The Fix's Ask Aaron: The week in politics

May 19, 2017

The Fix's senior reporter Aaron Blake chats with readers in his weekly politics chat series.

We've apparently got a bit of a news slowdown. What better time to chat with all of you!

Joe Lieberman??? Really????

Almost a worse idea than Merrick Garland. And that's saying a lot.

Democrats would love nothing more than to stick it to him in confirmation hearings. And the base would never abide his selection.

Why is he telling us this now? I think folks respected that he didn't feel it was the right time for him to run so soon after Beau's death, but is dissing HRC at this point worth the airtime?

Maybe it's what he really thinks? Maybe he's beginning to make an argument that the party should try someone a little more personally compelling?

I'm not sure he planned on it. Biden has a tendency to, as he often says, "say what I mean but also say everything that I mean."

Who would you say has had a worse first 100 days in office, Donald Trump, or William Henry Harrison?

Pay the man, Shirley.

Still waiting on Baby Blake #2?

Indeed! You guys won't see me next week, though. I'll definitely be off by then.

Stay tuned!

Why do you think powerful Congressman Jason Chaffetz is really resigning just after he was re-elected to another term? I personally don't buy the "more time with my family" or whatever other excuses he's been giving, and I doubt most political watchers like yourself do either.

My theory: Investigating a president of your own party is not fun at all, and not conducive to Chaffetz running for higher office.

I wrote about this here

So far, most influential Republicans are offering at least lukewarm support to Trump, with the exception of McCain (if you consider him to be influential). Which defection would be the most damaging, if it were to occur?

I mean, Paul Ryan for sure. But that might be a little obvious. Ted Cruz? Tom Cotton? 

What is the appeal to Joe Lieberman of the FBI job? Why would he willingly enmesh himself in the Trump drama?

I'm not sure why anybody would want a piece of this right now. I think it's gotta be someone who really had aspirations to the job in the first place -- not some pol who would step in and take a 10-year term.

Just wanted to thank you for convincing Amber to take over the Tuesday chat. She was great this week! Now can you convince some of your news reporting colleagues to start? They used to (long ago) and it was great being able to ask questions about issues of the day of people actually reporting on them.

Hey, I finally succeed on Amber and now you people just want MORE MORE MORE. What am I, a trained monkey?

Assuming President Trump survives the current (and any future) controversies, which Republicans might challenge him for the GOP nomination?

Kasich certainly seems to be positioning himself just in case. Either that or he's trying to sell books. But I tend to think he'd really consider it if Trump looked weak.

And before Cruz's numbers declined and he started having to worry about 2018 reelection, I would've said him.

I think those are the two to watch.

Greetings from Albuquerque, any thoughts on vetting for the next VP?

She insisted she wasn't interested last time, because of her sister. I'm not sure I have reason to believe that has changed. 

She also doesn't have great numbers these days.

This unfolding White House soap opera is desperately in need of a name, and it can't have "-gate" in it. I'm at a loss. Ideas?

I think we should try to avoid -gate if we can. But I agree that it would be nice to have some shorthand for this entire situation. Send your recommendations!

for doing these chats, it seems so importnat now to have meangful dialogue

I hope that these provide that. As I often say, it's a highlight of my week.

The weekly take-out-the-trash time isn't until late Friday afternoon, so be patient, you'll be inundated soon enough.

I'm not counting on it lasting. At all.

Are you going to name him/her "Cillizza"?

That would be cruel.

A GOP congressman said on NPR this morning that the FBI Director needs to have a law enforcement background. Lieberman does not have that.

I think that's the direction this will eventually go.

Any of the White House Staff looking to jump ship before Trump gets back and fires them?

I'm frankly not sure how Spicer stays on that job right now, especially after Fox News's Kimberly Guilfoyle talked about how she had already been talking to the White House about replacing him.

Stop being so negative: taking all 3 Sunday.

The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast made me feel a little better about it this morning -- noting that Boro looks terrible recently. I still think it's a tie and we'll have to rely on Everton to stop Arsenal.

