THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE: Dems accept inevitability of Trump’s reelection

WASHINGTON — Despite two years of investigations geared toward unseating him as president and endless calls for impeachment, Democrats have come to a hard realization: Donald Trump will likely win a second term as president.

Even hardcore leftist publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times have conceded the likelihood of a Trump 2020 landslide.

“The headline news from the most recent Post poll was that President Trump remains behind or tied with all major Democratic contenders. The takeaway should have been that if this poll is correct, Trump is almost a lock to win,” Henry Olsen of the Washington Post wrote in an op-ed July 8.

“There are two reasons that this is the case. The first has to do with the electoral college; the second has to do with the likely campaign dynamics over the next year and a half,” Olsen writes. “Trump won the electoral college in 2016 despite receiving roughly 46 percent of the popular vote because his coalition is highly tilted toward non-college-educated white voters. Those voters are shrinking as a total share of the national electorate, but they remain the largest group of voters in the electoral-vote-rich states of the Upper Midwest that he flipped from blue to red. That means Trump will get higher shares of the vote in those states than he will nationally.”

“The Post’s poll showed Trump performing nationally at levels that suggest he would get close to or more than a majority of the vote in at least four of the five key Midwestern swing states,” Olsen continued. “Take his job approval rating: The poll showed him at 47 percent approval among registered voters. The 2018 exit polls showed Trump’s job approval was higher than his national average by three points in Wisconsin and eight points in Ohio. By extrapolation, the Post poll implies his job approval is at or above 50 percent in enough states for him to carry the electoral college.”

“Trump’s standing gets stronger when we look at the mock ballot questions. He receives between 46 and 48 percent of the vote among registered voters against any Democrat except Joe Biden. In 2016, he ran about 1.5 to 2 points ahead of his national showing in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. There’s no reason to think that he won’t do the same in 2020 given the nature of his coalition. That means the Post poll implies he will get between about 48 and 50 percent in each of these states. If he does that, he almost surely will win at least one of them — and with that, he wins reelection,” he concluded.

Another primary reason Dems are already beginning to concede defeat: the economy.

“While we can argue about how meaningful and solid the current economic growth is, there is no denying that, in terms of the conventional economic indicators, the state of the US economy is excellent. Consequently, prediction models based primarily on economic indicators, which correctly predicted the 2016 elections, predict a resounding Trump victory in 2020,” writes Cas Mudde of The Guardian.

“Second,” writes Mudde, “Trump has so far delivered to his non-traditional base. The average Republican, commonly referred to as the “moderate Republican”, is still not a fan of Trump, who is seen as too confrontational and vulgar, but got the one thing they care about: a tax cut. Scared of a “socialist backlash” within the Democratic party, they will come out to protect their new gains by voting Trump.”

“Similarly, the Christian right will once again come out strong. While the support for Trump by religious voters puzzles liberals, it is pretty straightforward: the supreme court,” Mudde continued. “Here, again, Trump has delivered. He has appointed two staunchly conservative anti-abortion judges to the supreme court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and promised to appoint more. And with the possibility of (at least) one position possibly becoming vacant in the next presidential term, ie Ruth Bader Ginsburg (perhaps also Clarence Thomas), the Christian right mobilization will run on full cylinders again. The reward for the faithful: overturning Roe v Wade!”

While nothing is guaranteed and no one knows what will come to pass until all the votes have been counted, when even the left’s most vocal Trump critics agree that the Dems are in trouble, one thing’s for certain: Bernie had better step up his game.

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HELL FREEZES OVER: Schumer applauds Trump over move of US embassy to Jerusalem

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — In a rare moment of agreement with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday praised the president for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital,” Schumer said in a statement. “I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

The statement echoed a sentiment Trump expressed in a video message presented at the embassy opening, in which the president said the move had “been a long time coming.”

But the embassy’s official opening Monday was also marked by a bloody day on Israel’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The New York Times reported that at least 41 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,700 injured at the border’s barrier.

Trump’s controversial decision to move the U.S. Embassy to the city which is considered holy by three major religions has been met with widespread criticism from global leaders due to Jerusalem’s disputed status.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Some view this part of the city as occupied territory and Palestinians hope to make it the capital of a future independent state.

