Russiagate ICYMI Open Thread: Paul Manafort’s Chicago Banker Busted

This was an insanely busy week — and not just for national politics — but it’s good to remember that the work of uncovering the Oval Office Occupation’s myriad crimes goes on, relentlessly. I take this (apart from the obvious) as a reminder to any other Big Money Guys who might’ve approved some less-than-Grade-A Trump-associate transactions… that the Mueller team and its state associates are not demonstrating the kind of sympathetic, who-among-us attitude to which the GOP has accustomed them.

Impeachable (Open Thread)

I’ve talked myself off the “Trump must be impeached now!” ledge by acknowledging two obvious facts: impeachment is a political instrument, and there aren’t enough House Democrats in favor of it right now to proceed. It was inexcusably naive of me to think of it any other way, of course.

As a political instrument, impeachment can’t realistically have a “moral imperative” attached to it since political acts either result in good or bad outcomes for the party committing them, and that is the measure of their success or failure.

If we’re serious about upholding the rule of law in the executive branch in a post-Trump era, we’ll have to figure out another enforcement avenue. The constitutional remedy has been rendered garbage by partisan extremists in the Republican Party who’ve made it clear where their allegiance lies.

Liz Warren and others who point out that Congress has a constitutional duty to act are correct, and I’m glad they’re saying so. But reality is what it is, and that’s what Nancy Pelosi is dealing with right now.

The political risk Pelosi is trying to avoid is galvanizing Trump’s base through an impeachment process that will inevitably end in “exoneration” in the Senate, no matter what the investigation uncovers. That the Senate Republicans will “exonerate” Trump regardless is a near-universally acknowledged truth.

The argument is whether that should be a factor in a decision to impeach or not. I can see both sides of that argument, but if the ultimate goal is to get rid of Trump as soon as possible, the reality is we have to get people on board for impeachment through investigations, if only to clear the “impeached in the House” hurdle, and that work isn’t complete. Read more

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Jabba the Barr

(Nick Anderson via

… “I think Bill Barr has all the duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without all the good looks and general likability of Rudy Guliani,” Schiff said during the Center for American Progress 2019 Ideas Conference Wednesday. “The most dangerous thing, I think, that Bill Barr has done is basically say that a president under investigation can make the investigation go away if he thinks its unfair which, by the way, means the other 14 investigations firmed up through other offices he can also make go away.”

Earlier Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee postponed a vote to potentially hold Barr in contempt of Congress, following his refusal to testify before the committee last week. Schiff, who chairs that committee, said in a statement explaining the postponement that the “Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production.”…

Russiagate Open Thread: Another (Minor?) Breach in the GOP’s Red Wall

IMO, Exxon Rex showed up right now just to piss on Jared Kushner’s pretensions, specifically the Chief-Son-in-Law’s recent attempt to PowerPoint-sell Arab oil oligarchs into buying off the Palestinians for Netenyahu’s benefit. To a professional Inergy-Bidnizguy like Tillerson, that’s so amateur as to be a multinational embarrassment…

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson spoke with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee on Tuesday in a lengthy session that, an aide said, touched on his time working in the Trump administration, the frictions he had with the president’s son-in-law, and efforts to tackle issues like Russian interference in the 2016 election…

Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin, a committee aide told The Daily Beast.

Tillerson also told members and aides that he had tried to establish a formal and disciplined interagency process at the State Department whereby the president could receive informed briefings on sensitive foreign policy matters, the aide said. That effort never manifested, Tillerson told the committee, in part because of the president’s management style, but also because of interference from other aides.

Tillerson told the committee that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at times impeded his ability to communicate effectively and introduce to President Trump policy proposals developed by State Department experts on major foreign affairs matters across the globe, not just in the Middle East. Kushner, a White House adviser, has publicly focused much of his international efforts on the Middle East and is set to unveil a Middle East peace plan in the coming weeks…

Tillerson had a notoriously prickly relationship with the president, reportedly calling him a “moron” in private. But he was present during critical moments of the administration, including Trump’s private 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany…

Another political rule the Squatter-in-Chief failed to understand: Never piss off people who know where the bodies are buried — especially if they still have the shovels.

Late Night Open Thread: SPEAKING OF FOOLS…

These were the least competent political criminals since… well, thinking about it, neither the Watergate burglars nor Ollie North’s merry band of mercenaries were exactly masterminds, either. And as cynical political observers keep pointing out, no halfway successful lawbreaker would be dumb enough to work for the sundowning narcissist currently occupying the Oval Office — it’s all nitwits, has-beens and wanna-bes.