Russiagate Open Thread: Is Donny Jr Going Under the Bus?

I trust Richard Burr not at all, but unlike the Squatter-in-Chief, he’s a party professional. Preliminary reports this week suggest he may have decided somebody will need to be sacrificed to protect the GOP oligarchy, and it might as well be the guy whose own father doesn’t like or care about him…

Digby (Heather Digby Parton) at Salon:

It’s clear that Trump is… probably unaware that Burr also acted as a back channel during the investigation, speaking to former White House counsel Don McGahn about whom the committee had interviewed. But Trump mentioned that Burr had said publicly that his committee had found no evidence of collusion and seemed confused since he had obviously considered Burr to be among his loyal henchmen.

Burr is a strange figure in all this. He has gone out of his way to avoid appearing publicly with Trump, supposedly to avoid the appearance of a conflict even as he shared info with the White House and intervened with the press on Trump’s behalf. He has managed to work congenially with Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel’s ranking Democrat, and by all accounts the committee investigation itself has not been compromised…

Burr’s back-channel activities with the White House are reminiscent of Sen. Howard Baker of Watergate fame, the Tennessee Republican known for his repeated question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” It was later learned that Baker had secretly provided the Nixon White House with information about the Watergate committee’s investigation; his question was designed to protect Richard Nixon, under the assumption that Nixon hadn’t known anything about the criminal cover-up. When it could no longer be denied that Nixon knew everything, Baker changed sides and sealed his reputation as a man of integrity, even though the truth was much murkier than that.

There have been so many of these possible parallels between Republicans of the Watergate era and today, and none of them have panned out. I’m no longer willing to extend the possibility. That species of Republicans who are willing to do the right thing, however reluctantly, has gone extinct. I don’t know why Burr has gone that extra mile, but I doubt that he intends to nail Donald Trump Jr. with a perjury rap or to expose the president’s collusion with Russia. It may just be that Burr thought Don Jr. would end up complying and they could have a nice little sit-down to clear the air. In any case, the likelihood of the Republican Senate sending a criminal referral to William Barr for Don Jr.’s lies under oath are about the same as the chances President Trump will join the Space Force for its first trip to the moon…

I’m not as sure as Digby about that; Trump the Lesser is such a feckless putz that he’s probably incapable of protecting himself, and Murphy the Trickster God knows his old man isn’t gonna take much of an interest in his fate. (If he’d been a better father, Donny Jr might not’ve been so eager to snatch at dubious foreign sources with vague promises of “help” in the first place.)

I can see a GOP Senate majority hastily proclaiming, well in advance of the 2020 election, that Young Donald committed some terrible terrible crimes… *but* that the Oval Office Occupant and his GOP enablers had no idea that such shenanigans were taking place, probably because something something Obama, also Hillary Clinton’s emails. And once Donny is sent away to a nice farm in the country where he can run & play all day, well, back to Repub business as usual!

56 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Or, equally as plausible, especially given McConnell standing up for him at the Senate GOP caucus’s lunch this week, is that this is being done so that Jr can come in, clean up any discrepancies between his testimony and what is in the Mueller report, and then all the potential jeopardy has gone away.

    I’m going to go rub doggy bellies. You all have a nice night.

  2. 2
    Plato says:

    What Adam said. This is an attempt to sanitize totus thug’s spawn. There is zero honor or credibility left with the rethugs party any more.

  3. 3
    Nicole says:

    Likewise, I don’t think this is about anything other than trying to make it all go away. And these days, I feel like they’ll succeed. Ugh. And I’m away from my doggy so I have no doggy belly to rub.

  4. 4
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Fuck you Washington Post for that picture.

    Once more – with feeling!

    Are there any pictures of this traitorous, trash, crime family that don’t scream, “I would totally deserve my face denting your cast iron pan!”?

  5. 5
    Jay says:

    “They” have been trying to make it all go away for a while now,

    Bengazhi time,…….

    It’s not gone away.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:


    And I’m away from my doggy so I have no doggy belly to rub.

    Check your email, we’ve got you covered!

  7. 7
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Nicole: 😢 Doggo belly rub is good self-care in these times or any times.

  8. 8
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I want to see the mugshot of Dotard-tito!

  9. 9
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Then why the subpoena? Wouldn’t Jr voluntarily come in if they were just allowing him to whitewash things?

  10. 10
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @clay: To make it look like “oversight”?

  11. 11
    Millard Filmore says:

    My guesses:

    1) no show
    2) 5th amendment
    3) he blows it royally

  12. 12
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Is face punching within the jurisdiction of this committee? If so, there are some faces that need punching, starting with Junior.

  13. 13
    Nicole says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That was much appreciated, thank you. Good doggy!

  14. 14
    Nicole says:

    @mrmoshpotato: So true! Dogs are excellent comfort. Sometimes I think our 8-year-old kid chooses to have a meltdown purely for the pleasure of the dog racing over to him to try to lick it all better.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: 1) Appearances. 2) Jr isn’t very bright.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Nicole: You’re quite welcome.

  17. 17
    Plato says:

    Another reason that waiting for the 2020 election to remove Trump is no substitute for removing him through impeachment is that he’s all but certain to abuse his powers as president to undermine the campaign of whoever his opponent turns out to be. E.g.:— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 11, 2019

  18. 18
    Jay says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    Superman wedgies are allowed,…..

  19. 19

    Mayor Pete stopped by our SF office today and did a Q&A. I had to livestream it, but still, that was neat.

  20. 20
    Jay says:

    @Millard Filmore:

    #4, Tide Pods Challenge no longer trendy,

  21. 21
    eemom says:

    Is Donny Jr Going Under the Bus?

    dunno, but it has a lovely sound to it.

  22. 22
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Speaking of Superman related things, has anybody seen the trailer for Brightburn? James Gunn is a producer for it, but he isn’t directing. Family of his apparently have written the script. It’s basically, “What if Superman were “evil”, which has been done many times before, but never on the big screen.

    It’s being billed as “superhero horror”. Anybody plan on seeing it

  23. 23
    prostratedragon says:

    As to the question of the thread, sure is what it’s been sounding like to me. Even the tweeting sounds just perfunctory.

    As to the business a couple of threads down, let the US flag tell it: put in your pocket and walk with it.

  24. 24
    hilts says:

    Rudy the Fool Giuliani announced on Fox News that’s he’s cancelling Ukraine trip.

  25. 25
    Jay says:


    Like Pompeo’s Iraq trip, he was probably told to fuck off.

  26. 26
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Don’t get TV or live stream, DVD’s or Digital Media on a hard drive.

    Try to avoid evil shows these days.

  27. 27
    Geoduck says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: It’s been commented that they’ve released so many extensive trailers for the flick, we’ve already seen it.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @Jay: Maybe a real lawyer got in touch with Rudy and had a talk with him.

    As for the post, the parallels between Baker and Burr have occurred to me, in light of recent news on how delicately and carefully Burr has compromised himself. Or probably, the reporter pointed it out in the story.

    With Dems congtrolling the House, Burr might be playing jenga. You start pulling out too many of pieces in the pile of shit bricks, it might fall down. If this is finding a fall guy in (I think false) hopes of taking the abject flunky-to-a-crook-swindler stink of the GOP’s fealty to Trump, it might backfire. I hope it does. And I don’t think it would work anyway. But, desperate measures for desperate times.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:


    Same here. I’m all fluff all the time now – except I did watch Chernobyl and it was not good for my health.

    I think I’m going to limit myself to Flight of the Conchords or Little Miss Sunshine for awhile.

  30. 30
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, I don’t think there’s a plan to make Junior the scapegoat.

    Julia Ioffe at GQ:

    According to his first wife, Ivana, Donald Trump was never keen on bequeathing his name to anybody. It was Ivana who wanted to call their newborn Donald junior. “You can’t do that!” Trump is quoted as saying in Ivana’s memoir, Raising Trump. “What if he’s a loser?”

    Don tells his own story about coming into the world on December 31, 1977. “I like to joke that my dad wanted to be able to claim me as a dependent on his taxes for 1977,” he once told Forbes, “so he told my mom she had to have me before midnight and, if she didn’t, he’d make her take a cab home.” (Ivana wrote about her labor being induced by doctors.)

    So began the difficult, defining struggle of Donald Trump Jr.’s life—to make himself useful while carrying a name so beloved by the man who bestowed it that he put it in gold letters on buildings all over the world. When he was growing up, his dad called him Donny—a moniker the elder Trump would never go by. “[It’s] a name I hate,” he explained in The Art of the Deal.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Gotta protect that name – it’s all they have.


