“Very significant break” in the Trump-Russia conspiracy investigation?

McClatchy is reporting that Michael Cohen’s cell phone was sending signals in Prague at the time the Steele dossier alleges Cohen was meeting with Russian operatives there to concoct cover stories for a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign to swing the U.S. election:

WASHINGTON — A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials, four people with knowledge of the matter say.

During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said.

The phone and surveillance data, which have not previously been disclosed, lend new credence to a key part of a former British spy’s dossier of Kremlin intelligence describing purported coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election meddling operation.

The dossier, which Trump has dismissed as “a pile of garbage,” said Cohen and one or more Kremlin officials huddled in or around the Czech capital to plot ways to limit discovery of the close “liaison” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Lanny Davis, a Cohen adviser, says Cohen wasn’t in Prague then, but Davis isn’t currently Cohen’s lawyer and may be out of the loop on exactly what Cohen told the Mueller team. Moreover, Davis is a moron.

Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said that if disclosures of the foreign intelligence intercepts are true, “This is a very significant break, because it looks like a direct link between Donald Trump’s personal fixer and Russians most likely involved in the disruption of our election.”

“It would prove that lying was going on, not only about being in Prague, but much beyond the Prague episode,” she said.

Trump and his minions lie about everything, all the time, so it’s tough to draw any firm conclusions from a specific set of lies. But evidence keeps turning up to corroborate the so-called “dodgy dossier,” and the “WITCH HUNT!!!!” keeps right on exposing witch after witch. Hmmm.

Late update:

Curiouser and curiouser.






135 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Lanny Davis, a Cohen adviser, says Cohen wasn’t in Prague then, but Davis isn’t currently Cohen’s lawyer and may be out of the loop on exactly what Cohen told the Mueller team. Moreover, Davis is a moron.

    Exactly. Cohen lies to everyone. Maybe he lied to Lanny so that little plea deal nugget could be used when Cohen wanted it to be used. Because if there’s one maroon who knew if he were in/near Prague…

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign,

    Cohen had like sixteen phones! I’d be shocked if one of them had never seen the outskirts of Prague.

  3. 3
    VeniceRiley says:

    The pee pee tape is real, y’all.

  4. 4
    Mike in NC says:

    In time I think 90% of the Steele dossier will be proven to be true.

  5. 5
    Derelict says:

    If all this turns out to be real–and if Cohen actually told Mueller about the Prague meetings and provided detailed accounts of active collusion–what will Trump’s next move be? Crash the economy? Set the White House on fire? Start cursing during a live press conference?

    He’s going to need to create some BIG distraction for the media to follow so that whatever comes out of the Mueller folks is completely drowned out.

  6. 6
    germy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Exactly. Cohen lies to everyone.

    Says who?

  7. 7
    Ian G. says:

    I remember literally laughing out loud over Cohen showing his passport with no Czech Republic stamp as if that proved he hadn’t been to Prague. Guess what, fuckmook, I’ve been to Prague and have no Czech stamp in my passport because I entered the country via Germany where there are no border controls. It’s called the Schengen Area. Look it up.

  8. 8
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Ian G.: Yeah, I never understood why that claim was so credulously reported so often without adding that little fact. I’ve been to Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium with no passport stamp. So what? Are reporters that ignorant, or that lazy?

  9. 9
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Nothing in the dossier has been proven false, to my knowledge. I’m assuming everything will be proven in time.

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ian G.: Yeah, that was laughable. But you can find photos of every page of his passport on-line (he showed it to BuzzFeed and they photographed it) and the only Schengen-area travel that summer was in July, to Italy. I would not be at all surprised if he had a second passport, though – but that’s something that at this point only Cohen and Mueller would know, and one’s a liar and the other is silent.

  11. 11
    Spanky says:

    “Very significant break” in the Trump-Russia conspiracy investigation?

    Eh, I’m guessing not.

    Or at least “not now”. My guess is that the US IC was already aware of the foreign intel pretty soon after it was collected, and that Mueller has probably known about it for some time.

    The more interesting question to me is, why is it being released now? And I’m thinking this is just step one of a phased … something.

    Stay tuned!

  12. 12
    Mike in DC says:

    I suspect Mikey is going to be having a few more interviews between now and his scheduled incarceration in March. And I really doubt that Mueller’s report is coming out in February. I have always thought that it would come out in the second half of 2019.

  13. 13
    Archon says:

    I’ve always said Trump would have been better off admitting collusion after the election as a tactic to win and trying to make this whole thing into an issue for “sore losers”. At the very least it would have made it more partisan and difficult for Republicans in Washington to break with him on, especially right after the 16 election. He’s now lied about it so much for so long I think he made it impossible for Republican Senators to defend once this all becomes public.

  14. 14
    The Moar You Know says:

    There is not going to be a smoking gun that gets this orange haired dingleberry out of office, because the people that put him in it wouldn’t give a shit if he sold them, personally, as slaves, to Vladmir Putin. The important thing is that Hillary Clinton is not president and no black man can tell them what to do.

  15. 15
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Spanky:

    I concur. You here, Adam? Does this story sound like an IC leak to you?

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    Is there anyone here who wouldn’t simply assume that Cohen is a liar?
    1) Would the Russians benefit from having a deal with Trump? Yup.
    2) Would Trump benefit from having a deal with the Russians? Yup.
    QED

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    Why continue lying? Cohen testified to Congress that he was not in Prague, so why didn’t Mueller charge him with that count of perjury? There’s skepticism from some about the report, but McClatchy is normally pretty good on their reporting.
    Trump’s base won’t care though.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Kevin Drum (iirc) did a point by point analysis of the Steele dossier. Of the 22(?) claims in it, 6 or 7 were factually true, 2 or 3 had evidence backing them up but not lock down evidence, and of the rest? Not a single one had been proven false.

    Kinda amazing that after 2 years a raw intel report had yet to have an allegation contravened. Or maybe he said “astounding”.

  19. 19
    comrade scotts agenda of rage says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    This.

    The Popular Vote Loser may be a moran but he was prescient about his supporters when he made the shooting someone on 5th Ave analogy.

    He hates who they hate. That’s all they need.

  20. 20
    Spanky says:

    @JPL:

    Four people spoke with McClatchy on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of information shared by their foreign intelligence connections. Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections.

    It was a coordinated release. For a specific purpose.

  21. 21
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    OT, but I want you to know I wasn’t dissing roast duck dinners the other day. I was making a reference to the movie we’d just watched, Christmas in Connecticut.

  22. 22
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    This is like the scene in Charade where the French police inspector shows Audrey Hepburn her husband’s passport and she identifies him, and then to her amazement he pulls out 5 or 6 more passports with his picture on them.

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Spanky:

    It was a coordinated release. For a specific purpose.

    By whom is my question. Our IC? or a European IC?

  24. 24
    hitchhiker says:

    What I want to think:

    Of course Mueller has known for a long time that Cohen’s phone pinged in Prague during August 2016. He’s also had the transcripts of Russians discussing Cohen’s work from that same time period, because those were given to us by allies who were listening.

    Cohen lied about all this in public, but at some point in 2018 they showed him their evidence, got him to come clean, and forbade him to say another word publicly until they’d used this information to trap more people in the campaign.

    It would be the secret of all secrets, right? It would be what Mueller meant when he said in his sentencing recommendation that Cohen had been providing substantial assistance to issues core to the investigation. The core of the Mueller investigation is the conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin, and the effort to cover that up.

    What I’m afraid to think:

    No one will be able to confirm McClatchy’s story, and it will turn into another one of those things we suspect but can never be sure of. Mueller is still in the dark about whatever went on. The Russian effort to turn our public conversation into a hall of mirrors will have been a splendid success.

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    @JPL: It’ll likely be added to the charges. Mueller is playing cards when he wants to or needs to.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ian G.: Actually all he did was tweet the cover of the passport.

  27. 27
    Spanky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Per my quote of the McClatchy article:

    Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections.

    Not to say that it was released without the blessing of the US IC, but McClatchy makes it sound like it came from foreign sources. They’re very vague about it as well.

    Velly interrrrresting.

  28. 28
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ian G.: Does he have a stamp for entry into the Schengen area before the alleged meeting & a stamp for exit from said area after the alleged meeting? Yes, & we’re in bidniz. No, & either it never happened or someone snuck him in – or he used a different passport (Israeli?).

  29. 29
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Spanky: True — I’m sure none of this is new to the investigators, but it’s another clue for the public. There’s a lot of skepticism above about this info, claims that it won’t rid us of Trump or dislodge the MAGAts from Cult45. Also almost certainly true, but finding out what happened is important for its own sake, IMO. I’m a voter. I want to know WTF happened. We all deserve answers.

