WASHINGTON. Monday’s selection of breathless and maybe true stories include three epic political firestorms and a stock market churning in turmoil. First off, reports claim US Deputy Attorney General “Rod Rosenstein resigns.” True? Who knows? Next, “China retaliates” as expected against President Trump’s latest round of tariffs. And finally, we slog through the Capitol Hill Carnival we call the Kavanaugh Kabuki.Again.
Monday markets driven by headline risk
Predictably, with this veritable plethora of headline risk, most stocks decided to tank Monday morning. Right from the opening bell, Wall Street trading has been brisk and mostly to the downside. One bright spot: oil. No one actually knows where OPEC will reset production as of now. So traders – at the moment – are bullish on oil and oil-related stocks once again. Like everything else, this could turn on a dime. But right now, those holding investments in the oil patch are doing a tasteful happy dance.
Headline Risk #1: DOJ #2 man Rod Rosenstein resigns?
Back now to the market-driving news.
First. Reports claim that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is headed for the metaphorical hills Monday morning. Here’s a short, reasonably detailed report from Axios.
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge. Per a second source with direct knowledge: ‘He’s expecting to be fired,’ so he plans to step down.”
Background: Rosenstein apparently talked – or joked – last year about invoking the 25th Amendment and wearing a wire during Trump meetings. That’s what the New York Times’ Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt reported late last week. Rosenstein denied both allegations.
But that’s about as accurate a report we can get on the “Rosenstein resigns” story as of 11 a.m. ET or thereabouts. After the NYT and the WaPo published conflicting stories claiming Rosenstein had intended to carry a wire into an controversial get-together with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuckie Schumer immediately and predictably warned the President not to dare fire Rosenstein. Hoping that he would. Schumer and the Dems would prefer the media use the “Rosenstein fired” headline over the tamer “Rosenstein resigns” banner.
12:50 Update on “Rosenstein resigns”
Just to show you how slippery the Fake News is these days, NBC News — no ally of Trump, now disputes the Axios story:
“But [Axios’] bombshell report was contradicted by other news outlets, including from NBC News’ Pete Williams, who reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord after his off-the-cuff comments about possibly recording and removing President Donald Trump were revealed last week.
“He will only depart if the White House fired him and will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams reported. News of Rosenstein’s potential departure was a “huge shock” to the Justice Department, Williams reported.”
Are you a conspiracy theorist when there really is a conspiracy?
It’s clear that with their opposing stories, both “papers of record” intended to goad Trump into doing just that. That contributes a new “Rosenstein resigns” meme to the Kavanaugh firestorm and the China tariff issue. The Democrats hope to exploit all three in order to make their political wet dream – a November 2018 “Blue Wave” takeover of Congress – a reality. Whether one or the other newspaper story is true or not, it’s disgusting how low the Democrats’ Unloyal Opposition has gone. Their seditious #Resistance is just part of a well-funded, perpetual effort to reverse the 2016 fit of stupidity imposed on the Deep State elites by the American Voter.
Headline Risk #2: The China Syndrome; or, China retaliates (again)
Second. After pulling back from a proposed trade meeting with the US late last week, China has announced its own tit-for-tat retaliation against the President’s latest tariff escalations. It’s increasingly clear that the US – China trade battle is not going to end anytime soon. For the Democrats and the media, of course, this is a terrible thing and further evidence that the one-man Dunciad known as Donald Trump is on the verge of destroying the country. Because, impeachment. (Yawn.)
Desired headline: “China retaliates against deranged president.” The Democrat-Socialist-led party is loading this one or something like it back into its Blue Wave arsenal. It’s part of the official “narrative” they’re feeding to the media to destroy the President.
Headline Risk #3: Kavanaugh twists, Senate Kabuki continues
Third. The Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination has turned into a Carnival of Misery for this clearly upstanding jurist. It is all likely to end one way or another this week. Ms. Ford will allegedly testify this Thursday, followed by the nominee. That is, if her lawyer(s) iron out few hundred details before then. (BTW, who the hell pays for all these guys?)
Meanwhile, Judge Kavanaugh twists in the wind. As he does so, the media offers zero support for his smeared and slandered wife and kids. Don’t miss the next thrilling, R-Rated episode.
But wait! There’s more! There’s another #MeToo complainant that wants to get in the Senate “hearings” queue next, according to a new Rowan & Martin* dissertation published by the New Yorker.
The Democrats probably have 30-40 more of these stories lined up by now. Each headline grabbing nasty bit of fake news is ready to go as each previous fable fades due to lack of evidence. The Dems clearly hope to punt this Supreme nomination until after the election. That’s because they are absolutely certain they’ll win in a landslide. They’ll then refuse to vote on it. This assumes they haven’t driven the judge and his poor family into some remote cave by that time. Thus, they’ll get payback against the GOP for refusing to vote on Ex-President Obama’s nomination of super-liberal judge Merrick Garland in 2016.
The Swamp gets muckier
It’s one Gordian Knot of a mess in Washington right now. The chaos is largely driven by a hate-filled party that’s turned on its own traditional constituencies and America itself. They now begin their final charge to fundamentally transform this once great country a one-party dictatorship.
The market hasn’t quite addressed this intended (Social-) Democrat end-game yet. But the market will, and it won’t be pretty.
The President and the GOP leadership in Congress need to fight Democrat fire with Republican fire. They’re not generally very good at doing that. That’s why we won’t give odds on this epic battle for control of the (Washington) D.C. Universe.
Advice to the GOP. And they’d better listen up.
A bit of advice for the GOP. For starters if you let Kavanaugh twist slowly in the wind as he and his family are battered by vicious smears and unspported allegations, beware. If you fail to get him through the hearings, past the committee vote and through Senate confirmation pronto, you WILL LOSE both houses in November. Think about that before you chicken out, as is your custom.
Trust me. The voters, who at least thought they were turning 100 percent control of the government to the Republicans in Election 2016, are watching. If you disappoint them, they’ll disappoint you. And the country will be the worst for it.
We think that all this, and undoubtedly more mostly scurrilous fake news will dominate real and virtual newspapers, websites, and the airwaves until this year’s election is held. The more negative the potential outcome looks to traders and investors large and small, the bigger the hissy fit you’ll see from the always temperamental Mr. Market.
Here’s hoping some sanity finally comes to the fore in The Swamp after this week’s disgusting political spectacle draws (hopefully) to a close. It’s time to get down to the business of being a real country again, not a massive high school clone where only the nastiest “popular kids” get to control everyone else whether anyone likes it or not. #
* Actually, the story was penned by Ronan Farrow, but that old TV allusion to “Laugh In” seemed pertinent.
Headline image: Cartoon by Branco, reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Legal Insurrection.