Late Night [FacePalm] Open Thread: How the NYTimes Writes About Donald Trump

‘Quaint Folk Customs Among Neighborhood Banditti’. Feel like I should’ve noticed this sooner. For all its global-paper-of-record pretensions, the NYTimes can be a very parochial rag:

With apologies to Tolstoy, happy families may all be alike, but the Gotti family has long been unhappy in its own particular fashion. For nearly half a century, that has involved the serial ordeal of men in the Mafia clan being sent to federal prison.

On Wednesday, John J. Gotti, the grandson of the infamous Gambino family don who shares his name, was sentenced to five years in prison, following in the footsteps of two of his uncles, two great-uncles and both grandfathers. For three generations, members of the gangland dynasty have been imprisoned for crimes that have included shaking down construction sites, murdering a mob boss at a steakhouse and trying to extort the action-movie hero Steven Seagal.

The crimes that led this latest Gotti scion to be sent away were, according to the government, also entangled in the business that has occupied the family almost since the start of the Civil Rights era. Last June, Mr. Gotti, now 24, pleaded guilty to torching the car of an unwitting motorist who made the mistake of cutting off an aging Bonnano family figure on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, Queens. Mr. Gotti also admitted that two weeks after the road-rage episode, he and two associates — presenting a note that said they had a bomb — robbed $6,000 from a bank in Maspeth, Queens.

His sentencing, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, had the feeling of a familiar family dinner as several Gotti parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles converged on the eighth-floor courtroom, kissing each other’s cheeks and showing their support for the defendant. John A. Gotti, the son of the former boss (who was serving a life sentence for murder when he died in prison in 2002), embraced one of the court sketch artists with genuine affection, telling his younger relatives that the woman had not only covered his trials (plural), but had also covered “grandpa’s…

As long as the Gotti clan aren’t shaking down the NYTimes newsroom, shooting up hot new hipster-Brooklyn dining spots, trying to extort Lena Dunham, or torching the Uber carrying NYTimes employees from the newsroom to the latest chic outboro restaurant, it’s all fun mobster-movie escapades to the Timesmen assigning these stories.

And while Donald Trump was just another mobbed-up Queens arriviste, descending his golden escalator to brag about his vanity candidacy, the NYTimes simply could not take him seriously.

By the time Trump had broken out of his “amusing local gangster” role, either the people running the NYTimes were incapable of noticing the change… or cowed by the possibility that they’d been mistaken all along.

Of course, this puts them in the same position as the entire Republican party, so they’ve got that consolation. For what it’s worth.

“Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked…

…have been sacked:

Jesus, what a fucking shit-show. Open thread!

Saturday Morning Cartoon Characters Open Thread

( via

Somehow, he always assumed he’d enjoy this gig more…Gabriel Sherman, at Vanity Fair, reports Fuming in the West Wing, Trump Prepares to Defenestrate Cuck Allies and Go Full MAGA”:

Even before he decided to launch a trade war and roll the nuclear dice by agreeing in the course of a West Wing afternoon to a risky sit-down with Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump was telling friends he was tired of being reined in. “I’m doing great, but I’m getting all these bad headlines,” Trump told a friend recently. A Republican in frequent contact with the White House told me Trump is “frustrated by all these people telling him what to do.”

With the departures of Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn, the Trump presidency is entering a new phase—one in which Trump is feeling liberated to act on his impulses. “Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck,” the Republican said. Trump’s decision to circumvent the policy process and impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum reflects his emboldened desire to follow his impulses and defy his advisers. “It was like a fuck-you to Kelly,” a Trump friend said. “Trump is red-hot about Kelly trying to control him.”

According to five Republicans close to the White House, Trump has diagnosed the problem as having the wrong team around him and is looking to replace his senior staff in the coming weeks. “Trump is going for a clean reset, but he needs to do it in a way that’s systemic so it doesn’t look like it’s chaos,” one Republican said…

[Spoiler alert: It will look like chaos. Because it will *be* chaos.]

…Sources said that the first officials to go will be Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom Trump has clashed with for months. On Tuesday, Trump met with John Bolton in the Oval Office. When he plans to visit Mar-a-Lago next weekend, Trump is expected to interview more candidates for both positions, according to two sources…

Next on the departure list are Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Trump remains fiercely loyal to his family, but various distractions have eroded their efficacy within the administration. Both have been sidelined without top-secret security clearances by Kelly, and sources expect them to be leaving at some point in the near future. One scenario being discussed is that Kushner would return to New York to oversee Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign with his ally Brad Parscale, who was hand-selected by the Trump family…

People who have spoken with Trump said his reset is being driven in part by the looming midterms, and he’s been fielding advice from Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie. They’ve counseled him to return to his 2016 campaign message. Another source said Trump has felt newfound validation after a CPAC straw poll last month showed him with a 93 percent approval rating. “He felt the crowd desiring more,” a Republican close to the White House said. “He knows there’s going to be a battle ahead.”…

( via

Late Night Trump Crime Family Open Thread: Maybe Donny’s Planning to Have the Locks Changed?

Senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, will visit Mexico on Wednesday and meet President Enrique Pena Nieto, amid strained relations over trade and Trump’s demands that Mexico pay for a border wall.

The Mexican foreign ministry announced Kushner’s trip in a statement late on Tuesday. A senior U.S. administration official confirmed the visit, adding that meetings will focus on security, immigration and trade, among other issues…

On Monday, as the latest round of the negotiations over a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were wrapping up, Trump repeated that the trade deal was bad for the United States and that Mexico was not doing enough to stop drugs flowing into the country.

Some analysts in Mexico view the visit as a chance to repair a key U.S. relationship and for Kushner to prove his usefulness to the White House.

“I see it as one of the few things of consequence that he can do that don’t require security clearance,” said Agustin Barrios Gomez, a former federal congressman and head of the working group on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations at the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations…

Accompanied on his visit by other U.S. diplomats and security officials, the foreign ministry statement said Kushner will also meet Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.

Among Pena Nieto’s closest advisers, Videgaray helped orchestrate then-candidate Trump’s visit to Mexico in 2016, a trip that was widely panned in Mexico as the Mexican president failed to confront the New York businessman and reality TV star over his anti-Mexican rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Videgaray lost his job as finance minister over the trip’s fallout, but was later appointed foreign minister after Trump’s surprise win in the U.S. presidential election. Videgaray has maintained close ties with Kushner ever since, including several visits to the White House, most recently an unsuccessful effort to try to broker a Trump-Pena Nieto meeting.

Despite Trump’s sharp criticism of Mexico and its migrants, Videgaray said last month during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that ties between the two countries were closer than during the previous U.S. administration…

We’re about a hundred years past the days when a ruling party could send one of its troublemakers off on a “trade mission” for long enough to hope voters would forget the latest fvck-up, but then, the Trump Occupation *does* seem to think this is still 1890…

Or maybe both governments are hoping the two idiots will somehow get lost, or fall off a cliff, or suffer a fatal helicopter collision?

When He Went Away, The Blues Walked In and Met Me

Stormy Daniels is suing Trump because, she says, he never signed the hush agreement, so it’s invalid.  More here.

Just when you think there isn’t any more loathsome bullshit to process, another wave washes in.  Stormy will write her tell-all, and in the end we’ll all know every little detail of how Trump humps.

This Will End Well

Via The Washington Post we learn that former Trump aide and Mueller invitee will not go gently into that dark grand jury room:

Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said Monday that he has been subpoenaed to appear in front of a federal grand jury investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 but that he will refuse to go….


This is the subpoena folks have been talking about over the weekend:

Among those the subpoena requests information about are departing White House communications director Hope Hicks, former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and adviser Roger Stone.

Nunberg is deeply offended by the idea (a) that he should comply with a federal subpoena, or that anyone would think Donald Trump and the Russians had anything to do with one another.  On the one hand, he has a point:

“The Russians and Trump did not collude,” Nunberg said. “Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump.”

On the other, he’s kinda saying “trust me” when, if I may be so bold, I don’t.

In  any event, Nunberg is in full “Hell No I Won’t Go” mode, and that, I have to believe, won’t end well.

Nunberg said he does not plan to comply with the subpoena, including either testimony or providing documents.

“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”

Here’s my question: do you think orange is his color?

Special Snowflakes Are Special open thread.

Image: Francisco de Goya, A Prison Scene, either 1810-14 or 1793-4.

Now They Tell Us Open Thread: Trump’s “Pure Madness”

CNN, “The Great Unraveling”:

Not since Richard Nixon started talking to the portraits on the walls of the West Wing has a president seemed so alone against the world.

One source — who is a presidential ally — is worried, really worried. The source says this past week is “different,” that advisers are scared the President is spiraling, lashing out, just out of control. For example: Demanding to hold a public session where he made promises on trade tariffs before his staff was ready, not to mention willing. “This has real economic impact,” says the source, as the Dow dropped 420 points after the President’s news Thursday. “Something is very wrong.”

Even by Trumpian standards, the chaos and the unraveling at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are a stunning — and recurring — problem.

But there’s an up-against-the-wall quality to the past couple of weeks that is striking, and the crescendo is loud, clear, unhealthy, even dangerous…

It’s this magisterial Washington Post report that seems to be getting the most attention:

Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center.

These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.”

Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain about whom to trust…
Read more