Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Accountable Leaders


John Bolton leaves the Trump regime

There goes another one.

[Donald] Trump on Tuesday pushed out John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, amid fundamental disputes over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and most recently Afghanistan.

The departure ended a 17-month partnership that had grown so tense that the two men even disagreed over how they parted ways, as Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had fired the adviser only to be rebutted by Mr. Bolton, who insisted he had resigned of his own accord.

Calling it a partnership seems like a stretch. It was more like an arrangement.

Few people can last long doing the bidding of neofascist Donald Trump, except for perhaps his children and a few other soulless sidekicks.

The Trump regime has been characterized by turnover since its very first days, when Michael Flynn was forced out as National Security Advisor.

And there’s an even bigger problem that goes beyond turnover. The regime has neglected to nominate people to key posts, leaving lots of holes in the country’s executive branch. As National Security Action noted:

“The senior echelons of our national security institutions may be hollower than ever. The administration has no National Security Advisor, no Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, no Director or Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and features acting officials in nearly twenty top positions at the Pentagon and several key ambassadorial posts.”



Given the fine margins Trump is dealing with in his reelection campaign, Fox News could help sink him. Fox can lose some viewers and win the ratings wars; Trump basically cannot lose any supporters and win reelection. You could even make an argument that Trump needs Fox more than Fox needs Trump.

— Aaron Blake: Trump had better be careful about hate-tweeting Fox

Recommended Link

Revealed: Matt Shea aided group training young men for ‘biblical warfare’

Archconservative Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told The Guardian that“it almost sounds like going back to the Hitler Youth concept”.


[W]e would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

— Excerpt from The Baltimore Sun’s Better to have a few rats than to be one

Video Clip

Via NBC News, this is quite the find: “Newly found footage from NBC News’ archives shows Donald Trump apparently talking about women with Jeffrey Epstein, now a registered sex offender, at a party at Mar-a-Lago in November 1992. The party was a decade before Epstein’s plea deal in Florida.”

Recommended Link

Inspector General finds detainees ‘standing on toilets’ for room at packed border facility

The Trump regime’s un-American conduct continues to reach disgusting, horrific depths.


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This morning, Robert Mueller announced his resignation from the Department of Justice and commented publicly on the investigation he led as Special Counsel. Mueller’s complete statement can be watched by clicking play above.


The West Coast is crushing it against Trump. Using the law to fight a bully, the Constitution to challenge an authoritarian, and facts against Fox News-driven fantasy, California, Oregon and Washington have stalled some of the most despicable of Trump’s retrograde policies.

— New York Times opinion columnist Timothy Egan opines that the Left Coast is doing pretty darn well in its battle to keep the Trump regime in check.

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Cambodians who fled to Seattle ‘shocked’ as details emerge of Republican Doug Ericksen’s $500K deal with regime

Donald Trump booster and Tim Eyman pal Doug Ericksen has teamed up with disgraced former State Representative Jay Rodne to promote the interests of Cambodia’s authoritarian Hun Sen regime in the United States. The pair have a deal with the regime worth half a million dollars.

Recommended Link

Corrupt, through and through: North Carolina Republican Chair indicted in probe

“A federal grand jury has indicted the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and a major Republican campaign donor on conspiracy and bribery charges,” The Charlotte Observer reports. “Robin Hayes is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI. Hayes had announced Monday that he wouldn’t seek another term as NC GOP chairman, a decision he attributed to health concerns.”



It’d be a little different… If President Obama had done the national emergency, Republicans would have gone crazy.

— Idaho Republican Mike Simpson, a long-serving member of the United States House of Representative, publicly acknowledging the party’s double standard.


Trump blows off ceremonial presidential duties so he can sulk in the White House

The magnitude of last Tuesday’s losses have sunk in.

For weeks this fall, an ebullient Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.

But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6.

With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.

Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”

Trump may project confidence through social media or when he appears in public, but it’s apparent that behind the scenes, he’s not feeling confident at all. There really was a blue wave… and it hasn’t even crested yet. Races keep getting called in favor of Democrats, and in Florida (where recounts are underway), it’s unclear who won the top races: Trump’s loyalists or their Democratic opponents.

All those Democratic gains — and the ongoing media coverage of them — have seriously wounded Trump’s pride and left him feeling very bitter and angry.

Trump ought to have been able to see this coming. The pendulum has always historically swung back after periods of one party rule. But Trump is a narcissist and sociopath, so he was nicely positioned for a big emotional crash.

Although Democrats did win a number of special elections last year (and took back the governorship of New Jersey in addition to keeping the governorship of Virginia), the just-held midterms showed that Trump’s Republican Party isn’t invulnerable.

Democrats are on track to have their best showing in U.S. House races since the 1970s. The party has flipped seven governorships and increased the number of trifectas in its column. And it also took two U.S. Senate seats away from the Republicans in the southwest with the victories of Jacky Rosen and Kyrsten Sinema.

