Russiagate Open Thread: Late Friday News Drop…

Judge Ellis let the Manafort jurors go home at 5pm, because one of them had an evening engagement…


 
Meanwhile, looks like this is the next guy up:

The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two of the people.

They are also investigating claims that Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government. The Malaysian probe has examined the role of the former prime minister in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the fund…

As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.

An attorney for Wynn, Reid Weingarten, declined to comment, saying only that Wynn is cooperating with the Justice Department.

“Steve Wynn is completely cooperating with the investigation and he certainly has no reason to believe that anyone acted improperly in anything he knew about or was involved in,” Weingarten said in a statement…

Yes, these links have been reported before (read the whole thing!), but if the Justice Department is officially looking into the details of transactions between high-ranking Chinese officials, Malaysian businessmen with grift-friendly reputations, and big-time American casino operators looking to set up business in Hong Kong / Singapore / Shanghai… things are about to get UUUUUUGHHLY.

(And that’s not even considering the Saudi finance connection, FWIW.)



Post-Racial Open Thread: “Well, He Never Called ME That Name… “

The scramble to (once again) cover up the sorry truth that the Oval Office Occupant is a lifelong racist (BUT IF HE DIDN’T USE THE N-WORD IT DOESN’T COUNT!, goes the ritual incantation) is stirring up even the most sluggis bottom feeders…

Because they can’t be sure there isn’t a tape… and that is a depth to which even the professional Repub Defenders would prefer not to sink. Per the Washington Post:

Asked whether there is a tape anywhere of Donald Trump using the n-word, as former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has claimed, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly and repeatedly declined to rule it out. At one point she even said, “I can’t guarantee anything.”

White House spokespeople have occasionally emphasized that denials were coming from the president and not from them personally — apparently not wanting another false denial to damage their own credibility — but on Tuesday it was crystal-clear exactly what was happening. Sanders, like others in President Trump’s orbit, including Kellyanne Conway, wanted no part of ruling out the president having used such a racial slur, just in case there is actually a tape…


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Russiagate Open Thread: Roger Stone, Wonderful Human Being

You look at him, and wonder: That is a human being?

Remember, Roger Stone got his professional start working for Tricky Dick…

Also, per TPM, this happened:

Let’s see if this MSNBC clip will embed for me…

(Well, if not, you’ll have to click on the link.)



Late Night QFT Open Thread: “Trump’s GOP, Party of Corruption”

Tina Nguyen, at Vanity Fair“In the witch-hunt era, a criminal indictment has become a mark of pride for Republicans”:

If there’s anyone who can sympathize with Rep. Chris Collins, the first congressman to support Donald Trump, who is currently facing indictment for insider trading, it’s Michael Grimm. “He’s going to have a really, really difficult emotional time,” the retired Republican congressman, who was himself indicted on 20 counts of various crimes, told The New York Times on Thursday, when asked what he’d say to Collins. “He’s going to have to swallow every bit of it. And smile.” He went on, “Washington, as long as you’re riding high, they want to be your friend. And when you’re not, they don’t want to be anywhere near you. . . . And whether he knows it or not, a lot of Washington is going to look at him as a pariah.”

They might also look at him as unelectable, a realistic concern in a potential wave election that threatens to wipe out the Republican hold on Congress, particularly if Collins refuses to bow out of the race. But fear not, Grimm said—he himself had done what Collins aspires to do, running for re-election under indictment in 2012, and winning…“If I were him, I would double down on the president needing us,” Grimm suggested….

But could anyone in the Serious Grown-Up Business-Friendly Party actually defend stock market fraud?

Heeerrre comes MCARGLEBARGLE!

To be fair — to the Washington Post, who paid her this time — McArdle eventually gets around to explaining that, well, insider trading might be offensive, but it’s really all the fault of Government Overregulation:

It’s surprisingly hard to pin down an actual harm from insider trading. And yet we have a stubborn intuition that it ought to be illegal because it just doesn’t seem fair. That’s a reasonable response: Insiders such as the sons of congressmen and board members should have to take the same losses as anyone else on speculative investments.

There is no evident problem with confidence in the markets today, but there is an obvious problem with confidence in our institutions. That’s the harm of insider trading — and all sorts of other self-dealing, self-interested practices by networks of folks with cultural, economic or political power. Occupational licensing, building restrictions that make it impossible for disadvantaged families to gain access to better schools, professional networks and degree requirements that help “people like us” climb the ladder into the best jobs — all of these look, from the outside, like more insider trading. They’re also often defended by people who regard the allegations against Chris Collins with horror…

Look, regulations only serve to encourage law-breaking, knowhutimean? As J.P. Morgan said, during our first Gilded Age, “Anything not nailed down is mine. Anything I can pry loose, was not nailed down.” It’s not the plundering, it’s the nails!



Friday Evening Open Thread: Nice ‘Work’, If You Can Get It

Every successful organization must consider the best use of their paid employees. Therefore, some are paid to show up; some are paid to stay home…


 
… or to go on tv and make fools of themselves…


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#UniteTheReich Open Thread: This Crap, Again…

Dangerously serious:


 
Seriously dangerous:

USAToday:

The mayor and police chief of Washington, D.C., on Thursday promised tight security for Sunday’s “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests marking the first anniversary of a white nationalist rally that erupted in deadly violence a year ago.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city was activating its emergency operations center and would be on high alert for violence.

“We have people coming to our city for the sole purpose of spewing hate,” Bowser said. “We denounce hate, we denounce anti-Semitism, and we denounce the rhetoric we expect to hear this Sunday.”

Bowser, Chief Peter Newsham and other officials spoke at a news conference held at a synagogue in the city of 700,000 people, about half of whom are black.

Newsham said guns will be banned from the rallies, even for gun owners with legal permits. He said the white nationalists and the counter-protesters would be separated, even though both have permits to use a park near the White House.

Newsham was reticent to provide security details, saying he didn’t want anyone with malicious intent to be able to “plan ahead.”
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Bad Week for the Repubs

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
.

‘Nothing bodes well’...

Re the Washington Post, “Lackluster election results spark debate over Trump’s midterm role”:

A new round of lackluster showings by Republican candidates reignited a debate Wednesday within the GOP over whether President Trump will be a drag on the party’s chances in November and should stay out of some of the country’s most hotly contested races.

Inside the White House, Trump aides are mapping out plans for the fall that would offer a variety of options to Republican candidates, including visits by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump to blue states and presidential tweets to bolster red-state allies.

But mounting apprehension about Trump’s political capital lingered in Washington and on the campaign trail.

In a flurry of elections on Tuesday — from the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, to the technology corridor in Washington state — Democrats turned out in droves and significantly overperformed expectations by posing serious challenges to Republicans in staunchly GOP districts.

Many Republican strategists viewed the results as a dark omen three months ahead of Election Day, saying they illustrate the limits of Trump’s ability to boost candidates, particularly in suburban areas where the president’s popularity has suffered.

Even in Republican primaries, securing Trump’s endorsement was not a guarantee of electoral success…

[Ohio’s] Balderson was far from the only Republican who underwhelmed on Tuesday.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, failed to win 50 percent of the vote in a primary and will face Democrat Lisa Brown in November. Washington state has a nonpartisan primary process in which the top two finishers move on to the general election.

All year, McMorris Rodgers has been confronting pointed questions about her support for Trump’s policies…

In Michigan, where Democrats are aiming to take back the governor’s mansion, voter turnout set records, according to state officials, with more than 2 million votes cast — the most in the state since 1978…


 
AND FURTHERMORE…


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