I Can’t Even

It looks like the reason Trump kept the American press out of the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week was he didn’t want them to hear this:

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

Trump just took off on his mission to unify the world’s religions. Nice timing, New York Times!

[The kittehs are expecting visitors, and then I’ll be knitting all afternoon. I’ll check in later. Have fun!]






346 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Didn’t Putin offer to release their notes from the meeting?

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud: He did.

  3. 3
    Bailey says:

    NY Times appears to get great joy in provoking what will certainly be 12 Comey memos in response. I can’t complain.

  4. 4
    Served says:

    I just regained 5 years of my life imagining him lose his mind at his staff over the entire flight.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    Thanks for the post. The day is not over, and it’s always possible with this administration that more information is going to published at five.

  6. 6
    TenguPhule says:

    “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

    As I recall, an innocent person died in a giant pressure cooker full of tuna.

    I think we could bend the eighth amendment to allow that as the official penalty for treason. Less the tuna, of course. No sense in wasting perfectly good food.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    @Served: lol They will probably have to hold him back from entering the cockpit.

  8. 8
    TaMara (HFG) says:

    Can not be said enough. Don’t piss off the Intelligence pros. drip…drip…drip

  9. 9
    TenguPhule says:

    @Bailey:

    I can’t complain.

    And yet here you are.

  10. 10
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    This is from the official American transcript.

    The Washington Post weighs in.

    Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    I thought only one American was present at the meeting.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    crazy, a real nut job

    There’s that projection, again.

  13. 13
    Gin & Tonic says:

    That’s real smart. Fire the guy then bad-mouth him to the Russians. Comey doesn’t strike me as an impulsive guy, but rather as someone who will pick a time and place of his own choosing, coldly and calmly, to get even.

  14. 14
    LAO says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Let it be Jared, please!

  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud:

    I thought only one American was present at the meeting.

    Are we really sure Trump is an American?

  16. 16
    Keith P. says:

    It’s funny, because I (and probably half the country) *knew* some bad news was coming today to give Trump a kick in the ass on the way out. I was just about to jump in the shower when this broke.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    What’s best is “Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.”

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @TenguPhule: That’s why I said one.

  19. 19
    marcion says:

    this fucking guy. so obsequious to Mother Russia. it just gets more and more ridiculous

  20. 20
    Bailey says:

    @TenguPhule:

    And yet here you are.

    Thank for another fine example of your missing the point. You are consistent.

  21. 21
    Mike in DC says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Jared, Reince or someone from the alt-right wing (Bannon, Miller, McFarland, Anton, gorka)?

  22. 22
    hueyplong says:

    How can any investigator (or prosecutor) expect to find anything worse for Trump than this? It’s like taking a suspect into the interrogation room when he has already confessed, describing the crime and his motivation in detail.

    WTF? Someone from the bottom third in intelligence of the FoxNews viewership is the President of the United States.

  23. 23
    MaxUtil says:

    @Served: I doubt there any bushes on board for his staff to hide among, but surely there’s some curtains they could blend in to?

  24. 24
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    This kind of shit is why I don’t think this scandal is going to go away any time soon. The SS Trump is just too leaky and the man can’t help himself from making even more unforced errors.

    Trump also, apparently, doesn’t engender a whole lot of loyalty among WH staff on account of being an asshole, so the leaks from inside the house will continue

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    What’s best is “Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.”

    Trump hasn’t given him marching orders yet.

  26. 26
    Miss Bianca says:

    your kittehs are expecting visitors?

    eta: “I’m not under investigation” seems destined to join “I am not a crook” and “I am not a crackpot” in the lexicon of Famous Last Words.

  27. 27
    Bailey says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷:

    Trump also, apparently, doesn’t engender a whole lot of loyalty among WH staff on account of being an asshole, so the leaks from inside the house will continue

    You mean from Pence.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

    PLease don’t be a Fitzimas Bust like last time.

  29. 29
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LAO: I think it is Kushner. The meeting with Kislyak (why?) and the meeting with the Russian development bank honcho who was subsequently deported as a spy — both of which Kushner “forgot” to disclose — smell fishier than a cut-rate seafood market.

  30. 30
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Yes, Jared was the first name that came to my mind too.

  31. 31
    Hoodie says:

    @NotMax: Not so much projection, it’s just that trump thinks it’s crazy to have any scruples that might get in the way of getting what you want. He’s a completely amoral sociopath, which is why he’s attracted to other sociopaths like Putin. He envies their ability to get what they want by force or deceit. Every minute the GOP enables this monster to continue in office, they’re accomplices to his crimes.

  32. 32
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

    “Please tell master Vlad everything is still going according to plan! I don’t want to drink tea!”

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: That’s what I think. Follow the money

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: Josh Barro‏Verified account @ jbarro 3m3 minutes
    hey, remember how Jared was weirdly eager for Trump to fire Comey, a move Bannon thought was reckless?
    At least Jared can get advice from his dad about prison
    Lock him up

    emphasis mine

  35. 35
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Reuters notice just came across my phone: Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Trump with lowest ratings since inauguration.

  36. 36
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Bailey: If that’s where at least some are coming from then I don’t think its going to help him much to become president. He doesn’t have much credibility himself being head of the transition team

  37. 37
    Jean says:

    Why would Jared think that a removing Comey would help him or Trump?

  38. 38
    germy says:

    The federal probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives has expanded to include a current White House official, the Washington Post reports.

    A senior White House adviser—described by the Post as someone “close to the president”—is reportedly one of the subjects of the investigation, according to sources familiar with the probe. This is in addition to former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, who were previously identified as subjects of the investigation.

    Who could it be now?

  39. 39
    Ian G. says:

    @Served:

    Maybe we’ll be lucky and a staffer will decide to Flight 93 it after listening to an hour of Dolt 45 ranting.

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    Have to love how Donald Trump trashes US officials, behind their back, to the Russians.

    America First! He’s a nasty piece of work and he always has been.

  41. 41
    Barbara says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It was strongly implied they are referring to Sessions or Kushner or both of them. In this case, pragmatism overcomes schadenfreude and I hope it’s Sessions, whether Kushner comes along or not.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: As someone who has prepped senior leaders to conduct engagements and negotiations, has taught large numbers of Soldiers how to do so, and has done a few myself, this is not how you set conditions for concessions. It is, however, revealing far too much information to trained human intelligence (HUMINT) personnel who have cultivated you as a source.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/us/politics/trump-russia-comey.html?smid=tw-share

    A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

  43. 43
    Tony J says:

    How in the hell did he think impulsively firing the guy heading the investigation into his collusion with Russia was going to take the pressure off?

    It’s true. He knows nothing and no one can tell him anything. As a recipe for constant dick-stepping you can’t beat it.

  44. 44
    moops says:

    likely it is Kushner, and too bad, since he won’t roll on Trump. He also won’t roll on the people he hates in the administration, because they would then likely roll on Trump. Kushner’s noted absence from the WH, the place where he works if people recall, is likely not an accident.

  45. 45
    Kay says:

    @Jean:

    Because he’s in over his head and never should gotten that job?

  46. 46
    clay says:

    He is so dumb. He really thought that firing Comey would quash the investigation. He probably thinks pouring gasoline on a fire would put it out.

    “What, it’s a liquid, right?”

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    It’s not even five yet..

  48. 48
    smintheus says:

    This is a measure of how desperate Republicans are at this stage:

    A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

    Because nobody could possibly foresee that Russians would actually jump at the chance to take advantage of the political weakness of a sitting American president. No, this is just an example of Trump being a clever negotiator.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @TenguPhule: How about a surfeit of lampreys?

    @Miss Bianca: Also too, “I am not a witch.”

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in DC: No. LTG McMaster was present. My understanding is that Secretary Tillerson was as well. There would have also been an official note taker to produce an internal transcript for reference, as well as a summary read out that could be released to the press. The Russian delegation would have had their own note taker.

