“Think About It Very Carefully”: Author Don Winslow Posts Curious Message To Mark Warner

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Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Last night, President Joe Biden refused to take a cognitive or neurological test despite widespread concerns over his physical and mental decline. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos pressed the President on his low polling and efforts of Democrats to get him to drop out of the race. He specifically mentioned the effort of Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) to organize members to pressure him to end his campaign. Biden took a not-so-subtle dig at Warner. However, it was nothing compared to a curious posting by author and Democratic activist Don Winslow, who appeared to threaten Warner on X (formerly Twitter).

When the story broke in the Washington Post, Winslow posted a curious and ominous response:

It is not clear what Winslow meant by Warner knowing what he was talking about when asking if he was “sure you want to go down this road?”

The message has caused a bit of a stir on the Hill. For the denizens of the Beltway, it sounds extortive and threatening. The suggestion is that Winslow has something on Warner.

While some have asked whether this could be viewed as a threat criminally, it is clearly not sufficient for a charge. Warner is a public figure and this comment could just be a reference to political backlash or the lack of an alternative.

His asking Warner “Are you sure you want to go down this road?” could be a reference to the political implications of the resulting chaos, including making Kamala Harris the presidential candidate. Harris is even less popular than Biden according to some polls. While some polls show her doing slightly better than Biden against Trump, other polling shows that she would do considerably worse.

However, it is the follow up of “Think about it very carefully” that has got tongues wagging in D.C.

Whatever the intended meaning, the posting shows the depth of the division on the issue. Those divisions are only likely to deepen further after the refusal to take a test to put these concerns to rest.

Notably, Biden has insisted that the public can simply observe him. However, that position stands in contradiction to the frivolous privilege claims made by the Administration to withhold the audiotape from the interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur. That was an interview that the President was prepared for in advance and held in ideal conditions with staff. It is an opportunity for the public to hear him under questioning to reach the very conclusions that Biden suggested in the interview.

As for Winslow’s posting, it may just be an incautious, poorly worded message rather than extortion or blackmail. We have all made postings that we regretted.

The real issue for Democrats is how to address this looming issue without tearing the party apart. I have tried to drill down on the legal implications of swapping out the top of the ticket or the entire ticket. It is uncharted territory when it comes to the federal election laws on the use of past contributions as well as some states with restrictive rules on ballot changes.


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