By Kevin O’Hanlon/NDP Communications Director
As the new year looms, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has issued his annual list of the biggest lies of the year. And it’s no surprise that you-know-who ran away with the “top” honors.
“Once again, we face the challenge posed by President Trump, who could easily dominate this list if we’re not careful. There has been no serial exaggerator in recent American politics like the president. He not only consistently makes false claims but also repeats them, even though they have been proved wrong.
“The explosion of false and misleading statements from him in 2018 is well documented in our database: In the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day. We also created the Bottomless Pinocchio, to document false claims repeated over and over again.”
That, folks, is the truth.
The past week was full of big news (much of it bad) — again dominated by President Trump.
Leading the way was the sentencing of Trump’s former personal and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who was ordered to serve three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a slew of crimes, including lying about his boss’ business dealings in Russia and funneling hush money to two women who said they had sex with Trump — payments that Cohen said were made at the president’s direction.
Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into possible influence by Russia into the 2016 presidential election chugs along.
Courtesy of the DNC, here’s a “By-the-Numbers” for the Mueller investigation so far, but who’s counting?
— Over 100 criminal counts, so far.
— 33 people and 3 companies have been indicted.
— 16 Trump associates, including family members and senior aides, had contact with Russians during the campaign or transition despite Trump’s denials.
— 5 members of Trump’s inner circle have pleaded guilty.
— 3 Trump associates are still awaiting their sentences.
— Trump’s former campaign manager is in custody awaiting his sentence.
— Trump’s former deputy campaign manager is awaiting his sentence.
— Trump’s former national security advisory will be sentenced next week.
— 2 Trump associates have now been sentenced to serve jail time.
— Trump’s personal lawyer was sentenced to serve 3 years in jail.
— Trump’s former foreign policy advisor already served 14 days in jail.
The week offered us a glimpse into 2019, when the Democrat-controlled House will certainly begin the long-overdue push back against Trump and his reckless policies.
“Consider the president’s made-for-television argument Tuesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer: It showed just how much Trump wants to make his expected re-election bid about immigration — he even seemed excited about a government shutdown over the issue,” wrote Roll Call’s John T. Bennett.
“I am proud to shutdown the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country,” Trump told Schumer. “So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
Meanwhile in Nebraska, state lawmakers are ramping up for the 2019 legislative session, where Medicaid expansion approved by voters in the November election will take center stage as a new, two-year state budget is crafted.
The Medicaid expansion will cover adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line ($17,000 for a single person and $29,000 for a household of three) and provide health insurance coverage to some 90,000 additional Nebraskans. Nebraska’s share of the cost of Medicaid expansion will cost $60 million a year when fully in place.
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who opposed Medicaid expansion, will likely get push-back from lawmakers if he proposes paying for the expansion by cutting other programs.
Democratic Sen. Adam Morfeld, a leading supporter of Medicaid expansion, told NET News that he will fight any cuts.
“I will oppose any attempt to cut other programs in order to expand Medicaid,” Morfeld said. “I think the folks that want property tax relief are going to be looking at generating new income to be able to provide for that relief. And if they want to provide for that relief, they’re going to have to designate some of that income towards for other people’s priorities as well. In the end, we’re going to balance the budget and Medicaid expansion’s going to save us more money than we’re spending in the long run.”
In closing, a shout-out to Morfeld and fellow Sen. Anna Wishart, who launched a campaign committee called “Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws” to put a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot.
Wishart told the Lincoln Journal Star that the the campaign committee will expand the discussion for the constitutional amendment and get feedback from Nebraskans on other areas, such as decriminalization.
“But, again, the priority is medical and the key is that we are going to put something on the ballot that has wide support by Nebraskans,” she said.