Russiagate Open Thread: Allegedly, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Is A Liar

… Or maybe his memory is just failing, selectively:

Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting. Then a senator from Alabama, Sessions chaired the meeting as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team…

Sessions, through Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, declined to comment beyond his prior testimony. The special counsel’s office also declined to comment. Spokeswomen for the Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did not comment.

Reuters was unable to determine whether Mueller is probing discrepancies in accounts of the March 2016 meeting.

The three accounts, which have not been reported, raise new questions about Sessions’ testimony regarding contacts with Russia during the campaign.

Sessions previously failed to disclose to Congress meetings he had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and testified in October that he was not aware of any campaign representatives communicating with Russians…

Legal experts expressed mixed views about the significance of the contradictions cited by the three sources.

Sessions could argue he misremembered events or perceived his response in a different way, making any contradictions unintentional, some experts said….

NYMag adds:

Sessions has been slippery — to put it generously — about Russia before. During his confirmation hearings last year, he said that he was not aware of any meetings between Trump campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government, neglecting to mention two meetings he had Sergei Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sessions claimed that he had met with Kislyak in his capacity as a U.S. Senator, not as a Trump surrogate. He later claimed that the meetings in question did not involve campaign-related issues — a version of events contradicted by Kislyak himself.

Sessions’s duplicitousness led to his fateful recusal from the Russia investigation, paving the way for Mueller’s appointment.

But remember, when it comes to firing political enemies of President Trump, the attorney general is deeply concerned about honesty.

Sidebar from Vox: “Jeff Sessions may have violated his recusal pledge when he fired Andrew McCabe”

The Widening Gyre

Before we get to today’s unpleasantness, here’s a downy woodpecker drumming in our bamboo stand this morning:

As I mentioned on Twitter earlier, downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker species in North America, and their eggs are about the size of jelly beans. Isn’t that cool?

Stop reading here if you’d like to hold onto pleasant Sunday morning thoughts. Read more

Treason Tribble Tweets

Trump might actually believe this since he’s a malignant narcissist whose sense of “right” and “wrong” is aligned precisely with “good for Trump” and “bad for Trump.”

So, Trump’s story is that Nunes & Co’s absurd clown show cleared the Russia matter up, and his next move will be to try to shut the Mueller investigation down. Yes, it would be outrageous, and it’s legally and politically dicey, but Trump definitely doesn’t give a shit about that. A couple of years ago, a president publicly and brazenly using the DOJ to punish enemies would have been unthinkable. Today, we call it “Friday.”

The question is, can he sell this steaming load of horse shit to enough people to get away with it? He doesn’t need to sell it to the deranged fart-huffers who watch Fox News all day — they already believe it. But he does need to convince a sufficient number of non-Republicans that it doesn’t much matter whether Trump is subject to the law or not.

As Kay observed this morning, the DOJ is gone now, as an institution that’s a check on Trump. With Republican majorities in both chambers, Congress never was a check on Trump, and that can’t be rectified for several months. So for now, it’s Mueller. After Mueller, it’s us. Keep this link handy. I’m afraid we’re gonna need it.

“We’ve always been at war with Eastasia…”

The GOP is selling it hard on Twitter today:

Adam Schiff ain’t buying it:

I have no idea how this shakes out. Anyhoo, open thread, I guess.

“Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked…

…have been sacked:

Jesus, what a fucking shit-show. Open thread!

Monday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s a red-bellied woodpecker seeking bugs in one of our palm trees:

He knows his business; bugs very often hide in the crevices formed where the fronds are attached to the trunk of the tree. I remember attempting a Tarzan swing on a hanging palm frond once as a child, and when it detached, bugs rained down on my head. Never did that again!

Someone else who knows her business: Hillary Clinton is visiting India, and she had some thoughts on our current national situation. Via The Post:

NEW DELHI — Hillary Clinton said over the weekend during a trip to India that the United States did not “deserve” the presidency of Donald Trump…

In her speech, Clinton spoke of the dangers of Russian influence and authoritarianism in regimes worldwide. “These are perilous times,” she said.

Later, when asked about the seemingly close relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, now subject of a special counsel’s investigation, Clinton replied: “Trump does have quite an affinity for dictators. He really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.”

“He does have a preexisting attitude of favorability toward these dictators, but I think it’s more than that with Putin and Russia,” she said.

“Do they have something on him?” asked the event’s host, India Today Editor Aroon Purie.

“Well, we’ll find out, we’ll find out,” she answered. “Follow the money.”

Good for her. She doesn’t owe the vile shit-sack Trump any deference whatsoever, so I’m glad she’s not pulling punches for the sake of national unity. There’s none to preserve.

When asked about the 2016 campaign, Clinton said:

“If people were looking for a reality TV campaign, maybe I should have given them more entertainment,” she said. “I’m the mother who says, ‘Eat your spinach, you’ll grow up strong.’ Someone else is saying, ‘Eat all the fast food and the ice cream you can possibly stick in your mouth.’ ”

Maybe we (the country, I mean) are approaching the purge phase after that noxious binge. I know I’m still feeling queasy all these months later. Anyhoo. Open thread!

Nunberg’s Post-Testimony Interview

Following his testimony before Mueller’s grand jury, Nunberg gives a non-pub crawl interview to GMA:

He says he didn’t have a “melt down” on TV during his media blitz earlier this week. (Was it really this week when Nunberg ping-ponged from studio to studio babbling incoherently? Jesus, it’s so hard to keep track when we’re living in Trump-years!) Instead, he said he “melted TV down” because he “wanted to show what this independent counsel, this independent investigation, does to people like me.”

Mission accomplished, Mr. Nunberg, and may Mueller and team continue to prompt people like yourself to panic, rage, defy and then meekly comply in an attempt to save their own precious hides.

That’s what this investigation will come down to, I think, a question of whether people are willing to take a fall for Trump. Given how often Trump turns loyal supporters into speed bumps, the answer will be “hell no.”