Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 18, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“The jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” —George Washington (1796)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Trump hits his own “reset” button on his Russia remarks.
  • Comey explicitly outs himself as a Democrat partisan hack.
  • The GOP’s reversal on forcing Dems into a vote on ICE is a mistake.
  • Is there finally minimum-wage sanity in DC? Don’t bet on it.
  • Ocasio-Cortez displays her ignorance on Israel (among many things).
  • How to defund the abortion industry.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Hitting the ‘Reset’ Button on Trump’s Russia Rhetoric

Nate Jackson

President Donald Trump yesterday walked back Monday’s ill-advised comments regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sort of.

With the likes of Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Brit Hume, Laura Ingraham, our humble shop, and countless other allies criticizing his embarrassing misstep, Trump had little choice. But his explanation was less than satisfying.

After implying in Helsinki that he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling more than U.S. intelligence assessments confirming that meddling, Trump said Tuesday:

I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.

But then he gave away that he might not really mean it, saying, “Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.”

To drive home his favorite point, he continued, “There was no collusion at all.”

That last point is key. We believe the Helsinki press conference was a case of disparity between what the media said and what Trump heard. When journalists say “meddling,” he hears “collusion.” That’s largely because the Leftmedia, in obvious service to Democrats, deliberately conflates the two things. Talkingheads insist the meddling was collusion. Trump is left to either discuss the nuanced reality that meddling occurred without collusion, or to dismiss the whole thing as a “witch hunt” out of hand.

Trump doesn’t do nuance, so he usually chooses Door #2 — even if he frequently uses the word “collusion” along with “witch hunt.” Or, as political analyst Byron York puts it, “The president clearly believes if he gives an inch on the what-Russia-did part [of the investigation] — if he concedes that Russia made an effort to disrupt the election — his adversaries, who want to discredit his election, undermine him and force him from office, will take a mile on the get-Trump part.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argues, “Trump seems constitutionally incapable of distinguishing what ought to be his undeniable legitimacy as president from the fact (it is a fact) of Russia’s influence operation during the campaign.”

Back to Trump’s explanation Tuesday, which soon veered into the unbelievable. In Helsinki on Monday, he said, “[Putin] just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Tuesday, he clarified, “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ … The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative.”

And after having said, “Could be other people,” that’s especially unconvincing.

To be sure, Trump has good reason to distrust U.S. intelligence when its leaders have been so clearly on the side of Hillary Clinton and Democrats. But as president, he must move beyond his ego and grievances to advocate the whole truth — to be crystal clear about what the Russians did and why they did it. That would be to sow confusion and undermine the candidate they and everyone else thought would win: Hillary Clinton.

As far as policy toward Russia, the bottom line, as we’ve said all along, is that his actions have been good. His rhetoric Monday unquestionably did damage, but as long as the correct policies remain in place, it will largely blow over.

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IN BRIEF

Comey Outs Himself as a Democrat Partisan Hack

Thomas Gallatin

“This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that ‘Ambition must … counteract ambition.’ All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us,” declared disgraced former FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday evening. This was his follow-up message to his Monday tweet in which Comey called on “patriots” to stand up against President Donald Trump, who he accused of treason for standing “next to a murderous lying thug and refusing to back his own country.” Trump did blunder in Helsinki, but come on.

Apparently, Comey is in need of some reminders. It was Barack Obama, his former boss, who was infamously caught on a hot mic in March 2012 promising “more flexibility” after his reelection in working deals with Vladimir Putin’s yes-man Dmitri Medvedev. And let’s not forget it was Comey’s favored candidate Hillary Clinton whose illegal home-brew server, which contained classified information, was most certainly hacked by Russian agents, compromising U.S. security. Speaking of Clinton and Russia, what of Hillary’s shady Uranium One deal with Russia in 2010 while she was secretary of state? So shady was the deal that the Justice Department investigated it for four years, and yet inexplicably no fault was found with the Clinton Foundation even though the FBI uncovered evidence of Russian bribery.

The fact is that Comey’s latest tweets serve to further expose just how much of a partisan hack he is. As Mark Alexander noted, “Comey was, and remains, a ‘Trump hater,’ much as his fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and senior investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, all of whom colluded in an effort to ensure Clinton would win in 2016.”

Finally, Comey’s insinuation of Trump being treasonous for “refusing to back his own country” must be called out for the partisan cheap shot that it is. First, the refusal to fully back the U.S. intelligence community, whose leadership has repeatedly demonstrated animus toward Trump both before and after his election, is not the equivalent of refusing to back his own country. Trump has done more to back the country he clearly loves than have those intelligence officials. Second, Comey’s claim to know how “history” will judge Americans in his mind justifies his partisan commitment over and against upholding the Rule of Law. What hubris. Comey has now made more clear than ever that his politics trump all other considerations.

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GOP’s Reversal on Forcing ICE Vote Is a Mistake

Jordan Candler

With an astonishing swell of “Abolish ICE” demands billowing from Democrats, Republican leaders last week were determined to hold them accountable. On Thursday, The Hill reported, “House GOP leaders plan to bring a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the House floor, hoping to force Democrats into a difficult vote.” The sponsors of the measure, known as the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act, are Democrats Mark Pocan (WI), Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Adriano Espaillat (NY).

