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Collusion and Obstruction: Two Different Kinds of Crime

 

If the President had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process. That represents a treasonous betrayal of our country.

On the other hand, being oafish and ignorant of the nuances of executive authority in the context of a legal investigation, while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice, need not suggest that the President is a villain. Rather, it may simply indicate that he is an amateur on matters of law and politics, and that he is accustomed to speaking his mind without considering the unique legal implications of doing so while being the head of federal law enforcement.

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Trump2020: A Response to One Objection

 

One objection to re-electing President Trump in 2020 is that, because he exhibits so many of the personal traits which conservatives have traditionally condemned, his election by Republicans casts the latter as hypocrites and removes character as a dimension on which future Republicans can differentiate their candidates from those of the Democrats.

While I made this argument during the primaries leading up to the 2016 election, I think it is no longer relevant. Republicans have already elected Trump; failing to re-elect him will not in any way redeem Republicans. We live in a hostile, left-leaning media environment, and there is no voice on the left that will speak well of Republicans for rejecting President Trump in 2020. That would require a degree of charity the left is completely unwilling to extend.

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David French of National Review and talk show host Greg Knapp reflect on the Mueller report 24 hours after its release to the public. They feel good that Trump is not guilty of a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government but David is struck by the vivid and deeply disturbing picture the report creates of a president who is not only an absolute, relentless serial liar surrounded in turn by thoroughly untruthful people, but also a president who is highly disorganized and profoundly weak. They are also perplexed that the Washington Post continues to malign Ben Shapiro.

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Orthodox Abbot Attacked in Anti-Trump Incident

 

Abbot Tryphon, a monk leading the All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island, WA, was assaulted at at a gas station Tuesday. The abbot is a popular speaker, writer, and hosts the podcast “The Morning Offering.”

In a Wednesday interview with his podcasting network, Abbot Tryphon said that he was targeted by a man who was apparently angry about Donald Trump. The abbot is not politically affiliated, a fact he regularly mentions in his writing and podcasts.

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Did Bernie Sanders Steal His Wealth?

 

In 2016 and 2017, Bernie Sanders raked in over a million bucks. Last year, his gross income was down to $561, 293 — still not too shabby. The point is not to rib the senator about his membership in the top 1 percent, though that’s tempting. Nor is it to chide him for his relatively paltry charitable donations. His contributions to charity represented only 3.4 percent of his income, it’s true, but compared with some of his competitors in the Democratic field, that was generous. Beto O’Rourke reportedly contributed only one-third of one percent of his 2017 income ($370,412), and he may have underpaid his taxes by $4000 by taking medical deductions in excess of the permitted amount. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand all gave less than 2 percent of their incomes away. Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have yet to release their tax returns, and of course, President Trump is hiding behind a spectral audit (still not complete, three years on?) that in any case would present no legal obstacle to disclosure. Why he is hiding his “beautiful” tax returns is up to the imagination.

The question for Bernie Sanders is: How can you sleep at night knowing that you became rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor?

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Regretting Socialism, Alberta Elects a Conservative Government

 

While the left-right and conservative-liberal issues dont always line up between Canada and the United States, I think the Alberta Election campaign that ended today can be predictive of the American 2020 campaign. First off, the results:

UCP: 63 seats, 55% of the vote. (United Conservative Party, a recent merger of the Wild Rose Party and the Conservative Party)

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David French of National Review and talk show host Greg Knapp discuss potential redactions in the Mueller report. What should and what should not be included? Then they critique an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. What does it mean to say that Notre Dame is a monument to Western civilization? With the final martini of the day they turn to a question posed in The Rolling Stone magazine: can the French be trusted to rebuild Notre Dame? David and Greg discuss whether this a legitimate concern and why.

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the devastating fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and how the event struck a deep chord with many people around the world. They also are encouraged by how much of the 800-year-old cathedral was saved and discuss what it will take to rebuild the structure and revitalize the church in western Europe. Finally, they pivot back to politics to discuss the Bernie Sanders town hall on the Fox News Channel, and David explains why Bernie – or who whoever the Democrats nominate – will have a very tough time defending Medicare for All once a few simple facts are known.

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Welcome HLC listeners, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Muslims and ye of no faith at all! Welcome indeed to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast number 220, yes you heard right. That’s number 220! This is the Judge da Buddha edition of the show with your judgemental hosts Todd Feinburg on the East Coast and Mike Stopa on the Left coast.

Today we discuss the latest Dem phenom, South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg. He of the Afghanistan tour (while mayor!), he of the openly gay (since 2015), he of the really garden variety liberal political opinions. He of the highly articulate Harvard speak. Is he real? Is he in fact the Bill Weld of the Democrat party? We discuss.

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have a strong difference of opinion about Tiger Woods, but both are impressed by the comeback Woods pulled off to recover from debilitating injuries and win a fifth Masters green jacket. They also enjoy watching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi try to downplay how socialists and socialists policies are surging among Democrats but David warns conservatives not to pop too much popcorn as they watch. And David explains why we may have hit “peak stupid” on Twitter as the left tries to pretend Ilhan Omar’s comments were something other than a flippant diminishing of 9/11 and that any criticism of her comments amounts to incitement.

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Is a Referendum Against Socialism a Winning Republican Strategy for 2020?

 

Mitch McConnell is calling on Republicans to take a stand against socialism to fight the Democrat party in the 2020 election: ‘We need to have a referendum on socialism,’ the Kentucky Republican told reporters. ‘I’m going to be arguing, and I’m encouraging my colleagues to argue, that we are the firewall against socialism in this […]

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