The biggest news yesterday came from a meeting between Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Trump. Trump blathered and blathered about working together and bi-partisan and The Wall and then Pelosi and Schumer informed him that they disputed his claims about the necessity of The Wall, and the meeting became a long argument between a frantic and interrupting Trump and a calmer and confident Pelosi and Schumer. In the end, the Democrats were able to get Trump to admit that he would shut the government down unless he got his wall–a comment Trump almost certainly regretted later. The party responsible for a government shutdown always ends up the attracting the ire of the American public, so now Trump has painted himself into a losing corner. Great negotiating, Donnie.
Here is coverage of the meeting from the New York Times:
As the photo with the Times article shows, VP Mike Pence was also in the meeting, though he never said a word, sitting on the periphery while trying not to nod off. Cable news reported on further filings in the Michael Flynn case yesterday, but Rachel Maddow pointed out something very significant about Pence. Pence was asked many times in TV interviews about Flynn’s tenure in the Trump transition and he lied over and over about what he knew and when he knew it. Why did Pence do so much lying when it came to Flynn? Maddow implies that Pence may have some legal jeopardy when it comes to Flynn, especially if Pence lied to Congress or a Federal agent. Many of the less mainstream investigative journalists on social media have been saying for over a year that Pence is in hot legal water, but Maddow is among the first in the mainstream media to circle back to the role Pence played in an enterprise that has amassed so many indictments. Keep your eye on this Pence angle.
The disclosures from the Michael Cohen filings implicating Trump in at least two federal campaign finance felonies are getting the attention of conservatives who, up until now, have dismissed the Mueller probe. The Cohen charges don’t come from Mueller, they come from the southern district of New York. Mike Allen at Axios published an article about the effect the recent court filings are having on Trump voters:
One Trump loyalist said after a day of conversation with “hardcore MAGA [Make America Great Again] online influencers”: “These are the people most predisposed to believing the ‘witch hunt’ rhetoric, but they are now expressing real concerns.”
The heat is only going to keep rising as more details emerge from the various probes, especially if new figures around Trump are indicted and his support erodes.