Can Trump Leave the Golf Course Long Enough to Show Up for the Impeachment Inquiry?

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Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

Donald Trump spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan definitely not looking like a guy on the ass side of croaksville, and definitely not like a guy who’s vascillating on important foreign policy decisions as a PR distraction from the walls closing in on his mob ruse as president. This all seems pretty obvious, but true heads—such as myself, most of America, and Rep. Jerry Nadler—would like to know: Will he deign to leave the freaking golf course and sit his majestically oblong derrière in a chair in front of the House Judiciary Committee currently investigating his potential impeachment?

Nadler, who is House Judiciary Chair, sent a letter Friday inquiring whether Trump will show up to his own party or what, per the Associated Press. Nadler outlined the proceedings in case Trump hasn’t been paying close attention— “For detailed discussion of the scope of the impeachment inquiry, I refer you to the report accompanying House Resolution 660,” a burn—and gave Trump a deadline of December 6 at 5 p.m. to reply whether or not his “counsel intends to participate.”

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Trump did not immediately tweet about this, probably because he was golfing at Trump International in Palm Springs, and news reports did not specify where the letter was delivered, but I am having a lovely time imagining an aide with bad posture racing to the 18th hole (?) and handing him an official document, ruining his day. But last week a judge ruled that Trump’s ex-lawyer Don McGahn must testify in the hearings next week despite everyone and their father trying to claim “absolute immunity.” The judge, Hon. Ketanji Brown Jackson, was definitive and powerful in her ruling, documenting what’s at stake—“it is a core tenet of this Nation’s founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny”—and hitting noble truths as damning slam dunks: “Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.” [AP]


Kamala Harris’s internal campaign operations are not going well at all, according to a scathing Times report, which includes a resignation letter from a former state operations manager that said she had “never seen an organization treat it staff so poorly,” regarding layoffs of staffers made by Harris’s sister, Maya, who is campaign chair. The disconnect and disarray reported here has echoes of reports of disarray from Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and partly explains why Harris—a wildly charismatic speaker with a better track record than some of her fellow nominees—is doing so badly.

Beyond that, though, it’s reported that Harris’s campaign is experiencing financial difficulties, as well as a cycle of confusing messaging to voters emanating from the top. And also, ugh, Twitter:

There are also generational fissures. One adviser said the fixation that some younger staffers have with liberals on Twitter distorted their view of what issues and moments truly mattered, joking that it was not President Trump’s account that should be taken offline, as Ms. Harris has urged, but rather those of their own trigger-happy communications team.

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It’s an exhaustive piece worth reading, though a difficult one even if you’re not in Harris’s camp—that a promising black woman, the first viable black woman presidential candidate since Shirley Chisholm, is reportedly experiencing such internal difficulties. [New York Times]


In Big Time Small-Time Dicks news, The Post & Courier reports that Mike Pitts, a former South Carolina state house member and newly confirmed judge, is worse than previously thought. (For context, it was already known that he defended the Confederate flag and wrote dog-whistling, anti-immigrant posts on Facebook.)

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In a review of Pitts’s Facebook, the Post & Courier found a melange of racist and transphobic posts, comments, and screeds; Pitts, an ex-cop, recently took the bench in Laurens County, where a quarter of residents are black. Most infuriating about this report, which was conducted alongside ProPublica, is the way lower-circuit judges are selected in South Carolina—with no real vetting, and a process that “allows state senators to hand-pick magistrate judges.” While it’s easy to be distracted by the holistic nature of national politics, this great piece illustrates how bigoted corruption can flourish at the very core of local politics—largely because of a broken system. [Post & Courier]


  • It seems fairly pointless to try to diagnose Lindsay Graham’s fluctuating loyalties, because to me the answer is simple: Dude’s strongest value is just wanting to be on TV. Still, this has some good lines, like “He’s only one tweet away from being on the president’s naughty list.” [New York Times]
  • Evil Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is trying to blame the Amazon fires on climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Scary and nefarious tactic, and also incomprehensible. [The Guardian]
  • Pete Buttigieg, giant herb, thinks free college is “too radical” and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sonned his stance epically: “This is a GOP talking point used to dismantle public systems, & it’s sad to see a Dem candidate adopt it.” [Business Insider]
  • A stabbing attack on London Bridge is being labeled an act of terrorism; it occurred a few hours before major UK political parties debated on the BBC. [The Independent, The Guardian]

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