Breaking News: The Department of Justice Has Arrested Maria Butina

From the Department of Justice:

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 16, 2018

Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States

A criminal complaint was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Russian national with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Mariia Butina, 29, a Russian citizen residing in Washington D.C., was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., and made her initial appearance this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was ordered held pending a hearing set for July 18, 2018.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, from as early as 2015 and continuing through at least February 2017, Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank.  This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.

The court filings detail the Russian official’s and Butina’s efforts for Butina to act as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation. The filings also describe certain actions taken by Butina to further this effort during multiple visits from Russia and, later, when she entered and resided in the United States on a student visa. The filings allege that she undertook her activities without officially disclosing the fact that she was acting as an agent of Russian government, as required by law.

The charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Here’s the link to the complaint and to the affidavit.

This is a huge arrest. Butina was a go between for Alexander Torshin on behalf of Putin and the National Rifle Association. As I wrote in December 2017:

In the Russian case a lot of the penetration that is being reported on and made public appears to have been focused solely on more politically, socially, economically, and religiously conservative sectors, groups, and organizations in the US. The Daily Beast first reported on Russia’s connections to the NRA back in February 2017. This was the first of three articles that delineated the creation of a Russian firearms sporting organization partially led by Marina Butina. Specifically:

Two of Butina’s friendships in particular have raised eyebrows. She started a business with Paul Erickson, a decades-long Republican Party activist. And she served as a special assistant to the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator belonging to Vladimir Putin’s political party with alleged ties to the Russian mob world.

 As chilled vodka flowed through an ice sculpture—a bottle imprinted with the Soviet hammer and sickle—she took some time to brag. She brazenly claimed that she had been part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia, two individuals who were present said. On other occasions, in one of her graduate classes, she repeated this claim.

Erickson and Butina have been seen in public frequently, at the invitation-only Freedom Ball after Trump’s inauguration; and holding court at Russia House, a Russian-themed bar in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. At one such gathering in the fall of 2016 Erickson bragged that he was advising the Trump transition team, according to two sources who were present; he is also said to have told a story about introducing Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, to former NRA president David Keene. (Kalashnikov allegedly inspired the creation of “The Right to Bear Arms,” Butina’s gun rights group.)

The two appear to have gotten close: Erickson formed a limited liability corporation with Butina in February 2016, according to the South Dakota secretary of state. It is unclear what this organization, Bridges, LLC, actually does. (Despite living in Washington, D.C., Butina has a cellphone number with a South Dakota area code.)

In The Daily Beast‘s second report, Tim Mak expands on his reporting from February 2017 by digging into the meeting between members of the NRA and Dmitry Rogozin, one of Putin’s hard line deputies and the head of the Russian Shooting Federation, which would make him either Butina’s partner or boss. The Daily Beast‘s third article on this topic delves even deeper to who was at the meeting with Rogozin. Specifically former Milwaukee County Sheriff, Fox News analyst, extremist anti-US government Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association Sheriff of the Year, campaign proxy and Republican National Convention prime time speaker, and withdrawn nominee for political appointment at the Department of Homeland Security David Clarke. And former NRA President and current board member David Keene.

Here’s Rogozin’s tweet about the event. You’ll notice Clarke’s in the second photo. Keene is in the first standing next to Rogozin.

Butina, and her patron Torshin, were connected to the NRA by long time GOP operative Paul Erickson. Erickson sent the email to Trump campaign official Rick Dearborn, as well as reaching out to now Attorney General Sessions seeking a meeting between then candidate Trump and Torshin at the NRA annual meeting. That meeting was scheduled and then cancelled. Instead Torshin met briefly with Donald Trump Jr at the NRA annual meeting banquet. Erickson set up a LLC in South Dakota to, allegedly, pay for Butina’s doctoral studies in DC.

This arrest and indictment is a very big deal. It, like Friday’s indictments, is further evidence that Special Counsel Mueller’s team has complete visibility on the network around the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign even as this case was brought by the DC office, not the Special Counsel’s. Both the ongoing Russian activities and their involvement in the 2016 campaign. And as was the case with Friday’s indictments. If I was part of the NRA’s leadership or one of the NRA officials who went on the junket to Russia, let alone a host of GOP elected and appointed officials, with ties to Erickson, I’d be very, very nervous right now.

Stay weapons free!

Open thread.

204 replies
  1. 1
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    Hope she rides the lightning !

  2. 2
    Major Major Major Major says:

    So is the DOJ just trying to make trump look as bad as possible with the timing, Friday and now this?

  3. 3
    David Anderson says:

    @Tilda Swintons Bald Cap: Not gonna happen — but yeah, she is either in talk and piss off her handlers in Mother Russia, wait for a trade or spend several years in a not too pleasant Fed pen.

    If one was an NRA board member, what is the probability that you’ll get through to the FBI fast enough to get a plea deal knowing that multiple other board members are also making the same phone call?

  4. 4
    joel hanes says:

    Please, FSM, I seldom ask for anything, but please:
    let Wayne LaPierre be caught in the net and prosecuted and convicted.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    So does Trump pardon her now, while he’s still in Russia, or wait until he’s back in DC?

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Trump makes Trump look as bad as possible, no external help needed.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    long time GOP operative Paul Erickson

    Out of curiosity, any relation to Erick son of Erick of the house of Erick?

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    will the next shoe to drop involve the Evangelicals?

    here’s to hoping that the arrests and indictments keep on coming.

    sad to see that it took the Helsinki meeting to bring it home that this isn;t just about Liberal bleating about “losing” an election. Regardless when eyes are opened, it’s good to have it being discussed. Now to get some of these hand wringing GOP Senators stand up and shove this fucking agenda of the McConnell/Ryan/Trump triumvirate up their collective asses.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: He was never in Russia. He was in Finland. The Finns get really touchy about this.

