Abbreviated pundit roundup: Most corrupt administration in history

Meanwhile, Bess Levin at Vanity Fair writes about the Kushner company bailout:

If the deal pans out, according to the Times, Kushner Cos. will use the cash to buy out Vornado, whose C.E.O., Steve Roth, previously said that 666 Fifth “would be worth a lot more if it was just dirt.” While Vornado would continue to own the building’s retail space, Kushner Cos. would pay it $120 million to settle the $80 million high-interest loan that Vornado provided graciously provided six years ago for the office building. A QIA spokesman told The Hive “QIA has no involvement whatsoever in this deal.”

Qatar’s newfound beneficence toward the Kushner family is especially curious given the long-standing speculation about Jared’s personal alliances with Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the Abu Dhabi, respectively. Some political observers’ eyebrows were raised when, just a few weeks after Charlie’s talks with the Qataris fell apart, his son endorsed a Saudi- and U.A.E.-led blockade of Qatar. One wonders if the Trump administration will continue to support the blockade, or whether it will suddenly have a change of heart now that the Qatar Investment Authority, via Brookfield, has opened its wallet.

Paul Waldman at The Week writes about Trump’s “animals” comment during a discussion on California sanctuary cities:

[E]ven if you want to (very generously!) assume that MS-13 was indeed on Trump’s mind at the moment he said these words, it hardly changes the fact that these comments are very much in line with what we all know Trump thinks of immigrants.

Since the moment he announced his campaign for president, Trump has used a particular strategy to justify his immigration policies: Focus on crimes committed by individual immigrants as a way of ginning up fear and hatred, creating animus toward all immigrants. And when necessary, use dehumanizing language — like calling them “animals” — to make sure that your target audience feels no empathy or hesitation about supporting the cruelest policies to target them.

Ryan Bort at Rolling Stone analyzes the one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation:

So far, the investigation has yielded eight indictments against 22 individuals and businesses. Campaign aide Rick Gates, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have all pled guilty to charges stemming from the investigation. Though he has pled not guilty, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been indicted for a vast array of financial crimes. But despite the criminality surrounding his campaign, Donald Trump is still president of the United States, and on Thursday morning he took to Twitter to “celebrate.”

Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast is ready for a takeover of the Democratic Party:

In the first year of his presidency, Trump’s approval rating gender gap averaged 12 points—45 percent of men backed him, and just 33 percent of women. That’s twice the gap of the previous three presidents. Women are much smarter about the guy. And more recently, Trump’s ratings have fallen even more with women and risen among men (that is, the type of men who think it’s cool the president shagged a hot porn star and then paid her to be quiet).

Another reason more women in politics will make things better is that women are more likely to define “economics” in a way I think we need to define it these days in terms of social policy.

And on a final note, Eugene Robinson reminds us to stay focused:

The hum of obsessive and counterproductive worry is rising: President Trump’s approval has crept up from abysmal to merely awful! Candidates from the party’s progressive wing have won some House primaries! Republicans have not, in every single case, chosen candidates who are unelectable! The Russia investigation is a year old, and still nobody has been frog-marched out of the West Wing in chains! And Trump is still president!

Get a grip, people. Try to focus. The November election is too important, and the political terrain too advantageous, for Democrats to waste time on their customary defeatism.

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