Clown Under (Open Thread)

Will Coffee Boy’s loose lips sink Trump’s ship? Via The New York Times:

How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt

WASHINGTON — During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

It would be kinda perfect if a low-quality hire like Papadopoulos, puffing himself up by bragging drunkenly to an Australian diplomat, ends up being the block that brings down the whole Jenga treason tower.

Quid Pro Quo

This seems significant (via NPR):

2016 RNC Delegate: Trump Directed Change To Party Platform On Ukraine Support

President Trump may have been involved with a change to the Republican Party campaign platform last year that watered down support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, according to new information from someone who was involved.

Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.

Recall that this was the only proposed platform policy the Trump people saw fit to adjust. After running a “populist” campaign that was credited by the more gullible members of the Beltway media herd for rejecting GOP orthodoxy and goring Republican sacred cows left and right, when the so-called insurgents seized control, the sole alteration they requested just coincidentally was designed to make Putin’s life easier.

Trump’s flunky Gordon now denies he told Denman that the platform change request came from Trump. Uh huh.

I’ve always thought this platform change smelled fishier than a scratch-and-dent Chicken of the Sea warehouse.

Dotard-Line Report

Boy, do I feel like a dummy for falling for that fake news on Tillerson yesterday! Velveeta Voldemort set us straight on Instagram a short while ago:

Sorry I led y’all astray. In retrospect it’s obvious: Tillerson was Putin’s hire. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Twitler’s first post-Flynnpocalypse tweet reassured the entire world [wink-wink] that Tillerson is staying on, huh?

Tangentially related bonus tweet:

Not gonna happen, but I like the visual. Open thread!

[Title shamelessly stolen from valued commenter MJS]

Treason’s Greetings!

Prepare to tap the strategic popcorn reserves and open the sluice gates at the champagne reservoir, friends! Via valued commenter Yarrow in the thread downstairs, this video clip is the most tick-tockiest of motherfuckers:

In case you can’t listen, a hastily transcribed excerpt:

“He [Flynn] has promised full cooperation to the Mueller team. He is prepared to testify, according to a confidant, against President Trump, against members of the Trump family and against others in the White House. He is prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate, Donald Trump, ordered him and directed him to make contacts with the Russians, which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said at this point.

“Flynn made the decision to cooperate only in the last 24 hours; he is distraught about the decision but feels he’s doing the right thing for his country. He as facing huge legal bills of more than a million dollars and that finally, he had to do this for that reason. He expects to put his house on the market; he is facing serious financial problems.”

Anchors on the cable networks are openly speculating about “the survival of the Trump presidency.” Too soon to count chickens. Call your senators about the goddamned tax bill.

But stop and savor this today, dear jackals, wherever you are. We’ve been on a steady diet of shit sandwiches for more than a year now. Popcorn and champers all around.

Once more to the phones, dear friends… (plus, Flynndicted!)

Republicans are having a hard time coalescing around a version of their “tax reform” abomination. They all know it’s a terrible bill that privileges donors over citizens, but the immorality of that isn’t the snag. They’re trying to hit on a palatable balance between deficit hypocrisy and donor service.

Odds are they will succeed — they’re amoral pricks, after all. But massive push-back has stymied their evil plans before. Make your voice heard to try to stop this steaming pile of shit bill:

U.S.Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

I’ve generally had better luck reaching a person by calling my senators’ local offices. You can find your senators’ in-state contact information here. Email and fax them too!

If you prefer text, here’s an option:

Text “RESIST” to 50409

Resistbot will walk you through the steps of sending a message to your senator. They will ask for your address and email. I gave them mine quite some time ago and haven’t been bombarded with spam (any more than usual, anyway).

BREAKING NEWS — FLYNNDICTMENT: Got a CNN alert a few minutes ago about Mueller charging Mike “Lock Her Up” Flynn with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador. If I’m Hillary Clinton, I’m making my morning OJ a mimosa after reading that.

Flynn is due in court this morning. Before the “we hardly knew him” spin starts, let’s recall that Flynn was 1) a serious contender for Trump’s VP spot, 2) appointed to the highly sensitive National Security Adviser position by Trump, and 3) kept in Trump’s inner circle after acting AG Sally Yates warned the Trump people that Flynn was compromised.

What does this charge mean in the context of last week’s speculation about Flynn flipping and cooperating with Mueller? I’m not a lawyer, but from what we know of Flynn’s conduct, this charge seems more like a love tap than a hammer swing.

My guess is Flynn has flipped to keep his deranged son out of prison and agreed to plead guilty to this lesser charge and cooperate with the investigation, like George Papadopoulos before him (relative scale — whale : guppy).

Anyhoo, post your meatiest theories in comments — but only after you eat your vegetables / call your senators! :)