Why Hasn’t Gillibrand Gotten Traction?

The Story:

Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior Senator from New York, and one of many Democratic Party figures running for nomination to be the next President, has yet to score as high as 2% in the national polls. The lack of a Gillibrand ‘take-off’ has surprised many observers.

Background:

Gillibrand won a special election in 2010 to the New York Senate seat left vacant when Senator Hillary Clinton left that post to become Secretary of State under President Obama. Gillibrand was re-elected to a full term in 2012, then again last year.

By the standards of that institution, then, she might still be considered a newbie. But she was on her way to becoming a star by 2017, when she both co-sponsored a Medicare for All bill and took the lead in urging the resignation of Senator Al Franken (D – MN), in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

This is the context in which her campaign for President has been received: first as promising, then (as it failed to catch fire in the grass roots of the party) as disappointing.

The Thing to Know

A recent Politico profile suggests that Gillibrand has been too cautious for her own good. She “seems to believe that she can’t afford to alienate any one bloc of voters,” writes Tim Alberta, whereas the strategically savvy path might be to willingly alienate some voters within a crowded field, as the price of developing and firing up a passionate base of voters of her own.

Veep Creators: Our Show Echoes Hillary More Than Trump | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Veep Creators: Our Show Echoes Hillary More Than Trump | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Creators of the “Veep”, Frank Rich and David Mandel join MSNBC’s Ari Melber for a special discussion about Veep’s new season and how comments at Trump’s latest rally were eerily similar to a scene in the hit HBO show. The producers note that when politics appears to mimic themes of the show, “you just kind of go: what is happening?”
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Veep Creators: Our Show Echoes Hillary More Than Trump | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Bongino reacts to Clinton claiming election was ‘stolen’ from her

Bongino reacts to Clinton claiming election was 'stolen' from her

Fox News contributor Dan Bongino: How can the woman whose team colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign claim the election was ‘stolen’ from her? #FoxandFriends #FoxNews

FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, FOXNews.com and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, FOX Nation. FOX News also produces FOX News Sunday on FOX Broadcasting Company and FOX News Edge. A top five-cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for 17 consecutive years. According to a 2018 Research Intelligencer study by Brand Keys, FOX News ranks as the second most trusted television brand in the country. Additionally, a Suffolk University/USA Today survey states Fox News is the most trusted source for television news or commentary in the country, while a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that among Americans who could name an objective news source, FOX News is the top-cited outlet. FNC is available in nearly 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape while routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.

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On Politics: Inside the Obama-Biden Relationship

Good Monday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.

_____________________

What started out as a Felix-and-Oscar odd couple — a no-drama intellectual and a gregarious, shoulder-squeezing pol — evolved into a surprisingly close friendship unlike any between a president and vice president in modern times. This is the story behind the relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Despite doubts about his candidacy, Mr. Biden begins the race with substantial support from three key constituencies in his native state of Pennsylvania: suburban moderates defecting from the Republican Party under President Trump, black voters who were underwhelmed by Hillary Clinton, and working-class white voters.

Attorney General William P. Barr and congressional Democrats clashed on Sunday over his scheduled testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this week, with Mr. Barr threatening to skip the session and the panel’s chairman threatening to subpoena him.

As House Democrats return to Washington after a two-week recess, they will find a Capitol consumed by the Mueller report. But rank-and-file Democrats are not being propelled by their constituents into impeaching the…

Donald Trump’s Guardrails: ‘Most Of Them Are Now Gone’ | Deadline | MSNBC

Donald Trump’s Guardrails: ‘Most Of Them Are Now Gone’ | Deadline | MSNBC

Former deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, NYT’s Nick Confessore, NBC’s Heidi Przybyla, former WH Comms Director Jennifer Palmieri, and Donny Deutsch on new reporting about Trump’s repeated attempts to prosecute his former rival Hillary Clinton
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Donald Trump’s Guardrails: ‘Most Of Them Are Now Gone’ | Deadline | MSNBC

Counter-extremism expert says media, politicians should identify attacks in Sri Lanka for what they are

Left struggles to acknowledge Islamic terrorists were behind Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka

The founder of a London-based think tank that focuses on counter-extremism criticized media outlets and prominent political figures for not being forthright about this past Sunday’s suicide bombings in Sri Lanka aimed at Christians.

Six suicide bombings were orchestrated by Jihadi extremists against Sri Lanka’s Christian community killing over 300 people.

The media and prominent political figures went out of their way to downplay the religious aspects of the attacks prompting criticism, host Tucker Carlson said.

“They have been unable to name Islamist extremism by name and jihadist terrorism being a violent manifestation because they genuinely believe that a bigger threat due to their political perspective is white supremacist and far-right extremism and then, of course, there’s the pragmatic political side of things. They…

is Devouring the 2020 Dems

27

The 2020 Dem field is very diverse.

If the Democrats were within reaching distance of sanity, that would mean a positive campaign based on diversity. Since they instead inhabit an insane intersectional dimension in which a permanent victimhood competition determines who gets what, anti-diversity tantrums follow.

These Queer Women Don’t Care That Pete Buttigieg Is Gay—They Want a Female President

The article is even worse than the headline.

With a record-breaking six women running in 2020, and Hillary Clinton’s bitter defeat still fresh on their tongues, a number of LGBTQ women told The Daily Beast they would simply prefer a female candidate.

