The Lajes Protocol Part III: The GOP Majority On The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Gambit In Perspective

I just wanted to take a minute and follow up on Cheryl’s post in regard to the GOP majority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s decision to just end their investigation into the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign against the US without consulting the Democratic minority on the committee. As many of you have remarked in the comments to Cheryl’s post, this was clearly rushed out. The one page summary is as well written as the infamous Nunes memo and the Republican members of the committee can’t keep their talking points, let alone their stories, straight in their news media appearances trying to explain what they’ve done, why they did it, and what it means. There is a simple reason for this, which is that several pieces of information regarding what Special Counselor Mueller is doing have broken since the end of last week and over the weekend. And it clearly spooked them.

Bloomberg News reported this morning that Special Counsel Mueller is just about done with the part of his investigation that deals with whether the President obstructed justice in regard to the DOJ and FBI investigation into the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign that resulted in Bob Mueller becoming the Special Counsel.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice is said to be close to completion, but he may set it aside while he finishes other key parts of his probe, such as possible collusion and the hacking of Democrats, according to current and former U.S. officials.

That’s because Mueller may calculate that if he tries to bring charges in the obstruction case — the part that may hit closest to Trump personally — witnesses may become less cooperative in other parts of the probe, or the president may move to shut it down altogether.

The revelation is a peek into Mueller’s calculations as he proceeds with his many-headed probe, while pressure builds from the president’s advisers and other Republicans to show progress or wrap it up.

The obstruction portion of the probe could likely be completed after several key outstanding interviews, including with the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr. The president’s lawyers have been negotiating with Mueller’s team over such an encounter since late last year. But even if Trump testifies in the coming weeks, Mueller may make a strategic calculation to keep his findings on obstruction secret, according to the current and former U.S. officials, who discussed the strategy on condition of anonymity.

Any clear outcome of the obstruction inquiry could be used against Mueller: Filing charges against Trump or his family could prompt the president to take action to fire him. Publicly clearing Trump of obstruction charges — as the president’s lawyers have requested — could be used by his allies to build pressure for the broader investigation to be shut down.

Other key matters under investigation by Mueller’s team, with its 17 career prosecutors, include whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia meddle in the 2016 campaign. Mueller is also expected to indict some of those responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee before the election and publicly leaking stolen material in an effort to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton.

NBC also reported this morning that Qatar has evidence/intelligence that shows the United Arab Emirates illegally influencing Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law and senior advisor. And that they’re afraid to share it with Special Counsel Mueller for fear of retribution by the President.

Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration, say three sources familiar with the Qatari discussions.

Lebanese-American businessman George Nader and Republican donor Elliott Broidy, who participated in the meetings, have both been the focus of news reports in recent days about their connections to the UAE and Trump associates.

It is unknown whether Qatari officials were the source of the recent news stories detailing activities by Nader and Broidy published by The New York Times and CNN.

NBC News previously reported that Qatari officials weighed speaking to Mueller during a visit to Washington earlier this year, and has now learned the information the officials wanted to share included details about Nader and Broidy working with the UAE to turn the Trump administration against Qatar, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

Qatari officials believe the meetings — as well as fallout from Qatari business dealings with Kushner — may have influenced President Donald Trump’s public endorsement of a blockade of Qatar by its neighbors that began last year.

A Qatari delegation came to Washington in late January and early February and met with Trump officials to discuss shared national security interests. Despite Trump’s endorsement of the blockade in June, the Qataris felt the meetings with top advisers had been productive and decided against reaching out to Mueller in order to preserve the relationship, according to people familiar with the internal Qatari deliberations.

The news about George Nader broke last week and included that he was both cooperating completely with the Special Counsel’s investigation and that part of that was providing previously unreported/unkown details about the meeting between Eric Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, who runs a Russian sovereign wealth fund and is close to Vladimir Putin. It is important to remember that Nader had been completely cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office for almost six weeks before news of it leaked out and/or was made public. That amount of time is important! Moreover, the reporting indicates that Prince, who is currently being funded and bankrolled by the People’s Republic of China, perjured himself in his testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

And, of course, we had the All Nunberg, All the Time canine and equine extravaganza that began with him making the rounds claiming he wasn’t going to testify and is still on going as he’s doing the media rounds again tonight post grand jury appearance. Since he testified he’s consistently indicated he doesn’t think what the Special Counsel is doing is a hoax or a witch hunt and that he thinks the Special Counsel has something on the President.

Then a series of news reports about Elliott Broidy, Deputy Republican National Committee Finance Chair and Trump Campaign fundraiser. This includes pitching an idea to the President to raise a Muslim Army to fight for America. Broidy has also been implicated in a Ukrainian criminal probe, as well as being tied to whatever it was that George Nader was actually doing for the Emiratis. Broidy is personally hosting a $35,000 per person fundraiser for the President tomorrow in Beverly Hills as part of the President’s first official visit to California.

If you were wondering why the GOP majority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence decided to end their investigation, without so much as the courtesy of notifying the Democratic minority before going public with the announcement, and did so in a rush, I would submit all of the above as the reasons. They are clearly scared and felt the need to change the narrative. This won’t stop Special Counsel Mueller and his investigation. It will, however, provide the Fox News talking heads, the talk radio folks, the Republicans and conservatives on contributor contracts for the broadcast and cable news networks, conservative media outlets ranging from the mainstream (whatever that means anymore) all the way out to the extreme, authoritarian right with a new narrative to pitch. That Congress found no collusion, so it is well past time for Bob Mueller to wrap it up.

We’ll leave the final word with Rod Rosenstein, the person that the President personally selected and the GOP majority in the Senate confirmed to be the Deputy Attorney General of the United States with every Republican senator voting in support of his nomination. And who, as the Deputy Attorney General, oversees Special Counsel Mueller, his office, and his work:

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

233 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Before anyone asks, Lajes in the Azores is the ancestral home of Congressman Nunes’ family. He has been trying for years to relocate as much of the US Intelligence Community to Lajes as possible. Not because it makes any strategic or operational or tactical intelligence sense, but because it would be immensely profitable for his relatives and their friends in Lajes.

  2. 2
    mad citizen says:

    It is an interesting choice of words: “not an unguided missile”. That can only mean there is a guided missile headed a certain way.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    There’s no way he wrote this himself, but I bet he insisted on the all caps:

    THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    NBC also reported this morning that Qatar has evidence/intelligence that shows the United Arab Emirates illegally influencing Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law and senior advisor. And that they’re afraid to share it with Special Counsel Mueller for fear of retribution by the President.

    I find this to be a fascinating “leak”.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Yes it is.

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    the GOP majority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s decision to just end their investigation into the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign against the US without consulting the Democratic minority on the committee. As many of you have remarked in the comments to Cheryl’s post, this was clearly rushed out.

    And with such great timing! Also, too.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Enough to make one retroactively question Illya Kuryakin’s loyalties and motivation.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    And, of course, we had the All Nunberg, All the Time canine and equine extravaganza that began with him making the rounds claiming he wasn’t going to testify and is still on going as he’s doing the media rounds again tonight post grand jury appearance.

    I think he gave it up. Gave it *all* up.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Okay, that is both corrupt and weird as fuck.

  10. 10
    JR says:

    We may need a Sulla when this is over

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I can’t keep up. What has Jared done for the UAE?

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    @Mary G:
    YUGE FONT!!!

  13. 13
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Thanks for posting at more length, Adam. I find the timing a bit more mysterious than you do. Although it certainly was rushed out. I can think of approximately a zillion possible reasons, which I will not list here. Well, maybe one: Trump told them to clear the decks for his historical meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Which nobody in the administration seems to have any idea of how to handle, and no word about which has been heard from North Korea.

    The media has focused on the possible obstruction of justice by Trump, but that’s a small part of Mueller’s investigation. His remit is to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and related matters. It looks like that is what he is concentrating on, and that’s much bigger than obstruction. Besides, it’s substantive, and obstruction is procedural, so the Russian interference will be more persuasive politically.

    The Nader-Broidy thing seems to be another rich lode of…something. I’ve been working on it, but, as usual, things just came apart today.

    But yes, it looks like something made Conaway (and, presumably, Nunes) decide that it was time to wrap it up, pronto. Mnemosyne suggested downstairs that perhaps the Skripal poisoning was a message to the Republicans. I don’t see a strong reason to believe that, but we are living in strange times.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @debbie: from the OP

    Qatari officials believe the meetings — as well as fallout from Qatari business dealings with Kushner — may have influenced President Donald Trump’s public endorsement of a blockade of Qatar by its neighbors that began last year.
    A Qatari delegation came to Washington in late January and early February and met with Trump officials to discuss shared national security interests. Despite Trump’s endorsement of the blockade in June, the Qataris felt the meetings with top advisers had been productive and decided against reaching out to Mueller in order to preserve the relationship, according to people familiar with the internal Qatari deliberations.

    The Saudis and the UAE are hostile to Qatar for reasons that I can’t recall. We have a huge military base there, so trump and Kushner decided to shit on them.

  15. 15
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Here’s a good article on the possible substantive charges against Trump and his team.

  16. 16
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    Expect that Ryan’s (and McCarthy’s) fingerprints are all over this.

  17. 17
    Another Scott says:

    A quote from one of Adam’s links:

    A Qatari delegation came to Washington in late January and early February and met with Trump officials to discuss shared national security interests. Despite Trump’s endorsement of the blockade in June, the Qataris felt the meetings with top advisers had been productive and decided against reaching out to Mueller in order to preserve the relationship, according to people familiar with the internal Qatari deliberations.

    Isn’t that whole episode –
    which naturally has signs of Russian involvement
    – near the top of the list of crazy things than happened recently? What on earth did Donnie think he was doing jumping into that conflict on the side of the belligerants?? Is any one of the Intelligence Committees investigating how we almost ended up involved in a war with Qatar – one of our important allies in the region – at the behest of the UAE and KSA (and – apparently – Javanka’s financial interests)?!?

    I would hope that if Mueller finds relevant info there that he makes sure the threads get followed, but he only has so many people (and so much time)…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    Similar issues across the pond, albeit with much better diction and posh accents.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “robust dialogue” with Russia was needed to avoid escalating tensions further – but he was heckled by Tory MPs when he raised questions about Russian oligarchs donating money to the Conservatives.

    When do the Brits start investigating Russian interference with the Brexit vote?

  19. 19
    Ken says:

    @Mary G: Like anyone ever thought the Trump campaign was capable of coordinating anything. Fortunately the Republican line (well, one of them) appears to be that the Russians took care of all of that.

  20. 20
    Fair Economist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Mnemosyne suggested downstairs that perhaps the Skripal poisoning was a message to the Republicans. I don’t see a strong reason to believe that, but we are living in strange times.

    Hard to see that as a message to Republicans in general – I don’t think the Russians would poison Republicans wholesale. Devin Nunes specifically is possible.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Timurid says:

    @JR:

    Julius Caesar would be the better analogy.
    Sulla’s regime was the patricians and their party totally off the chain. Pretty much everything Trump aspires to today.
    Caesar was not a good guy, but he did settle a lot of the scores from that time…

  23. 23
    oatler. says:

    Kill the cocksuckers now.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Timurid

    Too lazy to suss out what the proper Latin is for “I came, I saw, I conspired.”

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie: I think we’re going to find out this is an ugly nexus between Jared wanting to punish Qatar (for not lending him money) and show them who is boss, Erik Prince with his ties to UAE leaders and a Saudi Crown Prince that is way over his skis.

  26. 26
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @trollhattan:

    When do the Brits start investigating Russian interference with the Brexit vote?

    Never.

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Why can’t they, though? They don’t have the magnitude of the race or religious divide the US has.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He wants to relocate everything that is colocated adjacent to GCHQ in the UK. He used the needs for upgraded facilities as the opening to press to move it all to Lajes. It makes no sense at all. There’s no infrastructure there. Putting it in, as well as the secure undersea cables, would be astronomically expensive. And it completely moves the US capabilities away from where they need to be near GCHQ.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    A Qatari delegation came to Washington in late January and early February and met with Trump officials to discuss shared national security interests.

    I wonder if they stayed at the hotel

    speaking of trump hotels, and since this is an open thread, doesn’t this look a lot like money laundering/fraud and/or a campaign finance violation?

    Susan Simpson @ TheViewFromLL2
    I’d love to see a reporter ask Trump Org about:
    1) Cohen formed EC LLC on Oct 17 2016
    2) The contract provided for EC LLC to pay Stormy $130K by Oct 27 2016
    3) Between Oct 17 & Oct 25, the Trump campaign made payments to Trump Org properties that add up to $129,999.72.

    photo of the campaign report showing fund transfers at the link

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: I didn’t say they can’t. I said they won’t. Too much Russian money underpinning The City.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: He is tight with Muhammed bin Zayed the Crown Prince, who is the mentor of Saudi’s Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, who he is also tight with.

  32. 32
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: So Cohen got stuck paying 28 cents out of pocket?

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: De nada.

  34. 34
    Peale says:

    @Fair Economist: if I were a dark individual, I’d let the Russians know that all untimely political deaths will be blamed on Hillary Clinton anyway, so 2-3 dozen falls from windows won’t even be investigated once the dead are confirmed anticlinton zealots.

  35. 35
    fuckwit says:

    @trollhattan: excellent question

  36. 36
    Calouste says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Well, at least not as long as the Tories are in power or Corbyn heads Labour.

  37. 37
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Question: How does the House re-open an investigation? Is it just a simple majority vote on the floor or by the Committee? Haven’t the surviving House SCI members just opened themselves up to an inquiry about “why they closed the investigation and whether Russian leverage over them or the WH played a role”?

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sure. But it’s a global slushbucket. Russia’s time in the barrel is coming.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Nader should scare everyone. He was completely cooperating for six weeks before it became publicly known. Everyone he spoke with between the middle of January and the beginning of last week has to be completely freaked. Was he wired? Does Mueller have a warrant for collection on his phone and email and texts and Twitter direct messages, etc? And the answer, most likely, is all of them Katie! And it also shows that no one knows that someone is cooperating with Mueller until Mueller wants it known. For effect. So everyone who might be caught up in any of this mess has to be worrying that everyone else they know that might be caught up in this mess might be cooperating completely with Mueller. That Mueller might have them wired. That he has warrants for collection on all their communications across all platforms and services. No one will know who they can trust. This will create a reinforcing and expanding and reinforcing some more sense of fear and foreboding.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    Robert Costa has lost about 30 pounds. Hope he’s doing well.

  41. 41
    danielx says:

    @Corner Stone:

    For at least a couple of reasons: one being that there is a LOT of Russian money sloshing around over there, in particular in London real estate. A lot relative to the UK economy, anyway… They really don’t want to have a crash, Russian-engineered or otherwise, and don’t want to do anything to provoke/upset that particular golden goose. Then there’s the factor of not wanting to know, which is held in common with a lot of people over here. It’s hard for people to cop to that big a mistake, politically, whether the mistake be voting for Trump or voting for Brexit.

    ETA: give them that: it took a dozen assassinations for them to reluctantly force the issue with the Russians, but they have done that. Wondering how many assassinations and attempts it’s going to take over here before something is done…

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The Emir of Qatar has played footsie with the Muslim Brotherhood for his own advantage. Basically letting his foreign intelligence service run them as a weaponized collective asset to achieve his own regional goals. This has pissed off several of his peers in the other Gulf states and throughout the region.

  43. 43
    Bill Arnold says:

    @mad citizen:

    It is an interesting choice of words: “not an unguided missile”. That can only mean there is a guided missile headed a certain way.

    Well, no. It could also mean that Mueller is a guided or unguided not-missile. My reading is the same as your’s though.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: He went to Jared’s!

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan:

    When do the Brits start investigating Russian interference with the Brexit vote?

    They have been for months.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    @danielx: It’s coming anyway.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax:

    Veni, vidi, consilium faciebant

  48. 48
    mike in dc says:

    @Corner Stone: Yep. There are dozens of Western countries deeply concerned about Russia’s aggressive streak, and not all of them feel constrained from acting upon those concerns.

  49. 49
    danielx says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Good. They can use a good strong dose of fear and loathing – er, foreboding.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: @Gin & Tonic: @Corner Stone:
    http://www.wired.co.uk/article.....ook-google

    We still don’t know what impact, if any, Russian misinformation had on the Brexit vote. Back in November it was revealed that Twitter accounts with links to the Kremlin were posting inflammatory information around the Brexit vote and terror attacks in the UK and Europe.

    As a result of reports about Russian activity, the UK’s parliamentary investigation into fake news and misinformation, led by MP Damian Collins, stepped-up its efforts to find out what had happened. At the same time, the Electoral Commission opened its inquiries into adverts that may have been purchased by Russian agents.

    The big tech companies – Facebook, Twitter and Google – now face questions on two fronts. But, as is often the case with high-level investigations by public bodies, things drag on. It’s likely that there’ll be several months before final reports are produced. For the time being, this is where we are and all we know about Russia’s potential influence of the Brexit vote.

    Much more at the link.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Mnemosyne suggested downstairs that perhaps the Skripal poisoning was a message to the Republicans. I don’t see a strong reason to believe that, but we are living in strange times.

    I should probably say that it’s possible it was my writer brain trying to braid disparate threads of the story together so they would make more narrative sense. I have no actual evidence or proof.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    @danielx

    Somebody’s got to buy the most expensive apartments on the planet. (Link from 2011.)

    ;)

  53. 53
    LevelB says:

    @Fair Economist: My guess is the Russians are much more likely to target one of the stool pigeons. Or possibly Manafort (or Cohen) if they start to cooperate.

    B.

  54. 54
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    No one will know who they can trust.

    That’s a real shame. I’m crying here.

  55. 55
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I mentioned this downstairs, but it may have gotten lost in the comments.

    BuzzFeed had a big article on Felix Sater today. Looks like he was an informant for the FBI when he was working with Trump. I’m not sure I believe everything in the article, but that is another potential source of information for Mueller. And he wouldn’t have to interview Sater to get it.

  56. 56
    debbie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I guess Arabs being tight with a Jew is progress of a twisted sort.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So Cohen got stuck paying 28 cents out of pocket?

    He used his own money to facilitate payment, remember? He didn’t say how much. Now we know. $0.28. He threw in an extra banana for the Trump campaign welcome fruit basket.

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:

    I’m losing hope today, y’all. I kinda need to hear “tick tick, motherfuckers” and really BELIEVE.

  59. 59
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You are a very empathetic person.

  60. 60

    If you were wondering why

    The quote I keep coming back to is that these people aren’t evil masterminds, they’re edgelords. It is true through vast amounts of the Republican Party, on every level. Elected officials, congress, Trump White House, voters, lobbyists, Supreme Court Justices, and billionaire bankrollers. Always leave a large space open for there being no plan beyond ‘I’m an asshole and this is what I feel like right now.’

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    @Suzanne

    Never lose hope.It’s okay to misplace it for a bit but never, ever lose it.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I saw that. The question I have regarding Sater and the FBI is: was the FBI really running Sater or was Sater and his Russian and other eastern European organized crime buddies running the FBI similar to how Whitey Bolger and the Irish mob were running the Boston Field Office of the FBI.

    If it is the former, then great! If it is the latter, then we have a problem.

    I’ve also seen speculation on nat-sec twitter that Nader might have actually been a US intel asset going back a while.

  63. 63
    efgoldman says:

    @Suzanne:

    I’m losing hope today, y’all.

    Why? Because a bunch of hyper-partisan RWNJs with the collective IQ of granite and the morals of a scorpion keep yammering? None of it has anything to do with Mueller’s investigation. It proceeds, inexorably but not quickly.
    Watergate took years
    .

  64. 64
    Amir Khalid says:

    Adam, The Lajes Protocol sounds like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel. Do you think there could be a movie in it?

  65. 65
    J R in WV says:

    TYPO alert:

    ” Congress found no collusion, so it is well passed time for Bob Mueller to wrap it up.”

    I think “passed” should be past, shouldn’t it? Will read the rest of the comments next. Good job typing everything together.

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: It’s probably between the sofa cushions.

  67. 67
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I hope I live long enough to see a Black Mass about the NY field office. I’m convinced there’s enough material there.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:

    @efgoldman

    “Hey!”
      – Scorpion Anti-defamation League

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sure, if someone pays me to use it.

    And that’s actually why I use it. I’m also thinking of using the Lajes Gambit and the Lajes Sanction for future posts.

  70. 70
    danielx says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    @Adam L Silverman:

    No one will know who they can trust.

    Actually, I find it truly heartwarming. Probably not nearly as warm as some/all of those involved are feeling, but warm.

    Although I am truly beginning to wonder if somehow, somewhere, a calculation has been made that this is all Kabuki. Because the Republicans control all three branches, therefore the results of any investigation can be ignored/suppressed at the national level, while elections are run at the state level. Again, given Republican dominance at the statehouse level, election results can be swayed just enough (with or without Russian connivance) to maintain control there and in Congress.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV:

    I think “passed” should be past, shouldn’t it?

    It was a completed forward throw, so…//

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    It should come as no surprise the House Intelligence Committee found no evidence of collusion. Everything we’ve seen and heard about the investigation indicates they never looked for any. Instead, whenever any was pushed in their faces, the Republicans did their very best to discredit it.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m crying crocodile tears. My Schadenfreude meter is pegged.

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    There goes the Fox News contributor spot and the CPAC speaking invites:

    Also, 10 gallon hat, 5 gallon head. That hat is not the right size for his noggin!

  75. 75
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:
    Especially now that funds embezzled from the Malaysian people and handed to the PM’s son are no longer available for the purpose.

  76. 76

    @danielx:

    election results can be swayed just enough

    This plan hasn’t been working very well.

    EDIT – And since Balloon Juice is rightly the land of glorious nit picking, I will head things off by adding ‘Since Trump became president.’ The GOP would have sold their own daughters to keep Jones from winning.

  77. 77
    Suzanne says:

    @efgoldman: Yes. And I am losing hope because I have to imagine the president in a ball gag, thanks to Corner Stone, and I miss the Obamas, and how they kept their sex lives to themselves.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    For the Mueller Russia stuff, might one humbly suggest The Hunt for Red November?

    :)

  79. 79
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I have my doubts about Sater too. We shall see in the fullness of time.

  80. 80
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @NotMax: “Veni, vidi, conspiraci” , is it not? :)

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    My Schadenfreude meter is pegged.

    Woah, woah, whoa. Until we find out what all Stormy has to reveal we should never use the term “peg” “pegging” or “pegged”.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Hmmm…”Peggy” “Peterson”……

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suzanne: I am here for you.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Thank you. I can’t do it today because my former boss asked me for a statement for her up coming law suit against the company we both worked for. When I said that I would be happy to respond to a subpoena, she freaked out and attacked me. Accused me of getting a promotion based on her firing – which did not happen. Etc. Ugly day.

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Comey made it clear in his Senate testimony right before he was fired that he had opened an investigation into the NY Field Office’s role in this mess. That means that Mueller inherited it.

  85. 85
    Suzanne says:

    @Corner Stone: :::hurl:::

    These people have a way of instantly annihilating any sexual impulse I may have been feeling.

  86. 86
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Planning for the trilogy! Excellent!

  87. 87
    Shalimar says:

    On the interstate from Milwaukee to Chicago, just north of Kenosha, saw a billboard that read “How much of Putin’s money did Paul Ryan take?”

  88. 88
    Roger Moore says:

    @NotMax:

    For the Mueller Russia stuff, might one humbly suggest The Hunt for Red November?

    Well played, sir.

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: That would work.

  90. 90
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yeah, but he wasn’t thorough enough. I’m going to register http://www.LajesUltimatum.com when I get to my computer. Adam will have to pay through the nose for it.

  91. 91
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ughhhh awkward.

    I am having something similarly weird. A client that I worked for at my old office called me at the new office and wanted me to do some extra work on a project that I did at the old place. I said I would but wanted to get a thumbs-up from the old place. Old place didn’t want me to do it, and they wanted to do it. And they are cocking it all up. It’s pissing me off. I ended up doing all the work for free and not being able to bring in the fee.

  92. 92
    Mary G says:

    @Suzanne: I said on twitter that a Hillary presidency would have been boring as hell and I so long for that. It is still getting likes two days later.

  93. 93
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Somehow it’s hard to imagine former Sheriff Clarke contemplating a conversion to Islam, but I suppose one never knows.

  94. 94
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Comey made it clear in his Senate testimony right before he was fired that he had opened an investigation into the NY Field Office’s role in this mess. That means that Mueller inherited it.
    @Shalimar: On the interstate from Milwaukee to Chicago, just north of Kenosha, saw a billboard that read “How much of Putin’s money did Paul Ryan take?”

    these posts did make me smile

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s Josh Marshall’s speculation regarding some of the most inflammatory stuff in the 60 Minutes interview.
    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/is-the-stormy-story-more-damaging-than-we-thought

    We just finished recording this week’s episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast. We had a special guest, Joan Walsh. We talked about the Stormy Daniels’ story among other topics, including the 2016 election. But I wanted to flag one point we discussed in this episode that I’ve learned over recent days. What Daniels told 60 Minutes is more damaging than people may realize.

    But Daniels apparently says something different. I’m told that in her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper Daniels suggests that Trump, how to say this, likes it when women aren’t nice to him, treat him in perhaps denigrating ways.

    I think that would be very much off brand for Trump. It also puts in sharper relief why he and his lawyer seem to be fighting so hard to keep Daniels’ story under wraps. It also deepens my curiosity about whether CBS will have the stomach to air that part of the story.

    More at the link.

  96. 96
    GregB says:

    Is it any coincidence that today is the day that David Corn and Mike Isikoff’s book hits the shelves with a broad narrative about treason and conspiracy?

  97. 97
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Just about midnight and not snowing yet. I’m sure the morning will look different, but thanks to my foresight I have a couple of pumpernickel bagels and some wild smoked salmon for the morning. And the office is closed.

  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Ooops!

  99. 99
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Does an adult conversion require the, um, knife?

  100. 100
    GregB says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh God. You just ruined my midnight snack.

  101. 101
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Right there one has two people whose heads would look much better on pikes than on their shoulders.

  102. 102
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amir Khalid: He’d be a sharia lawman!

    Thank you, thank you! I’ll be here all week. Tip your waiter!

  103. 103
    Roger Moore says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Somehow it’s hard to imagine former Sheriff Clarke contemplating a conversion to Islam, but I suppose one never knows.

    I don’t think he needs to convert to have an affair with, or even to marry, a Muslim woman. As Grover Norquist has shown, though, being involved with a Muslim woman does not help one’s standing in the Conservative Movement.

  104. 104
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Pee hookers?

  105. 105
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    If one was not previously knifed, yes.

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That man has one humongous noggin. Both literally and figuratively.

  107. 107
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Ouch. That might make one reconsider, no?

  108. 108
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: would have been awesome if they went with their graphics person’s first impulse… “Fat Füçk News…”

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    @Suzanne:

    I found out for certain that I am not a finalist in a writing contest I entered. The biggest part of the disappointment is that it would have been a good excuse for a long weekend in Chicago doing novelist things. Oh well.

  110. 110
    Suzanne says:

    @Mary G: I remember when my life was boring, it was awesome.

  111. 111
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Roger Moore:
    He doesn’t need to convert in America, true. But if he ever gets serious enough with a Muslimah to consider marriage, there is a possibility she might expect it. It’s the same with any interfaith relationship.

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The intimation that Marshall is making is that he likes to be dominated.

  113. 113
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    The pain is excruciating, but only momentary. It does remind a man that he should take a potential conversion seriously.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @GregB: Greg, and I’m being a friend here. You did not need that midnight snack.

  115. 115
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I do not need those nightmares.

  116. 116
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    We’re already aware of reported spanking (Forbesing?). It may or may not extend beyond that.

  117. 117
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So Cohen got stuck paying 28 cents out of pocket?

    Everyone who does business with trump gets screwed. Cohen got lucky if it was only 28 cents; will be less lucky if he gets disbarred for it.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Could have been worse, Marshall’s source could have told him it was clown sex.

  119. 119
    GregB says:

    @Corner Stone:

    When did you turn into Bob in Portland? :)

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: I do not know. I’m sure we will eventually find out as Daniels appears to be very intent on telling her story.

  121. 121
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    it would have been a good excuse for a long weekend in Chicago doing novelist things.

    Sitting in a dark hotel room with a handle of scotch, a carton of cigarettes, a manual typewriter, and severe angst?

  122. 122
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Welp, there goes the carrot cake I ate earlier. I’ll send you the invoice for steam cleaning my rug, thank you.

  123. 123
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not helping.

  124. 124
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: I seem to vaguely recall a comedy routine where a guy says to God “hold on, you want me to do *what*?”

    Faith is a mysterious thing.

  125. 125
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Even at a glans, the comment makes one wince.

    :)

  126. 126
    Suzanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I am, however, having fun enjoying imagining the evangelicals trying to hand wave away a kink video.

  127. 127
    danielx says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It also deepens my curiosity about whether CBS will have the stomach to air that part of the story.

    It deepens my curiosity about whether I have the stomach to watch and listen if they do air that part of the story.

    From Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson:

    “Look,” Avi said, “Kepler is a major control freak—just like most powerful, rich men. Right?”

    “Right.”

    “If you are that much of a control freak, what sexual preferences does that translate into?”

    “I hope I’ll never know. I suppose you would want to dominate a woman.”

    “Wrong!” Avi said. “Sex is more complicated than that, Randy. Sex is a place where people’s repressed desires come out. People get most turned on when their innermost secrets are revealed—”

    “Shit! Kepler’s a masochist?”

    “He is such a fucking masochist that he was famous for it. At least in the Southeast Asian sex industry. Pimps and Madams in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shenzhen, Manila, they all had files on him—they knew exactly what he wanted. And that’s how he met Victoria Vigo. He was in Manila, see, working on the FiliTel deal. Spent a lot of time here, staying in a hotel that’s owned, and bugged, by the Bolobolos. They studied his mating habits like entomologists watching the reproductive habits of ants. They groomed Victoria Vigo—their ace, their bombshell, their sexual Terminator—to give Kepler exactly what Kepler wanted. Then they sent her into his life like a guided fucking missile and pow! true love.”

    “You’d think he would have been suspicious, or something. I’m surprised he’d get that involved with a whore.”

    “He didn’t know she was a whore! That’s the beauty of the plan! The Bolobolos set her up with a fake identity as a concierge at Kepler’s hotel! A demure Catholic school girl! It starts with her getting him tickets to a play, and inside of a year. he’s chained to his bed on that fucking mega-yacht of his with strap marks on his ass, and she’s standing over him with a wedding ring on her finger the size of a headlamp, the hundred and thirty-eighth richest woman in the world.”

    The mind, it boggles.

  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

  129. 129
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I’m pretty sure novelists lead exciting lives. Have to experience life before writing about it, right?

    Mmem was probably planning on skydiving while high on shrooms. It’s the only reasonable extrapolation.

    @Adam L Silverman: “I’m not sure who this ‘Putin’ fella is either. I think I read about it once, about Hillary’s campaign. Huh.”

    @danielx: Always happy to see someone else who liked Cryptonomicon.

  130. 130
    Suzanne says:

    Could we call the tape “Fifty Shades of Orange”?

  131. 131
    MomSense says:

    @Mary G:

    We wouldn’t be so sleep deprived and stressed out. I’d have a lot more money in my pocket (health insurance is much more expensive).

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @GregB: I’m here for you, Greg. Not like I am here for Suzanne or anything but still. Here for you.

  133. 133
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I can’t do it today because my former boss asked me for a statement for her up coming law suit against the company we both worked for. When I said that I would be happy to respond to a subpoena, she freaked out and attacked me.

    I had a call today with outside counsel about a former coworker who is suing us for discrimination and citing me as the comparator! And I got her the job in the first place. People are the worst.

    Your former boss should be savvy enough to know that the subpoena gives you cover to help her, if you are so inclined. People are the worst.

  134. 134
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Ughhhh, I’m sorry.

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Just trying to keep you on your diet per the New Year’s resolution.

  136. 136
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You know, there’s one subject I actually don’t care about at all. Grown-ups like to do all sorts of things, and as long as they’re doing them with/to other grown-ups, who am I to judge?

  137. 137
    NotMax says:

    @Suzanne

    A Cockwork Orange.

    :)

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Mmem was probably planning on skydiving while high on shrooms. It’s the only reasonable extrapolation

    She lives a wild and crazy life all inside her own head.

  139. 139
    Roger Moore says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    But if he ever gets serious enough

    That’s a mighty big if.

  140. 140
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As someone who doesn’t really like carrot cake all that much, perhaps I should thank you. Also, I don’t really like that rug, either.

  141. 141
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @danielx: My guess is 60 Minutes runs it. I get the impression that Anderson Cooper is pretty fearless on this stuff.

  142. 142
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I only care because it will humiliate and enrage the Beast.

    I got some petty satisfaction out of Fredo being asked about Stormy today.

  143. 143
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Mmem was probably planning on skydiving while high on shrooms. It’s the only reasonable extrapolation.

    Hell, in Chicago you could just shroom and stare at your reflection in the bean.

    @Suzanne:

    Could we call the tape “Fifty Shades of Orange”?

    Great idea, but @MrNeckBeard already registered the URL. Damn cybersquatter!

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense: I wake up every morning wondering what batshit thing has happened now. My son comes home from school, drops his backpack and asks me, “What stupid thing has Trump done now?”

  145. 145
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: Do you have to pry my eyes open to watch it?

  146. 146
    NotMax says:

    Oddly enough, episodes of City of Vice are on in the background, so portions of this thread seamlessly meld right in.

  147. 147
    Suzanne says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I miss a sense of propriety. I know that makes me sound like I am a thousand years old and ultraconservative. I honestly don’t care about anyone’s kink. I do, however, find trashy behavior really gross. And having to hear about the fucking president getting pissed on or spanked with a magazine is, like, really fuckin’ gross. If it was my friends talking about this over some cocktails, then AWESOME. But I really miss not having to hear about the president’s sex life.

  148. 148
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic: don’t judge the freaky-deaky sex (unless it involves children, animals, or feces)(or clowns); judge the hypocrisy

  149. 149
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Nah, I registered “Grifty Shades of Orange”. You guys go right ahead and use your name, it’s all good.

  150. 150
    efgoldman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Do you think there could be a movie in it?

    Sure. They’ll move the location to Malaysia and you can get an associate producer credit.

  151. 151
    GregB says:

    It is starting to feel that as a nation we are entering the movie Goodfellas scene where the song Layla is playing in the background.

  152. 152
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Also, judge the clowns. JUDGE THE FREAKING CLOWNS

  153. 153
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Marshall’s source could have told him it was clown sex.

    Is even Trump that degraded?

  154. 154
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: After today’s call, I am less than kindly inclined. She is too dumb to realize how to do it. I cannot give a voluntary statement and stay employed. I can be subpoened and testify. OTOH, I will be asked other questions. Some people manage by passive aggressiveness.

  155. 155
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard: even better! Who’s writing the screenplay? And will MustangBobby or one of our many resident playwrights be handling the stage adaptation? The real fight at B-J will be over who gets to do the anime/manga/cartoon/whatever part.

  156. 156
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: If carrot cake is done right, it is excellent. If it isn’t its meh.

    But I’m sorry.

  157. 157
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    Are you suggesting you would voluntarily keep them open?

  158. 158
    Mike J says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So Cohen got stuck paying 28 cents out of pocket?

    $89 to set up a Delaware corp, extra $100 if you need same day.

  159. 159
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If carrot cake is done right

    You mean by substituting bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream for the carrots?

  160. 160
    danielx says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    You know, there’s one subject I actually don’t care about at all.

    Nor I, ordinarily – but even thinking about thinking about Donald Trump’s sex life is nausea inducing, no matter what it may involve.

  161. 161
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Just about midnight and not snowing yet

    Still 37 degrees in my yard, and no snow here, either. I imagine both the temp and the flakes will drop in the next couple of hours.

  162. 162
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Eh. My wife sees Costco carrot cake, we end up with a Costco carrot cake. And in a moment of weakness, my stomach ends up with a carrot cake. And then after reading my favorite blog, my rug ends up with a cake. It is what it is.

    @Steve in the ATL: I’ve been trying to figure out whether Major^4 or Mmem would be better for the screenplay, but the anime clearly has to go to Goku. No question.

    The audiobook will be performed by Mandalay or perhaps Tengu.

  163. 163
    different-church-lady says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’ll be here all week.

    Not if you stick with that act.

  164. 164
    Suzanne says:

    @efgoldman: It was over 70 degrees here today. I wore a sleeveless top.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Mmem was probably planning on skydiving while high on shrooms. It’s the only reasonable extrapolation.

    Sure, let’s go with that. 😜

    The even better part was going to be that I would be able to visit with both my mom and mom-in-law, but only have to hang around for a few hours apiece because, y’know, I have workshops at the writing conference. Having an excuse to not have to sit on my MIL’s couch for four hours = priceless.

  166. 166
    MomSense says:

    @Suzanne:

    It’s worse because our president is so grotesque. These are just unbelievably gross people. I also just want to be really catty and say that I don’t like the way all the Botox, fillers, spray tan, and implants of all kinds look. Those giant fake boobs Ivanka, Melania, and Stormy have are so bizarre looking.

