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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

College America and Congress

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the demographic divides of the 2016 campaign.

Ben Myers and Peter Olsen-Phillips report at The Chronicle of Higher Education:
When Richard M. Nixon ran on the Republican ticket for president in 1960, he was the choice of 61 percent of voters with a college degree, according to Gallup polling. His Democratic opponent, John F. Kennedy, had a narrow edge among voters with only a high-school degree, winning 52 percent of that cohort.
By 2016, those trends had flipped. Hillary Clinton won voters with a college degree by a nine-point margin, while Donald Trump won voters without a degree, 52 percent to 44 percent.
As affluent and highly educated voters compose a growing portion of the Democratic Party, it stands to reason they would also form a larger segment of its congressional delegation, says Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. The scales have tipped the furthest with white voters.
Wealthy white people “are more likely to go to private institutions than less-affluent whites and nonwhites,” says Mr. Skelley.
And that’s what the data show in the House. In the current Congress, 50 percent of Democratic House members hold undergraduate diplomas from private institutions compared with 39 percent of Republicans.
This was not the case 25 years ago in the 103rd Congress. Then, 47 percent of Republican lawmakers had undergraduate degrees from private institutions. Just 44 percent of Democrats did.
What about some of the most elite private institutions, the members of the Ivy League? As of 25 years ago, Republicans and Democrats were nearly dead even in their share of members with Ivy League bachelor’s degrees, at 6.8 and 7.4 percent, respectively. Now, 12.8 percent of Democratic Caucus members hold degrees from Ivy League institutions compared with 4.2 percent of the House GOP.

Civil War: Prager Channels Gingrich


They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.

While they strongly differ with the left, they do not regard the left-right battle as an existential battle for preserving our nation. On the other hand, I, and other conservative Trump supporters, do.
Some on the right have been talking that way for a long time.

On August 28, 1988, Newt Gingrich gave a talk at the Heritage Foundation titled "Building the Conservative Movement After Ronald Reagan."
[Up] until the Bork nomination, all of us failed to appreciate that the Left in this country has come to understand politics as civil war. The Left at its core understands in a way that Grant understood after Shiloh that this is a civil war, that only one side will prevail, and that the other side will be relegated to history. This war has to be fought with the scale and duration and savagery that is only true of civil wars. While we are lucky in this country that our civil wars are fought at the ballot box, not on the battlefield, nonetheless it is a true civil war. So the deliberate, systematic smearing and destruction of Bork was normal. It was precisely what would happen in a civil war. You can expect from here on that the hard Left, which includes Jim Wright and Tony Coelho and many people who do not look hard Left, will try by chameleon-like actions to destroy our country. In fact, these individuals practice being chameleons: they are who they have to be today in order to be acceptable. But they do not represent American values. The hard Left will systematically root us out and destroy us if they can.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trump is the World's Laughingstock

Demographics of 2016 Turnout

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the demographics of the 2016 election.  Karlyn Bowman and Eleanor O'Neil write at AEI:
Many analysts predicted that minorities would represent a larger share of the electorate in 2016 than in 2012. They did not. Taken together, Hispanics, blacks, and people of other races made up virtually identical shares of the vote in 2016 (26.6 percent) and 2012 (26.2 percent).
The long-awaited surge in Hispanic turnout did not occur in 2016. Hispanics were a larger share of voters in 2016 (9.2 percent) than in 2012 (8.4 percent), but their rate of voting was essentially flat, 48 percent in 2012 and 47.6 percent in 2016. In another interesting note on the data, the Pew Research Center reported that the number of eligible Hispanic non-voters was higher than the number of eligible Hispanic voters, as has been the case in presidential elections since 1996. Hispanics’ electoral clout does not yet match their demographic weight. Hispanics tilt toward Democrats, giving about two-thirds of their votes to them in recent years.
Since 1996, when 53 percent of blacks reported voting, black turnout rose with every national election, reaching its high point in 2012, when 66.6 percent of blacks voted. That year, the rate of voting by blacks was higher than the rate of voting by whites for the first time in the data series. Many expected that black turnout would continue its steady increase of the past two decades. In 2016, however, black voter turnout declined to 59.6 percent, significantly below its record high and below the white rate (65.3 percent). The group is one of the few monolithic bloc votes in American politics, tilting overwhelmingly toward Democrats.
Finally, the white share of the electorate did not decline as it has in most recent presidential contests. As the Census noted, “[F]or the most part, from 1980 to 2012, the share of reported voters who were non-Hispanic white decreased from one election to another.” In 1980, 87.6 percent of voters were white; in 2012; 73.7 percent were. And, in 2016, their share was 73.3 percent. White voter turnout increased from 64.1 to 65.3, again defying the predictions of some.

