Mike Pompeo Barely Avoids an Unprecedented Reproach

Never in its 202-year history had the Senate Foreign Relations Committee given a public thumbs-down to a presidential nominee for secretary of state.

Until a few minutes before the panel met late Monday afternoon, it looked like CIA Director Mike Pompeo would carry that unprecedented blemish to the Senate floor later this week as he bids to replace Rex Tillerson atop the State Department. But just as the committee was gathering to consider President Trump’s pick, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky renounced his early opposition to Pompeo and gave him a decisive vote of support. Citing Pompeo’s hawkish views and his support for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paul had previously indicated he would side with the panel’s 10 Democrats in opposition, denying him the majority needed for a favorable recommendation.

In a series of tweets, Paul said he had spoken repeatedly both with Trump and Pompeo on Monday afternoon. “President Trump believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan,” he wrote. “Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State.”

Paul elaborated on his thinking at the meeting before the vote. “I have not been given anything or promised anything,” he said, though he added that Trump had agreed to a discussion on his libertarian views on government surveillance. “I have changed my mind,” Paul said. “I decided to go ahead and vote for Director Pompeo because he assured me has learned the lesson and time will tell those assurances are true.”

Paul, who has aligned himself with Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, had criticized Pompeo’s as out of step with the …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

How America Broke the Presidency

“Many of the responsibilities that vex Trump are ones that were not part of the job’s original design,” writes The Atlantic contributing writer and co-host of CBS This Morning, John Dickerson. In his May cover article, “The Hardest Job in the World,” Dickerson argues that the president’s office has ballooned. The responsibilities of the presidency—and the path to the office itself—makes the role unworkable. In this new video, Dickerson explains how we got here.

…read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Bad News for President Trump

One feature of the truth is that it doesn’t change much. A lie is hard to sustain. The details may change in each retelling because the liar is not actually remembering the events, but instead remembering the telling of the events. The truth, by contrast, is sticky. Consistency is not the only hallmark of truth—some people’s memories are better than other people’s memories, to be sure—but there’s a reason that inconsistency tends to discredit a witness.

If someone had told you a year ago, when news first broke that James Comey had made memos of his conversations with President Trump, that those memos would eventually come out and make little news, you probably wouldn’t have believed it. These memos are, after all, a big deal. They will play a major role in corroborating Comey’s story in the investigative setting.

But from a news perspective, they turn out to be a bit of a snooze, far more interesting for the fact of their release than for any new information they contain. Sure, there are modest bits of new information in them—that Reince Priebus asked Comey whether there was a FISA order on then-National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn, for example. But the broader theme is that they add little that is not already known.

The memos, on the whole, tell the same story as Comey told in his book. They tell the same story as he told in his congressional testimony last year. They corroborate these statements, often down to the level of the specific words spoken and the specific details reported. Notably, Comey did not have access to the memos while he was writing the book.

The truth is sticky.

There are, to be sure, minor inconsistencies between Comey’s four statements on what happened between him and the president—his written testimony to the Senate intelligence committee, his …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics