Russiagate Open Thread: Everybody’s Talking ’bout Me…

Full disclosure, I am writing this at 6am (exhaustion-induced insomnia) so it may well be superceded by the time it appears. But just as a supplement to Cheryl’s promised post…

Sarah Posner, at the Washington Post, “Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe”:

Keeping in mind that we do not know for certain that Cobb is right about McGahn keeping documents in a safe, or, if he is, what those documents contain, there is nonetheless ample evidence that McGahn, in particular, is likely in possession of information critical to Mueller’s probe of possible obstruction of justice by Trump in firing Comey. There is strong reason to believe that these documents could tell Mueller a great deal about Trump’s state of mind when he fired the FBI director…

We have become accustomed to Trump’s White House leaking bits of information to reporters, cloaked by anonymity. In the Russia investigation, at least, Cobb’s indiscretion is unlike anything we’ve seen so far. If Cobb is right that McGahn has documents has locked away, he not only has (once again) demonstrated his penchant for reckless public chatter. He also may have revealed just how reckless he can be in protecting his client’s interests — by giving Mueller a gift.

Renato Mariotti, at Poltico, “How to Read Bob Mueller’s Hand”:

Although the scope of the special counsel’s investigation is vast, public reporting of his activities indicate the direction his investigation is taking and gives us a good sense of the types of charges that could result. But most of the breathless speculation about what he will ultimately do is likely wrong—the result of a misunderstanding of how the law works, a misreading of the public evidence we’ve seen so far or wishful thinking by those who would either like to see the president driven from office or see everyone on his team exonerated.

As a starting point, it’s important to keep in mind what prosecutors do: They investigate discrete crimes. Although the media often throw around phrases like “Russian collusion,” that term has no legal meaning whatsoever. Mueller won’t charge one grand conspiracy involving everyone he’s looking at. If he brings charges, expect to see individuals charged separately unless they committed a crime together…

… We know Mueller is looking at obstruction related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey for many reasons—most recently, the Justice Department refused to permit a Senate committee to interview two FBI officials who were witnesses on this issue, and when asked about the matter, referred questions to Mueller. This indicates that Mueller believes the FBI officials are potential witnesses. (If Mueller thinks he might use their testimony later, he would want to reduce the risk that potential defendants and their counsel can learn about it in advance. He also doesn’t want to generate inconsistent accounts from witnesses that can be used to undermine them at trial.)

Mueller also has set up interviews with White House officials who were reportedly involved in the decision to fire Comey, and Trump lawyers reportedly sent a memo to Mueller making legal arguments about obstruction and claiming that Comey is not a credible witness. This suggests Trump’s legal team believes Mueller is focused on obstruction. They wouldn’t waste their time otherwise…

The intensity of Trump’s reaction to the [Mueller] appointment is unusual and will prompt questions about why he cared so deeply about losing control over the Russia investigation. Moreover, former White House aides Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence will likely be questioned about what they told the president to persuade him not to fire Sessions, and what he said in response. The president’s words could be used by Mueller as evidence of his “corrupt” intent, which he would need to prove obstruction of justice…

Mueller’s investigation appears to be proceeding at a rapid pace, but we should not expect it to conclude this year. When it does, any charges that Mueller brings will likely be narrower and more targeted than many observers expect, although the recent Facebook search warrant could result in explosive charges involving cooperation with Russian operatives…

Coda, from Dana Milbank:

[U]ntil now, nobody in the White House but Cobb has been caught discussing sensitive matters within easy earshot of strangers while dining outdoors. Well, nobody except the president, who handled nuclear strategy with the Japanese prime minister while dining outdoors at Mar-a-Lago among members and guests. Somebody posted on social media a photo of the man who carries the nuclear football…

And we’re only eight months in! It won’t be long, at this rate, before Cobb tries to address a sensitive email to White House colleague Stephen Miller but accidentally sends it to Robert Mueller. Or he leaves his briefcase in a taxi and the next passenger is Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of the House Intelligence Committee. Or he has an incriminating phone conversation with Trump while in an Uber driven by Vogel, who is moonlighting to pay off his BLT Steak tab….

159 replies
  1. 1

    Josh Marshall had a good point yesterday, which was that while it’s important that the people who committed any crimes be prosecuted and convicted, there’s something else we need as a country, namely, that we find out what the fuck happened and who did it. This is as much a political problem as a legal one, maybe more so. Mueller’s job isn’t to bring political outrages to light; it’s to prosecute people for crimes they committed. We need that, too, but by itself it isn’t enough.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I had to watch that video clip several times before I could figure out what I was supposed to be seeing. But once seen, never forgotten. Good catch!

  3. 3
    Peale says:

    Yeah. But Obama’s speechwriter ate out after a softball game shirtless, proving that he’d staffed his administration with inexperienced kids who didn’t understand the gravity of the office.

  4. 4
    debit says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Someone once wrote that every picture of Kushner looked as if it was a still from a Law and Order episode just as the killer was about to be revealed. That video qualifies, also too.

  5. 5
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The first and more obvious thing I saw was Trump seemingly falling asleep on his feet, looking like he was about to fall forward with his eyes closed.

    Then I saw Jared’s eyes…

  6. 6

    @Peale: Please do you want to see T or Bannon or even Miller without a shirt?

  7. 7
    Amir Khalid says:

    @debit:
    That’s one way to put it. When I see Jared’s face, I tend to be reminded of the teenage Tom Felton playing Draco Malfoy.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @debit:

    Someone once wrote that every picture of Kushner looked as if it was a still from a Law and Order episode just as the killer was about to be revealed.

    That’s perfect! Kushner has a way of simultaneously narrowing and side-rolling his eyes that is hateful and creepy. From the start, I’ve had the sense that he truly detests his father-in-law. There’s always that chilly cautious contempt; never any body language or facial expressions suggesting he has warm feelings toward Trump (Edit: Or anyone, really.)

    On a completely unrelated topic: I came to the thread yesterday too late to comment, but wanted to let you know how sorry I was to read about your mother’s diagnosis. I’ll be thinking about her and sending good white light. If it helps you to see anecdotes of healing, I have a friend (former colleague) who was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma when I met her in 1988. Nearly three decades later she is healthy, still managing the Canadian Consulate office in Atlanta, and has just renovated her home to turn it into a B&B. I hope the same for your mom. {{{Hugs}}}

  9. 9
    Redshift says:

    That Politico writer seems determined to ignore a lot of things, from parroting the conservative line that “collusion has no legal meaning” (only if you focus on that word and ignore that it’s a synonym for conspiracy) to waving away the many Mueller hires related to financial crimes “hard to prove.”

    Basically, his thesis is that we should expect that only people who may be charged are the ones where something has already come out publicly. That seems rather dubious reasoning to me, but it’s Politico, so I guess that’s not surprising.

  10. 10

    @Amir Khalid: Trey Gowdy is Malfoy. Kushner looks like a public school (the British kind not American) kid, with his slightly ill fitting blazers and all.

  11. 11
    Hal says:

    It’s Melania. She will save us all.

  12. 12
    Jeffro says:

    A hurricane’s coming, and I ain’t talking about Maria or Jose, either…

  13. 13

    @Jeffro: Hard rain’s gonna fall, hopefully not on us.

  14. 14

    @Hal: She is T’s Russian handler. Have you seen how big her hands are compared to T? She keeps him in line.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    OT Dominica was heavily damaged by Maria, but I hope that Betty made it through okay. I assume it will be awhile before we hear from her.

  16. 16
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    So, Mueller ends up decapitating the US government – which I’m all for, by the way – but then what? It seems to me that the substantial part of Mueller’s job is lining up the transition leaders so that we all don’t careen around like a headless chicken for months. I’m sure he’s got the goods on everyone, all the way down into the GOP committee level, and that loon Louise Mensch might have been right months ago when she suggested it will be President Hatch.

  17. 17

    I wish the Russia stuff could take a week off so we can better sound the alarm on healthcare.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    When I see Jared’s face, I tend to be reminded of the teenage Tom Felton playing Draco Malfoy

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  19. 19
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Kushner is the villain in every 80s teen movie.

    “Damn you, Ivanka – you know Tom Brady isn’t OUR type. Is that what you want, instead of … us?!??”

  20. 20
  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    @debit:

    Someone once wrote that every picture of Kushner looked as if it was a still from a Law and Order episode just as the killer was about to be revealed.

    He does look that sleazy.

  22. 22
    geg6 says:

    @JPL:

    My heart just goes out to everyone in the Caribbean right now. I just can’t imagine. Terrible.

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:

    @Redshift:

    That Politico writer seems determined to ignore a lot of things, from parroting the conservative line that “collusion has no legal meaning” (only if you focus on that word and ignore that it’s a synonym for conspiracy) to waving away the many Mueller hires related to financial crimes “hard to prove.”

    I love how it was..

    ‘ there was no collusion’….to ‘really, is COLLUSION a crime?’

    Uh huh, muthaphuckas.

    As far as financial crimes are concerned….the money doesn’t lie.

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    My favorite detail from last night’s Manafort news:

    The FBI raid on Manafort’s House – they got permission from the judge to PICK HIS LOCK. He didn’t know that they were in his house -UNTIL THEY POUNDED ON HIS BEDROOM DOOR.

  25. 25
    rikyrah says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    we have the list of succession.

    Not Mueller’s problem to set up the replacements.

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Trump is now addressing the UN General Assembly.

  27. 27
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Because he needs to let those who aren’t implicated know what’s coming so they can prepare for it too. You can’t just round up everyone without a plan for how to manage the fallout. I mean we’re talking unprecedented high crimes.

  28. 28
  29. 29

    @SiubhanDuinne: Train wreck in motion. What is he saying.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @rikyrah: I assumed that Manafort had security detail. The one that I think will flip is Flynn, because he might do it to protect his sleazy son.

  31. 31
    Woodrowfan says:

    @rikyrah: and Vincent D’Onofrio is about to nail his butt.

  32. 32
    Jeffro says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: @rikyrah: It’s likely that once indictments start dropping, things will happen quickly but not all at once – unlikely that Trumpov, Pence, and Ryan all resign on the same day and give us President Hatch.

    I’ll be interested to see if at some point his Orangeness himself flips on everyone else. I mean, the guy does turn everything to crap and most certainly would give up everyone save Ivanka in order to try and save himself.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    @schrodingers_cat: We will soon have the biggest military evah!

  34. 34
    JPL says:

    @Jeffro: Ivanka secretly hates her dad, because of the years of sexual abuse she endured. Jared decided to seek revenge and now has enough evidence to bring him down.
    I have a vivid imagination btw.

  35. 35
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Train wreck in motion. What is he saying.

    I am distracted by the renewed awareness that he cannot read. So far it is boilerplate pablum, leavened by the occasional cliché.

    “Strong sovereign nations…mutual respect…this beautiful institution….”

  36. 36

    @JPL: Soon? we are the biggest military power, bigger than the next 10 combined in terms of equipment and such.

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Daniel W. Drezner‏Verified account @ dandrezner 2m2 minutes ago
    *Turns on #UNGA speech*
    “Stock market at an all time high…”
    #headdesk #headdesk #headdrsk

    I know it’s early, but I think we all have to *DRINK* if he mentions the Electrical College

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’m only listening, not watching, but I assume he’s doing some of those weird thumb-forefinger mudras he likes to do for emphasis.

  39. 39
    ET says:

    Anyone keep up with the comic Non Sequitur?

    http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur

    Today’s is particularly good for understanding the modern Republican/Trump voter.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    UH HUH

    UH HUH

    Republican propaganda efforts reach a new, alarming level
    09/19/17 10:00 AM—UPDATED 09/19/17 10:01 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Americans who pay attention to political news can probably think of plenty of conservative outlets that seem like extensions of the Republican Party. But what if there were a far-right news source that was literally an extension of the Republican Party?

    The Associated Press today introduced the public to The Free Telegraph, which isn’t a news outlet, but does its very best to pretend to be.

    Republican governors are getting into the “news” business.

    The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media. The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers to sign up for breaking news alerts. It launched in the summer bearing no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected.

    If you swing by The Free Telegraph’s site right now, there is a disclosure notice at the very bottom that notes the outlet is “paid for by [the] Republican Governors Association.” But before anyone finds that impressive, it’s worth remembering that (a) the disclosure is in a small, gray font, against a gray background; and (b) that disclosure was only added to the site after the Associated Press started asking about it.

    The Free Telegraph – not be confused with the Daily Telegraph, which is an actual newspaper published in the U.K. – has a Twitter feed that tells readers it’s “bringing you the political news that matters outside of Washington,” without mentioning its Republican ownership. The same is true of its Facebook account, which labels The Free Telegraph a “Media/News Company.”

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: His fingers are small.

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    He just said “The Ukraine.” That’ll go over well.

  43. 43

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: gotcha, I read it more as saying he needed to engineer the result.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    ROCKET MAN!

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    Mueller did a SEARCH WARRANT on Facebook.

  46. 46
    chris says:

    Trump is not sounding anything like himself: "If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 19 September 2017

  47. 47
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    He does resemble William Zabka, minus the muscle tone. Kushner looks like he probably routinely goes to his Secret Service detail and says, “Can you open this jar for me?”

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: For health reasons I had to turn off the tv. Did he really use the term Rocket Man?

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:

    He sure did.

  50. 50
    japa21 says:

    This is sickening. Of course, he received two mild applause, so he will talk about it was the most well received speech ever given to the UN.

    He is going after Iran, which also won’t go over well, specially the deal. He is, in effect criticizing every country which signed the deal. Basically, he is calling Iran barbaric. This is sickening. He applauds the far more restrictive country of Saudi Arabia.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @chris: “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”

    sounds like somebody found some old drafts from 2002 in the back of a file drawer in the speech writers’ office

    If he mentions Gog and Magog we’ll know Gerson left some notes back there

    @SiubhanDuinne: I thought you were kidding. Good lord.

  52. 52

    @SiubhanDuinne: I saw a headline somewhere respectable (or possibly it was somewhere Very Serious) saying that calling Kim funny names is a good strategy.

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @japa21:

    I believe Stephen Miller drafted this speech. And yes, what he is saying about Iran is sickening.

  54. 54
    chris says:

    Trump's threat to destroy North Korea seemed to energize him. He has gone from "Presidential" Quiet Tone to Rally Trump Shouty Tone.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 19 September 2017

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:
    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    https://twitter.com/AP/status/910147711122493440

    (Don’t know how to copy the actual tweet, just the link. But this is official AP reporting it.)

  56. 56
    japa21 says:

    Now he is justifying not allowing refugees in the country. This is getting even more disgusting the longer it goes on.

  57. 57
    chris says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: @SiubhanDuinne:

    "We will stop radical Islamic terrorism," Trump says, using phrase he has avoided in many recent speeches. This is a Stephen Miller special.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 19 September 2017

  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Major Major Major Major: V,VSP David Ignatius was trying to argue that trump’s madman strategy– twitter, nick-names and all– is bigly good strategery

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Good lord.

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: lol I love the first comment.
    So it appears that Trump wants two wars. I sure hope that Mueller ends his reign soon.

  61. 61
    Amir Khalid says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    “Rocket Man?” Trump can’t be culturally aware enough to know the Elton John song. What was he talking about?

  62. 62
    Laura says:

    That fool is showing his ass and it’s unbelievebly bad. Petty, stingy, ill informed,offensive,bitching about paying too much.
    I’m waiting to see a flood of people heading to the exits.

  63. 63
    Gretchen says:

    The interesting part of their worry that someone is wearing a wire, is that it confirms that they’re talking about things they don’t want Mueller to know about. Who cares if Mueller hears them discussing Irma relief? So they’re looking back and remembering conversations about colluding with the Russians and worrying that Mueller will hear them.

  64. 64
    Tazj says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That’s “our President”, he tells it like it is. He’s authentic. He’s shaking up Washington(and the world), no more status quo.

  65. 65

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: @SiubhanDuinne: a better writer than I might be able to make a funny skit out of the generals trying to explain to Kim what it references and why it’s an insulting nickname. With of course some Shatner.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Gretchen says:

    He’s been calling the leader of North Korea “Rocket Man” for a couple of days now. Global diplomacy by Twitter-insult.

  68. 68

    @Major Major Major Major: Is there anything that the press whores won’t do for the R masters?

  69. 69
    Timurid says:

    Totally normal.

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think someone said it was played at his rallies. I have no idea who came up with the music. I can’t imagine trump listening to the Stones either, or any of his large adult children.

  71. 71
    Shana says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: My dream is that this takes long enough that it’s after the midterms and we’ve got a Speaker Pelosi by that time and she ends up as President after Trump and Pence have been shoved out. A girl can dream.

  72. 72
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Kushner looks like he probably routinely goes to his Secret Service detail and says, “Can you open this jar for me?”

    …in a petulant, whiny tone.

    Ivanka looks on, disgusted, and notes the muscles rippling on the fingers of Brent, the Detail member tasked to their house, as he effortlessly twists the top off of the jar of maraschino cherries.

  73. 73
    JPL says:

    @Shana: We won’t last that long with Trump at the helm. just sayin

  74. 74
    japa21 says:

    Okay, he has a new axis of evil, NK, Iran and Venezuela.

    Now he is pretty much condemning 75% of the countries in the UN.

    This is really more of a speech to his base than to the UN.

  75. 75
    d58826 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

    From AP.

    Also had a list of countries that were going to hell. And promised to eliminate the W era anti-aids program in Africa.\\

    I’m just so relieved that this is a ‘responsible moderate speech’

  76. 76
    Aleta says:

    If Trump is being minded or medicated, that could also explain the Kushner video. (Pence and Ivanka are noticeably keeping an eye on him and covering during his public appearances too.)

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if medication is sometimes necessary to get him through incidents of dementia-related anger and striking out.

    Beyond that, I keep expecting Kushner to flee the country to escape corruption charges.

  77. 77

    @japa21: unsurprising since every speech is a speech to his base.

  78. 78
    JPL says:

    @d58826: Here’s the quote

    “Major portions of the world are in conflict,” President Trump tells the United Nations. “Some, in fact, are going to hell.”

    https://twitter.com/mviser/status/910150401210699776

  79. 79
    Jeffro says:

    @japa21:

    This is really more of a speech to his base than to the UN.

    EVERY speech of his is a speech to his slowly, but ever-dwindling base.

    They better have McMaster and Mattis wired and ready to go after this one, because there’s an awful lot of shit to clean up (hopefully before ‘Rocket Man’ hears the translation and decides to make an example out of Honolulu or L.A.)

  80. 80
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @d58826:

    I would like to know, though — did Stephen Miller actually write the term “Rocket Man” into the speech, or was that Trump going off message ever so briefly?

  81. 81
    Cermet says:

    So Toy’s “R” Us is going bankrupt; some really stupid invest firms (note: one of the two major investment houses was Bain Capitol!) way over paid for the shares some (was worth 12.01 and they paid over $24 a share!) years ago and laid most of that costly debt created by over paying for these shares on the very company that they bought (of course.) Surprise, they can’t make the debt payments now and looks like it will fail soon. The Mitt strikes again and more workers lose their jobs so this parasite can line his pockets.

  82. 82
    Aleta says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
    Lately Ivanka has gently architected the thought that Jared has the moral fiber of a raw marshmallow, according to an inside source who overheard them through the bedroom wall.

  83. 83
    Mike in NC says:

    @japa21: Fat Bastard is threatening to incinerate the planet, and the base cheers him on. Film at 11.

  84. 84

    @JPL: ah, so it was one of his “seriously, not literally” moments. Unless Pence wrote that line.

  85. 85
    Jeffro says:

    @Mike in NC: time to activate Operation: Muzzle the Mango Menace

  86. 86
    japa21 says:

    @Mike in NC: He criticizes NK for neglecting its peoples, then threatens to kill everybody in NK. Makes sense to me.

  87. 87
    The Moar You Know says:

    So Toy’s “R” Us is going bankrupt; some really stupid invest firms (note: one of the two major investment houses was Bain Capitol!) way over paid for the shares some (was worth 4120.1 and they paid over $24 a share!) years ago and laid most of that costly debt created by over paying for these shares on the very company that they bought (of course.) Surprise, they can’t make the debt payments now and looks like it will fail soon.

