Russiagate Open Thread: Roger Stone, Wonderful Human Being

You look at him, and wonder: That is a human being?

Remember, Roger Stone got his professional start working for Tricky Dick…

Also, per TPM, this happened:

Let’s see if this MSNBC clip will embed for me…

(Well, if not, you’ll have to click on the link.)



Friday Evening Open Thread: Nice ‘Work’, If You Can Get It

Every successful organization must consider the best use of their paid employees. Therefore, some are paid to show up; some are paid to stay home…


 
… or to go on tv and make fools of themselves…


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Idiots, Useful & Otherwise, Open Thread: Rand Paul Is the Son Donald Trump Always Wanted

Young Rand is a dude who knows how to hustle!


 
That #FailSon DJ kid, on the other hand…


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Russiagate Open Thread: “GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!”

And on a Sunday in August! It’s not like the man does anything resembling work on any day of the week, but can’t someone remind him that the little people need time off from this shite-geyser?

Strong lede from Adam Davidson, at the New Yorker“The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia”:

August 5, 1974, was the day the Nixon Presidency ended. On that day, Nixon heeded a Supreme Court ruling and released the so-called smoking-gun tape, a recording of a meeting, held two years earlier, with his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman. Many of Nixon’s most damaging statements came in the form of short, monosyllabic answers and near-grunts—“um huh,” the official transcript reads, at one point—as he responds to Haldeman’s idea of asking the C.I.A. to tell the F.B.I. to “stay the hell out of” the Watergate investigation. The coverup is clearly of Haldeman’s design. Nixon’s words are simple: “All right. Fine.” Then, “Right, fine.”…

On August 5, 2018, precisely forty-four years after the collapse of the Nixon Presidency, another President, Donald Trump, made his own public admission. In one of a series of early-morning tweets, Trump addressed a meeting that his son Donald, Jr., held with a Russian lawyer affiliated with the Russian government. “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere,” he wrote. “I did not know about it!”…

The tweet contains several crucial pieces of information. First, it is a clear admission that Donald Trump, Jr.,’s original statement about the case was inaccurate enough to be considered a lie. He had said the meeting was with an unknown person who “might have information helpful to the campaign,” and that this person “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” This false statement was, according to his legal team, dictated by the President himself. There was good reason to mislead the American people about that meeting. Based on reporting—at the time and now—of the President’s admission, it was a conscious effort by the President’s son and two of his closest advisers to work with affiliates of the Russian government to obtain information that might sway the U.S. election in Trump’s favor. In short, it was, at minimum, a case of attempted collusion. The tweet indicates that Trump’s defense will continue to be that this attempt at collusion failed—“it went nowhere”—and that, even if it had succeeded, it would have been “totally legal and done all the time.” It is unclear why, if the meeting was entirely proper, it was important for the President to declare “I did not know about it!” or to tell the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”…

It was possible, just days ago, to believe—with an abundance of generosity toward the President and his team—that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the Administration’s enemies. No longer. The open questions are now far more narrow: Was this a case of successful or only attempted collusion? Is attempted collusion a crime? What legal and moral responsibilities did the President and his team have when they realized that the proposed collusion was underway when the D.N.C. e-mails were leaked and published? And, crucially, what did the President know before the election, after it, and when he instructed his son to lie?



Friday Evening Open Thread: Waddling Towards Bethlehem…

Or, as it was once known: Bedlam! And what rough beast, its hour come round at last…



Repub Venality Open Thread: Manafort Trial, Day Three

The Oval Office Occupation seems to be shaping up its final defense: Trump has decompensated so much since 2016 — ask his old frenemy, Omarosa! — that he can’t be held responsible any longer. The Reagan Defense, sped up for our modern social-media age. Per Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair, ““The Manafort Trial Is Spinning Him into a Frenzy””:

Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. This is partly driven by Trump’s frustration with his legal team’s inability to end the Mueller probe. As I reported this week, Trump is angry with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani for giving a series of erratic television interviews that seemed to disclose a previously unknown strategy meeting at Trump Tower that took place days before Don Jr.’s infamous sit-down with a Russian lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Trump is also unhappy with White House counsel Don McGahn, who in the past stood in the way of Trump’s effort to fire Mueller…

Inside the White House, West Wing advisers fear that Trump is careening toward disaster with few guardrails. One prominent Republican close to the White House told me Chief of Staff John Kelly made his decision to stay on past his one-year mark, in part, to be present in case Trump makes a calamitous decision. “Kelly knows he’s the last bulwark against insanity in that White House,” the Republican said…

Paul Manafort’s longtime bookkeeper testified against him Thursday, telling a Virginia jury that his seven-figure lifestyle lasted until about 2015 when the cash ran out, the bills piled up and he and his business partner began trying to fudge numbers to secure loans.

The dry but potentially damaging testimony from the bookkeeper, Heather Washkuhn, appeared to undercut Manafort’s defense against bank and tax charges, which is that his business partner is responsible for any financial misdeeds. But Washkuhn testified that Manafort approved “every penny.”

Washkuhn spent hours on the witness stand, describing account balances, bills received and payments. Her testimony is critical to the case being heard by a six-man, six-woman jury in Alexandria, Va., as Manafort, who was then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for a period in 2016, is charged with running a years-long scheme to hide millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service, and then, when his income dried up, lying to get bank loans so he could continue living the good life.

Washkuhn characterized Manafort as a “very knowledgeable” client. “He was very detail-oriented. He approved every penny of everything we paid,” she said.

That point could prove vital in jury deliberations because Manafort’s lawyers have made clear they aim to place blame on the case’s star witness, former Manafort right-hand man Rick Gates, portraying Gates as a liar and embezzler who is responsible for any financial chicanery the FBI uncovered.

On the witness stand, Washkuhn said she prepared ledgers for Manafort’s finances, which she would eventually hand off to his accountants to file his tax returns. She said she sometimes saw transactions in those accounts from other accounts to which she did not have access.

Critically, Washkuhn testified that she did not have any records of foreign accounts controlled by Manafort and had not been aware of such accounts. Prosecutors have introduced evidence that Manafort used foreign accounts to pay millions of dollars for clothes, cars, real estate and home remodeling…

Prosecutors also said Gates, the key witness in the case, could testify as early as Friday.

Gates pleaded guilty this year to lying to the FBI and conspiring against the United States, and he agreed to cooperate against his former boss and partner in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.

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Trumplosion Open Thread: Tick, Tick, Tick…


Of course this is not exactly new “news”, but if true, it would certainly explain this morning’s xtra-spatial tweet-rants…

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Donald Trump about obstruction of justice, sources close to the White House tell ABC News. According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm…

Negotiations over a potential presidential interview have gone on for months, through several different iterations of the Trump legal team. Current lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told ABC News a week ago that his team had submitted a response to Mueller asking to limit the scope of an interview with Trump especially as it relates to obstruction of justice…

The president’s legal team declined to comment when reached by ABC News about specific details on the special counsel’s responses.

The special counsel’s office has not responded to a request for comment from ABC News…

I wouldn’t buy a car or a political campaign from Rick Wilson, but he *is* a longtime professional at this stuff:


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