Mueller’s Office Speaks

This could mean almost anything. But it looks like something is seriously wrong with the BuzzFeed report.

I don’t think there’s enough there to speculate on specifics, but I’m sure others will.

And open thread!

 








Buzz-Sted

Guys, I’m starting to think there’s something to this Buzzfeed story about Trump suborning perjury and obstructing justice:

Hold up, Gidley — let a pro show you how to deflect:

Except last week Trump said actual supermarket tabloid rag The National Enquirer is more credible than The Washington Post, and The National Enquirer was running interference for Trump during the 2016, as we now know.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the only one who remembers the go-to strategy of straight-up lying:

Well, lying is her full-time job. Anyhoo, I hesitate to say it, but this feels something like a turning point. We’ll see.








Disturbing the Peace (Open Thread)

Last night, the mister and I took a sunset cruise in our little swamp boat and annoyed this innocent anhinga:

The bird is clearly saying “FUCK YOU!!” at the 24-second mark.

Anhingas are also called “snake birds” because they swim with their heads sticking out of the water, resembling a snake. After swimming, they roost in trees or on snags to dry their wings. Cormorants do the same and closely resemble anhingas, only cormorants have a curved beak. Here’s one we saw on the same excursion:

Got any big plans for the weekend? Is anyone participating in one of the Women’s Marches taking place nationwide? I was just reading a depressing account of the national Women’s March org — Women’s March Inc. Sounds like they’ve managed to fuck up the whole thing. Le sigh.

We’ll probably hang out at home, maybe go annoy some more swamp critters. You?

Trump is on Twitter fomenting anti-immigrant hatred. Maybe he’s trying to change the subject from the revelation that he committed a felony by directing an underling to lie to Congress, or maybe he’s trying to distract the media from the snowballing effects of the Trump shutdown. Or both. Maybe neither.

He’s claiming that ranchers are finding “prayer rugs” on the border — likely he’s narrating some Fox News reportage, which intersperses clips of interviews with American crackpots and shots of correspondents yelling “CARAVAN” at random pedestrians in Central America.

Rugs, though. That’s some scary stuff. Why, just yesterday, I tripped on a rug with an upturned corner and very nearly stubbed my toe on a coffee table leg.

Anyhoo, open thread.








Derp State

That we have a scabrous, demented swine thrashing around the Oval Office causing untold domestic and international turmoil is on the American people, the Republican Party, and the Russian Federation (in no particular order). But assuming our little experiment in democracy survives and committees are impaneled to study what the fuck happened in the detail such a calamitous clusterfuck warrants, should the role of our national security organizations and their political apparatuses be scrutinized too?

Hell yes, they should. It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset. The only remaining question is how long and actively he’s been in on Putin’s con. That such a destructive, incompetent, addled and compromised fool got within a country mile of the fucking White House points to national security failures as vast as those that allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and enabled Cheney & Co. to falsely portray Saddam Hussein’s Potemkin nukes as an existential threat.

Like those monumental fuck-ups, I suspect the lapse that allowed a malignant orange clown to seize personal control of the world’s most fearsome nuclear arsenal was more a failure of imagination than a lack of dedication or skill, particularly on the part of the people doing the actual work. In other words, it was a strategic cock-up rather than a tactical one. But yeah, we’re gonna need a truth and reconciliation panel on national security too.








What Comes After?

It is looking more and more like the President of the United States is a Russian asset. I use the word “asset” deliberately, because it leaves open the degree to which Donald Trump may knowingly be acting for the Russians. That is the connection that still is lacking in publicly available information. We can surmise a financial connection, and we know that people around Trump worked with Russians in very suspicious ways, some demonstrably illegal. But we don’t have a record of Trump directing them or taking phonecalls from Vladimir Putin with his instructions.

But Adam’s question is a good one: How would Trump act differently if he were a Russian asset? And I can’t come up with anything to the contrary. Nor, to extend Adam’s post, can I think of another scenario that so well fits Trump’s actions and what has been revealed in criminal cases so far.

I’ve struggled with this for months. I just don’t want to believe that we, as a country, were stupid enough to get scammed this way. I don’t want to believe that there is a large possibility that Republican refusal to act may mean that much of that party has been compromised. That’s not my America!

I think this is difficult for everyone, but we have to start thinking about what we do if we learn that Trump is owned by the Russians, whether stupidly or happy to work with them. Elected officials who are not owned need to start thinking about this. Those in the government bureaucracy need to start thinking about this.

We will need truth and reconciliation commissions. We will need trials. We will need to look at the governance of the last few years.

Dana Houle has been a Democratic congressional chief of staff and campaign manager. Last night he tweeted some of the questions we are likely to face. I’ve put them in narrative form.

  • Are laws signed by an asset of a foreign adversary legitimate? Do we abrogate those laws?
  • What do we do about judges & other officials, appointed to long or even lifetime positions, by an asset of a foreign adversary?
  • Why did a Repub-only contingent of US Senators travel to Russia last year?
  • Why did Paul Ryan tell Kevin McCarthy to not talk about Trump being paid by Russia?
  • What do other countries’ intel agencies know RE Trump that congress doesn’t?
  • Has Trump revealed codes/specs to Putin?
  • Why was one of Trump’s first acts upon entering the WH to fire the WH cyber security staff?
  • Who else in our gov’t and national leadership is compromised by Russians or allied foreign powers?
  • Has Trump been given info to compromise other political actors?
  • Have any of Trump’s attacks on corporations come from goading or directives by the Russians?
  • Who has been placed in the administration bc of the Russians?
  • Is anyone in the US press compromised by Russians?
  • Does Trump’s legal team include co-conspirators?
  • What does the military know about Trump & Russia?
  • How intertwined is Russian influence/control over Trump w Russian use of DC/Wall St law firms/financial orgs/lobbying firms?

I’m sure you can think of others. I know I can, starting with what happened at the Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin, after which Trump looked whipped.