Tag: cnn
Debate Jitters: Trump Aides Fear Ex-President Is 'Walking Into A Trap'

Debate Jitters: Trump Aides Fear Ex-President Is 'Walking Into A Trap'

Some of President Joe Biden's supporters have been arguing that he never should have agreed to debate presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, but other Biden supporters don't see it that way at all — stressing that Trump would have attacked Biden as weak had he not agreed to a debate. Moreover, they add, Biden has repeatedly demonstrated over the years that he can be a tough, forceful debater.

Meanwhile, far-right War Room host Steve Bannon, according to Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, is saying that Trump, not Biden, is the one who has the most to lose during the Thursday night, June 27 debate — which is being moderated by CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Dana Bash in Atlanta.

"According to two sources," Sherman reports, "Steve Bannon has told people Trump should never have agreed to debate. One of the sources told me Bannon explained that if Biden bombs the debate, Democrats will find a way to replace Biden on the ticket — a scenario (Trump senior adviser Jason) Miller shot down — and if Biden performs well, the race becomes even closer. Bannon declined to comment."

Miller, however, did comment on the June 27 debate, claiming that the format will be unfair to Trump.

Miller told Vanity Fair, "It's a three-on-one dynamic with Biden, Tapper and Bash. The structure makes it impossible for President Trump to get a fair shake."

After spending months falsely claiming that Biden is senile, Trump's supporters have come up with a new line of attack to explain his aggressive speeches on the campaign trail and during the 2024 State of the Union address: claiming that the 81-year-old president is using some type of drug to make himself appear more energetic — a claim there is zero evidence to support.

"A strong showing by Biden will neutralize Trump's claims about his opponent's cognitive decline," Sherman explains. "The Trump campaign knows this."

Sherman continues, "That's why, in recent days, Trump and his aides have been working overtime to mitigate the damage should Biden deliver a commanding performance similar to his fiery State of the Union address…. Trump wants to keep up the attacks on Biden's age while also explaining away a potentially strong performance from Biden. Some in Trumpworld are worried Trump is walking into a trap."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As Debate Looms, Trump Suddenly Says He Won't 'Underestimate' Biden

As Debate Looms, Trump Suddenly Says He Won't 'Underestimate' Biden

One week ahead of CNN's debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, the MAGA hopeful admitted that he isn't "underestimating" the president, despite taking aim at his mental acuity for months.

POLITICO national political correspondent Meredith McGraw wrote via X (formerly Twitter), "Trump to @theallinpod on upcoming debate against Biden: 'All I can say is this, I watched him with [former US Rep.] Paul Ryan (R-OH) and he destroyed Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan with the water, he was chugging water left and right...and he beat Paul Ryan. So I'm not underestimating him.'"

McGraw added, "Trump on Biden: 'I think he will be somebody who will be a worthy debater. I don't want to underestimate him.'"

Crooked Media co-founder Jon Favreau said, "Two other times Trump watched Biden debate...when they debated each other four years ago I can see why Trump might not have remembered the first time since he was sweaty and feverish due to the highly contagious and deadly virus he chose to hide from everyone."

Attorney Bradley P. Moss commented, "For four years, Trump and his media lackeys have told us Biden is a drooling dementia patient who can barely walk and doesn’t know where he is. But now he is a proven debater worthy of Trump?"

NY Daily News columnist Brandon Friedman wrote, "Trump forgot that he debated Joe Biden in 2020"

Politico California bureau chief Christopher Cadelago added, "Biden and Ryan debated eight years before Trump and Biden last debated. Trump is reaching back a long way to help set expectations. And he’s setting the bar a lot higher than heading into Biden’s last State of the Union."

ABC News Will Steakin commented, "Trump says he’s 'not underestimating' Joe Biden, who he’s also said 'doesn't know he's alive.'"

