DNI Dan Coats Has 3 Words After Learning Trump Invited Vladimir Putin To White House

The director of national intelligence learned the president invited Putin to the White House during a Q&A discussion at the Aspen Security Forum.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats seemed stunned to learn during a live Q&A that President Donald Trump invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the White House. 

During a discussion with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, the reporter interrupted their chat to announce the breaking news from the Trump administration.

“The White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall,” Mitchell said. 

Coats paused, leaned in and asked, “Say that again?” as the audience erupted in laughter.

He continued, “Did I hear you ... ?” After another pause, he said, “OK. That’s going to be special.”

Earlier in the discussion, Coats continued to defend the U.S. intelligence community’s finding on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, amid Trump’s multiple comments this week to the contrary. He also talked about his public rebuke of the president on Monday, shortly after Trump refused to hold Putin and the Kremlin responsible for the election interference at a joint news conference in Helsinki.

“I was just doing my job,” Coats told the audience of his statement that clearly said Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election occurred and the foreign actor’s “ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

On Wednesday, Trump answered “no” to a question from a reporter on whether Russia was still targeting the U.S. His press secretary later said that his “no” response was misinterpreted.



Republican Tim Scott Tanks One Of Trump’s Judicial Nominees

The South Carolina senator refused to support appeals court nominee Ryan Bounds, who has a record of racist writings.

In a stunning defeat for President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) on Thursday refused to support appeals court nominee Ryan Bounds ― and sunk his nomination altogether ― over some of his college writings on race.

After an hour of mysterious inactivity on the Senate floor, during which time Bounds was widely expected to be confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) emerged to say it wasn’t happening.

“For the information of all senators, the nomination will be withdrawn,” he said.

It takes only one Republican to deny confirmation to a judicial nominee, and multiple Senate aides said Scott was the “no” vote. Scott, who is the only African-American Republican senator, allegedly took issue with some of the things Bounds had written during his time at Stanford University.

Bounds’ college writings include him complaining about multicultural organizations that “divide up by race for their feel-good ethnic hoedowns.” He wrote that “race-focused groups” should not continue on campus, claiming that the “existence of ethnic organizations is no inevitable prerequisite to maintaining a diverse community ― white students, after all, seem to be doing all right without an Aryan Student Union.”

Bounds also accused campus “race-thinkers” of denigrating African-Americans as “oreos,” “Uncle Toms” or “sell-outs” if they rejected “victimhood status.” On matters of sexual assault, Bounds wrote in college that “there is nothing really inherently wrong [with a university] failing to punish an alleged rapist ― regardless his guilt.”

His failed confirmation is a huge blow to Trump’s otherwise successful efforts to fill up federal courts with conservative judges. Bounds, 45, was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Scott was vague later about why he voted no.

“After talking with the nominee last night and meeting with him today, I had unanswered questions that led to me being unable to support him,” he said in a statement.

Democrats celebrated the defeat of someone they all opposed. They noted that neither of Bounds’ home-state senators, Oregon’s Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D), had approved of giving Bounds a confirmation hearing, and they were upset he had gotten this far.

“Today, the integrity of our courts and of a 101-year tradition of consulting home state Senators on judicial appointments was preserved,” Merkley said in a statement. “I am pleased that President Trump and my Republican colleagues have recognized what Senator Wyden and I have known all along — that Ryan Bounds should never have been nominated in the first place.”

Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said if Republicans are prepared to oppose Bounds over his college writings, they should be similarly interested in seeing all of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s White House writings before deciding whether to support him.

“A lower court nominee’s college writings are relevant but a Supreme Court nominee’s White House writings aren’t?” House said. “I don’t think so.”



Three out of four Democrats want ‘fresh face’ to take on Trump in 2020

As speculation mounts over who, if anyone, can unseat US President Donald Trump in 2020, 73 percent of Democrats want their party to move away from the familiar candidates and run someone new.

Among likely Democrat voters, only 16 percent think the party should promote a candidate who has run before, like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, a Rasmussen poll found. A whopping 73 percent of those surveyed felt that the party needs new blood to challenge Trump.

While speculation over candidates will begin in earnest after this year’s midterm elections, some prominent figures have been positioning themselves for a bid at the presidency.  

Considered a shoo-in in 2016, Hillary Clinton lost after running a tone-deaf campaign dogged by an ongoing FBI investigation and rumors of health problems. Despite a flurry of email communication from Clinton and a series of recent campaign-style speeches, rumors of a possible 2020 run have been dismissed by her former campaign strategist as a “pipe dream.”

According to Rasmussen, the Democratic party would do well to leave Clinton off the ticket. Only 22 percent of Democrat voters think Clinton has been good for the party, while 58 percent think she’s damaged its standing.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged from the ranks of the Democratic establishment as a possible 2020 contender. Days before departing the White House, Biden told reporters that he is “going to run in 2020,” but he later dismissed that statement, saying “I am not committed to anything.”

Since Trump’s inauguration, Biden has been a vocal critic of the president, and he reportedly intends to up his appearances on the campaign trail, supporting other Democrats in the runup to the midterms. A Harvard poll released in late June found that almost a third of registered Democrats would back the former VP for the party’s 2020 nomination, making him the front-runner by over 10 points.

Still, Biden has run for the presidency twice before, and he will be 77 years old when Americans go to the polls in 2020 - hardly the young blood the party needs. Likewise, his moderate positions and calls for bipartisanship are looking increasingly out of step with the party’s more militant progressive wing; and his notorious handsy-ness and ‘creepy uncle’ image might not sit well with millennial voters in the #MeToo era.

The shock primary victory of self-professed ‘Democratic Socialist’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York last month illustrated the growing divide within the party between progressives and the establishment, represented by Biden and Clinton.

Several progressive candidates, like Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (D-California) have also been drumming up support in the run-up to 2020, but the party leadership will have to ask itself whether it can get behind candidates who support policies so far left they would be unrecognizable to the party of John F. Kennedy or even Bill Clinton.

Surfing the wave of outrage over the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy, Warren and Harris have both called for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while Booker has dodged the question in TV interviews.

While the social-justice rhetoric of all three candidates might please the anti-Trump #Resistance, it may not strike a chord with swing voters or with America’s white underclass, traditional Democrat voters who turned to Trump in 2016.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) remains probably the best-known and most palatable progressive in the party today, and came in second in June’s Harvard poll, behind Biden.

However, like Biden, he has run for president before. Time is even less on Sanders’ side too: the venerable socialist will be 79 by November 2020, and he might not withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign.  

Whether the Democratic Party rallies behind a progressive, an establishment candidate, or a yet-unknown ace-in-the-hole outsider in 2020, their presidential hopeful may face an uphill battle. While President Trump’s approval ratings are mixed, unemployment is at a record low, wage growth is up, and the tax cuts have put some extra spending money into workers’ pockets, leaving the Democrats to hope that Trump somehow tanks the economy between now and November 2020.




The Opinion Poll

Parents for breaking the law - 58.8%
Federal government for enforcing the law - 41.2%
National Weather

Click on map for forecast