    @Cermet: Not stupid. 100% legal and stunningly good returns. Bain pockets the money and the Toys R Us creditors eat the loss.

    It’s stupid that we, as a nation, allow this kind of shit to occur, but it’s not stupid at all for sociopaths to take advantage of it since we do.

    BTW, Guitar Center is next. They’ve got a payment to Bain in 2018 or 19 that they cannot possibly make.

  88. 88
    rikyrah says:

    @d58826:

    We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

    DID HE SAY THIS?

  89. 89
    geg6 says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    It’s not his job to manage the fallout. His job is to investigate and prosecute, if warranted. That’s it.

  90. 90
    kindness says:

    And the band played on. So we are caught up like a deer in the headlights on the legal twists & turns the Trump Regime serves up but let us not be distracted so that we take our eyes off the real damage happening to our nation as we gawk. Agencies like the EPA are now a hollow shell and I don’t know how long it will take to rebuild. The Senate has become a Parlimentary icon. McConnell has ignored so many or the previously unwritten rules just to further his party’s long held desires. I’m not worried about comity since comity takes two and I don’t see any real comity from Republicans or they’d be slapping down McConnell saying we don’t want this to bite us in the ass when we are in the minority again. So Mitch just keeps digging that ditch deeper. Jesus I don’t know. And then we have the purity troll left who seemingly want the US to become a perinial Maine by splitting the progressive side thus allowing actual minority Republicans to rule. Who TF are these ‘progressives’ that are so pure they happily put up with the likes of fascist Republicans until they achieve some sort of Berniegasm Revolution? And our media. What I would give to have Walter Cronckite now. Damn.

  91. 91
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @rikyrah:

    DID HE SAY THIS?

    He said it.

  92. 92
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Nicholas Grossman‏ NGrossman81
    Stephen Miller (who clearly wrote this) doesn’t realize “everyone do your own thing” and “let’s stop North Korea” are contradictory
    #TrumpUN

    Sandy Belknap‏ SandyBelknapNH
    Hearing UN leaders audibly laugh during 45’s speech this morning is alarming and embarassing for our nation.

  93. 93
    chris says:

    In conclusion:

    This is the Trump Inaugural of UN addresses: aimed at his own base, scandalous and frightening to others.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 19 September 2017

    Dale is too polite/professional to say WASF.

  94. 94
    Elizabelle says:

    @Shana: That’s my dream, too.

    Although: does not have to be after the midterms. The Freedumb Caucus are such nihilistic morons, perhaps Nancy Smash Pelosi would be the only candidate who can gain a majority as Speaker. The remaining GOP moderates have to be as sick of their moronic counterparts as we are.

    So: President Pelosi, before 2018. Decapitate the Republicans who thieved, scammed, and lied their way into office.

    In my fantasy, Gorsuch comes off the bench too. He does not belong in that stolen Supreme Court seat.

  95. 95
    d58826 says:

    They better have McMaster and Mattis wired and ready to go after this one, because there’s an awful lot of shit to clean up

    I’m not sure how much help there is on that score. These guys are walking examples of the hammer/nail cliche. They are military guys and view the world thru that lens. I saw an article over the weekend that the WH thinks it has only two choices on NK – 1. up the pressure on China even if it starts a trade war and 2. start a real war with NK.

    According to Wikipedia NK operates 20 Romeo class submarines. Seven were directly imported from China between 1973 and 1975, and the remainder locally assembled with Chinese supplied parts between 1976 and 1995. One apparently sank in an accident in 1985. NK also seems very adept at smuggling using ordinary freighters. So my question is – in the event of war what is to stop NK from using these vessels to mount a suicide nuclear attack on the US west coast? They don’t need ICBMs

  96. 96
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Mar-a-Liasson thinks Trump sounded “well within the mainstream of American political thought.” She credits the discipline imposed by John Kelly.

  97. 97
    geg6 says:

    @rikyrah:

    Apparently he did.

  98. 98
    sharl says:

    @Cermet: I saw that Toys-R-Us news earlier today, and someone made the same point

    The dueling stories of Amazon: 1. Toys R Us files for bankruptcy https://t.co/ZnpqdycKZw
    2. Best Buy thrives https://t.co/xR6G9L4SBH— Prashant Rao (@prashantrao) September 19, 2017

    Best Buy pays $18 million per quarter in interest, Toys'R'Us pays $107 million per quarter in interest.
    Death by PE leverage. https://t.co/6ITcS3MG3c— Daniel Gross (@grossdm) September 19, 2017

  99. 99
    JPL says:

    @rikyrah: I’m reading that we are going to war with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba also. No worries!

  100. 100

    @SiubhanDuinne: sadly, she’s right. It’s just that the mainstream of American political thought contains many insane reactionaries, certainly enough to elect one of their own as president.

  101. 101
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Chris Cillizza‏Verified account CillizzaCNN
    “Righteous many.” “Wicked few.”

    A MUCH more poetic speech than Trump usually gives.

    the “poetry” of a bad comic book from 1953, or a booze-soaked Senator from Nebraska or Mississippi of 1924

  102. 102
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Trump is three years younger than Mick and Keith. People his age were the first generation of Stones fans, but like you I find it hard to picture him as one of them. I think Trump likes the tune to You Can’t Always Get What You Want and doesn’t remember/care that the Stones are British and don’t like him much. Same story with Elton John.

