Late Night Speculation Open Thread: The Permanent GOP Washes Its Hands of Donald Trump

Or so — in conjunction with Paul Ryan’s run for the exits — I have to assume. They no longer have any interest in defending the current Oval Office occupants, just in pushing through whatever convenient pardons and legal shortcuts can be managed before the collapse. There will be pushback on a Libby pardon, media attention to the high crimes & misdemeanors of the Bush Regency crime cartel for which Libby took his fall, and (apart from pwning the libs) no immediate upside for Donald J. Trump, Oval Office Occupant. Since Donny Dollhand has never been one to do a favor without promise of immediate reciprocation, presumably the GOP has promised him something of value in return. Ceremonial burning of the much-discussed pee tape? Cancellation of all his many debts? Pallets of gold bullion and a safe escape flight to a Sevastopol hideaway, or the rumored Bush family compound in Paraguay?…

Per the NYTimes, because they’re the experts on the delicate handling of sensitive topics for plutocrats and other Republicans:

Mr. Libby’s case has long been a cause for conservatives who maintained that he was a victim of a special prosecutor run amok, an argument that may have resonated with the president. Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained that the special counsel investigation into possible cooperation between his campaign and Russia in 2016 has gone too far and amounts to an unfair “witch hunt.”

Mr. Libby, who goes by Scooter, was convicted of four felonies in 2007 for perjury before a grand jury, lying to F.B.I. investigators and obstruction of justice during an investigation into the disclosure of the work of Valerie Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. officer. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby’s 30-month prison sentence but refused to grant him a full pardon despite the strenuous requests of Mr. Cheney, a decision that soured the relationship between the two men.

A pardon of Mr. Libby would paradoxically put Mr. Trump in the position of absolving one of the chief architects of the Iraq war, which Mr. Trump has denounced as a catastrophic miscalculation. It would also mean he was forgiving a former official who was convicted in a case involving leaks despite Mr. Trump’s repeated inveighing against those who disclose information to reporters.

Critics of Mr. Trump quickly interpreted the prospective pardon as a signal by the president that he would protect those who refuse to turn on their bosses, as Mr. Libby was presumed not to have betrayed Mr. Cheney. Mr. Trump has not ruled out pardons in the Russia investigation.

Mr. Trump has shown no particular interest in Mr. Libby’s case before. In 2015, during his campaign for the White House, Mr. Trump was asked if he would pardon Mr. Libby and declined to say, calling it an irrelevant issue. It was unclear when Mr. Trump would issue the pardon, which was first reported by ABC News…

The case tested the limits of journalistic independence. Judith Miller, then a reporter for The Times, went to prison for 85 days rather than disclose that Mr. Libby had discussed Ms. Wilson with her. She was freed after Mr. Libby released her from any promise of confidentiality…

The case has its connections to Mr. Trump because Mr. Fitzgerald was friends with James B. Comey, who was then the deputy attorney general who assigned him the investigation after the attorney general recused himself. Mr. Cheney long suspected that Mr. Comey was taking revenge for a dispute between them over the legality of a surveillance program…

(I blame it all on the Republicans who advised Gerry Ford to pardon Nixon back in 1974. Without a public examination of all the CREEPster crimes, its perpetrators were free to reemerge repeatedly over the last forty years, trailing foul clouds of treason and financial impropriety every time.)



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Been A Long Week…


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Apart from hoping for a news respite, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Open Thread: Did Papadopolous Read Too Many Spy Novels? Or Not Enough?

The Daily Beast makes his entrapment sound like something out of a Spy-vs-Spy parody:

Days after becoming a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign in 2016, George Papadopoulos started meeting with a woman he believed to be Vladimir “Putin’s niece,” according to a newly unsealed indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The woman, along with a Kremlin-connected, London-based professor, wanted to help Papadopoulos arrange meetings between representatives of then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Maybe, the woman said, she could even get the two men to meet face-to- face.

“I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation,” she later emailed. “As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced.”

But the woman was not, in fact, Putin’s relative. Papadopoulos had, in a sense, been catfished—and then lied about catfishing to federal investigators…

Papadopoulos was living in London when he was named a foreign policy advisor to Team Trump in March 2016. Approximately eight days after accepting the job, Papadopoulos met another Londoner: a Russian professor who “claimed to have substantial connections with Russian government officials,” the indictment reads.

One of those connections was of particular interest to Papadopoulos. On March 24, the professor invited Papadopoulos to a meeting with a Russian woman, whom he introduced as a relative of Russian president Vladimir Putin. After the meeting, Papadopoulos wrote an email to the Trump campaign, stating that he had just met with the professor, whom he described as a “good friend,” and the alleged “niece.”

Papadopoulos said “Putin’s niece” and the professor had offered “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.”

The woman also allegedly promised to introduce Papadopoulos to the Russian Ambassador in London, but never made good on the offer.

But Trump campaign staffers praised Papadopoulous’s new connections. “Great work,” an unnamed campaign supervisor replied to the email. The supervisor shied away from making any early commitments to a meeting, but promised to “work it through the campaign.”…

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He was arrested July 27 in Dulles International Airport, according to his indictment. Since his arrest, which remained secret until now, Papadopoulos has met with investigators to answer more questions—and cooperate with Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of ties between Trump Tower and the Kremlin…

So — if I’m reading this correctly — the first arrest was made three months ago. Points to Bobby Three Stick’s team for not sharing this news until the time was right!

