“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:

Read more

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:

Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Russiagate Open Thread: Has Manafort’s Crony Rick Gates Flipped?

Well, it would explain some of pants-pissing tantrums on His Short-Fingered Lordship’s twitter feed this morning (especially if Trump’s not the only one sending them.) Per the L.A. Times:

A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

The change of heart by Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort’s, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case…

Gates’ defense lawyer, Thomas C. Green, did not respond to messages left by phone and email. Peter Carr, a spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, declined on Saturday to comment…

The imminent change of Gates’ plea follows negotiations over the last several weeks between Green and two of Mueller’s prosecutors – senior assistant special counsels Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres.

According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.

The delicate terms reached by the opposing lawyers, he said, will not be specified in writing: Gates “understands that the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates – but it won’t be spelled out.”

One of the final discussion points has centered on exactly how much cash or other valuables – derived from Gates’ allegedly illegal activity – that the government will require him to forfeit as part of the guilty plea.

Gates, 45, who is married with four children, does not appear to be well positioned financially to sustain a high-powered legal defense…

According to the indictment, Gates and Manafort “laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts” and took steps to evade related U.S. taxes.

If Manafort maintains his not-guilty plea and fights the charges at a trial, the testimony from Gates could provide Mueller’s team with first-person descriptions of much of the allegedly illegal conduct. Gates’ testimony, said a person familiar with the pending guilty plea, would place a “cherry on top” of the government’s already-formidable case against Manafort.

The same individual said he did not believe Gates has information to offer Mueller’s team that would “turn the screws on Trump.”

In mid-August 2016, Trump fired Manafort following reports of possibly improper payments he had received from a pro-Russia political party aligned with his longtime client, Viktor Yanukovych, who was Ukraine’s prime minister from 2010 to 2014.

Gates, however, remained with the Trump campaign through the election, serving as a liaison to the Republican National Committee. He also assisted Trump’s inaugural committee.

My emphases. “Mistakes were made. Just not by Mr. Trump.” Uh-huh…

Saturday Cartoon Characters Open Thread: Bad Craziness

It’d be more entertaining if we knew for sure that the ending… well, that we’d be around to laugh about the clownishness of the current GOP Klown Kartel…

Schadenfreude Open Thread: Actions Have Consequences (Eventually)


If there were a bright side to this unfolding fustercluck, it would be that some small percentage of the most venal / incompetent / demented Republican parasites might be scraped out of their secure nests within the party…
Read more