  103. 103

    @SiubhanDuinne: Fuck Mara and Kelly and the other generals too. At this point all they are doing is prolonging this nightmare.

  104. 104
    Another Scott says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yup.

    The whole point of these “buyouts” and “restructurings” is to jack up the price, mortgage the property to the hilt and dump it on the buy-ee, collect the fees, and then walk away in a few years when the bill comes due. There’s no intent to make the firm a going concern, it’s just another form of blockbusting. The agents make their killing and move on.

    Grr…

    As you say, it’s long past time that it be reined in. If someone wants to buy control of a company, they need to put up their own money, not dump debt on the company.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  105. 105

    Beltway pimps are trying to sell T again? Color me surprised.

  106. 106
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t know. We’re in uncharted waters, with the people whose job it is to manage the fallout, complicit in treason. Someone has to be in charge, and if I were him, I’d be briefing those around the many ones who will be charged.

  107. 107
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    sadly, she’s right. It’s just that the mainstream of American political thought contains many insane reactionaries, certainly enough to elect one of their own as president.

    Well, it was interesting, though. She started to use the term “normalized” or “normalization,” then backed off because, as she noted, “That’s a loaded word.”

  108. 108
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JPL:
    Iran I know about, but what is Trump’s beef with Venezuela and Cuba?

  109. 109
    randy khan says:

    @Cermet:

    Don’t assume that Bain & Co. are losing any money on this deal. One of the classic tricks is to overpay for a company, strip it of all cash (including newly-borrowed cash) to pay for it and make your profit, then put it into bankruptcy if it doesn’t manage to overcome that handicap.

  110. 110
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I have a theory that much of American politics and political media can be explained by crippling daddy issues. I shudder to think of how fucked up you would have to be to look at trump and see the daddy you wish you had, or worse, see the one you did.

    Peter Alexander just said a ‘trump staffer’ just texted him that “Rocket Man” is “a classic”

  111. 111
    randy khan says:

    @kindness:

    I agree that what’s going on in the agencies is bad, but let’s not imagine that “the EPA is a hollow shell” because it’s not. So far, there haven’t been any layoffs or RIFs, and while there’s certainly been some talent drain, the vast majority of the staff (as in, well over 90%) is still in place. This is the kind of thing that can be addressed somewhat in the budget process, and that should be a focus going forward.

  112. 112

    The State department has tightened rules for visas. If you change your visa status the state department will assume that you were lying on your initial application and you would be eligible for deportation.
    Its possible that T’s mummy or current wifey could have been deported under that rule, IIRC she came on as a tourist first.

  113. 113
    gvg says:

    I have been way too late reading the comments on Mueller’s investigation before, but one worry I have is that financial crimes are hard to prove to the general public and possibly also this inferior Republican Congress. I have no doubt Trump is guilty of a lot of things, especially involving money but getting rid of him involves proof that people can understand. Frankly I have trouble following some of these types of things myself and for other people I rely on experts and consensus. We won’t have that luxury when it comes to our highest political offices.
    One of the things I learned from the Clinton impeachment is that partisanship makes a fair trial nearly impossible. Everyone is effected by the Presidency, so everyone has reason to want to influence the outcome. In a normal trial, we take care to say not allow juries that have ties to either side, people who say they don’t trust the testimony of certain types, etc. Lawyers are supposed to recuse themselves if they are related or financially tied to the results…all sorts of rules exist, learned through experience. After we get rid of the biases we can, the trial proceeds. In this case, everyone is biased and effected. Nobody is neutral. this is why its a good idea not to try to bring normal charges against a sitting President. Before Clinton, I thought everyone including the President should be treated the same including parking tickets and lawsuits. After, I had learned it couldn’t be done.
    Trump potential charges are too serious to wait till he is out of office though. its going to be really hard to try him, because of human nature, not to mention he will try to create chaos, and from what I remember, it will be easy to do,

  114. 114

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Political media or their bosses are on the take from Rs either directly or they think that R policies will help them.

  115. 115
    Amir Khalid says:

    @randy khan:
    It has never seemed fair to me that a company can wind up owing money that someone else borrowed in order to buy it.

  116. 116
    The Pale Scot says:

    Taking bets on when he starts banging the table with his shoe

  117. 117
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @The Pale Scot: he can’t risk the in-sole lifts flying out, and everyone seeing that he’s a size 6 (narrow)

  118. 118
    debit says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Hey, thank you so much for your thoughts. I am trying to be positive, but until we know what stage she’s at I keep vacillating between hoping for the best and then grimly expecting the worst. Whichever, I just have to roll with the punches and do what I can to help and comfort.

  119. 119
    Mike in DC says:

    @gvg:
    I think a long list of charges is “easy” to understand…”this guy is a bad hombre”. Explaining away a list of charges in the low single digits is far easier than for one in double digits.
    I expect it to be clearer before the end of this year, as to whether or not there will be “waves” of indictments.

