The Mueller Investigation: A Few Thoughts

 

I’ve been watching and reading the coverage of this all evening and here’s what I think is likely to happen:

  1. Whitaker will be read on to all or part of the Special Counsel’s investigation.
  2. Specifically either Rosenstein and/or Mueller will read him on to the material that shows his op-ed and remarks on CNN were pure fabrication because he has no actual idea what Mueller is doing, nor what the counterintelligence information is.
  3. They’ll also include in this whatever info they have on or got from Sam Clovis, who Whitaker used to work for and with.
  4. At that point:
    a) Whitaker will, himself, either seek a DOJ ethics section opinion on recusal and follow it or he’ll let things alone for the time being.
    b) Whitaker will do whatever he’s going to do to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

I think it is important for everyone to remember that Special Counsel Mueller has been planning for something like this to happen. As such he has contingency plans in place and for each contingency plan he has multiple sequels (to use DOD planning terminology). I would expect to see a bunch of indictments, either previously sealed ones or ones prepared and waiting to go, to be dropped in short order. I would also expect that whatever could be farmed out to the Federal prosecutorial districts, such as the Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as to the state level, such as NY state, Maryland, Virginia, and DC will be handed off to them. Whitaker will have limited ability to interfere with anything Mueller hands off or farms out to the Federal prosecutorial districts and no ability at all to interfere with state or DC prosecutions. I’m in agreement with Cheryl that the President’s response here isn’t strategic, rather it’s reflexive.

I also expect, just as we saw with Sessions, that a selected leak or two from the intel community will be quickly released as warning shots across Whitaker’s bow. You’ll recall that the intel community leaked very quickly to force Sessions to recuse himself. And it then leaked a second time regarding Sessions when it looked like he might be trying to, if not interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation, then peer into it and see what was going on with the investigation. Both of these were warnings. Sessions recognized them as such and quickly adjusted his behavior accordingly. I expect that whatever there is on Whitaker, most likely from the fraudulent Miami patents company that he was involved with and that was fined by the US government, is being weaponized now and lined up for a quick release if a warning is needed to get Whitaker in line.

Finally, if Whitaker decides to seriously interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation I expect that our allied and partner’s intelligence communities will start to strategically leak. A lot of them have provided the Special Counsel with the information he needs for the counterintelligence portion of his investigation, they are very, very, very worried about Putin, his intentions, his capabilities, and his behavior, as well as the apparent connections between Putin and the President’s businesses, his campaign, and his administration. They will do what they need to do to protect themselves.

So strap in, buckle up, and hold on as it’s going to be a crazy ride for the next few days. And remember that while things seem dire, every previous time it seems that the President and his catspaws were coming for Bob Mueller they failed to stop his investigation. That doesn’t mean it is safe this time, but it does mean that Special Counsel Mueller has been paying attention, has his plans in place, and will respond accordingly when he needs to do so. And, as with everything else the Special Counsel does, we won’t really know what those responses are until he makes them. He’s rigged for silent running, he has his targets selected, he’s got his firing solutions dialed in, and he will prosecute those targets on his schedule.

And if you don’t want to believe me, believe former Special Agent Asha Rangappa, who was a counterintelligence specialist at the FBI and is also an attorney.

Twelve more tweets after the jump.

Once again we are off the looking glass and through the map.

Open thread!

108 replies
  1. 1
    chopper says:

    kobach as AG? wow, those court-mandated remedial law classes really paid off for the guy.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @chopper: I’ve always suspected that he was either headed there or to DHS to replace Nielsen.

  3. 3
    Yarrow says:

    I love those graphics. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

  4. 4
    Gin & Tonic says:

    One would think that by now Mueller’s team is largely done with their investigation, no? They’ve been at it for some time. My point being that firing him or shutting down the investigation by other means may have made tactical sense 6-9 months ago, but now?

  5. 5

    Thanks as always for the intelligent and well-stated commentary. Will be forwarding to a couple friends.

  6. 6
    MomSense says:

    I’ve heard some speculation that Whitaker isn’t actually eligible for a recess appointment because Sessions said that he was asked to resign ie fired.

    Any of our lawyers want to weigh in?

  7. 7
    Marcopolo says:

    See, the problem here is that Asha is using logic & facts in her assertions. And a crystalline clarity. Logic & facts & clarity have no standing inside the Trump event horizon. At least that is what I have deduced from extensive outside observation.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    “No looking glass! No looking glass! You’re the map.”

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: I’ve been saving them for a special occasion. I have no idea who originally did them, but they are very good.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: If not done, then significantly far along.

  11. 11
    Brickley Paiste says:

    My only thought on this is that I am so grateful that Robert Mueller is vastly smarter than I am and he has anticipated this for months and made plans accordingly.

    Please.

  12. 12
    Marcopolo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I would think DHS. You’d have to believe he’s spent enough time around Trump to aspire to a cabinet position that leaves a little more space between the two of them than AG.

  13. 13

    @Adam L Silverman: There was a tweet earlier that Trump was thinking of replacing Nielsen with Kobach. Part of today’s anger fit.

  14. 14
    danielx says:

    Kobach as AG?

    If that happens, my liver may be in danger.

  15. 15
    Platonailedit says:

    at a personal level, until now his loyalty as Chief of Staff has been to Sessions… I wouldn’t count on his loyalty suddenly switching to POTUS.

    The toady has been a totus asskisser from day one, that’s how he got the cos job, ffs.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC: Well played!

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    @Gin & Tonic: We know that some pieces are done because of who has been released from his team.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Wouldn’t surprise me. Also, check my response to your comment in the previous post about Clovis.

  19. 19

    @Marcopolo: mueller has so far shown himself impervious to Trump’s quantum weirdness.

  20. 20
    Platonailedit says:

    @Mike in NC: LOL. Indeed. What a corrupt clown as the leader of the free world.

  21. 21
    Mary G says:

    From what has come out about Whitaker today, he sounds like no match for Mueller, and CREW is already demanding he recuse. So that’s a bit of a relief.

  22. 22
    Karen says:

    Whitaker has already said that he will only hire on Biblical terms. No secular person will be hired. That’s the closest to a theocracy that the US has ever had. I’m grateful that we got the House but Trump has already warned that if they investigate him then the Rethuglicans will investigate the whole House. Also, what’s with the Dem Governors being stripped of power? Is there anything the Dems can do about it? Like a lawsuit?

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @danielx: Only if it tries to vote without proper ID.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Karen: Senator Burr isn’t going to open an investigation because the President doesn’t understand how congressional oversight works.

  25. 25
    philpm says:

    My personal opinion: Even if Kobach is named as the AG, there is minimal to zero chance, even with the clusterfuck of a Senate we have now, that he gets confirmed. He has zero relationship with most of the Senators, and his complete and total incompetence in handling the voting rights case in Kansas means that even the likes of McConnell, Cornyn et al would be hard pressed to hold their nose and give him any cover.

  26. 26

    @Karen:

    what’s with the Dem Governors being stripped of power?

    ?

  27. 27
  28. 28
    SFAW says:

    So Rangappa makes a semi-convincing case. But, if by some chance Whitaker is corrupt — which I’m sure is unpossible — what would our backup plan be? (Outside of sending the Marshal of the Supreme Court, that is.) Impeachment? Hearings? State AGs indicting his entire cabinet? I really have no idea what would need to happen.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    My point being that firing him or shutting down the investigation by other means may have made tactical sense 6-9 months ago, but now?

    The delay benefited Trump.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Karen: You mean the attempts by the North Carolina legislature to reduce Governor Cooper’s power? If so, that’s already being litigated and given the gains the Democrats made in the North Carolina legislature last night, while they don’t control either chamber, the Republicans no longer have supermajorities in either chamber.

  31. 31
    Yarrow says:

    @Karen:

    Trump has already warned that if they investigate him then the Rethuglicans will investigate the whole House.

    LOL. Orange man-baby says whut?

  32. 32
    philpm says:

    Also, a former US Attorney from Iowa, threatening another former US Attorney from Brooklyn? I know who my bet would have been on there. No wonder Whitaker’s firm ended up being fined $26 million.

  33. 33
    SFAW says:

    @Karen:

    Also, what’s with the Dem Governors being stripped of power? Is there anything the Dems can do about it? Like a lawsuit?

    What are you talking about? That crap the NC Lege pulled on the Dem Gov, starting right after he won last year? Or is there something new?

  34. 34
    Kent says:

    What about Lindsey Graham? Seems like the Kavanaugh hearing was some sort of audition. He could certainly get through the Senate in a breeze and they could appoint some young right wing Trump loyalist into his seat. Then in 2 years he could cash in on the right wing circuit and earn 10x his current Senate salary.

  35. 35
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m slow. You’ll have to explain why.

  36. 36
    Corner Stone says:

    @SFAW: She makes a case based on norms and logic.

  37. 37
    JeffH says:

    @SFAW: Wisconsin legislature is contemplating the same move.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: He and surrogates have had endless airtime and months to repeat their “Witch Hunt” and other slagging. With no opposing voice. They also recently added a seat or two to their Senate seats. A huge chunk of the electorate either didn’t care or were unaware of what Mueller had already completed. All of Trump’s life has been based on the “Who is going to stop me?” principle. Hasn’t changed.

  39. 39
    oldgold says:

    @MomSense:

    Good question. The answer is not clear. It depends on whether the Vacancies Reform Act or a DOJ specific statute 28 USC 508 is applicable/ controlling.

    Here is an informative thread discussing this matter. https://mobile.twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1060301444820148226

  40. 40
    SFAW says:

    @Corner Stone:

    She makes a case based on norms and logic.

    Meaning what? That it’s useless, given how closely Shitgibbon follows norms and logic? If it’s not that, then you’re saying …. ?

  41. 41
    philpm says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Lindsay needs to have a permanent sad.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @SFAW: There’s a reason Whitaker was picked. And no, Trump isn’t a battlefield genius. But the continued faith in institutions continues to amaze me.

  43. 43
    noncarborundum says:

    @Yarrow: My chamber of Congress can beat up your chamber of Congress.

  44. 44
    philpm says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The referendums the lege had on the ballot to strip Cooper of the ability to name judges and appointees to the state election board both lost.

  45. 45
    Marcopolo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Actually, now that WI has elected a D Gov their state House & Senate leaders are talking about stripping Evers of powers ala NC & Cooper. It seems to be bog-standard Republican fuckery.

    Vos open to looking at ways to limit Evers’ powers

    Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Wednesday he is open to looking at ways to limit the power of incoming Democratic governor Tony Evers before he takes office in January.

    Vos told reporters that in a lame duck legislative session later this month or next, he would consider bills that would “rebalance” powers of the executive, without saying what limitations he’d be open to considering. Vos said he wanted to discuss it with Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who was meeting with GOP senators on Thursday to elect leaders.

    And now to bed for me. I have lots of election-postponed yard work to do tomorrow and I think I have unstiffened (which I realize some call loosening up) enough from last weekend canvassing & poll standing to attend to it.

  46. 46
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    Please

    You don’t have to come here.

  47. 47
    SFAW says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But the continued faith in institutions continues to amaze me.

    Yes.
    Hence my question(s).

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @philpm: Good.

  49. 49
    Brickley Paiste says:

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

    Why don’t you concentrate on maximizing grocery bag packing strategies to help minimize planetary resource depletion while fucking right off.

  50. 50
    SFAW says:

    @Marcopolo:

    And now to bed for me. I have lots of election-postponed yard work to do tomorrow

    Can you swing by my place after you’re done? I need raking, grass-cutting, maybe some gutters cleaned out. Oh, yeah — driveway markers put in the ground.

    Thanks, I really appreciate it.

  51. 51
    The Dangerman says:

    Whitaker would have to document and justify his decisions under this standard…

    Whitaker: “Because Donald will shit a brick if I don’t”

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m going to bed. Try to behave.

  53. 53
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Brickley Paiste:
    You’re such a class act, Steve. Trump isn’t the only one who can’t take any criticism.

  54. 54
    VOR says:

    @Marcopolo: yes, it does seem like a standard plan. In Minnesota, the Rs were stripping power from the State Auditor. Probable reason is it was a statewide constitutional office which has served as a steppingstone to Governor.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    But her emails!!! says:

    Kobach has massive loser stink. First his epic failure of a voting fraud panel, then getting slapped around by a judge for being a fucking moron and finally losing the governor race in Kansas. That might be enough to keep Trump from appointing him.

  57. 57
    westyny says:

    Love the iceberg

  58. 58

    Neal Katyal, former US Solicitor General, is on Twitter and analyzing what’s going on. It’s pretty heavy. I recommend following him. Here’s a bit from tonight.

  59. 59

    I’m headed to bed too. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

  60. 60
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    You mean the attempts by the North Carolina legislature to reduce Governor Cooper’s power?

    It might be this issue in Wisconsin …
    https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142196485

    Gov. Scott Walker failed to win re-election in Wisconsin on Tuesday after narrowly losing to Democratic candidate Tony Evers.

    However, the Republican leader of the state Assembly, Speaker Robin Vos, is considering stripping the governor’s office of power during a lame duck session of the legislature, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel politics and statehouse reporter Patrick Marley reported Wednesday.

  61. 61

    @Brickley Paiste: srsly who works for a living amirite what a loser

  62. 62
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Yeah! And it’s not like it could just be a temporary job while he’s going to college. He’s a total fucking loser!

    / I know people who have worked here for years. Working at a grocery store is their actual job. Sniffs Paste’s moronic comment didn’t hurt my feelings one bit but it did piss me off in it’s callously classist tone.

  63. 63
    Aleta says:

    Whitaker seems (or he just claims to be) another one of those “God put me here to defend the Constitution that He transmitted to give me dominion over everything on earth” people. I could be so wrong … but my impression is he’s not super smart (though born to calculate and grease). I picture him as someone Trump won’t hesitate to throw into the volcano in case it might slow the lava down for a day.

  64. 64
    patrick II says:

    @danielx:

    Also, getting a blowjob is not the same as taking money from Russians and betraying your country.

  65. 65
    Mike in NC says:

    @Millard Filmore: You are exactly right. Since the Tea Party movement of racist conservatives took over the NC legislature in 2010, they’ve worked at chipping away the powers of the governor and judiciary. They put six fake amendments to the constitution on the ballot to consolidate power.

  66. 66

    @Aleta:

    I picture him as someone Trump won’t hesitate to throw into the volcano in case it might slow the lava down for a day.

    He’s a virgin?

  67. 67
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Didn’t they all fail last night? And about those Confederate Stutues in NC: who the fuck those assholes think they are telling localities what to do with them? What gives them the right? Has anybody ever directly posed that to the NC GOP?

  68. 68

    @patrick II: I remember the 1990’s, getting a blowjob was much, much worse. What will we tell the children?

  69. 69
    Amir Khalid says:

    Can Whitaker order Mueller to brief him on Mueller’s contingency plans and then order Mueller to cease taking those measures?

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    The dude’s picture gives off that classic “incel” vibe, so …

  71. 71
    guachi says:

    I want to give a shout out to West Virginia. I know West Virginia is probably hopelessly lost. But… the congressional races showed good movement towards the Democrats, it’s just they were so far behind it didn’t make a difference (though it probably kept Manchin in office)

    Here’s the swing from 2016 House races
    WV-01 +9
    WV-02 +5
    WV-03 +31

    Richard Ojeda did a phenomenal job. That’s the strongest movement against any incumbent in the 2018 election. NJ-11 was +32 but that wasn’t against an incumbent and it was in a district that was -1 for Clinton in 2016.

  72. 72
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    My only thought on this is that I am so grateful that Robert Mueller is vastly smarter than I am

    I mean, yeah. We’re all pretty happy about that. otherwise Mueller would probably have forgotten how to breathe or something.

  73. 73
    Aleta says:

    Laura Strickler @strickdc
    #Whitaker was a paid talking head for DC based Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. He went from working 30 hrs/wk at $63k a year in 2014 to working 40 hrs/wk for $402k a year in 2016. He was the only full time employee as per IRS filings.

    From https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/04/new-nonprofit-tied-to-stealthy-circle-of-dark-money-groups/

    From April 2016
    (Among groups opposing Garland’s confirmation) One right-leaning group has weighed in more quietly: The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has demanded Harvard University release records having to do with Garland’s role in the debate in the early 1970s over whether to allow ROTC recruiters on that campus. In late March, FACT’s executive director, Matthew Whitaker, was quoted saying that “Americans have a right to know about Garland’s views of the military.”

    FACT is a much newer creation (than JCN), organized in 2014 as a conservative counterweight to watchdog groups viewed as more left-of-center, such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The newer outfit took its first public action about a year ago when it filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Democratic voter data firm Catalist.

    Since then, FACT has, on rare occasions (possibly just once), gone after a Republican, but most frequently accuses Democrats — particularly frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — of ethical or legal violations.

    Its funding — $600,000 in 2014, according to the only tax return it has filed to date — comes entirely from a conservative donor-advised fund called DonorsTrust, which means it could come from anywhere.

    DonorsTrust is a pass-through vessel that manages the charitable contributions of wealthy individuals and foundations to organizations that are “dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,” according to its website, while allowing the donors to remain anonymous. Charles Koch is among the many conservatives who have filtered money through DonorsTrust.

    In other words, an organization “dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency” gets 100 percent of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency.

  74. 74
    Mandalay says:

    @philpm:

    Even if Kobach is named as the AG, there is minimal to zero chance, even with the clusterfuck of a Senate we have now, that he gets confirmed.

    Seriously? Can you suggest which Republican Senators might defy Trump and block Kobach?

  75. 75
    oldgold says:

    Laurence Tribe

    @tribelaw
    In addition, putting a mere staffer in the role of Attorney General — not to meet a temporary emergency but to oversee a special counsel’s ongoing probe of Russia’s attack on our presidential election — is inconsistent with the Appointments Clause of Art. II of the Constitution.

  76. 76
    philpm says:

    @Mandalay: He has no real relationships with any of the senators outside of Pat Roberts. While his home state senators would support him, I don’t see anyone else really sticking their necks out for him. He’s shown he’s completely incompetent as a lawyer (see his performance in the Kansas voter registration trial, which he decided to defend himself and got his ass handed to him, and got cited for contempt to boot). He couldn’t win a governor’s seat in a state that was primed for him, and just barely won his primary for. He has zero political chops, other than with people like Joe Arpaio. I don’t see that any of the Senate Republican leadership would put their necks on the line to get him confirmed.

  77. 77

    @Aleta:

    He went from working 30 hrs/wk at $63k a year in 2014 to working 40 hrs/wk for $402k a year in 2016.

    That extra 10 hours a week must have really been productive.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    karen marie says:

    @Aleta: I bet Trump has no idea. No idea Whitaker had this job or, at this point, who Garland is.

  80. 80
    Platonailedit says:

    @philpm: The current crop of cowardly rethug senators will kiss the totus ass more fiercely now and will vote for any shithead he puts before them.

  81. 81
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MomSense:

    Any of our lawyers want to weigh in?

    I would, but I’ve been at a reception for the last three hours and may or may not have been guzzling wine the whole time, which could theoretically render my usually bad legal advice even worse.

    On the plus side, both the cab and the Pinot were excellent, possibly exceeding my round of golf earlier on the Mountain course.

    Steve in La Quinta

  82. 82
  83. 83
  84. 84
    seaboogie says:

    @Adam L Silverman: These guys are so terrible – and also not terribly bright.

  85. 85
    piratedan says:

    @Major Major Major Major: true, the first 30 is usually spent getting caught up on e-mails and drinking coffee and touching base with co-workers, its that last 10 when things get done….. everyone knows that.

    and I know that its strange when I agree with CS, these guys have ignored all the norms thus far whenever its suited them, thus I have a deep seated fear that bypassing the rules, ignoring them, breaking them just doesn’t matter to this President or his Administration, nor does it to Mitch McConnell, who plainly has no love of country, and whose guidepost appears to be fucking over POC and maintaining the GOP as a ruling theocratic junta.

    If Adam is right that the IC has the goods, I would be happy if they could post something damning about Mitchy so he could be led off in chains and placed in a very bad place to await trial. Trump may be a tool, but Mitch should know better and I hope the gentleman pays the price for his deeds.

  86. 86
    JaySinWA says:

    @Steve in the ATL: A little out of your area of expertise isn’t it? Maybe you should have stayed at a Holiday Inn.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    Karen says:

    @SFAW: The Michigan Governor.

  89. 89
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: that part hasn’t even started yet!

    @JaySinWA: yeah, that was a close second choice behind the Waldorf Astoria with four golf courses.

    @piratedan: IC has been looking hard at Mitch. Why they haven’t been more aggressive, I don’t know. I have lobbied for it. Not that I have any contacts in the IC. Whatever that is.

  90. 90
    Turgidson says:

    @danielx:

    And Clinton was guilty of lying about a consensual affair. The GOP went on a few dozen snipe hunts that led to nothing, otherwise.

    Hair Furor appears to be guilty of perjury, obstruction, maybe conspiracy, campaign finance fraud and god knows what else.

    Not all “presidential harassment” is equal.

  91. 91
    piratedan says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I hear ya, Trump being a low cunning fool deeply in debt to the Russians, him I can understand being manipulated and put forth as a pawn in the great game to elicit as much damage as possible. McConnell on the other hand, perhaps its simply his ability to be the supposed puppet-master and get his tax cuts and pack the court and fuck over the libs and the POC, maybe that power was enough to buy his ass out, but if so, I really want that cynical public official to feel the fullest weight of the law, imho if he’s found to be guilty of colluding and treason and obstruction of justice and violation of campaign ethics laws, I want his ass in jail and school kids from Kentucky from every 5th grade civics class touring his prison and seeing him behind bars as a civics lesson for the rest of his miserable life.

  92. 92
    Mandalay says:

    @philpm:

    I don’t see that any of the Senate Republican leadership would put their necks on the line to get him confirmed.

    How is that putting their necks on the line? It would be far riskier for them to defy Trump, and they have hardly been profiles in courage so far.

    Besides, Kris Kobach is hardly a hill worth dying for. If any 2020 wannabes like Rubio want to pick a fight with Trump it’s not going to be over this.

  93. 93

    @Steve in the ATL:

    that was a close second choice behind the Waldorf Astoria with four golf courses.

    Sounds like a hellish existence.

  94. 94

    @Steve in the ATL:

    that was a close second choice behind the Waldorf Astoria with four golf courses.

    Sounds like a hellish existence. How do you manage?

  95. 95
    cthulhu says:

    So it looks like two options on Mueller going forward…

    If it is up to Trump’s id (60% chance) he will fire Mueller pretty quickly. The Dem House can simply rehire him in 2019 and it won’t look so good in the interim.

    If Trump’s handlers get the say (40% chance) they will force out a “Mueller-based” whitewashed report absolving Trump of wrongdoing in the next couple of months. Then when the Dems take over and go back to Mueller it will be old news/he said vs he said.

    In neither case will the GOP stand up for the rule of law but that is where we are in general.

  96. 96
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I took a few photos but immediately thought that you would be embarrassed for me by their quality. Can’t see the Milky Way at all! Or my ball, unless you look in the woods.

