Repub Venality Open Thread: Sessions / Rosenstein — SHIFTY! SHIFTY! SHIFTY!

This part of the NYTimes interview has been getting attention, for good reason. But now I’m curious about the Washington Post‘s report on an interview with the guy who’s taken over that part of Sessions’ job at Justice:

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said in an interview that aired Wednesday that neither the president nor the White House had asked him for an update on the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election, and that he was “not doing any micromanagement” of that probe.

The comments came during a wide ranging conversation with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum about the Justice Department’s new asset forfeiture policy, his recommendation to fire FBI Director James B. Comey and his appointment of a special counsel to lead the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein sought to assure people that the special counsel, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, was operating with some degree of independence from the Justice Department, though he also was getting the cooperation he needed.

But Rosenstein did not go to great pains to defend the special counsel team when pressed about whether he was bothered that several people on it had donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign…

Asked by The Washington Post at an unrelated briefing earlier Wednesday on how he could maintain his authority over Mueller when he might become a witness, Rosenstein declined to say.
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Late Night Open Thread: Are We Sure Trump Doesn’t Drink?

Even by >em>’narcissist who’s never been told no’ standards, this is… special. Last time a Republican president started saying stuff like this in public, he was suffering from encroaching Alzheimer’s (And, yes, I do remember Dubya’s losing battle with the English language, but I don’t remember him telling a reporter that he certainly hoped no judge would get their hands on the contents of Cheney’s man-sized safe.)

Of course, there’s a core of Trumplodytes who’ll be with him to the bitter end…



Open Thread: Trumpcare ‘Not Dead Yet’ (But It Smells Kinda Funny)

Who’s got a sturdy cudgel? Yes, the ongoing fight to protect Obamacare is serious, but watching the REPUBS IN DISARRAY! is delicious. Alice Ollstein, at TPM, “Trump’s Ham-Handed, Incoherent Health Care Message Leaves Senate Flailing“:

On Wednesday, [Trump] summoned all 52 Republican senators to the White House to try to browbeat them into passing some form of a health care bill. The president previewed his message for the lawmakers in an interview with televangelist Pat Robertson—saying he’ll be “very angry” if they can’t pass a bill—and in tweets Wednesday morning that made no case for the merits of the legislation or the difficult politics of curtailing the benefits of millions of people.

At the meeting, he threatened bill critic Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), asking as TV cameras rolled if he wants to “remain a senator,” and demanded the Senate stay in session through the summer recess until they “get it done” on health care…

Trump’s tin ear for Washington politics was on full display Monday night—the night Republican defectors drove the final nail into the coffin of the latest Obamacare repeal bill. The president hosted a group of senators at White House ostensibly to discuss health care over an elegant steak dinner, but did not invite any of the on-the-fence lawmakers he needed to convince to support the repeal effort. Instead, he dined with a group that already supported the bill, and according to the Washington Post, spent most of the evening recounting his recent trip to France…

“For seven years, Republicans have told the voters: ‘If you elect us, we’ll repeal Obamacare,’” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), carefully choosing his words as he walked through the Capitol’s underground tunnels surrounded by half a dozen reporters. “I think we will look like fools if we can’t deliver on that promise.”

But that message is unlikely to resonate with the moderate senators opposing the legislation who have repeatedly promised to protect their constituents’ Medicaid benefits and advocate for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Any time you’re over at the White House and the president is talking to you about his opinions, it can provide a pretty strong case,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) acknowledged. “But,” she added with a laugh, “we have our strong opinions too.”

Hmmm… piss off their voters, or Ted Cruz? How tough a choice is that?



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: An Experiment

Since there has been some grousing that I’m scheduling these EMOTs too late now — and since FYWP is giving poor Alain fits anyway — I’m gonna try posting this before the daily ‘On the Road’ feature. Let’s see if you experts can actually keep up with two posts in real time…

Apart from cheap snark (yes, I deserve it, though not as much as the Repubs), what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Open Thread: NOT HIS FAULT! (Nothing Ever Is)

Your “president”, Republicans! Worthy of a Qaddafi or a Mobute…

A disturbing scene unfolded at the White House on Monday afternoon. A hook-and-ladder firetruck and a utility bucket truck pulled up to the South Portico and extended their rescue arms in the vicinity of the Truman Balcony…

… The Trump White House had invited the makers of the trucks — and manufacturers of all stripes — to bring their wares to Washington to show that Trump was making good on his promise to revive manufacturing jobs in America.

The president admired baseball bats and golf clubs, tried on a Stetson, asserted that the representative from an Omaha beef producer “wanted to kiss me so badly,” gave a thumbs-up from the driver’s seat of the firetruck and admired a Sikorsky helicopter. “I have three of them,” this champion of the little guy reported. Trump, whose businesses fill hotel rooms with mostly imported goods and whose daughter manufactures her clothing line entirely overseas, proclaimed this “Made in America” week.

That Trump would attempt to give the impression that he is leading a manufacturing revival makes sense: In the otherwise dismal new Washington Post-ABC poll, Trump’s handling of the economy is the only area in which he is viewed favorably by the public, by a narrow 43 percent to 41 percent.

But if Americans were to discover Trump can’t make good on his promise to lead a resurgence in manufacturing jobs— then, well, it might be time for him to call in a five-alarm blaze and ride that hook-and-ladder into exile at Mar-a-Lago…



Back Door Man

Nothing to see here:

After his much-publicized, two-and a quarter-hour meeting early this month with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany, President Trump met informally with the Russian leader for an additional hour later the same day.

The second meeting, unreported at the time, took place at a dinner for G-20 leaders, a senior administration official said. Halfway through the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump was alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter.

The encounter underscores the extent to which Trump was eager throughout the summit to cultivate a friendship with Putin. During last year’s campaign, Trump spoke admiringly of Putin and at times seemed captivated by him.

Meeting each other face-to-face for the first time in Hamburg, the two presidents seemed to have a chemistry in their more formal bilateral session, evidenced by the fact that it dragged on for more than two hours.

***

The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm the session, first reported Monday by Ian Bremmer, president of the New York-based Eurasia Group, in a newsletter to group clients. Bremmer said in a telephone interview that he was told by two participants who witnessed it at the dinner, which was attended only by leaders attending the summit and some of their spouses.

Rogue president.








Late Night Open Thread: Shameless (But Stupid — Very Stupid)

It’s gone beyond the usual IOKIYAR clannishness to pure cultism, at this point. But some of the slightly more experienced partisans are beginning to look for an inconspicuous exit…


So all that prosecutorial experience didn’t quite go to waste, eh, Mr. Christie?
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