March 3, 2019

Sunday School 3/3/19

Let's dive in and see who was making the rounds this morning, starting with Meet the Press on NBC.

Here are highlights of Chuck Todd's conversations with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), of the House Oversight Committee.

Todd wondered what the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking for in their nine hours with Michael Cohen, whether it was focused solely on Russia or if there was more. Warner said some of the "tawdry and inappropriate" stuff did come up, but they're focused in a bipartisan way on counter-intelligence, finding out what did happen in 2016 and making sure if didn't happen again.  On Cohen himself, and his truthfulness:
Well, again this guy does not have a lot of veracity. We need to get documents. We are receiving additional documents from him to prove or disprove. But I'd also say, Donald Trump doesn't exactly have a great record of telling the truth, as well. 
On the subject of collusion or inappropriate behavior, Warner had this to say:
An investigation into the president, and his organization, his campaign, involvement with Russians - a foreign power, a foreign, adversarial power, a power that this president has said nary a negative word about, a Russian despot that he, frankly, kowtowed to in front of the whole word in that hearing - in that public testimony, public hearing in Helsinki, I think that's all inappropriate. And the notion that the president has done everything possible to undermine that investigation, from firing Comey to trying to undermine Mueller, to me, that does not seem appropriate. 
When it was his turn, Rep. Jordan had trouble saying whether or not he believes that Russia meddled.
CT: Do you believe the Russians interfered with the 2016 election?
JJ: Everyone said they thought they were trying to impact the election.
 CT: Do you believe it?
JJ; The question Mueller -
CT: Do you believe it?
 JJ: Yeah, I mean, of course. That's what the intelligence community has told us. 
He went on to say there's no collusion or coordination, except between the Clinton camp and the Russians and Trump has done fabulous things for the country and that's what he's focused on. 

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, joined George Stephanopoulos on This Week on ABC, as did Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Regarding whether Cohen divulged anything impeachable:
Impeachment is a long way down the road. We don't have the facts yet, but we're going to initiate proper investigations...It's our job to protect the rule of law. That's our core function. And to do that we are going to initiate investigations in to abuses of power, into corruption of - into corruption and into obstruction of justice. 
They talked about crimes and impeachable offenses..
Crimes and impeachable offense is two different things. There can be crimes that are impeachable offenses and impeachable offenses that are not crimes. They're just two different tests. 
He also said that Congress wants any underlying evidence from Mueller's team, particularly if they find no evidence of a crime committed by the president.
Yes, we - we do want the underlying evidence, I mean people are entitled to know it. And Congress is entitled to know it because it's our job to hold the president accountable. 
And, he reminded Stephanopoulos, his committee's investigation goes beyond collusion with Russia - the obstruction stuff - and that he understand the bar is very high for impeachment, even as he said he believe the president has obstructed justice (a lot).
Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American people that it ought to happen. You have to persuade enough of the -- of the opposition party voters, Trump voters, that you're not just trying to -- to steal the last, reverse the results of the last election. We may or may not get there. But what we have to do is protect the rule of law. 
Moving on to Kevin McCarthy (like Rep. Jordan, he's a staunch supporter of the president), much of the talk centered on the Cohen testimony

Asked by Stephanopoulos if he was concerned about that check from Trump to Cohen part of the payoff/campaign finance felony (McCarthy thinks that fine-able not impeachable), here's what he had to say.
Listen to what else they did. This is what's so concerning to me. Last week, we just hit 2.6 in GDP. Are we - did we talk about that? The president's sitting in Vietnam talking with North Korea. The history that's always been in the past with America that politics ends at the water's edge - no, they're having this hearing right then. That's discrediting America and they dislike this president so much they won't give him an opportunity to try to denuclearize North Korea that they'd have a hearing on that day? ...Nobody else in any history would do this to a president when they're overseas, to try and discredit him just because they dislike him and put - and put their dislike ahead of their country? Look, they're picking circus over a solution. And that's concerning.
McCarthy (who, by the way, met with and appeared with birther people back in the day, not that anything like that would discredit a president) wasn't all that concerned about Trump's right to disregard the White House counsel, his Chief of Staff, and the CIA on Jared Kushner's security clearance, but when George wondered if it was the right thing to have done here was the response:
The president has a right to pick his national security team around him, who's going to work with him. And you know what? This week, Gallup just came out with a new poll looking at how (do) Americans think they are viewed around the world. We are now at the highest level we've been, 58%, since 2003. The president is doing a very good job... 
And that, folks, shows us that in Republican politics, at least, results are all that matters.

Some of you may have found out the hard way that's not the case in the classroom, or sitting around most dinner tables, or in many professions.

See you around campus.

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