  10. 10
    Mary G says:

    I like to think of this as Mueller giving Putin the finger with both hands.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    Tick tock, motherfuckers.

  12. 12
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: If he were smart, he’d just stay there.

    (Also: he’s in Finland, not Russia.)

  13. 13
    LAO says:

    Am I crazy, this feels big — not just for Trump but the Republican Party, as well. I skimmed the complaint and it reads like a spy novel.

  14. 14
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: “Life comes at you fast.”

  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    I’m a skeptic of the Mueller as Santa Claus framing, but man, this timing sure is fascinating.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    Mueller’s investigation announcements are timed very nicely, and probably have gotten Putin’s attention.
    NRA has already signaled that they know they are in deep shit with the very non-denial non-denials (after several days of silence, they couldn’t even come up with a good non-denial denial) of news reports of foreign funny money going though them to 2016 US elections.

  17. 17
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Speaking of touchy, why didn’t the Finns intervene when the journalist was assaulted at the presser?

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    @dmsilev:
    Ericks Awry.

  19. 19
    LAO says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, she was arrested on Sunday (the 15th), it’s curious that the announcement wasn’t made until Trump was in the air after Helsinki. I’m no believer in conspiracy theories, but the timing is odd.

  20. 20
    The Dangerman says:

    I feel the pardon a comin’
    It’s rolling round the bend
    And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when…

    /Johnny Cash

    ETA: Shakes first at the Upstairs post

  21. 21
    raven says:

    IN other news Amazon Prime Day is a clusterfuk!

  22. 22
    p.a. says:

    Aaaaaahhhhhhh… nothing better than the lead actors who for decades smear the left with shouts of ‘traitor’ being exposed. Projection, all the way down.

    I believe it was Samuel Johnson who pointed out the loudest yelps for freedom [came] from the drivers of slaves. (pace J. Adams etc.)

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Yep. And while it’s being reported that it came out of the main office in DC, I find it hard to believe that this wasn’t spun off of Mueller’s investigation. Let DC put it out, make it look like Mueller’s not involved with this, and then Mueller’s counterintel folks watch what the network around Butina and Torchin and Erickson does.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I’m convinced every European spy agency is sending Meuller’s team everything it has, and that would be in addition to what the US IC has collected on its own.
    They may have to announce this stuff to keep their piles of evidence from spilling out the windows and on to the street for random passersby to pick up.
    So, it could be coincidence.

    Not Santa Claus, they plug along efficiently and do what they can do. We have to be our own Santa Claus on election day.

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    @raven: Less Amazon = better world.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    @different-church-lady: I dunno, I got in early and got a cuisinart at a great price!

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @raven: How so?

  28. 28

    @LAO: This is gigantic. I have long suspected that the NRA was the conduit from Russia to All-American Heartlanders like JD Gordon and Sam Clovis, who recommended Carter Page and others to Donald Trump as his foreign policy advisors. I started out wondering how these cleancut Middle America types had contact with folks with strong Russian connections, and then material about Butina, Torshin, and the NRA began to come out. None of that is in the current affadavit, but I suspect it will eventually come out.

    The NRA is the connection to many Republican congresscritters.

    Butina claimed she was a conduit from Russia to Donald Trump.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Coincidentally, a sentiment shared by thousands of Brazilian loggers, ranchers and road-builders.

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Baud: Network traffic is overwhelming them.

  31. 31
    jl says:

    @LAO: This is such inside baseball, I doubt the timing of the arrest was intended for some big public PR statement. And timing of an actual arrest maybe can’t be planned to the required level of precision for it to be when president is farting, or in the air, or making a fool of himself in front of cameras or not.

    To the extent there was timing, it’s more of a to ‘those who have ears to hear’, let them hear type of thing.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betty Cracker: He’s Hannukah Harry. The gifts, for instance socks and underwear, are far more practical, but you won’t appreciate that until you’re an adult and realize that you now don’t have to do laundry as often!//

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

  34. 34
    feebog says:

    @jl:

    I’m convinced every European spy agency is sending Meuller’s team everything it has, and that would be in addition to what the US IC has collected on its own.

    Yep. Made that observation in a Facebook post earlier today. Wasn’t it reported that the Dutch were spying on the Russian spys in real time?

  35. 35
    different-church-lady says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I know what Mueller’s team reminds me of: the scene in Stone’s “Wall Street” where Gekko is at peak Gekko, and then Stone just inserts a single wide shot looking in the window of a watchdog agency as they go about their business. No dialog, no characters, no catchphrases, just the law silently going about being the law. That one shot stands out because it’s in such stark contrast to everything in Gekko-world, and it lets you know that he is doomed without saying a word.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

  37. 37
    Mary G says:

    I like to think of this as Mueller giving Putin the finger with both hands. Never thought I would have such a high opinion of the FBI and DOJ, but they are playing to win and I like it a lot.

  38. 38
    Mandalay says:

    The ever pompous Liz Cheney goes rogue and tweets her poutrage:

    As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.

    She might have a point if she hadn’t constantly looked the other way for the past two years. As one of the comments said in response to her bandwagon drivel:

    “Deeply troubled” is the new “thoughts and prayers.”

  39. 39
    different-church-lady says:

    @raven: Well, that’s TOTALLY worth having one man be in charge of all consumer transactions.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    So is the DOJ just trying to make trump look as bad as possible with the timing, Friday and now this?

    He doesn’t need help.

  41. 41
    MagdaInBlack says:

    This arrest makes me smile =-)

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO:

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: I’m “deeply troubled” by every goddamend thing Liz and her father have ever done.

  44. 44
    Yarrow says:

    Tick tock, motherfuckers! Traitors will pay.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Little known fact: she stole those pearls from Barbara Bush shortly after Putin stole the Superbowl ring from Robert Kraft.

    #MariaIsBadass

  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    @trollhattan: It’s almost like they have something against discounts on premium kitchen appliances!

  47. 47
    jl says:

    @feebog: I remember a few news stores about different aspects of the Russian operation being completely penetrated in one way or another by several European countries. One (France, Belgium… ?:) was getting emails before the recipients were. Dutch were intercepting every key stroke and had taken control of security cams so they could see whether some one who left off typing went to get coffee or took a bathroom break.

    If all those countries have sent Mueller stuff, he must have mountains of evidence and leads. In addition, of course, to what US has on its own.

  48. 48
    trollhattan says:

    @Mandalay:
    Liz knows the right way to conduct a cold war, damnit. Daddy taught her.

    Thanks again, Wyoming.

  49. 49
    LAO says:

    @jl: IDK — she was arrested yesterday, I would expect the complaint to be unsealed at 9:00 am and that she appear before the magistrate immediately and that did not happen. There are 3 main reasons why that may be: (1) there was a proffer session prior to the arraignment (2) her defense counsel wasn’t available to the afternoon or (3) the prosecution intentionally delayed the arraignment for its own reasons. (If it was reason no. 2 — she should fire her lawyer). Who knows what happened — but it would be irresponsible of us not to speculate.

  50. 50
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s what I’m talking about. Yikes.

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:

    Call Congressman Bob Goodlatte at: (202) 225-5431. Tell him it is time to put his Country over his party and begin hearings on the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @joel hanes:

    Please, FSM, I seldom ask for anything, but please:
    let Wayne LaPierre be caught in the net and prosecuted and convicted.

    Amen. Also too, Dana Loesch.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    I’m inside today, not like last weekend spent in the hot sun. Can I stop drinking from this firehose for awhile? Not thirsty.

    Thanks

  54. 54
    jl says:

    @LAO: It’s always irresponsible for BJ commentrariate not to speculate. I agree there.

  55. 55
    trollhattan says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    We actually have a dude in congress named “Goodlatte”? Why is he not a bigly Starbucks franchisee?

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    Have never really grasped the point of the Russia/NRA relationship (unless they’ll gladly cash a check from anybody, with no questions asked). In the USSR, private gun ownership was basically prohibited, as far as I knew. Doubtful that things have much changed under Vlad. Anyway, this has been an interesting Monday.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    As chilled vodka flowed through an ice sculpture—a bottle imprinted with the Soviet hammer and sickle—she took some time to brag. She brazenly claimed that she had been part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia, two individuals who were present said. On other occasions, in one of her graduate classes, she repeated this claim.

    As I suggested in another thread, I have no doubt that Maria Butina, but she was not very subtle about what she was doing, and left a thread that a blind bloodhound with sinus problems could easily follow. There’s gotta be bigger fish being protected by these little minnows.

    ETA: CNN just played a political ad endorsing the Supreme Court nominee. The pundits can express their surprise and outrage, but political life and commerce must go on.

  58. 58
    zhena gogolia says:

    What Ph.D. program was she in?

  59. 59
    Gvg says:

    @Adam L Silverman: we ordinary folk wait for Mueller (and the elections) but the actual IC and for that matter the Justice department, don’t have to wait, they can investigate themselves. It’s possible Mueller isn’t the source, though he probably is. It would be better if their were multiple investigators, especially if the GOP doesn’t realize it.
    I know Justice is headed by Sessions, but if he doesn’t know, he can’t order an investigation stopped, plus if he does order a stop, that becomes a smoking gun. Just because the top layer of appointees is rotten, doesn’t mean the rest aren’t loyal. But a low profile would be more effective. I also hope several states are looking into things independently.
    I wonder if Putin understood that no President can change certain things like laws or treaties by simple decree? A lot of Americans didn’t seem to understand Obama couldn’t make us Muslim even if he had wanted to.
    I am really happy with this news.

  60. 60
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Guessing they grasp (correctly) that NRA is a very efficient conduit who are likewise thrilled to take anybody’s money to do whatever.

  61. 61
    Yarrow says:

    @jl:

    I’m convinced every European spy agency is sending Meuller’s team everything it has, and that would be in addition to what the US IC has collected on its own.

    Mueller already has everything. Thank you NATO. Thank you Five Eyes.

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So he’ll wait until he returns to DC to issue the pardon? 🤔

  63. 63

  64. 64
    jl says:

    @Mike in NC: IIRC, NRA filled in with money and resources for campaign infrastructure and GOTV after Trumpsters proved themselves incompetent to run a national campaign and were able to do precisely nothing. So, I think Russian govt-NRA connection is more about the former seeing the latter as a good bet to funnel money into US political system that would be put to effective use. Both are basically organizations with deep interest in propping up white power and authoritarian regimes, so enough common interest there.

  65. 65
    tobie says:

    I think I’m going to brush the dust off my tinfoil hat. Maybe the Democrats did win in 2016. We will never know for sure but, man, the results are looking suspicious.
    @zhena gogolia: Good advice. I’ll call my awful GOP congressman’s office now.

  66. 66
    zhena gogolia says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    School of International Service, American U.:

    Yulia Melnikova, an exchange student from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations noted that “so far, the trip to Gettysburg has been the first and most fascinating experience of mine in the USA. The fact that we could agree on certain issues and have an argument on the others; listen, understand and teach each other made me believe in feasibility of improvement of mutual relations between our countries. Since in the end, we are the same people, who have similar problems, complaints, aspirations and dreams; whilst conferences like this once again prove it to be true.” SIS MA student Maria Butina put it this way: “Our trip was like a time machine that took us through the present, the future and the past of U.S. / Russia / Ukraine / Belarus / Azerbaijan relations. We had a great time learning about each other – students from all of these countries (and two American universities!) that represented different generations and cultures. It helped us to focus on similarities that unite us more than on the differences that divide us.”

  67. 67
    Dev Null says:

    @joel hanes: Amen. Let it be so…

  68. 68
    zhena gogolia says:

    @tobie:

    Call Goodlatte. They’re taking messages. He’s Chair of the House judiciary Committee.

  69. 69
    Dev Null says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: “Also, Dana Loesch”.

    This too…

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Russian grad students are flushed with money. All the ones I’ve worked with certainly are (ha ha, that is a joke. All the ones I know are flat broke. Earlier this year I would pick one of them ups sometimes for meetings, since his crappy bike kept breaking down)

  71. 71
    Steeplejack says:

    @dmsilev:

    No, Paul is a South Dakota native.

    But get this niblet from his Wikipedia article:

    For a year between his time at USD [University of South Dakota] and Yale, Erickson served as the national treasurer of the College Republicans in Washington, D.C., whose staff at the time included Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, and Jack Abramoff.

  72. 72
    zhena gogolia says:

    @jl:

    Every decent Russian person is flat broke.

  73. 73
    Yarrow says:

    @Steeplejack: It’s traitors all the way down.

  74. 74
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well, if I am recalling my history readings correctly – always a dubious proposition, Finland was part of Russia.

    Just not recently.

    So M isn’t wrong, only anachronistic.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    @zhena gogolia: I thought the guy was loafing, then he showed me his bike one day, that he repaired on his way to meeting, late by almost an hour. I feared for the guy’s safety after i saw the bike, and admired his ingenuity at keeping the mess running.

    Edit: but, does show how much decent Russians and Americans have in common. Maybe Trump should talk about that to build solidarity of great Russian and American peoples: his fossil fuel economy of the future will fix that problem, and Vlad will be on board.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    zhena gogolia says:

    @jl:

    They used to fix T-34 tanks with twine.

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @Baud:

    Apparently the link for the Prime Day page was broken or overwhelmed.

    Newsweek story.

  79. 79
    Dev Null says:

    @Steeplejack: Ooooo-la-la, the RatFvcker Caucus!

    This is appalling. Appalling, I say.

    Please don’t let it stop!

  80. 80
    Elizabelle says:

    @tobie: I think the Democrats did win in 2016. And I hope that comes out, sooner rather than later.

  81. 81
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @jl:

    and admired his ingenuity at keeping the mess running.

    That’s what everybody in the USSR did.

  82. 82
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Thoughts and opinions on this?

    No such thing as Bernie Bros: Bernie’s approval rates are women 50%, blacks 70%, latinx 55%; men 46%, whites 43%

    https://boingboing.net/2018/01/22/a-future-to-believe-in.html

    A Quinnipiac poll of 1,212 voters taken last week found that Bernie Sanders was far and away the most viable Democratic candidate (76% approval), beating Oprah (69%) and Gillibrand (25%) — and that moreover, his approval ratings were highest among women and people of color, putting a lie to the stereotype of “Bernie Bros” as young, middle-class white male political radicals who are oblivious to the more moderate preferences of others.

    Either you have a very robust theory of false consciousness to explain this or maybe you should reconsider the idea that Bernie speaks only to and for white bros.

  83. 83
    Dev Null says:

    @dmsilev:

    Trump makes Trump look as bad as possible, no external help needed.

    Ross Douthat Verified account @DouthatNYT

    One difficulty with the “Trump is a Russian asset” theory is that you would expect a real Russian asset to pretend he isn’t one publicly while quietly pursuing pro-Russian policies behind the scenes; Trump has basically done the reverse.

    9:10 AM – 16 Jul 2018

    But then Ross Cardinal Douchehat destroys his own theory with this pithy observation:

    Ross Douthat Verified account @DouthatNYT

    Of course it would also be in character for Trump to be a Russian asset who’s really terrible at the job.

  84. 84
    Bill says:

    @trollhattan: If only he had been better friends with Scott Pruitt maybe he could have finagled a franchise

  85. 85
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Somebody’s doing yeoman’s work digging up a bunch of these.

  86. 86
    GeoBoy says:

    Is it possible that no one has actually typed “Lock her up!” yet?

  87. 87
    Mandalay says:

    While a few disloyal Republicans went rogue over Trump’s surrender in Helsinki, Mike Pence went The Onion route:

    Our @POTUS is now on his way home from a historic trip to Europe. And the truth is, over the last week, the world saw once again that President Trump stands without apology as the leader of the free world.

    I remember people were praying that Bush One didn’t come to any harm because it meant Dan Quayle would be running the country. I almost feel the same way about Trump.

  88. 88
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m losing the thread (and neurons) and am too old to put all the connections together, but in the Olden Times, Before There was Mueller, weren’t four-to-six (geo-)offices involved? There was the PA office, there was a Bay Area office, and maybe a Seetle office … and then DC and NY and maybe Boston.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    It’s the white supremacy. They’re both soaking in it.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: I doubt that. Barbara Bush would 1) cut a bitch and 2) was a damn good shot!

  91. 91
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Pfft. That could be ANY gun rights organization and major political party.

  92. 92
    cmorenc says:

    That one of the bank of 4 TVs at the front of the workout room at the YMCA I regularly used is tuned to Faux News is an irritant in my regular workout there, which is aggravated by the fact that the time I usually go coincides with Hannity’s show and one of the essential machines for my workout is smack in front of *that* TV. However, tonight may be a rare occasion when it’s actually going to be sort of fun watching Hannity try to spin contortions even a master yoga teacher can’t do trying to explain why Trump’s disastrous summit with Putin today is a glorious success, in the face of so much condemnation from Repulicans today.

  93. 93
    zhena gogolia says:

    This article gives a detailed account of the charges, but then says it’s “highly likely” (the words given in English) that it’s a “provocation” by the U.S. intelligence agencies on the occasion of the Helsinki “summit.”

    https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=3039039

  94. 94
    Dev Null says:

    @jl: uh, I’ve heard this said about Chinese industrial espionage and US defense contractors, too.

    It’s a fishbowl world!

    Or sumpthin’

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dev Null:

    Nah, I totally spaced and forgot that the meeting was in Finland, not Russia. No delicious Finnish vodka for me!

  96. 96
    waratah says:

    The Department of Justice does not seem to be worried about elections thank you very much DOJ.

  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Erickson is an attorney. He lives in Nashville (he’s involved with Blackburn’s senatorial campaign to succeed Corker). Maybe she asked for him as her attorney and he had to fly in.

  98. 98
    Mike in DC says:

    Can you use the RICO statute to abolish a 501(c) organization? Asking for a friend.

  99. 99
    jl says:

    @Dev Null: You have to admit that a foreign grad student funding trips for Americans to big confabs across the world is a different MO. That was my point, made partly in jest.

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Yep. As with the indictments handed down by Mueller, there are a lot of important details in the actual bodies of the indictments. This is not, as Pete Williams on MSNBC explained an hour or so ago, just about failing to register as a foreign agent under FARA.

  101. 101

    @Mnemosyne: Depends on what Vlad asks him to do.

  102. 102
    Dev Null says:

    @tobie: 80K votes spread across 3 states. An epsilon-delta sorta thing.

    Equally significant, PA and WI narrowly (re-)elected GOP senators who were expected to lose their seats.

  103. 103
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    No idea how good a shot Maria may be but with one of these I doubt you need precision. (from her Facebook page)

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: IR at American University.

  105. 105
  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    I do like the directness of BBC headline writers.

    Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit

    We are laughingstock to our best friends and a badly wounded adversary to others. Not a good time.

  107. 107
    tobie says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: My thoughts on this are pretty simple: the most recognizable name in the Democratic Party after Obama is Bernie Sanders. And, Obama is doing the post-presidential thing and keeping a low profile and the Clinton name has been dragged through the mud. So as the perceived alternative to Trump, he’s getting lots of approval. He’s also the only politician who has consistently gotten fawning coverage. I don’t know of any public figure who has been doted on the way he has. I assume that’s because Dems never wanted to attack him and the press loved that he was dividing the party from within. Just look at the hate directed toward an accomplished figure like Pelosi. How many times have I read that her age is disqualifying while nary word is said about Sander’s age?

  108. 108
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: This article from Tim Mak in 2017 has a good run down on Erickson’s GOP bio:
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-kremlin-and-gop-have-a-new-friendand-boy-does-she-love-guns

  109. 109
    Yarrow says:

    @Mike in DC: Are you talking about RICO for the RNC? It’s coming. That’ll be fun.

  110. 110
    Dev Null says:

    @jl: Oh, hunh. I thought you were talking about American / allies penetration into Russian cyber networks.

    When I backtrack the quotes, I get to one of your comments that seems to be saying exactly that.

    But perhaps I misunderstood.

    If I’m wrong, well … not the first time, won’t be the last, I’m sure.

  111. 111
    Jamey says:

    Wow. Shit done got real…

  112. 112
    trollhattan says:

    @tobie:
    Great summary and I think accurate. I had to explain to my 16YO this weekend that Bernie is not a Democrat and yet wanted/wants the party to change their rules and platform in his favor, while running for their ticket. She allows as to how a lot of her friends are Bernie lovers. She, I’m proud to say, was all-in for Hilz. I’m having a little more difficulty getting her to understand California’s new primary system in light of the state party not endorsing DiFi last week. Cat-herding 101.

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: There are a ton of them out there.

  114. 114
    MomSense says:

    This is a BFD

  115. 115
    jl says:

    @Dev Null: As long as it is clear that Russian grad students I’ve personally worked with were NOT offering US bigshots paid trips to foreign conferences, no problem.

  116. 116
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @joel hanes: @Adam L Silverman:

    Looks like the NRA may be tangled up with this latest arrestee and thus may be taken down a peg if she decides to squeal.

  117. 117
    Dev Null says:

    @zhena gogolia: In my line of (grad school) work, we used duct tape and apiezon (the latter fondly referred to as, er, “monkey poo”).

  118. 118
    Yarrow says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I also remember that Rudy Giuliani was supposed to win the Republican nomination in 2008 and he couldn’t even get past the first few states. At this point it means name recognition and is the result of good press. Hillary never really went after him so he got through that campaign with none of his dirt being dug up. That won’t happen again and those polls will change. It means nothing at this point.

    Also, too…Russia. We see you, Bernie.

  119. 119
    Chyron HR says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Weren’t we supposed to throw out the Democratic primary results and give Bernie his coronation because he was the champion of the glorious white working master race and would have won over Republican voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oklahoma? Was that all a lie?

  120. 120
    geg6 says:

    @cmorenc:

    I would quit that gym. And tell the management exactly why. No traitors in my eyesight.

    I’m over all of this not stepping on Trumpsters’ fee fees. Fuck that shit.

    ACT UP!

  121. 121
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dev Null: Yep, Different field offices handle different things. A lot of the national security stuff is actually out of the Pittsburgh office if I’m recalling correctly. Not sure why that is, but it is.

  122. 122
    scott (the other one) says:

    I’m not normally a big fan of asset forfeiture, but I’d be just fine with the DoJ seizing all of the NRA’s assets—lock, stock and barrel.

  123. 123
    Shell says:

    Now that a lot of Republican pols are expressing their (mild) displeasure with Trump’s cow-towing, I wonder if he’s going to go all Caligula on them.

  124. 124
    Dev Null says:

    @jl: Roger that. :-)

    Not an idea that had occurred to me.

  125. 125
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @MomSense: And this is the only place I’m hearing about this arrest. Am watching Nicole Wallace and she hasn’t mentioned this as yet.

  126. 126
    hueyplong says:

    You have to like the idea of NRA guys suddenly lining up to cooperate with Mueller.