Recommended Link

Trial balloon or imminent news? Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

The Washington Post: “Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.”


The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy… We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive. And they don’t like government, and they don’t like to pay taxes.

Paul Volcker, at ninety-one, sees ‘a hell of a mess in every direction’ (Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times)

Chat Transcript

After publicly cursing out her son, Pam Roach blames Democratic activists for her behavior

The following is a transcript of an exchange that occurred at an October 5th retreat of the Republican-dominated Pierce County Council between Pam “Who Moved My Flowers!?” Roach, Derek Young, and Roach’s son Dan.

PAM ROACH: Maybe we should get back and ask what the motivation was, which is fairly obvious, for providing information that had nothing to do with what was in front of us — and it was wrong.

PAUL BOCCHI (senior legislative analyst): And we will have a lot more discussion about that next week.

DEREK YOUNG: Since the executive’s office isn’t here to defend itself —

PAM ROACH: They’re sitting right here, but OK.

DEREK YOUNG: What you’re saying isn’t accurate, and I need to say something. So I don’t think it was ever represented that Franklin Pierce High School was in the Bethel School District. We did have a letter supporting from Bethel School District, and the reason was that Bethel School District is immediately adjacent to it. This facility will serve that area. So it’s not completely unrelated as it was claimed. I understand that you misunderstood that …



DAN ROACH: [Pounding gavel] Stop, no, stop, both of you are done. Stop.

PAM ROACH: I’m gonna put you —

DAN ROACH: Stop. We’re not even gonna talk about this.

PAM ROACH Go ahead and do it again.

DAN ROACH: Just stop.

PAM ROACH: (expletive) you. I’m leaving. Look —

DAN ROACH: Really?

PAM ROACH: Well Dan, what is the deal here? He’s misrepresenting me.

DAN ROACH: No, we’re not having the conversation. We’re talking about a budget.

PAM ROACH: He is misrepresenting me, and I’m tired of it.

DAN ROACH: [Pounding gavel] We’re done. Continue please, Paul.

Following the exchange, Roach sent a statement to The News Tribune of Tacoma in which she blamed Democratic activists for her behavior.

Earlier today, during a council event that was held off-campus, I got very passionate during a political discussion with my fellow councilmembers, including my son Dan. In the heat of the moment I used harsh words that I regret. It was a mistake. I love my son dearly but sometimes we have political disagreements. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for harsh language. It seems I’ve been listening to too many Democrat protesters lately.

So much for taking responsibility for her actions.

Recommended Link

Donald Trump defrauded the public by helping his parents dodge their tax obligations, New York Times investigation finds

Reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner explain how Trump used a multitude of tax dodges to inherit money from his parents and project the illusion that he is a wealthy, successful businessman. The truth, of course, is much different: Trump is a liar, a cheat, and a con man.


We’re in crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.

— Retired Marine General and current Trump chief of staff John Kelly, speaking to colleagues at a small meeting at the White House, according to accounts reported in Bob Woodward’s new book Fear (via The New York Times)


A year ago it seemed possible that there might be limits to the party’s complicity, that there would come a point where at least a few representatives or senators would say, no more. Now it’s clear that there are no limits: They’ll do whatever it takes to defend Trump and consolidate power.

— Paul Krugman, reflecting that American democracy is on a knife’s edge (Commentary: Why it can happen here, via The New York Times)

Recommended Link

Leaked audio from Cathy McMorris Rodgers fundraiser catches Devin Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would delay Supreme Court pick

At a recent fundraiser for Cathy McMorris Rodgers that was closed to the press, embattled Congressman Devin Nunes was asked about impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Said Nunes: “The Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing … and start with impeachment on Rosenstein. And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed… So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.”


We’re going to have a challenging midterm anyway, and I don’t see how putting the attention on shutting down the government when you control the government is going to help you.

— Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma (via The New York Times)

Chat Transcript

Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan has been living in a cave

Trump congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his “election”?

PAUL RYAN: “I don’t know the content of that conversation.”

Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower?

PAUL RYAN: “I didn’t see the interview.”

Trump’s conflicts of interest with his family business?

PAUL RYAN: “I haven’t looked at the details of the arrangement.”

Trump’s call for lawmakers to investigate “fake news outlets.”

PAUL RYAN: “I’m not familiar with the statement.”

“Sorry. I’ve been — I was pretty busy.”

Trump’s attacks on NFL players over the national anthem?

PAUL RYAN: “I haven’t seen all of his comments.”

FBI agents looking for information about the “Access Hollywood” tape when they raided Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s offices?

PAUL RYAN: “I didn’t even read the article.”

Trump’s strained call with the Australian prime minister?

PAUL RYAN: “Don’t know the content of the call.”

Trump threatening to pull FEMA from Puerto Rico after the hurricane?

PAUL RYAN: “I’m a little busy today. I haven’t been looking at Twitter.”

— Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan has been living in a cave