The Trump Narrative

I think that one reason people have taken up the Steele dossier as a key to Donald Trump’s election wrongdoing is that it is a relatively compact telling of events, from which a narrative may be extracted.

Most of the news coverage is of one small piece of the story at a time. The format of the articles tends to be a general statement of that small piece, perhaps with a bit of background, then a more detailed explanation of the small piece, and then more background. Space is limited, and the story is big. The cast appears to include thousands.

I find those articles largely unreadable and uninformative. Journalists seem to be having trouble too. Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of AP, said the Trump-Russia probes have “gone on so long that it’s difficult to be able to assess what in this investigation is truly very serious and what is not as serious. So that is one thing that journalists struggle with a little bit…” (video here; quote begins at 4:30) That certainly could be one reason that their articles are unreadable.

We need an overall story into which we can fit the breaking news. That will help us figure out what is truly very serious. Elliott Broidy, as far as we know now, is not as important to the story as Erik Prince, who is not as important as Donald Trump Jr. A master narrative can show where characters and subplots fit. Then the subplots can be written separately, noting the connections.

So I’m going to stick my neck out and provide a narrative. It is a bare-bones framework on which we can hang the many subplots and add in facts as they emerge. I’ve also added questions that need to be answered. I suspect that Robert Mueller has answers to some of those questions.

I invite you to suggest subplots. I’ll add them to my list and perhaps write another post in which I try to incorporate them into the narrative.

The narrative is below the fold. Read more

Today in Rudys Giuliani: An Ongoing Series Regarding the Quantum Dynamics of America’s (Dumbest) Mayor!

Today we once again convene our ad hoc pro-seminar analytical series into the quantum dynamics and entanglements of Mayor A Noun, A Verb, and Boy Do I Sound Like a Dumbass! Giuliani. On behalf of the Institute for the Study of Infinite Rudys Giuliani, I would personally like to thank Josh Marshall for capturing the relevant clips of the various Rudys Giuliani broadcast and cable news appearances, which has made today’s installment possible.

This morning one of the Rudys Giuliani went on CNN this morning in an attempt to clarify something he said on Fox News earlier this morning. As a result we got this lovely revelation:

To summarize for those not able to watch video:

  1. Rudy Giuliani went on CNN to clarify Rudy Giuliani’s remarks earlier this morning on Fox News.
  2. Rudy Giuliani explained to CNN viewers that there was a planning meeting on 7 June 2016 in advance of the 9 June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskiya, her two Russian intelligence handlers (one former GRU and one, reportedly, former SVR), Emin Agalarov, Rob Goldstone, and a couple of other hangers on.
  3. In attendance at the now newly disclosed for the first time by Rudy Giuliani on CNN this morning to clarify what Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News before the CNN interview 7 June 2016 meeting was, according to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Jr, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner (who are all reported to have been at the actual 9 June meeting with Veselnetskiya et al), Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen.
  4. Rick Gates has been cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office for months.

It is important to remember that on 26 July 2018, Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that:

GIULIANI: He didn’t know about it. I know that. I’ve been over this in great detail. I’ve talked to the corroborating witnesses. This guy is walking into a trap. But —

CUOMO: You’ve talked to the other people that were in the room?

GIULIANI: Of course I did. Months ago. A month ago. Two months ago.

CUOMO: And you know what they say the president was told and not told by his son?

GIULIANI: I know what they say, yes.

Here’s a question for the seminar: how does one talk to people who were in the room at a meeting that you’ve stated didn’t happen?

Anyhow, so when Rudy Giuliani went on CNN this morning to clarify what he said on Fox News before he went on CNN, he directly contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday. Everybody still with me? Good, because Rudy Giuliani has now gone on Fox News again to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning to clarify what Rudy Giuliani had told Fox News even earlier this morning, but which contradicts what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday.

Here’s the video clips of Rudy Giuliani on Fox earlier this afternoon to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday in an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News even earlier this morning.

So, again, to summarize for those without video:

  1. Rudy Giuliani has gone on Fox News earlier this afternoon to state that there was no planning meeting on 7 June 2016 for the 9 June meeting with Natalia Veselnitskiya.
  2. This was an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning that there was a planning meeting on 7 June 2016 that was attended by Donald Trump, Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates (who has been cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office for months), and Michael “Hi-Fidelity” Cohen, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on 26 July 2018.
  3. This morning’s CNN appearance was an attempt by Rudy Giuliani to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News even earlier this morning.

It appears that we have had a Class 4 Rudys Giuliani quantum entanglement so far today. Though the day is young, who knows what Rudy Giuliani might say to Wolf Blitzer or Chris Cuomo or Anderson Cooper that will then require Rudy Giuliani to clarify what Rudy Giuliani said to Blitzer, Cuomo, and/or Cooper by going back on Fox News to set the record straight. If he really works at it, Rudy Giuliani may be able to get this all the way up to a Class 8 or 9!

I hope that everyone is clear about all of this, because if you’re not Rudy Giuliani will come to your house tonight to explain what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last week, in an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News first thing this AM.

Open thread! Or threads if you can’t escape the quantum entanglements.

PS: More seriously, Giuliani’s inability to both keep his mouth shut, fight his mania for appearing on television multiple times every day, and get his stories straight is increasing the President’s legal jeopardy. As I noted above, Rick Gates has been cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation for months. So the Special Counsel knows exactly whether there was or was not a 7 June 2016 planning meeting and what was or was not discussed at that meeting. Moreover, if you all recall, in the afternoon of 7 June 2016 the President held an impromptu press event to announce he’d be holding a press conference at the beginning of the following week to provide all sorts of new and damaging information about Secretary Clinton. Once news of the actual 9 June 2016 meeting broke last year, this has been seen as a significant tell that Veslenitskiya via the Agalarovs and Rob Goldstone had promised to provide incriminating information to the Trump campaign about Secretary Clinton. Specifically, that the President had been informed that the meeting was scheduled and what had been promised and couldn’t keep it to himself, so he teased it to the news media at a press conference. The President never held the follow on event he teased.

Late Night Open Thread: Facial Recognition


Waiting on tenderhooks for the NYTimes to explain how the Juggalos are the real Midwestern white working-class heroes we have been waiting for.

No, I don’t mean ‘tenterhooks’; since the NYTimes is gonna get around to this on approximately the twelfth of never, I’m going for a softer seat, thankyouverymuch.


Speaking of facial recognition, and its drawbacks…

Yeah, this ain’t a movie — this is a “Filthy commie lie-brals hate us, please send money!” grift.


And because this is a late-night post, yet more facial recognition!

I believe the classical Roman quip was “Money has no odor”. And yet the Tad Devines can always sniff it out…

Roseanne Is Cancelled! ABC Stands Up And Says Not Acceptable

ABC, which is owned by Disney, has cancelled Roseanne.

Updated at 3:10 PM EDT

Disney CEO Bob Iger makes his own statement:

Good riddance to bad garbage!

Prepare for incoming tweetstorm from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Open thread.

I Will Be Treated Fairly Or Else: Lesley Stahl Explains The Application Of The Trump Doctrine To The News Media

The President has had a long and largely unpleasant relationship with the news media since he declared his candidacy. As in he’s been unpleasant to the news media. A good chunk of this was set early on with his penning of reporters in at his campaigns and using them as foils, as well as his successful attempts to roll the cable, network, and print news media into treating him “fairly” or receiving an “or else”. He pulled this early and successfully in the primary season with Fox News when he demanded that Megyn Kelly be pulled from her moderator duties. When Fox refused, he scheduled a competing event.

At last night’s Deadline Club awards dinner, Lesley Stahl provided a very detailed explanation of how the President has applied the Trump Doctrine of “I will be treated fairly or else” to the news media. Talking Points Memo has the transcript:

“At one point he started to attack the press. And it’s just me and my boss and him, in— He has a huge office. And he’s attacking the press. And there were no cameras. There was nothing going on, and I said, ‘You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You’re doing it over and over, and it’s boring, and it’s time to end that. You’ve won the nomination (sic). Why do you keep hammering at this?’

“And he said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Here’s the video, which is set to start at the 21:23 mark with her stating what the President told her regarding how he treats the media and why:

Whether the Trump Doctrine is the result of just gut instinct or forethought doesn’t matter. Here we have a first person recounting of the President explaining it in regard to how he deals with the news media. Eventually his supporters are going to get tired of screaming “lugenpresse” at the penned in reporters at his rallies. Or telling them to get out of their country like the lovely gentleman below. Eventually one or more will actually attack and most likely kill a reporter. I certainly hope the news media has thought out how it is going to respond when that happens. Hope, however, is not a strategy.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.