Resigning when you're six months into a two-year term for no reason other than political CYA is a jerk move. He should have to pay for the special election to replace him.

I agree it doesn't look great. Speakers whose parties lost majorities have an excuse, but for your average member elected to serve two years, it just looks like you took that for granted.

I'm following him on Twitter. Dude seems like he's positioning himself for a 2020 run.

I think he is one of the top names to watch over the next two years. I agree completely.

Trained? Really?


Family, sports or politics?

None of the above. Name your dog after things you like; not your kids.

Bob Woodward says this is not Watergate and cautions the media against overreaching. Your thoughts?

There is danger for both Democrats and the media in overreaching and appearing overly certain about where this will lead. But I also think Trump completely dismissing it a a "witch hunt" is ignoring reality.

Amber would be nice, if it's a girl. You owe Ms. Phillips bigly these days, for taking on a Fix chat!

Something tells me she would see that as a little weird.

True story: Growing up, we named our dog after a Minnesota Twins baseball player. When we met said player, we told him about it. He seemed a little weirded out, tbh.

And pay the Norman Chad, Aaron. I believe he's due royalties every time someone says that.

I pay him 75 cents every time I "borrow" his catchphrase.

ANY chance it goes blue?

I just don't see it. It's one of the reddest seats in Utah. That would be catastrophic for the GOP. I can see them winning a seat like Mia Love's, but this is more conservative than that.


I'm surprised nobody's used this yet. It has to have been used on the Daily Show or John Oliver, surely.

Reportedly Trump favors him because they get along real well. Is that exactly a qualification for FBI director?

No. As Benjamin Wittes wrote last night, Comey was uncomfortable attending a function with Trump and even having those conversations. I think any new FBI director will have to swear to Congress that he won't be Trump's buddy or really talk to him much at all.

Is Kimberly Guilfoyle so egotistical that she thinks she (or anyone) can survive professionally as a press secretary to a President as challenging as Trump? If she gets the job, I predict she'll get chewed up and spit out as quickly as Spicer. Of course, I'd love to see Cecily Strong play her on SNL.

The fact that she chose to talk publicly about replacing Spicer makes me question whether she has the kind of messaging chops that you need in that job. It was a weird decision.

After all, she does ring like a bell in the night....

I've always liked that name. But people would constantly think you said "Brianna," which is what I thought the name of the song was until I was in my mid-20s.

Obviously if LFC get the three points the kid has to be named Jurgen. Right?

Girl. If he has won the title, maybe.

Why don't you name your baby after me?

Reinhold it is.

Pro-tip: On your first day at a new job, it's not a good idea to be introduced to someone and then immediately blurt out, "Hey, that's my dog's name!"

The More You Know.

My cat's full name is Samuel Maximillian Scherzer, because he's awesome AND his eyes are two different colors. How could I not share his if I meet his namesake?

You'll see. You'll see.

Where are you posting? Who is your soundtrack? What are you Drinking?

At my desk. The sounds of the office. And water. I'm not exciting like Chris is on this question.

I hope not.

I really wish it could work with him because I love him as a player. I just think it's best for both parties if he goes. Doesn't fit the system.

Um...weren't the greatest witch hunts in history the actual witch hunts? Also, I doubt very much that either Comey or Mueller would participate in a witch hunt. They have far more credibility than Trump who has been caught in obvious lies before (crowd size, voter fraud claims...)

He did say the greatest witch hunt of a POLITICIAN in AMERICA. So Salem is out since I don't think many of those alleged witches were politicians and we were still colonies.

Philip Bump helpfully breaks down that claim here

Aaron, should Paul Ryan and/or Mitch McConnell reach the conclusion that supporting Trump is a losing proposition for them, what will they do? In other words, what headline should I be looking for?

When they simply stop defending him on anything. 

I recall a linebacker for the Vikings named "Scott Studwell"

Best football name ever.

Glad he was able to transition it to CNN... now you need a weekly theme. How about The Weekest Link in Washington?

Well he's still got Worst Week over there. I'm happy to hear your ideas for new features though!

