March 18, 2018

Sunday School 3/18/18

Busy busy busy day today - lots of Republicans were making the rounds this morning, and I tried to keep track of them as best as I could.

Let's start with Fox News Sunday, where Chris Wallace talked with Trey Gowdy, the lame duck South Carolina congressman. He and Wallace talked about one of Trump's lawyers calling for Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to shut down the Mueller investigation. Gowdy is not a fan.
I don't (support that) and I think the president's attorney frankly does him a disservice when he says that and when he frames the investigation that way. Chris, if you look at the jurisdiction for Robert Mueller, first and foremost, what did Russia do to this country in 2016? That is supremely important, and has nothing to do with collusion So, to suggest that (Rosenstein) should shut down and all that is he is looking at is collusion, if you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.
Russia attacked our country. Let special counsel Mueller figure that out. And if you believe as we have found, there's no evidence of collusion, you should want special counsel Mueller to take all the time, and have all the independence he needs to do his job. 
Wallace noted that John Dowd, the lawyer they're talking about, doesn't appear to be "freelancing... going off by himself here" (in contrast to, say, Michael Cohen, the Trump attorney who 'freelanced' to the tune of $130K in the Stormy Daniels deal), mentioning Trump's embarrassing tweet storm. Gowdy repeated his comment about acting like an innocent man, if in fact you are one.

On CBS's Face the Nation, Margaret Brennan talked with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who has already announced he won't vote for Mike Pompeo, Trump's choice to replace Rex Tillerson as Sec State, or for Gina Haspel, his pick to replace Pompeo as CIA director. The senator also visited at least one other classroom himself this morning.  Brennan asked him about his position on Pompeo and Haspel.
I have been very supportive of the president on taxes, regulation, the judiciary. But when it comes to foreign policy, the thing I liked about president Trump was his opposition to the Iraq War. I guess what I'm perplexed by is that he keeps nominating people around him on foreign policy who actually thought the Iraq War was so good that they want to have an Iran War now. And so I think the lesson of the Iraq war was that there are unintended consequences from regime change and so I don't think somebody being the head of - being Secretary of State who wants regime change in Iran is a good thing, or who wants regime change in North Korea.
 On Haspel, my main concern about her is that she oversaw an illegal black ops operation in Thailand that included torture and I don't think torture is what America is about...
In fact, her colleagues have said that she was an enthusiastic supporter of this enhanced interrogation, or water boarding, or torture, as most of have come to believe it. There is also evidence that she signed a cable to destroy the evidence. There were videotapes, which I'm sure were ghastly, of the simulated drowning. And these were destroyed with her support and advocacy when the returned home to Washington. So, I think there's got to be plenty of good people at the CIA who weren't involved with torture. And, really, we're supposed to e the symbol of hope for the world. And people who want freedom from totalitarianism, they want freedom from torture. They don't want freedom to torture. And so I think this sets a terrible - this sets a terrible example for the world. 
I don't always agree with Senator Paul, but in this case, I do.

Who else was making the rounds today?

Weekly favorite Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (I ignored him today) and Jeff  Flake, the lame duck from Arizona, were both on CNN's State of the Union, where Jake Tapper opened with "the state of our union is waiting to see who might be fired next." Tapper's questions were similar to what was being asked on the other shows, except for when he asked Flake if he had any idea when he'd make his decision whether to run against Trump in 2020.
Well, all I can say is, I hope that somebody does challenge the president.
I think that -- and what I have seen out there, what I experienced on Friday in New Hampshire and what I'm seeing is that there is a crying need out there for some Republicans to stand up and say, this is not normal, this is not right. 
We want Republicans who will take higher ground, and to see what's going on right now in terms of the chaos and these actions that clearly are not conservative on tariffs and whatnot. So it's not just the policies, but the behavior as well. 
People want to remember the Republican Party as the decent party. And it is not right now. And so what I'm seeing is, there's a crying need for that. I don't know who will step up in the end. I hope somebody does. I'm not ruling it out, but certainly I am - I think the odds are long that I would do it.
Last, and least, Texas Congressman Mike Conaway who led the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, made his first appearance, and perhaps simultaneously his last, on the Sunday shows, visiting with Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press.

See you around campus.

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