  97. 97
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t get how defying Trump is actually dangerous. What, they’re afraid he’s going to tweet at them? What brave people they are.

  98. 98
    Sloane Ranger says:

    On point 7 of the tweet, it says investigations passed to other offices such as the Southern District shouldn’t be a problem. I understand that anything passed to State level is safe but surely all US Attorney Offices are under the authority of the AG so what’s to stop Whittaker interfering in what they’re doing?

  99. 99

    @Sloane Ranger: They are not under the federal government’s authority at all, actually. Trump can’t pardon for state offences, either, for pretty much the same reason. There are a lot of state crimes that can’t be escalated to federal level at all, from my understanding, though I’m sure one of our lawyers can clarify.

    @Turgidson: It’s my understanding that he didn’t even lie. “Sexual relations” has/ had a specific legal definition in the D.C. jurisdiction that excludes oral sex (it might only refer to vaginal intercourse; I can’t remember for certain). Naturally, the part of the clip that explained this always gets excluded from the newsreels and history documentaries. Again, lawyers can probably clarify.

  100. 100
    JWR says:

    Anybody else in the L.A. area following the local news? Sounds like yet another possible mass shooting, up in Thousand Oaks. Both Colbert and now Seth Myers’ show being preempted.

  101. 101

    @opiejeanne: They’re not afraid of Trump. They’re afraid of being voted out by his rabid supporters.

  102. 102
    Cermet says:

    This likely spells the end of the Mueller probe. Sealed indictments will be locked away and the office basically closed. Until that human pile of excrement is voted out, further criminal proceedings against him and his family are over. State level is meaningless since 1) they have no power over a sitting President 2) the fake news (aka fox) will pound away falsely that it is all fake news 3) only the senate can stop that criminal traitor and they never will 4) putin will pull out all stops with his trolls to stop any real news from dominating the air-ways and being the tail of the dog, the real media will give a “both sides” approach, like always 5) the orange fart cloud controls the Justice department so all federal districts will also be shut down and now the inferior court is packed, they too will lick his ass clean and refuse to stop that low life piece of dog shit

    This extreme level of treason and criminal activity was never envisioned by the founding (slave holding) fathers and has no real remedy except voting that evil treasonous bastard out of office.

  103. 103
    JGabriel says:

    @JeffH:

    Wisconsin legislature is contemplating the same move.

    Time for Democratic legislatures with GOP governors to let Republicans know that if they follow this trend, then Democrats will follow suit.

  104. 104
    trnc says:

    @JGabriel:

    Time for Democratic legislatures with GOP governors to let Republicans know that if they follow this trend, then Democrats will follow suit.

    That would only make sense for dem legislatures with current democratic governors and incoming gop govs where dems would maintain control of both legislative branches moving forward. Which states would those be? There may be one, but I’m not sure. At any rate, the pickups we made at the state level are worth far more.

  105. 105
    Another Scott says:

    @Karen: It’s a shame for him that there’s that “no religious test” thing in the Constitution, isn’t it?

    (sigh)

    Yeah, lawyers can argue that the plain language doesn’t mean what it says – lawyers are paid to argue.

    Good morning, everyone.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  106. 106
    MattF says:

    I agree that Mueller must have gamed this out. Hadn’t really thought about how the intel community is getting into this, but I wouldn’t know that anyhow.

    Mueller was FBI Director for many years– and even the fact that everyone seems to forget this is testimony to his effectiveness and apparent lack of personal ambition. Trump’s bullshit, bluff, and bluster will go nowhere.

  107. 107
    jc says:

    Now Trump will know exactly what Mueller has on him. This is why Trump cheated his way into power in the first place: so that he could cash in with impunity, and cheat his way out of accountability.

  108. 108
    Panurge says:

    @Cermet:

    What is your point here?

    They got Spiro Agnew to resign over a violation of Maryland law. Do you think they can’t do the same to everyone else involved here?

    Or are you unaware that the Dems just won the House?

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