The Silence of the Hacks

So what do Republicans in Congress, who have the power to investigate the situation, believe should be done?


Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, says that Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador were “entirely appropriate.”

.. Why?

Well, Senator Rand Paul explained it all: “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans.”

.. you can’t understand the mess we’re in without appreciating not just the potential corruption of the president, but the unmistakable corruption of his party — a party so intent on cutting taxes for the wealthy, deregulating banks and polluters and dismantling social programs that accepting foreign subversion is, apparently, a small price to pay.

.. Republicans didn’t worry so much that holding a lawless president accountable would derail their hard-line agenda.

.. Now we know that even as the F.B.I. was creating the false appearance of scandal around his opponent, it was sitting on evidence suggesting alarmingly close relations between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Trump With a Tail

The religious right is counting on him to keep a chief executive with a history of crotch-grabbing on the straight and narrow when it comes to their agenda. And Republicans in Congress realize he’s the only member of the top team who could get through a phone conversation with the prime minister of Australia without causing an international crisis.

.. On Friday, he was directing the government to liberate our financial industry from the heavy boot of regulation that left the nation’s bankers and hedge fund managers living on rice and beans during the Obama era.

.. One of the goals is to get rid of a pending rule requiring brokers to act in their clients’ “best interests” when they’re giving advice about retirement investments. Obviously, this would be really, really hard on our nation’s forgotten financial consultants. And you know how much the beleaguered working class hates the gloom of transparency in their I.R.A.s. But liberation is on the way.

Trump just took a big step away from Steve Bannon’s views

For the first two weeks of President Trump’s administration, it seemed as though White House senior strategist Steven K. Bannon was calling the shots. With his protectionist stance on trade and immigration, Trump appeared to be hewing exactly to the protectionist, nationalist economic policies that Bannon has espoused.

That changed on Friday. Trump ordered a reconsideration of some of the rules imposed on Wall Street in 2010 after the mortgage crisis, signaling an approach at odds with Bannon’s views. The former Goldman Sachs banker has argued for stricter regulations, and he has had scathing words for financiers.

.. Bannon faulted greed for the financial crisis, “much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks.” He went on to say that bankers should have forfeited their bonuses and equity and faced criminal charges.

“The people who ran the banks and ran the hedge funds have never really been held accountable for what they did,” Bannon said. “That’s what I think is fueling this populist revolt.”

.. Bannon railed against the federal rescue of major financial institutions in 2008, calling it contrary to “the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West.” He complained that banks were borrowing too much, and suggested that they should focus on lending to businesses, rather than trading on financial markets.

.. During the campaign, the president was not that sympathetic to big banks,” Cramer said to Gary Cohn, director of Trump’s National Economic Council. “What happened between campaign Trump and President Trump?”

Cohn responded that the president was allowing his advisers leeway to pursue a deregulatory agenda, in response to arguments from the business lobby.

“He’s heard from over 50 CEOs that regulatory issues are what’s slowing them down,” Cohn said. “He is giving us the latitude to fix what we think is wrong.”

Steve Eisman of ‘The Big Short’ fame says the stock market is entering a ‘golden age’ for banks

But Eisman, who works at money manager Neuberger Berman, says the era of Trump will be a “golden age” for the banking sector. “I think over the next couple of years there will be more leverage, and this will be a golden age of investing in financial stocks,” he told CNBC during an interview early Monday in New York.

He said he was “as long as he could be” in the banking sector.

.. She said she only rates two sectors overweight (that’s code for buy among Wall Street researchers), and those are financials and technology.

..  Other market participants also have warned that rapidly rising interest rates may result in loan losses in other areas of banks’ balance sheets, including in auto lending.