Wednesday Evening Open Thread: “All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner”

I’m petty enough to be pleased that Jill Abramson is feeling maybe just a little revenged on her NYTimes ex-colleagues. From her new post at the Guardian:

Game of Trumps is about to get really bloody. With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation moving ever closer to President Trump himself, it looks like someone inside the family is about to be sacrificed.

Consider this chronology. On 23 November it was widely reported that Flynn had informed the Trump legal team that he could no longer discuss the case with them. The end of cooperation with Trump surely signalled the beginning of cooperation with Mueller. Two days later the New York Times and Washington Post carried nearly identical stories about Jared Kushner’s waning influence.

The Times story had three bylines, including Maggie Haberman, the president’s go-to reporter. It concluded: “Mr Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who had been in seemingly every meeting and every photograph, has lately disappeared from public view and, according to some colleagues, taken on a more limited role behind the scenes.”…

Someone high up in the White House seemed anxious for the word to spread. The Times story was attributed, in part, to three “advisers to the president”. Parker’s included an earlier interview with Kushner and came “from interviews with Kushner himself, as well as 12 senior administration officials, aides, outside advisers and confidants, some speaking on condition of anonymity to offer a more candid assessment”…

Apart from schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Open Thread: Trump’s Reverse-Midas Touch

POST-RACIAL AMERICA!!! Truly, there is no bad-but-popular stereotype that Donald Trump can’t expose to public opprobrium, like lifting up rocks to show the squirmy things hiding beneath them…


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Open Thread: Even the Very Serious People Think He’s Lost the Plot


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Yes, I fully agree it’s croggling to find any point of agreement with James ‘NSA’ Clapper… but there it is.

Lord Smallgloves is well on his way to achieving a warped form of his vision of ‘America United’ — we all agree the man is lacking. And dangerous.


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Open Thread: “Fewer, But Better!” Repubs

He may not be well-informed about politics, but when it comes to Potemkin-village-style showmanship, Donald Trump knows his audience!

And much of that audience is Village-Idiot pundits…



Open Thread: “Loyalty Day”


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“Actually… “



Late Night Open Thread: A Solution for the ‘Mike Pence Would Be Worse’ Worriers

Doghouse Riley could’ve told us, his Congressional colleagues didn’t call him ‘Mike Dense’ because his hair was so thick and luxurious. USA Today:

INDIANAPOLIS — Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to The Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network, in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.

Cybersecurity experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.

Furthermore, advocates for open government expressed concerns about transparency because personal emails aren’t immediately captured on state servers that are searched in response to public records requests…

Pence fiercely criticized Clinton throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, accusing her of trying to keep her emails out of public reach and exposing classified information to potential hackers…

“There is an issue of double standard here,” Gerry Lanosga, a professor at Indiana University and past president of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. “He has been far from forthcoming about his own private email account on which it’s clear he has conducted state business. So there is a disconnect there that cannot be avoided.”…

IMAX only wishes their equipment could project with the strength of your average Republican.



Open Thread: More Calls for An Audit of the Election

Gabriel Sherman, at NYMag, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States”:

Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.

Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee…

More detail at the link. Supposedly, “a senior Clinton adviser” says that “the White House, focused on a smooth transfer of power, does not want Clinton to challenge the election result”. The sitting President certainly considers it his job to prevent, as far as possible, the incoming Trump administration from blowing up the world. But surely (she said piously) President-Elect Trump deserves to start his administration without the shadows that a cloud of accusations would entail?