    “He’ll get ahold of some NRAers and make them SQUEAL. I know the squealers when I see them, and…. [points at screen]”

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    @tobie:

    I don’t know who the hell they are talking to in these polls. I don’t know a soul who thinks well of Bernie at this point. Fuck that stupid old man.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    I’m assuming that not endorsing DiFi is just good old-fashioned politicking — De Léon is pretty powerful in Sacto and they don’t want to piss him off, even though he’s probably going to lose.

    Hint for De Léon for next time: try not to use misogynistic attacks against a fellow party member. It pisses off the actual Democratic base even though it thrills your Bros.

  129. 129
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s my recollection too (“Pittsburgh”).

  130. 130
    Doug R says:

    @cmorenc: Just memorize the TV’s brand, buy a universal remote and try the codes.

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Actually she and Torshin hosted Alan Gottlieb of the 2nd Amendment Foundation (SAF) in Russia as well. SAF is actually the heavy hitters in 2nd Amendment litigation. They brought Heller and MacDonald, not the NRA. And in both cases the NRA tried to blow up the suits out of fear they’d lose. I’d be very surprised if there weren’t also strong connections with Pratt at Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Brown at National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). I know that NAGR, Rand Paul, and Thomas Massie share email mailing lists.

  132. 132
    Chris Johnson says:

    @tobie:

    Maybe the Democrats did win in 2016. We will never know for sure but, man, the results are looking suspicious.

    No shit we did.

  133. 133
    Jeffro says:

    @geg6: “get in good trouble “ – John Lewis

  134. 134
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Maria Butina Wayne LaPierre

    Why am I getting a dominatrix vibe from that photo? Le Phew looks exhilarated..

  135. 135
    Immanentize says:

    @geg6: they polled Russian bots.

  136. 136
    Chris Johnson says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Not the time for that sort of talk.

  137. 137
    Platonailedit says:

    bbc summed it up best, imo

    Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit.

  138. 138
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: That’s a large caliber sniper rifle. Basically the Russian equivalent of a Barrett .50 cal. Requires a lot of skill as its a precision weapon in the right hands.

  139. 139
    Dev Null says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Weren’t we supposed to throw out the Democratic primary results and give Bernie his coronation because he was the champion of the glorious white working master race and would have won over Republican voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oklahoma?

    One of my close relatives, a BernieBro of the female persuasion, advocated for this outcome. I kept saying to her, “Wait, not all the working class is white, amirite?”

    Not sure she ever heard me.

    But in fairness to her, she supported HRC in the general.

  140. 140
    rikyrah says:

    @Baud:

    Tick tock, motherfuckers.

    Not Yarrow, but it never gets old.

  141. 141
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike in NC:
    The National Rifle/Russian/Republican Association will accept money from anyone who is willing to pay them. Unfortunately the only people who want to give them money, are all not friends of democracy, freedom, decency, humanity, POC, women, the poor, etc, etc.

  142. 142
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @trollhattan: I’m deeply ambivalent about DiFi– voted for the Iraq War, first round of Bush tax cuts, was always a reliable vote for people like Mukasey long after Bush and his appointees should have lost any benefit of the doubt–, and I’ve seen some good reports about De Leon, but that endorsement struck me as a poorly timed effort to make a point, whatever that point may have been. He won the vote of 65% of 333 delegates who think he “energizes the base!” a few weeks after she beat De Leon by more than 2 million votes, including his home district

    “Kevin de León represents the future of the Democratic Party — a solidly progressive legislator who can see that things like Medicare for all and moving forward on climate justice are the things that really energize our base in the long run,” said Daraka Larimore-Hall, 44, a Santa Barbara community college professor and a member of the executive committee who voted for Mr. de León.

    He has a slogan! Feinstein put out an ad on health care that i thought could be a template for ever Dem Senate candidate, from the “red” states to CA and MA.

  143. 143
    rikyrah says:

    @LAO:

    I skimmed the complaint and it reads like a spy novel.

    That’s cause IT IS a spy novel.

  144. 144
    Dev Null says:

    @scott (the other one): Hahahahahha.

    I am totes stealing this, dude….

  145. 145
    Roger Moore says:

    @Yarrow:

    Are you talking about RICO for the RNC?

    I think he’s suggesting it for the NRA. 503(c)3 covers what we think of as traditional charities (“Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations”) donations to which are tax deductible. Contributions to political organizations are not tax deductible, and explicitly political organizations like RNC are covered under section 527.

  146. 146
    Steeplejack says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I don’t know what program she is/​was in, but apparently the school is American University. (Found via a comment on a sports site, of all things.)

  147. 147
    Dev Null says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Civil liberties / national surveillance state?

    Might be getting crosswise with most of the commentariat here (or perhaps not), but I am not a fan of creeping surveillance auth.

  148. 148
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Steeplejack:

    AU, School of International Service — see heartwarming quotation from her at #66.

  149. 149
    Roger Moore says:

    @scott (the other one):

    I’d be just fine with the DoJ seizing all of the NRA’s assets—lock, stock and barrel.

    You’ve been waiting to say that, haven’t you?

  150. 150
    David Anderson says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Pittsburgh gets a lot of the cybersecurity cases because of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon is a good drunk stumble across a bridge and up the hill.

    The SEI folks are some of the nerdiest hackers and white hats in the world

  151. 151
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, but the document says “[GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION] [is] the largest sponsor of the elections to the US Congress”. That narrows it down pretty good (and makes me wonder why they bothered hiding the name).

