Daily Bread for 6.5.18

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of seventy-two.  Sunrise is 5:17 AM and sunset 8:29 PM, for 15h 12m 58s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 61.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the five hundred seventy-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets this evening at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1884, war hero Gen. William T. Sherman declines a run for the presidency: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

 

Recommended for reading in full —

Spencer S. Hsu, Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett report Mueller accuses Paul Manafort of witness tampering:

In court documents, prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Manafort, 69, has been on home confinement pending trial.

FBI agent Brock W. Domin said that one of the public relations firm’s executives identified as Person D1 told the government he “understood Manafort’s outreach to be an effort to ‘suborn perjury’?” by encouraging others to lie to federal investigators by concealing the firm’s work in the United States.

Spokesmen for Manafort and the special counsel’s office, who are under a court gag order in the case, declined to comment.

Charlie Savage reports Trump and His Lawyers Embrace a Vision of Vast Executive Power:

WASHINGTON — President Trump, ramping up his assertions of extraordinary powers, declared in a tweet on Monday that he had “the absolute right” to pardon himself for any crime.

While no president has ever purported to pardon himself, and it is not clear whether Mr. Trump could legitimately take such a step, the president’s claim was the latest in an aggressive series of moves to assert his control over federal law enforcement.

Last month, Mr. Trump crossed a traditional line by ordering an investigation into the Russia investigators. And late last year he boasted he has “an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.”

The president has had help in shaping his expansive view of his authority: For at least a year, his lawyers in the investigation into whether he tried to obstruct the Russia inquiry have been advising the president that he wields sweeping constitutional powers to impede investigations no matter his motive — and despite obstruction-of-justice laws that everyone else must obey.

Mark Osler observes With his pardons, Trump is turning tool of mercy into sword of retribution:

There is a deeper tragedy, too. While Trump grants pardons to people like D’Souza without going through the office of the Pardon Attorney, thousands of others wait for a decision after they followed the rules. Many of them are well-deserving of consideration, having been over-sentenced for relatively minor narcotics crimes.

Here’s an idea: If President Trump really wants to make a point about the failings of his opponents, he should go big and grant commutations to the thousands of deserving petitioners who were denied or not ruled upon during the Obama administration.

Even better, he can get around to fixing an outdated and bureaucratic clemency process that Obama never repaired — a tortuous and unnecessarily redundant system where seven levels of review occur sequentially. It’s time to take that process out of the Department of Justice, too. It is President Trump’s right to make clemency decisions himself and ignore the existing process, but to do that fairly, he has to scrap what supposedly exists and create something better.

(Osler knows, of course, how unlikely a through review from Trump would be.)

Michael Kruse reports ‘He Pretty Much Gave In to Whatever They Asked For’ (“Trump says he’s a master negotiator. Those who’ve actually dealt with him beg to differ”):

But these past 16 months of Trump’s presidency have shown that whatever skills Trump thinks he acquired over the course of his business career haven’t necessarily translated to his work in the White House. The failed repeal-and-replace health care negotiations, bungled efforts to get funding from Mexico for his promised border wall, the pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Iran nuclear deal—Trump has proven to be more adept at breaking deals than making deals. And the sudden and bizarre scuttling of his meeting with murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore—and now might be back on again—is only the latest data point that suggests he’s either not as good at negotiating as he promised he was, or that negotiating with disparate factions of Congress or in geopolitically fraught international arenas is harder than he thought it would be and harder than anything he’s ever done. The truth, according to negotiation experts who have studied Trump’s track record, people who have negotiated for him and against him, associates, biographers and former employees, is that it’s all of that.

Trump was, and still is, they say, a confident, competitive, aggressive, impulsive, zero-sum, win-at-all-costs, transactional, unpredictable, often underinformed and ill-prepared, gut-following, ego-driven, want-it-and-want-it-now negotiator. His self-burnished image as a tip-top deal-maker long has obscured an actual record that is far more mixed, pocked with moves and acquisitions that scratched a passing itch but created massive financial problems later. His best work, too, was his earliest work. Trump was at his most patient, his most diligent, his most attentive and his most creative—his most effective—some 35 to 45 years ago, when he was intent on pile-driving into the cultural bedrock powerful storylines on which he would build his career as a celebrity business tycoon.At no point, though, in the past nearly half a century—from the shrewd, well-timed talks that led to the Grand Hyatt and Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan to the agreements behind The Art of the Deal and “The Apprentice”—did Trump’s negotiations in real estate and entertainment circles prepare him fully for the degree of nuance and complexity he now faces as president. And his abrupt cancellation last week of the North Korea summit, in the estimation of the negotiating experts I talked to, was a scramble to reclaim a modicum of the leverage he gave up when he too eagerly consented to the meeting in the first place. But Trump’s decision to leave open the possibility of rescheduling (“… please do not hesitate to call me or write”) as well as the ongoing back-and-forth between his administration and its North Korean counterparts signal that he still wants to meet because he still needs a negotiating win heading into November’s midterms.

This Conveyor Belt Can Move Packages In Any Direction: