The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers." -- CW 

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends." -- CW

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

CW: No idea why the picture is teeny-tiny.

Washington Post: "Two months before Monday’s [May 8] announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group would pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and add to its dominance as the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, a top executive at Sinclair beamed a short commentary piece to many of the company’s 173 stations.In the segment, which looks like it belongs in a newscast, Sinclair vice president for news Scott Livingston stands before a wall of video monitors and warns that 'some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.' He accuses the national media of publishing 'fake news stories' — a direct echo of President Trump’s frequent complaint — and then asks viewers to visit the station’s website to share 'content concerns.' The piece was a 'must-run,' meaning news directors and station managers from Baltimore to Seattle had to find room for it.... While partisan coverage is a familiar staple of cable networks — Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left — it remains mostly unheard of in broadcast TV, where it has generally been accepted that public airwaves should be used in the difficult-to-define public interest.” -- CW 

CNN: "21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, one of the nation's largest television broadcasting companies, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday. The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture." -- CW 

New York Times: "Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday. The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet." -- CW 

If you're curious as to how realistic the New York City apartments of TV sitcom characters are -- in terms of what the characters could reasonably afford -- the Washington Post checks out several of the hovels & dream rentals of a number of shows. Kinda fun. CW: My husband & I (he paid the rent) had a fairly spacious two-bedroom with a galley kitchen (dishwasher included!) & dining room plus teensy closets on Washington Square in the 1980s & '90s. NYU owned the building & helped considerably with the rent.

Politico: "Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year's entertainer for the White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, the association's president announced on Tuesday. Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' where he has performed caustic bits on ... Donald Trump, liberals and others in between. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner." -- CW 

AFP: "After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature at a jovial, champagne-laced ceremony on Saturday, [April 1,] the Swedish Academy announced. The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old troubadour would use a concert stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October." -- CW 

 


The Hill: "Arnold Schwarzeneggar says his first season as host of NBC's 'Celebrity Apprentice' is also his last. In remarks Friday, the former California governor cited President Trump, who has repeatedly mocked the ratings of his reality TV replacement, as his reason. 'Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline,' Schwarzenegger told Empire magazine.... 'With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period right now and I think the show got caught up in all that division.'" -- CW 

New York Times: "Penguin Random House will publish coming books by former President Barack Obama and the former first lady Michelle Obama, the publishing company announced Tuesday night, concluding a heated auction among multiple publishers. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but publishing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding process said it probably stretched well into eight figures." -- CW ...

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Thursday
May182017

The Commentariat -- May 19, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short -- no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory." CW: Reminds me a lot of Dr. Spock's tips for dealing with toddlers.

Cummings Has a Way with Words. Louis Nelson of Politico: "Assertions from Vice President Mike Pence that he did not know of ... Michael Flynn's work on behalf of foreign governments until he learned of them in media reports have just two explanations, Rep. Elijah Cummings said Friday. 'Either he's not telling the truth, or he was running a sloppy shop.'" -- CW

Mike Lillis & Katie Williams of the Hill: "House Democrats are increasingly frustrated with Rod Rosenstein after the deputy attorney general briefed lawmakers Friday on the investigation into Russia's actions in the presidential election and possible ties to the Trump administration. The Democrats left the classified, closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement saying Rosenstein refused to answer 'simple yes-and-no questions,' in the words of Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), fueling concerns that the Trump appointee overseeing the Justice Department probes may be influenced by the White House.... 'We got a lot of, "Trust us, we've got integrity, we're straight shooters, we don't have ulterior motives...,"' she said. 'And I'm operating under [the approach of], "OK, trust but verify. We need the ... factual information."'" -- CW

Jonathan Chait: "Donald Trump wants his next FBI director to be a figure who will pass the test of loyalty and malleability that James Comey failed, which rules out most competent and professional law-enforcement veterans. But Trump (and his Senate GOP allies) also needs that figure to have at least the veneer of independence, which rules out a Rudy Giuliani or an Eric Trump. The two demands are in tension, and the narrow field of candidates who can pass both tests has rocketed Joe Lieberman to the top of the list of reported contenders.... The Comey episode provides a guide to the qualities Trump is looking for in Comey's successor. In Lieberman he has found his patsy." -- CW

Jessie Hellmann of the Hill: "The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its analysis of the House-passed GOP healthcare bill Wednesday afternoon. The long-awaited analysis of the bill will give an idea of how the legislation will impact the deficit and how many people could lose coverage.... The House, despite passing the bill two weeks ago, is waiting to send the legislation to the Senate until the CBO score comes in. There is at least some possibility that the new score would find that the measure no longer reduces the deficit, meaning that it does not meet Senate rules governing the reconciliation process, which Republicans are using to avoid a Democratic filibuster. The House would then have to change its bill and vote again." -- CW

Get Out! Rachel Bade of Politico: "A handful of top Republicans have a message for outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz: It's time to relinquish the House Oversight Committee gavel. Several senior GOP lawmakers are quietly encouraging Chaffetz to step down from his chairmanship soon, even though the Utah Republican doesn't plan to resign from Congress until June 30. While his retirement announcement Thursday said nothing about his future work, Chaffetz has told lawmakers he'll be heading to Fox News. But GOP insiders say Chaffetz has been reluctant to let go of his panel's leadership before he leaves Congress -- and now he's thrown himself into the thick of the Russia scandal that's consuming Washington. It's made for an uncertain transition at the committee and a sore subject for House Republicans." CW: It's the Party of Me. What do its leaders expect?

