The Slatest
Your News Companion

Nov. 21 2017 10:17 PM

Donald Trump Doesn’t Believe Women, but He Does Believe Roy Moore

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tiptoed up to the edge of (re)endorsing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has faced a barrage of credible allegations that he romantically pursued teenagers routinely in his hometown of Gadsden while he was in his 30s. “I can tell you one thing for sure: We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat — Jones. I've looked at his record. It's terrible on crime. It's terrible on the border. It's terrible on the military. I can tell you for a fact, we do not need somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment,” Trump said as he was leaving Washington, D.C. Tuesday for his Mar-a-Lago resort.

That wasn’t all of the cynicism from Trump. Trump was then asked by a reporter: “Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?” Trump used the power of his office to cast doubt on the women’s stories:

Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. And, by the way, he totally denies it. I mean, if you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And, you know, you have to listen to him also. You're talking about, he said 40 years ago this did not happen.
Advertisement

Politico reported Trump had expressed doubts about the veracity of the women’s stories privately to advisers and Republican leaders.

During animated conversations with senior Republicans and White House aides, the president said he doubted the stories presented by Moore’s accusers and questioned why they were emerging now, just weeks before the election, according to two White House advisers and two other people familiar with the talks… Behind the scenes, the president asked his advisers for updates on the Alabama race, requesting fresh polling and prodding them for information on how people in the state are digesting the revelations. Among the questions he asked: Whether locals believed the accusations Moore was facing. All the while, Moore’s team was thrilled that the president — who remains widely popular in Alabama — has refused to stay out of the race. The campaign, one Moore adviser said, had been in touch with the White House in recent weeks.

“Trump’s embrace of Moore is shaped by a variety of factors, advisers say, including his long-running reluctance to antagonize his conservative base, much of which is sticking with Moore,” Politico notes. “And, with Moore refusing to exit the race, advisers say the president saw little upside to aligning himself against him.”

No upside.

Nov. 21 2017 8:56 PM

U.S. Gymnast Gabby Douglas Says She Too Was Sexually Abused by Team Doctor

A week after Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas’ response to teammate Aly Raisman speaking publicly about the sexual abuse she says she was subjected to by a former U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor, the three-time gold medalist, on Tuesday, announced she, too, was a victim of sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar. Nasser was the national gymnastics team doctor for nearly two decades before being fired in 2015 for using medical treatment as cover to sexually abuse more than 140 women, almost all of them teenage gymnasts.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Douglas apologized for her commenting on Raisman’s case in a now-deleted tweet that said “it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.” Douglas went on to indirectly allege Nasser of abusing her, too. "I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” Douglas wrote. USA Today confirmed with a rep for the gymnast that she is saying Nassar abused her.

please hear my heart

A post shared by Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas) on

Advertisement

Nasser has pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault; he also faces 33 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, where he practiced, and has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography. Nasser is also facing civil suits from more than 125 women and girls.

Nov. 21 2017 8:36 PM

Today in Conservative Media: The Solution to Sexual Abuse Is More Masculinity

170106_logo_conservative_media4.png.crop.article250medium

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives continued to address the various sexual misconduct scandals circulating on Tuesday. At National Review, Ben Shapiro made the case for a return to conservative norms about sex:

All of these rules have fallen under heavy attack — and sometimes the attacks have been justified by the over-restrictiveness of certain rules. But the basis for the rules was simple: Men could not be universally trusted not to sin against women. Call it male control, complete with background checks, mandatory training, and a well-developed male enforcement structure.
The Left, in its refusal to acknowledge the inherent flaws in humanity, decided to do away with the rules. Instead, men were bad because men had been poisoned by the social structure, or because they were screwed up by their parents. Rules were artificial barriers to progress. In fact, it was the rules themselves that were to blame for male misbehavior. Marriage had taught men that women were property; thus, kill marriage, kill that pernicious view. Sexual taboos had taught men that women were dangerous seductresses; kill that taboo, kill that pernicious view. Chivalry had taught men that women were weak, and could therefore be exploited; kill chivalry, kill that pernicious view.
It seemed nice in theory. It has failed dramatically in practice.
Advertisement

At the Daily Wire, Matt Walsh argued for a return to masculinity and called the men recently accused of sexual predation “effeminate”:

The problem is not that there is too much masculinity in our culture. On the contrary, there isn’t nearly enough. A man becomes an abuser and harasser of women when he rejects that which makes him a man. He is not expressing his masculinity when he strips naked and struts around in front of his unwilling coworkers and subordinates — a move that seems oddly common among these types — rather, he is expressing his almost complete lack of masculinity.
These men are weird, desperate, self-debasing, and effeminate. If you say we should have fewer of those kinds in positions of power, I agree. Let’s have none at all. But we would do well to replace them with men who are actually men. What we need in our society are chivalrous, strong, respectable, productive, and self-sacrificial men. Real men, in other words. Men who protect, provide, and do all of the things that society has always depended upon men to do. If you are that sort of man, you certainly should not shut up, step to the side, or consider yourself "trash." Our culture needs your input and leadership more than ever.

A post at LifeZette took aim at Charlie Rose’s claims of advocacy for women. “It’s disturbing to see in retrospect that Rose was trying to put himself on the right side of history in front of the camera — while having an alleged past that was just as predatory as some of the other accused men on whom he was reporting,” it read. RedState’s Susan Wright commented on a video of Rose denying any involvement in “wrongdoings.” “NEWSFLASH: Unwanted groping is wrongdoing,” she wrote. “Unwanted sexual conversation, especially with those who work for you, in some capacity, is wrongdoing. Stripping down and walking around naked, putting anyone in that very uncomfortable and vulnerable position is wrongdoing.” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey watched the opening of Tuesday’s airing of CBS This Morning, the first since Rose’s suspension from the network, in which co-hosts Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell said they’d been unaware of the accusations against him:

The lack of accountability at CBS This Morning and at PBS and Bloomberg was apparently so acute that the women victimized by Rose felt that they couldn’t even speak up to their natural allies on the set to correct the situation. Again, that’s no knock on King or O’Donnell, who couldn’t correct what they didn’t know, but it might be a starting place for building better structures of accountability down the road. After all, this is supposed to be a journalistic enterprise, which is all about imposing accountability and transparency on others. This is a wake-up call for CBS, PBS, Bloomberg, and others to apply those standards internally as well.
The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti wrote a post about a letter of support for Al Franken written by former female colleagues of his from SNL. “All though the statement is clearly sincere, the timing may be off,” she argued. “Just as with Lena Dunham’s Saturday defense of a “Girls” co-writer, public letters like this can have the effect of silencing any future accusers. It's one thing to face the overwhelming task of alleging that a prominent man may be guilty of sexual harassment or assault, it’s quite another to face a host of women defending and protecting him — and saying, essentially, that since the sisterhood recognizes him as non-threatening, accusers must be wrong.

On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh pushed back against a caller who insisted that a female boss exposing herself would be welcomed by most men:

The stereotypical, entertaining way to look at this is what you said. You know, how many guys dream of a woman walking out of the shower nude wanting them? And so if it happens to you, you tell your buddies down at the five and dime, and they all high-five you.
But if you throw the circumstance of work into this, and you’re subservient and you can be fired if you do the wrong thing in that circumstance, then it takes all of the stereotypical—look, we’ll all admit here—well, we won’t all admit. But some universal truths. And that is that the number of men who would be offended as opposed to intrigued by a woman presenting herself nude, I mean, men and women are different, and a lot of men would find that flattering and exciting, and they would brag about it and so forth. There’s no question about that.
But you throw employment into it, you throw being paid into this situation, it changes it. It takes the stereotypical male role play, female role play totally out of this. It takes the romance out of this. This has gotta be shocking. I don’t doubt that it is infuriating, that it is unnerving, that it just ticks these women off and scares them. I don’t have any doubt that they feel violated or stalked or any of this. And offended.

Nov. 21 2017 3:51 PM

Factory Where a Deadly Explosion Injured More Than 125 Had Nine Safety Violations

The cosmetics factory where more than 125 people were injured in a deadly explosion Monday has been found to have had a series of citations for safety violations, the Associated Press reports.

The injuries arose from two separate blasts about 25 minutes apart, and their cause is still unknown. The second blast killed an employee who one co-worker said had gone inside the factory to make sure everyone had gotten out of the building.

Advertisement

The factory, Verla International in New Windsor, New York, had been cited for nine safety violations this year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the AP reported. One of the violations was related to the handling of flammable and combustible liquids and another to the maintenance of exit routes. The company agreed to pay $41,000 in penalties.

The majority of the injuries were reported to be non-life-threatening. According to NBC New York, environmental officials arrived to monitor the air and water around the factory, and state and local authorities are investigating the causes of the explosions.

Nov. 21 2017 2:48 PM

Rep. John Conyers Acknowledges That He Settled a Sexual Harassment Complaint But Denies the Allegations

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2:15 p.m.: This post has been updated with a statement from Conyers acknowledging the settlement and responding to the allegations and clarifying his initial denial.

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2:45 p.m.: This post has been updated with comments from Nancy Pelosi.

