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Trump scandal overload: Don Jr. remembers nothing; Republicans finally begin to face the facts

Wednesday was one of those scandal-detail-overload days. It’s one thing if there is a big blockbuster scoop that changes everything: We all run toward the light. But days like Wednesday are filled with various emerging details of different aspects of the Trump scandals that are potentially important — and in any other administration would cause bipartisan garment rending and calls for commissions, committee investigations and special counsels — but come out of left field and don’t really clarify anything.

Just to choose a couple of news nuggets yesterday, we learned from The New Yorker that the person who leaked Michael Cohen’s financial information was a law enforcement official, who did so out of concern that some important reports seemed to have been removed from the central FBI and Treasury Department databases. It’s possible that some data was walled off, perhaps by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, without nefarious intent. But corruption is so rampant in this administration, and the congressional majority is so protective of President Trump, that government bureaucrats are concerned that documents are being destroyed.

Keep in mind that the woman who is about to be confirmed as CIA director destroyed videotapes of torture. We learned just this week that the EPA had buried a major study about contaminated drinking water throughout the U.S. because it would be a “public relations nightmare.” It’s not really paranoid to wonder if there might be something hinky about Michael Cohen’s financial records being “redacted” or deciding your best bet was to give the info to an outside lawyer.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post that Mueller’s office had assured him it planned to follow Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president cannot be indicted, sparking bold “breaking news” headlines. It later turned out, however, that Giuliani had heard this second-hand from Jay Sekulow, Trump’s other lawyer, and it wasn’t clear at all exactly what had been said:

Then The New York Times posted a story late in the day about the early days of the Russia investigation, which shows that — contrary to the right-wing narrative — the FBI and the Justice Department went much easier on Trump than on Hillary Clinton, with parallel investigations into their respective campaigns. The Times sort of copped to its own culpability in flogging a story late in the campaign that the feds had found no link between Trump and Russia, which was incomplete if not downright misleading. The full story of both the DOJ’s decisions and the Times’ editorial choices has yet to be written, but this was a start.

But the big story of the day was the release of 2,500 pages of transcripts of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s interviews regarding that infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between Trump campaign staff and emissaries of the Russian government. We already knew much of what transpired, but there were a few little tidbits that hadn’t been widely known before. For instance, as Yahoo News reported, on the day after the meeting (which Trump ostensibly knew nothing about), Aras Agalarov, the Azeri-born oligarch who had been said to confer with Russian prosecutors about dirt on Hillary Clinton, sought to deliver a large birthday gift to Donald Trump, along with a personal note. That was sweet of him.

Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to the committee was of particular interest, since he’s the one who agreed to meet these alleged Russian tipsters in the first place. He was not particularly forthcoming. Don Jr. claimed he never told his father about the meeting, which he admitted was set up to get “dirt” on Clinton. That’s a wildly improbable assertion, considering that Donald Trump said this in public, shortly after the meeting was set up:

I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. I wonder if the press will want to attend. Who knows?

We are supposed to believe that announcement was unrelated to the anticipated meeting in which Donald Trump Jr. was to receive derogatory info on Clinton. That speech never happened, but if the Russians were “dangling” (seeing whether someone would take the bait) or gathering kompromat about Don Jr. that could be used against him later, it was still a success. If nothing else, the Russians made it known that their price for helping Trump in the election would be the lifting of sanctions, which we know the Trump transition team and administration set out to do almost immediately.

Don Jr. also said he could not recall if the blocked phone number he called immediately after the Trump Tower meeting was his father’s. Jumping forward to July 2017, when The New York Times first reported on the Trump Tower meeting, the younger Trump said he never spoke to the president aboard Air Force One while they were drafting the misleading White House response to that article. He noted that his father might have helped construct that response “through Hope Hicks.” Don Jr. also seemed to have serious memory problems for a relatively young man. He said he couldn’t recall what happened at least 54 times.

None of this, to be clear, changes our understanding of what happened (or didn’t happen) in that Trump Tower meeting. What is new and significant in all this is that Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to release these transcripts, along with a summary that endorsed the intelligence community’s findings that the Russian government had interfered in the election on behalf of Donald Trump. That appears to be in direct opposition to the House Intelligence Committee, which pretty much whitewashed the whole matter. (The House report stated that there were “significant intelligence tradecraft failings” in that assessment from the intelligence community.)

This is the first time any congressional Republicans have stated unequivocally that Russia sought to undermine American democratic processes to benefit Donald Trump. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and James Lankford, R-Okla., both said they thought the Intelligence Community’s assessment back in January 2017 was legitimate. Even Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, generally a White House loyalist, agreed that Russia “meddled” but said there was no collusion with the Trump campaign, which may be a preview of the final report, currently undergoing classification review. Hard-right Trumper Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., refused to comment, which suggests there may still be some dissension on the committee.

