Sweet fancy moses:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

The this, from a real meeting of the minds:

“I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Pirro asked.

Trump did not exactly deny it although he was very clear he found the Times report insulting.

In response to Pirro, Trump said this: “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called ‘The failing New York Times’ for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.”

I dunno for sure if he is an agent, but were I asked the question, my answer would be “No, I am not.”

I’ve hedged my bets the last couple of years, suspecting there was Russian influence, but now I am starting to be convinced there is a real there, there. The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go. We know Trump’s orbit, the NRA, and a number of GOP Senators and House members are bought and paid for.

GOP Venality Open Thread: Choral Squawk of Shame

The rest of us, we’re just drab white-collar players. The Republican Party, an effectively criminal enterprise just waiting for the right enterprising criminal…

The LAWN ORDURE party. Doesn’t even rise to the level of bullshit, just tight little balls of sheep manure.

Read more

Just another manic Wednesday

Open Thread

Update 1

Donald Trump is Guilty as Fuck and Mueller Has the Goods

Thus ends my sophisticated legal analysis.

The Call is Coming From Inside the House, Donald


During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo.

Because of the “outstanding” support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.

Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.

Ms. Morales’s journey from cultivating corn in rural Guatemala to fluffing pillows at an exclusive golf resort took her from the southwest border, where she said she crossed illegally in 1999, to the horse country of New Jersey, where she was hired at the Trump property in 2013 with documents she said were phony.

She said she was not the only worker at the club who was in the country illegally.

Sandra Diaz, 46, a native of Costa Rica who is now a legal resident of the United States, said she, too, was undocumented when she worked at Bedminster between 2010 and 2013. The two women said they worked for years as part of a group of housekeeping, maintenance and landscaping employees at the golf club that included a number of undocumented workers, though they could not say precisely how many. There is no evidence that Mr. Trump or Trump Organization executives knew of their immigration status. But at least two supervisors at the club were aware of it, the women said, and took steps to help workers evade detection and keep their jobs.

“There are many people without papers,” said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.

This is the most infuriating thing about the demonization of immigrants by Republicans- they all know immigrants, and on a one on one basis, love them, pay them, etc. But they still feel free to whip up the racists and nativists because it helps them politically.

Russiagate Open Thread: Mueller Uses Flynn As An Object Lesson

And now the mainstream media pick up what mere bloggers were gloating yesterday. Vanity Fair, “Mueller’s Heavily Redacted Memo on Michael Flynn Is a Warning to Trumpworld”:

President Donald Trump’s mafioso message praising Roger Stone for his “guts” and urging him to stay strong—a move that legal experts, including George Conway, have argued could amount to witness tampering—was swiftly answered by Robert Mueller on Tuesday night, when the special counsel released a long-awaited sentencing memo on Michael Flynn. Citing Flynn’s “substantial assistance” in the ongoing Justice Department probe, the special counsel recommended a light sentence for the disgraced retired Army general—one that may not include any time behind bars. “A sentence at the low end of the guideline range—including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration—is appropriate and warranted,” the memo reads…

The clearest takeaway from the sentencing memo is that Mueller places a premium on cooperation. Flynn’s one charge of lying to investigators carries a maximum of five years in prison, but the special counsel set the ceiling for his misdeeds at just six months. “The usefulness of the defendant’s assistance is connected to its timeliness,” the memo reads. “The defendant began providing information to the government not long after the government first sought his cooperation.”…

Though he has frequently predicted his own indictment, Stone has said he has not been contacted by the special counsel. If he is, perhaps he will reconsider the strategy he laid out in his Sunday interview, where he declared, “There’s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president.” Flynn’s sentencing sends a clear signal that Mueller is prepared to reward cooperation with leniency—a message even longtime Trump fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen seems to have picked up on. And Trump’s tweets are hardly a guarantee that a presidential pardon is on the table.

(Yeah, let’s don’t all get our hopes up too high about ol’ Rog.)

And in USAToday, NeverTrump conservative Tom Nichols adds helpfully/hopefully, Mueller’s redactions suggest more prosecutions are in the works and he is not ready to wrap up his investigation of an unprecedented national scandal.”

My Highly Nuanced and Sophisticated Legal Analysis of Mueller’s Flynn Sentencing Memo

Strap in for my hot takes:

1.) Flynn is crazy and a total fucking asshole, but he’s not as dumb as many others in Trump world, knows when he is caught, and is smart enough to listen to his lawyers when they tell him to cooperate because he does not want to die in jail.

2.) This is like Fitzmas, but this time there is a present, only when we open it all there is a promise for several more presents in a couple more weeks.

There you go. This is why this is a near top 1000 blog.