Another set of amazingly expected indictments

This is about as surprising as finding out that North Carolina is a bit humid in the summer.

Open Thread

Russiagate Open Thread: Trey Gowdy Is Not Going to Jail for Donald Trump

Trey Gowdy’s a hardcore Repub partisan, but unlike many of his fellows, he doesn’t seem to be a moron. That’s why I find it interesting that he’s working so very hard picking his rhetorical way between his about-to-be-former teammates and the Mueller investigation…

Another Washington Post report:

As a key member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, and chairman of the House Oversight panel, Gowdy (R-S.C.) has held a prominent role in the GOP’s efforts to probe how federal law enforcement has handled its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters. The career prosecutor made his mark in Congress investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the party’s leaders still tap him for such politically charged matters — whether allegations of FBI surveillance abuse, a probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices or an Obama-era deal granting Russia a greater stake in the U.S. uranium market.

But Gowdy often has been unwilling as an architect of the GOP’s strategy, routinely resisting calls to issue subpoenas and other summonses to top Justice officials. This week, he became the only Republican briefed on the FBI’s use of an informant to publicly admonish Trump for insisting the government planted a spy in his campaign…
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Reverse-Midas Open Thread: Adieu, Dr. Jackson

Had this post all written & scheduled, checked the twitters one last time before going to bed…


Of course, Trump hasn’t got the guts to actually fire anybody, especially someone who might be tempted to admit on the record that maybe Lord Smallgloves’ physical status was not quite so magnificently godlike as is currently the pretense. Also, how long will it take to find a replacement who can juggle the Oval Office Occumpant’s Adderall / sedative dosages correctly? Politico‘s ‘Morning Playbook’:

… THE PRESIDENT’S NOMINEE to run the beleaguered VA has never managed more than a small cadre of people, and is now up for a job that involves managing the second-largest government agency, a department with 377,000 employees. He has also been accused of dishing out prescription drugs recklessly, allegedly passed out drunk at a hotel during a presidential trip, is said to have banged on a woman’s door after a night of drinking and allegedly crashed a government car after boozing at a Secret Service going-away party. Jackson has denied many of these allegations.

THE GENERAL CONSENSUS: Dr. Jackson will withdraw, which will give the president a chance to nominate a vetted candidate that the Hill can confirm. This is an election year. Republicans want the president to make things easy for them…

Given the information currently available, I kinda feel sorry for Dr. Jackson. He seems to be a perfectly competent mechanic for human machinery; Murphy the Trickster God knows that neither admirals, doctors, nor mechanics are generally famed for their temperance and humility. You might well trust your mechanic with your wallet, if not your life… but you wouldn’t necessarily propose he be promoted to CEO of General Motors. Or Microsoft.

But that’s the problem: Everyone Trump touches ends up the worse for it!

It would be funnier if there weren’t so much hanging on the resolution of this issue…

“39 Minutes”: The Comey Memos Leak

That’s how long it took the Repubs to spill the entire file… (15-page PDF at the link):


Excellent explainer: The Washington Post, “What the Comey memos say”.

Choice Axios pullquote:

During their private dinner: “The conversation, which was pleasant at all times, was chaotic, with topics touched, left, then returned to later, making it very difficult to recount in a linear fashion…It really was a conversation-as-jigsaw-puzzle in a way, with pieces picked up, then discarded, then returned to.”…

Different areas of expertise, same question:

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Monday Evening Russiagate Open Thread: Trump’d

If you didn’t have a chance over the weekend to read Adam Davidson’s “Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency” in the New Yorker, it drew a lot of comment on social media. Here’s some of his response:

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Russiagate Open Thread: Roger Stone, Soon-to-Be Convict?

I’ve said before, Murphy the Trickster God probably doesn’t love me that much. But then, even the wiliest Brer Rabbit eventually loses some speed on his evasive tactics…

Stone, who has worked as an on-again, off-again adviser to President Trump for decades, vehemently denied Monday that Mueller could be building a case against him based on his contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

“The fake news media is in overdrive,” Stone, 65, told the Daily News. “This is a wild goose hunt seeking something that didn’t happen.”

Stone’s name has come up at an increasing rate in relation to Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, according to reports and witnesses.

Informal ex-Trump campaign adviser Ted Malloch revealed over the weekend that FBI agents arrested him and asked him about Stone and WikiLeaks after he recently returned to the U.S. from London. Malloch, who was once considered to become Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, said in a statement that the agents served him a subpoena to appear before Mueller’s grand jury later this month.

Sam Nunberg, another ex-Trump campaign aide, testified before the Mueller grand jury last month — and many questions focused on Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to reports.

Mueller is reportedly interested in whether Stone was aware of or in any way coordinated WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. Sources told the Wall Street Journal Monday that the investigators are particularly interested in an email Stone wrote to Nunberg on Aug. 4, 2016, in which he said that he “dined with Julian Assange last night.”…

In another apparent reversal, Stone said Monday that he has never communicated with Assange.

“This is politics. I’ve said a lot of things,” he said. “At the end of the day, however, it’s what you actually did that’s important.”

The special counsel’s office declined to comment…

The Washington Post is skeptical:

Stone has a carefully cultivated reputation as a “political trickster,” which is a polite way of saying “mudslinger and exaggerator,” which is a polite way of saying “guy who will say untrue things if it advances his agenda.” One of his agendas is his own reputation, and during 2016, he clearly believed that it paid to imply a close relationship with Assange. That was manifested in his public assertions about knowing what WikiLeaks was up to but also apparently in his private conversations with Nunberg and that unidentified aide in the spring of that election year….

The Journal report highlights two key questions, for which we can take a stab at answers.
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Russiagate Open Thread: Mueller Knows What He’s Looking For

Yes, Mike Allen’s a tool and a parasite, but he’s survived in DC because he’s been able to spot the patterns below the froth he happily helps churn out. Which is why, IMO, he’s getting respect for this:

News flash: Mueller is looking at everything.

That’s his job. When he was named, he was empowered/instructed to look into the “FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.” That there is a broad mandate…

These kernels aren’t from Mueller’s office: We’ve seen time and again (and again) that his office is one of Washington’s few leak-free zones.

Yes, it looks bad. Based on conversations with White House insiders, I can tell you they’re more bearish than ever about the outcome. But we’re all guessing.

The bottom line: Here’s one headline that’s true: “Expect more ‘surprises’ from Mueller probe, former crusading prosecutor says.”…

NBC news flash, just a few hours ago:

The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by NBC News.

According to the subpoena, which was sent to a witness by special counsel Robert Mueller, investigators want emails, text messages, work papers, telephone logs and other documents going back to Nov. 1, 2015, 4½ months after Trump launched his campaign…

Once Hicks’ resignation takes effect in the next few weeks, Cohen will be the only person listed in the subpoena who hasn’t left the employment of Trump or of the White House.

“Trump associates” said to be included in this sweep: Steve Bannon, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Keith Schiller, and Roger Stone.

If this whole criminal conspiracy takes down foundational ratfvcker Roger Stone — who is preemptively wailing about “prosecutorial overreach” on the farther-rightwing news sites — it will delight some of us almost as much as extracting Donald Trump from his stolen perch in the Oval Office.