The New York Times Reaches Out To Subscribers

To our readers,

When the biggest political story of the year reached a dramatic and unexpected climax late Tuesday night, our newsroom turned on a dime and did what it has done for nearly two years — cover the 2016 election with agility and creativity.

After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?

As we reflect on this week’s momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly. We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign. You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.

We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our subscribers. We want to take this opportunity, on behalf of all Times journalists, to thank you for that loyalty.

Sincerely,

Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.
Publisher

Did Donald Trump Fool His Supporters?

This matter is something that has been talked about by a number of insiders for sometime–long before the election.  And certainly since the results Tuesday. Since many have argued Donald Trump was never a Republican would he then be something that conservatives would find truly troubling should he be elected?

If you listen now to the narrative among top GOP leadership aides on Capitol Hill and around D.C. it is that Trump might just govern like a middle-of-the-road, moderate New York Republican. Say it is not so—not like a Rockefeller!

Trump has stated he wants $1 trillion in roads, and I have already said such a proposal would garner support from this blogger as I firmly believe the government should fund an infrastructure bill and know it would produce economic vitality.

If you noticed the past two days he is not interested in answering questions about his plan to ban Muslims or build a wall on the border with Mexico.  While I know Trump is a most vile bigot and racist if one were to look at recent moves  it’s almost like he didn’t campaign on those issues for years.  Perhaps he will let Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell set the legislative agenda and play more golf and be the Chairman of the Board type president.  What if Trump fooled his supporters?

Congressman Keith Ellison For DNC Chair Would Send Clear Message To Nation

Democrats could not do better than to elect Congressman Keith Ellison as the next head of the Democratic National Committee.   The main reason I wish to see this man serve the party in this capacity is the stark contrast that it will give our nation.  Ellison is an African-American, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and is one of only two Muslim Americans in the House of Representatives.  His selection will send a message of rebuke, as well as a common-sense notice, that the racism and bigotry of Donald Trump and those who elected him will not stand in America.

Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is backing Ellison and clearly that is a big boost for the Minnesota Democrat.  While others such as former DNC Chair Howard Dean have launched their own campaigns to run the embattled organization, Ellison has the needed qualities that set him apart to lead at this time.  Besides, turning to Dean at this time on the national stage would be like Wisconsin Democrats asking Joe Wineke to roll his shirtsleeves up again.   

A vote of state and local party officials and delegates will determine the outcome.

Lesley Stahl Gets First Interview with President-Elect Trump

I so much respect and admire the work of Lesley Stahl.  If you have not read her book Reporting Live please do so as it is insightful and allows insight into the work modern journalists undertake each day.  This Sunday Stahl will conduct an interview with President-elect Donald Trump–his first extensive post-election interview on Sunday’s 60 Minutes.

This is something he will share with Barack Obama, who gave 60 Minutes his first interview following the 2008 election. It was 60 Minutes as well that secured the first joint interview with Trump and Mike Pence following the announcement of Pence as running mate. The Trump interview will take place on Friday, and it will air on Sunday.

By sitting down with Stahl for 60 Minutes, Trump is granting his first post-election interview to the broadest possible television-news platform. The long-running newsmagazine is television’s most watched news show, and receives a sizeable lead-in during the fall from NFL football.

I hope that Trump keep his hands to himself as Stahl is an attractive woman.

Civil Lawsuits Against Donald Trump Will Be Part Of First 100 Days

Donald Trump will enter his presidency with an unprecedented number of civil lawsuits, which cannot be set aside or delayed simply by virtue of being President of the United States.  To understand Trump’s situation, some perspective can be found by first looking at litigation involving other presidents-elect and presidents.   Here is a quick historical look at how other presidents dealt with such matters.
Four presidents have been forced to deal with civil lawsuits which they carried into the Oval Office: Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. For three of them, the lawsuits were quickly disposed of, but for Bill Clinton, his lawsuit nearly cost him his presidency. Let’s look at each.
Theodore Roosevelt: Before becoming vice president (which would result in his becoming president some six months later when President William McKinley was assassinated in September, 1901) Theodore Roosevelt was sued as chairman of the New York City Police Department by John Hurley, a disgruntled patrolman, who had been dismissed. Hurley lost but continued appealing the case, which was not finally disposed of until Roosevelt was serving as president in 1904. (See Hurley v. Roosevelt, 71 N.E. 1137 (N.Y. 1904), the case was dismissed without an opinion.)
Harry Truman: In 1931, while Harry Truman was serving as a judge in Jackson County, Missouri, he and other judges ruled that Roy DeVault, an attorney, was insane, and they had him committed to an insane asylum. Believing he had been improperly committed, DeVault filed an action against then-U.S. Senator Harry Truman in 1944, just as the latter was elected vice president alongside Franklin Roosevelt. The trial court granted Truman’s motion to dismiss, and DeVault appealed. With the President Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, Truman became President. One year later, the Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the dismissal. (See DeVault v. Truman, 194 S.W.2d 29 (Mo. 1946).)
John Kennedy: During the 1960 presidential campaign an automobile accident in California resulted in two companion lawsuits being filed in late October 1960 against candidate John F. Kennedy. After he assumed office his lawyers argued for a stay, based on his status as Commander in Chief, but the request was denied without a written opinion and the cases were settled out of court. (See complaints in Bailey v. Kennedy, No. 757200, and Hills v. Kennedy, No. 757201, filed October 27, 1960 in California Superior Court.)
Bill Clinton: In May 1991 Paula Jones, who worked for the State of Arkansas, was acting as a receptionist at a conference being held at a Little Rock hotel. She later claimed that while on this assignment a security guard for Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton informed her the governor would like to see her in his suite, where she was ushered. Upon arriving, she claimed Governor Clinton dropped his pants and requested a sexual favor. Years later she hired a lawyer, who offered to settle with then-President Clinton, and when he refused she filed a lawsuit in May 1994. President Clinton responded by requesting the court delay the lawsuit until his term in office as president had ended, seeking temporary immunity.
Clinton vs. Jones went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously (9-0) held in May 1997 that a sitting president has no immunity from civil litigation involving actions undertaken before entering office. Thus, discovery depositions in the case went forward, and soon the Jones case became intertwined with the president’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, as well as the ongoing investigations of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.