  167. 167
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Suzanne: Shut up.

  168. 168
    Mike in NC says:

    Thinking that “Stormy” Daniels might have the given name of Svetlana.

  169. 169
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Amir Khalid: And then there’s the, um, how does one say … “catastrophic reduction of sensation”. Honestly, I don’t see how an adult male would allow it to happen. It’s obvious why they perpetrate on babies — they can’t resist.

  170. 170
    MomSense says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Same here. My sleep is all messed up, too.

  171. 171
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    I’m not brokenhearted, because I discovered after I sent it in that I need to make a big story change in the first couple of chapters. But it woulda been a nice little working vacay and several of the workshops sounded intriguing. But I couldn’t justify the expense unless I was a nominee.

  172. 172
    Suzanne says:

    @Gin & Tonic: In about eight weeks, it’ll be north of 100 and I’ll be really sad and then you can rub it in.

  173. 173
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Ruh Roh!

  174. 174
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Suzanne:

    hand wave away a kink video.

    ISWYDT

  175. 175
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sorry to hear about the competition. Does your MIL have to know that you don’t have a workshop? You can just say you are there to do research and then you can come and go whenever you like. That’s what my dad does.

  176. 176
    Suzanne says:

    @MomSense:

    I also just want to be really catty and say that I don’t like the way all the Botox, fillers, spray tan, and implants of all kinds look.

    Agree. They look like Vegas callgirls.

  177. 177
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Chet Murthy: Hey, yo! Let’s have a several-hundred comment thread on the subject. It’s been a few years since we’ve done that.

  178. 178
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    The plane ticket is too much for me to justify it, and that’s even before I add in the conference fee, hotel, etc.

    It was a nice dream, but maybe next year. I’m entering two more contests in the next couple of weeks, so it’s really just a roadbump.

  179. 179
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Suzanne: I’ll be a gentleman and wait until 110 before I hassle you.

    I was in Death Valley one July, and was talking to one of the rangers, who said “once it gets above 120 you can really feel it.” I felt like saying, you know, at 117 I can feel it just fine, thanks.

  180. 180
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman:

    Still 37 degrees in my yard, and no snow here, either

    Same in Atlanta!

    I imagine both the temp and the flakes will drop in the next couple of hours.

    Except for that part.

  181. 181
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    The thread equivalent of a director’s cut.

    :)

  182. 182
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Never had their carrot cake. Or any of their cakes. Their chocolate cake looks excellent. I have no idea how it tastes.

  183. 183
    encephalopath says:

    But now the Republicans won’t be able to interview witnesses in closed session then secretly feed information from the testimony to the White House.

    They gave up that tool and shut the whole thing down. They really must be spooked by something big.

  184. 184
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax:You’re on fire tonight.

  185. 185
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Suzanne:

    It was over 70 degrees here today. I wore a sleeveless top.

    It was colder than that here, but I wore a sleeveless top (an old Skynrd concert t with the sleeves ripped off) to show off my guns and barbed wire tattoo.

  186. 186

    @Amir Khalid:
    If you convert to Judaism, which is not easy to do, even if you were circumcised before, a second circumcision is required. It’s not about the foreskin but the dedication to God, see. Thankfully, because of that, the second circumcision doesn’t have to be more than a needle poke.

  187. 187
    sukabi says:

    @Roger Moore: I figure any sex with Drumpf IS clown sex….and nothing anyone should engage in.

  188. 188
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Chet Murthy:
    I keep hearing that, but how would anyone know? As far as I can tell, it certainly does not reduce desire.

  189. 189
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    The chocolate sheet cake is pretty good; not cloyingly sweet. The chocolate mousse Tuxedo cake is tres delish.

  190. 190
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Their chocolate cake looks excellent. I have no idea how it tastes.

    It tastes excellent. And the silver medal goes to the chocolate mousse cake.

  191. 191
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL: There many rent boys in your gated community?

  192. 192
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: @Steve in the ATL: Good to know.

    And on that note, I’m racking out. The shift to daylight savings time has not been pleasant.

  193. 193
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @NotMax: @Steve in the ATL: Apparently you two need to hang out.

  194. 194
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    A second circumcision sounds like the most painful token gesture imaginable.

  195. 195
    Corner Stone says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Thankfully, because of that, the second circumcision doesn’t have to be more than a needle poke.

    Ummm, NO FUCKING THANK YOU.

  196. 196
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Also too, at the Costco near Mom’s place in NY, they have a chocolate babka which is excellent with coffee.

  197. 197
    NotMax says:

    @Corner Stone

    Prince Albert calling on line 1.

    :)

  198. 198
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Fingers crossed for the next competitions.

    I meant to ask you if you are able to do some bike riding with your knee.

  199. 199
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve been in Las Vegas, AZ and West TX all above 110 degrees F. It’s not that bad.
    I spent a week in Key Largo (and the Keys), FL in July that was 98+ degrees and I thought I was going to die.

  200. 200
    Mike J says:

    @Steve in the ATL: 70F here today and we’re at 47N.

  201. 201
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: you can get anything you want here, but the rent on those boys is pretty high.

    Also, I’m convinced that the crime rate is higher inside the gates than out.

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @NotMax: Tell him he can stay in his can.

  203. 203
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Sounds like you need to open up a divorce attorney shop.

  204. 204
    NotMax says:

    @Mike J

    Barely brushed 70 here today, at 21° N. Overcast and damp.

  205. 205
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    I can’t do a real bike yet, but I’m supposed to be doing the stationary bike a lot more than I am. I do need to take my bike in and get it serviced — I haven’t ridden it in a long time.

    I am just going to ignore the conversation going on around us. Not on my need-to-know list.

  206. 206
    InternetDragons says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Dear gods. I was wondering why there hadn’t been any mention of Felix Sater recently.

    I’ve had to read this a couple of times. This whole thing is getting beyond surreal: https://www.buzzfeed.com/anthonycormier/felix-sater-trump-russia-undercover-us-spy?utm_term=.hsbK8oZMd#.fxen73q4P

  207. 207
    Roger Moore says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ve been in Las Vegas, AZ and West TX all above 110 degrees F. It’s not that bad.

    Until you try to do anything more vigorous than hang out in the shade.