Maybe it seems strange that these baby steps toward bipartisan consensus look huge, considering everything we know. But Republicans have circled the wagons so tightly around their so-called leader that stating the obvious now looks like an act of patriotic courage. Perhaps this report is the first sign that those wagons are starting to come apart.

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Radical Academics for the Status Quo

Money does not theorize, but it certainly has a lot to say. This week, left intellectual Twitter was roiled — that is, some posters were amused, and others outraged — by the news that famed feminist theorist Judith Butler had given money to Kamala Harris’s late presidential campaign. Sure, it’s a bit of silly gossip – who among us is above such catty pleasures? And compared to the campaign contributions of the super-rich, or the fossil fuel industry, what do misguided checks written by Berkeley professors matter? But political contributions are a telling window on the world of ideas itself; intellectuals often theorize a radical game, but when it comes to their politics on material matters of life and death, there may be less than meets the eye.

In the 1990s, Butler was so iconic there was even a fanzine dedicated to her (Judy!). At the time, many Marxist intellectuals distrusted postmodern critical theory as a flight into the purely “cultural” realm, away from the material. Yet others thought — and this columnist agreed — that Butler’s insights on gender as performance had value, and were hardly incompatible with a Marxist or Gramscian analysis. I still think so, and Butler is an admirable defender of academic freedom and of the rights of Palestinians. But the Kamala Harris donation suggests that the grouchy old-school Marxists were probably right all along to note a lack of materialism grounding her politics. Sad!

Donna Haraway, another postmodern feminist theorist — who, like Butler, was best known in the 1990s but still widely read — also made donations to Harris this year. Haraway has written about how cyborgs will bring us closer to a more socialist, genderless, raceless, peaceful world — but since the cyborgs aren’t here yet, apparently a racist, neoliberal carceral feminist regime will do. It’s as if the postmodern academics are determined to prove that the anti-intellectuals and the old-fashioned Marxist dudes are right.

But the postmodernists aren’t the only theoretical insurgents who turn into ordinary liberals once they leave their writing desks. Camille Paglia, a bête noire of feminists in the 1990s, who was once dubbed “one of America’s smartest and most fearless writers” by the Weekly Standard, gave thousands of dollars, not to Make America Great Again in 2016, but to Barack Obama in fall 2008. (Paglia has said she voted for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein in 2016, and in this cycle, had been hoping to vote for Harris. Go figure.)

Some intellectuals’ political contributions are even weirder. Martha Nussbaum is a giant in the field of ethical philosophy who has written that mainstream feminists should think more globally and be more centered on the problems faced by women in poor countries. She’s a liberal who has sometimes been critical of the Marxist tradition.

So, Liz Warren, right? Wrong! Nussbaum has given thousands of dollars to John Hickenlooper — both his gubernatorial races and his brief 2020 primary bid. In the face of such news, so many questions go through one’s mind. The main one is probably, “Who is John Hickenlooper again?” Hickenlooper is the pro-fracking former Governor of Colorado who describes himself as a “fiscal conservative.”

What’s equally striking, however, is that some intellectuals’ political contributions are absolutely consistent with the ideas in their writings. Noam Chomsky has written checks to only a handful of political candidates: Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader, most prominently. Marxist feminist Nancy Fraser has been donating to Bernie. Adolph Reed, Jr. gives so often to Bernie that it’s practically a tithe. Reed has given to other left candidates like Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, progressives like Paul Wellstone, and liberal Democrats like Jan Schakowsky and Alan Grayson, all of which is completely consistent with his lifelong body of writing arguing that the left should support strong social democratic organizing and also work with the Democratic Party when necessary.

It’s vulgar to say this, but it’s may be true that we learn less about the materialist politics of academic writing by reading it — and some of it can be famously obscure; Butler was the winner of a Bad Writing contest in 1998 — than by looking up the author in the Federal Elections Commission records.

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Michelle Malkin | » America First: The Torch Is Being Passed

America First: The Torch Is Being Passed
Michelle Malkin
Remarks as prepared

November 14, 2019

America First: The Torch Is Being Passed
Michelle Malkin
Remarks as prepared
Nov. 14, 2019

Good evening, young patriots.

We’ve got a lot to talk about tonight and I want to hear from as many of you as possible.

If you are a liberal in this audience, congratulations. Thanks for being here. Hope you learn something. Read my books. Read and watch all the things that the Southern Poverty Law Center tells you not to read and watch. Maybe you’ll learn something. Don’t be a sheep. Question authority. Save yourselves. If you are unwilling to do so, I can’t help you. Lost cause. Let’s move on.

I’ve done YAF events for nearly 20 years. Usually, such speeches are aimed at the left and the Democrats to show how they’re wrong or evil or have double standards or how they’re the real haters or the real racists. All those things are true and I have made these arguments in earnest many, many times over the years. But tonight is not about you, Lefties. Tonight, my remarks are directed at the young men and women of this country who identify as America First conservatives. How many proud Americans standing up for American freedom and sovereignty do we have in the room?

I know what it’s like to be in your shoes, feeling marginalized on a crazy college campus for standing up for your pro-life, pro-gun, pro-free speech, pro-Western values and fighting for your country. I also have two teenagers who have been through experiences like you have, sitting in classrooms where abject stupidity and emotionalism have replaced logic, reason, and the pursuit of truth.

That is why I will not be using my platform and my position to insult you, marginalize you, and shout you down. Just a couple of days ago here on this very campus, former Fox News hostess Kimberly Guilfoyle sneered that young conservative men in MAGA hats asking inconvenient questions were rude losers who could only get dates online and who were embarrassing their parents. Another YAF speaker, Ben Shapiro, repeatedly denigrated an entire movement of young men who watch a YouTuber named Nick Fuentes and are seeking answers to tough questions about where America is headed as masturbating losers in their basements who share memes. As a mom with brilliant right-thinking kids who, yes, live in my basement, and, yes, share memes, I found these obsessive references to young people’s dating lives and habits by prominent conservative media personalities much older than their targets to be tellingly defensive and touchy. Also: creepy.

Here’s my message to the new generation of America Firsters exposing the big lies of the anti-American open borders establishment and its controlled opposition operatives: If I was your mom, I’d be proud as hell.

I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s important for you to know that not everyone who belongs to generations older than you has sat idly by while America rotted from the inside. Not all Gen Xers and Boomers are mindlessly stupefied by the bread and circuses entertainment dished out by so-called conservative media. Not all of us have occupied ourselves solely with “owning libs” and reciting clunky MAGA rap anthems while America crumbles.

I am old enough to have lived and worked in California when it was a red state. I was here in the 1990s when America First patriots fought valiantly to protect it. This month marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of Proposition 187, the Save Our State initiative. It was spearheaded by Boomer grass-roots sovereignty activists right here in southern California like Glenn Spencer and Barbara Coe, patriots I met in 1994 when I was a 24-year-old cub journalist at the Los Angeles Daily News. The media, Big Business, Hollywood, and the Soros smear machine labeled them hate-mongers and xenophobes. I called them heroes. I reported on their movement. I proudly voted for S.O.S.

Prop. 187 passed by a whopping 59-41 margin. We old guard patriots, we upholders of the rule of law, we conservers and preservers of one nation under God were the majority back then. That same year, Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who championed the ballot measure, won with 55 percent of the vote, including 23 percent of Latino voters who backed the measure.

The victory was illusory. A liberal federal judge struck the measure down. (The same thing happened when a similar set of Boomer-era patriots spearheaded S.B. 1070 in Arizona to turn off illegal immigration magnets in 2010). There were other noble attempts to challenge the Open Borders elites. Long before Donald Trump, America First godfather Patrick J. Buchanan ran in 1992 on the sovereignty platform and has penned prolific books and prophetic editorials and columns since he started his career in the newspaper business at the age of 23 in the early 1960s. Tom Tancredo made border security and immigration enforcement the primary focus of his presidential campaign in 2008. And many of us oldsters in the conservative blogosphere and talk radio led the battle against the Bush/Rove/Chamber of Commerce amnesties in 2006 and 2007.

These so-called conservatives in Open Borders Inc. were the ones making common cause with the radical identity politics left. Before there was Charlie Kirk there was Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Jack Kemp. The same establishment Beltway crapweasels denigrating the new generation of America Firsters now were the ones who actively obstructed and smeared the previous generations as racists, xenophobes, or anti-Semites – or who passively sat on the sidelines, at cocktail parties or in green rooms or in cruise ships, schmoozing while America burned.

But all of the efforts to beat back the tide were for naught. Math had already sealed California’s ineluctable shift to the Left by the time the Prop. 187 campaign was launched. It wasn’t a backlash to Pete Wilson that turned California blue, as Talking Points GOP stooges continue to propagandize to this day. That’s a lie and I call bullshit. And you must, too. The two numbers that matter most are 1965 and 1986. Despite Prop 187’s valiant attempt to stem the tide, Ted Kennedy’s floodgate-busting Hart-Celler Act and Ronald Reagan’s amnesty-codifying Immigration Reform and Control Act paved the way for our half-century-long demographic nightmare.

After 1986, amnesty begat amnesty begat amnesty. Mass illegal immigration was compounded by mass legal migration from the Third World and jihadist breeding grounds, supplemented by the U.N.-led refugee resettlement dump that enriched open borders religious moochers from every denomination (Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Episcopalian) and expansive guest worker pipelines, and multiplied by chain migration.

