Russiagate Open Thread: Allegedly, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Is A Liar

… Or maybe his memory is just failing, selectively:

Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting. Then a senator from Alabama, Sessions chaired the meeting as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team…

Sessions, through Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, declined to comment beyond his prior testimony. The special counsel’s office also declined to comment. Spokeswomen for the Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did not comment.

Reuters was unable to determine whether Mueller is probing discrepancies in accounts of the March 2016 meeting.

The three accounts, which have not been reported, raise new questions about Sessions’ testimony regarding contacts with Russia during the campaign.

Sessions previously failed to disclose to Congress meetings he had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and testified in October that he was not aware of any campaign representatives communicating with Russians…

Legal experts expressed mixed views about the significance of the contradictions cited by the three sources.

Sessions could argue he misremembered events or perceived his response in a different way, making any contradictions unintentional, some experts said….

NYMag adds:

Sessions has been slippery — to put it generously — about Russia before. During his confirmation hearings last year, he said that he was not aware of any meetings between Trump campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government, neglecting to mention two meetings he had Sergei Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sessions claimed that he had met with Kislyak in his capacity as a U.S. Senator, not as a Trump surrogate. He later claimed that the meetings in question did not involve campaign-related issues — a version of events contradicted by Kislyak himself.

Sessions’s duplicitousness led to his fateful recusal from the Russia investigation, paving the way for Mueller’s appointment.

But remember, when it comes to firing political enemies of President Trump, the attorney general is deeply concerned about honesty.

Sidebar from Vox: “Jeff Sessions may have violated his recusal pledge when he fired Andrew McCabe”

Russiagate Open Thread: Not How This Works, Bro

The mockery is universal! Jon Chait, in NYMag:

President Trump’s lawyers have long insisted that, despite his public promise to testify to Robert Mueller, their client should not do so because he is a compulsive liar (e.g., the New York Times one month ago: “His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.”). His unstoppable lying is akin to a handicap.

Perhaps reconsidering the merits of this defense, Trump’s legal brain trust is floating two new rationales for why he cannot submit to an open interview. “It would be a travesty to waste his (Mr. Trump’s) time and to set a precedent which would cripple a future president,” a Trump lawyer tells The Wall Street Journal.

Everybody surely appreciates Trump’s previously undetectable concern for the long-term well-being of the institution he has been trashing. But the second objection, the one about wasting time, seems fairly easy to respond to. While Trump may be terribly busy with his regimen of document study, he also spends four to eight hours per day watching television…


And yet

The president’s legal team is considering telling Mr. Mueller that Mr. Trump would agree to a sit-down interview based on multiple considerations, including that the special counsel commit to a date for concluding at least the Trump-related portion of the investigation. One idea is to suggest a deadline of 60 days from the date of the interview, the person said.

Another consideration for the legal team is reaching an agreement with Mr. Mueller on the scope of his questioning of the president, which they expect to focus largely on his decision to fire former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former FBI director James Comey, according to people familiar with the matter…

The president’s legal team is under pressure from Mr. Trump to bring about an end to the probe. Mr. Trump has been eager to see the investigation wrap up as quickly as possible, describing it as a distraction that is hurting the country. His lawyers have repeatedly laid out public timelines by which they expected the investigation to end. Those deadlines have come and gone…

Lawyers for Mr. Trump hold different views on whether he should testify and under what conditions. One member of the Trump legal team said last month that Mr. Trump’s testimony could set a bad precedent for future presidents, eroding their powers.

If Mr. Trump were to face detailed questions involving dates and times, his legal team may be reluctant to have him participate. As an example, general questions about what the president was thinking when he ordered the firing of Mr. Comey might be acceptable, as opposed to what action he took on a specific date and time.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump have studied federal court rulings that could be the basis for delaying or limiting the scope of an interview, or perhaps avoiding one altogether.

Sounds to me like (yet more) kabuki to placate Trump and his more vocal idiot supporters. As the old parable ends, In a year’s time, who knows? I might die; the king might die — or the horse could talk!

Racist Authoritarians Open Thread: California Schemin’

I swear, these revanchists share some weird fantasy about a reverse-1860s (un)Civil War, where the bigots and blood profiteers cast out all the less-retrograde states and declare the rump (and the Treasury) their fiefdom. Because STATES RIGHTS!!! doesn’t apply, when the state fails to comply with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s prejudices:

The Justice Department dramatically escalated its war on “sanctuary” jurisdictions Tuesday, alleging in a lawsuit that the state of California has violated the Constitution with laws that are friendly to undocumented immigrants.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento just after 9 p.m. Eastern time, the Justice Department alleged that three recently enacted California laws obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law and harm public safety.

The Justice Department asked a federal judge to block the California laws, which restrict how state businesses and law enforcement agencies can cooperate with immigration authorities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is to address the lawsuit in a speech Wednesday at the California Peace Officers Association’s 26th Annual Law Enforcement Day, saying, in part: “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe we are going to win,” according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said Tuesday night that while he had yet to examine what the Justice Department filed, he felt the state was abiding by the Constitution and cooperating with its federal partners to foster public safety.

“States and local jurisdictions have the right to determine which policies are best for their communities,” he said…

Russiagate Open Thread: The Knives Are (Still) Out for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

And yet first-term Rep and aspiring Trump ballwasher Matt Gaetz was on Fox today, agreeing with “Judge Jeanine” that beta cuck Sessions should either appoint a more Repub-friendly special counsel or GTFO:

Rep. Matt Gaetz and a dozen other House Republicans are calling for the Justice Department to appoint a second special counsel to investigate surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign…

Gaetz said on “Outnumbered Overtime” that a second probe would provide “real accountability for these crimes that were committed against President Trump and his team.”

