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Longtime Republican economist abandons the GOP because it has ‘become the party of Trump’

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A long list of Never Trump conservatives, from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to veteran columnist George Will to Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, have expressed their disdain for Donald Trump’s presidency by leaving the Republican Party — and on Monday, Bush-era economist Greg Mankiw announced that he has left as well.

Mankiw, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, announced in an October 28 blog post that he had “switched my voter registration from Republican to unenrolled, a.k.a. independent.” While some former Republicans have joined the Libertarian Party — former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, for example — or the Constitution Party, Mankiw now lacks a party affiliation. And Mankiw, in his post, offers two main reasons why he has departed the GOP.

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“First,” Mankiw explains, “the Republican Party has largely become the party of Trump. Too many Republicans in Congress are willing, in the interest of protecting their jobs, to overlook Trump’s misdeeds — just as too many Democrats were for (President Bill) Clinton during his impeachment. I have no interest in associating myself with that behavior.”

Mankiw added that “maybe someday,” the GOP will “return to having honorable leaders like Bush, (Sen. John) McCain and (Sen. Mitt) Romney. Until then, count me out.”

Mankiw went on to give his second main reason for leaving the GOP, asserting, “in Massachusetts, unenrolled voters can vote in either primary.” That means that one can vote in a Democratic primary in that state without being a registered Democrat, and Mankiw stresses that he would like to help the Democratic Party choose a “center-left” presidential candidate like former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota rather than a “far-left populist” such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Interestingly, Mankiw puts tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang in the “center-left” category even though he shares many of Warren and Sanders’ views.

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Mankiw posted that if Democrats nominate a “far-left populist,” he fears that doing so might “tempt those in the center and center-right to hold their noses and vote for Trump’s reelection.”


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MSNBC panel bursts out laughing after watching clip of Alan Dershowitz explaining his Trump defense strategy

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On MSNBC Saturday, a panel of legal experts tore into former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's argument that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, which anchor Joy Reid played for them in a clip.

"You cannot make any sense out of it. It is an absurd comment," said former federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, to laughter around the table. "It is the standard by which we have impeached in the past. If you listen to the witnesses at the House, three out of four said that is an impeachable offense. The articles against Richard Nixon included abuse of power. It is clearly what was intended by our framers. It's what the Federalist Papers say, and it's the thing that makes sense. Other high crimes and misdemeanors are exactly that. It isn't under the federal statutes that they were talking about. Bribery isn't under the federal statute because there was no federal bribery crime when the Constitution was passed. It was whatever people thought it was."

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All the president’s grifters

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

One of Donald Trump's great gifts is an instinct for surrounding himself with people who are so sleazy and lacking in credibility that when they're indicted for some scam or flip on him and reveal his abuses of power they're easy to discredit.

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Ken Starr will end up being a nightmare for Trump during the Senate impeachment trial: Ex-solicitor general

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On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," law professor and former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal walked through the problems with President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team, which includes such notable names as former anti-Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr and retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

"I'm not going to like join the chorus of those who say because Trump has hired Epstein's lawyers, that's somehow bad," said Katyal. "I think it's dangerous thing in this country to attack the lawyers for the clients that they've represented in the past. We don't want to incentivize great lawyers not to take hard cases because of fear of personal attacks later."

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