Frustration on the Left

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the Sanders candidacy.

At Politico, David Siders reports that the left wing of the Democratic Party is having a hard time following up on Sanders's unexpectedly strong showing in 2016.
The losses are piling up. Earlier this month, Democrat Heath Mello, whom Sanders campaigned with, failed to unseat a Republican in Omaha’s race for mayor. Kimberly Ellis, the candidate endorsed by Our Revolution, the successor group to Sanders’ presidential campaign, lost a fiercely contested race for California Democratic Party chair. And on Thursday night, Republican Greg Gianforte bested Rob Quist, another Democrat for whom Sanders campaigned, in a nationally watched House race in Montana.
...

The limitations of the Sanders movement were nowhere more apparent than in the open congressional race in Los Angeles this spring, in a district Sanders carried last year. While Our Revolution has since endorsed Jimmy Gomez, a state assemblyman with a progressive record in Sacramento, two primary challengers with Sanders ties — Carrillo and Arturo Carmona, a deputy in Sanders’ presidential campaign — together received barely more than 10 percent of the vote.

“The test is whether you turn out for an election, right?” said former California Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez, an Ellison supporter who was an early favorite in the House race before he dropped out with a health condition. “They didn’t turn out and organize for either of the Bernie candidates in the Jimmy Gomez race. So instead the guy who gets cast as the most institutional — Jimmy — and the guy with the least credibility as a Democratic candidate — (Robert) Ahn — move forward. So that tells me there’s nothing sustainable about the way in which they engaged in that race.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trump Brings Disrepect Upon America

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's unusual approach to policy.

Kali Holloway at Raw Story:
For nine days, Donald Trump has been traveling across the Middle East and Europe, bringing every terrible stereotype about “ugly Americans” to vivid life. He labeled Germany (where he doesn’t have business interests) “very bad” after saying nary a critical word in Saudi Arabia (where he does have business interests). He chastised our partners in NATO while revealing he doesn’t actually understand how it all works. He literally threw his weight around like an attention-starved problem child, and he broadcast his every move to the world via his cellphone, which would be a security risk if we had a president anyone wanted to kidnap....

“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” Trump said in a lecture he delivered at NATO headquarters. “But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying, and what they are supposed to be paying, for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.”
Trump seems to think NATO is like a social club, with member nations paying dues into some central kitty. It isn’t. A 2014 agreement established that member countries should be spending 2 percent of their GDP on their own military defense. Those countries have until 2024 to hit that goal. Trump is trying to be the world’s policeman on a policy that’s neither set in stone nor even a concern for another seven years. It’s also rich coming from someone whose most noted business practice is a refusal to pay his debts.
The speech went over like a lead balloon with assembled world leaders, who smirked, snickered and whispered to each other as Trump spoke. In the video below, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel and France’s Macron seem to share a giggle at Trump’s expense.