The Trump administration argues the embassy move rightfully recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, while critics have cautioned the decision could cause unrest in the region.

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‘IT DOESN’T MATTER, HE’S DYING ANYWAY’: White House aide under fire for reportedly mocking cancer stricken John McCain

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — A White House official mocked Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis at an internal meeting on Thursday, a day after the Arizona Republican announced his opposition to President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel.

Special assistant Kelly Sadler made the derisive comments during a closed-door White House meeting of about two-dozen communications staffers on Thursday morning.

“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Sadler said, according to a source familiar with the remarks at the meeting.

The White House did not deny the account of Sadler’s remarks, which came amid a discussion of Haspel’s nomination and McCain’s opposition to it.

“We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time,” the White House said in a statement to The Hill.

Sadler did not respond to a request for comment and the White House did not make her available to The Hill. A source later told The Hill that Sadler called the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain to apologize.

The Thursday morning meeting was led by deputy press secretary Raj Shah. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was not present. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway showed up to the meeting after the remark was made, according to the first source.

A source who heard Sadler’s remarks could not confirm her exact wording, but agreed that Sadler made comments along the lines described by the first source.

Both sources said they believed the comment was intended as a joke, but that it did not go over well with others at the meeting.

There was “discomfort” in the room after Sadler’s comment and the conversation continued without addressing it, according to the second source.

Sadler is a former opinion editor for The Washington Times. At the White House, she focuses on illegal immigration, often sending out press releases to highlight stories about the issue to reporters.

The White House is engaged in a high-stakes nomination fight for Haspel, who faces opposition from many senators for her association with harsh interrogation techniques as a CIA agent after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, urged his Senate colleagues to oppose Haspel’s nomination, saying that “her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”

The president has long had a fraught relationship with McCain, who has been a sharp and unrelenting critic of Trump and his administration.

In a speech shortly after announcing his presidential bid in 2015, Trump responded to criticism from McCain by saying “he’s not a war hero” because he was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese.

“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said at the time.

McCain’s office declined to comment on Sadler’s remark.

The New York Times reported last week that McCain’s allies informed the White House that they would like Vice President Pence to attend McCain’s funeral, but not Trump. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are expected to give eulogies at the memorial.

McCain has a new book coming out, “The Restless Wave,” and he has remained engaged as he recovers at home in Phoenix.

In the book, McCain rips Trump for his rhetoric on immigrants and refugees; alleges that the president’s attacks on the press are being mimicked by dictators abroad; and says he “doesn’t know what to make of President Trump’s convictions.”

McCain also confirmed that he passed along the infamous “Steele dossier” to the FBI, which was later presented as evidence to a secret spy court to justify eavesdropping on Trump campaign officials.

“I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done,” McCain writes.

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, senators grilled Haspel over the use of controversial interrogation techniques. Haspel told senators that torture “does not work” and that she would defy orders to restart the programs. But she dodged questions about whether she believed it to be “immoral.”

Haspel needs support from 50 senators for confirmation and Republicans have only a slim 51-49 majority in the upper chamber. McCain and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have already announced their opposition, but Haspel has picked up support from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is running for reelection this year in a state Trump carried by 42 points in 2016.

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WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: Trump sit-down with special counsel a no go as critics warn firing Meuller would be ‘political suicide’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is reportedly reconsidering his decision to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of Monday’s FBI raid on his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

According to a report published by ABC 7 Chicago, Trump, who has been engaged in negotiations with Meuller’s legal team to arrange a sit-down interview for the past several months, see’s Monday’s raid of Cohen’s office as a game changer.

Just last month, Trump said he would be “happy” to sit down with Mueller and answer any questions he may have in regard to what, if anything, the president knew about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But now, one source close to the White House says the president is “understandably less trusting” of Mueller and his team.

Monday evening after Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, confirmed the raid, a visibly angry Trump addressed the media inside the White House Cabinet Room, calling the search of Cohen’s office “a disgrace”.

Mueller’s Russia investigation is “not only a political witch hunt but an attack on our country,” said Trump. “It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.”

As reported by The New York Times, FBI agents were looking for information relating to a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels in exchange for a confidentiality agreement she signed in the midst of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels, who now claims the agreement was void because it was never signed by Trump, claims to have had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump more than a decade ago after having denied of any sort of relationship with the then-private citizen Trump in the past.