  152. 152
    tobie says:

    @geg6: I don’t know who pollsters are talking to but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders is liked as that sort of crazy, cantankerous uncle you see every Thanksgiving who is crabby but lovable. That’s not my impression of him, but I recently had occasion to listen to my pretty-mainstream, once-upon-a-time-Bill-Clinton-loving Democratic family members and the two things that stood out to me were (1) their warmth for Bernie, though they wouldn’t actually want him to be President and (2) their hate for Nancy Pelosi, whom they blame for the Democrat’s loss of power. This is the crap that’s peddled on TV on a daily basis. Propaganda works–the Russians certainly know that.

  153. 153
    Ruckus says:

    @tobie:
    Sanders is not a Democrat, has never been one, regardless of what you heard in the last presidential election.

  154. 154
    Thoughtful David says:

    @jl:
    Don’t underestimate the NRA’s racism. The “good guy with a gun” can always be read as “the good white guy with a gun.” They’re never out defending the rights of AA or Muslims to own guns.
    They and Putin have common goals.

  155. 155
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I see it as a thumb in her eye for no good reason. She thumped him in June 44 to 12%. I say this as a non-DiFi fan but De Leon jumped the shark getting in bed with the charter school crowd and is dead to me. The CA Dems have some housecleaning to do.

  156. 156
    Mary G says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: DiFi released the transcript of the testimony of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS against all rules of comity and whatnot in the Senate. That cut the “witch hunt” theory of the time right out. She is my hero for that. Also, like Mnem says, there is more than a little sexism and ageism in the party against her, and I’m not having that anymore. If she needed it, I would donate to her campaign, but she doesn’t, so I continue to support Senate candidates out of state.

    As for DeLeon, he energizes the base for values of the base equaling “people who think Democrats can provide unicorns and ponies for every garage if they’re just brave enough, and think older women are squicky.”

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:

    @Yarrow:

    Inorite. And they’ve been around forever! It’s like finding out that not only does your house have termites, they’ve been there since before you bought it and paid for that expensive inspection that said everything was A-OK. Grr!

  158. 158
    zhena gogolia says:

    Butina’s bio on SNOB talks about her forebears being Kuban Cossacks and the first Russian inhabitants of Siberia. Dogwhistle. She also credits herself with exposing Navalny.

  159. 159
    ruemara says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: My thought is, “Fuck Bernie”, my opinion is, “Fuck Bernie & a sample size of 1200 is hardly relevant. What are the crosstabs, the relevant political involvement and likely voter levels? Plus, Fuck Bernie, again?

    Did I mention Fuck Bernie for using Ocasio as a beard to campaign AGAINST a progressive Native American lesbian in KS? Fuuuuuuuck Bernie.

  160. 160
    tobie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Didn’t the single-payer bill go nowhere in the CA state legislature? I’m trying to remember what made the bill DOA. De Leon was involved with this as the senate president pro tempore.

  161. 161
    Yarrow says:

    From a WH source: Even those who like Trump no longer like Trump.— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) July 16, 2018

    Sad!

  162. 162
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @rikyrah:
    John Le Carre is just shakin” his head at this one.

  163. 163
    Yarrow says:

    Mariia Butina, a Russian national, has been charged with acting as a surreptitious Russian agent and establishing a secret back channel with the GOP through the NRA.

    More likely to come on this; no wonder GOP members of HPSCI refused our request to bring her and others in. https://t.co/UWhoxHz3lr
    — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 16, 2018

    Obstruction of Justice, Devin Nunes.

  164. 164
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Patricia Kayden: She’s not American, that means she’s not subject to FISA requirements for surveillance. They have everything. Every phone call, every text, every Twitter DM, every email. All of it. And they’ve got authorization, to make sure it is kosher under FISA, to unmask all the Americans mentioned in those communications.

  165. 165
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Ali Velshi covered it around 3:20 PM. Unfortunately Pete Williams mangled the details of the indictment when Velshi had him on.

  166. 166
    Roger Moore says:

    @tobie:

    Didn’t the single-payer bill go nowhere in the CA state legislature? I’m trying to remember what made the bill DOA.

    The short summary is that Prop 98 killed single payer. It requires a minimum of 39% of all state revenue to be spent on schools, and the legislature can’t get around it. It’s effectively impossible to create a massive new program like single payer if 39% of the new revenues you generate to pay for it will be used for schools instead.

  167. 167
    Dev Null says:

    @David Anderson: yep. CMU more generally.

  168. 168
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ruemara:

    progressive Native American lesbian in KS

    is the name of my alt-folk cover band.//

    More seriously, Davids is an excellent candidate and that irked me too!

  169. 169
    scott (the other one) says:

    @Roger Moore: As the FSM is my witness, I only decided to add it at the very end. (Both in terms of placement and timing.)

  170. 170
    Yutsano says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: It’s called cherry picking. They’re trying to show the results in a vacuum instead of in the context of the poll. If you look at the Democratic numbers, of course the Democratic demographics will go for Bernie IF HE’S THE ONLY CHOICE. Terrible framing by the writers but Bernie bros gotta Bernie bro.

  171. 171
    hueyplong says:

    @Adam L Silverman:There are a lot of GOPers who will suddenly forget their prior FISA and other national security-related votes and start yelping about privacy.

    And to address someone else above, the first thing I thought when I saw that photo with LaPierre was that there might be a second pee tape out there.

  172. 172
    trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    The WilmerBros will suggest turning schools all into health clinics.

  173. 173
    Ruckus says:

    @trollhattan:
    I agree with your take on this.
    We need reasonable turn over, and the old guard to teach the younger, upcoming politicians and retire after decent careers. That’s how progress is made. We all get older, we all lose our edge. Some have such a great edge that even loosing a lot of it is ok.
    So the question is, are we at a CA senator crossroads? Is it time to change? Maybe, so the next question is, this a or the proper replacement?

  174. 174
    Dev Null says:

    @scott (the other one): As the Filial Unit told the Maternal Unit:

    You’re really quite the wit. Too bad you don’t understand why you’re a wit.

  175. 175
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David Anderson: Thanks.

