National News Roundup: Week 39 (October 15–21)

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

I saw an article that described this week as a “terrible week for Trump.” Needless to say, as a general rule, a bad week for Trump is a good week for the rest of America, and this week appears to be no exception. Though we’re not out of the woods by any means — in fact, some really concerning things did happen this week — we reached a bit of a summit in the slow slog back to a healthy country. It’s nice to have some news to report this week that’s actually good.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not Facebook staff! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

The Russia Collusion Investigation was pretty all over the map this week — the short version is that the investigation is working, kind of, but what we’re learning is not awesome:

This has really not been a good week on the Threats to Civil Rights front either:

Your “Normal” Weird:

  • The Trump Reality Show Continues. I’m not going to dwell, simply because the most sensationalist chest-thumping seems like a vacuous distraction rather than a credible threat. But this week Trump continued the ongoing reality show, issuing more threats to McCain after the latter criticized his bonkers foreign policy and badly botching condolence calls after several soldiers were lost in Niger. Adding to the surreal reality-show feel of current politics, Dubya also said his piece about Trump (although he declined to mention him by name at any point). It’s been strange, y’all.
  • Tax Reform News.* The Senate passed a tax reform initiative this week along partisan lines, squeaking out the bare minimum of votes needed despite bloc opposition from Democrats (and Rand Paul). I place this under the ‘weird’ column rather than the ‘bad’ column for several reasons: First of all, few people have even seen the bill, despite its success on the floor; as this first fact suggests, the bill is being rushed for a variety of reasons (which I can only hope to speculate about, since the Hill is a such bizarre quagmire right now). But they are using the reconciliation process — which you may remember from the summer’s ACA Repeal Greatest Hits — to pass Go and collect their $200 without working with Democrats. And that process is inherently kind of tricky and complicated, which makes it odd that they are trying to rush and also use it. Senator Corker’s recent outbursts have caused some pundits to speculate that tax reform is the only thing keeping the GOP on board with Trump’s egregious and dangerous Presidency; if they’re right, the tax reform efforts are also odd because they’re being treated like a final hurdle to impeachment.

The Bad:

The Good:

And that’s what I have; some good, some bad, overall a bit less horrifying than normal. But the news is still moving very quickly, so daily news summaries like WTFJHT remain a very good idea for the foreseeable future. Let’s see if we can keep this streak going!

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