Saturday Morning Open Thread: Call Him Jared

I particularly love the other two dogs, giving Mr. Happy Laps the hairy eyeball — and a wide berth.

Apart from maybe hitting the pool, what’s on the agenda for this summer weekend day?

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Speaking of ludicrous instinctive actions from an organism not bred for critical thinking…

Jared Kushner failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings that he was required to declare when he joined the White House as an adviser to President Trump, his father-in-law, according to a ­revised form released Friday.

A separate document released Friday also showed that Kushner’s wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, had been paid as much as $5 million from her outside businesses over an 84-day span this spring around the time she entered the White House as a senior adviser and pledged to distance herself from her private holdings.

And they both continue to draw large sums from outside interests: The couple has jointly made at least $19 million in income from business ventures and listed more than $80 million in real estate and other revenues since the start of 2016, the documents show…

Ivanka Trump also listed ­receiving $2.4 million in hotel-related revenue from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. She said she earned $787,500 from a publisher’s advance for her book “Women Who Work,” which debuted in May. And she reported $2.5 million in salary and severance from her “continued participation in employer-sponsored 401(k) plan” of Trump Payroll Corp., a side entity that handles Trump Organization wages.

For his part, Kushner earned millions from his family’s real estate over the past year, his filing shows. He pulled in between $1 million and $5 million between January 2016 and March 9 of this year from BFPS Ventures, a holding company valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

An earlier version of Kushner’s disclosure form described BFPS as a company focused on “real estate in New York.” However, public documents revealed, and Kushner’s legal team later confirmed, that it held a wide range of entities, including an Oklahoma oil and gas firm that has been sold…



Late Night Open Thread: A Little Silhouette-o of A Man


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Archetypical celebrity clown figure for a clownshow “administration”. Buzzfeed:

Trump “wanted to give Scaramucci something to do because he likes him on TV,” a source close to the White House’s press operation told BuzzFeed News.

“Ivanka has been pushing this for some time. Since the communications job was open, Trump thought it would be a nice fit. But the president doesn’t understand what kind of responsibilities come with that job, and Sean did. Sean would have been expected to serve as press secretary, and do the comms job while Scaramucci held the ceremonial title, and he would have reported to him. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the source said.

“And Trump did it over the objection of several senior staff who know Scaramucci in that job is a joke,” the source added…

At his first White House daily press briefing on Friday, Scaramucci named Sarah Huckabee Sanders the new press secretary. She read a statement from Trump about Spicer’s resignation, complete with an odd line about television ratings at the end: “I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings. Sean will continue to serve the administration through August.”

Scaramucci then took over, calling Spicer — a Navy reservist — a “true American patriot” and said he hoped he would go on “to make a tremendous amount of money.”…

Scaramucci was calm, chatty, and easily engaged reporters — something Spicer was never quite able to master at the White House — and repeatedly said how much he loves people in the White House and how much he loves the president.

Though his presentation was sleek, the substance from previous news conferences wasn’t that different: When asked about Trump’s baseless claim that about 3 million people illegally in the election, he said, “There’s probably some level of truth to that.”…

Those close to the administration who have remained skeptical of Priebus and Spicer because they don’t consider them Trump loyalists see the shakeup positively. This is “all good! Trump needs more people around him he can trust,” one of them wrote to BuzzFeed News…

Scaramucci, who recently sold his stake in his hedge fund, was originally under consideration for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, a post held by Valerie Jarrett under President Barack Obama. But White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tried to get Scaramucci to pull out, claiming that his ethics review was taking too long. Priebus, according to reports at that time, did not want someone as close to the president in that position as Scaramucci is and sees him as a possible threat to his own power…

“Commutations” Director.



Tonight’s News Dump

Trump’s legal team is looking for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post released stories with that theme. The WaPo story has more juicy detail:

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,” a close adviser said.

Just checking to make sure of all the legal ramifications in the same way Trump has been so careful throughout his career.

The lawyers are also looking for conflicts of interest. From Trump’s interview with the New York Times yesterday, I think he doesn’t understand what conflict of interest is. He seems to think that it means conflicts with HIS interests. Perhaps his lawyers understand the term.



“For hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee”

We’ve had months to get used to a nuclear-armed Twitter troll rage-tweeting from the White House, but it still seems surreal:

The latest plan is that the Republicans will fix their historically unpopular, demonstrably shitty bill over burnt steak and ketchup at the White House this afternoon. That’s pretty fucking delusional, but no more so than this:

The “Dems scream death as OCare dies!” bit though, that’s just…weird. Trump’s incoherent rants about Obamacare have always oddly personified the law. For months now, Trump has been spitting out the words “Obamacare is DEAD,” like a pimply rube in a cheap horror flick who prematurely claims to have vanquished the monster.

It’s damn sure not because Trump disagrees with the law’s provisions, which he could not enumerate on a bet. Trump hates “Obamacare” because it’s a reminder of President Obama, whose very existence as an accomplished, beloved, self-made and knowledgeable man is an intolerable injury to Trump’s fragile ego.

Trump can’t obliterate the man himself, so he’s pursuing the namesake law with the obsessiveness of a Captain Ahab, minus the bravery and with twice the hubris. If Trump has to sacrifice the political lives of Republican elected officials and sink the GOP for another opportunity to harpoon Obamacare, so be it.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer crew. We must stand ready to toss additional anvils to the swimmers as needed.



Late Night Open Thread: Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?


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SIX FEKKIN’ MONTHS!


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Open Thread: The Secret Service Are Bodyguards, Not Babysitters

In an emailed response to questions about Sekulow’s comments, Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said the younger Trump was not under Secret Service protection at the time of the meeting, which included Trump’s son and two senior campaign officials.

“Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” the statement said…

The Secret Service’s mission is to provide physical protection for the U.S. president. The agency also protects major presidential candidates. But its role in vetting people who meet with a U.S. president or candidates is limited to ensuring physical safety.
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Sunday Evening Open Thread: Not So Bright Fast, Junior


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Delicious cold dish for a summer evening! A Washington Post op-ed from Elizabeth Spiers, former Kushner Observer employee and Gawker editor — “The real lesson of the Trump family’s troubles? Nepotism doesn’t pay”:

New York real estate is very dynastic and insular; a few families have run the largest companies over the course of several generations. One of them is the family of Jared Kushner, then the Observer’s owner and now a senior White House adviser and son-in-law to President Trump. Another, of course, is Trump’s. Both Kushner and Trump are second-generation executives in their family businesses (I would use the word “were” here, but neither of them have completely divested themselves), and Trump’s children are third-generation.

So when the Trump family business became running the United States of America, naturally, the head of the household could not resist installing his nearest and dearest in positions of senior management…

Trump has made it no secret that he views Ivanka as a potential successor of sorts — he once suggested he could name her as his running mate. So although it was wildly inappropriate, it’s not the least bit surprising that both of them thought it was fine for her to sit in for Dad at the G-20 summit. The conclave was not, of course, a Take Your Daughter to Work event. But for someone who recently claimed to “stay out of politics,” Ivanka didn’t seem to have any objection to being slotted into a position with very big political stakes. In her mind, apparently, it was hers to take. Similarly, her husband seems to feel qualified, despite a lack of anything resembling relevant experience or expertise, to assume the mantle of director in charge of everything the president doesn’t understand or wants to delegate or that Kushner would simply like to run…

Ultimately, the mess Trump and his administration have landed in was an obvious consequence of this most disastrous of family-run enterprises. People related to the president were put in senior positions, once again, despite having no being woefully unqualified or incompetent or both. They were, and are, regarded as un-fireable and not held to normal performance standards. And much of this is driven by the family patriarch’s fantasies of political dynasty…

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Family drama or otherwise, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?