Horrorshow Open Thread: General John Kelly, Starship Trouper


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With his amazing ability to reveal the absolute worst about anybody who tries to work with him, “President” Flapjaw has exposed John Kelly as a tinpot militarist willing to sell out his own dead son in support of the GOP’s figurehead. And it’s not gonna get any better.

Johnson’s (and Wilson’s) hometown paper, the Miami Herald, “In attack on Frederica Wilson over Trump’s call to widow, John Kelly gets facts wrong”:

Kelly criticized Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson for claiming “she got the money” for the new building during the 2015 ceremony while he and others in the audience were focused on the heroism of agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, killed during a 1986 shootout with bank robbers south of Miami…

In 2015, Wilson won praise from Miami Republicans for sponsoring the bill to name the long anticipated federal building after two agents who became legends in local law enforcement.

At the dedication ceremony, James Comey, then director of the FBI, lauded Wilson’s legislation, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama three days before the April 2015 ceremony…

Johnson was a constituent of Wilson’s who participated in a program founded by the longtime legislator called the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, which mentors African-American boys and young men.

“Sgt. Johnson was a member of my community and of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project that I founded to help boys of color build successful futures,” Wilson said in a statement. “He was killed while on a mission to provide training and security assistance to West African armed forces battling vicious insurgents like Boko Haram, the group whose defeat I’ve been fighting for since it abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls more than three years ago.”

Wilson said Thursday that she is intent on finding out why it took 48 hours for Johnson’s body to be located after the ambush, and that the White House is attacking her to distract from an investigation into Johnson’s death.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, also called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Johnson’s death on Thursday

The more he talks, the worse it gets.

No doubt, it’ll play well with The (Very) Base. Our Preznit MAGA made the black beeyotch cry! Doesn’t matter which woman, especially when it’s women of color — they just want that warm feeling in their shorts from watching someone not-them get abused. But the rest of the world can look at “President” Flapjaw and see a lying liar…
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: You Can Count on the CIA

… to behave just as it’s always behaved. Tea Party alumni and Saudi Arabian monarchy fan Mike Pompeo showed up at the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies to thrill the #NeverIran activists with his display of America’s Big Stick(tm). But first, he needed to back up his current master’s Big Lie…

His comment suggested — falsely — that a report released by U.S. intelligence agencies in January had ruled out any impact that could be attributed to a covert Russian interference campaign that involved leaks of tens of thousands of stolen emails, the flooding of social media sites with false claims and the purchase of ads on Facebook.

A report compiled by the CIA and other agencies described that Russian operation as unprecedented in its scale and concluded that Moscow’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process and help elect Donald Trump.

But the report reached no conclusions about whether that interference had altered the outcome — an issue that U.S. intelligence officials made clear was considered beyond the scope of their inquiry…

Former U.S. intelligence officials voiced concern over Pompeo’s statement.

“This is another example of Pompeo politicizing intelligence,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. Pompeo “is the most political CIA director since Bill Casey” during the Reagan administration, the former official said. “This significantly undermines the intelligence community’s credibility.”…

Pompeo also threatened “leakers”:

… Pompeo also criticized former U.S. intelligence officials for their television appearances, implying that they violated their oaths and potentially contributed to the leaks of sensitive information.

“There are an awful lot of former CIA talking heads on TV,” Pompeo said, adding that their obligation to remain quiet about their work “far extends beyond the day you turn in your badge.”

His comment seemed to be aimed mainly at former senior intelligence officials in the Obama administration, including James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, who said in a recent interview that Russia’s interference had “cast doubt” on Trump’s win.

“Our intelligence community assessment did, I think, serve to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory,” Clapper said in an interview on CNN last month. He added that he worried Trump’s perceived focus on the issue “transcends, unfortunately, the real concern here, which is Russian interference in our political process.”…

Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, rebuked Pompeo for his Russia comments. Wyden said in a posting on Twitter that Pompeo’s views on Moscow had “shifted with those of the president.”
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Russiagate: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Does Not Approve of Our “Free Press”

Head of the only Department of Justice we have, by the “grace” of the GOP and its figurehead thug now squatting in the Oval Office. This things are handled so much more discretely in Putin’s Russia, he thinks. Buried in a Washington Post story, “Sessions tells lawmakers he will not discuss his conversations with Trump on Comey firing”:

At one point, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked Sessions if he could commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs, a reference to the president’s attacks against the media and the many leak investigations the Justice Department is conducting.

“I don’t know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect, but I would say this: We have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” Sessions said. He added: “We always try to find an alternative way, as you probably know, Senator Klobuchar, to directly confronting a media person, but that’s not a total blanket protection.”…

Of his personal confidence in Mueller, Sessions said: “I think he will produce the work in a way he thinks is correct, and history will judge.” He said he was not involved in the case even before his recusal and that he did not know if it would be “appropriate” for Trump to pardon people who were under investigation by Mueller. But he added that the “pardon power is quite broad.”…

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Nice democracy ya got here — shame if anything were to happen to it…

I truly hope Mr. Mueller will not allow himself to be intimidated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.



Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Why the Election Was Close Enough to Steal


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Imagine you were an idiot, and imagine you were a Trump voter. But I repeat myself!
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Apart from [all the facepalms], what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Alas, Young Jared!

Their partner, Vornado Realty Trust, is telling brokers to plan for a much more mundane renovation that would leave the property as an office building, according to three people familiar with the matter. Vornado Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth was never enthusiastic about the Kushner plan although until now he hadn’t stood in its way.

