Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

I saved a screenshot of this morning’s CNN home page the way my mother once squirreled away newspapers covering events like the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing and the Watergate denouement:

We’re not there yet. But to me, anyway, it feels like something historical is afoot, that I must not only bear witness but maybe save clippings for posterity. (At least my news pack-rattery won’t demand drawer space from my descendants!)

Twitler was on a tear this morning. Maybe he has that “history in the making” feeling too. It might be wishful thinking, but I could swear I detected a faint whiff of flop sweat and desperation emanating from the pixels below:

Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say. And the fuck of it is, I would normally agree: We don’t want the intel community mucking around in our politics.

It was an outrage when Comey stuck his big, fat, morally upright thumb on the scales in the waning days of the election. So why cheer the intel community on now, hoping they dump enough dirt to bury the Trump admin?

Because this isn’t a normal administration. Trump referred to me and the 65 million other Americans who didn’t vote for him as “enemies” in his New Year “message.” He’s done nothing to reach out to anyone other than his rancid fan base. He’s stocked the government with racists, misogynists and bigoted kooks, and his top advisers are openly fomenting a global white nationalist effort to undermine Western democracies.

The Republicans who control Congress are willing to go along with Trump’s anti-American agenda if doing so will allow them to cut taxes for billionaires and take away people’s access to affordable healthcare. They’ve said so outright, so they can’t be trusted to do their job and keep our government from being controlled by a hostile foreign power.

The judicial branch is the last leg on the wobbly-ass stool of American democracy, but Trump is doing his best to saw that off too and has real power to shape it for the future. Anyone think he’ll ensure its independence?

So, spooks it is. No, I don’t trust them completely. No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the intel community to manipulate domestic politics (and I wish we’d mind our own business abroad too).

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If it takes leaks to force the Republicans in Congress to work with the Democrats and do their goddamned jobs, then bring on the drip, drip, drip.

PS: The media is unanimously reporting that Dense Pence was in the dark about Flynn’s actions. Are y’all aware of any independent corroboration of that? I haven’t seen it.

It looks like they’re taking the administration’s word on that, and this administration lies constantly and shamelessly. On camera. All the fucking time. We shouldn’t take their word for anything.

353 replies
  1. 1
    Lapassionara says:

    Rock on, Betty!

  2. 2

    “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

    -Winston Churchill

  3. 3
    Raoul says:

    I certainly seems like some elements in the WH want to keep the possibility of Pence moving up from Veep if need be. Is he actually untainted? Across months of coordinated calls to Russia during the campaign by several campaign staffers? Hahahahahaha.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    Trump ‘thrives” on chaos.

    Except they’re not thriving. They’re fucking everything up which is 99.9% of the time what happens in chaos.

    “Thriving on chaos” is another cherished CEO myth. It’s how bad managers are made out to be “brilliant!” managers.

  5. 5
    ThresherK says:

    Even On Point, the marshmallow in the Jell-O salad that is NPR’s journalistic balls, is asking “Are we safe?”

    Not “Did James Comey throw the election”, but it is a baby step.

  6. 6
    Jeffro says:

    Establishment Rs will try to prop up Pence and give him deniability, so that he becomes the default solution once Trump is forced (and boy do I mean FORCED) from office.

    The problem is, if the Trump campaign was coordinating with a hostile foreign power to get the Republican ticket elected, Pence is/was part of that ticket, and thus cannot serve as President. An act of war denied 65M people their right to vote & equal protection. New election or HRC is 45th POTUS (period, as “Spicey” would say).

  7. 7
    Yarrow says:

    PS: The media is unanimously reporting that Dense Pence was in the dark about Flynn’s actions. Are y’all aware of any independent corroboration of that? I haven’t seen it.

    Nope. On that issue they’re doing what they usually do – being stenographers. I think some Republicans hope to keep Pence “clean” so he can be President and be unsullied by this Russian stuff. I don’t think it’s going to work out that way.

  8. 8
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Kay:

    Jeb Bush said it in one of the debates — he’s the chaos candidate, and do we really want a chaos president?

  9. 9
    Jeffro says:

    And Betty that is more than a faint whiff of flop sweat and desperation coming across the Twitter machine there…

  10. 10
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Jeffro:

    I’m afraid HRC is not going to be president.

  11. 11
    LAO says:

    @Jeffro:

    New election or HRC is 45th POTUS (period, as “Spicey” would say).

    Not how it works, unfortunately. Under your scenario, say hello to President Paul Ryan.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yep, a blind squirrel found an acorn that day!

  13. 13
    Yarrow says:

    Saw this Morning Joe clip linked elsewhere. From the Mediaite link:

    Scarborough invoked the name of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, the embattled political operative whose ties to pro-Kremlin efforts in the Ukraine essentially ended his role in the Trump orbit in August. Manafort’s name has resurfaced in the past 24 hours in light of Flynn’s connections to Russia as well.

    Scarborough continued Wednesday, “We have information and the intel community has had information of connection between the Russians and members of Donald Trump’s campaign at the very same time that the Russians are trying to fix the United States of America’s election for President. Republicans and editorial writers can not be so stupid to think they just picked on poor Michael Flynn out of nowhere.”

    “Republicans, you can just stop that BS,” he added firmly.

    “Note to Republicans,” added cohost Mika Brzezinski. “This only gets worse.”

    So…Morning Joe is calling out the Republicans for lying. What the world is going on? And Mika is correct that the longer they drag this out the worse it will be for other Republicans. Maybe they’re starting to see that with the efforts to protect Pence?

  14. 14
    Martha says:

    Two things: 1) having worked for and with corporate America for almost 35 years, most CEOs are mediocre people who embody the Peter Principle and their organizations are as inefficient as any government or university; and 2) I don’t believe FOR A SECOND that Pence didn’t know. He’s an idiot but they’re trying to shield him from the inevitable outcome.

  15. 15
    jeffreyw says:

    Well said, Betty.

  16. 16
    Kropadope says:

    My reaction so far to all this, same as it was on election night:

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Fortunately, now, there is slightly more mirth to it and slightly less coping with depression.

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Jeb Bush said it in one of the debates — he’s the chaos candidate, and do we really want a chaos president?

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeb out on the interview trail and that clip rolling again.

  18. 18
    Kay says:

    It would have been difficult for the completely unqualified Trump to persuade people that he would run a competent and conventional government, so they went with “disruptive” which covers a lot of incompetence – “that’s not a fuckup, it’s my unique style!” :)

    He can’t be conventional. If he were it would be obvious he’s incompetent because it’s a straight comparison.

    They have to add all this woo-woo “disruption” bullshit so no one can measure.

  19. 19
    Larkspur says:

    @Kay: Yes, this. Maybe they thought it would be fun. The only people I see having fun are Mika and her boy toy. They think it’s fascinating and fun and would stir it up even more if they could because they are insulated from everything except nuclear war, and they feel no journalistic responsibility, so there’s no burden there. It’s fun and interesting for them.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    This post is on point, BC

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LAO: Agreed. And as much as I despise that smarmy weasel, it would be an improvement. A scenario in which the presiding Republican government was taken down by a massive scandal, handing the White House to the Speaker, would be somewhat favorable to Democrats in 2018.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:

    @LAO:

    Not how it works, unfortunately. Under your scenario, say hello to President Paul Ryan.

    I’m convinced the GOP top leadership knew all about this stuff before the election and said nothing. The longer they drag their feet the worse it will be for them. They knew. It will all come out.

  23. 23
    Jeffro says:

    @zhena gogolia: There are multiple ways how this might all play out – don’t write her off yet!

    @LAO: I’d take that over Trumpov; however, I think there’s a case to be made that an act of war/espionage installed the Republican ticket (while also depriving 65M Americans of their rights). Therefore, the R ticket cannot serve, nor do we simply go down the chain of succession here. Let’s see how it plays out.

  24. 24
    hovercraft says:

    Preach Sister Betty ;-)

    They are unnerved by the the leaks, if yesterday’s phrase was, nothing to see here move along, then today’s is never mind the fucking stack of evidence of our collusion/conspiring with a hostile nation to steal an American election in front of you, can you believe people have the audacity to tell you about it. Conway: Trump Administration Is ‘Very Concerned’ About Leaks. At this rate they may need to launch a missile attack to distract the media, but I doubt even that would knock this off the front page. Blood in the water, the sharks can smell it.

  25. 25
    Barbara says:

    I have no idea what Pence knew or when, but it would not shock me if they deliberately kept him in the dark in order to serve as a useful idiot, because sometimes it’s, well, useful, to have an actual idiot on board. I do think Pence might have difficulty lying in the same baldfaced way that Trump does if he knew that Flynn had spoken to the Russian ambassador about sanctions. As for the larger point about the impact of intelligence community on domestic politics — no, I don’t like it, but that stretches back to Comey, to McConnell, and no doubt others. You can’t use the CIA as a sword and then cry for protection. As for why it is being done now — I would imagine that the CIA or whichever intelligence agency is behind this really, really wants Bannon gone, like yesterday, as well has his followers and underlings.

  26. 26
    Kropadope says:

    @Yarrow:

    Nope. On that issue they’re doing what they usually do – being stenographers.

    As it has been since the Presidential campaign started. It takes irrefutable proof from MULTIPLE government agencies before the media might, maybe, be arsed to look into claims of Republican perfidy.

    Don’t you know accountability is only for Democrats?

  27. 27
    MomSense says:

    @LAO:

    Not sure about that. Ryan, as speaker, was briefed on this before the election. He would have been briefed about the coordination between 45/dense and Russia just like Schiff, Reid, McConnell, etc. He knew. He knows. He’s on the hook as well.

  28. 28
    Raoul says:

    @LAO: We could end up in a sort of Gerald Ford situation, though arrived at differently: I could see the Orange Higginbotham resigning, Pence being named 46, and then taken down, so that whoever is appointed VP to fill Pence’s spot is 47.

    Not highly likely, but more likely than any sort of path for HRC. I just do not believe there is any constitutional way for that to happen.

    eta: Also, what Momsense just said.

  29. 29
    Larkspur says:

    @Yarrow: You may be right, but somehow I think nearly all of those also-rans got all the fight burned right out of them. Rubio makes mewling sounds now and then, but it seems like they’re all destroyed. But I’m sure I underestimate the resilience of these guys. Embarrassed, discredited Democrats are gone forever; Repubs get recycled.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @LAO: Indeed, Obama was always very good about following the established system as established and not going cross-country directly to desired outcome.

    I imagine Der Twitterer in Chief is confused. Isn’t firing someone the immediate cue before the credits roll, the camera goes off and somebody brings him a tacobowl with a slap on the back about how it was a thilling must-see episode?

  31. 31
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow:

    So…Morning Joe is calling out the Republicans for lying. What the world is going on? And Mika is correct that the longer they drag this out the worse it will be for other Republicans. Maybe they’re starting to see that with the efforts to protect Pence?

    Trump has been melting down since 11/9, and especially since 1/20. They know they’re on track to get utterly pasted in 2018 (and lose the WH in 2020 should Trump somehow still be in office). They do want to try and save Pence, though – he’s the ultimate GOP rubber-stamp president.

    Unfortunately for them, there’s a strong case to be made that the whole ticket was installed due to the actions of the Russians and therefore cannot serve. New election or HRC. Frankly, HRC could make it easy by offering to serve just 1 term (or even be sworn in, then resign and turn it over to Kaine) but first things first.

  32. 32
    The Moar You Know says:

    Nixon time redux.

    One day in the year 1974, my mom made me turn off the Bugs Bunny cartoon I was watching and changed the channel. The president was resigning. She said it was a big deal, part of history, so I watched. Pretty boring stuff, if you didn’t know about the years of criminal acts that had led to that point, and I didn’t.

    Got a feeling I’m going to be watching something similar in the next few years. But this time I’ll know the backstory.

    Nixon, for the good of the nation, needed to go to jail. We blew it big time there, instituting a unspoken and unwritten precedent that the president is above the law. I hope that this time we can step up to the plate and at least put the carrot-faced traitor and his cabinet of anarchists on trial.

  33. 33
    Barbara says:

    @Kay: Chaos and creativity are different things. I have worked with companies that encouraged creativity and it sometimes felt chaotic, but when they were successful, it was because they took they best ideas that arose out of a freewheeling culture and then developed them in a very disciplined way. There is zero discipline at work here, and there is no creativity either.

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    Missed you yesterday, Ms. Cracker. Was hoping for Valentines Day post, with chickens and lizards. Not on the menu, though.

  35. 35
    Kropadope says:

    @Raoul:

    Not highly likely, but more likely than any sort of path for HRC. I just do not believe there is any constitutional way for that to happen.

    Mike Pence resigns as VP, Trump takes on HRC as VP, Trump gets impeached. Not plausible, sure, but entirely Constitutional.

  36. 36
    Oatler. says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: “If Hitler invaded hell I would cozy up to him and invite Asmodeus and Choronzon weigh in”.- Charles Todd

  37. 37

    I saw that Eli Lake piece he mentioned, and found it well-intentioned but unconvincing. It’s sadly become the duty of the deep state at this moment in time to save our democracy from an electorate which by the EC, gerrymandering, and senate timing can’t save us; a congress that won’t save us; and a judiciary that is insufficient. We’re Turkey now.

  38. 38
    Jeffro says:

    @Raoul:

    We could end up in a sort of Gerald Ford situation, though arrived at differently: I could see the Orange Higginbotham resigning, Pence being named 46, and then taken down, so that whoever is appointed VP to fill Pence’s spot is 47.

    Not highly likely, but more likely than any sort of path for HRC. I just do not believe there is any constitutional way for that to happen.

    eta: Also, what Momsense just said.

    SCOTUS could overturn the election for reasons I’ve noted above and either call for a new election, or say that HRC was the rightful winner. It’s not like they haven’t decided who’s president before…

  39. 39
    SenyorDave says:

    The only way the Republicans investigate is if the Turtle and Eddie Munster make the calculation that it is better for the GOP politically. I don’t see where we are even close to that, and we might never get there. The idea that any Republican in the US Congress has the integrity to do so just doesn’t match reality. If there was an ebola-type virus that could attack only the Congressional Republicans, it would be the biggest boon to this country in the last 50 years (I’m assuming it would wipe them all out).

    And it would have the added bonus of being ironic.

  40. 40
    Barbara says:

    @zhena gogolia: I think Jeb and everyone else missed the boat on this. I read a lot of those articles that were based on field trips into the rust belt and one of the best basically said that the people they had spoken to were quite aware that Trump posed high risks but they thought they had nothing to lose. In that sense, he should have been called the lottery ticket president — for the kind of people who have so little likelihood of succeeding through normal channels that a lottery ticket seems to hold out better odds for getting ahead. I actually don’t believe people are as helpless or downtrodden as they feel, but the point is, it was easy for someone like Trump to tap into that feeling and seem like the equivalent of a lottery ticket.

