Thursday, August 20, 2020

-Donald Trump, Jr., on Steve Bannon's fraud scheme in 2018

We all had a good laugh at Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) for kicking off the DNC’s third night with the words “holy mackerel, folks,” but honestly? Holy mackerel, folks.

  • Kamala Harris made history as the first woman of color to accept the nomination for vice president from a major party, reintroducing herself to Americans in a personal speech centered on her family history. Harris previewed the way she’ll go after President Trump (“I know a predator when I see one”), but kept the focus on her hopeful vision for the future, and where it starts: “Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: ‘Where were you when the stakes were so high?’ They will ask us, ‘What was it like?’ And we will tell them. We will tell them not just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.” (
  • Before Harris spoke, Barack Obama delivered an astonishingly direct, emotional warning to voters about the immense stakes of the election. “This president and those in power—those who benefit from keeping things the way they are—they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. That’s how they win...That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all. We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy.” We’ve received word that “copy-pasting the full speech transcript isn’t a newsletter, Sarah,” so please just watch the whole thing
  • While Obama echoed Michelle’s condemnation of Trump as in over his head—“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t”—Trump obligingly illustrated his point in real time, tweeting such presidential musings as, “HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT!” and “WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE?” That’s all in a day’s work for Trump (and frankly a little tame, after praising QAnon earlier in the day), but Obama’s direct criticism was a striking departure from his usual approach, reflecting his genuine fear for the future of the country if Trump wins re-election. 

Night three of the convention was, in every respect, Stakes Night.

  • The big speeches were preceded by heartbreaking segments on gun violence (if you’ve only got a couple of links left in you, watch this short March for Our Lives video and Gabby Giffords's enormously powerful speech), climate change, immigration, and domestic violence. Hillary Clinton brought a warning as the Ghost from Election Past: “Don't forget, Joe and Kamala can win by three million votes and still lose—take it from me.” And Elizabeth Warren spoke to the enormous challenges families and child care workers are facing during the pandemic, and outlined Biden’s plan for universal child care. 
  • The fourth and final night will culminate in Joe Biden accepting the party’s presidential nomination—probably worth a watch. Other speakers will include Biden’s erstwhile primary rivals Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and (lmao) Mike Bloomberg, as well as veepstakes finalists Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, and Atlanta Mayor Tammy Keisha Lance Bottoms. Also, Steph Curry.

We’ll be getting started early on the convention livestream with a live Pod Save America pre-show—right about now, if you opened this email on sight, at 8pm ET/5 pm PT. Hustle on over, and stick around for the convention groupthread →

That's right, we're plugging it again. It's the biggest night of the Democratic National Convention, and before it all starts, the hosts of Pod Save America will be hosting a live pre-show on! Join as Jon, Jon Tommy, and Dan recap the biggest moments of this year’s convention, look back at some previous ones, and maybe even play some drinking games. We promise it will be a lot better than anything on cable— join us at 5PM PT/8PM ET on

A very happy Steve Bannon Got Arrested Day to one and all. (We got you something.) Bannon and three others have been charged with defrauding donors to “We Build The Wall,” a crowdfunding campaign to, well, build the wall, since apparently Mexico did not pay for it after all. Prosecutors alleged that after falsely promising donors that their contributions were set aside exclusively for border wall construction, Bannon used nearly $1 million to pay off his personal expenses. (Brian Kolfage, one of his co-conspirators, seems to have used illegally siphoned funds to pay for the boat he later sailed in a Trump boat parade.) He was arrested on a $35 million yacht by federal postal inspectors, which is more of a 3 a.m. Benadryl-assisted stress dream than a news story, but here we are. President Trump did his best to distance himself from the whole thing, and Bannon has pleaded not guilty. Anyway, Brian called it.

The Trump administration has shifted power over apportioning federal funds from career officials to political appointees. For decades, the career staff at the Office of Management and Budget has been responsible for signing off on the legality of the federal government’s spending. OMB Director Russell Vought has now granted sign-off authority to political appointees instead—people without training or expertise, who are there primarily to advance Trump’s agenda. Vought’s memo also gives himself authority to approve apportionment decisions himself. You might remember Vought from such career triumphs as “illegally withholding aid funds to help Trump extort Ukraine” and “defying a congressional subpoena to answer questions about it.” What could go wrong?

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New York will allow all voters to request mail-in ballots for November. 

The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted to keep Kanye West off the ballot because the GOP operative delivering his signatures missed the legal deadline. 

Michigan will pay $600 million to the victims of the Flint water crisis.

The Kansas City Chiefs will prohibit fans from wearing appropriative Native American-themed headdresses and face paint at the team's home games. (Though those will still take place at, uh, "Arrowhead Stadium.")

. . . . . .

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