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

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Trump and Andrew McCabe, January 23, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask the acting FBI Director how he voted in the 2016 presidential election. It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to be angered by the fact that the acting FBI Director’s wife received money from a political action committee affiliated with the minority party during a run for the Virginia state Senate two years earlier.

Source: the Washington Post.

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.

George Papadopoulos and Russian Contacts, December 30, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL that an advisor to the president’s 2016 presidential campaign team was warned in advance that Moscow was prepared to damage the president’s rival’s campaign and did not notify the FBI or the State department. (Keep in mind that several years ago when the Gore campaign was anonymously given a briefing book for the Bush campaign they contacted the FBI immediately.) It is even more NOT NORMAL that the advisor drafted a speech that he told Russian contacts should be taken as “the signal to meet.”

Source: the New York Times.

Special Congressional Election in Michigan, December 10, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL for the governor of Michigan to refuse to call a special election until the November midterm elections for the seat of a congressman who resigned, effectively leaving most citizens of the state’s largest city without representation for nearly a year. By contrast, the special election for an Arizona congressional seat is being held in April.

Source: the Detroit News, AZCentral.

Tax Bill Rushed into Senate, December 1, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL for the Senate to try to pass a bill that will have an enormous impact on the nation’s economy that has been written hastily, is still in flux, is riddled with loopholes, and has had no hearings. Remember that the Senate was intended by the Founders to be a deliberative body that would serve as a check on the House of Representatives. This is not the process that the Founders had in mind.

Update, December 5, 2017: Apparently the hasty process worked against the bill’s supporters, who effectively nullified the corporate tax cut by forgetting to change other provisions.

Sources: the Washington Post; The Hill; Vox.