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

No, Bad News For Trump Doesn't Make Him 'Stronger'

No, Bad News For Trump Doesn't Make Him 'Stronger'

When Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts, theLos Angeles Times had their response ready. “The guilty verdict only makes Donald Trump stronger,” read the headline to the May 30 article by Scott Jennings, a CNN commentator and special assistant to former President George W. Bush.

“It was jarring to hear my CNN colleague Jake Tapper say ‘guilty’ 34 straight times,” wrote Jennings. “And it was equally jarring to see text after text pop up on my phone from decidedly non-MAGA Republicans, but also not Never Trumpers, all sounding the same note: ‘I don’t like this man, and now I think I have to vote for him.’”

Some ideas get so embedded in people’s heads that even those who should know better start to accept them automatically. One of those ideas is that any time Trump is attacked—whether it is through impeachment, indictment, being held responsible in a civil trial, or being convicted in a criminal trial—it only makes him stronger.

That idea is bullshit. Or to put it in technical terms, colossal bullshit.

I do not think Jennings was getting “text after text” from people who didn’t previously support Trump telling him “now I think I have to vote for him” because he had become a convicted felon.

Again, I call bullshit.

It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find similar opinions to Jennings. One day later, Fox News contributor and CEO of the Harris Poll, Mark Penn, wrote that conviction would make “the right rally and coalesce even more around former President Donald Trump.”

Penn blew off overnight poll results showing that people seemed ready to abandon Trump over the conviction, which seems like a somewhat questionable position for a man who runs a polling organization. Instead, Penn bet that Trump would gain “more energized, angry voters.”

“This is ultimately what angers the voters—the idea that there is one system of justice for some and another for their choice if it’s Donald Trump,” Penn wrote.

Except that there’s one bit of calculus that Penn and every other Republican seems to be ignoring: the vote of an angry, energized, Trump supporter convinced that their man got a raw deal in court is worth exactly one vote. It’s hard to believe that any of those “angry” or “energized” by Trump’s verdict were not already Trump supporters going in. And all the anger and energy in the world won’t make their vote worth any more than the most disinterested voter who pulls the lever for President Joe Biden.

The idea that Penn and Jennings are selling is that narrative that Republicans, and Trump, want everyone to believe: It’s the “every time he gets knocked down again, he gets up stronger” thesis. And it is, what’s that word again? Bullshit.

Every time Trump is held accountable, every MAGA account on X seems to spew “Democrats just elected Trump!” Because, somehow, they seem to be convinced that everyone else is just as angry about a slight to Trump as the folks in their Let’s Go Brandon support group.

We’re not.

Three weeks after Trump’s conviction, the latest poll from The Hill/Ipsos shows that 21 percent of independent voters are less likely to support Trump following his conviction. Those same voters say that the guilty verdict is “very important” to how they will vote in November.

If Republicans genuinely believed that non-Trump supporters would be angered by the idea that a powerful billionaire might be held to account for a host of crimes—that Donald Trump would not be held to the rules that apply to anyone else—they were wrong.

If Republicans need more evidence, they might want to roll back to this Kathleen Parker opinion piece in The Washington Post after Trump’s first impeachment.

“I’ll be brief: President Trump will not be convicted by the U.S. Senate, and his positioning for reelection will have been strengthened by the process,” Parker wrote in 2019.

She went on to rail against the “Mother Superior Nancy Pelosi, the prim and pursed-lipped Adam Schiff and grumpy scold-meister Jerrold Nadler” while explaining that impeachment would only encourage people to “take their chances with a player like Trump.”

Trump supporters were right there with Parker. So was Trump. He told those attending his rally that he intended to use his impeachment against Democrats. Trump supporters cheered him on and reassured their candidate that they were sticking with him.

Spoiler alert: Other people did not go with the “player” because he got impeached. Trump lost decisively in 2020. Impeachment did not make him stronger. Neither did indictment. Neither did conviction.

Earlier this month, an ABC poll of independent voters found a majority wanted Trump to drop out of the race. In fact, 16 percent of Republicans felt that Trump should withdraw.

I’m guessing that none of those people were texting Jennings to tell him that they guessed they had to vote for Trump.

On Monday, the Trump-worshiping Washington Examiner moved to the next stanza in the "Trump Always Comes Back Stronger" theme song.

Republicans are warning Democrats that if former President Donald Trump’s sentence in his New York criminal case prevents him from attending the Republican National Committee convention, it will guarantee a red wave for the 2024 election.

They’re “warning” us, are they? I think there’s only one answer to this. And it’s just one word.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Heading To Prison, Furious Bannon Sputters Threats Of Retribution

Heading To Prison, Furious Bannon Sputters Threats Of Retribution

Steve Bannon is due to report to federal prison on July 1 to begin a four-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress. But he clearly has plenty of contempt remaining to give, and he’s directing it at the entire legal system.

On his “War Room” podcast on Saturday, Bannon turned his anger toward former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, threatening both with imprisonment or worse. "Get your passport, get the hell out of the country because hey, we're coming,” Bannon said, warning that a second Trump term would mean that Comey and McCabe would be targeted for persecution.

Bannon’s statements may seem like a tantrum being thrown by someone about to spend several long weeks in a very small room, but his statements are concerning to law enforcement officials. They serve as a reminder that when Donald Trump and his associates talk about “revenge” and “retribution” they don’t mean seeing that political opponents face the consequences of any illegal actions; They mean going after political opponents simply for being political opponents.

“We will hunt you down," Bannon said.

Bannon appeared to be angered by an appearance McCabe made on CNN’s The Source in which the former FBI deputy director expressed concern over what a second Trump term would mean for the rule of law. In particular, McCabe responded to a question from host Kaitlan Collins about the dangers represented by Trump’s calls for retribution.

McCabe called Trump’s recent comments “offensive and horrendous,” while saying that they were not surprising. “You know him,” McCabe said. “You know what motivates him. He is not a person who is driven by principle or ideology. He is someone, who's entirely transactional, that if he feels like he's been wronged, in some way, then he focuses on revenge, and vengeance. And so, he's made it perfectly clear that that's what he's going to do.”

McCabe warned that in his efforts to obtain revenge Trump “runs the risk of really dismantling and greatly incapacitating the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

But for Trump and his supporters, that’s a feature, not a bug. Turning the DOJ into a weapon and the FBI into the police force that can be used against anyone who opposes Trump is exactly what they have in mind.

Bannon didn’t appreciate McCabe pointing out the plan.

“Why is Andrew McCabe, Mr. Tough Guy, Mr. FBI Tough Guy wetting himself on national TV?” Bannon asked. “He's damn scared because he understands the end is near.”

These threats followed Trump’s appearance alongside “Dr. Phil” McGraw during which the television therapist attempted to get Trump to swear off revenge.

“I think you have so much to do,” said McGraw. “You don’t have time to get even.”

“Well, revenge does take time, I will say that,” Trump admitted. “And sometimes revenge can be justified, Phil. I have to be honest. Sometimes it can.”

During the criminal trial in which he was found guilty on 34 counts, Trump was under a gag order for his attempts to intimidate witnesses and threaten the families of court officials. But even as the judge attempted to protect the justice system—and innocent bystanders—from Trump’s anger, a long line of Republican surrogates made regular appearances outside the courtroom to keep the threats alive.

But if Trump was limiting himself to generating anger against those connected to his case in the hope that his followers would respond with violence, Bannon isn’t being that “subtle.” He’s not being vague either.

He’s just making overt threats.

“Go ahead, go to the ends of the earth,” Bannon said. “We will hunt you down and bring you back and you will stand accountable before the American people.”

Bannon is also not trying to make any pretense that this is about justice. It’s about revenge. It’s about seeing that anyone opposed to Trump is silenced.

“Lock them up” is so 2016.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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