Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who attended a White House meeting on North Korea Wednesday, all-but-verified that the gathering was for show. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front,” the Democratic senator told the host that lawmakers “learned nothing [about North Korea] you couldn’t read in the newspaper.”
Donald Trump invited 100 senators to attend a classified briefing at 3p.m. today, bussing in the lawmakers from Capitol Hill to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. Several senators who attended said the president discussed issues they were already aware of from the press.
“Why do you think he had you come to the White House for this?” Burnett asked.
“Oh, complete optics,” Merkley said. “Giving him a chance to say he considers it important enough to have us come to the White house.”
Merkley noted that given the stakes, one could have anticipated that Trump would present a strategy for dealing with North Korea (particularly since—as Vice President Mike Pence noted—“The era of strategic patience is over”).
“They’re not willing to share that yet,” Merkley said. “So we learned nothing you couldn’t read in a newspaper.”
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Sen. Jeff Merkley on the North Korea meeting at the WH: “We learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper” https://t.co/JZD5Zw4xOx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 26, 2017
GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden
In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.
"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"
The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.
Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump
President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.
"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.
"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."
The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.
Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president
During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.
"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."
What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.