  31. 31
    Jay says:


    Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

  32. 32
    tokyokie says:

    @Jay: You can also make high-def .mp4s of Blu-rays.

  33. 33
    Mike in NC says:

    Richard Burr is a useless piece of shit whose entire reason for being is to make speeches to ask for more tax cuts for corporations. Republican dogma says no corporate taxes means millions of jobs will flower overnight.

  34. 34
    James E Powell says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    this is being done so that Jr can come in, clean up any discrepancies between his testimony and what is in the Mueller report, and then all the potential jeopardy has gone away.

    Agree completely. No doubt members of Burr’s staff have been meeting with Jr’s attorneys in order to script & practice his new answers. Expect his appearance to be a whitewash with no negative consequences.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    @Plato: What Tribe says is true that Trump will try to tamper with the election, in fact, news today says that he’s already started. But what about the GOP Senate makes him think it is possible to get a conviction after impeachment? If Trump uses executive branch to tilt the election, they’ll just figure that’s great for them.

    I think very aggressive Congressional oversight is needed, and the Democratic Party and candidates need to make the case against Trumpism very aggressively. But starting formal impeachment proceedings leads to a very definite and scheduled endgame: the trial in the Senate. If no conviction, what then, not only politically for 2020, but for controlling Trump?

    Congress needs to move very aggressively on oversight of 2020 elections (or at least the House does, I dunno if the Senate cares). But I see no reason to start the formal impeachment-conviction-removal train running right away.

  36. 36
    MomSense says:


    That could work.

  37. 37
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Killjoy. Party pooper. Debbie-downer.

  38. 38

    @jl: .

    ..starting formal impeachment proceedings leads to a very definite and scheduled endgame

    Nope, the House can vote to impeach in 15 minutes or take 15 months, it’s all up to how the House decides to proceed. The Speaker right now seems to want to follow the oversight option while waiting to see if the public catches up with Trump’s misdeeds.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: It’s based on a comic book that explored the theme. I’ve seen bits from the red band trailer – it’s quite gory. Perhaps gratuitously so. The problem is that the story misses the essential point of the Superman story, which was a modern retelling, by two Jewish-Americans who had experienced anti-Semitism and were living in the shadow of what would become WW II, of the story of Moses. That point being that the other, the different, doesn’t have to be monstrous.

    If you want a take on what would happen if Superman isn’t found by the Kents, try the DC animated movie Justice League: Gods and Monsters.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Jr. was a blackout drunk in college. There’s been no reporting whatsoever that he’s now a recovering alcoholic. He’s a weak link. If he’s squeezed properly, he’ll break.

  41. 41
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Or maybe he’ll be the next SCOTUS justice.


    Amazing times we live in…

    542 days to go. We’ll see what happens. Thanks.


  42. 42
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Yeeshh.. the mean (very mean) grouchy old farts on this blog. By ‘scheduled’ I meant more than calendar time, I also meant how the process concentrates attention on certain goals.

    So, let the House take 15 months on impeachment hearings, the focus of which will be on building a case for convicting Trump of crimes he’s committed. That 15 months will put us with a vote on impeachment in August 2020, just as the general election campaign gets under way. Will proper attention be given to crimes Trump will be committing in real time corrupting the election?

    I didn’t say that aggressive House investigations that may well lead to impeachment are a bad thing. Just that there are important trade-offs, and not jut political ones, but real oversight issues that need to be considered. I don’t think Tribe’s tweet makes a good argument on its own.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If he’s squeezed properly, he’ll break.

    ew. Can we go back to the equally dispositive but less disgusting “under the bus”, plz? Thx.

  44. 44

    @jl: Gee, do you take everything so literally? I was using a bit of artistic license here, 15 minutes or 15 months. I also pointed out that the House was not trying to get ahead of public opinion by proceeding with impeachment hearings now, going with oversight. I agree with the Speaker’s call here.

  45. 45

    @eemom: “Under the Bus” would imply squeezing.

  46. 46
    Ken says:

    @Adam L Silverman: enter Kamala Harris.

  47. 47
    prostratedragon says:

    The US government has sent another tranche of Dirty War era archives to the government of Argentina. This article includes an overview of that time.