And speaking of people who don’t share what they know…

Why, yes, that is Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III at the foot of the table…



Friday Morning Open Thread: Because Those Sheets Would Never Be the Same

Poor little Charlottesville (so close to DC, so far from… the concrete canyon haunts of scary urban types, ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo) is not looking forward to the weekend. Per the SPLC:

Hundreds of Alt-Right activists and white nationalist extremists are set to descend on the small community of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday in what’s shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.

“Unite the Right” is expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency…

Those Out’n’Proud racists better bring their RVs and camper tops, because I am happy to note that the local Airbnb is not sympathetic. Per the Washington Post:

As city leaders worked Monday trying to defuse an increasingly tense situation, the lodging rental company Airbnb quietly booted users who it believed were searching for lodging to attend the rally.

The company confirmed they had taken action in a statement to NBC29: “When through out background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.”

That stance didn’t sit well with the rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler.

“This is outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit,” Kessler told The Washington Post on Monday night. “It’s the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy.”…

What a fragile snowflake. To quote my Orange-bred granny: Go boil yer head, it might be useful then [as cabbage soup].

Much more on the proposed rally and counter rallies here, here, and here — in the NYTimes:

[T]he rally’s leaders have complained in their social media posts of a “heckler’s veto,” saying that the counter-protests are effectively censoring their free speech rights.

“There is just an incredible amount of discrimination from the city government and other elements of the community to keep people from eating at the restaurants they want to eat at, to keep people from renting,” Mr. Kessler said. “There’s just an enormous amount of hostility.”

Asked if he was surprised by the pushback, he said, “I think that I’m surprised by the venom and rancor from some individuals. It’s a little over the top.”

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Apart from hoping the bigots are seized by a great confusion & fright causing them to turn on each other with the same rancor, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Open Thread: Worst. Reboot. EVER!

Because nothing can be original any more, Ollie North emerges from his cushy right-wing cave and tries to promote a false equivalence between Donald Trump and… Thomas Jefferson. FDR. Even Ronald Reagan would reject the comparison! — he may have been a cynical mouthpiece for a bunch of greedy oligarchs, and sinking into organic dementia, but at least he was a professional. His meanest critics would admit that Reagan never shirked the less pleasant aspects of his White House job, always hit his camera marks, and mouthed the lines he was given with sincerity.

Ours is a coarser era, and Russia a rather more potent enemy; I suspect that even some portion of the Fox-News-addled “base” will be quick to turn on Trump as soon as it’s obvious he’s not going to “win” against a grand jury. Heel to hero back to heel — professional “reality” infotainment at its finest!

…. Oh, look, another needy has-been from the RWNJ swamps!…



Must Have Been The Brown Acid…

ETA: Given Betty’s post immediately below, this should settle any last doubts that this blog is not a member of any organized political party…(a gazillion quatloos to all those (many here) who nod to the illustrious forebear who put that opening to such good use).  I’ll leave this one up for the Rose-Mary Woods photo, which is worth the price of admission. But Betty got there first in all the relevant detail, so that’s where I’m heading for the fun of the discussion.)

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…the flashbacks seem so real.

At 8:32 this morning, the usurper occupying the Oval Office tweeted this:

I have several reactions.

First, this:

(For all you kids out there, that’s Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, demonstrating how she managed to “accidentally” create an eighteen minute gap in the Oval Office tapes, perfectly placed to eliminate some very interesting discussion of Watergate matters.)*

Second: A question for the legal minds here:  Bob Bauer has an interesting piece over at the Lawfare Blog assessing where Trump has reached on the obstruction of justice spectrum, clearly written before the shitgibbon released the tweet at the top of this post.  He argues (as I, a non-lawyer, read him) that there is an emerging fact pattern consistent with obstruction, but further focused inquiry would be needed to generate an actual case.  So, does this new tweet, explicitly threatening a potential witness in such an obstruction, advance the argument that the president is engaged in an actual, legally-jeopardizing attempt at obstruction?

Third: “Subpoena” has such a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it.  I shouldn’t still be surprised, but I am: how dumb do you have to be to announce the possibility of evidence that one had no prior reason to suspect might exist?  This tweet from Garry Kasparov is so spot on:

And with that, it’s back to the 18th century for me! (Isaac Newton, musing on the virtues of government debt…)  Have at it, y’all.

*Ancient tech nerd that I am, I am totally grooving on the IBM Selectric there. What fabulous machines… ETA: So — you can retire my tech-nerd creds. That’s not a Selectric. Ahh well….

 



Unifying the party through jobs

From this morning’s Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s team is moving to shore up an area where she urgently needs help — the campaign has hired Bernie Sanders’ director of student organizing to serve as her national campus and student organizing director, a Clinton official confirmed to POLITICO.

Kunoor Ojha is the Clinton campaign’s first major hire from the Sanders campaign, and her move to a role where she will work with the state teams to mobilize young voters represents a significant step in the former secretary of state’s outreach to the Vermont senator’s most ardent backers.

The party unifies when a bunch of people who were doing a good job on the Sanders campaign get good jobs on the Clinton campaign.

I remember in 2008 as the Democratic primary was winding down that a bunch of Clinton operatives got jobs on the Obama team.

I remember in 2004 that the digital/internet/blog outreach folks from the Dean and Clark campaigns got scooped up by the Kerry/Edwards team.

Echoing Doug, just chill……