18 Democrats Split From Chuck Schumer On FISA Vote

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Ryan Grim ( Twitter.com/RyanGrim), Washington Bureau Chief of The Intercept and TYT contributor reports on how the Senate found 60 votes to move forward with a bill to give Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions expanded surveillance authority, including the ability for Sessions and the FBI to have access to the NSA’s data for any reason they see fit.

Only 41 Republicans voted for cloture, meaning the bill needed 19 Democrats to get over the line. How interesting that it got exactly 19. And, of course, Jeff Flake voted yes, knowing that he had already written a speech to deliver on the Senate floor comparing Trump to Stalin. Yes, Stalin, and he’s delivering that speech right now, just hours after Flake voted to give him this authority.

All this raises a question that is uncomfortable for progressive activists. There has been a decision, in some cases conscious, in other cases not, that it is simply wrong to try to pressure Trump on policy. He is bad, and should not be normalized by the normal process of petitioning the government. Yet he is also the weakest, most pliable president we have probably ever had. Even his closest friends say that whoever talks to him last will be the one to persuade him, and he has a deep craving to be loved and admired. Liberals tried hard to sway Democrats on this surveillance vote, and they came up short. At some point, they may have to try pressuring Trump himself -- who, after all, even tweeted against this very bill! (Before flip-flopping an hour later when staff got ahold of him.)

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