Wiretap: The national stories you should be reading

Mike Littwin's curated national news stories and analysis you should be reading
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Round 2 of the debates begins tonight on CNN, with 10 debaters tonight and 10 tomorrow. The headliners tonight are progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are not expected to challenge each other. But there will be challengers, including Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, who may need a breakout moment to continue in the race. Where Pete Buttigieg agrees and/or disagrees with Warren and Sanders could better define Mayor Pete’s place on the Democratic spectrum. Interestingly, all the candidates of color are in the second night of the debate, which could affect how race plays in this first debate. The New York Times has an interesting interactive preview of what to watch tonight in Detroit and whom. And New York magazine has a list of nine (guess they couldn’t think of a 10th) new campaign dynamics to watch for in the debates.

We’re now in Day 3 of Donald Trump’s rat-infested war on Baltimore. In the latest skirmish, Trump once again slams the “corrupt” House Oversight Committee chair, Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, which includes much of Baltimore. Trump tweeted, without showing evidence of course, that thousands of Baltimore African-Americans have thanked him, which leads to some obvious questions, like, how did all these supposed thousands thank him? Drop by the White House? Conference call? Renting a banner plane to fly over the White House? Cummings seems to have stopped responding, which is almost certainly the right way to go.

It wasn’t Robert Mueller who convinced Rep. Katherine Clark, a Kentucky Democrat and a member of the House leadership, to come out for impeachment. (The count, by the way, is up to 106 Democrats.) Clark told The Atlantic that it was actually Mitch McConnell who pushed her over the edge. Clark said the most compelling part of Mueller’s testimony, in her view, was that the Russians are still engaged in trying to interfere with American elections. And McConnell, who blew up the other day over news reports that he wasn’t standing up to the Russians, has done nothing to ensure voting integrity. Clark pointed out that McConnell has refused to bring to a vote a House bill that requires candidates who are offered aid from a foreign power to report it to the FBI. And he said there’s no need for paper ballots as a backup for electronic voting systems. You think this is going to be an issue in the 2020 election? And another point, you think the Moscow Mitch nickname is going to stick?

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.


  1. “There’s substantial support among House Democrats for at least taking the first step to impeach President Trump. Almost half of House Democrats back beginning an impeachment proceeding, a proportion that has been steadily growing for months. But that doesn’t mean the House will start the process”.


    According to the Baltimore Sun when our president called Rep. Elijah Cummings’ 7th District “disgusting rat and rodent infested” he may have a point.

    “President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and calling his 7th District “disgusting, rat and rodent infested” spurred outrage on Twitter. But some observers noted that Baltimore does indeed struggle with rats.

    The city’s relationship with rats was the subject of Baltimore filmmaker Theo Anthony’s 2017 documentary “Rat Film.” The film touches on the way the city’s infestation intersects with segregation, poverty and other racist policies. Anthony declined a request for an interview Monday.”

    Imagine that, racist policies in Baltimore!


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