  208. 208
    Ruckus says:

    @Fair Economist:
    If they weren’t all in this together then it might be hard to see the connection. But as DissidentFish pointed out in the last thread, it is quite possible that the Russians have been in this for a lot longer than some here have assumed. His point is that Vlad may be getting impatient with this investigation and may have a lot more friends here than meets the eye and many of them may be in as deep as drumpf. Vlad is not one to play games at this level for shits and giggles. He has an agenda, it is thought out and looks to be working. He is by far not at all squeamish about using whatever methods work and leave no witnesses or at least witnesses that he can use for furthering his agenda. His agenda and ours as a nation do not align and he’s trying to either make that happen or at least remove the majority of power of the opposition, which is us. This is 21st century war. Bullets are so last week.

  209. 209
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I had to stop the gym for a couple weeks and really missed the bike. I’d rather be outside on my bicycle but that will have to wait a couple months.

    I thought I’d get up early and write during my gym time but that was a total fail. I need to go somewhere without cell service and internet and reacquaint myself with quiet and mind wandering.

  210. 210
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    It’s always a message. To the victim if they survive, and to anyone else involved in any way that they could be next. It’s as old as the school yard bully or the mob or really any entity that uses force.
    The message is “We are taking out one who has crossed us and we will do this again and again as long as we feel the need.” It’s as effective a message as is Mueller putting someone before a grand jury, possibly a lot more effective.

  211. 211
    T S says:

    @Ruckus: Russia certainly bought insurance against “if they survive” this time. WMD for a single individual.

  212. 212
    Ruckus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    She didn’t say she was going to assume your persona.

  213. 213
    Mike in DC says:

    @Ruckus:
    He’s going to walk Russia into a full blown multinational trade embargo at the rate he’s going.

  214. 214
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    I’ve been trying to decide if I can afford the time and money to go back to the UCLA retreat at Lake Arrowhead this year. If I can, I would love to, because I really liked being able to take my Chromebook out into the woods and find places to write. Around where you are, it’s probably cheaper to rent a little one-room cabin away from the kids for the weekend.

    There’s a $2.99 eBook on Amazon that’s titled something like “DIY writer’s retreat.” It has a lot of great ideas and even a schedule for taking a day or a weekend away to get some writing done.

  215. 215
    Ruckus says:

    @T S:
    It works better if the victim really is a victim. A small scratch or black eye really doesn’t convey the intent as well.
    Russia is staging undeclared, unconventional war on us from the inside. This is what that looks like.

  216. 216
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike in DC:
    You know, when you work with defective, moronic employees you sometimes don’t get the desired effect. And really what is that going to cost him? What he sells, people need. Countries are going to shoot themselves in the foot over this?

  217. 217
    Corner Stone says:

    @Roger Moore: Ha! I chased hookers in one, built a house in another and put up barbed wire in another.

  218. 218
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I spent a week in Key Largo (and the Keys), FL in July that was 98+ degrees and I thought I was going to die.

    I spent a week in Miami in October (mother-in-law’s second wedding) and the humidity dam’ near killed me outright. Going outdoors should not feel like entering a bathroom where someone’s just taken a three-hour shower!

  219. 219
    Mike in DC says:

    @Ruckus:
    We could partially indemnify participating countries against loss, and replace certain things ourselves. The next president in 2021 could do the legwork and set it up. Imagine how much more aggro bs Putin will have gotten up to by then. A Western/1st world trade embargo would collapse Russia economically within a few years. Expensive but possibly worth it.

  220. 220
    Mel says:

    @Mike in DC: Tempting thought, but probably not the best solution.

    Think about the result of the protective tariffs imposed on Germany, post WWI.
    I know that the German economic collapse was a lot more complicated than could ever be adressed in a comment thread, but the tariifs and trade collapse have always seemed to be the coffin nail that sealed the deal for the reparations failure and all the horror that followed the collapse.

  221. 221
    NotMax says:

    @Mel

    Yup. Europe has become highly dependent on steady supplies of natural gas from Russia. That would be an insanely tough nut to crack

  222. 222
    Mel says:

    Absolutely. The domino effect on the energy supply and everything dependent upon it (in other words, everything!) would be speedy and catastrophic.

  223. 223
    mike in dc says:

    @Mel: Well, we’re going to need the response to be both robust, and strong enough to deter further fuckery.

  224. 224
    prostratedragon says:

    @InternetDragons:

    “Jacky’s Song” (English version)

    Sater and Nunberg (and maybe Page) can elbow each other aside to trade verses.

  225. 225
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mel:

    I know that the German economic collapse was a lot more complicated than could ever be adressed in a comment threa

    Oh ye of little faith. This sounds like a challenge!

    Not for me, but surely there are appropriate SMEs here to take on this project.

  226. 226
    Kathleen says:

    @NotMax: Veni, Vidi, Wikied?

  227. 227
    Zach says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I mean Terceira is an amazingly beautiful place… especially compared to the English suburbs. And if we’re BFFs with Russia now maybe we don’t need to project power in Europe anymore so there’s some spare real estate.

  228. 228

    @Adam L Silverman: Why not both? (Google “Ouchy the Clown” at your peril….)

  229. 229
    NotMax says:

    @Kathleen

    Brava. Well played.

  230. 230
    Kathleen says:

    @NotMax: Thank you!

  231. 231
    SFAW says:

    Late to the party, but saw this/these tweets:

    Facts Do Matter
    ‏ @WilDonnelly
    13h13 hours ago

    Facts Do Matter Retweeted Facts Do Matter

    Nunes has also concluded that:
    Trump has the biggest p3ni$ he has ever seen
    Trump is the smartest man to have ever lived
    There were actually 200 million illegal voters
    The crowd at Trump’s inauguration was over 50 million
    Nambia and Normay are real countries

    Facts Do Matter added,
    Facts Do Matter
    @WilDonnelly
    The clown show, know as the Republican House “Intelligence” Committee, will end their Russia investigation, and issue a report blaming Obama, claiming the Trump campaign didn’t collude, and that Russia didn’t interfere with the intent to get Trump elected.

    Pretty much nailed it.

  232. 232
    SFAW says:

    #231 in moderation because I forgot to modify the word for a certain anatomical part. What a maroon.

  233. 233
    SFAW says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    and some wild smoked salmon for the morning.

    If there’s any left, I’ll be over in about 3 hours. If I don’t get stuck, that is.

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