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Collusion, Corruption, and War on California

Can You Believe?

Can you believe former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg’s mad dash around the cable news shows? Nunberg joins a cast of characters from some rejected sitcom pilot: Carter Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Rich Gates, George Papadopoulos, etc. etc.

Can you believe EPA’s security chief hiring his own firm to do a security sweep of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office? Even in an administration riddled with corruption, EPA (aka the “Enabling Polluters Administration”) continues to set a high bar.

Can you believe the White House claiming Kellyanne Conway didn’t violate the Hatch Act when she attacked Doug Jones on national television on the eve of the Alabama Senate election? Of course, this White House wouldn’t know a conflict of interest if it bit them in the tailbone – which, God willing, it will someday soon.

Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves

Miss of the Week: Jeff Sessions coming to Sacramento to declare war on California. This grandstanding gambit came a day after Sessions sued the state for protecting its residents and barely a week after ICE agents swept through Northern California separating families and deporting law-abiding immigrants.

Hit of the Week: Jerry Brown’s denunciation of Sessions’ “sad political stunt.”

Hot House Race of the Week

Tuesday is the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. In 2016, Trump won the district by 20 points, and Democrats didn’t even field a challenger against Congressman Tim Ryan. But times have changed. Trump has been Trump, and the stridently anti-choice Ryan resigned after pressuring his mistress to have an abortion. Democratic candidate Conor Lamb is a former Marine and federal prosecutor. Joe Biden stumped for him this week. It’s still a long shot but one worth watching. If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere.

Finally…

As you may know, the State Department has not spent a dime of the $120 million allocated to counter Russian interference in our elections. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said, “If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that.” We are under attack by Russia, and the Trump administration is waving the white flag.

When asked whether we are ready protect the 2018 elections from interference, Trump chose to focus only on the security of voting machines and increased use of backup paper ballots. We know our physical voting infrastructure is relatively secure, if only because it is so diffuse. But we also know that the main method of interference in 2016 was manipulation of social media, and it will happen again. Trump understands how to manipulate social media because that is what he does all day and night. He knows the Russians are coming, and he has put out the welcome mat.