Chris Cillizza at CNN:
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered a single sentence that speaks to how fundamentally President Donald Trump has reshaped -- and will continue to reshape -- the world, and America's place in it.
"The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over," Merkel said at a beer hall(!) rally to support her campaign.
While Merkel made no mention of Trump specifically, she made clear that her realization had come "in the last few days" -- a time period which overlapped with a G7 meeting in which Trump blasted America's traditional European allies over NATO obligations and made clear that he was more than willing to go it alone on climate change and trade.
James Masters at CNN:
Germany's foreign minister launched a scathing criticism of Donald Trump on Monday, claiming the US President's actions have "weakened" the West and accusing the US government of standing "against the interests of the European Union."
Just 24 hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Europe could no longer completely rely on traditional allies such as the US and Britain, the country's top diplomat, Sigmar Gabriel, went a step further.
"Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk," Gabriel said.
"The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union. The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker." 
Samuel Osborne at The Independent:
Germany should reconsider sharing intelligence with the United States, because Donald Trump and his administration "chatter too much" and could give critical information to Russia, a German MP has warned.
Thomas Opperman, the leader of the Social Democrats (SDP), described Mr Trump's handling of classified information a "security risk for the West".
It comes after Angela Merkel suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Mr Trump.

Eli Watkins and Laura Koran at CNN:
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that there was indeed a deeper significance to the prolonged handshake he shared with US President Donald Trump in Brussels.
"My handshake with him, it's not innocent," Macron told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday. "It's not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth."
...
In the interview, Macron compared his own handshake to his leadership posture.
"One must show that we won't make little concessions, even symbolic ones," Macron said.
The centrist European leader also likened Trump's diplomatic approach to those of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Donald Trump, the President of Turkey or the President of Russia are of a mindset of power relations, which doesn't bother me," Macron said. "I don't believe in diplomacy of the public invective but in bilateral dialogues. I don't let anything go. That's how one makes oneself respected."
It is a tactic that others have also employed when meeting the US leader. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House, he came prepared, managing to counterbalance Trump's grip with a combination of poise and control.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Help Wanted

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's management style.

At Politico, Josh Gerstein reports that the Trump scandals -- along with his attacks on Comey and others -- have made it hard for the administration to fill legal jobs.
“They were dealing with a pool that had already shrunk and, now, of course, some people will be avoiding it like the plague,” said one well-connected GOP lawyer who held a top-level post in President George W. Bush’s administration and asked not to be named. “The lesser-known folks are wondering if they’re going to take a huge reputational hit if the president of the United States starts tweeting about them. … There’s definitely some poisoning of the well going on in terms of who would take a job at this point.”
From the outset, the Trump administration was facing a limited pool of candidates for senior positions. Many GOP lawyers and former officials signed “Never Trump” pledges during the campaign and never seriously considered accepting a Trump appointment. Others did, but found themselves essentially blacklisted because of blog posts or other statements made about Trump during the campaign.
Trump still has to fill senior Department of Justice roles and the 93 U.S. attorney posts around the country—a task complicated by his decision, in March, to demand the immediate resignation of all remaining Obama-era appointees without a bench of replacements ready to go. Scores of seats on the federal bench also remain open.
Joe Gould at Defense News:
Pro-defense lawmakers have grown frustrated at how slowly the White House is moving to fill dozens of top-tier posts at the Pentagon, warning that vacancies are hamstringing efforts to advance the president’s national security agenda.
The administration has advanced 13 of U.S. President Donald Trump’s picks for the Pentagon’s civilian leadership to the Senate, which has 53 key jobs requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate has confirmed five — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson had been confirmed by the Senate and three mid-tier nominees — had been confirmed by the Senate as of May 25.

Trump’s total for civilian DoD nominees sent to the Senate is just over half the number President Barack Obama had sent by this point in his first term, according to data compiled by Defense News. By this time in their first terms, President George W. Bush had sent 17, President Bill Clinton had sent 16, President George H.W. Bush had sent 10 and President Ronald Reagan had sent 15.
Lena Sun at The Washington Post:
Nearly 700 positions are vacant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of a continuing freeze on hiring that officials and researchers say affects programs supporting local and state public health emergency readiness, infectious disease control and chronic disease prevention.
The same restriction remains in place throughout the Health and Human Services Department despite the lifting of a government-wide hiring freeze last month. At the National Institutes of Health, staff say clinical work, patient care and recruitment are suffering.
...
“It’s all the operational details,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because CDC staff are not permitted to comment publicly without approval from HHS. The situation has been made worse, the official said, because the agency has been operating without a permanent director since Tom Frieden stepped down in January. That job is considered one of the most crucial public health positions in the government given the CDC's role in tracking and stopping infectious disease outbreaks in the United States and worldwide.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Kushner and Espionage

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's role in American political history. Remarkably, we have reached a point where there are serious questions about the loyalty of people close to the White House.