Behind closed doors, the Soros/SPLC left cackles about the grand hoodwinking of America and the success of the demographic Reconquista. In public, they attack any truth-tellers as conspiracists peddling the Great Replacement Theory – like the Soros hitmen of Media Matters who likened me to the Tree of Life synagogue shooter in September for exposing the financiers behind demographic disaster. It isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s conspiracy fact.

Who cares what the Media Matters monkeys say? I don’t. But you know who does? Conservatism Inc, the Right’s subsidiary of Open Borders Inc filled with smug and complacent coastal elites who tremble at Soros/SPLAC’s defamatory labels and who thirstily seek the approbation of leftists who will always hate them.

It used to be that conservatives were for facts and liberals were for feelings. Now it is considered “racist” or “cynical” to look at lockstep liberal voting patterns of waves of amnestied and naturalized immigrants and fear for the future. Voting patterns are malleable, we are told.
I call bullshit.

Let’s look at the exit polls on Asian-American voters who turned out for last week’s national elections.

Asian American voter ID split 51-10 Ds over Rs in Virginia; 80-16 Ds over Rs for House of Delegate votes; and 81-15 Ds over Rs for State Senate. Asian-Americans supported stricter gun control 71-20 & supported impeachment 64-17. Top presidentrial candidates for those surveyed: Biden, Warren & Sanders.

In Philadelphia, Asian American voter ID split was 65-6 Ds over Rs. They voted for the Dem mayoral candidate 74-3. Their top 3 presidential candidates: Biden, Warren Yang. Aas favored impeachment 68-7.

In Houston, AA voter ID split 33-30 Ds over Rs. Top prez candidate Trump (38), Biden (15), Warren (12). AAs in Houston SUPPORTED MORE GUN CONTROL 58-24 and were evenly split on impeachment 41-41.

Time and again, Beltway Republicans have given in on amnesty, H-1B, and identity politics appeasing initiatives. And yet, the voting numbers among Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, and blacks for that matter, have not budged and will not budge.

Do the math.

This is my gentle maternal admonition to young people involved in the movement to persuade immigrants and minorities to “exit” the Left and vote Right. Of course it’s a good thing to reach out to non-traditional constituencies. But whatever dent you make in 2020 will be inconsequential compared to the relentless influx of 80-20 immigrants – incl. the 1 million new green card holders every year on a path to citizenship and 800,000 DACA recipients hurtling toward citizenship, and 500,000 F-1 foreign student visa holders that Conservatism Inc. and Silicon Valley are itching to award green cards and citizenship to…

America First activists are now being accused of engaging in dangerous “identity politics” and “ethno-nationalism.” The hypocrisy overfloweth. It’s the detractors of America First on the Right who shamelessly indulge in identity politics tokenism promoting a rainbow of brand ambassadors who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about when it comes to the most existential issues of our time and who immediately smear critics with the same old, worn brushes used by the radical Left. America First detractors indignantly demand that we young and old sovereignty advocates disavow European nationalist groups which most have never heard of.

Conservative Inkers now have their knives out for me, recycling Media Matters oppo research uncovering things I’ve never covered up in my reporting and advocacy on sovereignty issues over the last quarter century. They want me to disavow Nick Fuentes and VDARE and Peter Brimelow and Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys and Steve King and Laura Loomer and on and on. They want to do to me what they’ve done to brilliant academics who’ve told the truth – Amy Wax at the University of Pennsylvania and Darren Beattie and Jason Richwine and Steve Sailer.

No, I do not agree with every last thing they’ve said or written or published or tweeted or thought with their inside or outside voices. But I will not disavow any of them and I will not join the de-platforming witch hunters who hypocritically call themselves free speech and culture warriors. I disavow violence. I disavow hatred of America. I disavow the systematic bipartisan betrayal of American citizens, students, and families by cynical politicians who promised for 25 years to build a wall, end the diversity visa lottery, end chain migration, and other memorized talking points. I disavow Republicans who told us to hold our noses and vote for open borders sellouts because we support the Second Amendment and are against abortion and we had no other choice.

Where are the disavowals of CPAC organizers who banned young nationalists but credentialed left-wing operatives masquerading as journalists like the Right Wing Watch henchman – and who embraced left-wing Soros-funded character assassin Van Jones?

I disavow the bullshit.

Young people, left or right, if you don’t do your homework and open your eyes and join forces, you are screwed. Fight the controlled opposition, don’t become it. The torch is being passed. The populist youth movement is global. It’s bigger than being a Trump supporter or Talking Points GOP gate-smasher. Show those willing to listen how to do the math. Rise to the occasion and save this country.