    “Coral,” Piazzolla (1969)

  48. 48
    Redshift says:

    I don’t buy the idea that this subpoena is just to conduct a whitewash. What would be the advantage of that over just maintaining a solid “case closed” wall if obstruction?

    And I think we’ll hear a lot from Mark Warner if they try that. I’ve gotten to talk to him several times about this over the past two years, and he is extremely serious about the Russian attack. He’s the one who stopped Burr when he was going to shut down the investigation early on.

  49. 49
    ericblair says:

    I don’t buy the idea that this subpoena is just to conduct a whitewash. What would be the advantage of that over just maintaining a solid “case closed” wall if obstruction?

    I agree. Besides, what kind of idiot would expect Junior not to fuck this up, especially when proven conspiracy with a hostile foreign power is a bit of a trick to explain away.

  50. 50
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    I wonder if the combination of the 2018 election results, the SDNY investigations and the polling on Mueller have given the GOP pause about their support of Trumpov and they’re throwing Junior under the bus as a start. They’ve gotten their tax cuts, their judges and a lot of deregulation they wanted. Trumpov might be reaching a level of diminishing returns at this point. The Dems generally do better in election years. They’re going to put their bets on voter suppression, misinformation and Russian election meddling to eke out a win the election?? Not sure that is going to be enough.

  51. 51
    germy says:

    and it might as well be the guy whose own father doesn’t like or care about him…

    I thought that was the other adult son; the one who looks suspiciously like Gary Busey….

  52. 52
    Shantanu Saha says:

    @germy: they’re both losers, but Jr. is unfortunate enough to have his father’s name.

  53. 53
    Another Scott says:

    @ericblair: Leading questions (from Teabaggers) are Junior’s friend.

    We’ll know within the first few minutes of questioning what the GOP has in mind for the hearing.

    If it occurs.


  54. 54
    jc says:

    I still want to know who Don Jr. was calling immediately after the June 2016 meeting in Trump tower. He called a blocked number. Can Mueller tell us who was being called? And if it was Don Sr., doesn’t that mean he was clearly conspiring? Wouldn’t that constitute yet another impeachable offense?

  55. 55
    Another Scott says:

    @jc: FTFNYT from January:

    WASHINGTON — Democrats have long stoked suspicions about whether President Trump knew his son met with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, pointing to phone calls that Donald Trump Jr. received from a blocked number around the time of the meeting.

    New evidence obtained by Senate investigators appears to have refuted that claim, according to two people briefed on the matter. The investigators have phone records showing that Donald Trump Jr. spoke with two family friends who used blocked numbers — Brian France, the chief executive of Nascar, and the investor Howard Lorber — as the meeting was being set up, according to the people.

    Mr. Lorber had significant investments in Russia and traveled to Moscow in 1996 with President Trump as they considered building a Trump Tower there.

    For the younger Mr. Trump, the revelation that he had not called his father was seen among Trump allies as a victory over Democrats at a crucial moment in the investigation, according to people close to the White House.

    In a statement, Donald Trump Jr. said, “After a year of hearing about this one ad nauseam, yet another left-wing narrative officially bites the dust.”

    A Nascar spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment, and attempts to reach Mr. Lorber were unsuccessful. CNN first reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee had obtained the new phone records, and ABC News first reported the names of the Trump family friends.

    True? Who knows.

    It sorta convolutes the story, though, doesn’t it? “The meeting was about adoption. Yeah, adoption. Well, actually, you’re right, it was about getting dirt on Hillary. Oh, I just happened to call some people immediately around the time of the meeting – some people who happened to be interested in Trump Tower Moscow. Something that Donnie was, and is, after like a great white whale. We’re TOTALLY VINDICATED now, see?!!?”


    Others speculated that Mueller could have gotten the phone records if he wanted. Maybe he did and maybe that’s part of the redacted stuff in Mueller’s report. Maybe, maybe not.

    Dunno. But there’s much, much more we know about that we can go after Donnie about.

    My $0.02. FWIW.


  56. 56
    Tehanu says:

    @Adam L Silverman: There was a hilarious Saturday NIght Live sketch back in the 70’s with Dan Aykroyd as a Superman, or rather Uberman, who had landed in Germany instead of the American Midwest, John Belushi as Jor-El, and Michael Palin as Hitler.

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