The warrant also called for any and all documents connected to a $150,000 donation given to a Trump charity in 2015 by a Ukrainian businessman who is also on the record as having given tens of millions of dollars to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the past.

Not holding back in showing his anger, Trump openly questioned whether or not he should fire Mueller, who serves as the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“Why don’t I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on — we’ll see what happens,” Trump said on Monday.

The Mueller team is “the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen,” he added, pointing out the fact that a majority of Mueller’s aides are Democrats who had worked for President Barack Obama.

“They’re not looking at the other side,” he complained, referencing the ongoing longstanding investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. “They’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that she committed.”

Meanwhile, a top Republican senator said Tuesday that it would be “suicide” for President Trump to fire Mueller.

“I have confidence in Mueller. The president ought to have confidence in Mueller. I think … it would be suicide for the president to want, to talk about firing Mueller,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told Fox Business Network. “The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be.”

The second- highest ranking Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, says he too is confident that Trump won’t fire Mueller.

Addressing a crowd of reporters on Tuesday, Cornyn said Mueller “ought to be permitted to complete his work and I have confidence he’ll do so in a professional way.”

When asked why he thinks Mueller won’t be removed despite the president’s openly considering of the idea, Cornyn said: “I think the consequences of doing so are some that not even the president can anticipate. And I think it would be a mistake.”

Angry over the president’s comments on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) challenged the president’s comments in a speech Tuesday morning on the Senate floor.

“Special counsel Mueller, the FBI, federal prosecutors and U.S. attorneys are following the due process of our legal system. Calling that an attack on our country undermines the rule of law,” Schumer said.

Schumer added that firing Mueller would be crossing a “red line” and called on Congress to pass legislation to protect Mueller from being removed before his investigation is complete.

Senators had initially unveiled bipartisan legislation designed to protect Mueller in 2017 but decided not to move forward on the grounds that they no longer felt it necessary.

Calls to Mueller’s office for statement were met with “no comment”.

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BREAKING: FBI raids office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The FBI on Monday raided the Manhattan office of President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

In a statement released by Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan confirmed the raid, which he said resulted from a “completely inappropriate and unnecessary” search warrant issued by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Today the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” the statement reads. ” I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

“The decision by the US Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary. It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients,” the statement continues. “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”

According to a report published by the New York Times, a financial agreement signed by former adult film star Stormy Daniels regarding an alleged romantic relationship Daniels claims to have had with Trump more than a decade ago is one of the “many topics” being looked at by the FBI.

Daniels was reportedly paid $130,000 in exchange for signing the confidentiality agreement just days prior to the 2016 presidential election, an agreement that Cohen has publicly admitted to securing.

Critics claim the agreement violates campaign finance laws, an allegation that Cohen has vehemently denied.

Last week, President Trump addressed the agreement publicly for the first time, denying that he had prior knowledge of the payoff.

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said when pressed for details on the arrangement. “Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”

Last week, The Hill reported that Meuller was also seeking information relating to Cohen’s involvement in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen reportedly contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman about moving forward on the project, but did not receive a response.

Negotiations about the proposed property came to a hault, say reports, in early 2016, during the height of Trump’s presidential campaign.

The raid on Cohen’s office, say sources, does not directly relate to the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling with the 2016 presidential election.

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POTUS EYES SCOTUS: Trump watches Supreme Court as rumors of Kennedy retirement swirl; Vacant seat could shift Court’s move to the right

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump received some welcome news Monday as rumors began circulating that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire.

Kennedy, who’s leaned left since his appointment in 1988, has long held the decisive vote in many of the Supreme Court’s most significant and contested cases. His exit, say legal analysts, may be just what the Trump administration needs to turn the court right.

If Kennedy should choose to vacate his seat, says Artemus Ward, author of “Deciding to Leave: The Politics of Retirement From the United States Supreme Court,” time is of the essence. And Kennedy knows that Trump, as well as the president’s rivals, are surely awaiting his decision with bated breath.

“It’s now or never,” Ward told the New York Times on Monday (https://tinyurl.com/y9dn8drq). “It’s either this year or you wait until the next election.”

