I just want to take a moment and focus on the Papadopolous confession that John highlighted earlier. Specifically this part from the Statement of the Offense:

Defendant PAPADOPOULOS acknowledged that the professor had told him about the Russians possessing “dirt” on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the Campaign. In truth and in fact, however, defendant PAPADOPOULOS learned he would be an advisor to the Campaign in early March, and met the professor on or about March 14, 2016; the professor only took interest in defendant PAPADOPOULOS because of his status with the Campaign; and the professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS about the “thousands of emails” on or about April 26, 2016, when defendant PAPADOPOULOS had been a foreign policy adviser to the Campaign for over a month.

The DNC, DSCC, and DCCC hacks, as well as the spear phishing hack on John Podesta all took place before the Russians used the foreign professor as a dangle to hook first Papadopolous and then, hopefully, the Trump campaign. Similar language was used in the approach by the Agalarovs and Veselnitskaya in June 2016 to Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.

While the Papadopolous approach in the spring and the Donald Trump Jr approach in the summer did not, as far as we know, lead to a transfer of any of this materials to the Trump campaign, those emails and hacked documents still were made public. They were specifically made public by Wikileaks/Julian Assange. While Assange has consistently denied that he works for, is involved with, and/or received the stolen documents from Russian sources (intel and/or organized crime), what little fig leaf of cover his denials provides is fast disintegrating. At this point Assange’s disingenuous denials, and those of his supporters, are almost completely pointless.

Even more interesting is that this is at least the third, if not the fourth, attempt by the Russians to use a nebulously defined emails that incriminate or have dirt on Secretary Clinton to approach the Trump campaign. Papadopolous, based on the statement of offenses, seems to be the first in chronological order (that we currently know of). Peter Smith, who claimed to be in contact with LTG (ret) Flynn, was the second. Donald Trump Jr, along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, would seem to be the third based on the approach from the Agalarovs, via Goldstone, on behalf of Veselnetskiya in June 2016. The possible fourth would be Roger Stone based on his October 2016 Twitter statement that John Podesta would soon have time in the barrel.

And it is the nebulous definition of what is meant by emails on the Russian side that is important. As far as anyone knows the only emails and documents that the Russians got were whatever they hacked from the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, as well as spear phished from John Podesta’s email account. None of these are the work  emails that either the DOJ was reviewing as part of a dispute between the State Department and the US Intelligence Community over what needed to be up classified or declassified in regard to FOIA requests. Nor were they the 30,000 or so emails that had been deemed to not be work related and therefore not turned over to the State Department for archiving pursuant to Federal records laws. The Russians, however, had determined that dangling the notion that they had Secretary Clinton’s actual emails and that they could make them available was the best bait to fish with. This wasn’t hard to figure out. The President and his surrogates on the campaign trail were bellowing about it at rallies. Everyone at FOX News but Shep Smith and Chris Wallace were constantly ranting and raving about it. As was everyone on talk radio and on the right wing news/commentary parts of the Internet and social media.

Apparently the NY Times has been right all along; this is all about Secretary Clinton’s emails. That the Trump campaign wanted them and that the Russians had determined the Trump campaign would be willing to deal to get them. Tells you something about what Putin thinks of the President and the people around him. And what he thinks he could get from the President.

This is going to be important too, once people start focusing on it:

Late Night Open Thread


Sitting here decrufting my notes-for-blog-posts files, my email folders, etc.

I’m tired of learning new information. I want to hit the pause button, just for a week. Or a month. Or…

Late Night Music/Fashion Open Thread

Shout-out to beloved Malaysian Balloon Juice correspondent Amir Khalid!

Via NYMag‘s ladyblog The Cut, “Malaysian Pop Superstar Yuna on Fashion, Race, and Not Showing Her Hair.” I enjoy the lady’s music, yes, but I seriously envy her way with a headwrap. I would happily go full-metal Georgette Heyer “terrifying old lady in a turban” mode… except that on me, the look comes off as “drag Drew Carey impersonator”.

True-Life Tales of Terror

Jezebel has their top 10 reader horror stories up here. Meh. I think we can do better, Juicers. Anyone got any true-life tales of terror to tell this Halloween? I’ll start us off, even though mine isn’t really all that scary. I’ve alluded to it briefly before, but here it is in detail:

My maternal grandmother is from the Carolinas. She was a schoolteacher when my sister and I were growing up, so she had summers off, and she’d take us on road trips to go camping, see historical sites (she was a history teacher) and visit relatives.

One of her cousins had inherited the old family manse, which was built in the 1820s (I think):

haunted house

Everyone assumed Cousin Howard was gay because he never married or had a girlfriend that anyone ever heard about, and he was a natty dresser with a flair for decorating. Back then, people made those kinds of assumptions.

(Now that I think back on it, Cousin Howard’s speech and mannerisms were somewhat reminiscent of Senator Lindsey Graham’s, another confirmed bachelor from the Carolinas. So maybe things haven’t changed so much after all, as far as assumptions go.) Read more

Late Night Bemusement Open Thread

Because I am also Irish-American, some part of me suspects that some part of Joe Biden is getting just a little bit of a kick out of tweaking the horse-race touts. As professional cynic Charles P. Pierce phrases it:

I am as big a fan of Joe Biden as the next person, as long as the next people do not work for Tiger Beat On The Potomac, which apparently has decided as an institution to believe anything mumbled into the autumn breezes on the subject of a Biden presidential campaign. The other day, we had Mike (Payola) Allen, wandering amid the shades of anonymous sources, like Odysseus in the underworld, and coming out the other side with…well, what exactly?​…

The whole Biden shadow play is getting very, very old. The inclusion of him in current polling models is one very small step short of ratfcking Hillary Clinton’s numbers, and it does a real disservice to the other candidates as well. (Why not put Mitt Romney or Michael Bloomberg in the Republican field?) What we seem to have is a bunch of generally nervous Democrats, and some Biden loyalists who like to talk to reporters, and who still dream of that West Wing office that was denied them the other two times Joe Biden ran for president and got crushed. Oh, and there are some political reporters who find this whole thing a lot easier than working for a living.

Read more