Category Archives: Verbatim

The Lasting Damage of a Long-Lasting Shutdown

“The longest government shutdown in U.S. history will scar the federal bureaucracy and U.S. economy long after the doors are unlocked and workers return. The feds will struggle to dig out of a backlog of hiring and training that’s essential to pushing out tax refunds, protecting U.S. borders and guiding air traffic. Government contractors are expected to jack up prices on everything from helicopters to IT support, growing wise to an administration that doesn’t pay its bills for weeks on end.”

Politico

AOC Urging Activists to Challenge Incumbent Democrats

“If you’re a one-term Congress member, so what? You can make 10 years worth of change in one term if you’re not afraid.”

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), in a new video urging activists to run for office and challenge incumbent Democrats.

Kremlin Ridiculs Idea Trump Works for Putin

“That’s stupid. How can the president of the United States be an agent of another country? Just think about that.”

— Yuri Ushakov, Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide, dismissing as “nonsense” claims that President Trump has been working on Russia’s behalf, Bloomberg reports.

Chris Christie’s Take on the Trump Administration

“A revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia.”

— Former Gov. Chris Christie, writing about the Trump White House in “Let Me Finish.”

Trump’s Not a Planner, Doesn’t Like Plans

“He gets frustrated when there is a plan. He’s not a guy who likes a plan… There’s an animosity towards planning, and there’s a desire to pick fights that have nothing to do with us.”

— An unnamed adviser to President Trump, quoted by Axios.

The ‘Prince’ Makes a Power Move in Kelly’s Wake

“Recurring theme from sources over last two days: Kushner is the de facto chief of staff, whether people realize it or not.”

Maggie Haberman

Trump Denies Having ‘Worked for’ Russia

“I never worked for Russia.”

— President Trump, quoted by The Hill, in his most direct response yet to a bombshell report that the FBI began investigating whether the president was working on behalf Moscow.

Trump Claims He Didn’t Conceal Contents of Putin Meetings

“I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridiculous. These people make it up. I have many one-on-ones, nobody ever says anything about it, but with Putin they say, ‘Oh what did they talk about?’ We talked about very positive things. … Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is open for grabs. The whole Russia thing it’s a hoax, it’s a terrible hoax, everybody knows it.

— ”President Trump, telling Fox News that he did not try to conceal conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Declaring an Emergency Would Be a Loss, Not a Win

But taking away disaster-relief money? We have no idea what kind of electoral effect that would have because no president has ever done anything that stupid. (Okay, I can think of one possible equivalent, President Jimmy Carter’s ill-fated grain embargo before the 1980 election. It’s hard to say how much that hurt him, but emulating Carter’s famous mistakes really isn’t something to be proud of.) Let’s just say that if there’s anything voters might remember that long and actually punish above and beyond their normal voting behavior it would be taking away tangible benefits from them in a time of need. … That’s all on top of an unpopular shutdown over an unpopular policy by an unpopular president.

Jonathan Bernstein

Why Congress Is So Dumb

“Our decay as an institution began in 1995, when conservatives, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), carried out a full-scale war on government. Gingrich began by slashing the congressional workforce by one-third. He aimed particular ire at Congress’s brain, firing 1 of every 3 staffers at the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office. He defunded the Office of Technology Assessment, a tech-focused think tank. Social scientists have called those moves Congress’s self-lobotomy, and the cuts remain largely unreversed.”

— Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), writing in the Washington Post