The most clarifying convo I’ve had about Trump and Russia | The Ezra Klein Show

(31 min)  The Supreme Court is engaging in willful blindness by ignoring what the President says and paying attention only to what his lawyers are saying in arguments tailored specifically to

McConnell will go down in history as one of the primary villains because he

  • blocked Merrick Garland
  • blocked Obama from a pre-election warning
  • enables Trump

 

A Moment of Honesty From Chuck Schumer

It stands to reason that Senator Schumer wasn’t too concerned about Judge Kavanaugh’s record before he announced his opposition. Why is it so important to Senator Schumer now?

Democratic leaders are demanding access to every page from every email and every paper record from every one of the hundreds of White House aides who came and went during the entire eight years of President Bush’s time in office. This includes records that merely mention Judge Kavanaugh’s name and records he’s never seen. That is not reasonable. As I have made clear, I will not put taxpayers on the hook for a fishing expedition.

.. Judge Kavanaugh’s time as White House staff secretary, a post that manages the paper flow into and out of the Oval Office

..  The staff secretary documents consist largely of materials Judge Kavanaugh didn’t write. They were prepared by policy advisers across the executive branch.

.. The number of pages would range in the millions, an unprecedented document dump that would take well into next year to review. And that’s exactly what Democratic leaders want and have wanted all along.

.. Their objective is to delay the confirmation process until after the midterm elections, with the hope of taking control of the Senate. My Democratic counterpart on the Judiciary Committee’s hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, put it quite succinctly: “Feinstein, other Senate Dems have plan on Brett Kavanaugh nomination: Stall.”

.. So recent complaints from Mr. Schumer and other Democrats about the scope of records requests ring hollow, especially coming from senators who have already declared their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh and initially refused even to meet with him.

The GOP’s Hall of Mirrors

For Republicans lost inside the Trump fun house, a message: Run on his biggest victory.

In mid-June, the country stopped what it was doing to transfix for days over the spectacle of children separated from their parents in Texas. You can argue about the policy merits, but like a curved mirror it had one effect: Everyone involved looked smaller.

Four weeks later, the news cycle pumped out days of disorienting political optics around the mysterious press conference Mr. Trump conducted after his private meeting with Vladimir Putin. A week later, Mr. Trump said he would invite Mr. Putin to Washington amid the election. Then he said he wouldn’t, until next year.

In recent days, Mr. Trump has erected more mirrors for Republicans to navigate. On Sunday, he tweeted he would shut down the government before the election. Privately, he says he won’t.

.. Steve Bannon is demanding that Republicans run on every jot or tweeted tittle in the Trump agenda. But only Donald Trump himself could run for re-election on all this stuff simultaneously. For Republican candidates in competitive races—meaning the races in which 2 or 3 percentage points in the wrong direction means they lose the election and control of the House—the way forward requires simplicity and clarity, not a thousand points of rage.

A message to Republicans lost in the Trump fun house: Run on something solid. Run on something you understand. Join yourself at the hip with the greatest accomplishment of Donald Trump’s presidency. Run on America’s booming economy. (Footnote: For put-off GOP voters who need more reason to show up, the next 30 years of the Gorsuch-Kavanaugh court was why they signed on for this ride in 2016.)

Mitch McConnell Is the Master of Confirming Judges

He outmaneuvered Chuck Schumer last year, making the path clearer for this year’s high court nominee.

Mr. McConnell adopted as his top priority as Senate majority leader an ambitious effort to make the federal courts more conservative—from top to bottom. There’s only one way to do this—fill every judicial vacancy with a conservative.

For Mr. McConnell, this is a war. Justice Gorsuch was D-Day. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the slog across France. Mr. McConnell is a general in a hurry to keep winning, since Republicans could lose the Senate majority in November.

.. When Justice Gorsuch sailed through, Democrats and the left were reeling from Donald Trump’s election. Their opposition was inept. The vaunted “resistance” to anything associated with Mr. Trump was pathetic. Now Democrats are committed to blocking Judge Kavanaugh, and they’re serious. But they still have Chuck Schumer as their leader, and they still can’t do it without Republican help.

.. Mr. McConnell is experienced in outmaneuvering Mr. Schumer. By the time the Democrat offered his deal, Mr. McConnell had recruited former Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire as Judge Gorsuch’s sherpa as he visited senators. Ms. Ayotte pointed Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski to Judge Gorsuch’s record, which didn’t reveal a yearning to kill Roe. After listening to Judge Gorsuch, the two senators were leaning in his favor. Mr. Schumer was too late.

..  Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski are back. Same issue. Democrats seem to think every GOP judicial nominee is hiding a passion for overturning Roe. In truth, some may be. But it’s awfully hard to prove it.

.. Why is Mr. McConnell so successful in getting Republican judges confirmed? He’s a big-picture guy. He plays a long game. He must have a home-state agenda for Kentucky, but you rarely hear of it. He’s not out for himself.

.. As Republican leader, he has little interest in popularity. He’s secretive and a self-described introvert. “He never tells me anything,” a close Senate ally says.

.. “In a city where concealing ambition behind a cloak of righteousness is the norm, this refusal is one of his more underappreciated virtues,” Mr. McGuire wrote. The majority leader’s willingness to oppose popular issues like the tobacco settlement and campaign-finance reform show he’s no political weakling.

.. Mr. McConnell isn’t particularly popular. But he’s respected. He says the only real power he has as majority leader is control of the Senate floor. When Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, Mr. McConnell said the Senate wouldn’t take up a nomination in President Obama’s last year. Democrats screamed, but neither Mr. McConnell nor Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley flinched. The result: Justice Gorsuch.
.. Among Mr. McConnell’s unusual traits are patience and a sense of when to call a vote. He’s willing to delay a vote for months waiting for precisely the right moment. Last spring he twice canceled votes to confirm an appeals court nominee. When he felt the time had come, he held a quick vote. The judge was confirmed handily.
.. No one is better at the game, now or probably ever.