Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Neal Katyal: With Three Simple Answers, Mueller Can Speak Volumes
For those who have read it, the special counsel’s report speaks for itself. For those who haven’t, he can speak for it in Congress.
There are just three simple yes-or-no questions Congress should ask Robert Mueller:
Mr. Mueller, the president said your report found, in his words, “no collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration.”
First, did your report find there was no collusion?
Second, did your report find there was no obstruction?
Third, did your report give the president complete and total exoneration?
That’s it. That’s the ballgame. It makes no difference if there are 20 questioners or two when Mr. Mueller appears before two House committees on Wednesday. All of this speculation about whether Mr. Mueller will go beyond the four corners of his report is largely a waste of time, with one asterisk. The report itself is deeply damning to Mr. Trump, elevating him to the rare president who has been credibly documented as committing federal crimes while sitting in office.
So what accounts for the vast discrepancy between what the report says and the way the American public has received it? It’s not hard to pinpoint three factors and to design the right questions to bring the focus back to the report.
It started with Donald Trump’s racist tweets demanding that four Democratic congresswomen – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar – “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came”.
All four women are American citizens and only one, Omar, was born overseas.
On Wednesday, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump continued his attack, especially on Omar. In response, the crowd chanted: “Send her back!”
Subsequently, Trump tried unconvincingly to distance himself from the chant.
The relevant question is not whether Trump is a racist. Of course he is. Or whether he’s going to continue bashing these members of Congress, who fill all his demonization boxes: Democrats, females, people of color, a Muslim. Of course he will.
The real question is whether the people bankrolling Trump and the Republican party are going to stop this rot before it consumes the politics of 2020, and perhaps more.
We all know about Franklin and Winston, Ronnie and Maggie, and George and Tony. For better or worse, these transatlantic allies enjoyed grand visions, global power and left indelible marks on history. But now we have Donald and Boris, whose grand visions stare back at them each morning in the mirror.
And their concept of global power is – how to put this diplomatically? – incompatible with the concept of intelligent life.
To understand how this DoBo partnership is likely to function, you need to recall Trump’s excruciating explanation of his kind words about Johnson while standing next to the walking dead that was his predecessor this time last year. [..]
In truth, Boris is not Donald’s best friend in London. Nigel is. And for some strange reason Donald can’t help pointing it out every time he talks about the new prime minister.
“I think Nigel is someplace in this audience,” Trump told the young activists on Tuesday. “Where is Nigel? Where is he? Nigel Farage. He’s here someplace. I saw him. I said, ‘What is he doing here?’ He’s a little older than most of you. Where is he? Nigel. Nigel. I’ll tell you what: He got 32% of the vote from nowhere, over in UK. Nigel. Thank you, Nigel.”
So get ready to move over, Boris. You’re an incredible man, and Trump means that. But Nigel, Nigel. Wherefore art thou, Nigel?
Leigh Goodmark: Stop Treating Domestic Violence Differently From Other Crimes
The criminal justice system isn’t preventing intimate partner violence. It might be making it worse.
All of a sudden, it seems like criminal justice reform is on everyone’s policy agenda. Politicians across the political spectrum in the United States are finally thinking about policies to reverse the decades-long expansion of the criminal system, and the mass incarceration that has resulted.
But legislators have been doubling down on the system when it comes to domestic violence. Concerns about intimate partner violence threatened the campaign for pretrial bail and discovery reform in New York State. Iowa abandoned some mandatory minimum sentences in 2016, but created new ones for intimate partner violence. Various federal reform proposals would have decreased mandatory minimum sentences for many crimes, but increased them for crimes of domestic violence.
The implication is obvious: Crimes of violence, and particularly domestic violence, should be exempt from criminal justice reform — and may even merit harsher treatment than they’re currently subject to.
These efforts are misguided. The effectiveness of the criminal legal response to domestic violence is a sensitive subject. Questioning it is a harder sell politically than reconsidering our responses to drug or property crimes. But intimate partner violence should be included in criminal justice reforms. This is not an argument for treating incidents of domestic violence differently than other crimes; rather, it’s an argument to stop treating them differently.