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Congress

Roger Stone: Bet On Me Testifying In July

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Political gambling site PredictIt has launched betting on whether or not Roger Stone will testify in open session before Congress by the end of the year, and whether or not he will face federal criminal charges in the Russia interference probe.

Bets on Stone opened Tuesday on “the stock market for politics.”

In a phone interview regarding the PredictIt questions, Stone told Big League Politics that he will likely be testifying in July.

“I think we are very close to a tentative agreement for the ground rules of a testimony in July, but they are not open to a public session,” Stone told Big League. “Which figures, because they attack me in public sessions. Remember that members of Congress have immunity for the libelous and false things they say — so when Adam Schiff from California tells an egregious lie and defames you, unfortunately you can’t sue him — or I would.”

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Stone explained that he is eager to testify because it is the only method available to counter the false claims being made about him by members of Congress.

“The only opportunity that I have to respond to a litany of falsehoods that they have put out is the hearings. That said, I will probably proceed because I would like to clear the air on this. They have agreed to allow me to make an open statement and I will make the statement public. Kind of like what James Comey did — it’s interesting.”

He added that, “frankly, I have a few questions I need to ask Schiff about why an Iranian arms dealer is doing fundraisers for him, and a follow up question of why won’t you just resign? He needs to resign from Congress, he’s an embarrassment.”

Currently, the majority of bets on the site do not believe that Stone will testify.

“If this prediction comes true, PredictIt will redeem all Yes shares at $1. Shares in No will have zero value. If this prediction does not come true, PredictIt will redeem all No shares at $1. Shares in Yes will have zero value,” the PredictIt page explains.

Despite his tentative plans to testify, don’t rush to bet ‘yes’ on PredictIt, the rules state that it must be an open hearing — which Congress is refusing to agree to.

“Former Trump presidential campaign advisor Roger Stone shall testify, in person, under subpoena or otherwise, before an open hearing of any Senate, House, joint, select, or special committee or subcommittee of the U.S. Congress on or before December 31, 2017,” the PredictIt rules for the testimony bets state.

Stone has been offering to testify regarding the witch hunt since May — even challenging Senate to allow him to do so.

“I myself am very anxious to testify before the House and Senate committees in public. I don’t need a subpoena. I don’t need immunity. I’m going to give them whatever documents they requested, although I believe I’ve been under surveillance so they probably already have them anyway,” Stone said on CNN in May.

Though Stone has been mentioned during nearly every Senate hearing on the alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 election, and has been named in the investigation, he has still not been called upon to speak for himself.

Stone told Big League, that testifying “would give me an opportunity to take their own exact words and read them back and point out why they are false. They bought the whole false narrative of Russian collusion and now they are embarrassed because they have nothing — they have ZERO. They can’t prove anything on anybody associated with Trump — because there is just nothing there.”

“Even to the extent that General Mike Flynn is in trouble, he is in trouble for not filing his representation of the Turks. It had nothing to do with Russia. That’s the only law that I can see that he may have been broken — and even that is inadvertent because he did file with the Clerk of the House, he just failed to file a copy of the same report with the state department. It was therefore a clerical mistake. The fact that he filed with the Clerk of the House means he clearly wasn’t hiding anything — not that I am in the business of defending him.”

Much of the basis for the investigation into Stone comes due to comments he has made publicly claiming that he had contact with WikiLeaks, something which he has since walked back, and which Julian Assange denies. The political trickster came under further scrutiny over mundane conversations that he had with Guccifer 2.0 over Twitter, that he has since made public.

“A witch hunt is exactly what it is, it’s a fraud, it’s a fairytale, it’s a charade — made up by demented liberals who can’t get over the fact that their candidate spent $2 billion and got beat by a real estate mogul who spent $258 million. They just can’t get over it, they had the old media rigged, the new media rigged — they had the full support of the mainstream media and outspent us, and they still couldn’t win. Do you know why? Because the people hate Hillary Clinton, they despise her, because she’s a crook — an arrogant crook.”

As Big League Politics previously reported, many believe that Guccifer was not actually involved in the leak, and was instead a creation of the Democratic National Committee to attempt to discredit and taint the impending WikiLeaks releases. Stone himself has stated many times that he does not believe that the shadowy persona is connected to Russia.

Prediction markets such as PredictIt have become far more accurate than traditional polling, and many look to the trends to form political analysis.

In A PBS NewsHour special,  David Rothschild, who studies these markets for Microsoft Research, stated that “many of us rely on polls and pundits when it comes to presidential prognostication. But your best bet for accurate and reliable political predictions, it turns out, is actually the marketplace.”

“The evidence clearly shows that markets where you can bet on — or invest in — political outcomes are more accurate than any collection of pundits or statistical polling averages — and extremely well calibrated. Is it gambling? Is it investing? Call it what you will, but putting your money where your mouth is has a beneficial impact on democracy. People start paying attention in a way that they never did before, so they make an effort to learn about politics, to understand politics, to engage in politics,” Rothschild added.

On Sunday, Stone will be speaking at the ‘Rally Against Political Violence’ outside the White House at noon. Others appearing include myself, Jack Posobiec, Rebel Media’s Laura Loomer, Lucian Wintrich of the Gateway Pundit, Michael Flynn Jr, and many others.

