Trump was elected illegitimately is irresponsible...
Priebus made similar comments on TWwGS when Stephanopoulos asked if it was harder for Dems to come together even though they lost, after Trump's tweets about Lewis.
..John Lewis stood up and said in an interview that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. It's insanity. And it's wrong. And DNI director Clapper said as much many, many times, that there is no evidence any outcome of the election was changed. 
Some might disagree with Reince's comments; I'll take a look at that in a sidebar later.

I'll add in one more comment about the Russia stuff and John Lewis, from Helene Cooper who was on the panel on MTP. Cooper, a Pentagon correspondent for the NY Times (a media outlet currently on Trump's 'good list' - emphasis on currently), put things in perspective on a couple of fronts.
There's a way to say, "I disagree with John Lewis," without calling Atlanta a crime-infested hell hole. There's a way to disagree with someone, as you saw Reince Priebus just do, as other people have disagreed with John Lewis,without going on a Twitter tantrum. And that's the sort of thing that you do not expect from a commander-in-chief.
 And I think this goes back to what Jeff  (Goldberg, of The Atlantic) was saying. We're now five days out from Donald Trump taking control of the greatest country on Earth. The idea that the president of the United States is going to be having tantrums on Twitter whenever somebody gets under his skin I think is frightening to a lot of people.
 Hear, hear.

Also on TWwGS, there was a conversation about ethics, or what passes as ethics, and who is or should be looking at ethics, particularly Presidential ethics.

We all know, having been told countless times by the Trump team and by the media, that the 'ethics rules don't apply' to the President, and that any efforts Trump makes to separate himself from his business interests here and abroad are voluntary and from the good of his heart. Because, as he told us at his press rally,
So I could actually run my business, I could actually run my business and run government at the same time.
I don't like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I would be the only one to be able to do that. You can't do that in any other capacity. But as president I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the company - the country. I'd do a very good job, but I don't want to do that. 
Anyway. The Office of Government Ethics is not thrilled with Trump's only stepping aside and telling his boys not to talk to him about the business as a conflict-clearing solution.

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz is less concerned with Trump's actions. Trump filed his financial disclosures, as the law requires, and sure, that emoluments clause is in the Constitution, but what the heck, no big deal there, even though several of Chaffetz's peers are concerned and have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to get some info so they know whether the emoluments clause is being violated, on day one, as they say.
Stephanopoulos: Another possibility, you have oversight of the general services administration, which holds the lease for the Trump Hotel, which of course the president will still own even though it goes into the Trust. And then page 103 of the lease agreement says that no elected official of the government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia shall be admitted to any share of part of this lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom. So, the agreement seems to preclude ownership by any government official, like the president, doesn't it?
Chaffetz: I did sign a letter with Elijah Cummings a number of weeks ago and asked for a copy of that contract. I don't know that we have received the final copy of that contract.
Stephanopoulos: But is that something you're going to be looking at?
Chaffetz: I started that a few weeks ago. 
So it would seem - and it would seem as well that Chaffetz has no interest in seeing that investigation through to its logical conclusion.

Today's lesson, however, has come to its logical conclusion.