  120. 120
    catclub says:

    @geg6:

    It’s not his job to manage the fallout

    I thought this was in reference to Trump’s big words over N Korea.

  121. 121
    burnspbesq says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Mar-a-Liasson thinks Trump sounded “well within the mainstream of American political thought.” She credits the discipline imposed by John Kelly.

    Of course she did.

    If my mama hadn’t raised me better than that, I wouldn’t mind doing the Funky Western Civilization with Mara.

  122. 122
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @gvg: @Mike in DC: I’d guess that for a quarter up to a third of the country, trump’s corruption and crimes will just be seen as proof he’s a tough and shrewd businessman

  123. 123
    Shana says:

    @d58826: Holy crap. I had to go to the AP site to check this, he really did call Kim “Rocket Man” at the UN. God help us.

  124. 124
    burnspbesq says:

    @debit:

    If it’s any consolation to you, my experience with B-cell non-Hodgkins was pretty much smooth sailing, and 15 months after my last round of chemo there is basically no evidence that I was sick (except for about $10k of deductibles and co-pays that aren’t in my bank account).

    Everybody’s experience is different, and I was lucky–caught it early, and it was localized in only one set of lymph nodes– but this is one of the cancers that we know how to handle.

  125. 125

    @schrodingers_cat: she probably did some work on her tourist visa too. She’s an illegal immigrant.

    ETA his wife, that is. His mom came in as part of the family chaining policy or whatever it’s called.

  126. 126
    The Moar You Know says:

    It has never seemed fair to me that a company can wind up owing money that someone else borrowed in order to buy it.

    @Amir Khalid: You buy it, you have them max out their credit by borrowing as much as they can and hand that money to you, and then you cut them loose and let them go under. You’d think the lenders who consistently get screwed would object, but they’re doing the same thing.

    America. This is how we do business, nothing but fraud.

    As I mentioned above, Guitar Center is next with a 650 million dollar payment to their creditors due in 2019 (Fender and Gibson, which should worry any guitar player) which they cannot pay. After that, ironically, iHeartRadio, Rush Limbaugh’s distributor and contract holder.

  127. 127
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Jeffro:

    …unlikely that Trumpov, Pence, and Ryan all resign on the sameday and give us President Hatch.

    Don’t necessarily have to, so long as both VPOTUS & SOTH are vacant when Trumpolini goes arrivederci (otherwise one or t’other accedes automatically). Confirmation of Ford and Rockefeller as VPOTUS both took months, & between the Freedumb Cawcuss, Dems & GOP rump, electing a new Sneaker of the House might take as long. If both Dense & ZEGS get caught Red-handed with their hands in the Mafiya cookie-jar, it’s not nearly as unlikely as you make it sound.

  128. 128

    @Major Major Major Major: OK I think it was T’s grandma that was pregnant when they came to the States. So Fred was an anchor baby ( Miller and Bannon’s definition, not mine)

  129. 129
    Kathleen says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well they definitely love them some bullying Rethuglican Daddies.

  130. 130
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I did not realise you had gone through that. So glad you’ve emerged well and whole (except for, as you say, the co-pays and deductibles).

  131. 131

    @Shana: T is proof that there is no God. Or Allah is all powerful.
    /snark

  132. 132

    @burnspbesq: @SiubhanDuinne: Same here. Well were are glad to have you back in top commenting form.

  133. 133
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Aleta:

    Maybe she was complaining about something else that has the general stiffness of marshmallows.

  134. 134
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The loans are syndicated into dozens of tiny pieces that aren’t material to any of the participants. The originating bank makes a bunch of money in fees, and the participants can manage the risk using default swaps and other derivatives. When the borrower is fundamentally healthy, it all hangs together. When the borrower is dead man walking (thanks, Amazon), not so much.

  135. 135
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Is anything known about first wife Ivana and her visa status when she first came to the U.S.?

  136. 136
    Kathleen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Amen Sister S_Cat!

  137. 137
  138. 138
    MomSense says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    He looks exactly like Tom Riddle – it’s uncanny.

  139. 139

    @schrodingers_cat: so he’s the son of an ‘anchor baby’ and a family-sponsored immigrant, two policies the American right wants to end. Charming.

  140. 140
    sharl says:

    A 9-tweet thread explainer from Los Angeles lawyer Ken White (Popehat):

    A mini-explainer about this allegation that Mueller told Manafort to expect an indictment /1https://t.co/Ren7b2riQC pic.twitter.com/obVrwiCUlL— Popehat (@Popehat) September 19, 2017

    This sounds cinematic and ominous and even improbable. It’s not, necessarily. If this is true, it likely refers to a target letter. /2

    /3 A “target letter” simply informs someone they’re a target of a grand jury investigation — that is, the person whose indictment is sought

    /4 Target letters are mandatory before calling the target to testify before the grand jury. See USAM 9-11.151 https://t.co/mliJ9eu5uQ

    /5 They’re permissible to notify target in case they want to come to the grand jury to testify voluntarily and present evidence. 9-11.152

    /6 And finally they’re permissible more or less for the hell of it. 9-11.153. So why issue a target letter?

    /7 Target letters can drive the target to seek a plea deal or cooperate — to flip against (hopefully) someone bigger and badder.

