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‘Trump whisperer’ Maggie Haberman predicts ‘messy’ escalation in shutdown as Trump has no staff left to counsel him

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New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman is known for her ability to maintain close ties to Trumpworld, even earning the nickname “Trump whisperer” for her insights and ability to predict Trump’s behavior.

On Thursday, Haberman had bad news for anyone hoping to see a quick and painless end to the shutdown that Trump called for in an effort to get House Democrats to allocate money for the wall he promised voters Mexico would pay for in 2020.

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Appearing on CNN with host Anderson Cooper, Haberman said Trump’s tactics—such as canceling a visit to troops in Afghanistan by congressional Democrats—comes straight out of New York politics and mirror strategies that were employed by people like his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a former mayor.

“The problem is, it’s different when you’re president doing it,” she said. “For him, it risks coming off as petty.”

Pelosi was “clearly trolling” Trump by canceling his State of the Union address, Haberman said, and he had to respond by “doing something to appear dominant.”

“I do think that this is going to become a messy back-and-forth,” she said. “We are well past the point where he is listening to people around him who want him to appear presidential. He has shattered norms over and over. They have said ‘You are not in your re-election window,’ assuming he is going to run for re-election. This is going to be the type of politics you are going to see over and over again. It’s how he won.”

Cooper asked Haberman who Trump is listening to in the West Wing.

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“Mostly himself,” she said. “He is increasingly guided by what he wants to do. And, remember, there are very few people in the White House left. There is a lot that has been boiled down. And you have a very small core group, many of whom—not all, but many of whom—share his impulses.”

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Trump’s refusal to bail out cash-strapped cities will blow up in his face at election time: economist

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On CNN Saturday, University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers said he was "baffled" by President Donald Trump's flat refusal to allow coronavirus stimulus to go to city governments, ostensibly because they are being mismanaged by Democrats and don't deserve more money.

"I took calls from journalists throughout the last two or three years saying, what is it Trump is going to do in late 2020 to artificially goose the economy to get re-elected? And people were thinking of all sorts of ideas," said Wolfers. "The Democratic Congress has sent him a $3 trillion bill and he's refused to sign it."

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GOP strategist shut down by CNN’s Blackwell for fear-mongering about deficits after Republicans handed out tax cuts to the rich

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On CNN Saturday, Republican strategist Brian Robinson tried to claim the Democratic coronavirus stimulus proposal was a nonstarter because of deficit spending — and was immediately smacked down by anchor Victor Blackwell, who reminded him his party forced through a 12-figure unpaid-for tax cut for corporations and billionaires in 2017 over Democratic objections.

"$3.4 trillion dollars is where [Democrats] started. That's not a place we can start," said Robinson. "We have to fix our short-term problems. We've got to help people in need. We've got to help people not be evicted from their homes. Those are all important. But, it's not the only consideration. We already added $3 trillion to our national debt in the last few months. That's never happened in our nation's history. There is a limit to how much we can do. Republicans aren't pinching pennies, they're trying to use common sense."

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Trump is down to only two paths to victory in November: election-modeling historian

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On Saturday's edition of CNN's "Smerconish," American University history professor Allan Lichtman, whose election-modeling system based on 13 "key" factors predicted President Donald Trump's win in 2016 and now predicts former Vice President Joe Biden will defeat him, discussed the two possible ways he believes — contrary to his model — that Trump could potentially turn things around and manage a victory.

"The keys are in granite. He has seven keys against him. It takes six to predict the loss of the incumbent White House party," said Lichtman. "However, there are two things outside the realm of the keys or any prediction system, Michael, that keep me up at night."

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