PowerLine -> President Trump’s First Re-Election Ad – Updated: CNN Refuses to Run It

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PowerLine -> President Trump’s First Re-Election Ad – Updated: CNN Refuses to Run It

Daily Digest

  • President Trump’s First Re-Election Ad [Updated: CNN Refuses to Run It]
  • McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers
  • Was it a hack or a leak? (3) [with comment by Paul]
  • DACA at the five-year mark
  • Collusion gone missing
President Trump’s First Re-Election Ad [Updated: CNN Refuses to Run It]

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 11:43 AM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

We truly have entered the era of the permanent campaign. The 2020 election is more than three years away, and President Trump has already released his first ad. I suppose the ad has in view not only Trump’s re-election but also the fact that the Democratic Party press doesn’t want to cover the administration’s accomplishments, preferring to obsess over Trump’s foibles and non-existent scandals. The ad seeks to remind voters of Trump’s record so far, which is, in fact, impressive:

As usual, the Trump administration has to rely on its own devices to get its message out, the press being occupied elsewhere.

UPDATE: CNN refused to run the ad on the ground that it is inaccurate. The ad features several CNN personalities among the media people who are pictured while the voiceover says, “The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed.” CNN said:

“CNN would accept the ad if the images of reporters and anchors were removed,” a network spokeswoman told DailyMail.com.

“Anchors and reporters don’t have ‘enemies,’ as the ad states, but they do hold those in power accountable across the political spectrum and aggressively challenge false and misleading statements and investigate wrong-doing,” the spokeswoman added.

No word on whether she was able to say it with a straight face.


McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 10:48 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

According to the Daily Caller, about 40 of the 250 officials on the National Security Council (NSC) are Obama administration holdovers. Their boss, H.R. McMaster, has instructed that these folks not be called “holdovers.” This might make sense from a team-building perspective. But since I’m not part of the team, they will be referred to as holdovers in this post.

The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton profile some of them. They report that Allison Hooker remains NSC director for Korea, no backwater job given current circumstances. According to Pollock and Barton, Hooker is “an architect of former President Barack Obama’s Korean policy.” This may be a reach because they also say she joined the NSC in 2014, by which time Obama administration Korea policy was in place.

Nonetheless, President Trump has denounced Obama’s Korea policy — “strategic patience” — in harsh terms. Thus it’s surprising to find his administration’s NSC adviser on Korea still in place more than half a year into the Trump administration.

Pollock and Barton report that McMaster’s director for South America is Fernando Cutz. He received his master’s degree in international relations from the Clinton School of Public Service in or around 2010. The Clinton School operates on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

According to Pollock and Barton, Cutz, who previously reported to former deputy NSC advisor Ben Rhodes, enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s Cuba policy throughout his tenure as an NSC staffer. He helped plan and organize Obama’s trip to Cuba.

Andrea Hall is another holdover who reported to Ben Rhodes. She serves as NSC’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and threat reduction.

Pollock and Barton cite a paper she published in December 2002, while earning her doctorate, in which she criticized the West for not doing enough for Vladimir Putin. She wrote that “Russia has received few tangible benefits from its cooperation with the United States,” and claimed that Washington was “ignoring Russian concerns.” She added:

Given that Putin has received significant criticism for his foreign policy concessions and that he has valid concerns about the Russian economy, Washington would be wise to help Russia achieve some of its goals as well in order to cement this partnership.

In fairness to Hall, this thinking does not seem inconsistent with Trump’s. Coincidentally (or maybe not), it mirrors the “blame America first” attitude of McMaster’s Israel-Palestine guy, Kris Bauman. He blamed Israel and the Bush administration for undermining the peace process by failing to recognize Hamas’ moderation.

Rear Adm. David Kriete, another Obama holdover, is NSC’s director for strategic capabilities policy and responsible for policy on nuclear weapons-related issues. According to Pollock and Barton, he was a representative to the interagency panel that wrote Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which reflected the former chief executive’s vision of a “nuclear-free world.”

That document received considerable criticism from conservatives. According to Pollock and Barton, “National Review” found that it “undermines the basis of the deterrent policy that has helped maintain the peace for more than 60 years.”

Pollock and Barton discuss several other holdovers. However, the four discussed above strike me as the most problematic.

Michael Anton, an NSC spokesman and author of the famous “Flight 93 Election” article, told the Daily Caller that all of the holdovers (I assume he didn’t use that word) are “stalwarts” who faithfully follow the president’s foreign and military policies. I have no reason to believe that any holdover is insubordinate.

However, the NSC can help shape a president’s foreign and military policies. That’s particularly true where, as here, (1) the president lacks experience with, or apparent in-depth knowledge of, foreign policy issues and (2) the national security adviser is extremely aggressive.

Thus, the cliche “personnel is policy” seems particularly apt in the context of this NSC staff. That’s why it’s reasonable to be concerned about some of the Obama holdovers and about McMaster’s purge of some pro-Trump staffers.


Was it a hack or a leak? (3) [with comment by Paul]

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 10:43 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Salon has a good column summarizing the argument presented by Patrick Lawrence in the Nation asserting that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email was rather an inside job. It nicely complements our previous installments in this series. Author Danielle Ryan quotes the official DNC response to Lawrence’s Nation article provided to the Nation after publication and now appended to the article:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.

