Schadenfreude Open Thread: The Bucket Brigade Arrives!

… and to put out the fires, per the Washington Post — the other Trump kids!:

Amid mounting questions at the White House about Russia, three prominent members of President Trump’s family — his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Eric’s wife, Lara — have ramped up their engagement with the Republican Party’s national political operation, having met privately with GOP leaders to share their concerns and outlook.

Their most recent effort came Thursday, when the president’s eldest sons and Lara Trump visited the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in Washington. Those three family members, who were invited by the RNC, stayed for about two hours, according to four people who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Their appearance at the RNC irked at least two prominent Republicans who were briefed on the session, who wondered whether it was appropriate for the president’s sons, who run the Trump family real estate business, to be highly involved in discussing the party’s strategy and resources.

But two other people familiar with the meeting said it was appropriate for the president’s sons and daughter-in-law, who all volunteered for Trump’s campaign, to huddle with Republican leaders and offer their perspective on what would be most helpful to President Trump ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential race…

A number of RNC figures and Trump allies also attended the Thursday meeting: RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, RNC chief of staff Sara Armstrong, former Trump campaign digital strategist Brad Parscale, Trump campaign committee director Michael Glassner, and former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, who now advises a pro-Trump nonprofit group…

White House officials declined on Saturday to comment on the meeting.

Be more useful if Eric wasn’t wearing the bucket over his head, and Donald Jr wasn’t standing in his.

Ya gotta wonder how irked Sarah Palin must be, given all the abuse her family took, when the Palin clan grifting didn’t amount to more than a few thousand dollars in free swag and fancy accommodations. Sure, they can see Russia from their compound, but they never tried to sell the whole country off to Putin in return for propping up a bunch of dirty real-estate deals.

Late Night Spy-vs-Spy Open Thread: How Badly Did Ivanka Want A Divorce?

She had a nice lifestyle, a profitable brand, the envy of all her Park Slope peers, until somebody talked Daddy into running for President…

Yes, “Melania’s pre-nup” would be the obvious joke, but who believes Melania was paying that much attention to what the old man’s cronies were up to?

(General speculation, if you click on the tweets and read the replies, seems to be that Trump should’ve had the smarts to be nicer to Christie.)

Apparently Fox News had a really frantic evening, looking for substitute target for the evening’s Ten Minute Hate…

(You probably don’t want to read the replies to that tweet… )

Kushnergate Open Thread: The Trickster God Is Not A Subtle Scripter

As Donald Trump surged in the Republican primary polls in the early months of 2016, his outsider campaign faced growing pressure to show that the former reality-TV star and noted provocateur was forming a coherent and credible world view.

So when Carter Page, an international businessman with an office near Trump Tower, volunteered his services, former officials recall, Trump aides were quick to make him feel welcome.
He had come with a referral from the son-in-law of Richard Nixon, New York state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, who had conveyed Page’s interest to the campaign, Cox said.

A top Trump adviser, Sam Clovis, then employed what campaign aides now acknowledge was their go-to vetting process — a quick Google search — to check out the newcomer. He seemed to have the right qualifications, according to former campaign officials — head of an energy investment firm, business degree from New York University, doctorate from the University of London.

But what the Google search had not shown was that Page had been on the FBI’s radar since at least 2013, when Russian officials allegedly tried to use him to get information about the energy business…

The circumstances that led to Page’s easy access to the Trump campaign represent one of the main questions facing investigators: Were Trump’s connections to multiple Russia-friendly advisers mere coincidence, or evidence of a coordinated attempt to collude with a foreign government? Or were they the result of incompetent vetting that left a neophyte candidate vulnerable to influence from people with nefarious agendas?…

(Spoiler: That ‘crack idea’ is how Chris Christie eventually put Kushner Senior in federal prison)

Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: They Went to Jared

The Washington Post, under its ‘National Security’ subhead:

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said…

FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe…

Kushner has agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In many ways, Kushner is a unique figure inside the White House.

He is arguably the president’s most trusted adviser, and he is also a close member of the president’s family. His list of policy responsibilities is vast — his foreign policy portfolio alone includes Canada and Mexico, China, and peace in the Middle East — yet he rarely speaks publicly about any of them…

As far as those who’ve dealt with him longest can tell, Jared Kushner is a slumlord and a legal corner-cutter who’ll make a deal with anyone who’s got money, ethics be damned. He’s a spoilt-rich-kid MBA whose commitment to screwing every last dollar out of his “investments” is rivaled only by his family attachments — to his father, real-estate developer & convicted felon; his father-in-law, real-estate performance artist / politician; and his spoilt-rich-kid MBA wife. And I wouldn’t bet a broken cookie on the odds that, should it come down to Jared suffering or his daddy/sponsor-daddy/wifey going to jail, that trio should be ready to get their affairs in order before the authorities show up. Just business, Ivanka — you of all people know how it is!

Tidbit from Vanity Fair:

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told people that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s 36-year-old senior adviser and son-in-law, asked him if Trump should hire a lawyer, according to two people familiar with the conversation. A spokesman for Christie, who was responsible for prosecuting Kushner’s father, denied that the governor talked to Kushner about anything related to seeking outside counsel. An administration source said that the conversation about retaining counsel “simply did not happen.” Both sides confirmed that a phone call between them took place, as the two talk frequently…

How hard was Christie laughing?

Open Thread: When Someone Tells You What They Are…