Where’s Erik Paulsen?

Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since September 6, 2011. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele-town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school, robocalls that come to you saying he’s sorry you weren’t there to take his invitation to the tele-townhalls — but no traditional town hall.

It’s been 2,333 days since Rep. Paulsen’s last public town hall.

Join Us for Our Precinct Caucuses

The evening of Tuesday, February 6, 2018, progressives throughout the state will gather in with their neighbors to start the party endorsement process. Never caucused before?  Here’s a video:

We urge you to join us that night.  We have a searchable list of caucus locations here.  The post includes a link to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s precinct finder site for those who don’t know which precinct they live in.

Below, we have links to download documents to help you participate: Read More

Trump was never a great dealmaker, anyway

The following commentary by Jennifer Rubin was posted on the Washington Post website January 23, 2018:

Donald Trump defends himself from possible conflicts of interest with foreign governments. (The Washington Post)

Among the many ironies, some would say falsities, inherent in President Trump’s image of a successful real estate tycoon is that management and dealmaking have never been his strong suits.

Trump University, casinos, vodka, steaks, a new football league . . . the list of failures is long. And it was his financial debacles of the 1990s that some would say brought him into the circle of suspicious money men, foreign banks and Russian oligarchs to bail him out. His “deal” was declaring bankruptcy, leaving creditors and employees hanging, and having to be put on a monthly allowance by banks. Read More

Sessions interviewed by special counsel probing possible Trump campaign ties with Russia

The follow article by Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Sari Horwitz was posted on the Washington Post website January 23, 2018:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week by investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe. (Reuters)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week by investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into possible election campaign coordination between Russia and Trump associates, according to Justice Department officials.

Sessions was questioned for several hours, the officials said. In addition to the Russian coordination probe, Mueller is also investigating whether President Trump or any White House officials sought to obstruct justice in the probe. Read More

Half of Republicans say they think Trump is a ‘genius’ — which is probably not true but hugely telling

The following article by Aaron Blake was posted on the Washington Post website January 23, 2018:

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in South Carolina in January 2016. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

We may have found the one poll question that communicates just how much of the Republican Party base is fully committed to President Trump.

In response to growing questions about his mental fitness, Trump tweeted a few weeks back that he wasn’t just stable, but in fact a “very stable genius.” Polling since then has asked whether people feel Trump is indeed stable, but the new Washington Post-ABC News poll goes one step further and also asks whether Trump is a genius. Read More

Another continuing resolution won’t solve the real problem within the Republican Party

The following article by William B. Heller, Associate Professor of Political Science, Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Olga Shvetsova, Professor of Political Science and Economics, Binghamton University, State University of New York, was posted on the Conversation website January 23, 2018:

Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, have been working through the snags with their tax bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans can’t agree on a budget.

That lack of agreement has made it necessary for Congress to pass a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government open.

There’s no budget agreement because factions within the GOP hold contradictory policy positions on almost every issue. James Madison, an author of the Federalist Papers might have framed the problem this way: The party draws on votes from – and is accountable to – diverse groups of citizens with conflicting interests. That conflict within the Republicans’ voting base means that any policy they propose would hurt at least some of the members’ key constituents. Read More

Bonuses Aside, Tax Law’s Trickle-Down Impact Not Yet Clear

The following article by Jim Tankersley was posted on the New York Times website January 22, 2018:

Employees at an Apple retail store in San Francisco in 2016. Apple is among the companies handing out bonuses to workers in the wake of the $1.5 trillion tax cut.CreditNoah Berger/Reuters

WASHINGTON — There are good ways to start measuring how much the Trump tax cuts might be helping American workers. Tracking the bonus announcements flowing from corporations is not one of them.

Those announcements, which include $2,500 in stock grants for Apple employees, up to $1,000 for certain workers at Walmart and $1,000 bonuses for Bank of America employees, are both real money and smart marketing. President Trump and top Republican lawmakers have praised many of the companies that are disclosing tax-cut-fueled bonuses and wage hikes. Read More

Trump waives dozens of environmental rules to speed up construction of border wall

The following article by Jacqueline Thomsen was posted on the Hill website January 22, 2018:

© Getty Images

The Trump administration is waiving dozens of environmental regulations to speed up construction of President Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a notice published in the Federal Register Monday that she was waiving the rules to accelerate construction on part of the wall in New Mexico. Read More

y Tensions swell between Sessions and FBI over senior personnel from Comey era

The following article by Devlin Barrett and Philip Rucker was posted on the Washington Post website January 22, 2018:

During questioning from lawmakers on Dec. 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray responded to President Trump’s critical tweets from Dec. 3. (Reuters)

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray has been resisting pressure from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to replace the bureau’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of criticism from President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

The tension over McCabe and other high-level FBI officials who served during James B. Comey’s tenure has reached the White House, where counsel Donald McGahn has sought to mediate the issue, these people said. Read More

White House shutdown strategy: Keep Trump contained

The following article by Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey was posted on the Washington Post website January 22, 2018:

President Trump arrives to speak to “March for Life” participants from an event at the White House on Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As negotiations to keep the government open stalled Friday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called President Trump and told him he should prepare for a shutdown.

Trump, ever eager for a deal, responded by asking who else he should call and suggested he dial Democrats or try Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) again, one person familiar with the conversation said. Read More

Jared Kushner is China’s Trump Card

The following article by Adam Entous and Evan Osnos was posted on the New Yorker Magazine website January 29, 2018:

How the President’s son-in-law, despite his inexperience in diplomacy, became Beijing’s primary point of interest.

Since the election, Beijing intelligence has targeted Kushner as a key asset.Illustration by Barry Blitt

In early 2017, shortly after Jared Kushner moved into his new office in the West Wing of the White House, he began receiving guests. One visitor who came more than once was Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, a veteran diplomat with a postgraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University. When, during previous Administrations, Cui had visited the White House, his hosts received him with a retinue of China specialists and note-takers. Kushner, President Trump’s thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, preferred smaller gatherings.

Three months earlier, Cui had been in near-despair. Like many observers, he had incorrectly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election; his botched forecast, he told a friend, was precisely the kind of error that dooms the careers of ambassadors in the Chinese diplomatic system. To make matters worse, Cui knew almost nobody in the incoming Administration. Donald Trump had won the election in part by singling out China for “raping” the United States. Read More

This new Trump book could do even more damage than Michael Wolff’s. Here’s why.

The following article by Aaron Blake was posted on the Washington Post website January 22, 2018:

Fox News Channel media critic Howard Kurtz’s upcoming book reveals colorful anecdotes about the Trump administration. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

Michael Wolff’s book is littered with errors. He has a track record that suggests that embellishment is par for the course for him. He misrepresented his way into the White House. How much of his Trump tell-all is embellished or misrepresented is unclear and may never be known.

All of which makes a new book about the early days of the Trump administration potentially even more damning than Wolff’s. Read More