  176. 176
    hedgehog mobile says:

    @joel hanes: Ramen.

  177. 177
    Dev Null says:

    @Ruckus: wait, wut?!? You’re suggesting that us 70-yos have lost our edge?!?

    Bring me the smelling salts! Where is the fainting couch?!?

    er, ah … never mind.

  178. 178
    Steeplejack says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Late to the thread, as usual.

  179. 179
    Roger Moore says:

    @trollhattan:
    Honestly, I think Prop 98 had laudable aims, and I think California needs to spend more on schools (and less on prisons) than it currently does. But an unfortunate side effect of Prop 98 is that it makes big new social programs very difficult to pull off without a ballot initiative.

  180. 180
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hueyplong: I’m sure they will. But she’s not American, so FISA doesn’t apply. And she was clearly a covered operative of the Russian government, so any and all Americans she was in touch with are, provided that proper need to know is being demonstrated, subject to unmasking.

  181. 181
    trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    I’ve always thought it was problematic in taking too much budgetary authority from the legislature but back then Prop 13 continued to wield disastrous impacts on school budgets and Republicans had a lot more clout, and not in a good way so I understood the intent. Wrong tool.

  182. 182
    scott (the other one) says:

    @Dev Null: …well, that was kinda hurtful.

  183. 183
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m guessing you play a lot of Indigo Girls covers.

  184. 184
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: There’s a huge difference between “approval” and “BernieBro”, is where I’d go with that.

    Hell, depending on what day you ask me I “approve” of Bernie in sum, though I think he caused enormous damage during the ’16 election because of his own hubris.

  185. 185
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    Yeah, my feeling towards De Léon is like, Hey, if you’ve decided that you don’t need the votes of middle-aged centrist Democratic women, then you do you, boo. I’ll just be over here holding my nose as I vote for DiFi.

  186. 186
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ruemara: I know the Indigo Girls. Not well – they wouldn’t know me from Adam and I am Adam, but I have met them.

  187. 187
    Duane says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Saw Rand Paul on CNN a moment ago, discussing Trumpov. Unbelievable. He’s on the traitor side.

  188. 188
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Duane: It’s all the chemicals for the perm. They’ve seeped into his brain!

  189. 189
    Haroldo says:

    @Duane: And this surprises you why?

  190. 190
    pluky says:

    @Steeplejack: Now that is a very tasty tidbit.

  191. 191
    Dev Null says:

    @scott (the other one): oops, sorry, not intended to hurt.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    And I’m not even Roman Catholic …

    That description has been lobbed at just about everyone in my two-degrees-of-separation genetic acquaintance.

    Including me.

    Never imagined that you would take it as specific to you.

  192. 192
    Dev Null says:

    @Duane: My LIE-bertarian buds tell me Rand Paul isn’t really a LIE-bertarian, he’s a politician.

    Something like “no true Scotsman”, I guess …

    Or perhaps “libertarian” and “politician” anti-commute.

  193. 193
    Dev Null says:

    @David Anderson: Well, but …

    I tend to think of MITRE as the focal point of cyber vulns.

  194. 194
    Tom Q says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I think you’re reading this poll incorrectly. (Well, the person writing the post presented it incorrectly; not blaming you.) This is a poll of all Americans, not Democrats. And African Americans are overwhelmingly Democratic, so it’s not surprising they’d give higher approvals to a liberal, even one we think is a faux Democrat, than white folk. Similarly, women lean more Democratic than men do, so having women approve more highly than men just means the parties have a gender gap.

    You’d need to poll Dems only and ask their comparative feelings about various candidates — male, female, different races — to get the kind of conclusion being pushed here.

  195. 195
    Dev Null says:

    @Dev Null: saying “my bad”

  196. 196
    The Lodger says:

    @Dev Null: And without those downticket Republican votes for the U.S. Senators, politics would be quite a bit different now, wouldn’t it?

  197. 197
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @ruemara: maybe my favorite line from 30 Rock
    Jack Donaghy, sarcastically: And which Indigo Girls album provided you with that nugget of wisdom, Lemon?
    Liz Lemon, all wounded sincerity: Vagabonds, Quilts and Moonlight.

  198. 198
    Dev Null says:

    @The Lodger: I think you’re saying that had Ross Feingold been elected rather than brain-dead cipher Ron Johnson, and/or Kate McGinty, rather than Pat Toomey, “politics would be very different”.

    Yes.

    That was precisely my point.

    Press has focused on the presidential race, but Feingold’s loss in WI was a complete surprise. Not so sure about McGinty, but I think so.

    Russians stole both the presidential election (with, ahem, help from that last honorable Republican, James Comey) and perhaps two senate seats as well.

    Stealing the presidency was the Big Kahuna, but stealing both the presidency and two senate seats was … nukular.

    I think I contributed to McGinty’s campaign. I seem to remember thinking that Feingold was a slam dunk, so why bother … so many more marginal candidates to boost over the edge.

  199. 199
    hugely says:

    @Adam L Silverman: hoo boy fun times!

  200. 200
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @Doug R: or I can send you my TV-B-Gone

  201. 201
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @scott (the other one):

    I’d be just fine with the DoJ seizing all of the NRA’s assets—Glock, stock and barrel.

    FTFY! :^D

  202. 202
    Dev Null says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Glock, stock, and barrel

    :-)

    this, too …

  203. 203
    J R in WV says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    This sounds to me like a cherry-picked set of responders. Sanders is a Russian Stooge, from back in the days when they were communists, and so was he. They aren’t any more, and neither is he, he’s a stooge, owned the same way Trump is.

    Seen his tax returns yet?

    Though so!

  204. 204
    Dev Null says:

    @The Lodger: Perhaps I took your comment too seriously; perhaps you were speaking ironically.

    If so, well, …, sorry. I’m kinda spotty at recognizing dry / ironic humor.

Comments are closed.