Working in Trump’s favor, said The Times, is a 2010 study by University of Chicago demographer Ross Stolzenberg and Northwestern Law professor James Lindgren, which found that justices tend to retire early in president’s terms.

“If the incumbent president is of the same party as the president who nominated the justice to the court, and if the incumbent president is in the first two years of a four-year presidential term,” the study reads, “then the justice has odds of resignation that are about 2.6 times higher than when these two conditions are not met.”

Legal analyst Christine Chabot of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, who authored the study, says Trump is likely waiting in the wings with a staunch Conservative to replace Kennedy.

However, Chabot warns that Trump shouldn’t get too cocky too fast. Stepping down, she says, is difficult for Justices.

“Retirement from the court is very costly for a justice,” she wrote, “as he or she must permanently give up what is often an immensely personally rewarding position as well as the most powerful judicial office in the United States.”

Also, Chabot pointed out, Kennedy recently hired on a new batch law clerks who are scheduled to begin their roles in October, which would seem to indicate he plans on staying put.

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THE LIST GROWS: Gwyenth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie join list of accusers in Harvey Weinstein scandal

LOS ANGELES, CA — As allegations of sexual assault against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein continue to grow, even top celebrities are coming forward with claims of rape and sexual harassment.

Hollywood A-listers Gwyenth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are the latest to claim that Weinstein, a film producer and former film studio executive, sexually harassed and assaulted them.

In an interview with The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/gwyneth-paltrow-angelina-jolie-harvey-weinstein.html) Paltrow says Weinstein called her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel shortly after casting her in the lead role for “Emma” and suggested they go to his bedroom for a massage.

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow said. After refusing his advances, Paltrow claims she told fellow actor Brad Pitt, whom she was dating at the time, what occurred and that Pitt confronted the Hollywood powerhouse.

“I thought he was going to fire me,” she said of Weinstein, who she said later threatened her and told her to keep quiet.

Also speaking to The New York Times, Angelina Jolie said that she, too, has had run-ins with the powerful film producer.

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth,” said Jolie, who claims Weinstein made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room. “And as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.”

“This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable,” the Academy Award-winning actress said.

Three other women went on record with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories) claiming that Weinstein raped them. Four others accused Weinstein of fondling them and still four more said Weinstein exposed himself in front of them and performed lewd acts in their presence.

In response to being fired from his own company in light of the allegations, Weinstein says he is, in fact, the victim.

In a statement issued to the New Yorker, Weinstein’s rep Sallie Hofmeister said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”

“Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” the statement goes on. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

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‘THE O’REILLY FACTOR’: CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOST HIT WITH FRESH CLAIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Bill O’Reilly, host of the Fox News evening program “The O’Reilly Factor” has been hit with with a major drop in advertisers amid claims by a former program contributor that she was the target of sexual harassment.

As of Tuesday, nine major sponsors including such brand names as Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW of North America, GlaxoSmithKline, T. Rowe Price, Allstate, and Constant Contact had announced that they were withdrawing ads from “The O’Reilly Factor,’’ as news of the latest controversy surfaced.

The companies say they made the decision to pull advertising from O’Reilly’s program after The New York Times published an article (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/business/media/bill-oreilly-sexual-harassment-fox-news.html) in which it claimed that five women who had accused Mr. O’Reilly of sexual harassment had received settlements totaling $13 million.

In addition to the New York Times piece, Dr. Wendy Walsh claimed on Monday that her snubbing of Bill O’Reilly’s sexual advances cost her a paid job at Fox News.

Walsh, a psychologist and former The O’Reilly Factor commentator, claims that O’Reilly asked her to have dinner at the Bel-Air Hotel and after talking about her potential for future appearances on his show, withdrew his offer after she declined his sexual advances.

Fox’s “very tired, tattered playbook” of attacking women who speak out against the network’s “money-makers” needs to close,” said Walsh’s attorney, Lisa Bloom. “No company in America has the right to use its riches to flout the law, and that includes Fox News.”

O’Reilly has publicly denied any wrongdoing via a statement on his website, which reads:

“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.

But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.

The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”

Fox News has not yet issued a formal statement on the controversy, but an internal memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wendy-walsh-talks-bill-oreilly-calls-fox-news-investigation-990746) indicates that an internal investigation is ongoing.

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