Former acting CIA director John McLaughlan on Friday responded to reports that President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner discussed setting up a secret communications line between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, saying if such reports are true, it would be considered espionage.
"I don’t want to overstate this because obviously there is a lot we don’t know — we don’t know the exact content of the conversation. We don’t know the objective that was a part of the conversation — those things we don’t know," McLaughlan said on MSNBC's "The Last Word" Friday.
"But I can’t keep out of my mind the thought that, if an American intelligence officer had done anything like this, we’d consider it espionage.”
The president's son-in-law and senior adviser inquired about using Russian diplomatic facilities for the communications, apparently to shield the talks, U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports told The Washington Post.
Tom Winter and Robert Windrem report at NBC:
The Russian banker Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with in December is viewed by U.S. intelligence as a "Putin crony" and a graduate of a "finishing school" for spies who was often tasked with sensitive financial operations by Putin, according to multiple U.S. officials and documents viewed by NBC News.
Sergey Gorkov, 48, graduated from the FSB Academy, which was chartered in 1994 to educate Russian Intelligence personnel. He has long served Russian President Vladimir Putin in critical economic roles. Most recently, Putin chose him to head of the state-owned VneshEconomBank (VEB). As the Russian state national development bank, VEB has played a critical role in blunting the impact of U.S. sanctions against Russia by finding other sources of foreign capital.
Before that, Gorkov was the deputy chairman of Sberbank, Russia's biggest bank, also state-owned, and also under U.S. sanctions since 2014.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Body-Slam Guy Wins, Still Faces Jail Time

... Montana's election may be an unreliable arbiter of what's to come in races across the country. After all, the race here featured a banjo-playing, first-time Democratic candidate, and many of Montana's voters cast absentee ballots before the alleged assault even took place. The events that transpired here won't be easily replicated.
"All politics are local," said Art Wittich, a Gianforte supporter. "It comes down to two candidates."
Not only did the final hours of the campaign center around a bombshell assault allegation that took reporters to the sheriff's office rather than the polls, but throughout most of the campaign Quist and Gianforte weren't just talking about Trump.
Quist tried to make the health care debate in Washington a central component of his campaign, but Gianforte didn't fully embrace the Republican House-passed bill from the beginning, arguing it was rushed and not fully baked. His own campaign staff said Gianforte wouldn't have voted for it.

Many of the biggest issues in the Montana special were local.

Richard Wolffe at The Guardian:
You can trace back the decline in our politics to a single campaign and a single candidate, who riled up his crowds to turn on the press and hurl abuse in their direction.
That’s the same candidate who longed for the days when he could punch protesters in the face. Sure enough, his supporters ended up punching people in the face.
Fortunately the rule of law still endures in the courts, where a Kentucky judge recently denied the candidate’s claims that he was just exercising his rights to free speech and couldn’t be sued for inciting violence.
The candidate is of course now president of the United States, who calls the media “the enemy of the American people.”
This is not a small development in the long history of shocking Trumpisms.
You don’t need to take the Guardian’s word for it. Here’s the opinion of William McRaven, the former special ops commander and architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden: “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime,” he told journalism students at the University of Texas earlier this year.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Body Slam

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

Julia Carrie Wong and Sam Levin report at The Guardian:
The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting: “Get the hell out of here.”
Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.



From DCCC:

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"People Who Go Along a Treasonous Path"

First he blurts classified information to the  Russians...

