Repub Venality Open Thread: Trump’s Newest Enforcer

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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IMO, the fact that Trump hasn’t ditched his new mook (or, to be precise, had someone ditch Whitaker for him) would seem to indicate that the Oval Office Occupant is running out of half-decent alternatives.


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#GlobalFacepalms Open Thread: The Trump-Putin Bromance in Paris

For all Trump is supposed to be ‘a master of visual media’, sure looks like Putin who has the better grasp of the optics here…

Last time I saw a grin/grip/lapel-adjustment like this, literally, was a senior VP hearing at the company roundtable that his division would get its full funding after all. Not just relief, but a public signalling of renewed confidence in one’s business superior.

It’s a Tristan & Iseult romance for our times!

Of course Putin’s mostly trolling, but can you imagine if it were any other American president who got caught kowtowing this way? Even a Republican?



Who Is Sam Clovis?

This is a small point in the larger Russia investigation. But in my science, I have found that small points that don’t seem to make sense can be important. I am not putting forth a theory here. I want to raise questions that I think reporters should be looking at. The overarching question is Who is Sam Clovis and how did he develop his contacts?

When Donald Trump announced his foreign policy advisors in March 2016, a great many of us said “Who?” The five people announced were Joseph E. Schmitz, Gen. Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Walid Phares. Three had policy experience. Two didn’t. None were obvious choices.

Page was off to Russia that June. He had meetings with at least one high-level official, although his answers to congressional committees on that subject are evasive. A few years earlier, two Russian agents attempted to recruit Page as an informant.

Papadopoulos was convicted of lying to the FBI earlier this year. His wife worked for Joseph Mifsud, who had Russian connections and a job that looks like a cover. Mifsud has disappeared.

Who recommended Page and Papadopoulos? Eventually it came out that Sam Clovis, the national co-chair of the Trump campaign, had brought them into the campaign. Read more



Late Night Comic Relief Open Thread: Trump Can’t Even Attract Quality Ratfvckers!

Nixon had guys like G. Gordon Liddy“a little nuts”, per ol’ Tricky, but at least he knew there were limits, even if he didn’t understand his own. The current Oval Office Occupant? He’s got these guys ‘defending’ him. Per Will Sommer at the Daily Beast:

A press conference intended to publicize sexual assault claims against special counsel Robert Mueller collapsed in spectacular fashion on Thursday, after the pro-Trump operatives behind the event failed to demonstrate a grasp of even basic details about their accuser or explain why they had repeatedly lied about their project.

Mueller has asked the FBI to investigate the effort from publicity-hungry Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman and pro-Trump Twitter personality Jacob Wohl, which has been dogged by accusations that they offered women money to accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct.

But the prospect of an FBI investigation was the least of Wohl and Burkman’s problems on Thursday.

Throughout their 45-minute press conference, the two men repeatedly contradicted themselves and each other, giving cryptic non-answers that convinced approximately zero people in attendance that their allegations were anywhere close to the truth…
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Saturday Night Cheap Snark Open Thread: Free Julian the Cat!

Srsly? Srsly:

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has directed his legal team to launch proceedings against the government of Ecuador for “violating his fundamental rights.”

In a statement, WikiLeaks said Friday Ecuador had “threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world.”

It added that the embassy has refused journalists and human rights organizations to see him as well as installed signal jammers to prevent phone calls and internet access…

The memo, which was written in Spanish and first published by Ecuadorean website Codigo Vidrio, specifies that Assange must pay for his own expenses like food, medical and laundry, that visitors must have prior authorization, and that he must not only keep the spaces inside the embassy clean, but also take care of his cat. It also reiterates the position that he is not allowed to interfere in any other country’s political matters.

The leaked document says that the 47-year-old is at risk of losing both his pet and his asylum status if he does not comply….



Russiagate Open Thread: Peter Smith, “Rob Tyler”, and General Flynn

Clintonphobia must be a helluva drug, because it does not seem these were stupid people — unlike the Putin pawn they helped install in the Oval Office. But it sounds to me like these staunch Republicans knew they were getting played by the GRU and didn’t care, as long as That Woman was properly punished for the crime of being a Democrat, and uppity.

A veteran Republican operative and opposition researcher solicited and raised at least $100,000 from donors as part of an effort to obtain what he believed to be emails stolen from Hillary Clinton, activities that remain of intense interest to federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and on Capitol Hill.

Peter W. Smith, an Illinois businessman with a long history of involvement in GOP politics, sought and collected the funds from at least four wealthy donors as part of the plan to obtain Mrs. Clinton’s stolen emails from hackers just weeks before election day in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Smith’s effort to find what he believed were some 33,000 deleted emails Mrs. Clinton said were personal was first reported by the Journal in a 2017 story, but the extent of his planning went far beyond what was previously known. Mr. Smith died 10 days after describing his efforts to a reporter for the Journal…

Mr. Smith went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the privacy and secrecy of his projects, according to emails and court records reviewed by the Journal and a person familiar with the matter.

One email showed the anti-Clinton funds referenced as donations that were to be sent to a Washington, D.C.-based scholarship fund for Russian students.

[Was one of them named ‘Maria Butina’?]
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Russiagate Open Thread: Hey, Remember Maria Butina?

“Treason? Well, everybody does it!” — the mail-order-bride mating cry of the Amurkin Deplorable.

My week google-fu isn’t showing me any breaking news on Butina, but I assume MSNBC ran this clip yesterday for some reason beyond nostalgia…