Release the Memo, January 29, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL for a member of Congress to write a memo based on classified information from the Justice Department, tease it repeatedly in public, and then refuse to show the memo to either the Justice Department or Senators from his own party. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call for the public release of the memo despite objections from the Justice Department. And it is NOT NORMAL for an administration to target a Deputy Attorney General from its own party because he is suspected of not being personally loyal to the president.

Source: Vox

Meeting with Extreme Right Politicians, January 23, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL for members of the House of Representatives to plan a meeting with the leader of an extreme-right Polish political party.  The politician in question has called for the banning of Islam, and the parliamentary secretary of his party has called for the gassing of Jews, gays, and Roma. (The meeting was cancelled due to the government shutdown.)

Source: Britske Listy.

Government Shutdown, January 19, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL for the government to shut down, particularly when one party holds both houses of Congress and the presidency. It is NOT NORMAL for a senator to negotiate an agreement with the president to avert the shutdown only to have the compromise scuttled by the president’s chief of staff (ordinarily, the chief of staff does not outrank the president). It is NOT NORMAL for the director of the Office of Management and Budget to tell reporters that “I found out for the first time last night that the person who technically shuts the government down is me, which is kind of cool.” It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to change their comment line’s outgoing message to say “we cannot answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding . . . hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.” Leaving the somewhat inaccurate framing of this message aside, does no one in this administration have any dignity at all?

Sources: Buzzfeed, the New Yorker, Vox.

Joe Arpaio Running for Senate, January 9, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL that a man who repeatedly endorsed the birther slander against the previous president, failed to investigate hundreds of sex crimes, routinely mistreated the inmates under his care as sheriff, misused public funds, framed someone for attempted murder, and was ultimately convicted of criminal contempt when he refused to stop racial profiling after being ordered to do so by a court is apparently a viable candidate for the Senate in Arizona.

Sources: the New York Times, USA Today.

Senators Refer Author of Trump Dossier for Criminal Charges, January 5, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL for two Senators on the Judiciary Committee to refer a witness to the FBI for criminal charges without consulting with colleagues from the other party. This is particularly troubling because it, at a minimum, has the appearance of attempting to deflect from the investigation of collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign.

Update: With the release of the Fusion GPS testimony by a Senator from the minority party, this criminal referral looks even more craven.

Source: Politico, the Washington Post.

Refocusing of House Intelligence Committee Probe, December 31, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL for the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to focus the committee’s attention away from the possibility that a foreign power is attempting to influence federal elections and onto phantom allegations of FBI “corruption” and yet another examination of the former Secretary of State’s email server. Surely a desire to protect the country’s electoral process should be bipartisan.

Source: the Washington Post.

Corker “Kickback”, December 17, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL to insert a provision into a tax bill at the last minute that will substantially personally benefit a single senator, who coincidentally happens to be the last vote needed to pass the bill. The senator in question insists that he did not know about the provision when he agreed to vote for the bill, because he agreed to vote for the bill without reading it first, which also strikes me as problematic.

Sources: MSNBC, the Tennessean.