Voice of America reports:
Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after President Donald Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month that had come from Israel, even though Tel Aviv had not assented to his handing it to another country.

Israeli defense chief Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Wednesday, “I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there’s unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States."

He added, "What we had to clarify with our friends in the United States, we did. We did our checks.”
It’s rare for a single quote to tell you something genuinely new and important about a story as big as the Trump-Russia scandal. There are exceptions — and former CIA Director John Brennan just gave us one for the ages.

Testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, Brennan said that Russia “brazenly interfered” in the 2016 elections and had been in active contact with members of the Trump campaign. Brennan was careful to avoid explicitly saying that the two sides colluded, and said the Trump aides may not have even known the Russians were spies. Then he dropped the hammer.
"Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late,” he said.

An Egregious Error in the Budget

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the political impact of economic policy.

At Axios, Dan Primack reports:
The White House budget released on Tuesday appears to have double-counted more than $2 trillion in estimated tax revenue. As such, the budget would not balance over 10 years (as promised), even if the U.S. economy were to hit sustained 3% growth (as projected by the White House, but by very few others).
Bottom line: Budget projections are a specious business by their nature, as no one can accurately predict the nation's next decade of economic fortunes. Let alone all of the legislative assumptions required, such as the future of healthcare, the specifics of tax reform, etc. Moreover, White House budget requests have a habit of being ignored by Congress (see: last month). But this double-count is a big unforced error.

The problem: Trump's budget anticipates around $2.06 trillion in extra federal revenue over the next decade, based on the aforementioned increase in economic growth. That new money then would be used to offset Trump's proposed tax cuts, as the Administration previously said that the tax cuts would be revenue-neutral. Unfortunately, that same $2 trillion also is earmarked for closing budget gap. I tried to come up with a household analogy here, but they were all just too ridiculous. Only in D.C. can someone present this sort of math with a straight face.
Straight face: Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney was asked about the double-count today during a press briefing, and didn't directly address the issue. First he blamed the Obama Administration for its own faulty economic projections ― namely because former Obama economic advisor Larry Summers raised the double-count in the Washington Post ― and then said that the budget numbers also did not assume any shrinkage the so-called "tax gap," or the number of people who should pay taxes but don't (something he expects personal tax simplification to help achieve).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Democrats to the Left

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the Democratic Party's leftward movement in 2016.  Ben Smith reports at Buzzfeed:
Donald Trump has already changed the Democratic Party more than his own Republican Party.
While the president has merely reduced his own party into a panicked mess, the Democrats’ trajectory seems to have moved subtly and decisively away from the center-left Clinton liberalism toward a politics whose planks make Barack Obama look like Al Gore.

I know, it’s been a distracting month. So you’re forgiven if you missed the big development on the Democratic Party policy front: the call for “a large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment.” That plan, titled “A Marshall Plan for America,” came not from Bernie Sanders but from the Center for American Progress, the Clintonite Washington think tank John Podesta led. The proposal breaks in tone and substance with the Clinton–Obama focus on an economy led and dominated by the private sector.
...
 The jobs plan is the bluntest sign of this shift, but the party appears to be inching its way toward another pillar of social democracy: government-funded health care.
“What happened in the presidential campaign is that Bernie ran explicitly in support of a Medicare-for-all approach” — a simple framework for single-payer — “and what the politicians saw is that voters were fine with that,” said Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, a longtime advocate of single payer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump's Trip and Bad Optics






Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear California Democrats: This Is Not a Good Look on You

In Defying the Odds, we discuss problems facing the Democratic Party.  The just-concluded state convention in California is a good example.

Dan Walters at The Sacramento Bee:
One might think that a political party wielding virtually total control of the nation’s most populous state – i.e. Democrats in California – would be satisfied.