Putting an end to the Kushner effort — to salvage their overpriced investment by turning it into a Midtown jewel with expensive condos, a hotel and five-floor mall — could have profound ramifications for the family. Vornado, which owns 49.5 percent of 666 Fifth Ave., is unlikely to invest further in the property without first being reassured of its future, said three people familiar with Roth’s thinking. That means returning to the negotiating table with lenders — a battle that could result in Kushner Cos.’ losing control of the building, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private deals…

Roth is famously press shy and private and has instilled that ethos in other company executives. When he suffered a minor heart attack in August — something that many publicly-traded companies would immediately disclose to investors — it took more than a month for the news to break. So Vornado’s switch of directions for 666 Fifth is probably leaking out for a reason, according to three people familiar with him: he’s signaling to any lenders or investors who may still be interested in the Kushner effort to back off, the people said.

It’s a sharp reversal. As recently as March, both Vornado and Kushner were looking at a massive windfall from Anbang Insurance Group. The Kushner family stood to gain a $400 million cash payout from a deal being discussed with the Chinese insurer, while realizing their dreams of building a glamorous skyscraper. But Anbang, which had previously bought up several major U.S. properties, including the Waldorf Astoria hotel, pulled out of the negotiations amid a public outcry in the U.S. over conflict-of-interest concerns and a crackdown by the Chinese government on overseas investments…

Pressure is mounting because a $1.2 billion mortgage is due in February 2019, while losses make it unattractive to lenders who might refinance the debt. The building lost $14.5 million in 2016 and is on track to lose $24 million this year after a boost in the loan’s interest rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A 30 percent vacancy rate, as of June, has deepened the losses as Kushner Cos. prepared to demolish the property and replace it — a process that would have required buying out existing leases. Vornado’s plans are designed to fill the building at market-rate rents and stanch the bleeding, three people said…

For entertainment purposes only (since there’s not much that hasn’t already been chewed over here), Kyle Pope in CJR on “The Jared Bubble: What my 18 months as Jared Kushner’s first editor taught me about the Trump family and the press”:

“You can’t say ‘hit job’ in here.”

I was six months into my tenure as the editor of the New York Observer, and I was schooling my publisher, Jared Kushner, on why ordering up a slam of someone who had crossed his family in business didn’t pass the journalistic smell test.
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Open Thread: Trump Lies About Fallen Soldiers & Actual Presidents

There is nothing this person will not lie about. THANKS, REPUBLICANS!

Trump was responding to a question about why he has not yet made remarks about the four special operations servicemen killed in Niger almost two weeks ago. Trump, speaking from the Rose Garden in a surprise press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he plans on contacting the families soon.

“If you look at President [Barack] Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I am able to do it,” said Trump. “They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally I would say that I like to call. I’m going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass. I’m going to be calling them.”…

The office staff is having a little trouble finding those phone numbers, y’see. And they tore the place up looking for the roll of stamps, but how often do letters get sent, these days?

Look, those soldiers will be just as dead during the off-season, but there’s only so many days suitable for a few rounds of golf. The man has his priorities.

“President Trump’s claim is unequivocally wrong,” a former Obama official said in a statement to ABC News. “President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country.”

“President Bush wrote all the families of the fallen, and called and/or met privately with hundreds if not thousands,” a spokesperson to former President George W. Bush told ABC News.

An aide to President Bill Clinton also called the claim false. “He did call the families of fallen soldiers while in office,” the official told ABC News.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, former White House deputy chief of staff and a longtime scheduler for Obama, told ABC News, “It is unconscionable that a president would dare to ever portray another as unpatriotic, which is essentially what he was doing.” …

He may be squatting in the Oval Office, but Donald Trump will never be “a president”.

(Also, too, if glum-faced Mitch McConnell had the political sense of my little dog, he’ve tried to distract his “leader” before he dug that trench any deeper — by faking a heart attack, if necessary. Nobody outside the 27% believes your ‘No True Republican’ bullshit, McConnell.)

ETA:


(Trump would probably explain that he prefers soldiers who don’t get wounded and suck up money that could better be spent on tax cuts shiny new weapons.)



Open Thread: Everything’s Bolder in This (Mal)Administration…

In a terse letter to Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) — leaders of the House oversight committee — President Donald Trump’s congressional liaison Marc Short declined to indicate whether any administration officials had used personal email accounts or messaging services, despite reports suggesting such communications were common in the West Wing.

“The White House and covered employees endeavor to comply with all relevant laws,” Short wrote in a two-page reply delivered late last week and obtained Monday by POLITICO.

Short’s statement comes despite recent revelations that several senior aides to President Donald Trump routinely used private email addresses and personal devices for government business. Among the current and former aides who POLITICO found at least occasionally relied on private email addresses were Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn and Reince Priebus.

In a similarly brief letter, Short also declined to provide records in response to a separate inquiry by Gowdy and Cummings into the use of costly private air travel by top administration officials.

The White House’s limited responses set up a potential confrontation with Gowdy, a hard-nosed prosecutor with subpoena power and a track record that includes sharp criticism of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state. Cummings said last week that he hoped the committee would subpoena any information that the White House declined to provide, as have other Democrats…

Anybody want to bet that Witchfinder Gowdy will take more than a token interest in Lawyer Short’s curt dismissal of his mighty prosecutorial powers?

At least now we know why so many high-ranking Repubs have suddenly started wringing their pale plump hands over the reckless, out-of-control Trump cartel’s totally unprecedented “takeover” of the GOP — suddenly it’s in the Party’s interests to pretend they had nothing to do with this gang of thieves and con artists. Shocked! they are shocked! that there might be gambling going on in their personal branded casino!…