Open Thread: When Someone Tells You What They Are…



Open Thread: “Peach” in Our Times

Didn’t “peach” used to be thieves’ cant for “incriminate one’s associates to the authorities”?



Early Morning Open Thread: Oh, Now They Find Some “Caution”



Friday Night Fights Open Thread: No Such Thing As Slow-News Weekends Any More…

The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump’s national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.

“This was a five-alarm fire from early on,” one former Obama administration official said, “the way the Russians were talking about him.” Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn’s changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump’s first national security adviser…

Trump angrily denied any collusion with Russia this week and denounced the newest investigation — now in the hands of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — as “a witch hunt.”

And he has remained steadfast in his loyalty to Flynn, even as the scrutiny surrounding his fired aide continues to weigh down his presidency. Trump urged then-FBI Director James Comey in February to drop the bureau’s investigation into Flynn and “let this go,” according to a memo Comey wrote at the time. The conversation, first reported by The New York Times earlier this week, has opened the President up to charges from critics of obstruction of justice.

Trump’s obvious bond with Flynn, like his relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top advisers, appears rooted in the fact that they supported his then-longshot presidential campaign last year at a time when most Republicans were ostracizing him.

Trump (or his handlers) going for the “too dumb to be in criminal collusion” defense, I guess. YES PUPPET! YOU’RE A PUPPET!

I repeat: Thanks, Republicans!



Open Thread: In the Grand Tradition of Friday News Dumps…

The President-Asterisk won’t be asking for political asylum while he’s in Saudi Arabia, because he’s not competent enough to understand that this whole ‘Russiagate’ thing might be too big for him to skate away from. Wouldn’t come as a real surprise if one or more of Lord Smallgloves’ inner circle dropped out of sight during the travelling circus, though…

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson…

Although the case began quietly last July as an effort to determine whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian operatives to meddle in the presidential election campaign, the investigative work now being done by the FBI also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president. The people familiar with the matter said the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House, the FBI and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take, the people said…

Much more at the link. Fire up the popcorn machine?



Late Night Opposite-of-Nostalgia Open Thread: GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!

“Out of the loop” worked as an excuse for VP ‘Poppy’ Bush during the Iran-Contra investigation. “In a(n Alzheimers) fog” worked for Reagan. But that was twenty-five years ago, Bush was (however crooked & compromised) smart, and Reagan was popular. “Mike Dense”, as he was known back in Indiana, isn’t even popular with the guy who gave him his current job.



Visual Comparison Open Thread: Walk Left / Run Right