Repub Venality Open Thread: ‘Normalizing’ the Monstrous

How our Discourse becomes “Coarsened” — as illustrated in tweets:

This is widely shared, because, yeah it’s nasty fun:

The meaty pull-quote:

So… one or more of Axios’ “five sources”, as Mr. Pierce would say, looked a lot like Mercedes Schlapp, and was wearing her shoes.

At least half a dozen prominent media tweeters get to point out:

Jake Tapper, at least, is outraged (as well he might be)…

But the Mad Bitcher, Chris Cillizza, spots a trend!!!

Ergo: Mercedes Schlap posturing to replace Hope Hicks — an ongoing series; savvy journalists have been mocking her desperation since the day Hicks’ resignation was announced — becomes “Our Media Is, Alas, Coarse.”

Why complain about Trump and the other Oval Office Occupants’ lewd mockery of every normal standard of governance and civility, when The Savvy Guys can tell you that everybody does it?

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Ignore the Random Noise, Pay Attention to the Through-Line


Russiagate Open Thread: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Edition

In this week’s arc, a bunch of the loose threads in the sprawling Russiagate Saga seem to be coming together. Time for the re-emergence of a couple of spearcarriers from the pre-election interval!

First, a guy from the penthouse…

Per PoliticalWire’s source, ABC News:

Those interviewed included longtime Trump friend and confidant Thomas Barrack, who oversaw the fundraising effort, as well as individuals familiar with the massive inaugural fund, according to sources with direct knowledge.

Barrack, a real estate investor, has long been described as a Trump “whisperer” whose close friendship with the president landed him a prime appearance during the GOP convention the night Trump accepted his party’s nomination.

The billionaire runs a fund with hundreds of millions in real estate and private equity holdings in the Middle East. Barrack oversaw the largest inaugural fundraising effort in U.S. history, bringing in $107 million – more than double what President Barack Obama raised for his first swearing-in festivities.

According to a source who has sat with the Mueller team for interviews in recent weeks, the special counsel is examining donors who have either business or personal connections in Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Several donors with those ties contributed large sums to the non-profit fundraising entity – gifts that topped out at $1 million dollars, according to public records…

To a reporter-bullying self-styled street brawler…

[AT&T’s] discussions with the lobbying firm took place, shortly after Avenue was founded by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Barry Bennett, a senior adviser on the campaign. Avenue also brought on Ed Brookover, a Republican operative who helped the Trump campaign wrangle delegates at the 2016 convention, and Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino, two other senior Trump campaign hands who later founded their own lobbying firm, Turnberry Solutions.

At the time, Avenue was up-front about the value it could provide in the Trump era. “There are just so few people in Washington who know the president,’’ Lewandowski told The New York Times in February 2017. ‘‘It’s a comparative advantage.’’…

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Remains A Staunch Bigot

(Drew Sheneman via

Newly appointed U.S. District Attorney Doug Overbey introduced Sessions Tuesday morning in a law enforcement conference held inside the Gatlinburg Convention Center…

The nation’s top law enforcement official encouraged the officers, spoke quickly about the opioid crisis and railed on the policies of the “fuzzy-headed left” and illegal immigration in a 25-minute speech.

As he has in other stops recently, Sessions promised to continue being strict on immigration by adding 35 prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to border states to deal with backlogs of immigrant cases.

He used the event to praise the officers who came from across the Southeast. He said the room was filled with “some of the best people in America.”…

Sessions also spoke about the increasing threat of fentanyl, the deadly drug often used with heroin.

“Drug use, addiction, overdose deaths have surged, as you know,” he said. “So we have to work resolutely to stop these trends. We must reverse them. That must be our goal. We know how. We’ve proven what works. Science proves what works … we share good practices at conferences like these.”…

The ever-solicitious NYTimes, last month:

Mr. Sessions has taken more abuse from President Trump than any other member of his high-churn cabinet because he recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Over 14 months in office, Mr. Sessions has gone from, in Mr. Trump’s words, “a great protector of the people” to “weak,” “disgraceful” and an “idiot.”

But Mr. Sessions is in many ways the best attorney general Mr. Trump might have hoped for. While the president rails against him in Washington, Mr. Sessions travels the country diligently pushing the conservative Trump agenda. As a former federal prosecutor who has a firm grasp of the tools of his office and the letter of the law, Mr. Sessions, 71, is the creator and chief enforcer of the tough immigration and criminal justice goals that helped propel Mr. Trump into office.
Read more

Emerging GOP Argument Open Thread: Everyone Is Guilty, So Nobody Is Responsible!

Nay, nay!, cries the Wall Street Journal

How can you say we robbed that bank when it turns out the vault was empty?…

Repub Venality Open Thread: Paul Ryan, Within the Limits of the Law

If there’s any doubt as to why Trump figured his bagman could practically plaster “THIS SPACE FOR RENT” signs on the Oval Office, here’s a Politico story — “Sheldon Adelson kicks in $30M to stop Democratic House takeover”:

The long-sought donation was sealed last week when, according to two senior Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan flew to Las Vegas to meet with the billionaire at his Venetian Hotel. Also at the meeting with Adelson was his wife, Miriam; Norm Coleman, the former Minnesota senator who chairs the Republican Jewish Coalition; Corry Bliss, who oversees the super PAC; and Jake Kastan, Ryan’s No. 2 political aide. They laid out a case to Adelson about how crucial it is to protect the House.

As a federally elected official, Ryan is not permitted to solicit seven-figure political donations. When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman made the ask and secured the $30 million contribution…

Adelson’s donation comes at a perilous moment for House Republicans, who are facing growing headwinds as they try to save their majority. With dozens of incumbents being outraised by emboldened Democratic challengers, desperate party officials have been hoping that Adelson — the party’s most prominent benefactor — would give more than he traditionally does, and earlier in the election cycle.

Adelson came through by giving now, as opposed to waiting until late summer or the fall.

The $30 million contribution is three times as much as Adelson gave to [the Congressional Leadership Fund] in 2016. And the cash comes much earlier in the cycle: In 2016, Adelson gave CLF $10 million in August, as the campaign headed into the homestretch…

Accepting a “love offering” is not illegal if you’re careful to be out of the room when the check gets passed.

Donald Trump is not some kind of malignant oddity that took over the formerly innocent Republican Party. Donald Trump is just the latest refinement on the GOP standard.

Repub Stupidity Open Thread: “These aren’t very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”

Manny is not only a more plausible liar than Michael Cohen, he’s probably smarter.

Michael Cohen, c’mon down!