Ryan rightly comments that the statement “is so lackluster it is almost laughable[.]” Students of logical fallacy may recognize both the argument from authority and the ad hominem in the three-sentence DNC statement. That is pathetic.

Via Glenn Reynolds/InstaPundit.

PAUL ADDS – The case that the Russians hacked the DNC emails has always been based on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies. To my knowledge, these agencies have not provided the information that forms the basis for their conclusion. Thus, the public has never been in a position to assess the conclusion’s validity.

As long as there was no credible person or organization building a case to the contrary, I was willing to believe — naively perhaps — that the conclusion of the intelligence agencies was very likely correct. Now, it seems that a credible case to the contrary is emerging.

I think it is time for the intelligence agencies to back up their conclusion if they can so that those who defend it don’t have to rely on argument from authority.


DACA at the five-year mark

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 08:47 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Mark Krikorian points out that today is the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is President Obama’s lawless amnesty diktat. It enables adult illegal aliens who claim to have come to the U.S. before age 16 to get work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, etc. Nearly 800,000 people have done so.

Candidate Donald Trump promised to end DACA on “day one.” Like much of his campaign rhetoric, the promise was empty. DACA remains in place. “Day one” — like “right now,” and “very soon” — turned out to mean “later, if at all.”

Krikorian argues that it’s time to end DACA. He explains:

Adults who were brought here illegally by their parents at very young ages (toddlers, not teenagers) are indeed good candidates for amnesty – they’ve grown up here and formed their identities as Americans. But it’s Congress that makes laws, not the president, as President Obama himself pointed out a year before the DACA decree: “for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”

DACA may be on its way out without the active involvement of the Trump administration:

The anti-borders crowd’s real fear is that DACA will be added to the multi-state lawsuit, led by Texas, against DAPA – Obama’s even larger lawless amnesty for illegals with U.S.-born children, that never went into effect because it was stopped in the courts.

Since the legal pretext used by the Obama administration to justify DACA is identical to DAPA, it could well be that at the next hearing on the lawsuit, coming up in a few weeks, the judge will allow DACA to be swapped in for DAPA (which DHS has rescinded). If that were to happen, DHS Secretary Kelly, now White House Chief of Staff, has said the administration might not be able to defend it in court. (I don’t think there’s any “might” about it.)

Krikorian sees a way to put DACA-style amnesty on a solid legal footing as part of a big fix of our immigration system:

The president has expressed sympathy for the DACAs, a sentiment probably shared by most Americans. But rather than reacting to events, the way to proceed would be to phase out DACA and at the same time propose a legislative compromise.

Announce that DACA renewals will only be processed until December 31, after which they will start expiring. (It would take two years for all of them to lapse.) That would light a fire under Congress to pass a package upgrading the DACAs from their lawless Obama amnesty to a genuine lawful one, in exchange for the RAISE Act, the Davis-Oliver Act, and mandatory E-Verify.

The Democrats will balk at first, but the clock will be ticking.

I’m less confident than Krikorian that Democrats will ever go along with such a compromise. Considering the alternatives, however, I think it’s worth a try.


Collusion gone missing

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 06:04 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

The latest Washington Post collusion story is different from the others. The story is “Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings.” Last night Paul Mirengoff summarized and deconstructed the story here.

If you’ve been following the collusion hysteria, you won’t want to miss this story. The story comes in the accustomed form — under the byline of numerous Post heavy hitters (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman with the assistance of Adam Entous, Alice Crites, Devlin Barrett, David Filipov, Philip Rucker and Ellen Nakashima), features the usual anonymous sources, and stands at one remove from the original documents — but this is a collusion story with a difference. The collusion has gone missing.

The story is based on “20,000 pages of documents the Trump campaign turned over to congressional committees this month after a review by White House and defense lawyers.” The Post reporters haven’t seen the documents themselves, but relevant parts have been read to them “by a person with access to them.” And that’s not all: “Two other people with access to the emails confirmed the general tone of the exchanges and some specific passages within them.” I guess that’s the way the Post heavy hitters were taught to do it in journalism school.

The Post heavy hitters won’t come right out and say it, but those parts of the 20,000 pages that were read to them lack the whiff of collusion. The emails involving a volunteer campaign policy adviser demonstrate that proposed meetings with the Russians “generated more concern than excitement within the campaign[,]” which of course does not slow down the heavy hitters one bit.

Again, that’s not all. Proposals sent to then, campaign manager Paul Manafort, were expressly rejected. “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips [to Russia],” Manafort wrote.

The Post solicited a comment from an unnamed spokesman for Manafort. The unnamed spokesman commented that the email chain provides “concrete evidence that the Russia collusion narrative is fake news.” That seems an entirely reasonable interpretation of the evidence presented in the story.

Wary of readers who may need to brush up on ancient history, the Post heavy hitters add that Manafort’s “Virginia home was raided by FBI agents three weeks ago as part of an investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III[.]” It’s amazing what you can do with nine reporters on a story like this.


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