Rep. Pocan asserted, “President Trump’s blanket directive to round up and target all undocumented immigrants underscores the unchecked power which ICE has used to terrorize our communities. From conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants to targeting families outside churches and schools, the president is using ICE as a mass-deportation force to rip apart the moral fabric of our nation.”

On the contrary, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) opined, “Democrats have been trying to make July 4th about abolishing ICE, which is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America’s national security. I think it’s the wrong approach. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue.”

However, “House GOP leaders have scrapped a floor vote on a Democratic measure calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” The Hill now reports. “Instead, the House will vote Wednesday on a resolution — authored by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) — to support ICE, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters on Monday.”

McCarthy stated, “What I found so interesting is the Democrats introduced a bill to abolish ICE… [W]e give them an opportunity, and they say they don’t want to vote for it.” Which is exactly why Republicans should have forced a vote. AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Speaker Ryan, declared: “After being called on their bluff, Democrats ran scared from their own bill. Democrats will now have the chance to stand with the majority of Americans who support ICE and vote for this resolution, or follow the extreme voices on the far left calling for abolishment of an agency that protects us.”

We’ve seen this about-face too many times before. Republicans — both during Barack Obama’s tenure and now — have been given numerous opportunities to put Democrats on record, yet they’ve balked almost every time citing political fallout. Democrat leaders did not want to be forced to defend their party members who voted to abolish ICE — an idea that voters oppose — and now they won’t have to. The Republicans’ list of political blunders just got a little longer.

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Top Headlines

  • Intel chair: FBI, DOJ obstructing Trump probe in hope of Dem takeover in Congress (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Republican Roby wins Alabama primary runoff vote with help of Trump backing (Bloomberg)
  • Trump, House GOP talk more tax cuts (The Daily Signal)
  • Democrat states sue Trump administration over tax overhaul (The Wall Street Journal)
  • George Soros calls Obama “greatest disappointment,” says he doesn’t “particularly want to be a Democrat” (Fox News)
  • San Francisco begins registering illegal aliens to vote (The Daily Wire)
  • The bias problem plaguing America’s social media platforms (The Daily Signal)
  • Google denies a liberal bias, and yet keeps hiring high-profile Democrats (Hot Air)
  • EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse (CNBC)
  • Ninth Circuit upholds preliminary injunction against magazine confiscation in California (The Volokh Conspiracy)
  • Mandalay Bay owners sue Vegas shooting victims to avoid liability (National Review)
  • Humor: Nation unsure how Trump is ever going to stop negative news coverage of meeting with Put—BREAKING: Trump just said something crazy on Twitter (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Netflix teaches market economics the hard way (Washington Examiner)
  • Policy: Understanding the U.S. poverty rate (American Action Forum)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “As cringeworthy as Trump’s news conference was, unlike Obama, he didn’t throw U.S. allies under the bus to appease Putin or take any of the actions many feared — such as lifting sanctions or recognizing Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Unlike his rhetoric, Trump’s Russia policy has actually been a dramatic improvement over that of his predecessor. … If Putin was looking for a more pro-Moscow policies from the United States, his election interference backfired in a big way. Critics say words matter — and they are right. But if words matter, then Trump’s critics should be careful what they say. In many cases, their responses to Trump’s news conference have matched the president in absurdity. … As always, Trump’s critics bail him out by overplaying their hands. A news conference, however humiliating, is not an impeachable offense. And conspiracy theories aside, there is a simple explanation for Trump’s performance in Helsinki: He is deeply wrong on Russia. He thinks he can charm Putin into behaving like a normal leader. He’ll learn that Putin is KGB to his core, just as those before him learned. When should we be worried? When Trump’s actions match his rhetoric. Until then, Trump’s summit was simply an embarrassment, not a disaster.”

SHORT CUTS

That escalated quickly: “Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor.” —Mark Hertling and Molly K. McKew in Politico

Non Compos Mentis: “[Trump’s Helsinki summit] performance … will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.” —former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks

Hypocrite-in-chief: “We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more.” —Barack Obama

Hyper hypocrisy: “The politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment … [is] now on the move. It’s on a move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. I am not being alarmist. I am simply stating the facts.” —Barack Obama, who specializes in such politics

Straight from the horse’s mouth: “Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up.” —Barack Obama, whose own idea of “objective truth” evolved during his presidency

Woe is me! “I’m actually surprised by how much money I got. And let me tell you something, I don’t have half as much as most of these folks or a tenth or a hundredth. There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.” —Barack Obama

The BIG Lie: “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Braying Jenny: “I believe in health care for all. I believe in education for all. I believe in housing as a human right. And … if people are going to call me a socialist for believing in those things, alright, call me a socialist; I don’t give a d—n.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

And last… “Russia meddled in the election and we can’t trust them. BUT can we trust Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok?” —Rep. Jim Jordan

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher