Clem Notes: The Political Week In Review (8/5)

Scaramucci (we hardly knew ye)

Scaramucci: We have to stop the leaks. “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers.”

John Holmes (McConnell’s former chief of staff) — “Instead of searching for the leaker, search for the idiot who keeps putting the President on irrelevant and counterproductive crusades.”

Julieanne Smolinski (writer / actress): I don’t think we should judge Scramucci too harshly. “I mean, who hasn’t done a ton of blow and thought, ‘I should call The New Yorker RIGHT NOW.’”

Scaramucci: Although I didn’t ask for our conversation to be off the record I trusted that Ryan Lizza would not publish it because “the Lizzas and Scaramuccis have been friends for over 50 years.”

Ryan Lizza: “We are not and have never been ‘old family friends,’ though I think our fathers knew each other, so maybe that’s what he’s talking about.” But it’s been a long time since being Italians from Long Island meant that everything that was said is privileged.

Scaramucci: People are saying that Trump’s idea of loyalty is only about loyalty to him. That’s absolutely false. Trump is “a symmetrical loyalist, for sure — if you take care of him, he’s going to take care of you.” Look at me, I have been super loyal to him, and he is loyal to me.

NY Times: Trump has fired Scaramucci at General Kelly’s request, who hated his lack of discipline.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.” By the way, did you catch the fact that I used the exact same “clean slate” phrasing that Scaramucci used to describe Spicer’s exit? I came up with that one myself after the Mooch told me which hair and make-up person I should be using.

Washington Post: Not to gloat or anything but the Mooch was fired after 11 days. This means both: (a) that he was fired before his official start date and (b) that he will leave before Spicer (who quit in protest when Scaramucci was hired).

Deirdre Scaramucci: I am filing for divorce. I have no interest in being married to someone who is so totally obsessed with Trump. Ladies, can I get an “amen?”

Scaramucci: This is a wee bit embarrassing, even for me. I am going to “go dark before re-emerging as me.” Also I want it to be clear that my divorce has nothing to do with Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Roger Stone (Gulfoyle’s good friend): I can confirm that. Scaramucci is “way too short for Kimberly.”

Lies & Hypocrisy!

Trump: I “got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them and they were very thankful.”

Boy Scouts: There was no such call. And if you want to know how “thankful” we are, please refer back to the apology we put out.

Trump: “Even the President of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”

Mexican President’s Office: “”President Enrique Peña Nieto has not been in recent communication via telephone with President Donald Trump,”

Sarah Sanders: “I wouldn’t say [Trump’s claims about these phone calls] was a lie … The conversations took place. They just simply didn’t take place over a phone call.” For example, after his speech to the Boy Scouts he spoke to a number of people who told him it was terrific. That’s basically the same thing as the head of the boy scouts calling him and telling him it was the best speech ever, right?

Washington Post: During his initial call with the President of Mexico, Trump asked Nieto to stop saying that Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall — — and that, in return Trump was “willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay.” So, to the extent you were unsure whether Trump *knows* that he is lying to the American people, this should allow you to answer that question. Last week Trump reportedly told people at his golf club that the white house is “a real dump.”

Trump: “I love the White House … But fake News sad I called it a dump — TOTALLY UNTRUE.”

Alan Shipnuck (Reporter at is not a political magazine. And our report is totally true. “The president said this in front of eight or nine members and staffers at Bedminster.” Also, look, I am just a golf reporter (so what do i know) but shouldn’t someone on the WH comms team (or what is left of it ) tell Trump that using all caps is sort of juvenile?

Trump: I am going on a 17 day vacation. I need a break from all this winning.

CNN: In the first 196 days at the white house, Obama took 21 days away, while Trump took 41. We wouldn’t normally criticize a president for taking vacation, but it is worth noting that Trump repeatedly criticized Obama on this ground and made many statements like the following during the campaign (a) “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” (b) “I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off.” © “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”


Trump: “The very outdated filibuster rule must go. Budget reconciliation is killing R’s in Senate. Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!”

McConnell: You realize that (a) we were proceeding under reconciliation so we only needed 50 votes and (b) we only got 49 votes even for the “skinny” bill? Getting rid of the filibuster would have done nothing to change the outcome of the health care debate.

Jeff Flake: Okay, okay, I’ll say it. Donald Trump is damaging the country and the GOP. It is time for the GOP to grow a spine and (a) speak out when he says offensive things (b) support free trade; and © protect the filibuster so that when we lose the mid-term elections we can more effectively obstruct the democrats.

Trey Gowdy (R-SC): “Our first challenge is to define those principles upon which our party is based, and then pursue legislation consistent with those principles. I think we are still stuck on the first prong.”

It’s the economy stupid!

Trump: “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising!”

Washington Post: Actually, economic growth averaged 2 percent in the first half of this year, a pace Trump railed against as a candidate (and promised to lift to 3 percent). The economy has added 1.07M jobs since Trump took office. During the same stretch last year (under Obama) it gained 1.25M jobs. Also, maybe we should point out that you said it was a bubble when the Dow hit 18,000 and now you are acting like its a great thing that it just hit 21,000 …

Doug Holtz-Eakin (head of American Action Forum): “On balance, it’s hard to see a Trump bump. The economy is solid. It’s not spectacular.”

North Korea

Trump (in January): “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”

Washington Post: This week North Korea launched an ICBM capable of hitting most of the United States, including New York and Washington DC.

Melissa Hanham (North Korea expert to Middlebury Institute): “You’re probably going to find an expert somewhere who will say [that even if they have an ICBM its still hard to put a nuclear warhead on it that will survive reentry]. I’m not that expert. China used oak as a medium for its reentry vehicle. Like, the wood. They have done the hard parts already. I mean, if they miss New York and hit New Jersey instead, that’s still really bad.”

Trump: “We will handle North Korea. We’re going to be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything.”

Kim Jon-un: Oh, that’s funny. You can’t handle Congress, Sessions, Muller or your Twitter account. How exactly are you going to handle me?

Nikki Haley: We are introducing a new sanctions resolution in the United Nations. True, this is exactly what Obama did, and the very thing that Trump criticized as being ineffective. But really it is the only option we have.

Civil Rights

Trump (to Police Officers): “Please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know the way you put their hand so they don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody … you can take that hand away.’’

Chuck Rosenberg (Acting head of DEA): Trump’s comments “condoned police misconduct” and are wrong. I am staying this “because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.”

Sarah Sanders: “He was simply making a comment, making a joke, and it was nothing more than that.” You know, it’s the same as when Trump talks about how women like it when he grabs them by the genitals. Just a joke. Why does the press lack any sense of humor about this stuff?

Clarence Cox (director of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement) That “wasn’t funny. We were not laughing.”

Darrell Stephens (director of Major Cities Chiefs Association): “Even if it’s an attempt at humor, it sends the wrong message … It’s not something that you should joke about.”

Sessions: It has been about a week since I did something terrible on civil rights. So this week I am going to create a job posting suggesting that we are going to spend money suing colleges for affirmative action on the ground that it discriminates against white people. No, I don’t see any irony at all in using the civil rights division for this purpose.

NY Times: This might be a good time to post a photo of Trump’s cabinet to show that it is all white men.…/the-all-male-photo-op-isnt-a-gaff…

Washington Post: And we are going to write an article showing that Jared got into Harvard as a result of his father’s multi-million dollar gifts, despite the fact that his high school counselors thought he was wildly unqualified.

Boy Scouts. We are going to start accepting transgender boy scouts. You know things have gone too far when even a regressive faux-military jingoistic organization like the scouts recognizes the need to distance itself from the president


White House: We are going to cut legal immigration in half and focus on “merit” in deciding who to let in, by which we mean people who have money and speak English.

Jim Acosta: How is that compatible with the basic principles of America, for example as expressed on the Statute of Liberty? You know, ““Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Stephen Miller: “The poem that you’re referring to was added later, is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty” so really, it’s irrelevant to American values. And if you think its so important why don’t you “tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land?”

Eric Bolling (Fox News): Stephen Miller is “not a communications person. Don’t put that guy in front of the cameras again.”

Stephen Colbert: “maybe [Miller is] right. Maybe we need to put a new poem on the Statue of Liberty.” Something like “Give me your wealthy, your rich, your huddled MBAs earning to be tax-free. Send these, the English-speaking, fully insured, to me …”


Congress: We are going to impose new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the election.

Trump: “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”

McConnell: You realize that you are shooting at your own party, right? Sigh. We are going to implement a set of “pro-forma” sessions during the August recess to ensure that you cannot simply appoint a new Attorney General to try to get rid of the Russia investigation.

Trent Franks (R-Az): Mueller should resign because he and former FBI director James Comey have a “close friendship” that makes Muller appear “to be a partisan arbiter of justice” and “until Mueller resigns, he will be in clear violation of the law.”

Washington Post: The allegation that Muller and Comey are close friends has been totally discredited. Muller has never been to Comey’s house or vice versa.

Sekulow (Trump’s lawyer to NBC on July 16): “I want to be clear — the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr. … It was, in fact, from him and I believe it was his lawyer was in consultation.” (to ABC on July 12) “the president didn’t sign off on anything” and “wasn’t involved” with the statement.

Washington Post: We have heard from multiple sources that Trump dictated Donald Jr’s first statement — the one in which he omitted any mention of Clinton or the other attendees and said that the meeting was about Russian adoptions.

Sarah Sanders: “The president weighed in as any father would.” No, I will not admit or acknowledge that this is a different story than the one Trump’s lawyer told.

Muller: I am going to set up a grand jury. If you are paying attention you will note that I already have a grand jury looking into General Flynn. So, by process of deduction you can probably figure out that this one is for other people.