Advertisement

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 21, 5:25 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about the House Ethics Committee investigation.

The House Ethics Committee has said it has opened an investigation into sexual harassment complaints against Rep. John Conyers, according to the Associated Press. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement earlier Tuesday the committee should investigate “any credible allegation of sexual harassment" by Conyers, according to the AP.

Conyers acknowledged Tuesday that he settled the sexual harassment complaints with a former staffer but denied the allegations of sexual harassment after BuzzFeed News reported Monday night on the 2015 settlement and allegations of sexual misconduct from several female staff members.

"I have long been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers," Conyers wrote in a statement released Tuesday. "That said, it is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true. ... In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so. My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation."

Conyers originally said Tuesday morning that he knew nothing of the claims, according to the Associated Press. He told the AP that he had "been looking at these things with amazement" in reference to recent sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers. BuzzFeed responded that a "person involved in the case" said the complaints reached the point in the process in which Conyers became aware of their existence.

In a later statement, a Conyers spokesperson explained the congressman's response to the AP by saying "Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware and denied."

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the original Buzzfeed report “extremely troubling” and said in a statement “people who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination.” Ryan said he asked last month for a “review of all policies and procedures related to workplace harassment and discrimination.”

BuzzFeed's report on the allegations against Conyers included a former employee who accused Conyers of firing her when she refused his advances. These allegations are contained in a 2015 wrongful dismissal complaint.

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

The female staffers allege that Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, indicated that “the performing of personal service or favors” would advance their careers or lead to increased pay.

The woman who says she was fired for refusing Conyers' advances filed her complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging that Conyers asked her for sexual favors repeatedly and would frequently request that she join him in a hotel room. She alleged he asked her to work from his room and then told her to touch his genitals, and that another time he allegedly told her to stay in his room and “cuddle up with me and caress me before you go,” according to BuzzFeed. A settlement was reached in 2015, and Conyers’ office—through a taxpayer funded budget—payed the woman more than $27,000 over three months. Buzzfeed reported that Conyers did not admit guilt as part of the settlement, and he did not respond to BuzzFeed's request for comment.

BuzzFeed’s story also drew attention to the process by which congressional employees report sexual harassment, noting that staffers might have to continue to work with or under their harassers for months, and that victims must pay for representation but accused harassers, who are represented by the House’s counsel, do not. The unnamed former employee told BuzzFeed she felt that the process, which involves counseling, mediation, a waiting period, and a confidentiality agreement, had made her feel she had no option but to settle and stay quiet about the allegations.

In its report, BuzzFeed says it obtained the documents from Mike Cernovich, the mens’ rights activist, troll, and right-wing conspiracy theorist who promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which eventually led to a man shooting up a pizza joint in Washington D.C. BuzzFeed then independently verified the authenticity of the documents.

Nov. 21 2017 1:47 PM

Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Are Still Telling People His 2015 Accuser Worked as a Prostitute

The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow has another major story on Harvey Weinstein up. You should read the whole thing, but I’ll highlight one particularly unsettling passage here. It involves longtime Weinstein attorney David Boies, who was involved with the legal team that hired a firm called K2 to dig up dirt on Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in 2015. K2 employs a number of individuals who previously worked at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which ended up deciding not to charge Weinstein, and the firm passed unflattering allegations about Gutierrez on to prosecutors. For his part, Boies personally knows the DA who made the decision (Cy Vance) and has donated to his campaigns. Here’s Boies’ take on the whole sordid affair:

“The idea that my contributions to Cy Vance’s campaign had any relationship to that investigation, I think, is absurd,” Boies told me, adding that he had a close relationship with Vance but never called him about the Gutierrez case. Boies argued that Vance’s office had made a reasonable decision and accused Gutierrez of engaging in prostitution in Italy. “There were transcripts of Italian proceedings where it was described how for years she had performed various sexual acts for various specified amounts of money,” Boies told me.
Advertisement

Well, that’s certainly one way of looking back on the time you attempted to discredit someone whose accusations have since been echoed by more than 70 (!) other women! (Gutierrez, to be clear, denies having worked as a prostitute and says the suggestion that she did was concocted to smear her because she was a witness in a previous case involving notoriously sleazy ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.)

Nov. 21 2017 1:09 PM

The End of Mugabe’s 37-Year Reign Marks the End of an Era for Africa

Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state and a leader who went from a symbol of post-colonial Africa to an archetypal dictator whose 37-year reign was marked by human rights abuses, corruption, and devastating economic mismanagement, has resigned as president of Zimbabwe.

