Open Thread: The White House Showrunners Are Out of Ideas

Given Mike’s “dead, doll eyes”, dumping him for a publicity bump might actually qualify as Jumping the Shark…

In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?…

Within the White House, most people he has talked to have assured the president that Mr. Pence has been a committed soldier, engaging in activities that Mr. Trump has eschewed, such as traveling to Hawaii to receive the remains of veterans of the Korean War, or visiting parts of the globe that Mr. Trump has avoided.

But some Trump advisers, primarily outside the White House, have suggested to him that while Mr. Pence remains loyal, he may have used up his utility. These advisers argue that Mr. Trump has forged his own relationship with evangelical voters, and that what he might benefit from more is a running mate who could help him with female voters, who disapprove of him in large numbers…

Mr. Trump has never completely forgotten that during the 2016 campaign Mr. Pence issued a disapproving statement the day after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was made public, on which the president was heard making comments boasting about grabbing women’s genitals…

On the one hand, Mike Pence is a strong “evangelical”; on the other, his fellow Talibangelicals have been so publicly forgiving of Trump’s every little peccadillo, it seems unlikely they’d abandon him over a minor personnel disagreement.

But demanding that Mike Dense further debase himself to prove his ‘loyalty’ might just give some of the other Oval Office apparatchiks a cue to update their resumes…
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Russiagate Open Thread: Preview for This Week’s Doc Dump(s)

Follow the timeline…

Today:


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Open Thread: Watergate History Lesson



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…