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Long IslandPolitics

He who was not named casts a shadow at John McCain memorial service

Mourners leave the National Cathedral after a memorial

Mourners leave the National Cathedral after a memorial service for Sen. John McCain on Saturday in Washington. Credit: Getty Images/Mark Wilson

McCain foil

The president's name wasn’t spoken, but John McCain’s memorial service at the National Cathedral on Saturday became a rebuke to Donald Trump.

The eulogizers — including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and daughter Meghan — highlighted a life lived sacrificing for ideals without punching down at political enemies.

“Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power,” Bush said. “He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots. There was something deep inside him that made him stand up for the little guy — to speak for forgotten people in forgotten places.”

Meghan McCain drew applause when she said, "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great."

As Newsday’s Tom Brune wrote, the speakers “drew an unmistakable contrast with President Donald Trump — who wasn’t invited to the service — as they lauded McCain’s dedication to America’s founding values and his creed that calls for serving a cause greater than yourself.”

Longtime McCain confidant Mark Slater told The New York Times: “The message of the whole service is supposed to be there’s a better way to do this, there’s a better way to do politics than the way we’ve been doing it lately.”

Trump, for his part, spent a typical Saturday, taking to Twitter in the morning to attack his opponents, the news media and the investigation into possible Russian influence in the 2016 election, then playing golf.

Janison: swamp draining

Before the long holiday weekend, there was another guilty plea stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Sam Patten, a former associate of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainan political party.

Dan Janison notes the ironic consequence of Trump's election: "It took a special investigation of the Republican president's 'America First' campaign to prompt a crackdown on purportedly unregistered foreign agents."

The Supreme virtue

Whatever else the critics, elites, naysayers, scolds and other so-called "enemies of the people" might say, Trump's source of support among many conservatives has been his ability to shape the federal judiciary.

The latest effort — to get Brett Kavanaugh sworn to the U.S. Supreme Court — is on track, according to a key senator, despite Democrats' complaints that on Friday night the White House said it won't release 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh's work as a White House lawyer during Bush's administration.

Confirmation hearings start Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, predicts 55 votes or more in favor of Kavanaugh. “There are a handful of Democrats who will vote for Judge Kavanaugh if he does well. And maybe even more," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, decried the secrecy over the documents .

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Saturday, "We're witnessing a Friday night document massacre."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate Minority Whip, also on "Fox News Sunday," said that "there has been more concealment of documents concerning his public service and his position on issues than ever in the history of the United States."

Durbin also said Kavanaugh "comes before us at a time when people are concerned about whether this president, or any president, is above the law." 

Read the Sunday morning talk show dispatch from Scott Eidler and Jesse Coburn.

Trump vs. Canada, Impala, Bloomberg 

Trump, in an interview with Bloomberg News on Friday, gave an off-the-record rundown of trade negotiations with Canada: He was not compromising at all, and insulted the Canadian-made Chevy Impala to boot.

“Here’s the problem," Trump said. "If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal. ... I can’t kill these people,” Trump said, referring to the Canadian government.

"Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off," he continued. "And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala.”  

The portions of the interview were off the record. But the message was leaked to the Toronto Star. Trump accused Bloomberg News of being the source, while expressing pleasure that his feelings were public. Bloomberg News journalists, as well as the Toronto Star reporter, denied they were the source of the leak.

Ms. Garry goes to Washington

Newsday's David Olson provides the Long Island connection to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings set to start Tuesday. A teacher and track and field coach at a Locust Valley private college preparatory school is among those scheduled to testify in his favor. Louisa Garry said in a pro-Kavanaugh commercial  for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network that she has known Kavanaugh for 35 years. The two went to Yale Law School together in the 1980s.

What else is happening:

  • First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband and White House adviser Jared Kushner also attended the McCain funeral, at the invitation of McCain’s longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, with John McCain’s wife’s blessing, reports The New York Times.
  • Following Donald Trump Jr.'s lucrative Long Island fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin, he's announcing a national tour for congressional candidates.
  • The president's approval and disapproval ratings  remain remarkably stable, though there are red flags, reports Axios. 
  • A Democratic senator regrets that her party eliminated filibuster for most judicial nominees. 
  • Leon Panetta, former defense secretary and CIA director, called the North Korea summit between the president and Kim Jung Un "all about show" and "doomed to failure."

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