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @LAO:

    I agree. We all need to focus on going forward. Stick to that.

  42. 42

    In all seriousness I think this mess warrants some constitutional amendments when it’s over. One to provide for redoing an irreparably tainted election. Another to outlaw gerrymandering, similar to the way Iowa does it. Lawyers, do these sound realistic?

  43. 43
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I had a dream about one of Betty’s chickens last night!

  44. 44
    ThresherK says:

    @Oatler.: Chuckles would invite Lord Mosley and Lord Haw Haw on. Y’know, for balance.

  45. 45

    @SenyorDave:

    If there was an ebola-type virus that could attack only the Congressional Republicans, it would be the biggest boon to this country in the last 50 years (I’m assuming it would wipe them all out).

    The voters would just send us more.

  46. 46
    debbie says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Watching that speech was probably the only cathartic moment of my life.

  47. 47
    batgirl says:

    @ThresherK: A few weeks ago on NPR, I heard a longish piece on the history of opposition to Supreme Court nominations that didn’t even mention Garland!

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    @zhena gogolia: Do tell!

  49. 49
    amk says:

    Does tweety know twitler is constantly kicking his teeth in?

  50. 50
    Mike in DC says:

    There is only one path to a redo of the election, but it’s an extreme long shot. Get voters from 50 states to file an equal protection suit, specifically demanding a judicial nullification of the election results and ordering a new set of elections to be held, in November 2018. In the meantime the best thing for the country is a bipartisan caretaker administration–Ryan/Pelosi. Both pledge not to run for the office. The Congress at least tries to work together on compromise legislation, to show the country that things can still work and restore some faith in the system.

    Completely delusional, I know. But that’s how things would go in a best case scenario. If Ryan or Pence are president and still trying to push through a hard right agenda, there should be massive pushback and a big wave in the midterms.

  51. 51
    Aleta says:

    High wire types with loads of fun money dream about golden opportunities emerging from other people’s destruction. A tanking market is a thrilling time; war leads to profit if you have connections.

  52. 52
    Nicole says:

    I think the GOP is figuring if they can spin it as “Pence didn’t know” then he can become 46, and there’s enough time between now and 2018 for them to lure back voters so they keep Congress.

    I think it’s in the Democrat’s best interests to see this nightmare drag on until then because, if they get back Congress, then a Dem is 3rd in line for the Presidency. Who would’ve thought Pelosi might have a shot at being the first woman President?

    (note: I find this highly unlikely to happen. At this point, I would be content if the Democrats, once they get back in power, would actually follow through on investigating. From Watergate to Iran Contra to Iraq, the country has learned that Republicans commit crimes and Democrats don’t hold them responsible for it. At some point it’d be nice to think that someone, anyone, in Congress, would like to make clear to Americans that laws also apply to those working in government.)

  53. 53
    Raoul says:

    @Larkspur: I have probably watched about 3 minutes total of Morning Blow. Completely not interested in their drivel.

    But Chris Geidner linked to the segment supercut from Monday where Joe and Mika are watching Stephen Miller’s Sunday tour de farce, made it clear that they can actually be shocked, and can actually think “ZOMG the world may come to an end.” At least Mika. Not much gets through to crack the veneer, but that did. FWIW (which is obviously not much, this is MSNBC trying to be all Republicklown, after all…)

  54. 54
    piratedan says:

    @Betty Cracker: to be fair, I’m not sure how they all (GOP leadership) escape the taint. It’s been alluded to that the top GOP folks knew all of this shit during the campaign. When Obama thought that the voting public should know, McConnell threatened him by shaping it in the media as a partisan politic attack (and you know what, the fucker was probably right and could have very well been able to shape the media that way considering the full on rage job that Clinton was facing) and stated that Obama was “tipping the scales” improperly (and with the GOP having Comey in their pocket to do their dirty work), so they let it play out. The GOP leadership was Ryan and Priebus and McConnell and if the investigation shows that THEY ALL KNEW and decided that winning the election was more important than the questions that could be raised and the supposed sanctity of our voting process… well, I think that this may be the one thing that may finally break their svengali-like hold on the Media and low information voters.

    Then again, you can’t underestimate the stupid and the capacity of the media’s wiring for GOP ass-kissing.

  55. 55
    gvg says:

    @Yarrow: I don’t think it’s actually possible to clear Pence of knowing anything. That doesn’t mean he is guilty or innocent, it’s just not very provable, and it’s hard to prove a negative. that said, I always expected him to be disregarded by Trump. they aren’t very alike. He has actually ended up having some power because Trump and his bases dislike of actual politicians resulted in them having no one else who actually knew even part of what to do. So I find it fairly plausible that he didn’t know anything or much and he would not have power to do anything about it (except leak). The slightly positive indications are that there has not been anything proving he did know and these people are so incompetent and arrogant that there is a good chance it would have come out or that it will if Pence did know. Problem is the whole pack of them are liars with a lot of spite. He may get implicated and it might even be unfair. I would say there is a good chance if he does get the Presidency, that he will be less effective than an elected President usually is.
    When I heard the evangelicals were backing trump because they thought he would be impeached and Pence would get it, I laughed at them for suckers. Now I think it’s almost inevitable. I still feel a good deal of contempt because we are a long way from safe harbor.
    there is no provision in our constitution for invalidating an election and holding it again. If both go it will be Ryan. I am not really comfortable with that because it seems not right and not what our elections indicated but it is the law. I wonder if the house might start a fight to get a new speaker if it starts to look likely with multiple factions all think they should get it…our secession was designed to deal with death or nuclear crisis not so much a scandal.
    I have never heard if the President can fire a vice president and get a new one. I don’t recall how Agnew was removed exactly.

    One problem for congress in removing Trump is it’s so soon after the election and they are effectively invalidating elections if they act to soon. what if the Republican congress had decided to remove Obama as soon a s he was elected just because they didn’t like him? 6 months from now when Trump has done more harm that is provable its more likely. the voters put them in a difficult spot if they do see the danger of Trump idiocy. Id like the news to point that out to people. don’t ignore it. Competence matters.

  56. 56
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I can’t remember the details. But there was a big, beautiful, fat chicken, and I knew in the dream that it was one of Betty’s.

  57. 57
    The Moar You Know says:

    In all seriousness I think this mess warrants some constitutional amendments when it’s over. One to provide for redoing an irreparably tainted election. Another to outlaw gerrymandering, similar to the way Iowa does it. Lawyers, do these sound realistic?

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: They’ll never pass. Especially gerrymandering. Although we obviously need the first one pretty badly (although you must realize this will result in an unending parade of GOP “sore loser” lawsuits every time they lose an election anywhere).

  58. 58
    Mary G says:

    Definitely we need a law that all candidates have to release their tax returns going forward.

  59. 59
    dedc79 says:

    Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say.

    The issue with Greenwald (which is always the issue with Greenwald) is that he’s incapable of being measured about anything. During the campaign, he could’ve but didn’t just say that some of the stories floating around about Trump-Russia connections were thin; instead he had to go further and dismiss the whole idea that such connections might exist or that there would be anything sinister about them if they did. He even went so far as to accuse liberals of red-baiting (which made no sense for reasons that should be obvious, even to him).

  60. 60
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Barbara: #25

    What makes it hard for me to believe that Pence was “deliberately kept in the dark” was the fact he was in charge of the transition team and reportedly was taking up the slack by receiving intelligence briefings in place of Trump.

  61. 61
    Shell says:

    That Trump Twitter blame-a-thon is pretty amazing. If he owned a dog he’d probably blame it too.

  62. 62
    msdc says:

    Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say.

    Oddly enough, Greenwald is claiming this is a victory for leakers while simultaneously calling anybody who criticized Snowden or Manning hypocrites if they welcome these leaks.

    Even though he spent half of last year condemning anyone who wanted to investigate Trump’s ties to Putin as part of “the new McCarthyism.”

    I suppose it’s a good indicator when a human weathervane like Greenwald starts pointing your way, but I wouldn’t trust him any more than Comey. Grifters gotta grift.

  63. 63
    msdc says:

    Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say.

    Oddly enough, Greenwald is claiming this is a victory for leakers while simultaneously calling anybody who criticized Snowden or Manning hypocrites if they welcome these leaks.

    Even though he spent half of last year condemning anyone who wanted to investigate Trump’s ties to Putin as part of “the new McCarthyism.”

    I suppose it’s a good indicator when a human weathervane like Greenwald starts pointing your way, but I wouldn’t trust him any more than Comey. Grifters gotta grift.

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    @zhena gogolia: Roaming or plated?

  65. 65
    hovercraft says:

    @Kay: Show me a chaotic company and I’ll show you a failing business. The Shitgibbon is demonstrating the same level of skill as president that he demonstrated as CEO. Since his company was private he was able to bullshit his way to the next deal, and always find a new group of suckers willing to give him money, but even with that he still went bankrupt repeatedly. He was such a poor businessman that American banks refused to lend him any more money. I suspect even the foreign rubes were finally catching on to the fact that there is no there there, his run for president was just his latest gambit to lure in new marks, who knew there were enough of them to actually win him the presidency, though he needed big assists from Comey, the media and Putin. Yes he will go down in history as Dolt 45, but he is already demonstrating that he will take his place at the bottom of our presidential hierarchy, James Buchanan, Warren G Harding, Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Pierce, Shrub,many of these men’s policies killed many people, yet this man would fit right in with them. SAD !

  66. 66
    D58826 says:

    The media is unanimously reporting that Dense Pence was in the dark about Flynn’s actions. Are y’all aware of any independent corroboration of that? I haven’t seen it.

    Given that Pence has been around DC a long time and there were numerous articles/leaks/etc about what Flynn was up to, I find it hard to believe he was in the dark about what was going on. Her just didn’t look very hard.

    Also, as to Mattis being the adult in the room – AP is reporting that he told NATO to either pony up more money this tear or the US would ‘moderate’ it’s commitment to NATO.

    At this point Putin must think he is one of those Muslims suciide bombers and the 72 virgins w/o even having to die

  67. 67
    XTPD says:

    @Jeffro: I;m going to get my blowjob-farting unicorn in the mail any day now.

  68. 68
    Raoul says:

    @Kropadope: Uh, yeah, that could happen. So I stand corrected, at least technically. (laughing)

  69. 69
    Jeffro says:

    @Mike in DC:

    There is only one path to a redo of the election, but it’s an extreme long shot. Get voters from 50 states to file an equal protection suit, specifically demanding a judicial nullification of the election results and ordering a new set of elections to be held, in November 2018. In the meantime the best thing for the country is a bipartisan caretaker administration–Ryan/Pelosi. Both pledge not to run for the office. The Congress at least tries to work together on compromise legislation, to show the country that things can still work and restore some faith in the system.

    Completely delusional, I know. But that’s how things would go in a best case scenario. If Ryan or Pence are president and still trying to push through a hard right agenda, there should be massive pushback and a big wave in the midterms.

    A variation (and a good one) on a theme: voters were denied their rights here and the Trump administration cannot benefit from its collusion in a crime. SCOTUS will eventually end up hearing this, I’m positive. Hopefully they will rule for HRC (who may or may not serve more than a day). I can’t see a Ryan/Pelosi ‘caretaker’ government, but I sure can see a Kaine/Kasich one.

  70. 70
    J. says:

    What @Martha said (or wrote). :-)

  71. 71
    msdc says:

    @dedc79: Huh – my own comment on this seems to have gotten eaten by moderation, but yes, this exactly. He went so far as to condemn “the new McCarthyism.” Now he’s pretending he was for the leaks all along.

  72. 72

    @dedc79:

    He shot his “brutal dictator” wad on Obama, then was too proud or too stupid to correct himself when the real article showed its orange face.

  73. 73
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @Martha:

    It’s plausible that Pence did not know, if the cabal saw him as an outsider and shielded themselves, not him, by keeping him on a need-to-know short leash.

  74. 74
    LAO says:

    @MomSense: @Jeffro: I personally do not want to see Trump, Pence or Ryan as the President of the United States of America. However, if the Democrats’ argument (which I agree with) is for a return to Constitutional norms — then we are stuck with the Constitutionally defined succession order. Arguing otherwise, is a bit Trumpian.

  75. 75
    Jeffro says:

    @XTPD: is your postman aware of this impending delivery? You’ll probably want to give him a heads-up…sounds heavy!

  76. 76
    Jeffro says:

    @LAO: If a crime puts the R ticket into office…why should anyone from that ticket benefit? If the Speaker was aware of the crime…why would he be allowed to assume power as POTUS?

  77. 77
    MattF says:

    @LAO: Republicans are looking at President Personality Disorder and blinking. Repeatedly. In unison. It’s going to have to get much worse before anything concrete happens.

  78. 78
    D58826 says:

    @gvg:

    I don’t recall how Agnew was removed exactly.

    He resigned and Nixon picked Ford as a replacement. Ford picked Rockefeller as his VP onced Nixon resigned. IIRC the 25th amendment was passed to formalize the process. It also formalized the process of presidential incapacity. I think they were think back to when Ike had his heart attacks.

  79. 79

    @Raoul: “Section 2 of the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution: Whenever there is vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.”

    Could be that putting Pence in is the goal of one faction, and then he can pick a dominionist VP like Cruz. Another faction probably wants Ryan. That Sen. Corker is calling for investigations of the Russian interference suggests that that one faction is making its move; I wonder which.

  80. 80
    Larkspur says:

    @Raoul: That’s fair, and I do admit that I don’t watch the show, and I tend to mute the tv when their promos come on, so I will go with you on that one.

  81. 81
    Raoul says:

    @SenyorDave: To this point, we f**ing need the DNC to stop with the endless dithering on a chair.

    Because we need a top flite Dem announced, yesterday, in Janesville WI. Call me crazy (you all I’m sure have before), but a well funded Dem needs to be pounding on Ryan every damn day in his district from now to election day 2018.

    That Dem may not win, but the news value, the focus of having a candidate asking tough, penetrating questions of the smarmy doofus fake-wonk coward would be immense. S/he could be invited on all the damn 24 hour networks (except Fox, of course) on a regular basis to be a massive thorn in his side.

    Ryan is more vulnerable right now that he has ever been. Weaken him. Use a dem challenger to do the job the press has so far totally failed to do. /end rant

  82. 82
    LAO says:

    @gvg:

    One problem for congress in removing Trump is it’s so soon after the election and they are effectively invalidating elections if they act to soon.

    I think it goes deeper than this. The GOP Congress is frightened to death by their base — which continues to stand by Trump. If they knock Trump out, at this stage at least, they’ll be voted out as well. And Dog knows, nothing motivates a politician like enlightened self-interest.

