Erica Grieder: The Conservative Case for Hillary Clinton – Texas Monthly

…If Clinton becomes president, Republicans will be members of the opposition, meaning they can oppose her agenda openly and even, despite this Trump disaster, with occasional credibility. If Trump becomes president, they’ll be the loyal members of a party led by a dangerously impulsive president. They’ll be chronically torn over whether they should summon the temerity to express their discomfort with whatever Trump decides to do in response to something mean he saw someone say about him on the internet, or to accept the reality that he is their leader, and they are tools he feels free to use to serve his ego. I know which lifestyle I’d prefer.

So there you go, conservatives. Six reasons. And though I could go on, I suspect any of you who’ve read this far could use a break. But that does bring up one more reason conservatives should hope Clinton beats Trump: if she does, that’ll likely be the end of Trump’s career in politics. And so I’d have no more reason to write about him, or the many Republicans humiliating themselves on his behalf, ever again.

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Tim Kowal
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I remain open to further arguments along these lines, but this one leaves me unmoved, except further disappointed and annoyed at the effort. “Psychologically stable” — unserious, ad hom. “Toddler-type state of mind” — same; and while I hope conservatives urge Trump to corral his language, his effective neutralizing of unfair and untruthful arguments is of incalculable value to our politics, the blueprints to the Death Star. Case in point: debate-ending, low-class-surrender name-calling like “bigot.” Every conservative who’s earned the name is already a bigot.

“Clinton is less risky” — no mention of SCOTUS except that Clinton “has at least heard of the Constitution” = unserious, ad hom, and that “Republicans should have thought about that before settling on Trump as the man to oppose her in November” = lie down and give up. How rousing.

“Clinton is more conservative on key issues” like “trade” — what about other issues, which Trump’s supporters find more urgent and important, like immigration? Again, unserious. The smart set’s stupidity on immigration trumps Trump’s stupidity on trade (& most everything else).

“Clinton is a Democrat” is the Hamilton Rule restated, which I find a potentially interesting line of argument, if only someone would follow the argument through: what does rebuilding look like once we’ve lost SCOTUS for a generation? Conservatives had the last eight years in the wilderness, and the support early on of the Tea Party successes, and their best idea was…a third Bush? The intellectuals don’t pay their promissory notes. They need to put up the security of a serious plan for a way forward.

While poorly argued, the arguments all contain valid points. But they are all secondary. The reasons for Trump’s support are the very ones ignored in pieces like this: status quo is not desirable (or, for that matter, conservative); GOP doesn’t deserve a presumption that it’ll make everything all right after a Hillary tenure — its recent track record instead earns it the burden of proving what fundamental changes will accomplish, and how it means to do so.

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President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.

The allegations, if true, would appear to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics, even as US-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million (£8 million) annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.

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The texts, posted on a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective, appear to show Manafort’s family fretting about the ethics, safety and consequences of his work for Yanukovych. And they reveal that Manafort’s two daughters regarded their father’s emergence as a key player on Trump’s presidential campaign with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

In one exchange, daughter Jessica Manafort writes “Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho. He is the best at what he does.” Her sister Andrea Manafort responded by referring to their father’s relationship with Trump as “The most dangerous friendship in America,” while in another exchange she called them “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs,” and asserted “the only reason my dad is doing this campaign is for sport. He likes the challenge. It's like an egomaniac's chess game. There's no money motivation.”

By contrast, the Manafort daughters and their mother seemed much more unsettled about Paul Manafort’s work as a political consultant for Yanukovych’s Russia-backed Party of Regions, which is a subject of renewed interest among investigators probing possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

In one March 2015 exchange that appears to be between the two sisters, Andrea Manafort seems to suggest that their father bore some responsibility for the deaths of protesters at the hands of police loyal to Yanukovych during a monthslong uprising that started in late 2013.

“Don't fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote. “That money we have is blood money.”

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If there's anything mitigating the bad news for the White House here, it is that Comey may have also sent subtle signals that the matters under investigation are not principally about the personal conduct of Trump himself. While this is speculation, I do not believe that if Comey had, say, validated large swaths of the Steele dossier or found significant Trump-Russia financial entanglements of a compromising variety, he would have said even as much as he said today. I also don't think he would have announced the scope of the investigation as about the relationship "between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government" or "coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts"; these words suggest one step of removal from investigating the President himself. If the latter were the case, I suspect Comey wouldn't have used words suggestive of the Flynn-Manafort-Page cabal.

But that's reading a lot into a relatively small number of tea leaves. What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.

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bob
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+ Yeah, I read C's comments as trying to do a variety of things at the same time, having the effect of making interpretation more difficult. Any [. . .]
Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare
bob
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+ Sure, so why do they have "work Phones" they take home? Even if they don't have fate of the world responsibilities, who they work [. . .]
Isenstadt and Vogel: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House – POLITICO

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