A fascinating must-see documentary about Stone titled ‘Get Me Roger Stone‘ is currently streaming on NetFlix, and his book ‘The Making the President‘ is on sale on Amazon. Both provide in-depth detail about his actual role in helping to elect President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

 

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Congress

SCHWEIKART: Why Mitch McConnell Actually Deserves Some Credit For Kavanaugh

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I give Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a lot of friendly (and not so friendly) guff, beginning with my affectionate name for him, Yertle. During the Obama years, I—and many others— argued he was insufficiently combative, especially when it came to supporting fighters like Ted Cruz and shutting down the government.
Since the election of Trump, Yertle 2.0 has emerged from his shell.

It began with Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yertle announced he would get Trump’s nominee confirmed, and rounded up every single Republican—except Johnny Isaakson (who was out with back surgery)—to vote for Gorsuch. But Yertle also helped pressure three Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, and Joe Donnelly, to vote yes for a final tally of 54-45.

But Yertle actually made a more courageous maneuver, and one that set the stage for virtually all that is happening now with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy, in corralling his caucus to end the so-called “nuclear option” in April, terminating the Democrats’ ability to use the filibuster to stall Republican judicial nominees. That vote was a shockingly close party line vote of 52-48, at a time when Arizona’s John McCain was still healthy enough to appear in the Senate.

Even more important still, however, was the moment when Yertle stood at the bridge in March 2016 and said “The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” In so doing, he refused a hearing to Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. With support from Paul Ryan and Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, Yertle stood tall and attacks bounced off his shell.

Making Yertle’s position all the more difficult was that by March 2016, he almost certainly knew that Donald Trump would be the nominee of the Republican Party, and given that he almost certainly also subscribed to conventional wisdom, it meant he did not think Trump would be president. So was Yertle merely hoping President Hillary Clinton would have a better nominee? Was he holding out hope that Trump might win? Was he making an institutional statement about the role of a Republican senate under a Clinton administration? Or was he just (gulp!) brave? No one knows.

Yertle’s stand at the bridge, however, was monumental. Gorsuch was confirmed, but Yertle—whom I and others have accused of doing little to advance the Trump agenda on occasion—nevertheless marched forward at a hare’s pace to confirm all of Trump’s circuit court nominees. Note that if Kavanaugh is confirmed, which is likely, his replacement on the D.C. circuit court will be . . . another Trump appointee.

Another of Trump’s circuit court nominees received a cloture vote yesterday before the announcement of Kavanaugh, and will advance to the floor this week for confirmation, bringing the total number of Trump’s circuit court judges to 22. This is a record for any president’s first two years and Trump still has six months left to fill other vacancies, assuring he will expand on that record, probably finishing the first half of his first term with about 28 confirmed judges. Already he had filled 8% of all circuit court seats, and now is pushing 10%. If he gets his remaining open seats confirmed, he’ll move closer to 11-12% in two years. At the rate Yertle is confirming Trump’s circuit court judges, at the end of Trump’s two terms he will have named more than half of all federal circuit court judges. It truly will have become the “Trump judiciary,” but easily enough could be called “Yertle’s judiciary.”

But before us now is another Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, an excellent appointment. Some of the perfectionist conservatives, who would have been happy with none of Trump’s superb list, point to perceived weaknesses in Kavanaugh. But he and Gorsuch will cement the right wing of the court for years. In all likelihood, the Republican caucus will not defect on Kavanaugh. Even the Bushes like him! My guess is he will get at least one or two Democrats for a final tally of 54 or 55 votes in favor of his confirmation.

Then comes the real “What if?” Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 85 and in ill health. She has survived a pancreatic cancer diagnosis far longer than most. Rumor was that Democrats were furious with her for not retiring in the middle of Obama’s administration when a younger liberal could be appointed. Now she has a major problem with “clock management” as they say in the NFL. She can (and likely will) try to wait out Trump’s first term. But I’ve got news for Buzzi, as I affectionately call her: Trump will be reelected by a larger margin than in 2016. At that point, if she has not assumed room temperature, she almost certainly will step down. Meanwhile Stephen Breyer, the other liberal, is 78 and faces retirement, and conservative Clarence Thomas for years has waxed about stepping down and traveling the country in his RV.

The reality is that Trump is just beginning, and that he almost certainly will get three more Supreme Court picks before he’s through. As things now stand, the 2018 election for the House is up in the air—trending slightly Republican, but close—but the senate is almost a done deal. Democrats will likely lose between two and five seats (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, once in question, have now firmed up for them). Of more concern for the Democrats is that several reliable defectors, including Jeff Flake and Bob Corker and John McCain (who, like Ginsburg, defies medical prognosis) are going to be replaced by full-throated Trumpers. If a number of dominoes fall in line—that McCain finally steps down and is replaced by a true conservative by Governor Doug Ducey; if either Kelli Ward or Martha McSally can hold Jeff Flake’s seat; if Dean Heller hangs on; if in fact the weaker Democrats in red states, including Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, John Tester, Claire McCaskill, Tami Baldwin, Debbie Stabenow, and others are upset, the Republicans could be looking at a net Trump gain in the senate of 5-6 seats. This would forever end any hopes of the Democrats for splitting the GOP on key votes. Now a Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski’s defection would be irrelevant.

In short, while Trump’s election was the political event of the last 30 years (and perhaps last 100), Yertle’s stand at the judicial bridge of holding off Merrick Garland will go down as strategically one of the most critical political acts of modern history. The 2025 Supreme Court and Trump judiciary will owe much of its existence to a feisty turtle.

Larry Schweikart is the co-author of A Patriot’s History of the United States with Michael Allen and of How Trump Won, with Joel Pollak.

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