Russiagate Open Thread: When Even Andrea Mitchell Is Giving You Side-Eye…

Please proceed, Trump Official!…

Schadenfreude Open Thread: Nobody Loves A Loser, Donny…

… Except for the other losers! Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani represent everything Boston most loathes about NYC. So it’s not surprising the Boston Globe was happy to share:

[T]he lure of representing the most powerful man in the world isn’t appealing to this generation’s cadre of top white-collar criminal defense attorneys: Twelve partners from a total of seven firms have said no to President Trump’s entreaties to help him navigate the special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Being turned down time and again led Trump to pick former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani this week, turning to a former presidential candidate and one-time US attorney who was known for his at times imprecise but often effective advocacy of Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. Trump also brought on board a relatively obscure husband-and-wife team of former federal prosecutors with a white-collar criminal defense practice in South Florida.

It’s hard to call it a dream team.

“Rudy Giuliani has always been available,” said Roger Cossack, a former California prosecutor and legal analyst on TV. “Hiring Rudy Giuliani only underlines Trump’s dilemma in finding a lawyer who will work for him.”…

“What we’re seeing with President Trump is really unprecedented,” said Timothy Naftali, a historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. During the depths of Watergate, Nixon had a squadron of high-power lawyers to walk him through the process. “Nixon’s problem was that he wasn’t honest with his lawyers. And he didn’t really allow them to defend him,” he said…

Lawyers who’ve watched firms turn him down say it’s a combination of factors. There’s Trump’s reputation as a very difficult client who will undercut, change his mind, and publicly humiliate. Managing partners at top firms also fear Trump is so polarizing that their practice would lose clients and talent if they’re associated with him.

“Everyone who becomes associated with Trump becomes diminished,” explained one leading white-collar crime expert, who didn’t want to be named for fear of offending the president. “You come out with less of a reputation.”…

Another institutional worry at large firms is that Trump tends to ignore advice, even if it’s the best that money can buy. Some point to the president’s long history of civil litigation as a New York real estate developer and a casino owner, which gives Trump the confidence that he can be his own lawyer…

Firms also are worried that representing Trump could hurt recruitment of the best students coming out of law schools, particularly women, Bennett said…

(Also, he’s a notorious deadbeat.)

Much more, including a list of refuseniks, at the link.

Russiagate Open Thread: The DNC’s Lawsuit – Early Reports

Stock photo shade thrown! — Trump looks like the sweaty district manager trying to convince his skeptical boss those mysterious ‘accounting errors’ have nothing to do with him. Life’s been a little *too* real around here this week, so I’ve probably missed a lot, but just in case anybody wants a space to discuss this fascinating topic…

This looks, to my I-Am-Not-A-Lawyer eyes, like a good start at explaining the suit:

Read more

Cheap Mockery Open Thread: Some GOP Drone Has Expensed His Secret Hobby

There is no shame in being a furry, of course. But if a furry is *also* paid by the GOP, I can understand why they’d want to keep their identity secret.
Speaking of bad conservative styling choices, I cannot highly enough recommend:

… Wherein (along with more obvious targets) Mr. Magary refers to “Richard Cohen’s curls” as “A maltese that found a magic lamp and wished to become a man”.

Dems Sue Russia, Trump Campaign and WikiLeaks

Breaking from The Post:

Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign

The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.

“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said.

Well, damn! Apparently something similar happened during the Watergate scandal, and the GOP had to pay up!

Open thread.

“39 Minutes”: The Comey Memos Leak

That’s how long it took the Repubs to spill the entire file… (15-page PDF at the link):


Excellent explainer: The Washington Post, “What the Comey memos say”.

Choice Axios pullquote:

During their private dinner: “The conversation, which was pleasant at all times, was chaotic, with topics touched, left, then returned to later, making it very difficult to recount in a linear fashion…It really was a conversation-as-jigsaw-puzzle in a way, with pieces picked up, then discarded, then returned to.”…

Different areas of expertise, same question:

Read more

Russiagate Open Thread: Every Trump “Friend” Has His Own Little Grift

White House aides were worried enough about a visit last year by Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, under investigation by American prosecutors who say he embezzled $3.5 billion from a state investment fund, that he was denied the customary photo in the Oval Office with President Trump.

But that did not stop a top Republican fund-raiser, Elliott Broidy, from seeking to use his White House ties to press for Mr. Trump to play a golf game with Mr. Najib, who had the authority over negotiations for a lucrative Malaysian contract with Mr. Broidy’s private defense company, according to documents obtained by The New York Times…

Mr. Broidy also explored separate plans to force the exit from the United States of a Chinese billionaire and dissident, Guo Wengui, evidently to please Chinese allies in Malaysia while reaping payoffs from both the Chinese and, improbably, the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Broidy proposed working with George Nader, an adviser to the Emiratis who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation.

Mr. Broidy and Mr. Nader met around the inauguration and worked to sway the Trump administration on behalf the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia at a time when Mr. Broidy was seeking contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars from the two countries…

The Chinese dissident, Mr. Guo, made a fortune in real estate and finance in China but fled in 2014 in anticipation of charges of corruption. He has said the allegations were fabricated by business and political opponents, and he has since styled himself as a whistle-blower exposing the corruption of the Chinese elite. He lives primarily in a 9,000-square-foot apartment overlooking Central Park that he bought three years ago for more than $67 million.

One person close to Mr. Broidy said he was interested in the case because of his friendship with Steve Wynn, another top Republican fund-raiser. Mr. Wynn, a casino mogul who himself recently resigned as a Republican finance chairman after a sex scandal, had large business interests in China and also sought to persuade the United States to expel Mr. Guo.

A representative of Mr. Wynn did not respond to requests for comment, and a representative of Mr. Guo declined to comment.

Mr. Broidy wrote a draft memo dated May 6, 2017, to Mr. Nader, the Emirati adviser, laying out a complex proposal for both men to profit from an unusual three-way trade relying on their combined influence in Washington and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E…

Also, too…

The disclosure by U.S. prosecutors came Thursday during a hearing on whether Mueller exceeded his authority in indicting Manafort on charges of laundering millions of dollars while acting as an unregistered agent of the Ukrainian government. Manafort’s lawyers say those alleged crimes have nothing to do with Mueller’s central mission — to determine whether anyone in the Trump campaign had links to the Russian government.
Read more