The speaker of Parliament announced the resignation Tuesday, shortly after the start of an impeachment process against Mugabe. The end of Mugabe’s rule has appeared inevitable since he was placed under house arrest by the country’s military last week, but he has stubbornly held onto his title. It’s not clear what will happen to him, though local media reports says he plans to go into exile in South Africa.

Advertisement

The fate of Mugabe’s fractured and battered country is uncertain as well. Though this week has seen rare mass protests against Mugabe, what finally forced the president out was not popular opposition demanding his ouster but longtime allies in his own party turning on him: They were furious at his decision last week to fire a powerful vice president to pave a path to power for his wife.

That vice president, Emmerson Mnagagwa, is now considered likely to take over as head of an interim government. It’s unlikely he will be a major improvement over Mugabe. Nicknamed “the crocodile,” Mnagagwa was a loyal Mugabe lieutenant for years and is implicated in some of the worst human rights abuses and corruption of his dictatorship.  Then again, this is a moment when the country’s political future is up for grabs, and Zimbabweans, many of whom have never known any other president, are understandably celebrating:

Mugabe is a veteran of the guerilla struggle against white minority rule in what was formerly known as Rhodesia and was the last African leader who had held power since his country’s independence. (For the first seven years, he led the country as prime minister under a mostly ceremonial president.) His exit feels like part of a generational shift, following that of Africa’s longest-serving president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, earlier this year. There are still some aging multidecade strongmen hanging on to power, such as Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equitorial Guinea, Paul Biya of Cameroon, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and some younger leaders like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, who seem in no hurry to ever step down, but peaceful transfers of power are becoming more common. Let’s just hope the next generation’s reigns are better—and shorter.

Nov. 21 2017 9:57 AM

Judge Rules Trump Executive Order Cutting Funding From Sanctuary Cities Is Unconstitutional

On Monday night, a federal judge in San Francisco permanently enjoined a section of Donald Trump’s January executive order cutting funding from “sanctuary cities.” In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick called the provision “unconstitutional on its face and not simply in its application to the plaintiffs here.”

Trump signed Executive Order 13768, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” on Jan. 25, five days after his inauguration. The order pledged to “[e]nsure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.” Section 9(a) of the order also made “sanctuary jurisdictions”—that is, those that limit the extent to which local authorities cooperate with federal immigration demands—ineligible to receive federal grants.

Lawsuits brought by two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara, contended the order was unconstitutional. They argued that, among other constitutional infirmities, the executive order violated the separation of powers and due process clauses and commandeered local jurisdictions for federal purposes.

Nov. 20 2017 10:46 PM

Today in Conservative Media: More Goodbyes to Bad Men

170106_logo_conservative_media4.png.crop.article250medium

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservative outlets continued to follow various sexual harassment and assault scandals on Monday. In National Review, David French made the case against letting Sen. Al Franken off easy:

Remember, after [accuser Leeann Tweeden] reacted strongly to his unwanted kiss, she claims that she avoided him as much as she could. He responded with “petty insults” and then, ultimately, groped her while she slept. Now, does all that sound like fun-loving Al was just joking around? Or does it seem more like a more-powerful entertainment figure was humiliating and degrading a woman who refused his advances?
Not only does the distinction matter morally, it also matters legally. As I wrote before, when determining whether a person is guilty of sex crimes like sexual battery or forcible touching, intent matters. For example, in New York a person can be guilty of “forcible touching” when they make contact with a person’s “intimate parts” if it’s for the purpose of “degrading or abusing” that person.
Advertisement

At RedState, the blogger known as Streiff wrote a post expressing glee at the allegations revealed against New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush. “Of all the people in the media world this could have happened to, Thrush has to be in the top five of my Dream Team,” it read. “When Thrush was at Politico during the Obama administration he was nothing more than a stenographer for the administration. During the campaign, he wrote whatever the Clinton campaign told him to.”

The Gateway Pundit carried news of the allegations against television host Charlie Rose. “Rumors of Rose’s alleged sexual misconduct have been circulating around the media for years, but were never reported on, in part, because of the power the television host wields,” the Pundit’s Joshua Caplan wrote. “This is a common thread throughout the sexual harassment claims rocking Hollywood and Washington — powerful men preyed on women who were too terrified to speak out.” “It’s not inconceivable that several famous men will be credibly accused of harassment or assault in American newspapers every week for the next year. Remember, reporters haven’t even touched Congress yet,” Hot Air’s Allahpundit added, despite widespread news coverage of the allegations against Sen. Franken. (Monday night, BuzzFeed published a story about allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers, as well.)