*****

NEW. Benjamin Weiser & William Rashbaum of the New York Times: "Anthony D. Weiner, the former Democratic congressman whose sexting scandals ended his political career and embroiled him in a tumultuous F.B.I. investigation of Hillary Clinton before the election, is to appear in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Friday to enter a guilty plea.... Mr. Weiner will plead guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States attorney's office in Manhattan.... Mr. Weiner surrendered to the F.B.I. early Friday morning.... A likely result of the plea is that Mr. Weiner would end up as a registered sex offender, although a final determination has yet to be made...." -- CW

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "President Trump called the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, weeks after he took office and asked him when federal authorities were going to put out word that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation, according to two people briefed on the call. Mr. Comey told the president that if he wanted to know details about the bureau's investigations, he should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedures and have the White House counsel send any inquiries to the Justice Department, according to those people. After explaining to Mr. Trump how communications with the F.B.I. should work, Mr. Comey believed he had effectively drawn the line after a series of encounters he had with the president and other White House officials that he felt jeopardized the F.B.I.'s independence.... Those interactions included a dinner in which associates of Mr. Comey say Mr. Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty and a meeting in the Oval Office at which Mr. Trump told him he hoped Mr. Comey would shut down an investigation into ... Michael T. Flynn." -- CW ...

Comey understood Trump’s people as having neither knowledge of nor respect for the independence of the law enforcement function. And he saw it as an ongoing task on his part to protect the rest of the Bureau from improper contacts and interferences from a group of people he did not regard as honorable. -- Benjamin Wittes, May 18 ...

... Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare gives his own account of his conversations with Jim Comey re: the Comey-Trump relationship. CW: If I were a friend of Ben Wittes', the most personal things I'd tell him are my favorite cookie recipe & the time of day. What an ass. ...

The entire thing has been a witch hunt. There's no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign -- but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians -- zero.... Believe me, there's no collusion.... And everybody, even my enemies have said, there is no collusion.... Russia is fine, but whether it's Russia or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America. -- Donald Trump, Thursday, in the East Room of the White House ...

"Believe me" is the tell. -- Constant Weader

... Ashley Parker & David Nakamura of the New York Times: "President Trump on Thursday denied ever asking FBI Director James B. Comey to back off his agency's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as into the role played by former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Asked whether he urged Comey to ease up on the Flynn investigation, Trump said at a news conference, 'No, no,' before ordering the media to move on to the 'next question.'... In addition to contradicting Comey's account of the encounter, Trump's comments also put him into stark opposition with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who appointed the special counselor and whose memo criticizing Comey was initially used as justification by the White House to explain the president's decision to fire his FBI director. The president himself later said he had long disliked Comey and made up his mind to fire him before Rosenstein presented him with his memo, and on Thursday Rosenstein also told the full Senate that he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his controversial memo.... During the news conference, Trump contradicted both his own account and that of Rosenstein. 'Director Comey was very unpopular with most people,' Trump said. 'I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.' Earlier in the day, during a private lunch of television anchors at the White House, Trump said he believes the decision to appoint a special counsel 'hurts our country terribly' and called it 'a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election. It shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country,' Trump told the group. 'I think it shows division, and it shows that we're not together as a country. And I think it's a very, very negative thing.'" ...

... Josh Marshall: "Trump also couldn't help lashing out at Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who made the decision to appoint the Special Counsel. Rosenstein reportedly told Senators earlier today that he knew before he wrote his memo that Comey was going to be fired. It was apparently a foregone conclusion and Rosenstein wrote a memo laying out a justification for firing Comey. That doesn't make Rosenstein look good at all, in my view. But he left no doubt that Trump made the call. Trump went back to trying to hang the decision on Rosenstein, even though Trump himself said last week that he'd already made up his mind. The only real consistency in Trump's remarks are that he did nothing wrong and his anger at whomever he's angry at at that moment. Everything else is mutable and up for grabs. He's mad, mad at everyone, mad at Comey, also mad at Rosenstein and he made that anger clear in something like a million ways during this brief performance. It could have gone better." -- CW ...

... Ed Kilgore: "One of the odd things that has happened in plain view today is a series of angry attacks by the president of the United States on his own deputy attorney general, the very man on whose recommendation the White House originally said he decided to fire FBI Director James Comey.... Can someone please explain to the president that the Department of Justice is part of his administration?" ...

     ... CW: Kilgore speculates that Trump's rage against Rosenstein & Mueller is an effort to please his base. That may be, but I think it's more likely a function of his narcissism & ignorance. Obviously, Trump views every event as Trump v. Others, & he assesses the outcome based on who looks like the winner. But the other problem is that Trump is too dense -- and too ignorant of history -- to understand the now-traditional relationship between the presidency and the DOJ & its subsidiary, the FBI. He cannot understand why, if he has the power to hire and fire the top dogs of these departments, these same people won't pledge their fealty to him & won't always do his bidding. So when Yates refused to defend the Muslim ban, Trump immediately fired her; when Comey refused to drop the Flynn investigation, Trump fired him; when Rosenstein gave Trump cover for the Comey firing, Trump touted Rosenstein's creds; when Rosenstein named a special prosecutor, Trump claimed Rosenstein was advancing the worst witch hunt in American history. ...

... Kevin Drum: "In the Trump administration, the Justice Department is an arm of the White House, and the FBI is expected to follow the president's direction. The weird part of this is not that Trump believes it -- of course he does -- but that plenty of other folks in the White House seem to believe it too. At the very least, you'd think Reince Priebus would know better, but he's as bad as the rest. There hardly seems to be anyone in the entire building with any genuine knowledge of how the government works and how other people are likely to react to Trump's actions. Very peculiar." -- CW ...

... Matthew Rosenberg & Rebecca Ruiz of the New York Times: "Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, told senators on Thursday that he knew President Trump planned to fire James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I. before he wrote a memo outlining the reasons for his dismissal, according to three Democratic lawmakers who were in the briefing.... The disclosure by the senators raises the possibility that Mr. Rosenstein could become a witness in the investigation being run by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.... Mr. Rosenstein 'faced a stark decision,' [Sen. Dick] Durbin [D-Ill.] said. 'He could either appoint someone of the stature of Director Mueller, or resign.'" -- CW ...

... Alex Isenstadt & Josh Dawsey of Politico: "... Donald Trump convened his legal team on Thursday to discuss the escalating investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.... Among those in attendance was longtime Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen, who came down from New York to attend." -- CW ...

... Lawyer Up, Trump. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Several White House advisers and personal associates of President Trump have urged him to hire an experienced outside lawyer to help him deal with issues arising from a surging controversy over whether his campaign had ties to Russia, according to several people briefed on the conversations. The recommendations came even before a special counsel was named on Wednesday to lead the investigation into any collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials. Mr. Trump's aides and allies were said to be especially concerned by the revelation that James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump, has contemporaneous, detailed memos reconstructing conversations with the president." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Michael Kranish of the Washington Post: "Trump's need for a private attorney is viewed as a high priority because he so far has been relying on government lawyers, including his White House counsel, who could eventually be called to testify about their private conversations with him. Such conversations are not considered 'privileged.'... The recommendation comes as the White House's legal strategy is being complicated by Trump's tweets and other statements, potentially undermining his ability to declare protection under executive privilege, legal analysts said Thursday. Trump's constant tweeting about subjects under investigation -- as well as his claim that then-FBI Director James B. Comey assured him in three conversations that he was cleared -- could undermine efforts to cite executive privilege, analysts said." -- CW

... Greg Sargent: "... despite Trump's suggestion that he is being victimized by a witch hunt, and that a more adept PR strategy could minimize the damage, this is a situation entirely of Trump's own making. And each of Trump's actions leading up to this moment are rooted deep in Trump's autocratic and authoritarian impulses; his total contempt for basic institutional processes; and his tendency, when his sense of grievance strikes, to slip into a delusional belief that he can overwhelm the institutional independence of his persecutors the way he might steamroll someone in a business deal.... There are no indications that Trump even understands this." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

... Ashley Parker & Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: "As Donald Trump has grown increasingly angry and frustrated with his White House staff, the beleaguered targets of his ire have a quietly roiling gripe of their own -- their boss, the president himself. Since he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump has lurched through crises of his own making.... Trump largely thinks that his recent mishaps are not substantive but simply errors of branding and public relations, according to people close to him and the White House.... The president's siege mentality was on display Wednesday when he delivered commencement remarks at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.... In his wake remain his exhausted aides and deputies, the frequent targets of Trump's wrath as they struggle to control an uncontrollable chief executive and labor to explain away his stumbles.... Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started ... shopping their résumés.... One West Wing official recently stopped defending Trump or trying to explain away his more controversial behavior." CW: Boo-fucking-hoo. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Adam Serwer of the Atlantic: "On Wednesday, 11 Senate Democrats signed a letter urging the Department of Justice's inspector general to open an investigation into whether [Jeff] Sessions violated his recusal pledge by participating in Comey's firing. The letter states that 'the president's recent admission that Comey was fired, at least in part, due to the Russia investigation only raises further question about the role of the Attorney General in his termination, his willingness to provide cover for a political decision, and both his and the Department of Justice's ability to perform an independent investigation.'" -- CW ...

... Matea Gold & Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "Newly appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will undergo a Justice Department ethics review that will examine possible conflicts of interest regarding his former law firm, which represents several figures who could be caught up in the probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Thursday that the agency will conduct a background investigation and detailed review of conflict-of-interest issues, a process outlined in the regulation governing special counsels under which he was appointed. For the past three years, Mueller has been a partner in the Washington office of WilmerHale, whose attorneys represent former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort..., Ivanka and Jared Kushner.... Federal regulations prohibit officials from participating in matters involving their former employers for two years after joining the government unless they receive a waiver to do so." -- CW ...

... Ashley Parker: "President Trump said Thursday that Joe Lieberman was his top choice to become FBI director, filling the slot left open after Trump fired James B. Comey, his previous FBI head, last week." CW: Reminds me of why there was no President Gore. ...

... Burgess Everett & Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Some Senate Democrats hold a grudge against Lieberman for his rightward turn and opposition to some of President Barack Obama's agenda.... Others say even though they respect Lieberman, the job of FBI director should not go to a former politician. And all Democratic senators interviewed for this story said the former Connecticut senator lacks the kind of experience needed for the post." -- CW ...

... Matt Yglesias of Vox: "For the president to fire the FBI director in an effort to stymie an investigation into his associates, and then replace him with an unqualified successor who happens to be an employee of his personal lawyer, seems a wee bit fishy to me.... Another issue for Lieberman will be that grassroots progressive activists hate his guts and have for years.... His total lack of experience with federal law enforcement and lack of administrative experience, combined with the reality that he would be stepping in to fill the shoes of a well-liked former director who was fired for no good reason, means he would likely struggle to earn the respect of career personnel and run the agency effectively." Read on. -- CW

... Lachlan Markay, et al., of the Daily Beast: "... Donald Trump pressured a 'reluctant' Michael Flynn into accepting a job as the White House's top national security official even after Flynn warned the president that he was under investigation over undisclosed lobbying on behalf of a foreign government, The Daily Beast has learned.... Trump doesn't just hope that Flynn will beat the rap. Several sources close to Flynn and to the administration tell The Daily Beast that Trump has expressed his hopes that a resolution of the FBI's investigation in Flynn's favor might allow Flynn to rejoin the White House in some capacity -- a scenario some of Trump's closest advisers in and outside the West Wing have assured him absolutely should not happen. Those sources said Trump didn't believe Flynn should be under investigation in the first place." -- CW ...

... Flynn & Trump Are Still BFFs. Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News: "'I just got a message from the president to stay strong,' Flynn said..., according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25." -- CW ...

     ... CW: This, despite a May 10 Daily Beast report: "White House lawyers have had to warn ... Donald Trump repeatedly against reaching out to his fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, two people familiar with the matter tell The Daily Beast." -- CW ...

... Ned Parker, et al., of Reuters: "Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters. The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia. Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn.... Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said." -- CW ...

... ** Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly: "In case that sounds familiar, a couple of months ago the Washington Post reported that Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, held a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands with a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin 'as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump.' Keri Geiger and Michael Riley followed up on that report with the news that Prince had been a regular advisor to the Trump team -- particularly Michael Flynn.... This all reads to me like Putin setting up the President of the United States to be a Russian asset. That is as serious as it gets." ...

     ... CW: No doubt some in the CIA, FBI & other arms of the vast U.S. national security ops have figured this out, too. Besides being furious, they must be very, very worried. ...

... MEANWHILE. Laura Barrón-López & Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post: "... Michael Flynn is so far not cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has issued a subpoena for documents related to his interactions with Russian officials. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters Thursday that Flynn's lawyers have yet to turn over any documents, although there 'may be a day or two left' for them to do so.... 'General Flynn's attorneys have not yet indicated their intentions regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee's subpoena,' Burr said in [a subsequent] statement. 'Consistent with the Committee's position since the beginning of [our] investigation, I welcome their willingness to cooperate.'" Thanks to Akhilleus for the link. -- CW ...

... ** Josh Marshall of TPM: "McClatchy reports that shortly before President Trump's inauguration, Mike Flynn effectively killed a military operation against ISIS that would have used Kurdish paramilitaries. The plan was later revived after Flynn's ouster. But his decision delayed it for months.... This is incredibly serious. We've known that Flynn was taking hundreds of thousands of dollars during the campaign to lobby on behalf of Turkey.... Flynn's decision clearly mimicked the Turkish position.... Every decision in the Syria/ISIS theater has lives attached to it. The combination of the money, the non-disclosure and the veto is grave beyond almost anything we've seen so clearly documented in the entirety of Trump-related scandals to date.... If I'm understanding the timeline correctly, Flynn did this when the Trump team already knew he was a paid agent working on behalf of Turkey, indeed, already knew the DOJ was investigating him for that undisclosed payment.... What it all amounts to is that the Flynn investigation (just the part tied to Turkey) just got much, much more serious, and the President and Vice President are both implicated in those bad acts, either in advance or after the fact." --safari ...

... Don't Tell Mikey? Vaughn Hillyard of NBC News: "Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's alleged wrongdoing, according to a source close to the administration, who cited a potential 'pattern' of not informing the vice president and calling it 'malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable.'" -- CW ...

     ... Margaret Hartmann: Pence's feigned/studied ignorance of the FBI's investigation of Flynn "would seem to suggest that Pence did a terrible job as head of the transition team and didn't even know how to Google Flynn. But hours later a source floated a possible explanation to NBC News: People on the transition team intentionally kept things from the vice-president-elect. 'There's a pattern as it relates to the Flynn situation -- vis a vis Pence -- that he was never, either intentionally or unintentionally, made aware of the facts,' the source said.... Still, how could Pence claim in March that he'd just learned about Flynn's questionable lobbying when it was widely reported in the months after the election, and Representative Elijah Cummings even wrote Pence a letter on November 18 bringing the matter to his attention? 'I'm not sure we saw the letter,' said the source." -- CW ...

... Maureen Groppe of USA Today: "Vice President Pence is standing by his claims that he did not know former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been secretly lobbying for the Turkish government until March, despite a new report claiming Flynn had actually disclosed to the Trump transition team back in January that he was under a federal nvestigation.... However, on Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Flynn first told Trump's transition team on Jan. 4 that team he was under federal investigation for not initially reporting he was a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. The Times said the disclosure was first made to the transition team's chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel." -- CW ...

... Whatever Happened to "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness," Mike? Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: Vice President "Pence has hardly been immune from Trump's foibles and from saying untrue things about them. And now twice in the past week, his defenses of the White House he serves in have been pretty directly contradicted in ways that seriously call into question his credibility.... [1] In early March, it was reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had filed as a foreign agent for Turkey after failing to do so when he should have. Asked about it by Fox News's Bret Baier on March 9, Pence said twice that it was the 'first I heard of it.'... But just a day later, The Washington Post and others reported that Flynn had informed Trump's legal team thathe might need to register as a foreign agent even before Trump was inaugurated. And late Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Flynn also had disclosed that he was under federal investigation for it.... [2] The explanation for Flynn's forced resignation in February was that he has lied to Pence about his contacts with Russia -- lies that Pence went on TV and promptly emphasized as the truth.... This turned out to be flat-out wrong.... [3] While defending Trump's firing of FBI Director James B. Comey last week, Pence asserted that the president had acted upon the recommendation of the Justice Department and said the decision wasn't about the FBI's Russia investigation.... Trump himself blew all of that up a day later...." -- CW ...

Eric Levitz of New York explore's Jared Kushner's possible motivations for "fanning the flames": "Jared Kushner was supposed to be a voice of reason -- or, at least, of kleptocratic pragmatism.... So, when Trump showered his own presidency in gasoline and lit matches last week -- and proceeded to toss a few new logs onto the fire each day since -- Kushner must have been shouting his objections while trying to activate the White House sprinkler system. Or so one might have thought. According to the New York Times, Kushner was actually fanning the flames":

     ... Glenn Thrush of the New York Times: "Realizing the seriousness of the situation [-- Rosenstein's appointment of Mueller --] [Trump] quickly summoned his staff, including Sean Spicer, the press secretary; Michael Dubke, the communications director;... Jared Kushner; Reince Priebus, the chief of staff; Hope Hicks, a longtime aide; Kellyanne Conway;... and Stephen K. Bannon.... Most of those gathered recommended that the president adopt a conciliatory stance.... Mr. Kushner -- who had urged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Comey -- was one of the few dissenting voices, urging the president to counterattack, according to two senior administration officials. After a brief discussion, however, calmer heads prevailed, and Mr. Trump's staff huddled over a computer just outside the Oval Office to draft the statement that was ultimately released...." -- CW ...

     ... See also Akhilleus's links & commentary on Kushner in yesterday's thread. ...

... Mark Landler, et al., of the New York Times describe how Jared Kushner shepherded a $110BB arms deal between the Saudis & U.S. corporations. "But officials emphasized that Mr. Kushner's work on the deal was part of a governmentwide effort that includes the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council.... The Trump administration is expected to frame the deal, worth about $110 billion over 10 years, as a symbol of America's renewed commitment to security in the Persian Gulf. But former officials pointed out that President Barack Obama, whose arms sales to Saudi Arabia totaled $115 billion, had already approved several of the weapons in the package.... The Obama administration put a hold on precision-guided munitions it had agreed to sell the Saudis out of fear that they would be used to bomb civilians in Yemen. The Trump administration has freed up those weapons, which are part of the $110 billion package." -- CW

Erdogan Fiddles While His Goons Beat up Americans. Phil McCausand & Abigail Williams of NBC News: "Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kiliç was called in to the State Department to meet with U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's guards violently entered a crowd of protesters, U.S. officials said Thursday.... And new video revealed Thursday shows Erdogan -- who hours earlier had met with ... Donald Trump -- watching the fracas from his car outside the Turkish embassy. Before it begins, a guard bends to speak to the Turkish president. That guard talks to another man who then begins the fight. Initial video only showed the bodyguards charging the protesters and the bloody aftermath." -- CW

Deplorables, Ctd. Esther Yu Hsi Lee of ThinkProgress: "Sheriff David Clarke Jr. -- a controversial law enforcement official known for his outlandish remarks and fatal detention practices -- announced Wednesday that he would be appointed as an Assistant Secretary within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June.... After news broke of Clarke's new role, former DHS officials  --  who held the position he will soon take  -- strongly condemned the decision. Phil McNamara, who was appointed to the position between April 2013 until President Donald Trump took office on January 20, 2017, called Clarke's potential appointment 'just plain awful.'... McNamara feared Clarke's 'polarizing' personality in the nonpartisan role would damage relationships between the federal government and local officials, particularly with Democratic governors and mayors. Clarke told a crowd at 'DeploraBall' that he would only ever reach across the aisle towards a Democrat 'to grab one of them by the throat.'" --safari ...

... Deplorables, Ctd. Casey Quinlan of ThinkProgress: "The Washington Post obtained access to the full education budget proposed by the Trump administration and published many of its details on Wednesday. The budget prioritizes school choice and undermines or eliminates many of the funds poor students rely on to receive a high quality of education.... The budget would eliminate $1.2 billion for the the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provides academic enrichment for kids during after-school programs and reaches 1.6 million kids.... Eight in 10 parents whose children are served by after-school programs say that those programs helped them keep their job.... The administration would not allocate money toward a fund that provides money for schools to teach Advanced Placement courses and provide mental health services, physical education, and science and engineering instruction. Although lawmakers OKed up to $1.65 billion for the fund, the Trump administration allocated nothing to the fund." --safari: The contempt for the working poor is astounding ...

... Deplorables, Ctd. Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept: "Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation that would bring sweeping changes to the nation's immigration enforcement apparatus, adding thousands of new deportation officers and, among other things, equipping each of them with body armor and an assault rifle. The little noticed bills, marked up in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, would bring additional legal force to the Trump administration's hardline immigration agenda...[One of the bills], the 'Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act..., would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Speaking before judiciary committee members Thursday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler(D-NY), said the provision would 'turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight.' Brad Schneider (D-IL) noted that under the language of the proposed law recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)...could be stripped of their protections because they are in the country while knowingly in violation of the law." --safari: A GOP tip o' the hat to the NRA and the private prison industrial complex. As American as apple pie.

Matt Apuzzo, et al., of the New York Times: "The F.B.I. warned a Republican congressman in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics. The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow's biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.... Mr. Rohrabacher was drawn into the maelstrom this week when The Washington Post reported on an audio recording of Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, saying last year, 'There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.'" CW: See also Nancy LeTourneau's commentary vis-a-vis Trumpinsky, linked above.

Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times: "Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration's erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues. At the same time, state insurance regulators -- both Democrat and Republican -- have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year. The growing frustration with the Trump administration's management -- reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide -- undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance." ...

     ... CW: This is exactly the kind of truth-telling the public needs to see. If "ObamaCare" premiums rise dramatically, it's because Trump & Co. are engineering, either through design or incompetence, the rate hikes. ...

... Carolyn Johnson of the Washington Post: "Attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia filed a motion Thursday to intervene in a long-running lawsuit over a core part of the Affordable Care Act. In their legal filing, the attorneys general say they can't trust the Trump administration to defend their interests, because health insurance for millions of Americans has become 'little more than political bargaining chips' for the White House. The lawsuit is challenging how billions of dollars of federal payments were made to health insurers. Those payments are critical to the stability of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, which are designed to help individuals buy government-subsidized health coverage. The attorneys general want to step in to defend the payments, saying there is a 'sharp divide' between the administration's goals and those of states. For months, health insurance companies have been trying to get a solid answer from Congress and President Trump's White House on the future of the payments, called cost-sharing reductions, that help lower-income Americans afford their deductibles and co-payments." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Eli Rosenberg & Liam Stack of the New York Times: A car driven by a drug-impaired driver plowed through the crowds in New York CIty's Times Square Thursday, killing a woman & injuring 22 other people. "The episode instantly raised the specter of terrorism.... The driver of the Honda, Richard Rojas, 26, a Navy veteran from the Bronx, had a history of arrests for drunken driving, said officials, moving quickly to assuage fears of terrorism. 'Based on information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,' Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a news conference near the scene of the rampage. Mr. Rojas appeared to be under the influence of drugs when he mowed down the crowds, according to several law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity...." -- CW

Way Beyond

Esther Addley & Alan Travis of the Guardian: "Swedish prosecutors are to drop their preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, bringing an end to a seven-year legal standoff. The decision was taken after prosecutors concluded that 'at this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted', Sweden's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said on Friday.... [Assange] could potentially opt to leave [Equador's London] embassy.... The Metropolitan police in London said Assange would also face immediate arrest for breaching his bail conditions by entering the embassy, after a warrant was issued when he failed to attend a magistrates court after entering the embassy." -- CW

Reader Comments (27)

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given the chronic stupidity of the ongoing Trump Debacle, that the Glorious Leader's first choice to run the FBI, at arguably the most delicate and fraught period in its history is...Joe Lieberman. Joe Fucking Lieberman?? Why not Deputy Dawg?

First, Lieberman has already been a staunch supporter of Trump. He loves the Muslim ban, for instance. He's all for Trump tearing up the nuclear weapons deal with Iran (thus freeing them up to actually go after nuclear weapons with a vengeance). But Lieberman is also a Trump lawyer, a senior member of Trump's go-to law firm for protecting the Orange Headed Baboon from legal culpability, and as such, has already demonstrated a certain loyalty, albeit paid for loyalty, which is Trump's biggest requirement for the job. Not actually uncovering the truth underlying all the lies.

But over and above his rank unfitness for the job of FBI director, Lieberman is and always been, all about what's best for Joe Lieberman, not what's best for the country. And if he could find a water carrier more closely aligned to his own similar sense of self coming first, Trump would have picked that guy instead. So, as it is, we' might have Joe Lieberman. More insanity.

Another reason to hate this pick? Confederates love him. As far as they're concerned, if a useless Confederate hack is not in the running, might as well pick a useless DINO hack who has a demonstrated proclivity for feckless self preservation.

Can someone please see if Deputy Dawg is available?

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

CNN provides a fairly good recap of why Democrats are not high on Joe Lieberman.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

There is something really smelly in the dramatis persone of the characters in this Russian/ American play of plays. We've watched the first act, we are now into the second and before we get to the third the dead bodies are piling up. Pence, for instance––we smell a rat here–-and we learn that the ties to all things nefarious, led by the flim flam Flynn was greater than we thought. But right now, before the final curtain, I want to know what the hell Flynn has on Trump. Other than his family, Trump lets people go like kites on a windy day–-but he has stuck by Flynn, lied about Flynn, even wanted to bring him back to the W.H. for some job–-maybe emptying the waste baskets?

safari's "the contempt for the working poor is astounding" and it makes me sick at heart to know how much these budget cuts will make people's lives so very difficult plus bad for the economy––hey. what happened to "Believe me folks, I'm going to bring back jobs"–-
Liar!!!!!!!

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Yes, CW's pronouncement on Comey's great, good friend's interview is a perfect "Oh, snap!" I read it in the middle of the night and thought how peculiar—not exactly someone I'd want coming to my defense —with friends like Ben Wittes, as they say, who needs enemies? Not helping, buddy!

@Ak: Why is it people we think have finally gone away, and out of our lives (hoping they'd stay put, retired nicely to some distant island) yet the doddering 'old' fools keep reappearing to piss us off all over again, such as Joe Lieberman, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Henry Kissinger, etc. Truly, the US seems to be becoming a 'country for foolish, old men."

@Marie: See you are heading the leader board over on Krugman today (even designated a Times Pick!). Yep, we have certainly have met the enemy.

Does anyone think that Trump will actually go/last on his nine-day trip? Has someone checked the availability of golf courses in those countries? What? Toby Keith is coming for entertainment in Saudi Arabia. Too many things that boggle the mind today.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Trump visiting 5 countries as a diplomat. It will work only under one condition. Trump never says a word or a tweet. If he does communicate, other diplomats will be confused. They think the communication has to do with the US, but it will always be about Trump.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I found this Politico piece that provides some background on Comey and Mueller and their relationship quite interesting. If Donnie could read something that long, much less understand it, I think he'd be shitting his Depends® by now.

Too bad the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium haven't issued their own travel bans to prevent the Orange contagion from spreading to other parts of the world.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Most Republican members of Congress belong in jail for fraud. Accepting a salary for a job they never do.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

If you don't read anything else today, read the Politico article linked (above) by unwashed.

It's nearly impossible to keep a lot more than surface details and three or four major iconic snapshots of public figures in your head at any one time (there are so many of them) which is why it's often useful to read in-depth pieces that offer a more fleshed out, nuanced reading.

This piece does that. And it's well written, to boot.

As the author several times suggests, Trump should be nervous about having Mueller on his tail.

But apart from the Trump-Russia scandal (there is little chance that all of this is pure coincidence at this point), a central story in this depiction of the Comey-Mueller relationship is the day in 2004 when the Bush White House, in the person of Andy Card, tried to force a bed-ridden, addled John Ashcroft to reauthorize a Bush-Cheney scheme to spy on Americans (code name Stellar Wind). You've all heard the story and I won't review it here, except to relate this one anecdote about an encounter Comey had with Darth Cheney and his mob lawyer, David (Torture is fun!) Addington. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, I'll leave you with this short bit:

"Yet even amid the stress of that time, Comey didn’t hesitate to force the issue of STELLAR WIND, standing up to the vice president. During one White House meeting, Comey said he couldn’t find a legal basis for the program.

'Others see it differently,' a scowling Cheney replied.

'The analysis is flawed—in fact, fatally flawed. No lawyer reading that could reasonably rely on it,' Comey said, his hand sweeping across the table dismissively.

Cheney’s counsel, the famously aggressive David Addington, standing in the back of the room, spoke up: 'Well, I’m a lawyer,' he snapped, 'and I did.'

Comey shot back, 'No good lawyer.'

The room went silent."

Heh-heh-heh.

Whatever you think of Comey, you have to admit, that was a good comeback. No esprit de l'escalier that time.

And when you think of it, there are no figures like Cheney and Addington in the Trump circle, schemers who know how to work it. Trump has dilettantes, idiots, and ideologues working for him. If he just were a tiny bit smarter, he would be really worried.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

At the time Lieberman chose to become something other than a Democrat seemed to me his newly discovered Independence was prompted by two other "I's": Israel and Insurance companies.

Not much more to him than that, I thought, but now that I think on it his "I" fetish alone does make him eminently qualified to run the FBI. It does have an "I" in its name.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

As Trump travels to Saudi Arabia, a few things to keep in mind. First, the Saudis love Trump, despite a few bad things he said about them on the campaign trail. They understand authoritarian rhetoric and they appreciate strongman tactics. They also don't mind the nepotism. After all, the House of Saud is the House of Nepotism as well. If you're the fifth cousin of a fourth rate Saudi prince, twice removed, you're partying in Paris and driving back to your five star hotel in whichever color Lamborghini you prefer that week and you will never work a day in your life. Just like Junior and Little Dracula.

But most importantly, the Saudis, who hated Obama for what they saw as his pain in the ass concerns for stupid things like human rights and democracy, will love Trump because of his antipathy to those very same ideals. Donald does not give a shit about human rights abuses OR democracy.

Authoritarians appreciate other authoritarians, which is what drew Trump to Putin in the first place. Do whatever the hell you want and fuck the begrudgers.

Also, he won't have to worry about public protests in Riyadh. Protesters would be dragged by the hair to the nearest black site, tortured, and boiled in oil.

Ya know, the Saudi visit might be just what the Donald needs. A chance to see what Amerika could be like if they'd only shut up and let him put his boot on the necks of people he hates.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I have to disagree with Kilgore that Trump's rage is a nod to his base. That may be an unintended consequence, but Trump's rage is always about Trump, full stop.

I suspect that the white nationalist, Miller, will put his ignorance and bigotry on full display in the "radical Muslim" speech. Trump is in full rage mode and he'll spit and fume. He thinks this speech will somehow push him ahead of Obama in the adoration from other countries contest. The Saudis will listen politely as its a small price to pay for playing the moron Trump. However, I doubt, if any people, not vetted by the Saudis are present, it will resonate like a fart in church. They love authoritarians but they don't love people who aren't part of the royal family telling them what to do.

Who can forget Leibermann sitting right behind DeVos in her confirmation hearings. He has personally worked on behalf of Trump as his lawyer. That's in addition to the fact he is virulent pond scum and has no relevant experience.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Meanwhile, over in the Chldren's Room, aka the Confederate controlled House...

It seems Little Paulie Ryan hasn't sent the Confederate Kill A Bunch of Americans We Don't Like bill, aka the ACA Repeal and Replace thingy, over to the Senate yet.

Why?

Glad you asked.

You may recall that delirious Confederates, who couldn't wait to party hardy with their bloviating Glorious Leader over all the blahs and browns and poors they were getting ready to screw, decided to forgo the CBO economic analysis. And what could go wrong with that well thought out tactic?

Well, for one, Confederates used a little maneuver called Reconciliation to get their half-assed bill passed in a majority, straight party-line vote. No need to allow any pain in the ass discussion of outstanding concerns about real healthcare for Americans to cramp their style.

But the CBO analysis is of vital importance if you're going to try to run with the Reconciliation ramming maneuver. If your scheme doesn't save $2 billion over a 10 year period, it's ixnay for the illbay.

And that worries the Lyin' One. Because, according to pesky rules, if he sends it to the Senate (basically saying "this is it, guys") and the CBO rules that, in fact, your piece-O-shit bill will end up costing money, or won't save as much as you promised, then it's back to square one. The Senate won't touch it, and it's back to the House.

But now, it appears that they (the House) may still have to go back in, fuck with it some more, sling more mud at the poors, lie a whole lot more, and then vote on the whole mess at least one more time.

Even better, Ryan hasn't told any of his Confederate co-conspirators about this new bullshit. Oops. A lot of them had no idea the bill hadn't gone to the Senate yet. Or why.

If these people found a hundred dollar bill on the floor, they'd put it into the only pocket with a hole in it.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

MAG,

You're right. The repeated risings from the grave by Confederate zombies long thought dead and--thankfully--buried give the lie to Scott Fitzgerald's quip about second acts in America. Some of these guys are on their fifth and sixth act. Pretty soon they're all going to be moved into the category of "Not dead yet", members of which are greeted, whenever their names come up, with the question "Is that guy still around? I thought he was dead."

But as fans of the "Walking Dead" know, even dead guys can cause a lot of trouble (as Gingrich can be seen across the dining hall grabbing a third helping of brains. He just can't seem to get enough to make a difference.).

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Thank you, Nancy LaTourneau, for saying it.

Why won't anyone else? Instead, over and over, it's "blah-blah-blah Trump's campaign colluded with Russia," as if Trump himself didn't have anything to do with it.

Russian agents infiltrated Trump's campaign, gained Trump's trust by playing him for the fool he is, and got into the White House. Mike Flynn was the tool used by Vladimir Putin to do it.

Not brain surgery.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

This somewhat meandering article in Time has a description of hacking well beyond what I have already read about. I found the link at maddowblog in a forwarded tweet last night/this morning:

http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

Will Melania Trump wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia? Donald Trump circa 2015 seems to think "she" should. Adam Taylor at the Washington Post on "to wear or not to wear."

Back then, many supported Michelle Obama's not wearing a headscarf, but ...one prominent Twitter user disagreed: "Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted,” Donald Trump wrote. “We have enuf enemies.””"

What will Ivanka and Melania do?

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

MAG,

Well, I guess enuf is enuf. And 2mch is 2mch.

So happy we have such a literate president*.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Watching CNN live at 2:18, La Donald has just boarded, hopes are high for a fly by.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterD.C.Clark

Phooey. No go. Clearly Le Donald did not have the nerve to overfly my house. Will try again on his return. Anyhow, its the thought that counts.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterD.C.Clark

In Leibermann, Trump has found his own L. Patrick Gray.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

And maybe Mark Felt.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

James,

Lieberman as Mark Felt? The only thing deep about Lieberman is his self regard. As I suggested earlier, Lieberman doesn't have the law enforcement chops of Deputy Dawg.

Besides, Deputy Dawg, as FBI head, would be far more acceptable to Jefferson Beau-self-regard than some Connecticut Jew, no matter how much water he carries for Herr Drumpf.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

One of the things my mother, a tough old Irish lady, taught us, was that you never throw your own in front of strangers (anyone outside the family). Trump obviously never learned that lesson.

In his position as president*, he should look at any American as family.

But clearly, his family are vodka drinkers.

The day after firing James Comey, Comrade Trumpskyev entertained his Russian handlers in the Oval Office, giving the boot to American journalists but inviting in a Russian photographer who documented the joyous back-slapping and glad handing of a supposedly American president with representatives of a nation which, until not long ago, lived to see us all face down in nuclear muck.

In the course of this love-fest, Trumpskyev spoke to his comrades, as one born on the steppes, with memories of Cossack relatives knifing the peasants, about his summary dismissal of that "nutjob" Jim Comey, who was getting in the way of Trump-Russia kissyfaces, in fact, bragging about Comey's firing. To RUSSIANS!! Letting them know that no one would come between them and TrumpLove. So much for Patriotism. Trump is loyal to no thing and no one but himself. And the people who help him out with M O N E Y. Like Putin.

I don't care if he was entertaining visiting relatives from Scotland who came bearing pictures of his mum standing by yon bonny Brae. This is NOT the way for a president (or even a president*) to behave.

How is this evil, traitorous prick still darkening the White House linen?

Just IMAGINE if Clinton or Obama had, in a meeting with the Russians, thrown the American head of the FBI under the bus in front of them, insulting him or her as a "nutjob". Effigies in Right Wing World would burn for weeks. But Trump does it?

Meh. No biggie.

These people are reprehensible in ways I can't even describe. My mother, if she were alive, would read this treasonous douchebag the riot act, propelled by a Celtic fury that would permanently tuck that tiny, deformed member so far between his fat legs he'd have to impersonate a circus acrobat in order not to pee up his own crack.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Ak, I'm somewhat offended by your comment.

What part do you object to? Being from Connecticut or being a Jew? Since I'm at least one of those two parts curious minds want to know.

Just being from Trump's law firm should be enough of a disqualification. But then, who ever cared about potential conflicts of interest.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Unwashed,

My apologies if my comment was offensive. I find neither aspect (Connecticut native, nor Jew) offensive, my suggestion was that Trump's Confederate AG would find both objectionable.

Perhaps I went too far.

Again, apologies if that was the case.

I am from the northeast and my sister in law and nephew and their family are Jewish, as well as a large number of my close friends.

I go too far sometimes. It's possible that Jeffbo is not at all anti-Semitic, but it's pretty clear that he, like most of his Confederate cohort, hate northern liberals.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Ak,

Apologies accepted. Please accept mine for failing to realize you were projecting JeffBo's sentiments and not expressing your own.

I've worked extensively in the south for the last fifteen years but have refused offers to move there because I love my corner of the state. I've been called a Yankee more times than I can count, but at least I've never been called a "damn Yankee" because I'm one of those that does leave to go home every weekend.

If you ever get back to NE, I'd love to host you at my local brewery for some conversation over a beer, or two, or three...

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Unwashed,

...or three sounds just the thing.

Thanks.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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