  30. 30
    Jay says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    4 Eastern European IC’s.

  31. 31
    Yarrow says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wasn’t that based on Cheryl Rofer’s analysis? Or am I thinking of someone else?

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Derelict: As I’ve been saying since Mueller was appointed, and before that when it was reported that Comey had opened a counterintelligence task force to look into what happened in the 2016 election, the counterintelligence task force has all the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) generated and shared by our allies. Both the Five Eyes allies and our other European allies, especially the eastern European ones. Mueller had this information before his investigators ever met with Cohen the first time. If he lied to them when they asked about it, they would have come back to him with the question buttressed with the actual evidence, as part of their efforts to flip him.

  33. 33

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    Are reporters that ignorant, or that lazy?

    The ones on national television, and the biggest name reporters in national newspapers, are both. They do not want to learn, and they do not want to think, so they don’t do either even when it’s in front of their face. They want to bullshit and schmooze, so they do that and pretend everything anyone says is equal.

    @comrade scotts agenda of rage:

    The Popular Vote Loser may be a moran but he was prescient about his supporters when he made the shooting someone on 5th Ave analogy.

    Mind you, he thought it was because he’s so awesome. No, it’s because they are single-issue racism voters. Everything they tell you they care about is bullshit. When the time comes to choose, they choose whoever gives them the most racism, period.

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Given his organized crime connections, he has a second passport. It may or may not be actually a legitimate one. It may or may not be an Israeli passport.

  35. 35
    catclub says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: I always thought that Cohen was very clear that he did not go to Prague… because the meeting was in a suburb. he could also truthfully deny he went to Czechoslovakia!

  36. 36
    SFAW says:

    It’s getting to the point where I’m generating bingo cards in my head, where each square is a potential response from Lying Littledick Pantspisser McTreasonface to each revelation. The only problem is that there’s no way I can guess what his responses would be, because he is one sick motherfucker/asshole, and although I have my moments (so to speak), there’s no way I could outdo him.

  37. 37
    TS (the original) says:

    @Archon:

    I think he made it impossible for Republican Senators to defend once this all becomes public.

    Defending the impossible just takes a little longer for Republican Senators.

  38. 38
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Remember, Cohen did not flip on everything….

  39. 39
    catclub says:

    @Yarrow: Cheryl Rofer’s post here.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Spanky: Thanx, all of which makes me wonder about the games within games

  41. 41
    piratedan says:

    the timing of this release to me is what is really intriguing…

    1) it’s filling the gap between when the Dems start getting the power of the subpoena and the other daily Trump fiascoes putting the focus back on the Russia angle and the issues of inappropriate power brokerage and collusion and logistical coordination between the Trump campaign and apparently anyone who had a grudge against the US

    2) it comes at a time when the same sorry voices were attempting to humanize Trump again because he managed to meet the bare minimum criteria of doing something halfway presidential (although to be honest, if Obama had campaign banners and was pushing merch the RW media bubble would have had to have been collectively hospitalized) and managing only to be moderately insulting multiple times to people who get their media outside the RW bubble or who don’t have to sleep with Chris Cillizza.

    We’re at the point where we know that Trump is a treasonous bastard, although most of the media seems to imply that’s a tacit understanding rather than coming out and openly speculating about it and the RW still insists on believing that is STILL intrinsically okay as long as he continues to promote a hard RW agenda and we all just go about our daily lives hoping that in this one case that the rule of law still means something. It guess it remains to be seen just how dirty the GOP is, are they treasonous dirty or just Sgt Schultz dirty….

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    @piratedan:

    It guess it remains to be seen just how dirty the GOP is, are they treasonous dirty

    He doesn’t have the nickname “Treason Turtle” for nothing. And if he doesn’t yet have it, he should.

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Spanky: @West of the Rockies: I don’t know whether it is an IC leak or not. And if it is, I expect it is most likely not from the US intel community. It is definitely not from Mueller’s shop. As the McClatchy article indicates, it was reported back in the Fall that the Special Counsel’s Office had evidence confirming that Cohen was in Prague during the summer of 2016. All this new reporting does is tell us what the source of that evidence is, even though most of us correctly speculated it was SIGINT from European intelligence partners.

  44. 44
    JPL says:

    @TS (the original): They will just pretend it doesn’t exist. ( lalalala I can’t hear you.)

  45. 45
    miroker says:

    TrumPutin and everyone else repeating his sad tales keep spelling “witch” incorrectly. It is actually “which.” As in “which” one is next to go down.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Spanky: Yep, as I indicated in comment 43: this leaked from one of our allies. Most likely one of the eastern European ones that provided the information to the Special Counsel’s Office to begin with.

  47. 47
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Yarrow: @catclub: OK, I went back and forth on it and finally decided it was probably Drum. Sorry ’bout that Cheryl.

    Please forgive me.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The article makes it clear that it was a foreign intelligence agency. My professional guesstimate is one of our eastern European allies who provided the information to begin with.

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but I could see both the Czech and the Polish intelligence agencies playing double agent roles. They still have a vested interest in keeping the Russian bear happy (especially after Ukraine) but both countries looked West as soon as they could. I could see this starting in the Czech Republic as a detection and was in the hands of American IC as soon as possible.

    But I’m just a lowly tax guy.

  50. 50
    Gravenstone says:

    @Spanky: Why now? And from who? The second question is equally important. Doubt this is Mueller’s team, so who else would be motivated to let this little tidbit loose?

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    Meanwhile, over in cult land, it’s taken as gospel that the Steele dossier has been “debunked”.

    Because of reasons.

  52. 52
    Jeffro says:

    @The Moar You Know: I blame “the beer summit “, personally

  53. 53
    Suzanne says:

    @comrade scotts agenda of rage:

    He hates who they hate. That’s all they need.

    Many Mean Girls-esque high school friendships were sustained on this basis. It’s horrifying that this is now how we operate the government and American society.

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @Cacti: Trump told his base that it was debunked and Fox news played along.

  55. 55
    randy khan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Yeah, that was laughable. But you can find photos of every page of his passport on-line (he showed it to BuzzFeed and they photographed it) and the only Schengen-area travel that summer was in July, to Italy. I would not be at all surprised if he had a second passport, though – but that’s something that at this point only Cohen and Mueller would know, and one’s a liar and the other is silent.

    These days, you don’t always get a passport stamp even when you’d think you should. I was in Australia in November, and all the processing was electronic. Nobody got stamps in their passports. It actually was kind of disappointing – I felt like there should have been some place where I could have gotten a stamp so I would be able to look at it nostalgically someday in the future.

  56. 56
    Spanky says:

    @Gravenstone: My guess is that the timing is NOT related to anything in particular going on in this country, with the possible exception of Trump’s making noises about leaving NATO. I’m curious as to what back-channel communications are flowing between East Europe and the Whitehouse. Mattis …

    Hmmmmm.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: Correct. Which is why he has to keep hustling to provide information to both the Special Counsel’s investigation and the SDNY’s. Otherwise, they’ve got more things they can charge him with.

  58. 58
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @randy khan: Schengen-area entry is still stamped.

  59. 59
    jl says:

    If Cohen was in Prague, or near Prague, or even communicating with Russians who were in Prague, and they were plotting to hide ties, and Cohen was lying his ass off about it, and Cohen was stone cold busted on it, that would seem to be serious. And would explain Cohen’s change in heart, which appears to be very sincere. I don’t particularly believe he is the sort of person who would likely have a true change of heart, but who knows, no one can peer into another’s mind. But for a guy like Cohen, even being able to put of the consistent pretense, show and facade of having a true change of heart is remarkable.

    So, fits with Cohen’s behavior either way.

    So, thanks for informative post. Some good evidence Cohen was not honest about his denials of the Prague connection with the Russians.

  60. 60
    randy khan says:

    This really is not a surprise, but you have to wonder about the timing. There needs to be something specific driving the leak – the *obviously coordinated* leak.

  61. 61
    J R in WV says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Anyone who travels or intends to ravel in Israel AND other mid-eastern nations is eligible for a second US passport because many nations in the mid-east won’t allow entry to people who have been in certain other mid-eastern countries.

    So Mike Cohen could easily have several passports, including multiple US passports…

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: Cohen regularly traveled to Israel.

  63. 63
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @zhena gogolia: I figured it was something like that, and that I just didn’t get the reference. I’m not much of a movie watcher so I miss a lot along those lines.

    I also miss sticky user names and edit buttons. Grr.

  64. 64
    Spanky says:

    @randy khan: Mattis.

    NATO Allies Fearful About Departure of ‘Trusted’ Mattis

    Perhaps this was a subtle reminder to Trump, in which case I’m sure it’ll go over his head.

  65. 65
    chris says:

    OT but for those (few) interested, here is a .pdf of all of Mueller’s court filings. Lawyers up!

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/.....I.pdf/file

  66. 66
    patrick II says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    So what? Are reporters that ignorant, or that lazy?

    Magical thinking. They don’t want to believe things are that bad — that our “president” is a traitor to his country. Like a baby hiding his head under a blanket, if they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

  67. 67
    BobS says:

    @comrade scotts agenda of rage:
    Even a second rate grifter like Trump knows a sucker when he sees one.
    Of course, that he shares hatreds with them helps.
    @Adam L Silverman: Could Germany be the source?

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Which, oddly, is not reflected in his US passport.

  69. 69
    zhena gogolia says:

    @patrick II:

    The New York Times writers, right down to the Arts section, are particularly bad on this. They keep trying to pretend it’s all fine, he’s just a little nutty, that’s all.

  70. 70
    Xenos says:

    I am getting suspicious, though. YouTube is now filling up with cheap videos of cnn and msnbc shows, pirated and clearly edited, each about a more outrageous insult to Trumpie.

    Either the Russians are finished with trump and want to stir up trouble against him, or are plannmting bullshit against him so it can be disproved and have him be somehow vindicated. But it feels like a set up to me.

    See, e.g. Dan rather and the mother ducking kerning

  71. 71
    Unknown known says:

    The “dodgy dossier” was what Blair used to bolster the case for joining the Iraq war. That one actually was dodgy, too.

  72. 72
    Jay says:

    “Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit

    Politicians from Iraq’s parliament called for vote to expel US forces and promised to schedule session to debate the matter”

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/27/iraq-trump-visit-us-troops-lawmakers-demand-leave

  73. 73
    oldgold says:

    If true, it could be Czechmate.

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    @Jay:

    So, Trump pissed off the Iraqis … what a surprise — he seems to be able to piss off everyone, probably even McConnell the traitorous turtle, secretly.

    I’m so shocked!

    OT a little bit… today is my birthday. I’m 68 in a couple of hours. I can feel every day of it, too! But still kicking around!

  75. 75
    MisterForkbeard says:

    I wonder if this is related to the very secret sealed file that Mueller has? If I remember right, they literally emptied the floor in the court house a few weeks ago so no one could see what it was about.

    The Supremes were all briefed on the case… yesterday? Seems like a pretty big deal.

  76. 76
    cain says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    This is like the scene in Charade where the French police inspector shows Audrey Hepburn her husband’s passport and she identifies him, and then to her amazement he pulls out 5 or 6 more passports with his picture on them.

    Dammit, now I got an earworm. :(

  77. 77
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @J R in WV: Well, Happy Birthday to you!

  78. 78
    catclub says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I doubt it, unless the foreign company resisting the subpoena is a telecoms company.

  79. 79
    tobie says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Was RBG there? I sure hope so!

  80. 80
    zhena gogolia says:

    @cain:

    But it’s a nice one!

  81. 81
    Dan B says:

    @BobS: Speaking of “sharing hatreds with him” Trump announced that most of the furloughed gov’t employees are democrats. I read it on Joe my God. None of the comments mentioned the dog whistle. It seems obvious to me. Federal, and some State, governments hired people on merit which provided decent jobs for people of color starting in the 60’s. Trump, and his John Birch father, would have hated this.

    This is likely at the root of Randian hatred of government and regulated markets. Letting bureaucrats who are “colored” tell you what to do.

  82. 82
    eclare says:

    @J R in WV: Happy Birthday!

  83. 83
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BobS: Is Germany in eastern Europe?

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:
    I’ve been to a number of countries in Europe without even been issued a passport and this was before the EU so there were controls at every border.

  85. 85
    jl says:

    @Dan B: I wonder whether most of the federal employees who are on furlough, but have to work even though not getting scheduled paycheck are Democrats? A lot of them are in law enforcement.

    @Jay: To be fair to Trump, some of Dub’s and Obama’s visits to countries in the region were followed by local controversies, some having more to do with local domestic political posturing than any real issue. Dub and Obama visited Iraq during periods of contentious negotiations about status of forces agreements and withdrawal plans. But, also to be fair to Trump, his rudeness and complete lack of respect of anyone gave opposition forces who wanted to make a fuss plenty of material of massive headlines about the pointless Trump snubs all over the world.

    Edit: wonder whether Trump was adamant about meeting Iraqis on the military base because he was afraid to leave it. I would be scared shitless about flight in and out of those countries too, but I cannot imagine I would break down and babble about it during the visit, in front of the troops. All of them had to get there with much less security. Trump is vile and contemptible.

  86. 86
    Yutsano says:

    @J R in WV: Merry Womb Eviction day!

  87. 87
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @J R in WV:

    today is my birthday

    Hey, mine too! Happy birthday to us! I’m a little behind you in age, but running hard to catch up. ;-)

  88. 88
  89. 89
    Mandalay says:

    IANAL, but this does not seem to be a very persuasive argument:

    Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has moved to have a defamation lawsuit against him dismissed, arguing that his insults aimed at a Thai-cave rescue volunteer whom he called a ‘pedo’ and a ‘child rapist’ were merely opinions and are protected by the First Amendment.

    Yet another example of a rich asshole trying to buy the right to say and do whatever he wants without any repercussions.

  90. 90
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike in DC:
    Seeing as everything around individual 1 is a loose end dangling in front of another loose end I’m beginning to think it might take even longer than you do.

  91. 91

    @J R in WV: Happy birthday!

    ETA: And to Comrade Collette!

  92. 92
  93. 93
    satby says:

    @J R in WV: A very Happy Birthday J R! Hope it’s turning out to be a good one.

  94. 94
    satby says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: and a Happy Birthday to you too, also 😉

  95. 95
    jl says:

    Question for commenters who follow this stuff more closely and more familiar with the issues than I am. I think Trump is stone cold bald face lying when he said he repeatedly asked military to withdrawal and he got no plans back. Any evidence that Trump actually did this?

    I can believe Trump asked and the military gave him lousy plans to withdrawal, I can’t believe he asked and got nothing. I cannot believe there would be no leaks or news at all about it. I think the decision was made when Erdogan called up and demanded Trump withdraw, or something would happen that he wouldn’t like.

    Maybe I’ll ask Adam next time he posts.

    I think every damned statement Trump makes about his Mideast and Afghanistan policy is a damned bald faced lie, or so deeply incompetent, corrupted with malfeasance, and negligent, that it is the moral equivalent of a damned lie. I like the general policy direction of winding the troop commitments down, but, as I have typed before, it is the problem of agreeing about some basic easy fact with your toddler. Fact that you and toddler agree that there is a problem with the furnace, doesn’t mean the toddler has any business doing anything about it.

  96. 96
    Yellowdog says:

    @Archon: If Mitch McConnell wants Trump defended, he will be defended by the GOP senators and the rest of the party. Facts and proof have nothing to do with how they choose to act.

  97. 97

    @J R in WV:

    probably even McConnell the traitorous turtle, secretly.

    It’s not all that secret. Never mistake fanatically defending the legitimacy of the Republican presidency for actually liking the guy who is president.

  98. 98
    JPL says:

    @J R in WV: Happy Birthday!

  99. 99
    Feathers says:

    @J R in WV: You can also get multiple passports if you travel enough that you need one to travel with while the other is at an embassy getting a visa. Professors I’ve worked for have had them.

  100. 100
    jl says:

    @Yellowdog: GOP primary voting base consists almost entirely of Trumpster racists, fascists and nutcases who will destroy anyone who does not bow down to Trump and Trumpism.. Everyone else has fled the party. My personal observation of what has happened in my own extended family matches what I see in reports of opinion polls, and both support that idea.

    So, GOPers at state and national level have to balance damage of defending Trump and certain destruction in their own party if they don’t defend Trump. The GOP opposition to Trump has stiffened slightly since recent primaries and general election, but not nearly to the extent I predicted. OTOH, I didn’t predict what miserable shirking lazy creeps the Congressional GOPers were, and how thoroughly they would stop even trying to do their jobs after the election.

    In any case, things with Trump will have to get very very bad before GOP willing to meaningfully oppose him. They depend on a voting base that is deranged and big funders who are just as depraved as Trump himself. They won’t jump ship until it is so far underwater that they think they cannot swim to the surface, and before they are half eaten by a shark (to use that analogy).

  101. 101
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: He should’ve been getting regular status briefings on the operations to counter and reduce ISIS. The military has a plan, with multiple contingencies and sequels, for every possibility. My guess is that if there’s any truth to this, it is that he asked “when can we get out” and Bolton told him we have to stay to counter Iran. From the reporting I’ve seen, this seems to be what was irritating him; that Bolton had redefined the mission, with no consultation with or approval of Mattis, into an open ended operation to counter Iran, not to reduce ISIS.

