August 5, 2018

Sunday School 8/5/18

I dropped in on three classrooms this morning - Fox News Sunday, to hear what president Trump's national security advisor John Bolton and Florida Senator Marco Rubio had to say; Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan talking to Kellyanne Conway, and NBC's Meet the Press with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt talking with Chuck Todd.

There was lots of talk on most of the shows about the president's 'enemy of the people' comments, about Russia  and North Korea, and about the upcoming elections. Here are a few highlights from each of the conversations.

First, John Bolton:
  • "Unequivocally" we had nothing to do with the alleged assassination attempt on Venezuela's President Maduro. It might have been something he orchestrated himself, or maybe it was something else.
  • Trump talking about the Russian hoax means "the idea that somehow the Russians directed and controlled his campaign or direct and control his administration" or that there was some kind of conspiracy.
  • Or, he means the hoax is "the idea that the Trump campaign was  beneficiary of a converted effort together with the Russians to affect the 2016 election."
  • And when Trump mentions Russia and China and North Korea? "There's no question that Russia was the principal violator in 2016" and that they're the leading violator this year, but "It does not exclude the potential for others to meddle" and like Trump, I guess, we all need to be focused on the other guys, too.

Next, Marco Rubio:
  • Trump thinks the Mueller investigation is just about collusion, but Rubio "believe(s) it's in the best interest of the United States of America and the American people for that investigation to run its course for all the truth to come out. I think that's the best thing that could happen for him, and I think it's the best thing that could happen for the country.
  • Trump has to decide, with his lawyers, whether or not to sit down with Mueller.
  • Kim Jung Un is "more than willing to tear apart facilities that are no longer necessary for old missiles because he's got newer ones that work better."

Kellyanne Conway:
  • On Trump not directly echoing the sentiments of his entire national security team, "there continue to be active cyber security - cyber warfare campaigns, if you will, by North Korea, Iran, China, certainly Russia, and this president wants to make very clear that he was not the president in 2016 when evidence of Russian interference and meddling in our democracy in 2016 was presented to that president and his security team and buried because they wanted the other person to win and indeed thought she would win the presidency. This president is not burying it."
  • When Trump says Russian hoax, "he means the investigation and some others on TV never under oath wanting to suggest that somehow Russian meddling in the 2016 election was successful in changing a single vote or indeed the electoral outcome."
  • Or, "and when he talks about the hoax, he's talking about this fantasy, this unproven fantasy that somehow the campaign that I successfully managed for the successful part of the campaign was in cahoots with Russians."
  • On the whole 'enemy of the people' stuff, she had a lot to say but the best was "I don't mention the journalists by name but I'm much more interested in the work of Alex Acosta, our labor secretary than Jim Acosta, because he's presiding over an economic boom. Doom was predicted, boom is what we have in our economy."

Roy Blunt:
  • On election security: "I think the one areas where both the Congress and local officials and the federal government and local officials need to be working together is to be sure that whatever happens on election day, there is confidence that that's what really happened. 
  • On whether there should be federal money every year for election security: "...I don't want this to become an annual entitlement. You know, the worst possible funding is distant money and local decision making on how to spend it" so he'd like there to be more guidance on what states and localities can do with the money.

Finally, Amy Klobuchar:
  • On the statement by Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, about "doing everything we can to have legitimate elections," she expressed concern "that you could have a hack that finally went through. You have 21 states that were hacked into. They didn't find out about it for a  year. And that's one of the reasons we want to pass our bill, so that there's now a requirement that they tell the individual Secretaries of State immediately so they can protect themselves.
  • On a comment by Elizabeth Warren that the criminal justice system is racist: "For people who have been victimized and have been a victim of a crime, they need a criminal justice system that works for them... we know that there is racism in the system that needs to be fixed, that's why we have started instituting body cameras, which is a great solution, doing things on eyewitness ID, and I think the solutions are there for us. We just have to reform the system."

Lots to chew on there, if you're so inclined.

See you around campus.

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