    /8 Target letters can also inspire dumb behavior by the target and the target’s associates, spurring derivative crimes and evidence.

    /9 In short, it’s not just a threat for the sake of threatening. It’s a tool, used to start conversations and create chaos. /end

  141. 141
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Shana:

    Holy crap. I had to go to the AP site to check this, he really did call Kim “Rocket Man” at the UN. God help us.

    Can’t remember now where I saw or heard this, but apparently the NK delegation was seated in the front row, just a few feet away from Trump as he was speaking. (Report said there were several vacant chairs, though, and Kim himself seems to have been nowhere around. I don’t even know that he’s in NYC.)

  142. 142
    debit says:

    @burnspbesq: Thanks for sharing that. It was caught early, so that gives me some hope. So glad you made it through okay, but ouch on those bills.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I’m glad you are doing well!!! I had no idea you had a cancer diagnosis.

  144. 144
    randy khan says:

    @burnspbesq:

    When the borrower is fundamentally healthy, it all hangs together. When the borrower is dead man walking (thanks, Amazon), not so much.

    And all of these deals are based on financial projections that may or may not come true. (Usually they include some combination of cost savings – generally realized through layoffs, etc. – and increased sales, which are much more chancy.) What’s great for a company like Bain is that it can engineer a deal so that it makes money if the company goes under and makes even more money if the company succeeds.

    Also, the lenders may make out okay in the end. While a company might not be able to pay its lenders, it can come out of bankruptcy in okay shape, and even as an attractive target in a sale. The lenders rarely take anywhere near a 100% haircut on the principal (and remember they were getting interest payments prior to the bankruptcy), and in some cases the post-bankruptcy company is stronger than it was before the initial deal.

  145. 145
    Fester Addams says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It has never seemed fair to me that a company can wind up owing money that someone else borrowed in order to buy it.

    Seems to me it’s just the same deal as a mafia “bust-out” except dressed up with financial lingo like “special dividend” and “recapitalization”… See also IMF “Structural Adjustment Programs”.

  146. 146
    randy khan says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Don’t necessarily have to, so long as both VPOTUS & SOTH are vacant when Trumpolini goes arrivederci (otherwise one or t’other accedes automatically). Confirmation of Ford and Rockefeller as VPOTUS both took months, & between the Freedumb Cawcuss, Dems & GOP rump, electing a new Sneaker of the House might take as long. If both Dense & ZEGS get caught Red-handed with their hands in the Mafiya cookie-jar, it’s not nearly as unlikely as you make it sound.

    Well, still pretty unlikely, although something like that scenario played out on The West Wing, which means it totally could happen.

  147. 147
    clay says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: “Poetic” = “uses adjectives with more than one syllable”, I guess.

  148. 148
    Mike in DC says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Fortunately, we only need 2/3 of the country to back impeachment.

  149. 149
    yam says:

    Is this speech one of the “Pivots” that make Trump look presidential?

    Asking for a friend…

  150. 150
    Jeffro says:

    @d58826: I’m pretty sure they’re not up for war with North Korea and the tens of millions dead that would result.

  151. 151
    Jeffro says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Mar-a-Liasson thinks Trump sounded “well within the mainstream of American political thought.” She credits the discipline imposed by John Kelly.

    She’s just funnin’ with us…she must be…she HAS to be…

  152. 152
    Jeffro says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Um, ok. I think it’s actually more unlikely than I made it sound. The GOP nutters sure seem to be ready to act on a moment’s notice when they want to.

    @randy khan: yup

  153. 153
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jeffro:

    She’s just funnin’ with us…she must be…she HAS to be…

    Pretty sure she has no sense of humour, and wouldn’t know “fun” if it came to her wrapped in an American flag and a clown suit.

  154. 154
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @randy khan:

    Well, still pretty unlikely, although something like that scenario played out on The West Wing, which means it totally could happen.

    Wouldn’t that require dropping a roofie in Ivanka’s drink and kidnapping her?

  155. 155
    Laura says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Jeebus, M^4, he’s a white man. All that immigration stuff is just for the blahs, and the browns and the Mooslims.

    Apologies to people of color and to Muslims who are the targets of his odious beliefs and actions.

  156. 156
    TenguPhule says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Iran I know about, but what is Trump’s beef with Venezuela and Cuba?

    Cuba is Obama.

    Venezuela is Trump sticking his dick into another country’s collapse.

    Because it has to be about him. It always has to be about him.

  157. 157
    GregB says:

    Thank God Gen. Kelly assisted Trump in his pivot towards advocacy of nuclear genocide.

  158. 158
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @randy khan: IIRC on The West Wing, VPOTUS was vacant, Zoe the First Daughter had been kidnapped, & POTUS declared himself unable to discharge the duties of office, whereupon the GOP SOTH (played pretty damn well by John Goodman) took the helm…which as the 25th Amendment reads is illegal because it very clearly states that only VPOTUS can assume the powers of POTUS under its provisions. Go figger.

  159. 159
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @rikyrah:

    The Free Telegraph, which isn’t a news outlet, but does its very best to pretend to be.

    The Republican movement should definitely go on naming its propaganda pukefunnels after forms of communication technology which were leading-edge in the Victorian era.

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