A panel of commentators told MSNBC on Wednesday that the president likely doesn’t even understand the doctrine of separation of powers, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow President Donald Trump to use the House of Representatives to deliver his State of the Union during his government shutdown.
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel said that despite tradition, delivering the State of the Union as an address didn’t begin until Woodrow Wilson, but even so the decision rested with the House Speaker.
“Undergirding all of this is that it’s up to the Speaker of the House and up to both chambers to pass a resolution inviting the other branch of government to come into Congress,” Weigel said. “The president can’t just walk in. You have to kinda wonder how much the White House understands this.” He added that Trump “often assumes he has power which he does not constitutionally have.”
Weigel said that having “a pretty pliant Republican House for a couple of years” had left Trump ill-prepared to deal with a co-equal as tough as Pelosi, and that the president’s vaunted business acumen wouldn’t help him either. Fellow guest former Maryland Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards agreed, saying that Trump hadn’t “counted on having an opposition party in the House.”
“It seems like we are in a debate of etiquette and protocol,” Hans Nichols chimed in from the White House. “The president doesn’t understand that it’s Nancy Pelosi holding the invites, she’s holding the dance card.”
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White House pulls new FEMA nominee for barroom brawl — but not for his boss’ bribery
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow began her Wednesday show detailing that Jeff Byard, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead FEMA, has withdrawn his name from nomination because of an "altercation" previously reported.
Already Trump's FEMA is having problems because of the lead FEMA officials being named in serious bribery scandals. Byard's boss, in particular, is under a 10-count indictment. To make matters worse, a former deputy is also under indictment, but for a completely different case involving a 2013 Navy scandal.
"Any mystery around that part of the guy’s past would have been cleared up this past year in August when he was indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged involvement in that Navy bribery scheme," Maddow reported. "He was arrested thereafter."
Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.
Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.
DNI whistleblower complaint stems from promise Trump allegedly made in phone call to foreign leader: report
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the source of the whistleblower complaint currently being suppressed by the Director of National Intelligence is a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.
According to the report, the whistleblower became aware that the president made a "promise" to this unspecified foreign leader, and was so disturbed by the nature of that promise that he or she filed a complaint through channels set up to help whistleblower claims involving classified information.