One would be wrong because of a dependable political axiom – by eliminating competition with the rival party, hegemony breeds internal conflict.
That axiom was on display Saturday at a state Democratic convention in Sacramento as the party’s very liberal professional leadership was buffeted by insurgents with even more leftish agendas, such as universal health insurance, free college educations, a ban on fracking, and more aggressive action on climate change.
Also at The Bee, Christopher Cadelago and Angela Hart:
State Democrats’ three-day convention had a raucous start Friday, as liberal activists booed and heckled Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez after marching from the state Capitol to promote a universal heath care program.
The leader of the nurses’ union that opposed Perez’s recent election had just warned California Democrats that they would put up primary election challengers against lawmakers if they don’t support a bill to create public-funded, universal healthcare.
“They cannot be in denial anymore that this is a movement that can primary them,”
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, told hundreds of nurses and health care advocates gathered for a rally at the Capitol.
...
As Perez launched into a riff about shared party values, California Democratic Party John Burton told activists he backed universal healthcare before many of them were born, in 1998. He jabbed at a protester: “Put your (expletive) sign down...We’re all for it.”
Cathleen Decker at The Los Angeles Times:
Burton regained his typically cantankerous posture when he closed his farewell by addressing President Trump — bluntly, directly and defiantly.
“Now, all together,” he told the delegates, preparing to hurl an F-bomb. “[Expletive] Donald Trump.”
He raised both middle fingers toward the crowd.
For a moment, protests were forgotten, and the audience roared.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Security-Risk-In-Chief

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.
The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post:
President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on May 9. And then he basically spent the next two days doing whatever he could to make it look like he had just committed obstruction of justice.
First came that infamous NBC News interview on May 11. After two days of the White House claiming the Justice Department had initiated Comey's firing and that it was because of the Hillary Clinton investigation, Trump said to hell with it; he blurted out that he was determined to fire Comey all along and that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he decided to do it.
Now the New York Times is reporting that, in a meeting with top Russian officials on the day in-between — you know, the same meeting in which he gave highly classified information to those same Russians — Trump expressed relief at having taken Comey off his tail.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said, according to a document summarizing the meeting that a U.S. official read to the Times. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Firing Comey in the first place was a highly suspect move. That's because Comey, as FBI director, was leading the Russia investigation and had recently announced the probe was targeting alleged Russian ties to Trump's campaign. So the White House set about saying this was Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein's decision and issued a memo from him focused solely on the Clinton investigation. Vice President Pence even said repeatedly that Russia was “not what this is about.”

I am often astonished at the President's tweets, and how he calls media in his own country as "fake news." But there's something else /1
I was a Sovietologist back in the day. I was constantly trying to unpack what I thought was happening behind the Kremlin's walls. /2
I would have given anything for Andropov or Gorbachev to give me a running narrative of their mood and inner thoughts in real time. /3
As an analyst, including my time years ago as a CIA consultant doing research in the 80s, I'd have considered that a gold mine. /4
And I wonder if, and or how, anyone is considering the fact that this is basically a raw feed of POTUS thoughts to foreign analysts. /5
Because while none of the matters are classified - at least AFAIK - tweets are pieces of the president's moods and thoughts that day. /6
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
Because while none of the matters are classified - at least AFAIK - tweets are pieces of the president's moods and thoughts that day. /6
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
This is the kind of instant leadership portrait that I wouldn't want a foreign nation to have when gaming out a crisis with us. /8
Americans might well appreciate the candor. But I thought Obama did too much thinking out loud in front of cameras. This is far more. /9
It is, from a foreign intel analyst's viewpoint, in some ways probably more valuable than classified memos. It's real and instant. /10
It is, from a foreign intel analyst's viewpoint, in some ways probably more valuable than classified memos. It's real and instant. /10
It shows how the President reacts under stress. It's something you never want the enemy to know. And yet it's all out there, every day. /11
It's also a window into how the President processes information - or how he doesn't process info he doesn't like. Solid gold info. /12

It's also a window into how the President processes information - or how he doesn't process info he doesn't like. Solid gold info. /12
These are all things I would have given anything to know, even just a fraction of this, in an analysis of any Soviet or Russia leader. /13