He said Republicans called for a second special counsel seven months ago, but Sessions took no action.

“If Jeff Sessions doesn’t want to do the job of attorney general, he should step aside and we should get somebody who wants to do that job.”…

This came after Chris Christie’s Sunday performance, saying that if the president really wants an Attorney General he can trust, maybe he should just man up and do something…

(Yeah, I don’t think even Donny Dollhands is dumb enough to fall for Christie’s bluff, but ya can’t fault the man for trying.)

Remember last week, per the Washington Post?

Perhaps Attorney General Jeff Sessions was desensitized by President Trump’s “DISGRACEFUL” tweet on Wednesday, but if he has any feelings left to hurt, then the former senator from Alabama might have been further wounded by Thursday’s daily news briefing.

Asked if Trump plans to fire Sessions, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied, “Not that I know of.”…
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Russiagate Open Thread: Mueller Knows What He’s Looking For

Yes, Mike Allen’s a tool and a parasite, but he’s survived in DC because he’s been able to spot the patterns below the froth he happily helps churn out. Which is why, IMO, he’s getting respect for this:

News flash: Mueller is looking at everything.

That’s his job. When he was named, he was empowered/instructed to look into the “FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.” That there is a broad mandate…

These kernels aren’t from Mueller’s office: We’ve seen time and again (and again) that his office is one of Washington’s few leak-free zones.

Yes, it looks bad. Based on conversations with White House insiders, I can tell you they’re more bearish than ever about the outcome. But we’re all guessing.

The bottom line: Here’s one headline that’s true: “Expect more ‘surprises’ from Mueller probe, former crusading prosecutor says.”…

NBC news flash, just a few hours ago:

The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by NBC News.

According to the subpoena, which was sent to a witness by special counsel Robert Mueller, investigators want emails, text messages, work papers, telephone logs and other documents going back to Nov. 1, 2015, 4½ months after Trump launched his campaign…

Once Hicks’ resignation takes effect in the next few weeks, Cohen will be the only person listed in the subpoena who hasn’t left the employment of Trump or of the White House.

“Trump associates” said to be included in this sweep: Steve Bannon, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Keith Schiller, and Roger Stone.

If this whole criminal conspiracy takes down foundational ratfvcker Roger Stone — who is preemptively wailing about “prosecutorial overreach” on the farther-rightwing news sites — it will delight some of us almost as much as extracting Donald Trump from his stolen perch in the Oval Office.

Hardcore Racists Open Thread: Another Lovers’ Spat Between Trump & Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III


Sometimes, when you’re under stress, you snap at the people around you, because you’re confident they’ll understand

“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse?” the U.S. president wrote in a tweet that was also critical of the IG, Michael Horowitz… Horowitz is investigating the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of its 2016 probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email arrangements. Trump fired FBI director James Comey last year in part, he said, because of that investigation.

Trump has repeatedly attacked and mocked Sessions and has said he wouldn’t have nominated him as attorney general if he’d known Sessions would later recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign…

For Sessions, the public criticism by the president is offset by a job that gives him a chance to pursue his career-long agenda of conservative positions on law enforcement issues, from restrictions on immigration to enforcement of federal laws against marijuana.

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Russiagate Open Thread: “Perjury Trap”

Swear to Murphy the Trickster God, Trump’s defenders sound like they have no idea what the concept of “ethics” involves; they seem to think it’s a synonym for “tactics”.

Randall D. Eliason, in the Washington Post:

The word “trap” connotes a snare set by investigators for the innocent and unwary. Should the president end up charged with perjury or false statements, you can expect to hear arguments that the charges are illegitimate because Mueller unfairly caught the president in a trap. Or perhaps the president and his lawyers will use the perjury-trap claim to justify refusing to be interviewed altogether.

But “perjury trap” is a specific legal defense, related to entrapment. A claim of a perjury trap is really a claim of prosecutorial misconduct. It refers to an abuse of the legal process, whereby a prosecutor subpoenas a witness to testify not for a legitimate investigative purpose but to try to catch him in an inconsistency or falsehood — even a relatively minor one — that can then trigger a perjury charge…

Being called to testify and therefore having the opportunity to commit perjury does not make that testimony a perjury trap. If that were the case, every witness could make the same argument. Claiming that Trump’s testimony would be a perjury trap is like saying driving a car is a “speeding trap” because being behind the wheel gives you the opportunity to exceed the speed limit.

Characterizing the president’s interview as a potential perjury trap is simply wrong. But it is of a piece with the broader effort by the president and his political allies to discredit Mueller’s investigation. It suggests — wrongly — that Mueller is treating the president unfairly. If the president commits perjury or false statements, it will be because he chose to lie — not because he was caught in a “trap.”…

Of course, Ken Starr’s freewheeling ‘Whitewater’ investigation hinged on exactly this kind of ‘perjury trap’ — the Repubs couldn’t prove Clinton had committed any of the crimes they were sure he was responsible for, but by GOP Jeebus they could indict him for lying about what he did with Monica Lewinsky. I guess they must still consider that incident a great success, and can’t understand why Democrats wouldn’t pull the same sort of two-bit theatrical shystering, given a chance…

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