Who are these women? Who empowered them to represent all lesbian Democrats? Stop asking, the echo chamber echoed.

“For me, being queer or lesbian, nominating a young, inexperienced white gay man is not my priority,” Duke University professor Ara Wilson told The Daily Beast. “The fact that we have…

Joe Biden Plans to Close Foundation When He Enters 2020 Race

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to wind down his personal charity, the Biden Foundation, when he enters the 2020 presidential race, people briefed on the preparations said on Monday.

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, and his wife, Jill, formed the nonprofit group after he left office in 2017. The group had raised $6.6 million by the end of that year, financing initiatives on issues like expanding gay rights, making college more affordable and ending violence against women.

The Biden Foundation also became a gathering place for Mr. Biden’s longtime allies and political advisers in advance of a likely presidential campaign, with a board chaired by his former chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, and an executive director, Louisa Terrell, with deep experience on Capitol Hill and in the Obama administration.

By preparing to unravel his flagship organization, Mr. Biden may be hoping to avoid some of the financial and conflict-of-interest questions that shadowed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, when her family foundation continued to operate and receive large donations and grants as she was pursuing the White House.

The people who confirmed Mr. Biden’s intention to shutter the group spoke on condition of anonymity, in order to discuss confidential preparations for his presidential campaign. The Biden Foundation would likely suspend its activities immediately and then begin a longer process of gradually dismantling itself.

The people familiar with the foundation’s plans declined to discuss many of the specifics, including whether some of its staff and programs could be spun off or preserved in another form.

Bill Russo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, and Melanie Fonder Kaye, a spokeswoman…

Controversial Steele dossier back in spotlight after Mueller report’s release

Did Mueller's team know Steele dossier was biased?
Did Mueller’s team know Steele dossier was biased?

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report now out in the open, attention is likely to return in coming weeks to the salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele — a dossier whose more sensational claims were not substantiated by Mueller’s team.

The dossier, funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, sent shockwaves through the country and the halls of power in D.C. when it was published in January 2017, complete with lurid tales of a sex tape featuring prostitutes that the Russian government was said to be holding over President Trump’s head.

JIM JORDAN: AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PEOPLE WHO STARTED RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

But despite an intensive two-year investigation, Mueller’s team found no evidence of any such tape. It also said it didn’t have evidence of another claim in the dossier that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen met with Russian officials in Prague.

The New York Times, in a lengthy article on the Steele dossier’s current standing, noted that there is no evidence in the Mueller report on a number of claims: “DNC moles, Romanian hackers, Russian pensioners — or years of Trump-Putin intelligence trafficking.” But a lawyer for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, told The Times that the Mueller probe backed up “the core reporting” in the Steele memos — including that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed “a covert operation” to have Trump elected.

Now, with a redacted version of Mueller’s report public and pressure building for the release of an unredacted version, attention is set to turn toward the investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who confirmed at a panel discussion in March that his office is continuing to review potential surveillance abuses by the FBI. That review began last March,…

Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed the scope of a historic Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential election in a much-anticipated report made public on Thursday, and he detailed a frantic monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart a federal investigation that imperiled his presidency from the start.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, laid out how his team of prosecutors wrestled with whether Mr. Trump’s actions added up to a criminal obstruction-of-justice offense. They ultimately chose not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him and suggested that it might be the role of Congress to settle the matter.

The report laid bare that Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power, and cataloged numerous meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians seeking to influence the campaign and the presidential transition team — encounters set up in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president.

The special counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to determine that the president or his aides had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians, even though the Trump campaign welcomed the Kremlin sabotage effort and “expected it would benefit electorally” from the hacks and leaks of Democratic emails.

Then, after federal investigators opened an inquiry into the extraordinary Russian campaign, the president repeatedly tried to undermine it.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Fevered speculation, now put to rest, arose in some circles that Mr. Trump and his immediate family might be in legal peril from Mr. Mueller’s investigation. At the same time, the report offered reams of evidence of a climate of deceit — and a base impulse for self-preservation — among a president and his top aides not seen since the days of Richard M. Nixon.

That impulse prompted some presidential advisers to try to block Mr. Trump’s demands that they take steps to protect him from federal investigators. Some feared getting wrapped up in the widening inquiry.

“The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report said.

The special counsel found that Mr. Trump had the authority to make many of his most controversial decisions, including the firing of James B. Comey as the F.B.I. director, by virtue of the powers the Constitution grants him. At the same time, it is a far more damning portrayal of his behavior than the one presented last month in a four-page letter released by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report said. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the special counsel and to reverse the effect of the attorney general’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.”

In his letter, Mr. Barr announced that while Mr. Mueller had made no judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice, he had stepped in to decide that the president had not.

Mr. Barr defended his decision in a news conference on Thursday and said that some of the president’s actions were understandable given the “context” of his situation.

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” Mr. Barr said.

The Mueller report is a sometimes gripping account of a presidency consumed by a sprawling investigation, and of a president seized by paranoia about what it might unearth.

The Daily Poster

Immediately after learning that a special counsel had been appointed to lead the Russia investigation, the report said, Mr. Trump became distraught and slumped in his chair.

“Oh, my God. This is terrible,” he said. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Mr. Trump had long denounced the inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” But since it began, a half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, most of them for lying to Congress or federal investigators.