Bannon rallies the GOP base against McConnell’s establishment: ‘This is our war’

Heading into his big Monday meeting with Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got a nice shout out from his nemesis Steve Bannon. The Associated Press writes:

Steve Bannon, back at Breitbart News after helping Trump win the presidency and serving in the West Wing, is committed to dumping McConnell, R-Ky. In a speech to religious conservatives Saturday, Bannon put on notice some of those incumbents who are at risk of a challenge from his flank of the party. He said the lawmakers possibly can avoid that wrath if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions.

“This is our war,” Bannon said. “The establishment started it. …You all are gonna finish it.”

The White House wasn’t offering much pre-meeting love either.

The senators’ weeklong recess also drew criticism from the White House: “They’re on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the

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Trump and McConnell assure everyone things are copacetic: ‘We are together totally’

There’s no way to overstate what a show of desperation took place in the Rose Garden Monday afternoon during a joint press conference between Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

For his part, Trump touted how many tremendous successes he’s had—including an “A+” rating from a former Clinton administration official on the administration’s response to hurricane relief. But after bragging about his work on judicial nominations—which he boasted “will set records” then moments later said Democrats were “holding up beyond comprehension” (yes, one second, Trump was having tremendous success and, the next second, Democrats were blocking him at every turn)—Trump managed to finally say what they were really there for.

“Just so you understand, the Republican party is very very unified,” he said, pointing the finger at Democrats for the GOP majority’s every failure. “When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support.”

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GOP lawmakers and major donors warn of a 2018 ‘bloodbath’ if they don’t pass tax cuts for rich

On Face the Nation this weekend, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham mused at what will happen to Republicans in the midterms if they fail as miserably at passing tax cuts as they did at repealing health care: “We’re dead.”

“If we don’t cut taxes and we don’t eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we’re going to lose across the board in the House in 2018,” Graham said. “And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat.”

“It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it,” he added.

At an exclusive Koch network gathering in New York last week of 100-plus major donors, the talk was no less dire. The Washington Post‘s Sean Sullivan writes:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) warned that Republicans could face a “Watergate-level blowout” in the midterm elections if they don’t make major legislative strides on taxes and

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Cartoon: The man from the past

I was speaking at some arts festivals in Italy for a couple of weeks during September, and when I got back I felt like I’d missed about a year’s worth of news, which inspired this cartoon (though obviously this rundown of the past month is meant to be more impressionistic than comprehensive). Readers with long memories may remember this character from a 2002 cartoon, except then he was the Man From Five Years in the Past, because things move a lot more quickly now.

If you enjoy my desperate, flailing attempts to keep up with the relentless deluge of terrible news, please consider joining Sparky’s List! And remember, if you missed out on my sold-out Kickstarter career compilation, the second edition is now available from IDW Publishing.

View from the Left: Republicans stand by as the nation goes to hell

After GOP Sen. Bob Corker raised the prospect last week that Donald Trump could propel us into World War III, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to the horrific prospect this week with the fierce urgency of whatever.

They should just “talk it out” amongst themselves, Ryan told reporters Wednesday.

It was a revelation of sorts in the sense that it was hard to imagine Ryan carving out an even more useless space for himself in Washington than he has already been occupying. Conservative columnist Michael Gerson wrote:

So how does Ryan imagine a Corker/Trump conversation might unfold? Over dinner, Corker accuses the president of being a chaotic, directionless, shallow liar who could start a nuclear war. Trump passes the peas and attacks Corker for being short. This is, after all, the way gentlemen resolve their differences.

Trump, who has consistently fumed over the nettlesome nature of being president,

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In Mueller interview, Priebus was ‘happy to answer all’ Russia probe questions

Reince’s revenge?—brought to you by Politico.

Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday, according to his lawyer, William Burck.

“Mr. Priebus was voluntarily interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller’s team today. He was happy to answer all of their questions,” Burck said. […]

Mueller’s team is interested in a number of actions Trump took in office, including the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, a misleading statement written on Air Force One about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the campaign, and meetings Trump held as president with Russians, including former ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Priebus is likely one of the few high-level White House staffers who has any chance of expressing pleasure about being interviewed by investigators. It’s hard to know what kind of legal liabilities Priebus might have, but

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Donald ‘I alone can fix it’ Trump tells Congress to fix the Iran deal

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International observers agree that Iran has complied with the 2015 deal to freeze its nuclear weapons program, so Donald Trump’s aides strained to find a way for him to complain about the deal they still believe serves our national interests. The New York Times writes:

That solution was to declare that Iran was violating the “spirit” of the accord and that the entire agreement was no longer in the United States’ national security interests — even while acknowledging that Tehran had lived up to the letter of the agreement.

That gave Trump the opportunity to talk tough about Iran on Friday, calling it a “fanatical” and “murderous” regime with a “sinister vision for the future” while still punting responsibility for fixing the deal to Congress. That sure must have felt satisfying to self-declared “deal maker” who told America, “I alone can fix it.”  

In

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