Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Nekkid Emperor Accepts the Public Submission of His New Lictor


 
#Bubbly4Brett is the #LetThemEatCake of this Backlash Decade. How, after all, could one expect the poor man to go through this farce with no alcoholic lubrication?…



Open Thread: Trumpworld Fears That Winter Is Coming

In case there was any question why the Greedy Old Pervert party thought it was so important to ram Kavanaugh’s nomination through before the election…

Top officials inside the White House have taken their first steps to prepare for an onslaught of investigations if Democrats win the House.

What we’re hearing: According to a source with direct knowledge, Chief of Staff John Kelly recently formed a small working group to start preparing for the possibility that Democrats will soon sic Congress’ top investigators on Trumpworld. Senior White House staff have an offsite weekend retreat scheduled for late October. The agenda is expected to include a discussion of investigations under a Democratic-controlled House, according to the source.

To be clear: Team Trump is still trying to prevent a House flip from happening. They’re ramping up political activities leading into the midterm — including a blitz of rallies from the president — to give Republicans their best chance of saving the House.

Why this matters: Polls show Republicans will probably lose the House in November. And Trump’s team, including the understaffed White House Counsel’s Office, must batten down the hatches for an onslaught from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue….

The bottom line: For the most part, the staff who work in the Trump West Wing — beyond the counsel’s office — have no idea what may be coming for them. But senior staff are now finally preparing for a tough new normal under House Democrats.

May Sekhmet, Goddess of Consequences, guide our Democratic voters safely to tamper-proof winning tallies!



Russiagate Open Thread: Peter Smith, “Rob Tyler”, and General Flynn

Clintonphobia must be a helluva drug, because it does not seem these were stupid people — unlike the Putin pawn they helped install in the Oval Office. But it sounds to me like these staunch Republicans knew they were getting played by the GRU and didn’t care, as long as That Woman was properly punished for the crime of being a Democrat, and uppity.

A veteran Republican operative and opposition researcher solicited and raised at least $100,000 from donors as part of an effort to obtain what he believed to be emails stolen from Hillary Clinton, activities that remain of intense interest to federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and on Capitol Hill.

Peter W. Smith, an Illinois businessman with a long history of involvement in GOP politics, sought and collected the funds from at least four wealthy donors as part of the plan to obtain Mrs. Clinton’s stolen emails from hackers just weeks before election day in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Smith’s effort to find what he believed were some 33,000 deleted emails Mrs. Clinton said were personal was first reported by the Journal in a 2017 story, but the extent of his planning went far beyond what was previously known. Mr. Smith died 10 days after describing his efforts to a reporter for the Journal…

Mr. Smith went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the privacy and secrecy of his projects, according to emails and court records reviewed by the Journal and a person familiar with the matter.

One email showed the anti-Clinton funds referenced as donations that were to be sent to a Washington, D.C.-based scholarship fund for Russian students.

[Was one of them named ‘Maria Butina’?]
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Just The Facts, Sir…



Predictable End of Summer Open Thread: The Wheels Are Coming Off Trump’s Wagon

If you are an elderly political cynic like me, you’ll remember the post-Watergate rumor that Bob Woodward was (still) an agent of the national intelligence community, assigned to remove an increasingly unhinged Nixon from the media spotlight before further investigation could expose just how badly compromised the “permanent, sane” Republican Party was. A rumor by which Carl Bernstein was labelled as a journalistic newbie who got played as a catspaw by more sophisticated outside agencies. Let’s just say that none of the news this week has debunked that old rumor…
 

From the Washington Post, “Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm”:

Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.

The president and some of his advisers have discussed possibly adding veteran defense attorney Abbe Lowell, who currently represents Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, to Trump’s personal legal team if an impeachment battle or other fights with Congress emerge after the midterm elections, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Trump advisers also are discussing recruiting experienced legal firepower to the Office of White House Counsel, which is facing departures and has dwindled in size at a critical juncture. The office has about 25 lawyers now, down from roughly 35 earlier in the presidency, according to a White House official with direct knowledge.

Trump announced Wednesday that Donald McGahn will depart as White House counsel this fall, once the Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Three of McGahn’s deputies — Greg Katsas, Uttam Dhillon and Makan Delrahim — have departed, and a fourth, Stefan Passantino, will have his last day Friday. That leaves John Eisenberg, who handles national security, as the lone deputy counsel…

Still, Trump has not directed his lawyers or his political aides to prepare an action plan, leaving allies to fret that the president does not appreciate the magnitude of what could be in store next year…

If Democrats control the House, the oversight committees likely would use their subpoena power as a weapon to assail the administration, investigating with a vengeance. The committees could hold hearings about policies such as the travel ban affecting majority-Muslim countries and “zero tolerance” family separation, as well as on possible ethical misconduct throughout the administration or the Trump family’s private businesses.

White House officials defended Trump’s lack of preparation by saying he is focused squarely on helping Republicans preserve their majorities in the Nov. 6 midterm elections rather than, in the words of one senior official, “panicking about something that could happen.”

Any Democratic salvos would not happen until new members take office in January, which Trump advisers said seems like eons away in an administration juggling so many immediate problems. As a result, preparing for possible impeachment proceedings is not at the top of Trump’s to-do list…
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Monday Morning Open Thread: One Can But Hope


 
But consider the feelings of His Base!…


(Nah, let’s not bother.)



Rude Speculation Open Thread: What Changed Lindsey Graham’s Mind?

There’s been speculation on Political Twitter all week: Why has Senator Graham suddenly reversed himself regarding the Oval Office Occupant? Is it just that Graham knows he’s losing his Senatorial soulmate and foreign-policy twin? Has he lost heart at the realization that Trump is going to treat McCain’s death as one more self-dealing opportunity?

Or — since we know Graham’s emails were hacked months ago — did the GRU decide it was a propitious time to remind him what they knew?


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