Russiagate Open Thread: When Even Andrea Mitchell Is Giving You Side-Eye…

Please proceed, Trump Official!…



The Lone Gunman Comes To Town

Hundreds of films and television series were produced in the middle of the twentieth century on the theme of the lone gunman saving a town. An isolated frontier town is in trouble, usually from marauders who are stealing cattle and menacing women and children. A rugged, handsome hero rides in and saves the town.

The variations are endless. The troublemakers may be from the town or from outside. They are often nonwhite and the town primarily white, with a few people of color scattered in. The leadership of the town, usually white men, are ineffective or injured. The hero is white and may, as in the case of the Lone Ranger, have a nonwhite sidekick. He may become romantically involved with one of the women of the town, but he seldom stays. The narrative is gendered and racialized. Read more



Schadenfreude Open Thread: Nobody Loves A Loser, Donny…


 
… Except for the other losers! Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani represent everything Boston most loathes about NYC. So it’s not surprising the Boston Globe was happy to share:

[T]he lure of representing the most powerful man in the world isn’t appealing to this generation’s cadre of top white-collar criminal defense attorneys: Twelve partners from a total of seven firms have said no to President Trump’s entreaties to help him navigate the special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Being turned down time and again led Trump to pick former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani this week, turning to a former presidential candidate and one-time US attorney who was known for his at times imprecise but often effective advocacy of Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. Trump also brought on board a relatively obscure husband-and-wife team of former federal prosecutors with a white-collar criminal defense practice in South Florida.

It’s hard to call it a dream team.

“Rudy Giuliani has always been available,” said Roger Cossack, a former California prosecutor and legal analyst on TV. “Hiring Rudy Giuliani only underlines Trump’s dilemma in finding a lawyer who will work for him.”…

“What we’re seeing with President Trump is really unprecedented,” said Timothy Naftali, a historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. During the depths of Watergate, Nixon had a squadron of high-power lawyers to walk him through the process. “Nixon’s problem was that he wasn’t honest with his lawyers. And he didn’t really allow them to defend him,” he said…

Lawyers who’ve watched firms turn him down say it’s a combination of factors. There’s Trump’s reputation as a very difficult client who will undercut, change his mind, and publicly humiliate. Managing partners at top firms also fear Trump is so polarizing that their practice would lose clients and talent if they’re associated with him.

“Everyone who becomes associated with Trump becomes diminished,” explained one leading white-collar crime expert, who didn’t want to be named for fear of offending the president. “You come out with less of a reputation.”…

Another institutional worry at large firms is that Trump tends to ignore advice, even if it’s the best that money can buy. Some point to the president’s long history of civil litigation as a New York real estate developer and a casino owner, which gives Trump the confidence that he can be his own lawyer…

Firms also are worried that representing Trump could hurt recruitment of the best students coming out of law schools, particularly women, Bennett said…

(Also, he’s a notorious deadbeat.)

Much more, including a list of refuseniks, at the link.



North Korea Said Something Last Night

I would love to give you a deep dive into all the possible meanings of last night’s statement from the official news organization of the North Korean government. But I don’t think I have time. Let me see how the morning goes.

There is some great commentary on Twitter. The short version is that North Korean statements are hard to figure out, and some aspects of this statement have been made before and then ignored by the North Korean leadership. North Korea is playing a complex game in courting South Korea and trying to split them from the US, setting themselves up to look like the good guys when John Bolton starts the war drums, and generally flummoxing Donald Trump before the summit. Kim is a sharp player.

Here is the meat of the statement:

And here are some of the people whose accounts you might want to look into for more (including Martyn Williams, above):

Wellerstein’s tweet is the start of a very thoughtful thread. Read more



Cheap Mockery Open Thread: Some GOP Drone Has Expensed His Secret Hobby

There is no shame in being a furry, of course. But if a furry is *also* paid by the GOP, I can understand why they’d want to keep their identity secret.
 
Speaking of bad conservative styling choices, I cannot highly enough recommend:


… Wherein (along with more obvious targets) Mr. Magary refers to “Richard Cohen’s curls” as “A maltese that found a magic lamp and wished to become a man”.



“39 Minutes”: The Comey Memos Leak


 
That’s how long it took the Repubs to spill the entire file… (15-page PDF at the link):


 

Excellent explainer: The Washington Post, “What the Comey memos say”.

Choice Axios pullquote:

During their private dinner: “The conversation, which was pleasant at all times, was chaotic, with topics touched, left, then returned to later, making it very difficult to recount in a linear fashion…It really was a conversation-as-jigsaw-puzzle in a way, with pieces picked up, then discarded, then returned to.”…

 
Different areas of expertise, same question:


Read more



Friday Morning Open Thread: Compare & Contrast

Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don’t intimidate easily. They see the NRA and its allies—whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories—as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay. They’re as comfortable speaking truth to power as they are dismissive of platitudes and punditry. And they live to mobilize their peers.

Already, they’ve had some success persuading statehouses and some of the biggest gun retailers to change. Now it gets harder. A Republican Congress remains unmoved. NRA scare tactics still sway much of the country. Progress will be slow and frustrating.

But by bearing witness to carnage, by asking tough questions and demanding real answers, the Parkland students are shaking us out of our complacency. The NRA’s favored candidates are starting to fear they might lose. Law-abiding gun owners are starting to speak out. As these young leaders make common cause with African Americans and Latinos—the disproportionate victims of gun violence—and reach voting age, the possibilities of meaningful change will steadily grow…

***********
 


 
(I have a post about the leak of the Comey memos scheduled for 8am EDT, if you wanna get coffee & breakfast before reading.)