Falwell and the Pool Boy*

*(Alternate Title: Michael Cohen: Zelig for Scumbags)

So, while we wait for the next irruption of lethal folly from Dear Hairpiece, how’s about a little fun from the Evangelosphere:

The prominent evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. has for the first time acknowledged putting up $1.8 million for a business venture managed by a young pool attendant whom he and his wife befriended during a stay at a luxury hotel in 2012.

This story has been kicking around for a while:

BuzzFeed News first reported in May on a lawsuit that claimed the Falwells had developed a “friendly relationship” with Giancarlo Granda, then 21 years old, at the lavish Fontainebleau Miami Beach, flying him in a private jet, offering “financial assistance,” and ultimately setting him up in business. [All links in quotes are from the originals.]

“Friendly relationship” is a nice way of putting…whatever.

I got no problem with whatever connection either or both professional Christians and Mr. Granda may have.  But there is a sinner, stone and glass house problem here, and I’d say the good (Narr: he was not good) Mr. Falwell is up to his neck in “got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

What makes this all a bit more than the usual sexual fear-mongering-Christianist-hypocrite schandenfreudal moment is this. Falwell was famously the first major Talibangical leader to back Trump, giving him a venue at Liberty (sic!) University and a powerful endorsement.  This didn’t come out of the blue:  “Trump visited Liberty University Sept. 24, 2012, to give the convocation address.”

The timing was convenient:

Six months after evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife befriended a Miami hotel pool attendant in 2012, the young man was introduced to Donald Trump during a visit to the large religious school Falwell runs, Liberty University, according to a photograph sent to BuzzFeed News.

Guess who connects Falwell, the pool boy, and the failed president.

No prizes for guessing Michael Freaking Cohen.

Why was Cohen there? Turns out…

Cohen was an acquaintance of Falwell’s and helped arrange Falwell’s milestone endorsement of Trump during the 2016 election campaign, BuzzFeed News reported, citing a high-ranking official at Liberty University.

But not to worry:

As BuzzFeed News had previously reported, a source close to Falwell said he was “sure” Falwell had discussed the Granda case with Cohen prior to his unexpected decision to lend his backing to Trump. There is no evidence that these discussions played any part in the endorsement.

That’s their story, and I’d say they’d best stick to it.

Open thread!

Image:  William Morris Hunt, The Bathers, 1877

 



His Picture Is NOT In The Dictionary Next To “Good Lawyer”

The incredible unveiling of Rudy Giuliani, Ace Defense Counsel™ continues apace, as Talking Points Memo documents:

After Giuliani claimed on Sunday that Trump never signed a letter of intent for the project, CNN obtained a copy of the letter, which contained Trump’s signature. [link in the original]

Chris Cuomo actually had the gall, the infinite gall, to brandish the signed letter, complete w. Donald Trump’s self-implicating scrawl, on live camera!  What’s an Ace Defense Counsel™ to do?

Never fear, never flinch, and always remember the last refuge of the fidelity-challenged: “who you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes.”

In the interview with the Daily News, Giuliani refused to acknowledge that he told CNN Sunday that “no one signed the letter.”

“I don’t think I said nobody signed it,” Giuliani told the Daily News.

Ummm.  Rudy.  There is videotape!

Anyway, says Ace Defense Counsel™, what’s a little light conflict of interest.  Seriously, folks, what do you expect a perpetually-skating-the-edge-of-bankruptcy to do?  And who the f**k cares anyway?

But Giuliani argued during an interview with New York Daily News that the letter is “bullshit because it didn’t go anywhere.” [link in the original]

According to this line of analysis by our Ace Defense Counsel™, if an attempted coition fails to reach fruition, it don’t count.   That is, one can remain mostly virginal, as long as you don’t fully enjoy yourself.

This is funny.  It really is.  It would be more so, of course, if it wasn’t so damn serious, if this weren’t the state of affairs that emerges when small time and stupid crooks wield enormous power.

But even as we live in fear for our selves, our republic, and the world…we can still take unfeigned pleasure at the sight of Rudy Noun-Verb-911 Giuliani showing himself to everyone being what New Yorkers have known for a long time: a Flatbush fugazi.
.
Images:  Jean de Paleologu, Poster for Loïe Fuller at the Folies Bergère, 1897.
.
Albrecht Cuyp, Cows in a River, c. 1650


Schadenfreude. It’s What’s For Dinner

Oh, my friends and fellow jackals!

It’s time to gather up your tiniest violins.

It seems Milo — not the bored child who, with his watchdog Tock drives to Dictionopolis, Digitopolis and beyond — but the raging human nether sphincter who marketed himself as the pretty face of hate, has both a lawyer problem and a money one too:

This is the kind of news that makes me wish we were still in the good old days before Go Fund Me, so that when the inevitable ask occurs, I could find the address to which one might send a bag of salted…

What? You thought I was going to type it out? This is a family show!

Oh — and we’re having latkes tonight w. homemade applesauce…which is my way of saying the festival of lights has delights to be enjoyed by those of every faith and none at all.

This thread…

It is open.

Image:  Carstian Luyckx, Vanitas still life with skull, music book, violin and shellsbefore 1677.








Manafort pleading

As Josh Marshall notes, a plea right now is a favor to Trump as it keeps the FARA for the Pro-Russian plutocrats out of the October news cycle.

Open thread.



‘Trumpland’ Open Thread: Down Among the Self-Owners

One might be vaguely sympathetic, Maggie, if only those poor sad souls hadn’t fought so hard to get exactly where they are now!… or if the GOP collapse wasn’t hurting so many innocents outside the Golden Tent. Gabriel Sherman, at Vanity Fair, ““Trump Is Nuts. This Time Really Feels Different””:

After Michael Cohen’s plea deal last week, Donald Trump spiraled out of control, firing wildly in all directions. He railed against “flippers” in a rambling Fox & Friends interview, and lashed out on Twitter at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department, and Robert Mueller. In the wake of his outbursts, White House officials have discussed whether Trump would listen to his closest New York City friends in an effort to rein him in. Two sources briefed on the matter told me that senior officials talked about inviting Rudy Giuliani and a group of Trump’s New York real-estate friends including Tom Barrack, Richard LeFrak, and Howard Lorber to the White House to stage an “intervention” last week. “It was supposed to be a war council,” one source explained. But Trump refused to take the meeting, sources said. “You know Trump—he hates being lectured to,” the source added. (Spokespeople for LeFrak and Lorber say they have no knowledge of a meeting. A spokesperson for Barrack didn’t comment.)

More than ever, Trump is acting by feeling and instinct. “Trump is nuts,” said one former West Wing official. “This time really feels different.” Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine has privately expressed concern, a source said, telling a friend that Trump’s emotional state is “very tender.” Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are unsettled that Trump is so gleefully acting on his most self-destructive impulses as his legal peril grows. According to a source, Jared and Ivanka told Trump that stripping security clearances from former intelligence officials would backfire, but Trump ignored them. Kushner later told a friend Trump “got joy” out of taking away John Brennan’s clearance. His reaction to the death of John McCain—quashing a White House statement in praise of the senator, and restoring White House flags to full staff—falls into the same self-indulgent category…

“He spent the weekend calling people and screaming,” one former White House official said. According to sources, the president feels cornered with no clear way out. His months-long campaign to get Sessions to resign—so that Trump could appoint a new A.G. who would shut down the Russia probe—not only failed to get Sessions to step down, but it’s caused him to dig in, as evidenced by Sessions’s rare statement asserting the independence of the Justice Department. “Trump knows at least through the midterms he won’t get another A.G.,” a former White House official said…

Inside the West Wing, a sense of numbness and dread has set in among senior advisers as they gird for what Trump will do next. “It’s a return to the abyss,” said one former official who’s in frequent contact with the White House. “This is back to being a one-man show, and everyone is on the outside looking in.”…

Hey, GOP, remember the proverb about falling into the pit one had dug for another?”...



Late Night Eugenics Open Thread: Why Are There So Many Skunks At Every ‘Conservative Intellectual’ Garden Party?

It took just 80 minutes after racially incendiary emails started flying for the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank, to shut down an email Listserv connecting hundreds of high-profile conservatives.

The emails that sparked the controversy began ricocheting midday Tuesday, in response to a plea from Darren Beattie, a recently fired speechwriter for President Donald Trump, for “those on this list with media influence” to come to his defense. The White House over the weekend dismissed Beattie after CNN revealed that he had spoken at a conference alongside a racial provocateur.

Charles Johnson, an alt-right provocateur and Trump loyalist, was first to respond.

“Beattie’s offense is that he spoke at an event where — gasp! — there were white nationalists afoot!” Johnson wrote the group. “Heaven forbid that some thinkers — like the American founders who favored our country be majority white — think that the U.S. of A should stay majority white! Perish the thought. Can’t have that.”

A little more than an hour later, as senior administration officials and white-shoe lawyers asked to be removed from the list, the Claremont Institute had scuttled it entirely.
Read more



IANAL…But WTF?!??!?

Just back from a glorious 10 days without much internet (and no Twitter!).  I was with my family in Peru, a trip occasioned by the joy of my nephew’s wedding to his Peruvian fiancée.  We got in this morning, an experience that reinforced my view that red eye flights ought to be classed as crimes against humanity whenever we get around to revising the appropriate conventions.

Obligatory unconsciousness dealt with by midafternoon, I was jolted back to our grotesque reality by the news that White House counsel Don McGahn has clearly decided that he isn’t going to lie down on the tracks for Donald Trump.  Instead he’s been talking (and talking, and talking) to Mueller’s shop, apparently reeasoning (correctly) that his client was the presidency, and not its current infestation — and that said fungus would not hesitate to throw him to the wolves as it suited him.

With very few conscious brain cells to rub together even yet (did I say that I loath red eyes?), I’ll leave it to the actually knowledgeable to go into just how bonkers this is, and how valuable Mueller and his team will find McGahn’s fount of inside knowledge.

Anticipating that, this whole thing reminded me of two deep truths.  First: when wrongdoing starts to unravel in public view, any smart, or even mildly self-aware mooks entangled in the affairs of the principal miscreant, realize that their interests diverge from said brigand. Clearly that’s happening all over Trump world.

Second:  the Manchurian president appears both to have committed the cardinal sin of all criminal clients — lying to his legal team — and to be represented by morons:

Mr. Trump’s lawyers still had a chance to keep Mr. McGahn’s insider knowledge from the special counsel. By exerting attorney-client privilege, which allows the president to legally withhold information, they would have gained the right to learn what Mr. McGahn planned to tell investigators and what he might reveal that could damage the president. But the president’s lawyers never went through that process, although they told people that they believed they still had the ability to stop Mr. Mueller from handing over to Congress the accounts of witnesses like Mr. McGahn and others.

It’s no surprise, of course, that the Shitgibbon would hire only the best people, but damn, this is (or so it seems to me, never having seen the inside of a law school) some…truly special lawyering.

And with that…enjoy yourselves some thread!

Image: Honoré Daumier, Two Lawyers Conversing, before 1879.