President Donald Trump and his supporters are looking for ways to disparage Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating Russia’s attack on America’s 2016 election.
The New York Times reports that Trump’s political aides and legal counsel are hoping to find a conflict of interest they could use to discredit Mueller’s investigation — or even build a case to fire him. Read more
Trump Hopes Americans Will Suffer And Blame His Opponents
We knew Donald Trump has a cruel streak and always puts his own interests first, but it’s still shocking to hear him brag about the harm he is planning to do to millions of Americans — and how he hopes to benefit from it politically.
After Senate Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump said:
I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.
Jonathan Bernstein writes at Bloomberg View that none of Trump’s predecessors was willing to trade the welfare of the American people for their own (perceived) political gain:
Imagine if Ronald Reagan had said after Congress prohibited him from aiding anti-communists in Nicaragua: “Fine. I’ll just surrender to the USSR today. That’ll show ’em!” Or if Franklin Roosevelt, faced with sharp congressional resistance from isolationists, decided to disarm and allow the Axis to proceed at will. Or if George W. Bush had reacted to the first defeat of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 by publicly rooting for a worldwide economic meltdown.
Donald Trump has given Vladimir Putin a win in Syria by withdrawing America’s support from the rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad.
The Washington Post reports that Trump made his decision a month ago, before he met Putin at the G20 in Hamburg.
Russia and the United States seemed on the verge of a confrontation at the time. America had shot down a regime fighter jet that was attacking its allies in Syria. Russia responded by suspending a military hotline with the United States.
It supports Assad, calling him a bulwark against terrorism. Read more
The conventional wisdom is that Greek debt relief can’t happen before the German election. Angela Merkel wouldn’t want to risk the ire of her conservative voters.
But things could be more difficult after the election. There is a good chance Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to form a center-right government. The latter, while smaller, are more adamant in their views on the Greek debt crisis. They would find it hard to justify debt forgiveness to their voters.
That’s not the only reason why the time is right. Donald Trump and the rise of illiberal democracy around the world is another. Europe must circle the wagons to provide a counterweight to this dangerous development. Read more
Once the Party of Stability, Conservatives Now Provoke Unrest
Kate Maltby argues in The Guardian that Britain’s Conservative Party has lost its way.
For centuries, Conservatives warned against the dangers of too much change too quickly, she points out. They argued revolutions leave children starving and adults bleeding. That stability leads to prosperity. That inequality is a price worth paying for economic growth.
Don’t rock the boat, don’t scare the banks and the middle classes get their quiet life.
Remember the “long-term economic plan”? It was only two years ago that David Cameron couldn’t stop talking about.
Then his party brought Brexit on the United Kingdom. Read more
Democrats in the United States are heaping praise on Republican senator Susan Collins for taking a stand against her party’s health-care reforms.
The praise is deserved. Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine, refused to support a plan that would have taken health care away from millions of low-income Americans while making it cheaper for the wealthy.
But it’s too bad the left doesn’t extend the same gratitude to conservative purists who joined her.
None of the other supposedly moderate Republicans in the Senate supported Collins in her fight against the rushed effort to replace Obamacare. They all caved to right-wing pressure.
Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky held firm. Read more