Hot Air’s John Sexton noted MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s criticism of Clinton defenders who have attacked Republican sexual misconduct. “I think Brzezinski is correct about the people who defended Bill Clinton who are also now attacking Roy Moore and Donald Trump,” Sexton wrote. “They’re hypocrites and Hillary is the chief hypocrite because she knows (and knew at the time) the accusations were true.”

In other news:

National Review’s Kevin Williamson addressed the death of Charles Manson, writing, “Just as it is easy to forget how pro-Soviet the American Left was at times, it is easy to forget how pro-Manson American radicals were.” Then, beginning with a quote from former Weather Underground member Bernadine Dohrn reacting to the murders, Williamson recounted a history:

“First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach. Wild!” That was the assessment of Bernardine Dohrn, the champagne radical who, with her husband, Bill Ayers, participated in a campaign of domestic terrorism, including bombings, and later became cozy with Barack Obama, hosting events for the aspiring politician in her home. The “pigs” she referred to included Sharon Tate, an actress who was eight months pregnant at the time. She was murdered and mutilated. The word “PIG” was scrawled on the wall in her blood, and the father of her child, filmmaker Roman Polanski (to this day still on the run for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl), posed in front of that scene for a Life magazine photographer. Dohrn would later join a very prestigious Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin, and later worked as a professor of law at Northwestern University — remarkable accomplishments for a woman without a law license. She passed the bar, and Illinois was willing to overlook her criminal conviction, but she refused to apologize for her role in the terrorist campaign that resulted in several deaths. She and her husband became legal guardians of the child of two of their colleagues, who went to prison on murder charges for their role in a homicidal armored-car robbery carried out by the May the 19th Communist Organization, a clique of New York leftists who named their organization in honor of Ho Chi Minh’s birthday. [...]
Of course they fell for it. The idealist con is one of the oldest and most lucrative hustles going. The idiot children of the 1960s talked up Charles Manson for the same reason Langston Hughes wrote paeans to Joseph Stalin, for the same reason American progressives still take the side of the Rosenbergs and still think Alger Hiss was framed. Langston Hughes wasn’t a “liberal in a hurry” — he signed a letter of support for Stalin’s purges. Noam Chomsky spent years denying the holocaust in Cambodia, insisting it was the invention of American propagandists. After Fidel Castro was done murdering and pillaging his way through Cuban history, Barack Obama could only find it in his heart to say: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Nov. 20 2017 5:57 PM

Today's Impeach-O-Meter: Tom Steyer Still Isn't Helping

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

Update, Nov. 21: Tom Steyer's office emails to object to my characterization of his project as a distraction from legislative and grassroots activity, noting that he is running $10 million worth of "tax reform"-themed impeachment ads and funds an activism group called NextGen America that works "to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American." Here's the tax ad:

Advertisement

Fair enough—but it's also worth noting that Steyer is not exactly encouraging a collective focus on grassroots issues activism by unveiling impeachment billboards in Times Square and ending the tax ad with a call to "join us" at NeedtoImpeach.com.

Original post, Nov. 20: Earlier this month, my colleague Jim Newell laid out Democratic leaders' argument against making the impeachment of Donald Trump an immediate priority. The case, in short, is that such a push would divert political capital (and literal capital) away from the more pressing goals of 1) resisting specific Trump policy measures and 2) contesting the 2018 races that will be crucial to gaining enough power in Congress to actually win an impeachment vote. It's a good argument!

Tom Steyer, a billionaire finance guy who has launched a national advertising and petition campaign calling for impeachment, doesn't care. Here's what he told Newell about coordinating his effort with Democratic figures who might have thoughts about how to best deploy his money at this particular moment:

When I asked Steyer if he had given a heads-up to Democratic leaders, he laughed for 17 seconds.
“Why would I do that?”

Monday, as you can see above, Steyer continued to escalate his campaign, proudly introducing a Times Square impeachment billboard. He says he plans to spend $20 million on the project, which has not as of yet resulted in any decline in Trump's approval rating or, as far as I'm aware, in any Democratic members of Congress announcing new support for impeachment proceedings.

Meanwhile, Republicans are closing in on passage of a monstrously unpopular tax bill. So, instead of funding ads that raise awareness of the tax bill's potential effects in swing districts, or donating to the grassroots groups that coordinate pressure on wavering GOP legislators, Steyer is paying for an expensive billboard to advocate a measure that has zero chance of success at the current moment—one that wouldn't even make sense right now if Democrats did hold Congress because the investigation into whether Trump committed impeachable offenses related to Russia is still ongoing. C'mon!

Today’s meter level has been lowered five points out of spite toward Tom Steyer.

Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.

Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.

READ MORE STORIES