I doubt I'll ever work with someone named Lord Fuzzybottom III.

You just jinxed it.

Amber gave a shout out to the Post's crack investigative team for the Trump Russia kerfuffle in her Tuesday chat (great first chat, by the way). Am I missing something, or has there really been any hard evidence discovered yet?

There will likely never be hard evidence, because it's sensitive information that can't really be detailed.

But the White House basically confirmed it had happened, while also suggesting the information wasn't going to compromise anything. It's hard to debate it much further than that without understanding the key details we have agreed to withhold at the government's request.

Swansea, of course!

Tottenham's is pretty great, imo.

Grassley and Feinstein said Comey told them that Trump is not being investigated. Shouldn't the press note this when they talk about the investigation?

I don't believe that's what Grassley and Feinstein said.

Here's Grassley's statement:

On Tuesday, the President’s letter said that Director Comey told him he was not under investigation. Senator Feinstein and I heard nothing that contradicted the President’s statement.  Now Mr. Comey is no longer the FBI director.  But the FBI should still follow my advice.  It should confirm to the public whether it is or is not investigating the President.  Because it has failed to make this clear, speculation has run rampant.

Saying you have "heard nothing that contradicted" Trump's assertion is not the same as saying Comey confirmed Trump wasn't under investigation. And indeed, Grassley goes on to ask the FBI to clear it up.

It has to be Bronko Nagurski. Though personally I like Dexter Manley.

Another Minnesotan!

1. Bronko Nagurski

2. Scott Studwell

3. Dexter McCluster

4. D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Gotta run. Congrats and we'll see you when you get back.

Thank you! I appreciate people compromising their day jobs to attend the chat.

"I have questions about where Obama was born. It may be Hawaii. It may be Kenya. I have investigators out to find the truth." - Donald Trump

It does seem to be a curious charge in that context.

Was the TASS photographer in the room when Trump shared the classified information?

I REALLY doubt it. Photographers are usually ushered out after a quick photo op.

Too bad he won't do chats, I love his columns. I can usually tell his just from the headline on the WashPost page. Intelligent, a little snarky, spot-on.

Bump is the best. Except half the time when he's the worst.

Why does it seem that all the Breaking News is from 4:30 - 5:30pm this week?

My guess -- having not been a part of breaking these stories -- is that you spend a day nailing down a very big and complicated story, and you don't want to hold it for the next morning when someone might beat you to it.

You seem like a pretty laid-back Midwestern guy, as opposed to Chris who seemed to be pretty high maintenance.

Chris is a diva, is what you're saying?

I can't comment.

Is the GOP agenda in jeopardy?

Yes. That realization is setting in. And I think that might be the most damaging thing when it comes to Republicans standing by Trump. 

I wrote about this here.

Man, he would be an awesome President. It'll be a shame if he gets tangled in the anti-Trump wave.

He's not going to lose that seat in Nebraska. He can bide his time and run for president whenever he wants.

Will decide on whether I can vote for him in 2020 after seeing Baywatch.

The fact that this is the conversation we're having makes me think that movie will be terrible.

Particularly over the upcoming days. We miss you already.

Thank you! I shall miss this chat, but certain things are more important. Not many things, mind you, but certain things.

The Time Magazine cover doesn't help build trust in media does it?

It was certainly a bold choice. And as mentioned before, if nothing much winds up resulting from the investigation...

"Comprehensive Tax Reform" passed in 2017?


Jack Youngblood, LA Rams (1st Edition)

Honorable mention.

I doubt any two situations are identical (not just Watergate and the Trump denials). It's useful to determine, however, where parallels exist (perhaps to a number of events, in differing respects) and where there aren't, in analyzing the current situation.

100 percent agree with this.

Thanks everyone for another great chat. I will be back either June 16 or June 23. So mark your calendars for then!

Have a great few weeks.

In This Chat
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes and edits for The Fix. A Minnesota native and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Aaron lives with his wife, baby son and trusty dog, Mauer, in Northern Virginia.
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