November 8, 2018

Sessions Resigns

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation at the request of President Trump. Sessions’s chief of staff, Andrew Whitaker, will take his place as acting Attorney General until a successor is confirmed.

AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left worries that Whitaker will impede or end the Mueller investigation, but also criticizes Sessions’s actions as Attorney General.

“For Trump, this is a problem solved. Out: an attorney general who, following Justice Department rules and heeding the advice of the department’s ethics professionals, recused himself from the Mueller probe. In: Whitaker, who before joining the department announced to the world how he would deal with the meddlesome Mueller. By starving him of funds...Or by slamming the brakes on Mueller’s ability to follow the evidence against Trump or his family."

Washington Post

“If we have ever seen an appearance of impropriety in our decades of experience, this is it: a criminal subject president appointing his own prosecutor — one who has evidently prejudged aspects of the investigation and mused about how it can be hampered...

“This is not about partisanship. The strong protections against interference in the Watergate investigation were given by an acting attorney general, a Republican, to protect the independence of a special prosecutor investigating a Republican president. Nearly 50 years later, the American people should ask no less.”

New York Times

Many note that “at the [DOJ], Sessions enforced the law in a manner that harmed racial minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. He rolled back Obama-era drug sentencing reforms in an effort to keep nonviolent offenders locked away for longer... He implemented the ‘zero tolerance’ family separation policy... His DOJ defended Trump’s ban on open transgender military service by claiming that trans people are disordered deviants...

“Thousands of people were brutalized by his bigotry, and our country will not soon recover from the malice he unleashed.”


Regarding the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bombers, many note that the US “has a long history of provoking, instigating, or launching wars based on dubious, flimsy, or manufactured threats… The most egregious case was the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, which was based on bad intelligence that Baghdad had active weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. The repercussions are still playing out sixteen years (and more than four thousand American deaths) later… The sense of foreboding is tangible.”
Robin Wright, The New Yorker

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right is divided. Some believe it’s time for Mueller’s investigation to come to an end, while others argue that the new Attorney General should allow the investigation to continue unimpeded.

From the Right

The right is divided. Some believe it’s time for Mueller’s investigation to come to an end, while others argue that the new Attorney General should allow the investigation to continue unimpeded.

Some opine that “Sessions... allowed pressure from the left over two minor contacts with a Russian ambassador to make the decision for him [to recuse himself]... Session’s decision was irresponsible and ill-considered... If Mueller has anything valid to charge the President with, we will find out soon. If not, it’s time to end this farce."


While “the Attorney General shouldn’t fire Mr. Mueller... Mr. Trump does have a point that Mr. Sessions’ recusal compromised his leadership of the department and made it harder to exert supervision over the FBI...

“[In the next Attorney General] Mr. Trump needs an individual of stature and judgment who will have the trust of the department’s lawyers, who is capable of independence, but who also understands that the Justice Department is part of the executive branch and not a law unto itself.”

Wall Street Journal

Others argue that “while the more casual Whitaker will be able to forge a better relationship with Trump than his stoic former boss, Sessions, Whitaker must resist Trump’s [worst] impulses... Whitaker should ensure that Mueller’s investigation remains insulated under the orbit of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein... not because Whitaker can't necessarily be trusted to oversee the Mueller investigation, but so as to preserve the independence of the Justice Department."

Washington Examiner

Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-UT) tweeted, “Under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, it is imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded.”


Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Why did _________ cross the road? Alpaca climbs into backseat of taxi cab in Peru, flooded creek sends salmon swimming across road, and confused deer runs through Pennsylvania Walmart.


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