Repub Venality Open Thread: The Permanent GOP Sidles Away from Its Dear Figurehead Leader

If you are old & cynical, like me, you will remember that by the time Nixon coptered off the White House lawn, many Very Serious Persons (looking at you, Bob Woodward, not to mention Henry Kissinger) were informing us that Tricky Dick was a rogue psycopath — a lone gunman, even! — who wormed his way into the all-too-innocent Republican Party and corrupted a bunch of trusting younglings (like Dick Cheney) with his wicked political perversions.

Now cometh rumbles, amid the pleadings & sentencings of a new generation of Repub grifters, that the current Oval Office Occupant will be getting sent to the same Potemkin Coventry.

Today, for instance, Big Oil lifer Rex Tillerson trudged out in front of an audience to share horror stories of serving under the Squatter-in-Chief…

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Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Has Stone Roger’d Himself?

He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede…

Per CNN:

Roger Stone said Thursday that he does not have a joint defense agreement with President Donald Trump’s legal team, nor are the two sides sharing information.
Stone, an informal political adviser to the President who was in Washington for a speech, also said he is refusing to testify now to the Senate because it would not be public testimony, despite previously testifying before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors.

“Because I am clearly under investigation now and no attorney in their right mind would allow you to put yourself in that jeopardy,” Stone said when asked why he wouldn’t testify to the Senate. “Because this is not about Russian collusion, it’s about the parsing of words. It’s about process crimes and perjury traps, and I decline to participate.”

He said he would be willing to reconsider requests from the Senate if he could testify publicly.

Stone would not say if he would invoke his FIfth Amendment right to not testify in order to avoid incriminating himself if contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller, telling reporters that was a “hypothetical.”…

From Politico, “Why Roger Stone won’t shut up”:

Defying the advice of pretty much every defense lawyer in America, Roger Stone won’t stop talking.

The longtime political adviser to President Donald Trump gives lengthy interviews about his role in the 2016 presidential election. He writes combative op-eds about Robert Mueller, who is investigating him. He invites reporters into his home for open-ended hangout sessions.

It’s all part of a pre-emptive counterattack against the special counsel’s Russia investigation, which many legal experts believe is inexorably closing in on Stone.

And if you didn’t know better, you might think Stone is enjoying himself…

…[H]e appears unfazed that his media saturation makes him an open book for Mueller’s prosecutors as they assess whether the truth of the 2016 campaign makes him a criminal or just a crude braggart. Even lawyers he’s consulted with admit it’s a risky move considering Mueller has held other people’s public commentary against them in court.

But a clear reminder of the benefit of being in the public eye came on Monday, when Trump cited Stone’s vow, made on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” a day earlier, that he would never testify against the president. Trump approvingly tweeted that the stance took “guts!”

The next day, Stone’s friend and former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo sent out a mass email announcing the creation of a GoFundMe legal defense fund for Stone’s legal bills “to pay the costs he’s incurring due to his two year torture.” Caputo said Stone, who posted an Instagram image of himself last month wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigar in a beach chair, has “lost everything.”

“Staying quiet isn’t going to attract contributions,” said Kendall Coffey, a Miami-based former federal prosecutor who briefly discussed joining Stone’s legal defense team in mid-2017. “Staying low profile offers no benefits for him.”…

Well, Michael Cohen’s sentencing is due tomorrow, but people are trying not to get our hopes up…

GOP Luzers Open Thread: Malevolent Leprechaun Tests Water, Finds It Cold & Unsympathetic

He got the chance to hurt so many of Those People — not-whites, immigrants, anyone younger or hipper — and then it was all ripped away. And yet, for some reason, there is no sympathy for the plight of Jeff Sessions!

The former attorney general and Alabama senator said in an interview on Wednesday that he doesn’t miss being a senator and won’t decide on a run anytime soon. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is seen as the most vulnerable incumbent on the ballot in two years — and Sessions is viewed as a prime candidate to beat him.

But, after enduring months of attacks from President Donald Trump for recusing himself from the Russia probe and being forced to leave his attorney general perch after the midterms, Sessions sounds eager to decompress…

Sessions didn’t have a general election challenger when he last ran in 2014, though he might face a GOP primary challenge if he decides to challenge Jones.

At least at this moment, though, that looks like a long shot. Sessions has told former colleagues that running for the Senate could be seen as a demotion after serving in Trump’s Cabinet.

Write your own snark about that ‘demotion’ line.

Cold Grey Dawn Open Thread: Nobody Loves A Failed Kingmaker

Rudy wanted his people to throw him one last big party at somebody else’s expense, but his grab for attention via the Oval Office Occupant has taken a bad turn:

Plans for a party celebrating the 25-year anniversary of Rudy Giuliani becoming the mayor of New York City are “fizzling out” because the 74-year-old politico is “too toxic,” according to a source who was invited.

Ideally, the fete was to have taken place at the New York Hilton hotel where Giuliani celebrated his election win in November 1993. Organizers were aiming for early January…

“Rudy wanted it to appear to come together organically,” according to that source, who said the mayor left party-planning responsibilities to associates who struggled to find supporters willing to pay for tickets.

According to that insider, Giuliani’s position as the embattled President’s personal lawyer has made him “too toxic” to be around right now.

“It’d be like a mafia wedding,” that source joked, referring to mob gatherings where investigators and media members show up to take an inventory of party-goers with close ties to the dubious guests of honor…

According to Giuliani, he’s heard nothing about an anniversary bash in early 2019.

“If there was a party for me, it was a surprise party,” he said. “I don’t know anything about a party. If you find something out, let me know.”…

Former Giuliani communications director Cristyne Nicholas was involved in talks about coordinating a party, the source said. Nicholas did not return requests for comment.

In 2001, Giuliani was christened “America’s Mayor” for his resolute response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Time magazine named him its Person of the Year for his efforts.

The former mayor’s popularity has waned since he took over as Trump’s attorney in April…

Christyne Nicholas was alleged, by Giuliani’s second wife, to have auditioned for a position as Giuliani’s third wife (before losing out to Judith Nathan, who has since joined the ranks of his exes). Ya don’t lightly discard old ‘friendships’ like that…

The difference between Rudy and Donald Trump is that Rudy’s old man couldn’t leave him a few hundred million to play with — just the, ahem, subterrean contacts that would power his rise in the Republican party.

Rudy shoulda remembered: Everything Trump Touches, Dies.

Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: “I AM NOT A CROOK”

I figured it was intended to be more like The Apartment, only for murders instead of extramarital assignations. Which is a whole different can of worms, but hey — foreigners! Watcha gonna do?

BuzzFeed News first reported in May on the secret dealings of Cohen and his business associate Felix Sater with political and business figures in Moscow.

The two men worked furiously behind the scenes into the summer of 2016 to get the Moscow deal finished — despite public claims that the development was canned in January, before Trump won the Republican nomination. Sater told BuzzFeed News today that he and Cohen thought giving the Trump Tower’s most luxurious apartment, a $50 million penthouse, to Putin would entice other wealthy buyers to purchase their own. “In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.” A second source confirmed the plan.

Sater, a brash real estate promoter who pleaded guilty to racketeering in 1998 and became a longtime asset to US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, had worked with the Trump Organization on deals in the past and said he came up with the idea. Cohen, Sater recalled, said, “Great idea.”…

Another sidebar: Trump and his minions knew Sater had ratted out prior partners to the FBI, but they trusted him into their deals anyway. Did Donny Dollhands actually believe he was smart enough not to get caught the same way, or was he just that desperate for anyone who might help him make some ready cash?

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Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver Open Thread: Requiem for A World-Class Fraud

Almost titled this “Respite from A WCF”, because we know he’ll be back on the Very Serious Media no later than Jan. 6 2019 (even sooner, if Trump completely decompensates and/or flees the country before then), making bank to represent whichever batch of oligarchs and kakistocrats offers him a dirty dollar.

But in this happy moment, let us remember the True Paul Ryan: lifelong suckler upon the gubmint teat, devout Ayn Rand fanboi, personage who stood out for unlikeability even in a party figureheaded by Donald Trump and frontlined by such specimens as Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Stephen Miller…

A special panel dreamed up by Speaker Paul Ryan to end the constant cycle of government shutdowns crashed and burned on Thursday.

The special panel tasked with recommending budget fixes overwhelmingly rejected its own set of proposals, even after lawmakers admitted the package included only modest changes to the way Congress approves budgets and funds the government…

Over several months, the leadership-appointed panel swatted down the most ambitious ideas for overhauling the budget process. The final text of the agreement contained changes like requiring Congress to pass a budget every two years, instead of annually. It also would have required a “fiscal state of the nation” report each year.

Sweeping proposals to “de-weaponize” the debt ceiling, tighten spending limits and disband Congress’ budget committees were all voted down or withdrawn…

He’s going out as he came in, attempting to delegitimize votes along strictly partisan lines…

Gee, ZEGS, let’s try to parcel this out, shall we? You fronted for an administration* that was xenophobic to the point of ripping families apart, apparently for sport, and for taking a brutally hard line on all immigrants, legal and otherwise. A somewhat gentler version of that was enough to end Pete Wilson’s political career in California 20 years ago. And Wilson was reasonably popular at the time and not a maniac…

Remember when people thought this guy was smart?

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Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Infinite Klassiness


Corsi, Klayman, and Stone — like everyone else in Trump’s orbit — are bad people who deserve every unpleasant thing that (I devoutly hope) they are about to experience.