  102. 102
    Chris T. says:

    @Dan B:

    Trump announced that most of the furloughed gov’t employees are democrats

    “Well, they are now….”

  103. 103
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks for info. If that is what happened then I will count Triump’s claim as a stone cold bald face lie. Trump either formally asked DoD and State for plans to wind down US involvement in Syria or he didn’t. Your guess is that he didn’t he just whined about he didn’t like the situation, and you can’t report any gossip or talk of any such formal request.

    Of course, there is the dishonesty versus incompetence problem. Did Trump even have an average high school civics class level of understanding of what to do.

    Was Trump even capable of asking how the US would start winding down commitments in the regions? If Trump was capable of formulating that as a sensible question to systematically pursue. I would think Mattis and Pompeo would present Trump with plans that start with Afghanistan, where deals and arrangements for draw down would be less complicated and difficult.

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl:

    and you can’t report any gossip or talk of any such formal request.

    I haven’t seen any reporting on this and I’m not privy to what he is and is not briefed on. I do know from the reporting that he was never briefed by Brett McGurk, who was the Special Envoy to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

    Was Trump even capable of asking how the US would start winding down commitments in the regions?

    I would expect that he is able to say: how do we get out of this? But I have no idea if he did. It has been reported that he has asked this about Afghanistan.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    Well, happy birthday Comrade!! Hail to the worker’s party, the Democratic Party of the US~!!~

  106. 106
    rikyrah says:

    @VeniceRiley:

    The pee pee tape is real, y’all.

    I believe it

  107. 107
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: thanks for additional info.

    [Trump] “was never briefed by Brett McGurk”
    More evidence for ‘damned lie’, IMHO.

  108. 108
    J R in WV says:

    @satby:

    Just hanging out with the Jackals, taking it easy. Thought about going out for dinner, but then I would have to get dressed – I’m retired, I just don’t do that every day any more!

    Maybe a pizza? Or veggie-beef soup? Or chili… or, hmmm, lots of options.

  109. 109

    He’s going to need to create some BIG distraction for the media to follow so that whatever comes out of the Mueller folks is completely drowned out.

    He’s going to take First Arm Candy on tour of military bases…

  110. 110
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @J R in WV: Now that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that.

    So it is entirely possible Mikey shared images of his passport pages because he has another passport (US or otherwise) with stamps that would place him in the Schengen area during the designated interval. Fancy that.

    Puts me in mind of the old Heinlein line (courtesy of Woodrow Wilson Smith bka Lazarus Long in Time Enough for Love): “The second best way to lie is to tell the truth, but not all of it.”

    But Bobby 3Styx (courtesy of the IC) most likely knows about them all… :^D

  111. 111
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @jl: I think it’s entirely believable that Trump made some offhand comments or said something on twitter to the effect of “I want out of Iraq, my generals need to work on a plan.” And then no one gave him one, because he never formally requested it and his skeletal staff never followed up.

    Or he’s just lying. Like he always does.

  112. 112
    Ryan says:

    @VeniceRiley: And it’ll one day leak.

  113. 113
    Kathleen says:

    @J R in WV: Happy Birthday, JR! Only 68? A mere pup, I tell ya! I’m turning 70 this year!

  114. 114
    Kathleen says:

    @Dan B: You are absolutely right. I always attributed Rethug animus towards the Post Office to racism.

  115. 115
    Kathleen says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Happy Birthday to you! Another youngster!

  116. 116

    @J R in WV:

    I’m 68 in a couple of hours. I can feel every day of it, too! But still kicking around!

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be 68 in March – “feeling every bit of it” still probably beats the alternative…

  117. 117

    @Kenneth Kohl:

    He’s going to take First Arm Candy on tour of military bases…

    That’s “The Third Lady”, TYVM.

  118. 118
    James E Powell says:

    Is it possible that Cohen is telling the truth about never being in Prague, but maybe he let one of the Trump spawn use a phone that was in his name?

  119. 119
    lurker dean says:

    @J R in WV: happy birthday!

  120. 120
    BobS says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Kind of a smart-ass answer to a good faith question, but no, Germany isn’t in eastern Europe. However, maybe the McClatchy article got something wrong- it seems that Germany might have a little incentive to fuck with Trump.