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Ian G.:

    Tim Heidecker sings it.

  52. 52
    germy says:

    @Jean:

    Why would Jared think that a removing Comey would help him or Trump?

    It’s how he thinks. When he took over a newspaper, his first question to his editors was “Who can we get rid of?” They tried to explain reducing the workforce would reduce the quality of the paper, but he saw it strictly as cost saving.

    He brings his business mentality to government. I’m sure he didn’t foresee any backlash against letting Comey go. He’s probably the one who told his FIL they’d get praise from both parties.

  53. 53
    Kay says:

    God, they just play Donald Trump constantly. It’s like shooting fish. One big, dumb fish thrashing wildly around in a barrel.

  54. 54
    Ian G. says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’d love to see Boy Blunder be the thing that sinks this administration. Bonus points if it leads to a long Twitter meltdown from Dolt 45 that includes every antisemitic invective in the book.

  55. 55
    Hoodie says:

    @Jean: he’s an amateur who doesn’t understand how the DOJ or FBI works. He’s a rich punk who married the boss’s daughter, not a criminal mastermind.

  56. 56
    Bailey says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷:

    If that’s where at least some are coming from then I don’t think its going to help him much to become president. He doesn’t have much credibility himself being head of the transition team

    He doesn’t really need credibility to become President – just needs to let the law take its course. And then take a gamble that after one giant investigation, no one will be much interested to have another into him. Even so, he’d probably manage to find some plausible deniability into what he knew/didn’t know about Flynn which is his only real concern.

    He’s leaking like mad, no doubt.

  57. 57
    MaryL says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This is from the official American transcript.

    How much must his entire staff hate him for that quote to make it into the official summary.

  58. 58
    Barbara says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: No doubt firing Comey was the culminating act of Jared’s conviction that if only he had the power to fire the prosecutor he could have avoided the trauma of seeing his father go to prison. In this case, Bannon was clearly right.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    For all his faults, Benedict Arnold was not a stupid man.

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betty Cracker: Sergey Gorkov is the name you’re looking for.

    Suddenly I’m craving blintzes…

  61. 61
    Lapassionara says:

    This comment, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. that’s taken off” does not make sense to me. I have a hard time envisioning Trump feeling pressure of any sort, as he has no shame, and clearly thinks every action he takes is the greatest. Also, it was said to a Russian, so it seems like a signal to the Russian that he will now have more freedom to work with the Russians than he has had so far. If he thought firing Comey would take off the pressure, ….. Sigh.

  62. 62
    hovercraft says:

    I posed this question downstairs, not realizing he was leaving this early.

    May 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    So are we going to get a 5:45 news dump or do you think they’ll time it so that it hits when he lands in Riyadh?

    So I guess the answer is both, or all of them Katie.

  63. 63
    Barbara says:

    @Jean: Because he doesn’t understand how the USG works any better than Trump does?

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    Trump just took off on his mission to unify the world’s religions.

    I could see him unifying the world’s religions in the same way that Hitler unified Russian communists, American capitalists and British imperialists.

  65. 65
    The Golux says:

    I tells ya, this has been relevant every goddamn day since 11/9/2016.

  66. 66
    JMG says:

    @Bailey: I gotts think if Trump has to go, he’ll try and take Pence with him. And all the rest of them, too.

  67. 67
    Ian G. says:

    @Jean:

    Because​ he’s a moron who panicked?

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @hueyplong:

    How can any investigator (or prosecutor) expect to find anything worse for Trump than this?

    My own thought from the beginning has been “you know, it doesn’t matter even if the investigation reveals that Trump has no ties to Russia and is as clean as a whistle; the simple fact that he went on television and asked the Russians to hack an election for him should’ve disqualified him right then and there.”

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    Cyrillic fanciers here, is ved’ma the correct Russian term (transliterated) for witch?

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Barbara: Sessions doesn’t count as a White House staffer. We do know, however, from Comey’s testimony a few weeks ago that Sessions is part of the investigation. We also know from Clapper’s testimony when asked by Senator Hirono if he’d seen SIGINT that included unmasked US citizens who were part of the campaign or members of Congress. Clapper replied “both”. There was only one campaign official who was a member of Congress: Sessions.

  71. 71
    Suffragette City says:

    @Kay: Exactly and they sure seem to know how to stroke his ego. He’ll tell them anything because they LIKE HIM.

  72. 72
    Bailey says:

    @JMG:

    I gotts think if Trump has to go, he’ll try and take Pence with him. And all the rest of them, too.

    That would not make me sad.

  73. 73
    Baud says:

    @Ian G.: He just had too much on his plate.

  74. 74
    Jean says:

    @Kay: On that, I completely agree. But why leak what Trump supposedly said? Doesn’t that pit Trump against Kushner as a leaker? Kushner is setting himself up for a fall–out of Trump’s favor and possibly a subject of investigation. Can he be that stupid to think Comey would just be quiet or that the FBI would stop investigating?

  75. 75

    @Kay: @Suffragette City: I think they pay him. He will do anything for them greenbacks.

  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ian G.: because he’s a princeling who sees everyone not of the blood as a servant

  77. 77
    Ian G. says:

    @JMG:

    One can hope.

  78. 78
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Bwah ha ha ha! A negotiating tactic! That’s rich!

    “Gee, uh, I’m really screwed over here. Reaaaallllly in a pickle. Now give me what I want, please?”

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @clay: The Fart of the Deal.

  80. 80
    Sebastian says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Twitter says Jared

  81. 81
    Chris says:

    @smintheus:

    A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

    If I were Russian and was told that, my reaction would be “then let’s push as hard as we can for as much as we can get now, because if he’s under as much pressure as he says, this guy might not even be here in six months and whoever replaces him will almost certainly take a hard line on us.”

    But YMMV.

  82. 82
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: Yes.

  83. 83
    JanieM says:

    @Lapassionara:

    This comment, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. that’s taken off” does not make sense to me.

    It’s Trump, why would it make any sense? He blathers whatever he thinks will get him what he thinks he wants in any given moment.

  84. 84
    smintheus says:

    @MaryL: That’s a good point.

  85. 85
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The Russian delegation would have had their own note taker

    Or, you know, a recording device.

  86. 86
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Fun fact: the only way to put out a fire in a cotton boll is to use gasoline because the unprocessed fibers are too dense for water to penetrate the boll.

  87. 87
    zhena gogolia says:

    @NotMax:

    Yes.

  88. 88
    JPL says:

    The Daily Beast had an article after the Comey memo was released. A high level official said they are f..ked. I can’t find it now, but it rumored that the official was Kushner.

    found the article
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....tely-fcked

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: Gonna be a long afternoon/evening. He’s going to be completely wrong footed by the time he lands in Saudi. The trip is going to go very, very, very badly now.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    chopper says:

    @smintheus:

    The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

    ah yes, the “please stop posterizing me” gambit. always a winner.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    psycholinguist says:

    As I’m listening to this, I finally get the obvious thing that seems to be going on here. Trump is so jealous of Putin’s role in Russia. I swear his firing of Comey was an attempt to show Putin he’s just as tough as Putin, and can do anything he wants. Is this a dick-measuring exercise with Putin? About the only explanation that allows some sort of internal coherence in this decision, batshit crazy as it is.

  94. 94
    TenguPhule says:

    @JMG:

    I gotts think if Trump has to go, he’ll try and take Pence with him. And all the rest of them, too.

    The David Koresh option?

  95. 95
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Bailey: I don’t think people will buy that. He was in charge and should have known. Like the presidency, the buck stopped with him. He’s dirty too and will go down along with other top GOP leadership

  96. 96
    smintheus says:

    @Chris: Yep, it’s one of the basic rules from the political leadership handbook: You never confess to weakness to KGB; you never tell autocrats you need to keep an eye on your home front; and you never roll around in poison ivy.

