Interesting (Long) Read: “Fusion GPS Founder Hauled From the Shadows for the Russia Election Investigation”

Back on January 2nd, from Glenn R. Simpson & Peter Fritsch, “The Republicans’ Fake Investigations”:

In the year since the publication of the so-called Steele dossier — the collection of intelligence reports we commissioned about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia — the president has repeatedly attacked us on Twitter. His allies in Congress have dug through our bank records and sought to tarnish our firm to punish us for highlighting his links to Russia. Conservative news outlets and even our former employer, The Wall Street Journal, have spun a succession of mendacious conspiracy theories about our motives and backers.

We are happy to correct the record. In fact, we already have.

Three congressional committees have heard over 21 hours of testimony from our firm, Fusion GPS. In those sessions, we toppled the far right’s conspiracy theories and explained how The Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign — the Republican and Democratic funders of our Trump research — separately came to hire us in the first place.

We walked investigators through our yearlong effort to decipher Mr. Trump’s complex business past, of which the Steele dossier is but one chapter. And we handed over our relevant bank records — while drawing the line at a fishing expedition for the records of companies we work for that have nothing to do with the Trump case.

Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators…

The NYTimes still has sources to protect, because this appeared online last night:

From the start, he was a central casting misfire — the dark artist slicing through the capital by electric scooter, a cloak-and-dagger digger better known to former colleagues for scratching his bare belly in plain office view.

In a past career, Glenn R. Simpson had been a reporter’s reporter, tenacious through two decades in journalism, often driving the Washington story of the day — congressional corruption, fund-raising shenanigans, sundry misbehavior — but never becoming it himself. “It’s not news when things go right,” he told a group of students in 1991, describing his craft. “When things go right, it’s boring.”

Mr. Simpson’s life has not been boring for some time now. It has, perhaps inevitably, become news.

As investigators circle President Trump’s administration over ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Simpson, a 53-year-old Wall Street Journal veteran-turned-master of high-dollar research, has arrived at the biggest story of either of his careers, lurching to the center of the Russia-tinged scandal that clouds the presidency…
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49 Seconds Of Chilling Bliss

Because when the new year opens with the same arrant and unrelenting bullshit with which the old one closed, a purely beautiful moment is welcome:


And this thread? Why yes…yes: it is open.

Sunday Morning Chat Thread: Happy New Year’s Eve


Another amazing photo from commentor & savior-of-a-daybreak-poster Marvel, in the Pacific Northwest.


I had a bunch of longform articles I meant to share during this traditionally “slow news” year-end period, but the combination of Donny Dollhands and my own personal Spousal Unit being on vacation didn’t leave much time or space. If I were the sort of person who made calendar-flip resolutions, I’d resolve to spend less time reading Twitter and more time sharing “real” journalism in 2018.

What’s on the agenda, prepping for tonight’s Giant Amateur Drunken Desperation Festival?

Friday Morning Open Thread: Read Yer F…. ine Manual, “Christians”!

Even those Americans not raised in Christian traditions usually know the outlines of the “First Christmas” story: A family of refugees show up, without the resources to house themselves, and are helped out by ordinary local people. Then, when the authorities threaten to (shall we say) break up the family with extreme prejudice, three wealthy foreign elitists not only give them advance warning to flee, but provide them the means to do so successfully.

As I understand it, Donald Trump was confirmed in the Presbyterian Church, and still professes to practice it (“I go as much as I can, always on Christmas… “). He’s certainly surrounded himself with self-anointed loud’n’proud Christians, who believe their “faith” gives them special rights to dictate behavior to the rest of us. Somebody needs to catch that bunch up on their scripture!

(Click here, or on the tweet above, for more.)

Inevitable Trumplodyte coda…

Late Night Open Thread: Narcissist Figurehead Furious Illegitimate Appointment Might Be Insufficiently Lickspittle

Chroist Jaysus, these Repubs. Actual Washington Post headline, in case you think I’m exaggerating: “Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination”:

For nearly eight months, President Trump has boasted that appointing Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court ranks high among his signature achievements.

But earlier this year, Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination, venting angrily to advisers after his Supreme Court pick was critical of the president’s escalating attacks on the federal judiciary in private meetings with legislators…

The president worried that Gorsuch would not be “loyal,” one of the people said, and told aides that he was tempted to pull Gorsuch’s nomination — and that he knew plenty of other judges who would want the job…

Trump was especially upset by what he viewed as Gorsuch’s insufficient gratitude for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, White House officials said. The judge sent the president a handwritten letter dated March 2, thanking him for the nomination and explaining how grateful he was, according to a copy obtained by The Post.

“Your address to Congress was magnificent,” Gorsuch wrote. “And you were so kind to recognize Mrs. Scalia, remember the justice, and mention me. My teenage daughters were cheering the TV!”

Aides said Trump did not immediately receive the note, but it was retrieved by legislative affairs director Marc Short and then viewed by Trump on March 10, helping ease his concerns…

The incident that so angered Trump came shortly after a federal judge had issued a nationwide stop to the president’s travel ban targeting a list of majority-Muslim countries. At the time, the president disparaged the “so-called judge” on Twitter, writing that the ruling “put our country in such peril.”…

Gorsuch, meanwhile, was moving through the confirmation process, doing rounds of courtesy meetings with senators on Capitol Hill — including the one with Blumenthal, which quickly became news after the senator shared their private discussion with reporters.

“I told him how abhorrent Donald Trump’s invective and insults are toward the judiciary,” Blumenthal told The Post in an interview. “And he said to me that he found them ‘disheartening’ and ‘demoralizing’ — his words.”

The remarks angered the president, who attacked Blumenthal on Twitter, saying the senator misrepresented Gorsuch’s comments. But at the time, at least, he also felt that Gorsuch himself was being disloyal.

In a meeting with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump attacked the judge in sharp terms, surprising his fellow Republicans.

McConnell was so concerned that he made a point of repeatedly telling Trump to stay the course on Gorsuch — and that he would make sure the judge made it through the confirmation process with as few hiccups as possible.

Looking for the pony in the manure pile…

Yes Virginia, there is a Voter-claus

And with that, it looks like the Virginia House of Delegates is now a 50-50 split as the Democrats will have picked up a net of 16 seats during the November election.

So let’s hear it for all the door knockers, phone bankers and post card writers.

Open thread

Late Night Gloating Open Thread: Moore Is A Losing Luzer Who Loses

To be honest, I’m actually curious how many votes were tipped — or just not cast — after Moore’s Big Barn Burning Hate Fest last night. Sure, it pleased Moore’s base, and no doubt the small-dollar donors who provide his steady income, so he’s got no reason to regret the show. But it’s gotta sting that so many out-of-state Repubs are suddenly seized with the urge to “refudiate” Judge Roy, like he was some shoeless drifter snuck under their big tent and stank up the joint…

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