  121. 121
    Steeplejack says:

    @J R in WV:

    Happy birthday!

  122. 122
  123. 123
    Jay says:

    @James E Powell:

    Nope.

    At first Cohen lied about Prague because that’s where all the heavy collusioning and conspiracy happened, from cash payments to Romanian hackers to face to face meetings with Russian Government members.

    Now Cohen lies about Prague to make Dolt 45 believe that Meuller doesn’t know about Prague.

  124. 124
    MomSense says:

    I’m still reeling from learning last night that my niece is a trumper. We were always very close but she moved out to Montana about four years ago and must have absorbed the Republican BS. I tried to just ask questions and plant seeds but I really don’t understand how she could be so swayed by idiocy.
    My great nephew is an angel. We had a lot of fun eating pizza together and reading picture books. When a toddler just out of the blue gives you a hug and asks to be picked up, it’s the best feeling in the world.

  125. 125
    MomSense says:

    @J R in WV:

    Happy birthday!

  126. 126
    Steeplejack says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    Happy birthday to you as well!

  127. 127
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BobS: I don’t know which European allies have provided intel for Mueller’s counterintelligence investigation behind what has been reported. Which are, if I’m remembering correctly, Britain and our five eyes, but non European ally Australia.

  128. 128
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Xenos: I’ve been suspicious for AGES. Seeing trollskis everywhere, including here. Unfamiliar names saying things like ‘the important thing is we can’t run any woman in 2020’, with numbers on the end of their nyms like the Twitter trollskis.

    I’ve been saying the Russians are done with Trump since that summit, where I thought he was gonna run off to Russia. Instead, Vlad cut him dead and was all jolly with Middle East despots, and you could see how gutted Trump was.

    I think since then, for instance with Syria, he’s desperately trying to get Putin’s love back not understanding that it’s over. He is no longer useful to Putin, and a lot of Russian-aligned traitors are about to be unmasked, and there’s nothing special Trump can do to heighten the resulting chaos plus he’s never been possible to manage in the first place. I think he’s fucked and hope we’re not quite so fucked as all that.

    Also sure McConnell is a traitor colluding with the Russians. There’s a lot of cleanup to do, and by now it’s been made about as difficult as it could be made. I just watch for Russian troll activity and try to keep busy doing stuff outside of politics.

  129. 129
    Raoul says:

    @Jay: That’s an interesting take. Trying to throw Trump off.

    I just figure Cohen is lying in the sense that he was in the Czech republic, just not in Prague per se. Maybe took the train from Berlin to Usti nad Labem to meet his Russian contacts?

    Mueller knows. That part rings true.

  130. 130
    Jay says:

    @Raoul:

    During the period in question, Cohen was in Europe, three times. Italy once, Germany once, and ????? in which he and Jarvanka too Derp’s jet from the Hamptons to ?????.

    Cohen sticks to the Prague lie because it’s one the Trumpentariate already believe and they use to claim it disproves the Steele Dossier.

    It’s not a good lie, or a clever lie, it’s a stupid lie, so of course the Trumpentariate love it.

  131. 131
    ema says:

    @VeniceRiley:

    Also, apparently, among the millions of pages of records Mueller’s has collected on Russian election interference is a “nude selfie.

    — Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 27, 2018

    (via)

  132. 132
    Jinchi says:

    @Archon:

    He’s now lied about it so much for so long I think he made it impossible for Republican Senators to defend once this all becomes public.

    I remember thinking the exact same thing back in January 2016.

    Republicans will defend him publicly until the day he leaves office. On the next day, they’ll deny even knowing his name.

  133. 133
    Zinsky says:

    Hard to know what is truth and what is a lie with these Trump minions. They lie like most people breathe. If Mueller can find solid evidence of a Trump-ordered or -approved payoff or compensation to the GRU hackers who stole the DNC and Podesta e-mails, it is GAME OVER. Senate Republicans, one of the lowest forms of life on the planet, will have no choice but to vote for conviction in Trump’s near-certain impending impeachment.

  134. 134
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Zinsky:

    If Mueller can find solid evidence of a Trump-ordered or -approved payoff or compensation

    If it happened, I am certain that there are receipts or equivalent, and that they are very well-secured against hostile destruction (if third parties are involved).

  135. 135

    ITT: Cohen has no incentive to lie to Mueller and protect Trump, so he must be lying about his trip to Prague because I want to believe it.

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