  97. 97
    zhena gogolia says:

    @psycholinguist:

    I think he tries to follow Putin’s every move. The question is, who’s his Kadyrov going to be?

  98. 98
    RareSanity says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m so glad you keep your decoder ring on.

    I remember the exchange between Clapper and Hirono, but I missed all that he communicated in his response, while saying very little.

    Speaking around classified subjects does seem to be quite the artform.

  99. 99
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Oh please make it so, please! Seeing that klansman go down would be almost as good as seeing Twitler go down.

  100. 100
    Gravenstone says:

    @JPL: I should think AF1 has an extremely hardened cockpit. He can beat his tiny fists bloody on the door, but he ain’t getting inside.

  101. 101
    JPL says:

    @TenguPhule: NO… Leave the White House alone.

  102. 102
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @smintheus: See my comment here:
    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/05/19/i-cant-even-4/#comment-6387668

    As someone who has prepped senior leaders to conduct engagements and negotiations, has taught large numbers of Soldiers how to do so, and has done a few myself, this is not how you set conditions for concessions. It is, however, revealing far too much information to trained human intelligence (HUMINT) personnel who have cultivated you as a source.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/us/politics/trump-russia-comey.html?smid=tw-share

    A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

  103. 103
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The trip is going to go very, very, very badly now.

    War with the entire Muslim faith by midnight badly? Or worse?

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Not to very bright, leveraged out the wazoo, trust fund baby. Anything else I can help with?

  105. 105
    TenguPhule says:

    @JPL: It would be a small price to pay. And we could always rebuild it, this time with all up solar panels.

  106. 106
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Is the FLOTUS with him?

  107. 107
    Baud says:

    @germy: Ivanka or Melania?

  108. 108
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ah yes, more evidence of Trump’s “clever” businessman negotiation tactics. It was clear from Day 1 of the campaign the man was unfit.

  109. 109
    Ian G. says:

    Just for the record, I still can’t get my jaw off the floor over the fact that this meeting with the Russians ACTUALLY HAPPENED AS PLANNED AFTER THE COMEY FIRING. Either Andy Kaufman is about to rip the Trump mask off in this 2+ year long piece of performance art, or Trump is literally the least self aware person who has ever lived.

  110. 110
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Baud:

    You are very quick with the keyboard, aren’t you?

  111. 111
    Spider-Dan says:

    @Bailey: I dare not fantasize about a scenario in which Trump discovers that Pence is the source of all these leaks. I’m reasonably certain that the Vice President is the one person in the executive branch that the President does NOT have the authority to dismiss.

  112. 112
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: WHY DID YOU MENTION BLINTZES WHY…(trying, and failing, not think of blintzes swimming in sour cream and blueberry preserves…)

  113. 113
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That was a fun fact! But what about an oxygen suppressant like a fire extinguisher? Would that work?

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Suddenly I’m craving blintzes…

    Weirdly, I have been craving a bagel with thinly sliced salmon. It’s weird because I’ve never had it in my whole life.
    Maybe I am pregnant and am actually going to have all of Sally Yates babies?

  115. 115
    Gravenstone says:

    @Betty Cracker: Maybe he and daddy can get adjoining cells?

  116. 116
    🌷 Martin says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Yeah, the coordinated effort of this is impressive. It’s a daily barrage, with different parts carefully leaked to different media outlets. They’ve taken away the ability to blame individual reporters or outlets, and the ability to put too much credit on journalists. It’s a careful, coordinated unravelling not just of Trump but of the entire operation that put him in office. Which, is both impressive and a bit terrifying.

  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Fun fact: the only way to put out a fire in a cotton boll is to use gasoline because the unprocessed fibers are too dense for water to penetrate the boll.

    So Trump is a mutated cotton boll?

  118. 118
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ian G.: and trump went out and in front of TeeVee cameras said he gave them the meeting because Putin asked him to

  119. 119
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Reminds me of someone who bought a company I worked for a few decades ago. After a couple of months, he called everyone together to ask that we all work for no salary, just for a few weeks or so, until he could turn things around. He wore a seven thousand dollar wristwatch while he made this request.

    All I remember is the scraping sound of a bunch of chairs sliding back, and then a mass exodus.

  120. 120
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Ooh, try it. Just make sure to put a thin schmear of cream cheese on the bagel first. Then some capers and a shpritz of lemon.

  121. 121
    hueyplong says:

    I also can’t figure out why the Trumpsters thought firing Comey would make everything go away instead of triggering massive blowback. The best I could come up with is that maybe they read too much into Comey’s late knifing of Hilz, i.e., they wanted to think that it was Comey coming home to being a good little GOP Bundist and that he would be willing to quietly take one for the team if forced out.

    Maybe they’re just stupid and self-absorbed, and Trump’s Razor always wins.

  122. 122
    Gravenstone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Kind of sad when only Bannon recognized the blowback that turfing Comey would bring.

  123. 123
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Miss Bianca: @Corner Stone: Damn it, now I feel like booking a flight to NYC.

  124. 124
    hovercraft says:

    @germy: @Baud:

    Ivanka yes, Melania no.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MaryL: Doesn’t have to be his staff. That transcript will have circulated to everyone who needed to know. The National Security Staff Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia. The National Security Staff Director for Russia. The Director of the Russia and Eurasia Desk at State. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (most likely an SES in an acting capacity right now) for Russia and Eurasia. Similar officials at DHS, Treasury, DOJ, etc. And anyone they think needed to be tracking on it. So the leaks could be coming from a lot of places.

  126. 126
    Ian G. says:

    @TenguPhule:

    After finding out that Stephen Miller was going to write Dolt 45’s Islam speech, I figured we’d have to grade “success” on a curve, like half of Pakistan and Egypt not engulfed in flames from rioting being a “success”.

  127. 127
    TenguPhule says:

    @Spider-Dan:

    I’m reasonably certain that the Vice President is the one person in the executive branch that the President does NOT have the authority to dismiss.

    As I said earlier, it would not surprise me at all if Trump order his personal security to whack Pence at some point for failing him.

  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Multiple confirmations!

  129. 129
    Jean says:

    @Baud: Read this morning that Melania was with him, and the description of her was very positive: She speaks several languages and has made many international trips. News to me.

  130. 130
    hovercraft says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    And that’s him when he’s sick, imagine him at 100%

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: It is all over twitter. And it is being tweeted at him.

  132. 132
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Jean:

    It’s hard to grow up in Slovenia without having to speak several languages.

  133. 133
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Spider-Dan: He doesn’t. VP is elected

  134. 134
    germy says:

    @Ian G.:

    Andy Kaufman is about to rip the Trump mask off in this 2+ year long piece of performance art

    Actually, it IS like having Tony Clifton for president. Although I think Clifton was a bit classier.

  135. 135
    Baud says:

    Tomorrow’s tweet: I have the RIGHT as president to obstruct justice! Also, too, most abused politician in history.

  136. 136

    @Gravenstone: Unlike the pampered princelings, he has actually held some jobs that were not family business.
    /Need to have a shower for saying something nice about Bannon.

  137. 137
    hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Somewhere Tamron Hall is giving you the stank eye.

  138. 138
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chris: Baklava for everyone! Seriously, almost every monotheistic religion, and the various sects within it, include societies with their own variant of baklava. I call for a baklava summit!

    Also, now I want a gyro. And baklava.

    And before anyone asks: yes, I do make baklava too.

  139. 139
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Awesome.

    Tick tick, motherfuckers.

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    Seriously. If ever…EVER…there were a time for those god damned FEMA Re-education Camps IT.IS.NOW.

  141. 141
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule: If that really happened, I wouldn’t know to laugh or be horrified

  142. 142
    Miss Bianca says:

    @JPL: @Adam L Silverman: My God, when did the Friday news dump become the Friday news tsunami?

  143. 143
    smintheus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I agree with you. Plus it’s the opposite of what any moderately cognizant untrained amateur would do in the circumstances. No sane adult negotiates with thugs by saying ‘Help me, I’m in deep sh!t here.’

  144. 144
    JanieM says:

    @hovercraft:

    Ivanka yes, Melania no.

    Don’t know if this is meant as sarcasm, but Google says Melania, Ivanka, and Jared are all going.

  145. 145
    LAO says:

    @Spider-Dan: OMG! It’s definitely Pence. That would be perfect.*

    *By definitely, I mean it would be in the dystopian novel i feel stuck in.

  146. 146
    hovercraft says:

    @Gravenstone:
    Dad’s been out for a few years now, but he can definitely give him some pointers.

  147. 147
    efgoldman says:

    @Jean:

    Why would Jared think that a removing Comey would help him or Trump?

    Because he knows/understands less about politics than your cat does.

  148. 148
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷:

    Hate to say I had the same fleeting thought (I hate that this is who I’ve become!)

  149. 149
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Chris:

    Trump couldn’t unify his two gelatinous ass cheeks.

  150. 150
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: that is gonna be one long ass flight for his staffers

  151. 151
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud:

    I have the RIGHT as president to obstruct justice! Also, too, most abused politician in history.

    Already happened.

    No, he’s gonna step it up a notch.

    After careful consideration it is clear that there are too many leakers in the US government. Therefore I have accepted the Russian’s offer to deploy security forces loyal only to me across the country. Welcome your new Russian overlords, you sad peasants!

  152. 152

    @Adam L Silverman:You can cater for the Balloon Juice reception of John’s wedding. He has the house and the car, lined up.

  153. 153
    Yarrow says:

    @JMG:

    I gotts think if Trump has to go, he’ll try and take Pence with him. And all the rest of them, too.

    He’s going to throw everyone under the bus before he leaves. I expect him to leak documents or recordings showing Pence is the mastermind behind this Russia stuff, then feed him to the wolves. Heh.

  154. 154
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: I fully expect they have audio and video in addition to the pictures all taken by the TASS photojournalist.

  155. 155
    zhena gogolia says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Brain bleach stat!

  156. 156
    Baud says:

    When I bought my last car, I went to the dealership and explained how my last car broke down and if I didn’t get a new car immediately, I was not going to be able to work and would probably get fired.

    He gave me a good deal.

  157. 157
    TenguPhule says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    My God, when did the Friday news dump become the Friday news tsunami?

    This month.

  158. 158
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Sadly/fortunately I don’t tweet.

  159. 159
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while): So, he wouldn’t have an anus, then, if he could?

  160. 160
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Becoming more and more obvious the orange hue comes not from tanning beds or bronzer but rather is an outward manifestation of being doused in Russian red combined with a yellow streak a mile wide.

  161. 161
    SatanicPanic says:

    @JPL: We’ve gotten so used to bonkers news it’s hard to remember a time when any of these one stories would have been worth months of analysis.

  162. 162

    @JanieM: An entourage of a 1000 along with bottles of ketchup are going.

  163. 163
    Corner Stone says:

    @hovercraft: Oh, I will have her babies like yesterday. Or today. Or call me,maybe?
    But Sally Yates is playing a large chunk of taking down Trumpov. If it ever happens SY will be getting some extended foot messages and other various things thrown her way.

  164. 164
    JanieM says:

    I clicked through to the NYT link in the OP and the looks on the Russians’ faces are priceless. Great work on the part of a guy who’s supposed to be able to read his audience so well.

  165. 165
    efgoldman says:

    @moops:

    likely it is Kushner, and too bad, since he won’t roll on Trump

    To save his own ass? Of course he will.

  166. 166
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Seriously. If ever…EVER…there were a time for those god damned FEMA Re-education Camps IT.IS.NOW.

    Tumbrels, camps, make up your minds people!

    /kvetches while changing the order form yet again

  167. 167
    hovercraft says:

    @Baud:

    I have the RIGHT as president to obstruct justice! Also, too, most abused politician in history.

    or

    When the president obstructs justice for stratgery, it’s not a crime. You should thank ME!

  168. 168

    @JanieM: His charm does not work on those are not in awe of him.

  169. 169
    hueyplong says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷: “So, he wouldn’t have an anus, then, if he could?”

    He’s already got one above the neck. Why does he need two?

  170. 170
    Miss Bianca says:

    @🌷 Martin: note to self, upon the unlikely event of winning national public office: Avoid really, really, pissing off the IC…

  171. 171
    zhena gogolia says:

    @JanieM:

    Lavrov looks as if he spends some serious time in the tanning bed too.

  172. 172
    SatanicPanic says:

    I’m like a fiend now with all this news. Like one story comes in, I read it, go “ohhhhhh that feels gooooood” and then it’s off to find the next one because I’m afraid of running out. Is anyone else feeling this?

  173. 173
    NCSteve says:

    God. I keep hoping I’ll suddenly hear a piano playing “Momma’s Little Babies” and Garrison Keeler saying “wouldn’t this be a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie? Yes, nothing takes the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth quite like Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.”

  174. 174
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: It was always fraught with diplomatic and other dangers. That was if it started without any new/additional bad news for the President. He’s going to be trapped in a metal tube, seething for the next 10 plus hours or so depending on the flight path to Riyadh. He doesn’t do well when he’s tired, when he’s away from home, and/or when he’s upset. He’s now all three. And since he didn’t want to go on the trip to begin with, I expect he’ll be fully set for a meltdown well before he lands.

    I’d have a field day writing Key Leader Engagement (KLE) prep packets/backgrounders on the President for this type of things. If I didn’t work, via contractor, for the US.

  175. 175
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    that is gonna be one long ass flight for his staffers

    Fuck them.

  176. 176
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷: Laugh. It will feel so good.

  177. 177
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L.Silverman

    Merely reading the word baklava makes the teeth ache.

  178. 178
    LAO says:

    @schrodingers_cat: it’s shocking it works on anyone. Trump is a black hole of charm.

  179. 179
    hovercraft says:

    @JanieM:
    I must have missed the announcement about Melania, my bad.

  180. 180
    Ian G. says:

    @Baud:

    I’m waiting for him to rant about how persecuted he is while at Yad Vashem. That will be the piece de la resistance for this trip.

  181. 181
    zhena gogolia says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I would feel that way if it were a novel or a film. The fact that the United States of America is in the hands of evil criminals does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

  182. 182
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I do what I can.

  183. 183
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Baud: I have been one of the most persecuted politicians in all of human history! The Lugenpress has lied about me bigly, saying I’m some Russian puppet. And so have the Democrat party. No longer. Today I am pleased to announce I am declaring martial law indefinitely and suspending the Constiution. All of you losers will finally show me the respect I deserve or else!

    We can finally Make America Great Again, right Comrade Vlad?

  184. 184
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’d have a field day writing Key Leader Engagement (KLE) prep packets/backgrounders on the President for this type of things.

    So you suspect they’re gonna make him eat a sheep’s eyeball?

  185. 185
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: IKR? Now I’m thinking about blintzes *and* real bagels with lox…

    @Adam L Silverman: And no, I don’t expect ANY blowback at all from Trump’s describing Comey as a “nut job”, do you?

  186. 186
    Corner Stone says:

    @TenguPhule: Tumbrels for some, FEMA Camps for others!
    /Vote Kang

  187. 187
    feebog says:

    @Lapassionara:

    This comment, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. that’s taken off” does not make sense to me.

    I think what the Moron-in-Chief was trying to say is “the investigation into my collusion with you guys.” Read it that way and it makes sense.

  188. 188
    JPL says:

    @Miss Bianca: They are the greatest tsunamis though.

  189. 189
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule: I hate it, but I’d like to think Pence would know he was going to die because he crossed a malevolent man-child

  190. 190
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I particularly like the rationale (from “a third government official briefed on the meeting”) that the announcement was intended “to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials”. That is, that Trump was negotiating from weakness and begging for a pity-fuck.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DANimWFVYAAvyp7.jpg

  191. 191
    Chris says:

    @psycholinguist:

    As I’m listening to this, I finally get the obvious thing that seems to be going on here. Trump is so jealous of Putin’s role in Russia. I swear his firing of Comey was an attempt to show Putin he’s just as tough as Putin, and can do anything he wants. Is this a dick-measuring exercise with Putin? About the only explanation that allows some sort of internal coherence in this decision, batshit crazy as it is.

    Can you imagine the reaction of Putin, of all people, a KGB veteran, to Trump proudly announcing to him that he’s firing Comey?

    Putin: [external dialogue] “Oh, very well done! I hope your next director works out better!”
    Putin: [internal monologue] “It’s not enough that you had more enemies than most Game Of Thrones characters already, now you’re declaring war on your own state security organs? Can even you be that stupid?”

  192. 192
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s not strange to call a senior official a “nut job”. I mean, James Woolsey is a world class fucking nut job. But not sure I would say that to the Russians in the Oval Office right after I fired him.

  193. 193
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    /Vote Kang

    Am I getting overtime for this?

  194. 194
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RareSanity: You’re welcome and you have no idea.

    As for disclosures by these folks… Ever wonder why there are topics in the news in my areas of expertise that I don’t write posts on or if someone else does I don’t comment on? It is because I’m not quite sure where the line might be, so I keep my mouth shut.

  195. 195
    TenguPhule says:

    @sm*t cl*de:

    That is, that Trump was negotiating from weakness and begging for a pity-fuck.

    It worked for Zap Branagan, Trump’s distant descendent.

  196. 196
    MaryL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Got it. That makes more sense.

  197. 197
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    Anybody see the video that shows Hillary practicing for the debates. Specifically how to avoid the unwanted Trump hug.

    Link

  198. 198
    JanieM says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Indeed. I was also thinking that they’re actually laughing *at* him, but he’s so dumb and insulated from reality that he thinks they’re laughing *with* him.

  199. 199
    HRA says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Ha! I have the ingredients ready for making the baklava. I really want spanokopita for dinner.

  200. 200
    LurkerNoLonger says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I’m like a fiend now with all this news. Like one story comes in, I read it, go “ohhhhhh that feels gooooood” and then it’s off to find the next one because I’m afraid of running out. Is anyone else feeling this?

    Yes! I’m a junkie and Balloon Juice is my dealer.

  201. 201
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Chris: Putin’s investment isn’t working out as much as he would probably like.

    Sure the US is in chaos, but enough shit is on autopilot that it won’t really matter. Those sanctions aren’t likely to be removed any time soon and Putin ain’t gettin’ any younger

  202. 202
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: I have no idea what is going to happen. That said he had at least two phone calls and two meetings/was in two meetings with Kislyak. He failed to disclose these on his confirmation paperwork and he said he had no interactions with Russians as a campaign surrogate (he used that specific term) in his under oath testimony in questioning by both Senator Franken and Leahy. If I was working the network analysis piece of this, he’d be in the mix.

  203. 203
    randy khan says:

    Cue Trump denying he said it as soon as he gets back to the Twitter machine.

  204. 204
    JanieM says:

    @hovercraft: I only saw it because I ran across an article about whether she was going to wear a headscarf…..T having crapped on Michelle O. a few years ago when *she* didn’t wear one in S.A.

  205. 205
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷: Edit: There’s also a not so insignificant chance Trump could start a nuclear war that would make all of Putin’s billions and his political power worthless

  206. 206
    gene108 says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Are we really sure Trump is an American?

    Per Birther “logic” he is not. Per Birther “logic” you are a natural born citizen only if both your parents are natural born citizens. Since Ma Trump was born and raised in Scotland, Trump would not qualify.

  207. 207
    grandpa john says:

    @<a href="#comm

    ent-6387657″>Gin & Tonic: YEP Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Trump with lowest ratings since inauguration.favorable 38%, unfavorable 56%. Even Reps unfavorable is from last week, 16% then , 22 or 23 % this week

  208. 208
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hmmm… So because you didn’t answer my question about putting out cotton boll fires with an extinguisher, then I can assume that the answer requires top-level clearance!

  209. 209
    NotMax says:

    @Corner Stone

    Time to re-watch the last few minutes of By Dawn’s Early Light wherein General James Earl Jones’ plane deliberately flies on a collision course with Air Force One.

  210. 210
    germy says:

    Judd Legum‏Verified account @JuddLegum 11m11 minutes ago

    CNN: Trump/Russia

    MSNBC: Trump/Russia

    Fox: Some weather we’re having! Amirite?

  211. 211
    JanieM says:

    I also that it sounds like he thought he was informing them of something they didn’t know already (“I fired him”), as if they had just flown in from Betelgeuse in a news blackout. on top of everything else, he has the BEST news sources, better than anyone!

  212. 212
    Calouste says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think he won’t make it to the NATO or G7 meetings.

  213. 213
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I was expecting he’d make it through Saudi okay, with the possible exception of his speech on Islam given that Stephen Miller is writing it. I figured the problems would be Israel. He and his staff and his forward/advance team and his ambassador in Tel Aviv have now managed to piss off the Israelis very, very badly. I’ve got a post coming before he gets there on this. Just the bullshit about Masada and Yad Vashem would’ve been enough (also shows how dumb and ultimately ineffective the Jewish Americans in his inner circle are – Jared, Stephen Miller – both should have been able to explain the importance of these visits to him and made it stick) to seriously upset the Israelis. Combine that with the intel disclosure and burning the Israeli asset, the statements about the Western Wall being in Palestine, referring to the Palestinian Authority as Palestine, not wanting to be accompanied by Bibi to the Wall, and his advanced schedule indicating he will make a speech about the right of Palestinian self determination when he meets with Abbas just put it all way, way over the top.

    Combine this with jet lag, no control over what he eats and when. And the fact that he’s now a wounded bird so the NATO leaders can all just politely tweak him into meltdown, this isn’t going to go well at all.

  214. 214
    JanieM says:

    Drat, I need to be on a different browser and hope for ETA functionality……

  215. 215
    Ian G. says:

    @psycholinguist:

    Per Trump’s Razor and the man’s entire “career”, you’re probably right.

  216. 216
    ruemara says:

    @hueyplong: Finally, we have a quintessential American.

  217. 217
    Aleta says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That must be a fake poll. The 2 pm readout on the Trump cheerocounter was the highest number ever.

  218. 218
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Netanyahu shouldn’t have bet it all on red.

  219. 219
    SatanicPanic says:

    @zhena gogolia: I think the election pushed me over that point where it’s no longer about having fun, it’s just about maintaining my sanity, and now I’m needing bigger and bigger hits.

  220. 220
    trollhattan says:

    @gene108:
    Wee Donny is noothin’ but a haggis-eatin’ crybaby furriner!

  221. 221
    Kay says:

    @Tilda Swintons Bald Cap:

    Specifically how to avoid the unwanted Trump hug.

    It’s so gross how he insists on manhandling people. What IS that? Some kind of domination thing? To take something as nice as a hug and turn it into this hostile demeaning gesture is just so obnoxious.

  222. 222
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    “What’s with you people, anyway? 21st century and you still can’t set your clocks to the real time.”

  223. 223
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Yes.@Baud: @hovercraft: They’re both traveling with him. Basically the First Lady, the entire senior staff/senior advisors are on the trip. The actual subject matter experts on the National Security Staff for each of these states and the specific issues are not traveling with the President. This is bad staffing for this trip.

  224. 224
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I was expecting he’d make it through Saudi okay, with the possible exception of his speech on Islam given that Stephen Miller is writing it.

    How on earth did you come to that conclusion? I know the Saudis will have the place on full lockdown beyond their normal one, but you don’t think Trump is going to be stepping on Saudi dicks left and right both before and after his speech?

  225. 225
    Central Planning says:

    @smintheus: and don’t get involved in a land war in Asia.

  226. 226
    hueyplong says:

    Trolling me viciously, my son emailed me a New Republic link I did not open, because part of the link was “our choice for FBI director Joe Lieberman.” I rose to the bait just enough to reply that the New Republic wins the Pierre Laval Award for today.

    Really feeling a lack of love for a pair of elves today, Concern Troll Elf Lieberman, and Klan Elf Jefferson Beauregard Lee Jackson Stewart Johnston Kirby-Smith Forrest Sessions.

  227. 227
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: I have no idea. Just some obscure fact I remember from a grade school reader about cotton production.

  228. 228
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m not sure how to respond to any of those comments…

  229. 229
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Always bet on black.

  230. 230
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    this isn’t going to go well at all.

    I wish I could laugh about this. I can’t.

  231. 231
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Would explain the hair.

  232. 232
    hedgehog mobile says:

    @LurkerNoLonger: Same here…this joint and TPM.

  233. 233
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Combine that with the intel disclosure and burning the Israeli asset, the statements about the Western Wall being in Palestine, referring to the Palestinian Authority as Palestine, not wanting to be accompanied by Bibi to the Wall, and his advanced schedule indicating he will make a speech about the right of Palestinian self determination when he meets with Abbas just put it all way, way over the top.

    As I’ve noted before, Israelis have killed their own leaders for less.

  234. 234
    Jeffro says:

    @germy:

    Who can it be now?

    Who indeed?

  235. 235
    germy says:

    28 mins ago –
    Fox News gave “The Five” co-host Bob Beckel the boot Friday for making a racist remark to a black IT worker.

  236. 236
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: Global climate change has some really strange effects.

  237. 237
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hillary’s mistake was not being born African American.

  238. 238
    Aleta says:

    @hovercraft:

    obstructs justice for stratgery

    It all makes sense when you put it that way.

  239. 239
    Bailey says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷:

    I don’t think people will buy that. He was in charge and should have known. Like the presidency, the buck stopped with him. He’s dirty too and will go down along with other top GOP leadership

    I think that’s asking a lot. Impeachment with actual removal of a president has never happened, so it would be massive to happen now. (If. Still seems very remote to me.) A president and a VP going at same time? I think everyone would look for reasons for that not to happen.

  240. 240
    germy says:

    @Jeffro: That’s exactly what i was humming when I wrote that. You got the obscure reference!

  241. 241

    @TenguPhule: Please, please let it be Jared.

  242. 242
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hovercraft: Neither do I. I just monitor it for work, and blogging, related purposes.

  243. 243
    Aleta says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: kind of a genius

  244. 244
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And you’ve never offered any to the readership? Sad.

  245. 245
    moops says:

    None of this seems to be stemming the kleptocracy and the liquidation of federal assets and corporate welfare initiatives.

    my particular federal agency has been told to create a 2018 budget that is 20% smaller. Even if the man-child is put in prison we still have to draft the dam thing just to have Congress tell us to throw it out. Huge waste of time, and always possible Congress signs it, or negotiates it with whoever is in the WH next year. Meanwhile, we don’t plan for anything but mothballing and layoffs.

  246. 246
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule: Hopefully somebody takes out the whole entourage in a hail of bullets

  247. 247
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I honestly don’t know. Camel is usually what they serve at the banquets. It’s a delicacy in Saudi.

  248. 248
    Jeffro says:

    @JMG:

    I gotts think if Trump has to go, he’ll try and take Pence with him. And all the rest of them, too.

    Anything to preserve his “fortune” for him and Lucretia.

    I still see him sitting at that interrogation room table, face in hands: “…okay, once more for the record…I first began laundering money for the Russian mob back in 2002…”

  249. 249
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: Blowback? Most likely. Repercussions? Most definitely.

  250. 250

    @JMG: If he thinks they’ve turned on him or injured him, he’ll hit back. He says that’s the best action to take when someone hits you.

  251. 251
    Jeffro says:

    @Jeffro: “…I first became aware that Paul Manafort was taking some sort of direction from Putin back in 2015…”

  252. 252
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Just a heads-up that your stalker (apparently) showed up again last night.

  253. 253
    Chris says:

    @gene108:

    Per Birther logic, a real citizen is anyone the Birthers say he or she is.

  254. 254
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HRA: Excellent. We’ll all be right over.

  255. 255
    germy says:

    How much longer can Pence play dumb?

  256. 256
    Corner Stone says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I’m like a fiend now with all this news. Like one story comes in, I read it, go “ohhhhhh that feels gooooood” and then it’s off to find the next one because I’m afraid of running out. Is anyone else feeling this?

    Man sitting in closet with a bottle: “I ain’t gotta problem! I can quit anytime!”
    Assume a woman who is his wife who has just opened the closet door: “Man, look at yoself! Just look at yoself!”

  257. 257
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Camel is usually what they serve at the banquets. It’s a delicacy in Saudi.

    Yes, but that’s to honored guests. If they’re trying to tweak him, what’s the worst possible regional dish they could make him eat?

  258. 258
    Jeffro says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Maybe I am pregnant and am actually going to have all of Sally Yates babies?

    Wait…why do YOU get to have all of her babies??!? That’s just selfish

  259. 259
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: No comment.

  260. 260
    Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    @Kay: In this case, it’s more like whaling, yes?

  261. 261

    @Lapassionara:

    I have a hard time envisioning Trump feeling pressure of any sort

    This mistake is perfectly natural, but it’s a misunderstanding of how narcissists work. A narcissist doesn’t think they’re the best. They can’t bear not being treated like the best. They are perhaps the most insecure people possible, desperate for constant external validation, and unable to admit the slightest weakness because it hurts too bad. This is why Trump is so miserable and rage-y. Not being respected eats at him, where it would have hardly any effect on someone who actually believed in themselves.

    @Corner Stone:
    Who is Kang the Conqueror?

  262. 262
    TenguPhule says:

    @germy: Forever Katie. Because he’s not pretending.

  263. 263
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I was expecting he’d make it through Saudi okay, with the possible exception of his speech on Islam given that Stephen Miller is writing it.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…

  264. 264
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: caligula?

  265. 265
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Bailey: If there exists real evidence of criminal, even treasonous, wrongdoings by both of them, then anything’s possible. The public outcry would be too great to ignore.

    If the GOP did ignore public sentiment, expect political violence

  266. 266
    JPL says:

    @germy: I think Trump brings him down. If Pence still plays deaf and dumb, Trump will blame Flynn on him. After all he was in charge of the transition.

  267. 267
    TenguPhule says:

    @moops:

    None of this seems to be stemming the kleptocracy and the liquidation of federal assets and corporate welfare initiatives.

    I think the solution will have to involve bounty hunters and specifying “No Disintegrations”

  268. 268
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @germy: He’s been doing it for nearly 58 years so far.

  269. 269
    Jeffro says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    that is gonna be one long ass flight for his staffers

    Sent me straight to a mental image of Samuel L. Jackson: “I am TIRED…of this MOTHERFUCKING ORANGE FART CLOUD…on this MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!!!”

    (h/t Betty from earlier)

  270. 270
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: He seems to do better with autocrats.

  271. 271
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: have you ever eaten camel? I’m imagining it as kind of like steak or elk meat, but even gamier…

    ETA: but nothing would justify smothering it with ketchup!

    @germy: He’s managed it for 60 + years, how could he stop now?

  272. 272
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    the statements about the Western Wall being in Palestine, referring to the Palestinian Authority as Palestine, not wanting to be accompanied by Bibi to the Wall, and his advanced schedule indicating he will make a speech about the right of Palestinian self determination when he meets with Abbas just put it all way, way over the top.

    I truly don’t get this. His entire political persona is based on Islamophobia, more than anything else with the possible exception of anti-Hispanic prejudice. Why in God’s name would he and those around him decide to go moderate on that, of all things? I mean, at this point, he could pretty much announce an abandonment of the two-state solution and that he supported all of the West Bank becoming part of Israel, and he’d suffer basically no political repercussions – nobody in America gives a shit about Palestinians other than a very marginalized minority that already votes for the other party. And all his supporters would cheer, and probably a few other people besides. What the hell is that all about?

  273. 273
    Barbara says:

    @Chris: S.A. has the wherewithal to utilize time delay or otherwise bring about “technical failures” should the speech start being a little too inflammatory.

  274. 274
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jeffro: Years before.

  275. 275
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    He’s not playing. WYSIWYG.

    @Omnes Omnibus

    99.99% certainty. All the signs and hallmarks were present, excepting invoking your nym.

  276. 276
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Except for the ones who know how to play him, which is all of them Katie

  277. 277
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Miss Bianca: I am guessing it is more like a really big goat.

  278. 278
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He seems to do better with autocrats.

    Only the white Russian ones.

    Mr. Ban the Muslims, remember?

  279. 279
    Ian G. says:

    @hueyplong:

    I usually refer to him as Nathan Bedford Forrest Sessions, Jubal Early Sessions, or Preston Brooks Sessions, interchangably.

  280. 280
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Oh, yea!

  281. 281
    clay says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    And no, I don’t expect ANY blowback at all from Trump’s describing Comey as a “nut job”, do you?

    It’s more “I know you are but what am I”-ism from Trump. Remember in the campaign when people pointed out that he was being racist, and he just up and called Hillary a huge racist?

    And, of course, “No YOU’RE the puppet.”

    People have been saying that he’s unstable and irrational, so he uses that same term against (who he perceives to be) his enemy. In this case, Comey.

    I mean, say what you will about Comey — and we all have — but no one has ever accused him of being crazy or irrational. The complaint doesn’t even make sense. But that’s Trump for you. He is rubber, we are all glue.

  282. 282

    @Chris:

    at this point, he could pretty much announce an abandonment of the two-state solution and that he supported all of the West Bank becoming part of Israel, and he’d suffer basically no political repercussions

    He already did that. You’re right, nobody in America paid attention. You can imagine how contradicting that now endears him to Israelis.

    As for why, I’m guessing he’s too stupid to know what he’s talking about and repeating the last thing someone convinced him to say. My guess for who would be that Bannon is back on top and providing the Neo-Nazi ‘fuck Zionist conspirators’ perspective.

  283. 283
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷:

    Trump also, apparently, doesn’t engender a whole lot of loyalty

    In the entire history of his public life (going back to the 80s) there is *one* instance of a subordinate saying he was a good boss (the (female!) engineer who ran some of his construction projects (maybe Trump Tower?)). -ONE-. That, combined with the documented record of him stiffing anybody he could, howsoever powerless, is ample evidence that no, no, no, if you’re gonna work for him, get the paychecks on time, and deposit ’em -that- -day-. Oh, and don’t ever let him throw you under the bus — have your own contemporaneous account, hopefully backed-up with recordings. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Every. Single. Aide. has an innocuous app installed to record audio continuously Notwithstanding that Spicey demanded to inspect all the phones. B/c you can camouflage that shit.

  284. 284
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Chris: The simplest explanation is the best one: they’re all stupid and are flailing.

    Could also be that being Isalophobic plays well to the rubes to get elected, not so much to foreign leaders when you’re in office.

    Another example of Trump’s insincerity

  285. 285
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Not sure.

  286. 286
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: you beat me to it!

  287. 287
    TenguPhule says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    I’m imagining it as kind of like steak or elk meat, but even gamier…

    Think veal, only with a sweeter and fattier taste.

  288. 288
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I alerted Adam via email, if that makes you feel better. He is aware of the situation.

  289. 289
    Ian G. says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m kind of hoping that he’ll have lost it so completely by the time he meets the Pope that he’ll go into some insane rant about global Jesuit conspiracies that he read on InfoWars, or heard as a kid from his father.

  290. 290
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This is bad staffing for this trip.

    Or maybe just typical

  291. 291
    Aleta says:

    @TenguPhule: It’s reported they plan steak and ketchup and will loosen normal dietary restrictions. (To show traditional respect for guests.)

  292. 292
    Chris says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Camel is usually what they serve at the banquets. It’s a delicacy in Saudi.

    Yes, but that’s to honored guests. If they’re trying to tweak him, what’s the worst possible regional dish they could make him eat?

    There’s a story in Charlie Wilson’s War about Gust Avrakotos and his people in Pakistan being saddled with some politician’s adviser during a trip to the region, that they really didn’t want to have to take care of. So they decided to simply take him to the most local restaurant they could find on their first night there, knowing what the shock of third world food would do to his stomach. Sure enough, traveler’s diarrhea/food poisoning hit him immediately, and he was basically out of commission for the rest of the trip.

    Saudi Arabia ain’t Pakistan, but it’d be hilarious if they figured out some way to make this happen…

  293. 293
    Peale says:

    @Barbara: We’ll see. I’d be curious to find out what the House of Saud has been telling its people in advance of the trip. I hope whatever he does, he embarrasses them bigly.

  294. 294
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Ian G.: *ouch* Dude, there are decent Americans on that flight, flying the plane and otherwise running the ship. They’re not aides. Just functional staff. Some, I bet, are under military orders.

  295. 295
    The Lodger says:

    @Chris: Enormous political problems. Would these problems include having Russian intelligence provide him the opportunity to speak to two of their top operatives IN THE OVAL OFFICE?
    We should all have problems like this. Enormous ones, too.

  296. 296
    Jeffro says:

    @germy:

    That’s exactly what i was humming when I wrote that. You got the obscure reference!

    Yes…condemning myself to at least another hour’s worth of Men At Work earworms…thanks!

  297. 297
    different-church-lady says:

    @Keith P.: Well, it is a day that ends in “…day”, after all.

  298. 298
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: I have never eaten it. The three standards at Iraqi banquets are goats and lambs (including the heads) and an Iraqi subspecies of carp, whole roasted over open flames, then boned just prior to serving. This is all served with rice, hummus, baba ghanoush, lubna, pickled veggies, and often kebabs of various sorts and fresh pita. I loved eating with the locals!

  299. 299
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ian G.: Lol

  300. 300
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chris: I have no idea.

  301. 301
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Chet Murthy: Acceptable casualties.

    They would die knowing they serves their country by taking out a tyrant

  302. 302
    efgoldman says:

    @germy:

    How much longer can Pence play dumb?

    He’s not playing. Not for nothing was he considered the dumbest member of the house, even with Gohmert, King, and Bachmann for competition.

  303. 303
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TenguPhule: ooh…that sounds rather tasty. Not that I’m likely to get invited to a Saudi dinner party where i’m the honored guest any time soon, but based on that description, I would gladly tuck into a plate of camel meat!

  304. 304
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And McClatchy decides to pile on!!!!

  305. 305
    NotMax says:

    @efgoldman

    Gotta have the seats filled with the cheering/applause choir, don’tcha know.

  306. 306
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    this isn’t going to go well at all.

    The purpose of part of this trip is UNITY. I believe he will be successful in causing Muslims, Jews, and Catholics to be unified in their desire to see the world rid of him.

  307. 307
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Chet Murthy: Probably. Wouldn’t surprise me

  308. 308
    Peale says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He seems to do better with autocrats.

    Until he meets them. Whatever happened in that meeting with Erdrogan seems to have ticked him off.

  309. 309
    moops says:

    Having had camel in the Kingdom, they are very proud of it. I don’t think ketchup will help. But there is not a large shame in taking minimal portions, then his staff can sneak him steak for him to eat in his room later with two scoops of ice cream. He won’t starve.

  310. 310
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Dude, you are making me feel RAVENOUS right now. That sounds like the best feast ever!

  311. 311
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Did fine with Erdogan.

  312. 312
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’ve always wondered how you embed tweets into comments

  313. 313
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    And oceans of tea.

  314. 314
    germy says:

    @efgoldman:

    Gohmert, King, and Bachmann for competition

    Some stiff competition. One would be exceedingly dense to beat that team.

  315. 315
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ll be in and out this evening, so keep me apprised if there’s a problem.

  316. 316
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The three standards at Iraqi banquets are goats and lambs (including the heads) and an Iraqi subspecies of carp, whole roasted over open flames, then boned just prior to serving. This is all served with rice, hummus, baba ghanoush, lubna, pickled veggies, and often kebabs of various sorts and fresh pita.

    Oh, God. Now I want goat. And lamb. And goat. And lamb. Not carp so much. But all the side dishes!

  317. 317
    pat says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I think “going well” or not depends a lot on your point of view. From mine, the worse it is, the better. Heh.

  318. 318
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷: On the tweet click on the little arrow in the top right. Click on embed tweet. Copy the embed code. Paste it into the comment. Hit post comment.

  319. 319
    Adam L Silverman says:

  320. 320
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Neat! Thanks

  321. 321
    Central Planning says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Eating with locals is always the way to go. When I traveled internationally I always made a point of eating the local cuisine, and no american food. Always worked out great, especially since I didn’t really know what I was eating.

    Once when I was in Beijing, I went to a restaurant that didn’t have any english words on the menu. My friend and I picked 3 or 4 different things from different areas on the menu. Worked out great. The english translations were funny too – “fragrant cosmetology hoof” was the most interesting one.

  322. 322
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: They are very proud of the fish. They run aquaculture near the Tigris and are very, very proud of doing so. So if you get fish you should feel especially honored. It was very, very good.

  323. 323
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Central Planning:

    fragrant cosmetology hoof

    That wasn’t a restaurant, that was a cosmetics boutique!

  324. 324
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @JPL: Mar-a-Waco.

  325. 325
    Central Planning says:

    @Adam L Silverman: My insides were as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

  326. 326
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He used him as a human shield. And it was on his turf at the time.

  327. 327
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Yep.

  328. 328
    Origuy says:

    @NotMax: Yes. ведьма (ved’ma) is a witch. Looking at Google Translate’s annotations, it’s specifically a female witch, and has the connotations (hag, harridan) that the English word has. I’m not a fluent Russian speaker, though.

  329. 329
    VOR says:

    I think of this quote when I ponder the Trump administration: “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” – Mark Twain

  330. 330
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m necro’ing your earlier comment, because I have a question about this that’s bugged me for awhile:

    We also know from Clapper’s testimony when asked by Senator Hirono if he’d seen SIGINT that included unmasked US citizens who were part of the campaign or members of Congress. Clapper replied “both”. There was only one campaign official who was a member of Congress: Sessions.

    Doesn’t Clapper’s answer also mean that there could be different unmasked citizens – some of which were MoC, some of whom were campaign members? The phrasing leaves open the possibility that there’s no overlap between the groups.

  331. 331
    Bill Arnold says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Yes, Jared was the first name that came to my mind too.

    Likewise. (With no evidence, just popped into mind.)

  332. 332
    Capri says:

    @hueyplong: I think they didn’t expect blowback because they knew the Democrats didn’t like him because how he screwed Hilary and the GOP would go along with anything they did. They absolutely didn’t see past the fact that folks might not like Comey as an individual, or that they might question his choices/actions/motives and yet, still think it was out of line for Trump to axe him.
    The thing that always comes to my mind when reading about this is: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That’s some nuanced shit that Trump doesn’t get.

  333. 333
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Ir is possible, but based on the way both the question was asked and how he answered it I think it was likely both.

  334. 334
    The Lodger says:

    @Jeffro: It can only be Jared…

  335. 335
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks! This has been bugging me whenever I see you talk about it, but I’m always reading far enough behind you posting that I don’t want to bring it back up again. Appreciate the reply.

  336. 336
    hovercraft says:

    @TenguPhule: @germy:

    Forever Katie. Because he’s not pretending.

    He’s not playing dumb because he’s called dense for a reason, but he’s lying about not knowing about all of the Flynn shit. Just because he’s stupid doesn’t mean he doesn’t know that he screwed the pooch, and Mother is not going to be pleased with him.

  337. 337
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I wish someone would serve him an animal head, aren’t the eyeballs considered a delicacy? That would be priceless.

  338. 338
    dr. luba says:

    @The Lodger:
    The Independent, just now:

    Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner ‘person of interest in Russia investigation’
    A former FBI Director is heading the probe

  339. 339
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku 🗳 🌷 says:

    @hovercraft: Oh, dear. Mother will make me sleep on the couch for a month for this.

    Yuck

  340. 340
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Um, by “kebabs of all sorts” do you mean skewered veggies? Isn’t “kebab” the word for “meat”? Dunno about Pashtun, but it is in Turkish (shish kebab = skewered meat, doner kebab = turned meat, etc.) /language pedant

  341. 341
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yep

    @Corner Stone: If the Iraqi carp is like the fish I had in Kazakhstan, yes you do want it, unless you hate fish. The fish had little spiky bones throughout, but it was a delicious white-meat fish, not oily or gamy at all.

  342. 342
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @hovercraft:

    Just because he’s stupid doesn’t mean he doesn’t know that he screwed the pooch, and Mother is not going to be pleased with him.

    Bullshit. Who do you think’s doing the leaking? The brains of the outifit: “Mother!”

    Think about it. How did they get the knuckledragging fundanazis out for a serial adulterer & daughter-fondler? By telling them that Trump wouldn’t be POTUS for very long, & then they’d get the theocrat of their fever dreams. Here we are, right on schedule. Mark my words: If the investigations get too close to VP Dunce, the Soldiers of Gilead will close ranks around him to save his imbecile do-what-Mother-tells-him arse for the White House.

  343. 343
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @hovercraft:

    Sheep’s eyes with ketchup.

    I remember reading, many decades ago, about one of the early overseas tours undertaken by the then-young Queen Elizabeth II and her husband (so probably early 1950s). They went to one of the ME/NA countries, can’t remember which one, and at dinner the Queen and Duke were each presented, very ceremonially, with a plate containing one sheep’s eye. Reports at the time were that both of the British Royals consumed the local delicacy with politeness, if not relish (in either sense of the word). I doubt it shows up on Buckingham Palace menus.

  344. 344
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: A friend used to work on a wrecker crew for the CSX railroad and had to deal with a cotton bale fire. It was essentially unmanageable–500 pounds of raw, compressed cotton, once it starts burning, can’t be stopped, and even submerging it, unless for prolonged periods, is no guarantee the fire will stay out. All they could really do was use a crane to separate it physically from the other cotton bales and the rest of the wreck.

    Pulling the bale apart might help, as it would allow you to separate the burning cotton from the as-yet unignited portion. Snopes is dubious about the use of gasoline, although one commenter notes that that story might have resulted from confusion over the use of CO2 or nitrogen to deprive the fire of oxygen. I’d worry about the heat of the fire vaporizing the gasoline so that the gas fumes would ignite, myself. Chemistry labs are advised to keep sodium metal submerged in paraffin oil to prevent contact with air, for what that’s worth.
    A burning cotton boll could probably be trampled underfoot, however, and extinguished that way; a boll is maybe the size of my (smallish) fist at the largest.

    But yeah, if we’ve gone past dumpster fire to cotton bale fire, we might as well try gasoline; if nothing else, it’ll get things over faster. I couldn’t vouch for the safety, though, just the speed.

  345. 345
    Ryan says:

    Now Chump gets to learn what it’s like to run a real Fortune 50 company, in other words, one with a board of directors.

  346. 346
    Achrachno says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Boll? Maybe you mean bale? A boll is c. the size of a ping-pong ball and I can’t imagine one supporting a fire big enough to worry much about.

Comments are closed.