Horrorshow Open Thread: He’s Talking to the WH Portraits, and They’ve Started to Talk Back

If you’re old & cynical like me, you remember the Watergate-era rumors about a drunken Nixon talking to the presidential portraits in a darkened Oval Office. Donald Trump doesn’t even drink, but apparently he’s taken the paranoia to the next level…

Srsly, GOP dudes, this is Not A Good Lewk…



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Resolve



Friday Morning Open Thread: Time’s Up

From Charlie Pierce’s latest sub-required ‘Last Call’ newsletter:

… The fight over the wall was the first indication that some gears were coming unsprung. At a now-famous photo-op with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the president* looked utterly at sea, obsequious at one moment and truculent the next, boasting that he would be “proud” to shut down the government if he didn’t get the money for his big, beautiful wall. This moment brought home starkly the change in politics that is going to come when the Democrats take over the House of Representatives in January. Hearing the president* take ownership of a possible shutdown on his own behalf and that of his party made more than a few Republicans puddle up in their shoes…

And now, a NYTimes op-ed from Elizabeth Drew, who made the journalist hall of fame with her coverage of Watergate — “The Inevitability of Impeachment”:

An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.

Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short. A significant number of Republican candidates didn’t want to run with Mr. Trump in the midterms, and the results of those elections didn’t exactly strengthen his standing within his party. His political status, weak for some time, is now hurtling downhill…

I don’t share the conventional view that if Mr. Trump is impeached by the House, the Republican-dominated Senate would never muster the necessary 67 votes to convict him. Stasis would decree that would be the case, but the current situation, already shifting, will have been left far behind by the time the senators face that question. Republicans who were once Mr. Trump’s firm allies have already openly criticized some of his recent actions, including his support of Saudi Arabia despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and his decision on Syria. They also openly deplored Mr. Mattis’s departure.

It always seemed to me that Mr. Trump’s turbulent presidency was unsustainable and that key Republicans would eventually decide that he had become too great a burden to the party or too great a danger to the country. That time may have arrived. In the end the Republicans will opt for their own political survival. Almost from the outset some Senate Republicans have speculated on how long his presidency would last. Some surely noticed that his base didn’t prevail in the midterms.

But it may well not come to a vote in the Senate. Facing an assortment of unpalatable possibilities, including being indicted after he leaves office, Mr. Trump will be looking for a way out. It’s to be recalled that Mr. Nixon resigned without having been impeached or convicted. The House was clearly going to approve articles of impeachment against him, and he’d been warned by senior Republicans that his support in the Senate had collapsed. Mr. Trump could well exhibit a similar instinct for self-preservation. But like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Trump will want future legal protection…

Nixon’s GOP backed Tricky Dick 110% — until they didn’t. The old crook was able to broker a soft landing, in no small part because so many other Repubs were complicit in his crimes. But Trump’s GOP is a lot dumber, crueler, and infinitely more self-centered than the early 1970s incarnation; I’m not sure they have the power, or the skill, to hustle their Dear Leader off to a gilt-plated exile without falling apart entirely. Or maybe that’s just what I hope.

Happy Friday, y’all!



Late Night Overamped Reboot Open Thread: Lies Within Lies Within Lies

“Trump confides to friends he’s concerned about impeachment”. Donny Dollhand has no friends, just accomplices. And he’s reached the talking-to-the-WH-portraits stage:

Despite President Donald Trump’s public declaration that he isn’t concerned about impeachment, he has told people close to him in recent days that he is alarmed by the prospect, according to multiple sources.

Trump’s fear about the possibility has escalated as the consequences of federal investigations involving his associates and Democratic control of the House sink in, the sources said, and his allies believe maintaining the support of establishment Republicans he bucked to win election is now critical to saving his presidency…

The president has been on a days-long tirade, sources tell NBC News, lashing out at his own staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, frustrated by the threat of a Democratic House with subpoena power, an array of looming congressional investigations, multiple intensifying federal probes, a botched effort to find a new chief of staff and a potential partial government shutdown over a lack of funding for his top campaign promise — a border wall.

Trump has ranted about why no one around him is doing anything to stop any of it and vented about the lack of support he believes he has in Congress and within his own White House, the sources tell NBC News…

Nixon had strong support from every member of the GOP caucus… until he didn’t.


Read more



Russiagate / NRA Open Thread: The Red Sparrow Gun Pin-Up Pleads

More posts to follow; “status conference set for Feb. 12”. Nice comprehensive article at Buzzfeed:

A federal grand jury indicted Butina in mid-July on two counts: acting as an agent of a foreign government without alerting the US government, and conspiring to do so. Prosecutors claimed Butina received guidance from a Russian official who tasked her with influencing US foreign policy toward the country; her lawyers from the start denied she was acting as an agent, saying she was just a graduate student. The first charge carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the conspiracy charge had a maximum sentence of five years.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious count when she’s sentenced. The lawyers estimated that she faced a sentencing range of between zero to six months. As part of the deal, prosecutors could ask the judge for a low sentence, or even no prison time, if they’re satisfied with her cooperation. Assistant US Attorney Erik Kenerson did not offer any details about what sort of information they wanted from Butina. Butina acknowledged that as a Russian national, she could face deportation once she finishes serving any prison time she may face…


Read more