Category Archives: Dan Froomkin

My Brother Imagines a Hypothetical World in Which Republicans Answer Hypothetical Questions

Dan has a whole bunch of sensible questions that reporters should be asking members of Congress from both parties about what they believe constitutes an impeachable offense. I agree they should be asking them.

So rather than asking Republican members of Congress about impeaching Trump, we should be getting them to say what they themselves consider impeachable offenses – arguably locking them in, when and if Mueller can prove they were committed.

These are straightforward yes-or-no questions:

  • If a president is found to have solicited or knowingly accepted help from a foreign government to influence an American election, isn’t that an impeachable offense?
  • If a president fires a special prosecutor investigating him, isn’t that an impeachable offense?
  • If a president directly orders the Justice Department to prosecute his political rivals, isn’t that an impeachable offense?
  • If a president pardons himself, isn’t that an impeachable offense?1
  • If a president promises pardons to potential witnesses against him, isn’t that an impeachable offense?

And, bonus essay question:

  • What level of presidential lying to you consider an impeachable offense?

But I think I know what most of the answers will be: “I don’t want to get into hypothetical questions.”

Even so, reporters should be asking them. Maybe the follow-up should be: “Wait, you mean you think there’s actually a sufficient probability of this that you consider the question hypothetical?”


Bonus xkcd on hypotheticals:


  1. Note by MF: For the record, I think there are two good arguments that if a President pardons himself the pardon is invalid. First there is the idea that ‘no man should be the judge in his own cause.’ Second there’s the idea that a pardon is a thing one person confers on another, so a self-pardon just is incoherent. []
Posted in Dan Froomkin, Law: Reading the Constitution, Trump | Leave a comment

Vertebrate Paleontology

Congress gets a spine and nobody notices because it’s about Yemen.

Read this very interesting piece of Congressional vertebrate paleontology and thought, “Dan would like this; it’s the sort of thing he’d want for his rebooted White House Watch.”

But of course, it turns out that he wrote it.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Politics: International | Leave a comment

White House Watch is Back!

My brother is reviving White House Watch. It was his best journalism, back before he got sucked into management, and I’m really happy to see it again.

He even has a sort of manifesto, of which this is a part:

I see two ways it can add value above the din:

1. By relentlessly putting Trump’s incremental actions in their proper, alarming context as an ongoing, corrupt assault on pluralism, shared truths, and core liberal democratic values; and
2. By convening an ongoing online dialogue about what we need to do once Trump is gone, with an emphasis on strengthening our democracy and curbing executive branch powers that have grown unchecked.

We can’t allow this to become the new normal. So how do we restore pre-Trump expectations? And having learned some very painful lessons, how do we apply them to rebalance and reenergize our democracy?

I don’t have the answers, but I’m excited about asking the questions and reporting what I hear.

In addition to multiple postings using the latest news as a point of departure, I’ll do my own reporting and interviews. I’ll talk to experts about the weakening of the checks and balances intended to protect us from tyranny, and how to strengthen them. I’ll review literature on key topics, especially related to the violation and restoration of norms. I’ll experiment with online annotation of articles, essays and white papers. Depending on the site’s budget, there could be podcasts and even teach-ins.

I’m also intent on offering a megaphone to the growing community of groups and individuals already focused on the work of restoring and protecting democratic principles. The endless scandals, outrages and distractions of the Trump era have robbed them of the national attention they deserve. White House Watch will work with them on internet time to inject their important perspective into the daily political discourse.

(My only question is why I had to hear about this from Mom?)

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | Leave a comment

A Dose of Optimism

Mueller’s Big Reveal Is Coming, and it Could Be Huge by some guy named Dan.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Scandals | Leave a comment

Boy’s Club?

Over at ACS Blog, my brother notes that of the 29 people Trump has nominated for U.S. attorney positions, 28 are men.  And 25 are white.

Makes for a nice collage:

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Law: Everything Else, Trump | Leave a comment

You Don’t Say

My brother is being resasonable about what he calls “The Brooklyn Dodgers,” namely Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’s non-answers at the most recent debate.

WHEN A CANDIDATE for high office can’t respond to a simple question with an honest answer, attention should be paid. More often than not these days, that kind of behavior is just greeted with a shrug by the members of the elite media, but specific acts of evasion are worth studying. Because if something’s important enough for a candidate that they concoct a ludicrous non-response, there’s probably a sore point under there somewhere.

And when a candidate won’t directly answer the question, it’s also legitimate to speculate why that might be.

I’m not talking here about the positions on the issues that the candidates are taking, and whether they are logically consistent or wise. I’m not fact-checking. I’m just looking at evasive responses, and what they mean.

There follows multiple examples. I think this a model of what news analysis during campaigns should be.

PS. That said, reasonable surmise #2 appears to have been disproved by events? Could the reason Bernie hadn’t released his returns have been as simple as the returns being back home, the family is on the campaign trail, no one else had the key?

Posted in 2016 Election, Dan Froomkin | 4 Comments