  83. 83
    Yarrow says:

    @Jeffro: I don’t think HRC being president is a good idea unless and until a whole bunch of other stuff has happened. Just getting rid of Trump and some entity, like the Supreme Court, saying she should be president, isn’t going to do it. Wiping out all of the GOP top leadership and quite a few cabinet positions and finding actual evidence of Russian tampering with elections in places like Erie, PA might.

    However, if we end up with that level of craziness, I think there would be more of a call to bring back Obama for a short term presidency, or maybe put in Biden, rather than give it to Hillary. Finding some compromise person to take care of the country would be the goal if the GOP is torpedoed.

  84. 84
    Ian G. says:

    Well, it looks like the CIA is going to destabilize a corrupt authoritarian clown in a banana republic who came to power through a flawed election once more for old times sake. It will at least be partial atonement for Pinochet.

  85. 85
    dr. bloor says:

    @Jeffro: No matter how many times you type this, SCOTUS isn’t going to tip over the table and call for a new election (or install HRC!). There’s a process in place for removing a president–however many times you might have to do it to find clean hands–and your “solution” would make a much bigger constitutional mess than the problem it purports to resolve.

    Bush v. Gore was a travesty. I don’t know how you think “do it again” is any sort of appropriate solution to the problem at hand.

  86. 86
    ET says:

    This no defense of Pence but he is not really part of Trump’s trusted inner circle like his daughter, son-in-law, and Bannon. Trump knew he need a VP (though he likely resented having to bring someone on board) and deliberately picked one that he could keep at a very distance arms length away which would keep an untried and distrusted person out of the loop. If I were Pence I would be pissed – particularly since he was dense enough to feel he was in the inner circle. Trump has just shown him what his position really is.

  87. 87
    Rommie says:

    I agree that it’s Not Cool for the spai’s to get involved in domestic politics. It’s entirely OK to get involved if a foreign power, friendly or unfriendly, is messing around with our elections. That is their job!

    And with a lot of hindsight – Pardons are bad, m’kay? (Nixon, the Confederacy, Steinbrenner) (Okay, Roger Clinton was pretty shady too) If it’s the *only* way Twitler would offer to resign, then maaaaaaaybe, but Unconditional Surrender sounds really good right about now…

  88. 88
    Larkspur says:

    @Shell: He can’t own a dog, and not because he hates germs, but because they’d bite him and run away and end up with debit in her specially crowd-sourced refuge for freaked out animals, a facility at which I’d be employed as a caretaker/dog-sitter with my own roomy, cozy crate.

  89. 89
    MJS says:

    Sorry, I’m not sure how to “box” the quote, but I think there’s unnecessary handwringing going on here:

    “So why cheer the intel community on now, hoping they dump enough dirt to bury the Trump admin?”

    This is not political, in that we are not in the midst of a presidential campaign. This is about the sitting President and his closest advisors being in league with an adversary foreign nation. What Comey did? Absolutely political. What the intel community is doing now is making the press and the American people aware that there are significant ties between the President and Russia. They have to do it because the President obviously won’t, nor will the majority party in the Senate and House. I will absolutely cheer on the intel community for doing this, not just because I’m hoping it leads to this abomination of a President’s downfall, but because it is the right thing to do. I would feel the same way if it were a Democratic administration being leaked about.

  90. 90
    Larkspur says:

    @msdc: I’m looking forward to the Melissa McCarthy hearings.

  91. 91
    D58826 says:

    @Yarrow: If you have lost Jennifer Rubin and now Morning Joe…………………….

  92. 92
    LAO says:

    @Jeffro:

    You make a lot of assumptions — first, exactly “what crime” was committed? and second, what does Ryan “knew about it” mean? I don’t mean to be facetious — but as a criminal defense attorney, I need to understand.

    @MattF: I think the blinking may be morse code. Anyone check?

  93. 93
    Yarrow says:

    @Mary G:

    Definitely we need a law that all candidates have to release their tax returns going forward.

    Yes. For sure. Isn’t California requiring it now for presidential candidates to get on their ballot? I know it will be challenged in court but it’s a good start.

  94. 94
    MattF says:

    @MJS: I feel uncomfortable about just how much the intel community seems to know about the inner workings of the WH. It’s an ugly picture.

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    Two thoughts — If I had any power as a Senator or some such. I would go hard after Pence. Non-stop. Like a presidential campaign. Like Agnew. The VP must fall first. Then there would be a huge political battle regarding who was the replacement VP. It would not be Ryan….

    Next thought, I wonder if it will be French or German (or even English) intelligence agents that ultimately bust this wide open against Trump Co.

  96. 96
    Kropadope says:

    @Yarrow:

    Isn’t California requiring it now for presidential candidates to get on their ballot? I know it will be challenged in court but it’s a good start.

    Of course it won’t matter unless a bona fide swing state followed their example.

  97. 97
    hovercraft says:

    @amk:
    He talks tough, he talks for the WWC, he’s decisive, (if you don’t count the fact that he constantly changes his tune), he has a beautiful wife and daughter, and most importantly he’s a successful businessman who builds things. What’s not for Tweety to love?

  98. 98
    Betty Cracker says:

    @zhena gogolia & @Elizabelle: I quit smoking almost five years ago (yay me!) and had a weird Chantix dream about the chickens. Here’s an account of it in case you missed…

  99. 99
    Lapassionara says:

    @gvg: Agnew resigned because a US Attorney found evidence that he had accepted bribes (or something like that). It was part of the deal to escape jail, I think. That is when I knew Nixon was toast, because nobody wanted Agnew to become president. They chose Gerald Ford to replace Agnew, and the rest is history.

    We will not get a new election, and neither Hillary nor Pelosi will be president. The Republicans are ruthless, and will cling to power, aided by the media. The only question is whether Trump stays in office. Bannon is shrewd (his strategy won Trump the election), and he may find a way to keep Trump as president for at least 4 years. Too early to tell.

  100. 100
    MomSense says:

    @LAO:

    I honestly think the best way out of this, the only way that protects the American people from corruption, is to hold a special election. I’m at the point where I think a good case can be made that McConnell could be impeached for obstruction and failure to perform his oath of office and protect us from enemies foreign and domestic. I don’t know to what extent Ryan may have covered or obstructed a full public disclosure of Russia and 45/dense collaboration and interference in our election. I do know that the American people were denied a free and fair election. We have rights in this as well.

    ETA As far as Dense goes, he was absolutely briefed on Russian interference and collaboration since the nomination. He was briefed during the transition. He should not be let off the hook for this. It was reported that PR BS was against Flynn and Pense wanted to let him “skate”. He is a collaborator and should face charges with the rest of the traitors.

  101. 101
    Martha says:

    @cynthia ackerman: I suppose, but your scenario presumes intelligence, planning and foresight that I don’t believe is in evidence at this time. Maybe from Priebus, but not the others and it sounds like all factions are warring. I’m in one of those tinfoil hat periods I guess…shocking I know :-)

  102. 102
    Barbara says:

    @MJS: Yes, this is a big distinction, I agree. The CIA probably took a pass during the election cycle itself for the same reason that Comey should have but did not. They should be scared about changing the outcome of an election. But all of us should be afraid of having a president who shows more allegiance to a foreign power than to our own institutions and traditional allies. I suspect that Trump’s appointments and actions for the NSC are what is really driving them now. Not his schoolboy taunts of the intelligence service overall, but fear that when they brief the president they are essentially serving as spies on behalf of Putin. They simply cannot abide that, and probably could not for any country’s leader, but especially not the loathsome and murderous Putin.

  103. 103
    dr. bloor says:

    @Kropadope: Sure it would. Releasing the returns to one state is functionally the same as releasing them to the entire country.

  104. 104
    Aleta says:

    @D58826: And Ford promised he wouldn’t run didn’t he? Then he ran.

  105. 105
    Mike J says:

    Heh. Infosec Taylor Swift is offering to help Kellyanne Conway figure out who hacked her phone and and tweeted to a white supremacist.

    https://twitter.com/SwiftOnSecurity/status/831877845811081219

  106. 106
    scav says:

    @ET: Pence wasn’t his preferred casting for adoring sidekick either. Given how der Twit in Chief treats his preferred dogsbodies (enough public kicks to prove who holds the choke chain) I can entirely see Pence being jerked anout to send a clear message to backers as to who wields the bossman coffeecup. So much seems to be a personal signally of dominance — see also handshake.

  107. 107

    @Rommie: exactly. It’s special pleading, but–if we’re worried that some day the shoe might be on the other foot, perhaps we should be more worried that some day OUR presidential candidate might be, you know, treasonously colluding with the enemy.

  108. 108
    hovercraft says:

    Looks like there’s a reason the Shitgibbon is getting nervous.

    Manafort: I Don’t Think I Even ‘Inadvertently’ Spoke With Russians

    And the democrats are not just letting this slide.

    Schumer: Trump’s AG ‘Must Recuse Himself Immediately’ From Flynn Probe

  109. 109
    Yarrow says:

    @ET: Weren’t there rumors that Trump wanted Christie as VP but that got vetoed by someone? Probably Kushner. Speaking of Christie, weren’t there rumors he was meeting with the WH/Trump this week? Wonder how that’s going now.

  110. 110
    Kropadope says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Sure it would. Releasing the returns to one state is functionally the same as releasing them to the entire country.

    The Republican could just forego California altogether. The Democrat wouldn’t have that luxury. Therefore, California making release of tax returns a qualification for their ballot only truly binds the hands of the Democrat.

  111. 111
    Barbara says:

    @Lapassionara: Agnew was from Maryland and had accepted bribes associated with awarding road building contracts. It was the fact that he continued to receive payments while he was serving as vice president that caused Nixon to agree that Agnew had to go. Prior, Nixon had held out his ethically challenged VP as his best insurance policy against impeachment.

  112. 112
    nominus says:

    Following some retired IC people on twitter, it appears that they have been reluctant to get involved, but Enough Is Enough. There was plenty of info out there prior to the election, and there was plenty of info out there between the election and inauguration. Congress hasn’t done anything about it, the media did a half-assed job of mentioning it in passing, so the leaks are going to keep coming until Somebody Does Something. They don’t want to be the Praetorian Guard picking the next president, but when they come out and say that they think Russia has eyes and ears in the White House and nobody shits their britches then they’re going to act. I get the feeling that the Flynn leak was tame stuff and there is an obvious breadcrumb trail being left, but if people don’t take the hint then they’ll dump progressively more explosive info.

  113. 113
    Immanentize says:

    Has anyone contemplated the fact that crazy Flynn or his crazy son might be willing to tell all?

  114. 114
    Jeffro says:

    @MomSense:

    I do know that the American people were denied a free and fair election. We have rights in this as well.

    Amen!

    @Yarrow:

    However, if we end up with that level of craziness, I think there would be more of a call to bring back Obama for a short term presidency, or maybe put in Biden, rather than give it to Hillary. Finding some compromise person to take care of the country would be the goal if the GOP is torpedoed.

    I think a ‘compromise person’ would be great…I just don’t see how SCOTUS could hand it to anyone other than one of the people who was actually running in the Nov 2016 election. That’s why I keep pushing “HRC, but then she steps down and Kaine assumes the office” Who could argue with Mr. Bland? Our national nice dad? Give the nation a chance to breathe easy and get back to the rule of law (then no doubt go right back at it in 2020)

  115. 115
    hovercraft says:

    @XTPD:
    Just to clarify, the unicorn is farts blowjobs, right? It’s not that you enjoy farts?

  116. 116
    JMG says:

    Spies are weird. Ours, theirs, everybody’s. But one coping mechanism for their own weirdness is to be fiercely patriotic. Their patriotism is offended, and they are striking out in a way that is familiar to them. Destabilizing governments is one of their oldest tricks

  117. 117
    Barbara says:

    @nominus: That certainly seems to fit the pattern of events that has been emerging over the last week.

  118. 118

    @Kropadope: I don’t know if I’d want to vote for a democrat that didn’t release their returns.

  119. 119
    dr. bloor says:

    @Kropadope: It certainly wouldn’t make any difference in the presidential election, but not running a presidential candidate would largely destroy what’s left of the GOP in CA. I’m not sure that the GOP would be eager to essentially throw away fifteen or so House seats that they can still pull out of CA each cycle.

  120. 120
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker: Chickens take the wheel.

    That was a good dream. Ta.

  121. 121
    Kenneth R Ashford says:

    I don’t condone leaks either, generally speaking. But we should keep in mind that the intelligence community tried to do the right thing. They knew that Flynn lied to Pence and others, and they knew that Russia was aware that Flynn lied. In other words, Flynn was blackmail-able by the Russians.

    Did the intelligence community run to the press? No, they did the responsible thing — they went to the DOJ. Yates, the acting Attorney General, told President Trump, who did… nothing. He continued to allow Flynn (now a security risk) in high-level meetings. And Yates was let go (although, we’re told, for reasons not relating to Flynn).

    So now put yourself in the collective shoes of the intelligence community. It’s probably a matter of first impression for them. What do you do when the commander-in-chief refuses to act on solid intelligence that his top security adviser is a potential security risk?

    I don’t know — leaking it must have seemed like the only alternative.

  122. 122
    Kropadope says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t know if I’d want to vote for a democrat that didn’t release their returns.

    I doubt the party would nominate a person who wouldn’t do so voluntarily.

  123. 123
    Yarrow says:

    @MomSense: We know that McConnell knew because Harry Reid said he did. As I’ve said many times here, they have something on McConnell. He was against investigating the Russian involvement in the elections and over one weekend changed his tune. When he went in front of the cameras he looked like someone had a gun to his head. His body language was something I’d never seen from him before. They have dirt on him or his family and he was forced to go out and say he’d hold investigations. He looked like he’d rather be anywhere else. There is something there. What it is, I don’t know. But it’s big.

  124. 124
    MattF says:

    @Immanentize: Perhaps. But I’m reminded of the old tabloid headline about the O. J. Simpson case: “Nicole Look-Alike Tells All”. Don’t forget– being crazy is a negative.

  125. 125
    TriassicSands says:

    @Jeffro:

    I said it last night and I’ll say it again — you’re “solution” is fanciful. There are two ways to remove a sitting president and the Supreme Court is not a part of either one (except the Chief Justice presides over the impeachment trial in the senate.
    1. Impeachment/Trial/Conviction/Removal or 2. The 25th Amendment.

    There is simply nothing in the Constitution, which is the controlling authority, that calls for or allows the scenario you propose. I don’t blame you for feeling HRC was robbed — she was — but there is simply no route for her to the presidency other than running and winning in 2020.

  126. 126
    tobie says:

    @D58826:

    Also, as to Mattis being the adult in the room – AP is reporting that he told NATO to either pony up more money this tear or the US would ‘moderate’ it’s commitment to NATO.

    Oh dear. I thought Mattis was being sent to Europe to reassure our allies. Evidently this was the media’s fervent hope not the reality.

    I haven’t trusted Mattis’ judgment ever since I heard that he sold Trump on the Yemen raid by telling him that Obama didn’t have the cojones to do this. Only a crackpot and a creep would make that kind of argument about a risky mission that in the end failed.

    Also, too: he agreed to serve this administration. That doesn’t speak highly for him.

  127. 127
    Yarrow says:

    @MomSense: Agree about Pence for sure. And wasn’t there something there also with Michael Flynn, Jr.? I can’t remember but they got rid of him. I think Pence was involved with that. Wasn’t Jr. somehow tied to Russia?

  128. 128
    Mike J says:

    @Kropadope:

    I doubt the party would nominate a person who wouldn’t do so voluntarily.

    Yeah, we had a chance to last year and took a hard pass on that one.

  129. 129

    @Kropadope: well then it’s not binding anybody’s hands.

  130. 130
    scav says:

    @hovercraft:

    I don’t think it’s possible I could have even inadvertently had discussions with Russian officials. It’s not like they wear badges. The story is not true.”

    Once again, the two sentence, one paragraph coherent logic test is seemingly failed. Without said mandatory signs of Russian officialdom, universally displayed without fail, how can the first hold? Plus, I know that welding a word to a brand through re-use is cool with the #kids, but “indavertantly”? Right now?

  131. 131
    David Rickard says:

    I say we let the spooks overthrow Emperor Tangerine… then line them up against the wall immediately after.

  132. 132
    JMG says:

    @tobie: Truth is, what Mattis said isn’t much different than what the last the SecDefs have told NATO. Getting the other countries to boost military spending is always a US priority. Beats me why. Most NATO countries (not to mention Russia) would be somewhat nervous if Germany, the one country that can really afford, ramped up its military spending dramatically. The others are too small. If Netherlands tripled its defense budget, what would be the difference?

  133. 133
    Kropadope says:

    @Yarrow:

    They have dirt on him or his family and he was forced to go out and say he’d hold investigations.

    You forgot the scare quotes around “investigations.” He didn’t want transparent investigations, he wanted the investigations done through existing committees, which he and his fellow Republicans control.

  134. 134
    XTPD says:

    @hovercraft: It literally farts blowjobs, yes. How it does this I have no idea, at least no more idea than how one goes about creating a MILFstache. But that’s how it was described in the Zeb Killgrave Totallynotavillain Skymall Catalogue, so I have every reason to believe it’s true.

  135. 135
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Oatler.: Are you sure that Abraham Lincoln didn’t say that?

  136. 136
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kenneth R Ashford: Great points.

  137. 137
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mike J: @Kropadope:
    I doubt the party would nominate a person who wouldn’t do so voluntarily.

    Yeah, we had a chance to last year and took a hard pass on that one.

    /snicker/

  138. 138
    retiredeng says:

    @LAO: “President” Paul Ryan will get the same treatment as Trump. The public is not going to settle for it.

  139. 139

    @D58826: I have so far seen zero evidence of Kelly and Mattis being moderating and sane forces in the current nightmare on Pennsylvania Ave.

  140. 140
    Kropadope says:

    @Mike J: You mean the one who released his tax returns, so you demanded his wife’s tax returns?

  141. 141
    Sherparick says:

    Glenn Greenwald and a group of the anti-liberal left sound pretty much like Republican loyailsts, Alt-Righters, and the Russian media. Greenwald of course has connections with Russia and Wikileaks through the Snowdon case and “The Intercept” is funded by a libertarian billionaire who of course wants low taxes as a first principal. Greenwald’s ad hominem attacks and non-sequiters against the Anti-Tump movement and rebellion of staffers and bureaucrats at Trump’s attempted subversion of the Constitution and establishment of an authoritarian state is very curious in light of his claim as champion of civil liberties and opposition to American Empire. There is a Vox article which makes very clear that the Travel Ban and Visa Revocation was the first step in what could only be called a plan to ethnically cleanse America of Muslims, citizens as well as permanent resident aliens. http://www.vox.com/world/2017/.....bia-sharia Flynn and Sessions were Trump’s key people in this plan. Meanwhile ICE is going after Hispanic immigrants across the country and detention centers are starting to overflow. Yet Greenwald is silent and defends Flynn. Curious.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yarrow:

    Christie is probably the least bad of a bad lot. He’s an asshole who would fuck a lot of shit up, but he’s realistic enough to do things like disaster relief or, you know, not fucking sell our country out to a foreign power.

  143. 143
    dr. bloor says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Nixon, for the good of the nation, needed to go to jail. We blew it big time there

    As did Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. And there should have been more “looking backward” when Obama entered office to find out how badly W. and Cheney subverted laws to fill their pockets and fight a vanity war.

    This seems to me to be a lesson our nation will never learn. Maybe it’s a good thing. I have no idea.

  144. 144

    @ThresherK: I hate all this talk about being “safe.” The primary obligation of the govt is not to keep us safe. It’s to uphold and enact the Constitution. When did “safe” become a word you hear daily from a pundit’s mouth? Is that new? Or did I just miss it before?

  145. 145
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @retiredeng: I don’t doubt that Ryan imagines himself in the Oval Office, but I doubt he would want to be Gerald Ford or Nelson Rockefeller in this scenario. Not entirely sure if it would work legally, but if it does start to look dicey for twittler, I would look for Cathy McMorris-Rogers or another woman to be pushed for Veep.

  146. 146
    Barbara says:

    @tobie: Everyone serves the president. No one goes rogue. However “sane” Mattis is (I have no idea), he is doing Trump’s bidding and if Trump really wants everyone to “pony up” that is the message that will be delivered. The reality apparently is that many countries are more than paying their fair share, and others have been on a path to increased contributions for a while. The real losers here are guys like the respective presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic and maybe Hungary, who all adored Trump and disliked Obama and as their reward now get to feel the hot breath of Russia on their backs while Trump insults them for being insufficiently grateful in the only way he understands, which involves extracting money. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am by this. I went to Estonia last year and a group of us tourists were talking to our tour guide, who told us candidly how much fear there is in Estonia of Putin and how much they counted on NATO. One woman — southern accent, maybe Texan — said rather smugly — if only we could elect a president who was strong enough to help you. Fuckity fuck, they turn around and give us this raging asshole who is also a turncoat who probably doesn’t even know what Estonia is much less where. It would probably take Putin 10 minutes to convince Trump that Estonia is better off under Russian rule.

  147. 147
    Yarrow says:

    @Kropadope: I did not “forget the scare quote.” I’m just repeating what he said at the time. I know he didn’t want real investigations. But the point was, something happened between him saying “no investigations” and him agreeing to investigations. And that something shook McConnell to his core. His body language and the look on his face was like in one of those hostage videos. He did not want to be doing what he was doing.

    And he is, of course, slow-walking and basically not doing the investigations. Which he could have done without being forced to do so. But he didn’t. Why is that? What do they have on McConnell?

  148. 148
    burnspbesq says:

    Gotta say, I’m not enjoying living in Tom Clancy World.

  149. 149
    Brachiator says:

    Another day in TrumpLand. The Orange Egotist has got to be overruling his White House Counsel by insisting on going to Twitter to complain, make his case, provide evidence that can be used against him.

    And his going to war against the Intelligence agencies is futile. And insane. Mr Businessman President does not know how to run the government, or avoid antagonizing agencies that exist to serve him.

    I’d like to see more background stories on the Republican leadership’s obvious decision to back Trump no matter what.

  150. 150
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @ThresherK: Even On Point, the marshmallow in the Jell-O salad that is NPR’s journalistic balls, is asking “Are we safe?”

    Jesus. How the fuck to they even get there from today’s news?

  151. 151
    XTPD says:

    @Mnemosyne: Plus, everyone already hates him.

  152. 152
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kropadope:

    He released the summary page of one (1) tax return while Hillary released 8 years’ worth of full tax returns.

    And there was no “demanding that his wife release her returns,” because they file jointly, just like Hillary and Bill do. His returns are her returns.

  153. 153
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yarrow: @ET: Weren’t there rumors that Trump wanted Christie as VP but that got vetoed by someone? Probably Kushner.

    Yup. Christie didn’t just put Papa Kushner in jail, he made him do a perp walk, and I think (?) released details about family skullduggery and adultery that weren’t strictly speaking part of the public record.

  154. 154
    Kropadope says:

    @Yarrow:

    What do they have on McConnell?

    As an aspirational goal, we could bring back a practice from the Salem witch trials. It might be nice to have heavy stones on him. After he is properly tried and convicted of treason, of course.

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    Give me some of that Old Time Nancy Smash!

  156. 156
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t know. He couldn’t even handle being governor of NJ without fucking that up. I can only imagine what disasters he’d bring upon the country with the larger stage. And it has to be a sign of some desperation that a governor with abysmal approval ratings is somehow being touted as an improvement. Yikes.

  157. 157
    Immanentize says:

    @dr. bloor: And they might be throwing away all that California donor cash. They would run and they would release.

  158. 158
    Kropadope says:

    @Mnemosyne: At least it was the most current year, and by most accounts rather boring. The only tax info we got on Il Douche was a 30ish year old return that was horrifying.

    And one tax return? Don’t you file returns to two separate government entities on any given year?

  159. 159
  160. 160
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Kenneth R Ashford:

    So now put yourself in the collective shoes of the intelligence community. It’s probably a matter of first impression for them. What do you do when the commander-in-chief refuses to act on solid intelligence that his top security adviser is a potential security risk?

    I don’t know — leaking it must have seemed like the only alternative.

    Precisely. I’d add another variable in this, though. The leaks didn’t really explode until Sessions was confirmed. I think the IC held out even after Yates was fired on the hope of an independent judiciary, and Sessions killed that hope, particularly with Miller in the WH (who used to work for Sessions). Now the IC is really out of options. They’ve briefed Congress who did nothing. They’ve briefed the DOJ, who acted then got fired, with a Trump ally put in the top spot. Their two primary checks against abuse of power are now out of the running. They can’t leak directly to the judicial branch – they can’t do anything that isn’t initiated elsewhere. It’s unclear how the states could intervene in this sort of situation. That seems to leave the press.

  161. 161
    Librarian says:

    @Jeffro: We don’t have a parliamentary system; there is no “calling for new elections.” We have a rigid system where we have an election every 4 years, and if you fuck it up, you’re fucked.

  162. 162
    Immanentize says:

    @MattF: OK, I laughed at that — I think the Nicole look-alike was her sister?

  163. 163
    nominus says:

    @Sherparick: Honestly I just can’t with Greenwald anymore. By taking the “destroy the American Empire” tack he’s effectively the same as Bannon at this point; he’s just taking a different tactic to try and demotivate people from caring or getting involved, fostering an apathetic response while other people actively tear down society. Superfuck that guy.

  164. 164
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kropadope: those goalposts get heavy? or is there no fatigue in the service of The Blessed One?

  165. 165
    Immanentize says:

    @TriassicSands: You left out the third and most common way a President has been removed: “death in office.”

  166. 166
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Orange Egotist has got to be overruling his White House Counsel by insisting on going to Twitter to complain, make his case, provide evidence that can be used against him.

    I think there’s an emerging case to be made that Donald McGahn is the March Hare to Trump’s Mad Hatter.

  167. 167
    JustRuss says:

    @hovercraft: You left out the most important part: Fair-haired male of Scotch/Irish lineage.

  168. 168
    hovercraft says:

    @Mike J:
    That’s just sad, trolled by Taylor Swift. I love it.
    Do you think they are having fun yet?

  169. 169
    Yarrow says:

    @scav: Thanks. I’d forgotten the details. Didn’t he run to Russia after being booted off the transition team? I mean the one he allegedly was never on?

  170. 170
    msb says:

    @ Iowa Old Lady
    Think back to Bush II days – “safe” was the mantra then, too.

    Betty – yep, that’s flop sweat.

  171. 171
    Kropadope says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The only goalpost moving was done by Mnemosyne. Bernie released his tax returns. Not as comprehensively as Hillary did, but that was never my claim. Bernie released relevant tax returns voluntarily. Did he not?

    You two in particular have major problems with projection and your zeal for attacking people who fundamentally agree with you is fucking disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You’re dishonest and every bit as off-putting as the Bernie bros you still haven’t managed to get over.

  172. 172
    MattF says:

    @dr. bloor: More like the Red Queen:

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  173. 173
    gene108 says:

    The thing with trying to shield Pence from the Russia scandal, which may work, is once Trump is out the rest of Trump’s crew, like Bannon, will be chucked out.

    Republicans will claim Trump was not a true Republican and will surround Pence with loyal party apparatchiks, some of whom may have experience in the jobs they are being tapped for to give an air of credibility to the Pence Administration.

    And I think that would work. Even if Pence goes and we end up with President Ryan, it’ll be the same game plan.

  174. 174
    Immanentize says:

    @dr. bloor: I think that not investigating past crimes or even current ones is both a question of who knows where bodies are buried (and the potential prosecutors’ own vulnerabilities) as well as a misguided sense that exposing our nations’ faults makes us look flawed and weak. It actually makes us look strong and secure.

  175. 175
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kropadope: I don’t remember that… could you provide a link to Bernie’s released tax returns? or just your “LEAVE BERNIE ALONE!” you tube video?

  176. 176
    Barbara says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, as I understand it, the adultery became part of the public record because it was how Papa Kushner tried to persuade his brother in law not to testify — by setting up a sting in which he filmed a sexual encounter between the brother in law and the prostitute he paid to let him tape everything. I happen to believe you can love your parents even when you don’t like or respect them or they have shown colossal stupidity in doing something like this. What it says about Jared Kushner that he absolves his father of illegal activities and instead blames his aunt and uncle for not joining a criminal conspiracy that might have helped cover up those activities is that Kushner has the emotional state of a pre-adolescent, who identifies with a larger than life father and cannot arrive at an adult understanding that allows him to love the man and at the same time admit that he did something stupid and wrong. You can judge the probability that a similar pattern is in place with his father in law. Or maybe he is more measured and less enabling. I can only hope but it’s not much of a hope.

  177. 177
    Debbie1 says:

    @Jeffro: I know, right? I smelled the fear in that series of tweets too. Not only does Twitler try to once again hide behind Pres. Obama by mentioning Crimea (w/o bringing up the Multi- action sanctions), he desperately tries to hide behind Hillary. Sad, really.

  178. 178
    Yarrow says:

    This article in this tweet is the Mediate link I posted early in the thread:

    Republicans who don't want to go down with Trump — I'm talking worse than impeachment — will listen to @JoeNBC https://t.co/dQVjLz1Yhl— John Schindler (@20committee) February 15, 2017

    Note he said “Republicans” not “members of the administration.” He doesn’t seem to speak idly. I think the IC has a lot more where these leaks about Flynn came from. They can take out the GOP leadership.

  179. 179
    The Moar You Know says:

    those goalposts get heavy? or is there no fatigue in the service of The Blessed One?

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: utterly abandoning one’s dignity and reducing oneself to servility can be very liberating, so the masochists tell me.

  180. 180
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow: I think you are right – they are compromised just by knowing about the Russian espionage and doing nothing about it

  181. 181
    hovercraft says:

    Martin Longman, aka Booman has a long piece at Washington Monthly, it’s a long piece, but it’s the conclusion that’s interesting.

    What they did or did not tell Mike Pence could not be more of a sideshow. The only truly curious thing is why they felt the need to lie about what Flynn discussed. In every other way, they were completely unembarrassed about their opposition to the idea that Russia had hacked the election or that they should be held accountable for it. Why was this one example such an important exception?

    What Flynn actually did was completely consistent with Trump’s position at the time. They say that Trump has no problem with what Flynn said and that it wasn’t a crime. So, what’s the real problem?

    Well, I’ll tell you.

    The problem is that the intelligence community struck back. They caught Flynn in a lie and they used it to get rid of a guy they suspect of being a Russian mole who was, for twenty-five days, our National Security Adviser.

    And, as you can see, the war hasn’t ended with Flynn’s resignation (or firing, or whatever). It has just begun, because everything they thought about Flynn, they also think about Trump.

    Buckle up folks, like Betty, I’m not a fan of the IC interfering in domestic politics, but in this case, I think they have no choice, these people are dangerous to the security of the nation.

  182. 182
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Barbara: What it says about Jared Kushner that he absolves his father of illegal activities … Kushner has the emotional state of a pre-adolescent, who identifies with a larger than life father and cannot arrive at an adult understanding that allows him to love the man and at the same time admit that he did something stupid and wrong.

    I wondered what attracted Ivanka to him. Well, I hadn’t really wondered, but that would explain the 10 + 5.

  183. 183
    Kropadope says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    utterly abandoning one’s dignity and reducing oneself to servility can be very liberating, so the masochists tell me.

    Dispatches from the Balloon Juice cult of personality: Oddly lacking in self-awareness

  184. 184
    sigaba says:

    @gvg: Agnew was forced to resign because of a bribery scandal from when he was a Maryland county executive that was unrelated to Watergate.

    (I suppose if u were creative you could posit that the FBI targeted Agnew with a bribery investigation to get him out of the way, or he was on their enemies list, or Nixon arranged the bribery investigation in order to replace him, but there’s no evidence of any of this.)

  185. 185
    scav says:

    @Yarrow: They wrote too many characters and sub-plots in this drama. I think he rode off on a warg, but I forget the direction.

  186. 186
    Lapassionara says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: I agree! Seriously, when did we become the land of the watched and the home of the terrified? I know the answer, 9/11 changed everything. But it only does if we let it. And the truth is, we are in more danger from weak gun laws than from another 9/11 type attack.

    We need to remind our reps of their oath: it is to the Constitution! Not to their party and not to Grover Norquist! Sheesh!

  187. 187
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kropadope: I’ll wait here for that link to the tax returns St Bernard totes did too release.

  188. 188
    D58826 says:

    possible new NSC – Adm. Bob Harward fought the Taliban after 9/11, ran prisons in Afghanistan, and still jumps out of airplanes at age 60. But his toughest job may be the one that’s coming next.

    Gives Matgtis and the Pentagon 3 votes – Mattis and former subordinates Kelly and Harward.
    https://twitter.com/michaeldweiss/status/831902799919058944

  189. 189
    Kropadope says:

    @Jim, Shameless Trumpian Liar:

    I don’t remember that… could you provide a link to Bernie’s released tax returns? or just your “LEAVE BERNIE ALONE!” you tube video?

    Yes, asshole.

    That is, of course, if the corroborating article that Mnemoyne linked to wasn’t enough for you.

    ETA: There’s also this web-based service called “Google” which will direct you toward analysis of those tax returns from various perspectives.

  190. 190
    sigaba says:

    @D58826: The only people in the government with any independent reputation or standing are going to be retired general Iran hawks.

  191. 191
    🌷 Martin says:

    Local police disagree with Tom McClintocks version of events.

    Daniel Hahn, the chief of police in Roseville, wants to be clear: His department did not shut down a recent town-hall meeting staged by Republican Rep. Tom McClintock. Nor did it tell McClintock he had to leave for his own safety because of an unruly crowd.

    Roseville police made no arrests related to McClintock’s Feb. 4 meeting at Tower Theatre. There were no acts of vandalism attributed to an estimated crowd of 500 people who packed the theater and the street out front.

    Was the gathering loud? “Yes,” Hahn said.

    Was it the biggest protest Hahn has seen in nearly six years as the Roseville chief? “Yes,” Hahn said. “But things went very well that day. They went as well as could be expected. … The people gathered weren’t causing problems.”

    McClintock claimed that he had to end the meeting because police told him the situation was getting out of hand. Police say that’s not true.

  192. 192
    hovercraft says:

    @Yarrow:
    Yes Jared nixed Christie as VP, the scuttlebutt is that after he was talked into Pence, he wanted to renege and name Christie, so Manafort faked some technical problems with the plane, so he was stuck in Indy an extra night, which he spent with Pence and his family and they blew enough smoke up his ass to secure the job. I’m thinking the meeting with Christie this week is a desperate attempt to find a kiss ass with some governing experience to come in and help right the sinking ship. Rumor had it that Jared was determined to punish Christie by freezing him out of the administration, but hey desperate times and all.

  193. 193
    clay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Christie is probably the least bad of a bad lot. He’s an asshole who would fuck a lot of shit up, but he’s realistic enough to do things like disaster relief or, you know, not fucking sell our country out to a foreign power.

    Sad what passes for a minimum bar these days…

  194. 194

    @Kropadope: iirc the California law would require like five years of returns or something.

    @gene108: That is still very much better than the current situation.

  195. 195
    MattF says:

    @clay: “Not in jail. Yet.”

  196. 196
    Yarrow says:

    @hovercraft: If Christie is coming in to meet with them this week, does that mean Kushner’s influence is waning?

  197. 197
    Kropadope says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    iirc the California law would require like five years of returns or something.

    Well, that wasn’t discussed here and I didn’t know that. So I still fail to see how that amounts to me moving any goalposts.

  198. 198
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    The problem is, if the Trump campaign was coordinating with a hostile foreign power to get the Republican ticket elected, Pence is/was part of that ticket, and thus cannot serve as President. An act of war denied 65M people their right to vote & equal protection. New election or HRC is 45th POTUS (period, as “Spicey” would say).

    There would not be a new election. Paul Ryan would become president.

  199. 199
    Debbie1 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Are you sure about Christie’s unwillingness to sell the U.S. to foreign powers? After all, he rushed to support Tr*mp. Like Rmoney, he’d do anything for power. ANYTHING at this point.

  200. 200
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Yes 5 years, disclosed within 50 days of the election.

    Whether that is a valid ‘qualifying’ requirement for the ballot is another question entirely. I’m not super confident the supreme court would go along with that. The state’s best case is that the Constitution specifies properties the individual must possess to hold the office (age, citizenship) where California is asking for disclosure, but not stating any required property (minimum income, etc.), and that states already have wildly different requirements to get on the ballot in terms of signatures, etc. From that angle I think we’re okay, but USSC would be worried about an arms race on qualifying information. Would Texas demand college transcripts and a long form birth certificate, etc?

  201. 201
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kropadope: Bernie released his tax returns.
    Bernie released relevant tax returns voluntarily. Did he not?
    those tax returns

    You know the difference between the singular and the plural, don’t you? Or do you wish to amend your original bleats to retroactively move the goal posts?

    “relevant” according to…. you? do you think the GOP, the Trump campaign and the media would have said, “Oh, Okay” when Bernie waved his hands and declared the Burlington College years (2004-11) to be a long time ago.

    (And congrats on the “Did he not”. So precious)

  202. 202

    @Kropadope: I wasn’t involved in that discussion, I was just saying that B would still have had to release more returns. Which I’m sure he would have.

  203. 203
    Yarrow says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Just to get Pence to become President, Trump has to go somehow. Resignation on his own (“I’m tired of this job!”), forced resignation (“Resign or we’ll impeach you”), impeachment, or death in office (natural causes or otherwise). Outside of Trump just having a heart attack or something, which would be very suspect given current events, all of the above will require many events to happen before he leaves office. I guess technically he could just quit, but he seems to be enjoying the perks of being president, so I don’t see that happening any time soon. Plus, he’d have to figure out how to do it without admitting failure, which could be difficult.

    So to get President Pence, the most likely scenario is that the country is going to have to go through a lot of investigations, pressure being put on various players, leaks from the IC, and so forth. That would leave Pence a damaged president. Sure, he could “clean house” and replace the cabinet with party apparatchiks, but I don’t see him as all that bright or charismatic. And the people who voted for Trump didn’t want him. It’s going to bring chaos to the Republican party and they know it.

  204. 204
    hovercraft says:

    @scav:
    Aside from his butchering of the English language, what the fuck is wrong with these people, where the hell have they been for the last 16 years? Since 9/11 our government has been spying on everyone and their mother, is he not watching the implosion that is happening around Flynn? You’ve been under investigation for months, they already have all of your conversations on record, this is not your usual bullshit where you can blithely lie and everyone just takes your word. The IC community is still in cold war mode and they monitor everything. Manafort is going down, the question is who he will sell out on his way down? He strikes me as the David Wildstein of this story, he will squeal.

  205. 205
    Immanentize says:

    @🌷 Martin: I’m interested in these ballot access issues — Although the federal government can set rules for ballot access in Federal elections, Congress hasn’t done that, so each state has quite different ballot access requirements (timing, whether you are a party’s nominee, whether you can run on more than one party nomination). So I think that Congress could do something to stop it, but the State has the right to do what they want until Congress does. I do not think there is any constitutional right to be free from revealing tax returns if you seek public office. Even the Gosuch court wouldn’t do that (or is it somehow speech?)

    Meanwhile, I am urging everyone I know who has the chance to just introduce Gorsuch as “Justice Garland”

  206. 206
    hovercraft says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    You are flirting with bringing the four horsemen down on us.

  207. 207
    MattF says:

    Helpful background on Flynn, from WaPo columnist David Ignatius.

  208. 208
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @hovercraft: sorry, I’ll stop

  209. 209

    @Yarrow: trump doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself very much. Maybe if the constant media assaults from being an obvious Russian mole outweigh the joy from mugging for the cameras at Mar-A-Lago he’ll go.

    @Immanentize: petition requirements are well understood and well established, I dunno that tax returns would pass muster. College transcripts would not pass muster because it implies a requirement that you went to college.

  210. 210
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Here is a thought – Putin took a huge and risky gamble with Trump. This is very likely going to result in another cold war, this time with a thoroughly outraged United States and the rest of the world viewing Russia as a poisonous, rouge gangster state and the thing is, sooner or later it would was going to come out. Putin and his people seem to be pretty methodical and strategic thinkers and wouldn’t have taken the risk unless they thought Trump was up to it, yet anyone who’s watched Trump over the years knew Trump’s a useless BSer. This means Trump suckered Putin too with this. LOL

    Everything Trump touches turns to shit.

  211. 211
    randy khan says:

    @Yarrow:

    So to get President Pence, the most likely scenario is that the country is going to have to go through a lot of investigations, pressure being put on various players, leaks from the IC, and so forth. That would leave Pence a damaged president. Sure, he could “clean house” and replace the cabinet with party apparatchiks, but I don’t see him as all that bright or charismatic. And the people who voted for Trump didn’t want him. It’s going to bring chaos to the Republican party and they know it.

    I think this is right. (And it would be interesting to see who he’d replace – Carson might be on the list, along with Sessions and maybe Tillerson, but a lot of the rest are people that Pence himself wanted or otherwise already are party people.)

  212. 212
    MomSense says:

    @Yarrow:

    Not sure about Jr. but Senior definitely tied to Russia and I believe worked for RT.

    @Yarrow:

    The “Gang of Eight” was briefed which includes both Ryan and McConnell as well as chairs and ranking members of House and Senate Committees on Intelligence.

  213. 213
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @Martha:

    I think we agree. I too see no sign of intelligence, foresight, or planning — simply reflexive BS dick swinging, and an assumption they were going to get away with absolutely anything and Pence is simply a useful magnet for rubes.

    As ET said at 84 above, this is no excuse for anyone, and, if true, the worst of it is that Pence does not have the intelligence to recognize or respond to just how he has been played.

  214. 214
    joel hanes says:

    Adam Khan of Khanoisseur has been all over this for weeks.
    One angle he’s brought up that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere: investors in Trump real estate and residents of Trump Tower.
    Paul Manafort has an apartment in Trump Tower.
    Russian criminal Tokhtakhounov ran his gambling ring out of Trump Tower.
    Tevik Arif ran a separate criminal operation (underage prostitution in Turkey) from Trump Tower.
    Felix Sater runs Bayrock from an office in Trump Tower, and Bayrock has substantial investments in Trump properties.
    There are many more such connections.

    It looks as if Putin’s circle and other moneyed Russian interests have repeatedly provided money when Trump needed it, and on astoundingly favorable terms. For decades.

  215. 215
    The Moar You Know says:

    McClintock claimed that he had to end the meeting because police told him the situation was getting out of hand. Police say that’s not true.

    @🌷 Martin: You and I are both Californians. Can you EVER think of a time when McClintock wasn’t a self-serving, over the top liar? Because I sure can’t.

  216. 216
    Barbara says:

    @hovercraft: In this light, the funniest reaction over the last 24 hours was that of Devin Nunes, who said that the real problem was how an American citizen’s phone conversation was being listened into by third parties. I find it hard to believe that even if you didn’t tap Flynn’s phones, anyone could be so stupid as to believe that when you tap the Russian Ambassador’s phone you won’t also hear his conversations with American citizens. Or that anyone could say what Nunes said — whether he believes it or not — and just not be considered an idiot. If he believes it, WTF, and if he doesn’t believe it, an idiot for thinking that we might could possibly not have heard some news stories about the surveillance state and the FISA court.

  217. 217
    hovercraft says:

    @Yarrow:
    Not necessarily, personally I think that it’s dawning on them that they are in way over their heads. As @Jim, Foolish Literalist: said Christie went out of his way to humiliate his dad, he always made them do the perp walk and he made sure he called his buddies in the press, so that he got maximum exposure. I think that Jared wants to right the ship so that they can all keep their new power and status, even if it means bringing in the enemy.

    ETA: yes Christie is a fuck up by democratic standards, NJ is fucked and we have no new tunnel because he pissed away our money and cost us the billions that Sen. Lautenberg spent years securing for us, BUT compared with this lot he is competent. They lied their way to where they are, and now don’t know how to do anything.

  218. 218
    Yarrow says:

    @Major Major Major Major: He looked like he was enjoying himself last weekend–golf with good buddy Shinzo, crashing a wedding, flirting with a good looking woman taking a picture while his aides handled an international crisis. What’s not to love?

  219. 219
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I can’t help wondering about our old friend BiP these days.

  220. 220
    dmsilev says:

    So apparently Twitter and Bibi are holding a joint press conference this morning. Could be quite the trainwreck.

  221. 221
    joel hanes says:

    @TriassicSands:

    There are two ways to remove a sitting president

    This is certainly true in law.

    Nixon took neither. Confronted by the senior leadership of his party, he resigned.
    Trump is going to hate being President, if he doesn’t hate it already.
    I think he’ll resign, eventually.

  222. 222
    Aleta says:

    I’ve wondered if the reason that journalists and politicians (and Clinton) warned about Russia -Trump this summer and fall, but then let the stories drop, was because they were told that putting more information out would compromise the deeper investigation by intelligence. I absolutely hated it when more detailed stories about Manafort finally got major press, and then he was quickly let go and the stories that (I bet) were in the pipeline were canned. He was allowed to drop from view. Probably a few reporters still talked to sources, but nothing to the public. It’s possible that some people thought the intelligence operation was more important. Or that reporters and Dems were duped.

  223. 223
    Kropadope says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I said the returns he released were relevant. They were for the most current tax year. And yes, I know the difference between singular and plural. I assumed that he released his state return also, you file two returns on any given year. I might’ve been wrong, I don’t know.

    Would additional years have also been relevant (and desirable)? Absolutely. I never claimed they wouldn’t be, I was just pointing out that Bernie’s 2014 tax return is far more helpful to understanding his finances than Trump’s leaked tax returns from the 80s.

    This is all aside from the point that you’re carrying a ridiculous grudge against anyone who dare question any single FACET of your God-Queen. It’s disgusting, it’s upsetting. It makes this blog unreadable and carries on unabated in the absence of any dissent. If you can’t learn to get along with people who agree with you 90% of the time, you should seriously reconsider your life’s direction.

  224. 224
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Immanentize: I’m not sure how much Congress can do to limit the states. This becomes a 10th amendment issue. The states run the elections. Congress can likely set minimum requirements – timing, signatures, etc. but I don’t think they can set maximums.

  225. 225
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Barbara:

    …the prostitute he paid to let him tape everything.

    Okay, I misread that in a creative way; I was thinking, whoa — is there no weirdness that doesn’t have its devotees? :)

  226. 226
    Yarrow says:

    @MomSense: Yeah, I knew that about Sr. I just seem to remember something about Jr. going to Russia after being kicked off the transition team he was never on (ha). Can’t find it via google, though. Maybe it was just sightings being reported on social media.

    Thanks for the reminder on the “gang of eight.” I’d forgotten the specifics.

  227. 227
    clay says:

    @hovercraft:

    I’m not a fan of the IC interfering in domestic politics

    But they aren’t interfering in domestic politics. They (rightly or wrongly) let the political process play out on its own. Politics are over. Now, they are trying to defend the safety and integrity of our nation, which indeed is their very remit.

  228. 228
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Barbara: Worth noting that Flynn wasn’t in the US at the time of the late December call. He was in the Dominican Republic. The IC doesn’t even need a FISA warrant to listen in on that call from a foreign party to another foreign party.

  229. 229

    @dmsilev: NPR is carrying them not being there yet live.

  230. 230
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I think Putin thought, like a lot of us, that the election was in the bag for HRC and he wanted to weaken her. I’m not convinced he wanted a Trump presidency, nor thought it was actually achievable. But we will never know.

  231. 231
    🌷 Martin says:

    @The Moar You Know: True, but its interesting that the police in his district don’t have his back on this.

  232. 232
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kropadope: your God-Queen.

    Shouldn’t that be “Goddess-Queen” ?

    It’s disgusting, it’s upsetting.

    It’s a blog. I think you lack perspective. And your shrink’s home phone. But I suppose that’s the way s/he wants it. Assuming there isn’t a no contact order.

    Ever see What about Bob? One of Bill Murray’s many underrated movies, IMHO. Quick Change is another.

  233. 233
    Calouste says:

    Regarding the potential succession, I think the camps are divided between people who think that going past the strict procedure outlined in the Constitution would cause a constitutional crisis, and the people who think we are already in a constitutional crisis.

  234. 234
    ThresherK says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Good, if rhetorical, question. Of course, when a Democrat is president, NPR has the politest way of allowing scared R’s who’ve already soaked their own pants to void onto NPR’s shoes.

    Now the slumbering midgets there are possibly waking up to the fact that the authoritarians aren’t even good at keeping us “safe”, however immediate the side effects (reduced rights and liberties, xenophobia, surveillance state) are.

    If I had the stomach for it, I’d call in and ask if we should waterboard Trump to find out what he knows.

  235. 235
    hovercraft says:

    @burnspbesq:
    But the excitement, the variety, the living on the edge of your seat, this is what the media wanted, none of that boring mundane governing Obama and Hillary believe in, just look at the rating, normally one the election is over there’s a huge drop-off, not this year. It’s true people are tuning in to see if the world will end tomorrow, but he it’s still eyeballs.

  236. 236

    @Gin & Tonic: didn’t the IC report conclude more or less that he wanted Trump to win, not just chaos?

  237. 237
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Calouste: IANAL but if Wiki can be trusted as a source, this addresses my question

    Under Section 2, whenever there is a vacancy in the office of Vice President, the President nominates a successor who becomes Vice President if confirmed by a majority vote of both Houses of the Congress.

    So I guess Ryan would not be compelled to step up and into the shit, he could stay on the (comparative) sidelines and they could kick some other sacrificial goat up the ladder, letting Ryan and Sasse and Rubio and whatever other starry eyed ambitious imagine themselves as Reagan in ’80

  238. 238
    Yarrow says:

    So….who do we think is the next person in the administration to go? I thought it could be Kellyanne Conway but maybe Priebus? Bannon needs to go, but I don’t think he’ll be next.

  239. 239
    MattF says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I think it’s classic Russian opportunism. Given a situation, ‘what’s in it for us?’ That said, it’s quite possible that the Ruskies didn’t quite plumb the full depth of the situation.

  240. 240
    Kay says:

    WikiLeaksVerified account
    ‏@wikileaks
    Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press

    Destabilization campaign! Like any of the kooks and misfits in the Trump Administration were stable.

  241. 241
    Aleta says:

    @joel hanes: He’ll resign if convinced that something he values more (his whole ’empire’) will otherwise be destroyed. He won’t resign if he’s so deeply in debt that the empire is about to fail anyway, or if whoever he owes money to would then come after him. He would resign if offered 5 jillion dollars and a princeship and multiple wives.

  242. 242
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    BTW I want Devine investigated for his ties to Russia and whether or not there was cooperation. I’d also like to know more about Old Towne Media that received millions of dollars in funds from the BS campaign and was located in a cul de sac in Alexandria, VA. I’d also like to know more about the thousands of FEC violations and whether he ever provided the requested information. Some of those violations included people contributing more than the max allowable and possible foreign contributions.

    Let’s also investigate Jill Stein. Too many fucking Russian connections in the last election. It’s not normal.

  243. 243
    hovercraft says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    There was a profile of the couple a while back, can’t remember where, but basically the conclusion was that they both grew up with larger than life egomaniacs who dominated them and so they fir into each others families very well. Blind trust and loyalty was instilled into both at a very young age, they are mercenary and loyal, just as they were trained to be.

  244. 244
    Kropadope says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    It’s a blog. I think you lack perspective.

    If honest disagreement leads to hostility, rather than engagement, with a community of people I’ve been part of for a decade (and all of a sudden), I think that’s a perfectly valid reason to be upset. As are insults that, at best, reliably distort reality, when they aren’t outright fabrications.

    But going back to your little problem with projection. Firstly, I don’t have a shrink, but I’m sorry to hear yours has a court order against you. Secondly, I think you lack perspective. Hanging on to a grudge this long isn’t healthy. Try to move past it before your soul literally consumes your body and Lifetime has to bring back “Unsolved Mysteries.” (or whatever channel it aired on originally)

    ETA:

    Shouldn’t that be “Goddess-Queen” ?

    My tendency is to think of god(s) as non-gendered entities, so the term goddess didn’t come to mind.

  245. 245
    debit says:

    @Larkspur: Or it could run off and find Romney’s poor dog. That poor thing, I still get furious when I think about it.

  246. 246
    Mike J says:

    @Yarrow:

    Bannon needs to go, but I don’t think he’ll be next.

    He’ll be around as a special advisor, but I think there’s a good chance he loses his spot on the NSC.

  247. 247
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yarrow: Priebus, the knives are already out, he’s suspect as a member of the Establishment and is (IMHO) a lousy TV surrogate, which is what Trump cares about above all

  248. 248
    dmsilev says:

    @Yarrow: I’m wondering about Priebus. It looks like Bannon is trying to knife him, and vice versa. The phrase “root for injuries” comes to mind.

  249. 249
    Aleta says:

    @Kay: Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign against US democracy is successfully underway.

  250. 250
    MattF says:

    @Yarrow: Spicer, I’d guess. He was Priebus’ guy, so if Spicer goes, Reince is in trouble.

  251. 251
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yarrow: You may be thinking of Carter Page, once on Candidate Trump’s advisory team but now a person they claim not to know. (NYT)

  252. 252
    MomSense says:

    Caught a bit of 45/Bibi presser. 45 is so low energy. SAD!

    Also, too he don’t read good.

  253. 253
    Yarrow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Oh, that wouldn’t work out well for him. When the Constitutionally mandated succession rules say Ryan should step in, he refuses his Constitutionally mandated duty. Then in a few years decides he wants to run for the office he refused to take when it was handed to him.

    If he wanted to paint himself as craven and chickenshit I can’t imagine a better way. How could he even play it? “I don’t want to take the job the Constitution says I must take….for the good of the country. But I’ll run for it in a few years.” He’s not prepared? He’s scared? What’s his reason?

  254. 254
    hovercraft says:

    @clay:
    Totally agree, but in an ideal world they would have gathered their intelligence and handed everything over to the FBI, and kept quiet. But given Comey and the NY Guliani group, the FBI can’t be rusted with this so they are leaking like crazy. This is national security we’re talking about, we on this blog may be focusing on the political implications, but we do know that this is far more serious than just politics.

  255. 255
    Calouste says:

    @joel hanes: Trump also won’t be impeached. The Constitution explicitly prohibits pardons in case of impeachment, and he will want to be pardoned. Of course, he might be mad enough to believe he would survive impeachment.

  256. 256
    MomSense says:

    @hovercraft:

    I also think we cannot forget that foreign intelligence services are in on this, too. If I were Germany I’d be fucking on it. This is an existential threat for some of our allies.

  257. 257

    @Calouste: Bestest constitution in the world has no mechanism to call for new elections.

  258. 258
  259. 259
    Brachiator says:

    @Kropadope:

    Would additional years have also been relevant (and desirable)? Absolutely. I never claimed they wouldn’t be, I was just pointing out that Bernie’s 2014 tax return is far more helpful to understanding his finances than Trump’s leaked tax returns from the 80s.

    This has got nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. Sanders releasing only a single year of his tax returns violates an ethical standard followed with no problem by most other presidential candidates, and makes Sanders look worse in the light of all of his bloviating over Clinton’s Wall Street speeches.

    I think that Trump’s single return was leaked. His response to this is an even greater breach of trust.

  260. 260
    Yarrow says:

    @MattF: No! Don’t take Spicey from us!

    @Betty Cracker: Could be. I didn’t follow much about Carter Page. I just remember reading the stuff about Flynn, Jr. and thought I saw something about him going to Russia after he was fired from the place he wasn’t working. Like a picture or something.

  261. 261
    MattF says:

    @Calouste: I don’t see impeachment as a real possibility. After all, what has Trump done that isn’t on the list of dark desires of most Republicans? It’s hard to think of specific items on a Bill of Impeachment that a significant number of House Republicans would not balk at.

  262. 262
    Kay says:

    Newt Gingrich ‏@newtgingrich 21h21 hours ago
    More
    First Lady Melania Trump’s announcement the public office tours of the White House will be reopened is great news.Another win for people

    Where has he been, btw? This seems like something he would pretend to understand.

  263. 263
    debit says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Ever see What about Bob? One of Bill Murray’s many underrated movies, IMHO.

    Almost every day around 3:00 I think to myself “Baby step to 4 o’clock.”

    Perhaps as a country we can baby step to 2018.

  264. 264
    MattF says:

    @Kay: We see that the Great Man is still having Profound Thoughts.

  265. 265
    MomSense says:

    @Brachiator:

    He released a summary – not a full year of returns.

  266. 266
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Bestest constitution in the world has no mechanism to call for new elections.

    It presumes a transfer of power involving duly elected individuals. It also presumes more honesty and patriotism than we have seen recently.

  267. 267
    Betty Cracker says:

    @MomSense: Perhaps the best thing would be an independent inquiry into foreign influence in the US election of 2016 — Republicans, Democrats, third parties, the whole ball of wax. And not just at the presidential level; Russian hackers released info that affected Democrats in the House races, and that fact gets almost ZERO coverage. I wish someone with “bipartisan” cred — maybe Claire McCaskill and Susan Collins — would introduce such a bill. Not gonna happen, but that’s what would restore confidence in the integrity of our elections, which seems kinda important.

  268. 268
    Yarrow says:

    @Calouste: Legal question: If Trump decided to resign to avoid impeachment and with promise of pardon from Pence (or whoever is pres), would that pardon cover everything? What if evidence of espionage is found? Could he be tried for that even though he was pardoned?

  269. 269
    MomSense says:

    @Kropadope:

    He released the two-page summary of his 2014 federal return and two-page summary of his 2014 state return. He did not even release one full year of tax returns. Those summary pages are insufficient.

  270. 270
    Kay says:

    @MattF:

    But where is he now? We need his gravitas on this spy v spy issue. I like when he drops his chin to make his voice deeper. That’s when it’s national security

  271. 271
    MattF says:

    @Yarrow: Impeachment (plus trial in the Senate) is only about removal from office. If there’s criminal activity, a (prospective) pardon for that activity would specify what’s being pardoned.

  272. 272
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MattF: Imagine poor Calista, co-founder with Melania of the “Eh, I’ll marry him. How long can he last with that gut?” Club, having to listen to him as he thinks out loud, with that frozen smile on her face covering the silent sobs and pleas of “How long, O Lord, how long?”

  273. 273
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Quick Change is another.

    An extremely well done little movie. Highly recommend.
    Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Randy Quaid and Jason Robards playing a completely sublime stereotype of a tough talking but utterly clueless police chief.

  274. 274
    Calouste says:

    @Yarrow:

    When the Constitutionally mandated succession rules say Ryan should step in

    The Constitution only mandates that the VP steps up if the President is removed from office. Everything below that is law that can be enacted and changed by Congress. Although the law itself is mandated by the Constitution, the actual order of succession is not. At one point the Secretary of State was next in line to the VP.

    And there is some uncertainty about whether a) the Speaker is actually an “Officer of the United States” in the constitutional sense and therefore even eligible, and b) whether anyone except the VP succeeds as President or just becomes acting President. Of course, neither of these have been tested in court. 25th Amendment is pretty clear that if the President is declared unable to discharge his duties, the VP becomes Acting President.

  275. 275
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thank you for bringing up the Russian interference in Congressional races. The entire election needs to be investigated.

    Isn’t the problem we face that the mechanism for dealing with an election that has foreign entanglement is the EC and that body is so partisan and so removed from their intended responsibilities under the Constitution that we the people have lost our recourse for just such a situation. The members of the EC weren’t even provided with the evidence of Russian interference and collaboration with 45.

  276. 276
    hovercraft says:

    @Kay:
    Didn’t GG tweet the same shit yesterday? I know the WH ad FOX were also using that framing, ignore the contact with Russia, it’s a red herring, the real issue is the leaks, the leaks I tell you, how dare anyone think it’s important for people to know what their government is doing. The irony of Wikileaks, GG, and the Trumpenfuror making the case that leaks are bad is I don’t even know the word.

  277. 277
    dr. bloor says:

    @MattF: His high crime would be damaging the party brand to an extent that it threatens their agenda. They won’t experience any hesitation about finding some details to put in the paperwork.

  278. 278
    scav says:

    Legal Scholars from UK weighing in. UK legal academics urge PM to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit

    It also warns that May’s strategy of a close relationship with the US president will cause suffering and end badly, given his disregard for the law and discriminatory policies.

    They wrote: “The alacrity with which Trump has put in place, by presidential decree, a swathe of openly racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic measures, together with the president’s total disregard for existing US commitments under international law, indicate that the British government’s decision to renew its ‘special relationship’ with the United States at this time can only lead, in the short-term, to further suffering and discrimination.

  279. 279
    Brachiator says:

    @MomSense:

    He released a summary – not a full year of returns.

    Are we talking about Sanders? I thought the link was to his actual 2014 tax return.

    Trump released some summary documents.

  280. 280
    TriassicSands says:

    @Immanentize:

    I don’t really consider that “removal” from office. Historians don’t talk about Lincoln or Kennedy as having been “removed” from office. The discussion was about who succeeds Trump and the hope/dream of Jeffro that HRC could end up as president.

    @joel hanes:

    That’s a fair point, although Nixon only resigned because he was going to be impeached and convicted. Take away the threat, make that certainty, of impeachment/conviction and you have Nixon serving out his full term of office. Better to resign “for the good of the country” than to put the country through the trauma of impeachment and a trial, which, amazingly, we survived when Clinton was impeached and acquitted.

  281. 281
    MomSense says:

    @Brachiator:

    Talking about Sanders. He never released a full return.

  282. 282
    Shalimar says:

    @Betty Cracker: I dislike Paul Ryan more than anyone else in Republican government. He is a straight-up sociopath. He also is no John Boehner as far as actually getting things done at the last possible minute. That said, Ryan is the only one enough Republican House members could agree on as Speaker. If he becomes president, the effort just to agree on a replacement in the House is going to be epic. At this point, I think the Freedom Caucus either gets everyone else to accept one of their insane members or they don’t agree on anyone and the 3rd-in-line to the presidency is an unfilled position.

  283. 283
    hovercraft says:

    @MomSense:

    And he just can’t seem to help himself, I thought he effectvly fired Flynn because he lied to him?

    Trump Says Media Treated Flynn ‘Very Unfairly,’ Slams ‘Criminal’ Leaks

    President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the media treated former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “very unfairly” and slammed leaks by members of his own administration.

    “General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it the fake media, in many cases, and I think it is really a sad thing he was treated so badly,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Trump called leaks from his administration “a criminal action” and claimed that they are being used to “cover up for” Hillary Clinton’s election loss.

    “It has been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on,” Trump said. “I think that it is very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents and papers that were illegally, I stress that, illegally leaked.”

    SAD SOO SAD

  284. 284
    Yarrow says:

    @Calouste: Thanks for the clarification. I wonder, in the event that Ryan as “third in line to the presidency” refused taking the office, how that would play in the media. As we know, it doesn’t have to be true to be repeated as truth and something about him refusing to take the office and then running for it later doesn’t sound legit. I think voters might not like it.

  285. 285
    Chris says:

    Don’t you just love that he can’t even spell “nonsense?” Judas Priest.

  286. 286
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kropadope:

    The linked article didn’t “corroborate” anything. In fact, it called Sanders a liar. But I realize that nothing will burst the bubble for the true believers in St. Bernard the Incorruptible.

    The irony is, I don’t actually hate Sen. Sanders. He’s a pretty standard politician, with the enormous ego that goes along with that job. It’s his worshippers that bug me.

  287. 287
    Yarrow says:

    @hovercraft: He’s still talking about Hillary. Can’t let the election go. Sad!

  288. 288
    MomSense says:

    @hovercraft:

    45 was briefed on Flynn during the transition and he made the guy his Nat Sec Advisor anyway. And he can’t claim the news is fake while complaining about the leaking! Which is it fake or leaks?

  289. 289
    dmsilev says:

    @Yarrow: Losing the popular vote really really got under his skin.

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    @Shalimar: Not saying much but compared to ZEGS, John Boehner deserves to have his face carved into Mt. Rushmore.
    I find all the false credibility the media has lent this fucking sociopathic hack over the years to be one of the top 3 most egregious things they need to go against the wall for.

  291. 291
    Brachiator says:

    @MomSense:

    Talking about Sanders. He never released a full return.

    I did a google search and found what was supposed to be his 2014 1040, page 1 and 2, his Schedule A, Schedule C and Form 2106EZ. News stories referenced this information. It was kinda boring, and Forbes lied about some amounts. In a WaPo story, Sanders claimed that he would release his 2015 returns, which he never did. However, the 2014 stuff is pretty complete.

    However, one year is insufficient.

  292. 292
    Shalimar says:

    @joel hanes: I think Trump will eventually resign too. The problem will be, he is going to want to go out on a successful note as someone who did what he said he would do, and I don’t know what achievements he is going to have for that. Maybe breaking ground on a major Border Wall expansion whose work is then quietly discontinued under Pence? An agreement with Russia to carve up Europe between us?

  293. 293
    Chris says:

    @Martha:

    having worked for and with corporate America for almost 35 years, most CEOs are mediocre people who embody the Peter Principle and their organizations are as inefficient as any government or university

    I have always figured this to be the case and am pleased to have it confirmed.

    In any system, the ideology underpinning conservatism is always that the people who are at the top deserve to be in some way or other. Sooner or later, there always comes a moment when people discover to their disillusionment that these people aren’t special and that their status at the top owes far more to dumb luck than to anything else.

  294. 294

    @Brachiator: No provision for an election, if the process itself is tainted. The butterfly ballot fiasco comes to mind. Not to speak of voter intimidation and poll tests during Jim Crow and after Roberts Court overturned some key provisions of VRA.

  295. 295
    The Moar You Know says:

    But I realize that nothing will burst the bubble for the true believers in St. Bernard the Incorruptible.

    @Mnemosyne: I get the longing for the guy they imagine him to be. Shit, I’d be all over voting for that guy and pushing him every chance I got, if he were what his acolytes believe him to be.

    Sadly, he’s not that guy. He’s just like all the rest of them, on the take and with the houses and perks to prove it.

  296. 296
    hovercraft says:

    @MomSense:

    Which is it fake or leaks?

    Yes

  297. 297
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Yarrow:

    Ever since Mitch was a local official here in Louisville, he’s had a NOT so discreet appetite for chicken. I know his police driver shared some around In the early 80s – too many people I knew and trusted swore they saw them.

  298. 298
    Shalimar says:

    @Corner Stone: I agree. Drives me nuts they put Ryan’s occasional statements of concern for the poor above his massive record of writing bills designed to screw all but the super-rich. “He cares. He really cares.” No, he does not, you gullible morons.

  299. 299
    D58826 says:

    some what off topic but karma is a bitch.

    Alaska oil bust threatens life of few taxes and dividend checks

    Does this mean Caribou Barbie and her dead beat family will actually have to get real jobs (one can only hope)
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money.....;ocid=iehp

  300. 300
    Spanky says:

    What perplexes me, though it’s quite a small issue in the order of things, is how the stock market keeps sailing upward even today. Denial is a hell of a drug, I guess. I’d also posit that they may have an unshakable faith in our form of govt, but the markets are usually more like a herd of skittish sheep.

  301. 301
    MoxieM says:

    I heard a Trump supporter this morning on the radio (Boston area NPR) say that, “no, she didn’t think it mattered at all that the Russian Intelligences services were involved in the election–that Trump had won ‘fair and square’, and why would anyone care about this stuff?” Really–speechless, there is no talking to people this willfully stupid. I mean, you really have to try hard to care so little about anything besides Cheetos (in the bag or in the suit.)

  302. 302

    @Yarrow:

    And the people who voted for Trump didn’t want him.

    An important aspect of this is that the people who voted for Trump DID want him. Pence is the bigot’s bigot. The evangelicals stated in no uncertain terms that they figured Trump would die or get impeached, and were voting for him so they could get Pence and the theocracy of their dreams.

  303. 303
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Seconded. The Russian interference went all the way down to the House level, and I really want to know WTF happened and who was colluding with whom.

  304. 304
    hovercraft says:

    @Yarrow: @dmsilev:
    It did, and the fact that he constantly brings it up and lies about it even in his conversations with foreign leaders is a huge tell. Is there an intelligence agency anywhere that doesn’t know how to manipulate Mr. Tiny Hands? The man is unstable, you are supposed to draw attention to your enemies weaknesses not your own. I think part of the problem is that he no longer has an opponent to focus his attention and the medias attention on, he loves being the center of attention, but he didn’t understand the level of scrutiny every single word he utters would get. So sad when you have to send out the likes of spokes cobra to tell the world not to listen to what he says, but to instead focus on what’s in his heart.

  305. 305
    Shalimar says:

    @The Moar You Know: My impression has been that Bernie is mostly who he says he is and that it is Jane Sanders who is concerned about status and comfort. I do not think that makes any practical difference, since the end result of their partnership is status and comfort.

  306. 306
    D58826 says:

    @MoxieM: I saw a clip, (forget where) in past day or so of an unemployed coal miner and satisfied Trump supporter blaming Obama for closing the coal mine. According to the fact checker the mine closed in 1987.

    The powers of Obama are truly amazing

  307. 307
    Another Scott says:

    Dunno if it’s been mentioned here yet, but…

    RawStory – IC at war with Trump, “He will die in jail.”

    Yikes.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  308. 308
    TriassicSands says:

    @dmsilev:

    Losing the popular vote? No way. Trump won the popular vote by 20 million votes or he would have if the Democrats, led by Crooked Hillary, hadn’t murdered 20 million Trump supporters. Of course, the media won’t report those 20 million deaths because, well, they have their reasons and you understand them.

  309. 309
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    No provision for an election, if the process itself is tainted.

    If the process itself is tainted, a new election doesn’t necessarily fix or resolve anything. But all systems have flaws. After the BREXIT madness in the UK, Theresa May become prime minister without anyone voting for her.

  310. 310
    Shalimar says:

    @MoxieM: Like saying I won fair and square on our poker night even though I had my wife there looking at your cards and also handing me an extra card or two when I needed them. Nothing wrong here. No cheating going on.

  311. 311
    Chris says:

    @D58826:

    Also, as to Mattis being the adult in the room – AP is reporting that he told NATO to either pony up more money this tear or the US would ‘moderate’ it’s commitment to NATO.

    Ugh. And here my main reason to like Mattis was the hope that he’d be a “tough on Russia, in favor of NATO” voice to counter Trump’s lunatic America Firstism. So much for that.

  312. 312
    D58826 says:

    @Chris: take the king’s gold, sing the king’s song.

    No one will come out of this with their reputation intact.

  313. 313
    dmsilev says:

    TPM just now:

    Questioned About Anti-Semitism, Trump Brags About Election Victory

    “Well, I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory that we had,” Trump told a reporter who asked him to respond to Jewish constituents who are concerned about xenophobic and racist undercurrents in his administration.

    “306 Electoral College votes, we were not supposed to crack 220, you know that, right?” said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There was no way to 221. But then they said there’s no way to 270.”

    I have to assume that every time he’s asked what he wants for lunch, he tells the waiter that he would have won the popular vote except for all those illegals that nobody actually saw.

  314. 314
    hovercraft says:

    @Shalimar: Ryan like RMoney before him is the medias idea of what a president should look like and be for. Remember they all believe that entitlements must be cut because they are unsustainable, they also believe themselves to be part of the middle class. Ryan’s budgets only make sense if you use “dynamic scoring”, which everyone knows is just a magic asterisk, but they all pretend he is a very serious thinker with serious tough but necessary fiscal policies. He is a fraud just like old start another perpetual war Johnny boy is a fraud.

  315. 315
    TriassicSands says:

    @D58826:

    No one will come out of this with their reputation intact.

    Kellyanne Conway appears to be close to crashing and burning. Joe S. and Mika B. have blacklisted her on their show for knowing nothing and just making stuff up. “She has no credibility.”

    They are treating her so unfairly. Sad!

  316. 316
    hovercraft says:

    @D58826:
    People have been asking Dr. Who for decades, perhaps now we have the answer, Dr. Obama, but if he wants to keep his identity quiet, he should stop using the TARDIS so often.

  317. 317
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    Mattis is a military man, and he follows orders unless they’re illegal. Being an asshole to NATO is not an illegal order.

    (Note: I am not and never have been in the military, I’m just going by what other people here have said is the case.)

  318. 318
    Mnemosyne says:

    @hovercraft:

    That’s why they can’t have a Black Dr. Who on the TV show — it would give the game away.

  319. 319

    @Brachiator: All systems have flaws, but few fetishize their constitution as the bestest in the world. AFAIK Brits don’t even have a written constitution.

    ETA: The Election Commission in India does a good job conducting free and fair elections with a much larger polity.

  320. 320
    Chris says:

    @D58826:

    @Chris: take the king’s gold, sing the king’s song.

    No one will come out of this with their reputation intact.

    Yeah, I increasingly think he’s going to end up being the Colin Powell to Trump’s Dubya. A guy with a shiny uniform and a reputation for integrity beloved of the Beltway press, who’s there to lend credibility to the administration without actually making it better.

  321. 321
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @schrodingers_cat: #316

    Yebbut, they do have the Magna Carta.

  322. 322
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    True and fair enough. But that doesn’t mean they can’t push back against the president’s policies behind the scenes, even if they’re ultimately overruled. So far, in a White House that leaks like a sieve, there’s been little sign that that’s happened.

  323. 323
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Kropadope:

    This is all aside from the point that you’re carrying a ridiculous grudge against anyone who dare question any single FACET of your God-Queen.

    I would like to think anyone claiming to be on the Left would have the basic decency to avoid sounding like some snotty little conservtard, gay but gynophobic troll taking cheep shots at Hillary Cliton’s gender.

    That being said, get a clue here – what’s going on with Trump – all these fringe loonies sucking up to Trump because Trump doesn’t know any better to pushing their idiot agenda and then it blowing up in their faces; that’s what a Sanders’ presidency would have looked like. Sure Sanders goals are much more benevolent than Trump’s, but his lack of connections into the Democrats would have resulted in similar mess as Trump’s.

  324. 324
    Kropadope says:

    @Brachiator:

    This has got nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

    Nothing, did I claim it did?

    The linked article didn’t “corroborate” anything. In fact, it called Sanders a liar. But I realize that nothing will burst the bubble for the true believers in St. Bernard the Incorruptible.

    It said he released one year of tax returns (seven pages by the way). I never claimed otherwise. I an’t believe after all this time you clowns aren’t running low on straw.

  325. 325
    les says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    I hate all this talk about being “safe.” The primary obligation of the govt is not to keep us safe. It’s to uphold and enact the Constitution. When did “safe” become a word you hear daily from a pundit’s mouth? Is that new? Or did I just miss it before?

    It started when we lost the war on terror on 9/11. We’ve acted like a nation of pants pissing, bed wetting cowards ever since.

  326. 326
    Kropadope says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    I would like to think anyone claiming to be on the Left would have the basic decency to avoid sounding like some snotty little conservtard, gay but gynophobic troll taking cheep shots at Hillary Cliton’s gender.

    Was it a shot at Hillary’s gender or a shot at the prevailing attitude around here? Read it again and think. Be honest. If only to yourself.

    Sure Sanders goals are much more benevolent than Trump’s, but his lack of connections into the Democrats would have resulted in similar mess as Trump’s.

    As opposed to Hillary’s complex network of connections with the Democrats which resulted in precisely our mess with Trump.

  327. 327
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Yarrow:

    I think it’s classic Russian opportunism. Given a situation, ‘what’s in it for us?’ That said, it’s quite possible that the Ruskies didn’t quite plumb the full depth of the situation.

    Who ever it is, my bet it’s going to be because they got caught calling the Russian after Flyn resigned.

  328. 328
    Brachiator says:

    @Kropadope: RE: This has got nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

    Nothing, did I claim it did?

    Yeh.You did.

    Bernie released his tax returns. Not as comprehensively as Hillary did, but that was never my claim.

    Again, the comparison to Clinton is irrelevant. Other presidential candidates have released multiple years of their tax returns. Sanders should have followed this precedent.

    I also gave you credit for the link to the 2014 return, when others claimed he only released a summary.

    The linked article didn’t “corroborate” anything. In fact, it called Sanders a liar. But I realize that nothing will burst the bubble for the true believers in St. Bernard the Incorruptible.

    This quote has nothing to do with me. I don’t give much of a shit about either Sanders or Sanders true believers. In fact, to the extent that he is among those actively opposing Trump, I give Sanders full credit for fighting the good fight.

  329. 329
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kropadope: I know you’re frustrated and all, but knock off the “God-Queen” bullshit. That’s a straight quote of out rightwing propaganda and it’s not how anyone felt about Hillary, much like we never thought of Obama as the Messiah or any of the other things conservative radio constantly and smugly talked about.

    I think you acknowledged that Sanders released his tax return/summary. This is fine. Stick to the high road and don’t stoop to name calling that’s not only offensive to your target but ALSO to anyone who genuinely liked Hillary. You’re attacking your allies, just let it go.

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I disagree. Sanders would have run into some similar problems (due to his ‘outside’ nature and relative lack of connections within the party) but the difference in degree is so large that we’re not talking about the same problem at all. I expect Sanders to have appointed some people (Nina Turner, for example) who’ve since proven themselves kind of nuts, but largely he would have done a decent job. Let’s remember that Sanders has been working in government for quite some time and even if he doesn’t agree with its rules and processes does understand how it functions. You’d be looking at administrative hiccups rather than the full-on catastrophe we’re seeing now.

  330. 330
    hovercraft says:

    @les:
    That was a deliberate choice by Shrub and Co., they had overseen a breakdown in our nations defenses because they were too busy pushing through a right wing wish list of goodies for their benefactors, so they skipped right past accountability to attacking those who attacked us and keeping us safe. Safe sounds more paternalistic and personal than talking about keeping the nation secure, or ensuring our intelligence apparatus works more efficiently, safe is a Franl Luntz tested word, that they introduced to make the threat more personal. America was primed to shit their pants, it wasn’t an accident, they made people scared so they could run on the promise of being the only ones who could keep us safe in spite of the fact that they had just failed spectacularly at just that.

  331. 331
    MomSense says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are correct. In mid April he finally released one year of taxes but I still think it was really pathetic for him to run on transparency and then wait until after most of the primaries and caucuses had already taken place to release them. At that point he didn’t have a path to the nomination.

  332. 332
    hovercraft says:

    @pamelabrown53:
    Which the founders consulted when writing the constitution, as did many states.

  333. 333
    Kropadope says:

    @Brachiator: So as proof that I claimed it had something to do with Hillary, you post a different quote where I also said I wasn’t arguing about Hillary? I didn’t bring Hillary into this, I didn’t even bring Bernie into this. And you’re right, the comparison to Clinton is irrelevant. The only reason I had to type the name Hillary is because I was fending off scattershot false arguments from Mnem and Jim.

  334. 334
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    All systems have flaws, but few fetishize their constitution as the bestest in the world.

    This is true, but there are also people here who falsely claim that America has the bestest of everything. I don’t much care and it’s irrelevant to a historical understanding of the Constitution and the American electoral system.

    AFAIK Brits don’t even have a written constitution.

    They also don’t have a Bill of Rights, a major failing in my view. Oddly enough, their Magna Carta is revered more here in the US than in the UK. And despite significant differences the English system and common law tradition is heavily influential with respect to the US legal system.

    ETA: The Election Commission in India does a good job conducting free and fair elections with a much larger polity.

    India and Pakistan also have written Constitutions.

  335. 335
    patroclus says:

    Well, I certainly agree with Betty that this is a serious situation. But this speculation that it’s going to lead to a removal of Trump as President, I think, is delusional. Even if the IC had an airtight case, with facts and evidence showing clear collusion and overt acts with real consequences, which they don’t as yet, I still don’t see a Republican-controlled government taking anything close to the necessary steps to removing him. The best we can hope for is some indictments of lower level people, who probably won’t pull a John Dean and flip. Maybe they’ll be prosecuted and and maybe they’ll be convicted, but like Scooter Libby, they’ll probably have their sentences commuted. And that won’t lead to impeachment or anything else some in this thread or speculating about.

    I think what we’re seeing is a change in the U.S. system that makes us a lot more like Turkey. The IC will undermine and destabilize Trump to the extent that they can and they will be an important faction attempting to be patriotic with an adherence to what they see as the truth. But that’s about it. I think we should face the fact that we’re stuck with Trump for at least 204 more weeks and maybe more. And deal with that rather than projecting fantasies that we’d like to see, but won’t.

  336. 336
    Brachiator says:

    @Kropadope: I simply noted the quote of your statement that I was responding to. Apart from that, I did not participate in or much care about your arguments with others here. I note that Sanders reported one tax return, noted your link, and also note that a single year’s tax return was a weak and unacceptable response.

    @MomSense:

    You are correct. In mid April he finally released one year of taxes but I still think it was really pathetic for him to run on transparency and then wait until after most of the primaries and caucuses had already taken place to release them.

    I agree.

  337. 337
    1,000 Flouncing Lurkers (was fidelioscabinet) says:

    @Kenneth R Ashford: In support–who leaked anything like this during the Obama administration? We didn’t see this going on–because the IC felt like he’d listen seriously if they brought forward concerns about the security of their briefings, even if they had disagreements with him in other areas. His failure to intervene to protect someone like John Kiriakou, who was no longer working for the CIA when he began to talk about torture, was surely a signal that security was taken seriously–even if most of us can see leaking information about the use of torture as blessed by the angels.

  338. 338
    Kropadope says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    I know you’re frustrated and all, but knock off the “God-Queen” bullshit. That’s a straight quote of out rightwing propaganda and it’s not how anyone felt about Hillary, much like we never thought of Obama as the Messiah or any of the other things conservative radio constantly and smugly talked about.

    Have you read the rest of this thread? That was a response to a clinically clueless clique of classless clowns ascribing that precise attitude to me with respect to Bernie Sanders. Personally, I think it’s closer to the mark when I say so about them but YMMV. These people started being really nasty to me about a year ago and find (invent) any opportunity to do so. I won’t refrain from defending myself. I shouldn’t have to. Balloon Juice has a very recent problem with non-tolerance of differing opinions. It’s not healthy and I’ll be damned if I don’t point out instances of it.

  339. 339
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kay: So wait: Wikileaks ISN’T applauding the leaks by brave whistleblowers concerned about national security? But this runs counter to everything I’ve been told by… Wikileaks! And some of my lefty friends that accused me of red-baiting!

  340. 340
    1,000 Flouncing Lurkers (was fidelioscabinet) says:

    @Yarrow: I would look seriously and carefully at his wife’s family business connections.

  341. 341
    The Moar You Know says:

    Balloon Juice has a very recent problem with non-tolerance of differing opinions. It’s not healthy and I’ll be damned if I don’t point out instances of it.

    @Kropadope: Bitch made you hit her, amirite? And you’ll keep hitting her until she figures it out.

  342. 342
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Alive and scratching around the barnyard!

  343. 343
    Kropadope says:

    @The Moar You Know: WTF are you talking about? Pointing out straw men and other falsehoods as well as personal insults is not me hitting anyone. They didn’t hit me either, but they were definitely the aggressors.

  344. 344
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kropadope: I have read the rest of this thread. I know you’re frustrated. That said, knock it the fuck off. You’re not doing your side any favors here, and I say that as someone who supported Bernie over Hillary until May or so of last year.

    The problem is that (having commented here for awhile and lurked for quite a bit longer) is that you’ve often been hostile to Hillary and Hillary supporters and that’s kind of poisoned the well. I don’t mean critical, I mean hostile. And you’ve also had several periods of being a nice, kind, well mannered and thoughtful person but you sink again into slinging “God-Queen” like insults that don’t do you any favors, and make the rest of the community dislike you.

    It’s a vicious circle, right? Somebody else is an asshole, so you go after them and you feel vindicated. But at some point you need to be the bigger man and give that up. Just say “I disagree. Look, Hillary and Bernie could have done better but even on his worst day Bernie was mountains better than Trump – who’s the real enemy here.” and move on. If other people try to provoke you, let it go. You don’t do yourself any favors otherwise, and you make other Bernie supporters look bad. I would welcome a return to the measured and thoughtful Kropadope instead of the angry dude we’ve got right now. Let Moar and others go.

    EDIT: Minor changes, new last sentence. :)

  345. 345
    hovercraft says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    That gave me a chuckle, thank you.

  346. 346
    Seth Owen says:

    @gvg: Most people seem to be overlooking No. 4 in the succession: President pro tem of the Senate Orrin Hatch. I have not seen any hint that he had been tainted by this, unlike Pence and Ryan.

    Now, he’s an old school Republican and I’m quite sure few people on this site would be very pleased on policy grounds, but I think he’d bring a lot of regular (if awful) orthodox Republicanism and probably calm things down. He’s old enough that he’d likely be a caretaker and hold the fort until 2020, which looks to be the real showdown election. I don’t know who will rise to the top of the heap in either party but I think we will have a definitive choice.

  347. 347
    Seth Owen says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That was how Ford became president

  348. 348
    Kropadope says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    It’s a vicious circle, right? Somebody else is an asshole, so you go after them and you feel vindicated. But at some point you need to be the bigger man and give that up. Just say “I disagree. Look, Hillary and Bernie could have done better but even on his worst day Bernie was mountains better than Trump – who’s the real enemy here.” and move on. If other people try to provoke you, let it go. You don’t do yourself any favors otherwise, and you make other Bernie supporters look bad. I would welcome a return to the measured and thoughtful Kropadope instead of the angry dude we’ve got right now. Let Moar and others go.

    I mean, I would like to let it go. But two things. First of all, letting certain things go can be bad. Letting falsehoods go unchecked and, inversely, letting facts go unsaid is bad Secondly, there’s a much stronger case for letting their insults go, but that sounds a bit like setting up a double-standard

  349. 349
    steverinoCT says:

    @hovercraft:

    …BUT compared with this lot [Christie] is competent.

    In the Land Of The Blind…

  350. 350
    cain says:

    @LAO:

    I think it goes deeper than this. The GOP Congress is frightened to death by their base — which continues to stand by Trump. If they knock Trump out, at this stage at least, they’ll be voted out as well. And Dog knows, nothing motivates a politician like enlightened self-interest.

    We should be concerned too because those replacements will be even further right than what we have now.

  351. 351
    cain says:

    @Yarrow:

    @Jeffro: I don’t think HRC being president is a good idea unless and until a whole bunch of other stuff has happened. Just getting rid of Trump and some entity, like the Supreme Court, saying she should be president, isn’t going to do it. Wiping out all of the GOP top leadership and quite a few cabinet positions and finding actual evidence of Russian tampering with elections in places like Erie, PA might.

    Hillary is out, nobody trusts her either.. it would just make everything worse. Better to bring back Obama who left with a high approval rating for a short amount of time as a caretaker govt until they can re-hold elections in 2018. The best part will be Obama will hate going back and that itself is a good reason to put him back there.

  352. 352
    Kurtyboy says:

    @Larkspur: Didn’t read all the way to the bottom yet, but tonight it occurred to me that Christie’s lunch yesterday, and Rubio’s supper with Benedict Donald tonight might be interviews, of sorts, for an upcoming vacancy in the Article II officer’s corps.

  353. 353
    TomV says:

    Trump resigns. Pence becomes President. Pence (with a big gun to his head) nominates HRC as VP. The two houses of Congress (with a big gun to their head) confirms her. Pence resigns.

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