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.
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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.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Bad Week for the Repubs

(Tom Toles via

‘Nothing bodes well’...

Re the Washington Post, “Lackluster election results spark debate over Trump’s midterm role”:

A new round of lackluster showings by Republican candidates reignited a debate Wednesday within the GOP over whether President Trump will be a drag on the party’s chances in November and should stay out of some of the country’s most hotly contested races.

Inside the White House, Trump aides are mapping out plans for the fall that would offer a variety of options to Republican candidates, including visits by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump to blue states and presidential tweets to bolster red-state allies.

But mounting apprehension about Trump’s political capital lingered in Washington and on the campaign trail.

In a flurry of elections on Tuesday — from the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, to the technology corridor in Washington state — Democrats turned out in droves and significantly overperformed expectations by posing serious challenges to Republicans in staunchly GOP districts.

Many Republican strategists viewed the results as a dark omen three months ahead of Election Day, saying they illustrate the limits of Trump’s ability to boost candidates, particularly in suburban areas where the president’s popularity has suffered.

Even in Republican primaries, securing Trump’s endorsement was not a guarantee of electoral success…

[Ohio’s] Balderson was far from the only Republican who underwhelmed on Tuesday.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, failed to win 50 percent of the vote in a primary and will face Democrat Lisa Brown in November. Washington state has a nonpartisan primary process in which the top two finishers move on to the general election.

All year, McMorris Rodgers has been confronting pointed questions about her support for Trump’s policies…

In Michigan, where Democrats are aiming to take back the governor’s mansion, voter turnout set records, according to state officials, with more than 2 million votes cast — the most in the state since 1978…


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Russiagate Open Thread: “But — But — He’s A Wealthy White Man!”

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Popcorn Futures…Looking g

Yo, Donald…

This is what happens when you use as your fixer some thug/schmoe who went to the worst law school in the country:

President Trump’s personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates, according to three people familiar with his practice, and allies of the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen’s office and residences this week.

“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?” [Via The Washington Post]

So. On one side you have an A-Team-led set of investigators.  On the other you have Michael D. Cohen, Esq.

Damn straight I’d be worried if I were one of the Trumpenvolk.

As I’m not…

Moah popcorn, plz.

Thread for the threadbare!

Image:  Lucas Cranach the Elder, Ill-Matched Lovers/The Old Fool, 1530s